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At this point a short break in the action was announced. The audience immediately flooded the lobby, gathering in small groups and talking excitedly about the play. Some, the friends of Ratchet and Clank or members of the military, complained about the inaccuracy of play, while others praised the acting and special effects.

The actors, including Qwark, waltzed around the lobby, accepting praise and gifts from their adoring fans. Miss Gears and Captain Qwark, used to the praise, accepted this with grace. The Ratchet actor, clearly new to the scene, seemed not to know what he should do with his newly found fame, just sticking close to the other actors. The Clank actor, meanwhile, took this time to attempt to interview his idol, the real Clank, who was retrieving refreshments for himself and Ratchet. Needless to say, he wasn't exactly interested. And while there were no confirmed sightings of Ratchet, some claimed he had spent the entire break wallowing on the balcony, while others insisted that he had gone up to the roof. In the end nobody really knew, except perhaps for the little robot who averted his eyes and quietly sipped his drink whenever Ratchet's whereabouts were questioned.

The time passed quickly, though, and soon the amphitheater was once again filled to the brim with people chattering excitedly, eagerly awaiting the next act.

"Are you feeling better, Ratchet?"

"Y-yeah."

"Are you sure? If you are not, we can just leave..."

"No, no, I'll be fine. I want to see where this is going."

"...alright. If you are sure."

When the lights finally dimmed again, the crowd fell into a hush. The arena blacked out and the platform illuminated, showing Qwark standing center stage. His voice boomed throughout the large room, echoing around, "And so Clank, our dear, dear friend, was taken into the cosmos by the mysterious Zoni creatures, leaving behind poor Ratchet. His only friend in the universe was gone, his best pal, the one whom he gave up his only chance of ever, ever seeing another Lombax again for, had been taken before his very eyes, leaving him a pitiable, miserable wreck!"

"Ratchet? Remember that one time I told you I would not allow you to maim Captain Qwark?"

"Yeah?"

"I am seriously reconsidering that decision."

"But!" Here, Qwark paused for effect, "Did our protagonist give in? No! Instead," Qwark backed out of the spotlight, allowing the highlight to go to the Ratchet actor in the background, laboring tirelessly over a piece of paper, "He dedicated himself to finding his lost friend, working tirelessly to piece together what little clues the Zoni had left on history. Finally, after weeks and weeks of studious dedication-"

"Not how it happened."

"-our hero finally found a single lead: a rare and powerful artifact hidden on a backwater island planet far, far away from civilization," The Ratchet actor discreetly pressed a button under the map he was fawning over, resulting in a projected image of the Obsidian Eye, made pretty for the sake of the audience, "The Obsidian Eye... this ancient machine was one of only a few created by the Zoni, granted only to those they felt worthy. According to history there was only one in existence, belonging to the pirate Captain Darkwater. And so, without his normal companion, Ratchet was forced to go on this perilous journey with only a single ally – Miss Talwyn Apogee," The disguised Courtney Gears approached Ratchet's actor from behind, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder, "But alas," The lights dimmed, leaving the stage dark, "An unknown enemy watched from the shadows, waiting for a chance... for vengeance!" The lights flickered like lighting, the sound of thundering echoed through the theater, and the silhouette of two familiar characters could briefly be seen on the walls.

"...okay, they really weren't threatening. At all. I have no idea what Qwark was thinking."

"To be fair, nobody really does."

The scene shifted, showing the two heroes of the story aboard a flying ship, talking somberly about their quest and what it meant. Fortunately this conversation was quickly derailed with an action scene, where an entire crew of pirates ambushed them. The fight scene was actually fairly well composed, moving quickly with both Ratchet and Talwyn fighting incredibly well. The ambush ended in a loss for the heroes, both of them stuffed back to back inside of a cannon. Only then did the familiar silhouettes, Captain Slag's decapitated head and his second-in-command, step forward.

"Well, well, well," Taunted the head, "Look what the Zoni dragged in."

"Captain Slag!" Ratchet snapped, glaring daggers at the two. Talwyn, for her part, remained wordless, but Courtney Gears was a good enough actress to know that she was supposed to do something and took to glaring daggers and growling at the remaining pirates. The fake Lombax practically spat out his words, disgust tangible in his voice, "Sided with Darkwater, eh? Well, make sure-"

Both heroes jumped in surprised when all of the pirates burst into laughter, "You fool!" Slag guffawed, "Darkwater's been dead fer years! Yer more likely to find the Lombaxes in a cereal box than find anything that old buffoon's hidden!"

"Then let. Me. Go," Ratchet punctuated each of his words, anger tangible. The actor overplayed the anger, twisting an unspoken death threat into his words. But instead of taking this seriously, the pirates merely laughed some more.

"Like you'd just let us go," Rusty Pete, Slag's number two, snapped, and then lowered the cannon. Both Ratchet and Talwyn, quickly realizing the danger they were in, started struggling fruitlessly and, several seconds later, the cannon fired, supposedly sending the two heroes flying up into the air. If one had good enough eyesight and payed good enough attention, one might be able to spot the two actors sneaking out of the bottom of the device. As it was, most of the audience was looking upward, attempting to see where the actors had been launched to.

"Really? A cannon? I know Qwark has been bending reality to suit his needs, but honestly, that is the most preposterous thing we have seen yet."

"Eh hehe, yeah...totally ridiculous, huh?"

The scene faded to black, and then a spotlight turned on, shining attention onto an unconscious Ratchet. A ghostly, familiar voice echoed through the theater, "Ratchet... Ratchet..."

"Ugh..." The Lombax awoke slowly, voice gravely as he called out to the voice, "Clank?"

"Ratchet..." A translucent image of Clank appeared before him, "I'm waiting, Ratchet..."

"Not what you said, by the way."

"Yes, because when one hallucinates during a period of extreme emotional distress, the important thing to do is capture the exact dialogue."

"Ratchet!" The spotlight expanded out and revealed a jungle setting. A solid Talwyn replaced Clank, looking concerned, "Are you alright? Man, those pirates!" She stomped and pouted like a child, glaring up at the sky, "When I get my hands on those idiots, I'm going to-"

"I don't need to hear that," Ratchet interrupted, "I'm pretty sure it'll scar my already fragile psyche."

"Heehee heehee..."

"Shut up."

Unlike in reality, a concerned citizen greeted them immediately, laying out all the necessary exposition. The friendships Ratchet had made with those on this planet had been thrown aside, all the problems caused by the pirates thrown under the rug in favor of streamlining the plot. They found the Obsidian Eye rather quickly but, like in reality, the Fulcrum Star necessary for powering it was missing. With only local legends to guide them, Ratchet and Talwyn took to the seas, seeking out the tomb of Captain Darkwater.

And, like in reality, it all went to hell.

Rusty Pete and what remains of Captain Slag had, for some unfathomable reason-

"It makes more sense if you were actually there."

-decided to follow our heroes, and disturbed the body of Captain Darkwater by attaching what remained of Slag to it. The resulting union was... horrifying, to say the least. Instead of the quirky split personality, the union was portrayed as grotesque and horrible, a disgusting combination of two different pirates to create a sort of hybrid personality. The monster took off to conquer the galaxy, taking the treasure (and Talwyn, for some undisclosed reason) with him. Ratchet followed in hot pursuit.

The resulting chase scene was clearly well-put together, with Slagwater and Pete and Talwyn on a (relatively) large ship and Ratchet following them with a much smaller craft. The lights were dimmed and holographic rain fell, increasing the intensity of the scene, especially as the two ships sometimes got close enough to the audience that they could reach out and touch the ships. Of course, none of them did, but it thrilled and enthralled them, especially at the end where the Ratchet actor made a daring leap across the theater, landing on the deck of the other ship.

