Mark Watney sat in the chair of his desk as NASA, eating his lunch of potatoes. Suddenly, a man in a lab coat comes racing through his office.
"Mr. Watney, sir. There's something going on, sir." The man said.
Watney leaned forward in his desk. "What kind of something, son?" He asked.
"We're not really sure, sir. It just sort of appeared in the sky."
His interests peaked, he got up from his chair and was lead by the man in the lab coat to the area in question. A large gaping hole in the sky stood above them, seeming to suck in everything around it.
Watney stood in awe of what was before him. He had never seen anything like it.
The hole then vanished and in its place was a lone spacecraft in the shape of what looked like a large black automobile. The craft touched down near Watney and the man as gently as possible.
"Get a crew over here, son." Watney said. "They'll want to see this."
The man went off to gather said crew as the door to the craft slowly opened. First contact was something Watney never expected would happen this century, but it was happening now.
Out of the craft stepped a human male with black short hair looking to be in his mid fourties along side what Watney could only describe as a metal building block with legs.
The man turned to him with a look of shock on his face. "Mann?" He asked. "Is that you?"
He spoke English. That would make things easier.
"I think you have me confused. Name's Mark Watney, first person to ever colonize Mars. And you are?"
"He doesn't seem to be lying about that, Coop." The building block said.
The man, Coop, as he was called, walked towards him. "Cooper, Matt Copper. Last surviving member of the spacecraft Endurance.
He reached his hand out towards him. Cautiously, Watney took it with a shake of his own.
"Is this Earth?" Cooper asked.
"Yep. I take you two came a long ways away?"
"Heh, you got that right, slick." Cooper said with a Southern drawl. "About seven million lightyears away and possibly through time itself."
"I'm not pulling up any records on a Mark Watney, or about anyone ever colonizing Mars. It's a dead man's world."
Watney raised his eyebrow at the metal creature before him.
"This here is TARS, a sort of artificial intelligence back where I'm from. Tell me, you survived out on Mars all by yourself?"
"That sounds about right. My crew was forced to leave me behind and I had to grow potatoes just to survive." Watney answered.
"Really? That's some feat. How much you know about black holes, Mark?"
"Not a whole lot. I'm a botanist, not an astrophysicist."
"Well, let me tell you something, when you enter through it, there's a chance that you might end up on the other side of this galaxy or even a whole new dimension altogether. You can read the information on TARS, he went through em' enough to tell you how they work."
"Uh-huh, and you survived entering through one of them?"
"Survived and endured, son. I may not look it, but I'm over one hundred years old where I'm from."
Watney simply nodded.
Suddenly, a bright light emanated behind the two men and robot. When they turned around, they saw a brunette woman in her early to late thirties dressed in wet looking spandex.
"Wow, I walked into one big clusterfuck, didn't I?" The woman said.
The man in the lab coat came by with a full personal crew at the ready.
Watney raised a hand towards them. "Get us a table and some chairs. We'll be here a while."
"Survived all on your own in the middle of Mars, huh?" Ryan Stone said as she bit into one of the sandwiches that the crew was able to provide.
"That's right. All on my own with nothing but everyone else's shit, figuratively and literally."
"You were that desperate to make your own food?" TARS asked.
"I was that desperate to stay alive, much less make food." Watney answered.
"I didn't even have that." Stone said. "I was stranded in space. No air, no food or water; not that I needed it, well, I might have needed air, but you get my point. And I wasn't anywhere near experienced enough to survive out there."
"I don't think anybody is." Cooper said with a swish of his drink. "Hence why it's called the "final frontier." Still, I like to think that there's some sort of higher power that brought the three of us together."
"For what?" Watney asked.
"For knowledge? Information? Life experiences that only we ourselves would know? I had to watch my youngest daughter pass away from old age because I outlived her by about a century! How many people you know who can say that?"
"I had to bury my daughter at age four." Stone said coldly.
"Oh... I'm so sorry, I didn't mean-"
"No, no, it's fine. I mean, I didn't see her pass away from old age, so I imagine that's infinitely worse."
"Yeah, my condolences about that, Coop." Watney said with sincerity,
"It's fine. I've managed to make peace with the fact that she lived a full life of helping others." Cooper said.
"Sounds like it."
"Yeah. So, what happens now?" Stone asked.
"Welp, TARS has data all about black holes, including how they form. The only hard bit about that is the where and when, so we may be stuck on this "alternate Earth" for a while." Cooper said to her.
"Well, it's not like I have anything to go back to. I wouldn't mind checking this place out." Stone said.
"I'd be inclined to agree with you about that, Stone, but I unfortunately still have a mission: find the last surviving member of the Endurance and bring her back home. But so long as time ain't moving forward where I come from, I don't see why I can't see some of the sights."
"I'd be more than happy to set you guys up with some living quarters until you're both ready to leave."
"Be much appreciated, Mark." Cooper said with a handshake.
"Yeah, thanks." Stone said.
"Hey, by the way, Coop, you said I looked like someone back from your dimension?" Watney asked.
Cooper simply laughed. "Only slightly. Dr. Mann was a coward that falsified information about the planet he was living on so that he'd get a rescue crew sent after him. He ended up dying when he was too stupid not to keep the airlock to the Endurance closed."
"Well... good to know." Watney simply said.
I decided to give Cooper a first name after the actor who played him. Like I said, this was intended to be a one-shot, but if you think you can continue it, you're more than welcome to. I've got ENOUGH stories that I need to worry about without adding one more into the mix.