Planet Veldin, Kyzil Plateau
Whelp, I am officially bored out of my mind.
Ratchet and Clank had gone out to tend some Galactic Ranger business, and Grimm was out getting supplies. Of course, I had to stay behind to look after the garage, but god was I bored. I’ve polished Ratchet’s ship at least 3 times, and I’ve tidied up the entire garage, but they still aren’t back yet. It’s not the first time I’ve been left alone by myself. Even though I’m a Galactic Ranger as well as Ratchet and Clank are, they tend to do more work than me. Well, more like Captain Qwark asks them to help out with serious missions and I get left behind because according to him, I’m not “experienced” enough to handle it. I try to brush it off, but, it still hurts. I’ve had my fair share of people telling me I’m not good enough, so not being able to do my job because of it, is something that makes me feel even more useless than I was before I became a ranger. But, I wouldn’t be lying if I said that I haven’t gotten stronger thanks to Ratchet and Clanks training. They’ve been helping me build up my muscles and increasing my strength, and it has been helping a lot. Ratchet has been so understanding through it all, encouraging me and supporting me, something I’m really not used to yet. Apart from Aunt Freda, no one had shown the same amount of kindness towards me until a couple of months ago, when I first met Ratchet and Clank.
A small smile appeared on my face when I thought of them. I had no friends growing up, so my childhood was pretty depressing. But when I met Ratchet for the first time, I finally felt like I belonged in the world, like I could do great things, like Aunt Freda always wanted me to do. I ran a hand through my long black hair and sighed deeply.
“I really need to stop thinking about the past so much…” I said to myself, laughing softly. The past is over, so now it’s time to focus on the future.
I decided to look around the garage to see if there was anything that needed repairing or fixing, since I was literally dying of boredom, and because I kind of wanted to sneak around and see if Ratchet had hidden any unfinished projects around the place. I looked in the most obvious place first, which was Ratchet’s loft/bedroom. I felt kind of bad for going through Ratchet’s stuff, but when it comes to making new weapons or machines, he was very secretive about it. Whenever I would ask about his projects, he would always come up with an excuse for not letting me see it. Most of the time it was “I’m still working on the planning” or “I stopped doing it because it wasn’t good enough”. Of course, I would normally shrug it off and leave it be, but something in my gut was telling me that Ratchet was hiding something from me. I looked around his room, checking under his bed, looking through his draws, but I found nothing. I decided to go back down to the ground floor and look through the “junk” bin to see if he had thrown anything away. I dug through countless amounts of spare ship parts, broken bits of machinery, and a bunch of other random stuff. There were bits of Ratchet’s previous creations in there, but nothing I hadn’t seen before. I sighed in defeat, brushing a stray strand of hair out of my face. I looked down at my hands and my brows furrowed in a look of slight disgust. My hands were covered with old rust and oil, staining my skin an unpleasant black colour. I grabbed a cleaning rag from a nearby towel rack and wiped my hands, getting most of the substances off, but my hands were still stained from the sticky oil I had touched. I shrugged and tossed the rag in the bin, it wasn’t useful anymore. I continued to look around the garage, searching every nook and cranny for anything even resembling a machine or weapon. After looking through pretty much every room in the joint, I decided to give up and call it a day. Maybe Ratchet really didn’t have anything to hide. I mean, he would never keep anything from me, we’re best friends! We tell each other everything.
My brain was telling me that I had nothing to worry about, but the feeling in my gut hadn’t disappeared. And if it’s one thing I’ve learnt about myself, is that I should always go with my gut feeling. But, I had looked everywhere! There was no trace of any new weapons or gadgets anywhere in the garage, the only thing left was a huge pile of machine parts that have been piling up at the very back of the garage, tucked away in a corner.
