By Varish Mouse
The disclaimer blurb thingy: Well, let's be reasonable, we all know which characters Disney owns. How could I claim any rights to them? For those who haven't figured it out yet, or some lawyer jerk who has to see it in black and white, here goes. The characters Monterey Jack, Zipper, Gadget, and of course Chip and Dale and Foxglove are all copy written to Disney and who ever else may have rights to them that I don't know about.. But that would be anyone that is NOT me. I just used them in a story for something to do at the moment. I am not trying to make any profit off of these writings, I'm not overly concerned about them being flamed or put down. Don't try to give me money for posting this.. Ok I know I don't have to worry about that. But I gotta say it. I have not nor will I ever recieve a single penny for these fanfics, and I'm not trying to. Proto is a character of my creation but he's not legally copy written to me, and that's OK. I'm not too worried about him being stolen. If someone likes him enough to put up the time and money to go through those legal processes, then I guess that's the greatest form of flattery.
They pulled him into the vault. It was dimly lit, the shadows of The Seven
loomed over head. They were the seven parliamentarians, the leaders of the City
of Last Hope. They were better than he, better than the accused. He stood before
them chained at the ankles and wrists. He felt this sort of bondage was much
unnecessary. He was a Peace Officer, a protector of society. He reached up to
brush his shaggy gray hair out of his dull malachite colored eyes.
He was a typical mouse, with snow white fur, and gray high lites. The hair on his head was gray, and his eyes were green, and had the color texture of malachite. Their green and mint colored marbled surface had no pupils. He wore a blue vest, it fit tight to his body revealing the outline of his muscular chest. He stood with his head bowed waiting for his sentence.
The Seven finally stood to hear his case. Their podiums were up on a terrace, and the jury surrounded the floor like an audience in a Greek gladiators ring. Sitting in a circle around each row higher than the one before it. He could feel the weight of their eyes on him, it was like the weight of 10,000 square feet of water. he felt small, and humiliated.
The one in the middle finally spoke, his eyes seemed dead in their sockets of his withered old reptilian face.
"You...Wildrax Valori have been charged with the death of the innocent that occurred in the explosion you caused in sector five. How do you plea?"
He knew that even if his plea was for innocence the social outrage against him would be worse that the sentence he would receive. This was not the first time he had been charged for damage he had done during the capture of a criminal, but every time before no innocent blood had been shed. He felt an overwhelming sorrow for what he had done, and vowed that the innocent would never again be harmed on his account.
"Guilty..." His voice quivered, but was loud and understood.
"So be it." The same lizard spoke. "You shall be sentenced to banishment, you will be cast out from the city, never to return."
Wildrax's head drooped as his heart sank. Banishment did not only mean from
the city, but from the planet Luxz as well. He would be taken to a foster planet
that could support life and left there regardless of the hostile inhabitance,
or living conditions. Banishment was as good as a death sentence.
The guards lead him away, and as he passed his father he looked up for some support. He only spat at his feet and said to him.
"You are not my son, and you shall no longer carry my name. From this day forth you shall be Proto."(the Luxzan word for outcast)
He spent his last night in a cell. There he watched the dark sky slowly turn
from an ominous black to a dead looking green brown. Luxz was a dead planet.
The polluted sky was always overcast with sick looking clouds, and the atmosphere
was deadly to breathe and caustic to the skin. The inhabitance lived in cities
under protective domes. It was a bleak existence, or would be to anyone who
had known different. Soon the cell door opened, and two armed guards came and
escorted Proto to the loading area where he would board the ship that would
take him to his final resting place.
With a guard at each arm he was lead down the hall and into the vessel. He was locked in his seat and beside him sat the Commander of the officers. Though Proto could tell that the rodent that sat beside him wanted nothing more than to spit in his eyes, and lecture him the whole trip, he was bound by an oath of silence. Proto having not slept since the trial drifted off maybe for an hour possibly less. when he awoke he heard the words.
"Prepare for jump in 10......9.....8...."
He listened as the pilot continued to count down. Finally he uttered the words "Jump engage", and the fabric of space viewed out the port in front of him seemed to ripple and bend. Stars that seemed so far away grew in intensity, and were pulled closer. Then there was a violent shaking and rattling as the small vessel jumped accost the gap and rode the wave as space itself snapped back in place. At first you could see the stars trail into long streamers, but then there was nothing but bright light. Then there was a flash, and the port cleared. There before them was a huge blue planet, with a dried out moon orbiting it roughly the size of Luxz. This planet was called Earth.
The ship hovered above the ground, the planet was dark, and Proto couldn't make out much detail. The guards unshackled him, and the Commander spoke.
"For the record, do you have any last words?"
Proto looked up with pure hate in his dull eyes. "Yes, I do have last words.." He said with a growl.
"I have never wished to do anything beside serve and protect the innocent,
and I have NEVER done anything but that. The deaths that were a result of the
explosion in sector five are not on my hands."
He looked up at the Commander and spat his words as if they were bitter.
"They're on your hands! I ordered a full evacuation of sector five!!
My requests were denied without me being informed... I was under the impression
that all civilian presence in five was evacuated. I have committed no crime!"
He then spat on the commander's boot. The commander watched as the saliva splattered off of the toe of his freshly polished boot. His face twisted with anger.
"Get this scum out of my site!!" he raged, and the guards stepped Proto up to the platform. The commander took great pleasure in kicking him off. Proto landed face first getting a mouth full of dirt and grass. The kick had landed solid and would probably leave a bruise. Then the guards threw to him the only supplies Proto would have to use in aid of his survival. First a wristband with a oval device attached to the top, then a disc it was about the size of some sort of shield(a mouse sized shield). with it was a second wristband, this one smaller and made of metal, void of the oval device on top like the other.
"May you rot in hell..." The Commander cursed, as the hatch closed. The ship raised up until it was nothing more that a speck and in a flicker of light it was gone. Proto attached the band with the device on it to his right arm, and the other to his left. He quietly spoke the words "Cody Return". The disc came alive and floated up, then turned on it's side and jumped up to Proto's extended left arm, and seemed to attach itself to the silver band on his wrist. It hovered there not touching the wrist, yet none the less locked in place.
"Cody disarm" Proto muttered, and the disc seemed to fallow the length
of his arm and lock it's self in position on his back.
"It's good to have you back" he said. The disc replied with an eruption of sound. "Yeah I agree" Proto said bluntly.
Proto sought refuge in the roots of an oak tree. It was larger than anything he had ever seen, of course he had already come to the conclusion that the inhabitance of this planet were giants, as was everything else here. He hid in the shadows for a moment listening to the sounds of this place. he could identify the whirr of the lights at the far end of the field, and the high pitched chirping of some of the planet's insects.
He stepped out of the security of the roots for a moment to inspect his surroundings. His night vision was quite poor being that the city was always well lit and he was used to moderate light all the time. No sooner than he had come into the open then he was dive bombed by a fluttering creature that was about his size. He leapt to the ground and covered his head with his arms. The creature swooped past and Proto rolled to his knees and called another command. "grapple arm." The front of the oval object on is right arm extended and split apart, the two sides of it's front forming the tips of a two fingered robotic grapple arm. He stood and waited for a second attack, but one never came. He opted to run back to his safety in the shadows of the tree roots, unaware that the thing that buzzed him used sound location rather than sight.
"Cody report " he breathed, and the disc(Cody) answered. Cody informed him that the their attacker was an inhabitant mammal of Earth called a bat, and it was female in gender. "Is that all you gathered?" He asked Cody replied that the entity was moving too fast for a more thorough scan. Proto tried to make himself as small as possible tucking his knees into his chest. He had forgotten how tired he really was because though he tried to remain alert sleep overcame him.
Foxglove pounded on the door best she could due to the fact that her wings were not quite as useful at knocking as paws. None the less she was heard by Dale who was already awake and watching Ultraman. He opened the door surprised that she was returning so early. However once he saw the look on her face he knew all was not well.
"What's the matter Foxy?" he asked ushering her inside and closing the door. "Th...There's some one outside.." she said quivering with a hint of fear.
"Woah, calm down." Dale tried to comfort her, but with little effect. Foxy continued to explain. "I know what I saw.." She said as if in shock. By now the other Rangers were beginning to emerge from their rooms roused by the commotion.
"What's going on Dale?" Gadget asked groggily rubbing her eyes. "Yeah can't you just watch TV quietly?" Chip asked sarcastically pushing his sleeping cap up over his eyes. It wasn't long before they were awake enough to see that Foxy was truly startled by something, and instantly pondered the reason why. She tried to calm down enough to explain. However all she could get out was a generic description of the mouse she saw sneaking near the roots of their tree.
"It was a mouse, near the bottom of the tree, and he had something on his back, like a turtle shell or dinner plate." She thought hard to try to remember, she had echo scanned him too fast to get a better description. She didn't tell them the rest of what she had witnessed, for fear that they would not believe her.
They all thought about it for a moment. and finally Gadget spoke up with her usual voice of reason. "Now guys let's not jump to any conclusions, maybe it's just someone that is new to the area, got lost and decided to sleep in the park."
"Too right luv, There's no reason to assume the worse." Monty added. Of course chip who was born with an adventurous heart thought about the darker aspect of this supposed stranger. "We can't rule out that it is something dangerous. You know we haven't heard from Fat Cat in a long time, it maybe a spy." Dale agreed. He usually didn't make a habit of arguing with Chips obvious dominance. "Chips right..it's better safe than sorry."
"So what are you two saying we should do? stay up the rest of the night looking for a mouse with a tea saucer on his back?" Gadget asked with sarcasm, which really wasn't like her. However lately she wasn't getting enough rest, and tended to be a little tense. Their last run in with Fat Cat had been more than dangerous. He was really getting desperate to get rid of them now. He had used a chipmunk sized robot to try to assassinate them, and she was trying to study it's remains.
They all knew that she more than any of them needed some sleep, she had been over working herself as she tended to do when she became this interested in a subject. Finally Monty broke the silence.
"C-mon mates let's not get ourselves in a tizzy about this it's probably nothing." Foxglove tugged at Dale's arm. "But Dale I know what I saw...er heard..I know what I echo sounded." She said as if trying to get Dale to believe her more than the others. "I know foxy, but..." He was cut off by Chip who chimed in "We're all really tired, and if something is up we're gonna need our rest to deal with it in the morning." They discussed the point for a few minutes and finally decided that the best thing to do would be to go back to sleep, and have Dale, who would be up all night anyway keep watch.
"Yeah, Foxy can help you." Gadget added. Foxy seemed happy that she could be a help, but was still frightened as what she hadn't told them. She had a feeling that they would tell her that she's been watching too much TV if she told them that the mouse she had seen was left by what appeared to her to be a spaceship. Everyone slowly retreated back to their rooms, and seemed to turn in for the night. Foxy slowly walked to the door, and just before reaching it, she turned around. Her voice was shaky when she asked. "Dale.... you will be here if I need you?...Right?" Dale could tell that she was truly frightened by what she saw, but knew that there wasn't a lot he could do. He only answered. "Sure foxy.. I'll be here." She seemed to try to smile as she opened the door and stepped out into the night.
The morning sun washed over his body filling his bones with a warmth he wasn't
accustomed to feeling, and he woke. Shading his eyes with his hand he saw the
most spectacular display he had ever witnessed in his life. The sky was graduated
from a reddish orange to a pure blue. Over the horizon a sphere of orange fire
rose, spreading it's golden light across the planet. The clouds absorbed this
light and glowed with a pink aura. Proto stood there with his mouth open unable
to speak, or even breathe. Now the fairy tales that he remembered reading about
Luxz once being an alive green planet seemed a little more possible. He thought
about it for a moment, and the dark question struck him. Could such a beautiful,
and alive planet as Earth fall to the same fate as the dead poisoned planet
Luxz? He hastily shook the thought from his head. It to him was blasphemous
to think such thoughts. He stepped out into the light, and onto a stone path.
he looked around for a moment before he heard a loud clatter. He dove into the
grass just in time to avoid being crushed by a giant riding a board with wheels
on it. It clambered past, and was followed by a few others. Proto made a mental
note to be more alert in the future.
For the moment he stood under the tree where he had slept the night before, and in fact he was still tired. This planet seemed to rotate much faster than Luxz, and Proto was used to a 56 hour day. However he had never been in such direct bright light, and knew there was no way he could get back to sleep, he decided to make the most of it. "Cody, Geo-report" He gave the command, and was answered with a readout of information that only he could understand. The electrical pitches and tones that made up the machine language Cody used informed him that this planet's current weather was clear, and much like the controlled climate inside the city having the same oxygen levels. He gave a breath of relief knowing that he should survive here.
Foxglove and Dale were too busy watching the sunrise to notice the same strange
mouse Foxy had spotted the night before still wandering around the tree. They
watched until foxy was too tired to sit any longer, and they both turned in
for the day. Mean while the rest of the rangers were just waking up, except
for Monty who as usual was the first to rise, and was busy preparing breakfast.
Gadget slipped from her room to the bathroom wearing a pale blue night gown.
Chip walked somewhat slumpt over to the couch where he turned on the TV and
tuned in the news. It was obvious that they hadn't slept well. and in fact Chip
had stayed awake for hours staring at the ceiling pondering the happenings that
woke him. After breakfast they would preform a few extra patrol sweeps over
the city before going to the police commissioner's office to eavesdrop on police
reports as they usually did.
Meanwhile just below the slowly awakening tree Proto took the time to take some flora, and fauna scans, frankly he was searching for edibles. Cody replied sarcastically, "This probably won't kill you."
"Oh thanks.. probably that makes it sound all the more appetizing" Proto snapped. Strangely enough the only friend he had really ever remembered having had was Cody, his guardian. Most Officers who were not assigned a partner were assigned a guardian, which was an all in one survival tool with artificial intelligence, and often a bad disposition. He was Lucky to have Cody. Had he been given a partner he would be here alone with only his gauntlet to protect him. Guardians were usually smug and short tempered, they were as intelligent as any other Luxzan, and knew that they were being deprived of freedom. Cody on the other hand was more loyal, in part because Proto always treated him as an equal, and more importantly as a friend. He often asked him his opinion of their situation knowing that Cody was more tuned to being logical, and cool minded. Proto on the other hand was reckless. He would sooner level an entire city to capture one rouge criminal than to waste his time searching for him. He and Cody were complete antipodes.
He watched as in the distance two rats could be seen rummaging through a dumpster. However the dumpster was not behind a grocery department, but an electronics warehouse. He dispelled the abnormality and set off toward the towering city in search of nourishment.
While foxglove slept in Gadget's room as she usually did during the day, Gadget
disappeared to her workshop, still pondering over the scraps of the robotic
assassin that she had salvaged from Fat Cat's last attempt to put them out of
business. It wasn't like anything she had seen before, and she was definitely
puzzled by how it was created. Fat Cat definitely didn't have the expertise
to build it himself, and for a human to build something so intricate on this
scale was to her seemingly impossible. She shuddered remembering how difficult
it was to stop the machine. at first they tried to short it out using water,
but to no success, it was rater resistant. Finally they managed to stop it by
pressing it's bottom half in a vice and sawing it's head off. She kept the head
far from the ruined body, she was in fact and possibly unfoundedly frightened
that if the two came in contact with one another the robot would come alive
and try to complete it's programmed task. She dispelled the thought and went
about her dissection of it's chest cavity.
