PlayStation All-Stars

Volume Two, Season Four

Episode Four

Ratchet is Missing

by Cole Bezotte, Sofie Spangenberg, and Forrest Eaton

For months on end, I've been seeing such cruel content everywhere I go! I'm really getting sick of it! And if you ask me why, I'll tell you that I'm a Christian, so there's a GOOD reason to be bothered by this. I provide surfers of the internet with clean content for even KIDS to enjoy, on YouTube, FanFiction, and DeviantArt. So don't test me, because this is something I'm SERIOUS about!

You know what, I'm not even going to say it. Let's just go back to the freaking mansion, shall we?

It had been approximately fifteen minutes of silence that Pupuru heard while she was locked away in her room. The tears on her face finally dried up, and calmness had overtaken her mind. "Is it all over?" she thought as she reached for the door. "Did Ratchet cut off the signal?"

But right when Pupuru was about to step right out, she heard a sudden noise behind her. At her window was the Lombax known as Donna, with Orbot in the grip of her right hand. Recognizing her right away, Pupuru opened the window for her, letting her into the house. "Donna!" she spoke to her. "You're here… But have you heard from Ratchet?"

"I didn't see him anywhere," Donna replied as she still held Orbot by the neck. "I managed to destroy that mad genius' satellite feed though. But right after I received this aching wound, he escaped me."

Pupuru cringed at the sight of the black burn in Donna's right arm. "Don't worry…" she said. "I'll help heal that for you. Wait a minute! So you're telling me Ratchet wasn't there to help dismantle the live showing?"

"Sadly, he wasn't there…" Donna replied. "But I did manage to take this troublesome bot into custody. He's got a lot of questions to answer."

"He's the one who extracted my memory! He's going to pay for what he did! I hope he feels what it's like to have his boss abandon him like that."

"He's the boss…" Orbot sadly replied, "…so he does whatever he wants. Please take it easy on me, I am very fragile…"

"First thing's first…" Pupuru demanded as she sneered at the captive robot, "…Where's Ratchet?!"

Speaking of Ratchet, we will now turn our attention to him. He did not fully awaken until a half-hour after Dr. Eggman abandoned him in another city. Once his big eyes opened, he found himself on a comfortable bed, his head elevated on a firm pillow. The room he was placed in was not familiar to him, but taking one look at a nearby doctor made him realize he was put in a hospital.

"Ah, so you're finally awake!" the doctor spoke after noticing Ratchet. "That's a pretty ugly bump you have on the back of your demeanor."

"It still hurts so much…" Ratchet whimpered as he felt his head. "Where the heck am I? No, wait… More importantly, WHO am I?"

"Just tell me… Do you have any job, activity, or appointment that you need to attend to?"

"Anything? I…I can't think straight… It feels like my mind has been fogged up so much. I can't remember a thing…"

"Amnesia, eh? Well, mister…Ratchet, you'll find all your answers in due time. In the meantime, why don't you go out and get yourself a job so you can pay off the hospital bill. I'll keep your possessions here for safekeeping."

"Ratchet? How do you even know that's my name?"

"I guessed that's what it was when I saw it etched in this big ol' wrench. I can already tell you're a pretty handy fella, so you'd do good as a mechanic. But I'm not here to tell you your job, so just go and find one adequate enough to pay you good."

After checking Ratchet's reflexes, the kind doctor sent him on his way with a new outfit. He had to keep the usual clothes at the hospital so they can be studied; the minor tears and marks from the recent battle, mixed with the Lombax's DNA could possibly trace back to what happened beforehand. Ratchet was sent off with a blank white T-shirt and grey cargo shorts, and wore black "President" boots (from Thursday Boot company). He was given a red cap to hide the hideous bump on his head, which was good enough for him.

"So he wants me to get a job…" Ratchet thought as he walked through the streets. "This day just keeps getting strange. I guess if I get enough money to pay off the hospital bill, I can then free myself to go off and find the rest of my past. I do remember how I got this bad bump; having been hit on the head so hard by a TV screen, then getting thrown to the streets of this busy city. Say… This place looks an awful lot like Las Vegas; I see a bunch of casinos and bars everywhere. I guess it's easy for me to find a job in ANY of them!"

Suddenly, Ratchet stopped in his tracks once his left ear twitched at a sudden sound. It was tuned to a music that was playing from a nearby pizzeria. "That seems pretty attractive…" Ratchet continued. "That should be my first stop."

He followed the sound all the way over to Happy Vito's (first seen at Midtown), where its fancy design attracted him to immediately walk in and enter. There was nobody there at the moment, except the baker and host of the restaurant. But the music was coming from a group of four, on a small stage, rehearsing for a show they were putting up that night. Ratchet could not help but sit himself down at the first table in sight and listen closely at this rock music.

