• Published 4th Apr 2013
  • 2,460 Views, 481 Comments

The Forgotten Enterprise - Paddle Steamer



In the bloody seas of the Pacific, with WWII blaring; one ship was making a name for herself, she'd become the most famous carrier of the War. But what about the other ship? She was fighting for her survival yet forgotten from history.

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Chapter 1


13 April, 1003 Celestia's Reign
Manehatten Port, Equestria.
7:00am


The day was clear and warm, the sounds of ponies attending their business and hooves clopping on the cobblestone roadways of the large city filled Octavia's ears as she took in the sites. Tall buildings extending for miles, the gas road lamps creating small glows in areas where the sun hadn't yet reached over the tall skyscrapers, stage coaches and wagons lining the streets. Octavia walked down a bustling road, carrying her cello and other necessities for her trip to Trottingham. She was going to meet her family for her mother's birthday like she did every year, she was happy, it was calm in Trottingham and she wouldn't have any performances to practice for. She watched ponies dart to and fro, from their homes to shops or workplaces even in this large city, things were relatively calm. Well as calm as a city of 900,000 ponies can be, she had to duck left and right a few times to avoid hitting another pony or some object as she made her way to the P.S. Equestria.

Octavia looked at the ship she would be taking the two week journey on; it was one of the largest ships built by the Equestrian Limited Shipbuilding Co. The P.S. Equestria was 420 hooves long; she boasted 40 hoof diameter paddle wheels driven by two Correster & Co 564 pony power side lever steam engines.

The wooden-hulled paddle steamer also had a brig sail plan, like conventional brig sail plans, the ship had two square rigged masts located aft and forward of amidships. The mainmast is located behind the foremast; both the fore and main masts have three sails; the mainsail at the bottom, topsail above and topgallant even further above. The brig sail plan also has fore-and-aft sails, the aft sail is gaff rigged onto the mainmast, the foresails are jibs connected to the foremast from the bowsprit with yards, and all the yards are controlled by a complicated arrangement of cordage named the running rigging. The running rigging allows the yards and thus the sails to be adjusted for better efficiency depending on the wind, where standing rigging is fixed, and keeps mast and other objects rigid.

The funnel was located just aft of the half-moon paddle boxes with wisps of black coal smoke curling out into the wind. The hull was painted a glossy black, polished to the point of being able to see your reflection in the wood, with a thin white bar down the centre, the top of the paddle boxes were white, along with the top of the hull that extends above the deck to act as a railing of sorts. The paddle wheels where a dark royal blue that would match the night sea perfectly, only being visible by the froth that they kicked up propelling the vessel at 10 knots.

Octavia was looking at the ship when she heard someone calling her name; she turned to find Vinyl Scratch trying to push her way over to Octavia. The smile that the beautiful ship had brought faded quickly when Vinyl finally made her way over.

"Heya Tavi!" Vinyl yelled with a large exuberant grin. The grin made Octavia suspicious, 'She's up to something, I know it.' she thought to herself before blurting out the first thing to come to her lips.

"I've told you not to call me that Miss Scratch, my name is Octavia. Now what is it you could possibly want, I must be going." She said with a less than enthusiastic tone. It's not that she hated the rambunctious DJ, but she disagreed with her more often than naught, and she really didn't like that name.

"Yeah whatever Tavi, I was just wondering since you're going to Trottingham and all if you'd mind giving one of my friends this." She pulled out a record in its case and gave it to Octavia, who looked at it doubtfully.

"More of your 'wub' music Vinyl?" Octavia dead panned. She'd much rather hear the screech of train brakes for an hour than listen to Vinyl's so called "music".

"You betcha." Vinyl replied, oblivious to the annoyance of the other mare. Octavia sighed before replying, she wanted to end this conversation quickly and get going.

"And who is your friend and where may he or she live?" Her voice was monotonous.

"Huh? Oh yeah, yeah, right, his name is Golden Leaf, he'll meet you at port." She said distractedly, something had caught her attention but Octavia didn't care what it was. Nor did she care to ask about Vinyl's friend, only the things she needed to.

