• Published 8th Oct 2013
  • 3,229 Views, 170 Comments

Repair and Deliver - SleeplessScribe

If there are two things Torque loves more than anything, they're helping people and mechanical work. When a worker shortage forces him to move to Ponyville, he meets a young filly with a struggling mother that allows him to do both.

  • ...

Chapter 1: Leaving Home

Repair and Deliver
Story 6
Chapter 1: Leaving Home
By: SleeplessScribe

Mornings in Vanhoover were always… interesting, to say the least. It always seemed like I was being woken up by something other than my alarm clock. Today it was the neighbors outside shouting about something I honestly didn’t care enough about to listen to.

It was all good, though. Getting up earlier than I intended just meant more time to get ready, and that I’d also get to the shop before it actually opened. A nice plate of eggs had been fixed up for me with a note from my sister.

“I had to leave early this morning since I wanted to turn in my project for college early. Dad wants to talk to you as soon as you get to the shop, so don’t be late, Torque! Love you, and I hope you have a good day!
-Violet Night”

Ah, I had the best sister an earth pony could ask for. It was no surprise that she’d rather go to college than follow dad’s life path, but neither of us could even ask a unicorn to do the work we did. We found it strange that mom wanted to help from time to time, but when we heard that Violet wanted to pursue some higher education, we were all pushing for her to do it.

I, however, was content with working for my dad’s workshop. Ratchet owned a company with branches in every major city in Equestria. We were, for the most part, mechanics, but we also did small carpentry. Electrical, and plumbing tasks as well.

Anyway, I downed my eggs eagerly and hopped into the shower. In all honesty, morning showers may or may not have been a waste of time considering I normally ended the day covered in oil and grease, but hey, it made me feel better and woke me up. It was even worse considering my coat was yellow; I had to scrub hard to get oil stains out, and the work uniforms only helped so much. Once I was out and dried off, I slipped on my favorite green hat that my mom hated so much and made my way to Engage Repairs, the central hub of dad’s business.

Luckily for me, the shop was a few houses down and across the road from where my sister and I lived. Our parents’ house was right next to it, so communication and organization was quick and easy. The buzzing and whirring of various tools could be heard even before hours as I entered the office to the left of the actual workshops, and both of my parents were up as well.

Every time I saw my father Ratchet I remembered the day I got this wrench and screwdriver stamped on my flank. Had it not been for the big yellow stallion before me, I probably wouldn’t be where I was today, and that means a lot more than you think. He flashed a wide grin when he caught sight of me, lifting himself up from his chair behind the desk and wrapping me in a hug.

“Morning, Torque! What are you doing up so early?”

I just gave him a shrug and a smile. “Another day, another premature wake up call.”

He let out a low chuckle, patting my back. “Well, I’m glad you’re here. Buddy, I gotta ask you something big, alright? We’ve got a worker shortage in our newest branch, and from what I understand, a severe lack of know-how. The shop is in Ponyville, right smack dab in the middle of Equestria, and I told the guy I put in charge of that shop I’d talk to you. Now, I’ll be honest, you’ll be staying in your current position since it’s kind of unfair for me to promote you without his consent. However, I know you’re the colt for the job, and I know you’ve been wanting to leave Vanhoover and do some exploring for a long while, so do you think you can do it?”

It was actually really flattering that my dad thought me the best pony for this job. “Definitely! When should I get going?”

“As soon as you can!” A saddle with one bag on each side was lowered onto my back, wrapped in the golden glow of my mother’s magic. The dark purple, honey-eyed mare smiled and pulled me into her own hug once my dad was done. “They’re not expecting you until this afternoon, so I packed you up a nice lunch in one bag, and in the other I put your last paycheck, a map to where you need to go with a map of Ponyville on the other side, and a bunch of those designs you’ve been working on.”