The resulting battle was intense, wrench versus sword in dire combat to the death. Slagwater was clearly the more experienced, wielding his weapon with grace and poise, but Ratchet's counterpart incorporated a sort of desperation into his fighting, as if he had everything to lose. The fighting ended when a lucky blow of the wrench knocked the head off the twisted hybrid, knocking it down to the stage below. The audience screamed and screeched, clearly excited by this development, while Ratchet freed Talwyn.

"Oh, thank you, my brave hero!" Once again, Qwark's ham made it's way past the editors as Talwyn rushed up to Ratchet and hugged him tightly in a scene of flirty affection that would have made the real Talwyn gag.

"How much you wanna bet Talwyn will rip his arms off?"

"Officially, I condemn you for that comment. Unofficially, I would put my money on Talwyn jamming the script down his throat."

"We have more important things to worry about," The Lombax pushed her off, then fished down below the deck and held the prop representing the Fulcrum Star for the audience to behold. It sparkled with a radiant beauty, and with Talwyn draping herself over his shoulder, it was almost like something out of a bad action movie.

And, with the triumphant music playing in the background, the scene ended.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When the action resumed, Talwyn and Ratchet were standing in front of the Obsidian Eye, Fulcrum Star inserted. A scene projected in front of them, clearly a hologram, of the Zoni surrounding Clank, attempting to speak with him. When they failed to get a response from him they cooed, in their rhyming sort of way, and the form of Doctor Nefarious made his way onto the stage.

"Don't worry, Clank," Sneered the evil robot, "I'll take good care of you..."

"Clank!" Called Ratchet, reaching out for what wasn't there. When the hologram disappeared, he drew his fist into his chest, growling softly, "Don't worry, pal... I'm coming for you."

And with that, he walked into the darkness, Talwyn following.

"And with that, Ratchet set out on the final leg of his journey to find Clank. Unfortunately," The scene shifted, showing Talwyn and Ratchet and Kronk and Zephyr miming out different actions, "Talwyn was forced to go her own way, for she had finally found a lead on her missing father."

"Well, that felt rather... rushed."

"It kinda felt like that in real life, too."

"So, in her place, she sent the strongest, bravest hero in the entire galaxy..." As Talwyn and her robot guardians disappeared, another spotlight lit up, revealing Qwark standing behind Ratchet, "Me."

"Barf."

"And whilst I had previous heroic engagements to withhold, I had promised my dear friend that whenever he should need me, I would be there."

"This I find hard to believe."

"Hey, I'm no fan of Qwark's, but... he really did help quite a bit. Even if I wanted him dead half the time."

"..."

"And so we soared off into the sunset, determined not to return until Clank was home, safe and sound. But a nefarious force-"

"Again. Barf."

"-was scheming behind our backs. And for the first time in two years, Clank was waking up..."

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The scene opened in the Great Clock. The recreation of the environment Clank had spent so much time in paled in comparison to the real deal. Lush environments and shined gears were replaced with worn, gray metal pistons. It looked more like the insides of an actual clock than the majesty of the real deal. This had been intentional, though; Qwark had taken his art direction in this set completely from Clank, who had done quite a bit of fibbing to keep the people of Polaris from knowing the true nature of the machine. What was the pacemaker of the entire universe had been transformed into a comparatively simple machine designed to correct temporal paradoxes. Of course Qwark, having little idea of the truth, went along with these without question. It was one of two things Clank had openly lied about when it came to this production.

Center stage, supposedly suspended in animation was Clank, hovering above the ground in some sort of containment unit. Slowly he awoke, taking in his surroundings sluggishly before gasping in surprise. The emotions of the moment were monologued to the audience as Clank talked aloud to... himself. It was then that he ran into Nefarious.

For a moment the two robots simply stared at each other, emotions placed at a standstill. Then, all at once, hell broke loose. Nefarious called for his servant bots and Clank ran, racing through the Great Clock. The chase went on for some time, until Clank ran into Sigmund. The red robot was, in this version, much less of a paranoid mess, jumping out of nowhere to save Clank from Nefarious' servants while he stood idly by, mouth agape. Only when the henchmen retreated did he talk.

"My liege," He bowed humbly, "Are you alright?"

"...you over-embellished Sigmund, didn't you?"

"No!...okay, maybe a little."

"Tch, sap."

"I believe so- wait, what did you just call me?"

The Clank on stage looked confused, meeting Sigmund's patient gaze with a curious one. Almost paternally, the other robot smiled and led him through a chamber, "I called you what you are, my liege. A leader to the Zoni, destined from birth for... this!" He gestured all around him, to the entire Great Clock, "This was all created by your father, to protect this reality from the many temporal anomalies that occur all the time. And now," He bowed, holding out a prop staff that looked nothing like the one Clank had used before, "It is all yours, my liege."

Then, quite promptly, Clank fainted.

"I did not faint."

"No, but it makes sense story wise, and gives us a nice spot to transition to... Nefarious?"

When the scene switched, instead of Qwark and Ratchet taking the stage, they had decided to inter cut Nefarious and Lawrence. The two were speaking in solitude.

"Sir?"

"This better be important, Lawrence! I've got a twerp to catch!"

"Two things, sir," The butler drawled, "One, we've located the 'Outcast'."

"Exile."

"Shall we send a team to dispose of him?"

"What? Of course!" The robot spat, "Why wouldn't you? Get to it now, you waste of metal!"

"Oh? So I assume you don't want to hear about Ratchet. Very well, I'll be on my way..."

"Wait!" Nefarious actually looked over at him, curious, "What about that flee-ridden mongrel?"

"He's here, sir."

For a moment, the evil doctor looked shocked. Then that shock slowly morphed, until a sinister smirk was stretched out over his face.

"Sir? What do you want to do about Ratchet?"

"Oh, Lawrence, have you no manners? He's a guest! And you, of all people, should know how I treat my guests..."

"Excellent, sir. I'll send a welcoming party for him right away."

"...how is Qwark making all our villains... threatening?"

"Every writer has their strong points. Qwark's, apparently, is villains."

"Will wonders never cease?"

The scenes switched yet again, this time to Ratchet and Qwark flying around the small section of space surrounding the Great Clock. The two were flying in complete silence, which would have told anyone in the audience who actually knew the two how off-base this was. Of course, this was merely a lead up to the inevitable attack by Nefarious' men, who ambushed the ship with no prior warning. A short, pathetically one-sided battle took place before the ship crash landed on what Qwark helpfully labeled 'Torren IV'.

"Huh. Seems like Qwark's skipping some stuff."

"Well, there is less than an hour left to go. I doubt he could successfully tell the whole story in that time."

The two crash landed on a plateau, one not far from the Outcast. A carefully silhouetted figure rose above them, one with large ears and a swaying tail; one holding a familiar double-sided omniwrench. He looked over the two, then picked up Ratchet, walking away and quite obviously leaving Captain Qwark to his fate.

"Phffft..."

"Ratchet, hehe, it is not... hehe... oh, alright. You can laugh at this one."

When the Lombax awoke, he was alone, inside of a strange room. Clearly confused, he called out, "Qwark? Clank? ...anybody?"

"You are awake."

The Lombax turned, and onto the stage walked Alister Azimuth, whose image was compiled onto a hologuise using the photographs Ratchet had of him. The two Lombaxes locked eyes for the first time, one surprised while the other held a certain amount of suspicion.

"You- you're a-" Ratchet sat up, staring at the elder in surprise.

Alister merely stared, standing stoic, "Lombax. Like you are, my friend," He looked away, "I almost didn't believe it could be true, but you... you look exactly like your father."

