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Odd Jobs With Odd Job Ep 1. We're Off You Know

By SQA-non
Created: 16th July 2021 09:31:33 PM
7th December 2021 04:47:04 AM

  1. Plug (adj.)
  2. (US, slang) A worthless horse.
  3. ~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
  4. >”Hey, Odd Job! Up here!”
  5. >As the voice from above snapped you out of your reverie, your senses came flooding back to you.
  6. >You could feel the sea breeze blowing through your coat, smell the salt in the air...
  7. >... and see how close to the edge of the pier you were walking!
  8. >Taking a hasty step away from said edge, you thank your lucky star.
  9. >One misstep and you would have slipped right off the side and into the ocean below.
  10. >Faust, that would have been embarrassing, and the gals’ joking would have been unbearable!
  11. >’Leave it to the stallion to be airheaded enough to trot right off the side of the pier!’
  12. >Ugh, glad you dodged that arrow.
  13. >Speaking of…
  14. >Casting your gaze skyward, you catch sight of your unintentional savior, your friend, Shore Wind.
  15. >In any other town, the pegasus pony’s sky blue coat might have been hard to spot, but against Plug-in-Bay’s perpetually gray skies, she was easy to spy.
  16. >As she slowly descends toward you, you give her a little wave.
  17. “Hey, Squall.”
  18. >Rolling her eyes at the nickname, she lands and falls into step beside you without missing a beat.
  19. >As she does, it becomes immediately apparent she’s been living up to her name.
  20. >Her two tone dark blue and seafoam green mane was crusted in sea salt, undoubtedly from flying along the shore’s edge.
  21. >Something that seemed to bother most ponies, but never her.
  22. “Been scouting the bay?”
  23. >Puffing her chest out a little, she smiles, clearly satisfied with herself.
  24. >”I have!” she cheerfully replies, “The waters are pretty calm today. Neap and the new gal should have a pretty easy time down there.”
  25. >Phew, that’s good.
  26. >The last thing Neap needs to deal with is a rookie diver /and/ rough waters.
  27. >For your part, you had mastered that bubble helmet spell Neap had asked about, so as long as the rookie can keep her cool, everything should go as smooth as silk.
  28. >“I’m surprised Neap didn’t want to wait for a day with clearer skies, though,” Squall asks as she gazes toward the cloudy sky.
  29. >You shrug.
  30. “Isn’t this the sunniest it's going to get for the next month?”
  31. >“Well, yeah,” she awkwardly adds, “but I’m sure I could have convinced my boss to add in some clear skies soon! Probably.”
  32. “Well, odds are she—”
  33. >Your train of thought was cut off by your destination coming into view.
  34. >At the far end of the pier was a dock that was rarely used, dock 13.
  35. >Even from where the two of you were standing, you could see barnacles running all the way up the length of the dock’s legs.
  36. >Heck, there were even barnacles on top of the dock itself!
  37. >But that sorry sight was nothing compared to the boat moored at it.
  38. >You could hear the worry in Squall’s voice as she turned to you.
  39. >”Odd, are you /sure/ Neap told us to meet her at dock 13?”
  40. >Well, you certainly weren’t now!
  41. >The ship moored there, which meant the ship you were taking out to sea, was old. VERY old.
  42. >You could tell at one point it has painted a terribly tacky shade of yellow, but had long since faded.
  43. >Its sail was in an equally sorry state, and had been patched so much that it looked like it was more patch than sail!
  44. >And those were just the obvious problems. The closer you got, the worse it looked!
  45. >What had once been safety railings along the deck had long since fallen into disrepair, the cabin was missing so many planks you could see in from the outside, and the windows didn’t even have glass!
  46. >That’s not even getting into the size of the thing.
  47. >It must’ve been only five by two and a half pony lengths, at most!
  48. >No way this thing was going to be able to carry five ponies and a diving bell out into the bay.
  49. >Oh stars... did it even /have/ a diving bell?!
  50. >At this point nervousness had managed to creep its way into your own voice as well.
  51. “I-I must have misheard. There’s no way Neap would get us a boat like this! Especially for a salvage run.”
  52. >Or, you suppose what Neap /said/ was a salvage run.
  53. >Wanting to get to the bottom of this obvious misunderstanding as fast as possible, the two of you wordlessly picked up your pace toward the boat.
  54. >After all, there’s no way your good friend would trust your lives to some wreck-to-be! Clearly, you’re headed to the wrong dock, you’ll just—
  55. >—aaaaand she’s on the bow.
  56. >Catching sight of you just as you spot her, she vaults over the railing and onto the dock, trotting up to meet you with a sharp-toothed grin on her face.
  57. >She’s clearly not been out of the water for long, her entire body, blueberry mane to sandy hoof, is sopping wet.
