Author Note: I'm not really sure what inspired this story, haha, but it was a blast to write. No spoilers for any of the games. Takes place between A Crack In Time and All 4 One.
Disclaimer: Sadly, I don't own the series or any of its characters. I'm just a crazy writer who enjoys putting them in silly situations.
It was morning at the Nefarious Space Station. So quiet. So peaceful.
"LAAAWREENCE! Lawrence, where are you?!"
Up in his personal office, an angry Dr. Nefarious paced back and forth in front of his desk. A steaming cup of coffee sat next to piles of blueprints and other evil paperwork. The blue android's frown deepened as the minutes ticked by until finally, he threw his arms up in frustration.
"Argh, nevermind! I'll just get it myself!"
He marched out of the room and made a fantastic show of stomping down the hallway as loud as he could. After a brief ride in the elevator, he stormed through a set of doors and into the station's kitchen.
"Now, where is it?" the villain flung the refrigerator door open, stuck his head inside, and began shoving containers and jugs out of the way. "Let's see: milk, Kerchu Hot Sauce, leftover lasagna – ah, that's where those Galactic Scout cookies from last year went – no, no, not it, no… Lawrence, get in here! LAWRENCE!"
"Yes, sir, you bellowed?" the robotic butler appeared in the doorway wearing his usual half-lidded expression. When he caught sight of the situation, he raised a gloved hand to his mouth in phony concern. "Oh my, have you gotten your head stuck in the refrigerator again?"
"What? No!" Nefarious pulled himself out and stood up straight, crossing his arms and glaring. There was a moment of silence. "Just for the record, it wasn't the refrigerator that one time… it was the freezer." He coughed. "Anyway, where's my coffee creamer? I've wasted a whole three minutes looking for it."
"Apologies; I must have forgotten to tell you. We ran out. It's on my shopping list."
"But we can't be out!" The doctor jabbed one of his clawed fingers at the ceiling. "My coffee's sitting up there getting cold! I can't drink it plain like that! It's disgusting!"
"Do calm down, sir. There's a sale on Thursday."
Nefarious glared harder. "Well, I'm not waiting for any sale. Start the ship because we're –" he struck a dramatically goofy pose, "—off to the Supermarket!" Then suddenly he began laughing. "Do you get it, Lawrence? I'm a Supervillain going to the Supermarket!"
"Hilarious, sir," drawled Lawrence. "Your humor is as brilliant as your evil schemes."
Completely missing the insult, the doctor grinned smugly and tapped his oversized cranium. "They don't call me a genius for nothing, you know. Now, hurry up and let's go! Or I'll be having coffee with dinner instead of breakfast."
"In a moment, sir. I seem to have misplaced my coupon book."
"Lawrence! Quit stalling!"
"They have fifty percent off Q-Tips if purchased with –"
"I! Don't! Care!" Nefarious bellowed as he practically yanked the butler out the door.
Meridian City had the largest and most impressive supermarket in the Polaris Galaxy. The City was also home to the President, which meant ridiculously tight security around every corner. But Nefarious was in luck. Lawrence had formulated a plan to get them into the store without being recognized.
"I feel like a moron," Nefarious grumbled as he raised his hands to adjust his "disguise". They were approaching the sliding glass doors that marked the store's entrance. Surveillance cameras stared out from everywhere.
"You look very stylish, sir," reassured his butler. "They say it's the popular trend in Solana right now."
"I have a lamp shade on my head!" Nefarious exclaimed, earning several bewildered stares from passersby. "Why do you get the wig?" He glared sidelong at Lawrence and his new spiky, blond hair.
"This isn't any old wig, you know. It's the wig I wear during my Bass Odyssey performances. Besides, sir, it would clash horribly with your eyes."
"I'm not in the mood for fashion jokes, Lawrence."
They stepped through the doorway and into the store. The doctor glanced around cautiously. "Let's just grab the creamer and split before anyone –"
"Hello there, upstanding citizens! How'd you like a free autograph with a purchase of my brand new cereal?"
