In the opening scene, Young Peter Quill sits in the waiting room of a hospital, listening to the Awesome Mix tape on his Walkman as his grandpa comes out and gets him so he can say goodbye to his mom.
Grandpa: Peter. Your momma wants to speak with you. Come on, Pete, take these fool things off. [takes headphones]
His dying mom gives him a present and tells him he's just like his father.
Meredith: Peter, take my hand . . .
But Peter is too scared to take it. Just then, she dies. The distraught Peter runs outside and is abducted by a spaceship.
Twenty-six years later on the planet Morag, an adult Peter Quill A.K.A. The Starlord (Chris Pratt) is searching for a mysterious Orb. He finds it as Korath (Djimon Hounsou) and his henchmen find Peter. Korath asks who he is. Quill gives his name then adds . . .
Quill: There's one other name you might know me by . . . Star Lord.
Quill: Star Lord, man. Legendary Outlaw.
After a shootout, Peter Quill escapes and returns to his ship, the Milano.
Bereet: Peter, what happened?
Quill: Oh... hey, um...
Quill: Bereet. I'm gonna be totally honest, I forgot you were here.
His partner/mentor Yondu (Michael Rooker) calls and tells him to give him the Orb. Quill decides he's going to sell it on his own.
Yondu: We're Ravagers, we got a code.
Quill: Yeah, and that code is: steal from everybody.
On the Kree Warship, the Dark Aster, Korath reports to Ronan (Lee Pace) that he failed in getting the Orb and that it's in the hands of Quill.
Ronan: They call me terrorist, radical, zealot because I obey the ancient laws of my people, the Kree... and punish those who do not. Because I do not forgive your people for taking the life of my father, and his father, and his father before him. A thousand years of war between us will not be forgotten!
Ronan talks with a Xandar Nova Corp captive.
Ronan: The Xandorians and your culture are a disease.
Sacrifice Nova Corpsman: You will never rule Xandar.
Ronan: No. I will cure it!
Ronan sends assassin Nebula (Karen Gillan) after him, but before she can go, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) volunteers instead.
Quill arrives on the planet Xandar. Nearby is Groot (Vin Diesel) and Rocket Raccoon (voice of Bradley Cooper), who is scanning the crowd with his goggles.
Rocket: [scans a Xandarian citizen] Can you believe they call us criminals when he's assaulting us with that haircut? . . . . [scans a small child] Look at this thing. It thinks it's so cool. It's not cool to ask for help! Walk by yourself, you little gargoyle!
(Note: Stan Lee has a cameo appearance as an old man on Xandar, chatting up a young lady.)
Rocket: Where's your wife, you old codger?
Groot drinks from a fountain and doesn't pay attention.
Rocket: Oh my...
Rocket continues scanning the crowd and spots Quill.
Rocket: Okay, let's see how bad does someone want ya. Forty-thousand units? Groot, we're gonna be rich!
Quill takes the Orb to a buyer and asks what it is because Ronan's goons were after it too. The buyer suddenly doesn't want anything to do with it and kicks Peter out of his shop.
Outside, Gamora jumps Peter and tries to retrieve the Orb herself.
Rocket and Groot join in the fight. Groot throws a bag over Quill. Gamora goes to collect the Orb, but Quill stuns her with his gun and flees with the Orb.
Rocket: I live for the simple things . . . like how much this is going to hurt!
Rocket zaps Quill, who falls down yelling.
Rocket: Yeah, writhe, little man.
It's not too long before they're all arrested by Nova Corp.
At the Nova Corp Headquarters, Nova Prime Rael is engaged in a communication link with a Kree Ambassador.
Rael: Ronan is destroying Xandarian outposts throughout the galaxy! I should think that would call for some slight response on the part of the Kree.
Kree Ambassador: We signed your peace treaty, Nova Prime. What more do you want?
