The Spy Who Loved Monty
Ramrod rubbed his hands expectantly. "The remote device I planted in the elevator shows that they are on their way. Pity for them it will be a one-way trip!" Ramrod signaled to Hans, his right-hand mouse, to take a group to the elevator. Hans and his team left the room where Ramrod was stationed. The team of seven mice were all dressed in black, with black ski masks on. Hans was the largest—a muscular type and no nonsense. They carried mouse-sized weapons--mostly staffs and knives. When they reached the elevator, Hans signaled for them to stand ready. The group got out of any possible line of fire as Hans pushed the button and opened the door. They need not have bothered--everyone was unconscious.
"Good, zey are out like a light!" Hans said. "Quickly, gather them up and bind them! The master will want to speak to them as soon as they wake!"
In moments, Chip, Dale and Monty had their hands bound behind their backs and were carried off. Once the sounds of footsteps faded, a keen eye would have seen one of the ceiling tiles move. A blue eye peeked out to find the coast was clear.
"It worked, they’re gone," Gadget said. Gadget closed the ceiling tile and turned to Foxglove, who was with her. "It’s a good thing you spotted that gas canister. If I hadn’t shut it off, we’d all have been unconscious for real!"
Foxy leaned back against a wheel casing, collecting her thoughts. "Aunt Agnes and all the others are counting on us. We can’t let them down," Foxy spoke with surprising resolve. She lowered the rope to the floor of the elevator.
Gadget grabbed Foxy’s arm. "We can’t go down that way! They might have a sentinel. Quick, get the rope back up and we’ll use the escape hatch in the shaft. We can’t afford to be seen. I just hope Ramrod doesn’t discover the others were acting and guesses what we’ve got in store for him." Gadget started to go and then stopped at the canisters. "Wait! We can use this to our advantage and prevent Ramrod or his men from getting away. Foxglove, help me push the lever and reactivate the gas canister!"
Together, Foxy and Gadget managed to reactivate the canister without releasing any of the offending gas inside. Afterwards, Foxy followed Gadget’s lead and they made their way out of the elevator shaft and into the connecting corridor. "How do we know where we’re going, Gadget?" Foxy asked, trying to keep her voice low.
Gadget spoke softly as well. "Simple! Architects always lay out air conditioning systems in a pre-ordered fashion. They have to in order to fit the vents in the building. We’re in the main vent right now--there should be at least one junction ahead around 50 meters or so. We may have to guess at which port to come out, but we should be able to find the room where Agnes is without too much trouble."
Foxglove felt her adrenaline rushing, and the words of a movie she’d just watched with Dale ran through her head. "Good evening, Foxglove. Your mission should you decide to accept it is to rescue your Aunt Agnes from a psychotic R.O.D.E.N.T. spy who’s obsessed with her and save your teammates from him as well..." The Mission Impossible theme song began running through her head as she followed Gadget through the duct work.
Chip, Dale and Monty were tied up securely to solid oak chairs seated at a large oaken table. Dale decided to chance it and cracked an eyelid. The room was quite ornate considering it was under an old warehouse. The room was a mixture of dark greens and rustic reds, quite what one would expect for someone with eccentric yet classic tastes. Two bronze statues guarded a display of swords just above an oversized fireplace mantle that dominated the wall near the captives. Beyond that, on the opposite right wall a large door of redwood was shut. The only other door was directly opposite the trio.
Dale’s eyes began to open slowly as smelling salts ran under his nose.
"Ah, I see you are none the worse for wear," Ramrod said. "Good. Then you’ll be able to answer a few questions."
Dale snapped back to consciousness, and saw that Chip and Monty were next to him, both gagged. "Do you expect me to talk?" Dale said, unbelieving.
"No, Mister Oakmont, I expect you to die!" Ramrod replied.
Hans interrupted the conversation. "Master, were zhere not more of zis group zan three?"
Ramrod shrugged with indifference. "If there are others, they are of no consequence. See that they don’t interfere, though."
Hans bowed and selected two mice to go with him. "Now, where were we?"
