(Not my first attempt at Paul fanfiction, but let's see how this goes. It will be narrated by three characters throughout the story: Paul, Tara and Graeme. Hopefully everyone remains in character. Feedback is also awesome. I hope you enjoy this! Good day!)
Chapter 1: The Salvage Mission
Space travel isn't exactly what it's cracked up to be, not to me at least. Sure the destinations in mind and perhaps even the sights along the way might be pretty awesome, but I'm always bored with the actual traveling from point A to point B part. Unless you're moving through a nebula, an asteroid field or passing through a star system, there really isn't much to see. A known fact about me: I tend to get bored easily. I mean, yeah, people consider me a slacker because I'm not ambitious, but I can't stand just sitting around and doing nothing.
I have to be doing something, even if it's something like lightin' one up and kicking back for a bit. At least that's something. I could've gone for one of those... I was stuck on a two-man craft on a salvage mission heading into what my people refer to as the Delta Quadrant. It's just a labeling system we use to keep track of different sections of our galaxy, nothing too complicated.
Anyway, I lucked-out on my co-pilot, Del, an old friend of mine who apparently liked to bust my balls about getting marooned on Earth. It's cool though, he and I go waaaay back, since we were kids. There was a time where we hadn't seen each other for few millennia due to our differences in career paths. He wanted to go for Piloting or Engineering or something like that and I just took whatever I could get. It's kind of weird that he didn't really talk about what he used to do while we were separated or how he came to be available to chauffeur my ass around the cosmos whenever I needed him to. Whatever. If it was important, he'd have said something.
Yeah, due to the whole 'Earth incident', I'd been placed on a probationary period where I have to have a co-pilot if I'm traveling outside our star system. This way, I didn't have to worry about getting marooned again. I didn't mind having Del around as a co-pilot, even if he did like to break balls. The only thing that bothered me about my probationary period, is that they didn't give me a straight answer as to when it'd be lifted. They could've just told me it was indefinite, but whatever...
Some flashing on Del's side of the piloting consul distracted my stare at the blackness of space. He scratched at his black goatee and pressed a few buttons until the flashing stopped. He leaned back in his seat and glanced over at me.
"We're gettin' close." He pointed out. I taught him and a few others English when I returned home with Tara and I guess they taught people they knew because after almost seven years, the language spread like wildfire across my planet. We still speak our native language of course, but me and Del tend to end up speaking to each other in English, especially around Tara. She's doing fine by the way. She seemed to love it on my planet, which made me happy knowing I could at least keep a promise to somebody.
"If this is a salvage mission, shouldn't there be, I don't know, more crew-members?" I asked, the fact that it was just Del and me starting to bother me.
Del shook his head, his eyes forward as we weaved our way through an asteroid belt in some distant star system. "It's just salvaging data from a crashed ship's computer. Don't need more than two people for the job."
"Right." I pulled my hands out from behind my head and rested them on my stomach. "Where exactly is this crashed ship in the Delta Quadrant system?"
"Outer planet. Ice dwarf. Seventh one out from the star."
"How the fuck did they manage to crash there?" I wondered out loud, a small smirk on my face. At least I wasn't the only one crashing shit.
Del shrugged. "Coulda been a malfunction. We'll find out when we find the ship." He smirked at me. "Like you can fuckin' talk."
"Hey, at least I crashed on a planet with a fucking atmosphere and enough gravity to actually pull me in." I countered, moving my legs off the consul where they were resting and sitting up a little.
"Yeah, yeah." Del looked forward again and his smirk faded. "Head's up."
I looked ahead at the small planet we were approaching, its surface reflecting a dull gray color due to the distance from its star. At first, I couldn't see anything to indicate a crash site, but as we got closer I could start to see the glinting of the ship's hull on the northern hemisphere of the planet. Even closer and then...
"Fuck..." I practically gasped.
"Damn!" Del exclaimed. The wreck was that bad. The disc-shaped craft looked like it had literally been ripped in half, most of its interior spilled out over the surface of the small planet. I'd estimate the impact crater at a depth of about maybe twenty to twenty-five feet and an impact distance of a couple miles at the most. The debris from the ship covered at least a five to ten mile radius from the crash-site.
At our current distance, I couldn't make out any bodies, which I was thankful about. Suddenly, I felt like a dick about what I had said earlier... I couldn't see any landmass that would've fucked the craft up like that on the way down. It could've been destroyed from the impact, but something about the extent of the damage and how tense Del got as he stood up and retrieved his air compression helmet from a compartment under his seat told me that there was more to this situation than what we were told. Ever since Earth, I hated bullshit like that.
"A malfunction did that?" I asked, incredulously as I stood up and retrieved my own air compression helmet.
"It's possible, but..." He trailed off, grabbing a pair of black gloves from inside his helmet. As he pulled them on, I saw his brow furrow and his forehead start to crease. Something about this mission really bothered him. Normally, whatever bothered Del, disturbed me. I looked out at the wreck again and felt my stomach drop a little.
"Yeah, I know..." I started as I pulled on my black gloves and pulled out these little black cuffs from a pocket on my left thigh. "There's something those assholes aren't telling us about this mission."
