Two months after Peter Quill was kidnapped by aliens, his Walkman broke down.
After begging Yondu for weeks, and promising that he’d shut the fuck up about it or risk certain death, he was given permission to take it down to a broker and get it fixed.
The broker in question was a skinny green alien with a tentacle mouth and crab - eyes named Joaark, and he had a fascination with human technology, as primitive as it was. After asking Peter to sell his Walkman to him at an incredibly high price, and after Peter said no, multiple times, he promised to fix it for 230 credits.
Except, he didn’t really understand how the Walkman worked, and baffled by the idea that the only thing it could do was play ‘music’ from a ‘cassette tape’, he accidentally turned it into a walkie-talkie.
Peter was just happy that he could still play his cassette tape that his mom gave him. The walkie-talkie part was just a weird bonus. He tried using it as such, but all he got was static and one frequency that sounded like it was playing a porno 24/7.
It was an earth radio, and he was in space… Yeah. You get the picture. Not much reception.
Whenever he was bored, or whenever he, admittedly, got sick of the same 13 songs, he tried the walkie-talkie again, just in case. He knew that someone, somewhere, had to be trying to reach aliens from Terra, so he tuned in for a few days, maybe weeks, at a time before giving up and tuning back to his songs.
Three months later he gave up completely.
Six months after that he decided, what the hell, and tried again, after he realized he forgot what English sounded like.
*..**.**** **. * * *
“Testing, testing, one two three.” Tony mumbled into the headset.
Some weeks ago, he had acquired a SONY Walkman for his birthday, which was stupid because he already owned a radio that could play any song he wanted, on demand (That he fixed himself), which was basically the same thing.
So, he did what any super genius kid was going to do with a spare device at hand. He took it apart to see how it ticked, then made it better. Much better.
Alright, so maybe he was being especially rebellious because his father yelled at him for getting another C on his reading quiz. But could you blame him? It was ENGLISH.
Since he no longer had a radio (Thanks, past Tony) He decided to turn this Walkman into one. And not just a simple radio, but a two-way one. He thought the radio was a fluke —It could only do one frequency, really, and there was nothing on it, ever — but he decided to mess with it again, making the reception just a little bit stronger by adding a cute little antenna.
He pushed the button on the side again.
“Testing, testing. Is anyone out there? Probably not.”
He released the button, ending the output signal, and reverting it back to a receptive one.
He popped a couple extra pieces of cold popcorn into his mouth, leaned back, and rested his hands behind his head while he waited.
His room was a mess of wires and technology, and smelt like soda and popcorn. His bed was unmade, and posters of astronauts and other scientists lined his walls, with some hot cars and celebrities. His homework was strewn all over the place, after he got distracted and started working on his dozens of pet projects instead. The TV in the corner was on, playing some shitty sitcom show.
He was falling asleep on his chair when the crackling in the background went silent. Dreary, he woke up, only to jerk to full awareness as he realized what the noise had been coming from.
He crashed into his table getting to the device, but by the time he got to it, the static was back. Play it cool, Tony, play it cool. He pressed the button.
“Hellooooo, is anyone out there this fine…” He looked at the clock. “…morning? Over.”
Tony released the button, then waited.
2 minutes later, he pressed the button again.
“Ok, so maybe I’m losing my mind. Not the first time that has happened, to be honest. If anyone is out there, please respond. Over.”
Less than a minute later, the device crackled, and an unfamiliar voice echoed through.
“HELLO? HELLO! I- I’M HERE! IS THIS FROM TERRA?”
The voice sounded far, far away, and it was hard to hear through the crackling, but still. It… worked? He had no idea where it was coming from, and he had no idea who Terra was, but…
With both hands shaking, he clenched the button down as hard as he could. He thought of what to say.
“You have to say ‘over’. Over.”
Tony was ecstatic. “YOU HAVE TO SAY OVER.” In his excitement, he forgot to say ‘over’. He pushed the button again. “OVER”.
There was some crackling on the other end. Tony waited, but nothing happened.
“DID YOU SAY SOMETHING? I DIDN’T HEAR IT. OVER.” Tony was yelling, and hoping he didn’t wake up his parents.
The voice yelled back.
“I ASKED, IS THIS TERRA? OVER.”
He said over! Tony’s grin was cracking his face in half, probably.
“WHO IS TERRA?”
“I DON’T KNOW WHO TERRA IS. MY NAME IS T O N Y. OVER” He felt the need to spell it out.
“OH SORRY, TEE OH EN WHY. I MEAN EARTH. OVER” Earth? Earth was Terra? Why was he calling earth Terra? Tony pushed the button again. He said, a little quieter this time,
“Nono, it’s just Tony. Why are you calling Earth Terra? Over.”
The other voice crackled to life.
“I DON’T KNOW. IT’S JUST WHAT WE CALL IT, I GUESS. OVER.” We? Who is we?
“Who is we?”
“ME AND THE OTHER SPACE BANDITS.” The person on the other end sighed, a breathy rush of static over the radio, just moving the fuck on from that little statement. “MAN, I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M TALKING TO EARTH! HOW’S THE WEATHER DOWN HERE? OVER.”
Tony literally had no clue how to respond. “It’s nighttime. There is no weather. Also, excuse me: SPACE BANDITS? Over.”
There was a pregnant pause, before the radio crackled to life again.
“OOPS, IS THAT HOW WEATHER WORKED? IT’S BEEN A WHILE. OVER.”
“No. wait wait wait, lets back the fuck up.” Tony took a deep breath, gathering his thoughts. “Space bandits? Over,”
“OH, YEAH. MAYBE I SHOULDN’T HAVE SAID THAT?” The voice paused. “DON’T TELL ANYONE. OVER.”
What the fuck. What even the fuck? “What the fuck is a ‘space bandit’? Do you steal? What do you even steal?”
The other voice scoffed. “WHAT DO YOU THINK WE STEAL? STUFF FROM OTHER ALIENS. AND YOU FORGOT TO SAY OVER. OVER.”
Aliens. Tony coughed. Cool, what a jokester. He usually, he should move on, but nothing about this was usual, and he wanted to see where this… dialogue was going.
“Don’t screw with me, dude. Aliens haven’t been discovered yet. Over.”
“WAIT, THEY HAVEN’T? MAN, YOU GUYS GOTTA CATCH UP. OVER.”
Tony cackled. This guy was an absolute riot. “What is your name? Over.”
“PETER. PETER QUILL. YOU? OVER.”
He didn’t want to give his real name, in case this wacko decides to blab, and then he’s dealing with the press thinking he's literally lost his mind and was talking to some psycho .
“TONY ROGERS. NICE TO MEET YOU. TALK TO YOU AGAIN?”
Tony smiled. “Yes, definitely, should our paths align again. Good Night. Over.”
“IT IS ALWAYS NIGHT IN SPACE. GOOD.” Peter said. “OVER.”
If Tony fell asleep cry laughing, that was nobody’s business but his, and maybe Peter Quill’s.