Disclaimers:

I do not own any of the ideas, locations, or characters that appear in the Ratchet and Clank series, these belong to their respective owners.

The item/term Manifestor belongs to Stephen Stryker, I am using it with his permission.

All other characters, races, and locations not appearing in the Ratchet and Clank series are my own. While I probably won't care if you use them, it would be nice if you did ask.

Prologue: Echoes of the Past

Three days after Tachyon's attack on Fastoon, Veldin

It was getting dark outside when the door to the orphanage opened. The secretary looked up in surprise from her desk, normally no one came by at this hour, and there weren't any scheduled appointments for parents looking for children.

The setting sun outlined the two figures. Secretary Shannon, that was what the name plate on the desk read, recognized them as Lombaxes, the ears being a dead giveaway. It was hard for her to see the two with any clarity, the setting sun behind them gave her only their frame.

The adult was holding the child, no infant, in his left arm. He walked forward to the desk.

"I am here to drop off my son. I know I don't have an appointment, but things have come up." The voice from the Lombax seemed to be weighed with sorrow. His green eyes had a haunted look.

The Secretary sat up. "I see. Unfortunately one needs an appointment to see if we can raise the child…"

The Lombax sighed. A small pouch of bolts materialized from his manifestor. "I trust that the appointment will appear in the logs."

Shannon smiled, this Lombax knew the ropes. "Indeed. Your son shall be raised here. Just fill out this paper work on needs and his name. Also, we will need some money to cover the expenses of raising him." A stack of forms materialized on the desk.

"I believe that should cover all of the forms."

Surprised, the robot picked up the forms and did a quick scan. "Yes, that will do. But what is the boy's name?"

"Raymond Alenko." The older Lombax then pulled a card out of his manifestor. "This should be enough to cover him until he is of age."

The robot leaned over, grabbed the card, and put it into a slot next to her computer. "Yes, this shall do. Would you like to leave any contact information?"

The Lombax shook his head. "No, I don't want anything to connect him to me." Green eyes clouding with water, the Lombax softly rubbed the sleeping infant's head. "I'm going to miss you Raymond. Be strong."

The infant stirred slightly, but did not wake. Slowly, the father turned and left the orphanage.

The secretary picked up the infant. "Welcome to Veldin Orphanage, little one."

5 years later.

The young child stumbled through the city. He was tired, hungry, and very thirsty. Everything seemed to be a blur to him. The fact that he had been breathing smoke less than a day ago didn't help.

What had happened? He didn't remember much of…anything. Just the smoke, the fire, the screams. He had to get out, had to get water.

He stumbled past a store trying to sell TVs. Someone was speaking, and while he heard the words he didn't comprehend them.

"It's been almost a full day since the fire first broke out in Veldin Orphanage. New reports show that the owner, Frank Smith, had been stealing money from the orphanage and neglecting safety regulations. The fire thus grew far out of control. It is estimated that over 60 orphans are dead, and many are missing. Most will probably end up dead on the streets…"

He turned the corner, and suddenly his green eyes lit up. There was a small toolbox lying on the ground, abandoned. He could use these tools…somehow. He was good with tools, he remembered that. Didn't remember much else…he gathered them up and continued his wandering.

The young boy stayed near the edge of the sidewalk, away from the alleys. They were full of people he didn't like of the look of. They looked dangerous, like scavengers waiting for him to fall over. No, he need to stay away.

Then he saw his safe heaven. It was an empty alley, with pipes flowing up the wall. Pipes…water was in pipes!

He trotted over, his ears perked up in excitement. He began fiddling with one of the pipes, spreading out his new tools on the ground. All he really did was loosen the bolt on one slightly, so that water would drip out slowly. It was still water.

He sat under the pipe, catching the drops in his mouth. Slowly he was stated. With a content purr, he leaned back, and looked back at the street. Only to see a group of kids approaching.

Fear suddenly seized him. The boy grabbed a nearby tool. There were several kids, all bigger than him. He couldn't tell how many. He shrank back into the wall.