Dale leered at him. "I had just said ‘Do you expect me to talk?’ and you replied ‘No, I expect you to die!’"
"Ah yes. But not too quickly. No, that would be bad form. Death, like all other parts of life must be weighed carefully. Besides, I want you all to savor your inability to rescue the beautiful damsel in question. Failure is a bitter herb that burns when savored slowly, and I intend for you all to get a full taste of it!" Ramrod said icily.
Dale was immovable. "Well, I’ll have to take a raincheck on the slow death part. As for the beautiful damsel, that’s my Aunt Agnes. We’re here to rescue her, so why don’t you be a good little psychotic maniac and release her and us and we can take you to a nice place where there will be nice people to help you with your problems?"
Ramrod laughed, as if enjoying the joke. "If you were not going to die shortly, I should enjoy having you around. But you are not the one I truly wish to torment."
Ramrod walked over behind Monty, who was gagged and tied down double to his chair. He leaned over, almost breathing in Monty’s ear. "This must be so hard for you, Monty. You who enjoyed taking her affections from me, poisoning her mind against me! Well, in the end you have proven to be only second-best! Now what do you say to that?"
Monty quickly turned and bit Ramrod’s nose through the gag.
"Yarrgh!" Ramrod slapped Monty’s face and his cool veneer vanished. "Very well! If you don’t want to cower, then we will get down to business. I know you, my foe. Your own life would mean too little to you. But what about those of your comrades here?"
Dale strained against his bonds. "Well, you can try to kill me. Many have tried, all have failed. I live a charmed life. My guardian angel is packin’ heat."
Ramrod pushed Monty’s chair away and stormed over to Dale, turning him around. "So you have no fear, chipmunk? Then why don’t you and I play a game? Are you prepared to risk your life and the life of your allies on the outcome?"
Dale gave him a smug smile. "Mister, you just met the master gamester. There ain’t no game you can play that I can’t beat you at! When I’m through with you, Aunt Agnes and all the Rangers are walking out of here."
Ramrod turned quickly from him, agitated. He looked round the room--it was an ornate room set up with his favorite memorabilia. Ramrod’s eyes locked on the mantelpiece, and he smiled wickedly. "Verner, untie him," Ramrod said.
The mouse guard next to Ramrod looked at him curiously. Ramrod suddenly lost his temper and pushed Verner to the floor. "Befolgen Sie mich!! I gave you an order! Untie the little braggart! We shall play the ultimate game, and if he wins he and his friends can go free. If not, they will die by the same blade that I will dispatch him with!"
As Verner rose and complied, Ramrod pulled down two ornate swords from above the mantelpiece. "Now, my overconfident fool, prepare to meet your doom...."
Hans and his minions had been quick to obey Ramrod’s orders. They had left the room and had turned the corner to go up the elevator. Meanwhile, Gadget and Foxglove had encountered a dead end and had to backtrack, despite Gadget’s assurances. They had found the correct junction and were proceeding forward.
"I hear something down there! I think it’s the bad ‘uns!" Foxglove whispered.
Gadget shushed her and whispered, "They might hear us. Go ahead slowly, but keep quiet!"
Foxglove did her best to comply, but one thing neither she nor Gadget had counted on was the accumulation of dust in the air vent. Foxy had managed to handle it up to now, but then Gadget kicked up a bunch of dust as she neared a corner. That was all it took, unfortunately.
"G..Gadget! I’m gonna sn..snee.." Foxy said.
Gadget turned and was at once alarmed. "Foxy! Try to hold it in!"
Hans looked upward as the elevator door opened. "Did either of you hear something?" The other guard mice shrugged.
Foxy was tearing badly. "I’m trying, I’m trying, I’m....I’m....AH-CHOOOO!"
Hans ran out of the door just as he and the others were about to go up. "It’s the females! Zey must be trying to effect an escape through the air vents. Gekommen!" Hans ran to a nearby air duct and with his comrades’ help pulled it off the wall. Gadget and Foxy were immediately aware of the invasion as the sound of metal echoed through the vent
"Oh, no! They heard us. Run!" Gadget shouted.
