Dale slowly came to, still very sore all over. Images and voices were still swirling in his head. With a quiet grunt, he sat up and looked around. He paused for a minute from his still pounding head. He was back in his and Chip's room. How'd I get back here, he asked himself. He tried to think but it only made his headache worse. Ugh... what happened? Groggily he got out of bed, and uneasily got up. Again, it made his headache worse, so he stopped for a minute, to let himself get oriented. As his nausea passed, he was able to hear his friends outside. Slowly, but surely, he made his way to the door.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Rangers were sitting at the table, trying to understand what happened.
"Okay," Gadget said, with a cup of coffee in her paws. "So explain this to me again. WHAT happened?"
"Well," Chip began. "We made it to the warehouse Abe told us about and saw it was Professor Nimnul behind everything. We go in to save everyone, and see Fat Cat."
"Wait," Gadget interrupted. "He caught Fat Cat?"
"And his goons," Monterrey answered. "Well, anyway, He sees us, sicks these two lady cats after us. One went after me and the other went after Dale; I guess they didn't want think too much of Chipper here!"
"Anyway," Chip said, annoyed at Monterrey's comment. "Those two cats were busy with Dale and Monterrey, I convinced Fat Cat to distract them, in exchange for getting him out. So after I goaded the cats into chasing me over to Fat Cat's cage. I guess Dale and Monterrey made it over to Nimnul."
"Darn right, we did," Monterrey agreed. "But, it was Dale who jumped into his pocket and found the remote to their cages, and apparently opened them. Boy was he mad!"
"You said it," Chip said. "He took Dale and threw him in the cage. Then, he called his cats towards him and then threw me, once I got up there, and Monterrey at them. It all goes blank for a few minutes."
Gadget sat there, honestly scared, shocked. After everything Nimnul's done he's never been that out of it.
"I-I'm sorry, guys," Gadget said, putting her hands up. "That's just too much, even for Nimnul."
"I thought so, too, Gadget-love," Monterrey replied. "But it's the truth. The bloke said he had those two cats their JUST to take care of us!"
"Golly," Gadget gasped. "I'm almost afraid to ask but what happened next?"
"Well, it's like Monterrey said, Gadget," Chip answered. "We were out for a few minutes. The next thing we see is Fat Cat clawing Nimnul's face. Yeah- I know, weird. But just as we were coming to, Zipper came flying down and told Monterrey that Dale was in one of Nimnul's cages, and needed help."
"When we got there, Nimnul's machine had already got Dale," Monterrey frowned. "And I was the only one strong enough of get the cage door open, so I already had my hands full and then some. Chip was the one who went to get Dale free."
"I tried, Gadget," Chip pleaded as he lowered his head, with his hands clasped over it. "I really did! But, I- I just wasn't able to-"
"It's okay Chip," Gadget said, putting her paw over Chip's. "I know you did your best. Both of you did. But how'd you escape?"
Chip and Monterrey tilted their heads back with a deep sigh
"Now, THAT was a part," Monterrey said. Especially since we landed on the roof.
"On the Roof?" Gadget interrupted again. "Golly, it's a miracle you all got back here at all."
"Too right," Monterrey exclaimed as the leaned forward. "So there we was. Dale up in mechanic monstrosity's hands, me trying to hold open cages, Chipper working on that machine's wire and leading all the escaped animals out. And no one to deal with our favorite scientist." Gadget leaned in curiously and anxiously. "It all happened just after Dale's...uh... shot. I had hurried the last critters out of the cage and jumped into action, but there wasn't much for me to do. I mean someone had to catch him. Just when I gotten off the table, Nimnul decided to get serious. He even threw one of his cages at me! Darned near squished me flat, he did!"
"He was screaming, about how we were ruining his work again, and we wouldn't get away, things like that," Chip continued. "He started chasing me, but only stopped when Monterrey got his attention. The one he wasn't chasing gnawed through the wire as much as we could before being chased ourselves. It looked like we couldn't even get to Dale, Fat Cat came out of nowhere and started clawing his face again. This time, he had those two lady cats with him. But still Fat Cat of all people!"
"Golly," was all Gadget managed to get out. This was already a bit much for her to process. And there was still more to come.
"So," Monterrey continued. "While Fat Cat and his new lady cats were keeping Nimnul... occupied, Chip chewed through the wire enough to cut the power, while I ran around to catch Dale. But it wouldn't drop him. It just stood there. So, I tackled it a few times to loosen its grip. It must've done the trick 'cause the next second, I'd caught Dale in me arms. But, the bloke was in mighty poor shape, Gadget. It wasn't easy carrying him out cause his body kept jerkin' and shakin'."
"But, getting him up to the Ranger Wing was even harder," Chip said. "But it would have been impossible if it weren't for Zipper. He Really came through."
With that came flying in and landed on the table, Bowing, as if accepting great praise. "Thank you, Thank you," he seemed to say.
"Too, right," Monterrey said, patting the little guy on his back. "Ol' Zipper here flew up and worked some quick magic on our ropes. He detached one and tied it to the end of the other. Giving us just what we needed pull ourselves up. But with Dale in the shape he was, it was still almost impossible."
