Divided Loyalties
By: CD

It was a dark, gloomy and spooky morning in Manhattan. Two chipmunks continued their life without taking note to the sad weather, by living their daily life as normal. Philip had installed himself behind the computer console and was keeping track to the movements on screen. Ever since he borrowed Dale’s computer game ‘Monkey Song Country & Western IV: Beat It’, Philip had been playing morning, noon and night, 24/7. At first Mercy was glad this game could at least be played in cooperative mode, because she was starting to detest losing to Philip at ‘Meet Fighter Omega’, which she fortunately had been able to lend to Dale for the time being. Nonetheless, her brother was already hoarding money to buy ‘Immortal “Come On!” Bat’. Mercy was worrying if replacing the TV was really such a smart move.

“Don’t you ever need a break?” Mercy asked and shook her head.

“Not right now, later.” Philip replied zombie-fied, not taking his eyes of the screen.

“At least promise me you stop playing in another half hour, you got to go to school again, enough fun and games already!” She demanded as she collected some oranges and sandwiches and stored them in her lunchbox, so she would be ready to go to work.

“Yeah, yeah. Whatever.” He replied, before starting to hum the tune of the level he was on.

“Hah, beat you again!” Chip cheered as he put his controller aside.

“You got lucky!” Dale retorted, ready to kick either his long-time pal or the computer.

“Yeah right. Just like last time, and the time before that, and before that and on and on.” Chip dismissed the excuse and walked off to get some breakfast.

“See, now he chickens out! Just when I want to take revenge!” Dale taunted and crossed his arms.

After he had pleaded, wished and threatened Gadget to build him a computer, Chip finally decided to buy Dale one instead, if only to shut him up. And it was good to know that Gadget didn’t have to violate copyrights to make it fit with Rodento video games. And now that the Stoneturners had borrowed them a beat-‘em-up video game, Chip could really show Dale who was superior, and who was inferior.

“Lesson 21: how to change a diaper.” Flora read out loud as she practiced the art of parenthood.

She had been pregnant now for a month, but was already putting the number of gifts she received from both her mother as her mother-in-law to good use. To make room for the baby and any future offspring, her husband had ordered the construction of another level atop his nightclub where his four friends could take up residence, saving the entire second and third story for the Nutcracker family. Flora herself was still working, but decided to perform a bit less than usual, and considered to limit herself to Steve’s place when the baby became to taxing on her stamina. Or quit entirely, as her husband advised. However, Flora didn’t feel like giving up her dream job, but only if the health of her child depended of it.

“Ah, how far are you.” Sergei asked as he inspected his three ‘partners’ as they called themselves.

“It looks like we are done.” Leonard replied, folding back the blueprint and snapped his fingers.

“That a fine deal you managed to get us there! Who knew? An anti-aircraft gun!” Marcus proclaimed ecstatically as he jumped off a couple of crates, dumping his wrench in a toolbox.

“Hah, I knew contacts in Russia would not fail us!” Sergei let out as he observed the weapon him and his companions had been working on lately.

It had cost them a lot of money, trouble and time. But after weeks of searching, Boris and Sergei managed to find a trader who was willing to supply them with the equipment they needed to finally defeat the Rescue Rangers. Unfortunately, there was still one problem.

“Uh, Sergei, I can’t spot their plane anywhere.” Marcus reported as he scanned the city.

“Well, patience is the name of the game then.” Leonard advised as he took a set of binoculars and proceeded to scan the park, knowing that the Rangers must have their hideout somewhere there.

Meanwhile, at the dock area, a group of rats was less than pleased.

“Where is that cousin of youse hangin’ out Sugar Ray? Why didn’t he come back after those bums in Brazil where caught?” Rat Capone sneered as he drew a route on his map of Manhattan.

After spending many days remaining in Brazil to search, Rat Capone went back to New York when he heard that his former henchman had returned to the place he was trying to control. Fat Cat seemed to have returned to town as well, but was to busy chasing Marcus “Agave” to meddle in Rat’s business, or that of his ‘cousins’ for that matter. Capone’s main concern was getting back both his and Thomas’ hoods, without much progress as of yet.

“Gee, can’t we search in a smaller area? This harbor is big.” Arnold Mousenegger commented as he lifted another crate to see if someone was under it.

Rat just gritted his teeth.

“Okay, that’s it. We’re hiring professionals. Ray, Arnold, let’s get back home. We’re making no progress here!” He shouted as he moved over to a manhole and threw aside the cover.

Christy Lighthead was filing her nails while resting her feet at her desk and leaning back in her chair, very pleased with the article in the newspaper.

“‘Bookstore opens her first page’. Hah, suckers!” She gloated in a nasty voice “The only thing fresh here is the account book starting a new leaf on tax evasion! I wonder how many men I’ll draw into this new business, and how many sales of these forbidden books and videos are made.” She got out of her chair and moved to the window, getting a good view of her ‘empire in an alley’. Visible were the new bookstore, New York’s only shop that sold strong aphrodisiacs, and what many officials believed to be a hotel.

She spotted the voodoo doll of Rat Capone from the corner of her eye and her attention was drawn to it again.

“That’s right, I completely forgot to give my dear plushy its daily treatment.” Christy said as she took the object off the shelf and nuzzled it, before plunging a needle in it.

Somewhere else in the city a certain rat screamed in agony.

“Sleep tight.” Christy hissed and put it back when the door to her office opened “Knock first before entering!” She snapped while twirling around to face the interloper, her medium length hair getting in front of her face.

“Sorry mistress.” Vinnie pardoned himself, losing his stalwart composure “But I hope you haven’t forgotten your appointment tonight.”

“I haven’t Vinnie, get back to work!” Christy spat back and her consort hurried off.

“Still no Rescue Rangers.” Boris complained while sitting next to the defense structure they build.

“Hey, call me crazy but don’t the Rescue Rangers respond to ‘calls’?” Leonard guessed while perking up.

“Yeah why, so?” Sergei answered while looking away from the sky.

“I was just thinking. If they are a rescue organization, can’t we simply send a plea for help and wait for them to reach us, then blast them out of the sky?”

“Great idea!” Boris cheered as he got up “We send them message, they take off with their plane, BANG! We got ourselves our revenge!”

“Finally, a solution.” Marcus let out relieved as he waited for someone to carry out the plan.

“Yes, this is the Rescue Rangers. What’s your problem?” Chip asked after he took the phone.

“Uh, yeah. There’s a fire raging in the Empire State Building, while there’s still a number of rodents trapped at the top floors. They need to be saved, immediately!” The caller reported in a gruff voice.

“What!? Fire? We’re on our way!” Chip replied quickly, but just in time he was able to ask “Wait a minute! Don’t I know you?”

“Uh, no! Of course you don’t!” Was the answer before the line went silent.

“That low voice, the accent to it. I know this person. But who was it again?” Chip pondered, but decided not to give it much thought, as there were lives currently at stake “Gadget! Geegaw! Guys! We got an emergency!” He screamed and ran for the hangar.

In a minute the rest of the team had arrived and Gadget started up the Screaming Eagle to take them to the largest skyscraper in the city.

“There’s something about this caller that unnerves me, but what?” It went through Chip’s head, and he suddenly noted something very suspicious.

Marcus took his position at the base of the AA gun, because the low-quality structure had to be operated all by hand and he was assigned to turn the turret in the desired direction.

“There they are.” Boris noted as he adjusted the barrel of the cannon to hit the Screaming Eagle out of the air.

Boris had experience with operating these things, he had once been assigned to the AA division in Belarus and had loved every moment of it. For him, it was a piece of cake to get a good view of the plane, if it were not for the tables that turned at the last moment, that is.

“Gadget! Get us away from here!” Chip shouted fearfully, just before the sound of a shot sounded.

The younger Hackwrench managed to pull into a climb, but still the shot hit the plane’s backside propeller and successfully tore through the tail of the Screaming Eagle. Gadget was not quick enough to deal with the attack and the aircraft began spiraling toward the ground, with the six Rangers in it. Both Hackwrenches began manipulating the controls on the panel and Geegaw managed to regain control of the plane, just in time to commence an emergency landing.

“There weren’t any black clouds in the sky!” Chip screamed, hoping it wouldn’t be the last thing he’d ever say.

The Screaming Eagle touched the pavement and slid over it, damaging the bottom of the plane badly. It came to an abrupt stop when it hit a trashcan.

June was once again at the telephone, chatting with one her friends.

“Did you already hear it about the Rangers?” The person at the other end of the line asked.

“No Billie, what’s up with them?” The housewife replied, grasping her telephone horn tighter.

“They died in a crash, all of them! At first some believed Dale was the only survivor, but it seems he’s passed on as well.” The man at the other end of the line blurted out.

June gasped for breath, how could this have happened to such a nice group of people?

“Are you sure? Who told you this?” She managed, her face devoid of all color.

“I heard it from Barnacle Bill, the local ‘old salt’. He heard this from a girl named Foxglove, she heard it from a sparrow named Midge, who got it from a laboratory rat going by the name “Sparky”, who apparently heard it from his friend Buzz, who was around when the plane crashed.” Billie answered “I hope I left no one out.”

“Well…uhm-I’ll spread the word. Thanks for telling me this. You’re a good friend…yeah.” June finished and hung up, putting a hand to her head as she felt a huge wave of nausea washing over her.

The front door opened and her daughter entered.

“Hi mom, I got good grades. Can I go outside now?” The squirrel teenager asked , ready to leave again.

The housemother simply walked toward her daughter and laid a paw on the girl’s shoulder, guiding her toward the couch.

“Tammy, I got some unpleasant news for you. You probably don’t want to hear it, but it’s important.”

Mercy entered the apartment she shared with Philip to see the boy still behind the screen. “Have you even been out of this joint?” She inquired, upset.

“Nah, not right now.” Philip managed and continued playing.

Mercy had enough now, and decided to simply turn off the wretched object of addiction.

“Hey, I haven’t even saved yet!” Philip cried.

“You should be at school right now, it’s important that you learned your basic knowledge.” Mercy angrily reminded him.

Before she could say anything else the telephone rang. She quickly answered it, keeping an eye on her brother so he wouldn’t sneak off to avoid punishment.

“Yes, Mercy Stoneturner. Who’s there?” Mercy’s expression changed as she listened “Eh-thanks for telling me, I suppose. Yeah, will do.” She replied before hanging up “This is not good.” She let out as she sat down.

Two groups of people met each other in an alley. One of them was made up out of a large rotund cat, an alley cat, a nasty looking rat, a mole and an undesirable iguana. The other group was made up of a female in a white skirt, pink mules and wearing a brown coat and a scarf. A rat a Siberian chipmunk and two mice accompanied her.

“Ah, miss Lighthead. An honor doing business.” Fat Cat greeted as he bowed and kissed the woman’s hand.

“Finally, someone who knows manners.” Christy said relieved “What’s the reason of us meeting in this shady, dark alley?” She demanded while adjusting her jacket, making it clear the cold was bothering her.

“As you might have already noticed, another mayor, mutual competitor of us, is forging an alliance right now to overthrow the police, as well as every other gang in town. And frankly, I won’t stand for it.” The egoistic cat criminal explained.

“Yeah, I noticed. That slug Capone even asked me to join.” Christy revealed, growing impatient.

