Widget Hackwrench

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Widget Hackwrench is a main original character who appeared first John Nowak's stories.


Widget is a female mouse with a very unusual appearance. First of all, she is an albino. Hence, her fur is white, her eyes are pink, and due to her long hair being gray, she is also known as The Gray Mouse, the name by which she is introduced early in Under The Bridge, and by which she is originally known by the Albacore crew, including Kapitänleutnant Jürgen Jürgen. Besides, she was born with only one arm on the right and with the one on the left missing.

Instead, she has got an artificial arm which she made herself of stainless steel, and which is mounted on a harness resting on her shoulders. She can move the arm as a whole using her muscles, but the movements within the arm itself require technical aids. The elbow hinge is powered by a motor via a set of gears with three ratios. A second motor is mounted in the forearm to cock three sets of springs which move the fingers. One set is there for the thumb, one for the index finger, and the third one drives the remaining two fingers. When building the arm, Widget took care of the movements and kept them from being too robot-like. Not only are the mechanisms in the arm powerful enough to use it as a weapon, Widget is also trained to fight with it despite its limitations.

Widget wears a black wetsuit, a matching scuba breathing mask on top of her head, and a black cloak wrapped around her neck in which she hides her artificial arm. All that can be seen of said arm is the hand which is concealed in a black glove, thus resembling a real hand. Unlike Gadget, she keeps her hair tied up in a ponytail.

Widget's wedding dress is a remarkable one: It is made of kevlar.

Personality & Role

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Widget's tragical history starts with her birth. She is Gadget Hackwrench's twin sister. They had two brothers as well, but the two boys died, and so did their mother. On their way back home, carried by their father Geegaw and his best friend Monterey Jack, they would have fallen victim to a group of cats on a bridge, hadn't Geegaw and Monty jumped into the river below. When Monty who carried Widget got into trouble in the water, he had to let go of her, otherwise they would both have drowned. How Widget made it to the shore alive remains unclear, but from then on, her adoptive mother was a drug addict who referred to her as "Li'l Freako" and who died of an overdose when Widget was 14. At that age already, she had developed a mechanical talent similar to her sister's.

After her adoptive mother died, Widget tried to make a living on her own. She was a part of a vigilante gang, an endeavor which ended tragically with the death of her potential love interest and her barely escaping alive, dug out of the rubble by a mole family.

When she found out where she came from, that she had a twin sister, and what sort of life her sister had lived and was living, she believed she had been abandoned and left to drown in favor of her comparably perfect sister Gadget. Thus, she began to plan her revenge. She built a submarine called Albacore. A crew was recruited, and the captain to command the boat was the German war veteran Kapitänleutnant Jürgen. Nobody aboard Albacore got to know her real name nor the nature of her left arm until she met the Rescue Rangers for the first time, and until Monty remembered who she was.

Probably the sole emotion Widget got to know and to trust in her youth was her thirst for vengeance. She didn't believe in love, she thought it always came together with requests or expectations from the loving one, mostly because she had never learned what it was like to be loved. Things changed in the course of her mission, though, and revealed her to be a Byronic hero rather than a villain.

Widget is married to the Albacore's captain, Jürgen J. Jürgen. They have a son named Gimcrack. Being a mother has revealed her softer, more compassionate side, although she is still very serious and can be quite ruthless.

She is very sensitive about her mechanical arm, to the point that those who mention it, unless very good friends, would better quickly run away. To become someone Widget would consider calling a friend is a great accomplishment indeed, for she doesn't trust anyone fully.


Widget is probably the original character drawn by the most artists and most frequently. Among the artists who drew her are:

Coincidentally, Kat created a relative of Gadget's named Widget Bernouli for her story A Hitch in Time around the same time as John Nowak worked on Under The Bridge without knowing of each other's projects. According to Nowak, Widget Bernouli was there first, but he didn't know about her when he created Widget Hackwrench. Both Widgets lack one arm; Widget Bernouli has got a prothesis in lieu of her right arm while Widget Hackwrench has got one on the left. There is a drawing created by J. Chin showing a mouse kid named Widget who is neither of the two (and who also has still got both arms).

Widget was originally planned to be known by her crew as Shadow. After reading Julie Bihn's Doubt of a Shadow, however, John Nowak dropped the name Shadow in favor of The Gray Mouse.

Widget was the first original character on whom emoticons for web forums were based. Gabe Bennett created these emoticons, he based them on those drawn by Toni and Supercheese.

In Russian translation of Under the Bridge, Icarus and Sovereign by Gyrotank her name is translated as 'Втулка' (Wtulka, 'muft' in English) to coincide with Gadget's Russian name 'Гайка' (Gaika, 'screw-nut').

Appeared In

Under The Bridge by John Nowak

Icarus by John Nowak

Sovereign by John Nowak

Double Criss-Crossed by Morgan Kohl (mentioned)

Ready... Aim... Fire! by Morgan Kohl

The Positronic Mouse by Morgan Kohl (mentioned)

Gadget Until Proven Innocent by Morgan Kohl

Bat, Bat, Alligator-God by Jeff Wikstrom

Bluegrass in his Blood by RedneckBadgerDrizzt

Pensacola Rangers by PensacolaRanger

Angry Murine Catharsis by Bryce

zaptiftun is currently working on a story in which she is planned to appear.

In The Rangerillion by Mr. Spumoni, she is named Widget the White.

Widget also got mentioned by none less than Joel Hodgson of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame in Mind Media by 8-Bit Star.

Widget's appearance in The Acorn Coffeehouse was inevitable. In fact, multiple instances of her appear in that round robin, and so did Widget Bernouli.

Both Widgets meet again in the Mary Sue Litmus Test Round Robin, inserted by their original creators.

Other round robins she appeared in are Poke and X-02: A myth that never should be true.

Chris Barat used her as the sole example of a fan-made villain in his essay Ch-Ch-Ch-Chip 'n Dale's Rescue Rangers! despite the fact that, although she plays the role of the villain during the earlier chapters of Under The Bridge, she is rather considered to be a Byronic hero.

Furthermore, she appeared at the Plato Awards, 2008 Golden Screw-Nut Awards and several Golden Acorn Awards ceremonies.

Midnight Man dedicated the song parody Widget Hackwrench to her and included her in another parody, Gadget Hackwrench Clones.