There’s something there. I don’t what it is, but I feel like something is hidden within that pile of junk. I made my way over to it, the sound of my footsteps bouncing off the walls and echoing through the garage. As I got closer, the pile of parts seemed to grow taller and more intimidating with each step, which made me slightly uncomfortable. I don’t why, but something about it just seemed… off. When I finally reached the pile, I didn’t hesitate to start looking through the various parts, shifting them aside, digging through the pile, determined to find something. My hands once again were covered with old rust and sticky oil from all the machine parts I was touching, but I didn’t care at the moment. As I searched, I didn’t realise how much stuff we had chucked in here. There were ship parts that no longer worked, overused weapons that broke after we (mostly Ratchet) had fired them too much and had caused them to short circuit, and a bunch of other useless junk that I didn’t really know about. I dug deeper through the pile, climbing on top of it to get closer look at everything. My foot slipped slightly, causing a bit of metal to fall off the pile and land on the floor with a clunk. I flung my arm out and grabbed onto the first thing I saw to keep myself from falling. Whatever it was, it was long, and was sticking out of the pile like a sore thumb, I’m surprised I didn’t see it. I pulled myself up slightly so I wouldn’t slip again, and grabbed the long object with both hands. I pulled hard, and the object erupted from the pile with much more ease than I thought it would. My eyes widened when I saw what it was. It was a Holo-guitar, a recent model at that. This didn’t have as much rust on it like everything else, and it was bright blue too. It was an electric guitar, and it was a simple oval shape.
“Hm, I don’t remember throwing this out. I wonder if it still works.” I said, holding the guitar in the right position for playing. My backside was quite uncomfortable from sitting on the pile of junk like that, but I couldn’t be stuffed getting off. I pushed the button on the side to activate the Holo-strings, and sure enough, the strings lit up like the fourth of July, glowing a light blue colour. I used my left hand to strum the strings a few times, my right hand firmly grasping the neck of the guitar. Its sound resonated throughout the garage, adding a cool reverb effect. The guitar was slightly out of tune, but it didn’t sound too bad. I flipped the guitar over and examined it from the back. My eyes glanced over the smooth surface of the guitar, until something caught my eye. Something appeared to be engraved on the back. I used my hand to wipe away some dust that was obscuring my vision of the imprinted lettering, when my eyes widened in surprise. The message was written in sloppy cursive writing, and it had my name at the beginning.
“Dear Serina, Happy 18th Birthday! From Ratchet…” I read aloud, my brows furrowing in confusion. My birthday was a month ago, and Ratchet got me a hover board for me. Was… was he originally going to give this to me instead? If he was, why didn’t he? Why did he throw it away? All these questions swam around in my brain as I tried to figure out why Ratchet would throw away such a good guitar. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love the hover board he gave me, but I would have been just as happy with the guitar, maybe even happier. I slowly slid down the junk pile until I reached the ground again, then I carefully placed the guitar on the floor, making sure not to drop it or damage it. Once it was placed down safely, I was about to climb back up the pile when I glanced down at my clothes, which were covered in rust and old oil. My hands were the same, the palms stained a yucky brownish black colour. I made a small sound of disgust, but decided to worry about it later and focus on the task at hand. If Ratchet hid one thing from me, who’s to say that there wasn’t more?
I made my way back up the pile, making sure my footing was solid before pulling myself upwards. I dug around for a bit, not finding anything. After a few minutes, I decided to give up, knowing that I at least found one thing that I was going to ask Ratchet about. I was at the very top of the pile, which was quite high up. I was about to make my way down, when my eyes widened in shock. Since I was at the very top, I could see everything at a better angle.
Including behind the pile of junk.
Turns out the pile wasn’t pressed right up against the wall like I originally thought it was, it was actually a small distance away. And there, right before my eyes, was something covered with an old tarp, tucked away behind the pile, out of sight. In an instant, I slid down the pile and walked up to the mysterious object, raising an eyebrow in confusion. It appeared to be something that was attached to a roller stand, the handle sticking out, the only thing that wasn’t covered by the tarp. I reached out slowly and grasped the handle, the cold metal sending a chill up my spine. Using my upper body strength, I pulled the object forward, the wheels making a squeaky sound as I moved it from behind the junk pile. Once I finished moving it, I let go and examined it more closely. I slowly reached out and grabbed hold of the rough fabric, gripping it tightly in my fists. I’m not going to lie when I say that I was a bit nervous. What would I find underneath the tarp? Would I regret it?
“Only one way to find out…” I whispered to myself, and in one swift motion, I ripped the tarp off of the object. The first thing I saw was a huge cloud of dust, and I used my hand to swat it away, coughing a few times. When the dust cleared, what I saw was something I wasn’t expecting. The thing sitting on the roller stand was some sort of rust covered generator. I circled around it a couple of times to get a better look, and I was surprised to find that engraved on the side of the machine was Ratchet’s name, almost invisible due to the amount of rust that had built up over time.
