All characters in this fanfic are © Disney and are used without permission.
First things first.
Hey, this is Toni speaking. Thanks for looking at this piece of work that I oh so optimistically call a fanfic. Itís my first finished piece fan-fiction, so please bear with me. It's more or less meant to be a continuation of the series.
If you are still undecided whether or not to read this thing, the following might help you out.
If you are strictly anti-Chip/Gadget or anti-Dale/Foxglove, this story might not be to your liking. While I tried not to push the issue (it hardly gets any further than what you'd see in an official Disney episode) the general idea is still present.
Secondly, if you feel uncomfortable seeing your favorite characters in various states of pain, this story might not be suitable for you, either. Though the amount of actual physical violence is kept to an absolute minimum, some scenes might not be suitable to the weak of heart (with 'weak of heart' I mean parents. I doubt that even kids would have many problems with this story ;) ).
And finally, if you enjoy reading well written, imaginative stories with enough plot twists to keep you on your toes all the time... well, you might be better off reading something else. By no means am I a good writer, but that doesn't stop me from writing. Go figure.
You have been warned. On with the story.
"The good, the mad and the Dale"
It seemed to be a quiet and peaceful day at the Ranger HQ for a change. Monty and Zipper occupied the kitchen to prepare lunch and Gadget was in her workshop tinkering with the various tools of hers while Chip lent her a helpful hand or two. As it was said, peace and quiet, until it suddenly got interrupted by loud gunfire and the sounds of explosions, from the living room no less.
Chip was the first to bolt into the room, followed by Gadget, Monty and Zipper, all with looks on their faces ranging from concern to irritation.
"Hey what's up?" Chip demanded to know. "Dale, what...?"
Dale turned in his seat in front of the TV to face the others. The big screen was literally filled with explosions of various kinds.
"Huh?" asked Dale somewhat lamely.
"Dale, can you... will you...," Chip desperately tried to make himself heard despite all the noise that was going on. Finally, he just pushed a button on the remote. The screen flickered for a brief moment, then went black.
"Hey, that was the best part!" Dale protested.
"I don't care," Chip said with all the calmness he could muster. "Just tell me why you can't do something useful - or at least something more quiet - during your spare time?"
"Watching this movie is useful!" Dale insisted. "It shows you how you can catch bad guys and evildoers everywhere best."
"More like blowin' them up best," Monty commented with Gadget nodding at that.
"Okay, you wanted to watch the movie? Fine," Chip said, his calmness slowly fading away. "But why did you have to do it at such a volume?"
"Chip's right, pal," Monty agreed. "Haven't heard so much noise since the big camel stampede in Cairo I happened to be at six years ago."
Gadget looked up at Monty. "A camel stampede?" she wondered to herself. Some time in the future she would have to research Monty's many tales if she ever got the time.
Dale on the other hand didn't mind Monty's tales much at the moment.
"Gosh guys, I didn't think you'd make such a big fuss about that," he tried to explain.
"Yeah, that's the problem," Chip said. "You never think! You just can't do it!"
Dale opened his mouth for a retort but then narrowed his eyes. "Say what?"
Chip instantly cursed himself for saying this, but it was too late. The words had slipped out of his mouth.
"So, that's what you think of me?" Dale now was on a roll. "You think I'm some kind of stupid or what?"
"No Dale, listen..."
"No Chip, you listen! If you think so lowly of me, I may as well quit."
Dale stomped to the HQ's entrance and opened the door before turning one last time to face Chip. Then he left the tree, slamming the door shut.
"Wait, Dale...," Chip said weakly. Then he noticed the grim looks that Gadget, Monty and Zipper gave him.
"Really Chip, that was no nice thing of you to say!" Gadget scolded him. "He's your best friend after all!"
"She's right, Chipper," Monty added. "That was a low blow."
What could Chip say to this? How could he possibly explain to them that he had been so upset because he planned on finally spending some quality time with Gadget when, as he felt, Dale ruined the moment.
He couldn't, so instead he just said: "I know... I messed up. I'll apologize to him as soon as he gets back."
At Nimnul's quarters (one of many he had occupied during his career as a mad scientist), Professor Nimnul himself was pacing back and forth.
"Rodents," he muttered. "Rodents! Every single time, my wonderful plans have been thwarted by a bunch of filthy, stupid, germ infested rodents!"
