• Published 28th Dec 2014
  • 708 Views, 35 Comments

Unexpected Turbulence, Remain Calm and Don't Murder Anypony - HapHazred



Octavia and Vinyl find themselves travelling by airship to Trottingham, only to discover that the engineer has been murdered on board. With Vinyl the prime suspect, it's up to them to find the real killer before he strikes again.

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Chapter Three: The Musician's Finale

Octavia and Vinyl were tearing Sly's room apart, looking for any clue they could find. Unfortunately, the weatherpony travelled light. All he had with him was a change of clothes, a book on constellations, and a kite, signed 'to my dearest nephew'. A gift to his family, probably. It wasn't anything that gave Octavia much to go on.

"Sly is the victim here: he has to be," Octavia told Vinyl. "If he was the attacker, then one of the other ponies would have disappeared too."

"Or they're not telling us that he attacked them, for whatever reason," Vinyl countered.

"That seems unlikely, and I'd rather hope that we don't have two ponies on board liable to lie to us."

Vinyl nodded. "So, assume the best case scenario, because we can't handle the worst?"

"That's right."

Octavia sighed. "We can assume that Cog's killer and Sly's kidnapper are the same pony. So that means that whoever we determined innocent earlier still applies. That means it can't be Schwartz, and it can't be Stronghoof."

"We're not going to begin suspecting me again, are we?"

"Of course not, you were with me the whole time."

Vinyl paused, deep in thought. "Yeah, but consider that if Stronghoof or Schwartz gets it into their heads that we're working together, we're both in a lot of trouble."

Octavia blanched. "That's not a good thought. We'd best finish our work before then."

They heard somepony knock on the door. Vinyl slowly crept towards it, worried that it might be Sly, or whoever might have attacked him. She peered through the peep-hole.

"It's Fruitcake. Do we let her in?"

"Go ahead."

Vinyl opened the door, and the baker trotted inside. She looked pale, and worried. Octavia frowned. Could it be an act?

"Hello, ladies. I... I don't think you killed Cogs, or hurt Sly, so I'm..."

"Yes?"

Fruitcake took a deep breath. "Well, I didn't spend my whole life creating healthy and nutritious bakery products just so that somepony could murder me several thousand feet above sea level. I want to survive."

Honesty? Or was she setting them up? Octavia couldn't tell. She couldn't tell anything anymore. She looked down at her hooves angrily. She wasn't good for anything, it seemed.

"You two are the only ponies who have done anything so far. The Captain is busy flying the ship and Stronghoof couldn't investigate his way out of a paper bag, but you two... you two might get us out of here alive. Please don't let me down."

"We won't," Vinyl assured her. Fruitcake smiled.

"I know you won't. Is there anything I can do to help?"

Octavia hesitated. "I don't know."

Vinyl narrowed her eyes behind her tinted goggles. "'Tavi, don't give up just yet. Not in front of the nice lady."

Octavia sighed. "Yes, yes, I'm just having trouble organizing my thoughts right now."

Octavia needed to reason things through. Sly ran off... yes. But why?

"Sly had information. He found something out," she suggested to herself. Vinyl tilted her head.

"Okay... but all he was doing was staring out the window. Did you see him do anything else?" she asked Fruitcake. The baker shook her head.

"No... just look out the window. Then he sort of sat up, and ran off. When he didn't come back, we got worried."

Again, she could be lying, Octavia thought. But for now, let's assume she's not the killer...

"Then whatever he saw out the window had to give him some information. It sounds strange, but it has to be true."

Vinyl shrugged, lost. "But there's nothing out there. Just sky."

"Okay, but what's in the sky?" Octavia asked. Keep on bouncing ideas back and forth... something would give her a clue.

"Uh... clouds. He was always saying that it was too cloudy."

Fruitcake nodded. "He was a bit unhinged, if you ask me."

"It wasn't cloudy," Octavia corrected. "It still isn't. The clouds cleared up just when we left to go to the engine room."

"So... something behind the clouds? Something that was hidden behind the clouds gave Sly a clue?" Vinyl asked.

"But there isn't anything behind the clouds!" Fruitcake exclaimed. Vinyl glanced at the book of constellations lying on the table.

"No... it's night time. There are stars."

Vinyl stepped out of the cabin and into the corridor, and began looking at the sky. Octavia followed her, curious.

