that?!" Gooseman stood stock-still in the doorframe,
effectively preventing his Captain, who was returning from a
mission with him, from entering their unit's office as
protested behind him. "If you'd just move a little more into
the room, please!" He more or less shoved the young man half
a meter through the door till he was able to weasel around him.
The first thing he saw was the reason why the ST had stopped
dead. The first thing he thought was God, not again!
to the door stood a battery of connected, roughly knee-high
rectangular plastic boxes with flap lids and rounded edges:
apparently dust bins. From left to right: black, blue, green,
yellow, and white. At each end of the row hung a tiny orange box
from the top of the bin. The one attached to the black bin was
labeled with ammo shells, the one on the white said
batteries. Each of the bins and boxes carried a big and
and somehow threatening —
label of their unit. Wonderful.
turned on his heels and studied the other two officers of his
unit, who had returned earlier. "Tell me that this is a
joke!" he demanded.
Zach. I'm afraid not." Niko gave him an apologetic smile.
"It came this morning, short after you and Goose left.
Apparently, somebody at the BWL's Committee for Responsible Use
of Resources decided BETA wastes too much and ordered us to
that the same person who came up with the biodegradable —
hence water-soluble —
dust bins last year?"
But these don't dissolve." The hacker gave him a wicked
grin. "I tested it."
frowned. "Which bin did you empty it in?" she
The telepath hesitated. "I don't think that's
Zach interrupted. "What do you mean?"
is for metal, blue is glass, green is bio-waste, white is paper,
and yellow is for all the rest."
it's right," Doc argued. "It was the rest of the
biodegradable. It should have been in the green bin, I
"Do you expect
me to disconnect that thing and empty it into the
it." Zach shook his head and headed for his desk. "This
is getting much too far for my taste." He'd almost added
Take Goose as an example but caught himself in time. The
ST already sat on his desk, moving a tea bag around in a mug
filled with steaming water, but he'd been a pain in the butt on
this mission and Zach knew better than to give him an argument to
consider that behavior appropriate in the future.
minutes later the ST swiveled around at his desk, studied the bin
battery, and hesitated.
to ask, but... which box?" he frowned. The tea bag dangled
from his fingers, rotating slowly —
and dripping —
on its thread.
indifferently and escaped to the first draft of his report. He
had decided to gloss over some of the details and that was
something he'd better concentrate on.
telepath looked up from her telekinetic exercise and studied
Goose's tea bag. "Bio, I think." Niko pointed at the
center bin. "Green. Right, Doc?"
The hacker made a dismissive gesture. "That's
multi-component waste!" he declared.
the ST stared at him incredulously. "Are you taking me for a
Doc shuddered theatrically. "But that's multi-component
waste!" he repeated, failing to hide his grin. "You
have to sort the components in the proper bins."
"Yes. First, the
label is paper, that's the white bin. The pin is metal, so put it
in black. The tea leaves in the bag are bio-waste, so the green
bin is right for them. And the thread and the bag itself are for
yellow." He threw a look over his shoulder at Niko. "Did
I forget anything?"
I think that's all." She hesitated and added: "The ammo
shells go in the casket on the left."
Shane is about to fire at you," she shrugged.
you wouldn't, would you—?"
the hacker stuttered.
I won't." The ST dropped back at his desk. "That
wouldn't solve the tea bag issue, would it?" He fumbled a
thick, padded envelope out of one of his desk
"What's that for?"
of the bag." Goose shrugged. "He said I should ask when
there's a problem."
was growing dark already, when there was a faint sizzle and the
light on Zach's desk went out. "Not my day," the
captain sighed, dismounting the lamp to free the dead light
"Any idea whether
that's glass or metal?" Doc asked with a nod towards the
dead light tube on Zach's place.
You can't dismantle it, so—?"
Niko gave him a helpless shrug.
take care of it." Zach stuffed it into his pocket as he went
to get himself a new one.
solved," he declared when he came back from the supplies
department five minutes later.
where is it?" Doc asked curiously. "In glass or in
"In the bins
from the S6s."
Office of Cmdr. Walsh
tea bag rotated slowly around its thread, dangling down from the
soaked label still carrying 'Ceylon Kenilworth, first flush'
in friendly letters between Walsh's pointed fingertips.
equally tea soaked card in the envelope carried a single word in
all-too-familiar handwriting: How?
to Trivia 'S' Blank for recycling my English! :)