They both froze.
"It's a pretty awesome deal, if I do say so myself," continued Captain Qwark. The green-clad superhero was standing near the entrance greeting customers as they arrived, and handing out brightly colored boxes of Frosted Qwark-E-Os. No doubt the sight of a lamp shade bobbing through the crowd had caught his attention. He beckoned the robotic duo over.
Nefarious clenched his fists. "Unbelievable! Out of all the people we could have run into, it had to be this twit!"
Thankfully, Qwark seemed not to hear Nefarious' outburst over the noise of the other shoppers. He stepped closer and waved one of the autographed cereal boxes in their faces.
"I know what you're thinking," the hero flashed a big cheesy grin. He pointed to the image of himself posing beside the cereal logo. "'Look at that handsome devil! Why can't I be like him?' Well, you're in luck. Every bite of Frosted Qwark-E-Os is guaranteed to make you (almost) as Qwarktastic as yours truly. There's also a bonus green spoon inside! …Er," Qwark peered uncertainly at Nefarious, whose eye had begun twitching. "You okay there, buddy?"
"I swear if there weren't so many security cameras, I'd annihilate you and your stupid cereal right here, right-!" Nefarious caught sight of Lawrence, and he seemed to remember that they were still incognito. He forced a painful looking smile. "Uh…what I mean is…"
"He's not very fond of green, you see," explained his butler. "Traumatic childhood incident. He's still rather sensitive about it."
"Really? Uh, sorry to hear that," Qwark's smile faltered for a second; but then he threw an arm over Nefarious' shoulders in a brotherly gesture. The doctor shot Lawrence a death glare. "Tell you what, I'll take the green spoon out and give you and your talking lamp a discount. How does that sound?"
"Excuse me!" shouted a female alien from behind the superhero. "I'm a huge fan! I'd love one of your cereal boxes, but I'm kind of in a rush…"
"Not to worry, ma'am," Qwark beamed. He let go of Nefarious. "Let me just take care of this little lady first, and I'll be right back," he told them, before turning around.
Needless to say, the two robots made their escape faster than you could say 'Qwarktastic.'
Several aisles later, they slowed down, grabbed a shopping cart, and began browsing the shelves.
"Now I remember why I don't go shopping." Nefarious rubbed his forehead. "I think I'm getting a migraine from all of this."
"You could just wait in the ship, sir," suggested Lawrence, unconcernedly picking out a box of Thin Mints.
"I've snuck past security, gotten my shoulders crushed by that big oaf, and to top it all off I'm wearing a piece of furniture. There's no way I'm turning back now." The supervillain frowned as Lawrence paused in front of a row of Q-tips. A minute went by. "What are you doing?"
Nefarious grumbled, glancing up and down the aisle. "Well, could you hurry it up? I'd like to get out of this place before something else happens."
Several more minutes later, (Lawrence needed laundry detergent and a new feather duster) they arrived at the dairy products.
"Finally!" the doctor dashed ahead, his face triumphant as he saw that there was only one carton of oil-flavored creamer left. But when he reached for it, so did someone else.
"Hey, I was here first!" shouted two voices. Nefarious stared. Ratchet stared back.
"This is getting ridiculous!" Nefarious stamped his metallic feet in a mini tantrum. "I just want to have my coffee! Is that too much to ask?!"
"That's it?" the Lombax raised an eyebrow at the lamp shade. "No super evil plans for galactic domination?"
"…I don't know what you're talking about. Have we met before? Your voice sounds irritatingly familiar, but I can't place it."
"I know it's you, Nefarious. And I know that's your butler behind you in the wig."
"No it's not. I've never seen him before in my life."
"What do you think, sir?" called Lawrence, still shopping in the background. He waved the two cans he was holding. "Ravioli or Spagettios?"
"Lawrence!" Nefarious scowled.
"Oh, am I interrupting something?"
Ratchet laughed. "Come on, you're a talking lamp. Even Qwark wouldn't fall for those awful disguises."
The two robots shared a glance.
