Silver Lining was not a happy pony. For all she knew, she was flying right into a trap, and what was there to do about it? Fly back to Canterlot? Jettison the big fancy box? There was nothing that would work satisfactorily. Flying back to Canterlot meant lost profits and so on, and jettisoning the box wouldn't stop the seemingly-inevitable attack from the sky. There must be something she could do, aside from pacing around her little flight deck. She'd long since stopped noticing the loud peals of thunder from the storm.
The filly nearly jumped out of her coat. She hadn't even noticed her 'tamed' maintenance colt enter the room.
"I- um, yes, Rumble?" Silver said, regaining her composure.
"We ah, we got a problem," he began, "actually, we got a lotta problems."
"... Is it about our 'special delivery'?" That box was all she'd been thinking about for the last few hours.
"Ehh, sorta... but it's the least of our worries right now. We got a stowaway aboard, an' there's a fight goin' on on deck."
"There's what!?" Silver's mind was now whirling so fast she was starting to feel dizzy.
"Yup, ya did hear me right. I know as well as you do who's aboard this ship, an' when a stranger shows up in the passenger bay with no rhyme, right, nor reason t'be there, he's gotta be a stowaway." Rumble was showing clear concern through his deep Appleloosan accent, and for a pony like Rumble to be worried, something had to be very wrong indeed.
"I saw him less than twenty minutes ago, an' I remember y'all havin' a go at me fer stickin' mah hoof into things before checkin' t'make sure I had the right end of the stick on plenty o' occasions," Rumble continued, "so I went an' checked the hold, see where he coulda come from an' such. Then I see this big fancy box o' ours has the lid missin' and there's a door open t' the deck, an' ta da! Ponies havin' a shoutin' contest, 'bout five or six of 'em, but maybe as many as ten, total."
"Did... did you see what sort of ponies they were? Were they pirates, or- ?" Silver was desperately trying to figure out what was going on.
"Hay, I didn't exactly stick around, in case I found out."
This wasn't fair! She was being played with by higher powers, and was not enjoying it one bit. And with this stowaway on board, she'd never be allowed across the border. All of this was a waste of a trip, because somepony decided it would be fun to meddle with things!
A particularly loud thunderclap split the air - and it gave Silver an idea. She had had enough of this game, and was simply not going to play anymore.
Rumble had picked up on some change in his pilot's demeanour, as he seemed prompted to speak.
"Silver? You okay?"
"Rumble, did you close the door?" Silver was thinking quickly now.
"Huh? What door?"
"The one between the cargo hold and the deck. Did you close it?"
"Nah, should be still open. Why, you ain't gonna give me an ear-bashing for letting a draught in, are ya?" he chuckled nervously.
"Oh, no no, nothing like that! I've just got an idea, is all - and I need you to go and do something quickly for me."
"... yeah?" Now Rumble was confused, and truth be told, a little bit worried.
"Run down to the maintenance areas, and bar all the doors to the hold so they can't be opened from the inside. Make sure they can't be opened, by anything. Nail them shut, if you have to. But leave the door to the deck open."
"Uhh, okay. If you insist..."
"Trust me on this, okay? It's one of my better ideas. Go on, as fast as you can!" Silver said with a smile, and Rumble went swiftly about his business feeling distinctly uneasy.
It took him less than three minutes to nail both doors shut, and by the end, he doubted they'd ever be able to open them again. He burst back onto the flight deck with new-found pride.
"Done! Now what?"
"Buckle up. We're going through that." Silver pointed through the window glass, at the wall of roiling thundercloud. Rumble's eyes practically shot out of his head.
"What the hay sorta mushrooms have you been eatin'!?"
"Well, it'll get the ponies off our deck, and since they've boarded our ship without our permission, that gives us legal cause to arrest them. They can either fly off and risk the storm, or take shelter in our hold. Now buckle up!"
"Oh! We set a trap? Why didn't ya tell me! I love traps!" He began strapping himself into the jump seat, as Silver tied herself to the control column.
"Your traps usually involve too many rotating blades or jets of flame for my liking. You ready?"
"Uh, I guess?"
"Wonderful." With that, Silver span the ship's wheel, and the Altostratus violently lurched, plunging into the thunderstorm.