The Rescue Rangers and the
This story takes place in near-episode format for the most part. The authors are sure the readers will be able to find the exceptions, and the fun ;-)
Spring found the Rangers surrounded by the happy sounds of new life blossoming all around them. The birds were singing, the squirrels were out chasing each other, and the people walking through Central Park had a song in their hearts. Gadget was humming one herself when she came out of her workshop.
“Golly, what a great day! Sure beats the cold of winter. Maybe I’ll do some inventing outside today. What do you say, guys? Feel like a day in a park?”
Chip had just finished up watching the morning news reports, along with Monty and Zipper. No sign of crime so far, and any opportunity to be with Gadget spurred his interest. “Sure! Let’s do it.”
“Too roight!” Monty said. “We’ve been cooped up in here too long as it is.”
Zipper buzzed his agreement, then a blood-curdling scream shook them all out of their contentment. The Rangers ran to the room Chip and Dale shared, for the voice they heard was distinctly Dale’s. When they opened the door, Dale was sitting on the edge of the bed, his teeth chattering in fear.
“Dale, are you all right?” Gadget asked.
“Crikey, lad! You look like you just saw a ghost cat! An’ I should know,” Monty said. Dale hadn’t expected such a reception, and seemed embarrassed at the attention. “I’m okay, just a little bad dream. No..no reason to fear that my hands would act of their own accord and strangle me in my sleep.” Chip knew something was up. He climbed the ladder on the pretense of checking on Dale, then looked under his pillow. “Ah, hah! ‘Evil Blood-Sucking Vampires from Space’. I knew it! Dale, when are you going to stop reading this stuff?”
Dale crossed his arms defiantly. “There’s nothing wrong with a little blood-curdling horror, Chip!” Gadget’s eyelids narrowed. “That’s not what Zipper told me, Dale. He said you put a bucket of water on top of your door the last time and it drenched him when he came in!” Zipper buzzed in the affirmative.
“Well, I need something to keep myself interested when we’re not doing cases,” Dale said, defensively. “If you don’t like my horror stuff, what do you want me to read?” Monty started counting on his fingers. “Anything that don’t involve vampires, werewolves, mummies, mutant creatures, zombies, mind-controllin’ robots, witch doctors, mad scientists...”
Chip snapped his fingers. “Hey, I know! Why not replace your reading habit with something else that’s fun, but good. You like television, and I’m sure there must be a decent show or two that would keep your interest. Why not try it?” Dale looked at his old friend dubiously. “Well, okay. I consider myself a literary man first and foremost, but I’ll give this...television thing a try.”
“Come on, then. We’ll help you pick something out,” Gadget said.
The Rangers sat down with Dale on the sofa in the main room, searching through show after show, but nothing seemed to satisfy the ned-nosed munk. Chip was about ready to give up when they switched to RerunLand.
Hannibal Smith was on the screen, grinning. “I love it when a plan comes together!” Instantly, Dale’s interest shot up. “A-Team!!! I pity the foo’ who don’t like the A-Team!” Monty gave a thumbs-up. “Sounds like we got a winner here. Gotta admit, they’re a bonzer bunch!”
“True,” Gadget said, “and I do like how they invent things in every episode. I wonder how they keep finding spare parts and armor plating wherever they go?” Chip waived off the question. “It’s just part of the plotline, Gadget. Dale, we’re going out into the park. Will you be okay here?”
“Sure! This’ll get my mind off my hands trying to kill me in my sleep—I hope.”
The Rangers left for the park, and Dale started getting engrossed in the derring-do of the A-Team. RerunLand showed two more episodes, so that by the time they returned Dale was thoroughly into the show. He bounded up to Chip, ready to share.
“Well now, you look like you had a good time,” Chip said, pleased with the success of his suggestion. “You got that right, sucka!” Dale said. “I’m gonna get me a glass of milk and watch more!”
Gadget smiled, watching Dale head into the kitchen. “Great idea, Chip.” Monty patted Chip on the back. “You got that right, pally. I think we’ve finally weaned ol’ Dale off those horror comics fer good.”
