Everyone made it to Tidmouth Sheds after that debacle. This was now the first time that Tidmouth saw Transformers. Richard and the Fat Controller explained things to Bounty as the engines gathered at the sheds. Percy was on a flatbed as his charge with the trucks caused him to bend his buffer beam. Bounty looked saddened at hearing the news. “Then my Source is no longer safe here,” she mumbled.
“I’m afraid not, Ma’am,” replied Richard.
“And I really like Sodor!”
“As do I, but Sodor’s no longer safe for you to stay in. After Academy, on the other hand, I know there are four people that want to see you again.” Bounty sighed.
“It would be nice to try and get some meat on Famine’s bones.”
“And there’s another problem,” continued Richard. “You’ve worked for Sodor for a long time. What would happen if you left?”
“Well, good news on that front; I already trained my successor as secretary for the Sodor Council. The only issue would be that my friends would miss me.”
“We would, indeed,” agreed the Fat Controller. “I’m sure we can help you find work if you ever decide to come back. And that goes for all of you, Mr. Saunders, even your Transformer friends.”
“Sir?” asked Richard.
“I know their size makes them a little unusual, but if they ever want to work on Sodor or visit us, and this offer applies to you, simply ask me and I shall ask any of the managers of the various industries on this island. Sodor’s borders are open to you, Heroes of the Multiverse.”
“We can’t take all the credit, Sir,” replied Richard. “Percy was a big help in giving us an opening. If you need us to help his repairs financially-”
“I appreciate the offer, but that will not be necessary. You’ve done plenty for us.”
“It was nice having you and Kaitlyn as my crew,” said Percy.
“And it was nice working with you, Percy,” replied Kaitlyn.
“With all of you,” Richard said to the engines. “Even you, Diesel.”
“…Well, I mean…thank you.” Diesel was a bit thrown off at being praised like that. Yes, he got the same from the Fat Controller whenever he did a good job, but it was still foreign to him.
“May I say something?” asked Bounty.
“Of course,” replied Richard. Bounty turned to address everyone.
“Friends, it has been a pleasure serving Sodor in the capacity I did, but I’m afraid the time has come for me to leave the island. I assure you, my time here was most enjoyable, from riding the Wild Nor’ Wester, travelling in Annie and Clarabel, to riding on Bertie the Bus. Thank you all for a most wonderful friendship with you all.”
“It was our pleasure, Ma’am,” said Edward.
“Three cheers for Bounty!” called Thomas. Everyone blasted their whistles three times, even Percy.
“And let’s not forget Percy’s actions,” said Richard. “Without him, Bounty would still be wriggling in Crystal Widow’s grasp.”
“Oh, I just did what was necessary,” Percy replied modestly.
“And thankfully, only lost a buffer beam in the process,” reminded the Fat Controller. “Unfortunately, that means it’s back to the Works for you.”
“Ah well, I should be back tomorrow morning.”
“And it means a little longer without hearing Percy’s snoring,” muttered Thomas.
“Excuse me, I do NOT snore!”
“Oh, yes, you do!”
“Where’s your proof?!”
“My eyebags are proof enough!”
“SILENCE!” boomed the Fat Controller.
“They’re never gonna stop, are they?” Thundercracker asked Richard.
“Nope. That’s part of their charm as friends, though. …After we get back to After Academy, I need to do something.” Thundercracker arched an eyebrow, then Richard made a call. “Teletraan, Glanthel, whenever you’re ready.” The heroes were beamed up to the ships and a ship-sized rift opened. The engines below whistled their goodbyes and their crews and controller waved goodbye. The Fat Controller, Sir Topham Hatt, sighed in relief.
“…Stay strong, my friends,” he said. “You’ve all proven to be Really Useful like my engines.”
“INCOMPETENCE!” roared Igura. “MY TEAM WAS RIDDLED WITH IT!”
“Oh, it came from the top, I can assure you!” hissed Yamta.
“I had a flawless plan! All you had to do was follow my orders! WHY DIDN’T YOU?!”
“YOUR ORDERS RESULTED IN WASTEFULNESS!”
“DESTROYING YOUR ENEMIES IS ALL THAT MATTERS!”
“WHAT ABOUT SERVANTS?!”
“THEY ONLY NEED TO COME FROM THOSE YOU KNOW ARE LOYAL TO YOU AND WILL OBEY YOU WITHOUT QUESTION!”
“If you ladies are done,” called Ziddet as she swung her prosthetic arm between them. “Khan wants a word with you.” The Cardassian Lord led the two women to the throne room. The ambient lights were red. Igura and Yamta knelt in front of the throne as Khan steepled his fingers.
“Ladies,” he said coldly, “explanations?”
“We came to Sodor to disrupt its operations and locate Bounty and her Source,” replied Igura. “The only way to do that was to get the railways out of the way and-”
“You’re telling me the original plan,” hissed the Author. “I already knew the plan. Yamta came up with the plan and told me it. It was her plan and it was a good one. What I fail to understand is why you decided TO GO AGAINST THE PLAN AND TAKE COMMAND OF THE OPERATION!!”
“Because Sodor is useless and has no place in an empire!”
“FOOL! They’re the very model of industrial labor! I’ll have to rewrite that universe for the New Multiverse now!”
“Rewrite it, Sir?” asked Yamta.
“There are universes I like. I would like to preserve them as much as possible and NOT rewrite them for the New Multiverse. Thanks to Igura’s insanity and the resulting incompetence and making a laughingstock out of the Realms’ greatest strategists, I have to rewrite all of Sodor. Yamta, you and Yulduk come up with a better plan for your team to take Famine’s Source and its guardian. After that, figure out which of you will take command of the team.”
“As you wish, my Author,” said Yamta.
“I WILL NOT SURRENDER MY POWER!” shouted Igura as she drew a sword made out of the same solid space as her arm. Khan then read a passage from the Tome.
“‘The Onini Saber wrapped itself around Igura’s sword and tossed it and its wielder into a wall,’” he said. He then shut the tome and drew a snake-themed sword, the Onini Saber. The Onini Saber wrapped itself around Igura’s sword and tossed it and its wielder into a wall. Igura then rushed forward with her space arm outstretched, but Khan caught it, then bent it so her hand was pressed against her forehead, then held it down as her own hand burned her! She screamed in agony for a good minute until the Author had enough. He let her go, then turned to Yamta. “I want an eye kept on her at all times.”
“She’ll have two eyes on her,” promised Yamta.