Ok, so yes, I have 2 other unfinished stories, but the plot bunnies wouldn't let me sleep last night until I wrote this down!
Oh snap, Planet 51. I loved this movie, plot holes and all. And speaking of plot holes, there are several things I won't be addressing in this fic, like why their cultures are so similar and ridiculous movie things like that. We, the readers and writers of P51 fanfiction, accept that the movie was absolutely ridiculous and we accept it as it is.
This fic is the tiniest bit more on the serious side, lots of humor thrown in, but mostly targeted at the older audience that watched the movie just for the ridiculous ChuckxLem gayness. Rated M for mostly languge (mostly).
Don't let my OC throw you off. She's a minor character, but Chuck was just too incompitent to send back on his own. Srsly.
Ok, enough Authors noteing, and on with the story!
Mr. Gregor Samsa
Chapter 1 - The Arrival of Astraeus
A distant rumbling woke Lem from his restless slumber. He rubbed sleep from his eyes, sitting up in his bed. The rumbling grew louder, jarring him from his sleepy haze. His first instinct told him to panic, run for the basement and hide until the sun came up. His second instinct told him to think rationally, reach for the light to chase away the darkness that invaded his room. He chose the latter, clicking on the small bedside lamp to reveal his under decorated apartment bedroom. The rumbling did not stop.
Lem slowly made his way down the stairs and out into the dark street, the only light provided by a single street lamp that flickered self-consciously in the early hours of the morning. Lem's head turned upwards, his chest constricting with false hope. How long had it been? Four years? Five? He couldn't really remember. He had stopped counting once he convinced himself Chuck would probably never come back. Yet here he stood, sleep shirt and slippers, in the middle of the street in the dead of night, eyes turned to the heavens. Others slowly began filtering into the street as well; their morbid curiosity was enough to counter the fear of that mysterious rumbling that grew increasingly louder.
Lem found himself sprinting to his car. The ship in the sky had appeared out of nowhere, barreling towards the planet's surface, engulfed in flame. Lem could feel his pulse in his throat as he took off in the general direction of the rocket's trajectory, his car hovering along as fast as it would go, the piece of junk that it was. He could no longer see the ship in the sky, meaning that it had to have landed somewhere in the center of town. Pressing down harder on the go pedal, his car whined reluctantly, but sped up none-the-less. Lem's ears felt hot.
A small crowd had gathered around the steaming ship when Lem finally arrived at the recreational park in the center of the small town. Despite the fact that the ship had managed to land successfully, the doors remained closed. Weary wives peered out from behind their equally weary husbands, holding their children to their breast. Teenagers dared one another to get closer, though none mustered up the courage to do so. Lem simply stood there in the frigid night air, gaping up at the UFO in front of him.
"Chuck?" he dared to whisper, almost as if he expected the aliens inside this ship to hear him if he spoke too loudly. The ship, however, remained unresponsive, and continued to show absolutely no interest in the planet and creatures around it for several hours. Lem had returned to his car, a sinking feeling in his gut. He did not return to his apartment, however, but sat there, eyes glued to the center of the park. Soon his lids became heavy and he found himself reluctantly falling asleep.
Lem woke several hours later to a stiff neck and the sound of heavy vehicles gliding by. He wearily climbed out of his car and stumbled over towards the much larger crowd that had gathered around the ship. In the daylight, Lem could see how much bigger the ship was in comparison to the one Chuck had come in last time. It was a similar design, though it was much wider and appeared to have an extra level in the middle. Swallowing nervously, Lem made his way to the front of the crowd where a string of Caution tape separated him from the alien vessel. The military had swarmed the area while he had slept, and was now controlling everything up to the number of breaths each bystander took. Off to the side, Lem could see the ever vigilant General Grawl ordering soldiers off in every direction while eyeing the ship suspiciously. Lem couldn't help but bring a hand to his face as a scrawny soldier toddled over to hand Grawl a megaphone. This should be interesting.
"Attention any and all alien life aboard this ship. This is General Grawl speaking and we demand that you open your doors immediately." He bellowed, receiving murmurs of agreement from the crowd behind him
It took several more minutes of hushed anticipation before a hissing sound filled the air and the doors of the ship slowly began to lower. Lem didn't realize he had been holding his breath until the air rushed back into his lungs as the ship door finally hit the ground and a figure appeared. Lem felt his heart drop into his feet as he quickly realized it was not Chuck.
The figure appeared to be a female human, taller than any woman Lem had ever seen on his planet. She wore a similar blue jumpsuit that Chuck had worn and had her human hair pulled back into a tight ponytail. She was clearly not amused by the swarm of soldiers aiming their guns at her chest. Slowly she raised her hands in surrender. General Grawl stepped forward, eyeing her apprehensively.
