Volume Two, Season Two
May Freedom Reign
(Or… Mission for Revenge)
By Cole Bezotte
Wow! It's been two years since I wrote my first published fanfiction story. The beginning of the cancelled PlayStation All-Stars was a masterpiece… until it was removed, that is. I wanted to make a second anniversary special to really pump up the feelings of those eager readers. You may have already noticed that the two names of this chapter are the names of the very first story! "Mission for Revenge" soon changed to "May Freedom Reign", but I'm using BOTH these names in honor of the original project. But most importantly, both these names involve the main plot.
So, you're probably asking: "What is Ratchet gonna do in this story?"
You better brace yourselves! This is going to be one heck of an emotional story, as well as it reminding you of Doctor Who.
May Freedom Reign!
After knocking out all the guards of the new Sweet Tooth Asylum, Kat went farther on in her journey to free her friends. Ratchet and Pupuru were kept at the laboratory of Dr. Zemu, held as new patients soon to be placed in two cells Needles specifically saved for them.
It was a very unpleasant experience for Kat to walk through the halls of the asylum, listening to the screams that came from all directions. She tried to cover her ears and drown it out, but she could still almost hear everything around her. These prisoners were taken senselessly by Needles, taken to Dr. Zemu's laboratory to be given brain damage, and placed in these cold and damp prison cells.
Ratchet and Pupuru were already at the laboratory section of the asylum, and they were next to be given their brain damage; their minds were about to go completely berserk. Kat had to put a stop to Zemu's operation on them.
But when she arrived at the entrance of the laboratory, she already caught herself a nasty surprise. Needles and Dr. Zemu had already viewed Ratchet and Pupuru's memories, viewing everything that they had gone through from past to present. Zemu then saw a catch that both his patients had the same memory of Pupuru's dream. He watched everything unfold right in front of him; from Ratchet's problem with sanity to the zombie hunt at the future Greymoor Cemetery (seasons one through four). From Jin Kazama's joining of the League of Heroes to the infiltration at Count Dracula's castle (seasons five through seven). From Pupuru's fiddle with time to the end of the dream (from season eight to the cancellation of the series).
Dr. Zemu was shocked when he saw how the dream ended; a tear ran down his cheek as he watched the remaining events unfold in front of him. He saw how Ratchet brought Pupuru in with the League of Heroes, and how Billy Ray Stillwell died from his battle with Ratchet, and how Pupuru saved Ratchet from death by the hand of Mr. Grimm. After all events were shown, the recording stopped.
Even Kat did not bear to watch all those tragic events happen right before her eyes. She now remembered what things were like in the dream; she trembled to the ground, crying before all that unfolded. She forgot about making herself hidden, and Needles found out that she was right behind him.
Needles walked up to Dr. Zemu and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Emotions really get the best of people, don't they?" he spoke to him. "Is that why you act so much like an infant?"
"I can't help it," Dr. Zemu replied. "Out of all the patients I've viewed, these two have been through so much torture in so short of a time."
"But it's only been two years. Perhaps I should use that blasted Time Cube of theirs and go back to make things worse in their past! That would be the ultimate sweet revenge for me! Why didn't I think of this before?"
Needles saw that Zemu did not respond to what he just said. Needles was already angry at him, but he wanted to hide it from him. He silently pulled a pistol from his back pocket and barely touched it to Zemu's back.
"Do you think these people have met their end?" Zemu asked him.
"I'm afraid so," Needles replied. "And the same thing goes for you too." With that, Needles quickly shot Zemu in the back with his pistol. Zemu was completely unaware of it, as he stumbled back, unable to break his fall.
Needles caught him temporarily before he could hit the floor. Needles again shot Zemu, but in the chest this time, killing him off completely. He let go of the scientist and let him fully die on the floor. "If ANYONE'S going to do the right thing around here…" Needles said, "…it's going to be ME!"
Kat was not going to let Needles win the war between good and evil. Needles represented all of evil: selfish, murderous, hating, deceptive, and vile. He was practically all of evil itself, now taking the form of a human body. And the League of Heroes needed to put a stop to him now.
