Inspector Gadget

by Slim ()

Dr. Claw was cackling with glee when Talon walked into the lair that morning, which was never a good sign. The boy cautiously approached his uncle, who was sitting with tented fingers, observing what appeared to be a small doll of Inspector Gadget lying on the desk.

Dr Claw: “Observe, Talon”, Claw spoke, his voice low and filled with menace. “Evil is at work!”

He gestured to the doll, whose stomach appeared to be swelling larger and larger beneath the trademark trench coat. Talon raised an eyebrow and shot the man a wary look.

Talon: “Uh, this isn’t some kind of fetish thing, is it?” He asked.

“Of course not!” Claw snapped, jabbing an angry finger at his nephew. “Just keep watching!”

Talon rolled his eyes but did as he was told. The doll continued to expand and now MAD Cat was regarding it curiously. She reached out a paw but at that moment there was a shrill squeal and the doll popped, scattering stuffing and pieces of cloth all over the desk. The startled feline shrieked in fright, fur standing up on end, and jumped so high she fell off the desk.

Dr Claw: “Bwahahahahaha!”

Claw raised his hands in triumph, his laughter booming around the lair. Talon plucked a scrap of cloth from his hair and dropped it onto MAD Cat’s head.

Talon: “So we’re making exploding toys now?”

“No you fool!” Claw was pointing at him again now. “That was just a demonstration! The only thing we’ll be exploding is Gadget himself!”

He plucked a small object from the desk and held it up for Talon to see. It was smooth and black with a dark purple spot at one end, shaped like a grape and similar in size. The teen regarded it sceptically, his hands on his hips.

Talon: “Let me guess”, he said. “We get Gadget to eat this thing and he goes boom, right?”

Dr Claw: “Exactly!”

Talon: “I’m getting deja vu here”.

Claw slammed a fist down on the arm of his chair.

Dr Claw: “Forget about the pepper, this is totally different!” He insisted. “We’re not affecting any of Gadget’s gadgets this time. I refuse to get blown up again!”

Talon leaned an elbow against the desk.

Talon: “Okay, so…what? What does this thing do that the pepper didn’t?”

Dr Claw: “Weren’t you paying attention?!” Claw practically thrust the tiny device in Talon’s face. “This little beauty will settle in Gadget’s stomach and steadily inflate, growing and growing until he pops like a balloon. BOOM!”

He burst into a fresh bout of laughter as Talon pushed his hand away.

Talon: “Why not just make him burst right away?”

Dr Claw: “There’s no drama in that! Where’s your sense of villainy, boy?!” Claw brought his fist down again just as MAD Cat clambered back onto the desk, startling her into falling back onto the floor. “I want this to be drawn out and painful!”

Talon: “Sure, and while you’re drawing it out Penny will probably have worked out how to deactivate your little gizmo”, Talon pointed out.

Claw waved a dismissive hand.

Dr Claw: “Talon you really need to get this money obsession of yours under control”, he said, shoving the device into his nephew’s palm. “But HQ can try all they want to deactivate it. In fact, I encourage them to do so! They’ll be in for a pleasant surprise~”

He swivelled his chair around so the back was facing Talon and his laughter was soft and ominous. This time there was no way he could fail. This time Gadget was going down!

Inspector Gadget: “Ah, breakfast! The most important meal of the day!”

A pancake flew through the air, barely missing Penny and landing directly on Brain’s face. The dog huffed irritably and Penny quickly held up her plate to catch another incoming morsel. Gadget was making himself very busy in the kitchen, frying eggs and pouring orange juice while a hand extending from his hat worked on the pancakes.

“Are you sure you’re not preparing to feed an army, Uncle Gadget?” Penny asked as Brain peeled the pancake from his face.

“Breakfast sets you up for the day, Penny”, Gadget replied, turning to look at her and not noticing as he poured orange juice over a plate of eggs. “It’s important to get plenty of nutrition!”

Brain let out a sarcastic wuff and Penny giggled.

“Hey, at least nothing’s on fire this time”, she whispered to him with a grin.

The dog grumbled under his breath just as the doorbell rang.

Inspector Gadget: “I’ll get it!”

Gadget’s neck stretched past them, along with a hand which pulled open the door while the rest of his body remained in place in the kitchen and continued to work on breakfast.

“Delivery for Inspector Gadget!” A nasal and vaguely familiar sounding voice announced.

