In the military, there exists such a place where the hopes and dreams of soldiers disappear upon visiting. This place, it has many names but most call it the armorY. Yes, the armorY. Yes, we are talking about the place where all of the weapons/rifles/pistols/etc. are stored.
If you're wondering how the armorY is the metaphorical "black hole" of positive attitude, well, you're clearly new or have never served a second in the military. Even if you're the armorER (the hermit who works, runs, and lives in this "black hole"), any and all motivation that you've had has been rendered moot. It isn't a fast process either. The snail-like pace that the armorY normally runs at makes it that much more agonizing.
And how does the process of sucking away your happiness work? Well, here's some foresight into it. To check a weapon (let's go with a rifle for this example) out of the armorY, one does not simply go to the armorY and grab their rifle before casually walking away. No, the only person that can enter the armorY is the armorER. So, if you want to check out your rifle for duty, you must follow a certain process.
First, you must wait for the armorY to actually open and for that to happen, the armorER must open the armorY. Even if there is a sign posted that specifically states when the armorY is open or when the armorER is in, you have to show up half an hour to a full hour early to witness this. Otherwise, it may never open. Then there's this little tidbit. Even if the armorY is open or the armorER is in, you may not be able to check out your rifle because there might be certain criteria to actually check out or receive your rifle.
Once the armorY is open and the armorER is in (and you meet any criteria), you may finally receive/check out your rifle! Wait, no. I'm wrong. Why? Well, you have to wait for the armorER to actually find your rifle. That can't take too long, right? Well... Everyone gets issued a rifle, right? There are many like it, but... There are many like it. THERE ARE MANY LIKE IT!!! There's gonna be many copies of the same rifle on the same rifle rack that its on. You can pray that your rifle is on the first position of the first rifle rack but upon doing that, you've jinxed the process. Thus your rifle is on the last position of the last rifle rack that the armorER checks. This process is made even slower by the fact that the only thing that differentiates the rifles is the serial number, to which the armorER has to check one by one. The more weapons the armorY holds, the longer it takes. Once you finally have your rifle, you must sign some paperwork (the bane of literally everyone's existence) and you can march along your merry way.
So now that you have your rifle, what do you do? You can finally leave this forsaken place forever! Oh wait, you have to return later to turn in your rifle...
If you thought checking out your rifle took a long time...
Starting off, you can't turn your rifle back in if it's dirty. There is a standard that has to be kept! If you checked out your rifle and fired it, you're in for a painstakingly long process. Why? Obviously, you have to clean off the carbon that accumulates on it after a round has been fired. Carbon results from the gunpowder discharging and since this is such a violent and instant process, carbon can be found literally anywhere inside of the rifle. No matter the amount of time spent cleaning, the armorER will always find a spot that you've missed.
Eventually, the armorER has deemed that your rifle is clean and you can finally leave! But remember, you're gonna come back eventually (which is tomorrow in most cases).
What does all of this have to do with anything?
Well, the griffon army had launched a massive offensive that was forcefully ended short when too many members of their upper chain-of-command were killed. In the ensuing defense of Baltimare, literally all combat and combat-capable support personnel had fired their weapon at some point in the battle. While most of the combat personnel had to stay on guard/duty/watch in case the griffons launched an additional counter-offensive, the support personnel would have to go back to performing their intended roles.
But to do that, they first have to turn their weapons back into the armorY...
Somewhere in the 5th Ground Division's headquarters, there was an armorY. This armorY was special. Why? Well, it was the largest armorY in Baltimare! It was capable of storing 1000 firearms and could withstand direct artillery fire! Usually, armorIES were assigned two armorERS. In this case, there was only one assigned armorER.
One armorER? For the largest armorY in Baltimare? What kind of idiot decided that this was a good idea?
Well... The Baltimare sector wasn't exactly brimming with extra soldiers, especially after fighting off the griffons. On top of that, being an armorER wasn't a job that you started out immediately with. It was a position, one that required a good amount of extra training. On top of that, many consider it to be one of the most dreadfully boring positions in the military. You had to deal with other ponies's weapons, the paperwork of dealing with other ponies' weapons, and the fact that you'll be spending the rest of your life in a sealed room made of concrete with no ventilation.
Yeah... Volunteering to be an armorER usually didn't happen. Most are forced into the position.
The armorER for the largest armorY in Baltimare was a light blue earth pony with a brown mane and tail. He was a sergeant so he had a decent amount of leeway when it came to doing what he wanted, but he'd have ultimate power once he enters his realm.