"You are human." He observed, motioning behind him for the guns to be lowered.
"I am." Came the curt reply, her grey eyes sizing up the General.
"State your business." He commanded. The woman seemed to straighten up, as though she had prepared to give an explanation from the start.
"My name is Vera Hawes, commanding science officer for NASA and co-leader of the Astraeus Mission for the return to Planet 51. We are here to conduct scientific research of a peaceful nature in which we hope to gain insight regarding your various energy sources. Our stay will be limited to one Earth month and shall be unobtrusive and purely for the sake of information retrieval. If these terms are deemed unsuitable by the intelligent inhabitants of Planet 51, negotiations may be maid, but research is to be conducted regardless." She concluded her speech, nodding and placing her hands behind her back. Lem felt his head swim. Research? Mission? Energy? What did his planet offer that the advanced Earth could possibly want? He was brought back to the present situation by the sound of General Grawl clearing his throat.
"You said "we." Are there more humans with you?" he asked, peering around her and into the ship.
"Yes sir, I am accompanied by Captain Charles Baker. I believe you have been previously acquainted." She replied, turning around to look back at the ship.
"Chuck?" Lem called from the crowd, drawing the attention of several members of the crowd, including Grawl and the human's. A small smile curled at the corner of her mouth.
"Charles, you're wanted planet side. Get your ass out here." She spoke into her wrist. Chucks irritated voice sounded from her wrist with a "Don't get your panties in a twist! This suit is hard to get out of."
Lem couldn't help himself. He slid under the Caution line and jogged over to where the human was standing.
"Young man, I'm going to have to ask you to return to the safety zone." A bulky soldier demanded, stepping in Lem's path.
"No, you don't understand. I'm…"
"Lem!" Came an all too familiar voice from the opening of the ship. Lem ducked around the soldier to see Chuck beaming at him from the capsule. He rushed forward and practically knocked the human over with the force of his embrace. Chuck laughed, squeezing him a little too hard before setting him down.
"Oh man, I'm so glad you're not dead." Chuck exhaled, clapping Lem on the shoulder.
"Dead!? Why would I be dead?" Lem looked around, shocked and slightly confused. Chuck shrugged.
"I didn't really know how you guys age, y'know? I just figured the worst and assumed that 5 years to me is like a gazillion years to you." He explained, waving his hand around to signify 'a gazillion.' Lem couldn't help but laugh. It was Chuck, quirks and all.
"This is kinda weird, not gonna lie." He admitted. "I mean, I never really expected to see you again. It's kinda… surreal."
"Right there with you buddy." Chuck agreed. "When they told me I was going back, it was like a dream come true. Cause this time, I figured I wouldn't be chased around by the military…" He glanced over in Grawl's direction, who appeared to be intensely focused on their conversation. "…as much."
"Not that this isn't touching…" the human female began. "But Charles, we really need to get the authorization we need to set up camp." She turned to General Grawl. "Do I need to seek permission from your leader? We need to set up a base camp from which we will conduct all of our research. We need to know what location you would prefer." She asked, returning to her original formality. Grawl seemed to consider this for a moment before straightening up.
"We would be glad to escort you to a feasible location until all diplomacies have been resolved, Commander. Until then, I personally grant you permission to remain on the planet." Grawl concluded, seeming to swell with pride at his authority. Vera gave a curt nod before turning on her heel and marching back up into the ship. Chuck turned back to Lem, rolling his eyes.
"She's a bit of a tight ass, but overall not too bad." He said with a wink before turning and following in Vera's wake. Lem smiled, feeling light headed.
It took several hours to move the ship to a safe location just outside of town near, what was formally known as, Base 9. Vera put up a bit of a fuss in regards to the utter desolation of the area chosen to be their "station" but eventually agreed after Lem offered to escort them into town whenever the need arose.
"It's no worry." Vera assured, running a hand irritably through her hair. "I work better with rocks than I do people anyways." She trailed off thoughtfully, stooping over to pick up a small rock about to size of her palm.
"Believe it or not, that's rain." Chuck informed her, pursing his lips and nodding sagely. She gave him a skeptical look.
"Raining rocks? That's just ridiculous."
"So is finding a whole alien race that speaks English and shares a scarily similar culture, but hey, nobody else is asking questions, so neither am I." Chuck retorted with a shrug as he began to get to work setting up a small pop-up trailer.
"This will be sufficient then?" Grawl asked, having lost his men to awe over the alien technology. Vera nodded curtly, approaching him with an extended hand.
"Thank you very much for your lack of hostility." She said with a smile as she firmly grasped his four-fingered hand. Grawl half smiled in return.
"Captain Baker saved my life once, despite all prejudices against him. It's the least I can do." He assured before signaling for his men to roll out as he stepped into his own military car. "If you need anything at all, don't hesitate to call on us." Grawl called from the slowly receding vehicles.
