Rhyme and Reason is a Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers Fan Fic written by Michael Demcio. Completed after two years of writing in late 1995 and released on Usenet in 1996, it was the first Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers Fan Fic that was meant to be one. Its sole predecessor, Miami Munks by David Walker, was sent to Disney as a potential Season 4 episode but eventually denied due to Disney Animation and Rescue Rangers creator Tad Stones having moved on to working on Darkwing Duck.
Shortly before his birthday, Chip compares the Rescue Rangers' casework with that of his literal idol Sureluck Jones. He comes to the conclusion that the Rangers haven't had a really "big" and challenging case. So his biggest birthday wish is a case that lets him show what he is really capable of.
Later on, he receives a letter supposedly from his old mentor, the police dog Plato saying he wants to meet him. When they meet, Plato states he has never sent any letter to Chip. The Rangers' leader returns to the Headquarters and finds his four companions kidnapped and a somewhat morbid mobile mounted in the main room. He seeks the room for clues and discovers two notes written by a certain Ivana M. Killjoy. One is his first hint, written in rhymes, and the other one are the rules of the game of which he is a player and she is the master from then on: His friends are held captive somewhere in the city. He has time until the sun sets at 7:00 pm when they'll be killed. And he is explicitly denied the help of any other critters or of the Rangers' contraptions—which are out of reach for him anyway since Ivana has taken all of Gadget's inventions into the hangar and sealed it afterwards.
Chip then embarks on a quest to several places all over San Francisco. Every location not only gives him another rhymed hint to decipher but also has been turned into a death trap of sorts which is triggered when Chip is present.
In the meantime, the other four Rangers find themselves held captive in an office building scheduled to be demolished. A lot of care has been taken to prevent them from leaving the floor, much less escaping the house. They are not informed about Chip's well-being or whereabouts. And each of them has to face their own individual tailor-made challenges.
Over the years, Rhyme and Reason won a whole of eight fandom awards: four of the one-off 1999 Plato Awards and four times the Golden Acorn Award for Best All-Time Fanfic, three of these in a tie with the graphic novel Of Mice and Mayhem.
Rhyme and Reason can be found at the Rescue Ranger Database.
Tropes used in Rhyme and Reason:
- Acid Pool: The glass in which the coffin of Gadget's father or Sparky will be dissolved in, whomever Gadget cannot save.
- Alliterative Title
- Artistic License – Biology: In Real Life, hornets are even less dangerous and less likely to attack humans than bees (who die after the attack) and wasps. This is only justified by Ivana's use of the same sound that Irweena Allen used to mind-control the bees in the episode "Risky Beesness".
- Author Filibuster: The first part ends with a lengthy explanation by the author why Dale isn't characterized as the complete moron several episodes made out of him and goofy but smart instead.
- Avenging the Villain: According to Ivana, some of the opponents the Rangers defeated on their cases in the show died subsequently. For example, Sewernose de Bergerac drowned when he was flushed away, and Captain Fin and his crew dehydrated when the Nautilus landed in the desert. She never met any of them, but they all are among those Ivana wants to avenge.
- Batman Gambit: Ivana's game works because she knows exactly how which Ranger would react on what. And because she doesn't leave them much of a choice.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Chip wishes for a really big case to solve. And how he gets one.
- Big Bad: Ivana M. Killjoy.
- Black-and-Gray Morality: We learn from Ivana that the Rangers, while well-meaning, acted with little care on their past cases and caused the deaths of many a critter, be it the villains who were accidentally killed (see Avenging the Villain), be it the many mice at Cat Alley, all of whom were preyed on by the cats liberated from Nimnul's laboratory except for Ivana (at least that's what she says). This does give them a shade of gray. Of course, from Ivana's point of view, the sides are swapped; at least, her side isn't all black.
- Boring, but Practical: Chip's paper plane, at least in comparison to Gadget's contraptions. But Chip isn't allowed to use the latter.
- Building Swing: Part of Chip's bailout from Cranston Tower. See Catch a Falling Star.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Chip wrote a love letter for Gadget on a Valentine's Day card, but he never gave it to her and kept it stashed away. Ivana somehow got her paws on the card.
- Carrying the Antidote: Chip is struck by a dart at the theater after he managed to escape the bees. A note says that the dart is poisoned, and Ivana is in possession of the antidote which he has to retrieve and ingest before sunset, otherwise he will die—together with his friends when the building is blown up.
- Rhyme and Reason differs from most uses of this trope in that Chip could just as well go to an animal hospital and have his poisoning treated there, but while he would survive, he wouldn't have enough time to rescue his friends anymore. So he keeps going for Ivana instead.
- Catch a Falling Star: After he jumps off Cranston Tower, Chip saves himself by fashioning a grappling rope while in free fall and throws it at a lamp post. It leads to a Building Swing that sends Chip flying upwards again and over the lamp post.
- The Chessmaster: Ivana, quite literally. Again, it's just a game for her in which she is the only one with God Mode. She even mentiones Nicole whom Chip has met at the first Death Trap by name at the second one, and she expects Chip to learn from her tactics—just to be one step ahead of him even then while still knowing every single one of Chip's steps beforehand.
