Volume Two, Season One
The Thick-Skinned Thug
By Cole Bezotte
Note from the author: The antagonist in this episode goes by the name Arboc Thatcher. "Arboc" is actually "Cobra" spelled backwards. Cobra is one of the villains I made up for the Sonic Squad series (check that series sometime). Enjoy!
One day, at the mansion of the League of Heroes (as I always say every time), Ratchet stared dreamily at Talwyn Apogee, who was at the time sitting on the couch, talking with Pupuru. "This really stresses me out!" Ratchet thought as he turned away quickly. "I love Talwyn, but I daren't tell her. A girl so beautiful would never marry a weakling like me."
But little did he know what Talwyn had on HER mind. "So you're admitting that you actually like Ratchet?" Pupuru asked her as their conversation carried on.
"I do," Talwyn replied. "But I don't know for sure that HE actually likes ME. This is a very difficult decision to make, and it doesn't seem pretty."
But, let us leave Talwyn to her daydreams and return to the present. At Los Angeles' steel industry, a man was being escorted out and carried to a police car. "Hey," a nearby pedestrian spoke up. "Isn't that Arboc Thatcher, the mob leader?"
"Yeah," another man replied. "He tried to muscle in on the steel industry. They caught him selling sub-standard steel. Now he's headed for prison."
But the octopus of crime has many tentacles; in a darkened alley, many gangsters hid and readied themselves to spring a surprise attack. "Here comes the car," one of them said as he hopped into their car. "Get ready, all of you!"
"Don't worry," another one said. "We'll have the boss free in no time!"
The gangsters' car zoomed very quickly and rammed right into the police car that carried Arboc Thatcher. "It's Thatcher's mob!" Carl Roberts exclaimed as he backed his police car desperately.
"I knew my boys wouldn't let me down," Arboc thought silently.
A big fight began as the policemen and the gangsters desperately shot at each other. The gangsters shot the police car's tires so they would not be able to drive at them again. But when Arboc attempted to run to his gangsters' car, he was shot at the shoulder. He grunted in pain as he struggled to get into his car.
"Hurry!" one of Arboc's men, Vince, exclaimed. "Take the boss to the hideout! We'll fetch him a sawbones to heal his wound!"
"We're in luck," said the second man, Max, who stayed behind. "I see that hero mansion up in the suburbs. Let's head there and see if there's anyone home."
Soon, Vince and Max easily broke into the mansion after Pupuru went to bed. Everyone else was gone, and so Ratchet and Talwyn were the only ones left to run the house. Ratchet and Talwyn had nothing to wield against the two gangsters, and so they ended up with their hands in the air as a sign of surrender.
"You're coming with us, Lombax!" Vince said to Ratchet as he pulled him towards him.
"You tie up the dame," Max said to his partner. "I'll make sure no contacts are made."
Vince tied Talwyn to a nearby chair while Max disconnected all contacts. They tried to be as quiet as possible so that they could not wake up Pupuru. After all was done, Vince and Max took Ratchet to their car and drove him out of the city and to Arboc's hideout. "Where are you taking me?" Ratchet demanded as he sat in the backseat.
"To Sunday school!" Vince teased in reply. He laughed as he turned to the next corner in which Arboc's hideout was.
Inside the house, Arboc lied in his bed, his shoulder bandaged and in need of healing. He watched as his two men entered his room with Ratchet as their captive. "We saw you get hit, boss," Vince said to him. "We brought a sawbones."
"Good!" Arboc replied, smoking his cigarette. "I knew I could count on you."
Arboc's wife Ruby came over to his bedside and begged Ratchet to heal him. "Arboc's in bad pain!" she spoke up. "You must fix him up, Ratchet! Please…"
"Knock it off, Ruby!" Arboc snapped at her. "I don't need my girl begging for me!"
"I'll treat you," Ratchet said. "Not because of your threats, but because it's my duty to protect people."
Suddenly, a distant hissing voice whispered something into Ratchet's head. "I don't think so…" it whispered. "You sicken the world…"
Ratchet became very puzzled by the voice inside his head. He did not know if he was either gaining a split-personality, or he was just going insane.
"Okay, big mouth!" Arboc said to snap Ratchet out of his thinking. "Get to work!"
"Sorry about that," Ratchet replied. "I must remove the bullet and cleanse the wound before gangrene sets in."
"Hurry, Ratchet!" Ruby continued to plead.
"Relax, baby!" Arboc snapped at her again. "Everything's gonna be fine!"
Finally, after all was said and done, Ratchet managed to dig the bullet out of Arboc's arm and bandaged him for the final touches. "There," Ratchet said once it was all complete. "It's finished. Now all you have to worry about is the police."
"Well…" Arboc replied. "If they catch me, it's gonna be without your help. Take care of the good Lombax, boys!"
"No, Arboc!" Ruby begged. "You can't harm him! Not after he saved your life!"
