Ratchet and Clank Fanfiction: Between Heroes

Ratchet's fingers were wriggling with anticipation and excitement as he waited within the DreadZone transporter to take him to his next challenge. Adrenaline and energy were pumping through his body like he had never felt before in his life. The last time he felt this way about an upcoming battle was the many grueling challenges he had overcome in Annihilation Nation over a year ago. But already in the month he had spent fighting in DreadZone, all of his past experiences on the battlefield seemed like a walk in the park compared to what he has faced here.

The lombax examined his armored hands. He had just defeated the ballistics-packing robot Shellshock and conquered the Tower of Power in the DreadZone arena, achieved the rank of Avenger and was given a new set of dark green armor so that the millions of viewers who watched the combat sport would know of his new status. Ratchet was surprised that he was able to defeat the huge robot somewhat quickly, though that wasn't to say that the fight was easy and that he emerged victorious unscathed. The battle itself certainly kept him on his toes as he dodged missiles and gunfire while blasting away with the weapons he had. All in all, it was incredibly satisfying knowing that he had kicked the butt of one of the "Exterminators," who were supposedly the finest warriors in DreadZone and whose sole purpose was to kill heroes such as him. Hopefully now the other combatants would no longer give him any grief for being a rookie and that annoying Rank-O-Meter wouldn't make fun of him for his lack of Dreadpoints.

He examined the rest of his body, relieved that this new armor was much more comfortable than his Marauder armor was, though it was still incredibly uncomfortable for his tail. He had to have his tail wrapped around his waist in order to make it less agonizing as he fought in matches. It was rather annoying that DreadZone armor wasn't designed for aliens that had tails, despite there being a large number of species within the galaxy that had them, but he would manage, just as he always has. He pressed the glowing orange plate in the center of his chest and his helmet appeared, wrapping around his face and large ears until it snapped into place, covering his entire head and neck. He looked through his orange Y-shaped visor and was happy to see that it was much clearer than before and there seemed to be more maneuverability for his yellow-furred face, although it still felt like the helmet was pressing and constricting against his head. He took a few deep breathes and was further glad that it was easier to breathe as well. With the Marauder armor, every breath felt more like the helmet was trying to suffocate him rather than provide him oxygen and protection, making battles much tougher than they should have been. He pressed the glowing plate again and the helmet receded back into the small device at the back of his neck.

He gazed to the right from where he was sitting and spotted his two Combat Bots, Merc and Green, floating lazily and silently in the corner. Although they appeared identical, somehow Ratchet could distinguish the two from each other besides from their voices. It was amazing that they were both still in functioning condition after the battles in the Tower of Power and with Shellshock. He repeatedly had to revive them as they fell again and again from the incoming fire they were withstanding. But with the upgrade Big Al had provided them they will hopefully be able to assist him better in the many battles ahead. He had grown a liking for the two as he wasn't used to having allies constantly fighting at his side. Even though he had fought with the Galactic Rangers in many battles against the Tyhrranoids, they weren't always with him, whether it was because he was on a different mission or because of their own cowardice. Granted he had his best friend Clank with him, but it wasn't like he was an extra gun to help him fight. But Merc and Green were, and he was very grateful for that. They'll never replace Clank, however, as that was another thing Ratchet had to get used to; to not have his best friend with him at all times in this adventure like all the others they had been on. Clank and Al were still on his side to support him via radio at least, and as he had learned from past experiences, he'll take anything that he can get.

Ratchet smiled and began wriggling his fingers again, his excitement growing little by little. Bored, he took out one of his Dual Vipers from his backpack and began to mindlessly play with it, though he was careful not to accidently pull the trigger. He twirled it around on his finger, tossed it in the air a few times and then examined its bright orange surface. He didn't like the Vipers as much as his old N90 Hurricane; it was somewhat unwieldy, sitting uncomfortably in his hand, it was rather inaccurate, and it had an unusual amount of recoil to it when he fired for such a small pair of guns, but at least it had a high rate of fire. At this point he only had a few weapons at his disposal, which was another thing he wasn't quite used to yet. In his previous adventures he carried enough weapons with him to start a small war as he always got a thrill out of defeating countless enemies in countless ways. In DreadZone however, you only get what they have given you and you have to buy everything else with the few bolts that you have earned from battles. It felt unfair, but those were the circumstances he was given. The B6 Obliterator was at least fun to use and he wasn't going to complain.

