It was the orbit behind the moon which made the Planitonions cigar shaped spaceship invisible to the Earthlings below, but it was the chrome bumper that really saved their asses.
"Damn Venusion!" Ned cursed as the auto gyro regain control of the ships orbit. The million other ships in this tiny point of space had taking to intermittent sport of bumper cars to combat the over population. "Thinking Machine - systems check?"
"Systems okay." The thinking machine replied and Ned relaxed. He returned his attention to the Earth monitoring screens while rhythmically tapping his pencil against the riveted steel interior skin of the vessel.
"Should I show this to a captain." Ned said the furry creature sitting behind him which had no reply.
"It Just doesn't make sense" Now talking to himself, Ned rubbed his goatee thoughtfully.
Ned was a cool alien, besides having a goatee and sideburns he like listening to early eighties punk bands and enjoyed the movies of Jim Jarmusch. More importantly He only slept with consenting adductees, unlike his captain, who had farm animal fetish.
"Thinking machine, change angle." Ned examined the new perspective on his monitor. This was no illusion. There was a situation developing down on Earth. He froze the frame and pressed his transmitter dial. "Ned - calling the captain."
There was no reply so Ned repeated the hail "Ned - calling the captain." This time he didn't wait for the captains response. "Captain can you come up to the observation level."
The furry creature leaned forward and placed his paw on the control console. "What's that button do?"
Ned swung his green forearm back knocking the creature to the floor. "Bad Idiot! sit down and shut up and never ever touch any buttons!" Idiot was a lot like what a human might call a talking dog.
"Ass hole." Idiot grumbled then sat back down on his hind legs.
The intercom crackled then a voice engulfed by static bellowed "What is it?"
Ned leaned up to the microphone. "I think we situation developing that requires your immediate attention."
There was at least a minute of silence then the captain replied "Can it wait?"
"Sir, I really think you should see this."
The ships galley's black and white checkered linoleum floor had lost its luster but the Earthlings might think it had a kind of hip retro look. The first early transmissions of an Earthlings space explorers was the great Buck Rodgers. Despite his ships unconventional design and unorthodox methods, Buck Rodgers was always able to complete his mission. With these few scatted clips of transmissions of Buck Rodgers ship the Planitonians were able to created a spaceship that in their terms was "planergonomic". Creating an inviting appearance and feel that would be non threatening to the Earthlings. They goofed
The captain sat in galley. He cut into a 18 ounce rear T-bone steak. The aroma of whoschesire and Tabasco sauces filled the room. He was an excellent chief who loved his meals more than most.
"Ned…" The voice on the galley's speaker cut out, and the captain looked up from his meal and wondered. 'Ned? What about Ned?'
A moment later the same abbreviated call came over the speaker followed by "Captain can you - -." Can I what the captain asked.
He pressed the speaker dial. "What is it?"
"I think…" the speaker cut out again.
He thought for a moment. 'I think…' what? Is it Ned who is thinking? What is Ned thinking about? Need this concern me?. I think… we're about to crash. I think… I am taking over your ship. I think… I want a ham sandwich.
He pushed the speaker dial. "Can it wait?
"You - -. - see this"
The captain shrugged and put down his utensils. "Farewell my sweet." He said to the T-bone.
When the captain arrived Ned was sitting at a second console typing instructions into the thinking machine. "Look at this." Ned gestured to the PI3000 Earth monitor.
The Caption looked at the freeze framed screen. "So A22164-B [Bud] is shopping? What's the big deal." The captain looked at the image which appeared to be the check out line of a budget store. "Blues jeans. Well I can't recall when he's bought blue jeans before but its hardly Earth shattering."
"No. Look at the box next to the jeans behind the tin of coffee."
"Are those running shoes?"
"That just doesn't make sense." He shook his head. The Planitonians had an endorsement agreement with Nike. "What color are they?"
"I can't tell, but I think they have those air cushion soles."
The captain worried about a possible conflict of an intergalatical treaty. "How were we suppose to know this would happen. Bud hasn't worn tennis shoes in well over a decade."
"We are the overseers."
The captain thought for a moment. "Ned do you remember back when we thought Bud knew we were watching him."
"Yeah the little prick kept running out of sight of our viewer. He would leave the his house and take off running and those old Personal Intrusion 2000 could only travel up to 5 mph. and remain invisible"
"Yes remember we sent a report to the mother ship."
"That was your idea. I think you wrote 'subject A22164-B appears to be devising a covert plot to subjugate our mission… strange behavior… undisclosed meeting locations… think other Earthling conspirators involved… hideous plot.' Yes I remember your report. You were demoted."
"Downsized." The captain corrected. "But suppose I was right. Bud wasn't playing 'sports' like the mothership thought but really participating in a plot to derail our plan to dominate the Earth. Consider the possibility that he knew aboutus all along and realize that we knew about him knowing. He would have to come up with a method of evading or detection. Are you following Ned?"
"No captain. You're confusing me."
"That's where the running came in and that's also were I think he'll made his mistake. He can't out run a PI3000. You see, Bud never liked running why else would he not done so in twelve years?"
"He has bad knees and smokes."
"God damit Ned! Quit with the one liners, this is not easy. Do you want to play captain?"
The captain suddenly had a thought. "Do you think it has any thing to do with that other matter?" The other Matter was on the Internet site www.bigsombero.com which had mysteriously appeared two months before. Apparently someone was intruding on the Planitonions exclusive observation and abduction rights to A22164-B.
Ned pointed to the screen with the head of a man screaming with the title bar displaying Bud's Story "I've just checked out the web sight and there was no mention of running, shoe buying or exercise."
"Let me see." The captain scrolled down the screen. "Jenny Cam?"
"No Jenny Cam, Sir."
"What's it say?" The captain couldn't read.
"Nothing we don't know. Basically Bud goes out drinking. Bud helps build a house. Bud's mom makes him brownies. Bud's car breaks down. Bud gets depressed. Definitely an infringement on our copyright."
"You haven't figured out who is responsible?"
"No, but we think their using a non de plume."
"Could it be the Venusions?"
"The Venusions are better writers."
The captain put his hand on Ned's shoulder. "I think its time we take A222164-B in for a complete probing."
"Yes sir, immediately."
Idiot slipped between the two putting his paws on the console. "What's this button do?"