"You're wrong, Ruby! I can't risk anyone squealing to the cops!"
"Don't worry, boss!" Max said as he pointed a pistol at Ratchet's head. "I'll make sure he won't talk."
Ratchet again heard that same whispering voice talking to him: "Your mother…" the voice said, "…she did not die easy… You should know… she begged for your father as that human killed her! The human race is your enemy… Don't you ever forget that Billy Ray Stillwell mauled her mercilessly! If he is your enemy, then so are all humans!"
Enraged by all the confusion around him, Ratchet angrily grabbed Max's pistol and hammered it onto his head. "Look out!" the gangsters exclaimed. "He's gone insane!"
As Ratchet mercilessly slaughtered those gangsters, Arboc and Ruby quickly ran out of the house and secretly headed for the city. "I shouldn't be helping you!" Ruby complained as they walked along. "I should have left you back there with the rest of the mob! But I couldn't! I love you too much!"
"That's why you'll always stick by me, no matter what," Arboc replied. "Now be quiet—I gotta think!"
"But Ratchet will catch up to you sooner or later!"
"Don't be too sure! I remember that there are many other heroes on his side…"
Later, after killing the entire mob, Ratchet looked around at the mess that he made. He had senselessly murdered his enemies when he did not want to do it by will. "This is not what I wanted!" he thought as he ran out before the police arrived. "How am I supposed to face my friends? How am I supposed to fess up for what I've done?"
Ratchet ran all the way back to the mansion, but he had to remember that Talwyn was tied up. There was nothing left for him to do but do what Arboc commanded. Arboc was pointing a pistol at her head, threatening to kill her if Ratchet did not do what he said.
"Alright, big man!" Arboc said. "That's enough monkeying around! One false move, and the lady gets what she deserves!"
Before Ratchet did anything, he heard a calling voice from outside: "Arboc! Don't do it! This is not like you!"
Distracted, Arboc ran out the door to complain to his wife and shut her up. That gave Ratchet enough time to untie Talwyn from her bonds and set her free. "Stay here with Pupuru," he ordered her. "I'll go take care of that thug!"
"Don't go out there!" Talwyn objected in reply. "You're too angry to fight him! Let ME after him while you stay here with Pupuru."
"NO!" Ratchet shouted in anger. "I will not let him tamper with your life again! I swear to you, I shall find him and KILL HIM!"
Ratchet ran out to find Arboc, leaving Talwyn behind… in tears.
Arboc saw Ratchet coming out to get him, so he took desperate measures to take an elevator to go up a building under construction. "Arboc!" Ruby shouted as he ascended. "You can't escape! Come back! Give yourself up—take your medicine! I'll wait for you… I swear it!"
"SHUT UP, RUBY!" Arboc shouted down at her. "GET LOST!"
"Please… Do it for me! I—I love you!" Ruby began to burst into tears as her own husband hated her even more.
"You're nothing but a millstone around my neck, you son of a…" Arboc became so angry that he started to shoot at Ruby, forgetting to finish his sentence.
All seemed lost for poor Ruby, but Ratchet luckily came just in time and pushed her out of the way before a single bullet landed on her. "Are you alright?" Ratchet said to her as he brought her back to her feet.
"Yes… He missed…" she whimpered in reply.
Arboc stood on one of the girders of the unfinished building. He suddenly saw something useful to use as his weapon; he saw a bucket of red hot rivets. "That's my way out!" he thought as he picked up the bucket. "I'm gonna win after all!"
Arboc looked down at the crowd that surrounded the scene and threatened the people with the rivets. "Ratchet—hear me!" he shouted down. "This bucket is filled with hot rivets! Unless you let me go free and keep me safe from the cops, I'll dump these on the crowd!"
"He means it!" a nearby pedestrian exclaimed. "Let's get out of here!"
"No!" objected another man. "If he sees us run, he'll drop the rivets! We could never get away in time!"
"I can't let him escape!" Ratchet thought silently, trying to think of a plan. "But I can't allow these innocent people to be harmed! I know what I'll do to this cruel man; it's about time that he DIES!"
"Alright, Arboc!" Ratchet shouted up at his opponent. "I promise not to try to capture you!"
"I won!" Arboc thought evilly as he put down the bucket of rivets. "I'm free!"
But he spoke too soon; the girder began to shake and wiggle. It soon broke off the remains of the unfinished building and fell. Everyone watched as Arboc fell all the way down to the ground; they all thought that Ratchet would act and catch him before he hit the floor.
But Arboc did not make it alive; he landed very hard on the pavement.
The result was a mob leader now pronounced dead.
Everyone looked around to look for Ratchet; they were at first upset that he did not break Arboc's fall and keep him alive. But no one found Ratchet around; he had disappeared.
IS THIS A MYSTERY OR WHAT? NEXT TIME, WE SHALL SEE THE SURPRISE RETURN OF MR. GRIMM!
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