DALEKS INVASION 19??? Nikki White

Earth was invaded by creatures from another planet not long ago. This fact was not reported in the press or on the radio. in fact, few people, even in the area directly affected, were aware of the invasion so it was no wonder it did not come to the attention of the mass media. The invaders did not remain long. For some reason known only to themselves, they returned hastily to their place of origin far out in the starry depths. And those that did see them did not recognise their intentions for what they were ,believing them to be connected with something else entirely, rather more terrestrial in origin.

The skies above London that summer's day were, thanks to smokeless fuels, clear and blue. only a few small clouds were scattered here and there. The day was pleasantly warm and tempered by a cool breeze. A good day for a stroll if you had no job to go to, or so the young man with the long hair and faded denims thought as he wandered across Hampstead Heath.

Suddenly he felt a terrific gust of wind ripping at his clothes from behind, accompanied by a high-pitched whine that caused his head to spin and the ground beneath his feet to vibrate. Struggling to turn around, he managed to see a huge silver saucer-shaped object descending through the same clear skies hed admired a little while before. It came to rest on a hillock about 200 metres from where he stood, flattening bushes with its exhaust jets.

The young man remained transfixed, mouth open and dry, staring. Hed read about this sort of thing - UFO sightings - in the Sunday papers but hadn't paid much attention. Now here he was, as close to a flying saucer as anyone could expect to get. He peered through the branches of the trees that screened him from the ship.

The whining had ceased and a ramp was lowered from a doorway that now appeared. Then about a dozen metallic objects rolled down the ramp and formed into two groups outside. These metallic objects were about 1.5 metres in height and roughly cone-shaped with three rods projecting from them. Two were on the main part of the body and one on top. They gleamed and flashed in the bright sun as they moved off in two separate directions. As they passed, the young man could see that, while one of the lower rod-like extensions was capped with what looked like a suction pad, the other, shorter one was clear and ended in a nozzle, quite possibly a weapon of some sort. The upper rod consisted of an eyepiece on a shaft that could be moved up and down or swivelled around as the creatures moved. They made no sound which seemed to add to the air of ominousness that surrounded them, and they travelled swiftly, for they were soon out of sight.

Convinced that Armageddon had finally arrived the young man dashed off in the direction of the nearest police station. When he reached it, his story was given no credence and he was locked up on a charge of being in unlawful possession of an hallucinogen.

Meanwhile, the first group of Daleks had reached a road which they crossed. and headed into a residential area. The invasion had gone exactly as planned so far. The approach and entry into the planet's atmosphere, and the touchdown had been perfect, exactly on schedule. Their arrival had so far gone undetected. The planet's early warning and defence systems were woefully inadequate and primitive in the extreme. Now it would be easy for them to take over this area and establish a base of operations. They were a spearhead for a much larger invading force.

They encountered no opposition, nor any people, though occasionally a face could be seen at a window. On one side, the Heath could be seen running parallel with the road, and on the other, row after row of three storey semidetached houses, all the same, loomed. The Daleks were moving along a flag-stoned pavement. Once a dog sniffed cautiously at a tardy Dalek, presumably mistaking it far some kind of mobile lamp-post. Fortunately for Dalek self-esteem, it realised its error and ran yelping away.

Sensor scans indicated the presence of a large number of humans and a great deal of activity not far from where they were and it was toward this that they were going. Shortly, they reached a crossroads. The leader glided across one of the roads and the others were about to follow when a bright red, four-wheeled vehicle belching black fumes roared around the corner ,nearly skittling the leader. Far from being overcome with terror at his clumsiness ,the driver merely yelled, "Get that junk off the road, and look where you're going next time!" before roaring off again.

The Daleks were too stunned even to take a shot at him. There was a five minute conference to decide what exactly was meant by 'junk'. After due search of their language banks with negative results, or at least results that didn't tally with the situation, they re-formed their scattered group and continued on their way.

This time their presence caused no more reaction than a surprised look from a portly, elderly gentleman who was dining in the gardens of the Freemason's Arms. He looked up from his meal with a start, stared at the swiftly passing Daleks, then at the salt and pepper shakers on his table ,then back at the Daleks, then finally again at the shakers, just to make sure they were really there and not racing down Downshire Hill Road.