"We should get to wherever Sly was sitting when he left. That means the restaurant," she suggested.

All three ponies hurried down the corridor. Octavia's heart was racing. She felt she was onto something... they had to be close.

Schwartz, Stronghoof, and the Flim Flam brothers were all there, staring at them. Octavia and Vinyl pushed past them to where Sly was sitting. Then they both stared out the window. Vinyl flicked through the constellation booklet, trying to find some recognizable star. It didn't take her long.

"Well, there's the north star," she said, pointing. "That's a start, right?"

Octavia nodded. "The north star. It's easy to spot, at least," she said. "What's so special about the north star, though? Apart from it pointing north, of course."

More importantly, why would Sly think it's important? Octavia tried to ignore the fact that Sly was more than a little strange. What would a sane pony panic at? What caused that reaction?

When something wasn't where it was supposed to be.

"Oh dear..." Octavia muttered. "Trottingham is to the north-east of Canterlot. This is the rear of the airship."

Vinyl widened her eyes as understanding dawned. "That's not good."

All the pieces began to fall into place. Octavia slumped, her head banging against the window, gently. It was like all the answers were rushing into her mind all at once.

"The ship is going the wrong way. This wasn't murder... we're being hijacked."


Octavia and Schwartz cantered up the corridors towards the pilot's cabin. Octavia felt like kicking herself for not realizing it sooner. She had just assumed that the pony keeping them all in the air had their best interests at heart.

"We need to get Captain Gasbag away from the airship controls," Octavia exclaimed. "At all costs."

It made sense: only a member of staff could have gotten through the locked door that connected the port and starboard sides. And it's possible that, if he was quick, he could have killed Cogs and hid him in room ten, the only empty room. And he would have known that the room was empty: he'd have had access to the register.

Both ponies charged through the door into the small compartment. It was filled with switches and levers. In the centre of the room was a chair, and this chair was occupied by a grizzled looking earth pony. Captain Gasbag.

"Excuse me, you can't be up here," he snapped. "I was fine letting you examine the engine room so you could try to find a killer, but I actually need to concentrate."

"We're here because we found the killer," Octavia replied. She eyed a large wardrobe, the kind used to store uniforms and tools. She gave it a gentle kick. The door slowly swung open, revealing the tied up body of Sly, his face covered in blood, but very much alive. "It's you."

Gasbag groaned. "Oh, good. My hostages are rebelling. Well, isn't this day just fan-bucking-tastic."

Schwartz shook his head in frustration, obviously not comprehending the reason for the captain's betrayal. "Why? I don't understand what's going on!"

"I think I can explain," Octavia began, cautiously. "See, if I'm correct, you aren't actually our captain at all, are you, Mr. Gasbag? You're a thief, and Cogs was your partner."

Schwartz looked back at the captain in amazement. The old earth pony shrugged. "Correct so far. It wasn't easy posing as a captain, let me tell you. Security checks as far as the eye can see."

"You were hired by somepony... or are maybe just acting on your own... to steal something very, very valuable. Something I didn't think could be stolen. At first I thought it might be Trofort's Piecasso, but you don't need to hijack an airship to steal that. You're after the Flim-Flam brother's machine, aren't you?"

"Uh, huh," Gasbag grunted. "Right again."

"But there are some steps to your plan, steps that are hard to figure out. I think you took over the airship and flew away from Trottingham so that nopony could find you. And even if they did, you had measures in place to deal with them: you sabotaged the airship, meaning that help would be more preoccupied saving us, the passengers, than going after you, who'd have escaped using the flyer. After the original maintenance check before taking off, you had to get Cogs to tinker with the engines, which resulted in our flight being delayed."

Octavia began pacing angrily. "But you got greedy, and you wanted all the money for yourself. Killing your partner, Cogs, was the only way to make sure you got all the reward. He wasn't needed any more, after all: he had already performed the sabotage."

"He did a good job, too. Of course, you made his death meaningless by getting those brothers to fix it."

"Sly figured out that you were going the wrong way... he panicked, and he decided to go inform the captain. He didn't realize that it was no mistake, and that you were leading us away from our destination purposefully. Now, step away from the controls."

"Oh, really? And what happens once I do?"

"Help arrives," Octavia explained. "I have a friend who's very well versed in all things electronic, and she's using a few odds and ends to call Cloudsdale as we speak. Stronghoof, the only real member of staff left aboard, knows exactly who to call."

