The YS Drinks Machine

The YS Drinks Machine was one of the famous objects in the YS office. There was one particular drink it contained which no-one wanted to drink (basically because it tasted disgusting) - Van Houten Hot Chocolate. In fact, in one famous incident, someone actually drank some and was ill for weeks afterwards.

It has since been discovered that the Van Houten Hot Chocolate in the YS drinks machine was left over from a consignment of rations handed out during the war. At the rate it was killing our troops, it's a wonder we actually survived the war.

The grotesquely beige YS drinks machine was eventually destroyed (we think; it vanished one day, anyway. Possibly, its research concluded, it returned to its home planet, or something) and replaced with an excitingly cheerful machine of the type seen on railway platforms next to the cafe in a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't sort of arrangement. The new machine, which had a large illuminated photograph of a cup of piping hot coffee on the front so you didn't mistake it for the door to the toilet or something, featured a keypad with numbers that lit up and a special whirring component that emitted a satisfyingly mechanical sound when the drink was being made. There were only two problems with the new machine: one, that the code numbers were incomprehensibly rangey (instead of, say, 1 for tea and 2 for coffee or whatever, you had to type things like 194 and 26602); and two, the drinks were inconceivably vile, though not quite to the point of the Van Houten chocolate. Suspicions were first aroused when signs were stuck over the illuminated photograph by weary repairmen reading, "Please do not pour your drink back into the grill as it damages the machine." The only useful number to remember for the machine was 136, which was some complicated blackcurrant variation, the important part being that the machine paused to mix the drink before filling the cup, allowing ample time to scoop it out to use with the adjacent water-cooler if the cups there had run out.