"And what would this Mr. Leaf happen to look like?" She noticed most of the other ponies were gone, already aboard the ship; she needed to be going, now.

"Oh you can't miss him; he's got a neon mane and wears a lot of large necklaces." Vinyl was definitely looking at something and Octavia risked a glance...it was a food cart serving hay fries, she mentally face hoofed.

"Now if there is nothing else I must be going, good day Miss Scratch."

"Cya Tavi!" And with that Vinyl went to the food cart while Octavia went up the gangway and boarded the Equestria, throwing Vinyl's record into her saddle bags where she would hopefully never see it again until she gave it to this Mr. Leaf.

The crew of the Equestria wore white Dixie cup caps and a white uniform that covered their torso, their rank insignias were simple: around the sleeve cuff were red stripes; the more stripes the higher the rank of the sailor. The Captain's rank was the only one that differed from this system; it was a blue anchor. The ranking system for Officers starts with midshippony with a single stripe, Sub-Lieutenant with two stripes and so on, Lieutenants with three, Lieutenant Commanders with four, and Commanders with five.

When Octavia reached the deck she completely forgot about her little brush with Vinyl, she saw all sorts of high class ponies from Canterlot visiting Trottingham for any number of reasons, she saw the crew checking the ship and its rigging, preparing for their departure, and checking ponies for their boarding passes. Octavia walked to over to have her pass checked over by a young midshippony. The stallion escorted her to her quarters in first class and then told Octavia she was cute, causing her to blush slightly before she kindly turned him down and complementing him afterwards to make him feel better by saying that she's sure he'll meet the right mare in time. With that the sailor left back to escort more ponies to their quarters, and possibly flirt some more with the mares.

Octavia looked around her room; there was luxury everywhere her eyes checked, the bed was large and soft, with only the highest quality silk sheets and over fluffed pillows, a carafe with expensive wine and glasses sat on a polished silver tray on the right side nightstand, the carafe and wine glasses both had wide bottoms to resist falling over with the slight chop of the sea. The walls were of the finest Teak again smoothened and polished to perfection, the bathroom had fine granite floors and sinks with gold fittings, the handles capped with a ruby for hot water and a tanzanite gemstone for cold. The bath was equally gold and gem happy, with the white granite being topped off with a ring of gold filled with oval emeralds, again with the hot and cold valves having their respective ruby and tanzanite caps.

Octavia only barely managed to keep her jaw from hitting the floor, she had never seen such luxury on a ship before, the Equestria was still very new, this would only be her second voyage; the first voyage received great reviews from all the ponies to take the ship, now she knew why. She went over to one of the chifforobes and unpacked her things; she paid her cello extra care making sure it would not fall over even in the roughest of storms. She left the record in her saddle bags, which she hung on one of the chifforobes hooks.

She looked at the bell clock on the wall, it said 7:26, the ship was set to leave at 7:30 so Octavia decided to go to the dining area and get tea and a nice breakfast. On her way she looked at the paintings of pony Captains on the walls, the light from magically powered lamps keeping the windowless corridor brightly lit. She opened the double doors into the dining area, and she was again met with the upmost luxury; ponies sat at tables with crisp white tablecloths and waiters with fancy tuxedos and bow ties. She was brought to a table and given a menu giving it a quick browse, although by now she had expected only the best and wasn't filled with surprise at the expensive dishes. She ordered her tea and a daffodil salad; the waiter left and took her menu, she looked around to see if there was anypony she knew. Before she got the chance to really look there was loud activity coming from the deck above her, she could hear shouted commands and the whistle blow, and the mooring lines being taken back aboard and rolled up; the ship was being cast off. After the ship drifted away from the pier the paddle wheels started thrashing at the sea and the Equestria was underway.

Octavia watched Manehatten out of the porthole by her table get smaller and smaller as the ship steamed away. She quickly went back to looking for anypony she knew though, and she smiled when she saw Roseluck. Sure Octavia wasn't the best of friends with Rose but they were good friends, the times Octavia would go to Ponyville they would talk and take in the peacefulness of the town before she would have to go back to Canterlot. Now Rose was sitting a half dozen tables away enjoying her breakfast, Octavia made a mental note to speak with her after breakfast to catch up on all the adventures the Elements had from the last time Octavia had been down in Ponyville. She was also going to ask Rose why she was here, as long as Octavia could remember Rose always stayed in Ponyville, the few times she would leave were for large events and that meant normally only going as far as Canterlot. Now she was taking a two week trip across sea, Octavia was quite curios about what her friend had planned, but her food arrived before she had time to speculate.