Inspector Gadget: “For me? Wowsers!”

Penny turned in her seat and glanced at the doorway. She could make out a purple delivery uniform, white sneakers and a hat, but the guy’s face was obscured by her uncle’s head. On the floor was a large fruit basket, wrapped in clear plastic and tied with a large purple bow.

The Familiar Foe: “Sign here”.

The delivery man held a clipboard and pen up to Gadget’s face, and the cyborg was only too happy to sign his name. Walking over, Penny knelt down and plucked a small card from the basket.

“To Inspector Gadget, from your loving fans”, she read.

“Ah, the fans”, Gadget sighed happily. “It’s not easy being this beloved”.

Delivery Man: “Yeah sure, whatever”.

The delivery man snatched back his clipboard and shoved the fruit basket into Gadget’s hand. He was gone before anyone could say another word and Penny rubbed her chin thoughtfully. Was she imagining it, or had that delivery guy been laughing as he ran off?

Gadget’s head and hand retracted back to his body and he set the basket down on one of the kitchen counters. Brain had taken over plating the eggs and pancakes by this point so they didn’t burn, which left his owner free to pull the plastic wrapping away and inspect his fruit. The basket was stacked with apples, bananas, plums, oranges, some pears and a big bunch of grapes. It was these grapes that he picked up first.

“What excellent timing!” He declared. “Some fresh fruit will go great with our breakfast!”

He swallowed several of the grapes while Penny sat back down and eyed the basket suspiciously. The fruit looked fine though, and when she took an apple and checked it over she couldn’t find anything wrong with it. A genuine gift, then? Maybe the constant fight against MAD was making her paranoid.

Brain: “Wuff”.

Brain slipped a couple plates of eggs onto the table. Penny shrugged, shook her head and set about eating. She really needed to stop worrying so much.

Walking the halls of HQ, Penny was worrying again. Her uncle’s expression was one of discomfort and he rubbed at his stomach with one hand, a soft hiss escaping his lips.

Penny: “Uncle Gadget, are you alright?”

He glanced at her and forced a smile.

Inspector Gadget: “Of course I am, Penny! Brain probably just overcooked those eggs”.

The dog glared at him and muttered incomprehensibly under his breath. Penny looked unconvinced. She’d eaten the eggs too, after all, and she was fine.

Penny: “Maybe we should have Professor von Slickstein check you over”, she said.

Inspector Gadget: “That won’t be necessary. I feel fine!”

No sooner had the words left his mouth than he took off running, disappearing into the nearest bathroom. Penny and Brain shared a concerned look. Last time Gadget had been sick it had been down to MAD’s nanobots. Would they really try the same scheme twice?

Chief Quimby: “Ah, Penny, there you are!”

Chief Quimby strode over to the pair, arms folded behind his back.

Chief Quimby: “Where’s Gadget?” He asked. “He’s still got my Angry Arnie box set and I’m rather hoping to get it back while there’s a chance it’s still in one piece”.

Penny: “Um, he’s…”

The girl was cut off by Gadget suddenly bursting back out of the bathroom. He looked ecstatic as he ran up to them, his smile stretching from ear to ear.

Inspector Gadget: “Penny, it wasn’t the eggs at all!” He exclaimed, pulling up his coat and shirt. “Look!”

There was a light curve to his stomach – the faint beginnings of a bump.

Inspector Gadget: “I’m pregnant!”

Professor von Slickstein scrutinized the screen in front of him, his eyes narrowed as he took in the data being displayed to him. Penny, Brain and Quimby stood beside him while Gadget lay nearby on a gurney, his exposed stomach being scanned by a soft blue light.

“Well, it’s not a baby”, Slickstein said.

“Thanks Professor, but we kinda figured that out on our own”, Penny replied.

“Of course it’s a baby!” Gadget exclaimed, lovingly caressing his bump. “To think, inside me a new life is forming!” And he sniffled loudly.

Everyone pointedly ignored him.

“It’s some kind of inflatable device”, the professor said, squinting at the screen. “See? It looks like a balloon and it appears to be growing, though at a rather slow pace”.

“MAD!” Penny hissed, slamming a fist into her open palm. “I’ll bet anything they’re behind this!”

Slickstein nodded.

Slickstein: “I’m not sure how big this thing can get, but if it grows enough then it won’t matter because Gadget will have gone boom”.