Gadget and Foxy began to scramble back to the elevator shaft. Hans and the other two mice had pulled out ropes and tied them together with a hook at the end. Then Hans threw the hook, and it echoed nastily at the top of the shaft. Soon the trio was climbing upward.
Foxy was flying next to Gadget. "What’ll we do, Gadget? They’ll be on us any minute!" Gadget’s brain went into overdrive. "The gas! Of course--all we have to do is flood the air vent with the gas! We’ll need some flexible tubing and a rod. C’mon!"
Hans’ muscles strained, but finally he made it to the top. "They could not have gone far!" The trio ran to the junction and listened. They heard the far-off sound of voices, and followed quickly.
Gadget and Foxy found the tubing they needed in the material used to feed the lubricants to the elevator’s gears. They grunted with the effort, but a three-foot piece of plastic tubing came free. Gadget brought it over to the gas canister’s release valve. Foxy had already found a loose metal rod.
"I think I can hear them coming! We’ve gotta hurry!" Foxy said.
Gadget attached the tubing. "We’re almost there! Get me a little of that grease around the cables!" Foxy brought a wingful of grease and Gadget packed it around the opening of the tube to form a seal around the release valve. She and Foxy then ran the other end into the shaft.
Hans turned the corner and motioned the others on. "Zey are just ahead! I can hear them!"
"Now, Foxy!" Gadget shouted.
Gadget and Foxglove took a deep breath, activated the canister’s release valve and grabbed the rod. They had jammed the tubing carrying the gas into a fingerhole in the shaft’s lid. Then the guards turned the corner and they were face to face.
"Erfassen Sie sie!" Hans ordered. "Get them!"
It took everything Gadget and Foxy had, but they moved the shaft lid as the gas came out and forced the rod in place, securing it against some of the equipment. Hans and the others beat on the cover, and after a minute the beating stopped and three thumps were head echoing in the shaft. Gadget turned off the gas, and she and Foxy breathed hard.
"How long can you hold your breath? Do you think you can make it all the way through the shaft?" Gadget asked.
"Long enough!" Foxy said. "Let’s do it!"
Gadget and Foxy drew another breath and headed past the guards, disarming them as they went. They were soon beyond the gas’ range and with the knowledge of where to go this time, they made fast progress. Finally, Gadget gave a thumbs-up and they breathed hard, leaning over with their hands on their knees.
"That..that gas will keep them out at least an hour. I hope the boys are doing okay..." Gadget said.
Ramrod had rolled up his sleeves and was doing stretching exercises to prepare. Dale had taken a few practice swipes with his blade, enjoying the balance of it. "I hope you have fenced before, chipmunk. I will enjoy it more if you make this interesting."
Dale took up his sword. "Quit flapping your gums and let’s get this show on the road!"
Ramrod took a piece of paper and cut it cleanly with his blade. Then he and Dale proceeded to the makeshift arena in the room that had been cleared. They took their positions, and their swords touched lightly.
"I’ll have you know I am a Heidelberg fencing champion," Ramrod said.
"I wouldn’t think they’d allow fencing on a blimp," Dale taunted.
"Enough! On guard!" Ramrod roared.
Ramrod came in fast and hard, befitting the temper he was in. Dale made sure not to react to that. He’d done what he’d set out to do—get Ramrod emotional. "Did I mention that I learned my best moves from watching the movie ‘Princess Bride?’ You fight pretty good. You must have seen that movie too."
Ramrod was furious. "Insolent buffoon! I will enjoy your cries for mercy!"
Ramrod tried to skewer Dale, but the valiant chipmunk was far too experienced for that. He sidestepped the attempt, and slapped Ramrod on the rear with the flat side of his sword. "Sorry, I didn’t mean to get ‘cheeky’," Dale said coyly.
Monty finally managed to bite through his gag. "Attaway, Dale! Soften ‘im up for when I get a hold of ‘im!"
All this time, Agnes had not known what was happening. The soundproofed room kept her isolated and in the dark. However, the kidnappers had overlooked one major flaw—the air duct—and it opened, startling Agnes.