And so it seemed to be. Every day that week, Dale would eagerly look forward to seeing the A-Team and just as eagerly share the day’s episodes with the other Rangers. Then the weekend came, and RerunLand had an A-Team marathon. Dale was ecstatic. Despite his normal sleeping tendencies, he got up at 5 a.m. to see the first one. Unfortunately, he tripped and fell from the ladder, thudding on the floor and waking Chip
“What...what’s that?” Chip asked, half-awake. “Is there a crime going on?” Dale rubbed his arm where he’d fallen on it. “Don’t worry, Chip. I’m just getting ready for some important stuff. Go back to sleep and keep dreaming about Gadget.”
“Hey, I don’t dream about Gadget—well, not all the time,” Chip was about to lie down again when one word caught his interest. “Important? Is there a staff meeting I don’t know about?” Dale adjusted his nightcap. “Only if you want to find out if Decker catches the A-Team.” Chip had been attentive up to that point, but then fell back into bed. “Oh, it’s just that. Go on, then, but keep it down. It’s our day off, you know.”
Dale was already starting to get into A-Team mode. “Well, you never know when some person in need will show up, then we’ll have to spend the afternoon busting Murdock out of the asylum!” Chip nodded, yawning. “Right...Murdock...asylum...”
Chip was snoring within a minute, and Dale quietly but quickly headed for the tube. He watched the A-Team from dawn until dusk and on into the night. The Rangers were patient, since they’d suggested this. Still, they were beginning to figure out that Dale was starting to obsess. A clear sign came when Gadget sat next to Dale at the start of the marathon’s fourteenth hour.
“Say Dale, I’ve got an idea. Why don’t you come help me in my workshop?”
Dale was torn by conflicting feelings—the idea of being with Gadget versus finding out if the A-Team would somehow manage to escape from the burning building. “Uh, okay, Gadget. I’ve already seen this episode.” Gadget smiled appreciatively and took his hand as they started heading for her workshop. They’d almost gotten there when a giant explosion brought Dale’s attention back to the screen. It was B.A., driving an armor-plated vehicle with Face on the top, brandishing a machine gun. Dale ran back to the sofa. “Oh man! That was amazing! It’s like when you built that armored whatchamadoodle and rescued us from the Cola Cult!”
Gadget sighed, knowing it was no use. “Yeah, amazing.”
Gadget veered off from her workshop and went into the kitchen instead. The guys had been spying and waiting, and they knew the news wasn’t good. When even Gadget couldn’t pull Dale away from something! “This is getting pretty serious,” Chip said. “I think we need to come up with something else for Dale to do.”
“Yeah, but what?” Monty asked. “I mean, the lad’s like a sponge an’ just soaks up whatever he’s interested in. Gotta count our blessings, though. He could be obsessed with soap operas.” Gadget tried to look on the bright side. “Chip, maybe Dale’s just going through a phase right now. Let’s give him a little time, and maybe he’ll calm down soon.”
“I hope so. I’m starting to hear the A-Team theme song in my sleep,” Chip said. Chip and the others walked back in, taking seats on the sofa. “Dale, don’t you think you should knock off for now? I mean, you have watched a lot of episodes today.” Dale ignored Chip until the commercial break. “Chip, you know I need constant entertainment. Life is so boring. Why can’t life be more like the A-Team instead of our dull, ordinary lives?”
Gadget considered that. “Well, technically the A-Team’s lives are orchestrated by writers so it would be difficult for our lives to simulate theirs. That is, unless there actually are writers orchestrating our lives. Hmm...I wonder if they allow for editing suggestions?”
“Gadget!” Chip shouted.
“Oh. I mean, you should be happy with the life you have, Dale. There’s plenty of excitement all around you, if you make yourself a part of it.”
Dale pointed at the screen. “You never see the A-Team doing laundry or shopping for groceries. I think it was Alfred Hitchcock who said, ‘Movies are life with the boring parts cut out’.” Chip shut off the television. “Well, this isn’t a movie, and you have responsibilities! You’re a Rescue Ranger, and that’s important. Sure, it might be boring some of the time, but if every day was like the A-Team, you’d be bored then because it’d never change!”
Dale sighed. “You’re right, Chip. I’d like to help you, Gadget, if that offer still stands.”
The Rangers breathed a collective but silent sigh of relief, as Dale went off with Gadget. All seemed well, but when it came to Dale they should’ve known better. When the imaginative chipmunk went to bed that night, his mind was still racing with the details of the A-Team. Then he was suddenly jolted awake, and found his clothes were different. He was wearing a baseball cap and a flight jacket over a t-shirt with some snappy motto. He was also in a padded room.