"He fell for them, didn't he?" sighed the Lombax, shaking his head. "Why am I surprised?"
Nefarious shrugged. "What else would you expect? He's a moron!" He took a step forward. "As much as I'd love to hang around and insult Qwark all day, I've got planets to conquer, people to destroy –"
Ratchet blocked his way. "And I've got creamer to buy."
"Don't even think about it, space rat."
"And I even remembered my coupon for half-off." The furry alien reached for the carton again.
"Keep your squishy hands off my coffee creamer!" They each grabbed one end of the container, and a brief tug of war commenced.
"I saw it first."
"No, I did!"
"No, it was me!"
"It's oil flavored!"
"It's for Clank!"
Meanwhile, Lawrence had finally finished shopping. He stood with the overflowing cart on the sidelines, watching as the situation turned into a wrestling match. With his sharp metal claws, Nefarious had the obvious advantage, but Ratchet kept pulling the lamp shade down over the doctor's eyes.
"You're lucky I had to leave my weapons with the security guards." Ratchet ducked another blind swipe. "It's pretty disappointing. It's been weeks since I blasted anything into scrap metal."
"Hah! You'd be a smoldering crater of annihilation before you could even pull the trigger," the villain shot back.
"Ya gotta actually hit me first, you know."
"I will as soon as you stop messing with my disguise! Ow, not the shoulder!"
"Speaking of security," panted Ratchet. "What are they doing, napping on the job?"
It was Nefarious' turn to laugh. "I'd love to see them toss you out for punching a lamp. That'd be hilarious!"
"Yeah? I'll show you something funny."
"Argh! If you hit that shoulder one more time, I'll tear your arms off!"
Keeping a safe distance, Lawrence sighed. "If only I'd brought my lawn chair and some popcorn."
"What is going on?" A concerned robotic voice came from behind the butler. It was Clank.
"They're fighting over coffee creamer, believe it or not. Don't ask about the lamp shade."
"Clank!" Ratchet shouted, poking his head up from the midst of the scuffle. "Did you find what you were looking for? Owff!" He grunted as Nefarious finally landed a kick.
"No, unfortunately they are waiting for a new shipment," answered the little android, trotting forward cautiously. "I see you found the creamer."
"Yeah, I'll have it in a second! I'm kicking his – ouch! …Nevermind."
"Perhaps there is another way to settle things. Before security arrives?"
Ratchet and Nefarious paused in mid-fight to peer at Clank.
"Like what?" the Lombax inquired.
"We don't need to settle anything," Nefarious said. "I found the creamer first, so your little friend here should just hand it over!"
"Not gonna happen, tin can!"
"Ahem," Clank coughed to get their attention again. "I was thinking of a contest perhaps?"
"You could race him for it, sir," suggested Lawrence.
"That's not a bad idea," admitted the supervillain, and for once Ratchet agreed with him.
"Prepare to lose, space rat!"
"In your dreams, Nefarious!"
"The rules are simple," explained Clank as the two competitors took their places in the Frozen Dinners aisle, the designated 'starting line.' "You have both been given a full shopping cart to maneuver along the track. You lose points for every item that falls out."
"Do be careful, sir," commented Lawrence. "I'd rather not have to run behind you with a net."
Nefarious rolled his eyes. "Relax, Lawrence. Your Q-Tips will be fine."
"I'm more concerned about the Thin Mints."
"Q-Tips?" Ratchet frowned, confused. "But you're robots; you don't need – oh, um, sorry, Clank." He noticed the small bot was patiently waiting for them to stop interrupting. "Go on, pal."
"You also lose points for bad driving," continued Clank, "such as knocking over displays or running into other shoppers. The person who makes it down every aisle and returns here with the most points wins the coffee creamer." He gestured toward Lawrence, who held up the reward.
"How exciting," remarked the butler, his voice as emotionless as always, "I get to stand here holding something."
Using his Heli-pack, Clank boosted himself up and settled into the seat of Ratchet's cart. "I shall ride with you, Ratchet, so I can keep an eye on both your scores. Ready, set, go!"