The foremost and biggest of the lot, a Blarg, walked up to him. "That pipe that gives water? That's ours now. Scram."

Though the boy was scared, he wasn't going to surrender what was possibly his only source of water. "No it isn't. I did this, it's mine!"

The Blarg smiled. "Then I will take it from you." A large fist swung in the boy's direction. Though powerful, the blow was slow and clumsy, allowing the boy to dodge. The Blarg had put too much force behind the punch, and fell with a yelp of surprise to the ground.

The boy swung the tool in his hand with all his might, connecting at the base of the spine where it met the neck. The Blarg yelped again, and passed out.

The boy turned to face the other kids, surprised to see them just watching. Finally the second smallest of the lot stepped forward. "Cindy, make sure Drake is all right."

A small (compared to the rest) Cazar stepped past the boy and went to Drake. "He's fine, Icarus. Just knocked out."

Icarus turned towards the boy. "What's your name?"

The boy swallowed. "I…I don't remember."

The Markazain examined the Lombax in front of him, looking at the tool in his hand. "Alright, Ratchet, you have proved your worth to us. Welcome to the crew."

7 years later.

Ratchet walked with Icarus, the bag of bolts jingling. For the last seven years Ratchet had run with Icarus and his crew, surviving in the harsh city. Between the numerous homeless and the brutal police, it had been a hard life. But they had finally done it.

With the latest job Ratchet had finally added enough money to the group to finally move out of the city. They were going to buy a small garage and house out in the middle of nowhere, but at least they would have a roof under their heads.

"I'm glad I brought you into my crew. You have been a great addition."

"No problem, and really I should be thanking you. I doubt I would have lasted a week without you guys. Don't worry, I'll take of the purchasing. You know I am the only one who can do this."

Icarus grimaced. It was true, Ratchet was the only one in his crew who wasn't a wanted criminal. That was also why the rest of the crew wasn't walking with them, they were a little resentful that the newest member was the one doing the most important transaction. "I almost feel like I am reaching too far. That this is too good to be true."

"Don't worry Icarus, it'll be fine."

They stopped at the door. "Well, this is it."

It took three hours, but finally the transaction was done. The crew could finally leave the city. Ratchet walked out, holding the piece of paper almost reverently in his hands. Icarus saw it and smiled. The rest of the crew finally joined them.

There wasn't any talking, they all just touched the piece of paper. Finally Icarus spoke. "Let's go home."

A group of screams made their heads turn, only to see a bunch of people running towards them from further up the street. The fear was apparent in their eyes. "Police Raid!" One yelled.

"Frack!" Police raids rarely occurred, but they were brutal. Dozens of officers with riot gear would descend on this lawless part of the city, knocking out everyone and arresting them. The jails people were sent to were rumored to be horrible.

Drake yelled a very sensible thing right then. "RUN!" The crew ran with the crowed, desperate to escape the baton and riot shield swinging officers. Everyone here was a criminal in their mind, a disease to be purged.

Ratchet ran with the rest of them, still holding the deed and following the terrified crowed. Suddenly the crowed stopped. Cindy realized what was going on. "There's more up the street. We need a different exit."

"This way!" It was hard for the crew to here Icarus's voice, but they followed him into an alley. "I don't normally come here, so I hope this isn't a dead…crap."

There was only a wall in front of them. They were trapped.

Ratchet was desperate for an idea, an avenue of escape. Then noting the narrowness of the alley, a crazy idea formed. Carefully placing the deed in his mouth, the Lombax ran at one wall, jumped, and pushed off against it. Quickly he bounced higher between the two walls, and then vault onto the roof of the lower building.

"Ratchet, what about us?" Ignoring the cry, Ratchet looked around, and spotted a fire hose. He ran over, grabbed it, and through it over the roof's edge. "Grab it Drake, and I'll start hauling you up. Then we can haul the rest up."

The others, realizing his plan, nodded. The Blarg grabbed the fire hose with both hands, and Ratchet began winding up the hose. Suddenly Cindy yelled "They're here! Hurry!"