Gasbag grinned. "Well, I suppose I shouldn't waste any time, then," he said. Octavia's eyes widened.

Gasbag slammed one of the levers down as hard as he could, and instantly the airship tilted forwards. Octavia screamed.

"Stop him!" she exclaimed, but Schwartz was too slow. Gasbag shoved him aside in the chaos and began hurtling up the corridors. "He's trying to get to the cargo hold! That's where Vinyl and Stronghoof are!"

Schwartz tried to clamber after the rogue captain, but he was unable to stand up properly. The airship was plummeting downwards. Octavia was about to say her prayers when she saw Flim and Flam pop their heads through the door to the cabin.

"Oh, thank Celestia! Can you fly this thing?" she asked.

"If it's built by pony..."Flim began.

"...we can fly it!" Flam finished.

Octavia then grit her teeth and tried forcing her way up the corridor after Gasbag. She had to make sure Vinyl was safe.


Vinyl was still handling the device she had created in the hold next to the Flim-Flam-Flier when Gasbag entered the room, doing her best not to fall over as gravity went crazy. It didn't take her long to figure out that Gasbag was trying to make his escape.

"Stronghoof!" she shouted, warning her companion that the captain had arrived. The barpony charged and tackled the criminal. Gasbag was incredibly tough, however, and their fight looked evenly matched, much to Vinyl's dismay.

Octavia was the next one to enter the hold. She, too, was having difficulty standing up. She looked over at Vinyl.

"Did you manage to call for help?" she shouted. Vinyl nodded.

"Yeah! Just in time!"

Stronghoof had his hooves around Gasbag's neck, and was slowly squeezing the life out of him. Unfortunately, he was interrupted when the pilot managed to get his rear hooves under his chest, and kicked him right off. He then flicked a switch on the wall, and suddenly wind engulfed the entire hold.

Gasbag had opened the ramp. All of a sudden, everything began sliding towards the gaping maw that led the nothing but open sky, and that included Octavia, Stronghoof, and Vinyl. Stronghoof and Octavia desperately grabbed onto anything that looked halfway stationary in a desperate attempt to stop themselves from falling to their deaths.

"See you in Tartarus!" Gasbag roared, clambering aboard the flier. Or rather, he tried to: Vinyl had, in a fit of defiance, grabbed onto his leg and was pulling him back as hard as she could.

"I really hate you!" she screamed. Octavia's eyes widened as she saw the malice in Gasbag's face.

"Get off me, you dumb mare!" he snapped, and smacked Vinyl around the side of the head with a sickening 'crack'. The unicorn fell backwards, releasing Gasbag in the process, unconscious, or worse.

Then she began sliding towards the open hatch. Gasbag ignored her, and began to take off. The terrifying hum of the flier filled Octavia's ears.

She dove after Vinyl, determined to stop her from falling. She latched onto Vinyl's tail with her teeth and bit down as hard as she could.

Gasbag then flew out the hatch, finally free.

Octavia grunted, infuriated, but she could do nothing: she was too busy stopping her friend from falling to her death.

For some reason, the entire hold lit up like a kaleidoscope. Octavia assumed it had to be her mind playing tricks on her. She closed her eyes.

The wind began to die down. Octavia realized she could hear the sound of machinery: the slow hiss of the ramp being drawn up again. She tentatively opened her eyes again.

"Uh, hi?" came a voice. Octavia looked up and saw a mare, a pegasus with a rainbow mane, standing over her. "The Wonderbolts have arrived."


Vinyl was still holding her head, a large bruise spreading across her face, when the team of pegasi had landed the airship down at a nearby village. It was nowhere near Trottingham: in fact it looked almost like a desert.

"Once you gave us the approximate direction you had been travelling in, it wasn't hard for us to pinpoint your location," the captain of their team, a mare named Spitfire, had told them. "It's a good thing you found out when you did: if it had been much later, we might not have got there in time."

Vinyl grunted. "I'm just satisfied that Gasbag will be behind bars soon enough."

The pegasus who had closed the hatch, who apparently went by the name Rainbow, grinned. "It was a nice flier and all, but it doesn't really compare to the Wonderbolts. It'd need a much bigger head start than that."

"I'm just glad that the Flim Flam brothers were able to steady the ship in time," Octavia added. "He can have the flier for all I care."

