This is the second official Group Collaboration page. This story concerns the tugs searching for whoever is behind the mysterious fires that have been popping up around the port. To get some reference, please look at Explosion.
Update: Arson is finished. Please go to Liner.
It was a very hot summer. The tugs were attempting to avoid the horrible Quarantine that had happened last year. Zorran was extra careful about staying away from the estuary. "I nearly lost my life out there," he said, remembering the day. Ten Cents and Emily snickered. "You think that's funny?" asked Zorran, frowning. "It was so hot out there! It's like the heat from a fire, and... hey, do you smell smoke?" The tugs sniffed and followed the smell. Usually the Star Tugs and the Z-Stacks avoided following each other, but the smoke smell intrigued the tugs. They searched around to see that an old dock was on fire! While Zorran and Ten Cents warned the people near the dock, Emily brought over a fire barge. Soon the fire was out. "What could have caused that?" asked Emily. "It couldn't have been the heatwave; the dock's too new for the heat to set it on fire." "Arson?" Ten Cents suggested. "Who in the world is Orson?!" growled Zorran. The two Star Tugs looked at each other and groaned. "It was a suggestion!" Zorran yelled as the two tugs sailed away.
The day was very hot and sticky and made work hard for the port workers. Puffa's fireman had to stop for a rest for the combination of the fire and the heat but as soon as he jumped out he jumped in for a growing fire was headed toward them. Paul the fire tug had been in the area and quickly put out the fire. Unfortunately, Puffa got damaged in the fire. "Hmmmm... ah, that will work," said Paul who was looking for something to get to the repair yard. "Top Hat, can I barrow Ed? I need to help Puffa." "I don't know." "TOP HAT!" "Alright, alright, here you go." Paul quickly took Puffa and reported the fire. "Another fire?" asked Emily who knew the answer. "I think it may be Arson." said Ten Cents. "Maybe." said Paul slowly.
Hercules sailed up to them with a surprised expression on his face. "What has happened here Ten Cent?" Ten Cents shook his head and said, "I've no idea Hercules, but unexplained fires have been popping up on docks everywhere. We think it may be arson." Hercules expression changed from surprised to thoughtful. He looked at the charred dock. "I've just returned from Ggibs City and they've been having similar problems. Random dock fires and they don't even have a drought." Emily looked slightly puzzled. Ten Cent noticed this and gestured that he would explain about Ggibs city later.
That night, the tugs were resting at the Star Dock. Hercules was about to tell them about what had been happening in Ggibs City. "You see, I had been talking to Meg about her visiting the Star Dock again. We heard a strange crackle, and without warning, a dock that was next to us went up in flames!" "Docks don't do that," Emily confirmed. "To go on fire, some sort of spark must set an old and dry dock on fire." "But what and who would cause a fire in the Bigg City Port?" asked Big Mac. Ten Cents looked into the water. "I think I know who," he said.
In the middle of the night, Ten Cents was awoken by a strange rumbling sound. He looked to his right. A shadow of a tug was next to the dock. Ten Cents kept his eyes slightly open to avoid being seen. To his bewilderment, the tug used a small crane on his deck to place a small match. The tug started to move away. "You there!" Ten Cents yelled. "Stop!" The tug looked at Ten Cents and backed away. Ten Cents gave the chase. The tug moved faster and faster backwards. "What are you doing?" Ten Cents called. Soon, they reached the canal. Ten Cents heard a strange fizzing noise. A barge floated in between him and the tug and blew up! Ten Cents was thrown into the side of the canal. When the fire cleared, the mysterious tug was no longer in sight.
Ten Cents returned to the Star dock, only to find what the tug had been doing; he had planted a fuse that would set the dock on fire! "I'd like to give that fellow a piece of my mind!" yelled Top Hat. Ten Cents kept quiet. He was still in a bit of shock from the barge going up. He looked around. An outline of a submarine floated next to the dock. Ten Cents tried not to shout out, but Emily spotted it. "It's a submarine!" Warrior moved forward. The submarine, in it's daze, slammed into Warrior. There was a loud scraping noise. The sub had wedged itself into Warrior's bow. "Ah, ha!" yelled Emily when she got a closer look. "So it was you, Dino Mighter!"
The ex-U-boat groaned and let himself be pulled into the Star dock. This surprised Ten Cents and the other tugs. Normally someone in captivity would at least put up a struggle or protest. However, Dino Mighter hadn't even said a word. O.J threw another line around him so that Dino Mighter was in such a postion that he couldn't even move. "Dino, would you care to explain what the on the sea are you doing here? You're meant to be in prison." Dino gave a pathetic lost look at O.J before sighing.