Desperately, Kat walked straight in and used her gravitational powers to completely destroy all of what was in front of her. Her rage mixed with her emotions of worry and sadness made her more aggressive than ever. Her glow became brighter and brighter as she angrily blew Needles out of the room. She made sure that she buried him underneath much scientific equipment to keep him on the ground; she wanted to make good her escape with her friends.
Kat unplugged the needles from Ratchet and Pupuru's heads, allowing them to keep their sanity and their memories. Ratchet woke up to see that Kat had done her job well, thanking her for her heroic deed.
"I heard everything that Needles said," Kat reported, looking very distraught. "He plans to steal the Time Cube and use it for his own purposes!"
"I never thought that he would go and do something like that until now!" Ratchet replied. "And, as much as I hate to admit it, I want to do the same thing! I want to use the Time Cube to go back to the past and save my parents from their death! Why didn't I think of this before?"
"But don't you remember how Billy Ray killed your mother? If he sees you, he's liable to do the same thing to you!"
"I'm going to save my mother before Billy kills her! I'll make sure that Emperor Tachyon recognizes me before he destroys the land of my race! I'll bring my parents here to the present, and we'll live happily ever after! I hope I didn't make it sound too corny…"
Kat, with the arrival of Raven, helped all prisoners gain back their sanity. The two shifters used their gravitational powers to rearrange the poor victims' minds back together again, and so they became perfectly sane. Ratchet and Pupuru had to leave, though, and made their way back to the mansion of the League of Heroes.
(Note: WHY DO I ALWAYS USE THE SAME PHRASE OVER AND OVER AGAIN?!)
Once they arrived, Ratchet immediately ran right into Pupuru's room and snatched the Time Cube from the nearest shelf. Pupuru followed him into that room and saw how distraught he was as he held the Time Cube to him like a doll.
"What the heck are you doing?" Pupuru said to him. "I really hope you're not going insane!"
"This is my moment!" Ratchet barked in reply as the Time Cube expanded and created a doorway inside. "I'm going back to save my parents! And NOTHING will stop me!"
Pupuru stopped Ratchet before he could step foot inside the Time Cube's interior. "Wait!" she exclaimed. "Let me go with you!"
"No, Pupuru!" Ratchet replied. "This is MY journey, not yours!" He quickly went inside and shut the door so no one can come inside. He also seized the main key and hid it inside the Time Cube's computer console. "Nothing can stop me now!" he exclaimed as he pulled the correct levers that soon made the time machine disappear.
Pupuru panicked as she watched the Time Cube disappear. She began to worry deeply about Ratchet, fearing that he may die in his own dark past. "Why doesn't someone stop him?" she thought. "I don't want him to go mad again!"
Excitedly, Ratchet hurried all the way to the past, when his home planet Fastoon was beginning to crumble by the power of Emperor Percival Tachyon. Tachyon was using his many robots and weapons to destroy the land the Lombaxes dwelled. Only now, Ratchet was going to stop him in his act here and now. But first, one thing had to be done: save his mother.
(Note: Now you will see our first three "movies" tie in with each other.)
Ratchet hurried to the crushed council room where his mother was trapped. She had absolutely no way out, especially when Billy Ray was ready to make his kill. Ratchet had to act fast and get her mother out of there.
(Note: Because Ratchet's mother never had a name, let's GIVE her one.)
As Ratchet used his trusty Omniwrench to lift heavy heaps of rubble, he heard the screams of Esther coming from the inside. He quickly tossed the debris aside and rushed over to her, right before Billy could land his hoe onto her.
"If you dare land a hand on her…" Ratchet hissed, "…I'll KILL you!"
Billy already recognized Ratchet right when he saw him. "YOU!" he exclaimed. "The Dark Knight told me all about you and your past! That's why he sent me here to give you the dark past! I'll be responsible for killing your mother!"