"Your daffodil salad and tea ma'am." The waiter spoke with an experienced and refined voice.

"Thank you sir." Octavia replied with a polite smile as she took a sip from her tea. She savoured the flavour, it was the best tea she ever had, and she had the feeling that the salad would be equally good before she even picked up a fork. When she did she was still surprised, it tasted better than good, better than great, 'The Sunard Line must've hired the best cook in all of Equestria!' she thought as the flavour of the salad and the dressing coating it flooded her sense of taste. She took her time enjoying her meal before finishing, taking a napkin to her muzzle to wipe off any of the dressing that might've gotten on her fur before getting up and walking out the doors. Roseluck had left a couple minutes before her and she figured her friend would be on the deck, taking in the fresh sea air.

Octavia made her way to the deck climbing through the companionway and taking in the sea air. It was cool and refreshing, with a gentle breeze which the Equestria's sails were making full use of, as the ship was now free-wheeling, or the ship has shut down its engine and disconnected it from the paddle wheels, allowing them to turn freely and reduce drag when not in use. Like she thought, Octavia spotted Roseluck at the side of the ship looking out at the city they left 23 minutes ago, the Equestria was making around 9 knots and the city was still clearly visible, but shrinking quickly. Octavia joined Rose at the rail, Rose didn't notice however and when Octavia spoke up she nearly jumped out of her skin.

"Hello Rose, how's it been going for you, anything interesting happen from last time we spoke?" Octavia asked as she suppressed a chuckle.

"Octavia don't sneak up on me like that! Of all ponies you should know better, and no surprisingly nothing quite interesting happened at Ponyville since the last time we spoke a couple weeks ago. How's life been going for you at the Royal Canterlot Symphony?" Rose replied calming down from the startle her friend gave her.

"Okay, next time I'll make sure to stomp my hooves loudly on the deck for you." She said with a small smile. "Also it's been going great, not to brag but I'm the best cellist in Canterlot and I get hired for many performances not just part of the Royal Symphony, I enjoy playing with smaller, private crowds; less pressure and a much more enjoyable experience. You should come sometime, I'll pay for your entry I'm sure you'll love it, classical music is very calming." Octavia was thinking back to her performances of the last couple weeks and the fun she had, in private performances with only a couple dozen ponies the musicians are actually paid attention to rather than just there to provide background music for the main event.

"Oh Octavia I couldn't possibly let you pay for me, you're much too kind, I'm sure I can get the bits to spare another way." Rose replied with her own smile as she pictured Octavia romping around making sure she could hear her next time.

"I insist my dear, it's not a bother for me in any way; I make more than enough bits to spare on my friend. You simply must come I know you'll enjoy it, besides it's my gift to you, who denies a gift?" Octavia put on the best persuading smile she could to overcome her friend's modesty.

Rose tried to ignore the face of her friend but she couldn't. "Oh all right, but I'll have to do something to make it up to you afterwards." Octavia smiled and Rose learned it was infectious when she started smiling too.

As the two mares caught up on events that happened from last time they spoke the Equestria continued sailing unto the open sea, continued sailing towards the storm.

Author's Note:

2 hooves = 1 foot, so anything in Equestrian Standard (As I'm herby calling it) is half the size of our Imperial system of measurement.

I am most definitely not a sail fan, lots and lots of diffented parts and each and every one of them has a complicated name and function. I bet I made some mistakes with the sail plan, so if their are any sailors out there who want to correct me, please do so.

I really don't know what I was thinking with "midshippony" but I don't think I could've used midshipman either. :P

I will test your mental power by trying to find the referances of human companies and such I put in. (I'll give you a huge hint, the Correster & Co engine company has only a one letter difference from the real life steam engine company of the 19th century.)

Ships bell clock:

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