Meanwhile the others piled into the Ranger plane for their morning rounds before they were to head as usual to the police commissioner's office for eavesdropping. With everyone buckled in they took off and circled the tree a few times paying close attention to any suspicious looking mice lurking around. Everything was as it usually was in a Wednesday morning, and with that they flew off toward the city to make a few observation passes before their final destination. They didn't see anything on the first pass, and decided to take the next pass a little slower and pay better attention just incase. below a few rats could be seen rummaging through the garbage, but that in itself was nothing out of place. However as they circled over the next row of dumpsters behind the Quick Mart, they noticed a metallic glimmer. They were too high to make out any detail, and in fact at first glance one would probably write it off as a shard of broken mirror, or discarded tinfoil candy bar wrapping. However this day they were looking for something, and decided to take a closer look. This time they came in just at roof level and could tell that the flicker was few what they had suspected. There trying to find his way into the wrapper of a discarded twinkie was a white mouse, and on his back was a large silver disc, about the size of one's arms looped fingertip, to fingertip(about as big as a 50 cent coin to us) .
"Alright me mates, let's not be jumping to conclusions. " Monty said. "There's no harm in a guy finding his breakfast"
"But that fits the description of who Foxy saw perfectly." Chip said. To him that was enough of a reason to take a closer look, maybe even question him.
"He doesn't seem to be doing anything wrong, gosh even I like a twinkie once and a while." Dale said.
"Dale's right. " Monty added. "We should just keep an eye out in the future, but right now there's no reason to be looking for trouble."
Chip as well as the others had gotten used to the easy life. They hadn't had any criminal activity since their last run in with Fat Cat and that dreaded contraption. Though he had been confronting them less often lately, when he did his attempts were more fierce. He was definitely now more than ever growing weary of struggling against them. It was obvious that he wanted the out of commission, for good. In fact Chip himself didn't think this particular mouse was in league with Fat Cat, he looked too out of place. He was probably a wanderer who was stopping here for a rest before moving on. More logically he knew that he should save his energy for a more important purpose. He couldn't waste their time chasing a stranger who may turn out to be nothing at all while Fat Cat pulls something tricky in their distraction. However he never ruled out the possibility that this stranger was sent by Fat Cat to do just that, draw their attention away from him. At any reason he deduced that it would be best to keep an eye on this person, but not devote their entire attention to him. Finally he agreed, and they set off for the police station for their usual task.
After his meal which he found disgustingly sweet and made him sick, Proto decided to learn as much as he could about the inhabitance of this planet. He didn't know anything about the giants that seemed to be the dominate race here, nor did he know anything about the other creatures that reminded him very much of Luxans. Even they seemed to have their own form of civilization, yet they kept it hidden from the giants. Possible because of food chain purposes. He thought to him self. "There must be some place where these creatures keep their records, their literature." He had already learned that even though Luxzan and the language they spoke here were somewhat alike, communication at least at the moment was impossible. Yet he also found that he looked so much like the other creatures here that were his size he could easily mingle with them with out being noticed. Of course the presence of Cody seemed odd to them, but most went about their business with out anything more than a strange momentary stare, or double take. He assumed that they probably just took him for a "weirdo"
It was at that moment that a ray of hope signed on him. He spotted some of the giants sitting on the steps of a rather large building and they appeared to be reading books. He scampered in the shadows of a piece of sculpture that was displayed in on a flat aria in between flights of steps that led up to the building for a closer look. They in fact were reading books. He then spotted more giants coming out of this building carrying more books. This had to be what he was looking for, but how could he get in without being spotted?
"What do you think Cody?" He asked, half jokingly, knowing his response would be a cautious approach and find another entrance, he also knew he wouldn't listen. Cody responded as predicted. and Proto smirked. "You know reckless me... always have to take the hard way."
At this he broke into a frantic run, scrambling through the automatic doors just before they closed. Once he was in he had another dilemma. There was a second set of doors to go through before he would be in the complex. He finally decided that he would have to wait for another giant to come through the door so he could dodge in before it closed. It wasn't long before he had his opportunity. With out being noticed he scampered in and hid himself among some potted plants.
"I really need more information." Gadget mumbled to herself. The
inner robotics of the thing were innately simple, yet there was something about
them that kept her from entirely understanding. More than anything she wanted
to understand. What was more suspicious was the small capsule that didn't seem
to have any true function yet for the life of her she could not remove it or
pry it open. Her curiosity welled up inside her, and she HAD to know what was
in that small sphere. In fact the entire inner workings of the machine didn't
seem to fallow her current knowledge of mechanics, or robotics. She was no expert
in the field of robotics, though she knew more than the common human. Even so
there was something about this that left her puzzled.
"I guess I'll just have to do more research." She said half disappointed. This meant a trip to the library, as she usually did when she was puzzled. She left her workshop, and secure in the feeling that Foxy would be safe sleeping in her room she made her way to the garage where the Rangermobile was housed. She climbed into the drivers seat and placed her helmet on her head. Then in no time the small vehicle zoomed through the crowded streets toward the city library. After discretely parking the Rangermobile behind some old milk crates she went inside, using the small mammal entrance she was used to using so often. Once inside a wealth of technical manuals and reference books were hers to devour. She knew right where they were having been here many times for more in depth studies of mechanics.
As she rounded the corner of one row of books she, in a hurry, and not watching where she was going ran into a rather well built mouse. The collision knocked them both sprawling. Gadget climbed to her feet expressing her apologies. Then she looked up and saw who she had run into. He only nodded and then brushed past her. For the moment she paid it no mind. Then something that had evaded her attention hit her. That mouse fit the exact description that Foxglove gave of the prowler the night before. That was enough to make her think, and she looked down the hall where he had turned, but he was gone. She shook her head. Obviously he meant no harm, or he would have made his bad intentions obvious. She shook the encounter off, and went about her research. However in all the books on mechanics, and robotics she could find nothing even vaguely similar to the construct of the salvage. Having not found what she was looking for she decided to make a search of the library, just in case the mystery mouse was still there.
After searching she found that he was in fact still there. He sat quietly to himself, reading language manuals. On the table beside him was a silver disc, which looked much like what humans describe as a flying saucer. When she looked closer she found that it was not sitting on the table, but in fact hovering a small distance off of it. He seemed to be conversing with it. Then slowly he looked up, their eyes locked, and what Gadget saw sent a chill up her spine. His eyes had no pupil, and they looked like green marble. She didn't want to look, but felt compelled to. Finally the strange mouse looked back down to his book releasing her from his torturous gaze. She quickly dodged down a row of books, and leaned against the shelf. She then noticed how out of breath she was. She hadn't noticed his eyes before they were partially hidden under his shaggy hair. Those eyes were so eerie, they seemed to look right through her like she were transparent. She closed her eyes, and the image of them was still there in her mind. She shook her head trying to force the image out. She ran from the library, and once she got to the Rangermobile she had calmed down enough to ask herself why she was so frightened. Logically there was no reason to be and she assured herself that, but in some part of her mind she was frightened of what she saw. "Maybe he's just blind, eyes milk over when you go blind." She told herself, though she knew that was not the answer. He could see as well as she could, and that much was obvious by the fact that the books he was reading were not Braille. She didn't want to think about it, and tried to replace the image of the mouse's dead looking eyes in her mind with the diagrams and technical drawings she had seen in the books on robotics. In part this worked, mostly due to the fact that Gadget had the amazing ability to recall almost anything she had read, no matter how briefly she scanned over the literature. She took a peep breath, and reviled the engine, pulled the Rangermobile out into the street, and burned rubber home, driving as if she were drunk.
It was the evening when she finally pulled into the garage, at a grater speed than she should have. The Rangermobile crashed into a pile of copper wire spools, which fell over with a crash. Gadget met the other rangers at the door, they had heard the noise, and had come to see what happened, Foxglove was also there. She had been awake for a few minutes, and was just about to leave for some hunting before there was the crash
"Crickey luv! What in blazes is the matter?!" Monty asked surprised. All Gadget could manage to say was "Where's Foxglove?" Foxy stepped out from behind Dale shyly not sure why Gadget wanted to see her so urgently, had she done something wrong?
"Don't jump out of your skin luv.." Monty tried to calm her. "C-mon inside and tell us what happened."
"I can't believe what I just saw..." Gadget said blankly as they led her back into the living room, and sat her down on the couch. They tried not to crowd her, but they really couldn't help it being that they all wanted to comfort her at the same time. Foxglove finally dug up the courage to ask. "What did I do wrong Gadget?" Gadget looked at her and blinked as if the words were a physical blow. "N..Nothing... she said...but you have to tell me something.."
Foxy looked down shyly and fiddled with her wing tips with embarrassment. She wasn't sure what Gadget wanted to know, there were a few things she didn't know. Especially when it came to her and Dale. "What do you need to know..?" She asked quietly.
For the moment Gadget tried to calm down, she was home now, and there was not reason to be so addled She took a few deep breaths, and assured herself that she would be OK, and tries to conduct herself in an orderly manner, and not like a hysterical little girl.
"I need you to tell me truthfully everything you saw the other night." Gadget said in a rather calm voice, it was obvious that being back at Rescue Rangers H.Q. in part boosted her feelings of security. Foxy looked down and paused for a minute, then looked to Dale for support. "Go on foxy, it's alright." Dale said, and with that Foxglove seemed reassured by this, and thus began to explain.
"I was just flying around, and I located a moth, and I chased it, but...." She stopped for a moment.
"Go ahead luv." Monty comforted.
"I lost it, and..it was because something bigger caught my attention. It was something that came out of the sky. It just appeared in front of me, and I had to dive to keep from running into it. I watched for a while, and it lowered to the ground, and a door opened. There were creatures standing in side, they were talking, and then one of them kicked the other and he fell out. They threw some things at the person, and then the big thing took off straight up, it was so fast. I'm sorry I only told you half of it."
" What do you mean you only told us half of it?" Gadget inquired.
"well when I told you I saw the mouse with something on his back.... I didn't tell you that he came from the big thing that came from the sky.." Her voice was soft, and quivered. Frankly she was afraid that they would be mad at her for her holding the truth from them.
"But why Foxy? Why didn't you just tell us?" Chip asked.
"I thought you would just tell me I had been watching too much TV like you do Dale when he tells you something strange like that."
They all looked down. They felt ashamed. It was true they often disregarded Dale's ideas as TV and comic book induced fantasy, and Foxy had been watching a lot of TV with him. What made them feel truly ashamed of their selves is that Foxy was probably right, at that time being tired, and grumpy from being woken up they probably would have told her it was her imagination.
"We're sorry Foxy.." Gadget said quietly." I guess we should really pay more attention to you both.." She looked down more ashamed than any of them being that she was the first to write it off as nothing important.
"What happened Gadget? Why is this so important now?" Chip asked
putting his hand on her shoulder.
She shook her head, and stood up. "I was at the library...and I think I saw who you described Foxglove." Foxglove's eyes widened and she covered her mouth with her wing.
"I think we did too Luv." Monty said
"You did too?" Gadget asked surprised. "Where?" Chip answered. "Behind the Quick Mart, he was trying to open a twinkie." His tone of voice made it seem like the information was rather unimportant.
"Well what did you see?" Dale asked with a hint of interest in his voice.
Gadget closed her eyes, and shook her head once again trying to dispell the
eerie image of the mouse's unearthly eyes. Finally after a pause that felt like
an eternity she began to explain.
"well at first we bumped into each other, in fact we collided rather roughly. we were both knocked down. He didn't say anything though he just hastily made himself scarce."
"He didn't even say he was sorry for knocking you down? How rude." Chip said.
"Well he did, but.. he didn't speak." Gadget said. "It's hard to explain. he only nodded, but by the expression on his face I could tell he didn't mean to. Frankly I don't think he knew English."
"How can you tell Luv?" Monty asked.
"Well I was getting to that." Gadget continued. "At first I
didn't give it much thought, but then I remembered what Foxy said last night,
and I vaguely remembered having seen something on his back. It really happened
all so fast I didn't get a good look at him."
"Is that what has you so startled Gadget?" Dale asked as he pulled Foxy closer to him, she seemed lonely now that Gadget was getting all the attention. Foxy smiled and put her wing around his shoulder.
"No...not really Dale there's more." Gadget said. "well go on.." Chip urged both interested, and taking advantage of the opportunity to give Gadget his full attention.
She continued. "I decided to look for him after I was done with my research, and to my surprise I found him in the foreign language section reading a book on English, that's why I assumed that he couldn't speak our language. But want really scared me..." She stopped, and shook the thoughts out of her head again. "What really scared me was his eyes... He looked up at me, and we made direct eye contact. and his eyes... They were.." She waved her hand over her eyes as she tried to explain. " They were...Blank.. I mean, not blank they had color, but there wasn't a pupil in them.. In fact there wasn't any white either, they were a solid... It was like.." She searched for the right words. "Like green stone.. rippled like marble. You know.. like malachite."
"You really think he could be from another planet?" Foxglove asked.
"Well it's not too far fetched." Gadget said. "Dale was abducted by aliens once."
Foxy hugged Dale "Yeah you told me.." She said.
"Well what do you think he wants here?" Chip asked. Monty who had been particularly quiet for the moment finally spoke his opinion, having been given the time to piece it together the best he could.
"Well, it looks like to me the bloke's been deported." He said as if it was an obvious conclusion, and once they thought about it, it was beginning to look that way. Foxy realized how late it was and decided to stay inside this night, she had really been neglecting Dale lately, and in fact she began to feel sorry she had. Now more than ever he seemed like a pillar of strength to her. He was obvious more experienced with extraterrestrials than the others being actually abducted, and impersonated by them. She began to imagine him being the hero of this adventure, which she was sure these occurrences would escalate into one, having been around the Rescue Rangers long enough not to tell when these sort of things would happen.
"Well if he's bad enough to be kicked off an entire planet he must be some criminal." Chip deduced. For the moment to them all it made sense They were well aware of what crime would bring what penalty, having been around the human police force so long. They could only imagine what sort of crime would constitute being deported from your planet. Gadget even agreed saying "For once I think Chip is right." Chip gave her a hurt look as if to question "For once?". Gadget shrugged and said "You do tend to jump to conclusions some times." With that Chip could not disagree, it was in fact in his nature to assume the worst of strangers. However this time his assumptions seemed well founded. It was also true that they couldn't just chase after him because he was not from town so to speak, and they agreed that all they could really do was wait and watch and be there when he does something nasty. At this they went to bed having discussed the matter over dinner. For them the night would bring another day.
Proto looked around him, lights were being turned off, and there wasn't anyone
around. He heard quiet foot steps, and looked up to see a young earth mouse
wearing rather thick tortoise rimmed spectacles.
