The Operation's Ending: The Final
Even though Miss Jenny hated being near Detective Fisher, she couldn't help but marvel at the beauty of the lobby.
A polished wooden desk covered a third of the right wall, the glass frame behind it covered so no one could see the name. The floor had blue and red chequered tiles, the wallpaper was a light, nature-like brown, and a huge glass chandelier hung from the ceiling. Pot plants and soft leather couches were scattered around here and there, and three shining silver elevator doors were at the opposite ends, with two corridors on either side stretching off towards other rooms. The place looked amazing, with only a few things being sorted out by some workers: placing a glass table, sorting out the electrical equipment on the reception desk and cleaning up the dust and dirt. Miss Jenny admired her creation, and then turned to face the detective.
"So, what do you want to-" She began, but Detective Fisher kept walking, beckoning her to follow. Miss Jenny let out a low growl and marched forwards, trying to keep up with him. The two walked down one of the corridors, Miss Jenny getting very annoyed, when Detective Fisher suddenly walked into a bathroom.
"Fisher, I don't really have the time or want to see you go to the toilet, so if that's why I was dragged here, then I'm leaving!" Miss Jenny snapped.
"I am not using the toilet, mainly because I can't." Detective Fisher hissed. "One of my men working undercover has made a startling discovery." Miss Jenny gasped, mainly at the thought of undercover police inside her operation. She unwillingly walked into the bathroom, which was a public men's one. It had a dozen toilets hidden behind black painted stalls, and a row of sinks, soap dispensers, and hand dryers.
"So, what is so startling in here?" Miss Jenny asked wearily. Detective Fisher opened up one of the stalls and walked up to the bathroom. Then, he slipped a crowbar out of his jacket. Before Miss Jenny could stop him, the policeman smashed the metal bar into the white tiled wall.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" Miss Jenny screamed.
"Showing you how dodgy Cedric Berrob is!" Fisher replied, and pulled away a section of the wall. Miss jenny was appalled, but then she noticed something: the wall was breaking away a little too easily. Once the Detective had made a big enough hole, he stood back and pointed into it. Miss Jenny walked forwards and stared in.
Absolutely nothing was inside.
There was just a very thin gap between the interior and exterior wall. There were no pipes, no wiring, no insulation, no nothing.
"H-h-h-how is this possible?" Miss Jenny stuttered.
"My spies discovered that there was no plumbing going into this building, or much else for that matter." Detective Fisher explained. "There is very little furniture, except for about a dozen rooms, half the lights don't work, and most of the power relies on a small generator inside a car." Miss Jenny couldn't believe this, and she collapsed onto the closed toilet lid.
"How, how did I let this happen?" She said, tears beginning to form. "This was meant to be my big break, but now that is ruined!"
"If it your fault, Miss Packard." Fisher said, though he didn't sound very sorry. "But it is crucial we evacuate the area before-" But a long boom interrupted the detective's words, and Miss Jenny gasped as she was splattered with something. She looked up as Detective Fisher collapsed to the ground, dead, with a bullet hole in his heart. Miss Jenny screamed, and looked towards the murderer, but something hit her in the arm, and she instantly found darkness.
Cedric Berrob stared down with disgust at Fisher's corpse, but had to reach over in order to grab Miss Jenny. After all this planning, he wasn't going to let someone ruin his plans. He pulled a phone out and dialled speed dial 1.
"Jeremiah, I have a mess for you to clean up." Cedric said quietly. "Leave the bomb for now, I need the policeman's body disposed off. Then you can take Miss Packard and the bomb to the dining hall, and I'll see you on stage." And with one last glance at Fisher and Miss Jenny, Cedric turned and walked out of the bathroom, needing to prepare for the big end of his plan.
The mines were cold, dark, long, winding, low roofed, bumpy, rocky, dusty, and it completely failed Isabella and Magenta's views.
"Are we nearly out of this hovel?" Magenta sighed.
"I don't like the dirt, the dust, or the company, to be frank." Isabella added, and stared pointedly at Kelly. The crane glared back, but it only enraged the lorry more, and he realised he shouldn't have.
"Will you two stop complaining?" Byron growled from the back. "None of us are enjoying it, but we aren't harping on about it!" Isabella and Magenta wanted to reply, but Alfie turned to face them.
"Just leave it and focus on getting out!" He puffed. They had been travelling for half an hour, and they were all getting tired. They had gone up hills, gone down inclines, turned around from dead ends, nearly hit two cave-ins. Everyone's axles ached, both Jack and Magenta had damaged their headlights, Byron's was dying, and Alfie had scraped his scoop on a roof, breaking it. All in all, everyone would be glad to get out, though it seemed unlikely.
"We can't lose hope guys, I am sure we'll find a way out!" Jack said with false glee.
"Oh yeah, and how will that happen exactly?" Isabella snapped. Jack had just tried to raise some enthusiasm, but he hadn't thought he would actually have to have an idea.
"Umm… why don't we try and head upwards?" The front loader gestured upwards with his scoop, making the safe clang. "There has to be a miners exit above, in case there was a cave-in." He looked eagerly at the others, who exchanged looks.
"Plausible enough idea." Byron replied, which Jack took as a yes. He needed to get out of here and destroy the safe and its treasure, but he couldn't if everyone was mopping around inside the mines. Up ahead was another fork, with the right heading up, the left heading down, and the middle heading forwards. Jack turned towards the right, grinning broadly.
"Come on guys, the faster we go, the faster we'll be free!" And he raced to the left. Alfie followed after, and Isabella and Magenta decided to have a bit of fun. Kelly moved cautiously after, and Byron just sighed.
"They shouldn't go too fast!" He said.
"What's the worst that could happen?" Kelly chuckled, and the two rounded the corner. They both froze when they realised the others had as well.
"Can you hear that?" Alfie whispered. There was silence, and they all listened to a rushing sound coming from above them.
