Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers


Written by Matt Plotecher

Characters herein are © Walt Disney corporation. Distribute freely, but do not modify.


                        By Matt Plotecher
     Gadget awoke from her sleep with a start. She looked around
the darkened room, trying to figure what woke her. Everything was
still. Moonlight gracefully flowed through her window,
illuminating the room. At first she thought that something had
dropped from a shelf, or a wall hanging had come loose from its
place again.
     But everything was in order. She listened for a moment,
hearing only silence. All the other Rangers were fast asleep, and
the whole headquarters seemed in some type of peaceful slumber.
She glanced at the clock. Three in the morning. She sighed and
shook her head, then nestled back down in her bed.
     Nothing important, she thought sleepily.
     She was about to drift off when she heard the faintest of
sounds. It sounded like something lightly scratching against
wood. And it sounded close. Very close.
     More curious than frightened, Gadget carefully sat up again.
She took a moment to pinpoint the noise, which seemed to be
coming from under her bed. It was light, but steady. 
     Maybe Dale is playing a joke on me, she thought. Dale had
left jack-in-the-boxes under beds before as a gag, but he hadn't
done anything like that since Monterey dangled him out of the
window. Monterey said one good gag deserved another, and Chip
agreed, stuffing a gag in Dale's mouth so he couldn't argue.
After that, Dale seemed to give up on that particular joke.
     The scratching continued, though, so Gadget figured it might
be one of Dale's toys that he misplaced. She leaned over to look
under the bed, mumbling about having a talk with Dale about
keeping out of her room. Her mumbling abruptly ceased as she
caught sight of what was making the noise.
     She couldn't see it fully under the protective darkness it
was in, but the dull, red glow from what she guessed were eyes
(all six of them) told her immediately it didn't belong to Dale.
Her jaw dropped as she saw that it was actually larger than her,
filling the entire space under the bed. It had some type of hard,
outer shell, and she could hear the clicking of mandibles from
under it.
     Her bed lurched suddenly as it rose up. She toppled forward,
landing heavily on the floor. She instinctively rolled when she
hit, so the bed didn't crush her as it crashed to the floor on
its side. With the bed now between her and...whatever that thing
was, Gadget took the time to orientate herself. She crawled to an
upright position, keeping her eyes on the bed.
     The creature rose up over the top of the bed, blocking out
the window. The moonlight cast a ghastly silhouette of it,
showing the sharp edges around it's carapace. Gadget watched in
horror as six legs grabbed hold of the bed, three on each side. A
huge set of mandibles bit down, snapping it in half with a loud
crunch. It tossed the halves aside and started towards Gadget.
     Seeing all she wanted to, Gadget scrambled to her feet and
ran for the door. Something slimy and burning latched around her
ankle, roughly pulling her back to the floor. She let out a yelp
of pain as her knee skidded across the wooden floor.
     Where are the others? She thought frantically. She figured
that the destruction of her bed would have gotten them up.
     But nobody came to her aid. She could see now it was some
sort of tentacle that had wrapped around her ankle, and was
holding her in place as the creature advanced. Gadget's hands
groped around in search of anything she could use a weapon.
Finally, they latched onto some strips of cloth she had been
planning to use to patch the Ranger Plane.
     Quickly, she wound one up tightly, then snapped it into one
of the creature's eyes. Sure enough, the pain caused it to weaken
its grip on her, enabling her to pull free. She got to her feet
again and backed away carefully, not daring to turn her back on
it for a moment. Her ankle was burned and bruised from where the
tentacle had grabbed her, and her knee was bleeding slightly from
the scrape across the floor.
     Gadget's hand reached back to the wall until she found the
light switch. She was determined to find out what this thing at
least looked like. She flipped on the light, and stared in
bewilderment at nothing.
     It was gone.
     She blinked several times. Her gaze moved back to her bed,
sitting peacefully where it always had. The covers were thrown
back, but it was still in one piece.
     She looked down at her ankle. It was fine, with no trace of
pain or outward signs that it had been damaged.
     "It was all a dream." She took several deep breaths to
steady herself. "What a nightmare. No wonder nobody came, it was
only a nightmare."
     She started forward to lie down, but a flinch of pain
stopped her. She reached down and checked her knee, which still
had its scrape. Her fingers gingerly touched it, just to make
sure she was seeing it. The flickers of pain told her she was.
     "I must've been sleepwalking, or sleepfighting. Whatever."
She started to explain to nobody in particular. "I was dreaming
of the fight with that...thing, and in actuality, I really did
trip and scrape my knee. Really." She was having trouble
convincing herself of that.
     It was all so real. So vivid. She could recall with crystal
clarity the silhouette of the thing. The clicking of its
mandibles. The slimy touch of that tentacle. But it *had* to be a
     Gadget stood there for several minutes, until something
within her made her walk to her bedside, kneel down, and look
under the bed. Nothing was there.
     Except for the scratches in the wooden floor.
     Chip smacked his lips a few times as he crawled out of bed.
Last night they had finished a month-long case, and it had been
pretty vigorous. He had slept like the dead since he hit the
sack, and now he felt like the dead rising from the grave.
     He stood up and stretched, allowing his muscles to unknot
themselves from the heavy sleep. Dale was still snoring
peacefully in the upper bulk, making Chip entertain thoughts of
diving back into dreamland. But it was his turn to make
breakfast, so he dressed quickly (he wears a jacket and hat, how
long could it take?) and headed out into the hallway.
     He hummed a tune as he walked down towards the kitchen. As
he passed by the living room, he noted that someone had left the
lights on.
     "That Dale," Chip muttered. "He'd forget to breathe if it
took coherent thought." He stepped in, then stopped at the
     Gadget was asleep on the couch. She had her blanket curled
up about her, and Chip noticed she was holding a hammer in her
hand. He thought she had gone to bed at the same time as everyone
else, but it looked like she had decided to work late. Of course,
why she decided to sleep out here instead of in her own bed made
him wonder a bit.
     First things first, he thought. He went about and turned off
the lights. The early morning sun was just cresting the horizon,
so Chip opened up the drapes and windows, allowing both the
sunshine and fresh air in. As he moved on to the kitchen, he
noticed that Gadget's face didn't look peaceful. Her brows were
knotted up, and her lips trembled with each breath. She looked
worried at the least, terrified at the most.
     Chip turned on the stove and put some bacon into the pan. It
would take a few minutes to cook, so he poured a large glass of
orange juice and walked back out to Gadget.
     He felt awkward, for some reason, as he tapped lightly on
her shoulder. If she had looked more at ease, he probably would
have just let her sleep, but his concern was roused.
     "Gadget?" He asked softly. "Hey, wake up."
     Gadget hmmm-ed quietly, and pulled the covers around her
tighter. But she was waking up.
     "Hmm?" She finally voiced, her speech thick with sleep.
     "Hey, it's almost time for breakfast," Chip started, trying
to sound unconcerned. It didn't last. "Are you okay?"
     "Huh? Okay?" Gadget's eyes opened slowly, bringing the world
into focus. "Oh, yeah. I'm fine." She looked up at Chip.
     Chip helped her to sit up and put the glass in her hand.
"Here, this will help wake you up." He sat down on the couch next
to her. "Late night last night?" He pointed to the hammer her
other hand held.
     "Oh, yeah." Gadget nodded drowsily, dropping it to the
floor. In her semi-conscious state, she wasn't really paying
attention, but Chip was, and managed to move his foot before the
hammer crushed it.
     Gadget took a long drink from the glass, then a deep breath.
"Thanks, Chip."
     "Are you sure you're okay?" Chip asked again, hoping she was
awake enough to answer with more than `Oh, yeah.' "How come
you're out here?"
     She closed her eyes for a moment. "Oh..." She thought about
telling Chip about it, then dismissed it. "No reason. Just was
too tired to go to my room, that's all." It was merely a dream,
she reminded herself.
     She shuddered. A dream that forced her to sleep out here
with all the lights on and a hammer in her hand.
     Chip nodded slowly. "You must've been tired, you left all
the lights on."
     Gadget gave a half-hearted smile, but didn't say anything.
She kept her gaze fixed on the floor.
     Chip turned to look out the window. He didn't want to press,
but it was painfully obvious that Gadget wasn't being totally
honest. She said she was too tired to make it to her room, but
those were her blankets she was wrapped up in. Chip highly
doubted she kept them in the workshop.
     He also highly doubted she did any work in her nightgown,
but he didn't say anything yet. He wanted Gadget to talk about
whatever was bothering her, but she had to make the decision, not
     They sat in an awkward silence for a few minutes. Finally,
Chip turned to ask her what had really happened, but Gadget spoke
     "Do you smell something burning?" She asked honestly.
     "Burning?" Chip repeated. Then he caught a whiff of burning
fat. "Oh no, the bacon!" He jumped and ran back to the kitchen to
try and salvage what he could.
     Alone again, Gadget breathed a sigh of relief. She decided
right then that if he asked again, she'd tell him the truth.
     "It was just a bad dream." She practiced, gathering up her
blankets and walking back to her room. She continued to repeat it
all the way back, and was starting to believe it, but that
annoying twinge of pain from her knee kept breaking the belief.