Dale began looking around, but his attention was soon drawn to the nearby window. Chip and Zipper were there—or rather it was them but not as they usually were. Chip had on an expensive-looking Italian sport coat and Zipper had a Mohawk haircut, a beard, gold around his neck, gold earrings and was wearing a cutoff denim vest—and muscles everywhere.
“Come on, Murdock!” Chip shouted. “We’ve only got a few minutes until the security alarms cut back in!” Dale walked over the window, which was open. “Uh Chip, Zipper, what’s going on? What am I doing in here?” Zipper’s eyes narrowed. “Who you callin’ a zipper, fool! Now cut with the jibber-jabber and come on! Don’t know why I bother dealing with this crazy man…”
Dale pondered these things and suddenly realized he was dreaming. An A-Team dream! Dale leaped to his feet and headed to the window. “Okay guys, me and Ed are ready to break out of here!” Zipper got in Dale’s face. “They ain’t no Ed here! You ain’t talking about that stupid horse, now?”
“Are you blind, B.A.? He’s a chicken, a giant chicken!”
Zipper tried to strangle Dale—which considering he was a fly was sort of comical—but Chip broke it up. “Come on, Murdock. You and the giant chicken can sit in the back of the van.” Dale followed the others and hurried into the A-Team van parked outside. Dale shooed his invisible companion into a rear seat. “Don’t worry. He’s a rooster, so he won’t lay any eggs. Man, that makes me hungry! I could sure go for a omelet right now, B.A.. Can we stop at a Waffle House?”
“Shut up, or I’ll scramble you all over the street!” Zipper shouted, slamming the driver’s door and driving the van—don’t ask how. In the passenger’s seat was a rather rotund mouse, dressed in a light-colored jacket and smoking a cigar. In the back with Dale and Chip was a female mouse, dressed like a reporter. Monty took the cigar out of his mouth. “All right, we’ve got a case. Seems like some slime balls in a town no one’s ever heard of are leaning hard on a bunch of poor but well-meaning locals and we’ve got to go in and break the bad guys’ little red wagon.”
Dale was confused, which did set well with the character he was portraying. “Shouldn’t we stop their nefarious dealings with the poor people instead of breaking their toys?” Zipper turned around, leering. “I’ll break your toys if you don’t...”
“Will you guys give it a rest!” Gadget said, putout. “It’s bad enough I have to follow you guys around the country, risking my job, and getting paid little better than minimum wage. Still, we do put a lot of bad guys away.”
Chip was momentarily entranced by Gadget—what else is new. “I love it when you’re angry, Amy. Say Hannibal, don’t you think we could, you know, slip into town and out quietly this time? I just hate wrinkling my suits when Decker ‘shows up, and I just bought this one for the new premiere of that picture I’m promoting. You know, ‘Cannibal Women From Mars’? I figure it should be a big sell with the family crowd.”
Dale smiled, playing into his role. “Face, Ed wants to know if there are any hens in the movie. He likes hens.” Dale began clucking like a chicken, and Zipper decided at that point to ignore the conversation behind him. “We ain’t working for free again, are we Hannibal?” Monty grinned widely. “Now B.A., whatever would give you that idea? After all, money isn’t everything.”
“I knew it. Chump change.” Zipper buzzed in agitation as Monty directed them to their destination—an abandoned airstrip, with a—
Zipper hit the brakes. “Hannibal, I ain’t flyin’ in no airplane! That crazy fool’s gonna crash!” Dale was starting to enjoy this. “Now B.A., don’t you worry your thick little cranium one iota. If we’re going down, Ed will save us all!” Zipper got more agitated. “I don’t fly! I don’t fly!” Chip tapped Zipper on the shoulder. “B.A., you are a fly.”
“I don’t care! I ain’t gettin’ on no airplane!”
Monty smirked at the rest of them, then produced a glass of milk. “Well, I suppose we could go by train. You’d better finish this milk first, though.” Zipper took the glass. “Oh yeah, thanks.” Zipper drank it down, and fainted promptly. Monty grabbed him. “Let’s go, everyone!”
The team got on the plane, and Dale was surprised when no one objected to him getting into the pilot’s seat. He was even more surprised when he actually knew what to do. “Saddle up, Ed! We’re getting ready for a hyperspace jump!”
“I really hope this trip is worth it,” Chip mumbled.
