Cobwebs of the Past
A Chip N' Dale's Rescue Rangers story by Morgan Kohl
"WAKE UP! WAKE UP! WAKE UP!" Chip's frantic voice pulsed with urgency as it rang through the Ranger's home like churchbells. The others were all immediately rattled awake. They shuffled sleepily to their doors to see Chip barrelling through the halls, shouting at the top of his lungs. Gadget, Monterey, Zipper and Tammy (who was sleeping over for the night) followed Chip into the kitchen. They all noticed that Dale and Foxglove were not among them.
The kitchen was a mess, Monty having fixed a particularly strenuous course for dinner that night, and was planning to clean up the mountains of pots and dishes in the morning. The scent of warm cheese hung in the air. Chip flicked on the light, changing the dim blue room into a flourescent eye-gouger. All of them blinked hard and winced.
Monterey Jack yawned loudly, nearly swatting Zipper as he stretched. "What's all this about then?"
Gadget wiped the sleep from her eyes on the sleeeve of her lavener-striped cotton pajamas. She noticed Chip's expression. "Golly! Chip, you're white as a sheet! What's wrong?!"
Tammy, seeing her beau's distress, immediately scampered to his side, her oversize pink nightgown flapping behind her.
"And where are Foxglove and Dale?" buzzed Zipper after he's taken off his eye mask.
"That's why I woke everyone up!" Chip huffed, trying to calm himself after his fit or panic. "Victoria kidnapped them!"
The other rangers gasped in unison.
"Oh no!" wailed Tammy.
"How? When?!" exclaimed Zipper.
"That's terrible!" fretted Gadget.
"Not 'er! She'll skin 'em alive!" worried Monty.
"That's why we have to act fast!" Chip said in a 'take-charge' kind of way.
"Did she leave another note, like last time?" Zipper asked, showing his oft-unnoticed detective mindset.
Chip knew it wasn't going to sound good, and he cringed deeply as he said it. "No. It came to me in a dream."
Monty immediately became miffed. "A DREAM?!" he bellowed. "You dragged us all outta our comfy, soft beds because you had a _nightmare_? Blimey, Chip, that's something Dale would do!"
Neither Gadget or Zipper seemed very satisfied with his answer either. Tammy, sticking by her 'munk as always, at least seemed to consider the possibility.
Chip knew it would be an uphill battle getting them to believe him. "I know this sounds crazy, guys, but *please* hear me out! Okay, so this DOES sound like something Dale would do, I agree, Monty. But how many times has he told us about something cuh-razy happening, and we didn't believe him, and it turned out he was right all along?"
"He's got a point," Gadget remarked.
Chip actually put his hands together and begged them. "This was much more than a dream! It was a real life, honest to gosh, _vision_!"
Monty crossed his arms. "Ya didn't happen to see the Virgin Mary too, didja?"
Chip growled as fiercely as a chipmunk can. "Now cut that out!" The sharpness of his tone surprised them all.
"You're serious about this, aren't you, Chip?" said Zipper.
Chip nodded. "Of course I am. I _know_ Dale and Foxglove are in real danger and they'll be in even more danger if we just stand around wondering if I'm nuts or not!"
Tammy took his paw in hers, patting it soothingly. "What did you see in your dream, Sweetie? Oops, I mean, _vision_," she corrected herself.
Chip smiled a bit at seeing that at least one of them believed him. He thought back, trying to see what he'd seen as clearly as possible. "I was in the middle of another dream when I got this strong feeling that someone else was in the room. I heard Foxglove calling out to me. She looked really scared. Then there were two very sharp images; Dale surrounded by water and Victoria smiling that evil smile of hers." He shuddered just remembering.
"Gosh, that's awful!" said Gadget, who was wringing her tail from worry.
"But the worst part was the last thing I saw," Chip continued. "I was standing in a big warehouse in front of two aquariums, placed side by side. They were overflowing with water. Dale and Foxglove were each in one. They were both trapped inside, bobbing at the top... *gulp* ...Drowned!"
