The Day Dale Became Smart
The tranquility of Central Park was one of the larger reasons the Rescue Rangers had stayed there so long. It was protected and even the sounds of the city were muffled for the most part. However, this morning the tranquility was suddenly shattered when an explosion of light produced a small, running figure and behind him a hungry cat. The being's eyes searched desperately right and left for a hiding place, but nothing provided sanctuary. Then he spied a chipmunk who was wearing a red-and-yellow shirt.
"Help me, please!"
Dale turned in time to see the little fellow--well, not so little to Dale actually--run right toward him. The cat followed suit, and Dale grabbed the little creature's arm
"C'mon!" Dale said, as he dragged his new acquaintance through the brush, and ended up near the tree that housed Ranger Headquarters, where the mysterious twosome had emerged
The newcomer pointed to a spot at the trunk. "Quick! We've got to get him to run to that spot next to the tree!"
Dale was trying to hold the little fellow back. "Yeah, but.." Before Dale could argue, the pair was at the spot the stranger had pointed to. Dale decided to help him and jumped out from the tree and taunted the angry cat. With a wave of the stranger's hand, a scattering of light appeared and then a portal emerged. The cat was running too quickly to stop and went right through the portal. The stranger shook Dale’s hand heartily.
"Ah, thank you my friend! Thank you for helping me!" he said with a jovial voice.
Dale looked at the strange little man. "You’re welcome...uh, you look cold. I could give you my shirt…"
The little man looked at Dale's shirt with apprehension. Even if he were freezing to death he would still hesitate before actually wearing that shirt. "Uh, no...no, thank you. That's too kind. I would like to thank you properly, though! Is there anything I could do for you?"
Dale appeared sad. "No, not unless you can cure stupidity."
The little fellow searched Dale’s face. "Why? Has someone you know been cursed with it?"
The stranger looked Dale over even more thoroughly. "You don't appear stupid to me. Why do you think that you are?"
Dale’s face took on a grimace. " Well, lets see..." Dale began counting off on his fingers,"Just today, I tried to make breakfast and Chip bonked me on the head for making a mess. Then I tried to take out the trash and Chip bonked me on the head and then I tried to clean up that mess and Chip bonked me on the head for making an even bigger mess and then I tried to help Gadget in her workshop and she almost bonked me on the head! That's why I was out here, ‘cause everyone's pretty steamed at me--like always."
The stranger smiled a bit. "I know someone who's like you--believe me, you are not stupid. You are just one of those special people that doesn't quite know how he fits into the scheme of things yet!"
Dale shook his head in frustration. "I don't fit in. I'm the sixth wheel. I don't know why they even keep me around."
Dale sank down on one of the trunk’s roots and the stranger sat down beside him. Somehow he was determined to help this chipmunk. "Someday you'll learn not to measure yourself through others. Still, if you are determined..."
Dale lifted his face in curiosity. "Determined?"
The stranger reached around and grabbed a small sack that Dale hadn't noticed before. He eyed Dale again. "You're sure you want more intelligence?"
Dale did a double take. "Are you saying you can make me smarter?!?"
"Yes. I have the ability. But I warn you--intelligence does not equal wisdom. So I say again, are you sure?" the stranger asked, a hint of wariness in his voice.
Dale jumped up, consumed with the idea. "Oh yes! I wanna be as smart as Gadget...no, I want to be even smarter than Gadget!"
The stranger reached into his back and pulled out a luminescent powder. "When I sprinkle this dust over you, your request will be fulfilled. If you find you do not like the change, I will be here again in three days." The stranger threw the powder in the air and it came down on Dale's head.
A few moments passed where nothing seems to happen. But then…
"Hmmm. Most peculiar. I feel perspicacious, sagacious...even astute," Dale noted.
The stranger looked at Dale curiously, wondering if he'd really done the right thing. "Now remember, you must come back here if you want to be changed back."
Dale gave him a "I know better than that" grin. "Farewell, my friend, see you in a few days!"
