The Center for Experimental Research into Time Songs (known as CERTS much to the protests of a mint company) was in an uproar. The supposedly top-secret company, in a supposedly top-secret location and doing a supposedly top-secret project, was the laughing stock of the entire human race. Everyone knew the company was in a rogue asteroid and the Time Song project was common knowledge. Of course, everyone believed it was an alien cover-up that wasn't covered up well. And, of course, that's exactly what they were supposed to think. It was effective, until several important items were found missing
He didn't have a real name. Or, at least, if he did have one, he couldn't remember it. He just called himself Doe John. When he was young, he heard some man give a speech on how there were too many John Does in the world and they should all be found and put in jail. Doe liked the name John Doe, but he didn't want to go jail. Jail was for thieves, rascals, and murderers, and Doe wasn't one of those. He had a Ph.D. in burglary (bought for $60 off the 'Net), an honest profession, and so he called himself Doe John.
Doe hit the green button on the panel in front of him. Music flared on in the ship. Doe sang along: "Happy Birthday to me! Happy Birthday to me! Happy..."
"Turn that racket off! It's not even your birthday, you fool!" came the shout from the other room.
Doe hit the button and the music cut off. He walked through the door and said to the figure lying on the floor under a control panel, "How do you know? For all we know, it could be my birthday now that we went through the Musical-Clock thingie. If it is, I gotta sing Happy Birthday to myself or...or...or I won't be happy on my birthday!"
"We haven't used the Time Song device yet! Now shut up and let me work."
His name was Newton, and Doe knew what to do when the smart man told him to shut up. He pulled a sucker out of his pocket, unwrapped it, and stuck it in his mouth.
Newton was the brains of their two-man operation, or so he said. Doe knew better. There was always a third person involved, or so his Handbook on Do-It-Yourself Burglary said. Doe had stolen the book some time ago and left a sucker in its place (he was, after all, an honest burglar).
Rabid, the shifty-eyed dog (dyed periwinkle by Doe) barked in the next room, and Doe stuck his unfinished sucker in his pocket without the wrapper, like he usually did. He opened the door and saw Rabid looking rather mischievous as he pounced on an unsuspecting, yet perfectly willing, rubber chew toy in the shape of a cat. Doe knew that Rabid was the brains of the operation. "You're such a smart boy, aren't you?" Rabid continued to rip the cat's body to piece and shedding periwinkle hairs all over. It was the shedding season. Doe would have to give Rabid a new dye job soon. Black was the choice of criminals, but since Doe wasn't a criminal, he dyed Rabid his favorite color: periwinkle.
"Doe, come here!" came Newton's voice from the other room.
Doe stuck his sucker back into his mouth, sucked off all the fuzzies, grabbed Rabid, who had just finished swallowing the cat's rubber head, and left. Newton was waiting impatiently over the control panel.
"It's time to test this thing out. I just need to search for the appropriate song in the test database and we'll be time travelling." Newton bent over and began to punch buttons. Doe went to his room with Rabid in hand and pressed the green button.
"Happy Birthday to me!" he yelled around the sucker.
Squee replaced the toy in his pocket with a rock. "Glok," he said, and hid.
The ship was falling. A moment before it had been in space. Now it was in some atmosphere somewhere. Doe had just enough time to grab his sucker stash before the crash came and he blacked out.
When Doe came to, he thought he was in heaven. Everyone knows that heaven is periwinkle. Unfortunately, Rabid pulled himself off of Doe's face and Doe spit periwinkle dog hairs out of his mouth. For a moment he panicked as he realized his suckers were gone. Then he spotted them next to his Foreign Environment Suit. He grabbed a handful of suckers, popped a new one into his mouth, and climbed into the suit. He now looked just like an alien (green skin, bald headed with antennae sticking out for scans, and large, insect-like black eyes) but everyone knew it was just a FES when they saw it. It was standard equipment on any ship, in case they came upon an inhospitable planet. He opened the hatch without checking what was outside first, and stepped out onto the planet with Rabid in tow (no suits for dogs).