"My father?"

"He was a good man," Azimuth looked into a small pocket watch, a poor replica of the real one, "My best friend. And I..." He sighed, "Never mind. What brings you into the far reaches of nowhere, child?"

And so Ratchet explained his quest to find the Zoni. The two traded exposition, with Ratchet telling about Clank and Azimuth telling about the Great Clock. It wasn't long after that the two reached an agreement: in exchange for telling Ratchet the location of another Obsidian Eye and helping him reach it, Ratchet would help Alister finally reach the Great Clock. And with this the two took off, their destination set. Of course, the actual location was not revealed: the location of the Eye all three of the heroes deemed too dangerous to reveal to the public.

"I see you have done a little embellishing of your own."

"Yeah, well... he's already dead. I don't want him remembered as some sort of monster, you know? He's suffered enough."

"...you are far nobler than I, Ratchet."

Inter cut between this scene and their destination was a scene starring Qwark, explaining in typical Qwark fashion how he bravely made his way to a space port, where his ship was taken captive by the Argonians. Apparently, according to the play, Qwark had been taken captive and pit in the arena for daring to attempt to protect a small child. It was self-love at its finest.

"Because that was necessary."

The next scene featured Azimuth and Ratchet fighting their way through the infested caverns that lead to the Obsidian Eye. Ratchet lead the way, keeping the monsters away from Azimuth, who seemed to be lagging behind some.

"You're doing good work here, kid," The older Lombax huffed, "You're old man would've been proud. I wish he was still here to see you."

Ratchet paused. The actor made a good show of looking torn before he finally decided to talk, "About that... I've been meaning to ask... why aren't you with the Lombaxes?"

For a moment, it seemed like Azimuth wouldn't answer the question. But before Ratchet could ask again he sighed, looking away, "I am an Outcast for a reason, child. Our people left me behind because I made the foolish mistake of trusting an inventor with a hunger for power. I thought he was brilliant, and I let my eagerness overcome my common sense... and then he tried to kill us."

"He..." It took Ratchet a few seconds, but he put it together, "You mean Tachyon?"

"Perceival was a brilliant kid," Alister sighed, "I just didn't have the foresight to see that his ambitions weren't as black and white as his designs. If I'd just listened, if I'd just paid a little more attention..."

Alister sighed, leaning up against a wall for support. Ratchet, obviously sympathetic, placed a comforting hand on his back, "Don't blame yourself. You're not psychic or anything, and we can't change the past-"

"Yes, we can," Alister stated, standing straight, "The Great Clock... its power can save the Lombaxes. That's why I need it... and why I need you," He took a deep breath, "Ratchet, I promise you... I will give you your family back. Just lend me your power."

And with that, he charged forward, leaving Ratchet stunned, rubbing the back of his neck in puzzlement, "Yeah... sure..."

"Hindsight really is a bitch, huh?"

"Hmm?"

"I just... never mind."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When the scene resumed, Ratchet and Alister were working fixing the Obsidian Eye. It was Alister who announced, "The Fulcrum Star's degraded... we don't have a stable connection."

"We have to try anyways," Ratchet responded, then some wires he was playing with sparked, "Okay, that should do it. Get her going!"

The screen sparked to life, and on it appeared Clank, looking just as surprised as the two Lombaxes. Alister mumbled something unintelligible under his breath – no doubt some sort of expression of disbelief – while Ratchet immediately broke into a grin, "Clank!"

"Ratchet? How did you-"

"ALERT," Roared the star's computer, "FULCRUM STAR UNSTABLE. BEGINNING EMERGENCY SHUT-DOWN."

"No time!" The Lombax responded, "Just give me your coordinates."

"I..." There was a sudden crash from Clank's side. All that could be seen on the screen was electricity flying all over, and the telltale sounds of combat. Only a glimpse of Lawrence could be seen before the screen shut off. But it was all Ratchet needed.

"Come on," The Lombax started running back, "The locals said something about Nefarious having a base several light years away. He'll likely take Clank there!"

"Right!" And with that, the two Lombaxes were off again. End scene.

"Hmm, you know what we haven't seen in a while? Qwark being awesome!"

"Ratchet, that is ridiculous. Qwark has pumped this scene up so much. He would not take a break for something so pointless."

When the play resumed, there was Qwark, riding a puppet war grok.

"...I stand corrected."

"People of the Argonian Empire!" The hero called out to the audience, "I, Captain Qwark, ask that you leave such petty hatreds behind you! The galaxy is in peril, all thanks to the dire misdeeds of the notorious Doctor Nefarious! He will surely destroy all you know and cherish! I ask you, is that what you want."

The audience murmured to the negative.

"I said, is THAT what YOU WANT?!"

"NOOO!"

The pumped crowd, under Qwark's instruction, commandeered the battleship, taking its leaders hostage and allowing Qwark to take control of the ship. With the almighty Captain Qwark at the helm, the battleship sailed off. It's destination: Nefarious.

"Again, totally necessary there, Qwark. How long 'til it's over?"

"Only another half-hour or so. Sigh."

"Sigh."

The conflict was set. Nefarious had Clank and the Lombaxes were in hot pursuit. Qwark was out to save the galaxy with an army of Argonians, which probably destroyed what little credibility the play had (even more than the blatant Qwark worship earlier.) Even so, one could hear excited murmurs from the crowd that those more invested would hastily shush. It seemed that almost all were enthusiastic.

"I'm gonna take a guess and say... we storm the place, Nefarious captures us, Qwark comes out of nowhere and saves us, then disappears for plot convenience while we reunite and defeat Nefarious."

"Yes, that sounds about right."

ALMOST all.

The ship that was probably Aphelion-

"Huh. Just realized he never really addressed Aphelion."

"We probably should not mention this. The last thing we need is for her to eject Qwark out of the roof in the middle of an emergency."

"Pfft... Hey! No hitting!"

-got there first, swooping up to the (amazingly) accurate recreation of Nefarious' Space Station. Dialogue and story took the back-burner as the next few minutes consisted entirely of action sequences as Ratchet and Alister fought past hoards of the madman's robotic minions. An especially observant viewer might also note that while Ratchet's combat style was fast, with long, sweeping movements and quick ducks and dodges, while Alister's attacks were all power, no substance. A more philosophical mind might even construe this scene to be an analysis of Ratchet and Alister's differences. Everyone else would say that they were giving Qwark too much credit.

At long last, the two heroes came to the end of the hallway; the only obstacle between them and Clank was a large locked door. And while Alister presented the calm, logical idea to merely hack into the door's computer and open it, Ratchet was still Ratchet, and Qwark knew him well enough to know that somewhere along the line, a giant missile launcher would have to come into play.

The door opened with a deafening boom, and the audience cheered.

"Hell yeah!"

"What? It was just an explosion. We see those on a regular basis."

"Tch, explosions make everything better."

When the dust settled, Alister and Ratchet stood posed, Ratchet aiming his giant gun right at the bad guy while Alister gripped his double-sided wrench firmly in one hand. And on the other side of the door was Nefarious, sitting on a throne with Lawrence to his right and Clank, hovering unconscious in an anti-gravity chamber.

"Why does he have a stupid THRONE?"

"Why did the theater's managers give Qwark's screenplay even the slightest glimpse?"

"Point taken."

"Tisk, tisk..." Nefarious chimed, looking less as though someone had blown a hole through his army and more as though a fly was buzzing around his head, "It seems the welcoming committee I sent didn't do a good enough job of greeting you. Lawrence, this catastrophe will be deducted from your pay."

Lawrence sighed, "Of course, sir."

