Emily McAllister, the American tug on loan to the Star Tugs, was leaving the Bigg City Port. It had been a fruitful 3 years, but now it was time for her to leave the Bigg City. The tugs were sad to see her leave, but they knew that she had to work in New York.
"Sorry to see you leaving, Emily," said Ten Cents as the two tugs pulled a log barge through the port. The news of Emily's departure came as a shock to him. "It's all right," said Emily. "But there's been a rush of work in New York, especially with the Empire State Building being built." "Still, I wish that you could have stayed longer," said Ten Cents. The tugs were silent as they pulled the barges across the river. "Say, Emily?" asked Ten Cents. "There's something I wanted to tell you." But before Ten Cents could talk, there was a loud bump. Warrior had knocked Ten Cents' barge aside. "Sorry!" he called. "Warrior!" Ten Cents snapped. Emily snickered.
Zorran and the rest of the Z-Stacks were watching and listening to the tugs. "So," Zorran said, grinning. "Emily Anne McAllister, that stupid American tug, is leaving." "That's bad!" said Zug. "We won't have anyone to bother!" "No, you dummy!" snapped Zorran. "That's good! They'll have more work to do. If we can pull the same stunt on them like we did to Big Mac 3 years ago, they'll get shut down!" "And we'll be the masters of the Bigg City Port!" said Zip. "Just one question," said Zebedee. "If they are all gone, won't we get all the work?" "Shut up!" said Zorran. "Look on the bright side, or I'll make you a Star like when you helped them with Johnny Cuba!" "Yes, sir," Zebedee said quickly. "Zak, Zug, with me," Zorran said, pulling back. "We'll tell our plan to Captain Zero." Ten Cents turned his head. He saw the Z-Stacks talking. "They're up to something," he said to Emily as they departed.
"You sure that Emily is leaving?" asked Captain Zero. "100% positive," said Zorran. "And with her gone, we can get the tugs out of business with a sudden rush of work!" "Very good, Zorran," Captain Zero said with an approving tone of voice. "I'll see to it that your plan works." "We'll get the harbor prize, boys," Zorran said as they left.
That evening, the tugs were visiting the famous Bridge Cafe. "Nice music," said Emily. "You don't get this in America." "And that's jazz," Ten Cents mumbled.
The next morning, the tugs all sat in the estuary. "Sorry to see you go," said O.J. "Don't forget to visit!" "We'll miss you," said Sunshine. "Happy tugging!" Warrior said, but he bumped into Big Mac. "Oh, yes, have a nice trip," Top Hat said, looking at Emily with a distinguished frown. Ten Cents was silent. "Aren't you gonna say something?" Emily asked, smiling. Ten Cents looked up. "Nah," he said. "I'll save it for another day." The tugs all watched as Emily sailed out.
At noon, a large storm blew in from up north. Emily and her crew had not counted on the rough weather. "We cannot stay out here!" yelled her captain. "There's a leak in your boiler room! We're going to have to get you back to the Bigg City Port to wait out this storm and fix the link!" Emily was about to respond, but a large amount of seawater flew out of the water and into her mouth. "Agreed!" she coughed.
Despite the storm, the Star Tugs were working harder than ever. In fact, they were working so hard that they were starting to get tired. Top Hat was working on dredging with Pearl. Rackham had been told to not stop dredging, and to keep dredging until he was told to stop. This is where the Z-Stack's plan spread into action. "Ahem!" Zak said to Top Hat. Top Hat turned and glared at Zak and Zebedee. "Oh, it's you two!" he groaned. "Well, there's no bridge around here to be knocked over!" "Oh course not!" said Zak. "But you know, I bet your old pal Emily would have knocked over any bridge like this!" Top Hat was not pleased. "Why," said Zebedee. "I bet all of the Yorks are clumsy!" "They have baby baseball players!" Zak laughed. "And Emily probably has been scrapped to be used to build a stadium!" Top Hat started. "Now look here, you two!" he shouted. "Emily is a trustworthy tug! She is not stinking like..." "Top Hat!" Pearl yelled. Top Hat turned and was startled to see an overload of dirt piled up on her barge. "Rackham, stop!" Top Hat yelled. "Glad to oblige," Rackham said. He dropped his already heavy claw onto Pearl's deck! "Ow!" Pearl yelled as she tipped to the side and her contents poured out. "Why, you no good tugs!" Top Hat yelled. "Just wait 'til I get a hold of you!" "You weren't paying attention," said Zak. "It's not our concern," said Zebedee. The 2 Z-Stacks departed, laughing. Top Hat groaned and used his towrope to haul Pearl over to Lucky's Yard.