Only that these rodents weren't stupid. He knew that too well. Every time he saw them, it meant trouble for him. And then there was the mouse that outsmarted him back when he was half fly. That mouse...!
"What is the difference between animals and man?" Nimnul asked an audience only he could see.
"Why, intelligence of course!" he answered his own question. Then he went to a table where not only a small cage with lab rats, hamsters and other various rodents was standing but also where his latest invention was hidden under a sheet. He slowly removed the cover.
"Intelligence," he repeated. "Just to make this clear. That's how it should be."
He unveiled the machine completely.
"And that's how it WILL be! Even if it means that I'm the one who has to make sure of that!"
The imaginary audience applauded and Nimnul bowed several times, enjoying every second of the ovation.
Dale was furious. How could Chip say such a thing? Sure, Dale didn't share his friend's ability of logical deduction, nor was he as mechanically inclined as Gadget or as experienced as Monty, but he too had his strong points.
"And Chip knows it," a part of Dale's mind kept telling him. "He just overreacted for some reason. And by the way, so did you."
"Yeah, maybe...," Dale couldn't help to say. He felt his anger slipping away.
Yeah, he'd probably forgive Chip. Maybe he'd just forget it altogether. After all, what was that little argument compared to all the earlier stuff they both went through. A little quarrel here, a small bonk on the head there, and yet, they've somehow always managed to stay the bestest of friends.
Yes, he'd probably just forgive Chip. Later.
But just then and there, Dale had other plans.
Foxglove was a darling little batgirl that Dale and the rest of the gang once met during an unusually strange case involving a moonrock, witchcraft and a cleaning woman gone wild. Foxglove has taken a liking to Dale from the start, so she took residence in a tree near the Ranger HQ so she could always be near her beloved. Though Dale was still (more or less successfully) resisting her attempts to try to become more than "just friends", he couldn't help but enjoy her company. This was also partially due to her introducing a new hobby to him. With the help of a glider (which Gadget gladly provided), Foxglove taught Dale in the art of flying, and soon they started spending whole evenings together just floating around somewhere.
Yes, that's what Dale needed at the moment. A refreshing flight above the city to clear his thoughts.
"Hello darling!" Foxglove greeted Dale when he arrived at her home.
"Hi Foxy. I just hope I didn't interrupt you with something... like... uh... sleep?"
Foxglove giggled at that. "How could I possibly sleep with a cutie like you just within my reach?" she told him while batting her eyelashes at him.
Ooookay, thought Dale. Maybe it wasn't that good of an idea to come here today after all. Of course, he liked Foxglove, and to tell the truth, he liked the attention he was getting from her, but whenever she got into a flirtatious mood he felt a bit uneasy.
After all, there was still Gadget.
It was not the first time that he wondered how Foxglove managed to get along with the blonde mousegirl so well. After all, it wasn't as if he kept his affections for Gadget a secret. Still, the batgirl seemed to accept it, or rather, to blissfully ignore it.
Noticing Dale's uneasiness, Foxglove giggled.
"Oh Dale, I'm just joking," she said with a wink. "So, what are you up to? It's still early, so I don't suppose that I can convince you to accompany me to a nice, small restaurant and have a romantic meal just between the two of us?"
Dale suddenly remembered that he left the HQ without lunch. Come to think of it, he was really getting a bit hungry. Hoping beyond hopes that Foxglove wasn't joking about the joking part, he agreed.
"Sounds good to me."
The batgirl smiled happily.
Dale took the lead while Foxglove stayed behind and kept a watchful eye on him. Dale seemed to have an incredible talent using the glider, especially for a wingless species, so it didnít take him long to get the basics of staying airborne. However, he still lacked the experience and his landings werenít all that graceful, either. But besides all those reasons, Foxglove enjoyed watching Dale fly. In these few moments, she felt like truly being close to him.
Suddenly, his flight became unsteady and he rapidly lost height. Foxglove swept over him and, grabbing his glider with her feet, guided him to the roof of a nearby building where they could land on.
After she made sure that he was safe for the moment, she approached him, a look of deep concern in her eyes.
"Dale!? Are you all right?" she asked, gently shaking his shoulder. "Dale, please! Whatís the matter?"
"Donít worry, Foxy," Dale reassured her, though it was evident in his voice that something was up with him. "I just got some headache, is all."
