Chapter 15: Verpardi meets Lombax
It sure was irritating. Being compared with such a small, scrawny and furry contestant… Ace was quite bothered with such an assumption. Yet for some reason, he was compelled to find out a bit more about this lombax.
A short time after Shellshock’s destruction, Ace headed down to the containment area, where all of the new contestants were being held captive. He scoped throughout the station, and tried to look for team Darkstar’s containment room; the team Ratchet was part of.
To avoid being seen, he climbed up the frame of the containment cells with his great strength and skills with climbing, coming within reach of the flat surfaces near the top. This way he could avoid being seen by the other heroes being held captive down below.
He walked carefully along the tops of the building frames, even making quick swift leaps across one roof to another, until he finally came across the containment area of team Darkstar. At first, he couldn’t see Ratchet anywhere.
Instead, he saw another two members of team Darkstar from afar, using his visor to zoom in on them for a better look. Ace saw a small robot and a chubby alien of some sort, similar to the race that is common on planet Kerwan. He wasn’t sure who they were but he assumed that they were part of Ratchet’s team. He could see from a distance that the small robot was busy monitoring Ratchet’s progress. Ace stayed put on the top of the building, continuously keeping watch… right until the lombax was eventually dropped off by the planetary transport vessel nearby.
Ratchet ran over towards his small robotic friend. His name was Clank, and he aided Ratchet in many of their adventures together. But now that they were captured for DreadZone, Clank was not allowed to aid Ratchet in combat so instead, he had to stay in the containment area, monitoring Ratchet’s progress in the DZ challenges.
”Clank! Did you see me out there against that Shellshock guy? Yeah I’m so *makes zapping and dodging sounds* oh yeah, huh!”
Ratchet said, smiling and posing as if he were holding his pair of Dual-vipers, pretending to fire towards incoming enemies. Clank looked concerned, as his eyelids slid down slightly…
”You worry me Ratchet…”
”Oh… come on Clank, can’t I just enjoy the moment?”
”Do you realize how many other heroes they have killed? Here, watch this…”
Clank said, turning around to switch on the main HV screen in the monitoring room. A Vox news action update was being broadcasted and Ratchet walked up closer to watch the screen alongside Clank.
Ace could see that their attention was caught by Vox news on the HV screen. So he jumped down from the building, swiftly and almost silently, and he walked up slowly towards their containment room.
Ratchet and Clank continued to watch the news update, Juanita and Dallas were reading out the daily news. They immediately started slandering Ratchet; making up lies about him being a Mafia crime boss, along with Clank. Ratchet sighed and frowned slightly, dumbfounded by the stupidity of what was being broadcast. Immediately after they slandered Ratchet, a picture of Ace Hardlight showed on the screen and Ratchet’s eyes widened slightly.
Hey… he looks and sounds like somebody familiar... Ratchet thought.
Ace could see that they were focused on the screen, as he walked up even closer to them now. He also couldn’t help but give off a devilish grin, hearing Juanita talk about his successes last season in which he killed 13 contestants, including The Brown Ranger, Captain Starshield, Mad Monkey McKnight, Quaternion X, and many others.
Clank’s expression changed to a sad one when he heard the news, but Ratchet still couldn’t help but feel quite surprised at the news being broadcast. It was over in only a minute and the screen switched off. The lombax looked at his robot companion, still thinking to himself before he said.
”Yeah… I remember hearing about Ace Hardlight when I was a kid. He was this famous superhero who, disappeared…!”
”That must have been someone else. Why would a hero kill other heroes for money?”
”Not money, tin-man…”
Ace said, suddenly coming up from behind Clank, kneeling down to Clank’s level…
”I… do not… understand…”
A very confused Clank replied. Ace stood up straight and grinned, giving off a laugh. Ratchet or Clank were not amused though, and Ratchet lunged forward, fuming and shouting.
”You TRAITOR! Do you think this is some kind of GAME!?”
”That’s exactly what it is, furball” Ace added, moving up to Ratchet to talk face to face,
”And you’re going to be the star of my highlight reel…”
Ratchet was astonished. He was speechless as Ace glared down at him with a wicked grin.
”Heh, I’ll see you soon lombax…”
And with that, Ace walked off hastily.
Ratchet and Clank stood there, somewhat troubled by Ace being present. But to Ratchet, it was even worse. He somewhat remembered Ace, from when he was a child. He once looked up to the big-name heroes when he was younger, and that included Ace Hardlight. But he also couldn’t help but question how Ace could have turned out to be what he is now…
It made little sense to him.