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Thread: Team Acorn

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    Team Acorn

    Prologue

    It was a cold December night, only a few days before Christmas. Tis the season, or it should have been. For two chipmunks, searching from their ranger plane in the skies above New York City, there was no cheer to be had this holiday. They used to be a team of five calling themselves the Rescue Rangers. However, they were down to two. There was Chip, the leader, and a devoted detective out to solve cases. As he manned the wheel, Dale peered down at the ground from the passenger seat. Chip's brother, Dale was a goofball who earned more than one bonk on the head for his screw ups. However, he was undoubtedly the heart of the team and when he put his mind to it, he was just as effective a ranger as his brother was.

    Missing from the team was their muscle, Monterey Jack, and his sidekick, Zipper. The Australian tough talker, who more than backed it up with his fists, had accepted a position at the RIA (Rodent Intelligence Agency). Naturally, his buzzing friend of a fly joined him. They were certainly missed, even if Monterey's unhealthy obsession with cheese sometimes got them into trouble. Then there was the other member of their team, who did not leave on her own accord, but had instead gone missing. Her name was Gadget Hackwrench, the team's tinkerer, inventor, and all around genius. She was also alluring, if absent minded regarding her appeal, and the brothers chipmunk used to vie for her affections. As fate would have it, Dale found himself the object of affections from a mysterious bat named Foxglove. She was very much like him too. One would call them kindred spirits upon first glance. It began as one sided, but Dale warmed up to her, and they were eventually a happy couple. That left Gadget all to Chip. Yet, something happened recently between them, and they hadn't talked for days. Coincidentally, she went missing around that time, her room found in disarray, and there signs of a struggle. So the chipmunks set out in a city wide search for her, following every lead, and leaving no stone unturned. Having gone an entire day, and now well into the night, they still hadn't found her.

    "I can't see anything," Dale said as he continued searching from over the side.

    "That's an entire city down there," Chip reminded him as he gave the wheel a slight turn. "If we're all the way up here, and Gadget is somewhere down there, and given our size, how could you ever hope to find her?"

    "At least I'm trying," Dale retorted. "Someone has to while you struggle with that wheel on a calm night like this with no winds whatsoever."

    Feeling the usual sibling rivalry brewing, Chip eyed him and said, "shut up." Sitting down, Dale sighed. He appeared to be giving up. Chip didn't want to though. But as he looked at his brother, he realized Dale really was trying, and appreciated it. He couldn't ask for a better partner. If anyone was going to help him find Gadget, it was him.

    "Why don't you take the wheel?" Chip asked him sincerely. "I'll take over lookout for a while."

    As he expected, Dale looked at him in surprise. Chip never allowed anyone to take the wheel except for Gadget. Even whenever she flew the ranger plane, he was still close to the wheel. With Dale replacing him, he looked over the side, and searched the streets below. By his own words, he never felt so small looking down at the skyscrapers. They were passing over the World Trade Centers now. The twin towers were always sight to behold, very much the symbols of New York City.

    "Can I ask you something, Chip?" Dale enquired as he steered the wheel. "Before Gadget went missing, why weren't you two talking?"

    The subject distracted Chip from the task at hand. He couldn't ignore it since Dale had asked him directly. Knowing he was accomplishing nothing from sight seeing, he sat down in the seat. Taking off his signature fedora, and already tired, he sighed as he took a moment to collect his thoughts. He hadn't told Dale why yet because there was no easy way to tell him the truth.

    "It has something to do with my past," he finally answered.

    "Your past?" Dale wondered curiously. "We've been together through thick and thin. What is there about your past that I don't already know?"

    "That's because I never knew about it either, at least until recently," Chip added. "I found out that there is something very precious to me."

    "Like what--?" Dale tried to ask before a sudden gust of wind pushed the plane sideways. Both brothers had to grab onto the wheel and steady the plane or they would have been thrown out. Letting out an uneasy laugh as he held onto the wheel tightly, Dale quipped, "So much for a calm night with no winds whatsoever, huh?"

    They shared a laugh together, despite the seriousness of events, and the gravity behind what Chip was about to tell him. Chip always admired how Dale could always make light of things, even though he would never admit it. He always reminded him to take things more seriously, but Dale had a talent for defusing any situation, whether dire or hopeless. Chip would even have to sometimes pull his fedora down over his face so he couldn't be seen smiling. He did let himself laugh in front of his brother this time. For over a year that the Rescue Rangers solved cases, he otherwise remained serious and on task. He knew he had to lighten up eventually.
    Dale was reminded of something, changing the subject when he mentioned, "Speaking of your past, Monterey has been asking me about you."

    That was all news to Chip, and a little surprising too. He didn't expect his former teammate to be going behind his back to ask Dale about him. He could have just asked him to his face. Monterey hadn't spoken to Chip since joining the RIA. Chip wondered if those stuck up, bureaucratic squeaks had Monterey up to his neck in so called, "covert affairs." He knew what the RIA was like. He was a recruit who once trained to become a field agent there. He could have been one too had he not resigned in protest when they didn't accept Dale. His brother would have made as good of an agent as him. Yet, the RIA labeled Dale as unfit for duty. Having gotten ahold of Dale's personal file, Chip took offense to the words "incompetent," "lazy," and "mentally-impaired." He knew him and Dale could make it on their own and do some good. So without the RIA, they set out and founded the Rescue Rangers.

    "He asked about those few months you went off on your own in search of the resources necessary to start our group," Dale revealed to him. "He asked me if I knew of your whereabouts and who you had been in contact with. I told him I didn't know."

    Indeed, Dale didn't know, because Chip had left him behind and in the dark about it. He had some contacts he had made during his time in training at the RIA. These were also less than savory connections who were a means to an end. He learned that sometimes, that best resources came from the worst places. He wasn't proud of what he had to do, but it ultimately led to forming the Rescue Rangers. Curiously, Monterey was now sniffing around. Ironic, considering hd had been a part of the team too. Suddenly, they were startled by an explosion of fireworks in the distance.

    When more fireworks followed, Dale quipped, "You'd think it was the Fourth of July or something."

    "Only it isn't the Fourth of July," Chip pointed out the obvious. "Why would there be fireworks now? It's almost Christmas."

    A bottle rocket zipped up passed them. They were almost hit by it. They looked up as it exploded above them. Chip had to pull his fedora down to shield his eyes from the bright lights. Then another shot up, exploding beside them. Grabbing onto the wheel, Chip steered the ranger plane out of the way. They were soon bombarded by more fireworks. Chip struggled to avoid the explosions. He thrust the wheel to the left, then to the right. He did everything he could to ensure they weren't killed. He had little time to think, but he knew that flying into these fireworks wasn't an accident. Someone was trying to bring them down.

    When Chip turned sharply to the left again, Dale was thrown against him. Pushing himself off, he couldn't help but make another quip, saying, "I suppose if this were a celebration of American independence, we'd be the British."

    Shaking his head and ignoring the lame joke, Chip yelled, "We have to go low! The explosions are our main problem! If we fly in closer to the ground, we'll have an easier time avoiding them!"

    Clinging to the side so he wouldn't fall into Chip again, Dale asked, "Who do you think is shooting at us?"

    "I don't know," Chip growled, the identity of their attackers on his mind as well. "But I've got a feeling they have something to do with Gadget's disappearance! Hang on!"

    He dipped the ranger plane into a nose dive. Picking up speed, the cold air brushed against them with chilling velocity. Chip would have closed his bomber jacket had he thought about it before hand. As they closed in on the street below, more fireworks shot up at them. Chip outmaneuvered them all. He could see that the fireworks were being shot up from a storm drain. When they were close enough, Chip corrected the plane, pulling it up so they wouldn't crash. He only got a fleeting glance of their attackers, who immediately retreated into the depths of the storm drain. Landing the ranger plane, the brothers immediately jumped out and were in hot pursuit. Chip was the first to reach the storm drain. He would have gone straight in, but Dale grabbed him by the collar of his jacket. Chip fought against his grasp, but Dale wouldn't let go.

    "Don't go in there so blindly," Dale warned him. "We don't know what we're up against. We should go on together."

    He was right, serving as the voice of reason for once. It was a role usually reserved for the otherwise level headed Chip. He was anxious to go in because he knew somewhere down there was Gadget. He could feel it. But if he rushed in so recklessly, he'd get hurt. He managed to calm himself down and think clearly again.