"I'm sorry. The library is closing. You'll have to...." Her words were cut off when she saw his eyes. She took a step back and covered her mouth in a gasp. Proto covered his eyes with his hands remembering how the other mouse reacted, and how low it made him feel. "I'm...Sorry..." He said quietly in rough english. he stook and uttered "Cody return", and the disc snapped in place first at his wrist, then jumping to his back. He strode away through the exit he had watched the other small creatures come and go through. He didn't know it was dark outside, and in fact was startled having forgotten that this planned rotates every twenty four hours rather than the fifty six that Luxz does. In this regard he could not sleep having not been here long enough to adapt to the schedule. He decided that it was imperative for him to find a means of hiding his eyes. For the time being it didn't matter it was dark, if he kept his head low no one would notice. On the other hand when the light from this planet's star illuminated the world he would have to hide his eyes from view. He didn't really notice it until that first mouse dressed in the overalls locked eyes with him. He could see how startled she was to see such an unusual thing. It made him feel low for some reason, as if his blank marbled eyes were a handicap, like they made him somewhat less than her. In fact if you took to the time to look at them they could be quite beautiful, lately they were dry, and irritated from the stress he was under, but when he was in better moods they were not so dull, and in fact looked like polished stone.
He strode through the streets of the giant city, in fact he probably looked like he had somewhere to go, when he truly didn't. He hadn't thought about it long, but he finally realized that he would have to sleep eventually, and where? Then he remembered the shelter of the upraised roots of the tree he had slept under the night before. Maybe he would return there when he was tired, and sleep in the concealment of it's roots. With that he considered that dilemma solved, and strode back toward the park. He didn't like the shadows of the city. He had the feeling of being watched, and was sure that the feeling was well founded. He noted more than one seedy character lurking behind the boxes and trash reciprocals. He hadn't quite gotten to the open well lit area of the park when a rather skanky looking rat stepped in front of him. He was tall and thin, He looked under nourished. Then from the shadows came another, this one was by all means larger, and looked rather muscular. They both looked as if they needed a fresh water wash down, and good combing of the fur. The rat pushed him back and Proto reacted as training told him. "Weapons arm..." Quietly escaped his lips. The oval opened and formed the two pronged claw, and Cody snapped from it's position on his back to his wrist.
"Those some nice threads you got man... " The rat said in a raspy voice. "Yeah they look like they'd fit you nice Lou." The other rat chuckled in a thick voice. "Yeah let's try them on." The thin rat said grabbing Proto's vest by the collar. He threw his right arm up knocking the rat's paw away, and quickly stepped back. The rats eyes widened.
"Did you see that Bruno? he touched me.." The rat questioned his partner. "Yeah I saw.. maybe we should teach him some manners." The larger rat said clenching a fist cracking his knuckles.
Proto readied himself knowing that conflict was not avoidable, mainly due to the fact that he didn't have the verbal skills to talk himself out of it. So instead the Just urged them on by beckoning them to advance with his fingers hoping that his confidence would be enough to frighten them off. However it didn't quite work as planned. These two really did want a fight, and that ruse tented to only work with those who didn't. The rat called Lou advanced first and Proto readied to dodge. It wasn't an entirely coordinated attack, Lou swiped at him with a scrap of wood, and Proto pulled back as it passed just in front of his nose. He felt the wind off of it brush his hair to the side. With that first attack he knew it had begun, so he answered with a low attack. He seemed to throw a jab punch, and as he did the claw like grapple slung out on a cord of metal that made a sound like a spring being pulled through a metal tube. The heavy end of the claw struck home in the rat's midsection causing him to double over. Proto added a heavy slap from Cody who was positioned on his arm like a shield. The edge of Cody hit Lou's chin and sent him sprawling. He landed on his back, and rolled a few times, dazed for the moment. It wasn't long before Bruno was taking his place. Proto assumed that this one would be slower, but harder to stagger than the other rat had been. The massive rat rushed in with a left right combination, using boxing style form and class. Proto evaded the first swipe aimed to the face, but the second caught him off guard and fell home in his right rib area. He cussed himself for falling to such a rudimentary double as he staggered back. The pain, as he had expected it to be, was fierce. This rat had one amazing left hook. Proto didn't have much time to think before the rat was at him again. This time he threw Cody in place as he had intended to do before. This time the block was a success. The rats hand cracked hard against it's metal surface and seemed to flatten out. He would be lucky if there weren't any bones broken. Proto was glad it hit Cody, had it hit him it would have probably broken some bones.
Proto took advantage of the shocked rat and used an under arm jab to the solar plexus with Cody, then a upper cut to the chin. The rim of Cody went low and struck more in the throat area. The effect however was satisfactory. Bruno grabbed his throat and began to cough and wheeze. By this time the other rat was getting up, however slowly. Proto didn't waste time, he made a break for it, and dodged past Bruno leaping over Lou, tearing down the street toward the park. There would be more light there, he didn't think they would be brash enough to fallow him into the open where they could be seen. Thankfully he was right, and they didn't fallow. Maybe in part because they had expected him to be an easy target, and were quite startled to find out otherwise. Proto noticed how out of breath he was. This earth air was somewhat thicker than the purified air in the city, and though it provided all his oxygen needs it took some getting used to.
He made his way to the same old tree, and leaned against a root to catch his breath. Maybe he should stay away from the city at night. He concluded to himself
"Weapons disarm." He calmly muttered after he caught his breath. "Cody, give me a more thorough scan of the atmosphere around this city." He said. There was a pause and then the disc began spitting out information. Proto felt his heart sink when he heard one word, CFCs. That in itself didn't seem very dangerous, the levels were tolerable. However he knew something more dangerous that would result from air pollution. As had Luxz sought to find a cleaner energy source, so would Earth, and the he assumed that this next energy source would of course be radioactive power..Nuclear energy. The industrial age on Luxz had been so great that once The Seven could see the damage they were causing, their star, Rigel could no longer be seen. Then came the nuclear age, were the failed attempt to properly dispose of the radioactive waste caused the soil to be poisoned. Not long after that the city was built, and anyone that ventured out of the protective domes would first suffocate, then the acidic mist that covered the ground would take effect dissolving them into a brown mush.
"It's true...planets can die." Proto gasp. He had always, though having been told different believed that Luxz was always the poisonous dead husk that it was, and that they just adapted to it. However now the possibility that it was once green and alive was more real to him. Stepping on this planet made him feel as if he had been hurled thousands of years into Luxz's past. To glimpse into it's past by seeing this planet's present. All of a sudden the whole idea began to sour in his mind. He became bitter. "Why should I care if they ruin their planet, I'll be dead before they manage to poison the air." He muttered to himself. In fact it still seemed impossible to him, that such a place as this could end up dead like Luxz. He didn't want to think of it, it seemed like a terrible waste to him, and that waste was what angered him. In the city everything was used and reused until it was no longer possessable. The shortage of natural resources made everyone quite the conservationists. Proto just didn't see why they didn't care. or maybe they didn't know. Or even perhaps thought that they could wait for the last minute to produce a solution, like cramming for a test. Whatever the reason Proto didn't want to think about it. His head hurt, he had done more thinking that he was used to today. He didn't know how tired he was until he woke up. Then he realized that he had slept well past the sunrise. It was in the middle of the day, and the star was directly over head. He didn't feel like getting up. The patch of grass he was laying in had been pressed down by his weight, and was in fact quite comfortable now. His side was still sore from the rib shot he had taken, he was sure some bones were at least cracked. He closed his eyes and decided to be less active this day conserve energy. He was running on sugar and he knew that would burn out soon, if it hadn't already.
The two rats were had finally gotten the courage to address their employer
about the happenings that night. They hadn't done their job. Their distraction
with the stranger had cost them the narrow window of opportunity they were supposed
to use to steal a very valuable necklace of pearls that were on display at the
city museum. Their boss did not know, and was expecting success. When they cautiously
approached the desk there were no visible evidence of a fight. They didn't take
any face hits so there were no broken noses, or blackened eyes, they rather
"Do you have them?" the voice came from the leather chair, the back was to them. Smoke swirled up from the front, and the smell of the expensive Cuban cigar lingered on their nostrils.
"Well boss that's a long story." Lou said fumbling with his derby hat.
the voice behind the chair became tense. "What do you mean a long story."
"Uh...We didn't get em..boss..." Lou answered.
The chair swiveled around and the creature in it was hidden in shadows. The light from his cigar reflected off his feline eyes. He took a long thoughtful drag, and held the smoke in for a few seconds before blowing it in their faces.
"Well it wouldn't be the first time you let me down..What's your excuse this time..?" He asked trying to keep his composure, though he was obviously furious. The two rats looked at each other as if to ask "Should we tell him?". Finally Lou answered innately nervous and stumbling over his words all the time fumbling with his hat.
"We were just on our way there.. but we were jumped by this mouse." With his words the cat behind the desk was visibly growing angrier. Lou continued after dropping his hat and quickly picking it up again. "He wasn't a normal mouse, I'm telling ya boss. He moved like a green snake. He attacked us from behind. We didn't have time to even get ready."
The cat held his jaw tight to keep from yelling. He spoke with his teeth clenched shut. "I hired the two toughest rats in the city, and you were beaten by a mouse?!" Lou shuddered trying to explain.
"Well he sucker punched poor Bruno, and hit me with a brick." He said quickly trying to cover for he and his partner.
The cat couldn't hold his anger in any longer. He growled for a second before he raged at the top of his lungs. "BRING ME THIS MOUSE!!!!" The two scrambled to comply, running into each other on their way out the door. The cat took another drag on his cigar, and muttered to himself. "Good hoodlums are so hard to find these days."
That day for the Rescue Rangers seemed to be quite bland. They hadn't seen the strange mouse when patrolling, and they had for the moment let it slip their minds. Gadget sat with her chin on her hands, completely stumped. She had no idea what the metal ball in the robot's chest was. She had deciphered all the other working parts, and actually managed to open the head, which was as she expected was full of wires and circuit board, along with some sound and light sensors. There in itself didn't seem to be important, at least for now. Her curiosity about that one part was driving her mad. The others knew what she was doing, and in fact had their doubts that she should try to revive the machine to do good. They had faith in her abilities of course because she had provided them with all the technical supplies they had. But there was something about the was this thing was constructed that was not like any human design they had ever seen. Maybe Nimnul and Fat Cat were working together again and it was something new that Nimnul had designed That would explain why it wasn't like anything described in any robotics manual. Finally she decided to take a break, and go have some lunch. The others were happy that she came out, she in fact had been in her workshop all night.
"Gee Gadget you look really tired." Chip noted. Gadget plopped down in her chair, and took a deep breath. "Yeah I guess I've just been working too hard lately."
"I'll say.. you've been in your workshop all night." Dale said between mouthfuls of grilled cheese sandwich.
"I know guys, I'm sorry... but I'm really stumped." Gadget thought for a moment. "That's never happened to me before.." She said blankly
"C-mon Gadget Luv, let's get some food in ya, that'll make you feel better."
Monty said pushing a plate her way.
"Thanks Monty, it's great to know you guys care." She said a little cheered up.
Just below and oblivious to the Rangers Proto lay in the grass. He stared
up at the sky, unable to sleep as he had planned. His stomach was telling him
quite often now that he needed food. Ironically from somewhere he couldn't locate
the scent of something that smelled quite edible, and in fact delicious tortured
him. Finally he stood with a groan, and looked around him. There was nothing
here, so though he dreaded it after last night's encounter, he knew he would
have to go into the city and forage through the giants garbage in search of
something to eat that wouldn't kill him or make him sick. So with that he began
toward the city.
He came upon the dumpster that he had found the discarded twinkie the day before, and began to look around. He had been there for a few minutes when he heard foot steps behind him. He turned around in time to see a flower put crash down on his head. He didn't loose consciousness, but was dazed and fell. Then he noticed the same two rats he had encountered the night before. He struggled to get up, but a heavy sack was thrown over his head, and he was kicked into submission. Then he felt himself being hoisted up and thrown over the larger rat's shoulder. He didn't know where he was being taken but he was sure he wouldn't like it.
"We got em boss" Bruno said in a thick voice. "Yeah he didn't put up much of a fight this time." Lou added.
"Splendid.." Fat Cat said swiveling around in his chair. "Bring him in." He said eagerly.
They left the room and drug Proto in by the arms and stood him before their leader. He had been roughed up and had a few visible bruises.
Fat Cat chuckled. "This is what got the best of my two roughest rats?" He flicked a large ball of ash in Proto's direction. It hit his chest, and seemed to burst covering him, sticking to the crusted blood above his eyes, and on his nose. He stood there, not displaying any emotion, he wouldn't give this criminal the satisfaction.
"Come into the light let me get a better look at you." Fat Cat demanded. At that Proto was shoved into the light of Fat Cat's deck lamp. He fell silent when he saw Proto's eyes..
"So there are more of you." He said quietly. He laughed loudly.
" I thought he was just a crazy fool like that human Nimnul" He laughed
"What are you talking about?" Proto growled. Fat Cat only chuckled again and pressed a button on an intercom system on his desk. "Send in Professor Tiberus." He said smoothly. Not long after the doors to his office opened again and a gaunt looking rat dressed in an oil and metal filing soiled lab coat entered.
"You summoned?" He asked in a voice that sounded like a rusty hinge. Proto turned, and his eyes widened in shock.
"Tiberus!! Why didn't I recognize that name!" He growled. The sick looking old creature's eyes widened with a glee. "Ah a fellow Luxzan, and one who I know so well as a matter of fact." He said as he rubbed his hands together. "I suppose they sent you here after me?" He questioned. Proto Lunged at the rat, but fell short as he was bound at the wrists and ankles. Tiberus calmly stepped back. "Or did they final banish you for your excessive, and reckless nature?" He laughed. "I wager it's the latter of the two choices."
Fat Cat thought to himself. "So he's not the daft old eccentric I thought him to be." He finally spoke. "So you know this pitiful excuse for a mouse?"
Tiberus stepped forward, "Oh I know him well. We in fact have had out scrapes back on my home world." Tiberus looked at Proto as if he wanted to kick him.
"Who is he?" Fat Cat asked simply, and waited for an explanation of the two's connection.
Tiberus thought back on memories that only built up rage in him. "As
I've told you before I used to be the greatest roboticist on Luxz.. but my expertise
were not quite as rewarded as they should be. So I took matters into my own
"You sought a life of corruption!" Proto interrupted.
"Quiet You!" Tiberus snapped, then continued. " I had managed
to evade the officers for quite some time, except for this one." He gave
a dagger's glare in Proto's direction. "Ah yes Wildrax was the best, but
he was as much of a criminal as I. He gave no regard to property or procedure.
He was a wild card. a loose cannon, but none the less he managed to cross me
more than a few times." Tiberus spat at Proto. "And you thought you
had killed me in the fire at sector Two didn't you?" He taunted. "I
had to flee my home in order to get away the last time we encountered, but Oh
how the tables have turned." He cackled ominously. He then looked at Fat
Cat. "However you kill him Make it slow." He turned to leave, but
stopped at the door. "And I want to watch..." He gurgled, and strode
out laughing historically.
Fat Cat smiled to himself, the opportunity to nip this one in the bud was appealing to him. The Rescue Rangers were enough to keep him steamed, let along one like this. He could tell that Tiberus was in fact as good of a criminal mastermind as he, and it was now apparent that he ultimately had his own agenda. He never trusted him, but now he knew that it was time to get rid of him while he had the chance. As for the mouse in front of him, it pleased him to think that he could get rid of future kink in his plans before he became one. With that in mind he took great joy in uttering the words, "Get rid of him." Now he would only have to wait until Tiberus's great project was complete before he could do away with him also.
