Head Note: Hello again, R&C fans! ToxinAngel969 here, presenting the first official chapter of What's Inside, because it's a weekend and my brothers are hogging the PS3 again. So why not get a little deeper into the story? You will see Clank, and I hope that you understand the mood and why Ratchet and Clank act the way they act towards each other. It may not be the happiest chapter in the story, but I hope you enjoy it! Also, I AM DRAWING A COMIC VERSION OF THIS and will be posted up on deviant art when I'm finished. Because I'm a perfectionist. And it has to be perfect. By the way, I may be getting a Wacom Tablet for Christmas, so you may have to wait until then for the comic. You may now proceed.
EDIT: Edited, peeps.
Disclaimer: *This Ratchet & Clank fan-fiction is exactly that: fanfiction. I don't own the Ratchet & Clank characters, game series, or anything related to them. They belong solely to Insomniac Games and this is purely a recreational piece of literature. *I own none of the songs used at the end of each chapter.
Chapter One: Again
The apartment's new AMR read that it was now 4:43 AM on this unusually chilly morning, and Clank was wringing his metal hands anxiously as he waited for his Lombax companion to finish showering and come into the kitchen. He was eager to speak with him about something that he found rather disturbing on his new Bio-Scanner App, which was sent to him by Aimer. The readings were… quite frankly, they were horrifying. Clank could remember hearing the AMR go off earlier that morning after receiving the first message sent by Captain Quark…
"Good morning, Clank!" For whatever reason, the new Gadgetron devices called other robots by their name or design, but called organic life forms by their customer numbers. A number of things have changed with the devices' functions after the new president of the Gadgetron Company was elected. "The time is 3:57 AM. The Gadgetron AMR has just been notified that Customer 1,039,872 was sent a message by a Captain Quark, and has yet to awaken. Would you like me to awaken him so that he can receive said message?" The womanly mechanical voice emitted from his chest, since the Apps that the AMR held were installed inside of him.
Clank shrugged and continued to lay on the couch in a bored manner, staring off into the darkness of the living room (he didn't really have a bed, for he didn't require a specific number of hours of sleep like Ratchet and other living organisms did). "Thank you, AMR, but please allow Ratchet to sleep for a little longer. I have reason to believe that he may not be getting the best of sleep lately."
"Of course, Clank. However, my Bio-Scanners have also conducted a scan of Customer 1,039,872's sleeping condition beginning at 1:17 AM and… not only would I greatly appreciate it if you would try to persuade him to at least wear a pair of shorts before he goes to sleep, but..."
Clank couldn't help chuckling at this comment, cutting Aimer's sentence short. "Aimer, you only utilize the thermal cameras when you conduct your Bio-Scans, don't you?"
"This is no longer the case; my newest installments for Bio-Scanning have been deemed required for Bio-Scanners by the president of the Gadgetron Company, and it shows me much more than I prefer to see in most situations. Nevertheless, the results of this particular Bio-Scan I have had intentionally locked and made inaccessible to anyone except to those with the Zoni persona, such as yourself."
This caught Clank's attention. Deciding to see what exactly it was talking about, he sat up a bit and unhinged the trapezoid on his chest, swinging it open much like a door to allow the small infobot-like AMR device to float out. "Why would you do that without consulting me beforehand, AMR?"
"Only by seeing the results of the scan will you understand why I've done this." The AMR's feminine voice responded. A screen protruded from the large-eyed robot's mouth. On the left side was a thermal camera, showing the heat signature of his friend Ratchet lying on his bed, and on the left was a night vision version of him, as well as a plethora of unique meters and gauges that each held a purpose.
"This scan was taken at 1:17 AM." The female voice said, and the recording began to play.
Clank watched as the recording progressed, and his green eyes widened. His metal jaw nearly unhinged, and the red antenna protruding from his head began to flicker violently. By the time the recording had finished, Clank's worry for Ratchet had now skyrocketed. If he had a heart, it would be thumping out of his chest. "AMR…" he began, only to be cut off by the device.
"I do apologize for making this data inaccessible, but my database indicates that this is a serious problem that must be approached with caution. If you will excuse me, I must go and awaken customer 1,039,872, for they have just received another message from a Captain Quark."
"But…" Clank began, before the robot had transfigured into a small red box and replaced itself inside of Clank's hollow body, closing the trapezoid vent-like piece of metal behind it like a door.
Clank slumped back into the couch, the gears in his head whirring quickly. He felt a warm gust of air swiftly breeze through his metal vent, and he forced himself to calm down. He couldn't risk overheating right now. Still, he racked his exceedingly intelligent dome for a safe, cautious way to tread this situation. What he had just seen was enough to make his sisterboards spark and crackle within him, ultimately filling him with a sickening, dreadful feeling of uneasiness. Clank had recalled how his dearest friend had been acting lately. He seemed so dreary and exhausted, and wasn't as spontaneous and crude as he usually was. Clank could remember when he invented the Electro-Shock Undergarments, what Ratchet called the Stunderwear. "It was a huge seller on Umbris," he would explain to those who thought otherwise. Now, when he was told about an immature invention, instead of plastering on that mischievous smile of his and feeling the urge to enhance it in some inappropriate way or another, he shrugged it off, and went back to what he was always doing nowadays: staring out the window of his bedroom, or trying to sleep. These extensive changes of behavior alone were enough for Clank to question his friend's condition.