"It sounds almost like… a wave." Magenta said quietly. The sound was getting louder and louder, and whatever was causing it was getting closer and closer. Everyone with working lights focused them up ahead. And then, fifteen metres in the distance, water appeared. It was pouring in, as if some giant tap in the mine had been turned on. There must have been over a hundred litres, and more were approaching.
"MOVE OUT!" Byron boomed, and he sped down the middle tunnel. The others didn't need telling twice, and they all turned and raced towards it. Kelly went first, and the others barely got in before the wave rushed past, spraying them as it thundered past.
"Keep moving, it could soon flood this tunnel!" Kelly yelled, and the six began to move down. However, this path was a dead end, and they soon came to the end, with Byron squished up against the wall.
"I can see the water, it appears to be damaging the walls!" Jack said, squinting to make out the water.
"These are old mines: too much water damage on the wooden posts will destroy them." Alfie said sadly. Isabella and Magenta began to moan loudly, Jack and Alfie exchanged worried looks and Kelly began to mumble. Byron couldn't stand to see his friends like this, and he focused upon the wall, trying to think of a solution. He thought back to his horrible experience in a mine a few months ago, and couldn't let his friends suffer that as well. But the more he stared at the wall, a plan began to form. Then, he drove straight into it.
"What are you doing?" Magenta shrieked. "You'll cause a cave-in!"
"That's a possibility." Byron grunted, before smashing into the rock wall again, causing large cracks. "But I must give this a go!" And rammed into it once more.
"Would you at least explain this madness?" Kelly asked, cautioning not to stay too close to Isabella.
"I smash through the wall. We drive down the mountainside before the wood breaks on us." Byron explained, and continued to hit the wall. The others moved towards him, unsure what to make of this. But behind them, there was a very loud, very obvious crack: something wooden had broken. Alfie raced forwards, whacking his broken scoop and arm onto the rock. Kelly prodded it with his crane arm, and Byron gave it another hard knock, causing a hole to appear. Jack, Isabella and Magenta eagerly came up behind, as there was another loud crack, and the sound of dust trickling echoed over the roaring water. Byron reversed backwards, and then charged full speed at the wall. Sunlight poured into the tunnel, nearly blinding them all, but they all cheered instead. They had found freedom, even if they had no clue what was in front of them. Behind them, there was a rumble, and more dust fell, bringing rocks with it.
"CHARGE!" Isabella screamed, and moved forwards. The six of them simply gulped and drove forwards, wondering if they would hit land or oblivion…
A deadly inferno was raging at Cedric Berrob's cottage.
The fuel cans that had exploded had taken the front of the house with it. Roof tiles, wood and glass were scattered around, and huge chunks of the wall had fallen. The flaming fuel patches were sending orange flames into the sky, and smoke was reaching even higher. The interior of the house was exposed, meaning it would soon be consumed by flames. And the Pack members could only watch as their deaths came closer.
The explosion has blasted Fredrick's right scoop arm, sent Nelson' trailer and Patrick's mixer flying and blasted Buster's cab roof off. There were holes in Buster's tyres, and some a roof section that had caved in blocked the others from moving to the back of the house. All they could see was a red and orange haze that engulfed them; entering their exhausts and making them cough violently.
"Looks like this could be the end boys." Fredrick choked. And he was right: there was no possible way they would get out. The cottage had become their coffin.
"I just wish we could have left in a more dignified fashion." Nelson said sadly, before breaking into a coughing fit.
"And we never worked out what was in that bloody safe!" Patrick hissed.
"Now isn't the time for regrets!" Buster scolded. "We should reflect on some of the fond memories we had together."
"Where should we start: the time you found the body, or how Fredrick nearly got scrapped by George?" Patrick snapped bitterly, and Buster gave up hope. Fredrick eyed the flames nearing them with caution. The carpet was catching a blaze, and sparks were flying towards the bookcase, the coffee table, and a desk, which was scattered with papers.
"Those are Cedric's notes!" Fredrick gasped, and he moved slowly across the carpet. The desk had tons of paper on it, and the digger whacked a leg, causing the desk to collapse and land in his scoop. His other arm thankfully held, though it wouldn't for long.
"Just give it up, it won't do us any good now." Patrick grunted, but Fredrick stared at the papers, as if hoping for some sort of answer. But the flames were getting closer, the smoke getting thicker. Everyone was coughing worse and worse, and it seemed like they had reached the end.
"Goodbye everyone!" Fredrick spluttered.
"It was a pleasure working with you all!" Buster said sadly. Everyone shut their eyes, waiting for their death to come.
But it didn't.
Over the roar of the fire, the four machines could hear noises: more vehicles above them, having a debate. Nelson looked up, and saw that some of the fire was stopping, and a lot of smoke was going away.
"Someone's saving us!" The transporter yelled. They all exchanged ecstatic looks, and watched as more of the fire was consumed. Brown particles flew into the air, and they could all tell it was sand.
"WE'RE DOWN HERE!" Patrick yelled. "THE FIRE IS NEAR US!"
"Oh shut it, we know that already!" Suddenly, the glee was sucked out. The machines all recognised the voice, and they weren't happy about it.
It was George.
A few seconds later, more sand was dumped a few metres away, and the fire that disappeared reveal Grudge, pouring sand out from a trailer George was pushing. The two were staring at the two, not paying any attention to the fire they were covering.
"Why, why are you saving us?" Buster asked. George merely grunted, and watched as Grudge put out more flames.
"We've been re-evaluating things since Mac died." The steamroller replied, and briefly glanced at Nelson. "If we hadn't been focused upon killing you lot, he may have still been alive. We went for a short stroll, wondering about coming to the opening to apologise to you guys. But then we saw what was happening, and we raced away to find some sand."
"And we did!" Grudge said happily, and scattered more sand. There was now a clear path for the Pack to flee, which they quickly took. The sand was covering the majority of the oily flames. Now that they were safe, George and Grudge moved up the hill.
"Thank you for saving us." Fredrick said happily. His moustache was black with as, but he didn't care.
"Sorry for trying to scrap you." Grudge said apologetically, and George nodded.
"That doesn't matter now boy, we have to get to that opening!" Fredrick boomed.