“As I cannot stand it when others take what is rightfully mine, I decided to forge an alliance. Included right now is my gang, as well as the Siamese Twins from Chinatown. As well as the Coockoo Cola Ninja Clan led by Bubbles, which still hangs out near the warehouse which said company uses to store empty bottles. Together, we stand a very good chance at stopping this ‘mobster alliance’. We still need some gangs to join however, and seeing as you command some fine helpers, we guessed you would be our next best choice.”

Christy put a hand under her chin and rubbed it. “I suppose we can arrange that, for the time being. What exactly does this ‘alliance’ require of me?”

“It’s all too simple really. Our “Mobster Extermination Coalition” only needs you to change your relationship with Rat Capone to hostile; any friend of Rat Capone should be unsafe on your territory and must be dealt with. That includes any gangs that might join Rat later on.” Fat Cat instructed, letting his prospective business partner think it through.

“Hmm, Fat Cat and Bubbles are both slugs, but it seems the Siamese Twins trust them, so that means I’m not the only lady welcome in this group. Alright, I’ll sign up. But only on the condition that you try to attract more groups to this coalition, I’m not going to risk a gang war until we at least stand a reasonable chance at scaring Capone into reconsidering his take-over.” Christy demanded, and shook hands with the tabby.

“My dear lady, I haven’t even started with my diplomacy spree yet!” Fat Cat assured her.

After that, both groups left once again, remaining oblivious to the stalker that had snitched their entire conversation.

Chip opened his eyes and was greeted by very bright lighting. He quickly closed them again and waited for his pupils to adjust. He finally peeked out to scan his surroundings. “This doesn’t look like heaven. More like a hospital, which means there is life after death!” He noted cheerily, before growing worried again “Where are the others? Did they survive the crash?”

The door opened and Chip turned to see who entered. He couldn’t believe his eyes. It was Mercy, dressed in a white skirt, shirt and hat, the red cross on her hat made it clear she worked here as a nurse.

“You?” Chip exclaimed amazed “This isn’t a nightmare is it?”

“If you think this a nightmare, then why do I look like a nurse instead of a devil?” She answered as she closed the door with her heel.

“I’m not still asleep am I?”

“No, you’re not. Just accept it: I applied for a job here to earn some money. That it would be so entertaining I didn’t know.” She replied mischievously.

“How did you know I was here?” Chip wondered.

“My, you do ask a lot of questions.”

“Sorry, detective work is taking over my personal life.” Chip apologized.

“Well you were brought here yesterday after your plane crashed. I was off duty at that time so I only heard of it when I got back home. You’re lucky I’m taking care of this area so I can sneak out to visit you anytime.”

“Lucky me.” Chip commented, the tone of his voice revealed he wasn’t serious about it.

“You sure are. I’ll be taking care of you all the time. I bring you breakfast, treat your wounds, keep track of your health, give you sponge baths…” She summed up as she clasped her hand together and batted her eyelashes at him.

Chip understood he was in trouble now. How could he prevent Mercy from causing a hospital scandal? Not to mention keeping himself mentally healthy.

“I know I’m going to love this.” Mercy said, derailing Chip’s train of thought.

She moved over to him and sat down on the edge of the bed. She placed her finger under his chin and gazed into his eyes.

“Do you know what temptations are coursing through my mind?” She questioned as she slowly unbuttoned her blouse.

Just in time Chip knew how to save himself and raised his hand toward the emergency button.

“I will do it!” He said threateningly.

“Surely you wouldn’t want me to get caught would you? I’d be out on the street, and without the opportunity of watching your recovery.” Mercy tried to call his bluff.

Chip however wasn’t bluffing and pressed the button, causing Mercy to quickly hop off the bed and fastening her hospital uniform again.

“Alright, if you don’t want to.” She replied grumpily and left.

Chip let out a sigh of relief. But too late he remembered he still had a question for her.

“Mercy, wait!” He shouted, but it was hopeless.

His nurse was already out of earshot. Again, Chip sighed and rested his head on the pillow. The door opened again and an intimidating rat female entered.

“You rang, what’s the problem?” She asked while towering above him.

“Eh, I was wondering what happened to my team-mates.” Chip asked, glad he could still inquire after their health.

“They’re already free to go. You’re staying here due to some damage to your legs.” She said, making it sound like a command.

“Phew, at least they’re okay.” He let out as wiped his forehead.

“Good thing we can go home again. I’d love to get me hands on the blighter who shot us down.” Monty opined as he cracked his knuckles.

“Too bad you have to wait until the bandages can go off.” Dale joked.

“Yeah, a real big shame already. I’ve threw doctor’s orders into the wind before. It shouldn’t be too hard to beat up the coward with injured paws.” Monty dismissed as the group neared the tree in Central Park.

When they arrived at the front door, they noticed the doorway was decorated with flowers. A note that was pinned to the door itself read: In honor of the Rescue Rangers.

“How nice, someone organized a welcome home party for us.” Geegaw observed as he entered headquarters.

“There doesn’t seem to be anyone though.” Monty noted while taking a look inside.

“Perhaps they hid themselves. You know, a surprise party.” Dale suggested and scratched his head.

Gadget entered and walked over to the table, where a rose rested in a blue vase along with a letter next to it. “Golly, this looks like Tammy’s handwriting.” She observed “It says: For Chipper, my angel.”

“That’s awfully nice of the lass to do for the poor bloke. But why not send it to the hospital so he’ll receive it himself?”

“Do you hear that?” Geegaw asked, putting a hand to his ear “It sound like someone’s crying.” He explained.

“It seems to be coming from Chip and Dale’s bedroom.” Gadget added. They entered carefully so as not to disturb the person.

It turned out to be Tammy, who had dug her face into Chip’s pillow and was sobbing. Monty slowly made his way toward the bed, understanding that the girl didn’t take the news of Chip in a hospital all that well, and he was quite familiar with the experience that others came to him for support.

“There there lass, no need be worried.” He comforted her.

Tammy responded to this by hugging the large mouse, eyes closed and tears streaming down her face.

“That’s it. Let it all out, it’ll be alright.” He said as he put one hand on her head.

“No, it won’t be alright! It’ll never, ever be alright!” Tammy denied, upset.

“Don’t say that. You make it sound like you lost faith in miracles.” Dale countered, moving closer a little. Tammy lifted her head angrily and looked like she was going to say something but upon seeing Dale, her expression changed from furious to that of fear.

“Oh…My!” She managed weakly before screaming and running off.

Monty took off his hat and scratched his head. “What’s gotten into the sheila?”

“Don’t know it’s so bizarre that logic is scared away from it.” Geegaw theorized and shrugged.

“Philip, I’m home!” Mercy announced as she entered the apartment of her and her brother.

“How was your day at the hospital?” The kid asked, surprisingly enough not from behind the TV screen.

“Amazingly, Chip is my patient. I’m going to love this. He’s so cute when he’s bedridden and helpless.” She giggled at this.

“Hey, it’s someone else’s suffering you’re talking about! There’s nothing funny about that!” He objected disapprovingly.

“Well I’m going to see to it his suffering will end. Unfortunately he turned down my offer to make him feel better. I guess my charms need a bit of polishing up.” She explained herself with a greedy glint in her eyes.

“What do you mean by that? Nothing bad right?” Philip asked somewhat afraid.

“I only tried to seduce him. You know, a coy smile, a lustful look in my eyes, some intimacy for stimulation…” She summed up while smiling at Philip, as he didn’t know what she was talking about anyway.

Unfortunately, he got the message and was quick to scold her. “You can’t do that to him! He saved you several times, you should show him some gratitude and leave him in peace.”

“Aw I was just teasing him a bit! He can handle that, He’s been through worse. And we’re in love, it’s perfectly normal for two people in love to do that…”

“You two aren’t in love, YOU are in love. And you think that’s a reason to dominate his love life. You should stop doing like that or he might leave you.” Philip warned her sternly.

“Perhaps, it might be better if I treated him like a friend until he’s my boyfriend.” She admitted and got back to her daily schedule.

A blur of pink, brown and dark blue shot through the front door into the kitchen and grabbed its mother’s dress. “Mother, I’m having hallucinations!” Tammy shouted and shook June a couple of times.

“Easy there child, what’s on your mind?”

“IwasmourningChip’sdeathatRescueRangerHQandtheirghostsattackedme!” She blurted out, leaving her mother confused.

“Would you mind repeating that? Slowly.”

“I was in Chip’s room when suddenly I was surrounded by the Ranger’s spirits! What’s happening to me, am I going insane?” Tammy wondered fearfully.

“Come on Tammy, it’s perfectly normal for you to be troubled. I know it isn’t easy for you to deal with this tragedy. Something like this was inevitable to happen. I’ll see if I can get a good psychiatrist to help you accept everything that happened. Until then you’d better avoid the Ranger’s tree so as to avoid you becoming mad.” June said with concern while drying her daughter’s eyes with a towel.

“They wouldn’t put me in a sanitarium would they?” The teenager asked reluctantly.

“For something as dramatic as this? Of course not, it’s quite understandable. Therapy isn’t all about numbers and results.”

“I saw that car you were driving Charlie, really magnificent.” A young raccoon carrying a glass of punch complimented his fellow.

“A real Silver Arrow, finding one was more difficult than paying for it.” The other mouse replied.

“Does it handle good?”

“I have no idea, I always let my driver do the driving part.” The mouse laughed a bit, looking around him. His eyes fell on two female chipmunks that had just entered.

“It’s time for your next lesson Mercy: interacting with the snobs. Always keep in mind that although nobody likes these guys, they can make and break your career. Gaining the support of a highly important media man for example could make advertising cheaper, and they’d censor all negative publicity.” The tutor explained to the student.

“Then what about the interaction part?” Mercy wondered.

“It’s real simple, just a show of good manners would do the trick. Beauty would also do it, of course. Let’s try it out on those two.” Clarice offered and approached the two.

“Morning, ladies. My name’s CEO Salmon. But please call me by my name, Louis-William Jacques Maurice, and this is my friend Charles Doublecroix. What are your names?” The raccoon asked.

“Same to you. I’m Clarice Tamiassara. This here is Mercy Stoneturner.” The popular celebrity introduced herself and her pupil.

“THE Clarice Tamiassara? Who just finished her tour through the states?” The raccoon exclaimed amazed, dropping his arrogant attitude “You’ve been my favorite for years and years and years…Next to Canina LaFur that is.”

“I guessed so.” Clarice let out, annoyed that once again some fan got in the way of business.

“Can I have your autograph?” He requested.

“Alright then, but you got to promise not to tell the others here, I got better things to do than please fans.”

“Great! Please follow me, I haven’t got my stuff with me right now.” He explained and walked ahead. Clarice followed and Mercy and Doublecroix were left together.

“So you’re the one. That girl that stole from so many by means of seduction.” Charles broke the silence, accusingly.

“And you’re the one who just a couple of years ago held an enormous grudge against the rich.” Mercy countered “Philip will be very disappointed to hear you joined sides with your biggest enemies.”

“That was when I was just a bumbling idiot, and I never taught my old friend the most important secret; money equals success.” Charles revealed, and Mercy had no doubt that this mouse had separated with his idealistic teenager self.