Proto was thrown into a dirty room. They didn't bother to untie him, they locked the door behind them. They had taken Cody, as well as his gauntlet. He didn't really have any means of weaponry, or tools for escape, he would have to improvise on this one. He looked around him, it was dark except for a beam of light that poured through the glass window in the door. He could see the dust particles floating in the air in that beam of light. He looked at the glass, it was thick, but he could break it, though he would probably also break the bones in his hand. Even so the latch was too far down for him to reach, and the window was too small to climb out of. At the moment it looked quite hope less. He decided he had better save his energy. He would need it if he ever did find a way to escape. with that he settled down in the filth, at the moment he didn't care he was already more dirty than he had ever been, and sleeping in the dirt didn't seem like it would do much more damage.
The sun was setting over the city, and Dale and Foxglove sat in the limb where
they usually did and watched. They didn't speak but rather just sat in silence,
and watched. Dale had never felt more close to someone in his life, except Chip,
who was practically his brother. Foxy rested her head on his shoulder as the
big golden disc sank behind the silhouette of the city.
The other rangers were inside going about the usual business that they did. Chip sat on the couch watching the evening news, while Monty prepared dinner. Gadget emerged from her workshop visibly exhausted. She headed straight for the shower. Chip noticed, and really wanted to do something, but he knew it was really out of his hands. Once Gadget set out to do something she would work herself to death if she had to get the job done.
Then something caught Chip's attention. The news had an emergency bulletin, The Pearls of Gaia had been stolen from their display at the museum.
"Hey guys I think something is up!" He exclaimed. Monty looked in from the kitchen, and Foxy, and Dale poked their heads inside from watching the sunset.
"What's that mate? " Monty asked holding a mouse sized spatula.
"You know those pearls that were on display at the museum?" He asked They all nodded. "Well I've been waiting for Fat Cat to get his eyes on them, and I think he's at it again."
"What do you mean chip?" Foxy asked.
"The pearls have been stolen." He answered frankly. By this time
Gadget had emerged from her quick shower. She looked somewhat refreshed, but
still needed some sleep. "What's up guys?" She asked drying her hair
with a towel.
"The pearls that were at the museum have been stolen Luv, and Chiper here thinks old Fat Cat is behind it." Monty explained.
"Well isn't he always?" She asked rhetorically, but in fact she had a point, many of the city's crimes were controlled by the feline kingpin.
"So what do we do now?" Foxy asked.
"Well we need to investigate." Chip said. Gadget looked glum at this statement. "Could you guys go without me? I'm really tired, and I was looking forward to getting a whole night's sleep tonight." She felt ashamed for telling them to leave her behind especially when she might be needed, but even after the shower she felt like she was going to fall asleep on her feet.
"Sure Gadget Luv. You've been working yourself to hard over that doo hickey, you need some shut eye." Monty comforted putting a hand on her shoulder. "Yeah. we probably won't find anything tonight anyway." Chip added.
"Thanks guys.." Gadget smile weakly. "By the way... what's burning?" She asked.
"CRICKEY!!!" Monty stammered as he ran into the kitchen and pulled the skillet off the burner, and turned it off.
"That's OK Monty." Chip called from the living room."We probably won't have time to eat anyway." Monty came out pulling off his "kiss the cook" apron. They seemed to organize themselves. and finally Foxy spoke up. "Dale what about me?"
Dale didn't have to think long. He didn't want Foxy to be there if trouble went down, and since Gadget was going to be asleep they needed some one to watch the headquarters.
"Why don't you stay here Foxy. We need some one to watch this place while we're gone." Foxy seemed sad that she couldn't come along but she understood. Chip also noticed how maturely his friend had handled that, and was in fact impressed. Dale had changed a lot since that girl had gotten her wings around him. With that the male members of the rangers set out for the museum for clues. Gadget was too tired to worry about it, but Foxy felt like the she was being excluded because she was a female. On the other hand she knew that with Gadget asleep and no one else here anything could happen. So the two seemed to balance. She decided that it was her duty to watch the tree, and that was just as important as looking for clues. With that in mind she felt a little pride in circling the tree watching for strangers.
The guys came pattering in early in the morning just before sun up. They didn't find any thing special, some clues that pointed to Fat Cat, but nothing that could tell them what he had in mind, or where he had gone. He had covered up his tracks pretty well this time. They were too tired to even eat breakfast, but instead went directly to bed. Gadget was up a while after sun rise, and found everyone asleep. Foxy was hanging upside down in the living room. Gadget thought to herself. "We really need to build a few extra rooms on this place." They had planned on Building Foxy a room much sooner, but for some reason they never got around to it. For the time being Foxy sleeping in her room during the day would work, and in fact had become much the routine. Gadget felt sorry for sleeping in, and went to try to wake Foxglove long enough to get her into her room. Foxy only half woke up and Gadget had to help her to the room. She must have been exhausted from watching over the tree. Everyone seemed to be working last night but her. She suddenly felt ashamed of herself. She should really give her project a break. She really needed to be a Ranger now. They had another case, and would inevitably run into Fat Cat, and if things were like they were last time she would have to come up with some new equipment to handle the situation. With that she went into her workshop, and slid the bulk of the robotic reckage aside, and began sketching out an idea she had been thinking about based on the principal that she had seen in a book about robotics in the future.
Proto woke up in the same dark room he had been in. He had slept longer than he expected he would have. The light coming in through the window was dimmer now. He pulled himself to his knees and looked around. Maybe there was something he could use to open the lock, of course he would have to untie himself first. and even if he did get out of the room he would have to find Cody, and his gauntlet before he could even attempt to escape. He looked around again, and then some thing caught his eye, while he was moving around he had churned something up in the dirt. He crawled closer to it. There in the dirt was a shard of glass. He couldn't help but smile. Some how fate always seemed to provide for him. He fell into position to grab the piece of glass, and begin sawing the ties from his wrists. It wasn't long before he was free. It was then that there was a knock at the door. a small slot slid open and the lizard on the outside slid a tray of glop in.
"Eat up you'll need your energy when Fat Cat tests his new toy out on you." He Laughed and walked off. Proto took one look at the stuff and knew that it was oatmeal, which ironically was in his opinion the worst concoction ever conceived. However having no choice he ate, and rested. Something the creature said had gotten him thinking. It was obvious that Tiberus was building a robot, or some other sort of war machine for this Fat Cat character. Tiberus, had always been, and always will be a rather egotistical thing. He always liked to prove his superiority. That is why Proto had come so close to catching him so many times. Tiberus liked to toy with his victims. He would often give them a chance to prove themselves better, and on equal terms much less. So confident in his creations Tiberus, if given the chance would in all likely hood allow Proto to use his gauntlet, and Cody in a battle with whatever "Toy" he was building. Tiberus would take great joy in watching his child crush Proto on equal terms. Proto figured all he had to do was wait. Eventually he would have his weapons back, and with that he would have a chance, all be it a sliver of one, but none the less a chance to escape.
Around noon The rangers were beginning to wake up. First of course Monty,
and Zipper, then Chip and Finally Dale. They instantly began talking about Fat
Cat, and where he might be hiding. It was then that Zipper spoke up. He had
been pretty quiet lately. He told them that he had seen two rats throw a bag
over the strange mouse they described and took him somewhere.
"Which way did they go Zip?" Chip asked, and Zipper told them that he had seen them go into the abandoned tuna cannery on the east side of town. Gadget heard their conversation, and came from her workshop.
"I was wondering when you Guys would be up." She said wiping oil off her hands.
"We think we might know where Fat Cat is hiding out." Dale said excitedly. "The cannery I heard" Gadget nodded.
"So what Do we do now mates?" Monty asked. "We should at least check it out." Chip said. They all agreed, and headed for the Ranger plane. They took off with their usual battle cry, and made a B line to the tuna cannery.
At the cannery Fat Cat, sat at a desk that had been set up on one of the upper catwalks. Below Tiberus, and some of Fat Cat's minions finished setting up the ring. Tiberus had made sure that he was aloud to test his creation before he turned it over to the grubby paws of Fat Cat. Tiberus thought to himself. "I'll make a fortune off of the pearls, and pull that thorn Wildrax out of my side in one swipe." He chuckled to himself. This was going to be pleasing, very pleasing. The ring was a circle of Boxes, simple, but escape proof. The walls were too high and slick to climb. With the battle ground complete Tiberus ordered that Proto be brought in. The two rats disappeared, and soon returned with Proto. They threw him roughly into the pit made by the stacked boxes. Proto looked up for the first time at the toy they had been speaking of. It Was larger than anything Tiberus had ever built. It stood at least six times Proto's size. The torso was a sphere, didn't seem to have a head. Instead it had a turned up crescent shaped visor made of either lexan or thick glass. Behind this viewer were three sensors, a light, motion, and an I R heat sensor. It's arms came directly from the sides of the metal ball. A smaller half sphere attached to the bottom provided the hip joints for the legs. It's arms were, obviously telescopic, and tipped with huge three fingered claws.
"Oh...my..god..." Proto breathed. "That thing will shred me like a queezanart." Then to his left was a thud, and he noticed that his gauntlet had been thrown to him. Then came Cody. He hastily equipped himself. Holding out his arm. "Cody return." The disc snapped in place. "You ready to die pal?" He smirked sarcastically feeling his spirit increase.
Above Fat Cat watched with amusement. He felt like a king, and a gladiators contest. This could prove to be very entertaining. He sat back and knocked the ashes from his cigar. Tiberus stood on a platform not much higher than the boxes were stacked. He wore a thick pair of cloves and boots, both were covered in circuitry. He held a helmet with LCD visor at his side. He put the helmet on.
"Ready to die Wildrax? Ready for my Orion Alpha to tare you apart?" Tiberus laughed cruelly. Proto answered Quietly. " I am no longer Wildrax Valori... I am now Proto." Tiberus laughed. "Outcast are we now? Then no one will cry over your spilled blood!" With those words the huge death machine came alive. Proto didn't have much time to get ready, the Orion moved faster than anything he had ever seen. The first claw whizzed by his head, and he managed to roll to the right as the second thudded off of the wooden floor. It advanced with a swipe this time. Proto had to jump up and dive over the arm as it skidded accost the floor. As he rolled up he let his own claw fling into play. It arcked up and pinged off the machine's chest with no effect what so ever. He didn't have time for a second try. The Orion had advanced close enough to stomp at him. Proto barely slid out of the way as the piston like foot slammed into the floor sending up a shower of splinters. Proto retreated to the other side of the ring. and brought Cody into play. He swiped out sending Cody flying like a frisbee. It landed home in the leg of the robot, and though staggered it did not fall. Cody returned. and Proto didn't have time for a second try. The Orion had turned around and was on him in an instant. Proto rolled aside as one metal claw tore into the boxes behind him. Shreds of tin can and cardboard as well as chunks of stale tuna went flying. Proto scampered under the machine's legs, and to the other side of the ring. He was ready to throw Cody this time at the shoulder joint, but Tiberus had expected this maneuver, and replied by throwing a claw straight backwards. It struck it's mark, and Proto was thrown against the wall of the ring, unconscious.
"Am I asleep?" Proto asked himself. He didn't know if his eyes were
even open. All he could see was darkness. He felt warm though, and struggled
to move. Something was covering him. After he struggled a few seconds he realized
he was in someone's bed. The sheets smelled clean, but they still had some other
creature's scent, as if they had been changed a few days ago. Then the pain
came, a throbbing dull pain that began on his forehead, and spread throughout
his skull. The pain made him dizzy, and sick. His stomach felt like it was doing
somersaults. He heard groaning, and it took him a few seconds to realize it
was him. Finally something told him to open his eyes. They didn't want to open,
but slowly he forced them, first the right eye cracked, light began to peer
through then his left. They were half open now, his vision was blurred, and
all he could see were shadows. Now he tried harder than ever to open his eyes,
though they did not want to cooperate. What had happened? Where was he? Was
this the afterlife? His eyes open now and his vision clearing. The first think
he remembered hearing was an unknown voice.
"Crickey, you're right Gadget Luv, he doesn't have pupils. I guess I can't check them for dilation then."
Proto blinked trying to make out the figure.. or was it figures?, standing there. "Where am I?" He rasped in Luxzan. There wasn't an answer. "wh.." He began again then remembered that he was no longer on Luxz. "Where am I?" He asked again in almost fluent English.
"You're at Rescue Rangers Headquarters." A female voice answered. Proto tried to sit up but soon found out that it was a mistake. The sudden rush of blood from his head made his entire skull feel as if it were going to implode. Then the dizziness, and nausea came. He fell back onto the pillow choking back the urge to vomit. This time he opened his eyes and could see, however blurred. Instantly he saw a somewhat familiar being. All he could manage to whisper was "Library...I'm Sorry".
"The bloke is delirious." Monty said. "Which now to think of it is pretty normal after a braining like the lad took." He added. "He's lucky to be alive." Gadget said putting an icepack on the huge lump on Proto's Forehead.
Proto felt the cold touch his head, and he jumped a little but after a while it numbed the pain. He tried to think. Was Cody there? He called for him. His voice soft and weak. "Cody.....r-re...turn.." But nothing, and he tried again with the same results. He opened his eyes again this time with adequately clear vision. There around the bed which he was in were six creatures, two were mice, one of which he definitely recognized as being the one from the library, and the other he had never seen. Then there were two chipmunks, one in a bomber jacket and the other in a colorful red shirt. The other two were things he had never seen before. There was nothing like them on Luxz to compare them to. "Maybe the thing with the wings is a bat?" He thought to himself. "Wait...they both have wings.." He tried to shake his head but it only managed to lull to one side as if he had no control over his neck. They were trying to speak to him, but he couldn't hear them. Their voices seemed far away. The last thing he managed to think was. "I'm going out again."
The rescue Rangers left the strange mouse and went back into the living room. There wasn't much they could do until he gained consciousness. They by all rights were eager to question him.
"You know for some reason he doesn't seem all that bad anymore." Dale was the first one to speak. "After all Fat Cat was trying to kill him." Chip refrained from thwacking him on the head. "He could still be a criminal and not like Fat Cat, a lot of criminals don't like Fat Cat." Chip argued.
"Mate's got a point, as I recall Rat Capone doesn't like Fat Cat very much either." Monty Agreed.
All the while Gadget sat thinking. She hadn't quite heard what the mouse had said after he asked where he was, and then like a lightbulb being turned on it hit her.
"Golly." Was all she could manage to say for the moment speechless.
"What's that Luv?" Monty asked.
"He said I'm Sorry..." She said blankly. "I mean he remembered."
"What do you mean Gadget what did he remember?" Foxglove asked puzzled,
and in fact by now all of them were curious to hear what Gadget was talking
"Remember I told you that he ran into me in the library?" She asked. "Well he never said he was sorry. Because he couldn't." Her voice seemed to trail off.. "But he just did."
"He just did what?" Chip asked.
"He told me he was sorry." Gadget said. All of a sudden the mouse lying in Gadget's bed seemed a little less villainous. He had remembered something so insignificant as bumping into some one. Even though he was obviously not thinking straight he still managed to apologize.
