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The Ever Upgearing Lombax

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Disclaimer: I do not own Ratchet & Clank, or any of its associated characters and lore. That right belongs to Insomniac Games.

[EUL]

The Ever Upgearing Lombax

[EUL]

Kyzil Plateau, Planet Veldin, Solana Galaxy

Having lived on his own since his early childhood, Ratchet wanted nothing more than to explore the rest of the universe beyond his home planet and maybe find other Lombaxes like himself to personally know and interact with. For those reasons, the budding adventurer had been working on his own spaceship for a long time which he figured would work, even without a robotic ignition system, and was still building it part by part until the young Lombax saw something fall from space and crash not so far away from the Kyzil Plateau's settlement, prompting him to take a closer look.

Upon arriving at the crash site, Ratchet discovered the damaged yet repairable form of what he knew as a space limousine which were normally attributed to the rich and famous. Inspecting the exterior of the vehicle, Ratchet figured that the limo was compatible with a robotic ignition system of its own and therefore, lacked a more on hands pilot.

'If that's the case, the passenger must've been piloting this thing from the back." Ratchet thought to himself before thinking with a devious smirk. 'If I fix this robo-celebrity up, they could get me off of Veldin quicker.'

With his mind up, Ratchet then got himself into the limo's interior and upon laying eyes on the passenger, was surprised beyond measure. Not of how knocked out the passenger, who was a feminine type of robot known as a Hotbot, was, but that he recognized who she was.

"I can't believe my luck!" The Lombax said to himself excited.

[EUL]

Plant Z332, Skorg City, Planet Quartu, Months Later

Owned by the Blarg corporation, Drek Industries, Skorg City was, despite its name, more of a large complex of robot factories than a real settlement. Although Ratchet had more of a mind to start his own business in any feasible way while he explored the Solana Galaxy, his present girlfriend talked him into getting a job at Drek Industries on the understanding that corporate ties would net greater money than simply being a mobile mercenary, or starting a new mechanic shop on a world like Kerwan, and Ratchet had to admit that she had a point, especially after he gave his overall boss a well-received gift.

"Mister Ratchet!" A cheerful Blarg in a business with black hair called out to the Lombax while the latter was walking about his assigned factory during breaktime and the Blarg was happily riding a hover scooter designed and built by Ratchet himself.

"What can I do for you, Chairman Drek?" Ratchet said in respectful greeting to the company's owner and head executive, Chairman Alonzo Drek.

"Just checking on one of my best employees." Drek replied proudly. "The company will be undertaking a major operation to aid my people's currents issues at home, so I'm relying on you to continue at being a symbol of achievement for your coworkers." Sighing tiredly, he added dryly. "Trust me, they need that more than they themselves could ever know."

Knowing how Drek looks down on people he sees as small-minded, unambitious, and just plain incompetent, Ratchet nodded attentively as he said. "Yes, sir. I'll do whatever you need me to do."

Drek's cheered up considerably at that. "Good man, Mr. Ratchet. Carry on."

As soon as Drek hovered away on his scooter, Ratchet exhaled in relief before heading to his private workshop. Even after he won Drek's favor with his hover scooter design, the Lombax knew that the Blarg would not be satisfied forever, especially after he went behind his back with the recent Sentry-bot defect.

Finally coming to his place of work, Ratchet entered to see the same diminutive robot chatting via video to Ratchet's girlfriend, the same Hotbot he helped upon her crashing to Veldin, Solana's pop star sensation, Courtney Gears, while he seated himself at Ratchet's desk. And from what Ratchet could tell, the two were laughing about something.

"So, this "Stunderwear" is supposed to be a kind of underpants with electroshocks, Clank?" Courtney asked the shorter robot.

Chuckling to himself, Clank, as Ratchet had prior named him, answered. "Yes, it would appear so, Miss Gears. I honestly don't want to know where he came up with it."

"What you probably think is ridiculous, is going to be a huge seller, Clank." Ratchet interjected with a firm tone of voice.

"Hi, snooky wookums." Courtney greeted Ratchet with her cutesy pet name for him which cheered up Ratchet considerably.

"Hey, singer winger." Showing another glare at Clank when he started laughing again, the Lombax then said. "I see you two are getting along rather well."

Courtney giggled before saying. "Clank's actually pretty cute, Ratchet, and I'm even happier that you made a new friend." Hearing a buzz on her end, however, Courtney pouted before turning to Ratchet and Clank. "Sorry, boys, but I got a show to do. I'll call you both later."