     "Dale, will you hand me those files?" Chip asked.
     "What files?"
     "The ones you're sittin' on." Monterey helpfully pointed
     "Oh." Dale quickly sat up and grabbed the stack of files. He
handed them to Chip, who was sitting at the table. Everyone was
in the living room, getting odds and ends taken care of now that
the case was over. The afternoon was warm and sunny, and outside
children could be heard playing.
     Monterey was helping Gadget make some simple repairs on
their gear that was damaged, Chip was filing everything away, and
Dale and Zipper were helping out where they could.
     "When's lunch?" Dale asked.
     "Not for another hour, Dale." Chip answered without looking
up. "I've told you that nine times now."
     "Well, I'm hungry." Dale grumbled. "There wasn't that much
to eat at breakfast, you know."
     Chip frowned at Dale, who grinned in return.
     "Relax, mate. Lunchtime'll be here soon enough." Monterey
held one of their plunger harpoons steady as Gadget realigned the
firing mechanism. "Get enough sleep last night, Gadget-luv?"
     Gadget, caught in mid-yawn, could only nod. "Yeah. Just a
bit restless, that's all."
     Monterey looked concerned, but Zipper's buzzing drew his
attention over to the table.
     "I don't know, Zipper." Chip answered. "But he sure did seem
confident, didn't he?"
     "Who, mate?" Monterey asked.
     "Oh, Zipper was just wondering why Osiris was looking so
smug when we busted him last night." Chip set down the file he
was reading. "Remember? He didn't seem too upset."
     "Yeah." Dale nodded. "Maybe he was looking forward to going
to jail, `cause that's where he is now."
     "Doubtful." Chip snorted.
     Still, Zipper scratched his head, it is weird. I mean, he
was caught, his loot from the robberies was recovered, and his
gang was broken up. Normally criminals consider those to be bad
     Chip nodded. "Normally. But Osiris is hardly normal, in my
     "Whaddya mean?" Dale moved over and sat down at the table.
"He looked normal enough to me."
     "Ah, but you didn't read all the details of his crimes,
Dale." Chip replied, pulling papers from the file in front of
him. "Listen to this:
     "The first crime that was linked to him, over six months
ago, was from the museum. A set of jewels from the Orient
vanished without a trace. No cameras picked anything up, and the
guards never saw or heard anything. The only reason we know
Osiris was responsible was because he admitted to it after we
found the jewels in his cache."
     "Oh yeah." Dale nodded, remembering.
     Did they return the jewels yet? Zipper gestured.
     "No, all of the stolen goods are still being checked over by
the authorities. To make sure they're authentic, track down the
owners, and be listed so the judge can have something to base his
decision on when he decides how long Osiris will be part of the
jail house rock. But listen, there's more:
     "One of his crimes involved the theft of an entire room full
of people. Or more accurately, their belongings. It was at the
reception party for Norwin enterprises, after their annual
stockholders party."
     All the Rangers nodded. They were familiar with the company,
which was the king of the animal kingdom's import and export
     "All the guests," Chip continued, "never saw or heard
Osiris, or anyone else who was not invited. All of them, whether
they were mice, rats, moles, or whatever, were completely robbed.
Not only wallets and other items carried in their pockets, but
also all jewelry, and even one guy who kept emergency money in
his shoe found it missing."
     Chip set the paper back down. "It's like Osiris was a ghost
or something."
     Monterey laughed. "Not ghost-like enough, mate! He felt
pretty solid when I clocked him one!"
     The other Rangers laughed in agreement.
     "You got that right, Monty." Dale grinned. "I guess Osiris
was still reeling from that hit, that's why he was smug. Still
lost in a haze."
     "And nobody knows what it's like to be lost in a haze like
you, Dale." Chip remarked.
     "Yeah...wait." Dale thought he was just insulted.
     "Anyway," Monterey said, quick to change the subject.
"Whatever Osiris was thinkin', the case is over."
     Chip nodded satisfactory as he put the papers back. "The
crook was caught, the loot recovered, and everyone lives happily
ever after."
     "Yeah." Gadget stated distractedly. She finished her work on
the plunger harpoons and stepped back. "Okay, Monty, thanks.
We're done with that stuff for now." She walked over and sat down
on the couch.
     The rest of the Rangers continued to clean up. Chip finished
the paperwork and went to go deliver it to the detainment center
where Osiris was being held. Dale and Zipper helped Monterey
carry the equipment back to Gadget's workshop.
     Gadget leaned back against the couch, closing her eyes.
     "I should've slept in my own bed last night, dream or no
dream. I wouldn't be so tired now..." She mumbled as she dozed