Dale rushed back to Ranger Headquarters, eager to show his friends the new, improved Dale. No one was in the main room, and Dale started to search for them. Then Dale skidded to a halt and looked at his shirt in horror. "Good heavens, what a fright! I must find something else to wear." Dale raced into his room and returned later with a smoking jacket and a pipe. He sat down and started reading Hamlet. Dale poured himself a cup of herbal tea and ate a cucumber sandwich.
Chip came in the living room, totally oblivious to Dale at first. He sat down next to Dale, reading his Sureluck Jones book. Dale looked up from the final act wherein everyone dies-he’d found he could now speed read-and gave Chip a snobbish look.
"Honestly, Chip. How can you read such pedestrian piffle?"
Chip's concentration was totally broken. He’d heard something come out of Dale’s mouth that didn’t seem to fit at all. "What? What did you say?" Chip asked.
Dale’s snobbish look took on a lien of superiority. "You heard me right, PIFFLE!"
Chip just looked at him. "Dale, you used a two-syllable word intelligently in a sentence!" Chip stood up in amazement.
"That is right, Chip. By mere fate, I was given the singular opportunity to aid a stranger to our fair wood, and in return he bestowed upon me a great gift! I have been given the intelligence not to do stupid things, so that I may avoid your wrath and that of others, so as to avoid bonkings. I have a few days to decide if I would like it to be a permanent change or return to my normal dimwitted self," Dale said.
At that moment, Gadget strode in from her workshop. "Uh, excuse me, could anyone help me assemble my new tripolar telescope?" Gadget asked.
Dale turned his attention to Gadget "Certainly Gadget, I would be most inclined to assist you."
Chip stood there slack-jawed and dropped his book. Gadget could only manage one word. "Golly..." Dale picked up Chip's book and looked at it disdainfully
"Chip, it is still a book, show it some respect," Dale chided.
Chip nearly fainted, as Dale approached Gadget. She began to wonder just what had happened.
"Uh, gee Dale, do you know anything about parallax adjustments?" Gadget asked, trying not to embarrass him.
Dale offered his arm. "Lead the way, fairest Gadget. My humble apologies for my making such a nuisance of myself this morning. As you can see, I'm not myself right now."
Gadget actually blushed. "Golly, thanks Dale." Gadget led the way into her workshop, and Dale began rattling off his newfound knowledge.
Chip was totally overcome at this turn of events and fainted as he watched them go in. Monty came into the room and saw him crumpled by the sofa.
"Crikey! Chipper, mate. What happened?" Monty asked, his voice full of concern.
In Gadget’s workshop, Gadget stood amazed at Dale’s new ability. "Golly and an Einstein! You're a genius like me!" Dale gave her a suave smile and kissed her hand.
"I know," Dale said confidently. Gadget blushed again.
Then suddenly Gadget’s mind returned to her problem. "Oh, golly! I've got to figure out the algebraic constant in this formula on my blackboard or I'll never get the scope to work right!"
Dale looked the figures over with a trained eye. "Please Gadget, allow me…"
Chip blinked twice as Monty stood him up. It was a dream. It had to be. Monty looked the chipmunk over, checking his vital signs. " Watsamatta, Chip? What's goin’ on?"
Chip pointed toward Gadget’s workshop. "I remember Dale using intelligent words and calling Sureluck Jones piffle..."
Monty was taken aback. "Piffle? Dale said ‘Piffle?’"
"I think that's what it was. And then he went into Gadget's workshop. But it was a dream--it had to be!" Chip said.
**More like Dale's dream,** Monty thought to himself.
Gadget was totally excited-something that didn’t happen that often for her. "Jeepers, you're right Dale! It is 2x-14!" She hugged Dale in thanks.
"Thank you, your praise warms my heart," Dale said calmly.
Chip reached the door to Gadget's workshop just in time to see the embrace. "IT WASN'T A DREAM!" Chip shouted. Chip fainted again, and Dale looked over at Chip disapprovingly.
