In 1927, expensive paintings from around the world began disappearing from various museums. Each night of the disappearances would start shortly after the sun went down. At approximately 11:30, an alarm would go off. Guards would go to the area that the alarms appeared to be coming from, but could not find anything out of order. In the mornings someone would discover a painting missing from a gallery. The same process was carried out in a similar way in the other museums.
The Art Museum of the Bigg City was a victim of the subsequent attacks. As usual, the stealing process was the same as the others. However, on this particular heist, the thieves were nearly caught when a guard that had been stationed in one of the galleries came in. The thieves had been forced to drop the painting. Transportation out of the Bigg City was halted to prevent the thieves from escaping. Tugboats brought food in from up the coast, but to be sure, no knew crewmen were allowed to board. Hercules was the tug I had go up the coast. Not that I didn't trust the other tugs, but I knew Hercules would notice if a crewman had snuck onboard.
The tugs were stuck in the Bigg City Port, with nothing to do at the moment. Hercules usually told them good stories, but with him up coast, the tugs could only just float. "I'm bored."moaned Frank."O.J., why don't you tell us a story?" asked Ten Cents. "All right," said O.J. "I remember when Sunshine..." "No," said all of the tugs. "We've all heard that story." "I like it!" Sunshine squeaked. "We lived it!" snapped Top Hat. "Say, what is this story about the paintings anyway?" said Bert. "Why would someone want to steal them?" "Paintings can be valuable, especially after the artist dies," said O.J. "Vincent van Gogh's painting were not famous until after he committed suicide.And so were Grant Wood's." "What's so special about a guy holding a pitchfork?" Top Hat murmured.
The next morning, I sent the tugs out to the docks to help unload barges Hercules had brought in. Ten Cents was intrigued by the idea of someone wanting to steal expensive paintings. "Are there art museums in New York?" he asked Hercules, who was taking a break. Being the loan tug who goes up the coast can be hard work, you know. "Oh billion's," said Hercules. "There's a very big one up there; they call it the Metropolitan Museum of Art." "Very New Yorky."chuckled Ten Cents. "It has art from all around the world." continued Hercules."sometimes places like Egypt!" Ten Cents thought to himself. He had an idea.
Using a morse code system, Ten Cents was able to contact Emily, who was still in New York. "Having a 'hello nice to see you' call" Emily said through the morse code. Ten Cents typed in "Laugh Out Loud" on the system. "One day," he muttered. "I'll find a way to shorten that." "no" he said through the morse code. "listen have there been any art painting robberies at the Metropolitan Museum of Art" he typed. There was an awkward pause. "still there" Ten Cents typed. "funny you mention robberies" Emily replied. "the met just lost an expensive painting that was worth nearly $700 dollars don't know the name but it was expensive" she added. Ten Cents whistled, but then thought of something. The paintings stolen were worth about 600 shillings. "How much is 600 shillings in American dollars" he asked. "don't look at me" Emily replied. "i can't see u" Ten Cents typed. "LOL" Emily typed. "Good way to shorten," Ten Cents thought.
I spoke to the Coast Guard about the thievery. "We've blocked off most of the city," said the Coast Guard. "The thief is definetly still around." "Do you know of a way to get at him," I asked. "Well, we've signed an agreement with Captain Zero. If your up to it, send your tugs to various locations around the city. We think the thief will try to get a thick getaway tonight; it's going to be very foggy and cold." I agreed.
That night, the tugs were all stationed around the port. Canals were monitored by pairs; Zip with Zug, and Ten Cents with (unfortunately) Zorran. "Just because we're partners doesn't mean we're friends," Zorran growled. "Oh, I'm aware," Ten Cents said calmly. The two sat there for a moment. It was very strange. Ten Cents sighed and started to snore. "WAKE UP!" snapped Zorran. Ten Cents sighed. Suddenly, he felt a rumbling. "I hear something," he said quietly. In the distance, through the fog that was as thick as clam chowder (interesting simile, huh?), they saw an tug approaching. It was not of the design of anyone they knew. Not of the McAllisters, not of The Star Fleet, Not of the Z-stacks, not of Black Stack,not of the Gold band Fleet,not of the Moon Fleet, not of...well, you get the idea. Ten Cents mouthed to Zorran, "When he's in range, we're gonna corner him and ram our bows into his sides." Zorran's hat moved up and down. This is tugboat for a nod. The tug got closer. Ten Cents and Zorran nearly gasped, but caught their breath. The tugboat, which was pulling a covered barge, was Rankin!
Not one-err, two-to get stopped by shock, when Rankin was in range they flew forward and slammed into his bow. "oof!" yelled Rankin. While Ten Cents and Zorran held him, Ten Cents' skipper ran onto the barge and looked inside. "It's the missing paintings!" he gasped. Rankin groaned. "Alright, this is a good chance to find out the name of the leader of the OGPU," said Ten Cents, remembering the fact that Rankin was an alias for the real leader. "I'm not saying anything!" Rankin snapped. "Tell us your real name, at least!" snapped Ten Cents. "Perseus," said the tug, grunting. "Have you noticed that just about every enemy we meet has a name from Greek mythology?" asked Zorran. "I don't!" Ten Cents replied. "Oh, yeah," said Zorran, embarrassed.
The next day, Perseus had been placed in jail, and the paintings were returned. Ten Cents and the star tugs contacted Emily through Morse code. "great job" Emily wrote. "by the way, xoxoxoxoxo". "What does that mean?" asked Ten Cents. The other Star Tugs started laughing. "What?" asked Ten Cents, confused. "You'll find out when you're older," O.J. laughed, pulling away. "Much older!" laughed Hercules. Ten Cents watched the other tugs sail away, laughing. Sunshine remained. "There are so many ways to express love," he laughed. Ten Cents thought about this. "Nah," he said dismissively, and sailed away to go get some barges.