    "Ok," he agreed with Dale.

    They went down together, nearly slipping on the murk that hung from the drain, but they caught each other. Giving each other a reassuring nod, they dropped down below, landing with a splash. The water wasn't deep. Searching for a passage, they found an open pipe. Chip went in first. They couldn't see anything, but the path ahead of them was clear. All they could hear were the splashes of their feet in the water. Chip could feel Dale's paw on his shoulder. He reached up and grabbed his hand and gave it a squeeze. He wanted him to know it was going to be all right, no matter where they ended up.

    They reached the end where Chip stopped short of falling out. There was a drop where the water ran out. Getting a better look, Chip discovered an underground lair of stairs and platforms. It wasn't man-made either. Humans were too small to fit in there. It was made by those of their size. Grabbing Dale by the hand, Chip observed a floor below. It wasn't too far down to jump. They both dropped down and landed with thud. After checking and seeing that Dale was ok, Chip cautiously led the way. It was too quiet, except for the sounds of running water and sewage. Chip looked over the railing and saw water being sucked into the pipes below.

    "Who do you think is down here?" Dale asked.

    "Whoever they are, they're no friends of ours," Chip answered.

    Suddenly, gunfire caused them both to collapse onto the floor. They didn't know what hit them at first, but more gunfire forced them to scramble for cover. Sparks flew off the metal floor as bullets ricocheted upon impact. Chip and Dale huddled together near the area where they had dropped down upon.

    "Guns?" Dale wondered aloud.

    Chip shared in his confusion. It wasn't unheard of for their kind to be in possession of weapons. The RIA even took after their human counterparts and created firearms for their agents. It was only a matter of time before the bad guys got ahold of them too. In response, Chip took out his bullwhip.

    "You've brought a knife to a gun fight?" Dale asked him.

    "It's a bullwhip," Chip corrected him.

    True, compared to guns, a bullwhip seemed useless. But Chip knew how to use his weapon of choice unlike their attackers. They'd be dead already if their enemies knew how to aim. Getting on his hands and knees, Chip crawled across the floor until there was considerable distance between him and Dale. Looking back, he watched as his brother was fired upon again. He hadn't been noticed, but seeing Dale in danger enraged him. Searching for the assailants, he saw one firing from the platform above. He immediately studied his surroundings for anything that could help. He spotted a valve up above on a pipe. There was water dripping out of the pipe, which gave him an idea. Chip knew what he had to do, but the valve was too high for him to reach. Cracking his trusty bullwhip in the air, he managed to wrap the tip around the valve. Pulling down on, he struggled to turn the valve. It was rusty and probably hadn't been handled in a long time. It made loud squeaky noises, which increased his chances of being spotted. So he used all of his strength in one big pull. The valve turned and water immediately shot out of the pipe. It was more than Chip expected, causing him to take cover. At full blast, the water took out the attacker above, who was sent plummeting to the floor far below. Turning his attention back to Dale, he crawled back to make sure he was ok. Dale was was soaked from the water raining down. Chip was too and decided that their best course of action was to find higher ground.

    "Follow me!" he yelled while grabbing his brother by the collar.

    With Dale close behind him, they scrambled to the other side of the platform where they found a ladder. Chip was the first to go up. He wanted to make sure that if there were any dangers lurking overhead, he'd be the first to find out. Upon reaching the top, he slowly peaked over and found nobody waiting for them on the platform. Stepping up onto it, he turned and helped Dale get up. Then they were ambushed by two masked goons, both mice considering their tails. Chip 'n' Dale took them on in a brawl, making short work of them. Dale knocked out his opponent with a head-butt, much to Chip's amusement.

    "Way to use that head of yours!" he commended Dale.

    After giving Chip a thumbs up, Dale rubbed his head in discomfort. Clearly dizzy from what he had done, he collapsed and leaned against his unconscious attacker. He was sure to give Chip his trademark stupid grin. With his two buck teeth showing off in all of their glory, he let Chip know he was still ok. Relieved, Chip turned his attention to the goon he had managed to subdue. Pulling the mask off, he saw that it was a mouse as he had suspected. The mouse was nearly unconscious himself, so Chip gave him a few good smacks across the face to get his attention.

    "Who do you work for?" Chip growled before giving him another smack. "Where's Gadget?!"

    With what little strength he had left, the mouse pointed behind him. To Chip's horror, he saw who appeared to be Gadget lying unconscious on the other side of the platform. Shoving his adversary down, Chip got up and rushed over to her aid. However, before he could reach her, another masked assailant dropped down between them. He was a mouse too. Blocking Chip's way, the masked goon started giggling. Annoyed, Chip took a swing but his fist was blocked effortlessly. Under the goon's crushing grip, Chip winced as he felt his knuckles crack. Then his opponent shoved him away. Chip lost his balance and nearly fell over the railing. Looking down, he could see the water filling up from the bottom up. The entire place was flooding. Chip wasn't afraid of drowning though. It was a sewer after all. His concern stood in front of him, continuing to giggle maniacally. Chip couldn't explain it, but this particular mouse had strength about him that felt abnormal for a rodent his size. Monterey was the toughest rodent he had ever known, but there was something more to whom he was facing now. Chip knew he had to get serious. Taking off his jacket, he folded it up, and put it down. Then he took off his fedora. He took a moment to look over the hat he had worn on many of his cases.

    "I may have to hang you up after this," he thought to himself. "I've got a lot of apologies to make, lots of things to make right, and be there for my--"

    "Need some help?" Dale asked, interrupting his internal monologue.

    "No," Chip said before handing his fedora off to him. With a smirk, he teased Dale and added, "Don't worry. I'll take you on in a moment."

    Turning his attention to his opponent, Chip cracked both his knuckles as he prepared for a fight. Eyeing the unconscious Gadget, Chip knew he couldn't drag this out for too long. Gadget needed help and he wasn't going to let some dumb muscle stop him. Still, he wondered what could make his opponent so strong. He was certainly going to find out the hard way. When Chip was within reach, the goon swung fast. Chip dodged the attack and laid into him with punches and kicks. None seemed to have much effect. Remembering his training in the RIA, Chip switched from brawling to elite martial arts. Learning martial arts of the greatest caliber was required of recruits. Chip learned and earned belts of the highest degree in every course the RIA had to offer. It served him well now. Managing to bring the goon down to his knee, Chip prepared to strike him down once and for all. Suddenly, the goon reached up and grabbed him by the throat. His grip was suffocating, taking nearly all the fight out of Chip instantaneously. Rising to his feet, the goon giggled as he did before, mocking Chip, and making it clear he never had a chance to begin with. Using what little strength he had left, Chip reached out and pulled the mask off. What he found hiding underneath the mask shocked him. The mouse was scarred all over his face with claw marks. Giving his maniacal demeanor, Chip deduced that the marks were self inflicted. But what caught his attention the most was his right eye. It was completely red where the white in his eye should have been. It wasn't bloodshot though. There was also a hint of gold winking at Chip from the center of his pupil. Chip was nearly transfixed by it, but the goon's grip tightened even further, cutting off what little air he had left. Chip nearly lost consciousness, but the crack of a whip snapped him out of it. His bullwhip was wrapped around the goon's neck. Grinding his teeth, the mook struggled to maintain control. Behind him was Dale, who pulled on the whip as hard as he could. Finally dropping Chip, the goon reached up and tried to pull the whip off. He even flexed his neck in what appeared to be an attempt to snap it off. It was futile and he choked. Wrapping the other end around the railing for extra force, Dale continued to pull. Finally, the goon collapsed.

    While out of breath, Chip was able to crawl over and check the goon's pulse. He was alive but unconscious. Having forgotten to breathe, Chip felt like he was still choking. He gasped for air while Dale approached him. His brother nudged the mook with his foot.

    "I bet he'll be dreaming of very large women," he quipped. "I said I didn't need your help," Chip scolded him.

    "How was that working out for you?" Dale retorted.

    Chip knew he was right, but lashed out over a sense of pride. He owed Dale is life. Although he didn't have to say it, he did appreciate it. He knew Dale understood that too. These days it was more friendly banter between them rather than a bitter rivalry. Nothing was bitter between them except when they both vied for Gadget's affections.

    "Gadget!" Chip shouted out loud, having forgotten about her due to the struggle.

