Volume Two, Season Four
The Vengeance of Grimm
By Cole Bezotte
Before we dig right into this long-awaited episode, I want to point out something to you so you won't be confused later on. To all those who have seen the Ratchet & Clank movie, you should remember who Grimroth Razz is, also after you have played the new game for PS4. Also, this chapter features the first appearance of a new OC! But here's the truth: I did not create this character. It was someone else's turn to put this extraordinary fellow to life. Recently, a new friend of mine, Sofie Spangenberg, introduced me to a female Lombax she made known as Donna. I was very impressed, it inspired me to place Donna in this episode of the series (and maybe some more chapters to come). I hope you enjoy her as much as I do.
In the main control chamber of the Time Cube, Ratchet could not help but search through the main console's memory banks that revealed all the past times of his many adventures. His mind startled by these finds, he soon stopped and rested his thoughts upon his former mentor and guardian: Grimroth Razz.
Ratchet remembered it all like it was yesterday: after he had left Veldin to stop the dangerous onslaught of the Protopet—started by Captain Qwark—he had not heard from Grim personally since then. Throughout the years, some reports stated that Grim was dead; some others said that he was still alive. Ratchet became very confused by these reports, and he forgot all about it once he reached the dimension where the rest of his species dwelled.
Later, before Ratchet even knew it, Pupuru entered the Time Cube, gazing upon the weary Lombax who had wrapped his thoughts in the past. But it took only a matter of seconds for Ratchet's left ear to twitch and hear the soft breathing of Pupuru. "What are you here for?" Ratchet spoke up after he sighed.
"I just want to see if you're feeling okay," Pupuru replied. "I hate seeing you so unhappy."
"I'm trying to uncover the parts of my past that are still missing. There's something in my head that just keeps bugging me, and I can't seem to make it go away…"
Ratchet was suddenly interrupted by a call he received in the Time Cube's communications relay. He held the correct the button to listen to the message that had just arrived in the data banks.
"Greetings, Ratchet!" spoke a familiar voice through the communicator. "I am glad that you are receiving me well."
"Mr. Grimm?" Ratchet replied. "Is that you?"
"Of course it's me, young fool! There is only one grim reaper in this universe, and you know it! I have so much to tell you…"
"What do you want from me?"
"Listen, you pig! Your stubbornness and hunger to go save the universe has aroused my anger for too long. However, during that entire time, I've been keeping something hidden from you."
"You better spit it out now, Grimm!" Ratchet stopped right there and thought about what he just said. "Wait a second…" he thought aloud. "What did I just call him?"
"Exactly!" Mr. Grimm continued to speak. "That name sounds familiar to you, doesn't it? I'm glad you are finally coming to your senses."
Ratchet took his finger off the button and turned to say something important to Pupuru: "Somehow, he is connected with Grimroth Razz, my old mentor and guardian. I miss that fellow from years ago; he was like my father! But I remember who Kaden is, since I foolishly traveled to the past to meet him. I better find Mr. Grimm and force some desired answers from him."
"Can I come with you?" Pupuru asked in reply.
"Sorry, Pupuru, but I'll be going to him alone. I should let NO ONE come with me, not even Clank. In the meantime—while I'm gone—you can take charge. I hear that Peoria, Illinois, is in danger of being completely overthrown by clown freaks. This can be your chance to put yourself and the rest of the team in action WITHOUT me."
"Are you sure you'll be alright without us?"
"I don't know… I'm merely HOPING to return alive… I'll do my best…"
Those were the last words Pupuru heard from Ratchet before she stepped out of the Time Cube and allowed the Lombax to close the main hatch. She then watched the amazing cube-shaped time-traveling machine slowly vanish before her eyes.
That same minute, Pupuru rushed to the mansion of the League of Heroes and shared the news about Ratchet's solo mission. Then she explained in full detail about Needles' invasion on Peoria, since she had the report in her hand. But right when she mentioned the fact that Ratchet put her in charge of this new mission, everyone froze.
"That Lombax put YOU in charge?!" Captain Qwark exclaimed after hearing everything. "Don't make me laugh! I am a CAPTAIN! Why did he not pick ME?"