  58. >She’s even got some seaweed hanging off her tailfin, that slob!
  59. >Something she notices you gawking at, immediately swinging her tail around to grab the seaweed off it with her teeth.
  60. >As you watch her wolf it down, only one thing comes to mind.
  61. >Ugh, mares.
  62. >>“Sorry about that,” she says once she’s swallowed, “I was just giving the old colt a final once over to make sure he’s watertight before we set out!”
  63. >She punctuates her statement by patting the side of the ship, at which Squall looks utterly distraught.
  64. >“Neap, tell me you’re just pulling our tails.”
  65. >As if to confirm both your fears though, Neap beams with more pride than she has any right to.
  66. >>”Nope, you’re looking at the proud owner of the S.S...”
  67. >Her statement trails off as she realizes she’s forgotten the name of her own boat.
  68. >She briefly leans toward the bow to check it, but unfortunately finds the name had long since faded with the paint job.
  69. >But in classic Neap style, she didn’t let that stop her.
  70. >>”...The S.S. Something Or Another. Yeah! The S.S. Something Or Another.”
  71. >Spreading her hooves wide and grinning ear to ear, she presents the two of you her purchase in all its “glory”.
  72. >To punctuate her declaration, a loose plank falls off the side of the boat and into the ocean.
  73. >The splash makes her recoil a little, but after just a moment her smile is back in full.
  74. >And it only looks a little forced!
  75. >She awkwardly holds the pose, clearly expecting the two of you to at least smile back.
  76. >You eventually do, feeling a little bad for her, but Squall obviously does not feel the same.
  77. >“Neap,” Squall says with a strained voice, “What in Equestria were you thinking?”
  78. >Falling out of the pose, Neap takes a defensive step back.
  79. >>“What!? We’ve been talking about getting our own boat for years! Boom! Now we’ve got one!”
  80. >Stomping her hoof, Squall shouts back, “And it's a hunk of junk!”
  81. >Neap wilts under Squall’s outburst, and you can’t help but feel a little bad for her.
  82. >At least some part of her heart was in the right place.
  83. >Unfortunately, Neap could smell your sympathy for her like her tribe can sniff out blood in the ocean.
  84. >All it took was one sideways glance at your eyes and her face lit up like a Hearth's Warming tree.
  85. >Next thing you know, she’s slipped past Squall and slid a hoof around your withers.
  86. >She desperately leans into you, and you can feel the fin on her back press into your side.
  87. >>“Odd, buddy! Come on, back me up here!”
  88. >Aw great, of course, she’s putting you on the spot.
  89. “Uh, it's got... potential?”
  90. >Leaping off of you, she cries “Aha!” triumphantly, before putting herself snout to snout with Squall.
  91. >>”See! He gets it!”
  92. >To which Squall’s reply is a facehoof and a vague sound of exasperation.
  93. >Leaning around Neap, she fixes you with a hard stare.
  94. >”Odd, quit softballing her.”
  95. >Before you can reply though, Neap’s already pivoted to slide her forehoof over Squall’s withers, mirroring the position she took up next to you.
  96. >>”Oh come on, I’m pretty sure that if Odd stopped softballing us we’d all cry ourselves to sleep for months!”
  97. >Squall chuckles once, before flexing her wing to push Neap off of her.
  98. >No longer grappled by an offending shark, she strides and spreads her wings apparently about to take flight.
  99. >Oh no, is she bailing?
  100. “Where you goin’?”
  101. >Glancing back over her shoulder, she addresses Neap.
  102. >”That hunk of driftwood come with any life preservers?”
  103. >Neap raises her hoof and speaks with indignity.
  104. >>”Of co—”
  105. >Before stopping herself and slowly lowering it.
  106. >>”...well, actually, now that you mention it...
  107. >Squall doesn’t even wait for her full answer, simply rolling her eyes and stating, “Be right back,” before launching herself into the air with one powerful beat of her wings.
  108. >Never one to let somepony else have the last word though, Neap calls out to her as she flies away.
  109. >>”Oh come on! It would have been fine! You could have carried Carrick, and Odd and I could have shared breath!”
  110. >That earns her a hoof to the shoulder from you.
  111. “Hey don’t be a perv!”
  112. >She just shrugs it off though and snickers.
  113. >>”Sorry, sorry. So,” she says as she motions toward the ship, “wanna check this thing out?”
  114. ︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵
  115. >You are Neap Tide, shark pone extraordinaire, and you are having a great time!
  116. >There’s no mare alive who wouldn’t smile at Odd Job plodding around the ship’s deck, testing each and every plank for stability.
  117. >Sure he likes to walk the janefilly walk, but if this doesn’t prove that deep down he’s as fussy as every other stallion, you don’t know what would!