    Getting to his feet, he ran over to her side. Kneeling down, he lifted her up to check on her. She was unconscious, but from everything he could see, nothing had happened to her. He pushed his paw through hair, relieved and instantly enamored with her. He knew right then and there that if she were to wake up now, he would admit his true feelings for her. Suddenly, an electrical explosion struck the middle of the platform. It was incredibly bright and sparks shot up everywhere. After shielding himself and Gadget, Chip looked back, and saw that Dale was nowhere to be seen. Searching frantically, he saw that his brother had been knocked down to the platform below where he lied motionless.

    "Dale!" Chip screamed.

    Before he could do anything, sparks from above caught his attention. He watched as a familiar face in a lab coat floated down onto the platform. When both feet landed on the the platform, his toes shocked the metal floor. Who Chip saw before him was a mouse the Rescue Rangers had helped not too long ago. He was not only gifted with the ability to produce electricity, but had intelligence that rivaled Gadget's. Speaking of which, Chip even viewed him as another rival for her affections. That turned out not to be the case in the end, but now Chip was confused as to why he was standing before him.

    "Sparky?" he asked.

    With a sigh, his old friend said, "You have no idea what you've gotten yourself into, Chip."

    Gently putting Gadget down, Chip got up to confront him and asked, "What do you mean?"

    "You shouldn't be here," Sparky warned him.

    Sensing that their interaction was growing hostile, Chip returned it in kind by replying, "You have something to do with Gadget's kidnapping, don't you?"

    As Sparky was about to answer, he suddenly grew alarmed and yelled, "No!"

    Before Chip knew what was happening, he felt a sharp pain in his back. It stung and immediately paralyzed him where he stood. Trembling in agony, he turned his head to find a very conscious Gadget standing behind him. With a wicked smile on her face, she twisted what she had stabbed him with, and then pulled it out. Chip nearly fell, but by sheer shock, he remained standing. As Gadget walked past him, he reached behind and felt his wound. It was bleeding profusely and wouldn't stop. It was a deliberate wound, from what he could tell, because she had hit an artery. He could barely focus due to the pain. He couldn't process almost anything straight. He was likely a dead chipmunk where he stood, but it was Gadget's betrayal that he concentrated on. He could feel himself going cold as he lost feeling all over his body. Yet, he still looked ahead and watched as Gadget joined Sparky.

    Horrified by what she had done, Sparky yelled, "What have you done? This wasn't part of the plan!"

    Cleaning off the blade she used with her sleeve, Gadget turned and looked back at Chip. She had a cold, uncaring look in her eyes now. She wasn't the Gadget Chip knew. Looking him over, as if disappointed that he was still standing, she merely shrugged off Sparky's complaints.

    "Finish him," she ordered.

    Looking back at Chip, Sparking appeared remorseful with what he was about to do. Kneeling down, he placed his hands on the floor. Electricity came out of him and slowly made its way over to Chip. Glancing at the currents as they closed in on him, Chip looked back up at Gadget, heartbroken over what she had done.

    "Why...?" Chip muttered weakly, in his very last breath.

    Hit by the electricity, he was shocked over and over again. It felt like a thousand blades were piercing him at once. A surge in the electricity was powerful enough to send him flying over the railing. Only as Chip fell did the electricity cease, but the damage had been done.

    As he plummeted to the water below, he heard Dale scream, "Chip!!!!!!!!"

    Splashing into the water, Chip floated for a moment before sinking. It wasn't his own weight that took him down, but a pipe that was sucking the water out. There was nothing Chip could do to save himself. In his dying moments, he thought of the happier moments in his life. He remembered the earlier years of living in trees with Dale, coming into constant conflict with an amusing, demented duck. Then he remembered taking a job singing with Dale and a certain other chipmunk at the Acorn Club.

    "Little girl, little girl, little girl, when you're mine, all mine..." he remembered himself singing during those days. He managed to even smile thinking about it within the depths of his own making.

    Then it all disappeared. Despite the circumstances, he had wished to remember being a Rescue Ranger too. Instead, he felt himself peacefully drift off into a sleep he wouldn't be waking up from. The last thing he felt was being sucked into the pipe, never to be seen or heard from again.
    "Light got disconnect?ed from the community, and Ducky seems to be in love with him"

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    Chapter One

    The day was October 18th, 2017. It was a clear, chilly day in New York City. Changes had come to the Big Apple since the late 80’s heading into the early 90’s. It was the 2010’s, a new era of vigilance and security in wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that brought down the World Trade Centers. One World Trade Center now stood in their place. Yet, some things never changed, and the City That Never Sleeps was active day and night with car horns blaring and no indoor voices to be heard. “I Love New York,” was what its residents thought of their home, in their own colorful ways, and the diversity made it truly America’s greatest city. But for the millions of humans who went about their business, millions more that they almost never noticed went about their lives as well. New York City was home to a many pint sized, furry denizens. Some were born and raised residents who saw the streets as their promise land; others immigrated for opportunity and under beliefs they picked up from their mother countries, such as that there were no cats in America. Of course, some beliefs are proven to be false, for better or worse; and then there were those who used the city as their base of operations for greater, global reaching purposes through groups and organizations that were hidden away from the world of men.

    One such entity was the RIA. With bases set up all over the city, they had all knowledge of its comings and goings. One particular base was located at the iconic Statue of Liberty, a symbol of freedom and immigration in America. Standing tall and proud, it was by all appearances and purposes today, a tourist attraction. However, escaping the naked eye were activities conducted by the RIA. Today was no different in the business of intelligence gathering and fighting those who threatened national security. However, there was one to-do on the agenda that was likely regarded as far less important. Hence, carrying it out was left to two, albeit seasoned, field agents. A hidden door opened at the bottom of Lady Liberty’s big toe and out they came.

    One agent was named Midge, a swallow, and veteran commander of the RIA’s Wing Division. Her partner was codenamed Special Agent B, a white mouse and fellow veteran, who carried a pen and notepad. He was a member of the Special Agents Division, a group of personnel with particular sets of skills that appealed them to missions of vital importance. He had come up in the ranks along with Midge. They trained together and got along well. It was Special Agent B who encouraged her to build enough confidence in an organization that took no prisoners, especially those with as much insecurities like she used to have. He himself was an ideal agent, with his mind on duty, and biting snark to back up his elite skills.

    “Ok,” he sighed while clicking on his pen. “Let’s save the world with this checklist.”

    Holding up his available paw, he let Midge grab ahold of him. She flew down, carrying him under her, and landed on the ground. Without missing a beat, he checked off the first of many on a list he went over. Written next to the box he checked off was “start the day.”

    “Have you had your coffee?” he asked Midge.

    “I don’t like coffee,” she answered as she flapped her wings a couple times. “I prefer energy drinks.”

    “And I bet they give you wings,” he said while pointing his pen at her, clicking on the head, and causing its ink tip to retract inward.

    “I can’t believe we were tasked with this,” Midge said, actually excited over what they were assigned with.

    “Neither can I,” B glowed with sarcasm as he pretended to faint, being caught by Midge. “I’m still in disbelief. I think somebody needs to pinch me because I might be dreaming.”

    “You know? All you special agents think you’re always right with you’re little quips,” Midge pointed out as she held him. “But did you know that you don’t have to have a smart mouth to work in the RIA?”

    “Really?” B feigned surprise. “I put that on my resume along with the fact that I went to Yale.”

    “What was your degree?” Midge enquired, tongue in cheek. “A Masters in being a jerk?”

    “How dare you,” B pretended to be offended.

    “You know you love me,” she smirked.

    “Like I do fleas,” he retorted before blowing a raspberry at her.

    Midge responded by dropping him on the ground.

    Later that day, the two agents arrived in Central Park. B was going over his checklist while Midge was flying overhead. Everything had gone smoothly up until now. B prided himself in a job done well with no mistakes. Even the speck on his peacoat didn’t go unnoticed, as he flicked it off. Midge’s shadow passed over him several times. He gazed up and watched her soar. Despite coming up together, he saw Midge as something of a protege. She took after him in being successful on her assignments since he would often stress the importance of a mission accomplished. Though he was sometimes confused over if she was his protege or if he was becoming her’s. While he would never admit it to her, he couldn’t help but feel himself softening up the more they worked together. He even went as far as to think of their recent cases together as being fun. Still, he did his best not to let on to this, or she would never let him live it down.

