“I must admit,” Thirty-four Trills said as he shuffled the stack of datapads that he held in his wingfolds, “being stationed on a base with humans has certainly expanded and condensed my understanding of the Ranger Corps safety regulations.”
“One either flies or falls in this sort of situation,” the base commander agreed as he held out a winghook for the next datapad.
“Have you found any regulation yet that even begins to cover the situation?” Thrity-four Trills asked.
“Yes,” the commander said with a tired sigh. “The vast majority of the regulations about disrupting flight space do cover this situation to some degree.”
“But?” Thirty-four Trills asked as he began to sort through some sub-files on interspecies insults.
“They are all meant to cover serious violations,” the commander said as he shifted his datapads around in tired confusion. “There is nothing that is really applicable to a wing of junior rangers blowing off steam in a method that is so ultimately harmless.”
“I wouldn’t call casing great masses of half directed chaff into the main personal flight path exactly harmless,” Thirty-four Trills pointed out.
“Tell me,” the commander said with a sigh as he reached up to rub his sensory horns, “is there a single hair’s weight of malice or aforethought in the humans’ actions.”
“To be right on the wind’s edge,” Thirty-four Trills said with a dry rasp, “I highly doubt that there is any thought involved at all.”
The commander gave a dry chuckle and shoved the datapads away from him.
“This really is my fault,” he said as he walked over to the window and looked out at the soft green floor of the quad.
The majority of the human component of the training base were scattered across the ground cover wearing the minimum amount of clothing that their culture allowed. They had dragged out the massive recycling bin to the middle of the quad and a few were vigorously sorting though the waste in search of paper of a particular density. This they then handed out to other humans who sorted it and carried it to where a line of contestants huddled over the starting line of an improvised flight test range. These humans were busily folding the paper into glide surfaces which were then hurled down the range with powerful thrusts of their thick forelimbs. Some humans went so far as to engage their entire bodies as propulsion levers. The improvised gliders flew, fell, and swerved drunkenly down the test range where they were then judged by a row of humans with recording devices.
That situation in of itself wouldn’t have been so bad. The improvised test range was a reasonably restricted area of the quad. However the rest of the humans appeared to be engaged in a purely disorganized effort of creativity that was filling the entire airspace with folded paper contraptions that slewed, glided, and dropped, making the space a flight hazard more nearly akin to a storm wind in the treetops than anything else.
“Were you able to gain any insight into what initiated this?” the commander finally asked.
“Not a chirp,” Thirty-four Trills said with a sigh. “The humans all seemed satisfied with the entertainment provided on the base. We were making sure to assign each human the suggested amount of vigorous outdoor walking tasks. None of them has mentioned this activity in public at least that we could record.”
“How did this start again?” the commander asked, waving a winghook at the chaos outside the window.
The both flinched as a heavier bodied craft slammed into the window. This one seemed to have some sort of polymer band attached to a primitive propeller surface.
“Dear mothertree,” Thirty-four Trills muttered in horror, “They are adding extended propulsion to them now.”
The commander gave an irritated chirp and Thirty-four Trills flapped his attention back to the superior officer.
“Specialist Schmidt,” he said quickly. “He was sweeping out the bay where the recycling bin is kept. There was a fragment of paper on the floor too big for the broom to handle so he bent over to pick it up manually. He seemed to pause and consider it for a moment, then, instead of putting it in the smaller recycling bin he folded it into a glide surface and attempted to glide it into the open top of the bin. He missed the toss repeatedly and was observed by Specialist Psmith who suggested a modification to the glide surface. That mod didn’t work so they began to trouble shoot other designs.”
“And at no point did it occur to them to just place the paper in the smaller bin?” the commander asked.
“Apparently not,” Thirty-four Trills replied. “Eventually other humans observed them and attempted to help. This required more paper which they procured from the main recycling bin, and well,” Thirty-four Trills gestured to the window with a winghook, “as you can see it is a very fair day out and a general rest day.”
“They took it outside,” the commander finished as a bright yellow glider drifted past the window.
“They took it outside,” Thirty-four Trills confirmed.
“If we can’t find a regulation by sundown I will write one myself,” the commander said as he bent back to the task at hook.
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