"If you're asking, I didn't blow up the docks at all; I don't really have anything against you. I been having my share of mishaps lately. I just want to find a cave to just rust and sink." Hercules frowned. "What about the Ggibs city dock fires?" Dino look nonplussed and shook his head. "I don't even know the Ggibs city tugs." The Star Fleet silently agreed. Dino gazed at the water in front of him. "I came to tell you something."
"I thought the police fleet caught Rankin!" Emily exclaimed. "They did," Dino Mighter said grimly. "Unfortunately, the Rankin they caught was a double. He's got lots of them. I even blew up one of them." "So we have no way of knowing who is the real Rankin?" asked Ten Cents. "'Fraid so," Dino Mighter said, looking into the water. "Anyway, I was going through the area looking for somewhere to rust up and sink when I spotted Rankin moving through the water towards the dock where the fires first started." "So Rankin... or his double," O.J. said. "Is setting fire to the docks." "But why?" asked Sunshine. "The docks didn't do anything to him!" "He's a terrorist, remember?" Dino Mighter snapped. "I wouldn't be surprised if his next target was the munitions dock!" "That's a bad idea," said O.J. "After that big explosion that happened a few years ago, the location of the munitions dock was moved." "To where?" asked Emily. "I wasn't even here." "To the dock next to the fueling plant," O.J. said. The silence was deafening as the shocked tugs stared at their elder. "If Rankin blows the munitions dock up," Big Mac said slowly. "Asta la vista," Emily said. The tugs stared at her. She moved back slowly. "Hey, McAllister tugs catch up on a few languages in New York!" Hercules gave a short laugh "Meet Meg; she's fluent in five."
The next morning, Top Hat was pulling Frank and Eddie down the harbor to the railway company. Top Hat kept an eye on the fueling plant. "What's wrong with you?" asked Frank. "Expecting an oil change?" asked Eddie. "Crude oil change," Frank joked. The two railway barges laughed. Top Hat glared at them. "If you expected an explosion at the new munitions dock in the next 24 hours, you wouldn't joke around!" "I'm expecting an explosion already," said Frank. "I'm smelling it," said Eddie. "Someone's having a dockside celebration," joked Frank. Top Hat glared, but suddenly perked up. He could smell smoke. "Come with me," he said as he made a U-turn and went into a small canal. "We can't do much moving without you," Eddie joked. Although Top Hat was annoyed by their laughing, he was still intrigued by the smell of smoke. "I bet that Rankin character set another dock on fire," he murmured. He reached the locks. He noticed a tug that was pushing a munitions barge into the locks. When the barge was in place, it backed away. Top Hat was puzzled. He took a close look. The munitions barge was on fire! "Stop the locks!" he yelled. He watched a crewman run to the control booth. All of a sudden, an astronomical explosion filled the air! The fireball destroyed the gates in the lock. Water started pouring out. "Move back!" Frank yelled. "That's not funny at all!" Eddie replied. Top Hat was too busy revving his engines to listen to them. The water was spilling faster and faster. Top Hat realized that if they filled their ballast tanks they would be able to hold their grou-...err, water... and be able to move back. He had to be fast. He yelled to the crewman in the control booth. "Stop the pressure on the gates! Our only chance is to move away!" The crewman wasted no time. He stopped the pressure. Top Hat filled his ballast tank and move as fast as his propeller could move away from the lock. Soon, he was away from the deadly waterfall. "That was a close one," he sighed. A honk came from behind him. The Z-Stacks Zorran, Zip, Zug and Zebedee were passing by. "What's happened?" asked Zug. "Did Orson cause a big tug like you to cry?" Zorran bumped him. "It's not Orson, you fool!" he snapped. "It's irson!" Everyone except the Z-Stacks laughed, including Top Hat. In the meantime though, Top Hat was thinking about the identification that Dino Mighter had given and the tug he had seen. Did the tug have an eye patch over one of his eyes?
That evening, the tugs and Dino Mighter were gathered at the Star Dock. "This Rankin fellow blew up the locks at the canal," Captain Star said. "Judging by the fact he used a munitions barge, it is safe to assume he is targeting the munitions dock next." "What will we do?" asked Ten Cents. "The least we can do is guard the spot," said Captain Star. "Paul will be with the police fleet at the munitions dock. Until then, stand your ground." The tugs paused. "No offence, Captain," but we do need a little help," said Hercules. "I'm not offended in any way," said Captain Star. "I'll call Captain Zero." He paused, noticing that the tugs were giving him an annoyed glare. "And the Moon Fleet," he said reluctantly.
