That evening, the engines
talked about the situation.
"The Thin Git wants to get rid of Pip and Emma!" said Old Stuck-Up, grimly. "I knew those
stupid strumpets wouldn't last long around here!"
"But we need them!" protested Bowler. "We've got to have at least
one lady engine in the fleet, or the bigwigs'll shut the railway down for sexism! Even the Thin Git isn't stupid enough to
throw away his only ticket out of a discrimination lawsuit."
"Ruddy continuity!" said Stuck-Up, and he blehed furiously
"But then why is he letting that Fat Sod ask so many questions and have free rides on their Express?" asked
Diesel. "He's probably been blinded by offers of million dollar cheques and actual proper knighthoods. You know how loose
Tubby is with his money."
"But if the Thin Git does let Pip and Emma go," said BoZo, "and the railway is closed down...then
we might get bought up and shipped to Sodor too!"
"We're doomed! Doomed!" wailed Bert, until Arry bumped him back to
"Now, now," said Derek, "let's not jump to conclusions. We haven't heard the Controllers' side of the story
yet. This might all be just a misunderstanding. Ooh! Maybe Pip and Emma are just going on holiday!"
snorted Cromwell. "The Fat Git's just taking them for a test drive before the final sale! Well, I, for one, am not going to
sit on my tender and let myself get dragged away to Sodor again! All I have to do is make Pip and Emma look as useless as
possible and the Fat Git won't want anything to do with them!"
"All you have to do?" snorted Spamcan. "What
do you know about industrial-scale sabotage? You're an Express Engine!"
Cromwell sniffed. "How little you know me,
dear Spamcan. Mr Bottomsly and I were kings of the practical joke back in my old workshop. We were legendary amongst the workmen
for our 'pull my buffer' gag. That Fat Tub of Lard will see just how useless Pip and Emma are tomorrow, you wait and see!"
Summer was passing, but
there were still one or two late heatwaves, which made everything look char-broiled and smoking in the summer sunshine.
the next week, Pip and Emma had become quite used to being away from the Other Railway, and spending more time on Sodor. Each
morning, they took it in turns to lead an Express train from the Island to the Big Fat Station and back again, just after
Cromwell pulled his first train of the day. As such, they hardly spent any time with the other engines, and had no idea about
the conspiracy theories surrounding them.
Today, Pip was leading the Express. She had made good time and, once Cromwell
had passed by, cackling wickedly to himself for some reason, she ran smoothly across the junction to take his platform at
But Cromwell had deliberately punctured his fuel tank before he'd left that morning and made the rails
oily. When Pip tried to stop, her wheels locked and they slid on the oil. Before she could say "Thin Git", she hit the buffers
at the end of the platform.
The buffers were supposed to stop her - that's what they were there for - but budget cuts
meant that they had to be made from balsa wood and sticky tape.
Pip, however, was lucky. She wasn't hurt at all, though
the man on the platform in front of her got the fright of his life. He leapt in the air, causing dozens of fifty pound notes
to fly from his trenchcoat.
In a flash, station security ran over and apprehended him.
"Well done, Pip!" said
one of the Officers. "This young scallywag just pilfered the ATM across the road. If you hadn't spotted him, he might've been
escaped on a train to who knows where! Bravo!"
The Stout Gentleman, who was on the train once again, praised her.
should go in for crime-busting!" he said.
Even Emma cheered, though she did wonder why Cromwell had stopped in the
middle of the junction and just why he was cursing so loudly. But Cromwell only resolved to try harder - he knew he could
still make Emma look bad, and you can't have a High-Speed Train with only one good engine.
The next day, men were
sent to mend the buffers. As Cromwell waited with his coaches into the Big Fat Station, Pip and Emma purred into the junction.
you are, Cromwell," Emma called cheerfully. "Goodness, it's been busy round here, hasn't it? We haven't had any time to just
sit and talk with you guys for days, have we, Pip? What are you going to do today, Cromwell, once your train is finished?"
you from the sausagey fingers of that Fat Lump, you dim-witted trollop," replied Cromwell, but Emma was feeling so happy that
she barely registered what he'd said.
Cromwell's Driver sprinted across the platform and climbed back into the cab.
Then Cromwell growled slowly away, while Emma prepared to lead the Express into the Big Fat Station.
At the end of
Cromwell's platform, the men who had been mending the buffers were standing to one side. They had unopened pots of paint beside
them, and had just finished deciding to not bother painting the buffer-bar until they'd had another pint.
look too smart," thought Emma, examining their half-arsed job. "Almost as bad than it was before - the Thin Git probably wouldn't
even know that Pip smashed it up in the first place!"
She moved into the platform. Her Driver put on the brakes.
The Driver tried again. Still nothing. Cromwell's Driver had slipped over and cut Emma's brake line while
she was trying to talk to Cromwell.
"Horrors!" exclaimed Emma. "I can't stop!"
The Workmen watched in dismay.
Emma rolled steadily along the line and smashed to splinters the buffers they had just spent three minutes mending.
exclaimed Emma, opening her eyes cautiously. "That hurt my feelings! And my face!"
The new buffers hadn't stopped her.
Even worse, Emma had been moving faster than Pip. She was in a terrible mess - her front was badly bent and she was covered
in sticky tape, which hadn't been stuck on properly. She had even cracked a large hole in the platform itself.
was delighted. He had seen the whole thing from the junction. There was no way the Stout Gentleman would want to buy the twins
"Wait a moment, what's that?"
The Foreman rushed out of the station pub, pint glass in hand. There was
something large and glittering inside the hole.
His eyes widened. The platform had been stuffed with piles of gold
doubloons and jugs of Spanish wine.
"You super-great engine!" cried the Foreman, waving his glass, excitedly. It still
had black ale in it - and some of the ale flew out and splashed in Emma's mouth.
"Three hundred years missing," the
Foreman said, ecstatically, "and in three seconds, you come and dig it out like you've known it was there all along! My girl,
you've found the lost treasure of Beigebeard the Pirate! The museum will pay a pretty penny for this lot!"
ON!" cried Cromwell, banging his head against a nearby sewage tanker, which promptly burst all over him.
wheels were off the rails, so Pip had to go and pull them back to Sodor, with much cheering and whooping from the passengers.
the other engines laughed mockingly at Cromwell about engines not being able to prank worth a d**n.
And the sewage
was left on Cromwell's face, for teh lulz.
TO BE CONTINUED...