I coughed violently as I accidentally swallowed down some of the water that rest at the bottom of the sewer pipe I had been thrown down into. I spit out all the disgusting water I possibly could from my mouth while I stood up, looking around in despair. There was no exit that I could get out of, only the pipe, but being so slippery, it was out of the question.
Whimpering, I sat back down on the ground, despite it being covered in water. I was already soaked, so it probably didn't matter. I could feel desperation build up, almost forcing me to cry. "N-no!" I cried out, rubbing my dry eyes. "Like I would cry!" Still, I had no idea what to do next. I bet Clank will be mad when he finds me... If he ever will, since this place was in such a complicated place.
Then, suddenly, a faint beeping sound distracted me. What on earth was it? It sounded like it came somewhere really close. Somewhere near me... I moved my glove a little, mentally hitting myself on the face. The communicator! I pressed one of the buttons, but I couldn't remember if it was the one that allowed the call to come through. I couldn't hear anything, so I decided to speak out. "Hello?"
"Ratchet!" Clank's voice could be heard from the communicator. I stood up quickly, smiling out of joy. "What happened, where are you! Why did you run off and are you still at the stadium!" Clank spammed the questions like mad, but I was just happy to know I had a chance to survive now.
"It's uh... Rather funny story, actually..." I chuckled faintly, hoping that Clank wouldn't murder me for being such an idiot. "I should probably tell you later. Right now, I'm stuck in a sewer and I can't get out!"
"What in the name of Qwark are you doing in a sewer!" Clank raised his voice a little, making me flinch. I could understand him being mad or worried, though...
"It would take me a while to explain..." I said. "I did try to tell Al, but he wouldn't listen!" I complained, and for a moment, there was a silence at the other end of the call.
"Wait, you didn't go after the robots, did you?" Al asked, sounding a little shocked.
"I had to!" I cried out. "Qwark was there with Drek! Something must be going on! But I was thrown here before I could find out anything!" Once again, none of us said anything for a little while. I bit my lower lip, feeling a bit nervous; the call wasn't cut, was it? Thankfully, they finally spoke up.
"Do you remember the way there?" Clank asked and I began to mumble to myself, trying to recall the way in my head. I had been trashing around a lot, trying to get away that I didn't pay much attention to the scenery. I did remember the key scenes, so to say, though.
"Somewhat..." I paused for a couple of seconds, thinking it over once more. "Their ship was at the back of the stadium and then one of the robots carried me down some alley, I think? There was this weird building with a lot of water and pipes and stuff. It didn't smell too bad and then there was one pipe that was really gross! That jerk threw me down that one! Actually now that I... Oh, ew, my clothes are soaked in that slime! Ah, crap!" I tried to wipe that nasty stuff off of my clothes, using my free hand to try and wash it off with the water hat rested in the pit. It may have been disgusting as well, but it was a lot cleaner than the slime on my clothes was. It was so nasty, I couldn't believe it!
"Ratchet, please. Concentrate." Clank commanded as I groaned at the slime being under my clothes, too. Ew! "I will find you and rescue you, do not worry. Just remain calm and do not do anything regretful!"
"Y-yes..." I responded quietly and Clank began talking with Al. I didn't pay much attention to it anymore, as I just looked around me, still hoping to find a way out. One of the walls definitely looked weird and that was probably because it was no wall; it was a door! I rushed to it, trying to find a way to open it, but there was no way to open it. It was heavily locked and would probably only open by a command, like a push of a button.
I twitched my ears, looking behind me. There WAS a button there! How didn't I pay attention to it before? But the button was too obvious. There must have been a catch to it, but what on earth could it even be?
"Ratchet, are you in there?" Clank then asked in worry; right, the call was still open.
"Uh, yeah. I'm just confused. There's a huge door in here." I say as I raise my eyebrow.
"Can you open it?" He asked, a little confused.
"No, it's tightly locked. But there's a huge button here on the floor. It's... Kind of suspicious."
"I see." He responded. Only now I could hear his footsteps at the other end of the call. I really hope he can find me... I don't want to die in here! "I will make my way in there and we will see what we can do."
"Where are you now?" I asked, sitting down beside the button, staring at it blankly. My clothes were already wet, so it didn't matter if I sat down in the water.
"I am getting closer to the building you were talking about. I have been on this planet before and I have an inner map in my systems." He explained, letting out a heavy sigh. "Something just tells me I should put a locator on you one of these days..."
