First written in 1898 by H.G. Wells, War of the Worlds has been portrayed in several movies and radio broadcasts including Orson Welles' famous narration which caused mass hysteria and panic due to it's realism.
My personal favourite (and inspiration for the cache page) has to be Jeff Wayne's musical recording from 1978 featuring the narration of Richard Burton and the musical talents of Justin Hayward, Phil Lynott, Julie Covington, David Essex and Chris Thompson.
No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that human affairs were being watched from the timeless worlds of space. No one could have dreamed we were being scrutinized, as someone with a microscope studies creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. Few men even considered the possibility of life on other planets and yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this Earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely, they drew their plans against us. At midnight on the twelfth of August, a huge mass of luminous gas erupted from Mars and sped towards Earth. Across two hundred million miles of void, invisibly hurtling towards us, came the first of the missiles that were to bring so much calamity to Earth. As I watched, there was another jet of gas. It was another missile, starting on its way. And that's how it was for the next ten nights. A flare, spurting out from Mars - bright green, drawing a green mist behind it - a beautiful, but somehow disturbing sight. Ogilvy, the astronomer, assured me we were in no danger. He was convinced there could be no living thing on that remote, forbidding planet. Then came the night the first missile approached Earth. It was thoughtto be an ordinary falling star, but next day there was a huge crater in the middle of the Common, and Ogilvy came to examine what lay there: a cylinder, thirty yards across, glowing hot... and with faint sounds of movement coming from within. Suddenly the top began moving, rotating, unscrewing, and Ogilvy feared there was a man inside, trying to escape. He rushed to the cylinder, but the intense heat stopped him before he could burn himself on the metal. It seems totally incredible to me now that everyone spent that evening as though it were just like any other. From the railway station came the sound of shunting trains, ringing and rumbling, softened almost into melody by the distance. It all seemed so safe and tranquil. . . . . Next morning, a crowd gathered on the Common, hypnotized by the unscrewing of the cylinder. Two feet of shining screw projected when, suddenly, the lid fell off! A few young men crept closer to the pit. A tall funnel rose, then an invisible ray of heat leapt from man to man and there was a bright glare, as each was instantly turned to fire. Every tree and bush became a mass of flames at the touch of this savage, unearthly Heat Ray. People clawed their way off the Common, and I ran too. I felt I was being toyed with, that when I was on the very verge of safety, this mysterious death would leap after me and strike me down. At last I reached Maybury Hill and in the dim coolness of my home I wrote an account for my newspaper before I sank into a restless, haunted sleep. I awoke to alien sounds of hammering from the pit, and hurried to the railway station to buy the paper. Around me, the daily routine of life - working, eating, sleeping - was continuing serenely as it had for countless years. On Horsell Common, the Martians continued hammering and stirring, sleepless, indefatigable, at work upon the machines they were making. Now and again a light, like the beam of a warship's searchlight, swept the Common - and the Heat Ray was ready to follow. In the afternoon, a company of soldiers came through and deployed along the edge of the Common, to form a cordon. That evening, there was a violent crash and I realized with horror that my home was now within range of the Martian's Heat Ray. At dawn, a falling star with a trail of green mist landed with a flash like summer lightning. This was the second cylinder.
The hammering from the pit and the pounding of guns grew louder. My fear rose at the sound of someone creeping into the house. Then I saw it was a young artilleryman, weary, streaked with blood and dirt. "What's happened?" I asked, "They wiped us out." He replied, "Hundreds dead - maybe thousands. They were inside the hoods of the machines they'd made - massive metal things on legs! Giant machines that walked - they attacked us! They wiped us out! There was another cylinder came last night. bound for London." London! Carrie! I hadn't dreamed there could be danger to Carrie and her father, so many miles away. I must go to London at once. We hurried past the artillery cordon, along the road to Weybridge. Suddenly, there was a heavy explosion. The ground heaved, windows shattered and gusts of smoke erupted into the air. Quickly, one after the other, four of the Fighting Machines appeared. Monstrous tripods, higher than the tallest steeple, striding over the pine trees and smashing them. Walking engines of glittering metal. Each carried a huge funnel and I realized with horror that I'd seen this awful thing before. A fifth Machine appeared on the far bank. It raised itself to full height, flourished the funnel high in the air - and the ghostly, terrible Heat Ray struck the town. As it struck, all five Fighting Machines exulted, emitting deafening howls which roared like thunder. The guns we had seen now fired simultaneously, decapitating a Fighting Machine. The Martian inside the hood was slain, splashed to the four winds, and the body, nothing now but an intricate device of metal, went whirling to destruction. As the other Monsters advanced, people ran away blindly, the Artilleryman among them, but I jumped into the water and hid until forced up to breathe. Now the guns spoke again, but this time the Heat Ray sent them to oblivion. With a white flash, the Heat Ray swept across the river. Scalded, half-blinded and agonized, I staggered through leaping, hissing water towards the shore. I fell helplessly, in full sight of the Martians, expecting nothing but death. The foot of a Fighting Machine came down close to my head, then lifted again, as the four Martians carried away the debris of their fallen comrade... and I realized that by a miracle , I had escaped.