The Daleks paid no attention to the solitary diner, although his wide-eyed staring face was noted in passing. Not long after, they found themselves in a busy main street with plenty of noisy, smokey, four-wheeled passing rapidly to and fro. Not wishing to be squashed flat (there was one approaching that had huge heavy rollers), the Dalek leader indicated they should regain the footpath. Later they would remove these vehicles but at the moment they were too numerous and too fast. On the footpath, people stopped and stared at them which was as it should be. Most moved aside to let them pass. Those that did not were roughly shoved aside. Here they intended to meet up with the other patrol which was surveying the rest of the area.

The first indication that something was wrong, or at least strange, was in a shop window. The lead Dalek was the first to see it and called "Halt!" while they investigated it. It was simply a roll of wallpaper. However, on the wallpaper was a pattern of tiny Daleks.

"What-does-this-mean?" one grated.

"Do-they-know-about-us? How? Have-they-more-so-phi-sticated-deep-space-probe-equip-ment-than-we-thought?" "Do-they-know-why-we-are-here?" others asked.

"Per-haps-they-mean-to-hon-our-us-by-ma-king-such-de-cor-ations-so-as-to-imake-it -easier-for-them-selves."

The last speaker drew a long silence and stares from the rest of the Daleks, as if they were casting aspersions on its brain circuits.

"We-will-ask," the leader announced. "You-oth-ers-wait-out-side." It rolled into the shop and put its question to the shop assistants short, jovial man who turned to face his interlocutor with a look of astonishment, particularly when the Dalek actually spoke.

"What-does-that-pat-tern-on-the-paper-sig-nify?"

The shop assistant apparently remembered his training and looked serious. "Which wallpaper do you have in mind,sir?"

The Dalek glided over to where some was hanging from rollers on the wall.

"Ah yes. A very popular line with the youngsters these days. How much would Sir be wanting of it?"

"I-do-not-want-any-of-it. I-want to-know-its-signi-ficance," the Dalek persisted.

The shop assistant suddenly burst out laughing and continued to laugh, holding his sides. "You boys really are cards," he gasped. "This gimmick really takes the biscuit."

The Dalek stared at him. Disobedience it could handle. Incompetence it could handle. Stupidity could be tolerated. But obvious lunacy? Nothing the man had said made sense and it didn't seem as if he was capable of making sense. The Dalek wheeled around and left the shop, signalling the others to follow.

After that, they began to notice more disturbing signs in other shops such as human footwear with Dalek likenesses on them, something of an insult they felt. If it had been a covering for the head such an affront to Dalek dignity might have been borne. Yet other shops had some substance described as 'Dalek Soap', though no such thing had ever been exported from Skaro. They also saw drawings, cards, papers and games with Dalek motifs on them. Their puzzlement grew along with a feeling of disconcertion.. How could Earth know of their existence and why did they use their image on so many items. Invasion plans might have to be revised and Dalek Space Central informed.

The Daleks moved forward with less confidence and speed, fully conscious now of the people they passed on the street. Each person received scrutiny from a Dalek eye-stick, whose owner was now suspicious of any action that might be construed as hostile.

However, it was at the top of the High Street that they received their greatest shock. A group of small boys came flying round a corner, each holding a box. They stopped and gathered around while they took something out of their boxes.

"Let's give someone a scare," one shouted.

In the next moment, a patrol of Daleks made their way across the pavement but, horror of horrors, they were shrunk to an eighth of their normal size! Obviously the other patrol bad met a ghastly fate at the hands of these Earth people. So they were prepared after all and had weapons of unguessed power, enough to miniaturise a whole group of Daleks and which they had somehow concealed. What else had they in store for them?

The Dalek leader stopped in its tracks, considering the implications of the sight before it. Just then another small being came out of a shop with another reduced Dalek clutched in his hand. He then proceeded to commit an act of atrocity against the Dalek race, right before the eye-sticks of the aghast would-be invaders. He cold-bloodedly and casually bit off the head of the Dalek and ate it!

Fearing that they would be next to suffer some similar dire fate at the hands of the humans, the Dalek leader ordered, "E-va-cu-ate! E-va-cu-ate!"

This served to draw the attention of the small boys who hadn't noticed their metallic audience until now. Their eyes grew round.

""Look," one said, pointing at them. "Daleks! Big ones!"

This was enough for the patrol. Needing no prompting from their leader, they turned and fled careening down the High Street at about 80 kph, scattering shoppers in their path.