"Ehe he..." I let out a faint laugh, grinning weakly to myself. I leaned against the door, taking a deep breath, frowing at the smell again. It wasn't that strong anymore, but it was still pretty unpleasant.
"Are you alright?" He then suddenly asked and I looked down at the communicator for no good reason.
"Y-yeah... Just the foul smell is getting to me. I just don't get why such a weird pipe is in here and why it's so slimy and dirty! It doesn't look so dirty down here..." I began to complain and Clank gave me a light chuckle.
"Just hold on. I think I found the sewers. It doesn't look much like one." He said and I rolled my eyes.
"That's the place alright." I wrapped my arms around my legs, starting to feel a little chilly. The water wasn't that cold, but it wasn't exactly warm. There were no places I could stand on without touching the water. Even the button was slightly covered in water. Now that I thought about it, it was glowing a little bit, too.
For some time, neither of us said a word. I could hear Clank's steps from the communicator, although a little faint. They were quick, but then they were slow. Then they were short and then they made a sudden, sharp sound, as if he had jumped down from something. Honestly, I don't recall the path being so complicated, but, well, I had been occupied... Still, he never seemed to stop for much longer than a second. I was happy that he was so determined to find me, but still, I wondered... Would he be angry with me...? Well, probably, but hopefully not for long... I just wanted to help them.
"Ratchet? Are you down there?" I could now hear Clank's voice from both the communicator and from the top of the slimy pipe. Overjoyed, I shot up on my feet, gazing hopefully over to the pipe.
"Yeah!" I cheered and could then hear a small click come from the communicator, indicating that the call had been ended. "What should we do?"
"Hmm... Hold on a moment." Clank responded and for a while, there was no sound. Then, I could hear something sliding down and soon enough, Clank was sent flying through the room, landing on the water with a splash. He shook his head and instantly looked for me.
"Clank!" Cheering once more, I dashed over to him as he got on his feet, shooting a slightly angry look at me. Ah, crap. "You, uhm..." I mumbled, raising my eyebrow a little. "You came down. Are you sure that'sa good idea?" I dared to ask as he looked around with a serious look on his face.
"There's not much I could do up there. I do not have rope and who knows how long it would take to get some." He explained. While it did somewhat sound like he was worried and angry, he was still oddly calm and collected. Did he know a way out?
"So... What do we do?"
He glanced at the button, placing his hand on his chin as he thought. "Our best guess is to push the button." He looked around him, keeping his eyes on the ceiling. "Judging by the water on the floor and the pipes, this place will fill with water once we press the button." He explained, still gazing at the pipes.
"So, we could swim up... THAT one." I pointed at the dirty "slide" we both had came down from.
"I do not think that will be such an easy task. By the looks of it, it doesn't seem like water goes through there that often." He dropped his attention on the glowing button, falling into deep thought.
"And what are the chances of the door opening when we press the button? It could be a trap!" I panicked a little, but Clank shook his head in disbelief.
"I doubt so. Placing a trap in a place like this would be pointless. It would be much too big of a coincidence." His words made me fall into thought as well. Could it be coincidence, or was it actually planned? I mean, the way Qwark was talking with Drek and the way the robot brought me here; he didn't seem hesitant on where he would take me. Maybe it wasn't Drek who built this place, but it didn't mean he wouldn't know about it, right? It was such a giant mess.
"Well, I guess it's no use thinking about." I huffed, walking over to the button again and slamming it, while Clank panicked a little over my action. Sure enough, the door began to open, but so did the pipes. Water began to shoot down and it was quickly filling up the floor.
"RUN!" Clank yelled and we both began running like mad through the opened path. With a small glance, I could see the other entrance being blocked by a door, so we couldn't leave that way, anyway.
But the path we had to go through was weird to say the least. There were a lot of things in our way, such as platforms of some sort and what not. We had to climb over those, or well, I had to. Clank would use his helipack to fly on top of them, helping me to climb. We were both panicking, but we tried to keep our cool so we could make through this maze. Or maybe that was just me. Clank looked almost like he had this under control.
"What the heck are THOSE?!" I snapped when I saw green, slimy creatures ahead. Clank quickly took out his blaster, aiming at them and shooting them once in a good range.
