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First Printing November, 2012

Published by Legion Printing, Birmingham, AL

Copyright Phil Geusz, 2012

ISBN: 9781301396757

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and events are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without explicit permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

1

"This lime pudding is simply wonderful!" my old friend Jean le Vorsage declared. It was Tuesday night in Javelin's wardroom, where I traditionally hosted our weekly commanding officer's dinners. "Sheer heaven! Could you pass the dish, David?"

"Of course," I replied, sliding the bowl down the table. I still wasn't sure exactly how it was that the very nastiest of the human-style food kept ending up parked directly in front of me. But somehow it always did. So far, however, this was the only serious drawback I'd found to "family-style" dining. It was all the rage everywhere these days, ever since James had begun dispensing with strict precedent and protocol at all but his most formal functions. Nestor had first suggested it to him, I wasn't supposed to know, as a means by which His Majesty could have personal interactions with the lowly free Rabbits whenever he came and visited my estate. The rest was history. And quite beneficial history at that, so far as I was concerned. Not only was it probably good for James, but dispensing with formal ceremonial and switching seatmates every week allowed me to get to know all my subordinate captains better, not just the same two or three that I'd ordinarily partner with again and again. The better we all knew each other, the more effectively we could work together as a team. Which was precisely why I held the weekly dinners to begin with, of course.

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