It was late in the night when the Moon Fleet arrived. "Good to see you again, Meg," said Hercules. Meg blushed. "All right, break it up," said Ten Cents. "You love tugs should be concentrating. If Rankin gets to the munitions dock, we're all in trouble!" "Does the munitions dock smell bad?" asked Princess. "SHUT UP!" yelled the rest of the Moon Fleet. "QUIET!" yelled Captain Star. Everyone went silent. "Now, Captain Zero, Moon and I...stop laughing, Stars!...have agreed to unite all of the tugs and patrol the area! If anyone notices any suspicious activity, report it to the Police Fleet on the dot!" "Yes sir," everyone said.
The next day, the tugs all went out into the harbor. Warrior was paired with Princess, Zip and Zug. "Now, I'll go this way, and you'll go the other," he said. "Right," said his partners. In their haste, they all bumped into each other. "No wait, I have a better idea," said Zip. "You'll go this way and I'll go the other." "Better idea," everyone said. Again, they bumped into each other. "Zip!" said Zug. "You messed us up!" "I didn't mess us up!" said Zip. "Warrior messed it up!" "I didn't mess it up!" Warrior said. "Zug messed it up!" "I didn't mess it up!" Princess said. "Zip..." "You're not Zug!" everyone said at once. "Oh yeah," said Princess. "I forgot."
Penny was drifting quietly in a small harbour, enjoying the peace. She hadn't heard who she had been paired with so she had just wandered off and gazed around the docks, maybe even give the odd tow. She was thinking of turning back and finding Meg when she heard a strange rumble. Silently she hid behind a crane and watched carefully. Soon a strange tug came into view. He was painted all in black and had a large eyepatch over one eye. Rankin she whispered to herself. She noticed he was towing a rather small barge and was heading towards an old warehouse. Penny watched him enter and after a while reappear. Rankin then sailed cautiously away.
Penny didn't move until she was sure he had gone. Slowly she moved from her hiding place and floated gently into the big warehouse. It dark and rather damp inside. She carried on for a bit until she bumped in to something. She looked down and there was the barge. On it was two large cases of high explosives and a stack of cardboard boxes. She panicked at first as she really didn't like weapons or explosives but then was intrigued by the cardboard boxes. Carefully she knocked one of them onto her deck and raced out of the warehouse to find Meg. Little did she know that she was being watched.
Meg had been paired with Hercules much to his and her delight. Both were about to go futher out to sea when Meg heard Penny's whistle. "What's she got into herself this time?" Meg asked. "Is Bluenose bothering her again?" Hercules didn't say anything. Alerting was serious business. "Come on, my dear," he said. "Penny must have seen something. I'll alert the police fleet."
"So to be exact," Penny said. "Rankin's storing ammunition in here." "So if we can guard this area," said the Police Fleet. "We'll catch him." "And save the city," said Emily. She turned her eyes. Someone of something was staring at them from the shadows. "Shh," Emily said. The tugs looked at her. "Ten Cents, Meg, Sunshine and Penny; with me." "Why should we follow you?" asked Penny. "Because otherwise you'll be a fried volcano in 5 hours," Emily growled. "Now move it!"
Rankin was moving through the canal. "Huh," he laughed. "They're so sure that the munitions dock is my target. Little do they know that the real target is City Hall." He looked around. "I guess," he said to no one in particular. "That by the time they realize where the target is, it'll be too late." "CHARGE!" came a loud cheer. Before Rankin knew it, he was slammed into the side of the canal by 5 tugs! "Gotcha!" said Meg. "No you haven't," said Rankin. The tugs looked around. Nothing was around to stop them. What did Rankin mean? Suddenly, Ten Cents saw something on Rankin's deck. "Shake him!" he shouted. The tugs, not knowing what Ten Cents meant, did as they were told. Whatever Ten Cents had seen rolled off the deck. It sank into the water. "What happened?" asked Penny. There was a rumbling noise, and a burst of bubbles came out of the water. "Who says that bombs don't explode in the water?" Ten Cents grinned. Rankin moaned.