“If that’s so, I have a couple of questions for you. First is: what’s the name of the disease that causes a man and his family to live in a too large house? Second: why do you think you carpool just because you have a driver? Question three is: why did you turn into that what you hated most?”

Apparently it did not affect the hypocrite at all, he just huffed and replied. “I don’t live a lie, I simply was destined to be successful. Some people are just meant to stay poor, like you. Others stay miserable because they’re not capable enough.” He theorized.

“You are just like all the others. Your system works because you keep others from achieving success to keep your own.” Mercy scolded icily.

“And your system requires you to do everything, god forbid, so you can live your life at the expense of others.” Charles countered nastily.

“It seems there isn’t much difference between the two of us. The only difference I can see is that I quitted my old ways to live an honest life.”

By now the two of them where face to face. And if it wasn’t for Louis-William Jacques Maurice and Clarice who rejoined them they would have fought to the bitter end. They noticed the two were tense and staring each other in the eyes. As if agreed, Clarice led Mercy away while Louis-William tried to dominate Charles’ attention.

“What did I miss? What was going on?” The raccoon inquired.

“She compared us to criminals, the vixen!” Charles spat out the last part.

“You can’t talk that way about a friend of Clarice!” His companion whispered carefully.

“I chose my own enemies, I don’t need your guidance on that, Louis-William Jacques Maurice!” The mouse replied mockingly, perhaps a bit too harsh.

“That’s CEO Salmon to you!” Louis-William retorted, offended.

“What was that about anyway?” Clarice demanded once they where away from the two gentlemen.

“It was about how sluggish lil’ Charlie Craplin here really is.” Mercy replied, still disgusted at how people could change hearth so suddenly.

Clarice just shook her head. “You’ll never accomplish anything if you keep offending these people dear.”

Dale landed the Rangerwing at the spot where the Screaming Eagle crashed yesterday. Immediately the rest of the team let out a sigh of relief, as they where all to familiar with Dale’s flying skills. Because the doctor had forbidden them to exert themselves to much, the team had no choice but let Dale do the flying. They disembarked the plane and walked over to the crashed airplane. Luckily, the humans hadn’t discovered it yet or they would certainly have thought it belonged inside one of the trashcans and cleaned up the mess. The damage didn’t look all that bad at first sight, but the more experienced minds of Geegaw or Gadget figured out that this Screaming Eagle had seen it’s last day up in the air. The tail was severely damaged and without the propeller at the back, the vehicle could not take off.

“Looks pretty bad. But why come back if we know she’s not going anywhere?” Monty wondered.

“Because I would like to know exactly what type of cannon or ammunition was used to destroy our plane. It could make our investigation much easier.” Gadget clarified.

“Sounds logical, but you’re in no condition to disassemble planes and run tests on the wreckages.” Monterey Jack objected and nodded at her right arm. In the crash, Gadget had broken her arm and even a genius mouse could not effectively work with only one arm.

“I know Monty, that’s why I asked someone to help.” She explained and looked over her shoulder “Ah, there she is!”

Geegaw quietly gasped as he saw who his daughter had recruited for this task. It was Minerva Bilderpavsky, the somewhat unbalanced white mouse from China. She was in her usual mad scientist style; dark red leather coveralls and gloves. She also carried a science kit and a laptop along.

“So it seems that others are still requesting my help. Why can’t people leave me to my diabolical research?” She joked, making it sound like she was serious.

“Good to see you, as you see I’m in no condition to analyze my own plane so I was hoping you could lend a hand or two.” Gadget greeted her and shook hands.

“Nice meeting ya again lass!” Monty greeted.

“Mi how.” She replied, making Monty shrink in fear.

“C-cat? Where? H-he’d better not p-pick a f-f-fight with me!” He stuttered and looked around.

“I said Mi how, that is Chinese for ‘good day’.” She explained a bit confused “Man, and I thought I was weird.”

“Oh yeah, sorry. Me days in Hong Kong left me a bit paranoid around anything that looks or sounds like a cat.”

“Mina, could you take a look at our plane? I’d like to get the results from your examinations quickly.” Gadget reminded her fellow scientist.

“Right, I will get busy.” She promised and walked over to the Screaming Eagle to give it a better look. Gadget tried to follow her, but Geegaw grabbed her shoulder.

“Gadget, why did you ask her? There are dozens of mechanics in this town and you had to pick her!” He whispered forcefully.

“She’s the only one I know qualified for the job. Sparky’s short-term memory wouldn’t be up to the task and I know no other engineers, at least not personally.” Gadget explained and quickly followed the Asian mad scientist wannabe.

The two mice ran their test on the plane quickly and after a bit of brainstorming they came to the conclusion that the holes in the Screaming Eagle where big. To be more specific, they had been hit by 57mm anti-aircraft shell.

“Great, now how is that going to help us catch the one behind this attack?” Geegaw asked rather agitated.

“Well the 57mm shell is often used by the Type 59 anti-aircraft gun.” Minerva explained “That is a Cold War vehicle the Vietnamese used to counter the United States air superiority. It was also made in China.” She concluded with a hint of pride.

“Crikey, rodent sized guns used to target planes?” Monty exclaimed amazed “This keeps getting better and better.”

“Not really, but it does give us a clue.” Minerva admitted as she jumped of the plane and started up her laptop and kneeled down before it.

“What?” Geegaw pressed on.

“All Type 59 artillery units are obsolete. Ever since the invention of the Surface to Air Missile it has only been used by some Warsaw pact members. All I have to do is hack into Russia’s defense ministry network and see if they sold any S-60 units lately. If not, I simply move on to another country. From Latvia, to North Korea, to Lithuania, to Poland, to-There you have it!” She stated proudly as she selected a file.

“You managed to hack their network!?” Dale asked flabbergasted “Usually that takes hours, if not days, or more.”

“It is a piece of cake when you are in the business. I do this in my free time you know.” She confessed. The five Rescue Rangers shuddered at the thought of one unbalanced mouse hacking government computers for fun. Geegaw was the first to interrupt the silence.

“So what does it tell you? Who bought the thing?” “Someone who’s name is…Bowling Ball Borry? Ah well, I suppose every mother has the right to chose her child’s name.” Minerva dismissed the thought “This guy gave an address here in the states, New York to be exact.”

“Do you have the address? We might want to check it later.” Dale explained.

“Sure, 1060 West Addison.” She revealed and closed her laptop “Anyway, call me if you need anymore help with anything. Chasing criminals gives me this satisfying feeling. The hunter hunted…” She mused and left.

Clarice and Mercy where still at the snob convention, but avoided contact with Charles Doublecroix as Clarice felt something was going on between these two, clearly ‘hate’. She decided to approach two others, a female chipmunk in her teens and a middle aged one. The girl was in a very light blue dress and the male wore a tuxedo. Before either Mercy or her teacher could start up a conversation, the girl exclaimed excitedly.

“Hey Mercy! Do you still recognize me?” She asked energetically.

Mercy was flabbergasted, she couldn’t recall this young woman, but the fact she knew her personally astounded her.

“It’s me, Wendy.” The younger one revealed “Don’t you remember me?”

“Yeah, yes off course I remember. It was just a surprise seeing you here.” Mercy admitted.

“Da*n, Mercy, don’t you ever read the social columns? Our mother got married to Dimedealer you know?” She told, sounding like she really thought Mercy didn’t know yet.

“Yes, I’m aware by now. But it’s a shock seeing you socializing with these…people at such an early age.” Mercy confessed.

“Well you’d be surprised at how good I am at it. This man here is none other than your father!” Wendy blurted out.

“He’s the father of you two?” Clarice let out amazed.

“My father, not hers.” Mercy corrected before turning to the man who apparently was her dad.

“I assume you are the ‘byproduct’ of my relationship with your mother?” He asked cautiously.

“Hold it, aren’t there going to be any introductions?” Clarice interrupted, seeing her field class disrupted.

“Excuse me for that. I’m Archibald Brassfist, and this here lady is Wendy Stoneturner, my ‘stepdaughter’. However, I’m not her legal father, only related to her because Mercy here is my offspring, isn’t it?” The tuxedo chip explained and turned to his assumed daughter.

“Yeah, yeah I think so. But this is the first time I’ve met you.” She admitted.

“But who are you, by the way?” Archibald inquired and turned to Clarice.

“Well, I’m Clarice Tamiassara-” She responded before being cut short Wendy.

“Not THE Clarice Tamiassara I assume? The one who just returned from her trip through the states?”

“Yeah, that one. Look I’m rather-” Clarice confirmed annoyed, ready to give up her entire career if it got her some privacy.

“My friends just HAVE to meet you! Come with me!” Wendy demanded as she dragged Clarice along behind her.

“You never told me you were an acquaintance of Clarice Tamiassara.” Archibald commented.

“Well I’ve not known you for my entire life so I could hardly tell you about it.” She reminded her father.

“Yes, but something completely different now. You’re the same Mercy Stoneturner that was sentenced three years right? I recognize your face from the newspapers.” Mercy’s father said regretfully.

“Yes, that was me. I was set free after my run in with the Mafia though, thanks to a good friend of mine who’s part of the Rescue Rangers. Ever since I’ve taken care of my little brother so returning to a life of crime isn’t as easy anymore.” Mercy reassured him, trusting the stranger for the first time since meeting him.

“I know, the papers where full of it. You where lucky you made friends in high places who are more concerned with doing what’s right instead of what’s legal. And it’s good to know you’ve got your life back on track. Should you have time, please stop by so we can share life stories.” Archibald offered and handed her a card with his address. Unfortunately, the family reunion had to be interrupted by another Stoneturner who joined in, and Mercy wasn’t happy to see her.

“Oh no, aren’t you with Dimedealer, basking in your undeserved wealth?” Mercy sneered nastily.

“And aren’t you supposed to be in jail?” Anne-Mary replied.

“Annie! You here?” Archibald exclaimed bewildered.

“Yes, it’s me. Don’t act so surprised, you know I’ve gotten my place in society despite you rejecting me. Not that I care anymore, I’m living a better life than you could have possibly offered me.” The woman replied haughtily.

“What are you doing here anyway? Go back to where you came from!” Mercy interjected disgusted.

“I have more of a right to be here than you! You should be in an alley, begging people for change so you can afford a meal! Not in this place, only rich people belong here, and you’re certainly not one of them!” Anne-Mary pointed out while looking at her daughter angrily.

“Hah, I have more valuable friends than you would think! I’m a close friend of Chip Maplewood, who needs no introduction. I personally know the chief of police who by the way considers me a heroine instead of a thief. I have friends with considerable wealth who don’t show off like you do! And I also am a good acquaintance of Clarice Tamiassara, who has garnered more fame and respect than you did! Besides, my father at least still wants to know of me. Grandfather would be spinning in his grave if he knew how you treated those around you!”

“You barely knew him! You simply can’t accept it that being Dimedealer’s wife is the best thing in the world!”

“Mercy is right however, you haven’t changed ever since we last met. You still care more about money than anything.” Archibald interrupted, defending his daughter.

“Humph, this from a man who only looks at how attractive someone is! I warn you Mercy, that sneak will be in your pants before you can lift a finger.” Mother Dimedealer cautioned her, not that Mercy believed her.

“I don’t need advice from the one who’s trying to steal Philip away from me!” She shouted.

