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The Ever Upgearing Lombax

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Chapter Two


Lounge of Courtney Gears's Hideout, Obani Draco, Zygan System

Completely constructed out of dark metal, Obani Draco served as both the third moon of the planet Obani and the private home/studio of Courtney Gears herself. There, she and her robotic backup dancers filmed her music videos and relaxed in secret from the galaxy's scrutinizing eyes, so it was admittedly a surprise to Courtney that someone she had not met before got her communication address at Obani Draco.

"So, you want my endorsement for your upcoming war on the galaxy, right?" Courtney asked for confirmation from the hologram of a tall, blue robot with a transparently green head-dome who stood alongside the hologram of a shorter robot modeled after a professional butler while she sat on a couch in her home's lounge with some of her dancers.

The taller hologram nodded with a wicked smirk as he said. "That's about it, Ms. Gears! The robots of our galaxy will listen to you just as they will listen to me. Fair warning, my preparations still have about two years to go before completion, but I promise that you will be well-rewarded. What do you say?"

Making a show of thinking the other robot's proposal over with an audible hum, Courtney finally answered with. "For what it's worth, Doctor Nefarious, if you reached out last year or something, I'd say "yes" wholeheartedly."

Nefarious frowned upon hearing the response. "You mean you're not interested?"

Showing the palms of her hands in a shrugging gesture, Courtney said. "Well, it's no secret that I've always preferred fellow robots, especially if they're fellow celebrities as well, but I have to be smart in how I approach all my fans. Still, seeing at how you know where I live away from the public eye, I won't blab about how you contacted me, if that helps."

Exhaling, Nefarious replied. "Well, it's a start. However, I'll have you know that among my many preparations, is a powerful device that once completed, can transmogrify all organic matter into a pure robotic form. Wiring, metallic chassis, and everything."

"Is "transmogrify" even a real word?" One of Courtney's best dancers, Melissa, asked in confusion.

The robot butler answered before Nefarious could rant at the question. "It actually is, Miss, and I suppose that even if it wasn't, it could still be if you wanted it to be."

"Makes sense." All of the dancers commented at that.

Humming again, but this time, in more genuine thought, Courtney told Nefarious. "Well, if that machine does work, Doc, I can imagine that a lot of techno enthusiasts and experts would jump at the upgrade and what it could offer."

Nefarious grinned. "Does that mean you are interested, after all?"

Smiling pleasantly, Courtney answered. "It means that I'll gladly consider it."

Shrugging with an innocent enough laugh, Nefarious replied. "Fair enough." Turning to his butler, he then said. "Lawrence, share with Ms. Gears the coordinates to our facility on Daxx."

"Right away, sir." Lawrence obeyed as a set of information was downloaded to the terminal in the room.

"We'll talk later, my dear." Nefarious said in departure as his and Lawrence's holograms were then cut off.

Letting out a tired sigh, Courtney laid back deep on her couch, wondering how she was going to introduce her "squishy" boyfriend to a supervillain like Nefarious if it came to that.


Ratchet's Blarg fighter in Outer Space

One of the perks to Ratchet's job at Drek Industries, was his own Blarg fighter that was fully equipped with a complete Galactic Map, a Holovision Telescreen, and access to Space Radio which he and Clank, after sneaking out of Skorg City, were using to fly in Space in order to get in touch with someone who could oppose the Blarg's offense on the Solana Galaxy. A purple ship with two wide wings that surrounded the green engines at the back followed by the yellow cockpit, Ratchet had to admit that he would like to have kept the ship when everything was said and done, and not just because it was his very first.

"All right, Ratchet." Clank said on his friend's right. "Now that we have escaped the Blarg, how do we warn the galaxy of Chairman Drek's New Orxon plan?"

Having been messing with the Space Radio since they left Quartu, Ratchet replied. "Well, one option would be to head for the capital on Marcadia, but if I'm seen blowing the whistle to the Galactic President, there's a good chance that not even Gadgetron will hire me when I'm left jobless, so we're going to find someone who can serve as a go-between the Government and us."