“Boom?” Quimby repeated, swallowing heavily.

Slickstein nodded, a grave expression on his face.

“Boom”, he said sternly.

“Ruh roh”, Brain muttered and Penny frowned, spreading her hands to bring up the glowing screen of her trusty codex.

“We’ll see about that”, she said. “There’s no machine MAD can make that I can’t crack!”

She approached her uncle, the codex screen hovering near his stomach and scanning his insides. It was easy enough to pick up the device and she immediately began tapping away. She’d hack the thing, deactivate it and save her uncle without breaking a sweat.

“Good thinking, Penny”, said Gadget. “It’s always better to get a second opinion where babies are concerned. Who knows what the first scan might have missed!”

Penny rolled her eyes and suddenly the codex was flashing warning lights at her, a large exclamation mark taking up the middle of the screen. Gadget jolted, his eyes widening, and as the group watched his stomach swelled slightly.

Inspector Gadget: “Wowsers!” The cyborg exclaimed. “I think I just felt the baby kick!”

Penny: “Ooookay. Let’s try that again, shall we?”

More tapping, more warning lights. Gadget yelped in surprise as his stomach grew again and Penny blanched. Maybe this wouldn’t be as easy as she’d thought.

Dr Claw: “Oh Gadget, you marvellous fool! You’re making this far too entertaining for me!”

Claw leaned back in his chair and laughed loudly. MAD Cat raised a paw to her mouth and sniggered with him, looking just as amused as her master. On the large monitor in front of them they could see Gadget patting his stomach while Penny stared in disbelief at her codex.

“So that’s why you wanted them to try deactivating it”, Talon mused.

“It’s diabolically brilliant”, said Claw, tapping his fingers together. “Any attempt to hack or disarm the device just makes it grow!”

And he burst into laughter again, his clawed hand raised in a triumphant fist.

Dr Claw: “Gadget thinking he’s pregnant is just the icing on the cake!” He was crowded. “Now I get to mock his stupidity while I wait for him to die! It’s like having dinner and a show!”

“Wow”, said Talon, shaking his head, “I’m actually a little impressed, Uncle C”.

Dr Claw: “As you should be!”

Talon snorted, sat himself on the desk and pointed at the monitor.

Talon: “So how long until he pops?”

Claw lowered his hand and began scratching MAD Cat under the chin. The feline purred contentedly, her tail gently swishing from side to side.

Dr Claw: “It won’t be long now”, he said with a low chuckle. “Not if HQ keeps trying to interfere”.

“Hah! I don’t think Penny knows how not to interfere!” Talon sneered.

Dr Claw: “Talon, this money obsession of yours is getting out of hand”, said Claw, pointing a finger at his nephew. “You should really see someone about that”.

His only response was a stony glare.

The clicking of knitting needles echoed around the confines of Slickstein’s laboratory. Perched in a rocking chair, Gadget was busily putting together a tiny pair of booties with a skein of blue wool. His stomach had now swelled to the size of a basketball but he seemed blissfully content.

Inspector Gadget: “Here Brain, try this on”, he said, shoving a bootie onto one of the dog’s paws.

Across the room, Slickstein sat at his computer with Penny standing beside him, anxiously watching as his fingers flew across the keyboard.

“There’s got to be a way to deactivate this thing, Professor!” She exclaimed.

“Penny! That’s no way to talk about your new cousin!” Gadget gasped, his hands grasping his stomach protectively. “He or she is not a thing!”

“Uncle Gadget, you’re not pregnant!” Penny snapped.

Gadget let out another, much more dramatic gasp, and angrily resumed his knitting.

“Don’t you listen to her, baby”, he muttered to his bump. “She’s just jealous that she won’t be an only child anymore”.

The lab door swished open and Quimby entered the room, a small pile of brightly coloured catalogues in his hands. Penny shot the chief a confused look.

Penny: “Baby catalogues?!”

Quimby nodded.

Quimby: “Gadget requested them”, he said, “and I want to keep him calm while we try and figure this thing out. No sense in risking anyone getting hurt”.

More like lowering the risk of himself getting hurt. Quimby had long since lost count of how many times he’d been struck by a mistakenly fired fist or missile. Sometimes he swore Gadget did it on purpose.

Inspector Gadget: “Ah, thank you, Chief!”

The cyborg grinned widely as he set down his knitting and took the catalogues, immediately beginning to thumb through one of them.