  118. >He started at the stern and by now has almost made it to the bow, and you honestly don’t think he’s missed a plank.
  119. >It's honestly kind of impressive.
  120. >That doesn’t mean you’re not going to mess with him though!
  121. “Hey, I think you missed one over there.”
  122. >Sadly, he doesn’t buy it and just shoots you a very unamused look before continuing with his work.
  123. >”Oh ha ha.”
  124. >Smiling to yourself, you lean up against the bow, fairly confident he won’t find anything worth getting his ball bra in a twist over.
  125. >You ran some tests of your own before buying this thing of course!
  126. >And they were arguably just as thorough as what he’s doing now!
  127. >...
  128. >Okay, maybe it wouldn’t be a very convincing argument, but you could still make it!
  129. >But thankfully, you don’t have to.
  130. >By the time he’s reached you at the bow, he has a satisfied smile on his face.
  131. >”I gotta hoof it to you, Neap. He may not look like much, but this old thing feels pretty sturdy.”
  132. >Reclining on the head of the ship, you let yourself look more than a little smug.
  133. “Of course he is! I wouldn’t just get us any old ship after all!”
  134. >”Heh, I guess so.”
  135. >Score!
  136. >That’s one down, and you’re sure Squall will come around once you tell her the plan.
  137. >That just leaves—
  138. >>”Sea’s sakes!”
  139. >Carrick Root!
  140. >Leaping up and running to the stern of the ship, you see that maroon earth pony mare standing flabbergasted on the dock.
  141. >And she sees you!
  142. >>”What didja do!?” she cries to you.
  143. >Pouring every ounce of your totally legitimate heartbreak into your voice, you cry out.
  144. “Oooh! Carrick, not even you believe in me? After all we’ve been through!?”
  145. >Carrick hangs her head and sighs with what’s probably legitimate exasperation.
  146. >>“That’s exactly why I don’t believe in ya! Now, what did you do!?”
  147. >”It's not that bad,” Odd chimes in from behind you, “It's sturdier than it looks, and I would hope our /good friend/ has some unrevealed trick in her saddlebags.”
  148. >Aw, listen to them, they know you so well!
  149. >That just warms your heart and gives you a grin that could sink the ship.
  150. “As a matter of fact, I do!”
  151. >Aaaaand they both just sighed in relief.
  152. >There go those fuzzy feelings.
  153. “HEY!”
  154. >Carrick sheepishly pushes a lock of her soil brown mane behind her ear, while Odd decidedly does not make eye contact.
  155. >Eventually though, Carrick coughs awkwardly and starts making her way up the gangplank.
  156. >>”Ya gotta admit, Neap,” she says as she makes it on deck, “this seems awfully like another one of yer awful ideas.”
  157. >Wha- they’re not awful!
  158. >They’re just... wait, you know what she’s mad about.
  159. “Carrick, are you still on about the time we stole a salt shaker from the pub? Come on, that was years ago!”
  160. >Coming to a stop beside Odd, she grunts in frustration, which tells you that you hit the nail on the head.
  161. >>”And paw /still/ gives me guff fer it!”
  162. >You want to roll your eyes or snidely reply, but you know Carrick probably isn’t exaggerating.
  163. >Her dad was always the, ‘woe is me, I don’t want my sweet little girl to grow up to be a rapscallion!’ type.
  164. >Seriously, all you were going to do was fill it with sugar, what’s the big deal?! It would have been funny!
  165. >Why’s that old stallion always gotta be such a stick in the mud?
  166. >That’s why you’re glad your parents live in Veneighce!
  167. “Fine, fine. But you’ll both be eating your words once we’ve tricked this thing /out/!”
  168. >Odd and Carrick share a concerned look.
  169. >”Uhhh, with whose money?”
  170. >Ohhh if your smug grin could have sunk the ship earlier, you’re sure that now it could drown the whole harbor.
  171. “The nerd’s.”
  172. ︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵
  173. >You are Shore Wind, or Squall as everypony insists on calling you.
  174. >With your mission accomplished, you’re currently headed back to the ship.
  175. >As you drift on the ocean breeze at total peace, feeling the salty air through your mane, you can’t help but feel...
  176. >Mad.
  177. >This was supposed to be a nice, relaxing day of clearing clouds while Neap and some rookie explore the depths of the bay.
  178. >Now you’re going to spend it worrying that most of your friends are going to drown!
  179. >Undoubtedly all for some fish brained scheme she’s dreamed up.
  180. >She’ll have probably sweet talked Odd and Carrick into it by the time you get back, so that means it’ll up to you to tell her it’s a stupid idea.
  181. >You don’t like being a stick in the mud, but somepony has to think of everypony else’s safety.
  182. >As you close in on the ship, you can make out Odd’s Thistle coat on deck, shattering any remaining hopes that this was all just an elaborate prank.
