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Ichigo arrives from Japan and to the North Western Railway and has bad-luck. James, Gordon, Henry, Spencer and D261 call her bad things.
"Say what again?" asked Hiro that night, "you found what, Duck?"
It was the night on November 23. On the 25th, Thomas, Duck, Percy, Stanley and Emily would be due to return to Sodor.
"A Prairie tank engine," said Duck, "it was a Japanese design too. Her paint was black with red wheels and gold lining, and had a number 12 on her side tanks."
"Are you talking about Ichigo?" asked Edward.
"An engine?" asked Thomas.
"Yes," said Edward, "and Duck must tell the Japanese Controller and Sir Topham Hatt."
"I'll do that," smiled Duck, and next morning, he told the Japanese Controller and Sir Topham Hatt about his discovery two days ago.
"Excellent discovery!" said Sir Topham Hatt, "Please lead us, Duck!"
"Just a bit further ahead," said Duck, "many bushes all around."
There she was.
In front of Duck was the engine he described, a JNR Class C12 2-6-2 tank engine, with her paint rusted, but was still in good working order.
"I'll be darned," said Hiro, "It's a C12 tank engine! Good discovery, Duck!"
"Thank you," said the green Great Weatern tank engine.
The tank engine looked up and smiled shyly.
"Hello," the engine said. Her voice was of a girl's, rather quiet and shy. "Are you lost?"
"Oh, no," said Duck, "My friends and I are here because we came to find you. Are you Ichigo?"
"Yes," smiled Ichigo, "I was lost here two years ago, and I thought I was lost forever. Do you know Hiro?"
"Of course," said Duck, "he's with us with the Japanese Controller and your driver Daiki!"
"Hello, Ichigo," said Edward as he arrived, "It's been two years now!"
"Good to see you, Edward," said Ichigo, then turned to Duck. "What is your name?"
"I'm Duck," he said, "this is my friends, Thomas and Percy, my crew, Ned Flanders and Kyle Broflovski, and Thomas' crew, Barney and Stan Marsh."
"Nice to meet you all," said Ichigo, "do I have any work to do now?"
"Not for right now!" chuckled the Japanese Controller, "You do look a little rusty."
"Ah, yes," said Ichigo, "bushes kept me safe from bad weather."
"Don't worry," said Homestar Jr., "Sir Topham Hatt says there's always room for one more engine. We could have you repaired on Sodor, and give you test trials."
"Good idea, Homestar Jr.," said the Japanese Controller, "I will tell Sir Topham Hatt about this!"
The Japanese Controller spoke to Sir Topham Hatt, who agreed to make arrangements.
The next day, on the 25th, just one month before Christmas, Thomas, Duck, Oliver, Percy, Emily, the Mew Mews, Sir Topham Hatt and Indigo were ready to return to Sodor. Hiro volunteered to go with them, just to see if Ichigo would like her new, temporary home.
"Good luck," said Kaede, "and have a safe trip, Master of the Railway!"
"We will, Mistress of the Railway," smiled Hiro.
Ichigo smiled, and called out goodbye to Kaede, Daichi, Ryota, Akira and Taro. It was the first day of her new working life.
Back on the Island of Sodor at Brendam docks, James the red engine and Edward the blue engine pulled in. Of course, James was angry as usual, which isn't a surprise because James is always getting angry for some reason.
"What are we here for?" said James, "I want Sir Topham Hatt to tell us sooner so I can get to work!"
"Patience," said Edward, "look, Cranky is unloading Thomas right now."
"This is gonna make my chain ache," growled Cranky.
Thomas came first, glad to be back on Sodor rails. "Hello, Edward and James," he said cheerfully.
"How was Japan?" asked Edward.
"Was awesome," said Thomas, "you should have seen a bullet train."
"What on earth is a bullet train?" demanded James.
Before Thomas could answer, Cranky lowered down Percy onto the rails.
"A bullet train is a passenger engine from Japan," said Percy, "but one was nasty to steam engines and tried to get Sir Topham Hatt killed!"
