Chapter 5: A couple of discussions

October 7, 2010

The next day, William went through his usual routine when he arrived at school and is presently seated in front of his locker and reading the newspaper as usual.

One news article that day that attracted his attention was one detailing a derailment of a VIA train at Montreal's Windsor Station the previous day, and from what he'd read, the train in question was returning from Quebec City through Trois Rivieres when it derailed while in the process of pulling into the station.

(Railway-related note: Unlike real life, in this world, Windsor Station in Montreal remains in use, both for commuter trains and intercity trains with the following aspects:

First off, while Windsor Station in Montreal remains in use and is one of the two AMT (Now exo) commuter rail terminuses in the city, the tracks has been moved underground with the construction and opening of Bell Centre in 1996.

As such, Windsor Station is now integrated with Bell Centre and the nearby Lucien-L'Allier Metro station through underground pathways and shops that are part of Montreal's Underground City and the AMT (Now exo) Lucien-L'Allier commuter rail terminus doesn't exist unlike real life.

Second, for VIA Rail operations, the trains that serve Windsor Station in Montreal are mainly those that arrive from Quebec City, Ottawa and Toronto through CP Rail routings.

While Central Station remains more heavily-used when it comes to VIA trains, Windsor Station provides a much-needed backup to relieve the pressure on Central Station tracks during peak periods.

In addition, selected trips of Amtrak's Adirondack serves Windsor Station during peak periods, due to VIA Rail being more better-funded and has more frequent and reliable service in the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor than it does in real-life.

Third, CP Rail's headquarters are still at Windsor Station as opposed to moving to Calgary like it did in real life in the 1990s. In addition, the CP Rail-owned Canadian Airlines (Which never merged with Air Canada in 2001 like in real life) has corporate offices in Windsor Station.

And fourth, in Montreal, VIA Rail's LRC high speed rail service serves a deeper underground platform located under the block that is halfway through the walking distance from Windsor Station to Central Station with the platform itself linked to both rail terminuses with appropriate signage directing passengers to the correct station, where the underground pathways also integrated into Bell Centre, Lucien-L'Allier Metro station and Montreal's underground city.)

Holy cow. William remarked to himself as he read the article detailing the derailment, his eyes scanning the article as it details the scene.

The article also stated that due to the derailment taking place near the crucial rail switch leading to the tracks at the VIA Rail platforms of the station, all VIA trains arriving from Ottawa and Toronto are temporarily diverted to Central Station until Transportation Safety Board investigators complete their investigation.

As William read on, he noted that the VIA Rail CEO, speaking from his office at VIA Rail headquarters at Ottawa Union Station, has pledged that the Crown Corporation will be cooperating fully with TSB investigators, a sentiment echoed by his counterpart at CP Rail, who owns the Westmount Subdivision tracks that terminates at Windsor Station.

The news of the derailment also came on the eve of VIA Rail awarding a contract to Bombardier Transportation to supply 30 new Talent 2 train sets, train sets that will be the first of their kind to have electro-diesel power and will be used in the regional train services in both the Atlantic Corridor and the Sudbury-White River line.

William paused his lips before flipping the page of the paper, and he spent the next several minutes as he moved on to the editorial cartoon.

The first half of the school day went by as usual, though from what William had gathered through the whispers from his classmates, the girl who had her golden pocket watch stolen from yesterday's locker break-in hadn't recovered the stolen pocket watch.

After finishing his lunch in the cafeteria, William went through his usual routine of walking around the school block.

He was walking down the western hallway in the school's basement, adjacent to the school library, when he noticed that the broken-in locker from yesterday's break-in had been boarded shut with crime scene tape decorating the wooden board.

William paused as he stared at the boarded-up locker and frowned, wondering if the victim is going to end up with a new locker for the remainder of the school year.

"It's quite the sight, isn't it?" A voice said to William, causing him to jump a bit, startled, before he turned towards the source and recognized the girl speaking to him.

"You can say that." William nodded as he recognized the girl as the victim whose locker is presently boarded up as a result of yesterday's break-in. "I'm sorry about what happened yesterday. It's not everyday you finish class and get to your locker, only to find it forced open with the lock cut open."

"There's no need to apologize for something you didn't do." The girl smiled at him sadly. "Though I sure as heck wish that the police would do their job and catch the culprit that did this."

"I heard that they haven't caught the culprit." William frowned.

"They haven't." The girl shook her head. "And what's worse is that I now have to change lockers, and given that all of the lockers in this hallway have been taken, that means I'll be getting a new locker that's far away from my friends, who are all here in this hallway."

"That's a shame." William nodded. "Though I understand what you mean. After all, I have yet to get acquainted with my lockermates, not to mention its located in the dull French corner, pardon my French."

The girl chuckled lightly. "Third floor, at the building's northwest?"

"You got it." William replied before he offered his hand and added, "By the way, the name's William. William Walter Wu, I'm in Grade 10."

"Chelsea McGee." Chelsea introduced herself as she shook William's offered hand. "I'm also in Grade 10."

"Ah, I see." William nodded. "I take it that your schedule's completely different than mine, or otherwise, I would've noticed you in one of my classes."

"Depends." Chelsea shrugged before they turned back towards her trashed up locker and sighed. "This sure is annoying."

"You can say that again." William agreed. "One thing is that I do know one of the officers that responded to yesterday's call."

"Oh yeah?" Chelsea turned towards him.