"Why, what's happening?" George asked, looking curious.
"Cedric is possibly going to kill everyone over a safe." Patrick replied. Though his tyres were damaged, he was determined to get there. The others thanked the SBI machines, and they apologised for their nature.
"This'll do for now, let's just get to that hotel!" Buster shouted, and they all cheered, and began to move as quickly as possible towards the hotel they could see in the distance.
Oliver, Ned, Max and Monty stared suspiciously from the bushes towards the platform. Cedric was standing there, talking to some officials that had arrived early. There was a lot of laughing going on, before Cedric directed his friends into seats.
"I don't like this." Oliver whispered. "Miss Jenny went into the hotel before him, and he came out before she did." He looked around, as if checking for spies, before continuing. "Something dodgy is definitely going on!"
"We still haven't found the others." Ned said sadly.
"I am sure they will turn up, soon." Oliver said, though he was very doubtful about it. They all looked back towards Cedric, who was continuing to chat up his guests. Oliver sighed sadly, and the others stared at him.
"I am worried." He said. "I am worried something bad is going to happen, but I am not sure what."
"We know." The machines all yelled, and stared in shock towards the ute in front of them.
"Who are you?" Max grunted.
"What do you want?" Monty added. Canton simply smiled at them, and his driver's door opened, and Alpha leapt out.
"My name is Alpha, and this is my ute Canton." The spy explained. "We have been investigating Cedric Berrob for several months, and our conclusions have been grim."
"What do you mean by that?" Oliver asked. "He's got some hidden agenda, or is going to do something or steal or-"
"He has been getting you to build this hotel for more than one reason, yes." Alpha replied. "And yes, he does have a big finale planned know that its purpose has been fulfilled."
"How big is big?" Ned asked.
"Explosive big." Canton said brightly, and Alpha whacked him on the bonnet for his rudeness. But the others didn't notice as they all gasped.
"Bastard!" Monty snapped.
"I will run him over and crush his bones!" Max hissed. They both went to move, but Oliver extended an arm.
"You can't: guests!" He said, and signalled towards the gates. Sure enough, a flood of Mercedes, Rolls Royce, Porchse and Chryslers were beginning to roll into up the driveway. Each one stopped by the front entrance, like at normal hotels, and one of four bellboys rushed over, opened the door, and escorted the guests out. Already, the machines recognised The Fat Controller, Lady Hatt, The Small and Thin Controllers, several building executives they had met, and a long black limousine that the Mayor was in.
"Despicable." Alpha spat. "All these innocent people will die, simply for Cedric's gain." He looked seriously at the machines. "I need you all to be ready when disaster is imminent, as I'll need you to help usher everyone away."
"What about our friends?" Oliver asked.
"They might get hurt as well." Ned said.
"We know were your friends are." Canton answered quickly. "Some tracking devices we planted are showing they are all on the way, and on the way here." Oliver was shocked at the mention of tracking devices, though he wasn't really surprised after thinking about it.
"Once the speech begins, spread out." Alpha said, getting back inside Canton. "We have to go and rendezvous." They watched as Alpha and Canton turned and drive further through the trees. Ned, Max and Monty looked at Oliver, and the excavator was uncertain about being turned to.
"First of all, we need to find out exactly how close the others are." He said after thinking. "Any ideas?"
For one whole second, Jack was able to stare at the view in front of him: the expansive forest, with it's trees reaching up towards the sky. Birds flew overhead, coming in from the town that Jack could see in the distance. The hotel was rising up above the trees, and Jack could imagine being there very soon. The sky was blue with perfect, fluffy clouds, and everything seemed to be perfect.
Then Jack realised there was no ground below him.
The front loader screamed as he fell forwards, and he shut his eyes as he expected to roll. But his tyres smashed into rock, and Jack began to roll quickly down the hill. He opened his eyes cautiously, and realised he was rolling down the mountainside. It was at a 45 degree angle, and he and the others were speeding down the rocky cliffs. Boulders, ledges and bushes blurred past, and Jack tipped his scoop upwards, making sure to hold onto the safe. He heard Isabella and Magenta screaming, saw a smoother path caused by Byron's blade, and saw Kelly's arm extend unexpectedly from the speed. But Jack was enjoying it: the wind whistling past him, every bump making him jolt, and the rush of euphoria from the excitement of it.
"WOOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOO!" He yelled, and honked his horn happily. Jack willingly sped up, moving past Isabella and Magenta, who had shut their eyes.
"AREN'T YOU LOVING THIS?" Jack yelled to Alfie. Alfie looked petrified, and his friend a look that practically said 'Are you crazy?' Jack just laughed, but then he realised how fast they were going. They were reaching the end of the mountain, as they hadn't fallen from a high point, and the dark green leaves of some trees were getting closer, and the mountain was getting steeper.
"WE'RE REACHING THE END!" Byron boomed back to them. Twenty metres in front of him the mountain went from 45 to 90 degrees.
"BRAKE!" Kelly yelled, but it wouldn't do anything. Byron flew off the cliff, and they watched in horror as he crushed the tree in front of him. Jack could now see a bright green field in front of them, and several sand pits: they were at the golf course. But his thoughts were interrupted as Kelly flew off, and Jack realised he was next.
"AAAHHH!" He screamed, and shut his eyes as the ground disappeared. Jack soared through the sky for a few seconds, before falling forwards. He opened his eyes to watch himself crash into the branches of the tree Byron had hit. Jack came to an abrupt stop, and looked around at the others. Byron's blade arms were damaged, and he rested onto the tree trunk. Kelly had dived into a natural dip, and was bended uncomfortable. Alfie landed near Jack, but whacked into another tree. Isabella and Magenta followed after, screaming their cabs off as they landed onto the footpath, skidding around and hitting each other, causing them to halt. Jack moved forwards, crunching the branches.
"We have to get to the hotel, pronto!" He exclaimed. "The opening is happening soon, and if we don't get there, Cedric could get away with whatever he has planned!"