The tugs hauled Rankin into the police boat house and shut the door. "Why are we making it so dark in there?" asked Meg. "If we can make him think that it's night, he'll think is plan on destroying City Hall succeeded," said Emily. "How are we to convince him?" asked Penny. Ten Cents looked at a small radio sitting on his deck. "I think I know how," he said. "We need a microphone over here!"
Rankin was sleeping. "Wake up, bomber," came a voice. Rankin opened one eye. The lights were on. Floating in the water in front of him was Dino Mighter. "So, Rankin," he said. "Your plan succeeded. City Hall has been destroyed." "Prove it," said Rankin. A man in Dino Mighter's cabin popped out and held out a small radio. He switched it on. "A humongous fire broke out in City Hall an hour ago. Firemen had been trying to put it out when..." The crewman switched the radio off. "Huh," Rankin said. "So, it's true, huh?" "'Fraid so," said Dino. "How exactly did you do it?" "It's easy," Rankin said. "I gave everyone the notion that the munitions dock was the target of my bombing; it was, in a way; let's just say that it was a distraction." "We were putting out the fire," said Dino. "We heard a loud explosion. Now we know that City Hall was the target. 300 people died in the explosion." "Perfect," said Rankin. "Say, why did you blow the place up, anyway?" "The jury at City Hall were the ones who convicted me," said Rankin. "It's revenge. It's an assasination plot. I sent 20 packs of munitions into the package room at City Hall, which is right next to the court room." "I see," said Dino Mighter. "My plan was to have a suicide bomber set fire to City Hall. While the foolish firemen were putting it out," Rankin paused. "Huh. You know the rest." "When did the explosion go off?" asked Dino Mighter. "Around 6:30," said Rankin. Suddenly he paused. "Wait, shouldn't you know?" "I shouldn't," Dino Mighter said. He banged on the door to the boat house. It opened up. "It's 6:00," Dino Mighter said. "We've caught you now!" "No, no, no!" Rankin moaned. "I had it all laid out! I've been fooled by darkness!"
Dino Mighter raced away and kept Rankin locked in the boathouse. "His target is City Hall!" "What!?" said O.J. in confusion."It's gona blow at 6:30." "We have to get there ASAP." said Grampus.
Captain Pete was nearing the port from a long journey when he saw Black Stack and his fleet. He stopped, shut his engine off and listened in on Black Stack. "Rankin has somehow been able to radio me to say that he's trapped in the boathouse and needs us to finish his plan. Black Soul, you will trap the tugs in a trap. You two are to come with me to city hall to make sure his plan works." "I must warn them," thought Pete and raced away. Black Stack heard him. "Black Ace, GET HIM!"
Ten Cents tooted his horn. "Puffa!" he shouted. "Get to city hall on the double! There's a suicide bomber inside the building who will set it on fire, which in turn will set the munitions in the package room on fire, which will in turn blow up City Hall, which will in turn blow up most of the city." "Could you start from the top?" asked Puffa. "JUST MOVE!" everyone yelled. As Puffa steamed away as fast as his wheels could carry him, Captain Pete arrive. "P-p-p-p-," he gasped. "Speak up!" said Big Mac. "P-p-p-p-p-p-...Pirates!" yelled Captain Pete. Ten Cents looked up. "Those aren't pirates!" he snapped. "In fact, they're much worse than that; they're Black Stack and his fleet!" "They're working with Rankin and the OGPU!" Captain Pete said. "They're gonna make sure that City Hall is destroyed! They want to trap us!" "Hold it," said Dino Mighter. He sank beneath the surface. "They're finished!" yelled Black Stack. He suddenly felt something scraping his hull. "Hey!" he yelled. Before he knew it, he was taking in on water! "I'm sinking!" he screeched. "Good grief! Good grief! I'm sinking; save yourselves!" He stopped. He looked around. Everyone had been scraped, and were sitting on an old sunken garbage barge beneath them! "This looks familiar," said Ten Cents. "Vaguely familiar," said Sunshine. "Curse you!" Black Stack yelled. "Rankin is with us! His plan will work!" Ten Cents looked at the tracks. He sniffed the air. "I wonder what the speed limit for a steam engine is," he said. "Too soon to tell," Emily said. "Come on! The munitions dock is still a target!"
The tugs puffed up to the munitions dock. A man with a match was about to throw it onto a pack of explosives! "Paul!" yelled Emily. "Easier done than said!" Paul laughed. His hose went on and soaked the man from head to toe. The match itself was put out. "Get him!" someone yelled. The man was pounced on by several firefighters! "Gotcha now," Meg said. "Too soon to be revealed!" Ten Cents said. "We need to be sure that Puffa will reach City Hall before it's set on fire!"