Enraged, Ratchet struck out at Billy with his wrench, smacking him on the head. Billy's anger increased as he struck back with his hoe. Esther watched as wrench clashed with hoe over and over again. No matter how many times Ratchet was hit, he always stood right back up and attacked back. His anger and hunger for revenge made him almost completely unstoppable.
Eventually, Billy became tired from fighting so hard. But before he could do anything else, Ratchet blurted out the very words that he soon regretted to say:
"There's nothing you can do! You might as well go and kill PUPURU'S parents instead of mine! That's what you should have done!"
Billy smiled evilly and hissed in reply: "You're right! Why didn't the Dark Knight tell me to do THAT? He's such a fool, I'm not taking any orders from him anymore! From now on, I'm going my OWN way! I'll make sure I get my money's worth and win myself a killing spree!"
With that, Billy took off and went to go do what Ratchet said. But little did he know that the Dark Knight bore the true identity of Marcus Kane.
Ratchet quickly pulled Esther up from the burning floor and rushed her out of the council room. "Come on!" he exclaimed excitedly. "It's time that my dark past ends!"
They were out of there in a hurry, just in time to see what Emperor Tachyon was up to. He was nowhere in sight at the moment, but Ratchet knew that he would strike any minute. But for now, he wanted to see his mother face-to-face.
Esther took one good look at him; she did not recognize him at first because of his rage. But a tear in his eye made complete sense to her as she began to know whom she was facing. "Son…" she whimpered as a tear formed in her eye. "It's you…"
"Everything will be fine, mom…" Ratchet replied. "I promise… I'm here with you…"
"Why did you tell that awful man to kill another friend of yours?!"
"It was the way things SHOULD have been! Pupuru became lucky and I ended up suffering throughout my origin! But now I don't need her anymore! I'm free to do what I want with my Time Cube! Just as Pupuru brought me back after Mr. Grimm killed me, I'm doing the same thing with saving you and dad!"
"If she saved you, you should have repaid her by saving HER parents!"
"Can you not change the subject?! I just saved your frickin' butt over there! You wouldn't be alive if I hadn't saved you!"
"How can this be? You're just like your father! You're selfish and demanding!"
Once Kaden had been mentioned, Ratchet's heart leaped. Now was his chance to go and save him as well. "Show me to my father!" he said.
Meanwhile, back at modern-day Los Angeles, Pupuru sat on a chair in front of the window of her room. She never slept that night; she was always worried and troubled by Ratchet's insanity. The thought of it kept her up with no peaceful sleep; she decided to clear her mind by looking out the window and watching the raging thunderstorm outside.
Kat woke up to see Pupuru sitting in front of the window; she did not know what she was thinking about at that time. Pupuru never told anyone what had happened earlier that day; no matter how many times she was asked the same question as to what happened to Ratchet, she never gave an answer. She kept it to herself, hoping that no one else thought that Ratchet had gone mad.
Kat got out of her bed, pulled up a chair, and sat down next to Pupuru to watch the storm with her. "Why do you not tell us of what happened?" she asked her. "Has Ratchet really gone insane this time?"
Pupuru at first stayed silent for a few minutes, not answering Kat's question. But then, she finally found courage enough to reply; she did not want Ratchet to stay at the past his whole life, and Kat would be a great help to bring him back. "He took the Time Cube with him to the past," Pupuru said. "He went to go save his parents before his home planet became a shambles. But he refused to let me go with him. I never thought that he would be gone for so long of a time. It's as if he never wants to return to us."
Kat felt heartbroken as well, finally realizing how far Ratchet truly went with his mind. But before she could say anything, she saw Pupuru break down, tears rapidly running down her cheeks. "I wouldn't be here if it weren't for him!" she exclaimed. "He saved my life! He saved me from my insanity! Why did he have to do this?!"
Suddenly, Kat saw Pupuru fade away and disappear into nothingness. "Pupuru!" she exclaimed as she attempted to grab hold of her. But nothing helped; Pupuru was gone and removed from the real world. "How did it happen?" Kat thought. "Ratchet must have done something! NO! He killed her parents!"