Up river, Billy Shoepack and his brother Ricky were monitoring a humongous shipload of dynamite that was being hauled down towards the demolition factory. The dynamite was covered by a tarp to prevent the fuses from getting wet, but Billy and Ricky were not aware of this. Zip and Zug, on the other hand, were. "Hello, you crocodile tugs!" said Zip. "That's alligator, you nitwit!" snapped Ricky. "Stop bothering us! We need this shipload to get to the demolition site before 6:00!" "Of course!" said Zug. "You know, you 2 tugs are hotheaded!" "What?" Ricky snapped. "You're all stuffed up with ash and smoke!" said Zip. "Why, you..." Billy said. "Stop," said Ricky. "They're just trying to get us mad." But Billy didn't notice. "I'll show you cinders and ashes!" he snapped. He held up all of the ashes in his boiler and sent out a large spark that flew through the air and landed on the dynamite barge. "AUGH!" yelled Ricky. "Move away!" The tarp was too wet to catch on fire, but the spark managed to get through it and set a fuse on fire. There was a loud bang as the tarp flew into the sky and the barge blew up in flames. Zip and Zug had reckoned this and anchored themselves to the ground. Billy and Ricky, on the other hand, were not prepared, and were thrown down river through the current. Ricky hit a rock and flipped onto his back. Billy used all of his ash to slow down his paddles, but hit a sandbar and stuck there. "I'll get you two for this!" Ricky called. "We didn't cause this," Zip said. "Your brother caused it."
That evening, Emily returned to the Bigg City Port. As she limped through the harbor to Lucky's, she happened to glance at the Z-Stack's dock. "Excellent work, Zorran!" said Captain Zero. Emily stopped and looked over. "That overload of work with Emily gone will keep the tugs out of business!" "Thank you, sir," said Zorran. "We'll be the masters of the harbor!" Emily hurried away. She found the Red Cross and the Police Fleet resting near Lucky's Yard. "The Z-Stacks are trying to put the Star Fleet out of order!" she exclaimed. "They're giving them an overload of work so they can get them out of business!" "Well done, Emily," said the Police Fleet. "We'll give them a piece of their mind!"
The next morning, Captain Zero gave the Z-Stacks a severe talk. "You snivelling tugs!" he shouted. "You shouldn't talk so loud about putting the stars out of business!" "You spoke to us!" snapped Zak. "We're sorry, sir," Zug said, no understanding the reprimanding. "Sorry? SORRY?! Get out of this dock, you scalliwags! And don't even think of doing anything more senseless!" The Z-Stacks left, ashamed.
"Glad you could come back to help us!" said Captain Star. "Those Z-Stacks have been fined 20 shillings for their scheme!" "How much is 20 shillings?" asked Emily, puzzled. "In New York we used dollars." "You don't want to know," said Big Mac, frowning. "Godspeed, Emily," said Captain Star. Emily prepared to leave. "Hey, Ten Cents?" she asked. Ten Cents looked up. "Hmm?" "What is it that you keep wanting to tell me?" Ten Cents opened his mouth to speak, paused, and smiled. "I can always tell you another time," he said. "We have all the time in the world." Emily raised an eyebrow, but smiled. "Of course," she said. "See you next time."
Ten Cents watched as Emily sailed away. "It'll be quiet around here," O.J. muttered. "It's a good thing that she left the place in good hands." Ten Cents was about to reply but something caught his eye. In the distance, behind Dender Rocks, was a tugboat with a large eyepatch. The tug looked at Ten Cents with an evil smile and winked. Ten Cents blinked, and the tug vanished. "Yeah," Ten Cents muttered. "Really good hands."