This story idea was on my mind for a day, and after talking to GronkStirling/DeviousWeasel, decided to go with it. The story takes place in an alternate universe where supernatural events and the like are more likely to happen, but it sticks pretty close to the show's canon.
It was a foggy September morning in Bigg City, and the Star Dock was unusually quiet. Some tugs had already left to go fulfill contract work, making the dock look empty. However, others decided to wait it out and sleep some more as the fog could make certain obstacles in sea well hidden.
Captain Starr was in his office stirring some coffee when he heard a knock at the door. "Come in." He said, and his secretary soon walked in with a serious expression on her face. "A message from the Royal Canadian Navy sir." She whispered, handing Captain Starr a telegram. He thanked her and gingerly took the telegram before reading it.
Hercules was resting at one of the smaller docks when Captain Starr opened the window. He noticed how tired his lead tug was, but he had no other choice. "Rise and shine Hercules!" He shouted, forcing the large tug to slowly wake up and groan rather loudly. "I just received word from the Royal Canadian Navy that a cargo vessel ran aground near Halifax earlier this morning, and they need your help salvaging him."
Something stirred inside Hercules, and he was now wide awake. "A salvage Captain? I'll be happy to do that, but I'm not sure if-" He was about to slip some rude comments about the Navy when Captain Starr said, "Lighten up! The Royal Canadian Navy is really polite, so work should go smoothly."
The tug sighed a breath of relief, knowing how bothersome the American Navy got. Hopefully the Canadians would treat him with respect, compared to how a certain Navy tug had been treating him and his friends…
Later on that morning, the fog had cleared away, making traffic run more smoothly. Ten Cents and Sunshine were sent to the fueling depot to collect some oil and take it to the Star Dock.
"I figure it's for Hercules. He's always going out on long journeys." Sunshine commented, watching men tie ropes around them and the oil barge. "You might be right." Ten Cents replied. "Especially since this oil barge requires us two!"
The journey went smoothly and the two switchers soon arrived at the Star Dock. Hercules was getting prepared for the long journey. "Morning Herc! We got your fuel!" Ten Cents smiled, straining at the weight of the barge. "Where are you going this time?" Sunshine wheezed, barely holding onto the barge.
Hercules chuckled and shook his head. Oh how switchers could be so determined despite their size! "I'm going to Canada! It's my first trip abroad in a few years!" He said, watching some men work to getting the oil barge attached to him.
"Canada?" Ten Cents and Sunshine asked in unison, eyes widening with excitement. "Where abouts?" This drew the attention of Big Mac, and he soon steamed up to where the three tugs were.
"You're not going to Halifax, are ya?" Big Mac asked, his voice reduced to a hushed whisper. He and Warrior were sent to work in Halifax after a massive explosion levelled the city, and was heavily traumatised as a result. The images of burned buildings and the contorted remains of ships would forever haunt his mind.
"I am, but I heard the city rose like a phoenix." Hercules assured the other, his tone serious. "Hopefully I won't run into any problems during my visit." This prompted a sigh of relief from Big Mac, and Hercules smiled in response.
It was soon time to go, and Hercules blew his whistle. "I won't be back for a week darlings, so make sure things go smoothly here while I'm gone. And Ten Cents, be sure to say hello to Lillie for me!" And with that, Hercules left Bigg City.
A few days later, Hercules was on the Canadian coast near Halifax. He observed the Champion, noticing how miserable he looked. Some salvage crew had already started work on cutting him up, but it looked haphazard and made for an ugly distraction when compared to the rest of the coastline.
Once he approached Halifax, he was immediately greeted by a patrol vessel from the Royal Canadian Navy. "Welcome to Canada, Hercules! I'm Tiger, and I will be your guide." The patrol vessel explained.
He escorted Hercules to a dock being used by the Navy, and he spotted some cruisers. "This is your superior, HMCS Patrician. We call him Pat for short." Tiger explained, backing away to reveal an aging destroyer. Patrician's face was hardened with years of war, but did his best to be cheerful.
"Hercules, I have heard from others about the work you and your sister have done and I cannot thank you enough. I was not there to witness it myself, but I have heard about you from Balclutha." Patrician explained. "Formalities aside, we have a vessel that has run aground and needs salvaging."
The large tug couldn't help but blush about the work he had done. Sometimes he felt he didn't deserve such praise, especially when he saw himself as a common tug and not a celebrity. However, word of mouth made him admired. And feared.
"Pleased to make your acquaintance Patrician. Hopefully we shouldn't have any problems, yes?" Hercules smiled. "What sort of work do you need me to do?"
Patrician smiled and explained, "We need you to go and salvage Champion. Some scrappers already started due to your delay with the fog, but hopefully you can finish what they started. With your strength, you can easily pull away chunks for scrapping."
Hercules nodded, but something else was on his mind. "I prefer my salvaging to be done at night darling. Seeing a ship get cut up during the day would not be a pleasant sight." He explained, hoping the destroyer wouldn't mind. "Besides, I just arrived and I need time to settle down." "Ah, going in with stealth, aren't we?" Patrician asked, raising an eyebrow. "As long as you're safe, we should be good."
A concerned Coast Guard vessel heard their banter and asked, "But Pat… what about fog?" "Fog doesn't startle me, I've lived in San Francisco to know how to navigate it." Hercules assured the vessel with a small grin, effectively silencing him. "Then it's settled!" Patrician exclaimed.
It was soon nightfall, and it was calm and relatively peaceful out in the coast near Halifax. An old fishing vessel was out and about, his crew looking for fish that would feed the town. As he sailed on, Hercules sailed right past him.
"Stupid bloke, who does he think he is?" He muttered to himself. He did not care who Hercules was, as he was occupied with his work. A thick fog rolled in, and the fishong vessel had to turn on his foglight to navigate.
The fishing vessel sailed along, and soon spotted Champion. "Poor lad." He muttered, and soon noticed Hercules heading right towards him.
As Hercules got closer, one couldn't help but notice his demeanor change. His expression became rather serious, knowing all too well the horrors of ships in such a dilapidated state. He soon got up to Champion and blew his whistle. The cargo ship slowly opened his eyes and looked down. However, before he could speak, he felt himself getting torn to pieces…
The Halifax explosion was was one of the worst maritime disasters in history. A munitions vessel and a cargo vessel collided, with the munitions vessel blowing up soon after. Thousands were dead or wounded, and the city was levelled. A new Halifax was built, but the scars from the explosion still linger.
HMCS Patrician was part of the British Navy before being transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy in the 1920s.