Adrenaline surged like never before, and Ratchet began winding at a fast pace. Suddenly he heard yelling, and then multiple thunks. The hose was suddenly lighter. No!

Ratchet ran over to the edge of the roof, and saw his crew being dragged away by the police. All most all were knocked out, save Icarus. He turned, and saw Ratchet on the roof. "Ratchet…" The police dragging him wacked the Markazain on the head. He then looked up, and saw Ratchet.

"Get him!"

Ratchet ran. He ran without direction, fleeing everything. He ran longer than he knew he could, not bothering to figure out where he was going. It was only once he exited the city that he gathered his bearings.

He was on the road to the house and garage he had purchased for the crew. Their home…his home. He walked up the road, if you could call it that, discovered the garage. Just the garage, there was no house. The man had cheated him.

Ratchet entered the garage, and was surprised to find two things in it. On the far wall hung both an Omni-Wrench 8000, and a picture of Captain Qwark. Written on the poster was "my hero", though it was the handwriting of a child. Everyone knew of him, his posters were everywhere and the radios and TVs proclaimed his heroic actions. Why were theses here? It didn't matter.

This was theirs…his now. He looked at the piece of paper in his hand. It was completely worthless now. He sat down, and began to cry.

He had lost his family.

3 years later.

He was leaving this planet, there was nothing left for him. The rest of the crew had died in jail. There had been a riot, and the guards had used lethal force…Ratchet didn't like to think about it. His ship was almost ready, he had been collecting the pieces of it over the last three years. Now all he needed was a Robotic Ignition Key.

The explosion in the nearby valley startled him. Wondering what it was, he hefted up his wrench and went to investigate.

One day after ToD.

Gunfire rained upon the defenders. Buildings were collapsing, and as non-combatants were fleeing the destruction, only to be cut down by the Cragmites.

Suddenly a blue energy bolt flew straight into one of the Cragmites, vaporizing his head. The rest turned to see a detachment of the Praetorian Guard charging into the fray. Leading them was a female Lombax.

"Kill them all!" She yelled, charging forward with her hoverboots. Brandishing her dual-ended wrench she flew straight into the pack. The deadly weapon dealt out blows left and right, sending the ugly creatures flying.

Her men gave covering fire. Civilians, seeing the monstrosities they had been warned about all their life falling, picked up debris and charged into the fray. They fought with the fury of a mob, but could not come close to matching the destruction of the Female Guard. Within fifteen minutes the Cragmites broke under this combined assault. Even as they ran, the female cut them down.

Without pausing to enjoy their victory, the Guards ran through the city, always moving onto the next fight.

Finally the fighting died down. One of the guards approached the female. "Wow, General Karak. If I didn't know better, I'd say you were a Blood Rager." It was a small attempt at humor.

Karak looked at her captain, her blue eyes covered in tears. "They killed them." Her voice was very soft.

"What, mam?"

"They killed them! MY FAMILY!" Anger raised her voice, coupled with grief. Her unusual red fur with green flecks shook. "I came home today to see them tearing apart my husband and kids. They didn't stand a chance."

Captain Sajuuk didn't know what to say. "We'll avenge them. We'll avenge everyone."

The general tightened the her grip on her wrench. "Yes we will."

"I have a message for Elder Karak!"

Heads whipped around at the messenger. Comn lines had been knocked out in the initial assault.

"I'm here."

"Mam, by order of the council, and due to the death of Elder Soban, you are now the Elder of the Military. Due to the crisis, you are also now head of the Council of the Elders, Five Bolt Magistrate. We are yours to command, Elder Karak."

Karak was shocked for a few seconds, and then took command.

Elsewhere.

"Great Alpha Argon, we have good news to report." The nervous Lycan scientist looked at the Alpha.

"Do tell." The voice was powerful, even though it wasn't very loud. The wolf-like creature leaned forward, claws clicking together.

The scientist swallowed. "We have detected anomalies similar to the ones that occurred about 20 years ago. There have been enough that we believe we can replicate the technology."