Ratchet's ears suddenly perked up as he sensed movement on his left. He stared at the dark corner of the transporter and spotted a pair of long armored legs that were crossed while the rest of the body was hidden in shadow. He then spotted the glow of two Combat Bots to the left of the legs. Ratchet felt a little uneasy that he just now noticed that there was someone else in the transporter with him.

"You're quite the fighter out there." Came a woman's voice from the shadow. "I haven't seen someone fight as well as you in a long time."

"Who're you?" Ratchet asked curiously, still holding his Dual Viper. "I thought these transporters only took one person at a time."

The figure stood up and approached Ratchet, revealing a tall, slender woman with pale white skin, glowing purple eyes, one large antennae protruding backward from her forehead and a long dark ponytail that was her only bit of hair. She was wearing blue armor that was similar to Ratchet's but with a few differences in design on the chest, shoulders and legs. She was smiling cheerfully at Ratchet, who looked back at her with narrowed eyes.

"I'm Plasma Woman. Maybe…you've heard of me?"

Ratchet thought for a moment. "I think I saw your name a few ranks above mine on the Rank-O-Meter. I didn't see either of our names on the top eleven though. I still got a long way to go."

"Yeah, I've only been fighting in DreadZone for about three months now, myself."

Plasma Woman started to gaze thoughtfully at Ratchet, who was starting to feel uncomfortable again.

"Say…you're Ratchet, aren't you?" She asked.

"Uh…yeah, the one and only." Ratchet nodded. "So someone has heard of me after all."

"Are you kidding? You saved the Solona Galaxy twice from Chairman Drek and Dr. Nefarious! And you saved the Bogon galaxy too! How can anyone not know who you are?"

"Well…I…" Ratchet said bashfully. "I didn't defeat them both all by myself. I mean, I always had Clank with me and the Galactic Rangers helped me against Nefarious."

"Indeed. You're well known among other heroes. It's probably why you're here in the first place."

Ratchet scratched the back of his head. He really wasn't sure what to say. When he first entered DreadZone, barely anyone recognized him and ridiculed him for being a rookie. Nobody thought he would last even a few rounds, fueling his desire to prove them wrong. Even after defeating Shellshock, the news show Vox News continued to ridicule him and make false accusations about his past, claiming that he "hates children" and "killed baby seals" and whatever other bogus fairy tales they could come up with. But Ratchet didn't really care. He was living in the heat of the moment and living out his fantasy of being a real gladiator. That is, until DreadZone champion and ex-hero Ace Hardlight confronted him and ruined his day with a few harsh words and threats, as if he didn't get enough of those already.

Plasma Woman sat in the seat opposite of Ratchet while her Combat Bots followed closely beside her. Merc and Green mirrored their actions and hovered to both sides of Ratchet and remained unusually silent.

"So, what's it like to be the first contestant to ever actually kill an Exterminator?"

Ratchet smiled. "Oh, it feels awesome! Taking down that Shellshock guy was fun! Did you see me fight him? He was firing missiles and bombs at me and I was all like…"

Ratchet couldn't help himself. He started making all sorts of fighting and shooting noises as he described the battle in as great of detail as he possibly could and exaggerated a few as well. Plasma Woman giggled and smiled as she listened and leaned forward to catch every word. She seemed a lot more interested than Clank was when he described the fight to him.

"…I mean, he wasn't as hard to beat as I thought he would be. But with all the stuff I heard about him on Vox News, he sounded like he would be a good challenge. But I was surprised at how quickly me, Merc and Green here were able to beat him. I was kinda disappointed, you know? Not to toot my own horn or anything of course…"

Plasma Woman giggled again. "Yeah, I remember when I fought him a while ago, though I can't say that my battle with him was as exciting as yours. So how does it feel to now be an Avenger?"

Ratchet shrugged his shoulders.

"Better, I guess. I mean, it's not that much better than where I was, but at least now I get a little more respect, if you know what I mean. The armor's a lot more comfortable than my old suit. I could barely breathe with that helmet on!"

"I know what you mean. I couldn't stand being called a newbie after my first few matches. I couldn't wait to increase my ranking."

Ratchet nodded. "What about you? What's your ranking? Your armor's a lot different from mine."

"I'm a Crusader." Plasma Woman replied simply. "It's only one ranking level above your own. With the way you're fighting, I'm sure it'll only be a matter of time before you reach my level. Maybe you'll even become a Liberator!"

"Liberator?" Ratchet asked.