"In the meanwhile..." Nefarious grinned widely and discreetly pressed a button on his throne. Electricity ran through the floor, sending both Lombaxes down with loud gasps of pain. One could hear faint gasps of surprise from the audience. Until...

"Boom!" Into the room stored the ever heroic Qwark, wielding a single blaster and sporting a confident grin, "It's over, Nefarious! My men are destroying your army even as we speak! Surrender now, or things will get," He brought the tip of the blaster to his lips and blew, "hot."

The robotic overlord looked between the two parties, "Or..." he took a quick moment to grab Clank, "I could do... THIS!" And promptly threw him out the window, cackling madly while Ratchet screamed an epic 'no' to end all epic 'no's. Even with how much pain he was in, he dove out the window, reaching for his best friend and grabbing him at the last possible moment, shielding Clank with his body when they finally hit the ground.

"Called it."

"To be fair, anybody could have. Qwark is painfully predictable."

"Spoilsport."

"Clank? Buddy?" Ratchet shook his awake, and the robot's eyes opened. They met Ratchet's, briefly, before the two embraced briefly. It was a sweet, but short, moment, "C'mon," He pulled the robot onto his back, "Let's get moving. We've got to stop Nefarious!"

"Notice how he never states Nefarious' plot. I don't think he even knew what it was."

"How could he not? It is exactly the same as every other plot he has ever had: kill all organics and take over the universe. Not exactly what an intelligent being would call 'complex'."

"Well, it IS Qwark..."

"...fair point."

Together again, our heroes rushed through the suddenly collapsing facility, eager to find Nefarious. Never mind that an exact reason is never given for WHY the facility is collapsing: only that it, no doubt, has something to do with Qwark. Despite this, seeing Ratchet and Clank working together again, after all the time they'd spent apart, was probably refreshing for the audience. It certainly was for two certain members.

"Is that what we look like from the civilian perspective? Man, we are awesome!"

"Indeed. I attributed it to our combat spectacle being so strange a phenomenon that people could not help but stare, but perhaps there is a little more to it than that."

"Can't you just admit we make a good pair and be done with it?"

"...we make a good pair."

Nefarious was found at the edge of the space station, almost like he was waiting specifically for them. As they approached him, he started raving and ranting, talking not quite to them, but to the universe in general.

"-no, no! Can't win, not even once! Can't beat Qwark, can't beat Clank, can't even beat that miserable little Lombax! If I can't defeat one stupid little house cat, what hope do I have of actually conquering this universe?"

"Huh. I'm actually a little bit offended. Shouldn't be, this is too stupid to really offend anyone, but I kind of am. Is that weird? That's probably weird."

"Ratchet, I can guarantee you that there is nothing weird about feeling insulted when you've been insulted."

"Well fine!" Nefarious spun around, suddenly toting what looked like several machine guns, "I'll prove it to you! I'll prove it to ALL of you!" With the way he was moving, it almost felt like the Nefarious actor was invoking the audience themselves as he spoke, "I will DESTROY RATCHET AND CLANK! OR I WILL DIE TRYING!"

"Sheesh. Psychopathic nutjob or calculating super genius, Qwark? I don't care that Nefarious was technically both, you clearly don't have the skills to portray both of these traits in the same character, so pick one and develop it, you talentless hack! ...what are you staring at?"

"Nothing, nothing..."

The climatic fight scene was spectacular, but only as much as the Tachyon fight. This probably surprised the audience, who were probably expecting something far more epic for the final fight of the play. Only two among the audience knew what they were saving for the big finale, and neither of them were particularly looking forward to THOSE scenes.

That wasn't to say, however, that the fight was underwhelming. Indeed, Qwark had found a great choreographer; Ratchet's actor was agile and limber, moving at almost all times during the fight as Nefarious shot at him constantly. They danced around each other for a while, each looking for an opening, until it finally ended when Ratchet brought his wrench down on Nefarious' head in what was portrayed as a lucky, borderline accidental strike. The strike knocked him out, and Ratchet and Clank fled on the Aphelion, conveniently coming out of nowhere with Alister to pick them up. The station exploded behind them with Nefarious still inside it, presumably left to die.

End scene.

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The beginning of the next scene had the audience buzzing with excitement. Ratchet and Clank had been reunited; Nefarious was no more. What else did this story have left to tell?

Quite a bit, as it turned out.

When Clank and Ratchet returned to the Great Clock, Clank broke the news to Ratchet; the Great Clock was his destiny, and he could no longer continue traveling with Ratchet. The shock was palpable; unlike their actual adventure, it was never implied that Clank would have to leave Ratchet. Clank explained that he was the son of Orvus, and that as the son of the late caretaker of the Great Clock he had to take up that responsibility. Although shocked and clearly upset, Ratchet responded that he accepted Clank's choice; Clank was his best friend and, if this made him happy, so be it. He'd be okay with it.

"...okay, I dislike this conflict."

"Why? It's not EXACTLY what happened, but it's as close as Qwark can get without both exposing dangerous secrets and extending the play's length by several hours."

"But by cutting out the scenes with both myself and Sigmund, they undercut the importance of the Great Clock and the responsibilities of its caretaker, making it seem like I just decided to leave for the sake of dramatic convenience. It was NOT that simple."

"Wasn't it YOUR executive decision to cut those scenes out?"

"I... I just... it was a lot more difficult a decision than that."

"I know, buddy. I know."

The two shared a hug, much more emotional and urgent than the one at their reunion, and for a moment the audience was murmuring. Was this actually it? This couldn't actually be it. Clank didn't leave Ratchet. What could happen in the next ten minutes to change Clank's mind?

Then Clank's second lie, a lie of omission, came into play.

Alister's reaction to Ratchet's decision was far more intense, "What about the Lombaxes?" he asked.

To which Ratchet more or less replied, "What about them?"

"I've spent my entire life searching for this clock. Searching to use its power to save the Lombaxes! Are you suggesting we just forget about them? About your parents, who DIED to save you and them?"

For a moment, Ratchet contemplated, then replied, "They ARE saved. They're just a little... lost. We can still find them. But we can do it without changing history. Now if you'll excuse me," Ratchet turned his back on Alister, giving Clank a meaningful look, "I'm going to walk my best friend in."

Clank and Ratchet walked down the way, sharing small jabs at each other in a sort of pseudo-normal conversation. All the while Alister yelled after them to stop. No, stop. HE SAID STOP!

With a loud roar, Alister fired a powerful bolt of electricity from his double-sided omniwrench straight at the small Lombax. Clank looked back for just a moment, just a split moment, and immediately dove for his friend, pushing him to the ground. The electricity passed over their heads, not harming anyone.

"..."

"Hey... you okay?"

"Yes, yes... I am... fine."

"You sure?"

"...no."

Shock and awe fell over everyone, sans the actor Alister and the real Ratchet and Clank. The heroes actor counterparts, however, were quite startled. But the two of them were heroes, and as heroes, they responded quickly. A small spurt of exposition told the audience that the duo had to beat Azimuth to the Orvus Chamber. And so the race was on, a speedy youngster fighting his way past the mechanisms while chasing after an elder. And at the end, our heroes raced into the chamber...

...shortly after Alister did. The wheels were set in motion. Time would reverse, and the universe would collapse as space struggled to compensate. Only a single duel between the two Lombaxes stood between universal annihilation and salvation. Alister, set in his ways and desperate to save his people, stood at ready, both hands firmly gripping his weapon. Ratchet, unwilling to sacrifice the universe for the Lombaxes, did the same. The two raced at each other, jumping, swinging their weapons and colliding mid-jump.

It was every bit as epic as a finale needed to be.

