'Alice' was arrested upon her arrival at Mudwop Tower. Jake had agreed to testify against her if needed.
The Ranger had been asked to leave things to the animal police, who had recently picked up Alice's trail due to her dealings with a drug ring in Iowa earlier that year.
The Rangers hadn't worked with the animal police much during their career. Chip had been shocked by the behavior of the animal laws, after being exposed to the humans laws through out his work for so long.
Humans would never ask, let alone required relatives to testify against one another even if it was 'only in certain cases'. "They don't dismiss murder charges lightly either," Chip thought. "But they didn't have to deal with the issues of predator and prey situations the way the animal police do," he reminded himself.
March had been a long month for the Rangers and they'd been happy to stay with Blue and her family during the trial, the police had wanted them close at hand in case they should be called as witnesses.
In the end Tabitha Chipendale alias 'Alice Jeraboa', etc. was found guilty and sentence to life long imprisonment on Meyer Rock (off the coast of McDonald Island 2,500 miles southwest of Perth, Australia in the southern Indian Ocean).
"It was nice to finally meet you," Chip said as they bid farewell to their hosts on a crisp winter afternoon.
"You'll have to head this way again when you have some time off. Maybe when it's warm, like December," Blue replied from the door where she was holding her son Andrew on her hip. Vanessa, her daughter, was hogging the rest of the doorway jumping up and down waving at everyone. Both children took after their father, the only visible sign of any chipmunk blood were the faint ghost stripes that ran down the boy's back which were covered by his sweater and jacket.
"You could come by for the holidays," Jake teased, "And if you can't bare to be way from the cold that long we could head up to the mountains." He started on another tangent, "Say I ever tell ya about the time I wrestled a whole pack a dingos bare handed with one hand behind me back"
"Twice, an' I was there," Monty stated sternly arms crossed as he stared down the kangaroo rat.
"Nah, this was a different time, Mate," Jake brushed off Monty gaze and continued with his tall tale.
Soon after the final good-byes had been said, the Ranger were on their way home.
Friday was a holiday so the boys were enjoying a three day weekend. Unfortunately they'd made the most of it by trying to help set up the fireworks display and were now house bound until evening.
The house was built mostly from cinder-blocks, due to Tom's inventions exploding quite often, the cement could take quite a beating between repairs far better than wood could.
Tom had ushered all three of the kids inside before switching the security system for his workshop to the lowest (and only non-lethal) setting before he locked them in.
A breeze blew by, it would have been refreshing on that hot July day but the smoke that it carried and more importantly the direction it came from made Tom's blood run cold.
The barn was on fire! Tom wasn't thinking he went into autopilot going more on instinct then rational though. He keyed in the passwords and access codes by memory his eyes never left the smokey horizon. An instant later he was on all fours racing toward the barn. The smoke stung in his eyes and made his lungs burn. He called out for his wife and in-laws, for Samson and Clara.
He heard a loud cracking sound above him, the timbers of the roof came raining down.
He was struck by a beam and blacked out.
Zip and Zap had been playing Chutes and Ladders with Misty but it quickly became boring and they wandered off to play in Tom's workshop while their sister was taking her afternoon nap. Once inside the work shop the boys when staight over to their dad's plane, the 'Gadget Hackwrench' by name. The boys had a great time bouncing around inside the aircraft pretending to be piolets til Misty came in.
"What's all that noise?" the little red nosed lass asked look blearily for her big brothers from the doorway having just woken up. Her eyes widened as she realized what her siblings were up to. "Oooo, I'm telling! You are not possed to be in Daddy's workshop!" she yelled loudly wagging a finger at Zip and Zap through the cockpit window.
The boys jumped at the voice talking over each other in a panic."No! Don't tell, Misty!" one shouted.
"We didn't hurt anything! We were just looking!" the other cried out over his brother.
"Just forget you saw us, ok?" the first pleaded.
"We'll give you a ride if you just don't tell!" his twin called out suddenly knowing their sister wouldn't tell if she join in.
Misty hesitated a few seconds then said, "Ok. But I get to be in th front," before running toward them on her chubby little legs, happy that her brothers wanted her to play with them.
"Ok," Zap said while secretly sticking his tounge out at his twin for letting her play with them. "First you need to sit down and buckle up and then we'll see what these buttons do."
The three little chimpmunks all straped themself in to the chairs provided and the boys starts pushing buttons at random. The teardrop shaped purple and yellow 'plane' lurched about jostling its occupents before spinning around in place and then it suddenly took off right through the back wall of the workshop. Zip and Zap just stared in shock as they watched the wall get closer and closer before it burst open letting them out. Misty had shreaked when they plowed through the contrete and out a into the open. Tryin to stop the air ship before they did anymore damage Zap pushed a green button and pulled a near by lever. This caused the 'Gadget Hackwrench' to go faster before pulling up into the sky!
Zip push down hard on a blue button and then a red one which made the ship turn around and stop to hover in mid air. From there the three little chimpmunks could see the burning barn. Misty began crying loudly and the boys just stared for a moment before Zip narrowed his eyes and turned to look at his brother, "We're going to get help. Any objections?" He glanced back at his sister, "What do you guys say?"
There were no objections and after some expermenting the twins managed to get the ship flying in the direction they wanted it too, though they found it hard to keep the plane going straight and had to opt for a wobbly slightly zig-zaging route insead.