"I honestly don't know," Pupuru replied. "But after thinking over this, I feel like I SHOULDN'T be in charge of all of you. It just isn't fair…"
"Listen to her!" Jak thought as he stood in the corner of the living room. "She's so honest! Ratchet really HAS made the right call associating with this girl."
"Then does that mean you'll give ME the position?" Qwark said with clenched fists.
"No…" Pupuru boldly replied. "I'm letting us ALL take equal credit. We'll have no leader on this mission and will fulfill it 'freestyle'."
"That doesn't sound so bad of a plan…" Raiden agreed. "I think we'll all go along with this just fine. Let's load the vans."
Meanwhile, Ratchet set his coordinates to take him directly to Mr. Grimm, in which he was located smack-dab in the middle of Greymoor Cemetery. Once he landed there, the Time Cube's hatch opened to reveal Grimm standing right there with his evil skull-head grinning.
Immediately, Ratchet grabbed his Omniwrench and hurled himself outside to attack the grim reaper. "Stand still!" he demanded as he raised his wrench, ready to strike. "I want answers now!"
"My dear Ratchet…" Mr. Grimm hissed as he swiped his scythe across the Lombax's face in defense. "You wouldn't dare attack your old friend, would you?"
Ratchet struggled to keep himself on his feet, feeling that his face was bleeding severely. "If I'm gonna get what I want…" he continued to exclaim, "…I'll have to FORCE it out of you!"
Moving to the next part of his plan, Mr. Grimm held up his right skeletal hand, shouting a mental command to his enraged opponent. "BE STILL!" he screamed.
Suddenly, Ratchet felt paralyzed; he could not move at all, not even with the commands from his fogged brain. Grimm carried the stiff Lombax back into the Time Cube, ready to reveal what he had hidden from him all these years. He put Ratchet down to the floor and began to speak:
"Your friend…he never died… He is still around, and is in fact in this very room as I speak…"
Even though Ratchet could not move—or even speak—his ears were still alert and active. He listened intently on what was then said from the words of Mr. Grimm:
"It's about time that I fully introduced myself…that you know my full name. Greetings… I am Grimroth Razz… I know what you're thinking, my boy; you want to scream at me and say that I am a complete liar. But what I say is the full truth… Let me explain everything to you…
"After your stubbornness and hunger for fame took over your mind, you went off to save the universe from the Protopet…and Captain Qwark. You completely left me, alone in the business of repairing space vehicles, one after another. I was by myself for so long, constantly asking myself when the day that you would return to me would come. I waited for too long… I was without you for months!
"But a strange fate occurred to me when the Tyhrranoids struck for the first time on Veldin. They had the garage completely surrounded; I was unable to leave by ANY means of escape! They had me finished… Death had struck me like lightning. I was dead for years until a miraculous moment had happened: Needles found me! He took my soul and twisted it to become what lives up the name 'Grim'. He completely transformed me into a human being and gave me the position of a killer; he inspired me to hunt you down and punish you for leaving me for years without warning.
"After Billy Ray Stillwell—the one who killed your mother—had escaped Blackfield Asylum, I attempted to find the junkyard and recover Marcus Kane's formula to create the Gargoyles. And…well…you know the rest of the story… And you know how the spirit of Death transformed me into the grim reaper after I performed my suicidal escape from you and that girl Pupuru. Now you know why I want your soul as my meal! Your ego triggered my hunger for revenge! I want your soul, Ratchet…! This punishment will not only serve you right for your deed, but it will also bring us together…forever! And you'll be under MY CONTROL!"
Then, with a wave of his hand, Grimm brought Ratchet out of his spell and put him back to normal. The first thing the Lombax did after moving himself again was scream out the loudest he ever did: "WHY?!"
"I won't take that for an answer!" Mr. Grimm retorted in reply.
"Tell…me…WHY!" Ratchet shouted as he threw his wrench directly at his former friend. "I should have listened to you for once! I should have done what I was told!"
"And your consequence for it shall be severe, boy! Your soul is mine!"