Lem had chosen to stay off to the side initially, watching from the safety of his car. Chuck had aged, but only slightly. His face seemed sharper and he had a small amount of human hair on his chin. Lem wondered if he looked any different to Chuck. The only noticeable difference, to him anyways, was that he had gotten the tiniest bit taller, though most people were still dwarfed by the height of the humans. The girl was fascinating. She was almost the same height as Chuck with slim features and a hardened expression she wore almost constantly, save for a few rare smirks. Her steely grey eyes made Lem feel as though he was under constant scrutiny and her human hair was almost golden in color, reflecting the light in a way Lem didn't know possible.
His analysis of the second human was interrupted as a beaming Chuck began to approach him, waving for him to get out of the car.
"Lem! Wanna see all the cool sciencey stuff we do?" He asked excitedly, receiving a huff from Vera in the background.
"Sure, but don't expect me to understand anything." Lem warned, smiling sheepishly as he tossed his slippers into the car before trotting over to the crudely constructed 'base.' The small trailer that Chuck had almost magically constructed was filled with brightly lit screens that only vaguely looked like TVs. There was a small lab near the front of the trailer that looked like a freak chemistry set from the future. The other end of the trailer consisted of a very compact kitchen complete with a table and chairs.
"We sleep in the ship, but otherwise we'll practically be living in here." Chuck explained, looking around with a sort of smug pride.
"Vee's going to be conducting all the really scientificy experiments and stuff. I'll mostly be doing cultural observations and the like. See what makes you guys tick." He continued, tapping the side of Lem's forehead with one of his fingers. Lem smiled, rubbing the spot with his palm as he continued to gaze up at the screens in awe.
"Hey, I think you got taller." Chuck exclaimed, leaning forward to inspect Lem more closely. "Yeah, definitely got taller. I was wondering if you were gonna stay that short for the rest of your life." He mused, absently fiddling with one of the tentacles on Lem's head before having his hand batted away.
"So you guys are doing all this research why? I mean… I kind of got the main points, but I'm still a little confused. What could my planet possibly offer you?" He asked, waving his arm at the vast, dry desert plains behind him. Vera stood calmly in the entrance of the base.
"You see Lem," Chuck began, but found himself staring out into space at a loss for words.
"We're running out of resources on our planet." Vera continued for him. "Our last resort would be to use up every single bit of the raw material that our planet has to offer, and we simply cannot do that. We'd kill our own species and every other one that inhabits the planet. So we've been on a mission to seek alternative energy sources for several years now. When Chuck came back to Earth with news of intelligent life on another planet, I convinced the board to let us return and learn from your way of life." She concluded elegantly.
"Yeah, that. And she totally didn't believe me when I said she'd be jammin' to the oldies for a month. But hey, looks like you guys have come a little farther than you were last time I was here. Do you have the internet yet?" Chuck asked hopefully.
"Inter-what?" Came Lem's response, getting a small huff for a laugh out of Vera before she stepped forward to turn her attention to the screens on the wall.
"But Lem, I need to ask you a huge favor. Well, not huge, but pretty big. Important. Yeah, an important favor." Chuck rambled, grasping Lem by the shoulders. Lem nodded vigorously.
"Can you bring us some food samples? I mean, we brought plenty of food, but it'd be nice to see if it's even possible for us to eat some of your native stuff. You know what I mean?" Chuck smiled, rubbing Lem affectionately on the head. Vera sighed at the display, her fingers moving rapidly across the screens, seeming to drag their contents around simply by touching the image. Lem was momentarily captivated.
"You know Lem, he wouldn't shut up about you back on Earth." She interjected. "It's how I knew who you were when you ran up to the ship. I'm curious to find out what exactly is so special about you that has the great 'I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am' Charles Baker so enraptured." She concluded, meeting Lem's gaze momentarily while receiving a death glare from Chuck. Lem blushed, to his embarrassment.
"I'm no one really…" Lem began.
"Points for modesty." Came the retort.
"Vera, shut your pie hole and let Lem run this very important errand for us." Chuck barked, forcing a smile before turning back to Lem and giving him a genuine one. Lem saluted.
"One smorgasbord, coming right up!" He practically chirped before skittering off to his car and taking off down the road.
"Well, the certainly have the work ethic of the 50's." Vera mused, continuing to program the computers to the planet side time and date. Chuck stood at the entrance of the trailer, eyes following Lem's car down the road, arms crossed in thought. Vera turned from the computers and squeezed past him, jumping down onto the desert floor.
"I'm going to go collect some dirt samples to get up going. You… continue to stand there and contemplate your feelings." Vera announced with a knowing smirk, receiving a middle finger from Chuck and a coy smile. This month was going to go by too fast. He could already feel it.