Looking uncertain, Clank said. "I understand wanting to continue working for a living, but does the fate of the galaxy not take greater precedence?"

Exhaling, Ratchet turned to say. "I get that you're just concerned, Clank, but even if I didn't have to work, I don't feel like I should be a burden to Courtney." He then added with a smile. "No need to worry, though, pal. I've got a good idea of who we can talk to about the Blarg, we just need to find him."

Relaxing somewhat, Clank asked. "And this person is?"

Giving up on the Radio, Ratchet turned on the Telescreen as he answered. "The best superhero in all of Solana, Captain Qwark."

Coincidentally, the Telescreen was tuned to a Channel 2 News report of Qwark's current whereabouts at that moment.


Blackwater City, Planet Rilgar

Upon arriving on Rilgar, Ratchet and Clank landed at Solana's famed entertainment capital of Blackwater City, so named due to the local environment giving the surrounding sea a titular appearance. Seeing that Captain Qwark's local trailer was separated from the rest of the city, the two had to grudgingly traverse the local sewers before they made it just outside his temporary residence. Admittedly, if Ratchet had a hoverboard, he would have wanted to enter the Hovercon Intergalactic Hoverboard Competition taking place that Qwark was rewarding the grand prize for, but seeing as that would draw attention of the Holovision kind, and that he presently lacked his own hoverboard regardless, Ratchet reluctantly had to turn down his own ambition, if it meant saving the galaxy while he could still salvage his career.

After having to pay off a very irritated bouncer of Qwark's from blocking their way, Ratchet and Clank entered the Captain's trailer to see him snoozing on a rather uncomfortable-looking bed.

"Captain Qwark?" Clank called out tentatively.

"What the?!" Qwark exclaimed upon being awoken.

Ratchet held his hands up for calm. "It's okay, Captain. Sorry to barge in like this, but we need your help with something important."

Seemingly in a listening mood, Qwark replied. "Oh, okay. Fire away, Ratchet."

The Lombax nodded in appreciation as he began to say. "Well, up until about several hours ago, Captain, I worked for Drek Industries at-." Ratchet's words died off in an instant as something crucial dawned on both him and Clank. "Hang on, how do you already know my name?"

Recognizing his own slipup, Qwark sheepishly commented. "Well, isn't this embarrassing?" He then brightened up as he took out a grenade from his uniform much to the shock of Ratchet and Clank. "Oh, well, the Spokesman of New Orxon has spoken all the same." Pressing the grenade for activation, Qwark then kicked the two to the trailer's right side before throwing the grenade at them and quickly exited while saying. "Cap out!"

"Clank, look out!" Was all Ratchet said before the grenade burst into an explosion that blew the right side of the trailer apart.

Unnerved by the blast himself, yet still intact, Clank found himself back on the ground of Blackwater City and upon finding Ratchet, was horrified to see his friend badly burnt and unconscious.

"Ratchet!" He cried out in alarm. With his sensors picking up a still beating heart, Clank then pushed Ratchet to see his back before placing himself on it. "I sincerely hope those upgrades you gave me are still functioning."

Replacing his robotic arms and legs with wings and thrusters, Clank then activated the Thruster-Pack that was one of several modifications Ratchet installed while they were alone on Quartu and flew himself and his friend straight back to their ship at the docks. Carefully placing the comatose Lombax in the passenger seat, Clank then kickstarted the Blarg fighter to get them both off Rilgar immediately.

Knowing that Ratchet needed medical attention right away, yet unsure of who could help them after the mess with Qwark, Clank decided to mess with the inbuilt Telescreen to call the one person they knew who had genuine care for Ratchet and possibly had connections as well.

In an instant, the Telescreen showed an image of Courtney Gears answering with a smile. "Hi, Ratchet!" Her merriment died down in a moment, however, when she saw Clank's crestfallen look and the badly burnt Ratchet. Gasping in shock and concern, Courtney cried out. "My fur baby! Clank, what happened?!"