    “I can see our destination!” Midge yelled down to him.

    “How do you know what it looks like?” B asked.

    “Oh, I know!” Midge reassured him as she flew ahead. “I never forgot about this place!”

    Looking ahead, he saw that she was right. There was a particular tree they were heading towards. Looking up, B could see the old headquarters that once belonged to the former Rescue Rangers. He had to stop when he saw it. Dropping his checklist, he stared up in awe of it. Something else he never admitted to was that ever since he had been a Junior Cadet in the RIA, he wanted to be a Rescue Ranger. In one year’s time that they were active, the Rescue Rangers became stuff of legend at the RIA. He remembered looking up to them as heroes as a child. He didn’t notice that Midge had landed next to him, who gave him a playful nudge. He was quick to pick his checklist back up.

    “Distracted?” she teased him.

    “Never,” he denied it before checking off another box on his list. “Let’s get down to business, shall we?”

    Some time passed as they waited at the bottom of the tree. B grew impatient, bending the notepad slightly out of sheer boredom. Midge was less subtle about it, yawning loudly. Her yawn was contagious, and despite his best efforts, B couldn’t help but yawn as well.

    “She should be here anytime,” B observed while looking at his wristwatch. He checked his watch several more times before adding, “Anytime now.”

    His anxiousness didn’t escape Midge, who noted, “You’re nervous about seeing her, aren’t you?”

    “Nervous?” B questioned Midge as he looked at her, pretending that he felt nothing of the sort. He was a master of deception, as was a requirement of his job, but this was the one time he couldn’t lie. The look Midge gave him suggested that she knew what he was thinking. Since there was no point in hiding it, he came out with it and said, “Wouldn’t you be if you were about to be in the presence of a rockstar?”

    “I am too,” Midge agreed. “She’s said to be the greatest agent the RIA has ever seen in over twenty years. She graduated at the top of her class.”

    “I know,” B confirmed, knowing all too well who they were about to meet.

    “You couldn’t even match her score in Advanced Covert Affairs Studies,” Midge taunted him playfully.

    That struck a nerve with B. He pointed his notepad at her and complained, “I was a point off and it was only because I misspelled one word. It wasn’t my fault the instructor was a grammar nazi. I remember it as clear as day when she graded my paper. Her eye twitched, out came the red pen, and I wept.”

    “She also passed all of her physical courses,” Midge added. “She’s said to be unbeatable in both armed and unarmed combat. She’s—”

    “An ace, I know,” B interrupted her. “You’re telling me things that the entire RIA already knows. There are rumors that the director was grooming her to succeed him when he stepped down. She shocked everyone when she requested to lead this new division.”

    “Not that I blame her,” Midge said while looking up at the old Rescue Ranger Headquarters. “This place is nostalgic. We both have history here.”

    “Speaking of history, I suspect there is more than just nostalgia involved with her, uh, promotion,” B said. “I heard she had a crush on the leader of the Rescue Rangers. There are rumors she never completely got over that crush. At the very least, she wants to live up to the legacy of Chip Maplewood.”

    “That would be an obsession if it were true,” a skeptical Midge replied. “But I don’t think that’s the case now. I’ve heard rumors too.”

    “Like what?” B asked.

    Midge leaned in and whispered into his ear. What he heard was all news to him and it surprised him. He didn’t have a problem with such a revelation, if it was in fact true. Times had changed and they lived in a far more progressive era that was accepting of such things. He still had his doubts, but it came from a more practical view.

    “She’s been devoted to her job ever since she became a field agent at only nineteen,” he pointed out.

    “Yeah,” Midge reflected with some regret as she flapped her wings. “This job is a full time commitment. None of us have any time for a social life or for anyone to share it with.”

    Suddenly, they heard a car screech from a distance away. They watched as a miniature red sports car sped down the sidewalk. B recognized it as a top of the line, RIA manufactured automobile built to replicate its man made counterpart. As it closed in, it took a sharp right and squirted smoothly over the grass until it came to a stop in front of them.

    B knew who was driving that car and quipped, “She makes not having a social life look good.”

    The driver’s door opened and out stepped a sharply dressed, red headed squirrel. With her hair done up nicely in a bun, she closed the door and made her way around the car. Her walk was filled with confidence and her presence alone made her out to be everything that B and Midge hyped her up as. B himself not only looked up to her, but was attracted to her. He tried his best to focus but fumbled with his notepad. It took Midge to steady his hands until he could hold his notepad still. Opening the notepad up, he took out a file. Taking the contents out of the file, he read it aloud.

    “Codename: Fire. Age 39. Weight, uh, and I quote ’none of your business,’ end quote. Twenty years of active field duty. All missions completed. Success rate 100%. Official rank: General Commander of the Domestic Affairs Division. Also a former Captain in the Joint Anti-Terrorism Division. Served five years in an international task force dealing in covert affairs. Real name—”

    Stopping before them, whom he addressed interrupted him with a salute, and introduced herself as, “Tammy Squirrel, reporting for duty.”
    "Light got disconnect?ed from the community, and Ducky seems to be in love with him"

  4. #3
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    Chapter Two

    Standing up as straight as she could, Tammy felt like a tree. She waited for her RIA colleagues to say something, anything for her to relax. She was even holding her breath in. Moving ever the slightest could wrinkle her clothes, which she spent early in the morning, and well into last night, ironing to perfection. She knew B and Midge well enough. They were mostly on professional terms however, with the occasional pleasantries exchanged at lunch when they were working desk jobs. She could see that B was in awe of her presence, which humored her because Special Agents like himself were normally stoic, and stereotyped as robots. Midge seemed to be more down to earth, looking at Tammy, then at B, and then back at her.

    “Welcome,” Midge said after clearing her throat.

    Hearing that cued Tammy to let out a sigh of relief. She then proceeded to rip her professional clothes off, revealing casual slacks and a plaid shirt. Her reveal more than shocked B, while Midge couldn’t help but laugh. The suit she wore was simply for show since she had to be debriefed by her superiors at the RIA. In truth, she hated having to dress like that. Dressing professionally was always itchy and those tight pants rode up underneath her tail too.

    “You have no idea how long I was waiting to get out of those,” she told them as she approached. “I haven’t been able to dress like this since my days as an honorary…”

    She stopped short of finishing what she had to say, looking up at the old Rescue Ranger Headquarters. She hadn’t seen it in so long. Her breath was nearly taken away from her. It made her feel like a kid again. She couldn’t believe she would be based there as leader of a new group that she herself had been responsible in creating. She recalled all the shock, and even some disappointment, that she would take what many felt was a demotion. She wouldn’t have it any other way though. She had grown bored of the stuffy, bureaucratic politics of the RIA. True, she had seen plenty of action in her field work, but her heart was always with the Rescue Rangers. She felt like she was officially becoming one, despite the fact that it had been shut down over twenty years ago. She knew that what she had signed up for was different, but she felt that the group she would be leading was in the spirit of their predecessors: Chip, Dale, Gadget, Monterey, and Zipper. She would never forget when she was rescued by them. It changed her life and she wouldn’t be here right now if it weren’t for them. It was perhaps what she set out to do now that would repay the favor and honor their heroics.

    Taking the notepad out of B’s paws, she said, “Thank you.”

    Snapping out of his awed daze, B asked, “Would you like to go over everything?”

    As she flipped through the pages, Tammy winked and assured him, “I’ve got this covered.”

    “But what about protocol—?” B muttered before being interrupted by Midge.

    “What my colleague is trying to say is that first days are always a lot to handle,” she told her. “With all due respect to your experience, are you sure you don’t need any help?”

    Stopping on a particular page, Tammy looked them both over and responded, “You two would make a good couple.”

    Not only was B flabbergasted, but Midge joined in his orbit of shock. They both shifted and put distance between each other as they acted embarrassed at such a suggestion. Tammy was kidding of course, as intimate relationships between agents was frowned upon, but she loved to cause discomfort amongst her colleagues out of good fun. Turning her attention back to the notepad, there was a list she had in front of her. It had the names of everyone who would be joining her team.

    “First on the list is Bink Squirrel,” she read aloud.

    A still blushing Midge asked, “Your sister?”

    “Twenty eight years old,” Tammy continued as she looked around for her. “And she is late as usual.

    “Perhaps we should send out an alert?” B asked. “She could be missing.”

