• Published 18th Sep 2013
  • 2,081 Views, 169 Comments

My Little Investigations: The Silent Dirge - Metool Bard

Some maniac is aiming to silence every musician in Equestria. I, for one, will not stand for it.

  • ...

Testing 1 2 3

April 9, 11:07 AM
Lincolt Center
The Whinnyton Maresalis Theater

When I arrived at the theater, I was quite puzzled to find that there were no security personnel guarding the entrance. I assume that the technicians would require privacy to carry out their work, plus the thing they're investigating could potentially be dangerous. I'm no expert, but this seems to be a major breech in security protocol. I was about to go inform Slick Licks about this development when I heard a familiar voice call out to me.

"Oh, hey Octy."

I turned around, and there was Vinyl Scratch. Her coat was all mussed up and dirty, and her mane was frazzled. It looks like she's been working hard to find this problem. Her expression was hard to read, though. Normally, I can always tell what Vinyl is feeling, but not this time.

"Did you find anything yet?" I asked.

"Nope, nada," said Vinyl with a sigh. "We've been going over all of the equipment with a fine-tooth comb. There isn't anything wrong with, well, anything."

That didn't sit well with me, and I could tell it didn't sit well with Vinyl, either. "Have you tested the equipment itself?"

"That's what I wanna do, but Mike Check says it's too dangerous," said Vinyl.

"Mike Check?"

"The head tech guy around here," Vinyl explained. "I understand the dude's concern and all, but right now, we're coming up with zilch. We don't really have any other options here."

That is indeed quite the quandary. I honestly don't know what I would do in this situation. Then again, I know nothing about working with electronics. I've used Vinyl's sound board once or twice on our show, but I never got it to do what I wanted it to. It's just so, fiddly.

"Well, I'm not sure I would be of much help there," I said. "Normally I'd say it would be best to err on the side of caution, but in this case..."

"Yo, Scratch! Are ya helping or what?!"

A sharp voice interrupted my thought. Trotting up from behind Vinyl was a black unicorn wearing a vest that almost blended in with his coat. He had a raven black mane, an orange headset, and a Cutie Mark depicting said headset.

"Yeah, yeah. I'll be there in a sec, Mike," said Vinyl with a dismissive wave of her hoof. She didn't even bother to turn around to address him. He, didn't take that well (not that I expected him to).

"Scratch, this isn't the time to be horsing around," said Mike sternly. "You said you wanted to figure out what went wrong last night, right?"

"And that hasn't changed," said Vinyl simply, finally turning around. "Which is why I think we should run a test on the equipment."

"Scratch, you know why we can't do that," said Mike. "There's no telling what will happen if we fire up those speakers."

Vinyl deadpanned. "Mike, we're dealing with audio equipment here, not a bomb."

This coming from the mare who almost died last night. However, I have a feeling that's her frustration talking more than anything else. I could hear it in her voice. I sighed.

"Vinyl, I think he has a point," I said.

"I know, I know," Vinyl groaned. "But what else are we gonna do, Tavi? I looked through those wires at least five times, and all I found was bupkis."

Mike raised an eyebrow at me. "Who's she?" he asked.

"Oh, forgive me," I said, clearing my throat. "My name is Octavia Melody. I play the cello for the..."

"Wasn't asking for your life's story, ma'am," said Mike curtly, cutting across me. "Anyway, what are you doing here? This place is off-limits."

Well, that threw me for a loop. If that's true, why aren't there any security guards posted outside?

"Don't worry, Mike. Octy's cool," said Vinyl. "She's just checking up on me, right Octy?"

"Um, yes. That's right," I said with a nod.

Mike knitted his brow. "Hmm. Alright, I'll let the crew know that you have clearance. But don't make a habit out of this, Scratch," he said. He then tapped his headset with his hoof. "Listen up, guys! We've got one more pony joining us. Goes by Octavia Melody; grey coat, purple eyes, black mane, and treble clef Cutie Mark. She's cool."

"Do I want to know?" I inquired.

"Don't worry about it," said Vinyl. "Mike here takes his job as a roadie pretty seriously. He says he's one of the best."

"I wouldn't say it if it wasn't true," said Mike as he looked up. "Sure, this ain't the most glamourous job, but I get it done with no complaints."

"I see," said I. "Out of curiosity, what group are you a roadie for?"

"None, really. I'm freelance," said Mike. "Slick hired me to keep everything running smoothly at this festival, and I'm here to make sure he gets his money's worth."

As soon as he said that, something important came to mind.

"Does that include last night?" I asked.

Mike raised an eyebrow. "What're you implying, Melody?"

"Nothing!" I squeaked.

"Smooth, Tavi," said Vinyl, rolling her eyes. "I think she's trying to ask if you helped Neon with the setup last night."

"Oh, that," said Mike. "Sorry 'bout that, Melody. Didn't mean to scare ya."

"No, it's more my fault," I said. "I've just been so jittery lately after what happened."

Mike smirked. "Well, there's no need for that. My crew and I are gonna fix this, no problem."

Something told me it wouldn't be that easy, but I still had a point to make. "Anyway, from what Vinyl has told me, Neon Lights was the one who checked out the equipment before the set last night. Did you help him?"