Clank answered. "I am sorry, Ms. Gears, but I cannot explain right now. Ratchet and I have already left Planet Rilgar, but we are in desperate need of a doctor that can aid us discreetly. Do you know of any such medical professionals?"

Courtney, horribly confused by the situation, said in response. "What do you mean discreetly? Did something bad happen at work or something?!"

"Courtney!" Clank interjected in a panic. "I promise I will explain everything later, but if we do not get a doctor now, Ratchet will die!"

Her own panic brought to a halt at that realization, Courtney turned away in thought before her facial expression changed to one of realization. Messing with the terminal on her end, Courtney said at last. "Do you think you can reach these coordinates in time, Clank?"

Checking what had been inserted in the fighter's Galactic Map, Clank nodded solemnly. "We can make it, Courtney. Who will we expect?"

"I'll tell you on the way, Clank. I also need to startup my Space Limo and meet up with you."

Clank looked concerned at that as his words indicated. "Courtney, there is a possibility for danger. Are you sure you want to-?"

Firmly interjecting, Courtney said. "Clank, Ratchet's your friend, but he's my boyfriend and by far, the one organic I actually like, so I'll see you there."


Bridge of the New Orxon Escort Fleet Flagship

While his personal space fleet responsible for towing and protecting his artificial planet under construction moved from one solar system to another, Chairman Drek sat alone on the flagship's bridge expecting a report from New Orxon's yet to be publicized spokesman about the issue with his fleeing employee.

Thinking about Ratchet, Drek could not help but frown in annoyance. While he knew from the start that the Lombax spared the sentrybot defect out of sentimentality, Drek intended to go easy on them both if they at least stayed loyal to the company, but upon seeing camera footage of the defect taking an infobot with details on the Novalis plan followed by both the robot and Ratchet sneaking out of Skorg City, well, all bets were off.

Thankfully, the short Blarg dictator did not have to wait long on their present status when he heard his personal comm beep with a familiar name attached. Turning on the comm, he then saw a hologram of the person he needed to hear from, and with a forced smile, asked. "Did you get rid of the leek, Captain?"

With a frown that was rarely seen on his Holovision appearances, Captain Qwark replied. "I had to bomb my own trailer with the boys in it, but I doubt they're still alive, Chairman."

Frowning once more, Drek said. "You mean you can't confirm whether they've been eliminated or not, you moron?"

"No, but with a blast like what I saw, they're not our problems, anymore."

Sighing in exasperation, Drek narrowed his eyes at Qwark. "What's really troubling you, Qwark? Where's that enthusiasm that makes you a good spokesman?"

Qwark finally answered in anger as he returned the glare. "I just can't believe still that after all the praise you gave to Ratchet, you decided to have him killed. And all because he had enough conscious not to scrap a defenseless robot?"

Scoffing, Drek said. "Don't be foolish. I intended to go easy on him for that. Blowing the whistle was another thing entirely."

"Even though you said-."

"What I said was true, Qwark!" Drek finally snapped. "In Ratchet, I finally found the protégé I never knew I wanted. He was smart, ambitious, and had the will to act on his goals intelligently, but he still betrayed me!" Taking a deep breath, he then said with an evil grin. "Oh, well, it's like they say, Qwark. If you lose a son, you can always get another."


Nefarious Research Facility, Planet Daxx

An oceanic planet covered with small continents and rocky, tropical islands, Clank had to admit that Daxx was a lovely world, but kept his focus on Ratchet's injured form as their Blarg fighter landed just outside the immense building that served as the research facility for the scientist Courtney had referred to as Doctor Nefarious. Normally, Clank would have concerns on leaving Ratchet's fate to an official supervillain, but right then, if it meant saving his friend's life, he did not care about the potential consequences, especially since it was a "superhero" like Qwark that put Ratchet in harm's way in the first place.

Seeing Courtney and several other robots already waiting for them, Clank opened the cockpit and watched as the soldier bots of Nefarious carried Ratchet inside the facility while he and Courtney were led in by a butler-like robot.

"Lawrence, right?" Courtney said to the butler. "Can I ask about your boss's transformation machine? Is it workable?"