    “No, she’s just shopping,” Tammy shrugged. “She has no experience in these matters so she thinks it’s going to be like her previous job as a fashion designer.”

    “I never knew your sister was in fashion?” Midge enquired.

    “That’s the point,” Tammy added. “She was fired from every company I had any inside connections to due to lack of motivation. I’m going to motivate her when she gets here though.”

    Continuing on with the list:

    “Tad Mouse, former junior cadet and assistant at the front desk in the Queens Base.”

    Her attention was drawn to someone running toward them in the distance. He was a white mouse wearing a blue flat cap hat and sweater. He carried a suitcase in one arm and had a stack of papers pressed against his chest with his other arm. He tripped over a rock and fell, scattering the papers all over the place.

    “Sorry!” he called out to them. “I’ll be with you in a minute!”

    An amused Tammy looked back at B and Midge. B in particular didn’t seem impressed by him. Leading them both over, they all stopped and watched as Tad tried to pick up all the papers. The wind picked up and swept all the papers into the air. Before Tad could try and grab them, he almost lost his cap. Grabbing ahold of his hat, he pulled down and made sure it wouldn’t fly off.

    “Having a little trouble?” Tammy asked.

    “Tad Mouse reporting for—” he began to introduce himself with a salute. He almost lost his cap again and had to pull back down on it. “Reporting for duty, ma’am.”

    “Do you have any idea how late you are, soldier?” B asked him angrily while stepping forward. “I know you. You only barely passed your exams, were marked on your personal file as ‘unremarkable,’ and was cited for a major security breach at the United Nations branch!”

    Tad appeared ashamed of everything that had been brought up. Tammy was well aware of everything cited by B, although she never asked him to. However, she had personally requested that Tad be transferred to her new group. It was his family name that impressed her. She not only felt like he had a lot to live up to, but had the potential to surpass. She still wondered why he was tardy.

    “Where were you?” Tammy asked.

    “Uh, I, uh, was visiting my, my parents,” Tad answered while picking up whatever papers hadn’t been swept away. “They’d want to hear that I got a promotion.”

    “You’re lucky you got a promotion,” B scolded him. “Considering who your parents were, you’re lucky you were eve allowed in the RIA. They’re—”

    “That’s enough,” Tammy interrupted while keeping her attention on Tad. She saw how sad he was getting being belittled about his parents. Indeed, his parents were regarded in a less than positive light at the RIA, being labeled as traitors. But Tammy looked past that and let their accomplishments over an entire career speak for itself. She was sure to remind Tad of that when she noted, “They’d be proud of you.”

    Tad was bashful, lacking in confidence, but forced himself to smile in response anyway. Tammy knew that under her leadership, he’d prove his naysayers wrong. Unlike her sister, who was going to be quite a personal project, Tad simply needed encouragement. Tammy had plenty of that to go around. She even knelt down and helped him pick up the rest of his papers. Tad still struggled to pick everything up due to his nervousness. Tammy calmed him down with a reassuring hand on the shoulder.

    “Hey? You’re doing ok,” she told him. “You’re going to like it here, I promise.”

    This time, she could tell that he gave her a genuine smile. Tammy was going to be a different kind of leader than what he was used to. She was neither a bully nor too soft. She was going to push him to succeed but would help him every step of the way.

    Suddenly, a familiar voice chimed in, “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that’s Tammy Squirrel.”

    With a smile, Tammy instantly knew who it was. Getting up, she was greeted by an older Dale, grizzled and wearing a black leather jacket, but easily recognizable with the same red nose and goofy buck toothed grin. It had been a while since Tammy had seen him, though they kept in touch throughout the years. Dale even served as a mentor to her at the RIA, where he was sometimes a guest lecturer. She had long suspected that he was more involved in the organization than he let on, but whatever the involvement, nothing changed about good Ol’ Dale. Tammy couldn’t contain herself and gave him a big hug. That wasn’t enough for her either. She lifted him off his feet.

    Reacting in discomfort as his back cracked, Dale forced himself to laugh and said, “I see you’ve missed me so much it…”

    His backed cracked its loudest yet.

    “…Hurts,” he squealed before she put him down.

    Their pleasantries were cut short when Tammy noticed that Dale wasn’t alone. Beside him was a chipmunk in a bomber jacket whose face was hidden underneath a familiar fedora. When she finally saw the chipmunk’s face, Tammy’s breath was taken away momentarily. She thought she was seeing a ghost. Quickly coming to her senses, she looked at her list. She already knew who it was but had to make it seem like she was being professional. She had to regain her composure after being taken aback.

    “I think she likes me,” the chipmunk quipped. “I should have brought a spray bottle. She looks like she's about to hump my leg.”

    That comment caused Dale to elbow the chipmunk. Clearing his throat, he motioned for the chipmunk to step forward and exchange pleasantries with Tammy. As the chipmunk reluctantly did so, Dale took the fedora off. The chipmunk reacted with anger and discomfort over being exposed to the sun.

    “Dad!” the chipmunk groaned.

    “Don’t mind her,” Dale informed Tammy. “She was out late last night at the Forbidden Fruit having one too many of those peanut butter swirl shots.”

    Gagging a little, the chipmunk said, “I’m never drinking again.”

    “Like she said last week, the week before, and I’ve lost count,” Dale laughed. “She’s such a kid.”

    “I’m twenty seven years old, DAD,” the chipmunk growled before turning her attention to Tammy. “I’m Rachel.”

    “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, Rachel,” Tammy smiled, although still put off by her appearance. She knew she owed it to her to explain why she initially acted so strange upon seeing her. “Sorry for acting so weird. It’s just that you reminded me of someone.”

    “I get that a lot,” Rachel shrugged.

    “I know what you’re thinking,” Dale added. “She looks a lot like her uncle. Truth be told, she gets her looks from her mother. I sometimes found myself almost kissing my brother whenever he had to crossdress for a case. He reminded me of the love of my life.”

    “Dad!” An embarrassed Rachel groaned.

    “I never got to meet your mother, but I’m a big fan of her’s,” Tammy noted. “I bought her first CD when it was released.”

    “I never met her either,” Rachel said in a rather glum tone that didn’t completely betray her serious, snarky side. She acted like she had a big chip on her shoulder too. “I only got to know her through all of her old records and from everything dad told me about her.”

    “Well maybe we can listen to her songs together some time,” Tammy said in effort to connect with her. “My favorite song of her’s is…”

    With a sigh, Rachel walked ahead. As Tammy watched, Rachel almost pushed B and Midge out of the way as she headed toward the tree. Tammy knew immediately that Rachel wasn’t going to be a team player, which was a problem. Considering that her father was Dale, Tammy figured that Rachel had unofficial experience that many had to train in the RIA for years to get. Tammy needed her, but she was going to have to rain in that attitude of her’s or it could compromise any potential missions ahead.

    Joining her, Dale needed to only remind her of the difficult task ahead when he mentioned, “She isn’t going to be easy. She doesn’t take much after me at all. She doesn’t even have my big red nose.”

    “Was her mother like that, er, behind the scenes?” Tammy asked. “At home, I mean? Sorry to ask.”

    “It’s ok,” Dale said. “The answer is no. She didn’t get her personality from Clarice either.”
    "Light got disconnect?ed from the community, and Ducky seems to be in love with him"

  5. #4
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    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    Chapter Three

    Rachel was ready to get her paws dirty and scurry up the tree. She had a lot of climbing experiencing. She even took the liberty of climbing to the top of a redwood tree on a trip to California many years back. She remembered how triumphant she felt sitting at the top of the highest branch. It felt like she was at the top of the world. She also didn’t forget how dismayed her father was upon her coming back down. Dale was always protective of her and even now into adulthood, he had a say in her life and everything she did. She would have found it annoying if she didn’t love him so much. For being such a papa bear, Dale was also sweet and could always make her laugh when she needed to be cheered up. He was a great father who was always fun and was never a severe authoritarian. Even when he used to punish her, it lasted a good five minutes, and then they were out getting milkshakes together.

    Before she could make her move up the tree, she noticed an elevator in front of her. It went all the way up to the old Rescue Ranger Headquarters. She couldn’t believe that the tree had an elevator. That isn’t easy to build, even by today’s standards. Somebody had a lot of time on their hands. If she weren’t impressed by the effort, she’d call whoever built it lazy for not wanting to simply get their wild animal on and climb.