“Just trying to be helpful, and as for Philip, I’ll get him back! If not legally, then with less than legal methods.” She threatened and left.

Fat Cat sat around a table with a number of other gang leaders. Their conference room was in the Happy Tom Cat Food Factory, in what used to be the office of the notorious Aldrin Clordane. Fat Cat had taken safety precautions; his henchmen patrolled the building and the perimeter of the factory. As well as the helpers of his guests, so that no one could interrupt their meeting. Gathered around the table where Bubbles, the Siamese Twins, Desiree D’Allure, Phineas Ferret, Scarface Q Squirrel, Maltese D’Sade and Christy “Sweet Mother”. Deep inside, the rotund cat criminal was relieved he could persuade so many others to join, even though he couldn’t stand some of the ‘allies’ he made.

“Very well, the first council meeting of our Mobster Extermination Coalition can now commence.” Fat Cat proclaimed and all heads turned to him, awaiting the first suggestion. “As you all know, a well known rival is expanding his operation. And will no doubt encroach in all of our business, provided he hasn’t already. We all know him, Rat Capone. He’s currently busy scraping together the forces of old Don Salamino’s mob. Should he succeed, then the only opposition he has lies in the underworld. Not even the police or the Rubble Rangers can stop such a group. That’s why I not only plan to unite criminals throughout the city, but also hunt Capone down and drive him out of New York. That’s why I enlisted everyone at this table, because I want YOU to stop Rat Capone!” He declared, pointing a finger at the group assembled in the room and doing a great impression of Uncle Sam.

“With all due respect mister Fat, how can we prevent that, we are forced to fight a two front war?” The Siamese Twins spoke as one “There will be Animal Police monitoring our actions, and at the same time Rat Capone shall strike hard and viciously.”

“I’ve already thought ahead my noble feline friends. All I have I got with the help of accomplices at city hall, they will not lift a finger against us, making the legal opposition much weaker. Only the Rodent Bureau of Investigations can’t be persuaded to remain passive. Should the cops still stand in our way, huge pay-offs will surely change their minds.” Fat Cat explained as he grabbed an Havana cigar and searched his pocket for a lighter.

“Who’s gonna pay for those bribes?” Scarface inquired somewhat agitated.

“That’s already been worked out.” Fat Cat reassured him and lighted his tobacco product “every gang with a permanent source of income is to pay 30% of their net income to the coalition’s resource pool. This way we can buy weapons, pay stoolies, bribe officials and hire muscle. And just to let you know I don’t plan on exploiting my partners, I myself am paying for this as well, and it costs me a whole lot.” Fat Cat added as he took a drag of his cigar.

“Yeah, we’ve noticed.” Bubbles remarked and laughed.

“Hey, this is not something for nothing!” Fat Cat retorted and turned to his ally “As a matter of fact, I’ve also worked out plans for trade agreements. These agreements require all of us to charge discounts for goods and services. With these, Phineas Ferret for example could easily store any goods he ‘scavenged’ at Bubbles warehouse before these products are distributed, at no costs! Or our henchmen would enjoy a 25% discount at Miss Christy’s pleasure palaces. We can bend these rules and terms of service to be lucrative to all of us. With the money we save, we could fund more projects than possible before!”

“That is right monsieur Fat, but there are those of us who have no, shall I say ‘establishments’. What about your cousin? He’s relatively new to zis city.” Desiree questioned.

“I’m working on that. I have invested in the setup of my own cinema, ladies and gentlemen will give generously to see something on the big screen. Competition in zis city is petite.” D’Sade defended.

“I’m sure we can all contribute to our alliance. Even if someone can’t contribute, remember that no one gives an equal amount of money to our operation anyway because we use percentages. One of us will always pay a little extra, and up till now I’m still carrying the biggest burden because I have the largest income.” Fat Cat calmed his followers, and it seemed his methods were bearing fruit.

“What about the smaller gangs? What if they interfere?” Phineas Ferret wanted to know.

“They will not try to interfere with this issue, my mean mustelidea consort. There are only two major gangs in this city. Our forces are nearly equal, but only because Rat Capone has undisputed ruler ship of the sewers where our hoods would become lost pretty easily. But most neutral gangs are located on the surface and are easy prey for us. It would be suicidal of them to stand against such large numbers. Our main concern is Rat Capone, but we’ll deal with him sooner or later.” Fat Cat explained “Now, if all questions are answered I’d like to go on with tactical and strategic plans.”

It was a warm day and Dale was on his way to visit his friend who was recovering in the hospital.

“I wonder if Chip can put this to any use. A guy who calls himself Bowling Ball Borry, who wants a anti-aircraft gun delivered to 1060 West Addison. Where do I know that address from?” he pondered and his face lit up as he remembered where he heard it before “Wrigley Field!” He declared proudly as he finally got the movie reference.

Suddenly a strange feeling took over. He had started to suspect something wasn’t right. He turned around to see nothing out of the ordinary. He continued on his way but couldn’t shake the feeling someone was tailing him. He looked over his shoulder from time to time, but saw nothing. He could hear footsteps behind him but when he turned around there was no one.

“Show yourself!” Dale called out to who ever was following him.

When no one appeared, he kept walking. But this time his ears picked up the direction the footsteps where coming from. He turned around and looked up to see why he was unable to see this stalker, the person wasn’t on street level. Dale was unable to identify the person, because it’s face was shaded by a black hat and it had a black cape covering his entire body. He couldn’t even guess what species or gender this sneak was.

“Who are you?” Dale questioned, backing away a bit.

Although the chipmunk couldn’t see a face, he know the person was smiling as it answered in a sinister voice.

“I’m Batman.”

“No way, Batman wouldn’t stalk me.” Dale thought and replied “This isn’t Gotham city you know. Get lost or I’ll get the police!”

“Ooh, I’m shaking.” Was the reply he got and the figure jumped down.

At this point, Dale considered it best to run. He didn’t know if he was capable of beating this stranger all by himself, and he wasn’t planning to find that out, so he turned and sprinted out of there. He could hear that the dreadful dark stalker was following him and Dale looked around for a safe haven. He spotted a very safe one, a place where the stalker would never follow him. A place where no red-blooded male would follow him; a women clothing boutique.

“Be honest Vinnie, do those shoes match with the color of my dress?” One of the shoppers asked.

Vinnie could envision himself as a lot of things. Psychotic, chaotic, cryptic, manic and gothic. But something that clashed with his personality was fashion sense. He was only concerned with his own attire, thus going shopping with Miss Christy was like a living hell to him.

“I truly wouldn’t know. Why not ask one of the cashiers, mistress?”

“Because they simply select the most expansive things for me. And it doesn’t take a trained eye to see color differences!” Christy Lighthead pressed on “It’s important that I-” She was cut short when a chipmunk bumped into her back.

“Watch it tramp!” She scolded as she whipped around and came face to face with Dale.

“Eh, it’s a small world isn’t it?” He said with sweat drops on his forehead.

The blonde crime lady grabbed him by the collar and dragged him over to a quiet corner where their conversation could not be interrupted.

“What do you think you’re doing in a ladies clothing store? You masculine dogs do not belong here!” She hissed at him.

“Just what is it that you hate men so much? I mean, it’s not my fault I’m a guy.” Dale objected, hoping it would take Christy’s mind of whatever she was planning to do with him.

“No, you can’t help it. It’s a process where nature separates the chaff from the weed, the weak get the Y-chromosomes and the superior gender an X.”

“But why do you hate us so much?” Dale repeated his question.

“Because you chauvinistic pigs oppressed us for hundreds of years! And when you can’t control us, you abandon us. My father, for example, wanted to keep control over my family. He was gone the entire day and when he returned home late in the evening and I was awake in my cozy bed, he always had been drinking a lot of glasses of ale. I could smell it the moment he opened the front door! In the weekends he just ordered me and mommy around. Until I reached an age of 13 and he divorced, saying that he didn’t know what to do anymore! Hah, he was just afraid because I no longer listened to his every command! And if I was capable of scaring him then, that means I will have no trouble at this age with showing the world which gender is better! I WILL SHOW THEM!” She predicted furiously.

“And you employ us male weaklings to achieve that?” Dale asked smugly.

Christy seemed rather annoyed that her moment of glory had been interrupted and replied by slapping Dale across his face.

“It’s all your pathetic sex is good for!”

“Whatever. You’re simply deluded because your father left home. Usually marriages are torn apart like that when a father is disappointed with his wife and children.” Dale educated her, something he shouldn’t have done.

“You mean it was our fault that bum left? YOU LEAVE MY MOTHER OUT OF THIS!” She shouted and reached for his throat with her hands.

She closed her paws around his neck and pushed him against the pillar in the corner. In her eyes burned an intense fire and she came nose to nose with Dale. She placed her thumbs on his trachea and Dale struggled in panic. He kicked around him and hit her in the groin area, hard. She let go of Dale and fell to the ground, placing her paws between her legs and whining in pain. As Dale regained his footing, he saw tears streaming over her face.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hit you there that hard. Are you going to be alright? I’m very sorry.” Dale apologized, feeling bad about hurting her so severely. Christy uttered a vulgar curse and Dale cringed, but he felt like he had deserved this insult.

“What’s going on here for goodness’ sake?” A voice called out and a female shopkeeper approached the two.

“I accidentally-” Dale tried but was cut short by Christy who had her own version of the story.

“That scurvy rattle-brain tried to rape me! And when I resisted, he punched me in the weak area.” She explained, almost pleading the other woman to finish the job for her.

The male chipmunk realized he couldn’t stay any longer. He covered his face with his arms and jumped through the glass window. The shards cut his arm, but it was better than finding out what would happen to him if he stayed. He ran as fast as he could and only slowed down when he could see the hospital.

There wasn’t much for Chip to do at the hospital. As a Rescue Ranger he was cared for like a king, he enjoyed the luxury of having a remote controlled TV in his room. He was fortunate to have stumbled across the rerun of one of Herman van Veenmol’s performances in the US. There was a knock at the door, and it didn’t take long for Chip to guess who was there.

“Come in.” He said as he turned to TV off.

As expected, Mercy entered his room. But assuming from the regretful look on her face, Chip reasoned she had learned to behave herself. Perhaps her brother put her in line for him.

“Chip, I want to apologize for my behavior yesterday. It was inappropriate of me to make such hasty advances. I hope it didn’t make you angry.” She said pleadingly.

“Well, I suppose I should forgive you now. It seems like you’re not as good at taking control of me as I feared. Provided you don’t cross the line again I’ll let it rest.” He declared and dismissed the incident with a gesture of his paw.

“I’m not going to let it happen again. At least, not until it’s more appropriate.” She assured.

“Uh, I’d rather not talk about that time yet.” Chip cautioned her, somewhat nervous once again.

“Sorry to hear that, because I was hoping to talk about the future a bit. But we could just take the hypothetical situation.” Mercy suggested with her hands behind her back.

“And that would be…?” Chip pressed cautiously.

“Well, suppose I would marry you. How do you think that would affect Philip?” She questioned.

“I guess he’d have a father to look up to, because from what I understand, he never met his right?” Chip guessed.

“Exactly, it would fill an empty spot for him. I can take care of him, but not give him all the support he’ll need. We have fun and play games, otherwise he doesn’t seem to be doing much. The problem is, I don’t know what else I can do for him. And I guessed you would.” Mercy revealed and placed her hands on Chip’s shoulders.