- Crazy-Prepared: Ivana studied every detail of the Rangers and carefully rigged several places all over the city just to play her game with the Rangers and absolutely make sure they keep playing by her rules.
- Crusading Widow: Ivana's family was killed by the cats when they returned to Cat Alley after the events of "Catteries Not Included".
- Dark Action Girl: Ivana is not only a Magnificent Bastard, she is also a tough opponent for Chip in their final one-on-one fight.
- Dark Fic: Rhyme and Reason pretty much set the tone of most future Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers fanfics. Nevertheless, it is still among the darkest and edgiest.
- Death Course: Ivana has precisely rebuilt all the death traps with which Gadget protected her old home from, as she said, door-to-door salesmen. Now Gadget has to make it past them herself.
- Death Trap: Every single one of Chip's stopovers turns out to be one of a different kind:
- Determinator: Chip. He has always been one, Ivana knows that pretty well, and so he keeps on pushing through this case, Ivana knows that, too.
- Disney Villain Death: Chip ends his fight with Ivana by shoving her off the narrow bridge they were on and into a sewer. She is never seen again. Subverted in that she leaves signs of life in front of Rescue Rangers Headquarters (see Bittersweet Ending). By itself, it would be absolutely pointless as this story features a lot of actual deaths and a wounded and bleeding Chip.
- Door Stopper: Rhyme and Reason was considered one among the Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers fanfics, clocking in at a then intimidating 158,492 words. The record persisted for more than a decade until Gadget in Chains was completed with 402,670 words.
- Drowning Pit: Later in the story, the Rangers end up in separate glass chambers which Ivana fills with water.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: This goes for Chip even more than for the other Rangers. And this didn't remain the only time that this trope was used in CDRR Fan Fic.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: Rhyme and Reason kind of shows when it was written. It didn't take any inspiration from other Fan Fiction because there simply wasn't any other Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers Fan Fiction; it was the first of its kind. Also, there are no traces of influence from the fan community because all the Rangerphiles had was the Disney Afternoon newsgroup; Rhyme and Reason was completed more than two years before they got the first forum of their own.
The most obvious sign for this is how the fic treats one-shot characters: It includes a whole lot of them, but all just as minor side characters or battle opponents at most; no special treatment, if any, for the fan favorites. It wasn't before 1997, one year after the release of Rhyme and Reason, that Foxglove being Dale's girlfriend and sometimes also the literal Sixth Ranger caught on.
- Emotion Bomb: The Valentine's Day card.
- The End... Or Is It?: The Rangers are rescued, Chip is on his way to healing, he does get to meet Nicole again but ends up with his beloved Gadget. It could be such a wonderful happy ending—wasn't it for the items which appear at the Rangers' door as a greeting from Ivana: an empty rodent-sized champagne glass, a playing card, a mask which looks like Ivana's face and a note which hints at her possible return.
- Every Car Is a Pinto: The toy planes that come for Chip at the museum explode upon collision.
- The Faceless: Ivana. Before her fight with Chip, she does lift her hood some and reveal the mouse face underneath it, but at the end, Chip finds the self-same face as a mask placed outside the Headquarters' front door. Not only does this mean she is probably still alive, it also means that Chip still doesn't know what she looks like. In spite of what reasons Ivana gives for her actions, it's never even clearly proven that she really is a mouse.
- Face Your Fears: The individual challenges for Dale, Gadget, Monty and Zipper.
- First Kiss/True Love's Kiss: Chip and Gadget share their first kiss at the Headquarters after Chip is back from the hospital. Tropes that Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers fanfic authors have learned to love ever since.
- Foreshadowing: Strange things happen at Rescue Rangers Headquarters in the beginning. Dale has risen early and seemingly gone missing, the kitchen door is closed which is unusual, and a red liquid comes through under the door. When Chip enters the kitchen, he finds Dale in a puddle of said liquid. Rhyme and Reason seems to start out as a horror fic. However, it turns out that Dale was making Chip breakfast, spilled some tomato juice, and then Chip bumped the door into him when he was just about to carry the breakfast out of the door, leading to even more spilled tomato juice.
- Funetik Aksent: Monterey Jack's accent isn't written out as much as in some later fanfics, and Ivana's accent is described as something slightly Slavic but not written out at all.
- Fun with Acronyms: A bit stretched, but Small Animal Medical And Rescue Teams becomes S.A.M.A.R.I.T.A.N.S.
- Heroic BSoD: Gadget has one when she finds the Valentine's Day card and reads Chip's love letter. She doesn't know if Chip is still alive at this point.
- Hollywood Acid: Not only used in the Acid Pool as part of Gadget's challenge, but Ivana also modified the sprinkler system in the plant store on the top floor of Cranston Tower to spray highly corrosive acid as the second Death Trap for Chip.
- Interspecies Romance: Nicole, the red-headed mouse Chip meets at the library, asks him for a date. Also, Chip×Gadget.