"You know, perhaps itís best if I brought you back home", the batgirl said, not convinced at all.
"No, I donít... ungh..." he said, holding his head for a second. "Uh, yeah, I guess youíre right."
He took the glider and took off with Foxglove close by.
When Dale and Foxglove finally arrived at the Ranger HQ, they were "welcomed" by a visibly agitated Zipper.
"Yo buddy, slow down!" said Dale. "I can hardly understand what you are saying."
Zipper used his usual mix of buzzes and charade to explain something to Dale. Apparently, Dale finally got the message as his face showed first signs of worry while Foxglove still wore the puzzled expression that most people had who were not used to Zipperís way of communication.
"Dale darling, what does he say?" Foxglove asked.
"I just donít get it," Dale commented. "He says that everything was just as usual when Chip and the others suddenly sank to the floor in pain."
"What? When did that happen?" Foxy wanted to know. Zipper showed her.
"About ten minutes ago," Dale translated for her.
"Just when you had your sudden headache," Foxglove exclaimed.
"Now come on Foxy! I donít think... ow!" Dale just barely managed to not trip. He shook his head while Foxglove and Zipper tried to support him.
"Letís get you inside first, Darling," the batgirl said. "Weíll figure out everything else later."
Inside, they found Chip, Monty and Gadget sitting on the couch. They all had wet blankets on their heads and looked rather unwell.
"Hey guys," Dale greeted them. "Zipper told us about what happened."
"Us?" Gadget groggily asked. When she looked up, she saw Foxglove waving at her. "Oh, hi Foxglove."
"How are you now?" the bat asked.
Chip groaned. Monty groaned. Gadget groaned.
"Okay, I think I get the picture," Foxglove said.
"Well, I haven't had a headache this big since... ow." Monty winced. "Since... since... actually, I can't remember if I ever head this big a headache."
"Actually, it got better," Gadget said with a slight grimace. "At least as long as I don't... think too... hard."
Foxglove and Dale looked at each other. Now they both knew that something was up.
"So, all of them... all of us, I mean... got headaches all at once?" Dale wondered. "But how? Why?"
Chip winced at that. "Don't ask me," he squeaked. "I have tried figuring this out, but..." He shook his head.
"But how come that Zipper seems to be unaffected? Or Foxy? And, come to think of it, I don't feel too bad, either."
"Dale, please..." Gadget said rubbing her temple. "No more questions at the moment, 'kay?"
"Yeah, give them a break," Foxy agreed.
"Right." Dale nodded, looking at Foxglove. "I guess it's up to us to find out what happened."
Nimnul glanced at his lab animals. What he saw brought a wicked smile on his face.
"It works! IT WORKS!" Nimnul exclaimed, laughing manically. "Now, with the help of my BrainScrambler (patent pending), no group of filthy rodents will get in my way ever again!"
As the imaginary crowd clapped and cheered, Nimnul broke into another fit of laughter.
"Thank you! Thank you! But that's not the only part of my brilliant plan."
The crowd went silent, waiting in anticipation.
Nimnul reached into one of his pockets and took out some sort of futuristic gun which looked a bit like the BrainScrambler, just a lot smaller.
"If you thought that my improved Rat Catcher worked so well," he pointed at the BrainScrambler at that, "you'll just love this little thing here. It's much the same thing, only it works on humans." He snickered. "Oh, shopping will be so much more fun when the cashier doesn't think of making you pay." With that, he left his lab, leaving an ecstatic crowd behind.
"You know," Dale said without looking up from the controls of the Ranger Wing, "I still think that they should have stayed at home."
"Yeah, but they insisted to come with us," Foxglove managed to say. She was sitting in the back row, squeezed between Monty and Chip. Gadget sat besides Dale, keeping a watchful eye on how he handled the controls.
"You know, you really got better since the last time you tried flying this thing," she commented.
"Thanks." Dale smiled. "Must be due to all the flying practice I had with Foxy."
"Aww, Dale," Foxy said flattered, batting her eyelashes at him.
Monty started to grown again. Foxglove quickly produced a piece of cheese she had taken from the HQ and gave it to him. He sniffed at it in delight, ate it and calmed down visibly.
"You know, I really wish that would work for all of us," Gadget observed, wincing again.
