• 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 2


17 April, 1003 Celestia’s Reign
North Equestrian Sea, P.S. Equestria
1:30pm


Four days into the voyage, it's been clear skies and smooth sailing for the crew of the Equestria and Captain Calm Seas was enjoying his new vessel quite a bit. Captain Seas was an experienced Captain and the Equestria wasn't his first command, but it was his finest. Seas was 8 hooves tall, he had a light brown coat and a blonde mane, his cutie mark was a ship's wheel and compass, he was young for a Captain at age 27 but he spent his whole life sailing and joined the Sunard Lines at 13 as a midshippony, slowly working his way through the ranks. Seas was a good Captain, always vigilant, and never taking risks that could endanger his ship, crew or passengers. Today was no different; he stood on the bridge, located amidships between the paddle boxes, watching for any possible dangers but so far today was a peaceful, sunny day. The Equestria was making 12 knots with the stiff tailwind pushing the vessel along, the ship currently had 240 hands in total, 90 crew and 150 passengers, most of which were on deck enjoying the mild Spring day.

The trip had been going great for Seas, although he had to talk to a certain midshippony Sea Breeze for complaints by some mares that he was flirting with them. Seas had to smile at the young stallion's schemes, he would always manage to get into trouble somehow, flirting was one of the lesser evil's Breeze was known for; his most common being fights whenever they made port and he was unsupervised with alcohol consumption. Seas let the Boatswain deal with young Breeze, being that the Boatswain was far more intimidating than he was; and being that Breeze was part of the deck crew, under the Boatswain's command. The Boatswain was a stallion named Able Strong in his late forties, he was the oldest and most experienced crew member on the ship, the stallion was burly, and stood 9.5 hooves high, his brown mane showing the slight streaks of grey from age. Not that he showed any signs of slowing down, the stallion was a powerhouse, he could best anypony on the ship in hoof to hoof fighting and did wonders with a spear, he was also sharp and a natural leader; most of the crew looked up to him for support and guidance. His cutie mark was an anchor.

"Requesting permission to enter the bridge Captain." The voice came from the Chief Engineer Lieutenant Strong Iron. The Lieutenant's grey coat was matted with oil and grease in areas and his face was nearly black, his green eyes stuck out from behind the equally oil matted dark brown mane with a shocking sharpness. The pony knew more about the workings of a steam plant than anypony else Seas knew, he could make a working engine out of a few pie tins and bobby pins if he had enough time. The current look he had on didn't spike confidence in the Captain however.

"Permission granted, what seems to be bothering you Iron?" Seas asked the Lieutenant with a barely noticeable touch of concern for his ship's inner workings.

"One of the piston rings on the number two engine had a defect and the ring failed before we shut down the engines and I came to inform you that if you need engine power that you'll only have the one until we can replace the ring. It should be no longer than a few hours, and what's the worst that can happen in that time span?" The Chief Engineer stated with a confident smile knowing he had some of the best engineers the Sunard Line had to offer: this was the Line's flagship after all. Replacing a piston ring wasn't complicated, but it meant taking the cylinder apart, and when the cylinders are large enough to walk two ponies side by side, it's a pretty big undertaking.

"I trust you and the other engineers can get it done in a timely fashion, anything else you care to share while you're here?" Seas questioned making sure there was nothing else that could hinder his vessel's abilities, having only one engine didn't make him feel as comfortable as he'd liked, but as long as the sea was calm and the skies stayed clear he shouldn't need the extra power.

"No sir, everything else is working fine; the ship is the finest I've served on and I'm sure she can handle anything we may encounter on the North Sea, large storms aren't a given for this area, as you well know." Lieutenant Iron stated, with more than a hint of cockiness. Seas was believing that being on one of the most advanced ships in service was going to the Lieutenant's head, but he did have a point: the ship was sturdy and the North Equestrian Sea tended to remain calm most of the year.

"Well Lieutenant I'd have to agree with you; the Equestria is a fine ship indeed. As to handling anything, that depends on how imaginative you can get with the word 'anything'." He smiled knowing that the Lieutenant was going to mull over that statement for a good hour or so trying to think of every possible situation they could encounter.

"I'd better be going, they may need me in engineering, and it certainly couldn't hurt to make sure they don't break anything taking the cylinder apart on number two." Iron said with a thoughtful expression, pondering the problems the ship might be trapped in with only a single engine, and how far the crew has gotten in terms of removing the connecting rods from the piston rods on the number two engine. 'Maybe they already have the cylinder head off...' he thought to himself as he started to head back down to the engine room.

Captain Seas went back to watching for any possible threat to his vessel and enjoying the mild day. The wind cooling the fur around his face, it was a very pleasant day. He took a closer look at his crew and passengers on the deck; the crew was mostly making minor trim adjustments to the sails to make sure they caught as much wind as possible, and the passengers either talked amongst themselves or would crowd around one of the more well-known Canterlot ponies. He noticed the same two mares he saw on deck when they left port; the grey mare was on the left and the cream coloured mare to her right, they were both on the forecastle talking animatedly to each other and having an overall good time. 'I could go for a nice wine and salad about now...' he thought, but he couldn't overdo it with the wine; he had to remain professional. His expression remained stoic while he focused on his duty and after another half hour he retired to his quarters going to take a quick rest and fill out a log entry for the afternoon.


Octavia and Rose were both on the forecastle watching the prow cut through the smooth seas speaking about Twilight becoming an alicorn Princess. Octavia was keen in observing the occasional dolphin pace the ship and break the surface in a long arc-like movement blowing water from their spouts. They'd been on the forecastle for about an hour now; the sounds of the waves against the hull and the dolphin's clicking were soothing and the day was as peaceful as ever. The Equestria's bulwark was painted a clean white and the gunwale was a crisp golden yellow to complement the black hull paint.