Ratchet nodded understandingly as he replied. "It's okay, Courtney. I'll see you soon. Love you."

"Love you, too, baby!" The two lovers then blew kisses to each before the call got disconnected.

Taking a moment to think, Clank said to Ratchet. "I'm sorry to get into your privacy, Ratchet. I just felt pretty bored coped up in here hiding from those who would recycle me as scrap metal."

Sighing, Ratchet placed his right hand to comfort Clank on his back saying. "It's fine, pal." He then added with a smirk. "You're still just a newborn, after all."

Mock glaring at Ratchet, Clank retorted. "Oh, and I suppose that makes you my dad, or something?"

Waving a disappointed finger at him, Ratchet responded. "You keep acting like that, mister, and you'll be grounded."

The two stared at each other intensely for a moment before laughter was finally brought out.

Relaxing first, Clank then said. "Still, I must admit that Miss Gears both looked and acted pretty nice. I don't know if I should envy that you're dating her, or applaud how open-minded your relationship is."

Ratchet shrugged with a clear smile as he said. "What can I say? I always liked how she looked and singed, she grew to like me for helping her out when we first met, it all just felt pretty natural." Seeing Clank looking unsettled at the last word Ratchet used, the latter asked. "What's wrong?"

After a moment of indecision, Clank asked. "Ratchet, how loyal do you see yourself being towards Chairman Drek?"

Taking a moment to respond, Ratchet answered. "Well, I wouldn't sacrifice anyone I like just to butter him up, but even if I did report him to the authorities, I'm not sure how I would go about risking my life like that." Sighing at Clank's downcast expression, he then added. "As I said though, I'm not letting him get you, so tell me what's wrong."

His mood relieved, Clank then explained his reasoning by showing Ratchet an infobot detailing Drek's plan to attack Novalis and several other worlds in the galaxy to tear them apart as building material for a new Blarg homeworld.

Unsettled by the news, Ratchet made his decision by making serious eye contact with Clank and said. "We're going to have to go right now, Clank, for everyone's sake."

[EUL]

I really did struggle coming up with how the pairing could be done after seeing some interesting fan art of either them or their own probable offspring on DeviantArt, but then I realized that I did not need to make it too complex, after all. Of course, if Courtney Gears still has a strong preference for robots and if Ratchet could see some potential perks of the Biobliteration process from increased strength, nearly unlimited network access, and maybe virtual immortality by uploading his consciousness into another robotic body the same way Archie Sonic's Roboticized version of Doctor Eggman did for a time, then I could see him having a similar appearance to the "Android armor" from the deluxe edition of Rift Apart via either a deal with Doctor Nefarious, or simply reverse engineering the Biobliterator.

Best that I can figure out for a Clank/Courtney pairing is that the former acts a bit like Klunk due to being a Sentry-bot by design, defect or not, which makes him a bit more lenient on other robots and more open to the "direct" approach. Heck whether it is those two, or Klunk/Courtney, I can imagine that they would make an interesting team as Clank has done with Ratchet and Rivet in canon and elsewhere. Venus from Deadlocked does not look bad herself, but she has not played a role since that game and the female infobot that Clank had dated in Going Commando, who I think would have been voiced by Kathleen Barr or April Winchell if given the chance, was not even named. However, I just had a Secret Agent Clank-inspired idea, which I think is plausible, no matter what Insomniac says about it.

As for the second half of this one-shot featuring Ratchet working for Chairman Alonzo Drek, I had a thought about it as soon as I got into Ratchet & Clank fanfiction. After all, Clank was built in a robot factory owned by Drek Industries, Captain Qwark affiliated himself with the Blarg for self-centered reasons, and the reimagined game/movie even had Doctor Nefarious create the Deplanetizer as a space station to create what would have been the New Blarg homeworld while destroying other planets, but Ratchet himself had apparently not been depicted connected to the Blarg in some way until now, so there you have it.

As for Drek respecting Ratchet better than most of his usual lackies, I figured that while he sees himself as the brains behind all Blarg operations, which is fair if some of his people really are dunces, he does appreciate genuine competence and ambition which Ratchet, who made Drek's hover scooter from the reimagined works here, for the most part has. In a sense, Alonzo Drek can be seen as another dark reflection of what Ratchet would be like if he never learned any moral lessons.

This might probably stay just a one-shot since while I can imagine that Courtney could make more appearances and be helpful during the events of the first game and onwards, I have no ideas at the moment for it.