"Amoeboids. You don't want to stick around with them." He let out a snarl, shooting all the creatures that came in our way. The bigger ones divided into half, too; what was up with these creatures?!
The water level was reaching us in an incredible speed as more pipes around us were shooting water as well. I was terrified of the idea that I would fall behind and drown, but thankfully, it was the kind of fright that kept my legs moving, not the opposite.
Then, the path ended. There was a platform little further away, but I wasn't too sure I could make a jump like that. I couldn't help but stop at the end of the path and so did Clank. He could easily fly over, but he stood behind. We stared at each other and I could now clearly see that he was just as terrified as I was.
"Ratchet, hold on to me!" He commanded and I gave him a confused look, following his command. I wrapped my arms around his body and he used his heliback to shot us up in the air. We would not stay long in the air due to my weight (I assumed), but we landed on the platform just fine. Same thing with the next jump and the next; we were actually doing pretty good!
We ran up the path before us, but once we made to the top, we both froze. The path went down and the water was raising from there, too. "Looks like we have to swim!" I said in a determined manner, but Clank stood still, looking horrified. "What are you waiting for?!" I snarled, and he looked at me a little ashamed. I walked over to him, grabbing his hand. "Then, hold on to me!" I snapped, really wanting to get out of here alive. He looked at me a little shocked, but obeyed my order. He wrapped his arms around my waist and I dived in to the water, keeping close to the ceiling and hoping to reach surface of the water before the water could reach the ceiling. Not to be egoistic, but I was a pretty good swimmer; it was only part of survival, but this was the cleanest water I had ever dipped into. While blurry, I could see pretty clearly in front of me.
Finally, I was able to gasp for air when I reached the surface. Quickly, I grabbed on to the wall that looked oddly specific. Almost like it was meant to be climbed. Not wasting any time, I climbed my way up as fast as possible, Clank still holding on to me and once I made to the top, he let go of me and there was one of those weird creatures crawling about. The creature snarled, but Clank was faster with his blaster and he shot the blasted thing out of our way.
Without hesitation, we kept running as the water was gaining on us again. We, of course, came across more platforms and as Clank glanced at me, I took a tight hold of him again as he flew us across. The tunnel was most certainly weird; there were big rooms occasionally, much like now, but there was a corridor in front of us again. Such a pattern made NO sense! Once Clank flew us to the entrance, the path lead down again. I couldn't contain the growl that escaped me when I saw the sight. I imitated Clank's move from before and I looked at him, getting him to hold on to me once more as I dived into the water after I took in a deep breath.
I tried to swim quick, but I also tried not getting myself out of breath, since that would be a VERY bad thing when diving. I kept my vision (all of what I actually had under water) near the ceiling of the tunnel. It kept going down, but eventually, it finally went up again. Seriously, what is with this design?! I began to swim up, but I could feel the need for air to take the most of me. The surface wasn't too far, only a little bit more!
If I could have cried, I would've when I accidentally opened my mouth in order to breathe. I swallowed water and I instantly lost my energy to pull myself up. Clank began to squirm, but we weren't sinking. Something was pulling us up and I tried to see what was actually happening. There were lights on the ceiling that Clank used in order to get us up, but there was only so much he could do with just one arm, since he was trying to hold on to me with the other. Using the little bit of strength I had, I swung my legs and my arms to the best of my abilities at the moment.
Finally, we reached the surface. I took a deep breathe when my face was still above water, but it didn't do much justice for my strength. Clank held on me tightly and once his head was above the water, he used the propeller on his head to move us closer to solid ground. I have never been so happy to have floor under my feet! I was still partly in water, but it wasn't able to reach my lungs anymore. I stood on all fours, coughing like mad as the water I had swallowed decided to make its way back up. Clank stood beside me, rubbing my back and giving it small smacks every now and then.
"It's okay, Ratchet, we're safe now." He soothed me as I kept on coughing. Only now I noticed I had my eyes tightly shut and once I opened them, I saw that the water wasn't raising anymore. Wow, that was some adventure we just went through.
Once my coughing slowed down, Clank walked in front of me, taking a hold of my hands as he pulled me to my feet and slowly walked me out of the water. Nervously, I looked him in the eyes, feeling a little afraid of the possible scolding I was about to get.
To my surprise, instead of a scold, I received a tight hug. He gave me a frustrated sigh as he spoke in a voice that was just as frustrated. "Don't you EVER do that again."
