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/pj250/ A Train Ride East

By Tony_D_III
Created: 15th March 2021 12:12:13 AM

  1. >"When is the next train to Manehatten?"
  2. "The timetable should be right inside next to the ticket service, but we'll be departing at 8:00 which is in... a quarter of an hour"
  3. >"Thank you very much"
  4. >The mare turns around and goes back into Canterlot Central Station
  5. >You are Steamer, engineer of the Friendship Express, and you are dead tired
  6. >Last night your conductor, All Aboard, had fallen ill a little over a quarter of the way from Vanhoover to Canterlot and you had to helm the train for the rest of it
  7. > Not that it needed much attention aside from the occasional shoveling of coal into its maw and making sure everything goes smoothly
  8. >Anyway, you’ll be running the mixed train from Canterlot to Manehatten for another 10 hours so you sure hope All Aboard gets to feeling better, for his sake and yours
  9. >You look up at the large clock embedded in the wall of the station which reads 7:52
  10. "ALL ABOARD FOR MANEHATTEN, ALL ABOARD FOR MANEHATTEN!"
  11. >At this the ponies on the platform start to work their way over to you as you start to check their tickets
  12. >You suppress a yawn as they pass by, barely checking their tickets before handing them back
  13. >Once they've all boarded you check the clock again
  14. >7:59, time to get this show on the road, though, just to be safe
  15. "LAST CALL FOR MANEHATTEN, ALL ABOARD WHO’S COMING ABOARD!"
  16. >Just then you see a mare hoofing it out of the station building towards the train
  17. >She's a unicorn with a yellow coat and a lighter blue mane
  18. "Every time" you mutter under your breath
  19. >"Sorry, sorry, sorry, so sorry"
  20. >She says, as she comes to a halt in front of you
  21. "That's alright Ma'am, may I see your ticket?"
  22. >She starts to dig around in her saddlebag
  23. >"Ticket, ticket, ticket, ticket, where'd I put the darn thing"
  24. >You take a final look at the clock just as it ticks to 8:00
  25. "Ma'am do you have a ticket or not, I've got a tight schedule I gotta fit and this isn't making my job any easier"
  26. >You really don't, if All Aboard still isn't feeling well by the time you get to Manehatten you'll be taking an extended stay there
  27. >The Friendship Express isn't the only train in Equestria dammit
  28. >"Ah here it is, and I thought I'd never find it, here you are"
  29. >She hands you what is very clearly a sorry excuse for a counterfeit train ticket written out in pencil
  30. >You look back to her groggily and she just smiles
  31. "Welcome aboard Ma'am, make yourself comfortable"
  32. >"Why thank you very much Mr. Conductor" she says, overplaying the theatrics as you hand her the fake ticket back
  33. >With that you shut the doors and head to the front of the train
  34. >Giving a tug on the whistle you engage the throttle and the train groans to life
  35. >”PFFFFFFF CHHHHHHH, PFFFFF CHHHH, PFFF CHHH, PF CH PF CH PF CH”
  36.  
  37. >It has been around an hour or so since departing Canterlot and everything is going as it should so you decide to check up on All Aboard
  38. >You make your way over to your shared cabin and knock once, twice, thrice
  39. >No response comes from the cabin so you let yourself in
  40. >It's a spacious cabin for what it's worth
  41. >Two berths, a closet, a restroom with a shower, and a window with its curtains currently drawn >It's nothing compared to the Crystal Empire Express though
  42. >You've heard that some of their premium suites look like the an actual bedroom with a full sized bed to boot
  43. >Though that's not here or there and you remember what you’re doing here in the first place >You look over to the berth on the left side and see All Aboard
  44. >He looks like he's in a pretty deep sleep, sounds like it too considering all the snoring he's doing
  45. >When he told you yesterday that he just needed to sleep it off you believed him and left him to it >He's coming up on 9 and a half hours which itself isn't bad
  46. >Though, considering he was only awake for a couple of hours before going back to sleep is the real concern
  47. >Nothing much you can do about it though so you head back into the hallway
  48. >As you start to move back up the car you look out the window at the rolling grasslands
  49. >The mountains of Neighagra Falls should be visible within the next hour or so
  50. >That’s what you’ve always loved about being a conductor
  51. >Traveling Equestria, seeing the sights as they go by
  52. >You’d think it’d get old sooner or later and in some respects it has, but you can’t help but remember when you were a colt and riding on this very train for the first time
  53. >You were so glued to the window you hadn’t even noticed the train had stopped
  54. >If your parents hadn’t noticed you didn’t follow them off the train you would’ve rode it until it stopped
  55. >You make your way out of the sleeper car and into the crisp Autumn air
  56. >In front of you is the tender which should carry you halfway to Manehatten before needing to be restocked
  57. >You take your time going around it to get that last feeling of the wind rushing by and get back into the engine
  58. >Ever since they installed the tender the engine compartment has become a lot more spacious considering they didn’t have to store all the extra coal and water in here anymore
  59. >You take a look out the window towards the front of the train
  60. >From the numerous trips you’ve taken across these rails you know there’s a switch coming up that the train can’t take at anywhere near full speed
  61. >You reference the map and determine you’re an hour from it so you do as you always do and wait
  62.  
