Smoke on the Water
IC date: Spring 80, 1008
OOC date: 6/9/2013
Location: Horseshoe Harbor - Portside
PCs: Tradewinds Samantha Starbright Starchild Palette-Swap Yisheng
NPCs: N/A
GM: N/A

It's a clear evening, the last one Horseshoe Harbor will see until the end of Final Rains. Palette Splash is taking the opportunity to paint the landscape, Starbright is fishing up his evening meal, and Yisheng is helping(?) an unconscious Tick Tock after a bad fall.

Far out on the horizon, a plume of smoke slowly detatches itself from the evening haze and makes its silent way in toward the harbor.

Palette-Splash isn't paying enough attention to watch Starbright eat his fish anyways. She leans over a bit to study the view from the boardwalk a bit more, then turns back to her easel, and after a moment of thought starts to color in the lighthouse…. And then leans over again as she realizes there was something there that wasn't before. "Huh? Smoke on the water…" She glances up with worry for a moment. "… But no fire in the sky." She sweeps a hoof across her forehead. "Whew."

Starbright emerges from under his wing, tossing the pecked clean fish skeleton back into the water, then stifling a little burp. He pulls out another tiny little towel and starts wiping his beak dry. "What's that 'bout a hammer?" he asks Yishing, smiling serenely. His eye keeps getting drawn to Palette's painting, even as he talks.

With the unerring instinct of a little sister for cool things her older sibling has, Sammy wanders down to the docks. "Oh, hey Starbright," she chirps, grinning ingratiatingly. "You're looking… uh…" There goes the remainder of the fish. Darn. "…damp today."

Distantly, a faint "chug, chug, chug" rises above the lap of the water against the boardwalk pilings, if anypony were to pause and listen closely enough.

"You do not want a fish cooked?" Asks Yisheng, horrified. "cooked fish is good! raw is not unless special! That was not a special fish!"

Starbright hrms at Yisheng? "What's wrong with a li'l sushi?" he asks, utterly unconcerned. "'Sides, it was good!" He tilts his head to the side. "Ah think it was a… Sammy!" he beams happily as his sister wings in. "How are y'all, sugah?" he asks, giving the other gryphon a damp hug and a noogie. What are older brothers for? "Ah just did some accidental swimmin'. Oh! Y'all need t' meet," he waves a talon vaguely at the unconscious Tick Tock. "He's an engineer!"

Samantha peers down at Tick Tock. "Huh. What happened, did he drop a wrench on his head?" After a moment she adds, "Why are you always damp when I meet you, Starbright?" Her tail starts to twitch in time with the chugging sound echoing across the water.

"He's a griffon, doc," Palette deadpans softly. "They eat raw things." Looks out at the water again and squints. Adjusts her glasses with one hoof. "I.. think that's a boat. Is a boat suppose to be making smoke?"

Ponies gathered around the portside are likely oblivious to a unicorn, taking a stroll as he often does. Starchild spots the group of ponies… and griffons, apparently. Looking back, the stallion is surprised to have not met any griffons in the town yet. In fact, he doesn't know anypony in the group. He moves in.

Taking a slow trot to those gathered, he awaits a pause in conversation to say a simple "Greetings." Looking about, he offers a smile and a wave to the group. "I don't believe I've met any of you, but I would surely love to. My name is Starchild. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance." With a graceful, light bow he steps closer into the group, his eyes eventually finding the unconscious Tick-Tock. "Um…"

"He is very clumsy. He fell and hurt. I had to fix, but he need to be sleeping so he is not hurt more." Yisheng interjects before any pony draws any conclusions from his prone form.

Starbright peeks over at Tick Tock. "Oh, uh… He needed some… uh… percussive anesthesia." <.< >.> "An' Ah'm damp all time 'cuz we leave neah the watah, li'l sis. 'Sides, wheah else'm Ah gonna get any fish?" He perks up as this new pony comes wandering over. "Well, hiya, Stahchild. Ah'm Stahbright, an' this is mah li'l sistah, Sammy." He ruffles Sammy's feathers affectionately. "Don't mind poor Tick Tock. He'll be alright. Um." He looks over at Yisheng for confirmation.

After long minutes, the smoke creeps close enough for its source to be made out: a little boat just big enough to have a "below decks" worthy of the name. The smoke pours out of a single stack amidships — it must be one of those newfangled steamers! Or… maybe it's somewhat olderfangled than you'd think, considering the peeling paint and hull patches that become visible as it motors its way onward toward the piers.

Yisheng nods at Starbright. "He will be good when waking up, if aching. His fall hurt him. Lucky the nail did not get a bad place."

Palette-Splash murmurs something that may be a return greeting to Starchild, but she doesn't look up from her process. It's not that she's ignoring anyone, she's just drifting back into 'the zone' again and is focusing almost entirely on her half done picture again.

Samantha acks and giggles. She pushes at Starbright. "Howdy! How's it goin', Mister Child?" She finally becomes consciously aware of the noise and looks out across the water. "Oh! Look, a steamboat!" She tilts her head, listening. "Prat and Whitey? No…" Closes her eyes. "A Rolls-Canardley? No… yes. It's a Canardley with a sticky valvehead." She beams about, proud of herself.