“Me, marrying you just to be Philip’s legal father? Surely, you can’t expect me to be unhappily married to raise your brother?” Chip blurted out before thinking through what he just said.

Mercy’s eyes narrowed a bit, and Chip quickly apologized.

“I mean, you’re a great girl. But isn’t this a bit rushed? Marriage is not something you want to do without being absolutely positive.”

“Oh, but I’m not asking you to show up at the altar right after you’re out of the hospital. Just to consider the offer and I won’t force you to be my husband, I just wish you would spend more time and effort helping me raise my little brother. I’m not sure if I could be a good parent to him without help.” Mercy admitted and shook her head.

“But shouldn’t you have thought of that before you adopted Philip?” Chip reminded her “It almost sounds as if you jumped to your conclusion to quickly.”

“But my goal then wasn’t what it was now. I was reckless, I didn’t want Philip to fall in my mother’s hands and with her leering out there like a beast ready to pounce, I had no choice but take him in. If I hadn’t, I would have never seen him again!” Mercy defended quickly, looking at Chip pleadingly.

“And what is your objective now? Preparing him to be a civilized ‘munk who’ll be ready for life when the time comes?” Chip guessed.

Mercy quickly nodded.

“Yes, that’s what I’m trying to do, but with me working to support our little family, and him still going to school, I hardly have time to teach him, and in the weekends I’m so exhausted physically and worried that it’s hard to set a good example. I need someone who could at least do something for him at times that I’m gone.”

Chip’s face brightened when an idea came to him.

“Why not come and live with him at Rescue Ranger Headquarters?” He suggested hopefully.

Mercy on the other hand looked shocked.

“No, I couldn’t do that! I’d simply get in the way.” She objected.

“Nonsense! With us taking care for you two it wouldn’t be necessary for you to continue working. You’d have more time for your brother and he’d be surrounded by people like me!” Chip reassured her while he took her hands.

“But…I can’t be dependant of your team forever! Sometime we’d have to move on.” Mercy protested, but knew Chip was right.

“We’ll see about what to do then.” He reassured her.

“You’re an angel, Chip.” She said and kissed him.

Chip was a bit taken aback at her way of saying thanks, and blushed.

“Sorry.” Mercy said apologetically while looking at him innocently.

The door opened again and another chipmunk entered. It was Dale.

“Hi ya Chip, you still alive?” He greeted him, smiling.

“I think I am. At least I haven’t died of boredom yet.” Chip assumed.

“I’m sure I can entertain you, should you ever grow bored though.” Mercy chimed in “But for now my shift is over. See ya tomorrow!” She said her good-bye’s and blew him a kiss before disappearing.

“So how are things with you and the others?” Chip asked when Mercy had left.

“Well, we’re fine. The doctors say we aren’t, but if you look at Monty or Gadget then the only thing that suggests that are their bandages or casts. We’ve already checked over the Screaming Eagle to find out what we were hit with.” Dale informed his long time friend.

“Any good news?”

“Well, yes. We got the bad guy’s fake address and pseudonym. Please don’t ask how, you’d worry yourself sick whether the government happens to posses any satellite weapons or secret mutation projects that can be manipulated by a hacker.” Dale warned, almost serious.

“Say what!?” Chip blurted out, wondering if he should be more worried about not knowing.

“We asked the mouse who worked for the BATS we met in Brazil to assist Gadget. It appears she knows a thing or two about computers and the internet. More than we ever cared to know.” Dale revealed.

“Never mind. What about the guy’s name and address?” Chip inquired.

“His name is Bowling Ball Borry, and he supposedly lives in Chicago, his address is 1060 West Addison. Does that help anything?” Dale shared his knowledge, hoping Chip would guide them in the right direction.

“I don’t really get that bit about 1060 West Addison. But the name does ring a bell, I just can’t put my finger on it.” He folded his arms and thought deeply “Let’s see, Borry I think might be short for Boris. Bowling Ball, what’s up with…Hey, that’s it! It all fits now! I knew I recognized that voice! It’s that rat, Boris “Bowler” who worked for Thomas and the Brazilians.”

“But how could he do all this by himself? The smuggler are disbanded, as well as the rodent mafia. He should be all alone.” Dale reasoned while looking puzzled.

“I don’t know. But it’s quite possible he teamed up with others who are out for revenge as well. At least we now know who we’re looking for. It’s about time someone visited the Burly Rat.” Chip proclaimed and winked at Dale.

Dale himself gulped. Being stalked by strangers and then nearly killed by a crime lady was more than enough for him for one day.

“Chip, I’m not sure if I’m the right chipmunk for the job. I’ve had a hard day, especially after having met an unstable and skilled hacker just yesterday. On my way here I got stalked, chased, attacked, accused…” Dale summed up while counting on his finger.

“Huh? What and who did all this to you?” Chip seemed very worried to hear his best friend had been victim to yet another lunatic.

“Actually, it’s two who’s. One looked pretty much like that Justice Jerk guy who’s locked up right now. The other was Christy Lighthead, the one who nearly got me killed when I investigated her business.” Dale told him a bit worried.

“Justice is locked up indeed! So how could he be stalking you? It just doesn’t make sense. And he’s the only criminal I’ve met who dresses like a serial killer and speaks like Clint Eastwood, so I don’t think you’re just mistaking him for another crackpot. I’ll have to look into that after this case.” Chip noted before pressing on “But I do know about Christy, and from what you told me about her she might be…strike that, is a very dangerous person. I suppose I have to do something about her as well, that’s another thing on my to-do list.”

“That’s a relief, finally someone to stand up against those criminals. This city is not what it used to be anymore.”

“Oh, and I’d just wanted to let you know. I offered Mercy to live with us at headquarters and she accepted. Do you think the others would be okay with that?”

“Well…” Dale scratched the back of his head before replying “It might have been smarter to ask them first about what they think before asking Mercy to come live with us, but I doubt there will be any objections.”

“I guess you’re right about that. It’s this darned hospital atmosphere, it’s hampering my ability to think. Hey, if you hurry you might still catch her before she leaves and help her with moving out. Unless you don’t want to of course.”

“Sure I’ll help her, anything for Chip’s girlfriend.” Dale grinned and left, leaving behind a rather insulted Chip.

“That was very kind of you to offer to help me. This went much faster than I ever expected.” Mercy complimented as she entered with Philip, carrying a luggage case.

“D-don’t mention it.” Dale dismissed, carrying a stack of boxes into headquarters.

“It’s a good thing I don’t own much more, or we would have to do this in two trips.” Mercy noted as she put down her case.

Unable to see where he was going, Dale tripped over it and dropped all he was holding. One box landed in the pincushion chair and another was caught by Mercy who was unpleasantly surprised by the accident.

“Careful, this box has Philip’s Rodento video game console in it.” She scolded.

“The TV is still in one piece.” Philip reassured them, who had inspected the box that had landed safely on the chair.

“What’s all the commotion?” Monty demanded as he entered the living room, Zipper and Geegaw close behind.

“Eh, I’m helping Mercy move in?” Dale admitted sheepishly.

“She’s going to live with us?” Geegaw asked

“Well, Chip advised her to do that. It would mean she could quit her job as a nurse and spend more time with her adopted brother. Unless all four of you are against it, in which case I’d totally agree.” Dale quickly explained.

“Intimidated by our numbers eh?” Monty assumed “Well don’t fret over it lass, this tree ain’t too small for the two of you.” He reassured Mercy and helped Dale pick up the boxes.

Anne-Mary impatiently waited in her limousine. The expression on her face revealed she was very annoyed, and not simply because of the traffic jam.

“I think I’ll go by foot instead of car, at least it’s faster.” She complained and got out of the car, leaving her driver in the middle of a sea of stopped cars.

It didn’t take long before the Dimedealer figured out what was slowing down traffic so much. There was a parade going on, by a group calling themselves “Idiots against clown abuse”. It seemed like it was organized by comedians, mimes and artists. And although this parade could have brightened anyone’s day, Anne-Mary was one of those few souls that didn’t care for others, let alone a bunch of sad clowns.

“It looks like -someone- can get home by motor vehicle.” She remarked when spotting two guys on a motorcycle, honking their horn all the while “With all this noise I can’t think. I want Philip back! And Mercy taken care of properly. But how can I get any bright ideas with those goofs fooling around.” She complained.

To her extreme dismay, a man costumed as a cowboy moved over to her, along with his ‘horse’, a mime.

“Howdy lady, care to give a buck for people down on their luck?” The man asked.

“Hit the road, beggar.” Anne-Mary snidely retorted while grabbing the heads of the two and banging them against each other.

They slumped down and lay motionlessly on the street, off to a blissful slumber. To dreamland where cruel and heartless people such as Anne-Mary Dimedealer didn’t exist.

“As unlikely as it might seem, these morons did inspire me, a 2-in-1 deal. If I can get Mercy in jail, that means someone will have to take care of my Philip, and I’d be the best choice of course.” The greedy woman mused and took a quarter from her purse and threw it at the two unconscious forms on the ground “There, penny for your thoughts.”

Ever since their failed attempt to destroy the Rescue Rangers, Sergei and his cohorts had been plotting a new way to get rid of the cities’ do-gooders. They were reasonably safe from the law enforcement groups and looming gang war, for they hid deep in the sewers, away from the bustling life on the surface.

“If we knew where they lived, we could simply take the direct approach to this problem.” Leonard stated frustrated whilst pacing through the room.

“Where they live? That’s easy, it’s big oak in central park.” Boris revealed, which caused the lizard to stop pacing and look up in surprise.

“Why didn’t you tell us before, this knowledge could have saved us a lot of trouble!” Marcus angrily retorted.

“You never asked, scamp.” The rat countered.

“Sewer scum!” The chipmunk replied nastily. Both of them got ready to beat the other up badly, but they backed off when a brick flew right between them. “Knock it off you hotheads.” Sergei warned “We need to kill the Rescue Rangers, not each other!”

“Right, now how are we going to do that? Frontal assault?” Leonard suggested spiteful.

“That’s too dangerous, we need to neutralize Rescue Rangers silently.” Sergei objected “Other animals will notice our attack and tell the Animal Police.”

“Anyone got a better idea?” Boris queried impatiently.

Nobody answered, even though all three tried their best to think up a way.

“Frontal assault it is then.” Boris decided.

Somewhere in the suburbs, a happy chipmunk was enjoying a walk.

“…So merry, so merry, I am very merry…” Steve sang cheerily, rounding a corner.

When he opened his eyes again, his mood made a complete 180 degree turn when he spotted the scourge of New York. A person capable of spreading disgust and distrust amongst all he meet. The person who had caused him and his friends a lot of trouble, it was Thomas “Venice” the rat! He was out in the open, discussing something with two other animals. Seeing an opportunity to capture the gang boss and have him put behind bars, Steve moved into the direction of the three animals, Thomas had his back turned to the chipmunk, thus not noticing him.

“Who are you?” One of the contacts asked when he noticed Steve.

Thomas turned around to see who was there and saw Steve. He still recognized the chipmunk and knew he would most likely cause him trouble. Thus, he ran. Steve gave chase and despite being an athletic chipmunk, he had trouble keeping up with the rat.