"Your Stanislakyian theatrics do not amuse me, Chip. Is there something I can assist you with, hmmm?" Dale asked, enjoying the moment.
Monty blinked and rubbed his eyes. "Too-ra-loo! The bloke sounds like 'e's taken a bloomin’ smart pill!"
Dale walked over to Monty, totally ignoring Chip on the floor. "It would seem so, does it not, Monterey Jack? But for three days I have the good fortune of sagacity-the likes of which have never graced my mind before! I must decide which is better, having intelligence or having none."
Gadget was awe-struck. "Well, I sorta like you smart...."
Foxy walked in Ranger Headquarters. "Who's being smart?"
Monty knew that there was going to be trouble. "Uh, Foxglove....Dale's made a bit of a change today...."
Dale came forward gallantly and bowed low. "I am well blessed in intellect, fair winged one."
Foxy stopped in her tracks. The dressing gown, the look of superiority-it didn’t fit. "Dale, is that you?"
"Of course, my insectivorous delight!" Dale replied.
Foxy was getting just the least bit upset. "Insectivorous? Are you sure you’re not that alien they told me about?"
Dale laughed contemptuously. "Ha! Ditz was an aptly named simpleton. He could naught but aspire to my intellect."
Foxy began to back up a bit, intimidated. Gadget’s face changed from awe-struck to worried.
"Dale, what are you saying?" Gadget asked.
Dale looked around as a college professor might scrutinize his pupils. "You all look strangely at me..is this not what you all desired? I am no longer Dale the fool, now I am Dale the peer!"
Monty’s eyes widened. "Peer? Well, for Marilyn vos Savant maybe..."
"Ha, again! She is but a nitwit savant," Dale said.
Gadget was caught been two extremes. But still she said, "I kinda like him this way....."
Foxy started to feel jealous. Chip started to feel jealous. Monty started looking for a place to hide.
Suspicion began to well up in Dale’s mind. "Could it be that the lot of you preferred the old Dale? It was handy having a fool around to laugh at, was it not? He made you all look so good by comparison and he was convenient to blame all of your mistakes on. Is this it, perhaps?"
Chip shook his head and held his hands in front of him. "No..it's just..just that..."
Monty tapped Chip on the shoulder. "I think the bloke's right, Chippah..."
Dale approached Chip, the schoolmaster attitude taking over again. "Yes, let me hear you words, Chip. My dear friend, who would shower me with physical and verbal abuse at the slightest provocation."
Gadget looked down at the floor. "Chip, we do look down on him a lot. And now we're seeing the other side."
Suddenly, Dale’s voice took on a touch of anger. "Only a fool would have endured such abuse from so-called friends for so long."
Chip didn’t like where this was going. "Look, it wasn't anything personal Dale! I didn't know you took it like that! I thought you understood, it was just part of being friends...."
Dale punched Chip in the stomach. "There you go, old friend. Nothing personal! How did that feel, hmmm?"
Foxglove rushed over to check on Chip, and then looked up pleadingly at Dale. "Dale, what's happened to you?" she asked.
Dale crossed his arms in triumph. "I wised up, that's what happened! I suppose you don't like it either, do you?"
Foxy led Dale into the living room and he others followed them. Foxglove was doing her best to hold her emotions in check. "What happened to the munk I fell in love with? The guy who loves late-night movies, comic books, funny jokes?" Foxglove’s eyes brimmed over with tears.
"He became a munk who loves opera, Shakespeare, and independent films. But my feelings for you still hold true," Dale said, taking her hand.
Foxy decided to try. "Okay, what do you want to do tonight, cutie?"
Dale wiped the tears from Foxglove's eyes. "I would love to read to you from Eugene O'Neal's ‘Long Day's Journey into Night’". Foxy frowned in spite of her not wanting it to show. "Does it have lots of pictures?" she asked.
Dale looked past her. "Uh, no Foxglove, there are no pictures in it."
"But you always love pictures! You make faces like the faces in them!" Foxglove said.