"And you located a known art smuggler," Spitfire added, impressed. "Is there anything else you did for us?"

Octavia smiled. "Just those two things, I'm afraid."

Rainbow grinned sheepishly. "Could you make it three?"

"I'm sorry, I don't follow," Octavia asked.

"Well, it's just... well, I don't often meet celebrities. Aside from the Wonderbolts, the Princesses... okay, actually, I meet loads of celebrities, but..."

Understanding dawned on Vinyl. "I remember you: you were at one of my performances once, weren't you?"

Rainbow nodded. "Uh... yeah."

"Are you trying to ask Vinyl for an autograph?" Octavia asked, amused. Rainbow scratched her head.

"Well, not exactly... now, please don't tell anypony, but I actually wanted your autograph."

Spitfire glanced over at Rainbow, surprised. "Didn't take you for being a classical girl, RD."

"It's... whatever!" Rainbow snapped, embarrassed. Octavia smiled.

"Of course. I'll get around to it as soon as I find paper and pen."

Rainbow beamed. "Yes! It'll go great with my violi—... I mean, thanks."

Gasbag, bound and gagged, growled menacingly. Octavia elected to ignore him.

"I think next time I'll get to Trottingham by train. They've built a tunnel, recently."

Vinyl nodded. "I agree: whoever heard of a murder on a train?"

Spitfire grunted. "I don't trust trains. Especially when some idiot went and gave it a stupid name like the 'Blue Train'. I mean, just 'cause it goes under the water doesn't mean it has to be blue."

"Well, not everypony can fly from Cloudsdale to the Southern Borders in under a minute," Vinyl replied. "Some of us actually have to use public transport."

Octavia shook her head, amused at her friend and glad to finally be safe.

"All I wanted when I got to Trottingham was a bath. Now all I want is to never get on board an airship again. The airsickness alone is horrible."


The End

Author's Note:

And there you have it, another mystery solved. Good on Octavia and Vinyl.
This story took the most planning I have every done, since it involved me drawing diagrams of the ship and figuring out where everybody would be. It also originally featured flim and flam doing some sort of rap. I took that bit out.
I hope the crime was surprising, and if it wasn't, well, you are just too smart for me, I'm afraid. Whether you enjoyed it or not, I'd love to hear your comments and advice.
Also, if you know any other good mystery stories, please let me know! They don't seem to crop up that often, but it's a genre I really like, especially the more puzzle-ish ones. Pony murder is best murder (huh, that sounded wrong...).

Comments ( 28 )

Well, I haven't seen that coming...

Did not see that coming.

5434298
5434314
I hoped it would be surprising (but hopefully not stupid). My golden mystery story is the story that you can read and actually guess the ending, but can't because it's too smart. So far, only a few authors have done that for me: Agatha Christie and Raymond Chandler are the two I could cite off the top of my head, and I've a long way to go before I can compare to those giants.
Still, I hoped you liked it.

5434475 Oh I liked it! :raritywink:

5434483 Neato burrito!

Vinyl nodded. "I agree: whoever heard of a murder on a train?"

Oh Vinyl. so naive.

All in all, this was a good story. Liked and faved.

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5435041 Cheers! FimFiction needs moar Poirot.

I LOVED this. I love crime stories with ponies. Write moar!

Octavia used her little gray cells

5436419 I considered putting that in somewhere, but there is such a thing as too shameless a reference.

:trixieshiftleft::trixieshiftright:

The Blue Train

:scootangel:

I was right about paying attention to Captain GasBag.

5436742 Congrats, then! Although I'm only a little disappointed you suspected the captain from chapter two...

As for Flim and Flam, I kind of liked them. Fake medicine was low, but the super cider squeezy was a magnificent example of automated manufacture. Not to mention, they were flashy and showy. They were never evil or even bad that first time, and more than once I was rooting for them. They lost that sympathy when they began promising things of their medicine that it couldn't achieve, however.

Whilst most of my courses at uni revolve around the science of engineering, last year we had a very small module on engineering ethics, and the most important quality that an engineer should have is being trustworthy. After the first time they appeared, they had just driven the quality of their product into the ground, but later they betrayed one of the fundamental philosophies of 'honest engineering', and lost loads of sympathy from me.

In any case, I hope it was still an enjoyable read, even if you did suspect the villain correctly.