Inspector Gadget: “Hmm…I wonder what sort of crib would be best?”

Penny groaned and pulled up her codex.

Penny: “That’s it, I’m trying again”.

No way was MAD going to get the better of her. She was HQ’s top junior agent, after all! And yet her persistence was once again rewarded with failure, the codex screen flashing red as Gadget’s stomach expanded just that little bit more.

“Wowsers, I’m going to need a bigger crib”, he mumbled to himself, flipping through a few more pages.

“Ugh, this is ridiculous!” Penny yelled in Frustration. “Why can’t I break into this thing?!”

“I don’t know, but please stop trying”, said Slickstein, adjusting his glasses. “Every time you fail it’s making things worse”.

Penny huffed irritably but closed the codex anyway.

“Hey, Chief?” Gadget suddenly lowered the catalogue he was looking at, his eyes wide with worry and his lip quivering. “Do you think I’ll be a good dad?”

Quimby coughed, feeling rather awkward, and patted Gadget on the shoulder.

“Well you raised Penny just fine, didn’t you?” He offered.

Gadget glanced at his niece and then back at the chief. Then he promptly burst into tears.

“My baby doesn’t stand a chance!” He wailed.

Slickstein grabbed Penny’s wrist before she could bring the codex back up.

“Remember, Penny”, he said, his tone that of a parent lightly scolding their child, “Gadget blowing up is a bad thing”.

“Right”, Penny grumbled.

Dr. Claw had gone quiet. Talon found it rather unnerving and even MAD Cat was looking somewhat worried. On the screen Gadget had gone back to his knitting and appeared to be making some kind of sweater with too many arms.

“Hey, Uncle C, you okay?” Talon asked.

Claw was watching his nemesis thoughtfully.

Talon: “Maybe Ma had a point when she kept pressuring me for grandbabies”, he said.

Talon’s gaze flicked between the screen and his uncle.

“Wait”, he said, now looking highly amused. “Don’t tell me you’re getting broody?!”

“Dr. Claw doesn’t get broody!” Claw snarled, slamming his fists. “I’m just taking my mother’s words into consideration, that’s all!”

“You are!” Talon burst out laughing. “You’re broody!”

Growling, Claw pressed a button on the desk and a trapdoor opened up beneath the teen, instantly swallowing him up with a faint splash.

“I am not broody”, Claw huffed, crossing his arms.

Groaning, Gadget heaved himself up from the rocking chair. There was a huge pile of pink and blue knitting on the floor now: sweaters, hats and booties stacked up to his knees. And he looked like he’d stashed a beach ball under his coat. It was a wonder the thing was still done up.

“Babies sure grow fast these days”, he said, rubbing his aching back.

“Too fast”, Slickstein muttered.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to try again?” Penny asked. “With a bit of time I bet I can work it out. MAD never have, and never will, be able to outsmart me!”

“That’s just the thing, Penny”, the professor replied. “We don’t have time”.

“What are you saying?” Quimby was looking concerned now.

“I’m saying if we don’t get that thing out of him soon it’ll be too late”, said Slickstein, miming an explosion with his hands.

Gadget padded over to them, still smiling and utterly oblivious to their worries.

“Hey Chief, I’ve been thinking about names”, he said.

“Not now, Gadget”, Quimby groaned.

“And I’ve settled on Sophie for a girl”, Gadget continued, as though the smaller man had never spoken, “and Francis for a boy. What do you think?”

Quimby stared at him, his mouth hanging open.

“Francis? But…that’s my name”, he said.

Gadget’s smile grew and he nodded, planting his hands on his hips. Quimby’s eyes welled up with tears and he shot the cyborg with a shaky smile of his own.

Quimby: “Oh, Gadget, you’d really do that? Name your baby after me?”

Inspector Gadget: “Of course, chief!”

The pair embraced, sobbing loudly. Penny could hardly believe what she was seeing and Brain rolled his eyes, looking distinctly unimpressed. Slickstein clicked his tongue, got up from his computer and cracked his knuckles.

“Okay ladies, break it up”, he said. “I need to prepare Gadget for surgery”.

“Surgery?!” Penny’s head snapped round to look at him.

Slickstein nodded.

Slickstein: “It’s going to take too long to work out how to get around the blocks MAD have put on that thing”, he explained. “If we’re going to save your uncle, surgery is now our only option”.

