::Two female mice walk onstage. One is dressed in a perfectly pressed business suit of a dark gray color; she wears glasses, and the long skirt threatens to reach her ankles. The second wears a daring, low-cut, backless gown, deep black but shimmering with sequins—reference any major TV awards ceremony for ‘daring’ in this context. Other than clothing, the mice are nearly identical, and are both the spitting image of Gadget, for they are Hack and Hackwrench from Ronnie Rabbit’s story, “Broken Glass”::
::The mouse in the glasses glances over the audience, and addressed the audience in calm tones::
Hackwrench: Good evening. My name is Ms. Hackwrench, and this is my charming associate, Hack. Due to the nature of the nominees for the next award, I’ve made arrangements for us to...supervise...and make sure there will be no irregularities in the process—
::Hack beams broadly, and is suddenly holding two very large crossbows, as her dress flickers to a fiery orange::
Hack: There’d BETTER be some irregularities! I hafta see if these things WORK!
::She giggles hysterically as Hackwrench adopts a long-suffering expression::
Hackwrench: I don’t REALLY think that will be necessary, Hack. After all, imagine pitting your…overly energetic…self against a rogue’s gallery of villains, including some of the Rangers’ deadliest foes. Arrayed against them: a single Ranger, at the end of her physical, mental, and psychological limits, without friends or resources.
::She lowers her glasses slightly and peers over them at the audience::
Hackwrench: I hardly think it’s fair to the villains...
::Hackwrench pauses for effect, then continues::
Hackwrench: The nominees for Best Use of a Series Character (Recurring), are:
“Chimes of Fat Cat’s” or “Wart vs. Soup” by Jeff Wikstrom, using Wart.
“Gadget in Chains”, by Loneheart, using Gadget.
“The Day Dale Became Smart”, by Indy and Chris Silva, using Fat Cat.
“The Day Dale Became Smart”, by Indy and Chris Silva, using Nimnul.
“The Ties That Bind”, by KS, using Fat Cat.
::Hack suddenly pops a claw from one finger, and gleefully slashes open the top of the envelope::
Hack: Golly, I ALWAYS wanted to do that! And the winner is Loneheart, using Gadget in ‘Gadget in Chains’!
::Hackwrench is handed a note by a dutiful stagehand, and readjusts her glasses::
Hackwrench: Loneheart is a little shy of crowds and cameras, and besides he couldn’t afford the airfare, so to accept his award tonight, hot from the production set of Gadget in Chains, we have Gadget Hackwrench herself! (the real one that is).
::Hack and Hawkwrench welcome Gadget onto the stage and the audience applauds wildly, delighted that Gadget would be taking the stage again that night, even if this was a very different Gadget than they had seen before. Gadget walks onto stage in a unique costume – a hockey mask and straitjacket! She leans in toward the microphone::
Gadget: Can we have the countdown, please?
::The big screen over the back of the stage begins a count down from 30 seconds and Gadget starts to twist wildly in the straitjacket, to applause from the more unruly male elements of the audience. At ten seconds the crowd begins to count out loud as the numbers appear on the screen::
::With three seconds left on the screen, Gadget holds up the mask high in one hand and the straitjacket in the other. She is triumphant and free by her own hand, and the audience goes crazy. Gadget has to appeal for calm several times before anyone could hear her speak, then finally Hack shoots off one of her crossbows into an overhead light, which seems to do the trick::
::Gadget smiles and takes the podium again::
Gadget: As I think all of you know, I’m currently in production of a story called ‘Gadget in Chains’. When Loneheart originally approached me with idea for the story and asked me if I would be willing to work on it, I, uh, wasn’t quite sure how to answer him.
::She looks around and beams amiably, as though she has just used the word ‘should’ while explaining an invention::
Gadget: At first, I was taken with his sense of humour, and I was sure that any project he ran would be fun to work on. And it has been, so I was right about that. He also warned me that it would be a harrowing story to work on and that I probably didn’t know what I was letting myself in for if I said yes. Oh boy, was he right about that! There are a few uneasy chuckles from the audience. But if I had to make the choice over, I’d still say yes, and that’s because he made one other promise: That it would all be worth it. And if he was right about the other things, then he should be right about that.
::She beams again, and the audience is completely silent. Crickets chirp outside the auditorium::
Gadget: Well, anyway, he asked me to accept the award for him and to keep it safe for him and think you’ll all certainly agree that I’ve earned it!
::The applause starts slowly, but grows to a great height before it dies down again. Hack and Hackwrench join in, the bespectacled mouse appearing to consider the possibility of taking the now-empty straitjacket and fitting it onto Hack. She doesn’t get a chance, though, as Hack escorts Gadget off stage and the stoic mouse simply nods and trots off::