- Justified Title: Rhymes play a big role in this case; Ivana's hints for Chip are all written in rhymes.
- Knockout Gas: Ivana used it to knock out and then kidnap the other four Rangers from Rescue Rangers Headquarters.
- Latex Perfection: Among the things Ivana leaves in front of the Headquarters door at the end is a mask with the face that Chip got to see during his climactic fight with her. This implies (but doesn't prove) that she wore this mask all the time and that it's unclear not only what she actually looks like but also whether she is even a mouse. And we're still talking about a mask not much larger than a dime.
- Lightning Gun: A contraption of Nimnul's returns as part of a Death Trap at the museum. It is even named Lightning Gun.
- Chip arms himself with a kind of rodent-sized Taser. He has to build it himself at Gadget's workshop.
- Love Hurts: The scene in which Gadget discovers the Valentine's Day card conveniently placed by Ivana.
- Meaningful Name: Ivana M. Killjoy.
- No Name Given: We only learn about Nicole's first name. The same goes for several other characters like Rick and Stuart from the S.A.M.A.R.I.T.A.N.S., but they're not as important. Mind you, this is the story which gave Chip and Dale their last names.
- Ontological Mystery: For the other four Rangers.
- Poison Is Evil: Only Ivana ever uses poisons.
- Psychological Torment Zone: The building where Ivana keeps the other Rangers is one, perfectly tailor-made by Ivana for each of them individually.
- Punny Name: Cranston Tower hosts a branch of a plant store chain named The Cutting's Edge on its top floor
- Race Against the Clock: Chip has time to save his friends and himself until sunset which is at 7:00 pm. In contrast to other uses of this trope, Chip has to rely on clocks he spots on his quest.
- Reverse Polarity: On speakers. In order to track down burglars. At least that's Gadget's plan early in the story as she explains in a fit of Techno Babble.
- Robotic Torture Device: Zipper has to survive against a robotic version of the canonical toad Ribit.
- Rule of Cool: Even for CDRR Fan Fic standards, it's beyond impressive how one single mouse managed to rig several locations in the same city into a series of remote-controlled death traps that put The Hunger Games to shame twelve years in advance—without anyone noticing, no less. Then again, this fic was published a few years before Under The Bridge largely displaced Hand Wave with Tom Clancy-level Mousepunk Technology Porn in CDRR Fan Fic.
- Sadistic Choice: Immediately after her Heroic BSoD, Gadget is confronted with an acid-filled glass with two slides behind it. One carries an exhumed coffin, Ivana claims it contains Gadget's father Geegaw. The other one carries the lab rat Sparky, a friend of the Rangers' who formerly supposely saw Gadget as a love interest, he is tied up, but alive and otherwise well. Gadget can only save one of them, and even this only if she makes it through the Death Course in time.
- Scary Stinging Swarm: Not even bees this time, but hornets attack the humans and Chip at the theater. They're the fourth Death Trap.
- Sequel Hook: See The End... Or Is It?. Michael Demcio himself never made full use of it, nor did anyone else dare to try this.
- Shout-Out:Cinderella: "Oh, that clock! Old killjoy!"
Chip: Bushroot would love it here.
- The Cutting's Edge scene contains one to Darkwing Duck.
- The news anchor Pierce Jefferies is one to Jeff Pierce, editor of the APA fanzine W.T.F.B. where Rhyme and Reason would be published.
- Shown Their Work: In-Universe example: Ivana has to know each one of the Rangers really well to torment them with so perfectly-made challenges.
- Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Nicole might not be around all the time, but her role does have some significance.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers itself isn't that close to the Idealism end, but its fanfics tend further towards Cynicism. In Rhyme and Reason's case, the Rangers do hold up their idealism the best they can while Ivana tries her best to break it. At least in Chip's case, she succeeds.
- Sole Survivor: After Nimnul had captured the cats from Cat Alley, mice took over the place. That much we know from "Catteries Not Included". What we learn from Rhyme and Reason is that after the Rangers gave them back their freedom, they returned to Cat Alley and devoured the mice—all but one, and that one, according to her own words, is Ivana.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Chip's first stopover, a human library with a rodent library hidden in the walls, falls victim to a bomb placed by Ivana. Besides, the building in which she holds the other four Rangers captive is set up to be demolished with explosives which Ivana can ignite.
- Chip expects another Death Trap of the same kind and size at Cranston Tower already. To evacuate it, he throws together a makeshift bomb out of kitchen supplies and a microwave oven and leaves a note for the humans in the building.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The library bomb. Ivana is actually only playing with Chip. She wants to test if he's good enough to get out of her Death Traps alive. And yet, her very first Death Trap involves blowing up half a human library and killing dozens of humans and rodents.
- Unexplained Accent: Ivana has an Eastern European accent of sorts.
- The Unintelligible: Averted in Zipper's case, because unlike in the show, what he says is clearly understandable in this fic.
- "What Do They Fear?" Episode: Would be one if it were an actual episode.
- Worthy Opponent: Ivana sees one in Chip and wants to be one to him–even though she is the one who makes the rules.