  183. >Indeed, getting closer you can make out all three of them all chatting on deck.
  184. >Oh Faust, Neap’s looking much too pleased with herself, so it looks like your prediction was spot on too.
  185. >Buck.
  186. >Tucking in your wings to go into a dive, you head straight for the S.S. “Something or Another”.
  187. >Neap’s the first to spot you as you’re coming down, and waves.
  188. >”There she is! We were just waiting for you,” she shouts to you.
  189. >Pulling yourself out of the dive enough to slow your descent, you flap your wings a few times before gingerly touching down on the deck.
  190. >Odd whines a bit as the displaced air tousles his slate grey mane, but you don’t feel too bad about it.
  191. >It was only a matter of time before it got messed up anyway, and he knew it.
  192. >Finally planting your hooves on deck, you’re a little surprised how much sturdier it was than you were expecting.
  193. >You figured if you didn’t slow down you’d have punched right through it, but maybe that’s not the case.
  194. >Regardless, you pull the four life jackets off your back and toss them onto the deck.
  195. “There, now the four of us who can’t /breathe underwater/ don’t have to worry about drowning.”
  196. >Neap, for once in her life, looks a little sheepish.
  197. >”Yeah, those are kind of important. Thanks, Squall.”
  198. >You nod back, deciding to briefly focus on taking in the ship’s deck.
  199. >While the ship on the whole looks to be in a pretty sorry state, the deck looks good at least. No holes or nothing.
  200. >That, however, does not mean you’re willing to trust this hunk of driftwood yet.
  201. >Focusing back on her, you sigh.
  202. “Alright, Neap, what’s your scheme?”
  203. >>”S’actually not a bad wun this time,” Carrick chimes in.
  204. >You resist the urge to facehoof at poor Carrick.
  205. >If you had a bit every time she said that about something Neap came up with, the only ideas Neap would ever have would be reasons for you to lend her money.
  206. “Oh yeah?”
  207. ︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵
  208. “Yeah.”
  209. >You are Neap Tide, and now comes the hard part.
  210. >Odd and Carrick are usually willing to go along with your ideas without a fuss, while it's always Squall that’s the hard sell.
  211. >Luckily for you, this plan is foal-proof!
  212. >Trotting up over to her, you drape your hoof over her back.
  213. >For a moment, she looks like she’s about to brush you off, but in the end, she allows it.
  214. >Something you take advantage of, leading her back to the bow of the ship.
  215. >Once there, you stop to let her take in the sights of the bay.
  216. >The dreary gray ocean that you call home.
  217. >Once you feel she’s sufficiently soaked in the atmosphere, you speak.
  218. “Squall, how would you react if I told you there was a pre-unification merchant ship, stuffed to the gills with priceless Thestral cultural artifacts, at the bottom of our very own bay?”
  219. >She blinks owlishly, clearly trying to guess your angle.
  220. >”I’d... laugh in your face? There’s no way a ship like that would have been anywhere near Plug-in-Bay. Why?”
  221. >Score, that’s the exact answer you were looking for!
  222. >Slapping her on the back, you try not to sound /too/ smug.
  223. “Guess what we're about to be paid ten thousand bits to search for?”
  224. >Squall’s eyes widen to the size of dinner plates.
  225. >And you thought she looked owlish before!
  226. >As she gazes out over the bay in disbelief, you just barely catch her whisper something under her breath.
  227. >”No way.”
  228. >The more it sinks in, the more her expression goes from disbelief to elation!
  229. >”No way!” she shouts excitedly.
  230. >Whirling around, she shouts to Odd and Carrick.
  231. >”We’re getting paid ten THOUSAND bits to salvage a wreck that might not even exist!?”
  232. >Slapping her on the back, you gently correct her.
  233. “/Probably/ doesn’t exist.”
  234. >>”An’ imagine what we could do ta this thang with ten thousand bits!”
  235. >>>”We could redo the paint job!” cries Odd, “Oooo, maybe a lovely shade of blue? No, no. Maybe green...”
  236. >Squall just laughs and turns back to you with the biggest smile you’ve seen on her in years.
  237. >”I can’t believe I’m saying this, but good job, Neap!”
  238. >Oh, now this is too much!
  239. >Puffing out your (totally ABOVE average for your tribe) tuft, you positively beam.
  240. “Oh, don’t thank me, thank the Canterlot Institute of History!”
  241. >The collected ponies all laugh in disbelief.
  242. >>”Wow, you’da thought a place like that would be a lil’ smarter with their bits!”
  243. >Your laugh turns far harsher.
  244. “It's true what they say, nopony goes to college for street smarts!”
  245. >Odd steps toward you, but as he does, a particularly large wave hits the side of the ship.