Del grunted in agreement and pulled a similar pair of cuffs on over the crease between his gloves and the cuffs on his moss-green colored suit. He pressed a button on them and the material tightened to conform to the curves of his sleeve-cuffs and wrists. I did the same for mine. This was to prevent any air or heat from escaping our suits while we were outside the ship, considering this planet didn't have an atmosphere. They felt tight around my wrists, but they weren't constricting.
Del went over to the side and opened a panel under the consul, taking out a couple silver toolboxes. He set them down in his pilot seat and picked up his helmet, the color matching his suit. My helmet also matched the color of my suit, khaki. It's kind of an odd coincidence that khaki sort of became my unofficial color after Earth, but I didn't mind. People still called me Paul after Earth too.
Man did that nickname stick...
"Whatever it is," Del began, pulling on his helmet, "we're gonna find out soon enough."
"Yeah..." That's what I was worried about. Whatever you learn, you can't unlearn... I pulled my own helmet on and we both pressed a button on the left side that allowed the material hanging around our necks to conform to our suits in the same way that the black cuffs conformed to our wrists and for the same reasons. This also activated an internal computer within the helmet that linked to the ship's computer. This way we could keep track of our positions in relation to the ship at all times and reroute any communication with the ship directly to one of us.
The pitch black visors also allowed us to see in several different fields of vision when we needed them, such as night-vision, infrared, ultraviolet, and so on.(Technology's pretty fuckin' awesome, isn't it?) A kind of mechanical whirr sounded inside my helmet before Del's voice rang in my ears.
"Yeah, I can hear you."
"You too." He went up to the consul and pressed a few buttons. After a few seconds, a loud sucking sound filled the cockpit as the air was sucked out of the ship to equalize the pressure. (The pun was completely unintentional there, by the way... ) If he had activated the landing gear and opened the ship otherwise, we both would've been pulled into space and thrown who knows where. Once everything was silent again, he activated the landing gear and the ship dropped down to the planet's surface.
Del was the first to head out, taking both toolboxes with him and I followed close behind. We had to switch to night-vision in order to see anything. The light from the nearby star was too far away to provide anything even remotely sufficient for us to see. Up close, the wreck looked even worse. It looked almost as if it had been turned inside-out and considering the extent of the damage, it was hard to tell that this craft was once disc-shaped at all.
One half of it looked like a jagged crescent-shape where on the far end, you could kind of make out the cockpit or what was left of it at least. The other slightly discernible half, that was turned up at a ninety-degree angle, looked like somebody took a hard-shell taco, placed it face-down on the ground and then stomped on it. That's really the best way I could describe it... I really didn't think we were recovering anything from this and there was no way anybody was surviving a crash this bad. So, where the fuck were the bodies?
Before I was a little disturbed, now I was completely creeped the fuck out. The dead silence of space wasn't helping either... Even as we climbed over the scorched debris, I didn't see a single shred of evidence that anyone had even been on this ship. It was as if it crashed on its own without a pilot or anything... When we approached the remains of the cockpit, Del set down the toolboxes and started prying the panel off of the consul.
"Dude... what the fuck happened?" I asked. If I had known then that this would be the last time I'd see anything other than the inside of an enemy space-station, that I'd be a prisoner for the second time in my life, I'd have dragged Del's ass back to our ship and gotten the fuck outta there right then. Fuckin' hindsight... Del shook his head and then looked at the pilot's seat that was twisted to its side. He straightened to get a better look at it.
"Whatever it was, it was no fucking accident. Check this shit out." He touched a gloved hand to the seat and I moved closer to see what he was talking about. I saw what looked like three claw-marks tearing through the material of the seat. As I looked around, I could see more claw-marks on the floor around the seat too. The pattern of the marks was vaguely familiar to me, but I couldn't pinpoint why at the time. He was right though, this wasn't an accident.
They had been attacked by someone and there weren't any bodies because whoever it was took prisoners. We had to leave. We had to get the fuck out of there. My people haven't had any enemies for thousands of years and I sure as hell didn't have a clue about warfare...
"Oh, shit..." I breathed.
"'Oh, shit' is right." A warning flashed on our visors, coming from our ship's computer. Another ship was heading for us. No, wait, it was already there and our computer couldn't identify its affiliation. We backed away from the wreck. Anything our ship couldn't identify couldn't be good...
"Fuck the data! I didn't sign up for this shit!" I shouted.
"Me neither! We're gettin' the fuck outta here!" Del agreed and we both ran toward our ship, leaving the toolboxes behind. We didn't make it in time... At that point, a black triangular-shaped craft with red lights at its points cruised overhead, stopping to hover above our ship. We stopped and stepped back as it tilted until its nose was pointed directly at our ship and then the lights became brighter. Two streaks of light shot along the sides of the craft to converge at the nose, causing a beam of energy to blast our ship to pieces.
We had managed to leap for cover behind some of the debris from the other wreck, but the shock wave from the explosion hit us like a fuckin' semi. Things became hazy after that. I remember blacking out for a few seconds and wondering if Del had survived. I remember feeling myself being lifted and dragged somewhere and feeling too sore and disoriented to fight back. Not that I'd have anyway to escape even if I could've fought back...
But the thing I remember the most was the last thing I thought of before I blacked out completely. I thought of Tara... She was smiling at me. She was always smiling at me. I doubt she'd be smiling right now, though...
(Disclaimer: I do not own Paul or any characters created by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. I do, however, own Del. Let me know what you think of this so far!)