"No, wait! I know what I did was wrong, but you're not willing to FORGIVE ME?!"
"All that Needles said to me was true. I deserve so much better! I deserve to be IMMORTAL, with your soul at MY command!"
"Needles…!" Ratchet hissed as tears rapidly streamed down his cheeks. "Why should HE even exist?! He twisted you, my old friend, and made you a freak!"
"Believe me, Ratchet…" Mr. Grimm replied, "…THIS is more to my liking! The power is mine! I have the key to all power, thanks to the special Cosmic Key that Needles gave me!"
Ratchet looked closely at the villain's right hand and noticed something shining within the grip of his white fingertips. That was the Cosmic Key that granted Grimm all power. It was what helped him accelerate the process of the Gargoyle production. It was what helped him successfully assassinate Ratchet when they revisited Veldin, before Pupuru used the Time Cube to snatch Ratchet from death (Mr. Grimm attached it to the sickle he hurled at him). It was what helped the spirit of Death transform him into the new grim reaper.
"That must be a heavy source!" Ratchet thought silently, peering into the tiny, crystalline key. "Well, old friend, once I get that thing away from you, you should be power-hungry no more!"
"I shall never again make the mistake of affording you an opportunity to frustrate my wishes!" Mr. Grimm exclaimed as he pointed the Cosmic Key at Ratchet. "Farwell, you pathetic Lombax! Your end has come at last! Your soul is mine!"
A bright red glowing light engulfed Ratchet, about to take a journey out of his mortal flesh and into the collection of souls kept by the grim reaper.
"With no more than a single gesture—a mere random thought—I transmit your physical atoms to my collection of the souls of the dead! So the circle is complete! I have won! The universe is mine!"
"I can't let it happen!" Ratchet thought desperately as he felt himself fading away. "I can't fail my friends! I've got to play it his way!" So, with an urge to continue the life he chose to lead, he pleaded with Mr. Grimm: "Wait! If you want the greatest triumph of all—let me remain! This can be another way to fulfill my judgment! Let me SERVE you! THINK of it—you as the ruler of the universe—with ME as your helpless underling!"
Mr. Grimm was impressed by this proposal. "A most interesting conjecture indeed…" he said as the glowing energy faded away. "Every day of my life, I shall have you to gaze upon—to remind me how complete—how devastating my triumph really is. You'll obey my every command—toady to my slightest whim."
"What other choice is left me?" Ratchet replied. "You hold the Cosmic Key!"
"True—all too true… So long as the Key is mine, I have nothing to fear from you—or from ANYONE!"
"You mean—you'd give me a chance to serve you? You'd allow me to devote my life to your own welfare?"
"Of course! That is the only fitting way for our ordeal to end. You'll be my personal slave—till the end of your days. Thus have I won the most monumental victory of all time!"
"You're like some super-powerful king—but you're stronger by far…" Ratchet continued, as his tears dried. "And it will be my destiny to serve as your first soldier."
"How it gladdens my heart to witness your abject submission—your fawning solicitude…" Mr. Grimm replied. "Come then, defeated one. I shall pledge you to serve me—for all the remaining days of your life."
Satisfied that Mr. Grimm had bought his lie, Ratchet suddenly sprung himself forward in attack. He quickly grabbed Grimm's bony fingers and forced them to pry open, crunching them in the process. "So long as I prevent you from fully closing your fingers over the cube, its power is LESSENED!" he said as he kept Grimm's left hand back with his. "I'll NEVER let go—until you drop it!"
"I cannot destroy you until I have freed myself!" Grimm replied as they carried their fight outside into Greymoor Cemetery. "But—I CAN free myself! The cube still possesses the power for that! Let the ground beneath us split asunder! Let us be separated in the holocaust! I COMMAND IT!"
And just like that, Grimm's command came true; the ground beneath them began to shake and crumble as a narrow trench formed underneath their feet. The two combatants were on each side now, struggling to gain the upper hand.
"But—I'll hold on!" Ratchet hollered as he kept his balance. "No matter what happens—I'll never let go!"