"Mes amis! You managed to get through! But where is Monzy?" Agnes asked eagerly.
Gadget ran over and began untying her as Foxglove listened at the door. "He’s right outside! We’ll get you free and then we’ve got another surprise for Ramrod!"
Unnoticed by the henchmen, Zipper had appeared from under Chip’s hat. He’d been all but forgotten and had managed to untie Chip. The fly was now working with Monty’s bonds.
Ramrod was in a fury. "You insult a swordsman this way? I will show no mercy!"
"How SHOULD I insult a swordsman?" Dale knew he had the advantage and pressed it. "How about, ‘I don’t know which is worse, your fencing or that awful German accent.’"
Ramrod pressed the attack again, but Dale had his measure. Dale had practiced daily while this arrogant chipmunk had obviously coasted. He easily fought off the attack
"You remind me of my father," Dale said.
Ramrod parried his attack with difficulty. "How is that?"
"He couldn’t beat me either," Dale quipped.
Ramrod saw he was up against a superior opponent, and decided to win any way he could. As Dale pressed in, Ramrod drew a concealed knife with a jewel-encrusted handle and stabbed Dale’s sword-arm. "Now, my pompous one, will you say surrender?"
Dale screamed in pain, dropping his sword. Ramrod drew back his blade and prepared to press his ill-gotten advantage. Then the door to Agnes’ room burst open and Gadget appeared with something in her hands. "Hey! How about you say cheese, instead!" she shouted.
Zipper had just gotten Monty free when Gadget appeared. While she was upstairs, Gadget had disassembled her miner’s hat and with a few spare parts had constructed a camera. The Rangers knew what Gadget’s xenon camera would do, and instantly covered their eyes. The camera went off, and all the goons in the room and Ramrod were blinded instantly. Ramrod had seen the flash coming, and managed to close one eye. Still, the effect was there and he yelled out, swinging wildly with his sword.
"Dale!" Foxy said. Agnes and Foxy ran over to him while the others tied up the disabled goons. "Mon pauvre Dale! Are you all right?" Agnes asked. Dale glanced at his injured arm. It was bad, but not life threatening.
"I’m fine. Glad you’re both safe. Now let’s finish this fight!" Dale struggled to get to his feet.
Ramrod’s eyes recovered to show that all his guards were incapacitated. He pointed his sword at Dale once more. "You’ve all managed to ruin my plans! But I shall have my pound of flesh from this one."
Agnes slipped her foot under Dale’s fallen sword. She flipped it into the air and caught it, then she pointed it at the erstwhile villain. "Let us dance, Ramrod."
Ramrod stepped back a bit at the sight of this. He’d had no inkling that Agnes was even capable of fighting. He still saw her as the young girl he’d remembered. "Return his sword, Agnes! You are mine--you cannot be lost for a mere fight."
Agnes used his hesitation to strike. "I will have my pound of flesh for the years you have kept me from my precious Monzy!"
Ramrod was at once in a panic. His instincts told him to fight, but his heart was screaming with him to yield. "Agnes! Agnes, you have been deluded by them! I am the only one who has been so devoted! I followed you from city to city! I secured a job at the International Mouse-O-Graphic in their mail office so I could know when you would return! I have never stopped being devoted to you. Never!"
Agnes kept pressing her attacks. "You hunted me! Stalked me! You came between me and the man I loved because you are selfish and jealous! You wanted me all for yourself. You didn’t care about my happiness. I have spent nearly half my life pining for Monzy, nights beyond counting I have cried over losing him! It was all your doing, you wicked, evil man!"
The words from Agnes finally hit home, striking him harder than any saber thrust. "NO! No, you cannot reject me! Not after all this! I have worked and planned so long for this day!"
Agnes was beating him down. Her voice was calmer, but firm. "I now and forever love only Monzy. He has treasured my memory in his heart all these years and now we will be together at long last."