Another unanimous gasp.
"Now, you're absoulutely certain this wasn't just a bad dream?" asked Zipper cautiously.
"I'm positive. It was too real and much too urgent. I really felt that someone was trying to tell me something. I don't know how, but we've got to find them somehow before it's too late!"
Monterey thought a bit. "D'you remember anything about what the warehouse looked like, Chippah?"
Chip closed his eyes and concentrated on the image. Luckily, it was still fresh in his mind. "It's dark. And cool, but not cold. There are lots of boxes around, but no people. The boxes are stacked pyramid-like around the room. The ceiling is very high, with lots of steel beams with hooks and cranes hanging from them."
"That could be any of a hundred warehouses around the city!" said Zipper. "Can't you give us any more detail?"
The chipmunk squeezed his eyes shut tight and plunged into the deepest depths of his memory. The image became startlingly clearer. As if someone was helping him to remember it. "There... There's a card table in one corner with a little refridgerator next to it. And a coke, no, a pepsi machine. And the boxes have square, white labels on them with bright red borders around a company logo that I can't quite make out... Near the ceiling, there's a lot of little rectangular windows."
Monterey Jack felt a lightbulb blinking above his head. "Chipper, pally, can you smell the ocean?!" he asked excitedly.
Chip thought back again. He sniffed a few times. "You know, I think I can! How did you..."
"'Cause I know just the place you're thinkin' of!" Monty exclaimed triumphantly."
"Hooray!" shouted Tammy.
"That's the old H. T. Grimme packing corp. down at the docks! They don't do much business anymore, but they always manage to put out some bonzer provolone in the traps!"
"Monterey, for once I'm glad you're such a cheese hound!" Chip said, getting a chuckle in response.
"Hey, we're all good at somethin'!"
Gadget cupped her chin in her paw in a thoughtful manner. "And it makes sense that Victoria would hold them in a place near the water, which would make it accessible from the sewer where we last encountered her. Or rather, where _you_ last encountered her, Chip."
"How long would it take us to get there?" Chip asked Monterey.
"Oh, 'bout twenty minutes, I'd guess," the Aussie replied.
"Right. Than you guys had better get going!" ordered Chip.
"You mean you're not coming with us, Chip?" asked Tammy. "Why?"
"I have other business to attend to. Something I've been waiting almost a year to do. Since we last met Victoria."
"What do you have in mind?" asked Zipper.
Chip grimaced. "Ahh, I'd rather not tell you. Yet. Not that I'm keeping secrets, but I don't want to give Victoria any advance warning of what I'm planning. The surprise is key to my plan. It has to be a complete shock for it to really work."
"But why keep *us* in the dark, mate?"
"Well, one of you might let something slip. Accidentally, of course!," Chip quickly inserted, making sure his team knew he was confident in them. "And I'm still not sure Victoria herself didn't send me that message. If this is some kind of a trap for us, I want at least one of us on the outside."
"Allright then, that makes sense," Gadget said. "Good luck then, Chip."
"Hope you succeed at... whatever you're doing!" Tammy said helpfully.
Chip smiled in a dashing, Indianna-Jones-like way. "And good luck to you too. Let's hope I really did just have a bad dream. But if I didn't, I know we can save them."
"RESCUE RANGERS, AWAY!"
* * *
Foxglove Fairmont exhaled deeply and slowly opened her eyes. She sat crosslegged and motionless on the glass floor, wings spread out at her sides. She wished she could hold this feeling of peace longer, but the peril she and Dale were in smashed that notion.
She looked over her shoulder to Dale's aquarium. He was nowhere to be seen. All that met her eyes was a wall of water. She choked back a scream and ran to the glass that separated them. Where was he? Where was he?! Had Victoria taken him out to punish her for not watching him the whole time? Would she return with his dead body in her arms?! Foxglove looked around frantically. Even her echolocation was no use; the sound of the splashing water made too much background noise for her to 'see' anything. Finally, in desperation, she cried out "DALE!!!"