My eyes lit up when I heard she didn’t forget my sketches. The only bad part about leaving Vanhoover was that I’d have to set up another little personal workshop to design, build, and test my various ideas. The heavenly aroma of toasted bread and vegetables rose up from my bag and even managed to overpower the smell of oil and gasoline.

Amethyst Glow gave me her own bright smile, lifting my hat slowly. “Oh, Torque, I wish you’d get rid of this thing. Why do you have to cover up that pretty burgundy mane? That and your eyes were the only things you got from me.”

I couldn’t help but chuckle as she said this. “I know mom, I know, I just like it. Besides, how can I not use a gift from my sister? This was the first ever Hearthswarming gift she ever got me with her own money, remember?”

She lowered it back onto my head, her eyes lidding a little. “Of course, dear, it’s just a little sad that it has to cover up that pretty head of hair.”

They both wrapped me up in tight hugs again, pouring out goodbyes. Finally they were done and my mom opened the door for me. “Alright, sweetie, don’t let us keep you… be careful, Torque!”

It was actually kind of hard for me to pull myself away from them as well. I’d never been out of Vanhoover, nor had I ever been so far away from my family. The simple trek from them to the door took a solid five minutes at least as I kept waving and saying goodbye, but eventually I was through the exit and looking at the map.

Vanhoover was about as far northwest as you could go while staying in Equestria, and the fastest way to Ponyville was by train. Unfortunately, a massive earthquake destroyed a section of the tracks along Unicorn Range. That meant that the current fastest way there was to go all the way to Tall Tale and get on the train from there.

It wasn’t really that big a deal, though, and it didn’t bother me that much. On the bright side, Tall Tale was basically on the other side of Vanhoover’s train tracks. Another good thing was that the shop wasn’t that far from the train station, and all I had to do was follow the tracks for a little bit and then cross them. It was then a quick trek across relatively flat grasslands until I was in the other city. Fortune was smiling upon me today; as soon as I entered Tall Tale, I caught sight of a map of the entire town.

Turns out I was a few blocks away from the train station here, but the sun was starting to actually come up now. I was amazed at how late the sun actually began to rise. I mean, it was only eight o’ clock, but I remember earlier in the year when the sun was up before I was. Not that I really minded, I actually kind of liked it when the sky was still dark in the morning. I never could figure out why, but I did.

Once I go to the train station it was smooth sailing. Everything was going great now; not five minutes after I got my ticket, the train pulled up. I picked a car a little closer to the front, and after a bit of waiting, we were off. My face was pressed up against the window the entire time as we went through the forest outside of Tall Tale. My jaw dropped as the train passed through the only low valley in the Smokey Mountains afterward. They were the tallest mountains in Equestria, and I actually had to stick my head out of the window to even see the top of them. I was surprised my hat didn’t fly off of my head.

After that, it was just flatland with forest on both sides, and about an hour after the train left the station it was going through a tunnel. The little town was now in plain sight as the train exited the tunnel, and I could feel it slowing down to a halt as we approached the station. I checked my map when I got out and noticed a red circle right next to the tall building with a red roof labeled “Shop”.

I still had a good three hours before I was actually expected there, so I decided to take a look around. It was a pretty lively town, but not to the point of feeling too busy like Vanhoover. Everypony seemed so nice, too. Almost everyone I passed gave me either a smile, wave, or a nice “hello”.

It took about an hour for me to familiarize myself with the main part of town, but after I was, it was time for me to make my way to the shop. It was just like the one back home, just a bit smaller, with the office on the left and a large building with four large, vertical-lifting doors on the right. Oddly enough, there were no sounds coming from the garage, and upon further inspection I found that nopony was actually there.

“You the guy Ratchet sent?” Turning around resulted in my muzzle meeting a light red one behind me. Her light blue mane was tied up into a ponytail and draped over her left shoulder. Her emerald eyes scanned me behind her rectangular glasses, and she looked up at me with a scoff.