"It's the highest rank a contestant can achieve, outside of becoming an Exterminator anyway. Of course, no one has lived long enough to reach that level, except for maybe Captain Starshield…but then again, he was defeated by Ace Hardlight. No contestant has beaten him in the history of DreadZone, at least as far as I know…"


Ratchet sat in thought. He suddenly felt an incredibly strong desire to fight. The more he heard about Ace Hardlight and the Exterminators, the more he wanted to defeat them himself and the need to become stronger had risen. He wasn't sure if this desire was because he wanted to fight a powerful opponent or if it was to prove that he was no mere contestant and was stronger than that, that he was a lombax that no one should ever want to face out of his sheer strength and skill in combat. He would prove them all wrong and show the galaxy just what kind of hero he really was.

"So where are you guys headed?" Plasma Woman asked.

"We're headin' for Shaar to go kick some alien and robot butt!" Merc answered, finally breaking his silence. "I just hope we get there soon. My trigger finger's starting to twitch!"

"I just hope I don't get knocked out so bad this time…" Green whimpered. "I can still feel the blast from that DZ Striker… Oh, the pain!"

"Aw, relax Green! I'm sure Boss here will get us out any mess we get into, and vice versa! Those guys won't know what hit 'em once we come into town!"

"If you say so… I'm still nervous about facing those big guys again, though…and those huge turrets…and all those swarmers that gang up on us and all those missiles and… Gah!"

"Suck it up, Green! You're gonna give yourself a CPU complex!"

"Oh man…hold me!"

"Get off me, you crazy fool!"

"Right…so…where're you guys going?" Ratchet asked Plasma Woman.

"Kronos. I gotta get my Dreadpoints up so I can move on to my next campaign. I also need some bolts to buy the Scorpion Flail and that Morph Mod. It sounds like loads of fun."

Ratchet smiled as memories of the various animal morphing guns he wielded in the past started to come to mind. After a few long minutes he began to play with his Dual Viper again while Merc and Green started to play a game of "Rock, Paper, Scissors." Plasma Woman stared off to the side with a rather concerned look on her face. She stared out of the window for a long time like she was focusing on something out in the deep reaches of space. She eventually turned back to Ratchet with the same expression on her face.

"Can I…ask you a personal question…you know, between heroes?"

"Depends on what it is…" Ratchet replied, looking up at her with narrowed eyes and putting away his Dual Viper.

"Well…have you heard of Plasma Man?" Plasma Woman began with a sudden frown on her face.

"Plasma Man?" Ratchet said.

"He also went by Plasma Ray."

Ratchet racked his brain. He knew he had seen that name before. He remembered a conversation he and Clank had a while ago about some of the other heroes in DreadZone and the Rank-O-Meter began to come to mind as he started to think of every name he had seen on the list. Suddenly his thoughts remembered seeing a Plasma Ray among the top ten ranked contestants in DreadZone. He had a high number of Dreadpoints, but under his status in large dark letters was the word "Deceased."

"Yeah…I've seen his name before. But…I think he's been…you know…"

"Killed. Yeah…I know."

"How do you know him?"

She was about to speak but she hesitated for a moment. She took in a deep breath.

"He's actually my older brother."

Ratchet's eyes widened and suddenly pieces started to come together.

"So you're his sister…" Ratchet said with a hint of sadness. "And that's why you're here in DreadZone, to look for him and rescue him?"

Plasma Woman nodded.

"But Clank said that he has been a contestant here since he was a kid!"

"Your friend is right. When we were little, my brother went on a trip into space on his new ship with Dad, but they never came back. Mom always told me that they went on the trip far away, but year after year passed and they never came back. I searched everywhere for him, but with no luck. But then a few months ago I learned about the Shadow Sector when I heard on the holovid that many heroes have been disappearing lately. Somehow I felt that that was where my brother was so I set out. I traveled here and as soon as I reached the edges of the Shadow Sector I was stopped by Vox's goons and they captured me."

"That's crazy…" Ratchet said sadly, fully interested in her tale. "So you just let them capture you? Even though you weren't exactly sure if your brother was here?"

"Yep. Somehow, I just knew he was here. But when I checked the Rank-O-Meter, I found out that he was already gone."

Ratchet bent his head down low while Merc and Green glanced at each other. A feeling of shame was beginning to creep into his heart, though he wasn't sure as to why. He started to think about how he was captured, though it pales in comparison to Plasma Woman's story. He had just begun his duties as the new captain of the Starship Phoenix and he was running a few computer tests along with Clank and Al. The new mayor of Metropolis Sasha then gave him a call reporting that Captain Starshield had been killed. She was warning Ratchet of something when the ship was boarded by Vox's robots and they captured the trio. It all almost seemed like a distant memory now with all the battles he had fought in a mere month.