Dale held a hand up dramatically. "It is a tale of angst and woe. I could make those faces if it would amuse you."
Foxglove looked very worried, and suddenly flew off. Dale was confused by her reaction-why didn’t she love him all the more? "Foxglove, don't go!" Dale shouted.
Monty put his arm around Dale’s shoulders as the formerly-dimwitted chipmunk watched Foxglove fly off. "Dale, are you sure you're still you?" Monty asked.
"Well, it is a change for the better Monty--I think," Gadget said, trying to remain positive.
Dale turned fast to face Monty, the big Aussie’s arm dropping in surprise at the speed of the move. "Of course I am still the same Dale as I always was! But now I have the critical element I have always lacked," Dale said.
Chip couldn’t stay quiet any longer. "But Dale, you're wearing plain clothes! You haven't even cracked a smile in an hour, and your girlfriend's intimidated by you now!"
Dale looked back at the door where Foxglove had just left. "Perhaps she could use an intelligence upgrade as well."
Monty shook his head. "Doesn't seem like the good 'ol Dale I know. He knew how to joke around and have fun!"
Gadget had heard enough. "Dale, you're not uncaring like this! You're snubbing Foxglove because she's not as intelligent as you are. Golly, I doubt I am at this point...well, it would probably be a close thing in the science and mathematics portions on the ACT, but still…"
Dale turned to Gadget. "So, now even you are intimidated by me! Feast or famine I suppose. You don't like me as a fool and you don't like it when I'm smarter than you either."
Chip caught his attention again. "Dale, you may be smarter, but brains aren't everything! You’re a fun person to be around! I admit I let my temper get the better of me and I'll try to rein it in. But if you stay this way, you'll lose everything that's important to you!"
Dale’s eyes narrowed. "Now that I'm smarter, perhaps it's time I made new priorities and have new things that are important to me."
"What!?" the Rangers said as one.
"Pallie, ya don't mean you're leavin’ us?!" Monty said.
Dale turned his back on the group. "Perhaps I may look for a place where I will be appreciated. Perhaps I should free you from the millstone of Dale that has been around your necks since the beginning of the Rescue Rangers."
Chip ran over and stood in front of Dale. "You are appreciated, Dale! But you're trying to be something you're not and you'll get lost in it! Please, change back before it's too late!"
"Please, Dale!" Gadget said, desperation coming up in her voice.
Dale pointed his finger first at Chip, then at Gadget. "You’re not so intimidating now, Chip. I'm not afraid of you anymore. If I go back it's back to bonking for every word or deed I do! And you Gadget, your condescending tolerance for me and my ways! Monty, you are perhaps the only who treated me with respect."
Monty couldn’t believe the words he was hearing. "Ah've always seen ye as a mate, Dale. An' I'm tellin' ya, you're making a big mistake if ya walk outta here!"
Dale put his hand on his chin in mock consideration of the idea. "Do I give up this new persona to return to the scorn and contempt that I had grown callous to?"
Gadget could feel Dale was hurting. She wanted to help. The beautiful mouse went right up to him and put her hands on his shoulders. "But Dale, we didn't know you saw it like that....." Gadget's eyes start to water.
But something inside Dale turned loose and flooded past any gates of restraint he had. He shook with rage and shouted at the top of his lungs, "HOW DID YOU THINK I SAW IT WHEN YOU ALL DAILY TREAT ME LIKE DIRT WITH NO REGARD FOR MY FEELINGS!!!"
Gadget was totally shocked. She covered her face with her hands and cried. Dale was too caught up in his anger for even this to quell him, though.
"Do you think I enjoy the abuse and ridicule that you all give me?! To be ignored, to have people laugh in my face among countless other indignities the lot of you have done to me! Do you!?" Dale said.
Chip could take many things, but an attack on Gadget wasn’t one of them. "How DARE you speak to her that way!? All right, mister brain, if you think we're the worst people on earth then go find some new friends!"
Monty moved himself between the boys. "Now Chippah, gain control....."