I let out a relieved, but a tired chuckle. "I won't." He pulls back and we both look over to the end of the path. Wait, the end?! "It's a dead end?!" I snapped, growling in a pathetic manner. He walked over to the dead end, gazing at the ground.
"No. There is a button in here." The answer didn't make me much more convinced.
"Another one?" My response was more of a whine this time and I fell on my knees. I couldn't believe that this hell of a sewer had been so restraining on my body.
Clank gave me a soft smile as he walked back to me, helping me on my feet again and letting me rest against him. We were about the same height, so it wasn't too difficult to walk leaning against him. "Do not worry. I believe this to be an elevator." He said reassuringly. I had no energy to question it in the least.
We made our way to the elevator and he let me sit down as he pressed the button, the platform beginning to budge and finally move properly. I praised the forces above that it went up instead of down. Taking a deep breath or two, I growled at nothing in particular. "That sewer was a load of bulls-"
"Ratchet, please. Language." Clank shook his head with a chuckle, watching me in a very odd way. He didn't seem angry or worried. Well, a little bit, but there was something more. Something like... Pride? No, no, that couldn't be.
"But honestly, what was with that specific design! Being built like that, it can't be a coincidence! That was meant to be a death-course of some sort!" My complaining actually received a nod from Clank, for my shock.
"Perhaps. It was quite unusual." He commented casually.
"To say the least!" Once again, I snapped, growing somewhat frustrated. That damn robot...! Once I find those guys, I swear I will... I will... Do something horrible, I'm sure!
"We got out. That is most important right now. We have to go back to the ship and find Captain Qwark. If Drek really has taken him, we have to find them and quick. Who knows what that man is up to." Clank groaned, looking at the exit once we made our way to the top. He then glanced at me, concerned. "Do you need help?"
Slowly, I got on my feet as I shook my head. I felt a little bubbly, it was weird. "Nah, I think I'm good. Just don't walk fast, I guess..." He nodded, walking next to me as we walked out of the elevator, looking around to locate where we were. Well, I had no darn clue, that was for sure. There wasn't much there; just an empty park, pretty much. "What now?"
"I located a taxi sign, so maybe we can catch one and return to the ship." He gave me a concerned look when I started to wobble, wrapping one arm around me to prevent me from falling down. "Do you need to rest for a while?"
I forced a grin on, unable to look into his eyes. "Nah. We're in a hurry, right? Let's go." My chuckle wasn't convincing, but we kept walking nevertheless, Clank never letting go of me. We made our way to the taxi sign and there was a small taxi, waiting there. It was like a car, but kind of flat and without a driver. "Uhm... What now?"
Clank smiled, helping me to get on the floating car, forcing me to sit down in the middle of it, more or less. He turned to look at the controls, pressing some buttons and making the car move. "You could call it a "self-help-taxi". As it turns out, being a taxi driver is not such a well desired profession." He let out a chuckle, walking beside me again, placing his hand on my shoulder. "How do you feel?"
"I'm weirded out." My answer seemed to confuse him, probably being one that he didn't expect. "Aren't you mad?" I asked and he blinked, staring at me dumbfounded.
"About what?" He blinked once more.
"About this whole thing! How I ran after those robots and how I got myself into trouble!" The anger in my voice wasn't intentional and I didn't mean to lash out on him like that. I wasn't even sure why I was so angry, but he didn't seem too bothered by it.
"Look..." He sat down next to me, giving me a gentle stare. "While I am upset that you just ran off like you did, I also learned that I should be patient with you. You are not the type of a child to stay still and just watch others. You are action type. My only wish is that you would contact me before you get abducted by robots working for an evil mastermind." A faint smile formed on his face. "I have told you before; I worry about you and I do wish to keep you alive. Then again, by this point, I doubt you have the ability to die." He chuckled a little playfully, giving me a gentle pet on the head. "You went through that sewer so fearlessly that I can not help but be a little proud."
"Heh." I gave a little snort at his words. "Only a little?"
"Like I said, I'm still upset about you running off. But you survived. We both did. At this point, I should just be grateful for that." He looked around, probably to see how far the taxi already was. Soon enough he looked back to me. "Just promise me that if you spot any trouble, you will tell me first and we can take care of the problem together."
"So, you mean... I can do these missions with you, then?" My voice sounded more hopeful than I meant it to be. "You won't make me stay behind the ship?"