     Chip decided to take the Ranger Wing over to the detainment
center, figuring the sooner he got this done, the sooner he could
focus fully on what was eating Gadget.
     The detainment center was the same spot that the humans used
for holding people who were awaiting trail, but the animals had
moved into the walls and ceilings, setting up their own jail
system. Chip chuckled at the thought of the humans ever finding
out how developed the animal world really was.
     "They probably think we still steal pancakes from ducks and
only have walnuts as home decor." He remarked to himself as he
landed the Ranger Wing on the roof. He parked it behind a air
conditioning unit, grabbed the paperwork, and hopped out. He
entered through the small door in the side of a ventilation
shaft, which led to a small set of stairs inside one of the
     He moved down them quickly, glad for the white Christmas
lights strung up. He never liked moving inside these walls too
much, as it was only a foot wide. He preferred large, open spaces
to enclosed areas like this, but wherever a case would lead, he
would follow.
     This time, the end of the case led into the office of the
warden for the animals, a gruff squirrel called McDugell. Chip
had once asked him what his first name was. "Warden", McDugell
replied. Chip wasn't sure if that was a joke or not, so opted to
stick to McDugell.
     Chip stepped off of the stairs onto the office level of the
interior detainment center. A simple wooden floor held the desks
of the officers who worked here, while McDugell actually had
walls set up around his, making it an actual office. Chip walked
up to it, waving to the officers he passed. He knocked on the
door and looked in through the inset window.
     McDugell, who was working at his desk, looked up and
motioned for Chip come in.
     "How are you, Chip?" He asked politely, indicating a chair
for Chip to sit in.
     "Fine, thanks." Chip walked to the desk and dropped the
paperwork. "I'd love to stay and chat, but I gotta run. Other
case, in a way." He started back out the door.
     "Hold it, Chip." McDugell stood up from his chair, taking
the paperwork. "I've got something I think you should see."
     Chip looked at McDugell questioningly, then walked back
inside, shutting the door.
     McDugell flipped through the paperwork, nodding as he read
it. "I keep telling you Chip, you should be an officer. You can
think, you're interested in helping the city, and you actually
know how to organize paperwork so it helps us put the trash on
the streets away."
     Chip shook his head. "Thanks, but you know I prefer the
independent style. More freedom, and I can pursue other options
as they come up."
     "And pursue other Rangers, too, eh?" McDugell asked with a
wink. He knew about Chip's attraction to Gadget.
     "Didn't you have something to show me?" Chip asked quickly,
not wanting to run the risk of blushing, as he did whenever
McDugell teased him about Gadget.
     The warden nodded and walked over to the desk, setting the
paper down and picking up some items. He moved back over to Chip
and handed them to him. "Know what these are?"
     Chip looked at the items. They looked like small totems and
tools or toys made from twigs, rope, and rocks. Small feathers
were stuck in some. A few looked like something from a book of
American Indian artifacts, while others were of more recent
construction. Chip guessed those were from parts of India and
Mongolia, judging by the ivory he spotted.
     Each one also had inscriptions along the handles. Chip
studied them intently.
     "I can't recognize them all, but some of these are ancient
languages..." He squinted at one. "This one looks like
     "Right on the money, Chip. You studied these in school or
     Chip just smiled. "Let's just say I'm a terror at Trivial
     McDugell nodded. "Okay then, for an orange wedge, here's the
question: Guess where we found these?"
     Chip shrugged. "Another museum heist?"
     "Bzzt. Wrong. At Osiris' hideout."
     Chip blinked. "Really?"
     "Yeah, and more than that." McDugell looked around for a
moment, then lowered his voice. "Books. Old books. In all sorts
of languages. The lab boys managed to decipher a few." He turned
back to the desk, and grabbed some more papers. "Here's what
we've managed to translate so far.
     "'By Osiris and Osaris, by Neptinea and Nortunea, by the sea
from the north and the sun to the south, the final winds blow out
from the mouth of the great evil of Sarafin to encompass the
innocent in her ever-vile breath--"
     As Chip listened, he tried to place some of the names he was
hearing. Where had he heard this before? He racked the recesses
of his mind, and opened up something hidden by mistake.
     He remembered a small room. The walls were made of wood, and
the ambient light was a sickly yellow, much like the light from
street lamps and parking garages.
     The rest of the Rangers were there, looking about. Everyone
seemed confused and disoriented. Dale was talking, but words were
muffled and garbled, unintelligible even though he was only
inches away.
     And that golden yellow disc that floated there, with those
swirling orange and red colors within, spiraling down towards the
     Chip found himself being helped back to his feet by
     "Hey, Chip, what happened? Are you okay?" The warden guided
Chip to a chair and sat him down.
     "Yeah..." Chip weakly replied. He couldn't believe how shaky
he was. "I...think I'm okay now. What happened?"
     "I was hoping you'd tell me. I was reading to you what we
had translated, and then you started to swoon, then collapsed to
the floor."
     Chip shook his head. "I...guess this case has just had me
under a lot of stress, that's all." He took a deep breath, and
started to calm down. "Yeah, it's passed."
     "Good. Last thing I need is for you to break down like the
     "Others?" Chip asked.
     "Oh, that's right, you haven't heard. Well," McDugell sat
down on the edge of the desk, "some of the members of the force
involved in the capture of Osiris have caught a fever of some
kind. They've been hallucinating."
     Chip nodded as he thought. The Rangers were the ones who led
that chase. "We tracked him to that condemned factory and
warehouse. There were a lot of noxious substances lurking around.
Probably some of the fumes were inhaled by some of the force."
     "Yeah, we already have our medics checking them out.
Hopefully, they'll isolate the problem soon enough."
     Chip stood up, his strength recovered. "Well, I'll try to do
some research on some of those items, then." He took out his
notepad and started jotting down notes about them. "I'll stop by
again when I've discovered something."
     McDugell nodded and opened the door for Chip. "Take care,
Chip. See you soon."
     Chip nodded respectively and made his way back up the stairs
to the roof. As he climbed aboard the Ranger Wing, he thought
about what had happened to him. He'd classify it as a flashback,
but he couldn't figure out where it had come from. He took out
his notepad and made a few more notes, then started up the Ranger
Wing and took off.
     Before he headed back to the HQ, though, he stopped by for a
brief chat at the nearby mental ward.


     Gadget yawned sleepily and opened her eyes. The living room
was quiet and dark. Her eyes managed to focus on the clock.
     "Ten at night." She sighed. "I've been asleep for over seven
     She sat up on the couch and stretched. Glancing about, she
saw that everyone else had apparently gone to bed. All the lights
were off and the doors to their rooms closed. She yawned again,
amazed that she could still be sleepy. Still, all the easier for
her to fall asleep tonight.
     She made her way to the kitchen, moving smoothly through the
darkened room. After getting a glass from the cupboard, she
walked to the sink and filled it. She took a relaxed sip, feeling
the cool water as it travelled down her dry throat. She finished
the rest of water, then walked over to the cupboard to put the
glass away, only to be stopped by six red eyes staring at her.
     Her jaw dropped as her fingers around the glass tightened.
She was about make a yelp, but one of its tentacles latched
around her knees, dragging her to the floor. Another one latched
around her throat, cutting off the passage of air for either
breathing or screaming purposes.
     Just then she remembered the glass in her hand. She pulled
back to throw it at the creature, but another tentacle wrapped
itself around her wrist.
     How many tentacles does this thing have? She thought
frantically. *What* is this thing?
     It moved closer to her, mandibles clicking all the while.
Through the blur that used to be her vision, Gadget spotted some
movement over near the doorway to the hall. It first she was
afraid it was another creature, but as it moved into the kitchen
she was able to recognize the loud red and yellow pajamas of
Dale. She wanted to call out and warn him, but she couldn't even
manage a whimper.
     Not that it mattered, really, as Dale didn't seem to notice
the thing. In the fog of her mind, Gadget wondered how he could
miss the foot-long, insect-like creature with its six glowing red
eyes, but the lack of oxygen prevented her from puzzling it out.
Gadget shut her eyes, trying to summon the strength to fight this
     Dale, blissfully unaware of the life and death struggle in
the corner, hummed a cheery tune as he made his way over to the
refrigerator for his midnight snack. He opened the door, and took
a moment to study the contents.
     Gadget could feel the last traces of her breath evaporate in
her lungs, and everything started to go numb--
     "Gadget?" Dale's voice, calm and curious, cut through her
weakened mind like a snowplow. She opened one eye, her head
tilted back far enough to see Dale standing in front of the
refrigerator, silhouetted against the light from within.
     The tentacles abruptly released themselves from her, and she
crumbled into a heap on the floor. The glass finally fell from
her hand, breaking as it hit the floor.
     Dale watched as Gadget fell, but only for a moment. The next
second he was by her side, trying to see if she was hurt at all.
Fortunately, she wasn't. No signs of injury were evident.
     Gadget, confused beyond reason and scared to death, flung
her arms around Dale and broke down into a fit of hysterical
sobbing. Dale was surprised both at the sudden outburst and the
strength that Gadget clung to him, but knew enough to hold her
tightly, allowing her to purge whatever it was from her system.
     The hallway lights came on as the rest of the Rangers
stumbled into the kitchen.
     "I heard a crash..." Chip started.
     "Gadget!" Monterey gaped at the lady he had known since she
was a little girl. "Dale, what happened?"
     Zipper flew over next to Dale and Gadget, gently patting her
on the shoulder.
     "I dunno, Monty." Dale answered quietly, his eyes filled
with worry. He gently ran his hand down Gadget's back, trying to
soothe her. "I came in for a snack, heard a noise, turned around,
and saw her on the floor. She looked like she was doing some sort
of exercise, with her back arched, so I called out her name, and
then she just collapsed and started crying."
     Chip and Monterey exchanged worried glances, then moved over
to Dale and the shivering Gadget. Monterey quickly and carefully
brushed up the broken glass and dumped it in the trash while Chip
took a look around the room.
     "Everything seems in perfect order." Chip knelt down by
Dale. "I wonder what happened?"
     "Maybe a bad dream?" Monterey offered, kneeling down on the
other side of Gadget.
     That must have been some dream, Zipper motioned, to reduce
Gadget to tears.
     The others nodded in unison, and then just watched in
silence as Dale continued to support Gadget. Her crying had
subdued, and she opened her eyes a tiny bit. Using only her eyes,
she glanced about. The creature was nowhere in sight. All of her
friends were gathered close around her. Dale was still protecting
     An incredible wave of security washed over her, closing her
eyes, and sending her into a deep sleep.