Again, Chip, smiled. It would have been if Zipper weren't there. To that, Zipper bowed again. "He helped Monterrey keep hold of Dale while we climbed up the rope."
"Yep, He really saved the day," Monterrey smiled. "After we got Dale situated we took off, and circled around for Little Abe's Parents."
"The rest, you pretty much know, Gadget," Chip finished.
Despite Gadget's head swirling, she came up with two glaring questions.
"But why did Fat Cat help," she asked. "And those other two, for that matter."
"Well, it seems Fat Cat was quite taken with those two," Monterrey answered. "And they had taken a liking to him, so they wanted to help him."
"And Fat Cat, himself," Chip added. "When we asked him said, that he was returning favor for introducing him to them and getting him free. That and he couldn't stand seeing 'queens' as he called them. And like that he was gone."
"I couldn't tell ya," Monterrey shrugged. "But I guess that machine he built did a numbering on that place's wirin'."
"Why do you say that," Gadget inquired.
"Cause," Monterrey answered. "when we looked back, we saw the place smoking and Nimnul running away.
"And that's everything that happened up until you brought back Abe's Parents, right," Gadget asked.
"Yep," Chip answered. "It was pretty nice seeing them with their kid in their arms."
"Yeah," Abe did look pretty happy. "Monterrey nodded. But, what about Dale?"
"What about me," asked a familiar, but feminized voice.
The Rangers looked over at where it came from gasped. Zipper's jaw dropped to the floor, while Monterrey just sat there, staring. Gadget, also staring, simply blushed.
"D-Dale," Gadget asked.
"Yep," Dale answered, but paused, and looked around. "Is... something wrong?"
"Uh, no- NO," Chip answered, recovering from his stupor. "Nothing's wrong."
"Yeah," Gadget agreed, but quickly changed the subject. "Are you feeling okay, Dale?"
"Yeah..," Dale yawned, stretching. "Just kinda thirsty, and hungry too."
"Uh, sure," Monterrey offered. "I was about to take out my famous Three Cheese surprise."
"Uh, what's the surprise," Dale asked, sitting down.
"It actually has four cheeses," Monterrey smiled. "The other cheese is soy."
"Oh, that sounds sooo good, right now," Dale sighed, accentuated with a small stomach rumble.
Blushing, Monterrey got up to take his cheese dish from the oven. Dale looked around saw that everyone was still trying to stare, and instantly started to feel self conscious, and begin to shift. It only made everyone in feel more awkward. It didn't help that Dale, when served a slice, took a deep breath from it, and exhaled femininely.
"Ooh, thanks, Monterrey," Dale smiled, starting to eat. "This. Is. Delicious!"
"Dale," Chip asked, finally. "Are you sure you're feeling okay?"
"Sure," Dale answered. "Why wouldn't I be?"
"Crikey, Dale," Monterrey gasped. "Don't remember anything last night?"
Dale stopped eating, and started to think. There wasn't any headache or nausea this time there was no need to stop. "I remember..." Dale started. "remember Abe, The Warehouse, Fat Cat, The Cage..."
"Uh, what did happen up there," Gadget asked, taking a slice for herself.
"Oh, well," Dale said, trying recall. "It's still kinda a fuzzy, so I'll need a minute. Chip and Monty told me everything else but you're the only one who knows what happened."
"It's okay, Dale," Gadget smiled. "I'm just curious."
"Okay," Dale started. "Well, it was just after I had opened the cages. Nimnul got upset and threw me in the cage. I spent the first few minutes trying to calm down the mice in there. When I told them I was with the Rescue Rangers, I met Abe's Parents. Then I called Zipper to get Monterrey and waited for a few. Th-that's pretty much it."
"Anything else," Dale, Gadget asked, gently. Dale paused, for a bit before answering.
"No- wait. Yes," Dale started slowly. "It was before Chip and Monterrey got up there. Nimnul pointed this weird remote at the cage and his machine grabbed me. It lifted me up and took me out the cage. And then... And then..."
Dale suddenly paused, turning pale, before putting the utensils down and pushing away from the table to get up.
"E- excuse me," Dale said, weakly. "I- I s-suddenly need to go to the b-b-bathroom."
The Rangers just sat there while the distraught chipmunk walked over to the bathroom, and shut the door. Gadget got up, herself and walked over to the closed bathroom door. She knew Dale was in for a shock and she'd be the only one who'd be able to help. She was proven right when Dale finally looked in the mirror. The face looking back was obviously Dale, but with big green feminine eyes, a smaller red nose and closer set, and smaller, buckteeth. Suddenly Dale patted the chest area, the hips and rear, and finally between the legs, each area served to confirm the idea, more so than the last. Then the realization finally hit, Dale jumped back screaming, loosing balance in the processes. The next thing Dale knew, Gadget was there to catch the chipmunk. Crying, scared and confused, Dale looked up at Gadget, and continued to sob, and only managed out a single sentence.
"I-I'm a girl!"