Gadget's Quest
Written by: Kevin (KS) Sharbaugh

Chapter Eleven: Indeed a Special Day

"Mr Hawkfeather," Della stated as she poked her head into Thingamabob's office, "Your sister's outside and says she has to speak with you, it's urgent."

Sister? Bob wondered.  As far as he knew, both of his sisters by blood were out of town, one gone visiting the other and her friends.  "Sister-in-law?" Bob asked, assuming that was a more likely, and more disturbing circumstance... any urgent message his sister-in-law might bring was likely news of tragedy.

"No-no," Della replied quickly, "Doohickey."

No longer fearing it was tragic news of his wife, Bob was left to wonder what Dee was doing back in town so early.  Putting aside the security guard roster he'd been reviewing, he made his way quickly to the entrance.  The first sight that greeted him was his youngest sister standing before the Ranger Wing looking quite happy about something, he completely missed the other two standing near the door.  Wondering what Dee was doing with her sister's plane, he asked as he enumerated on his fingers, "Ok, what's so urgent?  Why are you here?  And what are you doing with Gadget's plane?"

Dee responded by similarly enumerating her answers, "Found someone you'll never believe.  Brought her here so you would believe.  And we're going to take you with us so you can be there when Mom gets to meet her future son-in-law and her granddaughter."

"What are you talking about?" Bob replied, not quite sure that he had heard the last answer correctly.

"Bob, turn around," he heard someone say.  The voice plucked at long disused heart strings and he wheeled about quickly.

For a while Bob merely stared at the ghost standing before him.  He had heard the last answer correctly, which means the smiling older mouse before him could only be, "Mom?!"

Running over, Amanda flung her arms around her tall muscle-bound boy, "It's nice to see you still remember me!"

"What?" Bob asked as he returned the embrace, "How?"

"She had amnesia," Gadget pointed out, "She had wandered into a small community in the Allegheny National Forest a couple days after she disappeared."

"What community?" he asked, wondering how he could have missed finding his own mother.

Dee fielded the most recent question, "It was actually quite a ways inland of the Reservoir, for a rodent at least, so it's really not so surprising that you would have missed her."

Finally accepting what had happened, that it wasn't some daydream, Bob let the tears flow.  "I missed you!" he nearly sobbed as he hugged his mother tighter.

"I know, I missed you too!" Amanda returned through her own tears.

With initial hugs and tears out of the way it was time to move on.  It was quite easy for Bob to wrangle a leave from his employer given the circumstances... it's not everyday someone's mother comes back from the dead.  Following a brief visit with his significant other, Bob was free to join the others on their return trip.

Foxglove had just landed at the main entrance to Rescue Ranger Headquarters when the passing breeze brought a familiar sound.  Though familiar, she hadn't heard it for nearly a week.  If the sound was indeed what Foxglove believed it to be then she could put off visiting Dale for a minute or two in order to investigate.  Taking wing, the bat departed to track down the source of the noise.  Rising above the park, Foxglove's eyes detected an airborne speck off in the distance exactly where her ears told her it would be.  It was not long before she positively verified that it was indeed the Ranger Wing... Gadget and Dee must be returning from their little excursion.  As she closed in, Foxglove realized there were more than two mice aboard the aircraft.  Gadget and Dee were easy to spot up front and Bob was an unexpected surprise sitting in the back.  She didn't recognize the fourth, though.

"Hi, Foxglove!" Gadget waved as her chiropteran colleague approached.

"Hi, Gadget, Dee, Bob," Foxglove returned.  Not wanting to appear inconsiderate, she also addressed the other mouse politely, "I don't believe I've met you before."

"Foxglove, this our mother, Amanda," Gadget proceeded with the introductions, "Mom, this is Foxglove."

"Hae'," Amanda nodded.

Foxglove had known that Gadget and her sister had left to visit someone who looked like their mother, but she never considered it possible that she actually would be their mother.  "Oh, I'm so happy for you!" she addressed Amanda's children, then to her new acquaintance, "And I'm very pleased to meet you!"  Pulling ahead of the aircraft, Foxglove called back, "I'll go let the others know you're back!"  Upon landing, the excited bat burst through the door.  "Everybody!" she called out, "I have wonderful news!"

"What's the good news, luv?" Monty asked as he emerged from the kitchen.

"Yeah, what's got you so excited?" Dale asked, tearing himself away from the tv.

Chip, Zipper and Raven had all arrived from their various activities when Foxglove announced, "That woman Gadget and Dee went to see really was their mother and they're on their way here!"  Once the news sank in, everyone dropped what they were doing and prepared for their arrival.  Dale ran off to raid his stockpile of noisemakers and confetti.  Chip checked himself in the mirror, he wanted to make the best first impression he could with his future mother-in-law.  Raven went off to wake Fangs, only to run into him as he was on his way down from the hanger where he'd been napping.  Monty disappeared back into the kitchen to whip up a spur of the moment culinary concoction.  Zipper and Foxglove departed for the landing strip to await the Ranger Wing's arrival.