Chip’s face was full of anger. "He had no right to yell at Gadget like that!"
Dale’s eyes had turned to ice. "Excuse me,‘new’ friends? Don't you mean ‘Friends’?"
Even Monty’s patience was wearing thin at this point. "Dale, you're burnin' yer bridges, lad..."
Gadget couldn’t take it anymore and ran crying to her workshop. Dale grimaced-his vitriol had run its course.
"Gadget...wait!" Dale shouted after her.
Chip pushed him backward with both hands. "Go on! You're right. We're not smart enough for you, Dale! Go on, and find someplace where you'll be happy!" Monty and Chip ended up pushing him out the front door.
Dale crossed his arms. "Some friend, Chip. How many times have I had to endure your bad moods, but you've never been very patient with me when I have mine."
In a dramatic touch, it began to rain.
"I've never made Gadget cry like that! How could you? Don't come back until you can act like a gentleman!" Chip said.
Dale laughed sarcastically. "A gentleman? Who are you to talk, Mr. Shameless Flirt?"
Monty’s face was steeled against Dale’s attitude now. "'Fraid I'm with 'im on this one, bloke. You're a whirling dervish like ya are now." Chip boiled, trying to hold himself back. Gadget's crying could be heard in the workshop.
Dale didn’t let it faze him. "Perhaps you could use some intelligence as well, Chip. I could talk to my friend when he returns. I even tire of baiting you, Chip."
Chip’s restraint-small as it was-was exhausted. "That does it. Goodbye!"
Chip slammed the door in his face. Dale stood out in the rain, pacing back and forth on the wet flight deck, cursing his bizarre fate. At the same time, a short distance away Mepps wandered aimlessly around the park.
"Mepps, get me some tuna, Mepps get me some priceless art treasures, Mepps capture me some Rescue rodents..." the cluttered-looking cat said.
Dale stomped away from Ranger Headquarters, not even bothering to look where he was going. "I'll show them! They'll rue the day they chose to deface the honor of Dale Oakm...." Dale collided with Mepps.
Mepps was stunned-not because he’d been hit in the head of course. "Hey...Ow...Hey! Oh goodie...I got a Rescue Ranger!"
Dale looked up at the cat derisively. "No, my dimwitted dunsel! You got yourself a pack of trouble! Now unhand my person, or I shall be required to use Tae Kwon Do on you!"
"What?...what does Juan know?" Mepps asked, scratching his head.
Dale slapped his head. "Oh, must all the world be filled with mental midgets? A demonstration then...."
Dale found the pressure point of Mepps' thumb and a jolt of pain rode up his spine. "Owwww! Stop hurting me Mr. Chipmunk! I give up!"
Dale jumped up on a dead tree stump. "That's better. Now that I'm no longer a Ranger, I have to make others respect me!"
Mepps scratched his head again. "You’re not a Ranger any more- how come?"
Dale’s rage returned. "Why?! You want to know why?! Because they're all a bunch of self-centered, deprecating bigots! They used me for their personal punching bag! Well, I'm fed up with it!"
Mepps rubbed his sore thumb. "Well...what are you gonna do now Mr. Chipmunk?"
Dale was caught off-guard by the question, but the answer was not long in coming. "I'm going to find someone who can appreciate someone of my advanced intellect!"
Mepps jumped up and down. "Please, pick me, pick me! I can appropriate your advanced intellect Mr. Chipmunk!"
"You? You couldn't take candy from a baby without coming up on the short end!" Dale exclaimed.
Mepps looked ashamed. "I know I'm a idiot. Fat Cat lets me know that every day. I'm sorry."
Dale thought for a moment. "Yes, that might be an option. Take me to Fat Cat. Post haste!"
Mepps eyes lit up. "Sure Mr. Chipmunk, right away, sir! Mepps grabbed Dale and began running.
"I know it shouldn't have happened, Monty! I still don't understand it!" Chip said, flailing his hands.