"Jack, calm down!" Byron snapped.
"You've become too preoccupied with Cedric, we don't even know if he is acting dodgy!" Kelly said calmly. He managed to move up, and used his hook to pull Byron off the tree trunk.
"The Pack is more important that Cedric's plans!" Isabella scolded. Jack realised that they were making him guilty, but he didn't have time to worry. He stared at the faces of the other five machines and sighed.
"I know I have been acting a bit selfish, but I have been thinking about the Pack's best interests." Jack explained. "There is something Cedric wants from this safe, and we have a chance to end it! So, are you guys with me?" The others exchanged looks, some curious, some concerned. But after a minute, they all nodded. Jack beamed with pride.
"Let's go save the day then!" He yelled, and sped off towards the hotel. The others simply sighed and worriedly unenthusiastically after.
Within ten minutes, all of the guests had arrived to the opening. Fold out seats had been placed in six rows in the car park, though most people were socialising and grabbing food from a buffet table. There were some seats up on the stage now as well: Miss Jenny, the Foreman, Cedric, The Fat and Small Controllers and the Mayor of Sodor would all be sitting there. But there was still no sign of Miss Jenny amongst the crowd, her fiery red hair always making her stand out. And Detective Fisher hadn't come out yet either, his car still parked nearby.
"I wish that Alpha had told us everything!" Oliver snapped to Ned, Max and Monty, as they peered through the trees. "Miss Jenny is probably locked up in a basement or something!"
"If she was locked in the basement, why don't we just drive down?" Ned said, and he pointed with his scoop towards the hotel. Oliver looked, and saw the ramp heading down to the underground car park.
"I suppose we could go down there." Oliver said. "Good job Ned!" And the steam shovel beamed proudly. The four began to move, but suddenly The Fat Controller and Lady Hatt walked in front of them.
"Oh, hello Sir." Oliver said quickly.
"Hello Oliver. We were wondering where Miss Jenny is." The Fat Controller explained. "We wanted to congratulate her on this marvellous hotel." Oliver and Ned exchanged looks.
"We can't find her!" Monty boomed.
"We think that Cedric ti-" Max began, but Oliver rammed into him, shutting him up. The Fat Controller and Lady Hatt looked nervously at each other.
"Is there something you aren't telling me?" The Fat Controller asked.
"Of course not Sir, we don't know where she is!" Oliver insisted.
"Can you at least say where the other machines are?" The Fat Controller questioned, peering behind them as if expecting the others to appear.
"Um… I think they, um, did…" Oliver trailed off, unable to come up with a plausible lie. The Fat Controller was about to ask another question, but suddenly Lady Hatt wailed.
"There's some of them!" She exclaimed, and pointed towards the driveway. The machines and The Fat Controller stared and gasped.
Four ashen members of the Pack were coming up the driveway: Buster, Nelson, Fredrick and Patrick, all looking like they had just come out of an oven. They were beaten and damaged, but looks of determination were on their faces. But what was more surprising was the fact that George and Grudge were alongside, looking a bit awkward about being on enemy territory.
"HELLO!" Patrick yelled when he saw the others, and lead the others in racing forwards. Members of the crowd stopped talking and stared. Some began to whisper about the states they were in, but the machines ignored them as they stopped by their friends.
"Where have you guys been, what happened, and why are they here?" Oliver blabbered. Max and Monty glared at George and Grudge, but they ignored them.
"Let's just say, things sort of heated up for us." Fredrick whispered. The Fat Controller stepped forwards, looking very annoyed.
"I may not own you, but something very serious has happened and I'd like to know what it was!"
"I can deal with this." Everyone looked as The Foreman rushed over, wearing a navy blue suit, followed by Cedric and his black bodyguard Jeremiah, both of whom looked very surprised.
"Sir, we'd gladly explain things once Miss Jenny is here." Buster said quickly before The Foreman could talk.
"Any ideas where she might be, Cedric?" Oliver asked with a touch of venom. Cedric looked stunned, but his eyes narrowed as he stared at all of the machines.
"I saw her and Detective Fisher inside the hotel a little while ago." He replied. All the machines stared at Cedric, and Cedric stared at them, leaving the other humans thoroughly confused.
"Oliver, can you please expl-" The Foreman began, but there was suddenly a loud honk, and everyone turned once again.
Jack, Alfie, Isabella, Magenta, Kelly and Byron were moving quickly towards them. Jack had his scoop raised high, keeping the safe out of sight.
"Hello everyone, are we in time for the show?" Jack asked, beaming brightly.
"And where have you lot been?" The Foreman asked, stepping in front of Oliver before he could speak.
"We just went for a little drive." Alfie said quickly, and the six of them smiled. The Foreman was going red in the face, but The Fat Controller tapped him on the shoulder.
"Everyone is staring, maybe you start the opening." He whispered, and pointed at the crowd. The Foreman, Cedric and the Pack all looked over, and saw nearly a hundred pairs of eyes staring curiously at them.
"Brilliant idea!" Cedric boomed, and he grabbed the Foreman's arm and led him towards the stage. The audience was puzzled, but they began to applaud, and turned towards the stage as the important men rushed towards the wooden platform. However, the Pack turned to each other and began to bombard each other with questions.
"Where were you?"
"How did you get injured?"
"Why are they here?"
"Did you discover something?"
"Where's Miss Jenny?" After everyone had a good scream of questions, they managed to get under control, and they began to talk normally. Kelly and Byron explained what happened in the mine, Fredrick explained what happened at the house, and Oliver explained what had been happening there.
"None of this is making any sense!" Jack groaned.
"Maybe we could try and read some of these papers I found?" Fredrick suggested, an everyone looked into the scoop.
"And how are we meant to turn he pages?" Monty snarled bitterly.
"Some of us have scoops, moron!" Alfie snapped.
"Don't start arguing!" Buster warned.
"Do you think the dead bodies have anything to do with this?" Isabella asked.
"What have they go to do with a safe?" Byron scoffed.
"Quiet!" Everyone jumped and turned. Canton had suddenly appeared, and was smirking slightly.
