With short, quick steps, I traveled across the planet Veldin, looking for any kind of life form I could. The place was dying as the water seemed to be vanishing from the lands. It was so dry and hot that any organic life form would feel drained.
"Nothing here." I reported into my headset, soon receiving reply.
"Good work, Clank! We'll be looking through these parts first and then come get you! We, uh, ran into a little trouble." The voice of a man commented nervously. I sighed, shaking my head to him.
"Another reporter wanting to take pictures of your awesomeness, Captain?" I asked, partly in a sarcastic tone and partly in a serious one. It was beyond me how Captain Qwark was so famous with so little. Well, he provided a good home at least with the rest of the crew, Al and Helga. It was quite lively like that.
"No, no, nothing like that! This is an actual emergency!" Captain Qwark said, making me feel a little bit nervous. Perhaps it was actually so this time?
"What is it, Captain? Are you alright?" Asking in worry, I looked around, in case there were ships attacking the planet or anything, but there was no such things I could detect.
"Some kind of a rat or something jumped on me! It scratched my suit! I'm waiting for Helga to bring me a towel, so no-one will see the shame I'm bathing in right now! Can you imagine, me, Captain Qwark, letting my suit get torn up like this!" Captain Qwark spoke in an extremely dramatic tone. This was ridicilous.
"Alright, you take care of that. I'll look around some more." Sighing, I closed the line and kept on walking along the paths of Veldin. I wouldn't even bother myself with the troubles of the Captain, but would just concentrate on finding any people who would need help. Our mission was to save anyone in need and this planet was about to need it quite a lot; unless this place began to blossom, we would have to make sure everyone got out safely. There weren't many inhabitants and even most of them would rather stay on the planet and die with it, if such a fate was granded upon them. It was rather poetic in a way, not wanting to leave your home like that. Captain Qwark would just call it stupidly suicidal.
Listening closely, I began detecting soft sniffling, as if someone was crying. I tried locating the source, which turned out quite difficult. I couldn't see it anywhere, but as soon as I found it, it wasn't a big surprise; the target had been quite small and hiding inside a little rock pile cave thing. It looked strangely homesy.
"Hello." I greeted, receiving the creature's attention. He looked at me in an untrusting manner as he pointed his wrench at me from his little cave system.
"Back off!" The little one snapped, growling softly; I assumed he was trying to be threatning, but being so young, his voice wasn't too low.
"I'm sorry, I'm not here to harm you. I'm just looking for individuals that may be in need of an assistance." I explained myself, which made the little one a bit confused. "Basically, I am here to help."
"Oh..." He replied, glaring at me from the dark cave as he slowly crawled towards me. He sniffled, wiping his eyes as he came out with his wrench still pointed at me. He fully revealed himself and his appearance certainly surprised me. "Don't pull any tricks on me." He warned me, still keeping his "fighting stance".
"You're a lombax. I haven't seen many of you around." I stated, which seemed to have made him more angry.
"No wonder, I'm the only one around." He watched me angrily, while I gave him a sad stare.
"You're alone? Where are your parents?" Asking this obviously made the little lombax upset as he lowered his ears as well as his weapon.
"I don't know... I've been here as long as I remember..." Another sniffle escaped the lombax, but he soon dried his eyes and nose, glaring at me once again. "But it doesn't matter! I can take care of myself!"
"I would believe so, yes. Still, I would like to ask you to come with us. The planet isn't doing too well and while I believe an adult could take care of himself, I think a child your age lacks the experience of survival." Once again, my explanation brought confusion to the lombax's eyes.
"...you talk so much." He said, looking distressed as he stood there with his weapon still raised. He then crawled back into his small cave, his home, I assumed and let out another failed attempt of a growl. "Now leave! I'm not going!"
"Please, young one; I only wish your best." I kneeled down at the entrance, watching him in worry. "This place won't be able to provide the food and energy a child like you would need. I promise you, we will take good care of you."
"Why would I trust a robot? All your kind does is destroy everything..." The child mumbled sadly.
"Did a robot do that to you?" I carefully asked and as I get no reply, I assumed I was correct. Poor thing he was. "I assure you, I am not like those robots. There aren't many places in this body a gun could fit, so rest assured, I won't harm you."
The lombax let out a faint chuckle. "Yeah, you're sadly small for a robot."
I smiled at the comment and offered my hand to him. "Come now. My crew will pick us up anytime now." It took some time, but the child grabbed my hand and I carefully pulled him out. "Do you have anything you need to take with you?"
"I don't... Have anything." He said sadly again, looking down to his feet.
"Do you at least have a name?" I asked again and by this time, I felt like I was poking him with sharp knives as each question seemed to hurt him more and more.
"I uh..." He quietly said as I still held onto his hand, starting to walk him away from the small cave and lead him to an area that would help the Captain and the others to spot them easier.
"I can give you a name, if you'd like." I suggested, which made him oddly nervous. It was as if he was ashamed of himself. "Hey, it's alright." Trying to comfort him, he carefully looked at me, not letting go of his wrench.
"It just feels stupid. Not remembering my own name nor if I actually have one..." He growled again, looking down with a pouty look in his face.
"It happens to the best of us." I chuckled, which gained his attention. "If you don't have one, at least let me give you one. I wouldn't like calling you a child for the rest of your life."
"Okay." He simply replied, looking at me with a hopeful glint in his eyes. I couldn't help but wonder this.
"Ratchet." I said, which made him tilt his head. "I don't know why, but that name came up to me instantly." I let out another laugh. "If you don't like it, though-"
"Thanks." He smiled bravely, giving me the feeling that he was gaining more bravery with every sentence I said to him. "Nice to meet you, mister. I'm Ratchet." He grinned widely. "What's your name?"
Not being able to hold in another chuckle, I smiled. Well, the best I could smile, anyway. "My name is Clank. Nice to meet you."
He grinned even more widely, growing more happy and at a surprising speed as well. It was as if this was meant to happen; like he was supposed to be with me.
This child just seemed like nothing else I had seen before. It was almost... Heroic.