  63. >You’ve slowed down enough to make it around the joint turn  switch
  64. >Was it just you or did this turn seem sharper than before
  65. >You’re probably just mistaking this for another switch on another route
  66. >You don’t usually get confused like this, must be the lack of sleep again
  67. >You open a window to take a peek outside at the rest of the train making the slow turn
  68. >Nothing looks out of the ordinary and it seems to be going well
  69. >You start to retreat your head back in when something catches your eye
  70. >You see somepony’s tail disappear behind the cars moving
  71. >It’s not too uncommon that you’d get a pony or two trying to catch a free ride by jumping on at one of these slower areas
  72. >You’ll go back and check the passenger’s tickets before you get back up to speed
  73. >You should also go check back on All Aboard, maybe he’s feeling better by now
  74.  
  75. >Dawning your engineer’s cap you start towards the sleeper cabin again
  76. >Not bothering to knock this time you slide open the door and, to your surprise, see All Aboard sitting up in his berth and reading a book
  77. ”Morning All, sleep well”
  78. >you say almost sarcastically
  79. >”Yes, I think so at least”
  80. ”You feelin’ well enough to take the reins outta my hooves? I haven’t got but a lick of sleep in the past 24 hours”
  81. >” ’Course, it seems enough of my strength has returned to me”
  82. ”Thanks, ah and while you’re at it can you head to the back and check the passenger’s tickets? I feel like I saw somepony jumping on back at the turnout”
  83. >”Sure, and what should I do if they don’t have one”
  84. ”Just tell them they can ride to Manehatten but will have to pay fare and be fined once we get to the station”
  85. >”Alright then, enjoy your rest Steamer”
  86. ”Yep”
  87. >and with that you proceed to climb into the berth and fall asleep
  88.  
  89. >You are All Aboard, conductor for the Friendship Express, and you are still feeling sick
  90. >You would’ve loved to stay in bed for a while longer but Steamer was looking worse for wear
  91. >Nonetheless you should head into the passenger cars to find out if somepony had jumped on
  92. >You step through to the first passenger car
  93. >It’s sparsely populated with many of the occupants reading magazines or just looking out the windows at the landscape
  94. >You clear your throat which brings some attention up to you
  95. ”Can I have everyone get their tickets out, just doing a routine check”
  96. >The passengers start to get their tickets out as you go by and check them
  97. >No discrepancies here
  98. >You go into the second car
  99. >More of the same as everything seems to be in order
  100. >You mosey on over to the third car, repeat the same spiel, and check the tickets
  101. >All of them are good until you get to a yellow unicorn mare with cerulean mane
  102. >She gives you her “ticket” with a wink
  103. ”Is this supposed to be a joke Ma’am?”