“Thomas, stop!” The ‘munk screamed at the gangster, who naturally didn’t comply.

“Are you’se going to rough me up?” Thomas asked between breaths.

“I’m not gonna fight you, I’m going to kick your tail!” Steve retorted spitefully.

Taking aim, Steve threw his walking cane between Thomas’ legs. The rat tripped and fell flat on his face, uttering a loud moan.

“Why do you even show your face in the open?” The chipmunk interrogated, having caught up with the fallen rat.

“I was just minding my own business. How am I supposed to get Boris back if I can’t even ask around town without someone like you’se getting in the way?”

“You got me in trouble and kidnapped Chip. Do you think I’d just forgive you for that?”

“I think you’se will never forgive me after you know what I did to yer family.”

“What!?” Steve demanded to know angrily, clenching his fist in case the rat told him he’d done something to his parents or Flora in which case Steve would beat him up personally.

“I hope it won’t make you cry but...” Thomas started out, attempting to look and sound innocent “Me and Rat Capone used to hunt down bad Nutcrackers, like your aunt and brother.”

“So it was you again. And you act as if you don’t care about it!”

“That little brat that used to be your brother was the easiest. Me, Rat and that moron Arnold Mousenegger could simply drive past and put a bullet in his head when he traveled home after school. We also did that little hit on your aunt, we kidnapped her. I had my fun with her before we rubbed her out as well.” Thomas smiled wickedly.

“Types like you don’t deserve to live.” Steve angrily ascertained and drew back his fist.

The rat had more than enough time to roll aside and Steve rammed his fist into the hard sidewalk. While Steve was in pain Thomas grabbed the chipmunk’s walking cane and thrust the blunt end in Steve’s stomach. Thomas quickly took off and was safely in the sewers by the time Steve had recovered.

“What do you mean, what’s wrong with me cooking?” Monty asked rather agitated.

“Well...” Dale looked down at his meal before answering “This Greek food has a lot of cheese on it.”

“That’s why I cooked it! Gyros Special is one of the best things known to mousekind.”

“Maybe, but is this really okay for chipmunkkind?” He countered and poked his fork in the thick cover of cheese.

“I think I can stand some cheese.” Mercy opined, hoping it would calm down Dale a bit.

“But can you stand cheese on everything Monty cooks for you?” Dale retorted.

“Come on, it’s merely cheese. We mice eat it as much as chipmunks eat nuts. And be glad Monty is Australian, not Italian. Those guys are truly fanatic with cheese.” Geegaw interrupted and sank his cutlery in his bowl and was surprised to see there was more cheese in it than anything else “On second thought, it is quite possible Monty is an Italian.”

Before anyone could say something else Zipper flew into the room and franticly began buzzing to the other Rescue Rangers.

“You mean to say there’s a bunch of people down there with guns who are coming this way?” Geegaw interpreted.

The fly quickly nodded and everyone in the room rushed over toward the window to see if it was true.

“Golly, don’t we know those guys?” Gadget noted.

“You’re right love. I can see Boris “Bowler”, Leonard Longtail and Marcus “Agave” down there, as well as a Siberian chipmunk.”

“According to Chip, the guy who ordered that cannon to be delivered to Chicago was Boris. Do you suppose he and those others are the ones who tried to kill us?” Dale said.

“I can’t be sure about that, but I do know they’re not here to have a picnic.” Monty told him “We’d better prepare to drive them out of here.”

The five of them got ready to defend the tree against an attack.

“It seems they knew we where coming.” Leonard observed while looking through his binoculars.

He spotted a chipmunk lying down on a tree branch handling a crossbow with a plunger bolt. He was stunned to learn that the chipmunk was actually aiming at him and Leonard barely had enough time to duck the shot.

“She’s ready to fire Gadget love.” Monty saluted.

“Steady…” Gadget murmured before firing the cannon she had lately built for occasions like these.

The mortar shell that was lobbed exploded in the bushes where the attackers where hiding and a cloud of pepper covered the area. It quickly drove the bad guys out while they coughed. Once in the open, it was easy for Monty, Dale and Geegaw to pick them off with their crossbows.

“So you want to play hardball right?” Leonard said and aimed his shotgun where he had last spotted the chipmunk in the Hawaiian shirt.

Dale ducked quickly when he heard the loud bang from the weapon but one scattershot clipped his tuft of fur.

Sergei pulled a machine gun out of his coat, a rodent version of the infamous AK-47. He swiftly targeted a window and fired. Philip, who had seen the battle unfold from there, yelped and got on the floor. Dale dodged another gunshot from Leonard but lost his balance and fell off the tree branch. He landed in the grass, on his back. He recovered from the fall rather quickly, only to see that Sergei noticed him and aimed for his head.

“Hold on pally!” Monty shouted, who was tightening the rope of a catapult.

He released it and launched a rain of stones, mud and nuts at Leonard and Sergei. He and Geegaw quickly climbed down to assist Dale.

“It seems it all comes down to me again.” Boris fumed upon seeing his two comrades being knocked out and buried under a pile of stones and mud.

Marcus quickly joined the rat but before they could get at Dale they where jumped by Geegaw and Monty, starting a brawl.

“Kill Boris for me.” Mercy shouted from the sidelines “He’s a henchman of Thomas!”

The fight was interrupted by the barking of a dog. A rather old bulldog wearing a blue sweater rushed straight toward the four combatants.

“Plato!” Dale cheered and threw his arms in the air.

Geegaw and Monty wisely moved out of the dog’s path and after a short scuffle the former police dog had defeated Boris and Marcus, who ran for their lives. Leonard and Sergei regained their senses just in time to see what happened to their companions and fled as well.

“They’re on the run!” Dale let out joyfully.

“It’s a good thing I was around and heard shooting. Are you alright?” Plato asked, turning his attention to Dale.

“I’m fine, thanks.”

“Golly, nice to see you again.” Gadget chimed in, who had joined the group together with Mercy and Philip.

“Likewise, it’s been too long since we worked together to hunt criminals. Speaking of criminals, I recognize that girl from the newspapers.” The dog nodded toward Mercy.

“Hey, I’ve reformed! And I can’t disappoint Philip or Chip by turning back to a life of seducing men.” She objected and put an arm around her little brother.

“I know that too. But I personally find it hard to trust former criminals, nothing personal. Anyway, shouldn’t we try to find out where those thugs are going and catch them?” Plato inquired while nodding toward the direction where the foursome had run off to.

“Right mate, Rescue Rangers away!” Monty cried.

“Oh boy! We’re going to catch bad guys!” Philip squealed enthusiastically and ran off.

Mercy quickly chased him and grabbed the boy by his tail and tried to stop him.

“Just a minute!” Mercy demanded and finally her little brother stopped running.

“What’s wrong? Shouldn’t we chase them and put them in jail?” A puzzled Philip asked.

“Just because we live in the same tree as the Rangers doesn’t mean we are Rescue Rangers as well. You are way too young for such adventures.”

“Hey nobody is too young for adventuring.” Monty muttered, recalling the time he had to baby-sit Bink as well as his own childhood.

“She’s right Monterey, this is no child’s play. Now let’s get a move on.” The dog suggested while leading the way.

Plato did his best to follow the scent of the four, but had to give up when he reached the entrance to the sewer systems.

“Oh no, there’s way I can follow them there.” He said and shook his head.

“And it’s not a good idea to follow them down there. Who knows what’s lurking underground.” Dale added.

“Right-o, it would be better if Chip was with us. I don’t like to admit it, but planning and thinking is important to Rescue Ranger work.” Monty admitted.

The Rangers and Plato decided to part ways and left. However when the five heroes reached their home again, they couldn’t see Philip or Mercy anywhere, and there was a note left on the table.

“Ohmygosh, They’re kidnapped!” Dale screamed in panic.

“You’re jumping to conclusions lad.” Monty reassured him “This letter here says her and the boy have left together with Clarice to work on Mercy’s physical shape.”

“Phew. Hey! That’s the second time I missed the opportunity of meeting her again!” The chipmunk objected.

“So what are we going to do today?” Mercy wondered while looking at her teacher strangely.

The chipmunk superstar for some reason had decided to wear a pair of green wide trousers and a blue woolen shirt.

“Last time you learned how to interact with the rich. Now we are going to expand a little on that. This time, you’ll learn how business deals are made.” She educated Mercy.

“I thought we would do sports today.”

“That as well. Anyway we’re here, the golf-center.”

In a few minutes, Mercy was on the golfing-green holding a club in her hand and an instructor, a male vole, was teaching her all the do’s and don’ts of the game. He kept placing his hands of her hips, shoulders, posterior and other parts of her body until he said it was okay for her to swing. But if she moved but an inch he interrupted her to correct her stance and then he’d touch her for another few minutes before telling her to swing. Meanwhile, Philip was trying his best to learn the art of golf without a coach. But instead of wielding the club like he should, he was trying to crush the ball under his stick. When he finally hit the darned thing, it would roll away and Philip would ran after it to give it another beating.

“You’re supposed to handle it this way.” Clarice informed the youngster and demonstrated a proper swing with her own club.

The chipmunk tyke smiled and walked over to his ball, which was located right behind the instructor. Philip positioned himself next to the wretched golfing ball, stood like a true professional, raised his club and swung. Although, the boy aimed a bit too high, he did hit something.

“Aaaauuwaaaaauuww! Who did that!” The trainer screamed while placing his hands on his behind.

He turned around to see Philip holding his club behind his back as if trying to hide it while smiling innocently.

“Eh, that wasn’t me.” Philip lied “It was someone else. A lawyer did that!”

After having saved Philip from the wrath of the golf teacher, the group moved on to the first hole. Mercy successfully convinced the coach to let her swing for once without interruptions. She tried her best to assure herself it was easy enough, but she couldn’t shake the feeling she was openly making a fool of herself. However, asking for help from her trainer was something that didn’t appeal to her either, so she decided to give it her best. She raised the golf club but quickly relaxed her body again when she felt her muscles ache. She tried again, swung and ended up flat on her back. Although she missed the ball at first, the slight tremor she caused upon hitting the ground was enough to make the thing roll off its pin. At her second attempt she again missed the ball, but hit the ground and send a lump of dirt flying. Third attempt. She accidentally let go of the stick and it flew quite a distance before its handle landed and made a hole 1. During her fourth attempt her club hit the ground again and broke. Her fifth attempt was successful, she finally hit the ball. It disappeared out of view and the four scanned the air to find it on it’s way down. Mercy looked straight up to see it falling down toward her. The thing landed in her dress and got stuck there.

“Let me get that out of there.” The trainer immediately offered.

“You keep you hands out of my dress!” She threatened and pointed the club at him “I can remove it myself!” Mercy pulled it out of her dress and laid it back on the pin. She hit it again and sent it flying. However her aim was not to good. The thing hit a tree and bounced off. The instructor was dismayed to see it searing right at him. The golfing ball hit him right between the eyes and he again screamed in pain.

That night, the Rangers were all enjoying a late night movie, Star Wars 6. Just before Jabba the Hut would send one of his minion down into the pit with his hungry pet, Mercy and Philip entered the tree, scaring the heck out of everyone.

“We’re back, and-hey is that “Return of the Jedi”?” Philip asked enthusiastically and ran over to the sofa.