     "So what do you think?" Dale asked.
     He was at the kitchen table, with Chip and Monterey. They
had put Gadget to bed, and Zipper decided to stay by her side to
make sure she was okay.
     Chip shook his head. "I don't know. You're sure you've told
us everything?"
     Dale nodded.
     "Well, mates, maybe Gadget can fill us in on what happened."
Monterey shrugged. "She has a better idea than any of us."
     "Yeah," Dale slowly stated, "If she wants to remember. Did
you see how scared she was? I've never seen her act like that
     The others nodded in the gloom, nobody sure what to say.
This continued for a long while, as each tried to puzzle out what
was going on. Finally, Chip stood up and left without a word.
Dale and Monterey exchanged glances. Chip returned a few minutes
later, with Zipper. They both had changed out of their pajamas,
and Chip was securing his hat as they passed through the kitchen.
     "Keep an eye on Gadget." Chip stated briskly. "I think
she'll be fine--she's sleeping like a log--but I don't want her
to wake up alone. If there's one thing I can tell, it's that
whatever the problem is, being with her friends alleviates it."
     Monterey nodded. "Not a problem, mate." He stood up and
walked to Gadget's room, calling back, "I'll take the first
     "I'll switch with you in a few hours, Monty," Dale called
back, then turned to Chip. "Where are you and Zipper off to?"
     "I've got some errands to run. Zipper said he'd give me a
hand. I think we might be able to track down a lead, but it'll
take time." Chip nodded to Dale. Zipper flew out the side door
leading to the garage.
     Chip watched him go, then turned back to Dale, unsure how
say it. "Watch over her for me." He wanted more than anything to
be by Gadget's side when she woke, but he also knew that if he
was going to cash in on a hunch, he had to move now.
     Dale locked eyes with his best friend. "I understand." He
nodded. "I will." Despite their quarreling for Gadget's
affections, their loyalty to their friendship never wavered.
     Chip smiled his thanks, and left to catch up with Zipper.
Once in the garage, he took a moment to go around each of the
vehicles, removing the ignition wire so they wouldn't start. That
should at least slow her down, he thought.
     The housefly was already waiting in the small seat Gadget
had built for him when Chip finally climbed into the Ranger Wing.
He started up the motors, taking off into the brisk night air.
     "First place to stop by is the library," Chip told Zipper as
they flew over the dreaming city. "That's where I need your help
the most Zipper. Between the two of us, we should be able to find
the books we need to confirm my suspicions before the next stop."
     What exactly *are* your suspicions? Zipper look over at
     "Well," Chip started, then glanced over at Zipper. He really
didn't like talking about it yet, since it was rather bizarre,
but at the same time, Zipper was the most receptive of the
Rangers to Chip's deductions. So, he took the time to explain
what he thought was going on.
     As Zipper listened, his expression went from curious, to
disbelieving, to confused, and finally back to curious.
     Yeah, Zipper nodded when Chip finished, I could buy that.
But why just Gadget and not the rest of us?
     Chip shrugged. "I don't know. I don't even know if my theory
is correct. But if it is..." He let Zipper make the connection.
     Zipper shuddered, showing he did. So why didn't you tell the
     Chip gave a terse laugh. "Because if I'm right, and I did
tell them...then if Gadget woke up before we got back, somebody
would've gotten seriously hurt."
     They remained silent for the rest of the trip.

     Silence was all about the detainment center, as well. It was
long past the lights-out time, and most of the inmates were
     Osiris sat on his bed, staring ahead out of the wire mesh
that served as bars. He could see the clock outside on the wall,
and watched as the hour hand drew closer to midnight.
     "Any time now." He chuckled silently to himself.
     And waited.

     Dale was still in the kitchen, munching on a small sandwich
and flipping through a comic book, when he heard Monterey call
     "Dale lad!" Monterey called out. "She's wakin' up!"
     Dale jumped to his feet and dashed down to Gadget's room in
a heartbeat. He stepped through and next to Monterey. Sure
enough, Gadget was stirring under her covers. She blinked
tiredly, and sat up looking around until she spotted Monterey and
Dale standing by the doorway. Her jaw dropped and she clenched
her covers tighter.
     "Gadget-luv, it's okay." Monterey said soothingly, stepping
forward. "It's us, Monty and Dale."
     Gadget screeched in response, scrambling over the end of her
bed and away from Monterey. "Why won't you leave me alone?!" She
pressed her back against the wall, eyes wide with fear.
     "Gadget, it's me, Dale!" Dale moved up next to Monterey.
"We're your friends, remember? Snap out of it!"
     "Well I'm tired of you haunting me!" Gadget snarled in
response. She reached over to the bed, grabbing the covers and
flinging them at Monterey and Dale. Monterey easily batted them
down, unsure why she chose that attack form.
     He realized a moment later as her night table came crashing
into him and Dale, knocking them both flat. The blankets were
just a screen, to buy time for her to toss her night table at
them. Monterey wasn't sure what was more frightening; that she
had managed to think of that tactic in her state, or that her
anger had apparently granted her the strength needed to hoist the
night stand so quickly. Or the fact that Gadget had apparently
gone over the edge.
     "Gadget, why are you--" Dale's question was cut off as she
drove her fist right between his eyes. Stars flared to life, and
before Dale could recognize any constellations, her other fist
homed in, dropping him to the floor.
     Monterey shoved himself away from the night stand and
Gadget, trying to figure out how to stop Gadget without harming
her. "Listen Gadget, you need to--"
     "Shut up!" Gadget reached over and actually snapped a leg
off of the table. "I don't want to hear your threats anymore! And
your clicking mandibles are driving me *insane*!"
     "Clicking mandibles?" Monterey asked, caught totally off-guard
by the last statement.
Unfortunately, this also means he was caught totally off-guard by
the wooden leg that broke over his head as Gadget brought it down
with blinding speed.
     He collapsed to the ground face down next to Dale, both of
them enjoying their time in the state of unconsciousness.
     "Hrmph." Gadget snorted as she nodded satisfactory. "Some
creatures. Right between their eyes and they go down like a ton
of bricks." She scratched her head, still breathing quickly.
"First time I heard them talk, though. First time I saw two of
them, even. Still, that one with the Australian accent held out
longer than the smaller one. Whatever."
     She shook her head, brushing her disheveled hair out of her
eyes. "I hope my friends are okay. If these things did capture
them...I don't have a moment to lose!" She threw down the stump
of the leg she had and ran to the garage.
     But the Ranger Wing was gone. Gadget looked back and forth
between the Rangermobile and the Ranger Plane. The Rangermobile
was faster, but the Ranger Plane would allow her to go to her
destination in a straight line. She finally opted for the Ranger
Plane, figuring it'd be easy to escape once she rescued her
     She was upset when it wouldn't start, and even more peeved
when she saw it was because the igniter wire was missing. She
went to replace it with one of the other igniter wires in the
other vehicles, but they were all missing as well. Still, she
kept her wits about her well enough to remember that she always
had spares in her workshop. She ran back to get one, and five
minutes later the Ranger Plane whirred to life, taking Gadget up
into the night sky.
     "Hang on, guys," She whispered fervently. "I'm coming."