As Chip passed the kitchen on his way to the landing strip, Monty grabbed his arm.  "Hey, Chippah, let the othah's know I'll be there in ‘alf a blink!"

Giving Monty his assurances, Chip continued on his way.  He could already hear the distinctive buzzing of the Ranger Wing's electric motors approaching.  As the aircraft came within the sheltering arms of the massive oak he could spot his fiancé with her black hair billowing in the wind, however, the angle of approach denied him a view of any other passengers.  The aircraft came to a picture perfect landing and power was cut to the propellers.  Just as the buzzing of the engines had died down sufficiently... HONK!  Dale practically exploded in a cloud of confetti and gleeful noise.  "Was that really necessary?" Chip asked his comrade.

"C'mon, Chip, it's a special occasion!" Dale retorted as he threw more confetti into the air.

Brushing confetti bits from his chest and jacket, Chip stepped up to the Ranger Wing.  As he helped Dee from the aircraft, he finally got his first look at Amanda.  If nothing else, he was reassured that his future wife stood to retain her beauty for years to come.  Once Dee was down on the branch, she assisted her mother in debarking the vehicle.  While leading her towards the crowd massed near the front of the Ranger Wing, Dee began the introductions, "Mom, this is Chip Maplewood, your future son-in-law... Chip, this is Amanda, your future mother-in-law."

"It's a pleasure to meet you!" Chip opened happily.

"Hae'," Amanda responded with a broad smile, "You're just as handsome as Dee said you were."

Gadget directed her mother towards the other chipmunk, "Mom, this is Dale Oakmont."

Noticing Dale's party favor, Amanda concluded, "You must be the one munk welcome wagon!"

"It's not everyday somebody comes back from the dead!" Dale responded.

"And this is Zipper," Gadget pointed out next.  The fly excitedly shook Amanda's paw.

Moving on, Gadget continued the introductions, "You already met Foxglove."  The next was a young lady Amanda was fairly certain she knew already, "And this is..."

"Rafen," Amanda finished as se walked up to her granddaughter.  "You look so much like your mother did at that age," she stated taking hold of the girl.  As she looked her over a second time she frowned.  Turning her to the side, Amanda examined her profile.  "Though your mother wasn't quite so busty," she concluded lightly, causing the young lady to blush profusely.

"This is Fangs," Gadget continued, motioning to the vampire bat beside Raven.

Politely shaking his extended wing, Amanda offered, "I want to thank you for trying to keep my granddaughter out of trouble."

"Well, until recently she was the only friend I had," Fangs confessed self-consciously, "I didn't want to lose her."

"From what Gadget told me she didn't want to lose you either," Amanda remarked.  Fangs simply smiled as he put a wing around Raven.

Noticing a late arrival, Gadget pointed out, "And this is Monty."

Doffing his cap, the Aussie greeted Amanda, "You're still as lovely as Gewgaw said you were."

"And you're still as..." Amanda started off, pausing to think of the right word, "imposing as Gewgaw said you were."

Chuckling warmly, Monty continued, "Now why don't we all head back inside and you and the girls can fill us in on what all we missed while we're waitin' on me no-bake chee-ese-acorn gob-daubs."

"We found out why we hadn't heard much from Rat Capone lately...," Gadget started as she and the others ventured inside.  Once inside and settled, mother and daughters regaled the others about their inadvertent adventure.  There was a sufficient round of ‘ooh's and ‘ah's as Amanda showed off her new ‘bracelets' upon explaining their origin.  Monty, naturally, expressed his dismay at missing out on all the ‘fun'.

When Monty departed to retrieve the snacks, Dee jumped up.  "Mom, I gotta show you something!" she stated before bolting out of the room.  In short order Dee returned.  "Guess what Chip got me for Christmas?" she asked as sharp points of metal poked up behind her.

"Gee, I wonder," Amanda replied.

Whipping out her present, Dee practically hopped as she explained, "It's a mouse-sized bat'leth!"

Dale felt the need to further clarify for Amanda, "That's one of them swords Klingon warriors use!"

Amanda looked over towards Chip.  "You got her a weapon," she commented with a smile, "You realize you'll never be able to get rid of her now."

"Well I can't take all the credit," Chip confessed, "I needed Gadget's help to actually get it made."

"It was achully a very simple process once I figured out what it was I was making," Gadget explained, then as the topic rummaged through her mind, quickly asked, "Oh!  Mom, do you want to see my workshop?"

"I'd love to," Amanda agreed.  As mother and daughter departed, the other daughter tagged along followed by her fiancé, then the others.

Seeing the gradual departure as he came in with the snacks, Monty surmised, "Takin' the party elsewhere, eh?" before joining the rest on their way to Gadget's workshop.

Gadget could barely contain herself as she showed her mother around.  No invention or project was too trivial to go without mention.  Gadget's assortment of plunger harpoons, her sprocket collection, everything was brought out for her mother to inspect and, of course, Amanda was always right there to provide her accolades.  The exuberance wasn't monopolized by Gadget and her mother either.  All who watched felt some of their excitement.  But despite her own enthusiasm, Amanda's age began to catch up with her and everyone retired to the livingroom to relax and just talk.

Unexpectedly, Monty opted out of the opportunity to tell some tales and departed, claiming he had to pick up some more groceries.  Chip was more than game to fill the void as he did his best to impress his future mother-in-law by relating the varied adventures he and the others had engaged in.  The chipmunk's efforts met with much success as Amanda became convinced that her youngest had made an excellent choice, she was relieved that her daughter was heading into a marriage that held greater potential than the one that bore her.

It was not long before Monty returned.  However, instead of groceries, he showed two new guests inside.  He had been intentionally vague as to why Ann and Ben Southmont should come immediately to Ranger Headquarters, but he had assured them that there was no need for worry.  The major concern they had was quickly dispelled as Raven raced over to greet her adopted parents.  "You're never going to guess what Dee and Gadget discovered a couple days ago."  Though the girl had grown accustomed to referring to her biological mother as ‘Mom', when in the presence of the matron that raised her, her biological mother was ‘Dee'.

Amanda was not quite sure how to reintroduce herself to her oldest friends, after all, they were getting on in years and a shock might not be as welcome as it might have been years ago.  But she considered that if they could handle having been there for Dee and Raven's disastrous reunion, a friend returning from the dead shouldn't be too dangerous.  "I want to thank you for taking care of Rafen," Amanda offered as she walked into the Southmont's view, "You'fe done a wonderful job."  Both Southmonts just stared at Amanda.  Their eyes and ears both told them an old friend was standing before them, but their minds weren't quite convinced.  "Who'd haff thought I'd haff surfifed being swallowed up by the riffer," she added with a shrug.

"Amanda?" Ann eventually asked.

"It's so good to see you again!" Amanda called out as she embraced her old friend.

"W-what happened?" Ben inquired, trying to figure everything out.

Dee stepped in to explain, "She had amnesia.  From what we can piece together she must've gotten ashore somewhere and tried to walk home.  She was so ‘out of it' from her experience that she didn't realize how far from home she was or where she was actually going.  By the time she staggered into civilization she was far enough from the waterline that the search parties wouldn't have had a chance to locate her."

Motioning her friends over towards the couch, Amanda stated, "Why don't you take a seat, this is one heck of a story."

While the tale of Amanda's reunion with her children was spun once more, Dale wandered off in search of one of his caches of chocolate.  As he began his return trip, happily chomping his sweet treat, he spied a calender.  Dale checked for any important dates, as if the festive chipmunk ever needed a reason to celebrate.  That's when it hit him.  It was indeed a special day.  Dale crammed the rest of the chocolate in his mouth and sped off to inform Gadget.

Gadget had to ask Dale to repeat himself as his speech was somewhat slurred with his cheek pouches packed with chocolate.  "Golly!  I didn't know that!" she declared as she finally deciphered Dale's message.  Gadget then quietly passed the knowledge on to her sister, who then passed it on to their brother.  All three got together and stood before their mother.  Amanda soon directed her attention to her children, completely at a loss as to what they were planning.

"Ok," Gadget directed her siblings, "On the count of three- but not actually saying three, waiting until the time when three should be stated but carrying out the action instead... One, two...

"Happy Mother's Day!" Amanda's children cheered.

Hopping up, the delighted mother embraced her children.  It was a moment that before had only existed in her dreams.  But here it was, a reality.  There was no way she could hold back her tears, even if she wanted to.

As the hug slowly broke up, Raven walked up to her relations.  "Happy Mother's Day," she offered as she embraced Dee.

Dee's happiness was very nearly matched by her own mother's.  Amanda had, over the space of nearly three decades, watched as her family was scattered by the winds.  Hours were consumed by worry for her oldest daughter, never knowing if she would forgive her for leaving, forever hiding the truth from her other children.  Rivers of tears cried as she desired to hold her baby.  More tears having flowed over the pain of her youngest when she had to lose her own babies.  But here they were, all of them.  All her children were with her and her daughter's child was with her.  For the first time her family was together.  The sorrow of years past had been banished and happiness reigned.

The End

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