"Oh my," said Edward worriedly.
"That would have been awesome!" said Riff. Mavis gulped. He was lucky he didn't come to Japan.
Duck followed, then Molly and Emily. The Mew Mews and engine crews came out of the ship with the Fat Controller.
"Hello, sir," said Edward.
"Hello, engines," said the Fat Controller, "Hiro is arriving with us, as well as a tank engine named Ichigo."
"Ichigo?" asked Grace indignantly, "What kinda baby name is that?"
Before Homestar Jr. could answer, Cranky lowered down Hiro, and then his tender.
"Too much work makes me really grumpy," growled Cranky. At last, he brought out a rusty C12 tank engine, Ichigo!
"Who's this engine?" asked Edward.
"This is Ichigo," said Hiro, "she comes from Japan like I do."
"That might explain her terrible look!" said BJ and laughed.
"She doesn't look useful," muttered James.
"Zoey's going to be her temporary driver," said Bridget, "until Ichigo is ready to work with her new crew."
"Ichigo must go to the Steamworks for some check up," said Sir Topham Hatt, "please show her, Thomas."
"Yes, sir," said Thomas, then he, Barney, Stan and Ichigo set off.
Thomas shown Ichigo the wonderful sights of Sodor.
"This is Gordon's Hill," said Thomas, "Gordon got stuck here pulling an express and I had to help him."
"Oh my," said Ichigo.
Then they passed Kildane Station.
"This is junction to Peel Godred branchline," said Barney, "it is run by electric engines."
"Wow," said Ichigo.
Then they arrived at Crovan's Gate Station. There was Duncan on the narrow gauge platform, and Sarah on the Norramby branchline platform.
"This is Crovan's Gate," said Stan, "it's the junction to the Skarloey Railway and Norramby branchline."
"Amazing," said Ichigo.
"It is," said Sarah, "my name is Sarah."
"I'm Ichigo," said Ichigo, "who's that small red tank engine?"
Duncan felt offended. "My name is Duncan," he said, "how dare ye call me small!"
"I'm sorry," said Ichigo, "I never meant it!"
"I'm a different gauge," explained Duncan.
"My class was the same size as you are," smiled Ichigo, "I was brought to the Tokyo Island Railway and rebuilt to standard gauge."
Duncan smiled. "How interesting," he said, "I thought all Japanese engines were narrow gauge."
"Not all of them," smiled Thomas, and he and Ichigo set off again, not before saying goodbye to Duncan and Sarah.
Soon, the two arrived at the Sodor Steamworks.
"This is the Sodor Steamworks," said Zoey, "it's where the engines are repaired and new engine classes are built."
"How exciting!" said Ichigo.
"Hello," said Victor, "I'm Victor."
"And I'm Ichigo," said Ichigo, "I'm all rusty and haven't been overhauled for a couple of years."
"You really don't look fit to be seen," said Victor, "We'll have you fixed partially for your test runs, and will be officially overhauled in two weeks time!"
"Thank you," said Ichigo, "but how long will my overhaul take?"
"About a year or so," said Victor, then Kevin dropped a crate of engine parts onto the floor.
"Sorry!" he cried, "just a slip of the hook! Hello," he said to Ichigo, "I'm Kevin! Just give me a shout. Whatever you need, I'm always about!"
As he said it, he stood on his front wheels and spun around on one wheel, before crashing onto his side. Ichigo laughed.
"He always does that to amuse new comers," chuckled Thomas.
Soon, Ichigo had a new coat of paint of black paint with red wheels and gold stripes, as an undercoat. She wasn't fully repaired. Her wheels and pistons still made horrible groans as she left the Steamworks.
"I hope my wheels get fixed soon," she thought to herself, "Oh, the noise they make!"
Danki was glad to drive Ichigo again after two years, and didn't like the sound either.
Ichigo was puffing cheerfully along the line to Edward's branchline. It would have been nice if Gordon, Henry and Spencer, along with D261 didn't insult her.