"Ah, you all looked stupid." He chuckled.
"What do you want?" Jack asked.
"While Alpha goes and loads his guns, I figured I would tell you what is going to happen and why." Canton explained. There was a murmur of talk behind them as the guests seated, but Canton double checked no one was nearby and listening. "If anyone interrupts me, I swear I'll machine gun you to pieces." Everyone's eyes bulged, and Canton laughed again, before taking a deep breath.
"Many years ago, a group of explorers went to the Mid Sodor Railway, searching for some treasure. After several days, the group eventually found the money. However, one of them had a secret motive. Montgomery Norman was the leader, and he didn't plan on handing the treasure over: he was going to split it up amongst them. One of the men, Caleb Carter, thought it would have been better to take it to the museum. Montgomery promptly shot him, and the rest of the team fled with their shares.
Over the years, the seven remaining men led pretty normal lives. Some married, some had children, some became very successful. However, they only spent their funds sparsely, as they did not want to draw attention to themselves. But Montgomery had been left by his wife while they were on the trip, and he became bitter and lonely. He turned to gambling and drinking, and blew his entire share within a few decades, even though there had been millions of dollars there. Montgomery was desperate for cash, and saw a picture of Clarence Richards, the group's cartographer, in the paper for some work he had done at the museum. Montgomery went to his house, knocked on the door, and shot his friend through the heart, stealing his share of the profits." Isabella and Magenta looked very distraught, and the others exchanged concerned looks as well. But the opening was a minute away from starting, so Canton had to hurry.
"Over the next two years, Montgomery went around, killing the other men and stealing their shares: Vernon Green, Albert Freeman, William Baker and Robert Rutherford. The police were unable to make the connection, but the only remaining man was able to work out what it meant: Nathanial Berrob." The machines all gasped.
"Do you mean… Cedric's father?" Alfie whispered. Canton nodded, and the machines all gasped again.
"Nathanial knew Montgomery would come for him next. He brought a metal safe, and told his wife, Amber, and Cedric to go out for a drive. As Nathanial put the money into the safe, Montgomery arrived. He fired several shots, but he was drunk, and only one bullet him Nathanial in the femoral artery. With the gun empty, Montgomery simply grabbed the safe and ran. But he knew Nathanial could call the police, and Montgomery couldn't bear going to jail. The murders had made him unstable, and he did something very stupid: he dug up the bodies of his victims."
"Five bodies…" Jack whispered, his voice trailing off.
"Just like the five we found!" Kelly gasped.
"Exactly: you guys have found the bodies of all of Montgomery's victims." Canton said solemnly. "Montgomery dug up the bodies, and he then cut up their map of Mid Sodor from all those years ago. He scattered the bodies and the maps in five places around the Mid Sodor area, taking him around three days to do so. He wanted to be able to find the place where he buried the safe again, once the time was right. During that time, Nathanial was in hospital trying to stay alive after massive blood loss. Montgomery didn't know: he was too busy digging a very steep hole, right over there." And Canton inclined towards the hotel. Fredrick, Buster and Patrick exchanged shocked looks, and then everyone looked at Jack.
"The safe you have, is it the same one?" Byron asked. Jack lowered his scoop, and Canton stared at it with wide eyes.
"Yes, it is the same one owned by Nathanial Berrob." The ute said. "So while Montgomery buried and hid all the evidence, Nathanial was dying. He confessed what he had done to Cedric, and asked him to find the safe, find the treasure, and kill Montgomery."
"So that is why Cedric's got us to do this: he wanted us to find the safe for him!" Buster gasped.
"Precisely! But once Byron found the first body and there was no sign of the safe," Canton stared at Jack. "Cedric became more interested in finding the corpses of his father's friends, and had a general idea where they were."
"The forest near Ulfstead" Byron whispered.
"The tree along the River Callan." Magenta said, remembering.
"The trenches by the castle." Alfie recounted.
"Along the route of Mid Sodor." Patrick said quietly.
"And at Anopha Quarry!" Nelson gasped.
"Cedric had to find those fives bodies and the maps to make sure the safe was in the right place." Canton explained. "He tracked down Montgomery and killed him, and it was his house where some of you nearly became molten metal. And Cedric knows that the safe should be directly below the hotel."
"How is going to get it know that people are staying here?" George asked. Canton's eyes twinkled and he smirked slightly.
"Oh, no one is going to be staying here. Cedric is blowing up the hotel in fifteen minutes."
"Good morning everybody, and welcome to the grand opening of this stupendous hotel!" The Foreman was saying, talking into a microphone. The crowd applauded, and several newspaper cameras flashed in his direction. "My name is Mr Bowler, and I have been working on this project, alongside Miss Jenny Packard and her machines, since day one, and all of us are excited to finally see the completed project!" The crowd applauded again, and Mr Bowler began to introduce everyone on the stage behind him. As he said each name, the Foreman stared around the car park. For some reason, a number of the machines were stationing themselves around. He was hoping the just wanted a better view, but he highly doubted it. Also, George and Grudge were there for some reason, while Jack, Alfie, Isabella and Kelly weren't. But the Foreman had to keep going, and decided he would find out what the Pack was up to later.
The machines were feeling very tense. None of them had quite gotten over the shock that they could be dead within fifteen minutes, but Canton had told them how to solve things. The bomb would be planted inside the dining hall, which was going to be the first place Cedric took the guests to. All they had to do was take the bomb to Canton, where Alpha would detonate it. Canton didn't have anything to pick it up with, and Alpha was preparing to assaniate Cedric and stop him from detonating it. This meant that Jack and Alfie had to do it.
"Do you know the way to the dining hall?" Kelly asked, as he, Jack, Alfie and Isabella stared through the glass doors. The workers had finished tidying up, and the hotel looked picture perfect. It seemed a shame to suddenly destroy it before anyone else could enjoy it.
"I am pretty sure. Isn't it down the right corridor?" Jack replied. He and Alfie were shaking slightly. The safe was resting on Isabella's bed, and she promised to guard it even if they were all blown up.
