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    Dear Mr Editor, I think it unlikely that you will publish this message in Mercury, but may I suggest that after you have read it, you might like to recall the famous issue of Wireless World – Oct 1945, pp 305-308, and reconsider.

    Please allow me a few minutes to explain. My ancestors have studied your planet for over 3,000 years, so we know quite a lot about you. We admire your achievements, many of which are remarkable, given your built-in disadvantages, of which you are slowly becoming aware, and which I shall shortly explain. One of your less endearing ways is calling things Dark; as in the Dark Ages, a long period when nothing much was believed to have happened; Darkest Africa, three times the size of your European peninsula, which is not even a proper continent; and more recently Dark Matter, which you suppose correctly is four times as massive as your known world, but suppose incorrectly to be boring and uneventful.

    I must congratulate you all on discovering the existence of “dark matter”: on many other planets they are learning much more slowly, because their oxygen level is much lower than yours. Your “dark matter” is where I live with my colleagues, at the very top level in fact. Rather like the three quark levels that you have discovered, matter comes in five levels, all with identical total mass, of which yours is the lowest. All five levels have three analogous sets of particles and three kinds of interactions, so your standard model setup is replicated four more times, all with the same structure, but different parameters, making a five times three set of fifteen interactions, with universal gravitation making a sixteenth. For example, each level has its own speed of “light”, or hyper-light as you might call it, yours being the slowest. The highest light speed is about a trillion times as fast as yours, facilitating long distance space travel and communication, including SETI. That’s not all; with five different uncertainty principles and five different entropies we can do things that the lower levels couldn’t even begin to understand.

    A fundamental feature of the five levels is that each can see only itself and the ones below it, and the only reason that you are at all aware of what you call dark matter is that one interaction, gravitation, is common to all the levels. But you will never know more, however hard you try. You have your standard model: we have the theory of everything, which of course includes everything that your standard model is intended to describe, and everything else as well. Our theory does not have a large number of inexplicable parameters: it has only one, which is 42, the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. It was discovered by one of our greatest scientists, D Adams, who was granted, as a reward, leave to grace your level with his presence for forty-nine years. In answer to the obvious questions, we in the top level can control teleportation, and also living in two places at the same time, or even two different times. No doubt your theoreticians would love to know about the theory of everything, but we are forbidden to reveal any details to the lower levels, because we have found that their minds become unhinged by its mathematical sophistication and its transcendental beauty.

    Some lucky people near Warminster (derided by everyone else) have seen tantalising glimpses of our spacecraft, but only because the pilots made basic errors of navigation and dropped into lower levels – an extremely serious offence, as it is a fundamental rule of the universe that the level hierarchy is inviolable, rather like the rule about making changes during retro-time-travel. The reason why these few earth people have observed “impossible” speeds and accelerations lies in the speeds of hyper-light and the associated Lorenz transformations, and other physical laws. We are very harsh on people who indulge in level shifting activities for financial gain, such as cheating on money markets and gambling systems, taking advantage of the lower people’s inferior perceptions. You will readily see that multiple speeds of light and different physical laws would make possible the type of scam portrayed (using a very crude method) in your film “The Sting”.

    Finally, I would like to say that I am very sorry for your earth physicists, for the money they are spending on dark matter searches is doomed to be wasted. Your SETI will also yield very little, because the vast majority of life forms, especially the more advanced ones, reside in the more favourable higher levels. And please do us all a favour, and stop calling things “dark” when they are beyond your ken. Dark we are not, with five kinds of light illuminating our very beautiful world.

    Please do not worry about our intentions: we are entirely benign,unlike the fictional Martians who landed near Woking. Why would we want to do things that would damage an intricate and beautiful world?

    The question is this, Mr Editor – do you want to be the first person on earth to publish a message from another planet, or do you want people to read it in another magazine, which will acquire instant and lasting fame? Do bear in mind that you and your newsletter could become the sole means of communication between your would and the higher levels. Even small hints from us about the nature of the universe could result in exciting papers to send to your scientific journals. Think world-wide conferences, FRS, Nobel Prize, and even I’m a celebrity – get me out of here.

    I do have one question for you. Although, as you will have recognised, we are very advanced in our knowledge and capabilities, including science, art, music and games, we are not too proud to learn, and one of the things that we have never been able to work out is driving our best minds crazy. If I were to send you, on a one-off basis, the method for communicating with us, would you be willing to send me the set of rules for Mornington Crescent, which seems to be a closely guarded secret in your part of the world? In return, I will send you the complete set of rules for Das Glasperlenspiel, a highly simplified version of one of our games, which we transmitted to Herr Hesse in 1931, in the guise of a dream. Sadly, he could never remember any details, which are therefore completely unknown on earth. Think world-wide literary lecture tour about the game, TV programmes, book of the year,Mann Booker prize. Hint: the game includes elements of group theory and broken symmetry.

    Yours sincerely, Comms Exec, Level 5

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