Ratchet looked at Plasma Woman with concern. Her eyes looked watery and he knew what she was thinking about. He started to feel a little awkward and he wanted to think of a way to change the subject.

"So…what are going to do now?" He asked, trying to sound comforting.

"I don't know…" She replied softly. "I guess I'll just have to keep fighting like everyone else until I figure out a way to escape from this awful place. Vox says that those who do well in combat will get a chance to win freedom, but somehow that's doubtful, since it was coming from Vox's nasty mouth. Most of the other heroes I've talked to have already lost hope or actually enjoy this killing lifestyle. Some of them are already dead."

She paused for a moment as if something was holding her back and tearing at her. Ratchet watched intently as she seemed to struggle with her words.

"But there's gotta be a way to escape!" She continued. "There must be a hole somewhere underneath Vox's eyes that I could use… And there must be a way to get these freakin' collars off. I'm sure we could escape easily if we didn't all have these things weighing us down."

"Don't worry." Ratchet said with a confident voice. "My friends Clank and Al are trying to come up with something as we speak. Those two are the smartest nerds that I know. They'll figure something out. They just need a little time."

"I seriously doubt it. No one has ever escaped from Vox's claws alive. He's got eyes and invisible barriers everywhere, exploding deadlock collars on all of us and traps just waiting to spring if we even think about escaping! "

"But no one has ever saved the galaxy three times before either."

Plasma Woman stared at Ratchet with a frown while he gave her a comical grin. The two of them gazed at each other for a long time. She wasn't sure if Ratchet was truly being serious or not, but somehow as she stared at his furry mug, the amount of strength and determination in his face was as bright as a star and she felt his overwhelming confidence in his presence. She slowly curled her lips and returned Ratchet with a grin of her own.

The transporter began to slow down and eventually came to a slow but abrupt stop. A loud voice from the speakers then boomed out throughout the room.

"Attention contestant 193: you have arrived at your destination. Please proceed to the transportation pad immediately. Or else you will face termination."

Plasma Woman stood up from her seat and let out a heavy sigh.

"I guess it's show time."

"Well…good luck out there." Ratchet said. "Give 'em a good fight!"

She nodded and walked over to the glowing green pad on the far side of the room and stepped on top of it. Her Combat Bots followed and hovered at her sides. She reached for her backpack and took out the Hunter Mine Launcher and held it closely. She stood still for a moment, and then she turned back to Ratchet.

"Can you promise me something? Between heroes?"

Ratchet stared at her. "What?"

"Promise me that you'll never give up even in the toughest battles, and that you will live long enough for me to see you again? And vice versa?"

Ratchet was taken aback. He hadn't expected to be asked something such as that from someone he had just met. At first he wasn't sure what to say, but the answer was somehow in plain sight.

"Promise." He replied, nodding and smiling.

Plasma Woman smiled in return. "See you later, hero."

She pressed the glowing plate on her chest and her helmet wrapped around her head and snapped shut. Suddenly the green pad she was standing on began to glow brightly and sparkles quickly engulfed her body. Within a matter of seconds her body had vanished and her Combat Bots quickly hovered over the pad and followed suit. The pad dimmed down and the three of them had been transported to their next challenge.

Ratchet stared after them for a while as the transporter began to move again. The large holovid screen in the room clicked on and began playing footage of a live match from the DreadZone arena, but he didn't pay any attention to it. He started to focus on his own challenge; his next campaign on Planet Shaar. He checked his nanotech level and armor, and made sure his weapons had plenty of ammo and all his weapon mods were in place. He took out his DreadZone wrench, examined it, tossed it around a few times and swung it around. He put the wrench away and then scanned Merc and Green to make sure that they were in peak condition as well.

After what felt like hours the transporter began to slow down again. Ratchet stood up and did one last check before the booming voice sounded again.

"Attention contestant 209: you have arrived at your destination. Please proceed to the transportation pad immediately. Or else suffer a very agonizing death."

Ratchet rolled his eyes and moved casually toward the green pad with Merc and Green following. He equipped his Magma Cannon and pressed the plate on his chest, making his helmet wrap tightly around his head and ears. He stepped onto the pad and waited as excitement and adrenaline began to fill his body.

"Alright, Boss. You ready to do this?" Merc said.

"I'm ready whenever you are, sir!" Green exclaimed confidently.