The Lycan grinned. "Excellent. I want prototypes ASAP. I have grown bored here with no one left to conquer. When the device is finished, send the scouts through. I want to see if these other dimensions will have worthy opponents."

It took a few seconds for the scientist to speak. "Great Alpha, since this device has gone to two different dimensions, neither of which are ours, which dimension should we travel to?"

"Both, I want to see if either are worthy of me."

"Yes Great Alpha. This shall be done."

The Lycan bowed, and left the room, leaving the great Lycan to plot and wonder about potential opponents.

One week after aCiT, Planet Mukow.

The crowed manically cheered as Crushto jumped onto the battlefield, his gun-arms waving in the air. The female Lombax bravely fired her modified pistol at the hulking titan, just causing it to become annoyed.

Crushto turned his missile launcher on Angela, firing several rockets. The female Lombax managed to dodge the barrage, and through a grenade at the giant fish.

Crushto roared with anger, and fired his chain gun. And Angela…tripped. The first bullets flew overhead, but the rest riddled her body. Her eyes flew open in pain, and then she lay still.

"There you have folks. Crushto has killed his 101st Lombax. He is the-"

The screen went blank, reflecting the faces of Ratchet, Clank, and Talwyn. Ratchet's face was covered in tears. "He did get her then. Tachyon did get Angela, and kill her. I truly am the last Lombax left in this dimension." The Lombax sat down, and looked around the office of one Emperor Tachyon.

Clank hopped onto his lap. "I am sorry Ratchet. I know she was a friend of yours. But you will not remain the only Lombax in this dimension. We shall find the others."

All Ratchet could do was to shake his head. He pulled out the old pocket watch, and flicked it open. The picture stared him in the eyes again. "Why couldn't both of you have lived? Why do I have to continuously lose my family?"

At this, Clank kicked him. Not hard, but enough to surprise the Lombax. "Hey, what was that for?"

Clank's green eyes looked up at the Lombax. "You loveable fool, I am a part of your family. You have a family here with you now."

Ratchet suddenly smiled. "You right. Sorry buddy. Family?"

"Indeed." Clank chuckled softly to himself.

Talwyn's sigh caused the duo to turn. "What?"

"Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that Tachyon didn't capture my father. The bad news is that I still don't know where he is."

Ratchet looked her in the eyes and said "Don't worry. We will find him."

The Markazain smiled slowly. "You're right. We will find him, the Lombaxes, and Orvus. Cronk, Zephyr, we are leaving. There's nothing here for us."

"Ten-four miss Apogee."

Fastoon, one month before the Helios Incident.

The three gravestones were aligned in a neat row, next to the remains of the Gear Statue. They simply had names: Angela Cross, Kaden, and Alister Azimuth. In many ways, that was all that Ratchet felt he could do. He hadn't really known any of them as well as he would have liked.

The search for Max was going poorly. They still hadn't found any clue as to where he might be. By mutual consent, the search for him had ended. Talwyn had gone back to the space station. He had come here to do what he could for his dead brethren.

Ratchet pulled out the pocket watch and flicked it open. The three faces looked up at him, he had added a device that showed Angela's picture as well, and sadness welled up in him again.

"I am sure they would have appreciated the effort." Clank's green eyes narrowed in sadness.

"Yah. Let's go. Aphelion, set course for Veldin."

"Acknowledged." The fighter opened up, admitting her two pilots, and flew off the dead world.

Meanwhile

Elder Karak slammed her fist on the table. These last three years had been Hell for her. The only thing she found pleasure in anymore was tearing apart the Cragmites.

The situation was not good. The first assault had destroyed the Dimensionators, and they hadn't explored any planets that were capable of sustaining life in this dimension. Now they were surround in New Hope City. The last of the Lombaxes had rallied here, over fifteen million total. It wasn't enough.

The war had become one of attrition. For some reason Tachyon had not sent in any reinforcements. That didn't matter that much, eventual the Cragmites would kill enough that the Lombax species would be put on the point of no return. They were dangerously close to that edge.