Puffa puffed through the elevated railway. "I need to get to City Hall to save ourselves!" he thought. He reached a crossing. In front of him was a railcar being pulled by the Goods Engine. "No use," he rolled his eyes. "I'll just ram it." There was a loud bang. The Goods Engine looked back in surprise. "Hey, Puffa!" he yelled. "Whaddaya think you're doing!" "No time!" Puffa yelled. Several banana peels came flying down onto the tracks and onto the Goods Engine. "Oh, boy," he groaned.
Rankin found a small explosive in his hull. "Huh," he said. "They won't stop me now. And..." "Hold it," someone said. Dino Mighter and Sunshine had arrived. "You're not really Rankin, are you?" asked Sunshine. "Nope," said "Rankin", grinning. "Rankin doesn't even exist. He is just the base name for the real boss of the OGPU." "What's your name?" asked Sunshine. "Tyler," replied the tug. Dino Mighter was shocked. "You were one of the American boats captured during World War 1! I remember interrogating you!" "That's right," Tyler said. "And many of your American friends were "Rankin" clones." "Who is the real boss of the OGPU?" asked Sunshine. Tyler was silent. Dino Mighter glanced at Tyler's deck. "RUN!" he yelled. He backed away. Sunshine saw what Dino Mighter had seen. "Help!" he cried. Someone on Sunshine's deck leaped across the water and onto Tyler. "Get off!" Tyler yelled. The workman grabbed whatever was on Tyler's deck and threw it into the air.
Puffa was nearing City Hall when he heard an explosion from behind. He didn't have time to look back, so he concentrated on City Hall. Soon, he reached the station. Several firemen went running into the building. A man with a lighter was headed towards the supply closet. "Get him!" someone yelled. There was a loud crash and the man fell to the ground. His lighter clattered and flew across the floor towards the closet. It hit a hall and opened up, before sliding under the door. "Help!" yelled one of the workmen. Another man opened the door to the supply closet. He was shocked to discover a fuse had been lit! "We need water!" he yelled. A man was passing with a bottle of soda pop. "What's going on here?" he asked. Without warning his soda pop bottle was grabbed and the contents dumped onto the fuse. The sparks were out. "What's the idea?" he asked. "No time to explain," said the workman.
Tyler glared at the pieces from the remains of the bomb. "Stupid tugs," he growled. "I shall be avenged." "Who can avenge you?" Dino Mighter asked, smiling. "You don't even exist." Soon, the police fleet arrived and towed Tyler away. "You know what?" asked Meg. "We never did find out who the real OGPU leader was." "No," O.J. said grimly. "And I have a feeling we have not seen the last of the OGPU either." "Ah well," said Hercules, smiling. "All's well that ends well." "Say," said a voice. The tugs turned around. Zorran and the rest of the Z-Stacks appeared. "We never caught Orson either." The tugs all groaned.
The Moon Fleet said their final farewells the next morning. "Keep working," said Hercules to Meg. Meg blushed. "Oh, brother," said Emily. Soon, the Moon Fleet sailed out of the Bigg City Port. "So," said Ten Cents. "Everything's back to normal, right? Everyone who's needed to leave has left." "Not really," said Emily. "What do you mean?" Ten Cents asked. "Ten Cents, there's something you need to know," said O.J. "Come on. We can talk about it back at the Star Dock."
It was nighttime by the time the Moon tugs reached the Ggibs city. Bonny Lass noticed Princess was lagging behind, her sweet face looking strangely thoughtful. Bonny turned around and floated to towards her. "What's wrong?" Bonny asked quietly. Princess looked at her best friend. "OGPU was a Russian communtist organisation, well, they still are, however, they have been watered down. They were responsible for activies and intelligence overseas including the spying and assassination of 'enemies to the people'. It used deception and lies to lure people in for the kill and it was deeply involved with the persecution of many innocent people." Bonny gazed at Princess's troubled face. "Are you saying you've met them before? You know, before you came to the Moon fleet when you were -" Princess cut in quickly, "Yes maybe I did. If revenge was the motive on Bigg City, then what was the motive on Ggibs City? I don't understand." Bonny pulled a face that meant she sensed trouble. "So it seems our troubles with this communist gang have only just started." Princess said nothing and turned to gaze at the diamond stars in the velvet sky.