Such perfect rhythm and sound were in place, as well as the lyrics being so catchy. He could not help but sing along to it:

Can you and I be truthful now?

What're you runnin' away from?

And then you numb the pain to make it through somehow

What're you runnin' away from?

(The song is "Open till Midnight" by Level, which was then remade by Adema.)

Suddenly, the band stopped their movement. The lead guitarist/vocalist looked over his shoulder to speak with the bassist: "Chad, is that you adding the vocals?"

"No, that's not me," the bassist replied. "I haven't been singing this whole time."

Then the leader looked ahead of himself to see Ratchet at the table. Ratchet pretended not to notice, so he turned his attention to the baker tossing the pizza crust dough. "Hey you there!" the singer called to him. "Come on up here, man!"

With no other choice, Ratchet got up and walked up onto the stage. He didn't know what was coming for him, but he did not notice the slight smile that the leader bore.

"Say, what's your name, sonny?" he spoke to him.

"Eh…the name's Ratchet," the Lombax nervously replied. "That's all I've been able to remember so far."

"Pleased to meet you, buddy. The name is Bruce Corley. I lead this band of mine place to place, trying to get signed into a record company. All we've been doing so far is music for fun. But we ain't giving up yet. Please, meet my mates!"

Ratchet shook hands with the rhythm guitarist/backing vocalist Curt Borders, then the bassist Chad Whitaker, and finally the drummer Randy Bustos.

(Note: I hope you know these characters' designs after seeing them on DeviantArt. And as a crazy fact Curt Borders is actually a real guitar-playing friend of mine, formerly of the Barley House Band. I put him in this story for appreciation.)

"We heard you singing over there," Curt said after fully greeting Ratchet. "We couldn't help but notice the good vocals coming out of you."

"So we're simply asking you to sing with us as we wrap up our rehearsal," Bruce continued. "And if you do it good, you can perform WITH us tonight!"

"I can?" Ratchet replied, excited. "Thank you guys so much!"

The band, known simply as Solar Eclipse, took it from the top again, starting the song as they had done before. Now was Ratchet's turn to take Bruce's microphone and sing like he had done merely a minute ago.

She needed shelter from the rain, she saw it on the sign

It said "We're open till midnight"

I'm sorry by the way, I came here just the other day

And you look so familiar

And maybe you and I can go inside and start the night

With a friendly conversation

Can you and I be truthful now?

What you runnin' away from?

And then you numb the pain to make it through somehow

What you runnin' away from?

And just like that, Ratchet was accepted.

Many miles away, back to the (UGH!) mansion, Orbot was put in the medical center for interrogation. If he did not spill the truth, he would have a part of him disassembled, limb by limb. He was not cracking just yet.

"If you don't say it now…" Talwyn Apogee threatened, "…your cube buddy won't be repaired. You better say something or else you won't have your brother back!"

"Okay!" Orbot shrieked in fear. "I'll talk! After Dr. Eggman's scheme was foiled, he took Ratchet away into the Time Cube and transported himself away. I don't know where they could be now!"

"Perhaps I can scan for the Time Cube's activity," Clank spoke as he pressed a button on his chest. "I can connect myself with its mainframe and locate it." After a few seconds of a full radar search, Clank found the Time Cube, located at the lab of Dr. Eggman. "I do not know what the Time Cube is still doing at Brooklyn…" Clank continued. "But I do not detect any life forms aboard. I cannot find him…"

"I can contact the boss," Orbot suggested in reply. "He can tell us what he did to the creature." However, once Orbot began speaking to Eggman through his built-in communicator, the mad genius said that Ratchet was not there with him, leaving out the fact that he ditched him in the streets of Vegas. "He is nowhere to be found…" Orbot said after hanging up the call.

"Then it must be true…" Clank sadly said. "Ratchet is missing!"

Everyone who had attended the pizzeria for dinner had enjoyed Solar Eclipse' performance very much. Much applause filled the air with a loud sound of cheer. Even the manager of the building liked the show very much, he was ready to leave the band off with a load of money.

After the last song was over, a tall man in a suit walked right up to the stage and introduced himself: "How do you do, gentlemen? I am G.A. Gregory, head of Legendary Records. I couldn't help but notice your stunning talent and skill in rock and roll, I am willing to sign you into my record company and help produce your first album. What do you say?"

"Well…" Ratchet nervously replied. "Actually…I'm just a guest singer tonight. I won't be…"

"Never mind that," Bruce interrupted. "This little man is one of us now. We gladly accept the offer! We've got lots of good songs to introduce to the world!"