"I mean he remembered it, and all this time felt remorse. He recognized me and all he all he could think of was telling me he was sorry." Gadget explained. "A bad person wouldn't do that would they?" She asked. Chip put his hand on her shoulder to comfort her. He didn't say anything. Obviously for some reason or another Gadget felt more ashamed about misjudging him than any of them.
Gadget had her reasons. They all sprung off of the few moments their eyes met. In that short time even she could see that there was no malice in his eyes, and in fact something gentile in their expression. It was her fear for them being different that didn't let her see that, and all she could think of was how strange and frightening they were. It was this that made her ashamed, she had judged on a petty difference which was against everything the Rangers stood for. There was a moment of silence until Monty broke the stillness.
"Chin up Luv, no harm done.. You did after all save his life with the grapple." He said patting her back. This seemed to cheer her up. After she thought about it her misjudgment in her eyes had been redeemed by this unconditional act of kindness.
"You're right Monty. Thanks. " She said as she hugged him.
They ate dinner quietly. They didn't want disturb their guest's much needed
rest. Gadget decided that she would probably have to sleep on the couch tonight.
The strange disc was locked in her workshop, and in fact had been trying to
get out ever since they had separated it from it's master. It was so strange,
seemingly intelligent, and yet mechanical. Then her mind wandered to the robot
that Fat Cat had. It was so huge. She was glad that he didn't know where the
Rangers hide out was, She shuddered at the thought of that thing climbing the
tree and finding a way to get an arm inside. Gadget shook the thought from her
head as she put her tray up. Everyone was pretty quiet, almost as if they had
just had a fight. Monty went to his room, and so did Chip. Foxy and Dale sat
outside for a while talking. This left Gadget to her thoughts. Mainly she wondered
what they could do against Fat Cat's machine. She remembered how persistent
the other robot Fat Cat tried to use against them was, and it was barely as
big as she was. This thing was bigger than Fat Cat himself. Then she wondered
about the stranger. How was he connected to Fat Cat? What caused the friction
between them, and was he really in fact an alien? She didn't want to think about
it anymore. She had been doing nothing but thinking about it since that day
at the library. She pulled the blanket up over her head and tried to sleep.
Outside Dale and Foxy sat together looking at the stars. Foxy's wing was wrapped tightly around his shoulder. Finally she asked. "Dale? Do you believe me?"
"Believe what Foxy?" He asked.
"About what I saw." She said her voice seemed desperate.
"Yeah, Foxy I believe you." He answered simply. She hugged him tighter. "I'm sure that's him." She began. "I mean I know I didn't get a good sound, but his echo profile matched exactly." She seemed to look out in to space. "It's OK Foxy." Dale comforted.
"I don't think the men from space are going to comeback for him." She said. "I mean the way they left him here. I don't think they wanted him." It made her sad. She could sympathize with the rejection, but for the life of her she could not fathom what he could have done to deserve being thrown away like he was nothing. Dale could only rub her back, he too was a little anxious about what would happen when the mouse finally woke. Gadget didn't seem to think he was bad, and she wasn't usually wrong about those sort of things. He hoped she was right this time.
Slowly the voice entered his mind. Distant at first, then it got clearer.
Someone was speaking. He could understand them, and tried hard to make out what
they were saying.
"This Is Bill," The first voice was male. "And this is Sherry." The second was female. Then the male continued. "And this is your Z103.Fm Wake up call. Here's something to get you going. It's a off Guns N' Roses Appetite for destruction album... WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE!!!!" The man laughed as the music started. Proto's eyes snapped open. He looked around. Where was he? He could vaguely remember. It wasn't clear, in fact very fuzzy. The last thing he remembered was a large robot, and a bright red flash. His head hurt. He tried to get up, stumbling to his feet. Then looked down. Where was his vest? He looked around and found it on a dresser. It was a battle in itself to get it on, his motor skills were shot. Slowly he made his way to the door. It seemed too far away to reach, but finally he did, and leaned against it for a moment before trying to open it. "What's going on?" He asked himself. Finally he fumbled with the door latch and found that it pulled in rather than pushing out, so stepping back he pulled at the door. Once opened he could see five strangers sitting in a second room as if they were waiting for him. Everything around him was strange and unfamiliar, his sight was blurred slightly, but he could make out one familiar person. He leaned in the doorway, looking with sleepy eyes trying to think. The creatures stood and approached him. He stepped back startled and almost fell. They stopped.
Proto braced himself against the door, and blinked clearing up his sight. Slowly his eyes focussed. To his surprise among the other strangers was the mouse from the library that had been so startled at seeing his eyes. The one he had knocked down. He felt ashamed. He had never told her. He was sorry.
"In the library....I was...I mean..I am...Sorry..." He managed so sputter, but that in itself took all his breath.
Gadget blinked. "I..I know you told me.." She said a little confused.
Proto looked down. "I did?" He asked quietly.
"He doesn't remember Luv. That was a pretty bad knock on the noggin, I would expect some short term memory loss." Monty explained.
He couldn't stand anymore, and sat back down on the bed. They flooded into the room and watched him.
"Can you talk Mate?" Monty asked him. Proto looked up. "Talk?" He repeated. Then thought. "English?" He asked.
"That's it mate. You know English?" He asked. Proto only nodded. He was awake, but his headache impaired him. He had trouble remembering. He didn't know why he didn't feel threatened by these strangers, maybe it was the way they approached him.
"Where am I?" He finally asked. "You're In Rescue Rangers Headquarters." Chip answered.
Proto looked down. "Did anyone get the number of that freight train?" He asked.
"What freight train?" Gadget asked oblivious to the sarcasm in the question.
"The one that just ran through my head" Proto answered. Then he looked about him, and noticed some other things missing. Why he didn't notice sooner he wasn't sure. He looked around. "Cody Return." He muttered, still looking around the room. Then looked up to the Gadget who he recognized. "Where is Cody?" He asked, his eyes looked like a child that had lost his teddy bear.
"You mean the big metal disc?" Gadget asked. Proto nodded, still looking around lifting the bed sheets as if the huge disc could be hiding under them.
"Don't worry, it's in my workshop." She tried to comfort. Proto stood and tried for the door, but became dizzy and had to set back down. Gadget looked at the others. "Do you think I should get it for him?" They looked at each other for a moment. Chip finally said. "If you trust him that much. I guess it's up to you."
Gadget looked at Proto, his eyes seemed to plea for her to return his friend. She nodded, and left the room. No sooner than she had opened the door to her workshop the metal disc zoomed out and went straight into her room. By the time she got there the disc was hovering on the mouse's extended arm like a falcon. She was amazed. A machine that acted like a living thing.
"Cody. Medical scan" Proto said, and Cody lifted off and moved from His head to his feet then returned to his wrist. Then it blared it's findings with a series frequency tones. The Rangers stared mouths open as Proto communicated with the disc.
"Class two concussion, fractured skull." He paused. "I should be in a coma." He said blankly. Then he turned his attention back to Cody. "Medical function four." He said evenly. Cody rose up off of his wrist, and opened along a visible seem around it's edge. Inside one could see all if it's intricate inner workings. A small pneumatic injector extended, which was filled with a silver liquid, that looked like mercury. The disc injected Proto in the neck and then quickly closed again. Then it returned to it's position on Proto's wrist. Proto winced for a moment, the took in a deep breath. He held it for a second or two and then slowly let it out.
"That's better.." He said softly.
Gadget was by now extremely interested in the mechanical disc. "What was that?" She asked eagerly.
Proto looked up at her. "Level four micro-bodies." He said puzzled.
"HUH?" They all seemed to say in unison. Proto blinked. "You mean to tell me you don't have nano technology on this planet?"
"You really are an alien." Chip stammered. Proto looked confused. "You couldn't tell?" He asked.
"Well we thought that maybe you were by what Foxy told us but..." Gadget didn't finish. "Oh no Foxy" She said. They had told her that they would wake her up if the "alien" woke up. She was sleeping in Chip and Dale's room and she had forgotten all about her. Dale smacked his forehead. "Oh no.. I completely forgot." He said as he went to wake her.
"What? did I do something wrong?" Proto questioned looking around.
"No we just told Foxglove that we would wake her up if you woke up." Gadget explained. Still confused all Proto could do is ask "Who?"
"Everything had happened so fast. We haven't even been introduced." Chip said. "I'm Chip, he said and this is Monterey Jack, but we call him Monty." He said lightly resting his hand on Monty's shoulder. "And that's Gadget he pointed to Gadget, and Dale went to get Foxglove, and this is Zipper." He pointed to the fly buzzing energetically about. Proto nodded his greeting to each one in turn.
"What's your name mate?" Monty asked. Proto looked up. "Oh I'm...." He paused for a moment. "Proto." He said sadly, "This is Cody." He patted the metal disc. By now Dale had entered with a sleepy Foxglove.
"Hey you know, this room is kinda crowded Let's go to the living room." Chip offered, and they agreed. Gadget offered to help Proto but found that he wasn't quite as dizzy as he had been and didn't need it.
They all found a seat around their visitor, and Gadget introduced Dale and Foxglove.
"This is Proto." She said. "Oh..what a nice name." Foxy commented. Proto looked down sadly. "In my language it means.. Outcast, nameless outcast. It means I'm lower than...." He refrained from saying the word though everyone knew what he meant. They felt bad.
"Why did those people kick you out of their flying thingy that came from the sky?" Foxy asked softy. Proto looked up at her. Her eyes told him that she was only curious.
"It's a long story." He said.
"Tell us, we're here to help." Gadget urged. With a sigh Proto told his story.
"It starts with a fanatic militia that I was struggling with back on
my home world. They call themselves disciples of Tiberus. They are criminals
that have adopted the visions of an insane robotics engineer, who until now,
I thought was dead. Well any matter. I was chasing a disciple who called himself
Gidius The fearless. He was held up in section five, and I called a full evacuation.."
Proto's eyes were beginning to tear. "I was a peace officer...My mission
was to protect.." He wiped his eyes. The Rangers felt sorry for the pain
their new friend was feeling, but they didn't understand. Proto went on. "You
see..I didn't know that civilians were in the area, and I set the charges. I
thought I was clear." He looked up at them for some assurance. Gadget who
was setting beside him patted his back. "What happened Proto?" She
"I caused an explosion that killed 12 civilians, But I didn't know." His eyes were tearing heavily now. "I didn't know the innocent weren't evacuated." He covered his eyes, he didn't want them to see his eyes. He remembered how the mouse beside him who was trying to comfort him had reacted. He at first thought that it was in some way vulgar to have eyes with out pupils. In fact his eyes did have light openings. The ripples of lighter color was where the light was absorbed though.
"But if you didn't know then it wasn't your fault." Foxy tried to comfort, feeling bad that she had brought this on by her question.
"It doesn't matter.." Proto explained. "The blame had to lay somewhere, and I was an easy target. In fact I would have been fined for property damage anyway, but hurting the innocent is a much grater crime. That's why they put me here. I've been banished from Luxz."
"Is Luxz the name of the planet you come from?" Dale asked. Proto nodded.
"I was abducted by some aliens from Fleebledrox" Dale added. Proto looked up and chuckled slightly. "Those fools?" he asked.
"You mean you've heard of them?" Dale asked. Proto chuckled again. "Yeah they seem to think Luxz is a really nice vacation spot. I guess the acid pools are good for their skin." He said half jokingly a little cheered up.
"Proto, for what it's worth. I don't think what happened was your fault." Gadget said. The rest of them seemed to agree. "Yeah mate if you didn't know about the people being there how could you help it.?" Monty added.
"Well I really wasn't supposed to blow the place up anyway.." Proto shrugged feeling a little better now. There was one thing that Chip was itching to ask, and he had to know. He couldn't hold it any longer.
"Proto can I ask what your connection to Fat Cat is?" He asked quickly. Gadget sent him a sharp look as if to tell him that it wasn't the right time to ask that sort of questions, but Proto answered none the less.
"Well..." He began. "I was just walking through the giant's city at night."
"You mean humans?" Chip asked.
"Whatever you call them. Anyway I was just walking minding my own business, and these two rate tried to rob me, and of course I defended myself. Well I managed to get away, and thought I had seen the last of them. but boy was I wrong. The next time I went into the city they threw a sack over my head and before I knew it I was in front of this big gray cat that had a problem with where to put his ashes. I guess the two rats that tried to jump me worked for him.
"That sounds like Fat Cat." Chip said as if he wad made a break through.
"So you know him?" Proto asked. Then it was the Rangers turn to explain their past. They tired to make it as quick as possible. Proto smiled, it appeared he was in the company of fellow peace officers, or at least something similar.
"Well what do you know about the big robot?" Gadget finally asked, and in fact had been waiting for the chance to talk to Proto about his technology since she had rescued him from the robot. Proto's eyes seemed to glow with hate thinking about that robot. "Oh you mean Professor Tiberus' latest child, the Orion Alpha? At the moment absolutely nothing other than it's going to be a pain in the brain stem to take it down." He growled openly showing his contempt for the unknown ally of Fat Cat.
"Who is Tiberus?" Chip Asked. Proto grew silent for a moment. Then he took a deep breath through his nose.
" Tiberus was a robotics engineer. He came from the same planet as I did, Luxz. Well he was, is, the greatest mind Luxz has ever seen. But he wanted to use his expertise to build violent robots. He had the dream of taking over the city. We have had out share of run ins Tiberus and I, But just when I thought I had finally gotten rid of him, this happens. By some dark paradox, some insane turn of events that logically are not possible we end up on the same planet. He must have escaped and fled here, probably seeking a life of free crime." Proto chuckled. "I could imagine his surprise when Tiberus found he was on a world of giants. Well anyway now he, and your Fat Cat are in a union, and working together." Proto sat back and tried to get comfortable. "Ironically." He continued. "They are both the same. They both going to turn on the other. It's in their nature"
Then Proto thought for a moment. "By the way, what kept that robot from killing me, and how did I get here?" He asked.
"You can thank Gadget luv for that one mate, as soon as you hit the ground she snatched you right up out of harms way with her grapple" Monty explained proud of his friend. Proto looked at Gadget blankly. "I owe you my life." He said softly. He probably would have been a smear on the foot of that robot if it wasn't for her. Proto looked up. Cody was floating above his head trying to communicate with Zipper. Foxglove was quite interested in the tones and pitches that were coming from Cody. Being a bat and having a greater sound range each tone in it's own way meant more to her than just frequency gibberish. She couldn't understand it, but she had a better chance of learning how to than any of the other Rangers.
"What's that?" she asked pointing to Cody. "Oh that's just my guardian Cody." Proto answered.
"What are those noises that it's making?" She asked intently. Proto chuckled slightly. "He's asking zipper how he's able to fly."
"You can understand that?" Foxy asked. Proto nodded. "Sure it's just gauss." He answered, which only formed another question in Foxy's mind. "What's gauss?" She asked.
"Well, in a nut shell it's a machine language that is similar to a vocal language, but easier to understand than vultrix." He explained. "Well what's vultrix?" Foxy asked. Proto shrugged. "It's just another machine language I guess. To tell you the truth I've never heard it, that's just the definition they gave us for gauss in the academy."
