A/N: I do not own The Railway Series, or Thomas The Tank Engine. This is a companion piece to Black Train, with a slightly more humorous tone. Enjoy!
"Peace" For Our Time
September 30, 1938
"Shhh!" Charlie yelled, putting a finger to his lips. "I want to hear the speech!" The man fiddled with the dials on the radio, only to get a large burst of static.
Edward the Blue Engine cracked open one sleepy eye. Good Lord, he thought, can't an engine get a decent night's rest around here? One glance at Gordon showed that the massive engine had been awoken as well.
"The settlement of the Czechoslovakian problem, which has now been achieved is, in my view, only the prelude to a larger settlement in which all Europe may find peace."
"What's the Prime Minister on about now?" Gordon grumbled.
"….we regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German naval agreement as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another ever again…"
"Bull!" shouted Charlie. "Ya done gone and sold out the Czechs, ya bloody pansy!"
"…I believe that it is peace for our time."
"We'll be at war with Hitler in a year, I wager," Edward said.
"Another war…." Gordon seemed to shiver at the thought.
October 1, 1938
Sir Topham Hatt, the Fat Controller himself, was waiting for Edward's morning run to Knapford. As was his custom, he bought a newspaper to read on the journey. On this day, however, his usual calm demeanor (which not even his fleet of engines could upset) was, indeed, upset, as the news of Chamberlain's "peace" agreement was splashed on the front page for all to see.
That bloody… he would have continued, but Edward's whistle interrupted his thoughts.
There were never that many people this early in the morning, so Edward and the Fat Controller would sometimes talk. Plus, he was early by a fair margin this morning.
"Have you seen the news this morning, Edward?" the little man asked.
"I haven't, sir. What did Prime Minister Chamberpot say this time?"
Sir Topham Hatt had to try very hard to keep from laughing. "Oh, nothing; his little speech is plastered all over the front page." He held up the paper for Edward to see. To Edward, there was nothing truly remarkable. Chamberlain looked like every other English gentleman.
However, as long as Edward and Sir Topham Hatt lived, they would always say that his was the face of the biggest idiot in history.
"I have a son who's in prime fighting age," Sir Topham Hatt moaned. "I think he'll be shipped off before too long."
"I hope not, Sir," Edward ventured. "Skarloey told me stories of life during the last war. It's something I hope never to see in mine."
October 7, 1938
Edward was taking an afternoon train to visit Toby's branch line. He was on the approach into Brendam when he spotted, by some miracle (or ugly twist of fate, Edward grumbled to himself), the Prime Minister himself standing on the platform.
Sir Topham Hatt's words sprung back to mind, and Edward suddenly felt the incredible urge to… passionately voice his displeasure. Never mind that the Hatts were going on vacation (and were on his train to boot). Never mind all the people around that would see and most certainly talk.
I must time this just so…. Nearly there… not yet… THERE!
And Edward let out a tremendous blast of steam, which struck History's Greatest Idiot right in his too-fancy suit. The poor man stumbled backwards before falling right on his rear in shock. He looked up at Edward, whose face somehow managed to look nonchalant, innocent, and yes, I totally did that all at once.
The passengers disembarked, and while a couple people helped the poor fellow up, the rest- including the Hatts- steadfastly ignored him for the rest of the trip.
To this day, the official story is that a valve malfunction caused the incident, and that Edward was sent off for a day to be "repaired". In reality, he went and told the story to Gordon, who couldn't stop laughing for quite some time afterwards, before going and hanging out with Skarloey on his line.
There was even a picture of the incident in the Sodor Gazette, which Edward's crew framed up and hung in his shed. It's still there today.
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