'when a felons not engaged in his employment,
or maturing his felonious little plans,
his capacity for innocent enjoyment,
is just as great as any honest mans'
- The Pirates of Penzance
The year was 1929, in the turmoil of the great depression the tugs of Bigg City port had mainly emigrated over to the Island of Sodor. the star tugs were already getting ready to leave Bigg City. But more of that later. One all to familiar tug fleet was going through its own problems concerning a hi-jacked tramper and its inevitable consequences.
The door to the warehouse/cell flew open and the burly navel tugs barged their prisoners inside. 'GET OFF ME!' cried Zorran 'you wanna catch something?' he added as he and his motley crew and captain were unceremoniously shunted into their cell and the door banged shut behind them.
A long silence followed. all five of the Z-stacks looked at their commander who looked at the stout door trapping them. 'lads' said captain Zero, 'tell me who's stupid idea was this to hi-jack a navel tramper and sell its goods on the black market?' there was a long pause before Zak spoke up 'er yours sir, I mean cap'n er oh heck!' he stammered as zero cast his staring eyes at him through his steel rimmed glasses and moustache. 'of course' said the captain 'and who was it that messed it all up?'.
all eyes fell upon Zip and Zug 'I wasn’t our fault!' spluttered Zug 'you try keeping a whacking great tramper under control in a force 8 gale!' exclaimed Zip before realising what he had said and backed away nervously behind Zebedee.
'well' said Zero, much to the surprise of his tugs 'not much we can do about it now, tell me how long did that idiot Bluenose say how long we were meant to stay here?. '93 years sir' coughed Zorran. 'and how old will we all be when we get out of here? said Zebedee rather worried and with good cause. 'I'd be 83!' exclaimed Zug 'I'd only be 82' said Zip sounding rather happy.
there was a very long silence.
it lasted a whole week.
I needn’t go into much detail of that week just to say it was very boring. there only recreation was to gaze longingly at the harbour, made only visible through a tiny crack in Zip's head.
the harbour itself was carrying on very much as it had always done, only there was less work to be done and the price of coal and water was rising. occasionally they heard the puffing and whistling of Puffa the railway engine, he was going to Sodor too.
Then after a week of sheer boredom the door to the cell swung open and the all-to familiar shape of Captain Bluenose was sillotted in the door in an official voice he barked 'Captain Zero? you and your tugs are requested to be audience to the admiral, ruler of the queens navy, we have a little business proposition to put to you an we are certain you won’t say no‘. Bluenose looked into the cell and at its surprised occupants 'we have a little problem on our hands that only you can fix'