Ratchet and Nefarious shot off like lightning. They barreled down the aisles, slowing down only to skid round corners before tearing off again at full speed. Startled shoppers barely managed to scramble out of the way.
The Lombax glanced sideways at the supervillain as they raced on. "What're you smirking at?" He was giving Ratchet a rather frightening evil smile. "You're going to cheat, aren't you?"
"Me, cheat?" Nefarious pulled an innocent face. "The thought never even crossed my mind. But, now that you mention it," the evil look returned, "it does sound very tempting."
He promptly rammed the side of his cart into Ratchet's, sending it careening to the left. Clank held on for dear life as they barreled toward a tower of soup cans. Gritting his teeth, Ratchet pulled hard in the opposite direction. They missed the obstacle by a hair.
"Seriously?" Ratchet glared as he regained control of his cart. "We've only been racing for ten seconds and you're already trying to make us crash!"
Nefarious' eloquent response was a bout of maniacal laughter. He wiped an imaginary tear from his eye. "Oh, this is just too much fun!" He began aiming his cart for the oncoming shoppers. "Let's see how many squishies I can squash!"
He sent a blue alien in orange overalls tumbling into a stack of boxes. "Hey, watch where you're going!" the Plumber shouted, but his frown faded as one of the boxes landed in his lap. "Hey, a new pipe wrench. How 'bout that? Just what I was looking for."
"Ten points!" announced the doctor, still cackling like a madman.
"Actually," Clank finally spoke up, frowning in disapproval. "That puts you at negative thirty points."
"What?! That's not fair!"
"Pfft," scoffed Ratchet. "Says the guy that's bowling people over." He glanced apologetically at Clank. "Sorry, pal, but I've had enough of his antics." And with that, he whammed his cart into Nefarious' and steered them both into a deserted aisle. Away from potential targets. Or maybe not.
Nefarious shoved his cart into Ratchet's a second time, and the Lombax found himself crashing into the shelves on his right. Bags of chips rained down. His cart landed with a loud clatter, its contents spilling all over the floor.
"Hah! See you at the finish line!" the villain called over his shoulder as he left them in the dust.
"You okay, Clank?" Ratchet brushed himself off and helped the little android out from the avalanche of groceries.
"Yes, I am fine," his friend replied as he surveyed the wreckage, "but it seems we have lost everything in our cart."
"Yeah, but we haven't lost the race. Not yet. Hop on, we can't drive the cart with three busted wheels," the furry alien turned and crouched. Clank jumped up and attached himself to Ratchet's back. "Let's win this thing!"
Meanwhile, Nefarious sprinted for the frozen dinners aisle. He could already see the shape of Lawrence in the distance. "Yes, victory!" He threw his fist into the air. Suddenly, he frowned. A strange rushing noise was coming from behind him, and it was getting closer.
"Long time no see," Ratchet grinned as he pulled up alongside the doctor. A trail of blue light flared from his boots, propelling him forward. "Hope you don't mind if we share the lane."
"What does it take to get rid of you? You're hoverbooting down the aisle without a cart! So much for rules."
"We modified the rules a bit," Clank waved at Nefarious as Ratchet started to speed ahead.
"I'm not losing to a squishy and his talking backpack!" exclaimed the villain, abandoning his cart and leaping over it. Red light burst from his metallic feet. The flight stabilizers on his back extended like a pair of wings.
"What's the matter?" The Lombax asked, peering over his shoulder. "Oh, yeah," he groaned and slapped a hand over his face. "I forgot he could do that. Great."
It took two seconds for Nefarious to catch up. The finish line was approaching fast. "Get out of my way!" He swiped a claw at one of Ratchet's feet. There was a distinct sputtering sound. The boot shuddered.
"Uh oh." Ratchet braced himself. With a loud roar, his malfunctioning hoverboot sent him flying sharply to the side, where he crashed into Nefarious. They ricocheted off both walls of the aisle before skidding to a halt in front of Lawrence. The butler was greeted with a chorus of 'ouches'.
