Google v. China, Day 4: Live from the Frontlines

Day 4: A Survivor's Tale

JASMINE: Good evening. Reporter Randy Gall has embedded himself with the Google forces at the Google Outpost #898, located somewhere deep within China. Unfortunately, with all electronic communications compromised in the attacks, Randy's report comes to us in various forms. First, we received this letter:


Dearest Jasmine,

I hope this letter finds you well. The nights are growing long, as the men and women of Google struggle to maintain focus. The rain is pelting our canvas tent like the sound of a million death drums. We hear helicopters throughout the night, followed by sirens, and the screams. My lord, the screams. The amount of data lost is too much.


How much longer can we keep fighting?


Jeffery Chan, who worked at Google for seven years, cracked last night. He held up his cell phone and yelled, "My 3G coverage is not working." And then collapsed in tears. When he awoke, he could no longer see. Stress blindness? Perhaps. Or perhaps the cyber assault is now attacking eyes as well. It would  not surprise me. Nothing would, at this point.


I'm sending this message the safest way possible, by gluing it to a donkey and then pointing the donkey towards the U.S. embassy. If you find this letter, please know that I'm still alive, and that the donkey's name is Steve.

With hopes of peace, I remain,
Randy "Warrior Poet" Gall


JASMINE: A few hours later, we received the following message by carrier pigeon.
Dear Jasmine,
This is Landy Lall. Do you understand that? I'm Landy? I'm worried that the Chinese spy planes will use x-ray scopes to scan and read all correspondences I send out. For that reason, this message has been encoded. I pray that you can decipher the message, which is: The ducks are not ducks. The Williams-Sonoma Third Symphony was dream-like and frowny.
With hopes of peace, I remain,
Landy Lall


JASMINE: Moments later,  Randy somehow sent this  telegram.

Dear Jasmine (STOP) It's me Randy (STOP) I hope you understood my last message (STOP) I was trying to tell you that Google is planning a huge attack tonight (STOP) Don't tell anyone (STOP) Well, you can tell Pete (STOP) Wait, stop (STOP). Don't tell Pete (STOP) Pete will just tell his wife and then everyone on Facebook will know (STOP) Like that time I told him about my hernia surgery (STOP) Anyway the Google troops are working hard planning the attack. When will they start?  (STOP) Everything outside is quiet (STOP) Too quiet (STOP) 


JASMINE: And finally we received a Morse Code transmission from Outpost #898 which read:


One computer up and running at Outpost #898. Though it can only access Myspace, which no one uses anymore (and I have long forgotten my password), and Oscar-pool websites (rooting for "Hurt Locker," as I have had  remotely similar experiences here in the Google War). Still… One computer is a sign of hope. Could the end be near? Heading back to Google HQ.



Dan Bergstein is a freelance writer who pronounces the N in autumn.

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.