"You trained in an academy?" Chip asked. "Yeah." Proto answered, "In fact it was extremely boring, mostly paper work, and virtual reality training. The real fun didn't start until I became an officer and was aloud to blow things up." He said jokingly.
"How old are you mate?" Monty asked. Proto looked stumped. "You know. I have no idea. I was ten Luxzan years, but I have no idea how to translate than into your time grading system." He paused. "In fact I don't even know your system." He shrugged it off. To him it wasn't really important anyway.
They hadn't noticed how much time had passed. It was not noon, Monty, and Zipper went into the kitchen to make lunch, while Gadget questioned Proto about Luxzan technology. Chip and Dale had a few questions as well, but mostly watched TV, looking to the midday news. Foxy returned to Gadget's room to finish sleeping.
Finally Gadget got the nerve to ask. "Proto can you help me with something?" Chip instantly grew extremely jealous, though he tried to hide it Gadget noticed. So did Proto, and in fact he was under the impression that the two were a couple, Chip and Gadget.
"Help you with what?" He asked a little scared. He thought to himself. "Oh man... I'm treading on thin ice..."
Gadget picked up on this. "Oh it's nothing like that silly, I just have something in my workshop I want you to look at." Proto's heard skipped a beat, that sounded more flirtatious that the first request though Gadget had in no way meant it like that. "Uhm..sure...." He said not sure what he was getting into.
Once in the workshop he gave a sigh of relief to find that it wasn't what he was expecting.
"You see I've been trying to figure out what this one part is for.." Gadget stopped. "What had you so scared?"
"What do you mean.?" Proto asked, playing dumb. "You looked like you were about to jump out of your skin, you didn't think I was flirting with you did you?" She asked curiously.
"Uhm...I think your boyfriend did..." Proto explained. "That's what had me nervous."
Gadget giggled. "You mean Chip? He's not my boyfriend."
"Oh.. well I'm not going to get into that type of conversation." Proto said. "So you wanted to know about this?" He said quickly changing the subject, pointing at the scrap of robot on the table.
"Yeah." Gadget said stepping closer to it. "I can't find anything like it in any of the books at the library."
Proto took a closer look. "Well it's definitely Luxz in design." He said. "Where did you find it?" He asked.
"I salvaged it from a fight with Fat Cat a while back, he sent this to try to kill us." Gadget explained.
Proto nodded examining the torn up machine parts. "Well it's probably something that Tiberus whipped up for him." Proto said stepping back.
"Well what's this?" Gadget said pointing to the sphere
"NO DON'T TOUCH THAT!" Proto snapped and Gadget jerked her hand back. Proto began to laugh.. "I'm sorry I just had to say that.." He turned to look at her. "That's nothing but it's heart." He said shaking his head as if it served no purpose what so ever.
"That was mean." Gadget said but couldn't help but laugh after all it was just a joke. "Well how does it open up?" She asked. "I've been trying to see what's inside it since I opened this thing up." She explained standing with her arms crossed looking frustrated.
"Well you can't.." Proto answered. "They're made to seal permanently once they are put together. There's nothing in there but some pumps and tubes anyway." He explained
Gadget wasn't any less puzzled than when she began. "What does a robot need a heart for anyway?"
"The tin man wanted a heart.." He said joking. Gadget gave him a strange look.
"How did you know that?" She asked puzzled
"I really don't know, that's just something I read out of a book at the library." Proto said shrugging. "No the heart pumps coolant throughout the machine so that it doesn't overheat." He finally explained.
For once Gadget was beginning to understand. She began to laugh, she had been expecting something so much more. It seemed to her that it had to be important if they wanted to keep people out so much. "Well gosh...I though it was something special.." She said downcast. Proto looked at her.. "What could be more important than your heart?" He asked. Gadget thought about it.
"Gee I guess you're right, but I was just expecting something different." She said shrugging. Proto shrugged as well. "Oh well. I guess nothing is ever what you want it to be." Then he thought for a moment. "And I don't have any idea how to explain that, or even what it means, or had to do with what we were talking about...But..There you have it." Gadget for a moment thought about it, but concluded that he meant it as a joke.
"By the way where's my gauntlet?" Proto asked. "This thing?" Gadget asked holding up Proto's weapon. "Yeah that's it." Proto said as she handed it to him. He eagerly strapped it back on his arm.
"Well that's all I needed in here.." Gadget said, "And I bet the others are wondering where we went.." Proto nodded and they left her workshop. Monty was just about to call for them as they shut the door.
"Is lunch ready Monty?" Gadget asked as she walked into the living room.
"Too Right Luv, I whipped up something special for our guest." Monty announced proudly.
"Uhm.. You shouldn't have.." Proto said shyly. In fact he didn't want to impose, and was looking forward to leaving as soon as he could. He was itching for revenge. However to be polite he sat where they told him, which was in fact between Chip, and Dale. He wasn't particularly fond of cheese quite unlike the stereotype that mice seem to have. However he ate, and was in fact very happy to have it. He hadn't even noticed how hungry he was until he started eating. Monty was happy with himself, watching Proto pack down sandwich after sandwich, it reminded of watching a caterpillar munching on a leaf. Chip and dale stopped for a moment and watched in amazement.
"Hey Monty we finally found some one that likes your port wine cheese and water cress sandwiches. " Chip said jokingly. They had a short laugh except for Proto who was too busy chugging a glass of water.
After lunch they had to discuss the matter at hand. Fat Cat had a quite deadly weapon that he could, and would use both against the Rescue Rangers, and anyone else that stood in the way of his criminal schemes.
"How can we deal with that?" Dale said remembering how much trouble the last one was and it was rather tiny compared to the Orion Alpha. The Rangers looked to Proto for an answer. He was at a loss for words. Yes he had fought robots before but none this size, or design. This was something completely new. Proto's old tactics wouldn't do any good.
"Cody you didn't happen to have gotten a quick scan of that robot's stats did you?" Proto asked looking back to where Cody was still conversing with Zipper who seemed to at least somewhat understand him. Cody snapped above Proto's head and began spurting out noise. Then Proto began to laugh.
"What's so funny?" Chip asked. A little offended that Proto would be joking at a time like this. Proto looked around and as he had expected he had their attention.
"Well though Orion seems completely impervious. It's not true. He has a flaw..He has a.. " Proto paused and looked directly at Gadget, then finished, "Weak heart." Then he smiled. Why hadn't he thought of it before. The motors that drove it's movements must be huge, and the fact that it has no head means all the circuitry has to be in the main sphere along with the motors. It would need a pretty powerful heart to cool all that down which there wasn't space for.
"But how can a robot have a heart?" Chip asked confused. Gadget quickly explained that it's heart was just a water pump to keep it cool.
"So what do we have to do?" Chip asked.
"Well you do what you do, and I'll do what I do." Proto said coyly. "Just take care of Fat Cat, and I'll handle tin grin."
"What are you going to do?" Gadget asked a little worried remembering
seeing how the robot threw Proto accost the ring of boxes like a rag doll.
"Well I'm thinking.. If I can stay alive long enough, I'll give it a heart attack. Cause it to over heat." Proto explained.
"What do you mean if you can stay alive long enough mate? With a lump on your head like that you're in no condition to fight a giant metal bloke." Monty commented.
"Well I'm not letting any of you try something that stupid." Proto said bluntly. Even if it sounded self destructive, they all had a feeling that it was more about Proto trying to keep them safe than exacting his revenge than he wanted to admit.
"But what if you get in trouble?" Gadget asked? she seemed worried, and Chip noted this. Proto looked up at Cody as if to ask "Us? Trouble?" Then he answered. "Well if I do get in a fix there is one way to shut the robot down."
"How?" They all asked in unison. "Well the robot is remote controlled so all you have to do is find the controller and well.. stop him." He said.
"That sounds easy enough." Dale said in his usual spirited mood. They thought about it. It would probably be easier than trying to over heat it. However Proto in all his radical, and extreme nature still wanted to confront it. To him it was more than just stopping a monster. He had always thought that he, once teamed with Cody could overcome any obstacle. To him this was a challenge. A challenge that he would master like all the ones before it. He also knew that Tiberus had in all likely hood had made a back up plan. He always did, and it was his skill at making precision quick get always that had allowed him to escape so many times before. He knew while he was confronting the Orion Tiberus would be leaving un noticed out a back exit as he usually did. If fact Proto was counting on it. He knew that he couldn't become part of the Rescue Rangers. They were too different in how they handled things, and more importantly he had to have his own dream to fallow. If he brought Tiberus down here he would have no more reason for being, no more drive to exist. He was too young to settle down and wouldn't know how to even if he was old enough. He had always lived a life of conflict and didn't know anything different. He didn't want to know anything different.
"Well why don't we just do that instead of compromising your safety trying to fight the thing?" Gadget asked hoping to change his mind. Proto just shook his head. "I just have this gut feeling that it won't be good enough, and I have to trust my instinct." He said quietly as he stood.
"Where are you going" Dale asked. Proto looked back as he reached for the door. " I need some air."
He spent the rest of the day looking at the sky. Every time Proto saw a cloud it made him think of Luxz. The sky there was nothing but clouds. A constant sheet of greenish brown clouds. Sometimes they would thin enough to see a bright area, that was their star Rigel. He had never actually seen the star, and he wondered what color it was. Was it golden like Earth's Sun? or was it some other color. At first glance it would appear that he was home sick, but that was not the case. He was actually depressed because he pictured Earth in the same condition as Luxz. He took a breath. Sure the air was not as pure as in the city, but it at least was air, from the Earth's atmosphere, and not some oxygen tanks somewhere in a mechanics section of a domed city. How could they take this for granted? What they had was a gift. He didn't want to think about it anymore. He had to clear his mind, and concentrate. He was going after Orion that night weather the Rangers came or not, and he in fact had decided that it would be safer for them if they didn't come. On the other hand he knew that they would notice him missing and come to help. He dreaded the thought of one of them being hurt because of him, or even by his enemy Either way he felt that their blood was on his hands. He especially didn't want Gadget to be harmed on his account. She was cute, even if she was an Earth mouse. Proto then realized that he had never been on a date, and never wanted to. It never appealed to him.
"I guess I've just been too busy blowing things up" He said to himself.
Suddenly a voice from below caught his attention. He hadn't noticed Dale, and Foxglove setting on the branch below him.
"Hey Proto." Dale greeted. "You like watching the sunset too?" Foxglove added. Proto only nodded. They could tell something was troubling him. "What's wrong Proto?" Dale asked "Don't you watch the sunsets on your planet too?" Foxy asked. Proto simply replied.
"There aren't any sunsets on Luxz." There was a short pause. "Well I guess I'd better give you two your space." Proto said As he began to lower himself down the tree with his grapple.
"Where are you going?" Dale asked concerned.
"I'm going to pick a fight." Proto answered with sly tones. For
a moment they wondered what he meant. It was probably just a joke.
"Do you think we should tell the others?" Foxy asked quietly. Dale looked down at Proto who was walking toward the city, the sunset causing him to be nothing more than a silhouette. He shook his head. "No.. I think he just needs some space." Dale answered and he pulled Foxy closer to him. Dale knew that the others probably wouldn't even notice that he was gone. They usually didn't notice when he himself was gone, or at least that's how it seemed to him. Dale for the moment wondered if Proto would become a permanent member of the Rangers, but in fact right now thinking about anything but Foxglove was very hard So he gave in and turned his attention to his love, who was now snuggling closer to him. He had never felt more alive.
Proto strode through the empty streets. He never truly walked, he didn't have
time to stroll slowly as if he had no where to be He had things to do, there
were always things to do. He saw a neon sign in the distance and as he got closer
he could feel something thumping in his chest. Then he could hear the music,
Loud pounding music. It wasn't long before he found the small animal entrance,
which was located in back, behind some boxes. It in fact was a drainage pipe
that the animals had converted into an entrance. As he tried to enter a large
rat stepped in the doorway.
"Where do you think you're going?" He said roughly. Proto looked at him oddly. "Where do you think?" He asked in return.
"You got a pass?" The bouncer asked.
"Oh yeah..." Proto said beckoning the rat behind a box. The bouncer curiously followed. No one heard the muffled "bong", and Proto walked in straightening his vest as if nothing had happened. Once inside he could see that as he had expected he was in a rock and roll dance club, obviously members only. The music could be heard vibrating up from the floor. It was loud, and fast paced. Proto cracked his neck.
"Oh yeah. This sounds like home." He smirked to himself. Places like this was where he spent most of his time. It seemed like all the degenerates could be found in places like this, and he was sure he would find some action. He made his way to the back, and found a small table. He sat down feeling the thunderous music pound in his chest. A smile swept accost his face as the blood began to flow. A part of him that few people had ever seen began to come alive. This was his dangerous side. It was a side that he could normally suppress, but now hearing the rushing music, and smelling the scent of smoke and cocktails he couldn't hold back. He was in the wild, in his natural habitat, and his wild side could come out. Then from his left he heard a familiar voice.
"You know it was really nice of the boss to give us the night off Lou." The thick rats tones could barely be heard over the thumping music. The DJ announced something from a band called "Iron Maiden" and the music began. It was slow at first, the words clearly audible. Proto watched as the two shadowy figures walked just behind him, and to a table behind and to his right. Slowly he stood, and turned. They didn't see him yet. He walked to them, he didn't try to hide the fact that he was there, after all these two were in no way innocent, and he did have a score to settle. By now the band was clearly singing "Fear of the dark..Fear of the Dark, I have a constant feeling something's always there!"
"My kind of music" Proto growled with his teeth clenched as he slammed both fists down on the two rat's table. They scooted away and stood. They took a few steps back.
"Hey...look it was only business...no hard feelings right?" Lou stuttered holding up his hands in defense. The lights behind Proto concealed his features. To them he was a shadow with two green eyes, two glowing green eyes. They in fact were glowing from the black light above, but to the two rats he looked like some demon sent for them, some shadow assassin.
"Yeah...Only business...No hard feelings." He cooed, as he leapt over the table and landed in front of them. He had found that the gravity here wasn't as strong as it was on Luxz, and he could launch himself into the air much higher than he could ever dream of jumping on Luxz. The two rats took a few more steps back, but didn't have time to run, Proto was on them like a wolf. He launched Cody at Bruno hammering him in the chest sending him sprawling over a table knocking over drinks , and a tray of peanuts. Then sending the grapple out griping Lou's trench coat. Proto gave a sharp jerk and slung the lanky rat into another table. He jumped to where Bruno was getting up and kneed him in the forehead knocking him back onto his back. Then turned back to Lou as Cody snapped in place on his wrist. His eyes narrowed into green glowing slits. Lou tried to make a break for it, but Cody was on him in an instant catching him behind the legs taking him off his feet. Proto was there as soon as he hit the ground. He reached down and stood him up.
"Only business eh?..Throw me to the dogs?" He growled in his face. Lou threw himself back out of Proto's grip, finally ready to put up a fight. Proto raised an eyebrow. "Oh?...You want to settle this?" He asked as Lou took stance. Proto chuckled evilly. "OK....If you say so.." He said cooly. With that he removed his gauntlet, and ordered Cody to stand down. By now there was a rather large crowd forming. They formed a ring around the two, chanting, and whistling. The bouncers couldn't get through, and in fact wouldn't want to break it up even if they could, after all loud music, and full contact, is the best form of entertainment.
