First and foremost, the pit was for ventilation purposes, as well as somewhere for the lift system to go. Barriers around the edges made it safe for anyone with a half-decent sense of balance and, well, it was an integral part of the structure, so the Rangers were kind of stuck with it, whether they liked it or not.
Fortunately, they did. Too much, in Miller's opinion.
It started off with little things - people using the echo the pit caused to talk to others on the opposite side, yelling rude words and letting said echo do the rest, little things; mildly annoying, but not really problematic. Until the weekly poker night rolled around, during which a few Rangers got a bit too drunk and began complaining that some people were cheating. A few stern words about poker night being banned straightened that out, or so Miller thought.
And then the things began to go missing.
First single boots. Then pairs of boots. Books, pillows, notebooks, pencils, all began to mysteriously vanish. Naturally people suspected that there was a thief around, but an inspection of everybody's rooms revealed no hidden stashes of stolen goods and the thief accusations were laid to rest. But if it wasn't thieves, then where was everything going?
Three weeks after the initial disappearances, Miller took a group of Rangers down to the lowest level of D6, mainly to check that the oozing growth hadn't come back for an encore. It hadn't, thank god, but just as they were all trooping back to the lift one of them, a skinny recruit named Lev piped up. "Hey, does anyone else see all that shit over there?" A chorus of hissing tried to silence him, to no avail; Miller turned to where Lev was pointing, and his day instantly got a whole lot more annoying.
Scattered around was everything that had gone missing in the past twenty-one days. All the boots, all the books, everything. Taking a deep breath (shouting could wait until everyone could hear him), Miller ordered that all the items be picked up. Right now. Hearing the restrained irritation in his voice, the Rangers scrambled to obey, a few trying to garble out explanations along the lines of 'it was only a bit of fun', but most not even daring to try. Upon arrival back at a higher level, the recovered things were spread out on a table, and Miller sent a message around the base for everyone to gather by the pit.
For the first time since arriving in D6, Miller himself made use of the pit and the echo.
Never before had every Ranger had a severe telling-off at the same time. Miller would be lying if he said he didn't enjoy it the tiniest bit, watching every face sink into sheepish embarrassment like a bunch of children caught stealing from the cookie jar only to get scolded by an angry mother... Oh god, he was being a mother figure to a hundred grown men wasn't he? Truly this was the lowest point in his career, no his life. But it was done now and, with a final warning that if this ever happened again the perpetrator would be going down the pit too, he let them all return to their duties.
Once again, of course, he could hear Ulman chuckling quietly behind him. "Hey Colonel, you really went off on one there, eh? Kinda like a mother if you think about it..."
"Don't think about it."
"Too late! First you went all paternal over Artyom and his habit of dropping things, now you're scolding a whole base full of Rangers for being, as you put it, immature children barely fit to be soldiers. What's next, you gonna start spanking people who break the rules?"
"I'll spank you in a minute, Ulman, if you don't watch it." A moment of silence.
".... Is that a threat or an offer?" If looks could kill, Ulman would've dropped dead on the spot. But they can't, so all Miller could do was glare in barely held-back annoyance before storming off to his office, leaving behind the threat that Ulman would be cleaning everything from the bottom of the pit with his own toothbrush by this time tomorrow.
Ulman allowed himself one more laugh, before heading back to his room to hide his toothbrush.