Before the Great Wars, Ratchet was a civilian mechanic, and one of the best on all of Cybertron. But war is hell, and Ratchet learned that all too well. It left him bitter and cynical. After the war, he got himself placed in a dead end position of repairing space bridges, seeing it as a chance to get away from what he had experienced. And in his experience, "hero" is another word for casualty, because that's what most of the heroes ended up being. Still, he knows one when he sees it, and Optimus Prime definitely is one.
His main "weapons" are two electromagnets that can extend from his forearms. With them, he can move metal-based objects, levitate downward from high heights, manipulate or tear apart metallic objects in midair, or create magnetic shields. More recently, he won his electromagnetic pulse generator back from Lockdown the bounty hunter, a device capable of knocking out a Transformer.
He enjoys grumbling about almost everything, being sarcastic, and having war flashbacks, just like any old man.
But he's not Kup.
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Millions of years ago, Ratchet was sent by Ultra Magnus on a wartime mission to recover Autobot intelligence officer Arcee, who was carrying important security codes in her memory core. Shortly after he found her, the pair were captured by the Decepticon-affiliated bounty hunter Lockdown. The hunter made a habit of collecting the powers of defeated enemies as trophies and did so with Ratchet's medical EMP device. Before he could attach it, Arcee was able to pass the device to Ratchet, and she begged him to use it on her to wipe the codes and preserve their safety. In the ensuing skirmish with Lockdown, the device accidentally produced a wider blast, erasing Arcee's entire memory. Ratchet would have flashbacks of the incident for centuries to come.
During a routine repair assignment with Optimus Prime's crew, Ratchet was with the group when they found the AllSpark. His first reaction upon seeing it was to urge the others to throw it through the space bridge. However, events soon overtook them when Megatron arrived and tried to claim the AllSpark. The Autobots took their ship through the space bridge, where Prime defeated Megatron, and the crew was forced to go into stasis to avoid injury in a crash-landing on Earth.
Awakening fifty years later, the Autobots went to help battle a renegade nanomachine construct, while Ratchet studied a specimen of the construct on the ship. Learning that it was vulnerable in its command centers, Ratchet sent a kill program to the Autobots to place in the monster. His program worked.
Ratchet had the most difficulty getting used to Earth's customs, as the humans kept interrupting his stasis naps to put parking tickets on him.To make things more complicated, those annoying camera bots followed the Autobots everywhere. Always watching, waiting...
To Ratchet's horrified disbelief, Lockdown appeared on Earth and captured Optimus Prime, intending to hand him over to the vengeful remaining Decepticons for the bounty offered against him. The Autobots attempted a rescue, with Ratchet initially absent due to haunting flashbacks over his last encounter with the bounty hunter. He was forced to intervene after Lockdown eliminated Bulkhead, Bumblebee and Prowl. Ratchet was able to free his commanding officer and retrieve his EMP device, using it to send Lockdown's ship crashing back to Earth. After reinstalling Prime's stolen gadgets, the veteran finally opened up to the younger soldier.
When the Decepticons Blitzwing and Lugnut arrived on Earth, the Autobots were quickly bested by the duo. Prime realized that the AllSpark was no longer safe on the planet and decided that they should leave Earth and return to Cybertron. Sari was not pleased by this, but Ratchet's response was a gruff, "Grow up". When Optimus asked Sari to help, Ratchet was displeased with the thought of working with a "protoform", but Optimus silenced them by making it an order. Once aboard the Autobots' ship, Sari accidentally opened an airlock, nearly flooding the hold, then admitted that she had tried to sabotage the ship, not wanting them to leave. In a moment of empathy, Ratchet told her the Autobots didn't want to leave either, but they had to, or else the Decepticons would wipe out the humans, including Sari, and Ratchet couldn't live with himself if that happened. With the help of a now-willing Sari, Ratchet brought the ship's weapons back online, defeating Lugnut and Blitzwing.
After receiving a report on increased Decepticon activity from Teletran 1, Optimus ordered Ratchet to remove the Key from Sari's possession forcibly, as it was no longer safe in the hands of a dumb stubby. Ratchet was hesitant to take the object from the girl, but followed his superior's orders with a gruff, professional "Yessir." After Sari fled the base in tears, Optimus then told Ratchet to take the Key to the Autobots' ship, under Lake Erie, in order to protect the AllSpark from the Decepticons. Unfortunately, the medibot was intercepted by Blitzwing and Lugnut, who demanded that he hand over the Key. He stoically refused, challenging them to take it from his "cold, offline servo." Icy Blitzwing complied by blasting Ratchet and the surrounding scenery with an ice beam. He switched to Random Blitzwing, made a smart remark, and wrenched the Key (and the arm holding it) from Ratchet.
Despite this handicap, the mechanic was able to break free from his icy prison, report the Key's theft to Optimus, single-handedly bring the ship online (pun intended), and still participate later in the final battle against Megatron and his forces.