     "It doesn't look much better at night, does it?" Chip
mentioned as they walked up to the mental health hospital.
     Zipper agreed as he flew next to Chip. He motioned that it
never did look too cheery during the day, but at least there was
some light.
     "Yeah, but maybe it's not the building, and actually our
knowledge of what we're getting in to." Chip lead the way inside,
as they turned down several hallways. After about ten minutes of
walking, he stopped at a small mousehole located in the center of
the building. They both stood outside, not wanting to be the
first one in.
     I really don't like this, Chip, Zipper's eyes informed him.
     "Neither do I, Zipper." Chip sighed. "But at least this time
our minds will be entered of our own free will, and not
     He swallowed his anxiety and stepped through into an office,
decorated in a contemporary style, with some sleek couches and
small potted plants. There was a desk in the back, with two
chairs in front of it. Behind the desk, writing in a notebook,
was an old, gray mustached mouse. His bald head set off the thick
glasses he wore at the end of his long nose. He looked up as they
approached and smiled.
     "Ah, Chip, Zipper, good to see you again." His voice was
deep and cultured, and always relaxed them whenever they heard
it. "How can I be of assistance? You were, after all, here
earlier today, Chip."
     "Yes, Dr. Speck." Chip nodded and sat down in one of the
chairs, while Zipper settled comfortably on top of his hat. "I
did some checking into what you suggested, and then again after I
got some new information."
     "New information?" Dr. Speck asked, interested.
     "Tell me, have you heard of hypnotic triggers?"
     Dr. Speck nodded. "It's been theorized, but never really
pursued. Considered too aggressive in most cases."
     "I read something about it at the library, but it really
didn't discuss it in layman's terms. Could you?"
     "Certainly. Basically, the hypnotist implants a single
command or series of commands into the subject. When the
conditions are met, the subject reacts as instructed. They can
get very detailed, to the point that the subject will rationalize
why he or she acted that way."
     "That's what I was afraid of." Chip nodded sadly. "Dr.
Speck, Zipper and I need your help. The rest of the Rangers do as
well, but I'm pretty sure they're going to be busy for a while."
     "What's going on Chip?" Dr. Speck leaned forward intently.
     "Remember why I stopped by earlier?"
     "And asked about flashbacks, yes."
     "Well, like I said, I did some checking about them. But I
wasn't sure until later tonight when something happened with
Gadget. She was acting the same way that some of the guards who
helped capture Osiris did. Having breakdowns. It sounded like
some type of hex at first, with all the paraphernalia that
McDugell showed me from Osiris' hideout."
     "You think Osiris cast a hex on you?" The mouse's gray
eyebrow arched to respectable height.
     "I think that's what he wants people to think." Chip
answered. "But that's why I need your help." He shifted
uncomfortably in his chair. "Zipper and I want you to put us in a
trance, so we can remember what we forgot."
     "I beg your pardon?"
     "I'm betting Osiris got into our minds somehow, and I think
the same thing happened with the other guards. I don't ever
remember anything remotely close to that when we captured him,
that's what I want to try and remember."
     Dr. Speck nodded slowly. "Very well. If it helps you." He
stood up and walked around to the front of desk and leaned
against it.
     "Before I do, though, I need to run a few perception tests."
     "Perception tests?" Chip echoed.
     "It's simple really." Dr. Speck picked up a small poster
next to the table. It was of the color wheel, but the colors were
blended together when they met, making one unified chart. "Look
over here. You too, Zipper. Start at the area with the most red,
and concentrate on it. Then move slowly up to the yellow. See how
the colors bleed into each other? How the red seeps into the
orange flawlessly? How the orange flows into the yellow
perfectly? How the yellow bleeds into the green fluidly? Fluid
transition. Flawless transfer. Uniform change..."
     Guided by the doctor's deep, relaxing voice, Chip's mind
wandered about until it bumped into something.
     "You see the chest? The closed one?" The doctor's voice
echoed in his mind. His mind's eye looked down and saw a closed
     "Open it." The voice commanded.
     The lid hinged open reluctantly, and then the darkness
within swallowed him.

     "He's gotta be around here somewhere." Monterey said,
peering down the small hallway. "He ran this way after I hit
     The rest of the Rangers nodded. Chip motioned for the police
closest to them. "He went down this hall to the room! Come around
the back in five minutes!" They nodded and headed off.
     "Come on!" Chip lead the way down the hallway, everyone
keeping a sharp eye out for any escape passages. The only way out
was at the door at the end. They crouched by it, silently
counting out the seconds until they hit the five minute mark.
     "Five!" They shouted as one and crashed through the door.
Their timing was impeccable as the police crashed through the
other door at the same time. Sure enough, Osiris was in the room.
He stood in the middle, next to a large machine with a spinning
disc at the top. It was golden, with orange and red colors
spiraling down into the center.
     "Don't move!" Gadget called out, aiming her plunger harpoon
at Osiris, who smiled and put his hands up.
     "I surrender." He stated clearly. "By Osiris and Osaris, by
Neptinea and Nortunea, by the sea from the north and the sun to
the south, by the final winds that blow out from the mouth of the
great evil of Sarafin to encompass the innocent in her ever-vile
breath, I surrender."
     The Rangers watched him carefully as he talked, but their
eyes were constantly drawn to the spinning disc. Somebody should
turn it off...but Osiris' rich voice was enrapturing, untethering
their minds from the present situation. If they were aware of
what was happening, they would have noticed that the police
behind Osiris were in the same state as they watched the spinning
disc and heard the smooth voice.
     "I surrender." Osiris commanded.
     "I surrender." The crowd repeated.
     "Ah, the wonders of mass hypnotism." Osiris smiled and
dropped his arms. "Mother always said I would be a crowd
     He stepped around, looking at the Rangers. "And it's you
people again. Ever since I started working in this city you've
been on my case. Very annoying you know." He rubbed his head
where Monterey's fist had connected.
     Everyone still held their weapons, but they remained in the
same position, eyes fixed forward, awaiting their next
     Osiris stepped to the doorway and took a careful look out.
"It appears that you've brought quite a few friends this time."
He frowned. "Despite my skill, I doubt I could dupe them all,
even with the aid of my machine." He sighed, disappointed. "And
before I ever had a chance to really use it in any of my plans.
Oh well, I suspect I can pick it up later when it suits me."
     Some voices were heard outside, coming closer.
     "Not much time," Osiris mumbled. "First thing's first,
though. I will need a rescuer. And who better than a Rescue
Ranger?" He grinned as he strode to Gadget. "And I must say, as
long as I can pick the Ranger I want to be rescued by, it might
as well be the best. Best-looking, anyway."
     He stopped next to her and thought. "But how I can make this
a piece of art...." He brightened, then leaned over and whispered
quickly in Gadget's ear. Once he finished, she nodded obediently.
He walked back to the center of the room, turning off the
spinning machine. The others, still entranced, waited patiently
for their next order.
     "As for you law enforcers," he said as he tossed a tarp over
the machine and pushed it into a corner with some run-down
crates, "have nervous breakdowns or something. I apologize for
the crudeness of that, but I'm pressed for time."
     The slender mouse darted back to the center of the room.
"And I'll deal with the rest of you Rangers later..." he muttered
as footsteps could be heard just outside the wall.
     "Now everyone forget this ever happened," he ordered, "And
when I reach zero, resume your actions from when Gadget last
spoke." He put his hands up again. ""