Power versus speed. Raw strength versus raw agility. Old versus young. The weight of their conflict was told through every swing of their wrenches, through every movement of their bodies. Alister pinned Ratchet at one point; at another, Ratchet sent his mentor flying into a wall. It was combat of epic proportions. And the deciding blow was not a killing one, but one that knocked Alister out of the way, leaving Ratchet to correct his mistake. And then the handle broke.

"No, no!" Out of mostly desperation, Ratchet tried to stick the broken mechanism back in and hope it worked. When it was evident that it didn't, when a cosmic storm brewed above the Lombaxes head, threatening to kill him; only then did Alister realize his folly and pushed Ratchet out of the way. Using his own wrench, he reset the clock.

The cosmic storm stopped.

The chaos stopped.

For a split moment, time itself seemed to stop as Alister fell to the ground. The Lombax soldier died instantaneously. Only then, when all was calm, did Ratchet fall to his knees and mourn.

End scene.

"...the choreography was good."

"Yeah... they fought well..."

The scene opened as Ratchet was leaving the Orvus Chamber. He said one last goodbye to Clank, his lifelong friend, before leaving, presumably forever. Only then did Sigmund reappear.

"Ah, sire?" The robot asked with a blink, "I have something for you... from your father. I wasn't supposed to give it to you until your training was complete, but, well..."

Clank nodded and accepted the machine. From it, a message played, and the voice of Orvus echoed throughout the chamber:

"Clank, my dear boy... you may not have been aware of it, but I've been watching you. You've done a great job defending the universe. I'm so proud of you... and I will continue to be proud of you..." For a moment, the actor playing Clank looked resigned, until the message continued, "...no matter what you choose."

With widened eyes, as though coming to a sudden revelation, the robot threw down the player and ran. Behind him, still playing, the message continued:

"Your soul was built on the principles I find important: intelligence and kindness, logic and loyalty. But you were not built to be ONLY these things. You have continued to develop and grow, taking these concepts and applying them in spectacular ways. And I know, whether you choose to take on my work, or forge your own path, you will do great good for this Universe. And no matter what you choose, I am proud to call you my son."

And with that last line, the Aphelion's hood closed, just slowly enough so that Clank could squeeze in. The Lombax exchanged a deep, meaningful look with his partner before they took off, the Aphelion leaving the Clock in the center of the Universe and disappearing into the black void surrounding the stage.

End scene.

"Ugh! Finally!"

"Well, that was... barely accurate."

"Close enough. Hey, that flight still up for grabs?"

"Only for you, Ratchet."

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Over the weeks reviews flooded the papers. Results to the spectacular play were mostly mixed: while some praised the emotion of the actors and special effects, others were far more critical of the broken story and cheesy dialogue. Captain Qwark, in his defense, proudly proclaimed that anything that was cut was 'for the safety of the public'. Still, it made some money and was a modest hit among casual fans of theater, so Captain Qwark called it a success.

Two of the plays biggest critics, ironically enough, were the starring duo themselves. While both of them admired the actors attempts to portray them respectfully, it seemed that was where the good things they had to say about the play ended.

Ratchet was quoted as saying this: "Qwark's always been about self-love and self-promotion, and this was no exception, with the added bonus of digging up deeply routed emotional trauma! I admit some parts were funny, but they probably weren't the parts Qwark intended to be funny. Overall, I give the play a 'meh'. If you want action with a decent storyline, go see the Precursor trilogy movies. Now THOSE were entertainment!"

Clank was quoted as saying this: "Well, I suppose the play could have been a lot worse. Looking at it objectively, Qwark did keep his self-obsession to a minimum. However, he misrepresented several parts of our story for plot or character convenience while hitting a little too close to home at other times. I honestly think it's a good allegory for how he sees the world around him."

Talwyn Apogee, who missed Opening Night due to food poisoning, is facing charges for attempting to make Captain Qwark eat his own script. She declined to comment.
Beyond Time and Space: A Play by Captain Qwark 2/2

Part 1: theauthoresscomplex.deviantart…

Disclaimer: Ratchet and Clank do not belong to the Authoress Complex.

Authoress' Notes: It's been over a year since I last posted to this account. Now, I could weave an intricate story about the stresses of college and a waning desire to write, but honestly... I was an idiot who didn't pay attention to their soda. But don't worry. New laptop! Yay?

I do plan to return to fanfiction and continue the sequel to 'Carpe Diem', but I have to replay the game, first... It's been a while.

What did I do good on?: I actually found several lines rather funny. I dunno, maybe it's just me.

What did I fail on?: Um, I'm honestly gonna go with the structure of the play. It sucked.

Random Question: Would you be interested in a series of filler stories taking place between 'Carpe Diem' and its sequel? Assuming you've read it, that is.

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The stage was vacant; a simple platform elevated up from the ground that featured upon it an empty void of nothing. Surrounding the simple stage was a collection of chairs; most were on the ground, surrounding the stage with a cone of seats. A few were elevated above the ground, hidden safely within balconies. Murmurs of excitement echoed throughout the large room, all eagerly anticipating the start of the show. Well, almost all…

"Ugh, how long is this gonna take?"

"Patience, Ratchet. This is a big moment for Captain Qwark. The least we can do is be here to support him."

"Yeah, I guess… let's just hope he didn't screw this up."

But we digress.

It was not too long of a wait before the lights in the theater dimmed to the point where you could only barely see your hand in front of your face. Only dull lamps lit the way from the seats to the outside, just in case of an emergency. But then bright lights activated on the stage, illuminating the entirety of it with minimal effort. Combined with the darkness of the rest of the theater, it immediately attracted your eye. Even more so when a man in a bottle green tuxedo with a red bowie stepped out onto the stage, head cloaked by a green mask with a singular antenna on top. Like most antennae, it was topped with a red light.

"Greetings, friends from across the galaxy," He paused for a second, then quickly added, "and beyond. As you probably already know, my name is Ex-President Captain Copernicus Leslie Qwark. I am the writer, producer, editor, director, and star of 'Through Time and Space: A Captain Qwark Production'," Another second of silence passed, after which he reluctantly added, "Inspired by a true story from Ratchet and Clank."

"Nice of him to remember us. And, uh, wasn't this OUR adventure?"

"Well… at least he remembered to tie his bow."

"Phft, I'll bet he forgot and Scrunch tied it for him at the last minute."

Qwark moved across the stage, holding the microphone steady in one hand and waving the other for dramatic effect, "The story you are about to hear and/or watch may shock, horrify or even baffle you considerably. But I guarantee you that everything you will see in the next three hours is seventy-five percent true. Based on personal accounts made by yours truly," At this point, he flashed a confident grin to the crowd, "The lovely Miss Talwyn Apogee who, unfortunately, was unable to attend our production due to food poisoning-"

"I envy her."

"Oh, hush."

"-and Ratchet and Clank, who have graced the audience with their presence here today. Hey, spotlight guys, could you point them out for me?" Two lights moved from center stage out into the audience, where they feebly waved through the audience attending to find the famed duo while Qwark directed them, "No, no- to your left, dammit, your left! A little higher… no, wait, go back, you had them! There!" The spotlights paused on a balcony near the back, where a feline creature with large ears – alternatively known as a 'Lombax' – and a fancily dressed robot sat, "Let's give our heroes a round of applause, folks!"

The crowd broke into wild applause, each and every one recognizing the famed galactic heroes and part-time actors. Although both shocked, the robot took to the attention quickly and waved. Moments after, his feline companion sheepishly echoed the gesture, clearly uneasy with the attention.

"Ehehehe… Qwark didn't tell us he was going to do this…"

"Just smile and wave, Ratchet. Knowing Qwark, it will not be long before he returns the attention to himself."

