Chapter 26: Going Home, Part II

By and by, everybody else left the Marabou. Baloo, carrying two of the money bags, was followed by his old friends Wildcat and Louie, the latter carrying another bag. Geegaw held the fourth bag in one hand and his daughter Gadget in the other arm. Chip and Dale escorted LaWahini whose wrists were still tied up, and Dawn walked behind them with her own bag and her blowgun ready to shoot, in case LaWahini would take another attempt to escape. The last ones were Monty and Zipper, the former hauling the last two money bags.

Howard Huge was totally amazed about the happenings. His second giant plane had finally come to Cape Suzette where he planned to make it a part of an exhibition at the Museum of Aviation together with the Titanium Turkey. These eleven adventurers had proved its very existence and turned what used to be a ridiculous fairy-tale into hard facts. Not only could the Marabou not be overlooked, it also seemed to be even bigger than Huge remembered it, now that it was lying among standard-sized seaplanes aside a pier. And, what was probably the most important point, he had his money back.

Before the bags were loaded onto an armored truck which Huge had ordered to come after he received Dawn's call, he opened one of them to get out the rewards.

"As you've read on the poster, I've promised to give $100,000 to the team who brings back my plane and my money. Well, now I see that the three competing teams have joined to be one winning team with eleven members. That was a wise decision because if any of your teams had tried it all alone, you'd probably still be out in the desert and try to bring the Marabou back into the air."

Giving everyone his or her part of the reward, he went on, "So I find it only fair to divide the reward among all of you and give each of you $9,000." He certainly knew how to keep his wealth together. This deal saved him $1,000.

When he came to LaWahini, he stopped. "Hey, why are your hands tied up?"

Gadget answered, "She's a crook. She's made my father believe that she's me just to trick him into the treasure rally, and I wouldn't wonder if she'd planned more things like that." Her judging that way made it obvious that she hadn't forgotten their first encounter.

It wasn't common for Chip to do this, but he countered, "Maybe, but she hasn't done anything else bad during the treasure rally. She may have had her plans, but none of them were realized. Besides, if she hadn't been, you'd not have met your father."

Chip had a point. "Okay," Gadget said, "she has deserved the money, too. Maybe she was no help for us in the desert, but she brought me and my father back together, and the money shall help her start a new life. However, I'd like her to leave this place with the next plane. Precautions, you know."

After LaWahini had promised to do so, whatever her promise was worth, Gadget untied her, and she went away, hopefully to try and catch a plane.

Now the adventure was over, but Gadget still wanted to spend some time with her father. It had been a major surprise for her to discover he was alive, even if it was only in her dream, and now she didn't want to lose him that quickly again. She wanted him to stay with her and her friends for the rest of their vacation. Or just a few days. Or at least that evening.

For a while, she watched him, Monty and Baloo unload the three smaller planes from the Marabou, first the Sea Duck, then the Rangergull, and then the Screamin' Eagle. As his plane had received its own site at the pier, Geegaw came back out of the Marabou and headed straight for his plane where Gadget was waiting for him.

"Daddy, I'm so happy that you're here with me now."

"I'm happy to be with you, too, Gadget."

"Say, wouldn't you like to spend some time with me and my friends? I don't want you to leave now."

"Oh, I'd really like to stay with you. I've missed you, Gadget, and I've missed Monty and Zipper, too. But I'm afraid I must go now."

"You must go again?" Gadget felt like she wouldn't be able to hold back the tears slowly coming up. "What forces you to go? Where will you go?"

"I can't say too much, Gadget. I can only say that I must go right now." He gave his daughter a hug. "Good-bye, Gadget. And remember that I love you."

In her father's arms, Gadget lost the fight against her tears. "No, Daddy," she sobbed, "don't go! Please don't go! I've lost you once, and I don't want to lose you once more!" She held him as tight as she could.

"Gadget?"

Chip's voice could hardly make it past her emotions.

"Gadget!"

While she firmly buried her face in her father's shoulder, she slowly noticed Chip call her name.

"Gadget!"

She opened her eyes again...

...and found herself in her room at the Rescue Rangers headquarters in New York City. She felt like she had just cried. Her pillow was soaked with tears, so she realized that she indeed had cried. Her arms were empty, her father had vanished. Or rather not followed her back to reality. She looked at Geegaw's portrait on her nightstand and immediately felt like crying again.

"Daddy..." she said with a breaking voice and sniffled.

Several parts of the dream replayed in her mind. It had all seemed so real. She had been aware that she was dreaming most of the time, but it still had seemed so real. The flight to Nader's Island, the night on Rebecca's balcony, the treasure rally, the Marabou... She came to the conclusion that it was possible to build a human-sized Marabou in reality as well as a rodent-sized one, given appropriate materials and tools. Rough sketches formed in her mind and displaced her sadness about losing her father once more.

"Gadget! Breakfast!" her favorite chipmunk's voice reminded her of the time of day.

"Coming!" she answered. 'Well, in a few minutes.'

She got up and took a look outside. The trees still hardly had any leaves, but this allowed her to see the sky from her window. Between all the clouds, she could spot a handful of blue holes which let the sunshine pass. Maybe that day was going to be less awful than the ones before.

As she replaced her nightgown with a white shirt and lavender overalls, she remembered the dress. The wonderful evening dress which Rebecca had bought for her. She realized that she called it 'wonderful' in her mind, even if she was awake. Furthermore, she realized that she was not able to wear it at one of her and Chip's next dates.

Then she got an idea. 'I know where I can get such a dress.' It didn't even seem strange to her that she wanted to get another dress after all the trouble she had whenever she wore that red one.

Chip returned to the table where Dale and Monty were preparing breakfast and Zipper was patiently waiting for everyone to be around. "I think she'll be here soon."

Monty wondered, "It's unusual fer 'er ta sleep that long an' not be up by now."

"Yes," Chip replied, "but it's better anyway than when she comes creeping out of her workshop in the morning, almost being too tired to stand upright. Or when we have to wake her up at the workshop."

Finally, Gadget arrived at the breakfast table. "Good morning, everyone!"

"G'morning, Gadget luv! 'ad a nice sleep?"

"Oh yes, Monty, I've dreamed something incredible."

"How incredible was it?" Dale asked.

"You won't believe it if I told you."

"C'mon, Gadget," Dale begged, "share your dream with us!"

"Okay, guys. I've dreamed that we were in TaleSpin. We spent two days in Cape Suzette."

She told them about the cargo job to Nader's Island, about babysitting Molly which caused some concerned looks on her friends' faces, about the treasure rally, about the giant aircraft, and about meeting her father. She told them not few details as she could remember the dream very well. But she left out some parts such as her nightly talk with Rebecca and buying the dress.

That morning, the Rangers found no new case to solve at the police station. So Gadget took the time to go to the public library and print a screen capturing of Rebecca wearing her evening dress on one of the Internet stations.

She carried this printout to a friend of hers who was a tailor and asked her if she could make her such a dress.

After all, she still owed Chip wearing a dress at one of the next dates. Though he didn't know yet.

The End