This pony was a member of a very rare minority. You see, he actually volunteered to be an armorER! What in the world would compel someone to do such a thing? Mental disparity? Self-hate? Masochism?
Nope, none of that nonsense.
You see, this pony had a very unique talent. His cutie mark was a slightly tilted painting. What special talent would such a cutie mark represent? His special talent, specifically, is finding all of the little nuances and pet peeves that really set people off, just enough, and hitting almost all of them. And then thoroughly enjoying the outcome.
His name, Schadenfreude, is rather fitting.
What was he doing right now? Well, Sergeant Schadenfreude was currently sitting at a desk, surrounded by empty weapon racks, cleaning a revolver. By "cleaning a revolver," he was actually just sitting there with the pieces to a revolver on his desk. If someone came by, he could claim he was cleaning it so that he wouldn't have to help someone clean their weapon if they needed help.
In every armorY, there was only one exit. This exit had two doors. One door was a massive vault-like door that could secure the armorY if needed while the other was a door that could be separated in an upper and lower half. The lower half of the door had a board attached to it, making it also usable as a table. If you wanted to get your weapon checked in, you had to approach the door.
Just so happens, a pony came by. He was clearly a member of the Royal Army and he was currently carrying a rifle (bolt action).
Schadenfreude noticed the pony and smiled. "Yes?"
The pony in question set his rifle down on the lower half of the 2nd door. "Do you have any cleaning oil?"
Schadenfreude's smile grew.
He opened up a drawer on his desk and retrieved a small plastic bottle. He tossed it to the pony and then returned his attention to his desk, where he picked up a piece of the disassembled revolver to act like he was doing something.
The soldier caught the bottle and promptly left. Once out of view, Schadenfreude looked up and started to mentally countdown. 'Five. Four. Three. Two. One.'
The soldier had walked back, holding up the small plastic bottle. "This bottle is nearly empty," he said.
Schadenfreude leaned on his desk, both hooves propping up his head. "But is it completely empty?"
"Then clean your rifle," Schadenfreude said before continuing to 'clean' his revolver.
Another pony came up to the door. This pony had a very noticeable distinction between him and the other enlisted ponies, he was an officer. Specifically, he was a lieutenant, 2nd grade. From what Schadenfreude guessed, this officer was new.
Being an officer didn't make him immune. "Yes sir?" Schadenfreude said, addressing him.
The officer unslung a rifle off of his back and drew a revolver, placing both of them on the table/door. "I'd like to turn in my weapons," said the officer.
Schadenfreude stood up. "I'll be right there, sir." Schadenfreude walked right over to the entrance and picked up the revolver. "It's still dirty. I'm afraid I can't accept this, sir."
"You haven't even checked it!" exclaimed the officer.
A smile appeared on Schadenfreude's face as he picked up the rifle and set it down inside the armorY before grabbing the revolver and quickly disassembling it. The cylinder was separated from the frame and the grip plates were separated from the grips. Schadenfreude then picked up the cylinder and pointed it down on the table/door. In the blink of an eye, he slammed it down on the table/door and watched as solidified carbon fell out of the cylinder.
Schadenfreude looked at the solidified carbon and then at the officer. Smiling, Schadenfreude picked up the frame of the revolver and handed it back to the officer. "Right, I'll be on my way then," said the officer. The officer, revolver in hoof, started to walk away.
Schadenfreude's shit-eating grin grew as he looked at the pieces that belonged to the revolver that the officer had forgotten about. "Sir!" Schadenfreude called out.
A few seconds later, the officer returned. "Yes?" the officer responded. Schadenfreude held up the revolver cylinder that the officer had forgotten about. "Oh. Whoops." The officer took the cylinder and went on his way.
Schadenfreude looked at the revolver's grips that he still had possession of. He couldn't call the officer back right away. No, he had to wait until the officer had traveled a decent distance. After the officer had left Schadenfreude's view, he called out again. "Sir!"
The officer returned, revolver still in hoof. "What?" he said, clearly irritated. Schadenfreude held up ONE of the two grip plates in front of the officer to see. "Oh." He took the grip plate and once again, left the vicinity of the armorY.
Schadenfreude looked at the other grip plate that the officer had forgotten about. He waited a few seconds and once again, called out. "Sir!"
A few seconds later, the officer returned. "What did I forget this time?" the officer demanded. Schadenfreude held up the second grip plate. "Oh for fuck's sake. I thought I already grabbed that!"
