The Rangers arrived back at their tree two hours before dawn. They all helped get the vehicle into the mailbox that served them for a hanger before stumbling down to their own rooms and crashing to sleep. Dale opted to sleep on the couch, feeling that the journey to the top bunk in his and Chip's room was too far to travel.
Thus it was that he was woken by a vigorous knocking at their front door. Late morning sunlight was streaming through the windows and the tree was silent except for the door. None of the others were up yet. Dale's stomach growled.
The racket coming from the door was very loud, so Dale went to see who needed help. He opened the door and saw a large crow standing on the tree branch with a large package held under one wing.
"You da Rescue Rangers?" the bird asked, thrusting a pen and receipt paper at the sleepy chipmunk.
"Uh, yes, well, no," Dale muttered, trying to get his eyes to focus at the same time, "I mean, yes, this is the headquarters of the Rescue Rangers and I'm one of 'em."
The crow seemed uninterested in semantics, "We got this package dropped off at our office early dis morning, paid out plus some extra with written instructions that it goes to 'the Rescue Rangers, somewhere in the Park'".
"What is it?" Dale asked, suddenly curious. All of the Rangers had put the gifts that they had made or purchased for their teammates under the big reef that was hung in the corner of the front room, so it couldn't' be a late gift from any of them.
Shrugging, the crow took the receipt, now sporting Dale's scrawling signature, "Don't know buddy. We just deliver 'em, we don't open 'em. Can you get this inside?" The box was much larger than their front door.
Dale eyed the package, and then nodded, "Yeah, we've got a hanger that it'll fit into."
"Okay, well then I'm off. Merry Christmas buddy!" the crow said as he took off into the clear, blue sky.
"Who was that?" Gadget's voice turned Dale around. She stood behind him with Chip and Monterey, all in their night clothes and looking a little rumpled but rested. Chip pointed at the box that sat outside, "What's that?"
"That was a delivery crow, and this, um," Dale paused, "I don't know what this is. He said it was for us though."
They all stepped outside to see the package. It was just a generic brown cardboard box, with no markings on it except for a couple of stamps from the delivery service.
"Well," said Monty, "let's see what's in it!"
He jumped on top of the box and deftly tore open its folding lid. Then he and the boys jumped in and began tossing packing peanuts everywhere while Gadget smiled at the sight of their enthusiasm. Zipper arrived just in time to hear Monty's impressed whistle.
"Crikey! Gadget, you'd better come up here and tell us what this is!"
Exchanging a puzzled glance with Zipper, Gadget climbed into the box and let out such a gleeful squeal of delight at the sight that confronted her that a startled Dale jumped into Chip's arms. "This is," she said, quivering excitedly, "this is a Paslode IM100-F12 Gauge Cordless Brad Nailer! It's one of the best small nail guns on the market; it can drive anything from a 5/8'' to 2'' inch nail. Humans use them for molding and working on door casings or panel installations."
The other Rangers looked at each other, but found no answers to their questions.
"Who would give us a nail gun?" Chip asked. Nobody said a word. He looked at Gadget, "Do you know anyone who might have sent this, Gadget?"
He waited for an answer, "Gadget?"
"Huh?" the inventor jumped, trying to hide the fact that she'd been drooling, "No, I don't know anyone who could afford one of these. They're so expensive, especially for us!" she got a dreamy look in her eyes, "Just think of everything I could do with this! It'll be so much easier to secure the support struts for the Ranger Plane and the Ranger Wing, and I'd bet I could make some modifications to the air compressor to make it even more powerful!"
Dale, Monty, Chip and Zipper all glanced at each other at the word, "modifications", but Zipper spotted something before anyone could think of something to say that might curb the young mouse's enthusiasm.
"Hey," he pointed at something near Chip, "a letter."
Chip looked down and saw the wrinkled note. He picked it up and began to read out loud.
"Dear Rescue Rangers, I hope this gift will provide you all with as many hours of joy and entertainment as I'm sure the knowledge of it being in the hands of your young mechanic will bring to me. I've heard that she can be rather, shall we say, creative with new equipment! Wishing you an eventful Christmas and an exciting New Year, SC"
I hope this gift will provide you all with as many hours of joy and entertainment as I'm sure the knowledge of it being in the hands of your young mechanic will bring to me. I've heard that she can be rather, shall we say, creative with new equipment!
Wishing you an eventful Christmas and an exciting New Year,
Chip, like the other three male Rangers, stared at the note with unblemished horror. As one, they turned to look at Gadget, who was still talking glowingly about her newest acquisition, "… and if we had a better power source I could probably fix it to work on metal too! I'll bet it could shoot through an inch of steel with the right kind of tweaking. Chip, do you think it would be okay to hook into the main line for the fountain?"
She went on, not waiting for or expecting an immediate answer to her question, and Chip seeing that Monty, Dale and Zipper all wore similarly doomed expressions, decided that they were all taking a vacation to Brazil; immediately...