Gordon, Henry, Spencer, and D261 rolled up alongside her.
"Well, well, well, boys," said Gordon, "what is this?"
"Looks like Arthur had sex change!" laughed D261.
"And he gained about 5000 pounds!" teased Henry. The four big engines laughed rudely.
"I'm not Arthur!" said Ichigo indignantly, "Who is he?"
Arthur, in reality, was working with Salty at Brendam Docks with fish to take to Vicarstown, and occasionally worked at Kirk Ronan branchline. Gordon, Henry, Spencer and D261 thought Ichigo was Arthur.
"Don't listen to Arthur," said Gordon, "or maybe Arthurine?"
The big engines laughed cruelly, while Ichigo got more upset, and burst into tears. Daiki and Zoey were cross.
"Leave her alone, you stupid big engines!" snapped Zoey, "This is Ichigo, not Arthur!"
Gordon, Henry, Spencer and D261 were shocked!
"Henry, you bloody idiot!" snapped Spencer.
"How was I supposed to know the engine's gender?" protested Henry.
"Who are those idiots?" asked Daiki.
"The big engines on Sodor," said Zoey.
Later, Ichigo told Duck what Gordon, Henry, Spencer and D261 called her.
"I'm not surprised," said Duck, " they're the stuck-up engines to work on Sodor rails."
"I never knew before," said Ichigo, "I'm already having second doubts on working on Sodor."
"No, no," said BoCo, "I am the loyal, big diesel engine. Don't listen to those big stuck-up engines"
"Thank you, Mr..." said Ichigo.
"Call me BoCo," said the long green diesel, "I'm a Metropolitan Vickers Diesel Electric Type 2."
"Or more specifically," added Zoey, "a BR Class 28."
"Well, that's a relief," said Ichigo.
Just then, James rattled by with a goods train, grumbling loudly.
"Get out of my way!" he said, "Unimportant goods coming through!"
Ichigo frowned. "I didn't upset him, did I?" she asked Duck. Both were on the station siding.
"Oh, that's James," said Duck, "everything upsets him that involves real work."
"Why?" asked Ichigo.
"Because he is very snobby and stuck-up, just like Gordon, Henry, Spencer and D261, thinking girl engines are inferior and weak," explained Duck, "happened sometime before Molly arrived on Sodor."
"He's right," agreed Oliver, "try not to let him get you."
"Yeah, seriously," said BoCo, "Emily and Rosie get upset every time he insults them. Molly, Daisy and Mavis always argue back, but Sarah, on the other buffer, takes no notice."
"You have a point," said Ichigo.
Soon, Ichigo was at Vicarstown Station, talking to Sarah how she takes no notice of James.
"...so every time he comes, he calls me something mean," explained Sarah, "however, I just pretend he isn't here, even though I listen to his insults. Eventually, he gives up in defeat."
"Oh wow," said Ichigo, "you're really smart, Sarah."
"That's true," said Val Dawson, Pete's cousin and Sarah's caretaker.
"I know James," said Zoey, "he can be a idiot sometimes, but I know he has good in him like everyone else."
"Not always like that, is that James?" asked Daiki.
"No," said Zoey, "he can be nice when he wants to."
James pulled in with a goods train. Sarah and Ichigo acted like he wasn't here.
"Hey, you two!" called James. They didn't answer.
"PAY ATTENTION TO ME!" yelled James. Still, no answer.
"Aw, screw it," groaned James, and gave up.
"Works every time," said Sarah, grinning.
Ichigo did her best to ignore James whenever he saw her. I'm sorry to say, Sarah's advice didn't work as hoped.
"Hey, Ichigo," said James, "need help with your passengers? Let a real engine do the work!"
"I can manage, thank you!" snapped Ichigo, "It's only two coaches!"
"You heard," said Duck, "now beat it, James!"
"Fine," muttered the big red tender engine.
Whenever she was around Gordon, Henry, Spencer and D261, they kept calling her fat.
"Hey, fatty!" said Gordon, "Go on a diet!"