He was in a desert. It was just like any other desert. There wasn't anything special that Doe could see. He started to turn and go back into the ship when he spotted buildings off in the distance. "Do you think they have suckers?" he asked Rabid. Rabid just sneezed and then scratched his ears. "That looks like dog talk for yes, right?" he said, and off he went.
It didn't take long to reach the town. He walked right on through till he found a store, and went in. A few people were screaming and running away as he went in, but he didn't pay them any attention. He went straight up to a man behind the counter. "Got any suckers?"
The man started to tremble. The funny thing about FES's are that they distort sound something fierce without a radio com-link. So, to the man, it sounded just like "Get away, sucker!" The man didn't want any trouble. He just wanted a peaceful life with his kids and family, even though he dreamed about becoming President of the United States and then bombing every other country. The man did the only sensible thing a potential candidate for the presidential office could do: He ran.
Doe watched the man leave. "Strange fellow," he shrugged. "Perhaps I'll just burglarize some suckers for myself." He thought it over a minute. "I'll leave an IOU on his desk so it'll be legal." Doe helped himself to two bags full of suckers and left.
Everyone was screaming and running in the streets. A man came up to him and pointed a double-barreled rifle at his head. "Leave, you alien scum! We don't want you sucking our brains out!"
"Oh, do you want a sucker, too?" Doe pulled out a sucker. Rabid started a high pitched whine. "Here you go. Shoot, you can have more if you want, too. We'd all die without suckers!"
The man couldn't hear him very well. He could hear the whine, but he thought it was coming from the device that the alien held pointed at him that look suspiciously like a sucker. The dog looked like a ferocious man-eating horned Limnick from Praxis 7 (he had seen it in a dream). He also heard the words "Shoot" and "Die" very clearly. This man wanted to be a successful door-to-door salesmen and sell state-of-the-art appliances that were really 10 years old and cost twice as much as they should. So, this man did the only thing a potential entrepreneur could do: He dropped his gun and ran.
"Well, just tell me if you want some, you hear?" Doe yelled after him, and headed out of town.
When Doe got back into the ship, he took off his suit and let Rabid run through the room. He stuck a new sucker back into his mouth and went looking for Newton. He found him working under the control panel again. "What're you doin' Newton?"
Newton hit his head on the control panel. "Doe! Where have you been! How many times do I have to tell you? Don't leave the ship! Where did you go?"
Doe told him.
Newton's face was a mixture of laughter and anger. "You idiot! I don't even know why I let you tag along. Did you happen to catch the name of that city?"
"Yeah...Rosewelf...No, that's not right...Rossyl? No. That's it! Roswell. Roswell, New Mexico!"
Newton smacked himself in the forehead and looked pleadingly up. "Why me? Oh, why me?" He sighed. "Just go lock yourself in your room for a while. I just got this thing fixed, again, and now we're going to try, again. Don't touch anything!"
"But I just looked at the date on the Magical-Clock thingie! It's your birthday! We gotta sing happy birthday!"
"No! We will not sing anything. Besides, I haven't even been born yet, so it can't be my birthday!"
"Oh." Doe left the room. Doe pressed the blue button, the black button, and then the green button.
"Happy Birthday to Newton! Happy Birthday to Newton!"
Squee was proud to wear the lizard skin around his waist, just for the fun of annoying the enemy.
Finally, after many time trips, they got back to their own time. The two-man, one dog operation had now turned into a five-some. They had many adventures, too numerous to tell here. When they popped back into their own time with their two new (but old) friends, a police ship spotted them and took them into custody.
"Wow! Please say we get to go to court! Burglars are always supposed to go to court. It says it right here in my handbook," said Doe.
"Oh, shut up," replied Newton.
"We find the accused guilty. They will..."
Doe interrupted the jurors. "Ooh! Will we go to jail now? But, I thought it was only for thieves, rascals, and murderers. We're not those. We're burglars."
The judge said patiently. "Even burglars go to jail, Mr. John."
"Oh. Well then. Please send me to jail. Then I can change my name to John Doe, just like I always wanted."
"The accused shall be put in jail, all except Mr. Doe John, who is too stupid to realize what's going on."
Doe was not happy. "Nooooooo! I want to go to jail!"
Newton grabbed a sucker and stuck it in Doe's mouth.
Doe was very happy.