Schadenfreude removed the smile from his face. It wasn't that his enjoyment was being ruined. It was more so that he could continue without punishment. "They come in pairs, sir," said Schadenfreude.
The officer, whose face was showing the signs of angered frustration, took the grip plate. "Is that everything that I need for my sidearm?" the officer asked.
"Yes sir, that would indeed be everything that belongs to your revolver, sir," said Schadenfreude with as much false politeness that he could muster. The officer stuffed the grip plate in his pocket and walked away from the armorY, for the fourth time today.
Schadenfreude hadn't lied. There was nothing from the officer's revolver that he had forgotten...
Schadenfreude looked at the rifle that the officer had forgotten and smiled again.
There was a line of ponies waiting at the only entrance to the armorY.
How did he miss that? That's easy, he was "focused" on "cleaning" a revolver.
Why did no one ask for his help? Well, the ponies in line actually had been calling for his help.
Why didn't Schadenfreude respond? Well, he might have been wearing earplugs.
Oh, but anyone who has ever worn earplugs knows that it only muffles some of the sounds. True, but Schadenfreude might have also been wearing ear muffs in addition to the earplugs and these ear muffs might have been designed for artillery crew members.
Oh but he eventually has to look up, right? Well, he was REALLY “focused” on “cleaning” a revolver.
Schadenfreude picked up his daisy sandwich and took a bite out of it. It was his lunch break damn it and he was going to enjoy it! Especially so if ponies were waiting in line at the armorY’s door!
“Come on, we just need our rifles!” yelled one of the ponies in the line.
Schadenfreude took another bite out of his sandwich.
Someone approached the door to his armorY. Not somePONY, someONE. When Schadenfreude noticed the person, he almost drew his sidearm. Schadenfreude had nearly mistaken the person for a minotaur but had noticed the small features that made him think otherwise.
From the rumors that were being spread, Schadenfreude guessed that he was probably one of those humans that everypony was talking about. What was he doing here?
Schadenfreude walked up to the door and quickly looked him over. The grey splotchy uniform was definitely something that you’d immediately notice, as with the height. Then, he noticed the massive scoped rifle slung on his back. The titanic revolver/hand cannon strapped to his hip was also another surprise.
What exactly did he need? “Yes?” Schadenfreude asked. The human, at first, ignored Schadenfreude. Instead of paying attention to the pony, the human was just looking at the items that littered and lined the inside of the armorY.
The human snapped out of it and stared directly into Schadenfreude’s eyes. “I’m gonna need a bore brush for a shotgun and a .45 Peacemaker and some cleaning oil”, said the human.
Schadenfreude thought about his options. Should he try to push the human’s buttons? Of course! The question was, how could he go about doing it? This was a creature that he had never seen nor interacted with before. This was going to be a challenge.
Schadenfreude walked over to where he kept his cleaning supplies, grabbing the requested items. Since his name wasn’t charity, he chose the most worn brushes and a nearly empty bottle of cleaning oil (just like earlier). Schadenfreude brought the cleaning supplies to the door and gave them to the human.
After the human left, Schadenfreude started to wait. Any minute now, the human would return. Any minute now. And any minute now. Any minute now...
An hour later, the human returned. Held in his left hand were the cleaning supplies that he been given. Both of the bore brushes looked even more used and for some reason, the bottle of oil was still present. Then, the human said, “Thank you for the brushes, they were very useful.”
Schadenfreude froze for a second. He had been helpful? Since when did that ever happen? “They weren’t too worn for you to use?”
The human drew the titan-of-a-revolver that he carried before dropping the cylinder and exposing its shiny chambers. “The worn state of that shotgun bore brush was perfect for my revolver.”
Schadenfreude stared at the excessively large chambers of the revolver. “And you had no qualms with the amount of oil that I gave you?” Schadenfreude asked.
The human gently closed the cylinder of his revolver and holstered it. “Most people use too much oil when cleaning their guns”, he said.
Schadenfreude blinked. He had one hope left. Schadenfreude walked up to the human and stood up on his hind legs, making him eye level with the human. Leaning forward, he stated one simple word. “Moist.”
Nothing on the human’s face showed that he had even registered what Schadenfreude had said.
Schadenfreude’s nose scrunched when the human’s oily fingers touched his nose. The surprise had caused him to lean backwards leading to Schadenfreude falling over onto his back.