“Huh, you don’t look like much. Your cutie mark says you’re my guy, but nothing else does. Well, whatever. I’m Sparkplug, I run this place, and you,” the earth pony grabbed hold of my map and pointed just outside the major chunk of Ponyville, “Get here. This is our local school, and the teacher’s requested our help repairing a new projector she bought for the class. As you can see, everyone’s already out doing jobs, so you came just in time. Get going, kid, I’m gonna call Ratchet and see if you actually are his son. Expect a big hug when you come back if you are.”

Sparkplug took off without giving me a chance to respond. All I could do was tilt my head and furrow my brow in an attempt to process what just happened. “…Okay then.”

Some may have called Sparkplug mean, but I think she was just stressed out by having to put a job on hold. The question popped into my head as to why she wasn’t out doing work, but then I remembered that somepony had to be at the shop at all times, both to take requests for outside repairs and to help with walk-ins.

The school wasn’t too far away, and I seemed to have come at a pretty decent time. All the little ones were seated at tables in the back of the classroom eating lunch. When I came in, I was approached by a pretty purple mare sporting a two tone mane of different pinks.

“Oh, thank goodness you’re here! I’m sorry to bother you, but I just can’t seem to get this new projector of mine to work. My old one stopped working a few days ago, and my lesson plan for this week more or less requires me to incorporate it.”

She led me to it, and I was very impressed. It was one of the more recent MagnifEye models, and they were known for their quality. There was nothing wrong with it from what I could see, and that meant that she was either doing something wrong or I’d have to take it apart and look at the inside.

“Hm… what exactly is the problem, Miss….” I just realized she hadn’t even told me her name.

Her eyes widened as she, too, realized this fact, giving me a nervous giggle. “Oh please, call me Cheerilee. I’m not sure what’s wrong, I just try to turn it on and nothing happens.”

I searched around for the power button and held it down for a bit. A lot of the machines MagnifEye came out with required the user to hold down the “on” button, but that produced no results.

“Allow me to introduce myself before I actually do anything. My name is Torque.” I held my hoof out to the kind mare, and she took it with a smile.

“Well, it’s wonderful to meet you, Torque. Is there anything you might need?”

I took a second look at the exterior of the projector before I nodded. “Actually, yes. I was sent here the minute I got to the shop, so I don’t have any tools with me. Is there any chance you have a screwdriver laying around?”

Cheerilee trotted over to her desk at the front of the room. She opened the drawer and lightly tossed over a Philips head; luckily that was the kind I needed. “I always keep this just in case one of the screws in these desks comes loose.”

Speaking with the thing in my mouth as a little awkward, but somehow I managed. “Good thing, too, I think I may know what the problem is.” After taking out the screws holding down the machine’s outer shell, I lifted it off and spotted the problem immediately. “Miss Cheerilee, how would you mind just a little rattling when you moved this thing around?”

The teacher tilted her head curiously, tapping her chin. “I suppose that’d be just a small price to pay to get it working. What exactly is the problem?”

I motioned to a decent sized hold in the center of the projector, drawing her attention to the lopsided fan inside. “This thing here keeps the machine cool while it’s in use, and as it is right now, it can’t spin. MagnifEye designs a lot of their devices with fans so that they don’t even turn on if the cooling system doesn’t work. That’s not a problem, though. It looks like the centerpiece is missing a screw, but they’re all the same size, so I can just use on of the ones that keeps the shell on. I’ll try and make it the least noisy side.”

She let out a small giggle and gave me a nod. “Thank you very much, Torque.”

I didn’t give it a whole lot of thought until the screw was in and I put the shell back on and screwed that it, but it was a little odd that this actually happened. The company this thing came from was known for pretty thorough quality control. Not that it was a big deal; the fix took less than five minutes.

As soon as I was done, I turned to Cheerilee to let her know when a slightly sad scene unfolded before me. A small, pale purple unicorn filly tapped her teacher’s leg, her brows turned up in a sad gaze.