Monty was still trying to calm his comrade down. "Well Chippah, it did and we got a bonzer of a calamity on our hands! Yer the leader, you gotta do somethin' before we lose Dale and Dale loses us."
Chip sat down and tried to think. "I know, I know...but I've known him for years and never seen him like this! He's usually such a caring person, but when he yelled at Gadget....."
Monty took a seat beside him. "He weren't just yellin' at her, he was yellin' at all o' us! But he's jus' been keeping it all bottled in so long he just…exploded. I don't think he feels as deeply about those things as he said-he just had to get 'em off his chest. Course, he could have done it a lot nicer, but that's beside the point. We gotta find him before he gets into trouble!"
Gadget came out of her workshop, still a bit shaken but better. She’d asked to be left alone when Dale stormed out and the others had respected her feelings. How could they not with what had just happened?
Gadget took a seat on the other side of Chip. "He's right Chip. I was hurt by what Dale said but it's obvious he's been hurt too. There's no telling what he might do!"
Foxglove gasped at the door. She’d come back, hoping things had gotten better. "You mean he's left!? We have to find him!"
"The problem is, where would a genius-type Dale go?" Monty asked. "The old Dale was as predictable as the risin’ of the sun. But now…"
Gadget thought a moment. "Well, if I was feeling resentful...not that I would because I don't usually get resentful...I don't have much reason even to resent..."
"Cut to the chase, lass..." Monty said.
Gadget blushed slightly. "Well, I'd probably seek out someone who could help me."
Monty stood up. "Crikey, who could help Dale, being what's he's like now?"
Chip began to consider the possibilities. "I don't even like to think about it. Nimnul would like to get ahold of him or...oh no! You don't think...."
Monty caught Chip’s line of reasoning. "Too-Ra-Loo, he wouldn't, would he? I mean he's got an axe to grind with us, but he wouldn't do that, would he?"
Fat Cat was in his usual sour mood. The crabby tabby was in his office, counting up the week’s paltry earnings for the casino. "Well, what sorry excuse do you have this time, Mepps?"
Mepps looked positively giddy. He held out his hands to Fat Cat. "Look boss, I got a Rescue Ranger!"
Fat Cat stared at the chipmunk sitting on the desk in front of him. "What?! You're not that smart!"
Dale put one hand on Fat Cat’s pen set and leaned against it nonchalantly. "Of course he isn't, my feline philanderer! I asked to come!"
"It's true boss, he asked me to bring him here, after he beat me up," Mepps added.
Fat Cat’s eyes searched Dale’s face. "What kind of trick is this, rodent?"
Dale’s eyes never left him. "No tricks, my felonious feline. I am here to apply myself to the simple task of bringing the world to its knees."
Fat Cat narrowed his eyes and extended his right-hand claw. "Take one more breath, and tell me why I should believe any of this....."
Dale actually smirked. "What would it take to convince you that I am serious? You settle for this paltry casino and your insignificant criminal empire. With my help there is nothing we could not achieve!"
Fat Cat's eyes lit up at the prospect. A troublemaker knows another troublemaker a mile away. "Oh, really? And what do you suggest?" the portly feline asked.
Dale rubbed his hands together with fiendish glee. "Perhaps it's time we take an upward move into the human criminal arena."
A slow smile crossed the criminal boss' face. "Well, we do think big, don't we? But why should I take you seriously? You're a Rescue Ranger!"
Dale’s anger returned to his face and even Fat Cat was surprised at the level of it. "Correction, was a Rescue Ranger! I grew weary of their constant ingratitude and scorn! The time has come for the earth to tremble at the name Dale Oakmont!"
Fat Cat rubbed his mustache in thought. "Very well. If that's true, then you won't mind helping me rid the world of your former friends, will you ‘partner’?" Fat Cat offered his paw, staring at him with his big yellow eyes.
Dale smiled and shook his paw. "With friends like them, who needs enemies?"