"You MUST let go!" Mr. Grimm roared. "You MUST! I can't be cheated of my supreme triumph now!"
"Can't hold on any longer!" Ratchet thought as he reached out his free hand. Thanks to a magnetic "tractor beam", his Omniwrench came flying towards him in response. He grasped it tightly in his hand, ready to strike Grimm's hand to release the Cosmic Key. "The ground is splitting—as he commanded! Only one chance!—Now or never-! I've got to knock the Key out of his hand—before I lose him!"
Just like that, the Key fell out of Grimm's hand just like the Lombax planned. The grim reaper watched in horror as it fell all the way down the open pit. Like a mad fool, he immediately leaped downward, attempting to chase the Key before it struck the end of the pit. Meanwhile, Ratchet made his way safely back into the Time Cube and transported out of the cemetery to escape the hazards of the trench.
"I had to do it to help him…" Ratchet thought as another tear formed in his eye. "I know he'll return to the surface; a grim reaper is almost like a zombie, except more sane. Why did he have to become like this? My good friend and guardian is now a madman! Yet, there is still so much to this mystery that I don't know about. I must search for clues… I'll set the coordinates to Veldin and search the old garage. Maybe I'll discover some good answers… But I don't know how long this will take me, though…"
Let us move a little to the past, to when Pupuru and the rest of the League of Heroes began their mission to Peoria. Two vans were loaded with all the members, half in each van, with enough seats to fit them all. Though van #1 had Bentley as a steady driver, van #2 had a problem, having Captain Qwark as an almost reckless driver. Lucky for Pupuru, she took the seat in the way back of van #1, with Kat and Talwyn Apogee.
Now Talwyn wanted to speak with Pupuru about something she held secret, which is why she invited her to the way back. "Is something hurting you?" Pupuru asked her as both vehicles took off.
"Something's been bothering me lately…" Talwyn quietly replied. "Ever since Ratchet saved me from that deadly Mr. Grimm, I've been having stronger feelings towards him."
(Remember how Mr. Grimm crashed Talwyn's date with Ratchet? That was long ago, but it should still be fresh in our memory.)
"I don't know why he had left me for so long after that ordeal..." Talwyn continued. "It's as if he's trying to hide something from me. Is he trying not to tell me that he doesn't have feelings towards me? I really need to know, before I can say…"
"What is it?" Pupuru replied anxiously. "What do you need to say?"
"I love him… I've always loved him…!"
Pupuru was shocked to hear that. But she tried hard to ignore that feeling after seeing that tear on Talwyn's cheek. She placed a hand on Talwyn's left shoulder to comfort her, giving her the indication that she would be there to help solve this problem.
Talwyn's feelings did not stay around for very long, though. She felt relaxed after the bus had left Los Angeles itself. But there was still so much of the road to travel on, for it was going to take days to get to Peoria at this rate. The League of Heroes did not dare to take a plane because Peoria's airport was invaded and sealed off as well as the rest of all buildings in the city. These friends were satisfied by this van ride; though it took longer to get to their destination, they were glad to converse with each other for the hours and days that went by.
Finally, after all the days that dragged along, they arrived at where Needles and his goons had taken over. Since the entire population was forced to evacuate, the place looked more like a ghost town than a busy, bustling city. It may have seemed that way, but Needles' minions were placed everywhere in certain positions. But their main base was the state hospital, where Needles himself hid.
And in the head office, on the top floor of the building, the fiend stood at his window and looked outside to see two white vans park at the emergency entrance. "So they've come…" Needles thought, "…and without Ratchet with them this time. This will make it easier for me to kill that girl! Yes, I wanted to gut the pathetic Lombax, but Grimm was kind enough to put him out of the way. Now to finally slaughter Pupuru and fulfill my revenge."
At the corner of the office stood a female human, a patient who was the only one kept alive during the invasion. Needles figured that she could tell him everything he needed to know about the building's technology, inside and out.
"That freak has gone too far…" the girl thought silently. "Once the League of Heroes reaches this floor, I'll reveal myself to this clown and take him down once and for all! It was lucky that the Morph-O-Ray really worked…"
Back outside, both vans unloaded, as the heroes RE-loaded their weapons to prepare for combat. They did not choose to attempt opening the emergency entrance's door, knowing that it would trigger an alarm siren in response.