Proto stepped in, and popped his neck. It wasn't long before it had begun. Lou came in with an impressive combo, but it was easily dodged. It lacked the coordination that it needed to be potentially dangerous. The first was an uppercut, followed by a left jab. Proto stood in place pivoting at the hips rocking back, and then to the side avoiding the attack. Lou attacked again. As Lou threw his weight into his next punch, Proto slipped to the side, and helped Lou run into a wall. Lou turned back around and rushed hoping for a tackle. Proto spun aside, and Lou collided with Bruno who was just getting up dazed from the knee to the head. They both bowled over through the crowd. By now everyone was cheering the fight on. The music had changed pace. It was pounding again, rushing and thundering. Quite appropriate for the goings on it the club. The singer growled "Dirty deeds and they're done dirt cheep." Proto liked this song from the start. The pounding beet lifted his spirit. Now both of the rats were getting up and charging. They walked in slowly, this time it was serious. No more games. Proto smiled and cracked his knuckles. This was what he wanted, more than anything. He could feel sweat drip down his temple. The feeling of battle. It had been his only refuge on burned out Luxz, and now it would be a familiar nocturne, a song in the night. A lullaby that would lull his mind to sleep. He didn't have to think. In times like this he reacted to training and instinct. That was what appealed to him, he could shut his brain off. He didn't have to think of his father disowning him. He didn't have to think about the innocent people he killed, and how much he hated himself inside for it. He would take that hate out on these two. After all they were as filthy as the garbage he found them in.
Now they were all there, Bruno took his first swing at him, and Proto dropped to the floor, and then launched himself back up with a shoulder check into the big oaf's chest knocking him back. In the distraction Lou managed to get a knee to Proto's stomach. Proto staggered back, and straightened back up. Then rushed back in, maneuvering in between Lou's swipes at him, and returned the knee to the stomach, and raised the bet with a second to the head sending him sprawling. By now Bruno was back in. Proto wasn't paying him as much attention as he should have. Bruno managed to get a bear hug around Proto. He gasp for air and the massive rat squeezed the life out of him. In frustration he jolted his head back The back of his head smashed into the rat's mouth. A tooth flew into the crowd, and Proto was dropped. He fell on his hands and knees. He didn't have time to get up before a kick landed on his nose. Lou had kicked him while he was down. Proto fell and rolled onto his back. He looked up, and his eyes widened. He rolled away as Bruno barely missed stomping his already ruined nose. He rolled back and jumped back to his feet. Theses two were dangerous once they worked as a team. However the pounding music flooded Proto's mind, and he licked the blood off of his lips. There was still more fire left in him.
He kneeled down and waited for the last minute. Lou was closest, his confidence boosted by their recent lucky streak. He was just before kicking him when Proto launched himself in the air. He had gained over his own body height and seemed to hang there like Michael Jordan. Then just as Lou's guard was down from watching in awe of how much height Proto had gained, Proto came down. Proto thrust his elbow into the top of Lou's head. The impact was solid, and made a loud crack. Lou dropped without even staggering. Bruno swung another right at Proto but he was ready. He hauled the unconscious body of Lou into place as a shield. The punch struck his ribs with a thud. Lou didn't even flinch being dead cold unconscious. Proto threw him to the side, and faced Bruno. He began to back up. Bruno had been a boxer. Before Fat Cat found them Lou was his manager, and they fought for money in pit fights, and gutter joints like this. He had seen tough guys from all over, but never some one that could take a beating like this guy. His nose was broken, the back of his head was split open, and there was still a visible lump from his fight with Fat Cat's robot. Then there was the fact that he felt ribs pop from the constriction he had given him. Yet he still approached him. His eyes still glowing like the grim reaper. He panicked and began backing up.
"It's over..." He shuddered. "You beat the snot out of us.. what else do you want?" He asked stumbling over the remains of a broken table.
"Where's your leader.?" Proto asked with a growl.
"I .. I don't know.." The large rat said now backing into the crowd, who was parting for the two to go through.
"You lie!" Proto yelled extending his hand letting Cody snap into place.
"OK.. OK I'll tell you.. just don't hit me with that thing again." Bruno begged. "So tell me." Proto snapped still advancing on the rat.
"He's at the Lavish Deluxe Hotel. That's where he moved his main headquarters to." Bruno explained, both scared of what this mouse could do to him now, and what Fat Cat would do to him later. He knew that he and Lou would have to catch the next train out, and probably never come back. In fact he really didn't like the idea of working for Fat Cat if guys like this were going to be chasing him all the time. Proto backed down, and picked up the rest of his equipment. He could feel his pulse pounding like a bass drum in his head. It was the feeling that he had been looking for.
Even as he stepped out into the cool night air, he could still hear the music drumming in his brain. He was hot, and could feel his fiery blood pulsing through his veins, his heart pounding in his chest. To him that was proof that he was alive, this feeling of adrenaline, this rush of pushing yourself to the limit on the edge of breaking down. It is for this feeling that he wants to confront the Orion robot. It is for this feeling that he lives. At this moment there is nothing better. Proto ran he, ran hard and fast. It would help him keep this rush. He didn't know that he was in the park. He didn't know where he was at all, for the moment nothing meant anything to him but the feeling of his heart beating like a drum, and feeling the pulse throb in his neck, and temples. He vaguely heard Cody warning him to calm down before he goes into cardiac arrest. He didn't care. Right now he didn't have any reason to worry. If he died he would die happy. But his body wouldn't let him keep going. His legs seemed to lock up. He fell tumbling end over end and he finally stopped. The entire world was spinning. He didn't have the strength to even attempt to get up, all he could do was lay there choking for breath. Looking up at the sky with the thunder pounding in his chest, and head. He remembered seeing something flutter about over head. But everything was whirling and all he remembered was waking up in the same place he had woke up before.
What force keeps drawing him back here? He was able to stand, and got up. He looked around for a bit, and it actually took him a while to realize that he was in bandages. His head, and nose. Then he noticed that even his ribs had a cloth around them. He walked into the living room. It was still dark outside, but the sky was gradually beginning to glow. The sun was coming up. It didn't seem as if anyone was up. The living room was empty. The quiet was almost as numbing as the loud pounding music. His head hurt. He wanted to leave before anyone could notice. He didn't want to be a part of them. There was really one reason, though he could have come up with many other excuses. What happened to him last night had been a part of him all his life. He now began to see it as a monster. Like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He had become something that he didn't want them to see. He didn't want Gadget to see it mainly. She seemed to think of him as a "good guy". He knew if she had witnessed that side of him that she would certainly think different. Of course he could live with it if he had to. He could turn his back on them all, and though he didn't want to he knew in time he would get over it. All he needed was Cody. He had always been there for him. He thought back to when they were first assigned together. Oh he was so young then. He was just a boy. So was Cody, he in fact was fresh off the assembly table. They were both rookies. He remembered the first time Cody had seen that side of him. To this day Proto never could figure out why Cody covered for him. Maybe he saw something that he didn't. In fact after being together so long Cody himself has seemed to developed the same hunger. Maybe it was fate that the two be assigned together.
"Cody Return" Proto whispered and Cody replied lifting from his roost on the floor beside Gadget's bed where he had been watching over his partner. He didn't notice Gadget sleeping on the couch. Even if he did it wouldn't have mattered. He searched for a moment and found a small sheet of paper, and writing device. He scratched out a quick note. Then he walked out the door. As he had expected Dale, and Foxglove were there watching the sunrise. They looked up at him when they heard the door shut.
"Proto you shouldn't be up, you need to rest." Foxy said in a concerned voice.
"Yeah Gadget told us not to let you leave." Dale added.
Proto closed his eyes, and said softly. "I'll survive....It's what I do best." Dale stood "But Gadget said you were too weak to go anywhere."
"Do you really think you can stop me?" Proto said in a very un threatening voice. Dale looked at Proto. He knew he couldn't physically stop him. In fact he began to wonder if Monty could.
"I wouldn't fight you anyway. You're my friend." He said sadly. Proto nodded. "I know Dale.. I meant do you think you could talk me out of it.." He explained. Dale shook his head downcast. He knew he couldn't
"I've always liked you better than your brother." Proto began. "You mean Chip? He's not my brother." Dale explained with a hint of a chuckle.
"Oh.." Proto said with a weak smile. "Anyway.. He's too serious. If he doesn't lighten up he'll give himself a coronary."
"Chip isn't that bad.. He just takes his job too personally." Dale explained.
"So do I." Proto said calmly stepping past them. He was about to leap off the branch when the door opened. Everyone turned to see someone what they hadn't expected. Chip was there.
"Where do you think you're going Proto? Do you want to get yourself killed?" He asked. as he moved toward him. "Come back in and get in bed."
"I was just going out for some twinkies." Proto lied.
"Oh really then why did you leave the note?" Chip held up the note that Proto left. Proto looked down. "You weren't supposed to see that until I was gone." He said.
"I can't let you go out there like that.. I wouldn't let any of the Rangers
go out in your condition, so I can't let you." Chip said ushering Proto
Everyone was up now. As soon as Proto was inside they began asking questions. He heard only one. The voice of Gadget seemed to echo in his head. "Why would you try something like this? Don't you care what happens to yourself?" In fact he didn't. His own well being was the farthest thing from his mind. He didn't mind being hurt. In fact he needed it some times. To watch his friends be hurt when he knew he could avoid it was what bothered him the most.
Foxy stood beside Dale in the doorway. She could see that there was a lot of hurt held inside Proto, and she hoped that one day he would find relief. She felt sorry that there was nothing she could do. She was sure the others felt the same way. In fact even Chip, who had seen Proto as a rival from the start had began to feel sorry for him. Why was he doing this to himself.? He could see that there was some issue that Proto had to work out He could also see that they couldn't really help, and this made him sad. He had become accustomed to helping people, but now that one was out of his reach it made him feel powerless. On the other hand Proto was obviously very strong willed, and Chip was confident, that one day, maybe not soon, but one day Proto would find a way to have peace of mind. Right now it was his job to keep him alive long enough to heal. He had seen as well as the others what the huge machine had done to him. Then claw didn't quite hit home. Proto had brought Cody up to throw like a discus, and the claw nicked the side of the disc. It shifted off course and clipped Proto. The claws had very sharp points, and they were aimed at him. He was lucky that he wasn't made into a mouse-kabob. Chip had always seen himself as the adventurous type. He and Proto were in that regard the same. They both loved action. The thrill of the chase, and adventure of the case. Mostly he was afraid that Gadget would favor Proto over him. He was a mouse like her, and as a matter of fact, rather hansom one. Once he wasn't covered in bruises. He realized that she didn't act toward Proto with anymore interest than she did the others. She would be just as concerned if he was in Proto's position. Ironically she seemed more interested in Cody than any of them. She had always had a scientific mind, and she was noticeably fascinated with the technology inside Cody, and the principals that made him work. Chip suddenly felt great pride for Gadget. Maybe one day she would build her own Cody.
Mostly they questioned what had happened the night before. Foxy had spotted him lying on the ground when she went out last night. Proto couldn't tell them the truth. Though Dale remembered him having said that he was going to pick a fight the evening before he didn't say anything about it. He in fact had told himself that he wouldn't mention it. It seemed like a personal issue, and he didn't think that Proto would appreciate him dragging everyone into it. For the moment they stood there in silence.
"I had to think.." Proto said quietly. "I went out so I could think. I didn't expect things to happen the way they did, but they did." He said as if in a trance.
"What do you mean? What happened?" Gadget asked.
Proto stood quiet for a moment. "The two rats that took me to Fat Cat, Well I saw them in a dance club.." He paused. Gadget put her hand on his shoulder.."What did you do Proto?" She asked quietly. Proto turned to Dale and Foxy.
"Like I said.. I picked a fight.." He said with a slight laugh. Foxglove covered her mouth. "I thought you were just joking.." she said surprised.
"At the time I was joking." He answered, "I didn't expect to
run into them, but when I did, something snapped." His voice became a low
growl. "No one kicks me while I'm down.." He muttered. The anger still
there. Then he looked up. "Well they won't be kicking anyone anytime soon."
He said satisfied with his revenge.
Gadget looked shocked, and she stepped back. "Proto you didn't!?!" She said with a gasp. Proto laughed. Gadget didn't see what was so funny. She took another step back all of a sudden he didn't seem as gentile as he had before.
"No.." He answered after awhile. " They're alive, but I wager they wish they weren't"
There was a short silence, as if everyone was trying to decide exactly what type of person Proto was.
"Hey all I did was rough them up a bit, and get them to talk." Proto shrugged. "After all they did have it coming to them." He tried to explain.
It didn't ease the tension much, but they began to understand that it was a personal issue. Gadget tried to imagine what Monty would do if someone had done to one of the Rangers what they had done to Proto, especially her. Even Monty himself was known for having a temper, and in fact probably would have done the same thing. Proto was under a lot of stress that much was clear. He was on a foreign world, and he was struggling to overcome emotional issues, as well as find a niche in this alien society. This didn't seem to vindicate his rage, but it at least helped explain it. It almost looked as if he enjoyed being hurt, and wanted to fight the huge Orion robot so that he would get hurt. She couldn't understand why, in fact she didn't understand Proto at all. He was so nice before, and now he seemed so dark and depressed. She wanted to help, but he was so good at hiding what he was feeling inside she couldn't understand exactly what was wrong, so this meant she couldn't find a way to help.
Monty was the first one to notice the time. Now that they knew where Fat Cat was hiding out they could make a plan to get the pearls back from him, and bring down the robot.
"Look mates the longer we wait the more time Fat Cat has to get away." He said. They looked at the clock. "Monty's right." Chip said. "We don't have much time, Fat Cat is probably planning his escape as we speak."
"Then what are we waiting for?" Dale said excitedly. "Let's go !" they began to scuffle about getting their equipment ready, then Gadget stopped. "Wait what about Proto?" They turned and looked at him.
"Don't you for one second think you're going to leave me here." He said walking toward them. "It doesn't look like we have a choice." Chip shrugged. "If we leave him here he'll just fallow us." He said looking at his friends. "Chip's got a point." Gadget said. Proto cracked a grin. "I knew you'd see things my way." He said as he joined them. Before long the Rangermobile zoomed out of the garage and dodged down the busy morning streets on it's way to the hotel that Fat Cat had set up his main headquarters. He would be expecting them.
It wasn't long before they were there. Fat Cat had a speakeasy built as a
cover. They entered the parlor The scenery looked like something out of a Dick
Tracy movie. Small creatures of all kinds mingled dressed in tuxedos and evening
gowns. A bouncer stopped them at the door.
"I'm sorry but you can't come in here dressed like that, we have a dress code." He said stepping in front of them. Then a well dressed lizard walked up, and whispered something in the bouncer's ear. His expression changed.
"Oh. Excuse me. The boss has been expecting you. They didn't have time to react before a group of massive rats grabbed them from behind, and pulled them through a door to the side. They were thrown into a dark room. Everything was quiet. Proto felt a presence as if something huge was looming over head, as if some unknown weight was pushing down on him.