“It is. Even after having seen it 21 times in my life it’s still my favorite movie.” Dale pointed out.

“Gee, you say the same about James Bond, Alien, Jaws, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Austin Powers…” Gadget summed up.

“Gadget, I don’t think he will ever make up his mind.” Geegaw told her.

“O boy, someone get us some popcorn!” Philip suggested and plopped down between Dale and Monty.

“So what was it you and Clarice did today?” Gadget quized when Mercy sat down next to her.

“Oh we went golfing. It was okay, if you ignore that pushy instructor who was constantly trying to touch me. I must say Philip and me had a lot of fun torturing that perverted soul. You should have seen it when Clarice ‘accidentally’ hit that guy’s head with her club. It took the two of us to bend her club back in to shape.” She shared grinning broadly.

“Crikey, that makes me think of the time I was in Japan to play golf for a friend of mine, who’s now a very vague acquaintance. The bloke was a businessman and he wanted me to play the match of golf and sign the contract ‘cause the lad couldn’t golf himself. But I’m afraid that when I signed the agreement I put the comma at the wrong spot.” Monty retold while growing a bit sad at the outcome of the whole thing.

The group watched the movie till the end, and when it ended Mercy took a look at the clock and was shocked to see it was already 12 at night.

“Holy moly, it’s about time I put Philip to bed.” She proclaimed, which caused the boy to hide behind Monterey Jack.

“But I don’t wanna go to sleep yet.” He protested.

“Your sister’s right lad, you should have been off to dreamland by now. Growing children need lots of rest if they are ever to become as big as me.” Monty joined in and picked up Philip.

“Or as rotund as you are.” Dale added and snickered.

The Aussie just rolled his eyes.

“Whatever. Need any help with him?” He offered.

“No, I think I can handle him myself.”

“Oh, let me do it! I love kids!” Dale offered keenly.

“Alright, but I’ll be watching you.” Mercy admitted with a hint of cautiousness.

While Dale was busy with Philip, Mercy waited at the door of the guest room to keep an eye on everything. Miraculously, after much roughing and tumbling about, Philip finally lied down and quickly fell asleep.

“Well you certainly know how to handle kids, that’s for sure.” Mercy complimented after her and Dale had exited the room.

“I’m glad to help a beautiful lady like you.”

“Are you trying to hit on me?”

“Sure I am, it’s in my nature to find myself a mate with whom to share my life.”

“Look bud, you’re goofy and buzzing with hormones. That’s two strikes, three and you’re out.” Mercy cautioned him before gently bonking him like she had seen Chip do before leaving him.

“Perhaps this is not the way to handle this after all.” He thought disappointly.

The next day, at the hospital, while Chip was eating his breakfast, one of the doctors entered with some good news.

“Mr. Maplewood? After you’ve finished eating you will be able to go. Me and my colleagues all think you’ll be able to handle yourself now without our help. So you should go, as you are taking up valuable bed space.”

“At last, I feel like getting back to work. Where do I have to checkout?” The detective asked and jumped out of bed.

After having made short work of the bureaucracy of that hospital, Chip could finally leave. Outside he could get a ride home, from a peculiar bird.

“You are Chip Maplewood are right?” A heron asked, looking down at the chipmunk.

“Uh, yes. But what on earth is an animal like you doing here in Manhattan? This is a crowded island city, we don’t usually get large birds here, let alone herons.”

“Oh, I’m one of those Central Park animals. I don’t belong here, I was brought here because the humans liked me. That is, as long as I don’t steal the fish from their private ponds. Just to add some excitement to my life, I play taxi from time to time. People like you who just came out the hospital are my favorite passengers, they don’t get mad if things go a bit slow. Drugs can have that effect on animals you know.” The bird smiled and bend down so Chip could climb up “Where to?”

“Central park.”

The bird took off and Chip had to hold on tight to prevent falling off. “By the way, since your kind is very perceptive, did you notice anything odd a few days ago? I ended up in the hospital because somebody shot our plane with an anti air cannon.” Chip questioned.

“Yes, as a matter of fact I did. On my way to the hospital I flew over a flat that had this strange device located on the roof. I know that humans are well known for putting fancy things on their buildings, but this was nothing like a human device. In fact, it could very well have been the thing that shot you down.”

“Could you do me a favor and drop me off on that roof so I can give it a look-see?”

“Fine with me, but I don’t think the owner of that thing is still going to come back for it. Otherwise it wouldn’t have been there anymore. Anyway, here it is.” The heron answered and swooped down to land on the roof of a nearby flat.

It was a pretty boring morning for Mercy. She had already send Philip off to school and the others where still asleep. After staying up late that really wasn’t a big surprise. Even Gadget who usually was quite energetic hadn’t gone to work yet, probably inventing was something she would tire from after all. Mercy was drinking coffee when the front door opened and Chip entered.

“Chip!” She cried and was next to him in a flash “Howareyoudoing?Tellmehowwasyourtimeinthehospitalwithoutme?Anythingexcitinghappened?Doyoustillloveme?”

“Hold it, what did you just say?” He asked and held up his hands.

Chip was used to hyper fast chipmunk speech in which him and Dale would usually argue, but this was unlike anything he had ever heard. And if his sense of smell wasn’t failing him, Mercy was either really exited or under influence of caffeine.

“Chip, is that you?” A familiar voice called out from down the hall.

It was Dale who quickly entered the living room. Apparently Mercy’s hyperactive chattering and the sound of Chip’s voice was enough to wake him up. In a moment the third chipmunk was also in the room and looked incredibly happy to see Chip back. And Chip hoped that Dale would continue to react as positively to his voice from now on, it would make waking the lazy chipmunk up a much easier task.

“Is that me old pal Chipper?” Monterey asked. Soon enough the entire team plus Mercy had formed a circle around the detective/leader and was asking him questions.

“It’s nice to know you’re all glad to see me back, but it’s not like I have just been resurrected after many years of death right? And I think it would be better if we continued to try to find out who shot us down.” Chip suggested.

“Right-o, I’d love to give those jokers a piece of my mind.” Monty agreed and started shadowboxing “I’ll tie up their feet and hands with their own tail and then I send them back to whatever pit they crawled out of, by snail mail.” Zipper dodged the punches Monty was throwing at no one in particular and angrily buzzed at him. “Eh, right. I’ll send them to jail by snail mail then.”

“Just for the record, I got a good look at the machine that was used to shoot us out of the sky. Unfortunately I found nothing that would lead us to the culprits.” Chip explained.

“Hey Chip.”

“What’s it Dale?”

“I still don’t know why this guy gave an address in Chicago. Why would he do that if he needed the thing here?” Chip bonked his red-nosed companion, but had to admit he did have a point.

“Boris and the seller probably had already agreed on another location, here in New York. But the seller gave up a fake address to shake off people like us who are investigating this case.”

“And what about that anti-air gun? It can’t stay where it’s right now, people could hurt themselves.” Gadget reasoned.

“Or others.” Geegaw murmured.

“I already called Chief Rensen, he said he’d send the military to dismantle it after the police and RBI gave it a look-over.”

“But what about our search? Am I going to have to go and visit that thieves den?” Dale wondered with dislike evident in his voice.

“Don’t worry, I already met someone who’s willing to help us out underground.” Chip reassured them “I’m sure Dale would like her company.”

“Her?” Dale asked, fearing the worst.

“Hi cutie!” An all too familiar voice said and two wings where placed on Dale’s shoulders from behind.

“Yikes!” Dale screamed and jumped up out of fear.

“I don’t think I need to introduce you two.” Chip smiled.

“I don’t believe we’ve been introduced yet, I’m Geegaw Hackwrench.” The aviator told the pink bat and shook her wing.

“Nice to meet you, I’m Foxglove. We’ve already seen each other before, but at that time you where probably more concerned with having found your daughter back.”

“Why, this ought to be interesting. We just have Foxy listen her way through the sewers until she finds Boris and company,” Monty opined.

“B-but what about Foxy herself? What if she doesn’t like it down there? A sewer is no place for a bat like her!” Dale tried, having gotten his voice back.

“Gosh Dale, I really don’t mind it down there. I can navigate through those tunnels easily, and I don’t mind the smell when you are with me. Where my cutie goes, I follow.”

Dale gulped

“I sure hope she doesn’t try romance me down there, or this business will really stink.” He though and followed the others out.

The group had no trouble exploring the sewers. In his free time, Chip had done some cartography and added many places of interest to his sewer map. Now this had paid off, the Rangers could move through the sewers without the fear of getting lost. But even so, they did not find Boris.

“Chip, I don’t think he’s hiding out here. We’ve already searched most of this place and haven’t turned up with anything yet. Let’s go back.” Gadget lamented, while another shiver went down her spine.

The fedora chipmunk sighed and replied.

“Alright, there’s a manhole nearby we can use to get out of the sewer system. But there still are a few parts we haven’t checked out yet.”

“Quiet down guys, I think I can hear someone.” Foxglove interrupted “I can hear a conversation going on, somewhere to our right I think. I’ll repeat: Come out Boris, we know yer in there, so come out and join me!. That goes for you to Leonard!”

“Do you think that’s Rat Capone and Thomas?” Dale wondered.

“I don’t just think so lad, I’m certain of it! Let’s go get them!” Monty proposed and rolled up his sleeves.

“Hold it for a moment, we don’t know how many of them are over there or how strong they are yet.” Geegaw reasoned.

“You’re right, Thomas and Rat have some pretty tough muscle and if we try to take them on we’ll likely end up in deep trouble.” Chip agreed and thought quickly.

“But we can’t just let them join those two! I hope you still remember what happened a few months back.” Dale protested.

“I know Dale, I know. But in the current situation there’s not much we can do.”

“Guys, two others just agreed to the demands of those two. I can hear them walking off, away from us.” Foxglove relayed.

“Well, anything we could have done is to late now. I’m afraid we have to accept the fact that Boris and Leonard are with those guys now.” Geegaw stated.

“Let’s see if we can get a closer look at that place they where just now in case there are any clues left for us.” Chip ordered “Zipper, go scout ahead.”

Carefully, the gang headed for the spot where Foxglove heard the voices coming from. Finally there, they discovered a sewer hideout with light coming from the inside. Chip stealth fully crawled over toward the door and put his ear against it to listen. He could hear a gruff voice murmuring something. A few times Chip was able to pick up the names of Marcus, Boris, Leonard, Fat Cat and Rat Capone, but the rest of it was in a language he didn’t know, probably east European or perhaps Russian. Chip peeked through the keyhole to see who it was. He could see a Siberian chipmunk who wore a fur coat, all alone inside. The room didn’t have any other doors as far as he could see. Although it was clear to Chip this other chipmunk was a companion of Boris, Marcus and Leonard, he decided it would be better to leave this one alone. After all, he reasoned, there was no evidence that this person inside the hideout was involved in the attempt at the lives of him and the Rangers. Arresting him would cause more trouble than it was worth. Besides, the guy had a machine gun somewhere, and probably wouldn’t hesitate to use it, and although the police were more than able to deal with armed civilians, tracking people in the sewers was not a task they excelled in. Chip left and returned to his team to explain what he had heard and seen.

“Okay then, let’s get started.” A bespectacled mouse announced, holding a clipboard and sitting down in a comfortable chair.