Dramatic music sounded. Somewhere lightning flashed. Fat Cat and Dale laughed together insidiously. Mepps looked to the other henchmen who had been there the whole time but had said nothing like usual. Now they just looked nervously back at Mepps. Finally one of them thought of something.
"Does this mean that I'll get a candy bar?" Mole asked.
The Rangers were still in a bit of a shock at headquarters, but the need to act was weighing on them.
"So whatta we gonna do now, Chippah mate?" Monty asked.
Foxy grabbed Chip's jacket lapels and shook him. "We've got to find my cutie! Please!"
Monty consoled her, giving Foxy a gentle hug. "Don't worry, Foxglove, luv. Well find Dale, safe and sound!
Chip pulled his jacket and fedora back in place. "Okay, okay! We'll find him. I just hope we don't regret it."
Gadget turned on him sharply. "How can you say that, Chip? Something must have happened to him to make him like that! It's the only logical explanation!"
Chip grimaced in thought. "I hope you're right, Gadget. For all of us."
"Well, I guess the first place we should look is the park. If he's on foot he can't have gotten far," Monty said.
Foxy shook her head. "I've already been looking 'round the park! I haven't seen him. But I suppose he could be hiding…"
Now Gadget hugged Foxglove. "We'll find him, Foxy! I've got a new invention to help us!"
Monty thought that he’d have liked to have heard a lot of other words besides those in combination. "It should work with no problems? Right, Gadget?"
Gadget ran into her workshop and brought out a device with a nose taken from the Groucho Marx glasses on the end of it. "It's my now super-sensitive smellomatic scent tracker!"
"Gadget, you’re brilliant!" Chip said.
Foxy looked at the curious contraption. "What does it do?"
Gadget held up one of Dale's spare shirts. "All I have to do is turn it on, and the olfactory sensors will register Dale's scent. Then the sensors will lead us right to him like a bloodhound!"
Chip had heard enough. It was time for action. "Go for it!" The other Rangers instinctively grabbed hold of the nearest furniture
"Here we go!" Gadget said. The machine turned on, and strangely enough, it worked as promised (Well, we have to give Gadget a break every now and then.)
Monty breathed a large sigh of relief and wiped his brow.
Gadget adjusted the controls and the machine began to beep. "Golly, it's got the scent! To the RangerWing everyone!"
"I'll fly alongside, if you don't mind. Oh, my poor Dale!" Foxy cried.
Chip flew the wing while Gadget directed Chip, using the strange device.
On the far side of the city, a group of shady characters neared a metallic dome atop a remote hillside.
"Are you sure this is the place, my chipmunk comrade?" Fat Cat asked. He was still suspicious, as any criminal type learns not to trust anyone.
Dale marched up toward the geodesic dome. "I am certain. The man is a genius and a fool at the same time, but I believe he will come in on our side when we share our common aims."
Fat Cat sneered. "He'd better. I'd hate to think I'd wasted an afternoon trudging up that hill. Ring the doorbell, Mepps!"
"Okay, boss," Mepps said. The henchmen stood on each other’s shoulders to ring the bell. A trap door opened to reveal snapping turtles, and the goon squad just managed to avoid them.
"Well, at least his taste in welcome mats is the same as mine..." Fat Cat mused.
Nimnul’s voice suddenly erupted from inside. "Who could it be bothering me in my secret lair? Where is that disintegration gun..."
The kooky scientist opened the door and was met with a unique sight. Dale stared up at him condescendingly. "You call this place a secret? A dome on top of a big hill? Give me a break!"
"Ack! Rodents...and felines! Argh, where is that blasted blaster..." Nimnul began fumbling around in his pockets.
Dale cleared his throat. "If you'll put your toys away, Nimnul, we can talk about your favorite topic--world domination!"
Nimnul found the blaster. "You vernicious vermin! What plan could you possibly hatch in that diminutive brain that would compare to the genius of Norton Nimnul?!"
Dale never blinked a moment. "If you are such a genius, how is it that the Rescue Rangers have defeated you every single time we've encountered you over the years? You have a genius for inventing, but not for plotting-that is why we need you."
