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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. 

Chapter Text

[EUL]

Chapter Two

[EUL]

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.

[EUL]

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.

[EUL]

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."

[EUL]

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."

[EUL]

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.

[EUL]

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. 

Chapter Text

[EUL]

Chapter Three

[EUL]

Rec Room of the Nefarious Research Facility

Moving from the Biobliterator testing lab to the facility's rec room, where Courtney sat on a couch with Ratchet laying his head on her lap, Doctor Nefarious in a chair opposite them, and Clank in a separate chair in-between, the four robots had a long discussion about Ratchet and Clank's predicament before the former's Biobliteration as well as Nefarious's past with Qwark in which everyone poked fun at the celebrity "hero's" expense, with Lawrence bringing refreshments and a data pad for the guests and his employer respectively.

"After going over the figures you gave me on Drek's worldbuilding project, Ratchet, I gotta admit you're right," Nefarious told the Robombax after he was satisfied with the results he computed on his data pad. "While it's an impressive feat of engineering in its own right, the Blarg are going about it in one of the most wasteful and inefficient ways possible."

"I know, right," Ratchet wholeheartedly agreed with his hands held up in the air. "I mean, sure, the end result would still be a tailor-made planet suitable for the target demographic, but destroying several habitable worlds that they could colonize now in favor of producing a single world they can't even start colonizing until it's finished? It doesn't make any sense!"

"I suppose Drek would prefer his people remained united instead of moving separately across the galaxy, but it is no less concerning that they seem to have no knowledge of terraforming," Clank opinioned in contemplation.

"You boys are quite adorable in your ignorance," Lawrence commented to the duo much to both their confusion as well as Courtney's.

Nefarious chuckled at his butler's words before telling the trio, "He's not wrong. Neither of you are thinking like supervillains. Drek is obviously trying to drive up real estate costs so he can charge even more for the next planet after this one. After all, why would the Blarg bother to learn how to take care of their new world when Drek can just offer to keep building them new ones every time they ruin the one they are living on?"

"And the Blarg would be compelled to stick with Drek's rules, so long as any other habitable world is wrecked in the process," Courtney asked, even though she already knew the answer.

"Exactly," Nefarious confirmed with an approving nod.

Clank formed fists in anger. "Drek may have accelerated his own home planet's mass pollution for more money? That evil, little dictator needs to be taken down!"

Humming in thought, Ratchet said "With the Blarg's careless kind of mentality, I wonder if we could undercut Drek by offering to Biobliterate his people so that they wouldn't have to evacuate Orxon in the first place. We could charge out the nose and still be less expensive than Drek's asking price for a plot of land on a planet that doesn't even exist yet." Turning to Nefarious, he then exclaimed, "And it would help advertise the obvious benefits of your Biobliterator to other potential customers!"

Nefarious, however, while interested in the profits Ratchet was offering, shrugged unconvinced as he replied, "I was kind of planning on inflicting it on the galaxy for free, you know."

"What, and have every backwater wannabe hero trying to foil your plans?" Ratchet asked rhetorically. "Nah, make it voluntary and charge them for it, and you'll get people coming to you in droves to have the conversion done!"

Seeing where his friend was coming from, Clank added, "You might want to refine the process to make it less potentially painful first, or you would end up driving later customers away instead of attracting more." Thinking it over, he then suggested, "You can also flip your reputation by exposing Captain Qwark as the fraud he is."

"Yeah, Doc," Courtney agreed with a smirk. "Just tell Solana how Qwark ran away from you in your last fight, and is now aiding and abetting Drek, and the people will abandon him faster than you can say "Qwarktastic" five times in a row."

"Tempting, but I happen to like being a supervillain," Nefarious emphasized his point of view sternly.

Standing up straight, Ratchet shrugged as he said, "Everybody's entitled to their own lifestyle choice, Doc." Walking to Nefarious's chair, he theatrically exclaimed, "You wanna be a supervillain, then go out there and be the best supervillain you can be," before adding quietly, "That doesn't mean you have to be evil about it, though."

While Clank and Courtney traded uncertain glances at Ratchet's contradicting statement, Lawrence braced himself for the Doctor's eventual outburst.

"What kind of motivating speech was that," Nefarious shouted in complete befuddlement mixed with anger. "How can I possibly be considered a villain if I'm not evil?! I want to be evil, too!"

Gesturing for calm, Ratchet then chose his next words carefully, "Okay then, but what kind of evil do you want to be? I mean, there are all sorts of options out there. Some lamer than others while I can think of a few that are just disgusting." He then shuddered at the last part of his sentence.

Considering Ratchet's words, Nefarious could not help but shudder as well before he then admitted, "Good point. I'll have to give it some more thought." As an afterthought, he then added, "One of the fun kinds, of course. After all, what's the point of even being a supervillain if you can't do presentation properly! I may as well just be a regular villain if I can't do presentation!"