The first year had been brutal. Over twenty five million Lombaxes had been lost to war, and another twelve million had died from starvation. Finally, enough had died that they could actually feed their people.

It would take a miracle to get the Lombaxes out of this. Karak, despite her wanting to do otherwise, had assumed a defensive stance. It was their main advantage against the Cragmites, who had slowed down their assaults.

They were the last Lombaxes alive. The Keeper and his son, as well as Azimuth, were certainty dead.

The only good news had been their unexpected visitor. She was still a little foggy on the details of how he had ended up here, but the small creature had saved many of her men with his ability to slow time, allowing medics to arrive. She really didn't care past that point.

An alarm jarred her from her thoughts. The Cragmites were attacking. The red Lombax hefted up her dual-bladed wrench and headed into the fray.

Elsewhere.

"Great Alpha Argon, we have made somewhat of a breakthrough with the prisoner."

Argon's yellow eyes looked up at the tall prison warden. The Lycan had multiple scars running across his body. Two large knifes hung at his waste, the knifes he preferred to use in torture.

The prisoner was from one of the dimensions they were scouting. It was pure luck they had run into that escape pod, with its half-dead passenger knocked out. They had decided to save the creature, and try to cooperate with it to learn about the dimension. Unfortunately, they didn't speak the same language. Argon had requested monthly updates, and this was the next one.

"What do you mean by 'somewhat of a breakthrough?'"

Warden Payne sighed. "As you know, I assigned guardsmen Keller to try to communicate with the prisoner. We had a breakthrough a few weeks ago, and now know that he was speaking in a language called Standard. From what we have learned, this is the common langue for inter-species communication, but that most species also communicate in their own language between themselves. This explains why we have a maddening time in understanding the transitions we intercept, they have always been using more than one language.

Anyways, to try to get him to cooperate, we lied to him. Basically we said that we were nearing space-traveling technology when his escape pod had crashed into our planet. We told him that we had to keep him locked up for his own safety as well as to assure ours, as being an alien, we had to make sure his intentions were peaceful.

It was going along well. We provided him with above average accommodations, but made sure he could not find out our true level of technology. He was providing us with useful information for the infiltration teams. It was basic stuff, like the capitals of each of the tri-galaxies, which species to watch out for, but it was still very useful.

Unfortunately, a week ago, just as the fleet was conducting an exercise over the city, a sky taxi crashed into the building we were holding him in. We aren't sure what caused the accident, as all in the taxi died. Naturally he looked out of the hole that it created, only to see your fleet conducting the trials. He has since refused to speak with us. Do you want me to begin torturing him?"

Alpha Argon was annoyed. " By the Great Moon, that was some bad luck. Still, I don't want him tortured quite yet. Let's see what our spies can find out now that we understand this Standard langue. Leave a full report on my desk. You may leave."

The warden bowed, placed a holo-reader on the desk, and left.

One month after the Helios Incident, radio news report.

"Hey everyone. It's been a galactic month since the Helios Incident, and things have finally settled down. In recent news, Sasha Phyronix has been re-elected as Mayor of Metropolis. The city itself has finally recovered from the devastation of Tachyon's assault.

Also, polls have come in from the Polaris Galaxy. With President Quark's bumbling over the Helios Incident, his popularity has dropped to a record low of .01%. On the other hand, Defense Minister Vorn's popularity has sworn with his successful repelling of Valkyrie, Agorian, and Space Pirate raids. He may be making his own bid for president soon.

The Polaris Galaxy has calmed down. The remaining Cragmites have withdrawn to their home world of Reepor. Spy satellites have been placed around the world to make sure they don't try anything.

Peace seems to have been the theme this month. There have been no war declarations. It is seems the universe has finally decided to take a break from the constant warfare.

Also, the Starship Phoenix has just its repairs from the fight with Tachyon's forces. The battleship was heavily damaged during the assault, but the actions of its brave crew managed to force the invaders off, causing them to do much less damage. The Phoenix has been greatly improved, boasting more powerful weapons and shields, as well as more space in general. This increase in size has caused the flagship to be reclassified as a Dreadnaught. The Phoenix will commence her shakedown voyage this week.