"I'm in the air cadets, and the officer in question is also one of my training officers at my squadron." William explained.

"Ah, I see." Chelsea nodded thoughtfully. "If you see him, maybe you should tell him what I'm about to tell you."

"What is it?" William arched his eyebrows.

Later that late afternoon, William was going through his usual routine of having a quick dinner before changing into his uniform for the evening's cadet training night at RCAF Station Uplands.

For that particular training night, he was to dress up in his cadet full service dress uniform, which also saw him putting on the cadet-issued peaked cap instead of the wedge cap.

A major reason for the full service dress uniform was because that evening is the monthly CO's parade, and for this particular night, there's a guest of honour who's going to be reviewing the parade that night.

It was a night of major importance for William, as he's the second-in-command of Flight 3 and given the responsibilities that comes with that position and his rank of Sergeant, he needs to make sure that the cadets in his flight look their best.

As per his usual routine on his cadet training night, he first made his way to Bronson Avenue to take the Route 4 streetcar, which then brought him to Billings Bridge Shopping Centre.

After getting off the streetcar at the transit terminal, William then made the transfer onto the O-Train National Capital Line, which is one of the two major rail services connecting the airport with downtown Ottawa.

He could've taken the Moose Rail-operated Union-MacDonald-Cartier Express, which offers a more speedy-service linking Union Station in downtown with the airport, like he did that particular night when he encountered the Fatino sisters, though the Moose Rail fares are much more expensive compared to the one-way fare of $2.00 for streetcars, buses and the O-Train.

Plus, for that particular week, the Moose Rail Uplands Subdivision was undergoing signal upgrades and as such, passengers wishing to get to the airport have to take the O-Train instead.

With the paper transfer he had obtained when boarding the streetcar in hand, William simply placed the transfer onto the scanner on the faregates, which then scans the barcode on the transfer before the gates opened and let him through.

He waited for a few minutes before the Siemens SD-160NG light metro vehicle pulled into the platform, whereupon he and the passengers heading for South Keys and the airport embarked on the train.

From what he had read, the OC Transpo Siemens SD-160s and the SD-160NGs are special in that the vehicles are equipped with the shoes for current collection through third rail, compared to its counterparts in Calgary, Edmonton, Denver and Salt Lake City, whose vehicles are equipped with pantographs.

Anyways, when William arrived at the hanger on base and took part in the senior's inspection prior to the opening parade, the senior all learned about the nature of the night's closing parade.

Turns out that the reviewing officer for the night's closing parade is Lieutenant Colonel Martha Plame, who has recently assumed command of the 5th Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment based at Royal Canadian Naval Air Station Shearwater in Halifax.

From what William had read, the 5th Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment is one of the two battalions of the RCR (The other being the 6th Battalion based in Royal Canadian Naval Base Esquimalt on Vancouver Island) to have amphibious and naval infantry roles akin to the U.S. Marine Corps or the British Royal Marines, hence the reason why the two Canadian Army battalions are based at naval bases.

In fact, the two battalions are informally collectively referred to as the "Royal Canadian Marine Corps" and has traditionally taken part in international missions with the U.S. Marine Corps, the Royal Marines and the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment.

William nodded as the wing's cadet parade commander, WO1 Martha St. Laurent, began going through the activities for the night, particularly on her emphasis on making sure that the cadets in their flights look their best.

After the seniors were dismissed from the meeting, he joined his friend Flight Sergeant Elizabeth Lumumba, who's the Flight 3 commander, in getting their flight assembled as the cadets began to gather near the entrance upon arrival.

With the cadets in their flight assembled, the two seniors wasted no time ordering the flight to do a right dress and line themselves up, which was then followed by the inspection of the individual cadets in making sure that their uniform is in best shape.

Most of the cadets were wearing their issued wedge caps, a trait attributed to the fact that recent budget issues meant that the peaked caps are available only to the seniors, cadets at the rank of sergeant and above.

The first half of the training night went by as usual, and during break time, William wasted no time making his way through the hanger to find Pilot Officer Larrison.

It didn't take long for William to find the pilot officer, who was finishing a conversation with another cadet when he noticed the sergeant approaching.

The cadet then left as Larrison turned his attention towards William, who then stopped in front of him and placed his right hand up to salute.

"Mr. Wu." Larrison nodded after returning the salute. "How's your evening so far?"

"It's coming along, sir." William nodded. "You know, the usual."

"So what can I do for you?" Larrison asked, judging from the look of urgency on William's face. "I see that there's something in your mind, Mr. Wu."

"As a matter a fact, there is, sir." William nodded. "I was just wondering if there's been any progress in the investigation into yesterday's locker break-in at Glebe."

"I understand." Larrison nodded before frowning and added, "Unfortunately, from what I've gathered, the CID has not found anything useful that could led them closer to the culprits behind yesterday's break-in."

"Dang." William frowned. "Like, no identifying features that could point the finger towards who the culprit is?"

"No." Larrison shook his head. "As you know, the southwest corner of the basement floor does not have a functioning security camera, so my colleagues have not been able to establish a basis on any physical features of the culprit."

"What a bummer." William remarked. "Anyways, I happened to run into the victim of yesterday's locker break-in, and she told me something that I thought you should know about."

"What of it?" Larrison raised an eyebrow.

Lowering his voice, William then said, "She thinks that the Fantino sisters may have a hand in planning the locker break-in."

New chapter in time for 2019, and please read and review!

To all of my readers, I wish you all a Happy New Year.