The second patrol, in the meantime, far from being miniaturised, were in a rather bizarre situation in the grounds of a large building. They had been surveying the area with little incident until they had come to this particular place. Since there was a large number of small humans within its walls, they decided to take them hostages. Accordingly, they entered the gates, announcing, "You-will-obey-theDaleks. Do-not-move-or-you-will-be-ex-ter-min-ated."

This did not produce quite the desired - or expected - reaction. Instead of obeying the hordes of small humans squealed and rushed at them. There was no time even to fire a gun as they were soon surrounded by squirming little bodies. They found both progress and retreat cut off by the noisy creatures.

"Stop! O-bey-the-Da-leks! Move-a-side. Move! Move! O-bey-the-Da-leks!"

"Oooh! Can I have your autograph," the small ones shouted.

"What?!," said the patrol leader, "your-mess-age-does-not-com-pute." In fact, the whole situation did not compute. They were not prepared for a reception like this.

"Eeee! Mr.Dalek, can I touch you? "Can I ride you?" "Please can I have your autograph?" "Will you wait till I get my dad to take a picture?" "Will you come home to tea with us?" the children shouted all at once.

The lead Dalek decided that they had to get one thing straight. "We-have-ta-ken-o-ver -Earth," it said. "We-are-in-con-trol. Cease-and-de-sist-this noise. Let-us-pass. You-are-our-ho-stages."

The children merely giggled and repeated their requests and questions. One little girl in a grubby pink dress with jam around her mouth even managed by standing on the very tips of her toes ,to plant a sticky kiss on the Dalek's eye-piece. The others surged around, clinging and chattering. It seemed impossible to deal with them or to make them take the invaders seriously. Just then an adult appeared. "Children,what are you doing?"

The reply came from many different voices and the adult came closer. Looking at the Daleks, she smiled, "I see, what a clever idea. What charity are you from?"

She opened a container and produced a piece of paper which she handed to the lead Dalek, who studied it at the end of its suction-tipped rod. The paper was white with a green pattern on it. There was a picture of a female with a sort of coronet on one side.

The children started to clamber all over the Daleks but, as these were pushed so close together they had no room to manoeuvre to rid themselves of the small nuisances. Someone dropped a sticky boiled sweet which slid down the casing of a Dalek and stuck midway. The adult ,seeing this, endeavoured to clean it up with a piece of tissue paper. She apologised but by now the Daleks were ready to scream.

"'Come along, children. Let the gentlemen go home to their teas," the adult said, trying to round up the small creatures.

"If-she-suc-ceeds,"muttered the lead Dalek,"she-gets-tho-Order-of-Ko-lax-ar (the Dalek - or rather Kaled - equivalent of a V.C.) when-our-govern-ment-is-esta-blished."

"What gentlemen?" one of the children wanted to know.

"The ones inside the Daleks. Surely you realise there are people in there making them move?"

"Oh, yes," chorused one group," of course." While others looked puzzled.

"That-does-not-com-pute," the Dalek leader grated. "Your-data-are-in-er-ror. These ca-sings-contain-no-gentle-men."

"Of course, maintain the illusion," the woman said, leading her charges away," Goodbye."

The somewhat sticky Daleks remained staring after the group before commencing a discussion. Were these Earth people so powerful, so sure of their weaponry that they could be so cavalier with the Daleks? So superior in fact, that their offspring showed not the slightest sign of fear or awe? They were certainly capable of immobilising Dalek units by sheer numbers. It was decided it would be prudent to leave before the children returned.

So it was that the second group reached the space ship shortly after the first. The first group was somewhat heartened to see that the others had not been shrunk but their report did nothing for shattered Dalek morale. It was decided to abandon the Earth invasion since clearly humans would make formidable enemies. Perhaps later, when Dalek technology caught up ...

 

The silver saucer rose from the ground into the now darkening skies and disappeared ,watched by one old man.

"Crazy BBC stunt," he muttered.

(Originally published in South of Harad East of Rhun #10 (1978), later reprinted in Time Loop Annual 1983 and Dodecahedron #3 (Nov. 1987). I think I wrote this in the mid 1970s after getting the pressbooks for the two Dalek films which listed all the merchandise available , my first taste of the full flower of Dalekmania which was only starting up when the family left England at the end of 1964.)