"I'm not fat!" argued Ichigo, "It's the way I'm built!"
"Sure you are," teased Henry.
"Fat pig girl!" said Spencer rudely.
"Big fatty woman!" oiled D261 in a rudely voice.
Ichigo was upset, and ran away into a siding and burst into tears.
"What's wrong?" asked a voice. It was Hiro, and he was worried.
"James and the other big engines keep bullying me!" sobbed Ichigo, "James keeps harassing me for help, and Gordon, Henry, Spencer and D261 call me fat. Whenever I see James, he says stupid pick up lines to me!"
"Like 'Hey, Ichi, wheels don't look good', and 'Hold there, girl, the train's too heavy for you! How about I take it?' I just hate it!"
"Never mind," said Hiro, "you're a Really Useful Engine, and Sir Topham Hatt says so."
Ichigo smiled, with tears still in her eyes.
Later that evening, Hiro went to the Sodor Slate and Center Island Quarry to speak to James and D261, who were there for the night because it was too late to return to Tidmouth Sheds.
"Not that Japanese junk," grunted D261.
"I want a word with both of you!" said Hiro sternly, "Ichigo says you're both upsetting her!"
"How am I?" asked James indignantly.
"You say pick up lines to her, and it hurts her feelings," said Hiro firmly.
"I didn't know, I thought it was heavy for her!" protested James.
"Says the engine who crashed into Henry," D261 teased.
"Shut up, D261!" snapped James.
"Why do you call her fat?" asked Hiro, "It's the way her sidetanks were built!"
"Cause she looks like it," scowled D261, "She even makes horrible groans from her wheels, and looks ready for scrap! Diesels are the future," he continued, "a fill of oil, a touch on the starter and I'm off! They fuss around you for hours before your first train!"
Later in the morning, Hiro told Sir Topham Hatt about Ichigo's troubles at Knapford Junction.
"Don't worry, Hiro," said Sir Topham Hatt, "I will send Gordon, Henry, Spencer and D261 to help her at Norramby branchline! The work is too much for Dennis and Harley, and Henry is taking a goods today to the other railway!"
"What exactly is your plan?" asked Hiro.
"You'll see," chuckled the Fat Controller. Hiro and Courtney gave each other a nervous glance.
Mr. Smithers was feeling ill. He could hardly stand, and his face was red as an apple from fever.
"Who will drive Stanley today?" asked the Fat Controller.
"Can I help?" asked Donkey Kong.
The Fat Controller stared. "Don't see why not!" he smiled.
"Oh, dear," worried Stanley. He was glad that Zoey was helping, but worried there may be a mishap, and Zoey would be the cause.
Soon, Stanley arrived at Knapford Junction where Duck had just arranged Stanley's goods train.
"This isn't gonna be easy," said Donkey Kong, "I like branchline runs, but a mainline run is going to be entirely different..."
"Never mind," said Mr. Krabs, "just do your best today!"
"Okay," said Donkey Kong, unsure.
Meanwhile, Ichigo was at Ballahoo Yards. She was with Gordon, Henry, Spencer and D261, all four were being rude as usual.
What else did you expect?
"Here comes the fat girl," said Henry.
"Need WaterFast?" taunted Gordon.
"Or diet coal?" laughed Spencer.
"SHUT UP!" yelled Ichigo.
"Not our faults your a big, fat tank engine from Japan!" yelled Gordon, and he and the other big engines in crime laughed and laughed rudely.
Ichigo got so upset, she cried and ran away.
"Crybaby, crybaby!" laughed Gordon.
Ichigo ran all the way to Kellsthrope Road Station, sobbing her funnel off.
"I'm a useless engine," she cried.
Meanwhile, Stanley was running past Maron fast as he could. His train had broke in two, and the remaining trucks were chasing after him!
"ON! ON! ON!" yelled the trucks.
"HELP!" cried Stanley.
The signalmen were so distracted they didn't see the trucks race by. It was too late to switch the trucks to Great Waterton, and the trucks sped on.
Ichigo heard Stanley race by and gasped.
