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Clank!!

The last burst of gunfire and space pirate chatter faded to nothing as the rift fragmented shut. Like a glass that only just realized that it wasn’t meant to be broken. In a fitting case of irony, the picture was reminiscent of the Chronoscepter – how easy it was to simply whack a piece of broken machinery back together again. Simple as hitting the rewind button.

Clank wondered how well they would’ve faired with it now.

In seconds, the robot’s CPU was recalibrating itself. On making contact with solid ground once more, there was no sustained damage from that minor rift hopping charade. His servos readjusted themselves. Arms and legs were thankfully still attached and in no need for a trip to Big Al’s. Programming quickly reoriented his ocular systems to his current environment.

He did not like what he was seeing.

“Ratchet,” Clank said out loud as he was suddenly stricken with an overwhelming sense of dread.

A cruel visage of a recognizable madman of an android was the first thing to be processed by Clank’s memory unit. Any world where his image, holographic or not, is projected before millions can spell only nothing but disaster.

Amidst Dr. Nefarious’s “humble” holographic monument was a backdrop of even more rifts, blinking and fragmenting through reality like a spreading sickness. More of the pursuers that chased after he and Ratchet were littered through the air, traveling in flocks to parts unknown. They hopelessly outnumbered Clank roughly by the hundreds. And that was only in this dimension – wherever it was. It was all like something from a nightmarish dream. Robots didn’t dream. Perhaps if they did, he would’ve had some reprieve in momentarily fooling himself into thinking none of this was real.

“…We are too late.”

A particular saying among organics passed through the data strings within his mind.

Business as usual.

His partner was being uncharacteristically quiet with the threat of total dimensional collapse being laid bare right before them.

Clank knew his eyes weren’t damaged from the explosion. That made it all the more concerning when his attempt at scanning the alleyway gave him no indication of Ratchet’s whereabouts.

Immediately, his memory banks hearkened back to the Great Clock. The imminent sense of danger that processed through his algorithms like an organic sense akin to anxiety. Not even moments after awakening in a place he knew nothing of, he was straightaway pursued by a familiar foe. Most of all, he was grappling this danger without-

“Ratchet?”

The universe wasn’t finished surprising him on the other hand. Clank’s audio processor detected a powerful thud just beside him. Of the many stacks of code running through his logic algorithm, one probable conclusion reasoned that the source of the noise came from the person he was looking for. Another deduced that he was discovered by one of the drones patrolling overhead, only to spot him out in the open.

He was unsure whether or not to be thankful that it had been neither.

Within the nanoseconds he had taken to run the subject’s appearance through his databanks, Clank could safely say that the current newcomer was like no one he encountered before. Instant analysis indicated that the stranger was female. That wasn’t anything notable. The same conclusion could’ve been reached by any other organic were they in his situation.

The eye was immediately drawn to her physiology, precisely what wrought the most havoc on the swathes of programming being routed through his mechanical brain.

Lombax

There was no mistaking it. Their pointed, almost feline design of her ears fell in line with every other subject logged into his databanks. There was a clear asymmetry found between her arms, one of them looking far more mechanical than the other. What was the story there? A result of a past run-in with Nefarious perhaps? The silhouette of her head fit a comparable description with the wanted posters Clank quickly noted in the immediate vicinity. Whether or not that was an element in his own favor remained to be seen.

In her hand was a tool – a mallet – though not held up in antagonization. More like a weapon to be used in self-defense, not unlike Ratchet’s OmniWrench. Logic dictated such a precaution would be required if this hostile dimension was the one she called her home.

If the term could at all be applied.

Of the parts of her body that had been visible, Clank detected the same striped pattern that had been found on Ratchet, Azimuth, even Angela Cross. Though even among those three, the mystery newcomer presented a trait that wasn’t shared by the latter.

Her tail offered a new factor in the mystery that was the lombax race. Angela had been the only specimen for the female subjects, her notable differences between Ratchet and even Azimuth setting a quite plausible standard.

Yet here he was, with a very unplausible subject knocking that standard flat on its backside. Even more curious, her’s looked much bushier – dare he say fluffier – than either of the tail wielding lombaxes put together.

Even with this new revelation, it’d be impossible for Clank to say she wasn’t the spitting image of a member of one of the galaxy’s premier races of genius engineers.

She eyed the robot with curiosity, as though she too had been gauging where exactly he fell in this world of robotic despots and reality threatening disasters.

“Who?”

What was he getting into?