It started with a routine flyby. Come within 1,000 km, scan and film, on to the next. In the rare case where there was something valuable enough to justify a Stellar Federation override of the pending commercial claim, we’d land, verify the data, plant a flag. Nothing to it, and the only exciting part of the job. As designated explorer, I usually had nothing to do. Well, chief cook and bottle-washer, but with these new food-syns, it’s all just button-pushing.

“Blue is the Color”

About the story: Alien devices are easy to misinterpret.