At last, the steam launch pulls up alongside the pier and the captain steps out of the wheelhouse before it's come to a complete stop. He's a brilliantly colored pegasus — some might say "garish" — which is only amplified by a loose red Hawaiian shirt. He picks up a rope in his teeth and ties the boat up to the pier with the ease of an experienced sailor.

Starbright hrms and turns to look over at the steamboat. He peers at his sister curiously. "Y'all can tell that just by listenin'?" he asks, with a little bit of wonder. "Ah'm rightly impres… oooooh." He trails off into silence, staring at the brightly coloured pegasus like he's hypnotised. So shiny! He watches the pony scamper around the steamship.

"Huh? Steamboat?" Palette leans over a bit again. "Ooooh." Looks at her picture and hmmms, sticking her tongue tip out of one corner of her mouth for a moment cutely. Maybe she should have a boat in the background on the water, too.

Yisheng stares at the approaching boat and it's odd inhabitant along with the other assembled ponies and griffons, but shakes his head. He is getting uncomfortable with the crowd and so leans over to Palette, whispering, "When he wakes, give him salt water bath. He will heal better." With that, the doctor collects his bags and trots away with his head ducked so as not to draw attention to himself.

Starchild gives an awkward nod in response, being unfamiliar with some of the dialect and vocabulary; or at least, hasn't experienced its use in real life. Finding that the unconscious stallion is in good care, he looks for a quick distraction, finding another unicorn who hadn't introduced myself. Taking a trot around the group and towards the mare, he leans over to take a look at the picture. "I don't believe we've met, madam. My name is Starchild, and it's a pleasure to make your acquaintance. What's that you're working on, if I may ask?"

Samantha swoops over to hover over the boat's engine. "I was right!" she calls back to her brother. "It's got triple expansion cylinders and everything!" She taptaps on a one of them. "Hey, Mister? I think you got a sticky lifter here. But it's okay, it's easy to fix. Throw some grease in there and repack the head, and everything's shiny!" She pauses, then asks, "What'd you do to the feedwater line? Is that chewing gum?!"

Starbright shakes himself awake. "Oh, yeah?" he calls back, fluttering his wings before taking off after his sister. He tries to peek into the smoke stack with exactly as much success as that would seem to imply. He pulls his head back, coughing up adorable little balls of black smoke.

Tradewinds straightens up from his work at last and leans his head back, taking a deep breath as if he couldn't smell the town just fine from the deck two feet to his left. His eyes snap open at the griffon's sudden shout, however. "Woah! Uh, hi!" He blinks at the torrent of words, his sunglasses falling down from his forehead to the tip of his nose. "Um, it, uh, busted a few hours hour. I had some gum, and that held just fine 'till I got here. How did you know about the—?"

Samantha says "The valve? I could hear it from a miiiile away. …no really, like, from waaaay over there." She points at at some indeterminate point in the water. "Y'know you gotta get that replaced, right? If your feedwater clogs up, you're floatin'." She pauses, then adds, "I could fix it for ya!"

Palette-Splash huhs, turning her attention back the other way when she's spoken too. When did all these folks show up? "What?.. Oh, my name is Palette Splash." Grabs on of the charcoals floating about her head and magically adds some shading to the lighthouse in her picture. "And I'm recreating the scenic view, obviously."

Starbright lands on the deck of Tradewinds' ship, looking woozy. He shakes his head. "Ugh," he says to no pony in particular. "Ah think Ah better go and clear mah head." He looks up at his sister critically. "Y'all gonna be okay?" he asks, starting to flutter off. He gives Palette, Starchild and Tradewinds all a friendly wave, too.

Tradewinds gives the griffon a grin. "Oh, no rush on that. I just got here! Anyway, I need to replace the slip plate on the Bachmann-Turner Overdrive, so I'm gonna be repacking the heads either way. But hey, first things first! I'm Tradewinds. Nice to meetcha!"

"Ah, of course," Starchild says with a nod, taking another look at the painting. "It is quite the view, isn't it?" His attention is diverted to Starbright as the griffon departs. "I'm sure they have it under control," he affirms, giving a wave. "They do, uh," the stallion stammers as he turns back to the other unicorn. "They do have it under control, don't they?"

Samantha droops her wings a little. "Awww." She gives Starbright a squeeze. "See you later, bro. Don't fall in any more lakes, okay?"

Tradewinds waves to Starbright. "Nice to meet you too, bud!"

Starbright pffts and hugs his sister back tightly. "Ah almost nevah fall in lakes. Last time it was the fountain. An' today it was the ocean. But lakes? Nevah." He grins, then nods at Tradewinds. "Y'all take care o' mah sistah, ya hear?" he says, mock-threateningly, before giving Sammy a little ruffle and taking off for the inn.

Samantha says "Take care of me?" She glances at Tradewinds. "…are you… buyin' me dinner?"