While helping to dispose of garbage in the city, Ratchet's crotchety attitude became such a problem that Optimus asked Sari and Bumblebee to help him work on developing a more positive attitude. His experience in helping a young couple who were in the process of making a protoform did not help with his attitude, and things got even worse when some trash-toting nuisance named Wreck-Gar came along, spouting that he was an Autobot. Telling the newly sentient Transformer that he was only good for garbage, Ratchet unwittingly inspired him to deliver garbage to the people of Detroit. Unfortunately, Wreck-Gar also had a sample of Sumdac Systems' new and improved nanobots, designed to disintegrate garbage. Fearing what the AllSpark-infused nanites might do, Ratchet apologized to Wreck-Gar, saying that the befuddled newcomer could be whatever he wanted, including a hero. Wreck-Gar did become a hero—after he vacuumed up the microbots, they exploded, causing Wreck-Gar to fall into the river. Ratchet assumed he was dead. When Porter C. Powell said that Ratchet had ruined his presentation, Ratchet forced him and Mayor Edsel to make a compromise by threatening to have them join Wreck-Gar in the river. They came to an agreement, and Ratchet assumed that the bystanders were cheering for him, leaving him with the assumption that he did have people skills.
When Bulkhead was kidnapped by Megatron, Bumblebee brought Autobot intelligence agent Blurr to the plant, who revealed that Megatron was building a space bridge to conquer Cybertron from within. Realizing they'd need more firepower, Prime ordered Ratchet and Sari to get the ship operational. Unfortunately, their efforts failed to get it back online. Running out of time, Ratchet decided that they'd need to perform open spark surgery.
After placing the remaining AllSpark fragments in the ship's spark core, Ratchet explained that the ship was once a living Autobot who sacrificed himself to help win the wars. Ratchet's gamble succeeded, and the ship was brought back to life. Getting it to the Decepticons' base, Ratchet and Sari provided enough power (and encouragement) to allow the ship to transform into Omega Supreme. Omega defeated the Decepticons, but sacrificed himself to save the Autobots by being sucked into a blind space bridge portal. Once the Autobots escaped, Ratchet was left to mourn Omega Supreme a second time, but Bulkhead was optimistic that he was still alive, somewhere out in space.
Unfortunately, any effort to locate Omega Supreme was put on hold when Sari noticed that the skin of her right arm had been torn...revealing robotic circuitry underneath!
- Autobot Ratchet (Deluxe, 2008)
- Accessories: Hammer, wrench, screwdriver, can opener
- First shipping in Wave 2, Ratchet transforms into a stylized ambulance. In robot mode, his "magnets" are simulated by spring-loaded pieces in the underside of his forearms that flip up through his open hands. He also features a veritable arsenal of fixit tools that attach to the undeployed magnets to simulate him holding them, so you too can experience the glee of having the old coot savagely beat someone with a servo-wrench. These tools can store in his backpack in robot mode, but cannot be stored in his vehicle mode, a rare (but not unheard-of) instance of a toy made in the last decade with accessories that cannot be "stored" in all modes. Unless you're okay with the Vehicle Mode look like the top was ripped open.
- Notably, the "war wound" on his left forearm is actually a socket into which one may peg the EMP generator included with the deluxe Lockdown toy. Early releases of the Ratchet toy had the peg slightly too long, forcing the EMP to pop out of the socket. Later releases (basically most everything beyond the original "test market" release) had a shorter peg, allowing the EMP to clip in just fine.
- The original instruction sheet for this toy has an error in step 5, where it depicted the front wheels as staying immobile (i.e., the visible wheel isn't tinted orange), whereas in fact they are part of the front bumper assembly, and swing back in that step along with the bumper.
- Autobot Ratchet (Bumper Battlers, 2008)
- An even more simplified version of Ratchet, the Bumper Battlers version also features a spring-loaded transformation from ambulance to robot. However, in this instance, when the front bumper of the ambulance mode is pushed in, the spring-loaded roof/sides of the vehicle flip up to reveal a relief of Ratchet's robot mode (complete with magnet-clamps), as well as activating electronic sound effects.
- Pressing his Autobot sigil activates numerous randomly-selected sound effects and original voice samples, including a very disturbing laugh.
- Autobot Ratchet (McDonald's Happy Meal Toy, 2008)
- A simple version of Ratchet with a very simple transformation sequence, this toy was (naturally) part of the McDonald's Transformers Animated Happy Meal promotion.
- Autobot Ratchet (Activators, 2008)
- A smaller, simpler version of Ratchet, the Activators Ratchet toy has a spring-loaded autotransform gimmick that springs him from ambulance mode to robot mode in one easy step.
- Oddly, this version of Ratchet does not have the broken right crest from his character model.
- Rescue Ratchet (Multi-pack, 2008)
- Accessories: Hammer, wrench, screwdriver, can opener
- A Target-exclusive redeco of Deluxe Ratchet in yellow and light gray (a fairly obvious homage to the live-action movie incarnation of Ratchet). He comes in a set with two Legends-class figures, Prowl and Starscream, seemingly unchanged from their normal releases. He retains all of his original toy's gimmickry.
- The "war wound" on his left arm (seen in his main picture, above) was briefly gone after "The Thrill of the Hunt", apparently representing the replacement of his arm-mounted EMP generator. However, it has since returned in several instances. The "real world" reason is probably the animators sticking to the original animation model. Within story context, he could be leaving off the EMP generator so he continues to remember (on behalf of those who can't) how he originally lost it.
- The Autobot medical officer was originally conceived as a female robot named Red Alert. The reason for the rather drastic change is unrevealed although it may have something to do with his slightly more vigorous relative as was the case with that yellow speedster.
- He can pinch with his magnet-clamps.
- Seriously, he's not Kup.