“YA-HOOO!” Dale shouted, doing a barrel roll once they were airborne.
Hannibal showed him their destination, and they landed a couple of hours later in a field next to a farmhouse outside the small and largely unknown town of Sticksville. When they got out, they were met by two women—a bat and squirrel who were wearing overalls and had obviously been busy with some produce
“Oh, you came! I’m so happy!” Tammy ran up and hugged Chip. “Wow, are you ever cute!” Chip grinned politely. “It goes with the territory. And who might you be?” Tammy admired his tailor-made suit. “I’m Annie Sue Doughtery and this is my sister Becky Lee. We work here in our Uncle Bedivere’s rutabaga farm.”
“Yeah, except the mean Furball boys won’t let us ship our rutabagas to market!” Foxglove said. “And the local sheriff’s in on it with them.” At the mention of the sheriff, an older bat came out of the farm house. He had been beat up, and was wearing a cast on his right leg and had his right wing in a sling. Bedivere used a crutch to cover the distance. “You’d better watch out. Those Furball boys play fer keeps!”
Monty lit a cigar. “Well, we’ll just have to ship those rutabagas ourselves.” Zipper shook his head. “You ain’t puttin’ no vegetables in my van! Murdock’s the only vegetable I can stand.”
“But your van’s in New York!” Dale pointed out. Zipper looked around, coming out of his daze. “How’d we get here if we didn’t...Murdock! I’m gonna kill you, sucka!” Monty diverted the ticked-off fly’s attention. “B.A., we’ll discuss that later. There’s a big-rig over on the other side of barn. We’ve got rutabagas to ship!”
Chip went over to Tammy, who’d been crying, and hugged her. “Now, don’t you worry! I happen to have a few connections in the agricultural circles, and I’m sure I can find you a good buyer. After all, somebody’s got to need rutabagas.” Tammy looked up at him hopefully. “You think so? Oh, thank you!” Tammy kissed his cheek, then smiled. “Say, you’re quite a looker! Are you married?”
Chip sensed trouble. “Well I, uh...”
“Come on, Face!” Monty shouted. Chip smiled. “Sorry, duty calls!”
Chip hurried off, while Dale stood and watched the loading, along with Foxglove. “You people sure are nice to help us,” Foxy said, her eyes starting to water. “I think you’re about the nicest group of vigilantes I’ve ever met!” Foxy hugged Dale, crying on his neck. He tried to put up a solid front. “Don’t worry your pretty ears, ma’am. We’re the A-Team, we always win. We just have to go through some ups and downs and we’ll have the whole problem solved in under an hour.”
“Oh, you’re so amazing!” Foxy said.
Bedivere ambled over slowly to Hannibal. “You know, it ain’t fair to not tell you this. We can’t pay yer price till the rutabagas are shipped.” Monty looked down from the back of the big-rig, smiling. “What’s not fair about it? We’re going to see them through.”
“But the Furball boys, and the sheriff...”
Monty struck a pose. “Just another group of bug stains on the windshield of justice, and we’re going to wipe ’em off. No offense, B.A.” Zipper meanwhile was letting his bad attitude fester. “I’m gonna find out how I got here, and then there’s gonna be some major pain dished out!”
The team got in the big-rig, Zipper driving. They got about halfway to town when a welcoming committee met them. These guys didn’t want to talk shop. Fat Cat got out of a sheriff’s car, wearing the traditional outfit, and was followed by the goon squad dressed as a bunch of local yokels. “All right, this is Sheriff Tabby. I want that rig back where it came from, and now!”
Zipper leaned out of the big-rig’s driver’s seat. “I pity the fools who stop the rutabaga shipments! Get outta the way or I’ll have ta bust ya all up, real bad.” Dale leaned out of the other side. “You better move or you’ll see the unchained wrath of an enraged giant chicken!”
Fat Cat laughed. “A fly with a Mohawk and a crazy munk? Oh, I’m so afraid...” Monty whistled from the truck’s cab. “Hey lardo, here’s something for you to be afraid of!” Monty brandished an AK-47 assault rifle, and threw one to Zipper. Thanks to his new muscularity, Zipper could handle it. The others came out of the back of the big rig similarly armed except for Chip, who had a bazooka.
“You gonna start liking rutabagas now, fatso?” Monty asked.
“No chance!” Fat Cat said. “Get ’em, boys!”