The doctor rotated his arm with a grimace. "My shoulder!"
"Well, that was fun," Ratchet remarked sarcastically, rubbing his head.
Clank detached himself from his friend's back, only to wobble and fall over. "Why… is the room spinning?"
"I give you a 'ten', sir," Lawrence pretended to hold up a score card.
"Nevermind!" Nefarious waved a hand dismissively. He scrambled to his feet. "So who won?"
"Actually, no one, sir. Everyone cheated, so you've all been disqualified."
"What?!" Ratchet, Clank, and Nefarious shouted in unison. But their disbelief was drowned out by a much louder ominous noise. Their race had knocked the walls of the aisle off balance, and they creaked and swayed dangerously. Then, without warning:
The first wall gave away, toppling the others like a set of giant dominos. Panicked shoppers yelled as they hurried out of harm's way.
"Look out!" Ratchet pointed at the closest wall, which was heading right toward them. He shut his eyes.
"It is okay," Clank's voice called. The Lombax looked up to find his friend transformed into 'Giant Clank', holding the heavy wall back with two enormous hands. The big robot pushed it away from the group.
"Wow, great save," Ratchet let out the breath he had been holding and smiled. For a moment they all shared a relieved laugh – aside from Lawrence, who still stood there holding the creamer as though nothing out of the ordinary had just happened.
As the echoes of collapsing walls died away, a robotic voice spoke over the store's intercom system.
"Clean up on aisle one."
"Clean up on aisles four and five."
A longer pause.
"…Um, clean up on all aisles."
"We should probably make ourselves scarce," Ratchet peered at the scene of destruction surrounding them.
The doctor nodded. "I couldn't agree more. Come on, Lawrence, we'll just duck out the side door."
"Wait a minute... First, put the creamer down."
"Hah, I'd like to see you make me," Nefarious swiped the prize from Lawrence and turned for his escape. He ran straight into a large metal foot. Giant Clank frowned down at him. The villain let out a small nervous chuckle and took a step backward.
Fortunately for him, it was then that a distraction arrived.
"Hey! Are you the ones causing all the trouble?" a stern voice shouted. "Do you know how many thousands of bolts in damage you just cost this place?" A pack of security guards was making its way over the mess of shelves and boxes.
"Oh sure," Nefarious sighed. "Now they decide to show up."
"This does not look good." Clank quickly shrunk back down to his normal form. "There is a very good explanation for all of this."
"Yeah," Ratchet thought fast. He raised a gloved hand and yanked the lamp shade off the doctor's head. "We were trying to apprehend him!"
Nefarious glared daggers. He hid the creamer behind his back and started to inch away. "Well, it's been a blast, but we've got to split." And with that, he grabbed his butler and they high-tailed it out of there.
"Hey! Stop right there!" the guards doubled their speed. One of them was already on a communicator, no doubt calling the Meridian City police force.
"Come on," the Lombax helped Clank onto his back once again. "Let's get that creamer back." They joined the pursuit.
"We're going the wrong way, sir," Lawrence pointed out as he and Nefarious dashed over the toppled walls and groceries. Suddenly, he leaned down and snatched something from the ground. "Free bag, sir?" He took off his blond wig and dropped it in.
"What! Why didn't you say something earlier?!" the villain scowled and changed direction. "Yes, there it is!" The emergency exit soon came into view. He took the shopping bag from Lawrence and shoved the creamer inside.
"Stop in the name of justice!" demanded an overly heroic voice.
"Argh! Not him again!"
"Dr. Nefarious. I should've known you were the source of all this mayhem!" Captain Qwark sprinted after them. He must have been in the middle of another autograph judging by the half-signed cereal box in his hand. He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Though, I've no idea how you managed to sneak through the front door. I was there the whole day. I've got the vigilance of a hawk!"
Nefarious rolled his eyes. "Just ignore him, just ignore him," he muttered to himself.
"And the reflexes of a tiger," the superhero went on. "Behold, my Crouching Kitten Style!" Qwark pounced.