  104. >She’s handed you a piece of cardstock with the words “Friendship Express: Admit 1” written on it
  105. >”No, I just, uh…”
  106. ”Listen, you can stay on the train until we get to Manehatten, but once we get there you’ll have to pay regular fare on top of being fined for riding without a valid ticket”
  107. >”No really, the other conductor let me on, just go get him and he’ll tell you”
  108. >There’s not a second conductor on the Friendship Express though she may be talking about Steamer
  109. >She must have seen him before hopping on the train
  110. ”I’m sure he did, but right now he’s sleeping and will probably be for a while”
  111. >You look down and check your pocket watch
  112. >It reads 11:02
  113. >Wow, it hadn’t dawned on you just how long you’d slept
  114. ”So please just don’t cause a ruckus here or I may not be so inclined as to let you ride all the way to Manehatten”
  115. >You leave before she can get another word in
  116. >That conversation had drained you a bit more than you expected considering how short it was
  117. >You’d known Steamer for a while and you don’t think he’d just let somepony on without a ticket
  118. >No point in giving it much of a second thought so you go back to the front of the train
  119. >It’s still going quite slow from the turn though you’ve cleared it by now and open the throttle to full
  120. >You have a general idea of where you are, having passed the switch not too long ago, but you consult the map anyways
  121. >You should be at the water stop a little after Noon according to your calculations so you give her a bit more coal and settle in
  122.  
  123. >You are still All Aboard, and this is not good
  124. >You’ve checked the map again and again but now you’re sure of it
  125. >Foal Mountain is way to close for you to be on the correct line heading to Manehatten
  126. >Steamer must’ve gotten mixed up at the switch
  127. >The line you’re on now takes you straight to Hollow Shades
  128. >You should have noticed the mountain getting closer, but you had been reading a book
  129. >Only occasionally looking up to have a glance at where you were going
  130. >You must have been going in the wrong direction for over an hour now
  131. >You’d already cranked the throttle back half when you started to doubt yourself, but now you’re at full stop
  132. >Once you’ve completely slowed you’ll throw it in reverse and explain the situation to the passengers who won’t be too pleased to hear their arrival has been delayed for 2 hours
  133. >On top of that the conversation Steamer and yourself will be having with your superiors won’t be too pleasant either
  134. >You’re considering waking up Steamer and telling him about the situation when you hear a voice behind you
  135. >”Why is the train stopping?”
  136. >It sounds feminine though you can’t place your hoof on the accent
  137. ”You’re not allowed to be…”
  138. >you say as you start to turn around
  139. ”Up here…”
  140. >and you come snout to snout with a bat pony
  141. ”AHH A BAT!”
  142. >you jump backwards
  143. >The bat pony mare continues towards you
  144. >”What was I supposed to say next”
  145. >You barely hear this over the noise of the train and the half whisper she spoke it at
  146. >”Oh right, um, this is a robbery, put your hooves in the air”
  147. >She almost seems unsure of herself
  148. >It may have been cute under normal circumstances
  149. ”What? A robbery? But we’re not hawling anything impor…”
  150. >What was in the freight cars
  151. >You’d been asleep while you were at Canterlot so you have no idea what she could be wanting
  152. ”...tant”
  153. >The bat pony walks past you and pushes the throttle back to full
  154. >You’re getting a bit old but you’re still a fully grown and healthy stallion
  155. >You could easily take this bat pony in a fight
  156. >”Well the others seem to think it’s important”
  157. >And there goes that plan out the window
  158. >”So yeah, just take us to Hollow Shades, we’ll take what we need, and then you’ll be on your way”
  159. >You genuinely don’t know what to do in this situation
  160. >They didn’t exactly prepare during the training
  161. >The little they did tell you was to just follow what they wanted
  162. >So guess you’ll be doing that
  163. ”A-alright then”
  164.  
  165. >You steady yourself, getting over the shock of seeing a bat pony out in the day
  166. >Or a bat pony at all for that matter
  167. >Wait why was a bat pony out during the day
  168. >You’d heard of instances of bat ponies coming out during the day, though you’d always thought that the sun was almost harmful to them
  169. >As evidenced by this one that doesn’t seem to be the case
  170. >”How long until we reach Hollow Shades?”
  171. ”It’ll be an hour and a half”
  172. >You answer bluntly, trying to keep a poker face
  173. >You wish Steamer were here right now
  174. >He’d probably know what to do a bit better than you
  175. >It’d also be better if they tried to pull anything on you
  176. >It’ll be a long shot, but maybe she’ll let you get him
  177. ”You know…”
  178. >You say as enticingly as possible
  179. ”If we were to get the engineer we could speed up getting to Hollow Shades”
  180. >A blatant lie to you, but you’re banking on the bat pony not knowing too much about trains
  181. >”And how would that make us go any faster?”