Ratchet nodded at both of his allies. "Let's kick some tail."

The green pad began to glow brightly and sparkles spun around his body. He was blinded by and incredible green light and he felt the familiar sensation of falling through a large tube. Within moments his feet hit hard snow as he was transported to the icy surface of Shaar. The biting wind swirled around him and snowflakes pasted themselves on Ratchet's armor. Merc and Green appeared behind him and readied their weapons. Ratchet cocked his gun and Team Darkstar rushed forward into battle, as numerous floating cameras watched their every move.


Ratchet stepped out of the DreadZone transporter and back to his Containment Suite with Merc and Green following, wiping some debris off of his blue Crusader armor. He had just completed another Dread Challenge in the arena and was quite satisfied with how he fought, though somehow he felt it wasn't enough for the battle ahead. Even though he had improved quite a bit in the last few weeks, he knew he needed to become stronger. He longed to jump back into the transporter and take on another challenge while he was still in the mood, but he spotted Clank to the side with his hands on his hips and was wearing a frown.

"Well?" Clank said with a stern voice.

Ratchet raised an eyebrow. "Well what?"

"Are you going you rest now?"

"Of course not! I gotta get stronger if I'm gonna take on that Eviscerator guy! I can't rest yet!"

"You're pushing yourself to hard, Ratchet! If you keep fighting like this without rest you won't have the energy to even fire a gun!"

"Oh come on! I'll be fine! Besides, aren't you and Al supposed to be figuring out a plan for escape?"

"Shh!" Clank urged, bending down low. "Don't mention that out loud! Vox could be listening!"


Ratchet and Clank both gazed around at their surroundings and made sure they weren't being directly watched by any cameras. When it seemed that the coast was clear they huddled closer together and Ratchet kneeled down so he was more at Clank's level.

"Al and I almost got it figured out." Clank resumed with a lowered voice. "We just need a little more time to work out the circuitry of the collars."

"Which is exactly why I need to keep fighting! So when I face him I can take him on and buy you guys some more time! You said that the cameras go off whenever a big match is on. This could be our big chance!"

"No! You need to regain your strength! We cannot risk losing you when we're this close to finding a way out of here!"

"I told you, I'll be fine! I just need to increase my nanotech level a little more and upgrade my Arbiter and the only way to do either is to fight! Now just relax! I know my limits. Now I just need to check my rankings real quick before I go back in there…"


Ratchet stood up and walked toward the glowing blue pad in the center of the Suite while Clank was watching with concerned eyes. After a few steps, however, Ratchet suddenly leaned forward and fell face first into the glass floor.


Clank rushed over to his friend and lifted his head up. The lombax stared back at him with half open, reddish eyes, sweat soaking through his fur and his ears lowered.

"Wazzat…? Who hit me with that Puma…?" Ratchet said lazily and without energy. "Is there a wrench in my…?"

"Whoa, Boss. You don't look too good." Merc said, looking down at his leader.

"Maybe you should take a rest, sir." Green said with a hint of worry. "I don't think you're in fighting shape at the moment. Come to think of it, I think I could use some tuning up myself."

"See, Ratchet?" Clank said still holding Ratchet's head. "You cannot keep going like this. Go rest up. You can compete in another match tomorrow."

Ratchet slowly turned his head toward Clank. "I…guess a little rest…couldn't hurt…"

Merc and Green lifted Ratchet up from underneath his arms and carried him toward Al's area, seeing that he didn't have the strength to carry himself over. Clank followed them into Al's quarters, not taking his eyes off his friend. Al was watching one of the smaller of his screens that surrounded his large circular desk, sitting in a chair behind it and sipping a dark coffee. He noticed the four come in and quickly stood up.

"Wow, Ratchet. You're looking a little green for someone with yellow fur."

"I'm just a little…tired…that's all…" Ratchet replied weakly.

"He pushed himself too much, again." Clank said, hopping atop the desk.

"Yo, Al! You got a seat or something for the Boss here?" Merc asked. "He's not exactly as light as a computer chip here."

"Yeah, hold on."

Al set his coffee down and dashed off to the edge of his dome-like glass room as fast as his large figure could take him, fetching a rather comfortable looking chair and dragging it next to his own. Merc and Green carried Ratchet over the chair and slowly set him into it. Ratchet leaned back into it and breathed a heavy sigh and wiped his forehead weakly, letting his heavy arms fall to his sides.

"You wanna drink?" Al asked.

"Sure…" Ratchet replied weakly.