The villain turned his head in time to see a large green blur flying through the air. A second later it had tackled him to the ground. "Get off of me, you stupid moron!"
"There they are!" shouted Ratchet in the distance. The squad of guards followed right behind him.
"Do something Lawrence!"
"Pardon me," the butler tapped Qwark on the shoulder, "but I believe that's your fan club approaching."
The hero glanced up expectantly. "The Qwark Cadets Fan Club? They're early!"
Nefarious seized the opportunity to squeeze free and jumped to his feet. Grabbing his shopping bag again, he resumed his escape. "Hah, sucker!" he called over his shoulder.
Finally, he and Lawrence reached the doorway, and they slipped out into the parking lot. Far off sirens could be heard wailing.
"All this for coffee!" the doctor waved his arms in exasperation. "Never again!"
Lawrence paused to scan the nearby vehicles.
"I don't suppose you remember where I parked the ship, sir?"
"Ah, nevermind. There it is."
Nefarious flung the ship's door open and climbed in as his butler settled into the driver's seat. The engine roared to life and off they shot into the atmosphere.
"Galactic authorities are on high alert after the notorious supervillain, Dr. Nefarious, demolished the inside of the Meridian City Supermarket this morning. He allegedly sent security on a wild goose chase through the store, before making off with – am I reading this right? Ahem – a carton of coffee creamer. Police officers arrived too late to apprehend him. Even the galaxy's favorite celebrity, Captain Qwark, was unable to stop the villain. In just a moment we will speak with heroes Ratchet and Clank, who were also on the scene as the crime unfolded. Stay tuned for more breaking news on this rather curious story."
Nefarious shut the holovision screen off with a snort. He was sitting back behind his desk in the Space Station. "'The galaxy's favorite celebrity,'" he mimicked the reporter, talking into the HV remote like it was a microphone. "Escaping from right under Qwark's nose makes this whole fiasco worthwhile. I hope it ruins his reputation!"
"Your coffee, sir," Lawrence set the reheated drink beside the doctor. "Unfortunately, I doubt it."
"Ssh, don't spoil the moment, Lawrence! I'm trying to be optimistic here." The sight of the coffee cheered him up a bit. "Finally! I've only been waiting for three hours! Hand me the creamer, Lawrence." He held out a claw.
"Right away, sir," his butler reached into the shopping bag. There was a pause.
"You might want to close your eyes, sir, and take a deep breath."
"Why?" Nefarious eyed him suspiciously.
"There seems to have been a slight mix up."
"What do you mean 'mix up?'"
"That's when two items have been –"
"I KNOW what mix up means! Now let me see!" The villain stole the bag from Lawrence's hand and held it up triumphantly. He dumped the contents onto the surface of his desk. His jaw fell open in disbelief. "What?! But how did -?!" He simply stared, at a loss for words.
"I tried to warn you, sir."
"How is this possible?!" Nefarious slammed his fist and sprang up from his chair. His arms trembled as rage built up in his circuitry. "You'd better not be playing a joke on me, Lawrence!"
"I wonder," mused his butler. "When Captain Qw – " he corrected himself as the doctor's eye started twitching, "Er, when C.Q. tackled you, the creamer must have fallen out… and gotten replaced with –"
"I can't believe this!" Nefarious slammed the box of Frosted Qwark-E-Os on the floor. The Captain's face beamed up at him from the cover. The supervillain stomped violently all over it.
"Oh, hold on a moment, sir," interrupted Lawrence. He bent down and picked something out of the crushed box. "Do you mind if I have the green spoon?"
That was the last straw.
"LAWRENCE!" screeched Nefarious. Sparks flew from the gears in his head, and suddenly he froze in mid tantrum. The familiar sounds of a soap opera echoed through the room.
"Oh, Lance, how could you? How could you eat the last Poptart?"
"I'm sorry, Janice! I didn't know it was yours!"
Okay, hope you enjoyed it! Feel free to leave a review and let me know what you thought. What part did you find the funniest?