"It's still in the prototype stages, Ms. Gears, but my employer does believe that it has a high percentage of working, nonetheless." Lawrence answered in his flat monotone. "Your companion should be successfully converted into a robotic lifeform."

"And there are no risks whatsoever?" Clank asked just to be certain.

Lawrence, seeing that his guests did care for Ratchet a great deal, took a moment to respond before saying. "Truth be told, Doctor Nefarious does believe that the procedure will be momentarily painful, which given your friend's wounds, could make the end result even more dire." Seeing the dismay on both Clank and Courtney's faces, he quickly added. "However, as a new robot, it should theoretically only require a substantial boost of power to revive him. I know that this isn't the ideal situation, but for all the Doctor's faults, his hands are the most capable for tending to Ratchet's injuries."

Upon entering a certain room in the facility where Nefarious was already waiting for them with Ratchet placed on an operating table, Courtney and Clank stood back with Lawrence while the Doctor presented an energy beaming device pointing at Ratchet's operating table. "Behold the Biobliterator in all its developing yet promising majesty! Once the beam hits the target, uh, I mean, squishy in choice, that lifeform will be completely reformatted into a pure robot!"

While Nefarious descended into a fit of mad laughter after his speech, both Clank and Courtney stared dryly at Lawrence as the former asked. "Is he always like this?"

Lawrence sighed tiredly. "You learn to get used to him overtime, especially when your own financial future and everything that goes with it is at stake."

Forcing himself to calm down at last, Nefarious then turned back to his audience and said. "Anyway, the lot of you stand back while I turn this baby on."

As Nefarious adjusted the device to power it up, Courtney turned to Clank worriedly. "I just hope that Ratchet at least, won't be mad about his sudden change, and at most, will stay himself."

Clank looked solemn at her words as he said. "As do I."

On that topic, Lawrence wisely said nothing about what the Biobliterator is supposed to do once perfected just as Nefarious finally fired his creation at the unconscious Lombax. In a blinding flash, Ratchet's entire body was reconfigured into a robotic form whose yellow alloy matched the fur of his prior organic state. Taking a long look at the transformed Lombax as his onlookers did, Nefarious then then injected electricity into the deactivated Ratchet who then spontaneously awoke with a start.

"Clank, look out!" Ratchet yelped out in a deeper reflection of his original voice. He then noticed his surroundings and turned his head in all directions as he said. "Clank? Courtney? This doesn't look anything like Blackwater City."

Exchanging an anxious look with Clank, Courtney said to her boyfriend. "Kitty-witty? The last thing you remember is the explosion back on Rilgar?"

"Yeah?" Ratchet replied unsurely just as Nefarious automatically undid the former's restraints on the operating table which allowed him to land on the floor on both of his feet, even though he felt himself trembling. Taking a look at his chest, limbs, and even tail, Ratchet finally asked uneasy. "Did you guys put my brain in a robot's body just to save me?"

Nefarious could not help but laugh at the question. "A literal brain in a robot's body?! That is so last millennium!"

"Doc." Courtney said warningly as Clank shared her moment of glaring at him.

Ignoring the affronted looks, Nefarious turned to Ratchet to add. "Long story short, my, let us say, "Robombax", with my Biobliterator, prototype though it may be, I rewrote your entire being on the molecular level from a squishy organic into a one hundred percent robot!"

"You have quite the spectacularly atrocious bedside manner, sir." Lawrence informed his laughing boss in a sardonic tone of voice while Ratchet processed the entire situation.

Nefarious just shrugged at the comment. "Eh, it comes with the supervillain territory, Lawrence, you should know that by now."

Back with Ratchet, the newly Biobliterated Lombax was slowly yet surely coming to terms with his new state of form. "This is… it's…" Clank and Courtney looked on in worry while Nefarious narrowed his eyes at the scene developing before them, but even Lawrence was surprised when Ratchet finally exclaimed with excitement. "Fantastic!"

"What?" Nefarious and Lawrence let out in bewilderment while the other two robots in the lab exhaled in relief.