For three days I fought my way along roads packed with refugees, the homeless, burdened with boxes and bundles containing their valuables. All that was of value to me was in London, but by the time I reached their little red-brick house, Carrie and her father were gone. Fire suddenly leapt from house to house, the population panicked and ran - and I was swept along with them, aimless and lost without Carrie. Finally, I headed Eastward for the ocean, and my only hope of survival - a boat out of England. As I hastened through Covent Garden, Blackfriars and Billingsgate, more and more people joined the painful exodus. Sad, weary women, their children stumbling and streaked with tears, their men bitter and angry, the rich rubbing shoulders with beggars and outcasts. Dogs snarled and whined, the horses' bits were covered with foam... and here and there were wounded soldiers, as helpless as the rest. Never before in the history of the world had such a mass of human beings moved and suffered together. This was no disciplined march - it was a stampede - without order and without a goal, six million people unarmed and unprovisioned, driving headlong. It was the beginning of the rout of civilization, of the massacre of mankind. A vast crowd buffeted me towards the already packed steamer. I looked up enviously at those safely on board - straight into the eyes of my beloved Carrie! At sight of me she began to fight her way along the packed deck to the gangplank. At that very moment it was raised, and I caught a last glimpse of her despairing face as the crowd swept me away from her. The steamer began to move slowly away - but on the landward horizon appeared the silhouette of a Fighting Machine. Another came, and another, striding over hills and trees, plunging far out to sea and blocking the exit of the steamer. Between them lay the silent, grey Ironclad 'Thunder Child'. Slowly it moved towards shore; then, with a deafening roar and whoosh of spray, it swung about and drove at full speed towards the waiting Martians. The Martians released their Black Smoke, but the ship sped on, cutting down one of the tripod figures. Instantly, the others raised their Heat Rays and melted the Thunder Child's valiant heart. When the smoke cleared, the little steamer had reached the misty horizon, and Carrie was safe. But the Thunder Child had vanished forever, taking with her man's last hope of victory. The leaden sky was lit by green flashes, cylinder following cylinder, and no one and nothing was left now to fight them. The Earth belonged to the Martians.
Next day, the dawn was a brilliant, fiery red and I wandered through the weird and lurid landscape of another planet; for the vegetation which gives Mars its red appearance had taken root on Earth. As Man had succumbed to the Martians, so our land now succumbed to the Red Weed. Wherever there was a stream, the Red Weed clung and grew with frightening voraciousness, its claw-like fronds choking the movement of the water; and then it began to creep like a slimy red animal across the land, covering field and ditch and tree and hedgerow with living scarlet feelers, crawling! crawling! The Martians spent the night making a new machine. It was a squat, metallic spider with huge articulated claws - but it, too, had a hood in which a Martian sat. I watched it pursuing some people across a field. It caught them nimbly and tossed them into a great metal basket upon its back. Then, on the ninth day, we saw the Martians eating. Inside the hood of their new machine, they were draining the fresh, living blood of men and women and injecting it into their own veins. Again, I was on my way to London, through towns and villages that were blackened ruins, totally silent, desolate, deserted. Man's empire had passed away, taken swiftly and without error, by these creatures who were composed entirely of brain. Unhampered by the complex systems which make up man, they made and used different bodies according to their needs. They never tired, never slept and never suffered, having long since eliminated from their planet the bacteria which cause all fevers and other morbidities. There were a dozen dead bodies in the Euston Road, their outlines softened by the Black Dust. All was still, houses locked and empty, shops closed - but looters had helped themselves to wine and food, and outside a jewellers some gold chains and a watch were scattered on the pavement. A desolating cry worked upon my mind. The wailing took possession of me. I was intensely weary, footsore, hungry and thirsty. Why was I wandering alone in this city of the dead? Why was I alive, when London was lying in state in its black shroud? I felt intolerably lonely, drifting from street to empty street, drawn inexorably towards that cry. I saw, over the trees on Primrose Hill, the Fighting Machine from which the howling came. I crossed Regents Canal. There stood a second machine, upright, but as still as the first. Abruptly, the sound ceased. Suddenly, the desolation, the solitude, became unendurable. While that voice sounded, London had still seemed alive. Now suddenly, there was a change, the passing of something - and all that remained was this gaunt quiet. I looked up and saw a third machine, it was erect and motionless, like the others. An insane resolve possessed me I would give my life to the Martians, here and now I marched recklessly towards the Titan and saw that a multitude of black birds was circling and clustering about the hood. I began running along the road. I felt no fear, only a wild, trembling exultation, as I ran up the hill towards, the motionless monster. Out of the hood hung red shreds, at which the hungry birds now pecked and tore. I scrambled up to the crest of Primrose Hill, and the Martian's camp was below me. A mighty space it was, and scattered about it, in their overturned machines, were the Martians - dead... slain, after all man's devices had failed, by the humblest things upon the Earth, Bacteria. Minute, invisible, bacteria! Directly the Invaders arrived and drank and fed, our microscopic allies attacked them. From that moment - they were doomed! The torment was ended. The people scattered over the country, desperate, leaderless, starved... the thousands who had fled by sea - including the one most dear to me - all would return. The pulse of life, growing stronger and stronger, would beat again. As life returns to normal, the question of another attack from Mars causes universal concern. Is our planet safe, or is this time of peace merely a reprieve? It may be that, across the immensity of space, they have learned their lessons and even now await their opportunity. Perhaps the future belongs not to us - but to the Martians?
It has been discovered that a final martian cylinder fell to earth near the given co-ordinates, your task is to discover if it has produced a fighting machine. If it has, use all stealth to avoid detection and destruction by the fearsome heat ray which rotates from the capsule on top of the spindly legs of the machine.