Indeed Billy had done what Ratchet told him to do: he had gone to Pupuru's home and killed her parents right on the spot. "My mission is truly complete!" he thought after his success. "Now that she is put out of the world, the dream will NEVER come true! The dream was her whole life, and never something to be changed!"
Back at Fastoon, Ratchet finally met up with his father Kaden right before he could jettison the escape pod. Inside the pod was Ratchet, right after he was born, soon to be sent to the safe planet of Veldin.
(Note: The planet was not safe for long when Chairmen Drek almost destroyed it. But Ratchet and Clank saved the day anyway, as we all know.)
Ratchet told his father about his plan and how he wants to save their planet together. But Kaden saw the look in his son's eyes, knowing that he had done his terrible deed.
"You want to save our planet…" Kaden said to him, "…but you also killed your friend before coming here! I almost made that mistake with Esther until you saved her! You confuse me, my son!"
"I'm doing this for your own good, dad!" Ratchet replied. "I'm trying to save our family so that I don't end up lonely for fifteen years."
(Note: Ratchet was assumed to be fifteen years old in his first game. He built his first ship out of rubber bands and chewed gum.)
"I can't accept your excuse! As my son, you should know better than to go your own way! As a Lombax, you should know better than to commit murder!"
"Did somebody just say MURDER?" said an awfully-familiar voice from behind.
Ratchet and the others turned to see Needles standing right in front of them; but this time, he was not alone. He had killed Emperor Tachyon before he could bring the planet crumbling down.
"You became too overconfident in yourself!" Needles said as he threw Tachyon's corpse to the ground. "You wanted to do the avenging like you did to this guy. You wanted everything to go your way, including the death of Pupuru's parents! You're starting to become my type, Ratchet! You yourself are as much as a killer as me! Look at what you've done in the past!"
(Note: Ratchet did avenge Tachyon in his games. But you also have to remember how Ratchet gained his split-personality in season one of this series.)
"I HAD to do it!" Ratchet barked at him. "I had so good of a reason to make those killings!"
"Tell me why, Ratchet. Tell me why a wimpy nobody like you would get away with such things!"
"Because I hate humans! I hate the whole human race itself, and I wish that it was never created at all!"
"I know what you're thinking: you want aliens to inhabit the entire universe! You want your family to be the supreme ruler of the universe! You might try, and maybe even rule the depths of hell itself. Just you try, Ratchet… Just you try…"
"Oh, I will…"
Needles paused for a moment, then spoke again: "I have an idea! Because I almost have the same plan as you, why don't we do it TOGETHER? Join me, Ratchet, and we shall rule the universe together! We shall overthrow our worst enemies, even Chairman Drek and Mr. Grimm, and become the rulers of all realms! I can even give you the power to save your closest friends from death! What do you say?"
Ratchet almost gave in to Needles' offer; he was very eager to take all that he wanted into his own hands. But Kaden interrupted as he stepped forward and sliced a dagger through Needles' wrist. Needles' right hand was cut off, but only for a temporary moment; a new hand began to form where the old one once stood. "Keep trying…" he hissed at Kaden, "…and you'll only see death's door."
Ratchet was right about to say that he accepted Needles' offer, but something happened that made him stop. He heard his mother behind him sobbing; he began to remember everything his parents said to him. He began to stop and think:
"As a son, I am a listener. I must comprehend what my parents say and obey them, even at the age I'm at now. I always knew that someday, I would be a father just like my own. I already know what it's like being a father, ever since I took Pupuru in with me. PUPURU…! WHY DID I KILL YOU!? I can still hear her; she's out there, crying and begging for me to come back and save her! I took her in for a good reason, and I will always carry out that reason for as long as I live! Pupuru, you want your dream to come true in a good way… YOU SHALL HAVE IT! You're my companion… you're my friend… you're like my daughter! I love you, Pupuru! And I will never let you down for as long as I live! I'm coming home!"