  246. >The other mares keep their balance easily, of course, but he’s nearly thrown off his hooves!
  247. >Geez, he’s lived here /how/ long and he still doesn’t have his sea legs?
  248. >Before you could justify swooping in to catch him though, he recovers.
  249. >>>”So who’s this poor misguided student who’s about to fund our renovation?”
  250. “Her name’s...”
  251. ︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵
  252. >You are Bell Grant, and you’re running la-a-a-ate!
  253. >Talk about a bad first impression!
  254. >There was just so much preparation to do!
  255. >Packing your research materials, double checking the itinerary, practicing your speech to the crew about what a revolutionary discovery they’ll be making...
  256. >All of it left you losing track of time, and now you’re way behind! Drat!
  257. >Leaping off the path and onto the pier, you have to stop yourself from looking out onto the bay and gawking.
  258. >You’ve lived in Canterlot your whole life, and sure you /knew/ what an ocean was, but to actually see it for the first time...
  259. >No no no, there’ll be enough time for that while you’re sailing!
  260. >Pivoting to the left and brushing your royal purple mane out of your eyes, you take off down the pier.
  261. >As you run, the feeling of the innumerable notes and maps in your saddlebags bouncing against your flanks fills you with a renewed sense of determination.
  262. >Almost everypony back at the institute laughed in your face when you said the Waning Crescent was in Plug-in-Bay.
  263. >“Plug-in-Bay was a town started by a bunch of ornery mares who just wanted to prove they could, there’s nothing of value for miles!” they mocked, “There’s no way that ship would have come within a hundred leagues of that place!”
  264. >But you did your research!
  265. >Sure, most scholars agree it probably sank off the coast of Belmount, the old Thestral city-state.
  266. >If that were true, how come no pony’s found it in the two hundred since?
  267. >Belmount’s a major Equestrian city after all, and they’ve certainly funded enough expeditions that they really ought to have found at least /something/.
  268. >But they never have, and you think you know why!
  269. >Now you’ve just got to prove it!
  270. >Something you can actually do since you’ve finally convinced the institute to give you funding for an expedition.
  271. >...after spending almost every year since you were a filly researching and pioneering a new aquatic echolocation technique.
  272. >But hey, what matters is you’ve /finally/ got the funding and got yourself a ship!
  273. >Speaking of, you’re pretty sure you just passed dock number eleven, which makes your destination riiiiiight over... there!
  274. >...
  275. >....
  276. >.....
  277. >Screeching to a halt, you pull off your /clearly/ smudged glasses to briefly rub them against the fabric of your saddlebags.
  278. >Although, much to your disappointment, the numbers in front of you do not change as you slide them back onto your snout.
  279. >There’s no way.
  280. >Tearing open your left saddlebag, your wingclaw /spears/ the piece of paper you know is the last letter you got from this “Captain Tide”.
  281. >Yanking it back in front of your face, you speedread the whole thing, only to confirm what you already knew.
  282. >”The ship will be moored at dock thirteen...”
  283. >Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
  284. >Flinging the offending paper to the ground, you channel your bubbling anger in one of your mustard hooves and stomp it with all your might.
  285. >But the thump does little to actually make you feel better.
  286. >They can’t do this to you!
  287. >Why would they do this to you!?
  288. >That mini-galleon doesn’t look like it will even leave the harbor intact!
  289. >Who would think— wait. You bet it was that dockmaster.
  290. >Trying to get her to respond to your letters was always like trying to bite through a mangosteen.
  291. >She probably just passed you off to the first pony willing to take you, and that pony’s boat happened to be... that.
  292. >Faust dang it!
  293. >All that work, wasted!
  294. >FAUST BUCKING DANG IT!
  295. >Wait, Bell, wait.
  296. >Take a deep breath.
  297. >You don’t know the whole story.
  298. >Maybe this is just an expeditionary vessel that Captain Tide will switch out once you’ve actually located the wreck!
  299. >Maybe she’s got a whole fleet of ships!
  300. >Okay, that’s probably not the case, but you should at least give her a chance.
  301. >You’ll go out with them, see what’s what, and if the ship sinks on its way out of the harbor you’ll just... not pay them.
  302. >You’ll deny payment to a bunch of surly seamares who could all probably snap you in two.
  303. >There is absolutely no way this could go horribly wrong! None. At. All.
  304. >Okay, another deep breath, Bell.
  305. >Look tough, you’ve got to look tough. Stick out your tuft or something.
  306. >On the upside, of the five tribes Thestrals tend to be the most naturally intimidating.
  307. >Well, that is after Selachi of cou—
  308. >”Hey, there she is!”
  309. “Eeep!”
  310. >Speak of Discord, leering over the side of the ship at you is the first shark pony you’ve ever seen.