    “I built that,” a proud Dale declared as he led everyone else in to join her. “It took me a few years and a lot of tears.”

    “You actually installed an elevator all by yourself?” Tammy asked. “How?”

    “I used blueprints that Gadget left behind as a reference,” he bragged. “There were a few problems along the way including a certain accident.”

    “What happened?” Tammy asked.

    “It decided to give way on a test run about halfway up,” he shrugged.

    “Were you hurt?”

    He answered Tammy by pulling out one of his buckteeth and showing it to her. Taking it, Tammy was taken aback while Dale stuck his tongue out through the hole where his fake tooth was and laughed. All Rachel could do was roll her eyes as she watched. Her dad looked for any excuse he could to take that tooth out. He treated it as a regular punchline. She used to think he lost that tooth by being punched for one too many lame jokes. Still, she wasn’t going to take some stupid elevator up, as Agent B and Tad were already moving in to do. The doors opened as soon as Tad pressed the elevator button.

    “Everyone in,” Dale said.

    Rachel prepared to climb.

    “Where do you think you’re going?” Dale asked her.

    “Elevators are for wimps,” Rachel scoffed. “I like doing things the old fashioned way.”

    “I couldn’t agree more,” Tammy said while joining her. “How about we race and see who gets to the top first?”

    After a pause, Rachel smirked. She had heard a lot about this Tammy Squirrel, never mind what her dad told her about squirrel sitting her so many years ago. She heard rumors coming out of the RIA about how decorated, experienced, and legendary she was. Some of her friends who worked in the RIA talked about her in the same way they talked about her dad and Uncle Chip. Rachel thought she came off as a bit of a showoff though. Nonetheless, she accepted her challenge. Both readied themselves at the bottom of the tree. Looking at Tammy, Rachel could see that she wasn’t taking it seriously. She would show her though. Nobody could beat her in tree climbing.

    Taking off her fedora, she tossed it to Dale. “Hold on to this for me, dad.”

    Tammy took a keen interest in it as Dale caught it. “That was Chip’s fedora, right?”

    “It was,” Rachel confirmed. “Dad gave it to me when I was officially accepted onto this team. He said my Uncle would have been proud.”

    “He would be,” Tammy smiled.

    “Not as proud as he would be if he saw me beating you to the top,” Rachel taunted. “I’ll see you up there.”

    With a chuckle, Tammy was ready. So was Rachel and after a moment’s dramatic pause, they both scurried up the tree. When they were nearly halfway up, Rachel was impressed to see that Tammy was keeping up with her. In fact, they were neck-in-neck. Instead of feeling the pressure, Rachel rather enjoyed being on equal footing. She wasn’t putting in much effort of course. What did get on her nerves though was seeing Tammy smiling. She had been smiling the entire time. Rachel wondered if she was mocking her. It was time to get serious. Tammy had no idea who she was up against. Digging her paws into the bark, Rachel threw herself up even higher. Every time she touched the bark with her paws, she thrust upward and onward, while paying no mind to Tammy. This was how she got all the way up the redwood tree. She couldn’t wait to see Tammy’s face when she beat her.

    Upon nearing the top, Rachel looked beside her, and saw that Tammy was no longer there. She was beating her bad and it she couldn't help but pity her. She thought about how embarrassing it must feel for some heavy from the RIA like her to lose. She heard Tammy was considered the best, but she couldn’t be the best at everything. Rachel was at least willing to admit that Tammy was good at racing. She was just simply better than her. Reaching the top, Rachel was nearly out of breath. Sitting down, she waited for Tammy to join her. When Tammy didn’t come, she wondered if she was still climbing up. Perhaps she had given her too much credit in being a good racer. Wondering if she had given up, Rachel looked down the tree to see where she was.

    “Looking for someone?” a voice asked behind her.

    Looking back, Rachel was shocked to find that Tammy had beaten her.
    "Light got disconnect?ed from the community, and Ducky seems to be in love with him"

  6. #5
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    Happy holidays, everyone!!!

    Chapter Four

    It was Dale who unlocked the front door. He had the keys after all. However, they first took a moment to congratulate Tammy on winning the race against his daughter, Rachel. Dale knew Tammy would win it; she was just that good. He didn’t dare tell Rachel that though. He never saw her more distraught than the moment when she discovered that Tammy had soundly beaten her. He tried to reassure her that it was a close race, but she didn’t buy it. It wasn’t that she was a sore loser. Indeed, she even congratulated Tammy on beating her, if grudgingly. But she grumbled that it wasn’t even a close race. Dale knew that himself, having watched it from the bottom of the tree. He knew Rachel would stew on it for days. She didn’t take failure well. That was a trait they didn’t share. Dale always laughed in the face of defeat, the kind of comedic grace that he was famous for in his heyday. Whereas Rachel would brood about it and come up with ninety-nine scenarios where she could have won differently. Yet, he didn’t have the heart to tell her that in every single one of those scenarios, Tammy would win. That wasn’t saying that his daughter didn’t have the potential to be the best. That’s why he pushed enough pencils to get her assigned to the new team. Under Tammy’s leadership, she could do great things. However, one thing she needed to work on was her…

    “Hurry up, dad!” she snapped from the back. “Could you open that door while the rest of us are still young here?!”

    “That temper of her’s,” he sighed to himself as he turned the key and unlocked the door.

    The door creaked open to a quiet, dark room filled with dust. Dale reached for the switches and turned on all the lights. The inside of headquarters looked very much like how he left it. Nothing had changed there since his days as a ranger. Of course, he had to sometimes switch out lightbulbs, and replace some moldy cushions and sheets. Yet, it was a blast from the past. He could even hear the voices of his old comrades from yesteryear.

    “Do you see this? Chaos erupts during the visit of the royal family! The golden jeweled pacifier from the newborn prince of Freedonia has been stolen!”

    “Golly! Who could have done such a thing?”

    “I don’t know but we’re going to find out!”

    “Can’t we just take the day off and watch TV?”

    “No! We have a case to solve! Rescue Rangers away!”

    Dale couldn’t help but smile to himself recalling such memories as he let everyone in. There was nobody in an ever bigger hurry to check the old place out than Tammy. He watched as she walked around and marveled at their new quarters. She was like a kid in a toy store. Figures as much since the last time she had ever been there was when she was a kid. Technically, it was old quarters as far as Dale was concerned, but none of the rangers were there anymore. He took the key out from his jacket as Tammy approached him.

    “This place hasn’t changed at all.”

    “I’m a bit sentimental,” he told her as he handed the key off. “Some things should never change.”

    “I agree,” she smiled as she took the key. “Don’t worry though. This place is in good hands.”

    “I know.”

    They were joined by Tad.

    “I can’t believe I’m here,” he said as he looked around in awe.

    Dale looked at him and could tell how intimidated he was. It was cute to see him so taken aback. Although Dale hid it well, he still couldn’t help but take some pride in the impression that Ranger Headquarters was having on all of them. Even his old friend Midge and her fellow agent, although he had never met him before, were in awe of it. His attention was drawn back to Tad, whom he recognized because of his striking resemblance to his father. Dale knew who his father was, as well as his mother, and he regarded them both as heroes, rather than traitors as some of those ignorant minded in the RIA believed. What had happened to Tad’s parents was a disastrous mission that led to the disbandment of the oldest, and in Dale's opinion, greatest organization devoted to search and rescue. Nobody, including himself, knew the complete details of what happened, and what was done regarding the former organization’s members who refused to cease operations. There were rumors of ensuing conflicts that resulted in more sordid means on the part of the RIA. At least Tad was being given a chance to step out of such a big, looming shadow and prove himself. However, he had sympathy for the young mouse, and all the grief he must have been put through.

    “It’s dusty,” B observed.

    “Leave it to a feather duster like me,” Midge said while spreading her wings.

    “You two might as well make yourselves useful while you’re here,” Tammy said as she was about to sit down on the couch. “I did recall telling you that I had everything handled otherwise.”

    Dale knew what would happen if she parked her rear-end on that couch.

    “Tammy, I wouldn’t—”

    A cloud of dust shot up when she sat down. It nearly filled the entire room. Dale immediately covered his mouth with the collar of his jacket. He felt guilty as he listened to everyone cough.

    “Sorry. I haven’t been here in a…in a…A…ACHOO!!!

    He sneezed after getting dust caught in his nose.

    “…a while.”