The Furball gang produced guns of their own, and the shootout was on. The team sprayed the area with hundreds of rounds, but due to their expertise they managed to miss hitting any of the Furball gang or the sheriff. The bad guys managed to miss them too, but only because they had a surprise for them.
“On the flank, Hannibal!” Zipper shouted.
A truck full of extra goons got out and assaulted the guys, pounding them to the ground. They didn’t touch Gadget, of course, because this was after all a gentlemanly bunch of hired muscle. Fat Cat came and stood over them, with the rest of the goon squad. “Now you tell that beat-up bat and his girls that rutabagas are out of season! Torch it, boys!”
The massed goon squad set fire to the big rig and then headed out, whooping it up. Gadget managed to wake up Monty and with the help of the others they saved the truck. Still, it was heavily damaged. Chip dusted off his suit, lamenting the loose threads he found. “Well Hannibal, what’ll we do now?”
Monty got a funny look on his face, and his moustache extended.
Chip cringed. “Oh, no. Not that...” Zipper sighed. “Hannibal’s on the jazz again.” Monty lit a fresh cigar, grinning widely. “We were just softening them up. When we come back—“
“We’re coming back?” Chip asked, hoping he’d heard wrong.
“We’ll finish the job.”
The team gathered later back at the farmhouse, where the girls had helped patch them up. Zipper was getting a band-aid put on him by Tammy “I don’t need no band-aid! I just need another crack at them suckas!” Dale walked up to Zipper. “B.A., I think Ed has an idea of how we can save the day!”
“They ain’t no stupid chicken, except the feathers in your head!” Zipper shouted. Monty ran interference. “Now hold on, B.A. If Ed has an idea, we should listen to him. Go ahead, Murdock.”
“Well, my idea was to ride on Ed’s back as he flies over the bad guy’s place and I’d drop eggs on them, but Ed suggested we get some steel plates and weld them over the truck and make a tank and crash it into the villain’s place.”
“We’ll save your idea for a backup, Murdock,” Monty said. “I think the chicken’s got a winner there. Say Bedivere, you got any extra armor plating around here?” Bedivere nodded. “Sure do. The barn’s full of it, and I’ve got an acetylene torch out there and some old engines and spare parts.”
Monty laughed, satisfied. “B.A., let’s do it!”
Through a montage of shots, Zipper and the others assembled the armor plating. Zipper put on a pair of welding goggles, making sure to keep his gold chains and rings away from the torch as he fit the heavy plates in place. Then he cut a hole in the plate on top for the top of the makeshift tank, using the obligatory garbage can lid. Soon, all was ready. Monty looked over their work, satisfied.
The team headed out, meeting the Furball gang, the sheriff and the extra goons back at the same place. This time, Zipper put the pedal to the metal, plowing right through their vehicles and knocking them over. The back of the truck swung open to reveal Chip, Dale and Gadget, manning a big section of steel pipe that was attached to a tank of pressurized gas and powered by one of the old engines—a makeshift cannon. Dale put in a rutabaga. “As a giant chicken once said, ’Cry havoc and let slip the rutabagas of war’!”
With that, they loosed a barrage of rutabagas on the unsuspecting crowd. Monty appeared on top of the big rig, bazooka in hand. “Hey, slime balls! Those rutabagas are better cooked!” Monty fired the bazooka, blowing up the sheriff’s car, but hurting none of the bad guys. Zipper and the others (save Monty and Gadget) got out of the truck and jumped into the fray. Zipper took on Mepps and Wart, slamming them to the ground. Chip clouted Mole, then Fat Cat came at him.
“Murdock!” Chip shouted.
Dale ran over and they hit Fat Cat at the same time, bowling him over. Then Monty appeared on top of the big rig, got out his machine gun and fired over everyone’s heads. The bad guys were beaten, and gave up. Monty lit a cigar, and smiled, speaking that immortal line. “I love it when a plan comes together!”
Later, at the farm, Bedivere shook hands with Monty, “I sure want to thank y’all. You got our rutabagas to market and the farm’s saved. Here’s the money we owe you.” Monty shook his head. “No, you keep it. You, your farm and your girls need it more than we do. We’re just glad we could help.”
“Ed works for chicken feed,” Dale said, agreeing.