"We better go in, Cedric will be doing his speech soon." Alfie said. Jack nodded, and the two friends stared at each other for a few minutes, thinking of what to say. But then Kelly nudged them forwards, and the two passed through the glass doors. They parted, and the machines found themselves inside the lonely lobby.
"I've never been inside a building we weren't going to knock down before." Jack whispered.
"And it looks like Cedric's going to knock this one down for us." Alfie added. Jack looked at him and laughed awkwardly. Alfie looked at his friend, and the two of them began to laugh. There was a honk of horn, and they sensed Isabella glaring at them, so the two carried on.
Taking a right turn, the two went down the opposite hall, which lead directly towards the dining hall. The corridor wasn't designed for two machines to pass through, so Jack went first, with Alfie coming up behind. At the end of the corridor, a set of brown double doors led into the hall. Both machines came to a halt and stared at them, unsure what they would see on the other side.
"You first." Alfie said sheepishly. Jack took a deep breath, shut his eyes, and then ploughed through the doors.
The dining hall was empty. It had the same carpet and wall colour scheme as the rest of the hotel, and there were doors leading to kitchens, the bathrooms, a bar area with nothing on the shelves, and French windows facing a beautiful view of the forest scenery. However, there were no tables or chairs there, and only one person: Miss Jenny.
And she was lying over the bomb.
"Oh my god!" Jack cried, and he raced towards her. Alfie followed behind cautiously, but when he saw his owner's limp body, he sped forwards as well. The two stood on opposite sides of the bomb, and looked at the red numbers counting down on the screen: 00:09:37
"We have less than ten minutes to dispose of the bomb!" Alfie cried.
"I know that, no need to shout!" Jack snapped back.
"It's a very tense situation, pardon me for worrying for our lives!" Alfie shouted.
"Well excuse me for not liking being shouted at!" Jack roared.
"Why are we shouting at each other, shouldn't we just get out of here?" Alfie replied, his tones still loud. Jack nodded, and he moved closer to the bomb. Alfie's eyes bulged with shock and tension, but Jack was very careful. He edged his scoop forwards, and slowly slid it between Miss Jenny and the bomb. The redheaded woman grunted as Jack slowly lifted her up, and she dropped over the sides.
"Do you think you'll be able to hold her with your damaged arm?" Jack asked.
"Anything for Miss Jenny." Alfie replied, and extended his arm, fighting back the pain. Jack slowly transferred her over, and Miss Jenny rested in Alfie's smaller scoop. Jack then breathed out and faced the bomb.
"Be careful, don't blow us up." Alfie whispered, and backed away towards the door. Jack did the same process he had used with Miss Jenny: he moved slowly forwards, his scoop at the right level. Once he was a few centimetres away, Jack began to slide his scoop across the floor. The plastic box that was the bomb was getting closer, and Jack was barely able to contain himself. What if he knocked a switch, or hit a button, or crushed the bomb: what would happen then? The metal of the scoop made contact with the bottom of the bomb, and then it began to go underneath. Jack sighed with relief, and managed to get the whole bomb inside his scoop. He heard Alfie sighed as well, and Jack looked over at his friend, grinning slightly.
"Let's go save the day!"
Outside, the Foreman, the Small Controller and the Minister of Tourism had finished their speeches. Now, the crowd were clapping happily as Cedric walked up to the podium. The machines scattered around the car park all tensed up, and each of them exchanged looks with someone else, wondering what Cedric would do. But the architect simply stood there and smiled at the crowd. Jeremiah was standing below, making the front row a bit uneasy, though Jeremiah didn't notice.
"Thank you everyone for coming here today." Cedric said into the microphone. "I hope you are all having a lovely day." The crowd applauded again, but the Pack remained stony faced. The Fat Controller saw the nasty looks Byron, Patrick and Magenta, who were nearest, were shooting Cedric, and he looked over at the Foreman. He shook his head, silently telling him to worry. Cedric could sense people were beginning to notice, and he didn't need to be questioned by the journalists. He looked down at his three page speech, something he had been working on for months. It was meant to give them enough time before he lead everyone into the hall, but Cedric didn't have that advantage anymore.
"I did have a speech planned for today," He said. "But I don't think I need two thousand or so words to describe the hotel, when all I need are three: It's bloody brilliant!" The audience laughed and clapped, and Cedric took a little bow.
"It has been a long, tiresome process, made worse by our links to several missing bodies found, but Miss Jenny Packard and her team have done a fantastic job, and the machines all deserve a round of applause!" And Cedric led the audience in clapping at the machines. They were taken aback by this, but some began to chuckle and laugh.
"He is throwing us off guard, don't fall for it!" Oliver whispered to Ned, Fredrick and George. Once the clapping subsided, Cedric began to walk off stage.
"Now, would you all please follow me, and I will begin the grand tour!" He boomed, though without a microphone. The crowd stood up, but The Small Controller and Mr Bowler rushed forwards.
"The tour wasn't meant to start for a few minutes!" The Small Controller said quickly.
"No harm in starting early if nothing is holding us back." Cedric replied casually, and looked past them for Jeremiah.
"But what about Jenny?" Mr Bowler snapped. Cedric looked at him, smirking slightly.
"I am sure we'll find her inside." He replied simply, and walked off to the front of the crowd.
High above them all, Alpha stared out from a two storey window. He was holding a rifle, and had it fixed exactly on Cedric. All he had to do was pull the trigger, and the nightmare would be over. But there were too many important, innocent and clueless people around, and Alpha could accidentally shoot any one of them. But than Alpha noticed something: Kelly and Isabella were blocking the way, and Cedric would have to stop.
"Genius machines." The spy muttered, and his finger was poised over the trigger. Cedric began to slow down, preparing to explain things to the crowd. Alpha counted to five, and then he would pull.
Down below, Jeremiah was moving swiftly through the crowd towards Cedric, shoving chairs and VIP's aside. He had to get Cedric and protect him, but mainly to find out what the change of plan would mean. The big man was nearly at the front when the sun reflected off something. Jeremiah inclined his head upwards, and saw the sun reflecting off the lens of Alpha's gun.