    Midge began dusting the place to B’s chagrin.

    “Don’t do it like that! You’re making it—”

    She accidentally brushed dust into his face.

    “You’re making it…making it…ACHOO!!!”

    Midge sneezed in return and was followed by Tammy. Everyone had their fair share of sneezes except for Tad. He faked his sneeze in a quiet, pathetic way.

    “Achoo?”

    He earned an immediate glare from B.

    “Sorry. I just thought I’d try and fit in.”

    With limited visibility due to all the dust, Dale had to find his way over to Tammy. Before he could reach her, he tripped over the table and fell onto her. The impact caused the couch to tip over. They both fell off and rolled into the hallway. It turned out that his clumsiness caught them a break. There wasn’t any dust in the hall. They both got up and brushed themselves off.

    Tammy quipped, “We’re off to a great start aren’t we?”

    “Sorry about back there. Why don’t I show you everyone’s rooms?”

    The first room he showed her formally belonged to him and Chip.

    “This is yours.”

    Tammy seemed disappointed as she asked, “Didn’t you used to have bunk beds in here?”

    “I had to separate them to accommodate all of you.”

    “Wouldn’t that have given you enough time to dust the place as well?”

    Dale didn’t bother answering that. She certainly observed the obvious and he had no good excuse for it. He was just lazy and didn’t want to spend too much time on dusting. Closing the door, he led her down to the next room, and opened the door to Gadget’s workshop. There was a moment of silence where they both just looked inside. Tammy finally broke her silence.

    “You know? I put in a request for our first mission.”

    Dale already knew where she was going with this.

    “It was denied due to your recommendation, Dale.”

    She was talking about reopening an old search and rescue case. It was over twenty years old in fact. Dale himself was the one who originally conducted the case. It went cold and he eventually gave up. With a sigh, he tried to close the door, but Tammy stopped him.

    “Why do you stop searching for her?”

    “I had to move on,” he answered.

    “Chip wouldn’t have moved on,” she countered. “He’d still be out there right now looking for her.”

    “I know,” Dale confirmed with a smile that quickly disappeared. “He’d never give up trying to find her had he lived. He wouldn’t have cared that it was Gadget who stabbed him in the back.”

    Then he shut the door to her workshop.

    “I’m not Chip.”

    Before walking by her, he made a point in telling Tammy something she needed to hear.

    “Neither are you.”
    "Light got disconnect?ed from the community, and Ducky seems to be in love with him"

  7. #6
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    Chapter Five

    The task of dusting the old headquarters not only fell to Midge, but Tad as well. Actually, he volunteered to help. She spared him a few of her feathers so he could get to work. Tad felt like the odd man, er mouse, out of the whole group. He neither felt qualified or worthy enough. He certainly was in awe and excited to be given a chance. But that didn’t make him any less humble. Tad was well aware of the reputation his parents had. He carried that same reputation with him no matter where he went just for being their son. It didn’t help that everyone in the RIA viewed him with disdain and almost always dismissed him as a failure. He could especially see that in the way Special Agent B was viewing him now. He did his best to mind his work, but every time he accidentally made eye contact with him, he could see the contempt the agent had for him.

    B asked, “Does it feel good finally getting a promotion?”

    “Uh, yeah, yeah, uh, wonderful, wonderful,” Tad stammered as he swept the dust off a bookshelf. He could hear B approaching him from behind as he continued dusting. Being singled out by the hostile agent made him uncomfortable and he hurried with his work so he could get away from him.

    “You missed a spot.”

    Tad had indeed missed an area. It was small, almost invisible to the naked eye, but he had missed it regardless. He made sure the wipe it down. He tried to move on again.

    “You missed another spot,” B added.

    Tad looked over the entire bookcase again, trying to see where he had failed another spot check. He couldn’t find any trace of dust. The bookcase was spotless.

    “Uh…” Tad tried to say but found it difficult to speak clearly in B’s intimidating presence. “I, uh, I mean, I don’t see where I could have missed it.”

    B asked, “You don’t see it?”

    After Tad shook his head, B proceeded to pull the entire bookcase down. Tad had to jump out of the way or it would have collapsed on him. Books fell everywhere. B created a terrible mess.

    He sneered, “Now do you see it?”

    Midge yelled, “Brian!”

    Special Agent B immediately cringed and scolded her, “You shouldn’t use my name.”

    Tad wondered, “Brian?”

    Now it made sense. There was always an air of mystery to the special agents division. They were only known by their codenames. Tad thought that “B,” was simply a randomly assigned letter. He would have never had guessed that it was the first letter in his first name. It was so simple that it got a chuckle out of him.

    An embarrassed B took his frustrations out on Tad by ordering, “Pick it all up.”

    Tad hesitated at first. He wanted to stick up for himself, but what little defiance he initially felt was gone when B menaced him.

    “I said pick it all up,” he demanded.

    Tad immediately cowered in his presence. He would have done as told had someone not stopped him first. He felt a on his shoulder, but it wasn’t gentle. Whoever it was, they squeezed him hard enough that it almost hurt. He looked and saw that it was Rachel. She was glaring at Special Agent B.

    “Pick it up yourself,” she growled.

    “You’re talking to your superior,” B growled back.

    “Then disregard rank and make something of it.”

    Rachel was ready to fight and B wasn’t backing down either. Tad didn’t want them to fight. It was their first day and surely a fight between his teammate and an official from the RIA would look bad. He tried to get in between them but neither would budge.

    B mockingly pushed her fedora up. “You think you’re tough under that hat?”

    “It’s a fedora,” she corrected him angrily. “Don’t touch it.”

    Not only did B touch it again, he knocked it off her head. “Or what?”

    Tad could tell how bad things were going to get. He picked up Rachel’s fedora and tried giving it back to her. When she didn’t notice him, he tried to get in between them again, only for B to push him away. Rachel immediately went at him, using the fallen bookshelf to push him down. Midge attempted to break things up, but Rachel was quick to keep her at bay with a bullwhip that she had hidden in her bomber jacket. Cracking it in the air, she managed to knock one of Midge’s feathers off without even harming her. Still, Rachel glared at her with every intent of fighting her as well.

    “Back off,” she warned.

    Tammy reentered the living room and asked, “What’s going on here?”

    The scene explained itself, and with an angry Special Agent B getting back up to confront Rachel, Tammy put her foot down.

    “I think it’s time for you two to leave.”

    “Yes ma’am,” Midge immediately obeyed.

    B wasn’t so quick to leave. He aggressively bumped into Rachel as he past, and glared at Tad as well. Midge didn’t seem to be happy with him as she let him leave first. She gave everyone a respectful nod and shut the door as she followed him out.

    Tad took the opportunity to give Rachel her fedora back. “You dropped this.”

    She snatched it back and scolded him, “You’re weak.”

    “I know,” he sighed.

    She retorted, “Am I supposed to feel sorry that you’re honest about it?”

    “No, I just, I mean, I know I’m weak. I shouldn’t even be on this team really.”

    Putting her fedora back on, Rachel let out a sigh. She softened somewhat and told him, “You were selected to be on this team for a reason. You have as much right to be here as I do.”

    “I, uh, well, I disagree,” Tad replied. “You’re, um, well you’re the daughter of Dale Maplewood. That kicks all sorts of aaaaa…I better watch my language, but, it’s pretty awesome.”

    After a pause, Rachel cracked a smile. “Don’t idealize me. I’m nothing special.”

    “But together we are,” Tammy added as she joined in on their conversation. “You’ve already got each other's backs. That’s what I call teamwork.”

    “It was all her,” Tad said bashfully.

    “I won’t argue with that,” Rachel shrugged. “Special Agent Bozo had it coming. I don’t like bullies.”

    “Neither do I,” Tammy agreed while picking up a book titled Banjo the Woodpile Cat. After flipping through it, she shut the book hard. “Bullies will be bullies. We’re better than them. If that means we have to clean up their mess too then so be it. Let’s put some teamwork into getting this bookshelf back up, shall we?”

    With their combined effort, they were able to push the bookshelf back up. Never mind being weak willed, Tad wasn’t all that strong either. While Tammy and Rachel went about picking up the books, he had to take a moment to crack his back a couple times. After bending over to crack his back again, he picked up a book. Standing back up, he opened it, and found that it was filled with photos of the Rescue Rangers; Chip, Dale, Gadget, Monterey, and Zipper. They all looked happy together in what were obviously good times. Tad couldn’t help but smile as he looked through all the photos. He reached the final page where he found a picture he liked best. It was all five of them together rushing forth with bravery and determination to solve a case, which made them the legends they are today.