“Miss Cheerilee… do you have some crackers or something?”

The earth pony returned that rather sad expression, softly patting the filly’s back. “Oh, Dinky, did you forget your lunch again?”

Dinky hesitated, turning towards her fellow students before giving a nod. “Uh huh.”

Cheerilee began rummaging through a lower cabinet in her desk, but I tapped her shoulder and shook my head. “Dinky, is it? I think I have something for you.”

Her eyes lit up as she saw me set the wrapped up sub on the desk before her. I cut it into fourths so she wouldn’t have to bite off chunks of the sandwich as I ruffled up her little blonde mane.

“There you go, sweetie. Hope you like it.”

Little Dinky hopped up and down a few times, picking up the pieces and taking it to her table… alone. I heard a sigh from beside me and turned to the school teacher who was still sporting a forlorn expression on her face.

“I’ve got to find out who’s responsible for this. I-I know it’s none of your business, but this is the third day in a row that poor girl has come in without food. To be quite honest, Torque, I think someone is taking it.”

My eyes widened as she spoke. Cheerilee and I had just met, so she obviously wouldn’t know, but if bullies were involved in this it was most definitely my business. “I’m going to go talk to her.”

“Oh no, you don’t have to, I-“

I turned to her again and began to shake my head. “Miss Cheerilee, I’m normally a pretty cheery guy, but if there’s one thing I don’t tolerate, it’s bullying. My sister, Violet Night, dealt with it a lot in school, and still deals with it in college. Every day I can help a victim of bullying is a day well spent.”

Cheerilee started to speak, but as rude as it was, I turned away and headed towards the little filly before she could. Dinky waved at me as I kneeled down beside her and smiled. “How is it, Dinky? Do you like it?”

She gave me an excited nod as she bit a piece out of one of the sections. “Mhm! It’s super good!”

Chuckling at her cuteness was a little hard to resist. “Well, Dinky, my name is Torque, and we’re friends now! And friends tell each other secrets, right?”

She raised a brow at me, lifting her shoulders in a shrug.

“Well, do you think you could tell me what really happened to your lunch?”

Her lower lip began to curl as she looked at me, her gaze shifting to two other fillies at a different table. They were both sporting gaudy jewelry and, in all honesty, pretty snobby attitudes. I was always taught not to judge a book by its cover, but some ponies, even little ones, made that really hard sometimes.

“They took it from me. They said I owed them for an accident my momma caused, but she can’t help it. It’s not fair, Mister Torque…. Nobody likes me because my momma breaks things on accident, so they think I do that too.”

“Aaaw….” I gave her a small pat on the back. “You’re right, that’s not fair. I’m going to go talk to them right now.”

Once again, I walked away from a pony without letting them speak. The two fillies stopped their chatting when they caught sight of me, their faces a mix of confused and somewhat frightened.

“Excuse me, girls, but I understand you’ve taken something that doesn’t belong to you? You know, it’s not very nice to take someone else’s lunch.”

The girl with the pink coat pursed her lips, furrowing her brow somewhat angrily. “Well, it’s the least she could do after her klutz of a mom broke our window! She flew right into it and took the whole thing out of the wall.”

I seated myself on the floor, crossing my forelegs. “Excuse me, young lady, but if I were you, I’d change my tone. I am an adult, and while I may not be your teacher, you should still respect me. If Dinky’s mother caused some damage to your home, that’s between her and your parents, not you and her. Taking something from her is bullying, not payback, do you understand?”

They both lowered their heads, giving me slow nods.

“So you will stop being mean to her?”

Once again they both nodded, speaking in unison. “Yes sir.”

“Good.” I turned to Dinky and winked at her, then turned to Cheerilee. “If you need anything else, please let me know!”

The teacher waved at me as I headed for the door. “Will do, thank you, Torque! Have a good day!”

I returned her waves just before stepping out. “You do the same, Miss Cheerilee!”