"I must save him!" she cried, and set off, her wheel groans getting worse and worse.
The guard was knocked from his van, so Ichigo had to race to where she could be between the two parts of Henry's train.
"Who's that?" asked Mr. Garrison.
"That's Ichigo!" said Donkey Kong, "What's she doing?"
A surprised signalman switched Ichigo onto Stanley's line, and reset the points so the trucks didn't derail.
At Crovan's Gate, Ichigo slowed down a bit to keep the runaway trucks in control, while Henry was switched onto a siding, letting Ichigo have a chance to stop the trucks at some point.
"When we reach Vicarstown, let's stop them!" said Daiki as they sped through Henry's tunnel.
There was Vicarstown Station. Murdoch, Sarah and Eagle were with their passenger trains, and saw Ichigo from a distance.
"What's happening?" asked Sarah, "A runaway?"
With a loud crack, Ichigo's safety valve burst and steam flooded into the cab. Hacking and coughing, Daiki applied the brakes. Ichigo's wheels groaned louder than ever, sparks showering, and in a cloud of smoke and steam, she came to a complete stop in front of Murdoch's buffers.
"Beg pardon," gasped Ichigo, "excuse my unexpected stop."
"No, I won't!" Murdoch yelled, "you're delaying my goods train!"
Sir Topham Hatt and Wesley arrived on Hiro.
"Sir!" said Murdoch, "Ichigo's blocking my goods train!"
"I see that," said Sir Topham Hatt, "but from Daiki, Ichigo has prevented a very serious accident, and saved Stanley from trouble."
"And was a close shave!" added Wesley.
"Oh!" exclaimed Murdoch, "I'm sorry, Ichigo. I didn't know you were being a brave engine."
"It's all right, Murdoch," said Ichigo, "I didn't know either."
"You were might brave, Ichigo," said Sir Topham Hatt, "and I am proud of you. I will tell your controller when I next see him."
"I am glad I could help, sir," smiled Ichigo.
"I've heard of you, Ichigo," said Wesley, "My name is Wesley J. Coolridge III, and an honor to see you in the steel." He gave a small bow.
"I'd take you for a run," said Daiki, "but her safety valve popped."
"How would you like it if I helped pay for her overhaul, sir?" asked Wesley. Everyone looked at him in amazement.
"This engine is very unique and was owned by my grandfather at one point," explained Wesley, "You'll have your hands full, sir. With some extra money on the side, you'd add new lines to your railway, and not worry about Ichigo until her overhaul is completed. And also," he added, smiling, "I'm a steam enthusiast myself."
"That is so kind of you!" Sir Topham Hatt said with a big smile.
Neville recovered Stanley's remaining trucks, then the two engines continued to the other railway. Murdoch set off a half hour late, and hurried to make up for lost time. He knew it wasn't Ichigo's fault.
Soon, Ichigo was brought to the Steamworks by Dennis and Harley, and after saying goodbye and thank you, they set off to continue with their work.
"Ah, hello, Ichigo," said Victor, "you'll be repaired before Christmas next year! We'll have all your old parts renewed, and a new coat of red paint with blue and red stripes!"
"Thank you, Victor," smiled Ichigo.
Suddenly, Kevin dropped a large metal tube onto the floor, accidentally killing Kenny who was visiting the Steamworks.
"Oh, KEVIN!" cried Victor, "Watch where you're going!"
"Sorry, boss!" said Kevin, "It won't happen again! Just a slip of me hook!"
"Is this always happening?" asked Ichigo.
"Oh, no," smiled Victor, "accidents like that happen each day, and people die all the time! Like that one guy got his nuts and himself roasted in the furnace!"
"Oh my," said Ichigo, scared stiff.
Soon, Ichigo's overhaul would begin tomorrow, and Wesley and Elliot would work part time on her overhaul, and thanks to the money donated by Cafe Mew Mew.
Later that day, Stanley came to the Steamworks to see Ichigo.
"Hello, Ichigo," said Stanley.
"Konichiwa, Oliver," said Ichigo.