From stage, Qwark quickly called up to the guys, "Okay, that's enough Ratchet and Clank. Back to the real star of the show," Soon afterwords, the illuminated heroes vanished from view, and the spotlight focused once again on center stage, where Qwark awaited it with a smile, "Now, as we say in the theater: On with the show!"

And with that, the lights faded and Qwark disappeared from view. To keep the crowd's interest, another set of spotlights with multicolored lenses traced the roof and walls of the room, attracting people's attention away from the stage so they would fail to notice the actors scramble into place and the stage being set by a holographic environment generator. By the time the colored spotlights turned off and the regular spotlights turned on, they were greeted with a mirror image of Ratchet and Clank standing on their apartment balcony, the Lombax in question working on a ship while his robot partner was reading a book to his side. A soft, ambient musical piece echoed through the theater, setting the scene of a typical day for Ratchet and Clank.

"Ugh… I know they're just actors using hole-disguises, but they still creep me out."

"True, I am also experiencing a slight unease as a result of our experiences with clones, but I am moreover pleasantly surprised. This is already more accurate than I expected."

Then the duplicate heroes began talking.

"You see, Clank," The actor playing Ratchet spoke normally, but a microphone attached to his true being amplified his voice, "The thruster gains power from a fuel-recycling mechanism, which collects gaseous exhaust from a carbon-based fuel source and combines it with evaporated water particles to create an acidic rain effect within a contained environment, which proceeds to a purification chamber where the carbonic water vapor is cooled into liquid form and then purified by a hydrogen dioxide sorting system, which removes all water from the compound and creates an efficient fuel source."

Still reading his book, the actor playing Clank responded to Ratchet's ramblings without even looking up, voice detached and quite uninterested, "That is fascinating, Ratchet," He then turned the page.

"Geez, am I really that… nerdy?"

"No… am I truly that... stoic?"

"No…" A beat of silence, "Qwark sucks."

"Indeed."

A heartbeat later, a loud beeping sound echoed from within Clank's storage compartment. The robot allowed out of his chest compartment an infobot (played by himself), who beeped continually as Clank checked the caller ID. A moment later, he turned to the fake Ratchet, "Pardon the interruption, but it is from the Galactic Defense Center. We should listen in."

"Fine," Ratchet responded, visibly displeased to be torn away from his work, but complied and set down his beloved tool. Seconds later, both heroes were shocked and amazed as the face of beloved superhero Captain Qwark appeared before them. Both gasped, lowering themselves to their knees as Ratchet exclaimed, "C-captain Qwark! I wasn't aware you were going to be calling, sir!"

Qwark himself chuckled heartily as the both of them basked in his glory, "Oh, stop, you two. While I may be perfect in every way imaginable, even I cannot do everything myself. And, to that end, I have a task of the utmost importance to you."

Clank, utterly humbled, bowed his head, "Of course, Master Qwark. Just grant upon us your request and whatever you ask, we shall do!"

"Ugh, gag me."

"Do not worry, Ratchet. He will exit the picture soon enough... hopefully."

"Well," The Qwark on the vid-screen smiled, "It seems that the Planetary Defense Center is under attack. Naturally, I could handle these things myself, but it appears that they are also targeting the local orphanage. Would you two mind fighting off these cretins until I return?"

Ratchet knelled in front of Qwark, speaking humbly, "We are honored by your request. Don't worry, we'll be there shortly," The phone call then cut off, and Ratchet turned to the robot, "C'mon, Clank! Grab my hand!"

The robot, albeit reluctantly, grasped the Lombax's hand and, in return, was pulled roughly onto the experimental rocket-powered sled Ratchet had been working on. Triumphantly, Ratchet shouted aloud, "To the moon!" and activated the rocket sled. By technical standards, the thing was a barely functional prop. It couldn't exceed speeds of more than thirty miles per hour and, of course, the actors would not even reach that. To make it seem faster, though, they added cool special effects, such as smoke and holographic flames. To the audience, it really did seem like the actors were riding on an out-of-control rocket sled that would soon crash into whatever happened to be in the way.

Luckily, unlike their actual adventure, Ratchet and Clank just happened to land outside of the Planetary Defense Center.

The Drophyds, unlike Ratchet and Clank, were presented in exaggerated forms of their true selves. They were suddenly large and fearsome, as opposed to the meager foot soldiers of Tachyon that the real Ratchet perceived them as. Surrounded by the formidable foes, Ratchet and Clank were 'escorted' towards a ship not far from where they landed. There, standing upon a throne taller than his opponents, was a rather comically exaggerated version of Percival Tachyon himself. His head was portrayed as too big, and he was wearing a larger collar to compensate.

"FOOL!" The bug-like emperor cried, waving his arms in anger, "You thought you could hide from the might of PERCIVAL TACHYON?! I THINK NOT!"

The two heroes stared at him for a moment in confusion before promptly bursting into laughter, "P-Percival?" Asked the pseudo-Lombax, wiping a tear from his eye, "Really? What heartless jerk gave you a name like THAT?" Unable to hold it in, the two fell to the ground, unable to stand in the midst of their mirth, and the rest of the audience joined in.

"You know, it's really not all that funny anymore."

"It was at first, but by this point the joke has worn itself out."

"SILENCE!" Roared the Cragmite emperor. At his direction, the large, scary Drophyds took aim and began shooting mercilessly. Giving both sides a quick look, Ratchet tossed Clank over the head of Tachyon, just beyond his reach, and the robot landed upon the shuttle. Shortly after, Ratchet skillfully ducked underneath the large, walking throne and raced into the shuttle, which proceeded to take off. Tachyon watched, rage evident on his face, as Ratchet and Clank zoomed away in the stolen ship. If one listened closely, above the frustrated growling of the Cragmite, one could vaguely hear arguing inside of the ship, followed by the sounds of Ratchet's snoring and metal being hit. Hard.

The stage went dark.

A few seconds later, a single spotlight shone down upon a levitating Clank, who looked quite unconscious. The magic of soundless hover devices gave the audience the impression that he was levitating in mid-air. There was no sign of the ship or the Ratchet actor. Slowly, surely, the Clank woke up, gazing around in a daze. From the off-stage, three purple lights floated towards the robot actor. Soon, the lights dimmed enough to make out three levitating purple robots. The Zoni.

They spoke in unison, their big blue eyes glinting mysteriously as Clank examined then with stunned confusion:

"We who pass through space and time

Grant a warning to thee.

Heed the pleas we give in rhyme,

And prevent the future we see.

A device, sought out by darkened hearts,

Must meet a fiery end.

Should the Cragmite King conquer its art,

Helpless, the galaxy he shall rend.

We offer our aid from far beyond

The fabric of time and space.

Call for help, and we shall respond.

You must hurry! There is no time to waste!"

"Humph! I will have you know that the Zoni did NOT speak in rhyme. Actually, they barely spoke at all! I made absolutely certain that Qwark knew these things!"

"Well, it certainly makes them seem more… mystical, I guess."

"Even so, I will make sure to correct this on the holo-net later."

There was a flash of light, and then a moment of darkness. Then, the lights came back on, revealing a tropical setting. Ratchet was leaning over a fallen Clank, looking a tad worried. Then, almost too suddenly, the Clank actor awoke, to the relief of the Ratchet actor.

"Finally!" He exclaimed, "You'll never guess what happened! During the ride over here – wherever here is – we crashed into an asteroid and were sent hurtling down towards this planet. Luckily, a giant rock broke our fall," The lighting increased, and the audience could now see, to their amusement, the destroyed ship, "We'll have to find some other way out of here."

