Dear aliens,

You may have been amused by a recent news story about the latest chapter in America’s long, futile, semi-secret, widely mocked efforts to unmask you, to prove that your spaceships have been hovering, darting and befuddling fighter pilots with impossible aerobatics for decades.

The latest episode, revealed in The New York Times: The Pentagon spent millions over several years on a top-secret Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program to investigate UFOs.

The Pentagon says the program was shut down in 2012. Ha ha! Who believes that? You know humans won’t quit pursuing you. We are too curious and persistent.

Seriously, we know you are here. How else to explain all those alleged sightings, including the video from a 2004 encounter between a Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet and a UFO. “There’s a whole fleet of them … they’re all going against the wind,” an awestruck pilot radios to a comrade. “The wind’s 120 knots to the west. Look at that thing, dude.”

Gives us chills just listening to that exchange and watching that video of a darting space-crafty blip on the radar screen.

One Navy pilot who encountered that craft recently told The Washington Post: “It was a real object; it exists and I saw it.”

What was it? “Something not from the Earth,” he said.

Off-world friends, please show yourselves. If you are as technologically advanced as we suspect, what’s the harm? And, truthfully, aren’t you getting tired of flitting around the planet, playing hide-and-seek? Bonus incentive: How about we throw in a free iPhone X for your crew members?

We guarantee the planet’s inhabitants will celebrate your arrival. (Never mind “The Day The Earth Stood Still” and its ilk.) You’ll be instant celebrities. Bigger than Trump. Even He of the Globe-sized Ego will have to admit that.

If you come down to Earth now, you will save humans decades of constructing conspiracy theories about Area 51, yearning to know if we are truly alone—and spending a lot more government money to ferret out the truth.

In October, a group called Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or METI International, beamed a message at a star a dozen light-years away with a possibly inhabitable planet. METI’s ice-breaking message, sent via radio telescope, included the universal languages of music and math.

Yes, we know that famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has warned against sending such messages, lest space invaders find us to be easily vanquishable. Those space marauders may be so powerful that they “may not see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria,” Hawking cautions.

Hawking also predicts that humans have about 1,000 years to master space travel and populate a new planet if the species is to survive. He believes that climate change, asteroid strikes, epidemics and population growth make a long-term future on Earth problematic at best.

Is that your strategy, aliens? Wait us out for the next 10 centuries, then claim this splendid blue orb?

We hope not. That would be a terrible anticlimax for those of us eager for first contact sooner than, say, 3018.

Come on, extraterrestrials, let’s cut out the chase. We’re here. You’re here. Let’s meet.

—Chicago Tribune

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