Ratchet opened his eyes and slowly reached down into his pocket. He pulled out the miniaturized Time Cube and tossed it to the ground, where it grew and expanded to life-size. As its door slowly opened, a bright light from inside shined directly towards Needles, blinding him temporarily. It created a diversion good enough for Ratchet to quickly throw him inside.
With Needles now as a captive, Ratchet had enough time to throw everything together and bring things back to the way they should be. Before taking off, he had one last thing to do.
"I'm very sorry," he said to his parents. "I should have listened to you and done what I was told. I kept seeing the human race as my enemy. But I had to think about why it was: all the adversaries I've faced since I went to Earth were humans. I fought them for too much of a time, but Needles here is the combination of shadow and soul. He took on a human form himself to physically walk the universe. I'm taking him with me to take Pupuru's place in the time vortex."
"Before you go…" Esther replied, "…we must tell you something. You must reset all the events that had happened earlier. I'd rather that horrid-faced freak take ME instead of Pupuru's parents. I'm willing to sacrifice myself and let your father send you on your journey. Your journey has gone on for years until you became a hero on Earth. We love you." With that, she embraced Ratchet and kissed him on the forehead. This was the only chance she had for showing her love for her son.
Kaden stepped forward and said something as well. "Son…" he said very softly.
"Yes… dad…?" Ratchet replied.
"You are forgiven… We love you… Now GO and change the course of time! The future is in your hands!"
"But can't you both come with me? We can live in the future and serve as the mighty League of Heroes!"
"We cannot do that! If we come with you, all of time will be messed up, and a time paradox will cause total chaos! Our place is here, where your future awaits you." Kaden pointed towards the escape pod where the baby Ratchet was placed and ready to take off to Veldin.
"Mom… dad… I love you…" Ratchet went forward and embraced his two loving parents one last time. He never wanted to say good-bye; he never wanted to leave; he never wanted to be separated.
Hesitatingly, Ratchet went inside the Time Cube, then turned back to take one last good look at his parents. After a few seconds, he closed the door as tears poured down his closed eyes.
Back at Los Angeles, the preacher known as Jebidiah knelt at a wood cross that stood on the stage of his church. On that spot, he began a prayer for everything to be back to normal. He had heard of the disappearance of Pupuru, and he had thought that it was the work of a demon. Right where he knelt, he prayed:
"Dear Lord, I ask in Jesus' name to remove all pain and sorrow from the world. If there is anything wrong, You correct it. If there is anything broken, You fix it. If there is any rocky heart, You soften it. Make us clean in Your name, Jesus, make us Yours. No matter how far away we are, Your love still touches our hearts. You are never too far away from us. Make us Yours, Lord!"
The Time Cube landed at modern-day Los Angeles. Ratchet could not bear at all to open the door to the modern world outside him. He really missed his parents, but he had to set everything straight. He had to reset the moment when his parents died from Tachyon's assault and Billy's kill. Now that he was the modern time, there was no turning back. Pupuru's parents were safe, but Pupuru herself was still stuck in the time vortex.
Ratchet opened the door and walked outside. He had landed the Time Cube at a nearby park, where a great view of the river was shown. Only now, it was raining hard, but there was no time for Ratchet to lose.
Needles staggered outside the Time Cube and tried desperately to reach out and grab Ratchet. But Ratchet heard him from behind, and he turned and smacked him clear in the face. Needles stumbled to the ground blindly and hit his head hard on the ground.
"So…" Ratchet said to him. "Now you know how it feels."
"Honestly…" Needles replied as he stood back up. "One day… just one day… I shall kill you and end your pitiful life forever! I swear it!"
"But you can't do it now. Look at you; you're so pitiful and helpless! You yourself are nothing more than evil itself, and good has triumphed over evil once again! Admit it: you have lost!"
"You may SAY that, but I'll never admit it!"
Ratchet dragged Needles back inside the Time Cube for the final step of the plan. On the other end of the cube was another door: the door which led to the time vortex. Ratchet originally programmed it to be where a passenger jumps out the Time Cube's main room (at his destination) while the pilot still takes control. But none of it turned out quite the way Ratchet planned it.