"Would you really stay at the ship, if I left you behind?" He asked with a suspicious stare and I gave him a playful (as well as an embarrassed) grin. "That is what I thought." He chuckled once again. "But you still have a lot to learn, so do not get ahead of yourself. You need to learn how to handle a gun and how to aim." He stood up, looking away from me. I looked over to the same direction as he was, seeing the ship still rest where it had been landed when we came to this planet. The relief I felt through my whole body when I saw it again.
The taxi finally stopped and almost right next to the ship. Clank turned to me, helping me once more to get back on my feet. "Come now. We need to get you some rest. Not to mention dry clothes." Oh right, that was why I felt so heavy! I chuckled in my own head, a little amused that I had been more worried over Clank being mad at me than having wet clothes.
We walked to the ship, the door being open and we could see Al and Helga argue with each other near the entrance.
"I can't believe you let the captain be taken away like that!" Helga complained, her hands on her rather wide hips.
"I already told you, there was nothing I could've done! Stop yelling at me and go attack Drek instead!" Al snapped as he held on to a small device.
"Maybe I will, you pansy!" She snarled, obviously displeased by the current situation.
"Ahem." Clank coughed, capturing the attention of the two. "I would request you two to stop arguing like this. It will not solve much." His words displeased Helga as well.
"And who put YOU in charge!"
Al rolled his eyes, moving out of our way as we walked closer, walking over to a small panel on the wall and closing the door. "Boy, am I glad to see you, Clank. It's been nothing but this since I came back!" Clank and I stopped in our places, watching Al as he walked over to us. "I hate to say this, but we're really lost without that idiot!" He panicked a little and I looked at Clank a little worried, who was now dwelling in his thoughts.
"We should probably contact the president. But first, we should leave this planet. Who knows what Drek is up to and if he knows that we are after him." He commented and surprisingly, both Al and Helga listened to him without much complaint. "Al, get ready to depart. Helga, you... Assist him or something." The two nodded (with Helga grunting something) and headed for the cockpit, leaving us two behind.
"What do I do?" I finally asked as he looked at me with a gentle, but strict smile.
"You will go and rest. I will carry you if I must." We shared a chuckle as I shook my hands.
"Fine. I don't have much energy to argue back anyway. I'm kind of beat." I began to back away, starting to make my way to our room, but then he stopped me.
"Wait." He opened the hatch on his stomach, taking out a pair of clothing and offering them to me. "You better change first. Throw the old ones somewhere where I can see them, I'll take care of them later."
I took the clothes happily, watching him curiously. "What will you do?"
"I will contact the president and ask him what he knows." He turned slightly, ready to walk away and do his next "mission". "Will you be fine on your own?"
A snort escaped from me. "We're on the ship. Of course I'll be." He nodded with a smile and rushed after Al and Helga. I watched after him, my ears lowering down. I headed for the bathroom, figuring that changing the clothes in there would be a bit more appropriate. My old clothes were a little sticky by now, so taking them out was nasty. My fur was still wet, so I grabbed a towel that Clank had given the permission to use, drying myself as best as I could. Once done, I put on the new clothes he had given me and they felt... A bit odd. They felt a bit heavier than my old clothes and the material was a bit rough. I pulled on them a little, trying out how strong it was. Not like I could rip out clothes anyway, but it was just something I did when such a miracle happened that I was given clothes. They weren't always this new.
I smiled widely at the clothes; I loved them!
I noticed the magnet at the back of the overalls and tested if my wrench would stay there. It would! The set also had a brown pilot's hat and I put it on gladly. I always wanted a hat like this! Still, it was kind of odd how the clothes resembled armour more than regular clothing. Not that they looked like they could protect from much, but Clank had bought them, so I was sure they were good.
I looked at my hands that were now covered with brown, leather gloves. Clank had bought me clothes. NEW clothes. If I wasn't so tired, I would definitely hop in the air and cheer as loud as I could.
But since he was now busy, I wouldn't dare to bother him. Right now, I needed to get back to our room and then go to bed. It was so incredibly soft and cozy after all the adventuring we had gone through.
I closed my eyes, smiling at the feel of my new, clean and dry clothes.
I would have to thank Clank when I woke up. I would have to thank him A LOT.
With that thought, I fell into a deep, dream-filled sleep.