The Clank figure looked to the ship, then back to Ratchet, then back to the ship. Then he sighed, "Why do these things always happen to us? Oh, very well, lead the way, Ratchet."

"Ya know, something tells me this is going to be a LONG three hours."

"As son of the guardian of time, I can guarantee you it will be."

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Several scenes later, during which the duo got flung out of the Smuggler's ship-

"Ugh, I'd almost forgotten about that."

-Clank obtained the robot wings-

"It has been a while since we have used them. Would you care to take a flight after the play?"

-They discovered the 'Lombax Secret'-

"You know, Qwark made that look a lot harder than it actually was…"

-Broke into Apogee station-

"Do you think they would believe that we must do that almost every time we visit? It is getting quite ridiculous."

-And Clank received the geo-laser.

"Hey, how come you never use that in combat?"

"…try to be quiet, Ratchet. Speaking during plays is considered rather rude."

Now they were at the part where Ratchet and Clank met Kronk, Zephyr and Talwyn.

It was a rather comical scene, actually. Kronk and Zephyr both ran at Ratchet, prepared to tackle him to the ground and shoot him. Of course, both from opposite sides of the room and, of course, both screaming loudly. Ratchet didn't appear to hear them, too engrossed with staring oddly at Clank whom had, just moments ago, told Ratchet of the Zoni's existence.

Suddenly, he looked down and gasped excitedly, "Oh, a bolt! You know how rare these things are!" Bending down, Ratchet timed it just so that Kronk and Zephyr ran into and began wrestling with each other instead of Ratchet. The Lombax and robot simply watched curiously. Eventually, the fight was broken up by a single shot mere millimeters to the left of the fight.

"Will you two just calm down?" The enraged female actress shouted, "I was TRYING to fix the airlock. Looks like we'll still be launching guests into space- oh, hello," She smiled politely, "I didn't know we had visitors. Would you like some tea?"

"I feel like I should know that voice from somewhere. It's definitely not Talwyn's…"

"Correct. The voice belongs to the actress playing her: one Courtney Gears."

"…You've GOT to be kidding me. Man, Qwark's lucky the real Talwyn isn't here."

"I am just curious as to when Miss Gears took up stage acting."

So, one hasty explanation later…

"So, let me get this straight," The female raised her 'brow, "You're the last Lombax, hunting for the Lombax Secret while racing against the guy who destroyed the Lombaxes," Ratchet nodded, rubbing the back of his head with one hand while Clank, sitting next to him, examined the holographic walls, which held paraphernalia concerning Max Apogee.

"A nice touch of detail, considering who set it up."

Miss Apogee shook her head, "That's… insane. And ironic on so many levels. Hmm… then again," In an aside to the audience, told by the spotlights fading so that only Talwyn was truly visible to the audience, the robot-turned-Markazian said, "I could find out what happened to my dad if I collaborate with these two. All I have to do is provide them with… a little aid…" She grinned as the lighting on the stage returned to normal, "Alright, then, boys! We'll be glad to offer our assistance in your hunt for the Lombax Secret!"

Both robots playing her guardians allowed their jaws to drop, "Say what?!"

"Thank you, Miss Apogee," The Clank duplicate spoke, smiling brightly, "With your help, I am certain that we will find it in no time!"

"Hah!"

"Ratchet."

"Sorry. It's just funny in retrospect."

Both Kronk and Zephyr protested violently, but Talwyn Apogee would have none of it. The Lombax Secret would be theirs, or they would die trying!

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After crossing the (exaggerated) dangers of Ryan V, Ratchet and Clank and their allies came across the Lombax Secret. Sort of.

"It's a hat?" Ratchet's actor asked, exasperated, "What kind of idiot came up with a design like that?"

Unimpressed, Clank commented aloud, "The same idiots who birthed the genius whom came up with Tsunderwear and rocket-powered sleds."

Blushing, Ratchet turned away, muttering something under his breath about usefulness and hypocrisy. The rest watched a video (made 3D for the purpose of the play) about the Lombax Secret – the Dimensionator. Clank's eyes widened in recognition while Ratchet's widened in surprise. In two separate asides, the conflict was built, with Clank realizing that this was what he had to destroy to keep peace in the Galaxy, while Ratchet's monologue went into how he'd never known anything about his family, and how this may help him find the destiny he'd never known.

"Clank, should I EVER become as angsty as that wimp of a Ratchet, slap me as hard as you can."

The play seemed to drag on, despite only really glancing past most places due to the time constraint. It didn't really slow down its pace at all until the heroes reached the IRIS supercomputer, who gave an epic showing of Tachyon's history. It was after that when the real conflict began, with Ratchet snapping at Clank while the robot tried helplessly to convince him to destroy the Dimensionator.

"Did…did I ever apologize for that?"

"Yes, you did. Multiple times. To the point where it got to be a little much, my friend."

Eventually, after freeing a much too flirty Talwyn from Zordoom, Ratchet and Clank managed to get to the Kerchu capital of the galaxy, where, for the first time, Ratchet held the Dimensionator in his hands. He gazed at it with astonishment and amazement, and then turned to the audience, where the lights dimmed yet again.

"Ah, great. Another monologue. Can I throw tomatoes at these guys already?"

"No."

"What questions can this device answer?" Wondered aloud the Lombax puppet, "What can it reveal about myself? My family? Why I, alone, was left to suffer the curse of my ancestors? What answers lie in this wondrous circuitry? And why would my beloved companion, whom has stood by my side for years-"

"Qwark used the wrong tense. 'Whom' should be 'who' in this case."

"Interesting note, pal. Let me tell you about how much I care."

"…Humph. Fine, if that is how you are going to be."

"-want to destroy this? Hmm…" The Ratchet stroked his chin in deep thought, "Perhaps I can reason with him… surely he'd understand if I just calmly and rationally told him that he's insane."

So the Ratchet actor did. He turned around, opening his mouth as the lights resumed their normal luminosity. Only to discover, to his horror, that the pirates (merely glanced over earlier by Qwark) had snuck up behind them and grabbed Clank. In return for his safety, they asked only for the Dimensionator and Ratchet, out of tricks, handed it over, only for Clank to be thrown roughly into his arms in return. The pirates laughed at them as they fled, dimension-hopping helmet in toe, and Ratchet and Clank chased after them.

After a stealthy, careful infiltration that never took place in real life, Ratchet's duplicate went mano a mano with the top banana of the pirates. After being unintentionally crowned King of the Pirates, Ratchet demanded the Dimensionator which, once again, was stolen right out from under their noses by the fantastic, stupendous, fabulous, handsome and brave Captain Qwark, whom vowed to throw it into a black hole, much to the bemusement of everyone else. After a little more redundant praised heaped onto Qwark, Ratchet and Clank chased after him, Reepor being their destination.

And then, predictably, everything went to heck.

The Cragmite Emperor, Percival Tachyon, appeared out of nowhere to steal the Dimensionator from Qwark, revealing that he had never trusted the hero and had him bugged, just in case something like this happened. He then proceeded to bring back the Cragmites, knocking Ratchet and Clank over the edge. Ratchet, unconscious, could only fall helplessly as his companion reached out and cried for him before Clank, too, fell.

The two awoke in separate locations to have their own separate pilgrimages back. Qwark did this in stages – every other scene, the two switched between each other, with Clank being protected by the Zoni and Ratchet having to fight through the Cragmites. Clank was merely worried about his companion. Ratchet seemed to assume Clank was dead.

It was the Lombax who made it back first and, when he did, he met the waiting Talwyn with a sad, forlorn look. When she asked where Clank was, Ratchet simply replied, "He's gone."