"Perhaps it does," Foxglove said and produced another piece of cheese which she tried holding right in front of Gadget's nose. "Genius or not, just try to relax and get in touch with your inner mouse."
"Foxy, this is somewhat embarrassing," Gadget said but couldn't help but smile. Foxglove threw her wings up in mock frustration. "I've done all I can," she declared.
"Hey, wait," Chip, who had been silent most of the trip, suddenly said, pointing at the road below them. "What's this?"
Nimnul stood in front of a supermarket, shopping cart in one hand, mini-BrainScrambler in the other. The shopping cart was full with bags of money and other valuables.
"It worked!" he exclaimed. "And even better than what I had expected. Hehe, they'll never know just what happened even when the effect fades off. At least not without the help of their cameras. Too bad that somebody... err... accidentally destroyed them. Hehe. In the meantime, I can do just as I please. Hahaha."
Giving another one of his trademark laughs, he proceeded to return to his base, pointing at various people with the mini-BrainScrambler so they would not interfere.
Little did he know that he was being followed by a small plane hovering just above him.
Upon arriving at Nimnul's hideout, Dale managed to land the Ranger Wing more or less gracefully near the entrance.
"Surprise, surprise," he said. "Another one of those old abandoned warehouses. Professor Nimnul seems to have a stock full of these."
Foxglove and Dale jumped off the Ranger Wing while Chip prepared to do likewise.
"Alright, let's... Oow!" He doubled over and clutched his head with his hands.
"Chip, I really think that you should just stay here," Foxglove said worriedly.
"But..." Chip tried to get back up despite the obvious pain he was in.
"No 'but's, Chip!" Dale told him. "You... you stay here with Gadget, 'kay?"
Chip stared at Dale, not believing his ears. "Now I know I lost my mind," he commented. "I start hearing things."
"Yeah, I can hardly believe it myself," Dale muttered. "But you are in no condition to help us, so stay here, relax and try to comfort Gadget." He smiled at Chip. "After all, cheese didn't work, now did it?"
"Oh... huh... okay," Chip said, still baffled. He went to the pilot's chair next to Gadget and sat back down.
"Just relax, 'kay?" Dale told him. "Foxglove and I will handle this just fine. And Zipper will help us, too, right?"
"Right!" Zipper buzzed enthusiastically.
"Okay," Chip said, relaxing slightly. "And Dale, I'm sorry about earlier..."
"Aw, forget it, " Dale said, waving it off. He watched Chip leaning closer to Gadget and tugging her in under one arm. Both seemed to be finally at ease. Though Dale wished that it was him sitting there comforting the blonde mouse, some part of him somehow felt... somehow knew that it would not have had the same effect on her.
He glanced over at Foxglove who too watched Chip and Gadget, smiling broadly.
"You know, I think you enjoy this way too much," Dale commented.
"Who, me?" Foxglove asked innocently while batting her eyes at him again. "I honestly don't know where you got that idea from."
Dale moved closer to the entrance. "Okay, let's go. Rescue Rangers, away!"
Inside the warehouse, Dale, Foxglove and Zipper found that Professor Nimnul had rebuilt one room into a giant laboratory. Among various machinery, they could see the BrainScrambler standing on a table and emitting an unpleasant noise. Dale instantly knew that this was the cause of all the trouble as his own headache was getting just a little bit stronger.
Nimnul was nowhere to be seen.
"Okay, we are inside," Foxy said somewhat lamely. She was getting a bit nervous. "Now what's the plan?"
"Plan? I don't have a plan," Dale stated flatly while rubbing his temple. "Chip is the one who makes plans. I just... do stuff."
"So... what stuff are we gonna do?" Foxglove asked.
Dale pointed at the BrainScrambler. "Well, I guess stopping this thing from working should be enough for the moment."
"I'm on it!" Foxglove said and took off.
Unfortunately, it was this very moment that Nimnul decided to enter the room. Foxglove quickly dove for cover, but Dale was promptly spotted by the mad scientist.
"What? A rodent? Here?"
Nimnul quickly ran out of the room and almost instantly re-entered it, wearing a cap and holding a pipe in his hands, swinging it like a baseball bat.
"I don't know how you've been able to find me, but I'll make sure that you won't interfere with my plans." And with that he ran towards the red nosed chipmunk, still swinging the pipe like mad.