Bedivere was amazed. “You boys sure are something. Are you sure there’s no way we can thank you?” Tammy lit up. “I know a way!” Before Chip could protest, Tammy ran up, threw her arms around him and smooched him. Chip was caught in the squirrel’s iron grip for a few moments, then extricated himself, smiling awkwardly. “Well, they do say the hard jobs go to the brave.”
Foxy brought a daisy for Murdock and gave it to him. “I know it’s not much, but take it please, so you’ll have a way to remember me.” Dale stepped out of character, took her in his arms and kissed her long and passionately. “I’ll always remember you, ma’am.” Foxy blushed, then stammered. “I...I reckon you will...”
“Let’s go, team,” Monty said. “There’s more nameless towns with harassed good people to save. Besides, I think our escort’s just arrived.” Over the hill, a siren signaled the entrance of several military police cars. The A-Team headed for the van and scratched off, Colonel Decker (in the form of Nimnul) in hot pursuit. Monty smiled and waved, first at the Doughteries, then at Colonel Decker who was shaking his fist at him.
“You despicable do-gooders!” Decker shouted. “I’ll catch you yet, despite hundreds of bungled attempts!” It was a good day in A-Team land.
With that, Dale woke up with a start—he’d been dreaming it all. “Oh wow, what a neato dream! I gotta tell somebody!” Dale headed into the main room. Chip was there, watching the news as usual, along with Monty and Zipper. At first, they were afraid he’d want to change channels, but his excited demeanor showed otherwise. Dale began regaling his friends with the details of his dream. They could only roll their eyes and smile politely.
Dale took a big breath and finished with, “Then Monty said, ‘I love it when a plan comes together’!” Chip was really wishing he could be someplace else. “Uh, right Dale. Would you mind going and telling Gadget about it? They’re about to cover the local stuff from last night, and I don’t want to miss anything.”
Dale was about to, when Gadget appeared. She had a silver-looking globe in her hands, which was actually floating slightly above them. Chip saw her come in first, and pointed at the object. “Gadget, what’s that?”
“Oh, good morning,” Gadget said, having just finished an all-nighter. “Actually, I haven’t come up with a name for this yet. It’s an electromagnetic wave-driven memory stimulator. I got to thinking that old folks often have problems remembering things, so I came up with this. The EM waves help to stimulate the memory center of the brain and should make it easier for them to remember.”
“Good idea, Gadget!” Dale said, intrigued by the appearance of the object. “That’ll come in handy for remembering birthdays and anniversaries too!” Monty shuddered at the mention of the “S” word. “Uh luv, are ya sure it’s safe?”
“Oh, of course! All you have to do is take hold of the ball...”
“Like this?” Dale quickly reached out and grabbed the ball.
“...once I’ve adjusted it to the proper strength for whoever’s holding it,” Gadget finished, then realized Dale had beat her to the punch. “Uh oh.”
Chip looked worried, probably with good reason. “Gadget, how bad is ‘uh oh’?”
“Right between ‘oops’ and ‘we’re toast’. Dale, drop the ball! It’s at full strength!”
Dale struggled with it. “I... can’t... let go of... it...” Dale collapsed to the floor, overcome by the object’s energies.
“Dale!” everyone shouted. Gadget warned the others against touching Dale while he had the ball in his grasp, then went and got some rubber gloves. She quickly pulled Dale and the ball apart, and Chip checked him out. “He’s breathing okay, and he has a heartbeat. Gadget, what did that thing do to him?”
“Gosh, I...I don’t know,” she said, worried. “I’m so sorry about this! Oh Dale, please get up!”
Dale came back to consciousness, talking very strangely. “You done it again, Murdock! I said I ain’t gonna fly on no plane! When I find out how you knocked me out again, I’m gonna bust you up!”
Everyone was relieved, since Dale was joking. Chip pulled him up to a standing position. “At least you weren’t hurt, Dale. Come on, now. We need to go scout the city in the RangerPlane.”
Dale leered at Chip. “Face, you know B.A. don’t fly on no airplane!” Chip gave Dale a bemused grin. “Okay Dale, that’s enough clowning around. Now let’s go. I’ve got to plan out our new patrol routine.” Dale patted his shirt, taking on a totally different attitude. “Face, how about scroungin’ me up some Cuban cigars? And never forget, I’m the one who comes up with the plans.”