  182. >Wellllll, you hadn’t gotten that far
  183. ”He knows how to operate this thing better than me so I’m sure he’d know something”
  184. >You look back at the bat pony and she seems to be considering your words
  185. >It’s worth a shot
  186. >”If it’ll speed us up then that should be fine”
  187. >That worked out rather smoothly
  188. >”Though I’ll be the one waking him up, you just.. tell him what’s going on”
  189. >Better than nothing
  190. ”Ok”
  191.  
  192. >You are Steamer, and you are dreaming about what else but trains, when you hear a loud noise that jolts you awake
  193. >”KeeeEekKkKeEEkKeEkKeeEEekKeeeeekKeeeE”
  194. ”AH wh-what”
  195. >You turn your head to the source of the noise and you see a bat pony
  196. >Oh a bat pony… OH
  197. ”WHY IS THERE A BAT IN HERE”
  198. >The bat pony steps a bit away and you see All Aboard
  199. >You try and croak something out but nothing does
  200. >All Aboard speaks up
  201. >”Yeah, it seems like we’re being robbed”
  202. >Of course you are
  203. ”And what are they robbing us of”
  204. >”That’s the thing, I don’t know, she hasn’t said anything about it besides ‘the others think it’s important’”
  205. ”There are others?”
  206. >”Apparently”
  207. >Good grief
  208. ”So what am I supposed to do, why’d you wake me up”
  209. >”Because you can make the train go faster of course”
  210. >As he says this he looks over to the bat pony and then to you expectantly
  211. ”Ah, right, of course I can make us go faster”
  212. >The bat pony speaks again
  213. >“Great, now come up to the front and do that”
  214. >With that the bat pony ushers you both out of the room
  215.  
  216. ”... and now we just shovel some more coal into the firebox here and we should get there quicker”
  217. >This won’t really make the train go any faster
  218. >It’ll just heat up the water more and cause more steam to build up
  219. >You’re already on full steam ahead so all this will do is make you go full throttle longer
  220. >”See, I told you he’d know what to do”
  221. >All Aboard says, turning towards the bat pony
  222. >She seems pleased
  223. >All Aboard then walks over to you
  224. >”What do we have that they’d want anyway”
  225. ”I haven’t the slightest, when I got to Canterlot I gave them the cargo from Vanhoover and coupled with the shipment going to Manehatten”
  226. >”You didn’t even bother to ask what’d be in it”
  227. ”Why would I? It’s not like I’m personally invested in what we're hawling on any given day
  228. >”Fair point, what should we do now?”
  229. ”Just wait this out I guess, nothing much really to do”
  230. >”Maybe I should go tell the passengers that we’re going to be delayed for a while
  231. ”That’d be a good idea, not that it’ll change much considering our situation but still”
  232. >He turns around before being stopped by the bat pony
  233. >Oh, right, guess not then
  234.  
  235. >You finally make it to Hollow Shades
  236. >Once you’re at the Station it seems like more co-conspirators arrive
  237. >That or just interested citizens
  238. >The bat pony tells you to go release the back two freight cars
  239. >Looks like you’ll finally get to the bottom of this mystery
  240. >You uncouple the back two cars from the rest of the train
  241. >On the side of the car it reads “LOS PEGASUS”
  242. >This just keeps getting more and more confusing
  243. >The bat pony mare and a bat pony stallion with a crowbar fly to the top of the car
  244. >You hear as he pries away one of the boards
  245. >”KEeEeEkKkKEEekKEEkKEEEkKeEkKEEEek!”
  246. >The mare shouts
  247. >”KEeEeEkKeeeeeeEkKEeEEekKeEEeEkKEeEEEkKeEeEEkKEEEeEk!”
  248. >The rest of the crowd responds
  249. >And resting there, in the frog of her hoof is……………
  250. >A mango
/pj250/ This paste was made with a poor understanding of the equestrian rail system and an even poorer understanding of trains

/pj250/ A Train Ride East

by Tony_D_III