"Still here, Foxy!" his voice called back, sending waves of relief to her heart. He had just been on the other side of the aquarium, trying to spot where Vicky was hiding. As soon as he'd heard her cry, he started swiiming back to her. She was immeasurably happy to see his face.
The water had risen alarmingly while Foxy had been in her trance. She thought she'd only been under a few minutes, but the water level showed her perception of time had been way off from reality. The water was already past the tips of her ears! The sound of the water constantly pouring in echoed through her empty aquarium and howled annoyingly in her sensitive ears. Dale bobbed at the water line, trying to smile reassuringly, but instead looking clearly like he was getting very tired of kicking his legs to stay afloat.
Foxglove flew up to the ceiling and hung from the mesh by her footclaws. It was a shaky perch, since the holes in the mesh were so tiny, she could barely get a grip. However, this new position put her at just about eye level with Dale, albeit upside down, which at least was better than them both straining their necks to look up, or down, to each other.
The little pink bat looked into Dale's eyes and saw how courageous he was trying to be. Trying to be for her. For her. She started to cry. "Oh Dale, my darling, darling Dale! I'm so sorry I was in my trance for so long. I should have been here with you!"
Dale waved her concern away and smiled one of his miraculous, soothing smiles. "Aw, you don't have to feel sorry, Bat-babe. Your spell thingy might just be what gets us out of here. I was willing to give you as much time as you needed. I'm not mad at all," he reassured her, making her smile, if just a little. He liked being so good at cheering her up. It cheered him up as well.
"By the way, did you get through?" he asked expectantly.
"I think I did. I know I did. I'm pretty sure I did," Foxy stammered with uncertainty.
Dale scratched his head. "Is this a multiple choice question?"
She couldn't help a light chuckle in spite of herself. "No, sweetie, I'm just not sure. It felt like I was inside Chip's mind, and I'm really pretty sure that if I did, he saw what I wanted him to. But who knows if he'll understand and come to rescue us even if it DID work?" Her ears drooped. "I just don't know."
"I'm sure you did your best," Dale said, wishing he could give her a hug. "I guess we really won't know until the other Rangers show up." Dale gulped. "Or until we drown," he realized.
* * *
Gadget, Monterey Jack, Tammy and Zipper dressed hurriedly and hustled down the spiral stairs to the hatch that led to the hollowed-out car that served as Crisscross' room and the Rangers' entertainment center. Gadget shifted her goggles into place behind her ears as she scampered over the piles of video game cartridges and caseless cassettes that littered the fox's floor.
The mechanical canine lay on his side, humming softly as he recharged his batteries for the night. Gadget woke him with a kiss on his nose, which he enjoyed immensely. Unlike an organic being. Chris could come directly out of 'sleep' to full wakefulness without need of yawning, stretching or coffee. This was useful since he needed all his attention in that moment to figure out what the four Rangers were all trying to tell him at the same time. Eventually, he got down the basics of Chip's dream and Dale and Foxglove being in trouble. Since Chris was speedier and stealthier (albeit much bumpier) than all their other vehicles but the Rangerwing, he was their obvious choice of transportation to the docks, which they told him also.
The foxbot bit his lip. "Um, guys, I don't know if I'm up to a rescue right now. I just started my recharge an hour ago and I'm still a few quarts low on juice. I'd hate to run out of power halfway through the mission," he said apologetically.
Monterey gave him a 'buck up, chum' pat on the arm. "Aw, that's allright. We don't blame ya any. We'll just haveta take the Rangerplane; Chip's got the wing."
Crisscross nodded glumly. But then a bright look of optimism popped onto his face. "Hey! Wait! I could just do an emergency power-up!" he realized. "I haven't needed to do one of those in years, but I'm sure I can still pull one off."
Gadget bounced in happiness. "That's great! How do you do it? Need any help from me?"