"Perfect!" Gregory exclaimed in excitement. "Now if you would just sign this contract, and we'll all be good to go!"

Donna's burn was treated and began to heal slowly over time, as she soared her ship back to Brooklyn in hopes of retrieving the Time Cube from Dr. Eggman. She succeeded in taking it back from the evil scientist, but once she brought it back to Los Angeles within another couple of days' time, she realized it was inoperable. No matter how many times she tossed it onto the ground, the Time Cube simply would not expand itself in response.

The Time Cube was supposed to start out as a small handheld object, like a child's block toy. And once the right user tossed it to the ground, it would increase in size and expand to a life-sized transportation system that traveled through time and space. Donna did not know until now that she was not the one to use it.

Pupuru however was granted instant access to the Time Cube and plunged herself inside to examine the controls. Only Pupuru and Ratchet were the masters of this marvelous machine. Now was the girl's chance to find the Lombax friend of hers, using the very powerful radar reader.

"Pupuru!" Clank exclaimed suddenly. "The Time Cube has given me Ratchet's location! He's in Las Vegas!"

"What could he be doing there?" Pupuru replied, worried.

"I have logged onto a news website that told me about his whereabouts. He is currently the lead vocalist of a rock and roll band known as Solar Eclipse."

"But…why would he…just…go and do it…and…" Pupuru stuttered, finding nothing to say. She thought Ratchet had abandoned her for this, a ridiculous reason.

"Hold on…" Clank continued. "There's more… It says that Ratchet had paid a hospital bill with the money he earned after a live performance. The doctor states clearly that he had a…loss of memory!"

"Then he has amnesia! He doesn't remember anything! Clank, I have to get to Vegas! I must bring him back here so his memories will return!"

"A mere 'familiar sight' won't cause someone to remember. Just go to the next concert and talk to him; pretend you are merely a fan girl. Oh, and bring Talwyn with you; Ratchet will need the right girl to have a crush on."

"Talwyn already told me that she loves Ratchet so much. I really hope this works…"

Long before Pupuru and Talwyn took the Time Cube to visit Vegas, Solar Eclipse already had it made. Their fame stretched all across the state, which would soon extend throughout the whole United States. They rapidly wrote songs, which prepared for their first album to be released by Legendary Records. It was nothing but fame and money for them.

Until one day, in his hotel room, a heavy thought occurred to Ratchet. He knew he was going to be late for rehearsal that night, but something was bothering him very much. He still pondered over the fogged brain of his, attempting to probe farther back into the past. Still, he only drew a blank, with no familiar memory in his head.

"This is really bothering me now!" Ratchet thought as he felt his held. "If only that bump would go away sooner! Back at that news station, someone threw that monitor down onto me…if only I can remember his name. And for what purpose was I there? I see the face of a girl, but what's her name?! That does it! I'm going back to the hospital to find some clues. The doctor still has those possessions of mine, so maybe I can draw something from there…"

The Lombax did just as he thought, rushing back to the doctor who found him unconscious on the street.

(Read that sentence again. You'll find something familiar in the words.)

"Ah, so you're back!" the kind doctor said as Ratchet walked right into his office. "You paid your bill successfully, so what would you want now?"

"I need some answers…" Ratchet replied sternly. "I must see my possessions, which you keep here."

"Help yourself… You want them back, go ahead and take them."

Ratchet anxiously examined the Omniwrench that had his name etched on its side. He expected something to come to his mind, but still nothing helped. But suddenly, an idea struck his head. He turned to the doctor and asked him to hit his head hard with the wrench.

"You really want me to do that?" the doctor replied, startled. "You still have so bad of a lump on that demeanor of yours! Are you sure you want to be hurt more?"

"My memories mean a lot to me!" Ratchet answered as he turned his back to him. "And I want them back badly! You must hit me in that same spot as before. I'll stand still for you."

"I think this will more likely make it worse for you. If this is what you really want, then I guess I have no choice but to do it then. Here goes nothing…"

With those words heard, Ratchet braced himself for another painful hit on the back of his head. Once the wrench hit the vital spot, he fell forward and fell facedown until the floor. Nothing resulted except a worse bump on his head. The Lombax stood up to his feet, as new thoughts rapidly swirled through his mind:

"Why am I even here in Vegas? I should be at Brooklyn right now, dismantling Eggman's satellite feed! I failed you, Pupuru! Wait…hold your horses, boy! Tonight's performance will be on live TV, so everyone will watch it. That can cut right through Pupuru's memory that's airing!"