"SIR!" Jeremiah boomed, and ran clumsily forwards. Cedric had just been explaining the gardens, and his eyes boomed as his security guard lumbered towards him. Alpha saw what was going to happen, and stopped counting and pulled the trigger.
The crowd gasped at the sound of gunfire, and saw Jeremiah jump on top of Cedric, wandering if he was too soon or too late. But then, a woman at the back of the crowd, a famous soap star, screamed, and the crowd turned as a black ute, Canton, roared out of the woods towards them.
"CLEAR THE AREA!" He shouted, and honked his horn loudly. More people screamed, and they began to run off in all directions. But they found members of the Pack blocking their way to their limo's.
"RUN TOWARDS THE GATES!" Patrick boomed.
"What about the limo drivers?" Magenta screeched, as she, Byron and Patrick pushed through the crowd, with Canton, Oliver and Grudge coming in from the other side.
"Kelly, let them get to their limos!" Byron yelled. Kelly nodded, and he reversed aside, and Fredrick and George did the same. A convoy of limos appeared, and the guests pulled the doors opened and piled in, not carrying if it was their's or not. Some limos were patient, others sped off while passengers were trying to get it. One person got hit in the side and was sent flying, but no one seemed to notice except for the machines.
Cedric moaned with pain and discomfort, but as he tried to push Jeremiah off, he noticed something on his chest: blood. Thankfully, it wasn't his, but Cedric still yelled with rage, and managed to push his security guard's corpse off. He looked around, and watched as all the people he had planned on killing: actors, actresses, wealthy businessmen, authors, journalists, possible clients, important figureheads and sports stars. Cedric pulled a gun out, planning on shooting a few before they fled, but he had heard a revving and turned. Canton was charging towards him, his eyes narrowed, but he appeared to have no weapons showing. Cedric laughed and raised his gun, causing more panic in the crowd. But before he could shoot, something fell from the hotel. A second later, Alpha leapt, standing on the back of Canton with his gun raised. Cedric leaped aside as he pulled the trigger, and bullets smashed into Isabella's roof.
"Watch it!" She yelled, and reversed out of the line of fire. But Cedric charged forwards, and squeezed in between Isabella and Kelly, and made a beeline for the hotel. Canton screeched to a halt, and the other machines came up on either side. Only six limos remained, and all of the celebrities piled into them, with The Fat Controller and Lady Hatt barely making it into a white stretch one. Mr Bowler and the other machines came forwards.
"What is going on here?" He yelled, and looked at Alpha and Canton. "And who are you?"
"We're here to kill Cedric Berrob." Alpha replied simply, and Canton charged forwards, and Max and Monty scattered to allow him to pass. While Mr Bowler stood there stunned, the machines are rushed forwards, wanting to see what happened. Cedric was racing towards the door, but Alpha and Canton were getting closer. Cedric looked behind and raised his gun.
"Watch out!" Canton yelled, but Cedric fired three shots: one hit Canton's windows, one hit the tarmac, but one hit Alpha in the shoulder, knocking him backwards and nearly off Canton.
"Alpha, are you alright?" Ned asked.
"Stop Cedric, that's more important!" Canton snapped. But Cedric was nearly at the glass doors, and not all of them could storm the place, stop him, and escape before the bomb went off. Isabella watched the man run, and she felt rage burning up inside of her: if it hadn't been for this project, she might have never suffered from the bomb blast, wouldn't have had nearly lost the majority of her friends, or been insulted by Kelly…
"I'm going in!" She whispered, but only Kelly heard.
"Wait, you can't, you'll-" But Isabella ignored him, and quickly charged forwards. Cedric saw her coming for him, and raised his gun, but it clicked uselessly: there were no bullets left. He angrily threw it at her, before walking in through the parting doors. Isabella smiled and sped up, and the glass coming straight for her. But instead of moving through the blank area, the steam lorry drove straight through the glass. Shards of glass rained down upon Cedric, and he ducked and rolled. Isabella screeched to a halt, bit of glass falling off her cab roof, and stopped in front of him. Blood poured from Cedric's back, and he looked up at her.
"You can run me over if you want, but then you won't know how to stop the bomb." He hissed. "And you and all your little friends will become piles of scrap metal."
"But you would be dead as well." Isabella snapped back, but it caused Cedric to roar with laughter.
"I don't care about death anymore. I have avenged my father, which is all that matters." He replied. "If only I had found the safe though."
"What you mean this?" Isabella asked cheekily, and showed him the safe resting in her tray. Cedric gasped, and tried to get up and grab it, but the glass embedded in his back just caused him to have a muscle spasm. Isabella just laughed, and loomed over him again.
"Goodbye Mr Berrob, it was a pleasure working with you." She snarled, and raced off across the lobby, heading towards the hallways. However, the machines she was looking for reversed out of the corridor. Alfie was cradling Miss Jenny in his scoop, while Jack was moving slowly forwards, the bomb ticking away in his scoop.
"Oh my god!" Isabella yelled, and backed away nervously.
"We still have four and a half minutes left, it's alright." Alfie said, and he rushed towards her with Miss Jenny. Outside, the machines cheered at the sight of them, though it evaporated once they saw the bomb. Canton, however, raced forwards, his right wheels running over Cedric's kneecaps as he approached them.
"Jack, put the bomb in my tray, NOW!" The spy car commanded. Jack was glad to be rid of it, and moved swiftly but carefully around, and lowered the bomb onto the back. Alpha, who had blood running down the side of his trench coat, managed to turn around and examined it.
"Thank you." He mumbled weakly. "All of you machines have saved many lives. Now get out of the lobby, quickly."
"Yes sir." Jack said with a beam, and he, Alfie and Isabella raced towards the others. Cedric gave them the evils as they passed, his hands clutched around his disjointed and bleeding legs.