From deep inside, the mask of superiority that had kept Ramrod in check broke apart. He growled in sheer animosity, and leaped into the air with his sword held high. "If I cannot have you, no one will!" Agnes sidestepped the attack. Ramrod’s sword embedded itself in the wooden floor. Ramrod pulled on the sword mightily, but it would not come up. And then Agnes came over and put her foot on it. Ramrod looked up at her, and whatever it is that can be said to give a chipmunk sanity fled from Ramrod’s mind as he looked. He began to shake and he eyes glazed over.
"Nein...no…I am the only....the only...the only. No, no, no…" Ramrod said, then he fell over and no longer said anything—not that his mind would allow him to say it even if he had.
Monty grabbed Ramrod’s sword and pulled it out of the floor. "There can be only one. And that one’s me."
Dale was shocked as Monty raised the sword. "NO! Don’t do it, Monty!"
Monty turned to Dale in surprise. "Do what, Dale?" He handed over the sword to Dale.
"Oh, I thought you were going to chop off his head," Dale said.
Monty looked at the pitiful form on the floor. "No, mate. He’s punished ‘imself far more than I could. Besides, I have better things to do with my time."
Monty turned his attention to Agnes, who had suddenly realized it was over. "Aggie, thank heavens you’re safe." Agnes didn’t respond, she just rushed up to Monty and threw her arms around him and kissed him.
The Rangers had been engrossed in securing Ramrod and making sure the criminals weren’t getting away. But this scene made them all pay attention. Dale just stood and gawked. Chip blushed, and Gadget reflexively covered the wide grin on her face with her hand. Foxy didn’t bother covering hers--she just watched and marveled. Zipper buzzed contentedly.
"Now that was worth fifteen years of waiting, mon cher. Shall we try again?" Agnes asked.
"Sure thing, Agnes luv. Seein’ as how we have over fifteen years of missed kissin’ to make up for," Monty said, chuckling.
Agnes giggled and for the two of them, nothing else in the universe existed. They embraced again and time seemed to stop--or rather to go backwards. They both could remember that first moment of love, and it was like it had happened only a moment ago
Agnes felt peaceful for the first time since she could remember. All the wounds were sealed, all the cracks repaired. "Love is eternal, is it not Monzy?"
"It is at that. I love you right now as much as I loved you that day in France all those years ago. I’m a bit older, a bit wider, but nothin’ else has changed! I been carryin’ a torch for you for so long me fur is singed," Monty said. Agnes laughed and kissed him again.
The reunion was so moving, that all the Rangers were totally concentrating on the two lovers. Ramrod used the distraction to jerk himself free from Chip and Dale, who had been holding him. Before they could recover, Ramrod made it to a secret compartment in the wall. From the interior, he pulled out a vial that Monty recognized immediately
"Crikey! He's got the virus! Careful with that, Ramrod!" Monty warned.
Ramrod held the vial in the air like a thunderbolt of Zeus. "You've ruined everything! Everything! You dare to shame and dishonor me! Well, no one shall know! I have here the ebola virus I so carefully saved from our little excursion. The plastic container preserved it from the fire, but I carefully transferred it to an identical one of glass. Now, prepare to die in agony!"
Ramrod pulled back his arm and aimed for Monty's chest. Monty raised his arms defensively and the vial shattered, several shards of glass cutting his arm. Ramrod laughed cruelly. "Ha! The virus has entered your body through those wounds. Soon you will die a death too horrible to imagine and now neither of us will have the fair Agnes!"
Monty had a look of desperate shock on his face. This was it? He was to die now, when he'd just approached his dream? He wanted to hold Agnes, but was afraid of infecting her. "NO!" Monty bellowed in rage and charged at Ramrod. He drew his fist back and gave Ramrod a powerful punch to the face that sent the chipmunk staggering back. Monty grabbed the shaken chipmunk and pulled him forward and then jerked him into a crushing headlock. Then he looked to his lady love.
"Aggie, I'm sorry it had ta be this way, but I wouldn't trade anything fer the happiness we had. I just wish we'd had longer...." Monty said.
Agnes walked up to Monty, and reached for him as Monty drew back.. "Monzy, we have all the time in the world." Monty didn't release his grip. "But you know what was in that vial! Now get out or here while ya can!"