Chris suddenly looked *very* embarrassed. "Um, er, well... I have to, uh, hook up a connector line to a direct power source and then, well, er... I have to..."
"Just spit it out, mate!!!" said Monty.
The fox grimaced so hard it looked like he was swallowing nails. He knew the day would come someday when he'd have to reveal his darkest secret to the Rangers, and he'd been dreading it like death itself. He took a moment to compose himself, then calmly said "I have to hook it up to my... Anal port."
The other Rangers simultaneously clamped their paws to their mouths to keep from laughing uproariously.
"Hey!!" admonished Chris. "I have no need for solid waste disposal so it makes perfect engineering sense to use that, uh, orifice as a connection port!" he said defensively. His anger then quickly switched to resigned defeat. "Besides, I've already heard ALL the jokes."
Zipper arched an eyebrow in disbelief. "I'm not assuming things, right? You actually have to stick an electric cable up your-"
"*YES*," Chris moaned. He slumped to the floor and covered his face with his paws; the perfect image of melodramatic misery.
Tammy tried to hold back an enormous grin. "We're sorry, Chris. But you have to admit, it is kinda funny."
Chris looked up to her and rolled his eyes. 'I know, I know. If it was some *other* sentient canine-shaped android with an electronic booty, I'd probably be rolling in the aisles too." They both couldn't resist a giggle at that. "Just let me get this over with without TOO much snickering, please? It's all I ask," Chris pleaded.
Monterey turned the others around. "Let's give the lad some privacy while he couples up his caboose."
"Thanks Monty," Chris said unsarcastically. 'At least it's finally out in the open,' he thought to himself. 'And at least they didn't tease me endlessly. But oh, when Dale finds out, I'm doomed!'
Gadget couldn't resist her curiosity. She noticed Chris' reflection in the side of his DVD player and watched intently. She HAD to see how he did this.
Crisscross rummaged through a box of his old components until he found the necessary hookup cable. He attached one end to his connection to the power lines outside, and the other end to his... You know. He closed his eyes, braced himself, and initiated the surge.
For three point six seconds, the entire city went black.
"WOW!!!" shouted Crisscross. He was almost pulsating with energy. "I forgot how much of a *rush* that is!! I feel like running up Mount Everest backwards while juggling six motorcycles!!"
Then he quickly disengaged himself from the power feed, lest he give the others an accidental visual.
Gadget had seen anyway. She blushed and tried as hard as she could to keep from falling on the floor in complete hysterics. "Ohmigosh! He really DOES have a connection port back there!" If Crisscross thought he was getting away from this without getting relentlessly teased, Gadget knew he was sadly mistaken. But since they were boyfriend and girlfriend after all, she'd at least wait until they were alone to start in with the ribbing.
Now fully charged and ready for action, the foxbot engaged the Vertical Axis Entrance sequence that Gadget had built into him a few weeks after he was sliced in half by a chainsaw in his first adventure with the Rangers. Tammy had never seen this function of Chris' before, and she watched, wide-eyed, as his fur split down his middle, halfway between his shoulders and his hips, and pneumatic pistons separated his front and back halves, holding them an inch or so apart. A small stepladder flipped down in the gap in his middle. Then the Rangers climbed up inside Chris' stomach cavity. It was quicker for Chris to just swallow them, but this method of entry was much less unsettling for all of them.
Tammy gawked silently. Even though she knew well what Chris really was, and he'd even let her fiddle with his control panel once before, it was still amazing to her to see proof that her furry, funny friend really was all plastic, metal and rubber inside. He always seemed so alive on the outside.
Gadget manned (moused?) Chris' controls and Monty helped her key in their destination on a digital map of the city on Chris' main computer screen.
"Hold on guys, we're coming!" Crisscross shouted out to Dale and foxglove, wherever they were. The fox locked himself on target, then tore out of the junkyard like a speeding bullet, belting out the "Speed Racer" themesong at the top of his lungs the whole way there.
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