"Well, have you considered something like what I'm offering," Ratchet asked with a smile in his robotic voice before whispering to Nefarious, who slowly yet surely grinned maliciously at what he was hearing.

"Oh dear," Clank said to himself with his right palm over his face, not expecting Ratchet to encourage Nefarious to continue being villainous.

"Your friend seems to have a rather unique point of view," Lawrence commented a bit in surprise.

Courtney nodded fondly, "Yeah, he does, doesn't he? It's why I fell in love with him!"

[EUL]

Bridge of the New Orxon Escort Fleet Flagship, Hoven orbit

Having occupied Hoven's industrial sites for his own ends, the newly retitled Supreme Executive Chairman Drek had ordered his company workers to lay the groundwork for a kind of super missile on the frozen planet that he intended to deploy on any world of his choice to make room for New Orxon on one hand and send a warning to his enemies on the other. Upon receiving word that the aptly named PlanetBuster Maximus was completed, Drek was about to head down to Hoven's surface to broadcast an address to his fellow Blarg when his robotic lieutenant came running straight towards him in a panic.

"Chairman Drek," the Lieutenant shouted terrified much to Drek's annoyance.

Stopping the robot from running even further simply by pointing at him with a glare, Drek said, "First of all, you incompetent dunce, it's "Supreme Executive Chairman Drek". Secondly, why are you raising your voice?!"

Intimidated, the Lieutenant eventually mustered enough courage to answer, "I just received word from our Holovision crew that an outside signal is hacking into the Blarg TV channel!"

Confounded by the news, Drek demanded, "Well, do we know where the signal is from, or who it is?"

Right that instant, the nearby telescreen turned on to display the logo of a familiar robotic mad scientist before it then revealed the infamous Doctor Nefarious himself broadcasting his own message to the Blargian people.

"Doctor Nefarious," Drek yelled in complete surprise. He ironically had attempted to locate the insane genius to recruit him on his Infinite Orxon Project, but had not expected him to appear so suddenly."

"Hello, Blarg citizens of the Solana Galaxy," Nefarious announced in a theatric tone of voice while seated at a desk. "As you should know, I, Doctor Nefarious, have been out of the public eye for quite a long time, but now I'm back to tell you Blarg specifically that you're doing things the wrong way."

"How does he figure that," the Lieutenant asked himself unsurely before another angry look from Drek silenced him.

"Simply put, Blarg, it's sad enough that you couldn't take care of your home planet properly, but your trying to make a new homeworld for yourselves in one of the weakest ways imaginable," Nefarious continued. "Sure, literally making a new planet is fine and dandy, but at the cost of taking too long and making multiple enemies all over the galaxy when you shouldn't need to be so wasteful!"

At that moment, Drek and the Lieutenant heard the rapid footsteps of another approaching, who the former could correctly tell was Nefarious's prominent arch foe now under his employ.

"I can't believe it," the corporate dictator heard Captain Qwark mutter to himself in shock as well as fear.

On the screen, Nefarious then calmed down to then proclaim broadly, "But have no fear, for I have the means for you to continue living on Orxon for as long as you like! For an easy payment of one thousand bolts, of course." Stepping aside, he then showed a hologram of a Lombax that Drek and his two toadies instantly recognized.

"Ratchet," All three wondered in surprised unison.

Gesturing to the hologram, Nefarious then went on to speak as part of a presentation, "The bipedal feline that this hologram is based on was just as organic as the lot of you, but thanks to my own brilliance," the hologram of Ratchet was then quickly replaced with a completely robotic variant of the Lombax himself as Nefarious added, "he has been transmogrified into a pure robotic lifeform! And it is this exact process that will allow you to become independent of Chairman Alonzo Drek's pathetic real estate scam! Abandon Drek Industries, Blarg of the galaxy, and you will surpass the limitations of your squishy bodies in addition to remaining on the planet of your origin no matter the pollution!"

"He has to be lying," Drek said to himself in disbelief mixed with concern before shouting, "It's impossible to literally turn flesh and blood creatures into robots!"

As if Nefarious from afar predicted Drek's skepticism, the Doctor then said, "If you don't believe me, then ask my new comrade in arms, Ratchet."

The robot Lombax then appeared on the telescreen to answer Nefarious's questions in a voice that Drek recognized straight away of belonging to the same Ratchet Qwark supposedly bumped off for him. Slamming his fist on the nearby console, the Blargian tyrant then turned to his subordinates in a fury. "Lieutenant, you better find where this broadcast is being transmitted from, if you know what's good for you! And you, Qwark," he told the scared celebrity in green, "if you fail in getting rid of these troublemakers for the umpteenth time, you'll lose more than the endorsement deal! Now the both of you go!"

[EUL]

Thanks to Tangent's insightful review, this came out nicely. I am also undergoing a change in my writing style from now on since I am slightly interested in becoming an officially published author in the future, so you know.