     Chip snapped awake, his hat shooting forward. Zipper, who
was also just recovering from the trance, rode it to the floor
with a yelp.
     "Why do I always have to be right about the wrong things?"
Chip breathed. "Oh, sorry Zipper."
     Zipper waved that it was okay as the housefly rose to his
feet, then into the air and handed Chip's hat back.
     "Found out what you needed?" Dr. Speck asked politely. "And
what you suspected, from the sound of it."
     Chip nodded. "I don't know what Osiris told Gadget to get
her to go after him, but you can ask him when we see him." He
slapped his hat on and grabbed Dr. Speck, practically dragging
him out into the hallway.
     "Ask him?! *I'm* coming?" Dr. Speck managed once he was able
to keep up with Chip and Zipper's frantic pace. "But I can't! I'm
in the middle of some work, and I have to close the office, and
     Zipper knocked him on the head. We don't have time for that!
He said with hurried shake of his head. We have to find Gadget
before it's too late!
     "Too late for what?" Dr. Speck asked as they continued the
mad ran down the hallways.
     "Before it's too late to stop her from breaking Osiris out
of the detainment center." Chip answered.
     "I'll explain once we're in the air, I promise." Chip
quickly said as he got behind Dr. Speck and pushed. "But for now:


     Dr. Speck shook his head as they neared the oak tree in the
park. "But how did you first suspect something like this?"
     "When McDugell read to me those deciphered notes in his
office, and I had those flashbacks." Chip brought the plane down
from the sky. "Apparently, it triggered a leak from the memory
block that Osiris set up. Then, after Dale explained what had
happened, with Gadget, I guessed it was either a dream, or
something that was planted in her mind. Considering that the
police who had helped capture Osiris had similar experiences
earlier, I betted it wasn't coincidence. Sure enough, it wasn't.
Osiris must have implanted something in her subconscious that is
causing these hallucinations. Like I said, I'm not sure why he
did that, or what they are, but you can ask him when we find
     And clean up the mess in Gadget's mind, Zipper added with a
     "Hopefully, she's still asleep," Chip remarked as he slowed
the wing down and brought it into the garage. As he turned it
off, Zipper buzzed in alarm and pointed Chip's head to an empty
spot in the garage.
     "What is it?" Dr. Speck asked, not sure what they were
looking at. "I don't see anything."
     "Exactly," Chip grumbled. "There's nothing there. The Ranger
Plane should be, but it's not."
     Zipper flew off into the house, searching for Monterey and
     Chip and Dr. Speck hopped out and ran after the fly,
stopping in the dark kitchen.
     "Zipper, where are you?" Chip called out, trying to see
which way the housefly went.
     "You know, I've never been here before," Dr. Speck said
thoughtfully, looking around. "Really quite a nice set-up,
actually. How did you arrange the plumbing?"
     "Not now, Dr. Speck!" Chip answered as he heard Zipper's
frantic buzzing coming from Gadget's room. "Come on!"
     They rounded the corner, coming to a stop just inside
Gadget's room. Zipper was trying to wake up Monterey and Dale,
both of whom were face down on the floor, out cold.
     Chip flipped on the light, and then blinked in surprise at
the devastation that was around his fallen friends. Tangled
blankets, broken wood, and plenty of splinters. Dr. Speck stepped
over to Monterey and Dale and turned them over. They appeared to
be in a deep sleep, but nothing else.
     "Can you wake them up?" Chip asked.
     "Certainly." Dr. Speck nodded. "A good doctor always has a
variety of methods for helping those in need."
     Both Zipper and Chip flinched as Dr. Speck forcefully
backhanded Monterey and Dale with one swing of his hand. The two
Rangers on the floor sprang up with a yelp, rubbing their red
     "Of course, some methods are less painful than others," Dr.
Speck mentioned as he rubbed the back of his hand. "But I thought
speed was of the essence."
     "Crikey, I go to sleep with pain and I wake up with pain."
Monterey grimaced as he tenderly ran his hand over were Gadget
had clubbed him. "It's almost as bad as a root canal."
     "Almost?" Dale asked wearily, trying to decide if his eyes
were supposed to operate independently of each other.
     "Guys, what happened? Are you okay?" Chip moved next to Dale
and helped him up.
     Where's Gadget? Zipper asked with a look as he helped Dr.
Speck push Monterey to his feet.
     "She's gone?" Dale asked Monterey, not sure of anything that
happened after Gadget hit him the first time.
     "I guess so, mate." Monterey tried to quell the throbbing in
his head. "After she K.O-ed us, it's not like there was anythin'
to stop her."
     "Oh no..." Chip looked to Zipper, who nodded back.
     She's already on her way, Zipper gestured, and who knows how
much of a head start she has?
     "Great." Chip grunted as he slung Dale's arm around him and
started back to the garage. "Still, at least she's in the Ranger
Plane. That gives us a speed advantage." He puffed and looked
over at Dale. "You've been eating those leftover free samples in
grocery stores again, haven't you?"
     "Chip, can we discuss my eating habits later?" Dale
responded as he stumbled forward. "Where are we going, anyway?"
     "To the detainment center," Chip answered, helping Dale into
the garage. Dr. Speck and Zipper brought in Monterey right behind
     "Why is Gadget going to the detainment center?" Monterey
rubbed his head again. "Better yet, why'd she'd use my head for a
wood splitter?"
     "Or mine for a punching bag." Dale nodded as Chip deposited
him in the back.
     Straightening up after lugging Dale around, Chip took a
moment to consider Dale. "She belted you?"
     "Twice." Dale grimaced as he touched his forehead.
     Chip looked impressed. "Quite a punch she has."
     "I've always said she would be a knockout," Monterey
grumbled as he was dropped rather unceremoniously next to Dale.
"I just wish it wasn't like this."
     Never seen Gadget do that before, Zipper buzzed
     "And hopefully we'll never see it again, mate." Monterey
shifted to a more sitting position and buckled up as Chip started
the engines.
     "From what you've told me, Chip," Dr. Speck explained. "If
she felt there was nowhere to run, then fighting would have been
her last option. Plus, if the reason for the fear was something
fantastic, then her fear is probably fueling her strength. I'd
advise extreme caution if we catch up with her."
     "*When*, Dr. Speck." Chip corrected as the Ranger Wing took
off. "When we catch up with her."