Rael: At least a statement from the Kree Empire saying that they condemn his actions. He is slaughtering children, families!
Kree Ambassador: That is your business. Now, I have other matters to attend to.
The Kree Ambassador cuts off the transmission.
Saal informs Rael they have apprehended Gamora.
Rhomann: Gamora: Surgically modified and trained as a living weapon. The adopted daughter of the Mad Titan, Thanos. Recently, Thanos lent her and her sister Nebula out to Ronan, which leads us to believe that Thanos and Ronan are working together.
Rhomann: Subject 89P13. Calls itself "Rocket." The result of illegal genetic and cybernetic experiments on a lower life form.
Saal: [looking at Groot] What the hell?
Rhomann: They call it "Groot." A humanoid plant that's been travelling recently as 89P13's personal houseplant/muscle.
Rhomann: Peter Jason Quill. From Terra. Raised from youth by a band of mercenaries called the Ravagers, led by Yondu Udonta.
Quill winds up his finger and flips the bird at the screen.
Quill: Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know how this machine worked.
Saal: What a bunch of a-holes. Transport all four to the Kyln.
Sometime later, we see Quill, Rocket, Groot, and Gamora arriving at the Kyln space prison..
Quill: I've had a lot of folks try to kill me over the years. I ain't about to be brought down by a tree and a talking raccoon.
Rocket: What's a raccoon?
Quill: "What's a raccoon? " It's what you are, stupid.
Rocket: Ain't no thing like me, except me!
Quill: [to Gamora] What's the Orb?
Gamora: I wasn't retrieving the Orb for Ronan. I was betraying him. I had an agreement to sell it to a third party.
Groot: I am Groot.
Quill: Well that's just as fascinating as the first 89 times you told me that. What is wrong with Giving Tree here?
Rocket: Well he don't know talkin' good like me and you, so his vocabulistics is limited to "I" and "am" and "Groot." Exclusively in that order.
Quill: Well I tell you what, that's gonna wear real thin, real fast.
Quill spots a guard taking his headphones.
Quill: Hey. Put that away. Hey! Listen to me, you big blue bastard. Take those headphones off. That's mine. Those belong to impound. That tape and that player is mine!
The large blue alien guard zaps Quill with a stun-rod.
Quill: Hooked on a Feeling, Blue Swede, 1973! That song belongs to me!
The large blue alien guard zaps Quill again.
The prisoners are hosed down with an orange liquid. After processing them, Quill and Rocket are seen in a dressing room. Quill notices metallic components on Rocket's back. They are sent to the watch tower chamber. Pretty much everyone in prison wants to kill Gamora because she's the daughter of Thanos.
Gamora: Whatever nightmares the future holds, are dreams compared to what's behind me.
A large alien prisoner confronts Quill, threatening him, but Groot intervenes, lifting the alien prisoner by his nostrils.
Rocket: Let's get something clear! This one here is our booty. You wanna get to him, you go through us . . . or, more accurately, we go through you!
Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) has a personal vendetta against Gamora because Ronan killed his wife and daughter, so he wants to avenge them by taking the life of one of his family members in return. Gamora explains that she's also against Ronan and was planning on double crossing him. Quill steps in and helps argue in Gamora's favor.
Quill: [about Gamora] She betrayed Ronan, he's coming for her. That's when you...
Quill draws his finger across his throat in a cutthroat gesture.
Drax: Why would I want to put my finger on his throat?
Quill: No, that's the symbol for slicing his throat.
Drax: I would not slice his throat, I would cut his head clean off.
Drax listens to reason and holds off killing Gamora.
Drax: I like your knife, I'm keeping it.
Moloka Dar: That was my favorite knife.
Moments later, Quill is discussing the Orb with Gamora. She's sees the Orb as her way out and agrees to split the profit between the three of them if they free her from the prison.
Groot: I am Groot.
Rocket: Four of us. Asleep for the danger, awake for the money, as per frickin' usual.