    “Rescue Rangers away,” Tad said to himself.
    Last edited by Light; 02-02-2018 at 09:24 AM.
    "Light got disconnect?ed from the community, and Ducky seems to be in love with him"

  8. #7
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    Chapter Six

    Dale came out just in time to see the three working together to clean up a mess that he guessed was caused by the commotion he just heard. With the two RIA agents gone, he was sure tensions had boiled over. Indeed, the start of this new team didn’t go over well. There were those who were skeptical, and Dale didn’t blame them, because there was a chance it could fail. The RIA was well structured, even for a global intelligence organization, and all divisions were kept under close watch of central command. A loose subdivision like this new team could very well embarrass an agency that was obsessed with success. Dale saw that as being the biggest problem with the RIA. Everything had to go according to plan and was constantly under the microscope to ensure its accomplishments. There was no room for improvisation which sometimes, while tending to be crazy, could get even better results than micromanaging did. That was why the original Rescue Rangers were so good at what they did.

    Then there were those in the agency who were jealous. Dale certainly didn’t blame them for that either. Many agents would probably kill to get out of their studious, nearly robotic duties for some fun. It was the worst kept secret within the organization that nearly half the agents hated what they did. Some were desperate for some real adventure while others simply wanted to kick back and relax. They likely all heard the stories about the Rescue Rangers and idealized it all. While he couldn’t deny some of the perks that came with the old job, Dale knew this new team would be far different. They wouldn’t be solely focused on rescue missions. It would also deal with various crimes and security detail. They would even likely travel outside of New York, perhaps all over the world, if their missions required it. Be that as it may, he had the pleasure of giving them their first mission, and it would be much more local entailed. Taking out a folder labeled as “classified,” he cleared his throat to get their attention. As soon as she saw the folder, Tammy came rushing over.

    “Is that our first case?!”

    “It sure is,” Dale answered as he was about to hand it off to her. When she tried to take it, he wouldn’t let go. “No hard feelings about back there, right?”

    “You’re right about me not being Chip,” she conceded. “I need to be my own leader.”

    “And you’ll be a great one at that,” he added before letting the folder go.

    While Tammy opened up the folder and read its contents, Dale motioned for Rachel to follow him outside. With his daughter in tail, he noticed Tad watching him go.

    “Good luck,” Dale told him.

    Tad smiled bashfully and waved.

    Opening the door, he let Rachel walk out first, then he followed and closed the door behind him. Without missing a beat, he bonked her on the head.

    “Ow!” she groaned as she took off her fedora and rubbed her head. “What was that for?”

    “I’m surprised you felt that considering how headstrong you are,” he scolded her. “Quit picking fights with everyone, will you?”

    “Then they better stay out of my way,” she growled before shoving her fedora back onto her head.

    “Rachel,” he sighed. “I had to pull a lot of strings to get you on here. Despite having so much potential, along with a very famous last name, your temper was working against you. They had it noted on your permanent file and not even I could get that scrubbed.”

    “I don’t care,” she grumbled as she turned and walked over to railing. She leaned against it and stared out at the park.

    “What’s with you today anyway?” Dale asked as he joined her. “I haven’t seen you this grumpy in a while. You should be happy. What’s got your knickers in a twist all of the sudden?”

    “I don’t wear any knickers,” she said as matter-of-factly while opening and closing her bomber jacket. “Besides, it isn’t what…but WHO.”

    “Who?” he wondered. “Did something happen at the Forbidden Apple?”

    “Forbidden Fruit,” she corrected him before turning away so he couldn’t see her face. She even tugged her fedora down. “I got dumped.”

    “Nooooooo,” Dale said in disbelief. “Stacy? You two have been going out for three years. I liked her. We even had her over for dinner every weekend.”

    “Tell me about it,” Rachel said with quivering emotion in her voice. “I liked her too.”

    “What happened?”

    “She just got tired of me,” Rachel answered. “She said I was too committed to our relationship and she wasn’t having any fun anymore.”

    “She wouldn’t know what fun is,” Dale said, attempting to distance Rachel from her. “If it makes you feel any better, I didn’t think she was much fun anyway, and you know me, I’m all the fun. She must be out of her mind to not want to be in a committed relationship with you. How old was she again?”

    “Twenty-one,” Rachel sighed.

    “Oh,” Dale responded, nearly choking on his own words. “Well, someone that young only wants to have fun anyway, or at least what they think is fun, but they have no idea.”

    When Rachel didn’t even care to acknowledge his point, Dale knew he had to keep doing the “dad,” thing. Rachel was always acting tough, but when she let something like this bottle up inside of her, she would inevitably turn into a wreck. She needed some real fatherly advice.

    “Maybe it’s time expand your horizons a little bit,” he suggested. “Stacy isn’t the only one out there, you know? You could also start dating someone around your own age…maybe someone even older, which isn’t a bad thing either. Did you know that I once dated a bat who was three years older than me—”

    “Dad!!” she snapped.

    Facing him, Rachel had her trembling hands clenched. While her face remained hidden under her fedora, Dale could tell she was crying. It tore him apart to see his daughter like that. He’d always try to cheer her up with jokes whenever she was upset, but it probably wouldn’t work this time. He had to hear her out instead, knowing she was an adult, and she needed to handle it her way.

    “Nobody wants to date a bi-crazy butch like me,” she sighed.

    Dale had to be serious now. Stepping in, he lifted up her fedora, and revealed her crying face. With a warm smile, he addressed her as lovingly, and as gently as he could.

    “You listen to me now. You’re not a “bi-crazy butch,” ok? You’re Rachel Maplewood and you’re my daughter. Now take it from your father. Who knows you better than I do? I'll tell you something. I can’t even take credit in being responsible for who you are today because it’s been all you. Not only are you tough, but you’re also beautiful. You’re a stud!”

    He got her to smile a little bit.

    “Things change starting today,” he continued. “It’s a new beginning. Not only are you going to do the world a lot of good, but you’ll do yourself some good too. I think that sometime soon, along the way, you may end up meeting someone special.”

    “Like that bat you mentioned?” she asked. “What was her name?”

    After a pause, Dale avoided the subject.

    “Do me a favor, ok? Work on that temper of yours. I know you’ve always been fighting others, and sometimes with good reason, because the times were not always accepting of who you are. But not everyone is out to get you either, especially everyone on this team.”

    “I’ll try,” she shrugged.

    “Promise me,” he insisted.

    “Promise.”

    Sharing a smile, they embraced. This would likely be the last time he’d see his daughter in a while. She was already well into adulthood, and needed to do her own thing, but Dale would always see her as his child. He didn’t want to let go of her either, even when Rachel wished to pull away.

    “Be careful,” he warned her.

    “I can take care of myself, dad.”

    “Then take care of your friends,” he insisted.

    She was finally able to break away from his embrace. She shrugged and responded, “I’m not sure I’d call them my friends.”

    Dale gave her a stern look.

    “At least not yet,” she added.

    “Give it some time,” he told her. “Soon they’ll be like a family to you.”

    With a smile, she turned away, and headed back inside. Dale wished he could let her go right then and there, but he simply couldn’t take it. He was a parent after all and seeing her go started getting him emotional.

    “Rachel?”

    She stopped and looked back at him.

    “I love you,” he said.

    After a pause, she ran back, and embraced him once more. It meant so much to Dale, who no longer had the luxury of getting too many hugs from her, especially after she got older. He would have been satisfied with that, but she leaned in close to his ear.

    “I love you too,” she whispered.

    Letting him go, she backed up so they could keep looking at each other. Once she reached the door, she opened it, but her eyes remained fixed on his. She tripped as she went inside as a consequence of not watching her step. She slowly closed the door, giving him one last smile. As soon as the door was shut, Dale lost his smile. He even had to wipe a tear away.

    “I know someone who would have loved seeing this as much I have,” he reminisced openly. It made him sad to think about it as he added, “As much as I’d like to think that I’ve done everything right by you, Rachel, there are still some things I haven’t told you. I’ll be damned if you don’t know the truth someday. Someday.”
    "Light got disconnect?ed from the community, and Ducky seems to be in love with him"

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