“What do you mean, ‘the cannon is broken’?”
Alex sat as his computer desk, dumbfoundedly looking at the floating cube who had just entered his office. He had a very hard time believing that the large cannon, which had been working just fine an hour prior, had stopped functioning entirely.
“Look, I don’t know how or why, but it’s broken. Can you go check it out?”
“But... it’s a cannon. It’s mechanical. Don’t we have The Mechanic for things like this?”
“He’s still getting settled in, and you aren’t doing anything important.” The Sethisto cube hovered next to Alex and looked at his monitor, noticing the fan fiction document opened up. The purple stallion’s irritated expression was a fair indicator that he was in the middle of something. “Regardless,” the cube spoke “we have twenty other guys to do that. Just go look at the cannon. Celestia is going to have all of our hides if it doesn’t work.”
Alex could only sigh as he got up from his chair and walked past Sethisto, exiting the room. Hopefully, this wouldn’t take very long. How much could possibly go wrong with a cannon?
A lot, apparently. When he arrived on the roof, the heavy smell of smoke hung in the air, and thick, billowing black clouds streamed out of the mouth of the cannon. He wasn’t the only one who had been told about this, though, as Pineapple and Midnight were on the roof as well, quizzically eying the machine.
“Anypony know how long it’s been like this?” Alex asked, adjusting his glasses momentarily.
“I’d say it’s been about... half an hour?” Pineapple said, a hoof raised to his chin thought. “Midnight and I came up here to shoot off a bundle of fics, and we found it like this.” He motioned to a large, wrapped up stack of papers, roughly as tall as he was. They were never in short supply of things to shoot to the moon.
“There’s some pretty awful ones in there. We better get this fixed soon.” the dark blue stallion said, a hint of disgust in is voice.
Alex walked over to the side of the cannon, looking for a way to open the maintenance panel. It didn’t take him long to find the lever for it, and in a moments notice he was looking at a mess of wires, metal, a small monitor and a basic keyboard. A small red light was blinking repeatedly, with a little sticker that said ‘BROKEN’ next to it. “That’s helpful” the unicorn muttered to himself, flipping a switch that caused the monitor to flash to life. It displayed some basic diagnostic information, such as if the barrel was currently loaded, when it was last fired, when the last routine maintenance had been performed, and how much energy it was consuming.
“Find anything out?” Pineapple said, looking over Alex’s shoulder.
“Well, according to this...” Alex hit a few buttons on the keyboard. “the last maintenance was done... over five months ago. Brilliant.” He sighed, and typed a bit more on the keyboard. “This thing uses enough energy in one shot to power all of Canterlot for half an hour. Oh, and it was last fired... thirty seven minutes ago.”
“Well... anything about the problem?”
“Not even a little bit.” Both Pineapple and Midnight facehooved as Alex tried to run various commands through the console.
“Let’s see... ‘H-E-L-P’?” Nothing. “S-C-A-N?” Blank screen. “D-I-A-G-N-O-S-E?” Still nothing. “R-E-P-A-I-R?” No response but the hum of electricity. “Oh, by Celestia’s beard... F-I-X!” Somewhere deep in the cannon’s machinery, gears and electrical currents started working, along with the sounds of metal pounding and something being pushed around. The telltale sound of the cannon beginning to fire started as well, but the power level was only at one percent. What could possibly- The loud explosion cut off any thoughts, followed by a thud and heavy coughing. The three ponies ears perked up at this, and they immediately rushed towards the firing end of the cannon, to find...
“Princess Luna?!” they exclaimed simultaneously. The moon princess coughed loudly as she stood up. She was covered in soot, her mane was disheveled and messy beyond belief, and above all, the azure pony looked very irritated.
“That...” she began, breathing heavily. “Is the final straw.” Luna ran a hoof through her mane, in a vain attempt to make it look more presentable. The three stallions in front of her could only watch her with gaping mouths. “This is the last time. THE LAST. TIME. That I leave my room unguarded.” She paced back and forth, angrily. “One minute, I’m quietly sleeping in my bed, and the next, I hear Celestia giggling her pretty little mane off and I’m at the bottom of a CANNON.” Her enraged glare fell upon the group in front of her. “Do you know where Celestia is? Hm?”
“Um... I... I think she’s in the castle.” Midnight spoke, gulping. He had seen this side of the princess a little too often, usually ending with him observing Equestria from the moon’s peaceful orbit.
“Oh? Is she? Excellent.” the princess mused, a fairly sinister smile creeping onto her mouth. “I’ll get her back for this, just you wait. I’ll get her!” She spread her wings and angrily lifted off, making a beeline towards the castle. After they were certain she had left, Alex, Pineapple and Midnight collectively let out a thankful sigh. The cannon was fixed and no one went to the moon. Everything had worked out better than expected.
“Well, I guess we should load that batch in.” Alex said, pointing towards the stack of papers.
“Yes, I guess we should.” Pineapple agreed, also looking. With a bit of elbow grease, they hauled the stack into the cannon and pressed the shiny button at the base. The low hum started, rising in frequency, until it was almost a deafening, ear piercing roar. Moments later, and with a brilliant explosion of smoke, fire and debris, the cannon fired off, sending it’s contents on a collision course to the moon. If one listened hard enough, over the sound of the massive explosion, they would’ve heard Sethisto’s voice, crying out from his office: