A PREVIEW OF:
A Reflection Not Tranquil
"As social beings we live with our eyes upon our reflection, but have no assurance of the tranquillity of the waters in which we see it."
--Charles Horton Cooley, _Human Nature and the Social Order_, ch. 6.
A slight breeze wafted through the air in Golden Gate Park. The sun shone brightly through the clouds. Leaves from the massive oak that was both home and headquarters to the Rescue Rangers littered the ground below. Fall had arrived in all its regal beauty. Kids played in the park. Frisbee. Tag. Volleyball. Their laughter warmed Gadget's heart. Earlier she and Dale had taken the Ranger wing to the Market to replenish their soon-to-be-empty cupboards. Monty usually took care of the shopping, but he'd taken sick last week. "Nothing to worry about, Gadget me luv. Just a touch of the flu." But he'd need plenty of bed rest for the remainder of the week.
Now back at the oak, it seemed to her today was destined to be another lazy holiday. Dale was now busying himself with lunch. In Monty's absence, he proved himself quite the gourmet. A smile tugged at the corners of her mouth as she remembered his behavior at the market. He'd been quite insistent they gather only the best ingredients, squeezing the grapes and carefully checking the walnuts for cracks. She suspected it might have something to do with the fact that Foxglove would be joining them for lunch. Dale and Foxy were getting along quite well these days, and Gadget was very happy for them.
Chip had spent the morning at Police Headquarters searching for any case the human officers would allow to fall through the cracks. He'd taken Zipper along, as their housefly teammate had developed a good rapport with the ants and other flies that frequented the station, hoping to snag a few crumbs of leftover doughnuts or a bit of an unguarded sandwich. But today even those contacts had produced nothing.
When she and Dale had gotten back, Zipper was checking on Monty and Chip was on the couch deeply entrenched in a Sureluck Jones story. Gadget debated going to her workshop, but instead curled up on the sofa beside Chip, much to the chipmunk's delight. Gadget draped a hand on his shoulder and tapped his nose with a finger. "So, how goes the quest to defeat Professor Morbid Arty?" Ever since Dale and Foxglove began spending more time together, so had Chip and Gadget. It had started with playful teases like tapping his nose as she'd just done or placing a hand on his chest. The two had grown quite fond of one another, but so far it had not been very serious. Both were naturally hesitant regarding affection.
The last person Gadget had loved with all of her heart was her father. His death three years ago had left her alone and feeling abandoned. She'd isolated herself from the world, until Monterey Jack, Zipper, Chip, and Dale had come to seek her father's help. They needed transportation to the South Pole so they could recover a stolen gemstone and clear the name of Detective Drake, the human partner of Chip and Dale's mentor Plato the police dog. She'd offered her help instead, and they'd accepted her unconditionally. It felt so good to belong to a family again, and it allowed her to use her mechanical skills to help others. By the end of that mission, they had defeated Aldrin Klordane, the man directly responsibility for the gemstone's theft, and clear Drake's name. In gratitude, Plato bestowed his own police badge on his chipmunk protégés. They'd almost parted ways then. But fate hadn't allowed them off the hook that easily, nor had the chipmunks. They'd at once proposed the group continue fighting crime, and presented the badge to the entire group. Now two years later, the police badge hung on the wall of the oak and the Rescue Rangers were a force to be reckoned with.
Chip had his own reasons for not wanting to get too close too soon. Gadget
had talked to Monty about it. He chalked it up to Chip's personality. The Rangers'
leader was by far the most introverted of the group, more likely to bury his
nose in a book than to engage the others in conversation. Gadget didn't agree
with Monty. She was not certain, but believed there had to be something in the
chipmunk's past, something he never talked about, that made him shy away from
a serious relationship.
More to come soon!
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