"Uh oh!" was Dale's only thought while he avoided the first few strikes.
"I don't know... why my... BrainScrambler... didn't have the... desired effect... on you," Nimnul said between swings, "but at this... point I don't... care. What the...?"
At this point, Zipper flew around Nimnul's head, distracting him for a second.
"Oh, I haven't forgotten about you," Nimnul spat out while trying to hit Zipper with his hand. "And this time, there's no modemizer to help you out!"
Somehow, Nimnul managed to swat Zipper, sending him across the room where he groggily bounced of a wall and fell on the floor.
"Hooray!" the crowd cheered.
"And now, back to the other vermin," Nimnul said.
"Leave your paws off my friends!" an enraged Foxglove screamed and flew directly towards the mad professor.
"What...? ACK! A bat! A BAT!" Nimnul screamed at the top of his lungs, flailing his arms and madly running around in panic.
Foxglove looked at him in confusion. Then her lips curled into a mischievous smile.
"Alright," she said and commenced hunting down Nimnul.
"Just be careful, Foxy!" Dale called out. He then ran to Zipper to check if his friend was okay.
"Zipper, you alright?" he asked. Zipper nodded and got up slowly.
"Aw, what to do? What to do?" Dale wondered, rubbing his throbbing head again. "This would be much easier if I wasn't having this stupid headache..."
Dale paused. Yes, that might be just the way to stop Nimnul.
"Zipper, you remember the weird gun that Nimnul had back when we saw him outside?" Zipper nodded. "Alright. I want you to find it. Quick!"
Zipper saluted and flew off. Dale watched him go, then he continued to watch Foxglove.
It seemed like an even match. Foxglove attacked Nimnul's head multiple times which caused him to duck for cover every time, letting out screams that would have made a Banshee proud. Still, it was Nimnul who got the pipe and Foxglove was getting exhausted from dodging the professor's blows.
It was only a matter of time when Nimnul might knock the bat down.
Zipper came back to Dale, buzzing all the time.
"You found it? Great!" Dale said. "Where is it?"
Zipper flew towards a desk while Dale followed him. The chipmunk quickly climbed up the piece of furniture and found the mini-BrainScrambler lying on top of it.
"Okay Zipper, help me aim this thing at Nimnul," Dale commanded. The two of them quickly turned the gun into the general direction of Nimnul, then tried to pull the trigger with all their might.
In the meantime, Foxglove was spent. She fluttered down with Nimnul following her cautiously, a weird mixture of fear and glee in his face.
"I have you know!" he said, rising the pipe high above his head and... froze.
"OOOoouu!" he exclaimed, grabbing on to his suddenly aching head. "What the..."
He never had a chance to say more as the pipe, which had still been right over Nimnul's head, decided to plummet down on him just then. This was too much. With a last groan, the scientist collapsed.
"Hooray!" Dale exclaimed while high five-ing Zipper. "That will show him to mess with other peoples heads. Now let's free the animals, make sure that his machines won't be of any use to him anymore and get the heck out of here!"
"Ah, I'm so glad this is finally over!" Dale said when they got back to the Ranger HQ. He threw himself into the couch.
"And you guys really feel better?" Foxy asked concerned.
"Much better," Chip assured her, "though I don't seem to remember much of what happened."
"Probably for the better," Monty commented. "After everything Dale and Foxy told us, this is not one of those stories I'd like to tell others about."
Chip sat himself besides Dale. "Dale, I meant to ask... How come that Nimnul's machine didn't affect you as much as it did affect us?"
"Who knows?" Dale shrugged, then half-jokingly added: "But who says it didn't? I mean, with all the bonks on my head you give me all the time, I'm kinda used to headaches like that."
"Golly Dale, I'll never complain again when you two are arguing again," Gadget promised.
"Yeah," Monty agreed. "Who'd have thought that this would one day save us all?"
"But don't forget Foxy!" Dale reminded his friends. "After all, I probably wouldn't have made it without her help!"
"Aww, Dale," Foxglove said, smiling broadly. "What an awfully nice thing of you to say."
"Well, I think you'd make a great member of the team," Chip said. The others nodded approvingly.
Foxglove seemed thoughtful for a moment, then smiled sweetly at Dale. "Well, if this would help me getting closer to a certain chipmunk..."
Dale smiled back. "Yeah, I'd definitely like that."