"A handful of us will have to clear the parking lot of those freaks," Sly Cooper suggested. "That could be where most of the snipers are located."
"You can go ahead and do that…" Angela Cross replied as she refilled her laser pistol with a full ammunition cartridge. "Pupuru and the rest of us should be able to take back this hospital and be rid of those goons. The end of Needles will mean the end of this invasion; all of his troopers will have no choice but to surrender once we kick him out of existence."
Pupuru looked up at the sky; all she could see was the formation of dark storm-clouds as they ran over her head. "Where are you, Ratchet?" she thought. "You've been gone for DAYS! Did something happen to you?"
But she had to shove that behind her now; there was much work to be done. Following the idea, Pupuru ran right through the front entrance along with a few others and found herself dropping to the floor for cover. While on the ground, she allowed Angela, Sasha Phyronix, Talwyn, Jak, Kat, Raven, Sackboy, Clank, Daxter, PaRappa, and Spike to immediately attack those clown soldiers and bring them to their end. Once the room was cleared, Pupuru got right back up to her feet and started to make her way to the top floor. She knew that taking the stairs would be awfully risky, because many clown troopers would most likely move up and down the floors that way. Besides that, there were many security cameras placed in those areas. And so, the best choice Pupuru had was to take an elevator to lift her all the way up to the top floor.
"Taking the stairs would be their method of getting to us faster," she thought as she set the elevator's coordinates to take her to the top floor. "This is my chance to meet face to face with that monster!"
At that same time, the snipers stationed at the parking lot were met with unexpected visitors. Nathan, Raiden, Solid Snake, Sly, Murray, Qwark, Sir Daniel Fortesque, Cole MacGrath, Kratos, and Jin Kazama took down those creeps with their weapons and agility, clearing the area from any more threats.
All this action put Needles in a state of frustration. His anger rose to great heights, seeing his troopers get put down one by one. "This is completely unacceptable!" he exclaimed, little knowing of his captive girl's hidden smile. "Even without Ratchet, these buffoons are still just as strong!"
"I am not impressed with your shrewdness, you snake!" the girl said behind him.
"If I want to, I can gut you right now!" Needles retorted in reply. "It was by your begging that I let all those innocent patients leave unharmed. I should have killed them all when I had the chance!"
"Sir!" called a sudden voice from behind. A lone clown "commander" entered the office with an iPad in hand, showing Needles the full radar. "At first, I saw only one Lombax on the radar, which was the female coming up this way. But now there are MORE coming!"
Needles looked up at the dark sky and noticed the Time Cube materializing in midair. Ratchet had come to the scene after his ordeal with Grimm, to help settle another score with the psychopathic man. "Grimm had failed his mission!" Needles shouted angrily. "Now BOTH Lombaxes are coming my way!"
"No, sir…" the commander sadly replied. "All THREE of them!"
"There's a THIRD?! WHERE!?"
The captive girl smiled as she suddenly began to change form. Needles watched in shock as she transformed right before her eyes. "Another Lombax!" Needles screamed. "Impossible!"
"Like I said…" the female Lombax said, "…the Morph-O-Ray really works! And you can call me Donna from now on…"
With those words said, Donna landed a hard blow upon the fiend's head, knocking him down along with the commander. It was right then that Pupuru had reached the office just in time to see the enemy at the mercy of the new hero.
"It looks like you already beat me to it…" Pupuru said shyly as she looked down at the floor.
"I heard about the situation here less than a week ago…" Donna happily replied, "…and so I wanted to come and help you. My name is Donna, by the way."
"Pleased to meet you… I'm Pupuru."
Enraged, more than ever, Needles kicked his way back up to his feet and drew a large machete from his belt. "SHUT…UP…AND…BLEED!" he screamed as he took his first swing.
Donna quickly grabbed Pupuru and dove right down to the floor to dodge the deadly blade of the machete. Then, with a fast leg, she kicked Needles' left knee to catch him off-balance. Needles grunted in pain as he fell down onto both knees, as his frustration increased.