  311. >Great, of course, there goes any chance you had of looking tough.
  312. >She’s a pony just like you, Bell, just don’t think about how those teeth could tear your throat out...
  313. >The shark, who you suppose is Neap Tide, deftly vaults over the edge onto the dock before trotting over to you.
  314. >As she does, you notice the rest of the crew is peering at you from the side of the ship.
  315. >Thankfully, they seem to be far from the hardened seamares you feared.
  316. >/Really/ far, in fact.
  317. >None of these ponies are built like the few grizzled sailors who’ve made their way to the capitol.
  318. >Especially the unicorn... wait... is that a /stallion/!?
  319. >Just as the realization hits you, you realize the shark pony is right in front of you to snap you out of your gawking.
  320. >”You must be Bell Grant,” she says with her hoof outstretched.
  321. >Holy cow she’s tall.
  322. >Why must Threstrals be cursed to be the shortest tribe?
  323. >Taking the bump, you try your best to keep your voice steady.
  324. “A-and *ahem* and you must be Captain Tide.”
  325. >Something about what you said lights her face up with excitement, and she whirls back around toward the ship.
  326. >Which unfortunately causes her shark tail to bop you right on the side of the snoot.
  327. >”Hey, did you gals hear that!? You’ve got to call me Captain Tide now!”
  328. >You can see all three ponies make the same deadpan face.
  329. >”No we don’t,” they all say in unison.
  330. >Thaaat doesn’t bode well
  331. ︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵
  332. >By now you’ve completed your tour of the vessel and you suppose ‘mini-galleon’ was a very apt descriptor.
  333. >Captain Tide- or ‘Neap’, as the rest of the crew exclusively refer to her as, is a frighteningly good salesmare.
  334. >As well as just generally frightening.
  335. >Now she’s assembled you and the rest of the crew around the shoddy cabin’s only piece of furniture, a single table, as she tries to fully sell you on her ship.
  336. >It's honestly remarkable that she’s nearly got you on board with this, especially as you gather in this dank, damp room.
  337. >”And, using the cash you’ve agreed to give us, we can outfit this foal with whatever you think will help us most. Based on what we find of course,” she says.
  338. >You /suppose/ it's logical, but you can’t help but feel like you’re still riding the line of getting a good deal and getting scammed.
  339. “W-well, I’m still not certain...”
  340. >>”Don’t worry,” chimes in the Pegasus, “If the ship sinks before we even get out there, Odd’ll fashion a harness out of seaweed and we’ll make Neap pull us back to shore.”
  341. >”It’ll hold!” the shark pony gripes, “I had the mare I bought it from take me out /multiple times/ and we had NO issues.”
  342. >You try not to grimace as Neap suddenly loops her hoof around your withers.
  343. >You’d read that Selachi ponies naturally produce an oil that keeps their fur water resistant, and that that same oil makes their coats rough to the touch.
  344. >But you weren’t expecting /this/ rough.
  345. >It's like a slightly softer version of sandpaper.
  346. >”So what do you say we let the rest of the crew introduce themselves, and then we can get on our way?”
  347. >Very gently untangling yourself from her, you nob.
  348. “Alright, sure.”
  349. >Arbitrarily deciding to start with the Pegasus across from you, you take stock of her.
  350. >Despite the salt in her mane, an obvious tell she was recently flying, her mane still looks fairly clean cut.
  351. >Which comes as a stark contrast to her captain, who looks like she went swimming and just let her fur rest however it dried.
  352. >It gives her more of a professional look, one matched by her posture.
  353. >Taking a sideways glance at her cutie mark as well, you see a cloud passing in front of the sun.
  354. >Her job’s easy enough to guess.
  355. “You must be our Weather Arrangement Specialist.”
  356. >She nods, a grateful smile on her face.
  357. >>”Yes ma’am, my name’s Shore Wind, but everypony calls me Squall. And thank you for using my actual title, unlike /some/ponies.”
  358. >”*Cough Cough*”
  359. >You’re guessing that makes Neap the ‘someponies’.
  360. >”A-anyway,” Neap awkwardly adds, “Carrick, you next.”
  361. >>>”Oh!” cries the Earth pony, “Well, ahm Carrick Root, and uhh, ahm here to steer the ship.”
  362. >Makes sense, you recall reading that most helmsmares are typically Earth ponies.
  363. >Nothing like Earth pony strength to steer your ship through rough waters!
  364. >She looks the part too, plenty of muscle on her frame, there’s no question who wins the hoof wrestling contests around here.
  365. >Interestingly though, she seems the youngest of the crew, maybe even younger than you.
  366. >Wow, is being a helmsmare that much of a workout?
  367. >Or is that not her career?
  368. >Now curious, you lean around to spy her cutie mark as well.