Ratchet just shrugged at the reactions as he blabbered. "I mean, sure, I may not feel things as I used to as a biological Lombax, but as a robot, a lot of my natural strengths are improved. And this is just me we're talking about! There are probably millions to billions all over our galaxy if not the universe who could benefit from this tech!" Both Nefarious and Lawrence, who had moved to stand by his employer's side in the middle of Ratchet's monologue, exchanged a glance in shock at his words, having never expected that there would be someone who liked being Biobliterated.

Courtney turned to Clank with a wide smile as she commented. "And to think, we were worried about nothing?"

"I was only worried because you were worried." Clank teased with a laugh that Courtney shared.

"But wait, what the heck am I doing?" Ratchet said to himself as he turned to Nefarious with his right hand out. "The name's Ratchet, Doc."

"Uh, Doctor Nefarious." The robotic scientist introduced himself as he shook Ratchet's hand before gesturing to his butler. "This is my assistant Lawrence."

"Charmed, sir." Lawrence forced himself to say with a nod of his head.

"Thanks for saving my life and upgrading it!" Ratchet told them both sincerely before turning speeding fast to Courtney to place his arms tenderly around her. "Or should I say "upgearing" it?!"

Courtney giggled at her boyfriend's enthusiasm before looking down to the floor as she said. "It's actually kind of a shame, though, darling. I was just getting used to you as an organic, and to top it off, with your conversion, it kind of makes the Lombaxes a biologically extinct species."

Ratchet just shrugged at her words as he said. "I'm sure there are other Lombaxes somewhere out there, baby. And as for you getting used to me, let's try something out."

He then brought the equivalent to his former mouth over Courtney's artificial lips which resulted in an electrifying kiss that they both enjoyed.

Nefarious chuckled at the sight before turning to Lawrence and Clank. "I don't know about you two, but I'm in a mix between jealousy and amusement at that."

"I'm sure there are other robotic women just waiting to meet you as much as myself, sir." Lawrence replied with a rare smile.

Clank then said. "Good points from the both of you, although, I cannot help but think that I will need to improve myself considerably if I were to impress someone of Courtney's beauty."

The three shared a chuckle at that as Ratchet and Courtney's robotic kiss finally ended.

Turning to Clank with a hand on his shoulder, Ratchet said with some regret. "Sorry I got you and Courtney worried over me, pal." Brightening up, he then added. "Still, thank you both for getting me in touch with this genius here."

While Nefarious beamed with pride at being recognized a genius, Clank replied sincerely. "I am just glad we were able to save you, Ratchet. Still, if different choices were made, the incident on Rilgar would not have happened. I am sorry for putting you in jeopardy like so."

Both Courtney and Ratchet then firmly yet assuringly held on to Clank to let him know there was nothing to be sorry about. Turning back to the Doctor, Ratchet said. "You mind if I may ask what inspired you to make that cool gadget in the first place, Doc?"

"It's more of a superweapon than a mere gadget, Ratchet, but truth be told, I was once as flesh and blood as you until a certain obnoxious bumbler in green caused me to turn out like this."

Ratchet's robo-eyes narrowed at Nefarious's angry words as he asked. "As in Captain Qwark, who did this to me?"

"The very same!" Nefarious shouted in rage before calming down to show a clear smile. "Want to talk about it?"

"I've got time." Ratchet said with a smile in his voice before adding in thought. "In fact, how about we team up to expose Qwark's deal with the planet looting Blarg? I'm sure the entire galaxy would have a blast ripping him a new one."

Nefarious's smile widened even more deviously in response.


What I planned to be a one-time depiction received good reception on Archive of Our Own and inspired me to make it longer. Originally, I figured I would model this story to be similar to Prog it Up and Sargasso From the Get-Go, but then I realized that with his company benefits, Ratchet would have his own starship with a full Galactic Map and Holovision that would point him and Clank to where they would find Captain Qwark only to be betrayed by him per Drek's retributive instructions.

Got the general idea for this chapter from Tangent's comments on Archive of Our Own. You all should look at their own Ratchet & Clank stories when you have the time.