Agnes chuckled and smiled knowingly. "Yes, Percy told me what was in that vial. But why are you afraid of a little tap water?"
Monty dropped Ramrod, who collapsed to the floor gasping. "T..tap water? Are you sure you're all right, luv? Oh, no! It must be affecting ya!" Monty began to get all nervous, checking her vital signs. "Oh, why didn't I listen to ya, ma, and study ta be a doctor?!"
Agnes kissed Monty, and laughed. "That is what I love about you—your concern for others. That's not the vial that you brought us. The real vial got to its destination! That one was the phony one that Ramrod wanted R.A.S.C.A.L.S. to have. Percy switched them back without Ramrod noticing."
Monty stood there aghast. "But..but how did all this happen? An’ if it's the one that Ramrod had, how d’ya know it’s harmless?"
"I didn't know about until Percy told me when I visited him. Percy overheard Ramrod tell his cohorts about it and Percy told me. I was kidnapped by Ramrod before I had a chance to tell you about it!" Agnes said.
Ramrod's mouth dropped open and even as he was about to stand he fell back to the floor, writhing. No! Nooooooooo! No, it isn't fair! I sprayed him with water! Water! Braaagh!"
Ramrod began to laugh terribly, as his eyes glazed over and he assumed a fetal position. Chip and Dale secured Ramrod again, and Agnes rushed to Monty and kissed him ardently.
"Now that’s what I call a kiss!" Sharky said. The group had not even noticed the old salt at the door, accompanied by several uniformed men. "These blokes say they’re from R.A.S.C.A.L.S. an’ someone named Percival sent them." Sharky tilted his battered sailor’s hat. "We’ve already found the others who were outside--they were tryin’ to commandeer one of our boats. They told us where to find the lot ‘o you!" The R.A.S.C.A.L.S. agents picked up Ramrod and the goons and carted them out.
Ramrod was straining against his bonds as the agents held him. The once-intelligent chipmunk had a hysterical look to him now. "I am the Heidelberg champion! I am the greatest spy of them all!"
Sharky raised an eye to that. "Aye? That and two bits will get you a ticket to the funny farm! Have fun, Monty me lad!" They left, dragging the mad villain with them who was spouting about water and swordplay.
Monty almost felt sorry for Ramrod. Almost. "Good ol’ Percy! He came through for us. So Agnes, what happens now?" Agnes let herself relax. "Well, I don’t know about you, but I haven’t eaten in ages! How’s about we go to your place and whip us up a cheese soufflé?"
Monty looked at Dale’s arm. "Come on lad, we’ll stop by the hospital on the way home and get your arm looked at, and then we’ll all have a well deserved celebration. We gotta invite Percy and yer boss Jeff too!"
Agnes had taken another sword from the mantel and had cut the table’s linen covering into strips for Dale and Monty’s arms. "And what about your own arm, mon cher? You are cut in several places as well!"
"Aw, I’ve cut meself worse slicin’ cheese," Monty said. Monty started to leave, but then he caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of his eye. He gasped and walked past everyone. Amidst the clutter of Ramrod’s obsession was a timeworn victrola. "Crikey! Could it be?"
He opened the lid and saw the old scratchy record—the tango that he and Agnes had danced to so many years ago. Monty wound it up and the old record player still had life in it. Agnes was beginning to cry for joy as Monty came over.
Monty bowed low. "May I have this dance?"
Agnes took his hand. "Why certainly! My, the orchestra is certainly top-notch tonight!"
Dale used his good arm to grab the sword he’d fought with for a souvenir as Monty and Agnes began to dance the tango. Agnes was leaning on Monty, a thing she’d dreamed of a hundred times--as had he. Monty was still trying to convince himself that this was real, it had all happened so quickly. Then Agnes leaned her head against him and all doubt was removed. He could see it all again--the orchestra, the stars--everything was in its right place
Monty led her across the room. "I must remember to tip them extra tonight..." Agnes laughed softly as the Rangers looked on, content to revel in their friends’ happiness "Still, you’d think after nearly fifteen years they could've learned another song…." Monty quipped.