  369. >If she’s actually a helmsmare by trade, it’ll probably be a ship’s wheel or something like that.
  370. >Just got to stand on your hooftips to get a better look, aaaaand...
  371. >Wait, it's a rock with seaweed growing off of it.
  372. >Does that mean what you think it means?
  373. “You wouldn’t happen to be an aquatic botanist, would you?”
  374. >The Earth pony, or Carrick you suppose, chuckles sheepishly.
  375. >>>”Hehe, now Ah wouldn’t go that far. But Ah do know every edible ocean plant this side’a the capital. In charge a growin’ most of em fer the town, too.”
  376. >With the joy of a schoolfilly you wantonly tear open your left saddlebag.
  377. >Forgetting to even use your wing, you shove your nose into the bag and wrap your teeth around a few small bags you stuffed near the bottom.
  378. “Wis us fanfasic!”
  379. >A voice in the back of your mind is screaming at you to spit out the bag before you make an even bigger fool of yourself, but you’re much too excited right now to pay it any heed.
  380. >Luckily for your reputation, you have reason to spit out the bags now anyway.
  381. “I didn’t think a crew this size would have a specialist like you on deck!”
  382. >Without needing to prompt her, she takes a look into one of the bags and you see her eyes widen in surprise.
  383. >Immediately, she pulls that same bag open with her teeth and spills its contents onto the table.
  384. >It's a collection of seagrass.
  385. “I managed to procure some of these samples from the botany department. If you could help me identify their native ranges, it could narrow our search /considerably/!”
  386. >Watching her eyes fill with the joy of a filly at a candy stall, you let out a small involuntary “Eeee!” of similar excitement.
  387. >>>”Shucks, that sounds like the most fun Ah’ve had in weeks!”
  388. >”WHAT?” shouts an indignant Neap, “But that waterslide we made a week ago was awesome!”
  389. >Carrick doesn’t even look at her, she’s focused on the grass now.
  390. >>>”Sure, but that’s got nuthin on this!”
  391. >With all the care and exuberance of somepony who truly loves her craft, she leans down to fully examine the samples.
  392. >Pulling a particular blade close, she dabs it with her tongue.
  393. >>>”Ooof, now that’s /quite/ salty! If Ah hadta bet, this was grown somewhere out near the We—”
  394. >>>>”*Ahem*,” comes a sound to her left.
  395. >Breaking both of your concentrations, the sound reminds the two of you there’s still one more crewmate to go.
  396. >>>”Oh!” she starts, “Sorry, Odd. Got kinda carried away there, didn’t Ah?”
  397. >The stallion chuckles good-naturedly at Carrick’s sheepishness, and you try desperately not to fall into the beautiful baritone sound.
  398. >>>>”It's fine. I figured I’d cut in before you got too ‘in the zone’.”
  399. >Turning your attention to the last member of the crew, you’re a little surprised.
  400. >He’s as tall as Neap, for a unicorn stallion, that’s pretty short.
  401. >You’re not complaining though, you always felt self conscious whenever a stallion back home had to crane their necks to look at you.
  402. >You also can’t help but notice, while you’re /definitely/ not ogling him, he’s got some muscles on him, and not the ultra lean kind you’re used to seeing on most unicorns.
  403. >His seem to suggest a pony who does a decent amount of manual labor.
  404. >Which, while surprising for a stallion, shouldn’t really surprise you considering he’s been allowed on the crew.
  405. >Makes you wonder what he actually does though...
  406. >Hold on.
  407. >You were so distracted, something just occurred to you.
  408. >In your letters to Neap, she mentioned that diving gear would be taken care of by a “Unicorn Specialist”.
  409. >But he’s the only Unicorn on this ship!
  410. >That means—
  411. >>>>”Hi, I’m Odd Job, and I’ll be the one keeping you breathing today!”
  412. >...
  413. >Is this worse than the boat?
  414. >This is probably worse than the boat.
  415. >Whatever you do, do not EEEE in distress, that would make you look very bad in front of your new colleges.
  416. >Don’t bring it up to the group either.
  417. >You should never insult a stallion’s ability to his face, much less in front of all his friends.
  418. >Just keep your expression even and use that formal greeting the academy drilled into your head.
  419. ”It's a pleasure to meet all of you. My name is Bell Grant, and I’m looking forward to working with you.”
  420. >Just like your professors, you end your statement with a small bow as you desperately try to keep your face even.
  421. >It seems to work, as the gathered ponies chuckle at your formality, and give you similar affirmations.
  422. >>>”Hehe, no need to get all formal on us now!” says Carrick.
  423. “It's just customary back at the capital.”
  424. >Which isn’t a lie!
  425. “Now if you all can give me a few moments to set up, then I can go through what we’re looking for.”