Ratchet has never opened that door yet; but once he grabbed hold of the switch that controlled it, he knew there was no turning back. "This is it…" he thought. "I'm coming!"
He pulled the lever. The door opened wide, letting in a giant gust of wind. Ratchet had to fight it if he wanted to free Pupuru from there. He dragged Needles with him into the time vortex; their search had just begun.
The vortex was completely white and windy; the wind formed many layers, making it very difficult to see through the white scenery. All that Ratchet could hear was the cry for his name coming from a certain direction.
"Pupuru is near!" Ratchet thought. "I can already hear her!"
He trudged on, struggling to walk through the winds that carried him on. There was absolutely no floor to touch with his feet, which made Needles very nervous with the feeling that Ratchet would drop him down below.
Pupuru was floating in the white air, still calling for help. Finally, she heard the promising call from the brave Lombax:
"I'm coming, Pupuru!"
Pupuru began to see things very clearly as Ratchet finally approached her. She reached out her hand to try and grab him, but the furious wind pushed her back even more. This made things a very difficult challenge both for her and Ratchet.
Ratchet too reached out his hand to grab hers, but still no luck. It seemed like they were going nowhere with this at all.
"I can't reach you!" Pupuru shouted to him over the wind. "I might as well be stuck here!"
"Don't you EVER say that!" Ratchet replied. "Let's give this one more try! Let's give it all we got! I love you, Pupuru! Don't ever forget that!"
"I never will… I love you too…"
Finally, with one last push, the two heroes' hands touched, and they held on very tightly. Neither of them would let go at all; this was their victory.
"I thought we had a deal!" Needles exclaimed, still holding onto Ratchet's other hand. "I could have done ANYTHING for you!"
"Don't lie!" Ratchet replied. "You've been the burden of everyone on this planet!"
"You fool! Marcus created me with his mind! HE is the one to blame!"
"Marcus pledged himself to good! Like I already told you, YOU LOST! GOOD-BYE!"
"Ratchet… NO!" Ratchet let go of Needles' hand and let him fall through the time vortex… into eternity…
Ratchet brought Pupuru back into the main room of the Time Cube and closed the time vortex's door.
"Thank you so much for saving me again, Ratchet!" Pupuru said as she embraced Ratchet. "You're not only a true hero, but you're also a true friend!"
"Pupuru…" Ratchet replied, "…I'm very sorry all of this ever happened. All of this is my fault. I cared only about myself and my pleasures, like I was a few years ago. But now, to this day, I promise that I will never, ever, abandon you. You're family!"
"I already know that my parents died from SOME source. But now, I'm not alone. I still have you and the others as family!"
"Thank you so much, Pupuru! That really means a whole lot to me! Although, I still can't stop but think about how your dream began. Remember how I was hooked on drugs, and it made me a prisoner of my own addictions. I had to fight Sweet Tooth in order to free Nathan Drake, but I myself was imprisoned as well. All I had to do was look up and see those beautiful stars up in the sky. Those stars are free to shine and be the bright lights that they are. I applied that lesson to my life as I became a better person. Now I can think back and remember the very words that I still want to say today: MAY FREEDOM REIGN!"
I'd like to thank James Arnold Taylor for the character of Ratchet, and J.S. Gilbert for Sweet Tooth. Gilbert makes Sweet Tooth sound tough, but he cusses in the Twisted Metal game for PS3. Still, I make him a better villain in this series: he's not so dark and cruel. Also, thanks to my older brother Forrest for editing my first draft of the cancelled "May Freedom Reign" from 2013. Thanks to T.J. Fixman for Ratchet's true origin in the Ratchet & Clank games. And finally, many thanks to God my Lord and Savior. I put in that prayer because I was praying hard to God as I wrote this story. He is good, isn't He? I prayed to him as I also wrote the cancelled version. Anyway, thank you all very much for reading! God bless you!