"See ya around, Ceddy." Jack said, and Alfie and Isabella laughed. But Cedric began to laugh as well, and three machines studied him as they drove out of the hotel. Cedric reached under him, and he pulled out a long, thin object.
"Alpha's gun!" Isabella shrieked.
"It must have bounced off." Alfie gasped. The three sped out of the hotel, and their friends saw their looks of concern.
"What is it?" Magenta asked.
"HE'S GOT A GUN!" Isabella screamed, and she sped between Ned and Oliver and towards the gate. The other machines began to turn and speed off as well, Mr Bowler getting picked up by Fredrick, and they all raced towards the gate.
Cedric laughed, and pointed the gun towards them, preparing to aim at their fuel tanks. Alpha saw what was happening, and realised that the Pack deserved to live.
"Open your doors and activate spring." Alpha commanded, and he pressed a button on the bomb. The numbers changed from 03:08:42 to 00:15:59. Alpha scrambled out of the bed, Cedric not noticing due to his focus on the Pack, and scrambled around towards the driver's seat.
"I'm ready when you are." Canton said.
"Then let's do it." Alpha replied, and pressed a button. Canton's bed was sent flying into the sky, a special spring separating it from the rest of Canton. Alpha then floored the accelerator, and they sped away as the bomb flew through the sky. Cedric heard a noise, and turned to see what was happening. The bomb flew through the air, with only two seconds left. Cedric gasped, and watched as it landed in his lap.
The Pack all turned as they heard the explosion.
All sixteen machines watched as a fist of orange cloud punched through the front of the hotel. Glass and rubble were blasted across the complex. The entrance piece was blown apart, the rocks and flowerbeds being scattered into the trees and into the pool. The tarmac became cracked, and several cars that had remained were set on fire. As the cloud disappeared, being replaced with flames, there was a cracking sound.
"It's the hotel…" Nelson whispered.
"It's going to collapse!" Alfie screamed. And sure enough, two seconds later, the poorly built building collapsed upon itself. Everyone rushed down the driveway, trying to escape the huge pieces of building that was falling, and the rumble of their most prized building, months of hard labour, and all their hard effort came crashing down.
One hour later, things had began to get sorted out.
Three fire engines were there, dousing any flames that remained from the explosion and collapse. There were two police cars, with some officers interviewing the machines, Mr Bowler, and now conscious Miss Jenny, who had an icepack over her head. Some crime investigators were searching through the wreckage, and Detective Fisher's body was found, along with the remains of Cedric. There was no sign of a burnt out car, so the Pack hoped Alpha and Canton had escaped before the building collapsed. Thumper had come up, and he said that a huge wave of water had poured out of the tunnel, nearly drowning him. While people arrived, including camera crews, photographers, geologists to see the mountain and clean up crews, the Pack just sat on the side, reflecting things.
Isabella and Magenta were gossiping about Isabella's dramatic confrontation with Cedric, and they noticed Kelly approaching.
"Shall I leave you two in privacy?" Magenta asked stiffly.
"I'd like to see what he has to say." Isabella replied, looking softly at Kelly. Magenta sniffed and moved off, but still kept her eyes on him. Kelly stopped moving with two metres between them, and he stared sadly at her.
"Look, I am sorry about what I said, it's just-" But the crane froze, as Isabella moved closer.
"I understand why you said them." She replied sweetly, smiling up at him. "Guys are always mean to the girls they like."
"You don't seriously think I like you?" Kelly said, trying to laugh, but the red blush marks on his cheeks defeated that. Isabella chuckled, and she kissed his right cheek. There were wolf whistles across the cracked car park, and both machines blushed.
"You know this is what you want." Isabella whispered, and winked at him before moving towards the others. Kelly remained temporarily frozen, stunned by what had happened, but he turned and followed after. Isabella was approaching Jack and Alfie, who were bidding farewell to George and Grudge.
"What are you lot going to do next?" Jack asked. George just shrugged.
"Find work, obviously. And I think we deserve the next big contract!" The steamroller added.
"Take it, we need a break." Alfie laughed. Some of the machines had been hit by flying rubble, but the main damages had come from the adventures earlier that day.
"I suppose so." George chuckled. "Well, we better go before we're missed."
"Bye!" Grudge said happily.
"Goodbye!" Jack, Alfie, Kelly and Isabella called. George went to say something, but seemed to have second thoughts, and he turned and followed Grudge out past the police cars. Jack and Alfie watched them until they disappeared, and then turned to face the others.
"I need you to get the safe and stuff off, it feels really icky in my bed now." Isabella said. Jack lifted the safe up, and he dropped it to the ground. The metal box looked very dented and bashed up from the past few months, and it looked like it was about to break. The other machines all came over, staring towards the cube.
"So… what shell we do with it?" Nelson asked. No one spoke: it seemed like to big of a decision to make. They could keep it for the Pack, but that would be too selfish.
"We need to give it back, back to the people who Montgomery killed." Oliver said. "They lost family because of this money, they at least deserve to have it back." The others all cheered and murmered with agreement, and Jack picked it up again. There was the sound of crunching gravel, and Miss Jenny and Mr Bowler walked over.
"They have finished questioning us." Miss Jenny said happily. "It didn't make my head better, but we are free to go at last."
"Finally!" Max, Monty and Patrick moaned, and the others laughed.
"And you have to tell me what you all did today. I heard I missed quite a few adventures." Miss Jenny said, smiling to herself. She and Mr Bowler climbed into Kelly, and the Pack began to move off. But Jack remained, staring at the mound of rubble that had been a hotel a few hours ago. He thought back to all they had gone through: five dead bodies, numerous trips into the mine, Magenta and Kelly on the bridge, the bomb, Cedric's house, Alpha and Canton, rescuing Fredrick, the incident at the quarry, and how it had all begun with some runaway trucks. Jack smirked to himself, and realised how much they had all grown in the past few months. With one final look at the hotel, Jack turned and raced towards his friends, his family, the Pack.
I hope you have all enjoyed this series. Please post a review to give me your feedback and suggestions, and look forwards for another series soon