But even when Ratchet seemed to be doing just fine, and didn't appear to be distraught or affected, Clank could feel it; whenever he got close enough to Ratchet, he could sense a melancholic air about him for no clear reason. His largish orange ears drooped slightly, and written upon his face was an incomprehensible mask that concealed how he really felt. And exactly how he felt was still unclear to Clank. It worried him beyond imagination, seeing his best friend so lifeless and emotionless, but how would he ever be able to explain to him how he felt without him overreacting, or taking it the wrong way?
Lost in his thoughts, he hopped up from the couch and made his way into the kitchen, sitting atop the counter and awaiting Ratchet's arrival.
When the Lombax finally entered the kitchen, he was clothed in a plain short sleeved shirt and a pair of long blue pants, as well as his favorite pair of brown gloves and his cap. Clank blinked a couple of times; he was so used to seeing Ratchet dressed in his armor and ready for a mission that it was startling to see him in anything different. The fur on his arms and face were still partially wet, though the fur on his ears was always thoroughly blow-dried before he went anywhere, so that he wasn't freezing if the cooler was on or there was a cold breeze, and because he couldn't get over how poufy they looked afterwards. Ratchet let out a hoarse yawn and dragged himself into the kitchen.
Clank shot up faster than he expected himself to. "Ratchet, the AMR's Bio-Scanners tell me that you are having trouble sleeping. Is anything the matter?"
Ratchet looked up at him, his eyes bloodshot and his ears lifelessly sagging lower than they usually were. "That Aimer is evil." Ratchet told him hoarsely with a hint of sarcasm in his voice. He reached into the refrigerator and grabbed a Nanotech-enriched Energy drink, shaking it vigorously and unscrewing the cap. "B'sides, how come you're up so early?"
"You forget that the AMR notifies me when it wakes you up, and whenever a message is sent to you. Speaking of which, what did Captain Quark send you?"
Ratchet took a swig of the drink and wiped his lips with one of his gloves. "Eh, you know the usual. He screwed something up with his ship and wants our help. Idiot…" the Lombax sat at the counter, Clank sitting atop of it to his right, and rested his head down. He was so tired, and for some reason, everything seemed to blur together.
"Was he ambushed again?" Clank questioned, though to Ratchet his words were nearly inaudible. Ratchet lifted his head back up and rubbed his temples. "…He, uh, busted up his ship or something, and crash-landed somewhere, or something like that..." Clank let out what was supposed to be a sigh. "Well, that description was excruciatingly informative."
"Thank you." Ratchet sarcastically replied.
"Do you even know of his whereabouts?" Clank asked, a little harsher than he was intending.
Ratchet sat all the way up, his eyes still closed, and he threw his hands up in the air. "Look Clank, I don't know. I don't know where he is, I don't care how he's doing, okay?"
"No, that is most certainly not okay!" the robot exclaimed. "Captain Quark is your friend, and I understand that he can be very difficult at times, but you should show him some respect nonetheless."
Ratchet felt the pounding in his head intensify. "Why?!" He snapped, standing up from the counter and clenching his fists. "He's never shown any respect for me!"
"You know all too well that's just how he is!" Clank reprimanded.
"Yeah, self-absorbed and narcissistic! Maybe this could be a reality check for him!"
"But he could be in danger, and you are expected to assist him regardless! Do you understand!?"
"Fine! I'll go help him! Happy?!" Ratchet finally hollered. Clank took a startled step back. He shot his companion a disappointed, frustrated look before hopping from the kitchen counter and storming into the living room. Ratchet stood there for a moment, still a little confused as to what had just happened. The anger still lingered, and hovered over Ratchet like a storm cloud, bringing on the feeling of guilt and remorse. Ratchet let out a distressed sigh and rested against the refrigerator. Ratchet and Clank have been butting heads more often, mostly because Ratchet found that he couldn't learn when to keep his mouth shut. And no matter how hard he tried, no matter how many times he said he'd keep himself in check, it always ended like this: Ratchet starting a trivial argument such as this one that left them both angry at each other; to make things worse, it didn't fade into the background until something spontaneous happened or until he apologized. And again, the stubborn, regretful Lombax felt that he was at fault.
He could feel his face growing hot beneath his fur and his eyes growing excessively watery. Why did he always have to do this? He swore that he wouldn't, but how many times has this happened. He hated it, but it always kept happening. And neither of them really knew what to do about it.
"F…f-fine…" Ratchet whispered, quickly wiping at his eyes. "…I'll go help Quark…" he grabbed his energy drink and headed down the long hallway back to his bedroom.
Chapter Song: Welcome to My Life, by Simple Plan
Foot Note: So about the chapter song, a friend showed it to me this morning, and I fell in love with it. By the way, I highly recommend listening to the chapter songs, they are mainly rock, but I will throw some variety in there eventually ^^; I was considering Hoobastank's song The Reason but I think it seemed a little too mushy, and this sort of targets how Ratchet's feeling, so…. Well, I hope you enjoyed it!