Chip’s patience was wearing thin. “Come off it, Dale! It’s getting annoying now, and I’m...” Gadget’s quick mind had been analyzing the situation and made a connection. “Maybe he’s not joking, Chip. It could be an after-effect of the electromagnetic wave!” Gadget turned to Dale. “Who am I?” Dale didn’t miss a beat. “Amy, what’s the new mission? Do we have some innocent townsfolk to rescue from greedy land developers?”
Monty took off his flight cap. “Crikey! He thinks you’re that reporter lass! An’ he thinks Chip is Face.” Zipper was worried and buzzed, “Oh, no!” Chip quickly pulled the others aside. “Maybe we’d better humor him...uh, Hannibal? Actually, we need to go spring Murdock first. Could you stay here for a few hours while we bust him out?”
“Good idea, Face,” Dale said. “I’ll work on a plan while you’re away.”
The Rangers put on their best smiles for him, and headed outside. “By the time we get back, maybe it’ll have worn off on its own,” Chip said. Gadget looked back, worried. “I hope so, Chip. There’s no way to plot the effects without a statistical study. If he hasn’t improved, we should probably take him to the doctor.”
“Good thinkin’ lass,” Monty said. “Now let’s get up there and see what’s what.”
Back inside headquarters, Dale searched for a cigar but found none. Hours passed, and the Rangers didn’t come back. The chipmunk-turned-Hannibal knew something was up. “Hey, where do we keep the machine guns? Well, about this time the bad guys must have captured the rest of the group. I guess I better go and rescue them. Now, where are the keys to B.A.’s van?”
Dale headed for the garage, finding the RangerMobile and one of Gadget’s plunger guns in it with spare darts. The chipmunk broke out into a wide smile. “I love it when a plan comes together!” Dale started it up and headed out into the night.
Hannibal...er…Dale headed for the factory where he figured Decker was waiting with the captured A-team. “Don’t worry gang, Hannibal’s got a plan. They’ll be expecting me to come through the front door... so I better not let them down. This baby’s gonna need some armor.”
At the Happy Tom Cat Food Factory, Fat Cat was entertaining some late-night guests. Unfortunately, it was a captive audience. “I’m so glad you could drop by tonight! We were in need of some entertainment. You know how it is—life gets boring as a master criminal. So when you so generously walked into the net trap we put out just for you, we decided to give you a celebrity roast—LITERALLY!”
The Rangers were tied up together and suspended over one of the factory’s furnaces. Chip stared at Fat Cat defiantly. “You won’t get away with this!” Fat Cat gave him a smug look. “Oh, not that old tried and true line. And who, pray tell, would save you? That overweight chipmunk with no fashion sense?”
Dale climbed down from the windowsill, having spied on the plight of rest of the A-Team. “Well, Decker’s really gone nuts this time. Lucky for me there was a welding torch handy and all that sheet metal. Time to rain on his parade.” Dale climbed down and powered up the newly-armored RangerMobile, heading right for the door. Fat Cat turned at the sound. “What’s that? No one’s supposed to know I’m here...”
Suddenly a small vehicle moving at high speed crashed through the wall, heading straight for Fat Cat. “Decker, you’re just not good enough to beat the A-Team! You’re never gonna take us in!” Fat Cat stepped back in surprise. “What’s this? Get him, men!”
From out of the woodwork, the goon squad emerged. They tried to stop Dale’s progress, but as Hannibal Smith he was more than a match for them. Dale popped up the top of the armor-plated vehicle, with a modified plunger gun that now shot marbles rapid-fire. Soon the goon squad was on the floor, tripping, and it was between Fat Cat and Dale. The chipmunk left his vehicle and approached the portly feline, weapon in hand.
“Well, you’re certainly braver than I gave you credit for,” Fat Cat said. “But now surrender, or your friends will be doing a short dive into the fiery furnace!”
“Are you really that dumb?” Dale asked. “By now they’ve already worked out a clever plan to free themselves. Decker, what we got us here is a standoff. You drop them in the furnace and I’ll throw you in after them. If you don’t let them go, I’ll throw you in and set them free. Either way, this place is gonna smell like burning fur. The only question is, whose fur’s gonna do the burning.”
“You’re trying my patience, rodent,” Fat Cat growled. “And who’s Decker? You trying to fool me?” At the word ‘fool’, Dale switched personas. “The only fool here is you. And I pity the fool who don’t listen to Hannibal Smith. Time to meet Mr. Plunger, sucka!” Dale began shooting marbles at Fat Cat, who really wasn’t expecting this. He began backing up. “What is it with you? Are you crazy?”
