C - G : A Romance
By Ronnie Rabbit
Part IV: The Great Escape
I N V E N T
White t-shirt and denim shorts today.
N O P R O B L E M
Same, but with a blue jacket and a purple belt, like she used to wear sometimes.
G O L L Y
Gadget sighed as she helped support the still upright (for a change) chipmunk. Chip grinned dreamily at her, and gave her a big hug. Prettyyy mousie! he gurbled.
Yes, thats right just walk this way, careful, she mumbled, carefully supporting him as he leaned heavily on her. HEY! Watch the paws! Oooh, you are so lucky youre already semiconcious Gadget muttered, flopping him over onto the bed a bit less gently than usual.
Chip waved vaguely at her, sprawled across the sheets. Banana! Banana!
Gadget shook her head. You goof she sighed. I know your brain knows the answer, just . listen to it for a change, okay? You werent ever very good at that part
She typed the reset code into the keyboard. A rather large mallet retracted up into the space directly over the device, then the cleverly hidden panel shooomped shut, becoming almost invisible.
She took a last look back at the now snoozing chipmunk mumbling happily in his sleep, shook her head again, and walked out.
After about five minutes Chip cricked open his eye.
Lazily, he accidentally rolled off the bed on the side away from the mirror. FOOMP! Once safely hidden from view, he carefully took something from his pocket.
He had started to wonder if she was ever going to wear her old jumpsuit again- the one where he knew exactly where the pockets were she kept all her most important tools and widgets in, knew from years of simple observation of her daily activities. Tools like the ones in his hand right now.
Keys. Gadget never trusted computer systems without a purely mechanical backup.
Thered be a few seconds where hed be visible making the dash to the door, but it couldnt be helped. Down on all fours ready
He scampered from behind the bed, to the keypad. Good. Maybe some security system had caught him, maybe not hed find out soon enough.
Hed long ago figured out where the tiny hidden place to insert the key was. Nimbly his fingers removed a small piece of plastic, exposing it on the underside of the keypad, and he began trying them all. It took only a few seconds before he got lucky, and one of them slipped smoothly into the keyhole. One turn, the door would be open, and then hed see, wouldnt he?
Slowly, he slid his paw over the keys, thinking.
After all even if he DID know the right password surely Gadget has some kind of simple alert set up that would let her know hed guessed the code and opened the door. And if he was wrong, well- that ruined everything. Hed be flat on the floor (no way he could take TWO hits and still stay standing; he felt incredibly woozy at it was,), shed find the keys, be on her guard in the future. This was his one chance.
His one chance to do the right thing.
Slowly, deliberately, he typed it in.
and stared at the soft glow of the letters on the readout for several precious minutes. His hand hovered over ENTER.
He turned the key in its keyhole, and the door slid open. The letters remained on the keypad, unsent, as he raced from the room.
Chip saw a lot of things as he made his way through Gadgets new home. It looked like the inside of a mansion at times, with gorgeous wooden paneling, carpeting, small end tables so wonderfully carved they looked more like art pieces or tables clearly assembled from miscellaneous parts. Then hed unlock a wooden doorway with one of his keys, and he was in a gleaming metal passageway with fluorescent lighting.
Here was a library, full of more books than hed ever seen an animal own before. A copy of what must be every single one of the precious few things animals published and passed around, paw to paw; easily picked out at a glance for their small size and dilapidated appearance. And then, human sized books by the hundreds; moving the whole collection would surely be at least an entire days project for a single mouse, even an inventive one. Most of the furniture was even made from old books.
He found two more libraries just like it.
Here was a room full of display cases. One obviously newly built case housed a shining beautiful ring, set with a large lavender gemstone; others held more jewelry, others small paintings, others still simple devices built from junk. Again, the single human sized work proudly displayed as the rooms centerpiece (something with sunflowers, he didnt know a thing about human art) must have been an enormous inconvenience to move all by itself.
A workshop. He hastily closed the door to THAT one without a second look.
Finally, hed tried every door he could find except one. A set of double wooden doors, large and ornate.
He took a deep breath, dreading what he was sure was coming. He pushed the doors open wide, and strode in.
The room was so dimly lit as to be almost in darkness. His feet made echoes on the uncarpeted floor as he walked cautiously forward, squinting from the sound, the room must be quite large and open.
hey, Gadget said quietly from somewhere above him.
He jerked his eyes upward, straining to see. There were twin staircases, leading up to an area overlooking the floor. A familiar silhouette was at the railing, watching him.
Gosh, Chip Ive seen you go up against cats, and zombies, and ghosts, and mummies, and witch doctors, and I forget what all else but you were too scared to type four letters on a keyboard and find out something you already knew, her voice echoed gently from above him.
Well, this was /supposed/ to let me slip out without raising any alarms, he mumbled awkwardly. I knew if I put in the right code that first day-
Drop the act, Chip, she said sharply, mimicking his voice perfectly. (He HATED how shed always been able to do a perfect impression of his voice annoyed him to no end, and she knew it.) Im still not dumb. Chip winced as she shot his words back at him. She resumed speaking in her usual voice again. You were scared, Chip. Youre always scared of the same goofy things- everything not going according to how you wanted it- you had to cook up this crazy key thing just so YOU were in control while you were here. So you could tell yourself no matter what happened it was all going according to plan.
She walked over to the top of the staircase. Well, guess what, Chip, she squeaked. If THAT scared you- this is gonna knock your SOCKS off!
The lights turned on, and Chip gaped at what he saw heading down the stairs
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