Some days Octavia and a few other musicians on board would get together on the deck and play a few songs to the enjoyment of the crew and passengers; the bits they'd get didn't hurt the practice either. She saw that midshippony again; he was watching her play and gave her a generous amount of bits after she finished before complimenting her performance and talent. She returned the compliment with a soft smile before packing up her cello and returning it to its chifforobe, after every performance she'd have a small glass of wine as her own little "job well done" gift to herself. Rose would come down often after she played to tell her how much she enjoyed her playing and her company on this long trip. Even with Octavia's gentle probing she never got Rose to tell her why exactly she was taking this trip in the first place, it was always "It's just something I needed to do." and then she'd change the subject. Octavia wasn't going to press her friend too much, but she really did want to know what it could be that warranted the secrecy.

Octavia had noticed that it was growing darker rapidly, looking up her eyes widened with surprise; a truly massive storm cloud was forming overhead seemingly out of nowhere. She nudged Rose to get her to look up as well, Rose stood with her mouth slightly agape; this was not a normal storm. The cloud covered the entire horizon and it was growing darker by the second; then the rain came, a little at first but in less than a minute it was a downpour. As the wind picked up so did the waves and the ship started to roll and pitch with the sea.

"Octavia we need to get below decks now!" Rose shouted over the ever increasing wind to her friend, but Octavia was frozen in shock at the unnatural storm radiating an aurora of danger. Thinking quickly she grabbed her friend's tail in her mouth and dragged her full gallop to the companionway, about a third the way there Octavia finally snapped to and started her own mad dash to safety. The two burst through the companionway at full stride and nearly ploughed over a seapony on his way to secure the deck and furl the sails before the turbulent winds damaged them and their masts.

The two mares were dripping water as they went to Octavia's quarters, being the closest, and stared out the porthole, fear starting to creep into their minds. The storm was massive, the waves were at least 30 hooves high and it was getting worse, the clouds seemed to have no end as the whole sky was a dark grey blob being lit by the occasional lightning bolt. The ship started to roll violently and they had to clutch anything secured to the floor to keep from being thrown around the cabin, the sound the hull was making wasn't the most reassuring sound in the world as the wood creaked and groaned its protest to the sudden stress.

"Octavia I-I'm scared." Rose sputtered, fear taking control over her.

"I am too Rose...I am too." Octavia was trying to keep calm but even she couldn't keep the fear from her voice and facial features. The storm was bad, really bad, they thought they were going to die; that there was no way the ship could survive. Then they heard the loud crack of something large and made of wood breaking, shortly after there was a groan and thud followed by shouted commands and panicked screams...


3:28pm

"Full steam ahead! If we lose the engines we lose the ship! We need ponies clearing the debris of the mainmast before it capsizes the ship!" Captain Seas was shouting to his frightened crew desperately trying to save the Equestria. The mainmast had snapped from the combination of roll and wind, if he couldn't get the crew to cut it free and roll it over the side of the side it could mean the end of everypony's life he was in charge of. He would not let that happen, not as long as he was in command of this vessel. The sound of axes and stallions working the fouled rigging trying to cut the debris lose and get the ship to ride properly met his ears, the once beautiful paddle steamer resembled a disaster zone, yards, lanyards, blocks and other debris that once held a purpose scattered throughout the entirety of the deck. The bulwarks were splintered from where the mainmast crashed upon them and lanyards were ripped from the wood. The ship had a very noticeable list to port as the weight of the mainmast threatened to capsize the vessel and the uneven thrust this caused the paddle wheels made keeping steerageway very difficult. Captain Seas replaced the helmspony knowing that his experience was needed at the wheel to keep the bow straight unto the waves; if the ship were to lose its bow on approach and heave to the side the waves would capsize the vessel quickly. He had no choice but to continue in a straight line and hope for the best. 'Celestia save us.' he thought as the storm took its toll on the Equestria.

The ship still only had the use of one engine and if Seas couldn't break through the storm soon the ship and all hands will be lost; the storm wouldn't allow the lifeboats to be deployed. But just as the ship started to lose speed and steerageway something happened; a bright greenish glow erupted directly in front of the vessel, the glow spread outward and engulfed the Equestria. Captain Seas shielded his eyes against the light, but it dissipated as fast as it appeared and when he opened his eyes he was still in the storm; like nothing happened. Then the storm started to clear, rapidly; the rain stopped, the winds slowed and the sea started to calm down, soon it was quiet; the only sound the paddles thrashing against the suddenly sedate sea. The crew had stopped what they were doing to stare in utter awe at the light and the sudden clear skies, but the ship was still listing from the weight of the fallen mast. They were safe...at least they thought they were.

Author's Note:

Oh god, I never want to name another OC pony in my life, it's a lot harder than you may think. Humans are much easier.
I think I need to take the walk of shame for the Equestria's Chief Engineer's awful name.

There may or may not have been some minor Murphy provoking by said engineer...

Also before anyone decides to yell out shipping comments, notice the lack of a romance tag. You're thinking of the wrong ships for this story mates.

If you're wondering why the pony crew have military ranks even though it's a commerical vessel, well it's simple: Equestria doesn't have an active Navy and in the event of war the commerical vessels and their crews become said Navy.

Next chapter is where it'll get interesting and there may be some Vera Lynn. (If you know who that is you get an internet cookie.)

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