"I'll take a droonk!" Merc exclaimed.

"For the last time, it's 'drink!' D-R-I-N-K! Drink! Geez!"

"I know. I'm just messin' with ya Al."

Al scoffed at him and walked over to his minfridge and pulled out a large can of Solar Soda and handed it to Ratchet, who gladly took it and swallowed a large gulp down his hot and dry throat.

"Were there any good matches on today?" Ratchet asked.

"Not really." Al said, grabbing his coffee and taking a sip. "Another new guy who just went on got his arsenal handed to him on an ashy platter. His Combat Bots didn't do so well either…what's left of them anyway…"

"Very comforting, Al…" Green muttered.

The group watched the screen as the results of the match and the top rankings were displayed, and Ratchet was now at the bottom of the top eleven. The program then changed to the Vox news logo with its music in the background and the loud-mouthed Dallas and slender robot Juanita appeared on the screen. Ratchet braced himself for more media bashing and outlandish lies from the two anchors, which didn't help his mood at all.

"Last week we saw the spectacular deaths of leading contestants Agent Bizzaro, Plasma Woman and Orange Comet." Juanita began. "Now, the low-seeded Lombax known as Ratchet has surged to the top of the DreadZone rankings."

"Frankly, I can't believe the little furball made it this far, Juanita." Dallas chimed in, swinging his head toward Juanita. "He is a scrappy sucker, huh? Isn't he?"

"He certainly is, Dallas. He's also a threat to children, endangered species and common decency."

"Well, kids and…dolphins…and whatnot will be able to breathe a little easier once Ratchet has been cut down to size by 'The Eviscerator' in this week's Exterminator Smackdown!"

"No opponent has survived even sixty seconds against his razor sharp titanium blades."

"Mmm. I'll bet he doesn't have any trouble getting a close shave, Juanita. Hahaha, you get it?"

"Shut up, Dallas. You're not that funny."

"Boy, another three heroes gone already." Al said, shaking his head slowly. "I actually watched their matches too. At this rate you'll be the only one left, Ratchet…"

"Assuming he doesn't faint from exhaustion, first…" Clank muttered.

"Um…sir?" Green said, gazing at Ratchet.

The others looked over to Ratchet to see that he was staring at the screen with a stern yet sad look on his face and was sitting very still. He then bent his head down a little as though something deep was on his mind.

"Ratchet?" Clank asked.

A strange feeling began to creep into Ratchet. After that first sentence was finished, a feeling that was a mix of regret, sadness and shame had claimed a hold on his heart. He couldn't care less about what else the anchors had said, but hearing about the week old death of Plasma Woman made his body feel suddenly cold. He never felt this way when he heard about the deaths of many other heroes, but hearing of the death of her had affected him like no other before her. Whether it was because he had actually met and bonded with her or if it was because he had made a rare promise to her Ratchet wasn't sure, but it was obvious to him now that DreadZone was beginning to take its toll on him and had changed him into a very different hero than he was when he was first captured.

Clank hopped down from the desk, realizing that Ratchet won't answer him, and headed for his side of the Containment Suite where the mission control computers were. Al took Merc and Green to the Combat Bot vendor to have them looked over. Ratchet leaned forward and stared at the floor, not sure of what to think of his current position. He felt helpless but knew there was nothing he could have done to help Plasma Woman, or any of the other heroes that have come and gone in DreadZone. He had saved countless other lives in past adventures to the point that it didn't really faze him all that much, but as he thought about all the other heroes who had lost their lives he couldn't help but feel guilty. He wasn't there for them, even though they were never there for him either. Nevertheless, a hero's job was to help and protect others, and he felt that he had failed in that respect.

Ratchet gulped down the rest of his soda and leaned back into his rather soft chair. It felt great against his aching head as he sat there silently. He gazed over at Al, Merc and Green and could just see Clank sitting in his rotating chair on the other side of the Suite. He started to think about his memories with each of them and thought about all the times he had helped them, as well as all the times his friends had helped him. He may have taken them for all granted, but he knew, and they knew, that he appreciated it all the same. He wanted to continue to help them and others, he had to keep going, and he couldn't give up yet, for there was still so much left to do.

Ratchet tilted the seat back until he was staring toward the ceiling. He tightly clenched his fists, and determination began to rise within. He slowly started to close his eyes as sleep began to overtake him, despite the bickering between Al and Merc. He promised himself that he wouldn't give up, and that he wasn't going to let his friends down now, not when they had come this far. He would be the hero that everyone had known him by.