"Oh!" She cried, then immediately pulled him into a hug. Ratchet, overwhelmed with grief, didn't resist the embrace, even as the Markazian began moving her hands suggestively alongside Ratchet's arms, as seemed to be natural for this flirty incarnation of their friend.

"And now Qwark's REALLY lucky Talwyn couldn't make it. She'd murder him if she ever saw this."

"Assuming, that is, that Kronk and Zephyr do not do so first."

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a loud sound attracted the attention of the characters and the audience to the upper left part of the amphitheater, where Clank swooped in with his robotic wings. Apparently not noticing the sheer shock on his friend's face, he greeted, calmly, "Hello, Ratchet."

"CLANK!" Ratchet ran towards his companion, unintentionally pushing Talwyn out of the way in the process. Upon coming terribly close to hugging him, though, the Lombax realized his almost PDA and immediately corrected it, "I'm, ah, glad your okay, pal."

The Clank actor nodded, echoing with, "I am happy to see you unharmed as well."

They then shared a heartfelt, meaningful fist bump, full of all the love and affection they felt for each other.

"Well… that was… kind of awkward."

"Man, Qwark's slipping. He actually got something almost right."

"Do not worry. I am certain that he will subvert his efforts with something moronic in the upcoming scenes."

From Reepor to Meridian City it was! Using the bug placed on Qwark (as opposed to the whiny distress messages he'd sent in real life), the two tracked down him as well as Tachyon's army. Also unlike real life, it was Ratchet who got all hopelessly depressed, with Qwark cheering him up and earning his undying gratitude. It was here that Clank revealed to Ratchet a vision sent to him by the Zoni of the planet Fastoon, where he believed Tachyon was heading. Although visibly nervous about telling Ratchet, the Lombax surprised him by following his orders without complaint.

After a quick sequence which Clank got them ejected from their ship, the duo conveniently landed in the Court of Azimuth.

"Fun fact: This is the Court of Azimuth," Reported the intangible voice of the Cragmite Emperor, "It is the last place most of the Lombaxes – your people – saw before they ran like cowards, with their tails between their legs!"

"LIAR!" Roared Ratchet, "Lombaxes are NOT cowards!"

There was a slight pause, before the Cragmite asked, "You want proof?" Ratchet never gave an answer, but Tachyon seemed not to need it. He, without warning, opened a portal in the center of the court, where one was able to get a view of a majestic looking city, "There they are. What remains of the once great Lombax people. They're waiting for you… go to them. Go home, child. You deserve a nice, long rest."

To his credit, the actor playing Ratchet genuinely looked torn, brushing against the holographic portal with only two fingers. Then, his face hardened, he turned back and spoke loudly, so that Tachyon could hear him, "Not a chance. I'm not leaving here until the Dimensionator AND you are out of commission!"

"Insolence!" Called the Cragmite king, "You shall pay for this with your life, harlot!"

"Harlot? What does that even mean?"

"…you do not want to know."

With his alliances reaffirmed, Ratchet and his companions set out to defeat Tachyon once and for all. The battle was epic and glorious – Qwark really went all out on the special effects. Tachyon screamed all throughout the fight, angrily shouting at them to die at first, but as the fight went on and Ratchet showed him just what his years of experience as a superhero had brought him, the villain began pleading.

"Only I know your purpose!" He shouted as his defeat came upon him, "Only I know your true name!"

Unimpressed, Ratchet snorted aloud, "Oh, yeah, I'll bet. Say 'hi!' to Chairman Drek for me, would ya?" And, with a single foot stomp, Tachyon went tumbling through the dimension, never to be seen or heard from again.

"…okay, point Qwark."

"I am constantly surprised by this play's emotional depth. I am also experiencing doubts as to whether or not Qwark actually wrote it."

Victorious, the two heroes spent all of five seconds celebrating their victory before the realm started collapsing around them. The two actors exchanged a look of panic before moving away from the destruction. Together they dodged, ducked, dipped, dove, and dodged the various amount of debris coming from (the silent maintenance sled cloaked in darkness above them) nowhere. While they ran, the faux Ratchet pulled desperately on the hats rip cord, murmuring pleas for the thing to activate, to send them home.

And then, in a flash of unexpected light, it did. Just in time to avoid being squashed to death by falling debris.

End scene.

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When light returned to the stage, Ratchet had been returned to the Apogee Station set, surrounded by his friends and family. He appeared groggy and disoriented, asking the simple question of, "Where are we?"

To which the Clank actor replied, "We are home, Ratchet."

That seemed to be the cue for a flurry of confusion, with Ratchet suddenly being surrounded by his fellow cast members as they applauded him and congratulated him, while talking to each other in the background. If one listened closely, they might have been able to pick out certain compliments towards Qwark and miscellaneous nonsense. Other than that, nothing extraordinary.

Then the Zoni appeared.

Their arrival was nothing short of spectacular, with lights blinding the audience from all sides as odd, almost indefinable music set the mood. Then the creatures themselves became visible, fading into reality with the dimming lights as they were surrounded by a heavenly blue glow. Quietly, the Ratchet actor asked if these were the Zoni, but Clank paid him no mind, instead approaching them with awe.

"We who travel through time and space

Are grateful for your return."

As they approached, still speaking in rhyme, the Clank on stage seemed to become more and more fascinated with them, almost hypnotized, while the Ratchet eyed them cautiously.

"We had hoped that you would return from a place

that shows its inhabitants such unconcern.

And now that your quest is complete

There is no reason to roam."

The Zoni swooped down, surrounding the small robot. It was at this point that the Ratchet actor realized that Clank wasn't reacting to the mechanical time-travelers, even as they surrounded him and lifted him off the ground. The reaction, once the shock had passed, was almost instantaneous; the Ratchet jumped for Clank, looking like he was going to grab the small robot out of the air. And he would have... had the Zoni's strange energy not knocked him back. The lights flickered on and off, making the blue colours surrounding the Zoni and Clank stand out all the more. And all the characters left on the stage could do was watch in horror as they rose up.

"For now that you have accomplished this feat...

Dear sire, it's time to come home."

"Come... home..." The Clank repeated mindlessly. All the Ratchet left on stage could do was run up underneath them, calling out to Clank. At this point the lights had cut out completely... you could only make out Clank, the Zoni, and Ratchet on the stage, even Qwark taking a backseat to the two. There was a sudden flash of light as the robotic characters disappeared, leaving Ratchet to collapse down to his knees.

Fade to black.

"I... did not expect this scene to be that intense... Ratchet? Are you okay?"

"...yeah. Yeah... I'm just..."

"Ratchet?"

"I'll be fine. I just... need a moment."

"..."
Beyond Time and Space: A Play by Captain Qwark 1/2
Part 2: theauthoresscomplex.deviantart…

So... you may remember me as the girl who wrote 'Carpe Diem', or did the thirty day otp challenge with R/C. Well, I'm back!...after a year long hiatus and several weeks of forgetting I have a deviantArt account. Whoops.

Anyways, the entire thing was apparently too long for deviantArt, so click the link above for part 2! As soon as I add it in. Who knows? I might forget again. It's a safe possibility.
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:icondiamondlombax:
Diamondlombax Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I love your work
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:iconwafflenutofkitties:
WafflenutOfKitties Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2013
Hello! DA is telling me it's your Birthday, soooo I wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday!
I found you very recently and I must say, I really love your writing! I'm looking forward to whatever else you end up writing! 
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:iconratchetxclankforever:
RatchetXClankForever Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2013
Its kinda strange you don't have many watchers, your writing is incredible :happybounce: :love: :squee: :huggle:
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:icontheauthoresscomplex:
TheAuthoressComplex Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013
Um, wow, thanks!
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