For grins to mark the return of new Dr. Who episodes, here dusted off is my humor piece ‘An Open Letter to the Daleks re: Repeated Efforts to Destroy Earth’
Dear Supreme Whoever Dalek Is In Charge, We Don’t Know Any More:
Why us? Seriously?
Earth science estimates 300 sextillion (1021) galaxies in the known universe, each galaxy containing a stunning multitude of stars, our own Milky Way some two hundred billion (2×1011), many upon many containing habitable planets. By the time the light wave beaming this letter reaches your planet or wherever you’re out exterminating, we will have greatly increased those counts–galaxies, stars, habitable planets–as our astronomical capabilities improve. But already we know this: there are so many stars that humanity has invented denominations like which serve no purpose other than counting stars. Seriously, a guy in an astronomy lab called a buddy at the math department and said, “Hey, it’s me. We found more stars. A lot more.” And the buddy said, “How many more?” And the astronomer said, “That’s why I’m calling. We’re out of numbers.”
Of course, those estimates are just in our universe. Dalek technology, as we understand it, adds near-infinite realities in the space-time continuum. Even filtering out dying or uninhabitable universes, the sheer exponential plentitude of Dalek targets make the odds of finding Earth, let alone attacking us once, let alone renewing the attack every few years, infinitesimal. Miniscule. Rather near zero.
And yet you keep returning.
We understand our cultures may be very different. To the Dalek mind, it may be perfectly acceptable to devastate other planets or exterminate indigenous species. We consider it bad form. This is not to say it does not occur here–say wars, deforestation, pollution, that sort of thing–but the behavior is still, on balance, considered uncool.
Is it us? Are we a threat to you? It seems unlikely. Right now our best minds in space flight are focused on tourism, questions such as the artificial gravity and cabin pressure required to keep the tycoon’s champagne bubbling. Our best defense against an inbound asteroid is our NASA positing, “we might could nudge that puppy a few degrees, I don’t know.” Yes, we sent a lander to Mars, our probes have left the solar system, and our telescopes are mapping the depths of space. Know what we’ve found? Ever more perfectly habitable star systems your empire can just have, no invasion or fleet maintenance, no Doctor Who run-ins, no problem.
Daleks, we are no interstellar threat. Do not mistake Star Trek or similar programs on our airwaves for newsreel footage. It’s just quality entertainment. Certainly someday our popular music and talk radio beaming off the planet will be a universe-wide nuisance. For that, we apologize. But we should also point out that, one, it is a mere nuisance easily jammed and, two, had you minded your own affairs and not attacked our planet, our broadcasting waves would still be eons upon eons from reaching your distant empire.
So you feel compelled to exterminate. Have you sought counseling? Our anger management therapies are quite advanced, perhaps superior to your own. We would be delighted to make our therapists available to you pro bono or at very reasonable rates per hour, a bargain for both races given the alternative of another invasion attempt.
If you are not yet ready for co-existence or therapy, then consider the benefits of inaction. As already mentioned, look how we treat our planet. You don’t want it. Trust us. We are the dominant species and are doing our damndest to exterminate ourselves. You could simply stop attacking, wait us out, and take over after Earth has cleansed itself of our leftover contaminants. Why not let us handle things from here? As a token of good faith, we would be willing to send you environmental progress reports. Another important benefit of inaction, of which no Dalek needs reminding, should you stop attacking us, the Doctor will stop destroying you by the shipload. This will spare valuable Daleks to fight the Cybermen or impure Daleks or whoever else you’re out to exterminate at the moment.
Daleks, it comes down to this: you have far more to gain by not attacking Earth than ever you could achieve by a successful attack. If you refuse to accept the logic of a supposedly-lesser species, consider the cold logic of repeated failure. For so many attempts, all your treasure and shock troops sent here have ended up as so much scrap metal and space junk. And yet, it is not hard for us to picture you yet again working yourself into a tizzy over another invasion, knowing even as you bleat ‘Exterminate!’ that the Doctor will–inevitably and decisively–intervene.
There’s another possible explanation why you keep returning, one you might not yet be ready to hear. You seek not to exterminate us, but to impress us. Why else the continued but doomed attacks? You crave our attention, perhaps even our approval, and being emotionally stunted you act out: fire death rays, tear up London, ruin our Christmases. Daleks, there is a pattern in psychology known as ‘leaky behavior,’ where no matter the front someone puts up, their true and honest feelings leak out in actions large and small. And here you are in your latest incarnation, decked out like our iPods in their fashion colors, and svelte too, trimmed down and sleek by Dalek standards. Or is there another species out in the vastness of space and time that you know to perk up at Daleks clad in designs ripped from an Apple store? One wonders, Daleks, if you want to exterminate us or make us a playlist.
Daleks, please, stop trying to wipe us from reality and just talk to us. There’s a saying from a little blue planet to which somehow you always find your way back–you only hurt the one you love.