  426. >The gathered ponies wordlessly agree and immediately descend into conversations amongst themselves.
  427. >You, however, have a much more pressing matter to attend to than setting up.
  428. >Tapping the “captain” on the wither, you try to get her attention.
  429. “Hey, uh, Neap. Can I talk to you for a moment? ...Outside?”
  430. >She had wasted no time engaging Squall in some sort of banter about the ship but thankfully she still turns her attention to you.
  431. >”Hm? Oh, sure thing, Bell.”
  432. >Trying not to give out any bodyily tells that something is bothering you, lead her out of the cabin and back onto the creaky deck.
  433. >As soon as you’re sure you’d be out of earshot to the ponies in the cabin you turn to Neap to say—
  434. >”What’s up? Looks like something’s really bothering you.”
  435. >Eeep!
  436. >Looks like you weren’t doing as good a job at hiding your emotions as you thought!
  437. “*Ahem* Well, uh... it's about...”
  438. >Careful, Bell, this is her friend that you’re about to be talking about.
  439. >You need to approach this with tact or this pony will rip your head off.
  440. >Maybe literally with those sharp teeth of hers!
  441. “...Odd Job.”
  442. >She quirks her head.
  443. >”What about him?”
  444. >Oh come on, she knows!
  445. >Is she really going to make you say it!?
  446. “Since it's my life on the line here, I’m just a little worried that he’s up to the task, is all.”
  447. >Much to your horror, Neap says nothing.
  448. >You wait a few moments for her to respond, but all she does is start smiling sinisterly.
  449. And /really/ toothily.
  450. >Giving you a perfect view of those sharp... pony eating teeth...
  451. “N-Now I’m sure he’s a g-great guy and all, but everypony knows stallions are less... magically inclined than mares!”
  452. >Her smile only gets wider.
  453. >Oh Faust she’s actually going to kill you!
  454. “A-A-And I’m sure he, academically, is quite proficient! I just have uh, concerns, about his actual capabilities, is all!”
  455. ︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵‿︵
  456. >You are Neap Tide, and this...
  457. >...Is hilarious!
  458. >The poor nerd looks like she’s about to have a heart attack!
  459. >”I, uh, and I don’t think these fears are unfounded! It’s well known that on average stallions are forty-five percent less magically adept than the average mare!”
  460. >Oh mare!
  461. >You’re tempted to keep letting the poor gal squirm for your own amusement, but you don’t want her to /actually/ have a heart attack.
  462. >Better let her know you’re not about to tear into her like a wounded fish.
  463. >And what better way than to let all your stored mirth out?
  464. “Hahahahahahaaaaaa!”
  465. >The sound makes her stop cold, the growing desperation on her face slowly replaced by confusion.
  466. >Oh, you know what’ll make her feel even better!
  467. >A slap on the back!
  468. >You do just that, probably harder than you meant to based how she nearly stumbles over.
  469. >She looks up at you, confused and still with a little bit of fear lurking behind her eyes.
  470. >Okay, okay, you’ve had your fun.
  471. >Bringing your laughter back under control, you answer her unspoken question.
  472. “Look, Bell, I’m sure you’re used to your useless capital stallions who can’t look away from a mirror long enough to cast a spell.”
  473. >You point back at the cabin to hopefully emphasize your next statement.
  474. “But Odd isn’t like that. He’s the most dependable stallion I’ve ever met! If he said he put in the work, he put in the work.”
  475. >That does seem to mollify her a bit.
  476. >”Well, if you say so...”
  477. “Plus it's either him or the suit.”
  478. >Gesturing over your shoulder with your head, you draw attention to a hitherto unmentioned, and likely unnoticed, diving suit crumpled in the corner outside the cabin.
  479. >It's one of those old, full body ones with the big spherical metal helmets.
  480. >Something that’s both difficult to move in and uncomfortable, you’re sure.
  481. >Imagine needing something like that to breathe underwater!
  482. >Sucks to not be a Selachi pony hahaaaaa!
  483. “Fair warning, it came with the ship and I did not test it.”
  484. >You can see her discomfort at the thought of wearing that thing written all over her face.
  485. >”I think I’ll trust Odd.”
  486. >Score! Problem solved.
  487. >Technically speaking, she /could/ force you to replace Odd as per the terms of her contract.
  488. >But clearly she read that about as closely as you did.
  489. “Glad to hear it! Now that we’ve got that sorted out, let’s head back in and hear all about this sunken treasure we’ll be finding.”

The Long and Short of It (RGRE) Part 6

by SQA-non

Odd Jobs With Odd Job Ep 1. We're Off You Know

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The Long and Short of It (RGRE) Part 5

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I D O L

by SQA-non

The Long and Short of It (RGRE) Part 4

by SQA-non