"Thanks for saving my train today," said Stanley, "you really stopped a very nasty accident."
"You're welcome," smiled Ichigo, "I'm always willing to help those in trouble."
"Would you like to be my friend?" asked Stanley.
"We already are!" smiled Ichigo.
Stanley smiled and Ichigo told him about her railway in Japan, and he was amazed to hear how Duck found her on a siding.
"I can't wait to tell the others!" said Stanley to himself.
Sir Topham Hatt was cross with James, Gordon, Henry, Spencer and D261.
"You have been very mean to Ichigo," he said sternly.
"We thought she was fat!" protested James.
"I didn't," muttered Gordon.
"You must go to the Steamworks to apologize, at once!" said Sir Tohpam Hatt.
"Yes, sir," said the five big engines, and arrived to say sorry to Ichigo. Sir Topham Hatt was still with them.
"I'm really sorry for bothering you, Ichigo," said James sadly, "I didn't know how brave and strong you were!"
"It's all right, James," said Ichigo, "I think what you did was mean, but I still forgive you!"
James smiled sadly. Gordon, Henry, Spencer and D261 refused at first, but did when Sir Topham Hatt threatened to sell them for 800 pounds.
"All right, so we went too far," said Gordon.
"And always cause trouble," said Henry.
"We didn't know you were a brave engine," added Spencer.
"James and Spencer, for your punishment," boomed Sir Topham Hatt, "both of you will be do shunting in the yards for the next two months!"
"No! Not two months!" groaned James.
"Yes!" said Sir Topham Hatt, "Two months!". Then, he turned to Gordon and Henry.
"Gordon and Henry, for you punishment as well," he boomed crossly, "you'll be staying in your sheds for a week!"
"No! Not a week!", wailed Gordon.
"Yes! A week!" boomed Sir Topham Hatt. Last, he turned to D261.
"D261, for your punishment," he said, "I will send you to the Smelters Shed for two months!"
"No! Not two months!" bawled D261.
"Yes! Two months!" Sir Topham Hatt said. "All of you will listen to me".
Somehow, I doubt they will.
As the months passed, 2009 faded into 2010, and each month, Ichigo saw an engine or two. Hiro came to see her once or twice a month to tell her the news.
Of course, Michael the K2 didn't trust Ichigo at first, because he remembered an engine that looked like her that treated him with no respect, and thought that Ichigo was that engine. When she was assigned to work with him before her overhaul, he would ignore her and continue his work. Ichigo wondered about this for a while.
Even the others are worried about this change in Michael. So the next day, Molly and Sarah decided to find out after Ichigo told them about Michael, one early December afternoon.
"That's very strange," said Molly confused, "this is the first time that he has hated an engine."
"Yeah," said Sarah.
"I hope that you two can fix this," worried Ichigo. Sarah and Molly found Michael shunting his coaches into the platform, ready for the run to Suddery Station.
"Hey you!" called Sarah.
When he heard that, Michael accidentally bumped into his coaches. "What the..." he said confused. Sarah rolled up along side of him.
"Why aren't you talking to Ichigo?" she asked. Now, Michael is scared of Sarah, mainly because she can make anyone say anything, even with force.
"I'm not talking to Ichigo because she could be that jerk from my past," said Michael.
"That jerk?" asked Molly, "Who?"
"Old Tony, he would keep teasing me about my worth at my old railway. After his accident with an express engine, he was left at the back of the shed and I was sold to Sodor after that day."
"Ichigo's nothing like him!" said Sarah, "You should apologize for misjudging... or else," she added in a soft but deadly voice.
"Or else what?" wondered Michael.
"You don't wanna see Sarah mad," warned Molly.
"Okay," said Michael nervously. "So where is she anyways?"
"The Steamworks," said Molly.
"Right. So after work, I'll go and apologize to her."
And he did, and became friends.
Ichigo knew when she was fully restored, there would be no more pick up lines from James, Gordon, Henry, Spencer and D261 will have learned by now not to be so mean.