"At least, until we're done using you.." Fat Cat said under his breath.
"At least, until I'm done using you both..." Dale said under his own.
Nimnul pocketed his blaster. "I'll have to think it over. I guess I can obliterate you any time I want anyway, so come in and let's see you prove how good a plotter you are!" Nimnul opened the door wide and the group followed him.
Foxy flew close to the RangerWing. "Are you getting anything yet?"
Gadget was confused at the readings. "Golly, not yet. Maybe I set the nose to the scent of the fabric of the shirt rather than to Dale."
Monty leaned up from the back seat. "Cheer up, Gadget-luv. 'Long as he's wearin' his shirt, it should still pick 'im up..."
Gadget did a double take. "But, I just remembered! He's wearing a smoking jacket, not his shirt!"
Chip had just remembered it too. "All right. Let's use brainwork for a minute. If Dale was going to someone he'd feel useful with, who would he go to?"
"A school?" Foxy asked.
"Well, he had a monster sized chip on his shoulder-he'd go somewhere where he could show us how smart he'd become," Monty said.
"If he's on a power trip, he might go to the smartest person he knows of...well, beside me that is," Gadget added.
Monty put the pieces together. "Not...not Nimnul?"
Gadget nodded. "Yes, it makes perfect sense! Let's check it out!"
"Oooooh, I'm afraid to go there!" Foxy said.
"Buck up Foxy! We've gotta do it fer Dale--no matter what might be lurking up there....." Monty said. He didn’t like the idea either. Nimnul and Dale together was a scary thought.
"So you see, Professor Nimnul, the human world has now and forever rejected you. Help us bring the humans to subjugation and all the world will know your name," Dale said, pitching his plan.
Nimnul let out one of his patented mad-scientist laughs. "Yes! They must cower, and pay homage to my super genius!"
"Not to mention super ego....." Fat Cat mumbled.
Dale ignored his feline comrade. "Help the animal kingdom and it will help you, Nimnul. First, we must decide on an act, something to set the tone for our little organization...shall we start small or start BIG?"
Nimnul put his hands on his hips. "Small?! Norton Nimnul never does anything small! After all, you've got to have an attention-getter....hahahahahahaa!"
Dale smiled in return. "True, we must do something that will get everyone's attention. Destroy, steal or blackmail or a combination?"
Nimnul pulled out a remote, and the dome roof opened. A large ball on a hydraulic lift rose 30 feet into the air. "Well, I didn't stick that thing up there to play tiddlywinks!" Nimnul shouted.
Fat Cat stared at the device. "And what is it, pray tell? An oversized Cuisinart?"
Nimnul pressed another button and a remote control chair floated over and cradled his posterior. "No, my feline felon, it's an Electromagnetic Pulse Generator with a built in Tesla coil! I can wipe out every Cuisinart from here to Sheboygan!"
Dale rolled his eyes. "We are perhaps getting ahead of ourselves. The Rescue Rangers, motivated by guilt, will come looking for me-even their feeble intellects will probably lead them here. We should prepare. One absolute-no harm must come to the bat, she is mine."
Nimnul’s eyes gleamed. "The vermin!"
Fat Cat’s pupils danced with joy as well. "The Refuse Rangers! We've got to put an end to them...."
Nimnul flipped his wrist in an uncaring move at Dale’s request. "Bat, shmat! Whatever. But I want my revenge on them--especially that icky fly!"
Dale beat his fist on the table. "No! If they are destroyed how can they live to see their life's work crumble before their eyes? What we need to do is find a way to..." A sinister idea forms in the chipmunk’s mind. "Heh, heh, heh... Professor, how fast can you invent?"
"How fast? How fast can you say, ‘Einstein, Van Leewenhock and Copernicus?!’" Nimnul said.
Dale’s face was frightful to behold. "This day we may yet all have our revenge."
The Rescue Rangers are copyright Disney and used without permission, but with the utmost respect.