Tradewinds starts to say, "What? But" Then his brain seems to kick his mouth in the tail and he hesitates for a second. "Well, I guess" He pauses again, then pushes his glasses back up on to his head and grins. "Well, hey, if you wanna fix up my engine, I guess I can buy you dinner at least!"

"I hope they do, because I don't know a thing about boats. Unless you want some decorative detailing or such," Palette replies. Leans back a little to regard her work. "Hmm.. if I added some dark rainclouds sneaking into the background, this could be 'Dusk Before Final Rains'."

Samantha squeeeees! She hugs Tradewinds tight! "My first payin' job! You're a peach!" She wants to go hug Starbright, but he's gone, so she hugs Tradewinds again! Then pauses. "Um… you can… pay, right?" she asks, running a claw through her crest feathers.

Tradewinds says "First… job?" He hesitates, his glasses falling down again as he gets hugged by a griffon. First time for everything. Then his eyes flick to the chewing gum repair job. Aw, what the hay. "Well, sure! I'm flush with pocket change already, an' I just gotta drop off a delivery to make this run officially worthwhile."

Starchild only shrugs at the answer to his question. "Neither do I. Oh well. What can a pony do then?" Taking another quick glance at the picture. "Hmm, yes, that could work," he responds, despite having little knowledge of artistic detail. "It would certainly make for a beautiful work of art, I would say," he adds to his improvised response. With one more turn to look at the ponies and griffon at work, he gives yet another shrug and sigh.

Samantha flutters her wings, hopping around the pinging-hot engine. "Oh? What'cha deliverin'?" she asks cheerfully. "Somethin' big and important, I bet!"
Tradewinds says "Well, it couldn't be TOO big or it wouldn't fit in my boat!" He chuckles and shrugs. "Nothing that interesting, really. Just a load of imported cheeses. At least, that's what the manifest said…"

Palette-Splash mmhmms, nodding a little. Sets her other pencils aside and pulls over her overstuffed satchel. "Let's see here, I know I've got appropriately rain cloud colors in here somewhere… I just hope the whole fiasco with somepony somehow getting a ship airborn and crashing it into the weather station doesn't delay things."

Starchild raises an eyebrow at the last remark. "Um, yes… that would be quite unfortunate. Of course, you aren't serious, are you? I mean…" An airborn ship? Sure, the stallion has read of such inventions in fiction, but would never expect to see one himself.

Samantha ooohs. "I /do/ like cheese," she says with a grin. "Also, engines. Also, blue ponies." She grins. "And this is all three! So that's double good! Wait. Triple."

Tradewinds starts trotting toward the boardwalk. "I hope you don't like cheese and blue ponies in the same way!" he quips, then pauses to peer at Palette's painting. "Lookin' good!"

Palette-Splash sighs slightly as she sets down her penciles. Then reachs over to grab Starchild's head on either side with her hooves and gently turn his gaze up towards where the Sky Fountain is. Which isn't damaged in itself, but the butt end of the Rusty Bucket is visible sticking out of the clouds all the same. "You were saying?"

Samantha says "Well! No. Of course not! Cheese isn't very good at conversations. And I don't like engines either of those two ways. 'cause, y'know. That'd be weird."

Starchild stammers for a moment as he is grabbed, only to continue at the sight of the ship in the air. "You weren't kidding. I would ask how this happened, but I'd prefer not to waste your time. I'll simply, um… ask around town. Do continue, I'd love to see how it would turn out."

Tradewinds pauses and follows Palette and Starchild's gazes upward. "Actually, the guy who sold me this boat did talk to the engine. But he WAS pretty weird, come to think of it, and WOAH! How did THAT get there?!"

Samantha says, deadpan, "…Bubbles. Lots and lots of bubbles."

Palette-Splash leans over Starchild's shoulder for a moment. "Funny thing? It's not the first time the Rusty Bucket has 'flown'. Or so I'm told. I wasn't here for the whole Doomsday Storm thing." She shrugs a little and turns back to her project. As she's been at it on and off over the course of the conversations it's actually pretty close to complete.

Starchild nods, remembering the storm and the spire. "Then I'll take it you're new here? If so, I hope that you are enjoying it here. It's quite an interesting place, but you learn to love it." With a grin, he turns to the picture. "And of course, you're capturing it rather beautifully."

Palette-Splash eehehehes at that. "Actually I'm -from- here, but I was away for a while, you know," gives a vage wave towards her artwork. "Studying."

Tradewinds looks slowly over to Samantha. "Should I be heading for Tall Tale Town at top speed, or making popcorn?"

Samantha sits up on her haunches and shrugs elaborately.

Tradewinds says "…yeah, you're right. Popcorn AND soda."

Starchild chuckles. "Ah, well then, it's no wonder you've managed to capture it so well." He leans in closer to look at the picture, but backs away as he finds himself fairly close to the mare. Fortunately, nopony he knows is around to witness him being far from his normal self.

Samantha says "Or beer. Definitely beer."

Tradewinds grins and trots off toward the nearest bar. "Sounds like a plan to me!"