"Well, I tried to," said Mike. "But for some reason, he kept saying that he wanted to do it himself."

Vinyl's brow furrowed. "That doesn't sound like him at all. Why would he insist on doing it himself?"

"Beats me," said Mike with a shrug. "I kept trying to tell him that Slick's not paying me to sit on my dock and do nothing, but he said he didn't need my help."

I hate to say it, but Neon Lights is becoming more and more suspicious the more I hear about him. At this point, I'm almost certain that he's hiding something. And the only way to find out what is to hear from the stallion himself, and he's not here right now. With that in mind, I decided to change the subject.

"Vinyl tells me that you haven't found anything yet," I said. "Is that true?"

"Unfortunately, yes," said Mike with a snort. "And I understand that she's frustrated. But until we find out what's causing this, it's too risky to..."

He trailed off and raised his hoof. "Sorry, girls. I have to take this," he said, tapping his headset. "Talk to me. Uh-huh. Uh-huh. You what?!"

His sudden exclamation caused me to jump.

"Hang on, we'll be right there," he said, tapping his headset off and turning back to us. "Good news, Scratch. One of the boys thinks he found something."

"For reals? But why did it take so long?" said Vinyl.

"Heck if I know," Mike growled. "C'mon, let's see what we've got."

Curious myself, I quickly followed at Vinyl and Mike's heels.


"Alright, what have we got?" said Mike as he marched up to one of the technicians.

"I found this buried in the left subwoofer, Boss," said the technician.

He held up a rather, odd device in his hoof. It looked like a miniature radio transmitter no bigger than a fly. Mike's horn glowed an orange color as he levitated the device into the air and looked it over with a critical eye.

"Hmm. Looks like some kind of receiver," he mused. "It was probably messing with the signal and caused the feedback."

"Yeah, but who put it there?" said Vinyl. "And why are we just finding it now?"

"'Fraid I don't have an answer to either of those questions, Scratch," said Mike. "I'll probably have to take a closer lo—"

Suddenly, the transmitter started beeping. Mike did a double take.

"The hay?" he said, tilting his head. "I didn't active it."

He kept looking over the device in a vain search for clues. As he did so, the beeping became faster and faster in tempo. Soon, all of the beeps blended together into a shrill sound that was painfully familiar. It was the same sound I heard before Mare-Do-Well came in to save Vinyl. And that meant we were all in grave danger. The only think I could think of to do was fall to the ground and cover my ears.

Before anypony could react to my behavior, a shrill screech emanated from the device and resonated all around the theater. It lasted for but a moment, but everypony felt the effects, including me. And let me tell you: It was nothing short of pure, unadulterated agony. In truth, it was so loud that it made Vinyl's music seem like a gentle whisper in the wind by comparison!

When I had opened my eyes, I was relieved to see that everypony was still alive.

"Yeesh. Good call there, Melody," Mike said in a strained tone. He wasn't as badly affected as the others, most likely due to his headset. "How'd you know it'd do that?"

"Nngh. I-I heard it last night," I said, struggling to pick myself up. "I remember hearing a small sound before the second blast of feedback hit."

"Aw, buck. That stupid migraine's back," Vinyl groused, rubbing her temples. "Thank Celestia it's not as bad as before, but man it stings."

"D-do you need anything, Vinyl?" I asked, batting my ear in order to clear it out.

"J-just some water," said Vinyl. "I-I'm pretty good otherwise."

I decided to take her word for it, mainly because I didn't have the strength to argue. "Here, let's go together," I said, placing her foreleg around my shoulder.

"Slick's gonna wanna know about this," said Mike. "Once I get my hearing back, I'll radio him and let him know."

"That won't be necessary."

A voice made itself known, and I felt Vinyl's body tense up as I carried her. I looked towards the entrance, and saw none other than Neon Lights walking down the aisle towards us.

"Slick told me I could find you here, Vinyl," he said, taking off his shades. "Man, you look like crap."

Vinyl snorted. "Yeah, I feel like it, too," she said angrily.

Neon noticed this. "Hey, no need to take it out on me, Vinyl."

"I'll be the judge of that," Vinyl snarled. "You said everything checked out, man. What the hay?!"

"Vinyl, easy," I said firmly. "Take a few deep breaths and calm down. We're all adults here. We can sort this out rationally."

Neon frowned and put his shades back on. "I think we should talk this out in private. I don't want Vinyl to explode in public."

"Maybe I wouldn't be so close to exploding if you..."

"Vinyl, that's enough."

My sharp words caused Vinyl to grow quiet. Under normal circumstances, she'd fight me on this. But I could tell she didn't have the strength.

"That being said, you're not innocent in all this, Neon Lights," I said, turning back to Neon. "Vinyl's right. You're going to have to explain yourself."

Neon nodded. "Alright, fair enough. Let's go find ourselves an empty studio so we can clear the air."

"Agreed," I said. "Lead the way."

Neon gave me another nod and left the theater while I followed, dragging Vinyl all the while. I noticed that he didn't once deny any of our accusations. Now I'm one hundred percent certain that he's hiding something. The only question is, what could it be...?