“Sir!” Fireball saluted, almost too quickly. His gloved hand hit his white and gold helmet. His eye grew wider as his commander stomped up, obviously furious.
“You…you trooper, are in some serious trouble!” Commander Ruck snarled and stood eye to eye with Fireball, even though one of his was covered by a patch.
“Commander, with all due respect, what did I do?” Fireball’s left hand twitched uncomfortably, something that usually happened when he was nervous.
Ruck put a hand to his face, his thumb and index finger on either side of the bridge of his nose. He shook his head. “Trooper, were you by any chance the one who was working on some sort of experiment in the latrine area?” Ruck’s question was almost rhetorical.
“I…did have some of my…stuff in there. Sir.” Fireball looked even more uneasy.
“Well it exploded!” Shouted Ruck at almost the top of his lungs. “And the commodes went with it!”
Fireball snorted, trying to hold in a laugh. It was by no means funny, but the way Ruck said the word “commodes” was somehow hilarious.
“There were several men in that building. They could have been seriously injured!” Ruck gave Fireball a rough but not too forceful shove, causing him to take a step back.
“I…they were alright, right?” Fireball looked worried.
“Ask them yourself.” Ruck pointed a finger down the hall.
Three troopers walked up, as if they were trying to avoid being seen. Their red jumpsuits were stained with some very distasteful looking substance and they smelled like the contents of the latrine. Fireball recognized the trio as Countdown, Jinx, and Double, all members of his squad. He gulped as Countdown clenched his fist and sent him a death glare.
“Commander…I don’t think this was Fireball’s fault.” Jinx looked genuinely concerned as he looked at Ruck. “You see, the cook made a mistake with the grub yesterday and Double here…” His face immediately broke into a grin. “You see, he went inside and then there was this boom.” He tried to keep his laughter under control.
Double looked very ticked off at the statement. “Oh no. It was most assuredly not my fault.”
“Sure smelled like it…” Jinx snorted again, stifling a laugh.
“Hey!” Double shouted and raised a fist at his brother.
“Enough!” Ruck snarled at the three. “Go clean yourselves up and I don’t want to see you unless you don’t smell like…”
“Double?” Jinx interrupted then dashed down the hall, followed by an angry Double.
Ruck turned back to Fireball, who was still laughing. The trooper gained control of himself after his commander locked eyes with him. Ruck in no way thought this as amusing as the rest of the men.
“Fireball, you and only you are going to clean up after your little stink-bomb.” Ruck lessened the term to that, the explosion was much more than just a stink bomb. An entire wall was missing to the latrine.
“But sir, I can’t rebuild the place!” Fireball was immediately sober.
“Don’t you back talk me, trooper! You will clean up all of the…waste, and the maintenance team will take care of the wall.”
“It’ll take a construction crew to fix that if I know my bombs…” Fireball whispered to himself.
Ruck seemed to think Fireball was still backtalking. “And latrine duty for two weeks!”
Fireball’s jaw dropped. Once a day, the main drain had to have chemicals dumped inside and the walls scraped free of any excess debris. The clone who got stuck doing it was usually dubbed, “the crap man”, or just plain “crap”. Fireball had thought it was funny to tease his brothers about poop duty, but he wasn’t laughing now.
“Quiet! I want no more out of you. Now get out of here and get to work.” Ruck ordered and stormed off.
“Oh no…” Fireball moaned. This was the most humiliating thing that had ever happened to him.
“Hey Fireball!” Jinx yelled from across the mess hall. “Enjoying turd duty? Get it? Doody?”
“Shut up Jinx!” Countdown yelled at him. “We’ve all had enough of your crap jokes.” Besides being protective of Fireball, Countdown seemed truly tired of Jinx’s stupid puns.
Fireball glared at Jinx and marched over to a table. He sat beside Countdown in his usual place and poked at his food. After having cleaned the drains, nothing looked appetizing. He had thrown up twice while cleaning them.
“You alright Fireball? You’re looking a bit green.” Countdown shoved a bite of food in his mouth.
Fireball nearly gagged. “Gah…please don’t talk about anything green.” He groaned.
“Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.” Countdown continued eating. He watched his brother pick at his food.
“Well, it’s been two weeks. Today was my last day so I won’t need to “get used to it” anymore.” Fireball cleared his throat and finally seemed able to eat something.
“Good. Maybe Jinx will quit the dumb jokes.” Countdown playfully elbowed his brother.
Fireball chuckled and took a bite of some fruit on his plate. He had almost finished when there was a distant boom from another part of the building.
Silence from everyone.
“Well excuse you.” Jinx pointed at Double, the first to speak.
“Curse you, Jinx!” Double threw his sandwich at Jinx, hitting him in the face. Jinx retaliated with a bowl of some kind of stew, not caring that he missed and spilled it all over Ranger and Whip.
Ranger looked furious and threw half of a Meiloorun fruit at Jinx, who was getting pelted with other food items. Jinx ducked under the table to avoid any more projectiles from hitting him in the face.
Then the door burst open.
“Fireball!!” There in the doorway was Ruck, his armor charred and half of the hair on his head burned off. His face was red, partly because he was slightly burned and partly because of his rage. He wasn't hurt much, the heat had done little more than ruin his hair.
“Latrine duty for the rest of the month!!” Ruck roared at the top of his lungs and whirled around to leave. Zip, the medic, ran after him.
Fireball growled in agony and slammed his head down onto the table.