“A caesarean?!” Gadget gasped, grasping his stomach. “But I was hoping for a natural birth!”

“There is nothing ‘natural’ about this”, said Slickstein dryly.

Quimby: “Be strong, Gadget”. Quimby took hold of Gadget’s hand and gave it a squeeze. “Everything’s going to be okay”.

Penny sighed heavily. She was about to protest and insist that surely there was something else they could do when Gadget suddenly let out a moan. His stomach had grown again, swelling beneath his splayed fingers. The buttons on his coat finally gave way and popped, flying across the room like tiny bullets. His shirt rode up to reveal skin stretched taut across his bulging bump.

“Chief, I think the baby’s coming”, Gadget said in a pained voice.

Slickstein clapped his hands together.

Slickstein: “No more talking!” He snapped. “Surgery, now!”

This time there was no arguing from anyone.

How many times had she looked at the clock now? Penny was sure the hands were mocking her, refusing to move as she paced around the waiting room. Quimby was pacing too, so stressed that he’d gone back to puffing on his old pipe. Instead of smoke, however, bubbles wafted out of it to fill the room. He hadn’t officially smoked in years, but the pipe still gave him comfort. The bubbles were an acceptable compromise.

“What’s taking so long?!” Penny snapped, tugging at her pigtails in frustration.

Brain, who was sitting on a chair and watching them both, shrugged.

Gadget had been wheeled into the theatre for hours. Laying on a gurney pushed by Slickstein and two other staff members, clothed in a plain pink smock and groaning in pain. Before disappearing through the theatre doors he’d grabbed Quimby’s hand so hard he’d nearly broken some bones.

“How could you do this to me, Chief?!” He’d wailed.

“I’m sorry, Gadget!” Quimby replied, clearly upset. “I’m sorry!”

Gadget howled in agony.

“I’ll make you sorry!” He yelled as he was whisked away. “You swine!”

Now Penny glanced at the clock again and then sat down next to Brain with a frustrated huff. In an attempt to distract herself she reached out a finger and began popping some of Quimby’s bubbles. Brain patted her shoulder and offered a comforting wuff. Suddenly the tension was cut by the most shocking noise: the high pitched wail of an infant crying.

“A baby?!” Penny yelped, shooting to her feet.

One of the theatre doors swung open and Slickstein poked his head out.

“Sorry, that was me”, he said and sniffled. “I stubbed my toe. Also we got the device out and Gadget will be fine. You can visit him shortly, but right now I’d cover my ears if I were you”.

He disappeared inside again and moments later there came a loud BANG! as the device popped. Penny sunk back onto her seat while Quimby pulled the pipe from his mouth and visibly sagged with relief.

Quimby: “Thank goodness for that”, he sighed. “I’m getting too old for this…”

A short while later Gadget was reclining in bed in HQ’s medical ward. The chief had left him a get well card and Penny and Brain sat on chairs beside him. The cyborg looked tired but otherwise okay and Slickstein had assured them that he’d be back on his feet in no time.

“Sorry you weren’t actually pregnant, Uncle Gadget”, said Penny.

A hand emerged from Gadget’s hat and patted the girl on the head.

Inspector Gadget: “Oh, that’s alright, Penny”, he sighed. “I don’t think I’m ready to be a father anyway”.

Penny stared at him.

“But…what about me?!” She exclaimed.

Gadget chuckled and ruffled her hair.

“Don’t be silly!” He said cheerfully. “You don’t count!”

“Well your plan failed”, said Talon as he made his way over to his uncle’s chair. “Again”.

Claw didn’t reply, but the boy could hear him cooing softly under his breath. As he got closer he could see that the man had MAD Cat in his lap, clothed in a baby bonnet and booties and sucking milk from a bottle. She looked torn between feeling humiliated and enjoying the milk.

Talon: “Uh…Uncle C? What are you doing?”

“What does it look like?” Claw replied gruffly. “I’m feeding the baby”.

For a moment Talon was silent, then he snorted and burst out laughing while MAD Cat hissed angrily at him. Claw growled in displeasure.

“Next time, Gadget!” He roared, shoving a pacifier into Talon’s mouth to shut him up. “Next time!”

“Yeah”, Talon grumbled, giving the pacifier a suck. “Next time!”

Return to Marriage Prayer

Leave a Reply for "Inspector Gadget"

Your email address will not be published.
By posting your comment, you agree to the submission agreement.