“No, the only crazy fool here is Murdock!”
Dale began working his way to the controls that held the other members of the A-Team. “I don’t know how you fools let Decker get the drop on you.” For the first time, Chip was glad for A-Team marathons. “Way to go, Dale...er, B.A.!”
Fat Cat ran at Dale. “No, don’t touch that!” Before the tubby tabby could get to him, Dale fired another marble that was perfectly placed. Fat Cat lost his footing and fell—right onto the top of the furnace. His posterior was stuck there, but only for a moment. The crime kitty howled in pain and popped out of there, his biscuits burning. Fat Cat ran for it, the rest of the goon squad in tow. Dale safely lowered the Rangers down, and then set them free.
“I love it when a plan comes together,” Dale said, smiling at the sight of the bad guys retreating. “We better get out before Decker comes back with more military police.” Gadget came over and hugged him. “Oh, thank you! It looked pretty bad there for a while, but we should’ve known you were up to facing the odds.” Dale switched again, and took Gadget in his arms. “Well, you know, the life of a soldier of fortune has its ups and downs. And I’d call you one of the ups. Facing the odds is what the Faceman does best, Amy.”
Dale kissed her, and Gadget blushed. “Golly...” Foxy, who’d been largely forgotten up to this point through some kind of plot hole, marched over. “Hey, what about me?” Dale put one arm around Gadget’s shoulder, and one around Foxy’s. “Well, you know what they say—the more, the merrier!” Dale escorted them over to the RangerMobile, Chip fuming all the way and Monty trying to keep him under control. A little while later, back at headquarters, Gadget and the others surrounded Dale in Gadget’s workshop as she prepared to use the EM ball on him again.
“Okay, I’ve reversed the polarity,” Gadget said. “This should bring him back to normal.” Dale looked at the invention uncertainly. “Okay, but if anything happens to me, make sure Ed gets my comic book collection.”
“Ed? Who’s Ed?” Chip asked.
“He’s a chicken, a giant chicken!” Dale said. “He’s right behind you, are you blind?” Chip twisted around, but there was nothing. “Gadget, throw him the ball before this gets any worse.” Dale’s eyes narrowed. “This better not be another one of your ways of gettin’ me on an airplane, Face!”
Gadget brought Dale the ball. “Of course not, B.A. This is...for your spare scrap metal collection.” Dale looked at her suspiciously for a few moments, then took the ball. “This better not be a trick. I pity the fool who tries to pull a trick on B.A. Baracus.” The ball glowed, and Dale fell back on the table. Gadget took the ball, then patted his face gently. “Dale? Wake up. Are you okay?”
“No more cartoons, mom,” Dale mumbled. “I want to read a book today.”
“He’s delirious!” Chip shouted.
Dale sat up with Gadget and now Foxy’s help, groggy. “Cutie, do you know me?” Foxy asked. Dale shook off the confusion. “Foxglove? Of course I know you, and count myself lucky for it, too.” Foxy was overjoyed and hugged Dale tightly. “He knows me! He’s back to normal!”
The others breathed easier, then Chip helped Dale off the table. “Thanks for saving us back there, Dale. I’m sorry I took your comic books away. I guess you can read them again if you want.” Dale shook his head. “After all that, I think I’ve had my fill of comics and TV for a while! Let’s do something else.”
“Good idea, mate,” Monty said. Chip snapped his fingers. “You know what we need? A vacation! I know, why don’t we go to Hawaii? We could go to a luau, see the sights and maybe get a tan.”
“That’s a great idea!” Gadget said. “Maybe some time away from all this would be good for us all.” Dale was all for that. “Good idea, Chip. We sure could use some time away from people trying to kill us and mistaken identities and all that other silly stuff. And who knows? Maybe I’ll meet Gadget’s twin sister over there and we’ll fall in love!”
Chip laughed. “In your dreams, Dale. That kind of ending only happens in television shows.”
“I know, I know.” Dale looked at the camera and winked, sporting a candy cigar and giving a thumbs-up as the scene irised out to the A-Team theme song.
The A-Team is copyright Stephen J. Cannell, and used without permission but with gratitude for many years of enjoyment. Lahwhinie, Tammy, Fat Cat, Nimnul, the goon squad, Foxglove and the Rescue Rangers are copyright Disney and used without permission, but with the utmost respect.