"Now's my chance to knock him out cold," Donna thought as she slipped behind the villain in secret.
Needles stood back up to his feet and furiously took a swing at Pupuru's bag of magic, causing it to spill out and leave Pupuru without a weapon. Then he lifted his blade up for the tip to touch Pupuru's neck; he felt the urge to push it right through and take Pupuru's breath away.
"I've waited a long time for this moment!" Needles exclaimed. "And now I wish to enjoy it!"
Right behind him, Donna's feet immediately started to run at high speed, like a rocket. She dashed towards the madman, hoping to whack his head as hard as she could. But Needles was aware that she was right behind him, and so he reached his free hand out to stop her in her tracks. He grabbed her by the neck and held her like that as tight as he could. "Prepare to be put down!" Needles said to her.
"I can't let it end now!" Donna thought, struggling to break free of the violent grip. "He'll kill us both in cold blood!"
"Please don't make this more difficult than it already is…" Needles said in exaggeration. "As you can see, I have my hands full. I want to make my sweet victory last as long as it could. I have one last question for the both of you: are you ready to face death like you never have?"
Donna wished that she could kick Needles where she hung. But the pain in her neck was too great, she could not control her legs; they dangled where they were, not attempting to move a muscle. All Donna could do attempt to press her thumbs hard against a certain vein in Needles' arm, which caused the muscles in his fingers to react the opposite way. His fingers separated from each other, and Donna fell to the floor, free from the grim grip of the madman.
"I'll have to thank science for that!" Donna thought as she twisted Needles' arm. "For every action, there must be an equal and opposite reaction. That vein went IN, so his fingers moved OUT!"
Needles was no longer able to feel his right arm; he figured that Donna had also burst open that vein with all the strength she had. And having his arm twisted, it seemed that it was no longer "alive".
"I've underestimated human nature…" Needles thought as his spirit left the flesh and blood. "Next time, I'll control the body of a MONSTER! I'll have stronger muscles for a change!"
Pupuru watched as Needles' ghostly form soared out of the hospital, knowing that one day she would come face-to-face with him again one day. "I think that should mark the end of this battle…" she said as she looked out the window. "I see there are no more troopers present, so that must wrap it up."
"It isn't over yet," Donna replied as she examined Pupuru's cut neck. "I want to make sure you're in one piece before we leave this place."
"I'll be fine, really… It's just a flesh wound. Say… I want to ask you something interesting…"
"What is it?"
"I enjoyed seeing you action, so I'm wondering… Would you like to become part of the League of Heroes?"
"Oh, Pupuru… That sounds very tempting, but I'm not sure…"
"I won't be disappointed if you say yes OR no," Pupuru assured.
"Well…" Donna replied shyly. "I don't know what to do now… My home is on the planet Rilgar; it takes a long while to get from there to Earth without a special hyper-drive. I don't know whether to stay here or keep myself at my home. Perhaps I'll sleep on it… I can give you my answer next time we meet, alright?"
"Deal! You enjoy yourself… It's been a pleasure fighting side-by-side with you on this adventure."
"I think I've enjoyed it as much as you did."
About an hour later, after all was cleared and settled, Ratchet walked to the entrance of the hospital to see that Pupuru was still there. When the girl saw him coming towards her, she went over and embraced him, telling him how she missed him.
"I'm alright, Pupuru…" Ratchet assured her, but with no smile. "I'm just not in a mood…"
"What did you find out about, Ratchet?" Pupuru replied. "What did you learn?"
"All I learned was that my old friend became a skeletal backstabber. Grimroth Razz IS Mr. Grimm! And he never told me until now. I hate the various scum of this universe! There are just so many people who can't stay sane and keep their good nature within. I know that Grim and I will meet again someday; but I'LL be telling the story from there…"
Whew! I've planned this story months ago, and I haven't seen the Ratchet & Clank movie until now! I LOVED it! Now I know that I'm getting the story canon correct (in some way, I think). I hope you all enjoyed this. God bless you!