In sport news…

Ratchet flicked off the TV. "Finally some good news. Looks like I can actually work without the galaxy needing to be saved."

Clank nodded. "Indeed. Now that the lunch break is over, let's get back to work on that ship."

The two left his garage, and went back to work.

Elsewhere.

"Great Alpha Argon, we have the reports ready for you." The Lycan placed the holo-reader on the desk.

The middle aged Lycan picked it up, his yellow eyes reading the information. His scars were highlighted by the glow of the 'reader.

"Well, this is interesting. There may actually be some worthy foes in this Dimension. And this one especially shall be fun to play with. I am going to need some time to prepare the game for these ones. You may leave, Pack Leader Bortus."

The first Lycan bowed and left the room.

Three Years later.

"This is Great Alpha Argon. Commence the invasion. Do as you have been instructed. Let the next war begin. For the Lycan Empire!"

Howling, the army poured through the portals and into the new dimension, ready to fight.

Author's Notes

As you may have noticed, I am doing a slight rewrite of history. In my universe, Angela is dead as well as Azimuth, mainly because I couldn't think of a good way to include her in the story alive. I feel this works better for the story. Ratchet's past I felt needed to be explained a little, and I wanted to reference it later in the story. I could not remember if it was Crushto or Zorthan who the announcer claims to have killed over a hundred Lombaxes. I apologize if I got them mixed up, but I really don't think it matters either way.

In case you are wondering what Cragmites are doing in the Lombax dimension, here is an explanation (since this won't be clearly explained in the story). Before Tachyon offered Ratchet the choice of going to his species in the Lombax Dimension at the end of ToD, he sent over a large army of Cragmites. They were to stay hidden for one day, and then attack. Tachyon had no plans to let the Lombaxes live, he just wanted to torment Ratchet with the choice. Tachyon planned on sending more troops after defeating Ratchet, but instead lost. There are still enough Cragmites to possibly drop the current Lombax level to the point of no return, specifically 10 million members. If this happens, the Lombaxes shall eventually become extinct, no matter what happens after that point.

All Lombaxes have tails in my universe, even if that conflicts with true lore. I don't care what they say, all Lombaxes have tails. Lombax fur can come in many colors, but each individual Lombax has two colors. The primary color is the one that covers most of the fur, while the stripes are referred to as flecks. Angela lost her tail in the assault on Fastoon.

While my story shall take place after the Ratchet and Clank comic series, the game All-4-One shall not happen. Also, I have not read the comic series, only the Wiki on it, which is sadly underwritten. I am assuming all planets were returned to their rightful orbits at the end of the series. I apologize for any mistakes on my part in referencing those events. The "Helios Incident" refers to the comic books. I do know that after the series Ratchet and Clank decide to stay in the Polaris Galaxy. In my story, they end up back on Veldin.

There are two methods of keeping track of time in the galaxies. The most common form is basic years, months, and days. These very from planet to planet.

However, in the interest of making it easy to record dates, the Standard Calendar was created. It was based upon the rotation of the galaxies themselves. Each rotated as the same rate, a very unlikely phenomenon, allowing for Standard Time to be used in each of the Tri-Galaxies.

Each Galactic Year is one rotation of the galaxy, and is about 3.2 Earth/Veldin Years. Each years is broken up into four chunks that are seasons. Each season is broken up into 4 galactic months, and each month is broken up into 50 galactic days.

Every Galactic year the Elections for President of each galaxy are held.

Year one on the Standard Calendar is was when the first Galactic Election took place. All years previous to that are referred to as B.S. or Before Standard. All years appearing after that just have an S after them.

Galactic Standard is the common language for inter-species communication in the Tri-Galaxies. This language was created with the formation of the Standard Calendar to prevent wars from breaking out because of misinterpreted communications. As a result, almost all species know common and their native language, which is why Ratchet can speak with almost anyone. Ratchet only knows common.

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