Volume Two, Season One
Needles the Nasty
By Cole Bezotte
In a remote part of the planet Veldin, there stood a tree, in which is imprisoned Needles the evil clown. His ghost form had entered the tree once he saw the sun rise on Veldin's horizon. He had fled because of what the Polygon Man had said to him before his arrival on Veldin: "See to it that the sun does not rise!"
Needles had promised the Polygon Man that he would succeed in killing the League of Heroes before daybreak. Once he saw the sun rise, he knew that he had failed; and so he escaped his body and fled his spirit into the tree. But now that he knew that the Polygon Man had fled and hid away, it was safe for him to come out and do whatever he desired.
"And now," Needles thought as he reentered his body, "I am free to cause mischief—to create discord—and to seek revenge against my enemy Ratchet! I don't know where he is, but I shall find him through his wrench. I shall create an image of his wrench to locate him."
With that, Needles created a mystical image of Ratchet's Omniwrench and found where Ratchet was located. He was in Los Angeles with many children, making them very happy. "Ah, there is that Lombax," Needles thought as he watched the image. "He is on earth…in a hospital…entertaining children. He always did have a soft heart. Well now, my enemy is in for a surprise! Prepare yourself, Ratchet! For Needles is coming!"
Travelling across the galaxy at the speed of thought, Needles reached the unsuspecting Earth. "It has been a long while since I was last on Earth," Needles thought as he put on natural human flesh color makeup on his face. "I had best alter my attire to modern-day clothes as well, as I search for Ratchet."
Moments later, while in his disguise, Needles reached the hospital he had seen. He spoke to the nearest nurse to question her where Ratchet was. "Yes, Ratchet was here…" the nurse responded after being asked, "…bless his heart… he made our children so happy. But he left and I don't know where he is now."
And so Needles left and continued his search on the streets. "I don't want to reveal myself yet, by conjuring up another image of the wrench. Hmmm… I know… I'll create a disturbance that will make Ratchet come to ME!"
And a few blocks from Needles, Ratchet and Talwyn had returned from a house call, when they heard this sudden cry from nearby: "It—it's horrible! Help us! Somebody—HELP!"
"Holy Hannah! Look!" cried another pedestrian. "Those people—they've all been transformed into NEGATIVES!"
Needles had used his magic to transform three pedestrians into living negative beings. Their colors were inverted into darker beings.
Ratchet tried to think about what to do, but before he could act, the three people returned to their normal selves suddenly. "What the heck?!" Ratchet thought, confused. "What could have caused all this?"
"Enough talk!" Needles shouted as he appeared in his true form. "I challenge you to battle!"
"So we meet again, eh?" Ratchet replied as he readied his wrench for battle. "My abilities have doubled since we last met!"
"Come, Ratchet—let us battle in the air, above these insignificant humans!" With that, Needles used his power to make a carpet float underneath his feet.
"I must accept his challenge," Ratchet thought silently. "I have no other choice. But I have some tricks up my sleeve myself. I have to thank Clank for installing the new helicopter mode for my wrench." Ratchet pressed a secret button on the handle of his wrench, and its head began to spin like the propeller of a helicopter. Ratchet rose from the ground and followed Needles through the sky, just as the sinister villain wanted.
"My plan is working…" Needles thought. "He's following me up… I've maneuvered him into a position where the sun's rays reflect off wrench into his eyes each time the wrench passes in front of him. The blinking reflection plus my power of suggestion will soon have him hypnotized!"
Sure enough, Needles' plan worked! Ratchet's eyes began to stare blankly into space as Needles gave him his first command: "You are tired, Ratchet… Too tired to remain awake… You must sleep… Sleep…"
"I must sleep…" Ratchet whimpered as his eyes closed, obeying the command.
"You are in my power… I am your master… You must obey me…"
"I must…obey you…"
"I have triumphed!" Needles thought, grinning evilly. "Now to have my revenge! I shall use Ratchet as my instrument for creating mischief!" Turning back to Ratchet, he gave him another command: "Descend to Earth, Ratchet!"
"Yes, Needles…" Ratchet whimpered again as he and Needles lowered back down to the ground.
Once on the surface, Needles led Ratchet to the nearest zoo and gave him the next command: "Now go to that house of animals and set free the beasts." He pointed Ratchet to a house of ferocious lions.
Ratchet obeyed, walking towards the lions' cage and using his wrench to pry open the doors. But before he could do anything, one of the lions lashed out at him, reaching its paw at him. The lion accidentally hit the wrench and made it hit Ratchet in the forehead. In the impact, he fell down to the floor, unconscious.
"What can be taking Ratchet so long?" Needles thought from a distance away. "Why has he not released the beasts?"
When Ratchet woke up much later, he was started to see that the lion was about to lash at him again. He quickly rolled away and ran out of the zoo, ready to settle the score with Needles. "Now Needles," he exclaimed as he approached him, "we're going to finish our battle!"
"You've broken the hypnotic spell!" Needles replied in shock. As he fled from his foe, he used his magic powers to gather together all the pigeons in the area. He held onto their legs as they flew him across the city. "Fly, little birds…" Needles commanded. "Fly quickly…"
"Clever trick!" Ratchet thought. "But it will do him no good!" He dashed off to the nearest theater where he would meet Needles again. He knew where he would land due to observing the way the pigeons flew as they were approaching the theater's roof.
"I can use this crowded theater to my advantage," Needles thought as he landed. "Begone, pigeons!"
Ratchet ran into the theater, chasing after Needles as he pushed through such a huge crowd. He soon found him standing on the main stage, taunting him. "Ratchet!" he shouted. "Here I am! Come and get me if you dare!"
In an uncontrollable fit of anger, Ratchet rushed up to the stage and swung his wrench blindly. In his own clumsiness, he tripped and knocked down one of the curtains on top of him. He threw the curtain off of him, but he saw that Needles had disappeared.
Ratchet ran out and saw Needles at a nearby boat dock. "Stop right there, Needles!" he shouted at him. "I want to end this, and I want it to happen here and now!"
"You can't kill me, Ratchet!" Needles taunted in reply. "I'll always be in your mind! Soon will come a day when I return the favor of what you promise!" With that, he dove into the deep waters and swam downwards until he was out of sight.
Ratchet looked down at the water and saw that Needles had escaped so easily. "I highly doubt that he would die down there," he thought silently to himself. "He has powers beyond anyone's imagination. And yet… I feel very strange right now. I can see my own reflection, but it looks somewhat different. This time, I look hateful…sinister…and worse: EVIL!"
WHAT IS HAPPENING? WHAT IS SOON TO BECOME OF RATCHET? HAVE WE SEEN THE LAST OF NEEDLES? LET'S FIND OUT LATER!
NEXT TIME: DOOMSDAY DISASTER!