     The detainment center stood peacefully and serene in the
night. No signs of anything amiss were evident.
     Of course, Chip thought, it was peaceful and serene back at
the tree, too. Mainly because those within were knocked out.
     He brought the Ranger Wing down on the roof, and everyone
quickly disembarked.
     "I don't like the looks of this, Chip." Dale indicated the
barren roof. "Unless she really hid the Ranger Plane well, it's
not here."
     "And we didn't pass her in the skies," Monterey nodded. "Not
that I saw, anyways."
     "It would appear that she's already three steps ahead of
us." Dr. Speck commented sadly as they entered the stairwell.
     "Hey, have a little faith people," Chip scolded them as they
jogged down the steps. "It's not like she could just walk in here
and release a prisoner...I hope."
     They finally reached the main landing with the desks, and
quickly asked the night watchman if he had seen anything, except
for Zipper, who decided to check to see if Osiris was still in
his cell.
     "Gadget?" the night watchman replied. "No, she wasn't here.
And I see everyone that comes and goes through here."
     "You're sure?" Chip prodded.
     Chip frowned.
     "But I know we didn't pass her in the air," Monterey said to
the others, "And the Ranger Plane is hard to miss."
     "Especially since we took the same path here she would have
taken, Monty," Chip agreed.
     Zipper flew back up the steps and shook his head.
     Dale turned back to the guard. "Looks like you're not quite
right. Zipper just checked Osiris' cell, and it's empty."
     "Impossible! Here, I'll prove it." He took a set of keys and
led the Rangers to the back, unlocking a single door off to the
side. A number of small monitors were lined into the walls, with
a series of labels under each one. "This is the video security
system. We managed to install some small, fiber-optic cameras
around our little facility, and also managed to wire into the
humans set-up downstairs."
     "Here," he pointed to a set of screens, "is the human's
facility. These," he indicated another set, "are our place. We
record each shift onto tape. Since this shift's is recording
right now, I'll just rewind it."
     He pressed a few buttons on a bulky VCR that was underneath
the screens, and one of the monitors went to black. They all
watched as the guard rewound the tape, showing the events on the
stairwell. They saw the Rangers arrival only a few minutes
before, and then it was desolate for the rest of the tape.
     Except for Gadget and Osiris exiting through the stairwell
about fifteen minutes before the Rangers got there.
     "What?!" The guard's jaw dropped. "I never saw them! How'd
they get by me?"
     Dr. Speck felt a nudge from Chip, and nodded. He stepped
forward and pretended to study the screen along with the guard.
"Perhaps the video isn't showing us everything. Look here." He
tapped on the image of the stairs. "Look at how this value of
gray is slightly offset from the rest. The way that the lighting
blends them all together in one framework of value, but yet the
contrast between the light and shadows remain constant..."
     The rest of the Rangers, guessing what he was doing, turned
any so they wouldn't be hypnotized as well. They listened to him
drone on for a few minutes, then stop.
     "He's under."
     They turned back to see the guard staring blankly at the
     "Wowie," Dale remarked with a grin. "And I always thought
you needed a watch and had to talk to them about getting sleepy."
     Dr. Speck snorted. "Please. Those methods are brutal and
crude. It's so much easier to hypnotize people when they aren't
expecting it. Bring out a dangling watch and their mind throws
red flags up all over the place."
     "Can you find out what happened?" Chip asked hopefully.
     Dr. Speck nodded and addressed the guard. "What happened?"
     Monterey smiled. "Can't argue with your style."
     Chip shushed him as the guard began to speak.
     "Gadget came in, and requested to speak to the prisoner. I
really wasn't supposed to let her, but I think she likes me. She
kept smiling at me." Chip and Dale rolled their eyes at this, but
remained silent.
     "I brought her down to talk to Osiris," the guard continued,
"who talked to me a little bit, then I unlocked his cell. I led
them back upstairs, and he told me to go about my business and
forget all about what had happened."
     Dr. Speck shook his head. "This Osiris chap is rather good
at what he does."
     Tell me about it, Zipper nodded.
     The guard came to, blinking. "What the...oh, no." He slapped
his hand to his forehead. "I actually released Osiris from his
cell. What was I thinking?"
     "You weren't," Dale told him. "Osiris was doing the thinking
for you."
     "I'm not sure that's much of an improvement," Monterey
     "Listen," Chip said to the guard, "Call McDugell. Tell him
that Osiris has escaped and has Gadget hostage."
     "What?" The guard looked puzzled. "She helped him escape."
     "It's her mind that Osiris has prisoner," Chip continued.
"And I doubt he'll give it back anytime soon. Tell him to gather
up what police he can and to meet us at the factory where we had
captured Osiris at. We'll met him there!"
     Chip and the rest of the Rangers dashed back up the stairs
to the Ranger Wing.
     "Why the factory, Chip?" Dale asked as they hopped back in
the Wing.
     "Because I'm willing to bet that Osiris is going to pick up
the machine that is able to hypnotize a large group of people at
     "Oh yeah." Chip nodded to himself as they strapped
themselves in. He turned to Dr. Speck. "Dale and Monty still have
that block. On the way over, do you think you could...?"
     "Certainly." Dr. Speck nodded and shifted around in his seat
until he was facing Monterey and Dale, both of whom were looking
a bit apprehensive. "And just for you, Dale, I'll even use a