5437097

At Chapter # 1, I suspected everypony. At Chapter # 2, I focused on Captain GasBag because Miss Octavia Melody forgot to interview him. That is an unforgivable oversight.

The Cider-Squeezy is an amazing magically powered machine Flim & Flam waste their time hurting other ponies (conning ponies injures them financially) when they can make inventions like the Squeezy. A good movie touching upon the ethics of engineering is Real Genius.

5437748

That is an unforgivable oversight

In that case, I think a small change is in order.

the super speedy cider squeezy was a tool used to make cider, and whatever effect it had on the Apple family was acceptable from an ethical point of view. (although their quality control dipped considerably a bit later)

Pretending that applejuice was medicine is actually a crime. I was legitimately disappointed they were't tried and convicted. Not only does it damage sick ponies thinking they're being healed, but as you said it injures them financially.

5437763

>> Walabio

That is an unforgivable oversight

In that case, I think a small change is in order.

You did not make the mistake, Miss Octavia Melody did. Frankly, real police make far worse mistakes.

the super speedy cider squeezy was a tool used to make cider, and whatever effect it had on the Apple family was acceptable from an ethical point of view. (although their quality control dipped considerably a bit later)

The cut they offered the Apples was too small. If they want farmers to use their invention, and thus pay royalties, they need to make their device more profitable than hoof-pressing cider. Granny Smith going all Marty McFly and betting the farm was very stupid of her. Gambling is dumb.

Pretending that applejuice was medicine is actually a crime. I was legitimately disappointed they were't tried and convicted. Not only does it damage sick ponies thinking they're being healed, but as you said it injures them financially.

I have seen far worse in the SCAM-Section of the Pharmacy:

Supplemental
Complementary
Alternative
Medicine

I would like to see everypony associated with SCAM arrested and SCAM pulled off of the shelves.

5437915 All good points. Ethics is a tough thing to define anyway, outside the obvious blacks and whites of it. Hurting people, though? Best avoided.

Well, when Octavia spoke of the possibility of the captain murdering the engineer, and with the bartender dismissing it so quickly, I thought Gasbag and Stronghold were the mane culprits. I guess I was half right? Anyways, great story! I just got done reading DN:E and this fits into my favorite category, 'Mystery and Murder'.
Like and favorite for you sir :moustache:.

5441751 Jeez, I just can't stop having people suspect Gasbag apparently! :rainbowlaugh:

Does nobody trust the staff these days? What is the world coming to?

Anyway, glad you liked it.

One question though: what is DN:E? It sounds like something I want to party with.

DN:E is Death Note: Equestria, based off of a very popular anime series called Death Note. It changes up the characters and some small parts of the story, but it roughly the same. Oh, about everyone suspecting the staff, blame it on Clue, the movie. "It was the BUTLER!" :derpytongue2:

5441956 Did somepony mention death note?:raritystarry:

I'm actually guilty of a little Death Note plagiarism myself. Love the anime. When I write my own mystery stories, I often play L's theme just to make me feel smarter.

I'm going to see if I can find this DN:E you speak of.

You probably won't find it right away. ( I just looked it up, wasn't there. :facehoof:) BUT it's made by a guy named Nonagon. Takes place before season 3 events. (No Princess Twilight) I've already finished reading it, so I'm taking a break from my unhealthy overdose of Fallout: Equestria and looking at other peoples creations. I was thinking of making one myself, but school and stuffs. :twilightsheepish:

I find that the real crime here is not the murder, nor the hijacking, nor even the theft of the Piecasso... but the insanely small number next to this story's green thumb... :trixieshiftright:

Well done, Good Sir or Madam, :twilightsmile:
s6.postimg.org/dd47s96ap/Pirate_Approved.jpg

5460293 :rainbowlaugh:

It was such a complex crime not even the great Octavia could puzzle it out.

Thanks for reading and commenting! Love the pirate, too.

Exellent read!

You get a like!

And have a thumbs up too!

How about a moustace, while we're at it!:moustache:

And a heart, for LoZ purposes!:heart:

But seriously, this was an exellent story. There need to be more like this.

Oh, and here, have a Scootaloo.:scootangel:

Nice mystery-adventure... and now I want see Octavia and Vinyl in the mystery of the Blue Train! :raritywink:

9725978 Cheers man, I'll have to check that out when I have a minute free! : )

Hope you enjoyed it; it's been a while since I've revisited my murder-mystery phase.

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