Little did Ratchet even know that Donna had already done the job for him. After he went back to his hotel room—along with his belongings—he sat down on his bed with a notepad and pencil and began to write something on it. "I'm really sorry Pupuru is going through these rough times," he thought as he wrote on. "The best thing I can do for now is plan a song to sing to her. I better share this with the other guys once I get to the theater. Lucky thing we're now on tour, and our next destination is Los Angeles, so I'll get back home in good time. I hope Pupuru is excited to see me…"

About an hour later, the concert began. A crowd of countless people were there to see Solar Eclipse bring out what seemed like their best. Although, some people considered every show their "real" best, as they just began to receive their fame.

The audience cheered as the band started the first few bars of the first song in the setlist. Ratchet boldly sang:

One time a thing occurred to me

What's real and what's for sale

Blew a kiss and tried to take it home

It isn't you, isn't me

Search for things that you can't see

Going blind out of reach

Somewhere in the vasoline

Two times and it has rendered me

Punch drunk and without bail

Think I'd be safer all alone

Flies in the vasoline we are

Sometimes it blows my mind

Keep getting stuck here all the time

It isn't you, isn't me

Search for things that you can't see

Going blind out of reach

Somewhere in the vasoline

("Vasoline" by Stone Temple Pilots)

The Time Cube finally reached its intended destination, as Pupuru and Talwyn were anxious to see Ratchet and bring him back to LA. But they wanted to see Ratchet sing before they put their plan into action; never before had they seen their Lombax friend have the gift of music.

It took the two girls a difficult time to make their way through the crowd to see Solar Eclipse on stage. They were very surprised to hear the voice of their friend sing right out to them. "I've never heard such a talented voice!" Talwyn thought as she smiled. "I really hate to break him away from the rest of the group, but it has to be done. I'll wait until he's done with those beautiful songs. I don't think he even recognizes me and Pupuru down here."

But Ratchet actually did notice them in the audience. He smiled and waved a little before moving on to the next song, which was what he picked for Pupuru:

The day will come I tell myself

My present situation makes me think too much, too much

It all revolves around her

This life that I'm living means nothing without her

I'd shed my skin for you

What would you want me to do?

I take luck for you

Just tell me why I'm so alone

Alone

This problem here is my fault, my fault

It's not that I don't care, but are you drawn, or are you a love?

It's the same thing I'm not good enough for your needs

I want to know why my life has to be this way

I'd shed my skin for you

What would you want me to do?

I take luck for you

Just tell me why I'm so alone

Alone

Now you see why

Who you lying to? Will I survive?

I like what you put me through

'Cause I feel almost alive

Almost alive!

I'd shed my skin for you

(I'd shed my skin for you)

What would you want me to do?

(What would you want me to do?)

I will always love you, but I can't live like this

("Skin", starting with the first draft by Adema—when known as Edema—then transitioning into the modern version—the clean version I made and put on YouTube.)

Pupuru shed a tear after hearing that song; it was right then that she realized that Ratchet had no longer forgotten about her. She listened intently to the rest of the songs that Solar Eclipse played, remembering how lucky she was to have a friend like Ratchet all the way through.

Once the concert was over, Ratchet was just about ready to head to where they were serving pizza at the lobby and meet with Pupuru and Talwyn. But before he took off, he had something very important to say to the rest of his bandmates. "I just want to let you know about something big…" he told them before leaving.

"Go ahead, man," Curt replied. "We're all listening."

"Our show in LA will actually be my last time as lead vocalist. There is where I actually belong; I've been in this band right after I lost all my memory. But I remember everything now, and I know where I'm supposed to be. You guys just have to understand…"

"Buddy…" Bruce replied with a smile. "We all understand. In fact, we'll do just as fine without you. We will miss you though; it's been a real pleasure playing on stage with you. Solar Eclipse will still live."

"Thanks guys! I'm counting on you to rock on!"

"Oh, and after our new show, there should be our first album at your doorstep."

"Did I EVER tell you two how much I missed you?" Ratchet spoke to the two girls at the lobby. "This pizza is like our feast for reunion!"

"I really appreciated that song you sang for me, Ratchet," Pupuru replied, embracing the Lombax she had missed for so long. "My friend here is not just a hero, but a rock star."

"You will see me on stage again when we get back to Los Angeles. I'll be glad to rock out again…if only head would stop aching…"

"Word of advice, Ratchet…" Talwyn replied with a smile, "…put some ice on your head. You really need it…"

I hope you really enjoyed this. Apparently, I am out of ideas now. I used up all the fresh material I had in store, but now is your chance to request the next story plot. What will happen next? That is now YOUR choice!