     The tarp was pulled off with a dramatic flourish, revealing
the sophisticated machine underneath, topped by a golden disc.
     "Beautiful, isn't it?" Osiris said in pride as he gazed upon
     "Yeah." Gadget said distractedly. "Spiffy. Look, can we get
going? If my friends have been moved from the cells they were in
to some other location, I want to track them while the trail's
still fresh."
     "Of course you do, my dear." Osiris chuckled as he pulled
the machine out of the corner. "And you will. Weren't you the one
who defeated those monstrous bedbugs that invaded your
headquarters and captured your friends? Weren't you the one who
got the guard in the detainment center down to my cell, so he
could let me out?"
     "Well," Gadget blushed slightly. "He seemed to understand
the urgency of our mission. And the fact that it was a mistake
for you to be locked in there." In her mind's eye, Osiris was a
trusted ally of the Rangers.
     "Indeed." Osiris nodded and opened the door leading from the
room to the factory. "Mistakes happen, after all."
     Like leaving that memory of her friends in her head, he
thought darkly. Maybe it was the easiest way to get her over
here, but I'll correct that in a minute. Just wipe her mind clean
completely, and rebuild in my own fashion.
     Looking at Gadget out of the corner of his eye, he couldn't
help but think of some very interesting fashions.
     "Give me a hand with this, will you?" He motioned for Gadget
help him push the machine out into the warehouse, towards the
Ranger Plane.
     "So this thing will help track my friends?" She asked as
they shoved it out.
     "Most assuredly."
     "How's it work?"
     "Very delicately."
     "Could I get a more elaborate description?"
     They pushed it up to the Ranger Plane, and began to secure
it to the lifting straps underneath.
     "You're sure it'll hold?" Osiris asked, checking the
     "As long as it's under twenty pounds." Gadget nodded and
started towards the Ranger Plane, but Osiris took her by the arm
and stepped in front to look her in the eyes.
     "Before we go..." He started. Might as well do it now, he
figured. "Just let me say thank you...By Osiris and Osaris, by
Neptinea and Nortunea, by the sea from the north and the sun to
the south, by the final winds that blow out from the mouth of the
great evil of Sarafin to encompass the innocent in her ever-vile
breath, I thank you."
     "I thank you," Gadget repeated mechanically.
     "Splendid." Osiris nodded to himself. "Now, forget your
friends. They weren't friends, just acquaintances."
     Gadget nodded.
     "You weren't a Ranger, just concerned citizen."
     Gadget nodded.
     "You have been at my side for the past few years, helping me
with heists by inventing machines for me."
     Gadget did not nod.
     Somewhat surprised, Osiris chuckled. "Don't like inventing
for crime, eh?"
     Gadget nodded.
     "Well, your will is impressive, but I'll break that." He
turned back to face the machine, then walked over to it and
flipped it on. Gadget gave an involuntary shudder, but he didn't
notice. The golden disc began to spin, creating lazy patterns
which threatened to swallow Gadget's resistance.
     She had to fight to keep from smirking.
     "Now," Osiris intoned dramatically, walking back up to stand
an inch from her face. "By Osiris and Osaris, by Neptinea and
Nortunea, by the--"
     "Yeah, right." Gadget snapped.
     It was at this time that Gadget created a new scientific
theory: It appeared that the speed with which she had delivered
her uppercut was directly related to the hang time Osiris' body
had before it came crashing down into the machine, snapping the
golden disc off.
     "That was for Dale and Monterey," She stated calmly to the
unconscious form of Osiris.
     She jumped as a chorus of applause sounded from behind her.
She looked back to see the Rangers and Dr. Speck on a stack of
crates near an open skylight, cheering.
     "'Atta girl, Gadget-luv!" Monterey's voice boomed proudly.
     "Floating like a butterfly, stinging like a bee!" Dale
chimed in.
     Chip planted a grappling hook with a rope at the edge of the
crate, then headed down the rope, the others close behind.
     "I was worried that we'd be too late." Chip grinned as he
approached Gadget. He nodded to the heap of Osiris. "Nice to know
that I was wrong about the right thing for once."
     "But how did you resist, Gadget?" Dr. Speck asked. "You were
enthralled when we arrived. I was afraid we wouldn't be able stop
him, but you did so yourself. Quite admirably, by the looks of
it." He also glanced at Gadget's handiwork.
     Gadget smiled, her cheeks flushed at the compliment. "Well,
it wasn't until he tried to make me forget who my friends are, or
that I was a Ranger, that I started to come out of it. But then
to try to make me work for him." She shriveled up her nose in
     "Ugh." She managed. "He might be good, but he's not *that*
good. Anyway, when that happened...I don't know, I guess it
unlocked something, and I remembered clearly what I did tonight.
I was afraid Osiris might have noticed my flinch as I remembered,
but he was busy turning on the machine." She glanced over at
Monterey and Dale, then looked down at her toes, embarrassed.
"Sorry, guys, I thought you were bedbugs or something. I heard
you talking, but I was hearing it as something different, mainly
that you guys were all captured, get the idea."
She tucked her hands behind her back so they wouldn't be
fidgeting as much.
     "Ah, what's a concussion between friends?" Monterey waved it
off with a smile. "Just don't talk too loud until the ringin'
goes down."
     Dale nodded and winked. "Only two head shots, Gadget. I've
had worse."
     "Thanks guys!" She darted to them and gave each a strong
     What about him? Zipper motioned to Osiris with a disdainful
     "Oh, McDugell's boys will put him back in a cell when they
get here." Chip replied as he stepped forward to inspect the
forced-slumbering hypnotist. "We can hang around until they
arrive, just in case `sleeping beauty' here wakes up."
     "One question, Chip." Dr. Speck stroked his chin. "Any ideas
what those items that McDugell showed you were?"
     "Offhand, I'd say those trinkets were just that--trinkets.
Osiris would have liked for us to think he had mystical ties and
what-not, but it's smoke and mirrors. He's just a hypnotist,
albeit a good one."
     "Hmmm." Dr. Speck reached down to the floor and picked
something up. "It would appear, though, that it will be difficult
for him to hypnotise anyone for a while."
     "How's that?" Dale asked.
     "Well, the voice is a very important tool for the hypnotism
he employs. And you'll find, Dale, that the voice is
significantly altered when you're missing these." He smiled and
held up some of the teeth he had picked up off the floor.
     "Golly." Gadget said, a bit impressed. "I did that?"
     "Yeppers." Dale replied, looking around. "Hey, I bet there's
enough here for a necklace!"
     They all quickly began searching, except for Chip, who just
watched Gadget with a smile, and then turned back to Osiris.
     "Well buddy, I doubt we'll see you for a while, but don't
worry." He grinned as they called out whenever a tooth was found.
"We'll always have something to remember you by."

     Gadget smiled warmly as she ran her hands across the smooth
wooden floor under her bed. Sure enough, no scratches existed.
Dr. Speck had checked out her mind, as he did with the police
officers who had had breakdowns, and made sure that everything
that shouldn't be there was gone. He had explained to her that
there never were any scratches. Only Osiris' programming.
     She stood back up and walked out to the kitchen. It was
dark, and she was a little scared, still shaken up over the whole
series of events. But she was determined not to let it haunt her.
She defiantly walked through the unlit hallway and into the
darkened kitchen, opening the refrigerator.
     "Triggers, huh?" She mumbled as the light greeted her. Dr.
Speck had taken the time to answer all of Gadget's questions, so
she now knew more precisely what had happened.
     She was "instructed" to "rescue" Osiris on the midnight of
the day after he was caught. But Osiris wanted a more dramatic
touch involved, so he'd decided to build her up to that point.
Thus, he had set it so that each time she woke, it activated the
first "program". That is to say, Gadget believed she was being
attacked by a monster of some kind, and reacted accordingly. The
"program" was turned off whenever there was sufficient light.
     Taking a pitcher of lemonade from the refrigerator, she
closed the door, but not before saying, "Thank you." to the light
inside. She took a cup over to the table and sat down, working it
all out in her mind.
     It was over. But she still shuddered at the thought of
someone entering her thoughts like that. Telling her what to do.
The feeling of helplessness around her, now that she knew what
had happened and been powerless to stop it.
     No, that wasn't quite true. She *did* break free when Osiris
tried to go too far. And it wasn't as if she was alone, after
all. Everyone in the Rangers had had their minds messed with. She
just had the upgraded version.
     She chuckled at that, pouring herself some lemonade. As she
drank it, her thoughts wandered to her friends. They really had
gone to great lengths to help out. She was a little irritated at
first, thinking that they didn't believe she was able to look out
for herself, but that quickly faded as she came to appreciate
their genuine concern.
     In all honesty, she thought, maybe this will turn out for
the best. After watching her deck Osiris with one blow, both Chip
and Dale were treating her with a new respect. They had always
been incredibly sweet to her, and now she could sense some honest
awe from them. Monterey wasn't as surprised. He said he knew she
always had it in her. Zipper felt the same, and in fact was
hoping that Osiris had taken the one punch, strictly so Gadget
could have belted him again.
     But Chip and Dale, she guessed, never really saw her as the
type to fight like that. Not that she liked to, but she would if
she had to.
     She chuckled again, finishing off her cup and rising from
the table. "There's a lot they don't know about me."
     She smiled, for some reason, at that thought as she put the
pitcher away and the cup in the sink. On the way back to her
room, she made a quick detour to the chipmunks room, and listened
just outside of it. Dale's ripping snores filled in the gaps
between Chip's deep breaths, creating a sort of musical rhythm.
She listened for a minute, not really sure why, and then stole
back to her room, where she snuggled up to her pillow.
     And went fast to sleep.
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