Mercy was lying down on a couch and breathed slowly. After having put greed before morality, started a fight while on vacation, got too intimate with Chip who was recovering and was too harsh with Philip in her own opinion she thought it would be better if she got counseling from a psychiatrist. After all, if she really wanted to reform she couldn’t continue the way she had up till now.

“The first thing I wanted to do with you is to point out what it is that causes all these missteps, so you know where the problem lies. I see that the document states that you are at the age of 18, is that right?” Mercy nodded.

She knew she was lying, but if these guys knew she was actually still 17 they would probably cause her trouble.

“The best explanation I can give is that you managed to crop up a lot of frustration and anger over the years and you are trying to get rid of it.”

“I’d be quick to agree on that anger and frustration bit, living with a mother like mine is no fun.” She though but kept quiet.

“However the problem is that you can’t simply vent all of it at once or else you’d become a danger to every living animal around you. And you probably realize that or your problems would be much bigger now, because you seem to care about those around you, you’ve already showed more compassion than could be expected from the average criminals. This means you are indeed reforming, and that there is nothing wrong with you. But if I understand you right, your greatest worry is how to vent the built up anger when necessary without hurting people or their feelings.” Mercy nodded in agreement.

“At the moment it is quite difficult for someone of your age to find peace. You’re in the prime of your life and it’s currently spring. That means that you are a bit more…should I say lively?” The doctor suggested and got out of his chair “My advice would be to take things slowly, and everything will be fine. Get a little control over your instincts and hormones so you won’t mess up.”

Tammy along with her mother June and sister Bink where sitting down in the waiting area. When finally the doctor called her in, the teenage squirrel got up to enter, but before she could open the door someone from the inside opened it and she was face to face with Mercy Stoneturner who was about to leave. Neither of the two said anything to each other, and after Chip’s death, it seemed rather senseless to Tammy to continue their rivalry. Mercy came here to deal with this tragedy as well, and Tammy knew that after she finished her session she had no desire to suddenly run into Clarice who insisted Chip loved her more, so she decided not to do it with someone else either. So instead she gave the other girl an ‘I know how you feel’ look and entered herself. Mercy on the other hand scratched her head and looked a bit confused.

“Ah, Tammy, there you are. Now be a nice girl and lie down, then you can tell doctor Rosenmuller what is troubling you.”

Tammy obeyed and lay down on the couch and revealed her problems.

“Well, it’s about Chipper’s death. I mean Chip Maplewood, the one of the Rescue Rangers.”

“Chip Maplewood isn’t dead.” The psychiatrist cut her short.

“What?” Tammy exclaimed and sat straight up.

“He was in the hospital for a while after the Rescue Ranger’s plane crashed, but not in heaven.”

“You’re lying!” She finally said “This is just one of those tricks to comfort me. Or he’s alive in a very esoteric way, but dead nonetheless.”

“Don’t you ever read the newspapers or watch the news?” The doctor wondered.

“How can I watch TV when a friend of me just died? And do you really think I want to know about the misery in this world when I already have a hard time myself?” Tammy shot back and walked over to the door “I don’t even have to come here if I only get worked up with this therapy, it’s not making me any happier.” She complained and slammed the door shut.

“What was that all about?” June asked worriedly.

“That guy says Chip’s still alive! I got the feeling the real doctor is locked up in a funny farm and his patient has taken his place.” She explained and stomped toward the exit.


When Chip returned home again he found Mercy waiting for him and the team.

“Well? How did things go?” She asked.

“We didn’t find them. That is, we found only one after the whole gang had already been disbanded. Boris and Leonard are back with Rat Capone and Thomas, and that Marcus I suspect is with Fat Cat right now. We found only one, but decided against catching him. There’s no telling what would have happened if we stormed the place, and he’d looked like he was planning to hide out somewhere else. He’d be far away by the time the AP arrived.” Chip explained her.

“If you’d excuse us, we still have stuff to do.” Monty interrupted and he and Zipper left “You two go ahead and have a nice time.” The mouse suggested and winked to the others.

All of a sudden, the other Rescue Rangers suddenly also found themselves an excuse to leave the room, so that Chip was left with Mercy.

“What’s up with them?” Chip wondered but soon enough discovered why “Oh great, they must be trying to have me and Mercy share an intimate moment so they can later tease me about it!”

“I’d like to thank you again for letting me and Philip live here, it’s really much simpler for me now. But please don’t forget that I’m still looking for a certain ‘munk to be his father.” Mercy teased.

“Uh, well the guy who gets to marry you would be very fortunate.” Chip complimented and looked over to his right so as not to have to face Mercy.

“Oh I hope so to. Actually, I hope that that guy would be you.” Mercy reminded him and winked at Chip seductively.

Chip blushed brightly and looked around to see if anybody was around to see him. When he was certain they where alone, he approached her and took her hands in his. He was set on finally telling her the truth, and finally silence his conscience that was telling him to do this. “Mercy, I’ve known you for quite a while now and I got to see you change from an ordinary criminal into a wise and caring girl.” He started, hoping he was not too sentimental for her.

“I couldn’t have made that change without you.” She dismissed and looked down shyly.

“While there are times that I secretly admit to myself I’ve got a crush on you, there are also times when I wonder what will become of you. You’re a lovely person in an uncaring world and I’d hate to see you do wrong, like you did some time ago. I’ve seen it happen with other women, and didn’t like it, but you have shown how quick people can change and therefore I’m willing to take this step. I want to help you to be a good chipmunk, and I care for you. Mercy I…I-love you.”

Mercy herself was ecstatic to hear this. She placed her hand on Chip’s chest and kissed him. Chip himself wasn’t shocked or upset, he finally managed to get those words out and enjoyed the reward he got for them. He kissed her back and the two shared a breathtaking moment. When the kiss was over, suddenly they both heard faint laughing.

“Dale!” Chip called out disapprovingly.

It wasn’t just Dale, but also Monty, Zipper and Geegaw who had listened on their conversation.

“I knew it, you two are lovers Chip!” Dale stated.

“I just knew the guy would sooner or later get himself a significant other.” Geegaw joined in.

“You weren’t supposed to know-” Chip protested, but he was interrupted by Mercy.

“They can point and laugh all they want, I won’t as much as blush for my relationship with you.” She comforted Chip and hugged him intimately.

“This confirms what I suspected all along.” Dale added “But what I wouldn’t give to be in Chip’s place now!” He secretly thought.

Gadget meanwhile was in her workshop again, holding a propeller she managed to salvage from the Screaming Eagle. She was rather sad, because she managed to crash her second plane a few days ago. And it wasn’t even hers, it was built in memory of her father and when she finally was reunited, she crashed while he was present. Sure, she knew that actually she crashed planes more than twice, but she could always rebuild the Rangerwing or Rangerplane, the design was so simple it would take her little time to do so. But the Screaming Eagle was designed by scientists who copied from human technology, and wanted to build aircraft that where capable of traveling great distances, not ones that where easy to repair. She was snapped out of her moment of self-pity by someone opening the door.

“Why is it so quiet in here, I thought you always build things in here.” Geegaw asked as he entered Gadget’s workshop.

“Oh dad, I was just wondering if the Rangers even need me as a pilot.” She replied, sounding rather saddened.

“Hey, I might be the greatest pilot in rodent history but that doesn’t mean you can’t fly aircraft anymore!” He reminded his daughter.

“That’s not it dad, it was me who was flying your plane when it crashed. Both at Glacier Bay and a few days back. I suppose that means I’m just not the type of mouse to fly planes.”

“Don’t say that Gadget! You are a wonderful pilot, and I didn’t expect anything but that from you. That plane can be made anew again, but great pilots aren’t made, they’re born.” Geegaw taught her while putting a hand on her shoulder.

“You really think so dad?” She replied relieved.

“Sure. By the way, are you going to need some help rebuilding the Screaming Eagle? You’re still injured after all.”

“Yes, I guess some help would be necessary. So could you pass me the hammer?”

At night, at the harbor, a blue domelike thing surfaced from out of the sea. It somehow moved through the water toward a crack in the dock wall and entered. It kept going until the blue dome reached the end of the tunnel, a large room with a small pool connected to the water tunnel entrance. A computer and a number of strange devices where located in the room, including a vat. A few rodents where assembled in the room. Two wet and slimy tentacles reached for the edge of the pool and pulled the ‘thing’ out. It was a jellyfish, who hoisted himself ashore and slithered over toward the group of rodents.

“It seems you have a visitor professor.” A female chipmunk noted who was standing next to two other females of the same species.

“That’s right, I’m here to inform you that Marcus “Agave” has rejoined your old acquaintance Fat Cat, and that Boris and Leonard also left their small cooperation to destroy the Rescue Rangers, they’re with Rat Capone and his cohorts right now.” The jellyfish lisped.

The professor, a rat with a kooky voice, didn’t seem impressed with the knowledge.

“Let that idiot join fur ball I’d say! And those other pests don’t concern me either. When my project succeeds, there will be no gang in New York to stop me! That is, if it ever works, yes.” He said before growing curious “How did you find that out Liquid?”

The jellyfish tried to give the rat a ‘why do I even bother?’ look but being a jellyfish that wasn’t easy.

“I hang around at the harbor, I know people.” Liquid the jellyfish explained “Just don’t ask me how I made them talk.”

“Well how did you?” The professor asked while bending down and looking at the sea creature like a curious boy.

“I hugged them, alright? A little venom works miracles, anyway, a pleasure to be of service.” The jellyfish hissed and extended one tentacle.

The professor, who expected that Liquid wanted to shake hands, withdrew his arm instead.

“Payment!” Liquid demanded bluntly.

One of the females took out a bag of money and threw it toward the thing on the ground. It greedily took it before crawling back to the pool.

“Oh and professor, that Dale Oakmont noticed your friend ‘Justice Jerk’. It won’t be long before a lot of confusion breaks out over his ‘freedom’. Better keep him in your lair. Have a nice day.” The informant then jumped into the water and was gone.

The End

Authors Note: My seventh fanfic already, I hope it was worth it. Feel free to share your thought on it if you feel like doing so. I’m already planning part 8 of the series, and hope it’ll be better yet.

Disclaimer: The Rescue Rangers, Chip, Dale, Gadget, Monty, Zipper, Geegaw, Clarice, Foxglove, Tammy, Tammy’s mother, Bink, Sparky, Buzz, Midge, Canina LaFur, Plato, Barnacle Bill, Fat Cat, Rat Capone, Arnold Mousenegger, Sugar Ray Lizard, Desiree D’Allure, Maltese D’Sade, Bubbles, the Siamese Twins are copyrighted Disney and used without permission. Scarface Q Squirrel and Phineas Ferret only appeared in the comics but are also property of Disney. The name Tamiassara was coined by The JAM. The name June for Tammy’s mom was first used by John Nowak. Steve Nutcracker, Flora Nutcracker-Firalda, Mercy Stoneturner, Philip Stoneturner, Anne-Mary Dimedealer-Stoneturner, Wendy Stoneturner, Archibald Brassfist, Minerva Bilderpavsky, Billie, Christy Lighthead, Justice Jerk, Liquid, Marcus, Leonard, Sergei, and Vinnie are my creations. I hope I didn’t leave someone out.

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