"This is it..." Proto said quietly. No one commented, the tension was so thick you could feel it's weight on you. Then a voice came over a loud speaker.
"Well.. you finally decided to show?" It was Fat Cat. "Well I'm quite glad we could have this meeting Rangers, quite glad indeed. In fact I have something to show you. Why don't you say hello to my new toy." Then a light came on in the distance, then another closer one, then another. Down the row each light lit after the one before it until the final light lit over head. They were in a large room filled with boxes, Probably the hotel storage room, or maybe even a part of another adjoined unused building. There was a box in front of them "Toy" was freshly spray painted on the front using a stencil to make the letters. There was a balcony that ran around the upper level of the room to a door. Proto looked up and followed the catwalk with his eyes. Quickly he pulled his gauntlet off. He handed it to Gadget.
"Take this and get out of here!" He almost yelled. She looked puzzled. Proto pointed to the catwalk. "There get out of here go get Fat Cat. I'll handle things here." He said. Gadget protested. "No. I can't just leave.."
"I hate to say it but he's right." Chip said. "If we all stay here Fat Cat will get away." Proto looked anxious. Then came a punching noise, and a large rip streaked down the front of the cardboard box.
"You have to go now." Proto said. By now the only one that wasn't convinced to take his advice was Gadget. "Go find who is controlling this thing and stop them." Proto urged. This was all it took. They knew what they had to do. Their job here was to find the puppet master behind the puppet. They couldn't make Proto come if he didn't want to, and maybe this was his way of dealing with what he had inside.
There was another ripping sound and the gash in the box got larger. Now two metal claws gripped each side of the hole in the box. With a loud shredding sound they forced the gash open. The silvery monster stepped out. Proto looked to the Rangers, and they understood. He wanted this battle. Though they didn't want to leave him, they had to. They took his grapple though they didn't need it, Gadget still had her own grapple gun. It however would probably be the only thing they would have to remember him by. They climbed up onto the balcony, and made their way to the door.
Proto extended his arm, and smirked. "Cody...let's rock" It eagerly snapped to his wrist. The Orion wasted no time. It advanced with deadly accuracy throwing it's left claw down on him. Proto rolled to the right as the metal claw sparked off of the cement floor. Then came the right claw, streaking to him. He leapt straight back and avoided being slashed open by mere millimeters.
"I didn't want to do this Cody." He said. "I wanted to save these for a special occasion." Cody answered with it's usual chatter. "This is a special occasion."
"Well then." Proto smirked "Cody. Function missile launcher!" Cody seemed to shimmer, and it opened. A rack of six miniature rockets lowered from the upper half of Cody. Proto didn't have much time to do anything but engage the weapon before he had to begin dodging again.
Chip, Dale, Monty, Gadget, and Zipper followed the hall that the door opened
to. There was a door at one end. Once they had opened the door they found an
empty office. Apparently the hotel was once part of a much larger building.
For some reason it was divided in half, and sealed off. The second half, though
abandoned was still running off of the electricity fed to the other half, since
they couldn't really cut off power to half the building. The office was empty,
there was an old desk, and papers scattered everywhere. They looked around,
and noticed a door to the left. There was a voice coming from the room next
to them. Quietly they looked in, and saw that it was a surveillance room. Probably
the night watchman's room for whatever this building was used for. A few of
the cameras were still on, and the wall to the right of the door showed in black
and white the current battle between Proto and the Orion robot. On a desk in
front of the monitors was a lizard. He was wearing strange gloves and boots.
He also had on some sort of visor.
He was obviously frustrated. He pulled off the visor and threw it down. "Why won't this work?" He growled furiously. Then he spotted the Rangers. "How did you get here?" He asked surprised, then looked at the monitors. "Oh no I forgot the blind spot." He grumbled to himself. Then looked up and laughed. "Well you're too late anyway. Something went wrong and that thing won't respond to the controls!" He said as he threw off the gloves. It wasn't long before Monty was up on the desk, the Lizard tried to run but Monty grabbed the back of the collar of his sweater. Then he pulled him back and pounded his fist down on the top of his head, which knocked him cold. Then he brushed off his hands. Gadget spotted the Microphone to the loud speaker on the other end of the table. She ran to it, and Zipper held down the talk button while she spoke into it.
"Proto, the robot is out of control!" Proto heard the familiar voice over the intercom system. He looked around which caused him to miss his chance to fire his second set of three missiles. The first set had went wild due to him having to roll out of the way of the Orion's attempt to stomp him again. They slid accost the ground, and vaporized a box at the far end of the room.
"It's not responding to the controls, it's gone berserk." The voice said again. "Now you tell me!" He yelled though they couldn't hear him. He was hoping that the controller of the Orion would not be quite as skilled as Tiberus at guiding it. Apparently Tiberus had also thought about this and installed a automatic control program in it's brain. He had pulled the same trick back on Luxz. Most of the time his disciples would puppet the robots in the same way as the Orion, but sometimes he would program them to go into auto pilot when they spotted him, or if the controller began to loose the battle.
"What do we do now?" Dale asked watching the monitors. Dale looked at Gadget. She looked at the gauntlet that Proto gave her. She didn't realize she still had it. In fact it at this point seemed useless her grapple gun had a longer reach.
"We can't stand here, we've got to do something." Gadget said jumping off of the table and running back toward the room where Proto was. When she reached the room she stood there on the balcony. The Orion raised it's left arm ready for a strike. Proto seemed to be too busy aiming Cody to notice. There wasn't time to warn him. Gadget raised her grapple gun, and fired. then quickly tied the string off to the hand rail of the catwalk. Her aim was true and the tether wrapped around the wrist of the robot's raised claw. The Orion swiped down and the string pulled tight with a twang. The claw stopped, and the Robot turned to see what had lassoed it's arm. Proto looking up saw the Orion pull back it's free hand for a swipe at the balcony. This gave him the opportunity he was looking for. He Called out a command. "Cody, auto aim, set target right shoulder." The disc seemed to comply. Proto fired quickly and watched the missiles whiz toward the Orion's arm. they met their mark, and the huge robot rocked with the impact. There was a shower of sparks and the huge arm fell to the ground with a crash. The Orion whirled around to confront Proto snapping the tie on it's left arm. It thrashed down at him, and he rolled aside. He was out of missiles. Cody closed up to protect it's inner mechanics. By now the rest of the Rangers were on the balcony watching. Gadget then noticed that a green substance was dripping from the damaged socket of the left arm. It was leaking Coolant. However it didn't seem to be leaking fast enough to stunt it's ability. She yelled to Proto.
"Proto, it's loosing coolant. Try to make it over heat!" Proto didn't have time to answer, he had already had a few close calls, and was beginning to tire out. Even though he had to dodge less now that it only had one hand. He could still feel his heart pounding like a sledge hammer. He threw Cody again at the Orion, it struck the wrist, and knocked the claw back but didn't damage it.
Gadget kept looking for another way to help when she spotted it. There was a larger coolant line hanging from the open socket. It must not have been connected to the arm because it wasn't broken. Maybe if she could cut that line. Then she realized that she was still wearing Proto's grapple device.
"Proto how do I use this?" She yelled to him. "Tell it to arm." He said trying to catch his breath. "Then just sling it out. The claw extends automatically." He groaned as he rushed to one side to avoid a stomp.
"Arm." Gadget said loudly only half expecting it to work, but to her surprise the device responded, and opened. "I hope this works." She muttered as she slung her arm using the motion one would to throw a ball. The grapple extended but the Orion was too far away.
"Try to get it closer." She said running back and forth trying to get a better aim at the coolant line. Proto began to lead it toward the balcony. It of course followed. This time Gadget was able to get a better aim, and let the grapple fly. Success! It snapped clenching around the coolant line. She pulled against the robot but began to slide off of the balcony. Quickly Chip wrapped his arms around her waist and began to pull her back. The Orion began to turn and this pulled them closer to the edge. Dale ran in followed by Monty and Zipper. The five pulled in a tug of war against the great machine, and it was imperative that soon something would give. With a loud pop the coolant tube snapped, The Rangers fell back. The robot didn't seem to notice other than it was free to attack Proto again. It turned back to face him. It lurched toward him spewing the green liquid from the tube which was hanging from the torn socket.
Proto was beginning to get fed up with dodging this thing's attacks. He hadn't put up much of a fight, there wasn't much of a fight he could put up. Cody only had one battery of missiles, and those were gone. Throwing Cody at it didn't seem to do much good, and in fact would probably in the long run damage Cody, who quite frankly wasn't designed to be used as such an unorthodox weapon. There wasn't any way to try to trip it. Gadget's grapple launcher's cord had snapped, and his grapple arm wasn't long enough. At the moment there didn't seem to be anything to do but wait and see it the robot would give out on it's own. If they ran it would give chase, and if they stayed it would continue to attack them. Things began to look hopeless. At least it seemed to focus it's violence on Proto, probably a adjustment to it's program by Tiberus.
Suddenly the lights flickered, and there was a voice. Everyone looked up to see Foxy fluttering in front of a light. She had flown in from an open window, and was watching. She wanted to help but didn't know what to do.
"Foxglove!!" Dale yelled watching in horror as the huge Orion robot turned and began to focus it's attacks on Foxy.
"Watch out!" Dale yelled again, but was unable to do anything more than watch. The Orion Swung at Foxy. The claw looked like it was going to hit her for sure when she noticed she was in danger, and quickly fluttered to the side. The Orion's claw smashed into the light fixture that Foxy was flying in front of. There was a loud pop, a shower of sparks and flash. The Entire Robot was thrown back, sprawling from the shock. Proto barely missed being flattened as it thudded against the floor. It jerked and twitched a few times, but didn't get up. Soon it was lifeless. Foxy watched it fall then landed safely on the catwalk. She promptly hugged Dale. "That was too close for comfort." Dale said as he embraced her. "Oh. I heard that coming a mile away." Foxy said happily. Gadget looked down at Proto.
"Are you OK?" She yelled to him. He was leaning on his knees trying to catch his breath. He looked up and gave a thumbs up. Then Foxy said something that surprised them all.
"Sorry guys I would have been here sooner but I had to carry the pearls to the tree so we could return them later." Every one looked at her with shock on their faces. "What?" Chip asked. Of course foxy had to explain.
"Well I couldn't sleep. I couldn't stand the thought of everyone else out here risking their lives, and me at home in bed. So I came looking for you."
"How did you get the pearls?" Dale asked confused.
"Well I was flying over, and I saw Fat Cat. He was just about to hand
the pearls to some old rat. So I just flew down and snatched them before he
knew what even happened. I bet he's pretty steamed." She said on one breath.
Then took a deep breath to compensate.
"Not quite as steamed as this hunk of junk." Proto commented kicking the dead smoking corpse of the late Orion Alpha robot. They looked down at him for a moment and then went back to questioning Foxy. Then Gadget looked down at him as if puzzled.
"Proto..Why did it keep attacking you, and not us?" She asked. Proto who had by now climbed up onto the shell of the Orion shrugged.
"Well the best explanation I have is that Tiberus reprogrammed it to make killing me priority one. He did that type of stuff on Luxz." He laughed. "He would hack into work robot's mind programs, and rewire them to attack me on site. So it's no mystery that he would do that with this one. He wanted to make sure that it killed me even if Fat Cat didn't control it to." He said
"Well we'd better get out of here." Monty Said brushing off his hands. They agreed, and made record speed in getting back to Ranger's Head Quarters.
Proto never really said good bye. He vanished one day, leaving early in the morning before the Rangers were up. That morning Foxglove, and Dale weren't watching the sunrise. They were too busy picking out the Foxy's wedding dress. No one knew that he had gone.
It's been almost a month since they last saw Proto. The Rescue Rangers sat at their Table eating their evening meal. There was a knock at the door. It was so sudden and unexpected that they jumped. It had been a quiet day. They weren't talking much, and the sudden break in the silence broke them from their trance.
"I wonder who that could be." Chip said getting up to answer the door. When Chip pulled the door back they saw their friend Proto. He was standing looking away from the door, as if he had been waiting for some time before the had built up the courage to knock.
"Proto." Chip said surprised. He had thought that he was gone forever chasing his fortune and glory. Proto looked back to the door.
"Hello Chip. How has it been?" He said politely.
"It's been good. Come in, we were just having dinner." He said waving
him in. Proto stepped in looking around as if it had been years since he had
been inside the tree house.
"I can't stay long. I just came to say to tell you that I'm leaving Chicago." He said following chip into the dining room.
"Proto." Gadget said surprised when she saw him. He got up and gave him a big hug, which made Chip feel a little jealous.
Proto greeted them each in turn, and after being urged by Monty to sit he found a place between Foxy and Gadget at the table. They passed him a tray for whatever it was they were having.
"Why did you leave like that?" Gadget asked sounding a little hurt. "Why didn't you tell anyone?" Proto looked down as if ashamed. He didn't answer at first, but he knew that he would have to explain, so he began.
"It's hard to explain, mainly because there were a lot of reasons. I really didn't want you to worry about me. I suppose you knew what I was doing after you thought about it." He looked down at his tray. Then looked back up. "But the main reason was I was scared."
"What were you scared of? You're the bravest person I've met...Other than Dale." Foxy complimented. Proto smiled a little. "Thanks...you're the sweetest bat I know, and Dale is lucky to have you." Both Foxy and Dale blushed under their fur. "You all have really made an impression on me. I'll never forget any of you." He said down trodden.
"Hey chin up mate, let's not end it like this." Monty said trying to lighten the mood. They all agreed, and decided that if this was the last time they would see Proto they would make it a fond memory to think of in the future
They talked for hours, about everything from the weather to Fat Cat, and past adventures. Then Gadget asked. "Where will you be going from here Proto?" He looked at her, he didn't have to think long. "I'm going west, all the way to the ocean. I have to stay on the trail of Tiberus. It will probably never come to a conclusion between he and I, just as you'll probably be chasing Fat Cat well into your golden years." He shrugged. "I guess that's just fate."
"I've never believed in fate." Gadget said quietly. Proto looked at her, and smiled. "Neither have I. It's too much like a promise, and this life rarely gives promises, those it does, it rarely keeps." He explained. Gadget smiled. They seemed to have the same opinion of a more than one thing. Proto finally stood. "Well it's been the time of my life, but I have to hit the road." They escorted him to the door. He opened it, and began to leave, but turned.
"I never told you why I left without saying goodbye."
"Why did you do it Proto?" Gadget asked. She was sad that he was going, but glad that she had gotten to know him, even if it was for such a short time It was then that she realized that this was the first time she had seen him void of cuts, bruises, or other injuries. He was in fact quite a heartthrob. "He's as hansom as Chip." She thought to herself with a smile.
"I never said goodbye because was scared to. I dreadfully hate goodbyes
it means that our paths will never again cross. I intend to see you all again
someday. So let's not end this with a goodbye. Instead let's draw this adventure
to a close with an until next time." He said with a smile. "Until
Next time." He said with a quick wave. Then he turned and walked out into
the night, and was gone.
"Until next time." Gadget whispered quietly to herself. They watched him leave unsure of his future, but certain that they would meet again.
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