Okay, now I was starting to get a little freaked out. Why would Ratchet keep something like this hidden from everyone? What did it even do?
“Maybe I can find some sort of “on” switch, I can figure out what it does.”
My eyes wondered over the generator, trying to find something that would resemble a button or lever that would start up the machine. I eventually found a small flip switch on the back of the generator, and I swallowed the huge lump in my throat, a small bead of sweat trickling down the side of my face. I was extremely nervous for some reason, and I couldn’t figure out why. Maybe it was because I was scared of what this generator (well, if it is actually a generator), would do once I turned it on. It could do something seriously dangerous for all I know, I just know that whatever it does, it must have been Ratchet’s reason for hiding it from me. I took a deep breath, and ever so slowly, flipped the switch.
The generator instantly roared to life, shaking violently, the sound of several cogs and springs moving within the machine. I jumped back slightly at the sudden noise, not expecting it to start up so quickly. I watched as the machine closely as it hummed softly, but it didn’t seem to be doing anything interesting. Until I saw a small display screen on the front of the generator that had lit up. I leaned over slightly and got a better look. Unfortunately, the screen wasn’t calibrated properly, so whatever was on the screen was all jumbled up and I couldn’t make out what it was. Shrugging my shoulders, I decided to switch off the machine and put it away. Suddenly, the generator made a weird sound, almost like something had been jammed between the cogs.
“That doesn’t sound good…” I mumbled, reaching over to switch of the machine.
It stayed on.
I flipped the switch a few more times, but it seemed that the machine wasn’t going to turn off anytime soon. I bit my lip worryingly as the generator continued to make that awful sound. Did I break it? Oh god I broke it didn’t I?
“Okay, it’s fine! I just need to grab my toolbox and maybe I can fix it” I reassured myself. I started walking away to find my tools, when suddenly, a big burst of green light came from behind me. I yelped out in surprise, and used my arm to shield my eyes from its harsh rays. The light was coming from the machine, and I was completely surrounded by the bright light.
My moment of surprise was short lived, because it was soon replaced with something else.
In an instant, an excruciating pain shot through my body, causing me to fall onto my knees in pure agony. I let out a bloodcurdling scream as I felt like I was being burned alive, my eyes burning as hot tears streamed down my face. The light from the machine seemed to be getting brighter, and seemed to be the cause of my pain. I wanted to move, but I couldn’t. It felt like something was holding me in place, and the feeling of being set on fire was increasing by the minute. A sharp pain ripped through my left hand, and I cried out in agony. I glanced down at my hand, and my eyes widened in pure and utter horror.
My hand was disappearing.
My fingertips were slowly fading away, each finger dissolving into small particles, which then disappeared into nothingness. I screamed again, desperately grabbing at the particles to try and put them back on my hand, but to no avail. In a matter of seconds, my entire left hand was gone, and it seemed that my arm was the next thing to go. Tears continued to stream down my face, my heart pounding in my chest. I watched in terror as my arm slowly started to fade away, but then I felt another sharp jolt of pain in my right hand. I held my hand out in front of me, and was horrified to see that it was disappearing too. Soon, both of my hands were gone, and my arms were slowly being taken from me. It was the most terrible feeling I had ever felt, like my limbs had been forcefully cut off. But it didn’t stop there. It wasn’t long before other parts of myself were disintegrating. My legs started to go, then parts of my waist, then my hair, and finally, I felt parts of my face being practically ripped apart from my cheeks.
“SOMEBODY! HELP ME PLEASE!” I screamed, hoping that someone, anyone, would hear me.
But nobody came.
I screamed for help, over and over again, praying that this was all just a horrible nightmare.
“PLEASE! I DON’T WANT TO DIE! SOMEONE HELP ME!” I cried desperately, feeling myself getting weaker by the second. I couldn’t feel my hands or legs anymore, and my vision was slowly fading.
“Please… Someone… Help me…”
I didn’t have to strength to scream. One of my eyes had disappeared, and the other one wasn’t far behind. One last tear slid down my cheek, and then…
Everything went black.