I growled with annoyance when a mail deliverer walked into my office without knocking. I need to get a door, I decided. Realizing her mistake, she dropped the letter and ran down the hall. There was a single letter lying on the ground. Curious, I opened it.
I am here in this base, but you will have to search heaven and hell before you find me.
P.S. I will have my revenge. You don't kill my best friend and expect to get away with it.
I rolled my eyes. He was still going on about that? Thinking out loud, I muttered, "Why is he so stubborn. It can't be l-"I gagged on the word. "It can't be not-hate." Note to self: Increase security measures. The battle was going to take place in a few hours. It would be just like Roger to mess it up!
I called the emergency meeting. As I waited in the spare room for the members to file in, I puzzled over the fact that Yuri had pointed out to me.
Crystal arrived first, of course, followed by the other trainees who were to go on the mission. Then the rest of the members crowded into the small room. We didn't have much time. I wasted none of it. I told the group about the battle plan, and they discussed it in hushed whispers. Finally, a black rabbit in the back leaped up.
"He's going to use us as bait," he cried.
"Keep your voice down," his friend whispered. Crystal snarled with rage. She made her way to the small rock podium near where I stood.
"I am fed up with the oppressive rule of the straight-ears," she declared. Then she turned to me and muttered, "No offense," before continuing: "They have pushed us around, isolated us, made us the butt of their jokes, and treated us like foxing garbage for too long! We can't wait any longer! I say we start our offense now, before we are unjustly used as bait! We won't get anywhere by sitting on our tails! Who's with me?" She didn't shout, but she might as well have. Quiet cheers filled the room. She waited till silence fell again to continue.
"Here's the plan: We refuse to move when they order us to. We tell them why. We attempt to reason with them. And if they can't be reasoned with, we blow their cover. They'll run home, and our message will be heard!"
I thought about what my mentor (may he rest in peace) had said about how humans would shoot at a blade of grass if it moved the wrong way too close to their leader's house. If we blew our own cover like that, would we have time to run? I started to ask, but Commander Bugs' voice bellowed down the hall: "Straight-ears who are going on the mission are to report outside immediately!"
Crystal whispered to me before I left: "If they can't listen to us, they may listen to you."
Outside, the commander handed out buckets of black paint. He instructed those of us who weren't that color to paint ourselves so that we would blend in with the night. I felt hyper, excited, nervous, anxious, scared, and elated at the same time. I didn't know I could feel that many emotions at once. I dipped my paws in the cold paint and rubbed my face and ears. Kale guffawed.
"You look like a panda bear," he said. I huffed in annoyance.
"Panda bears are black and white, not black and brown, scat-for-brains."
"So you're saying I look like a panda bear," asked Cow, who was half-covered in paint already. Kale laughed again.
"Hey, you wanna hear a new lop joke," he asked. Cow nodded. I turned away, purposely hitting the paint bucket so I couldn't hear. I managed to cover myself in paint, so I ran to the bus with the rest of the soldiers. The paint dried and I felt stiff as I bounded into the storage compartment. Then the lop-ears were called out. They were not ordered to camouflage themselves. It seemed like the higher-ranking rabbits wanted the lop-ears to be noticed. I shivered. Yuri and the black rabbit were right!
Crystal sat next to me, and my stomach did a somersault. I caught a glimpse of the setting sun before the clueless human closed the door. A few seconds later, the vehicle coughed to life and sped up, throwing us against the far side. Mumbles of complaint echoed on the metal walls as we spread out again, adjusting to the movement. It was pitch dark, but I could recognize Crystal's scent. I found where she was and sat next to her again. The paint masked a lot of the scents. If nobody talked, you wouldn't know who was who. And the troops around me were silent, each of them wrapped in their own thoughts.
My own thoughts flooded my mind. The lop-ears, without camouflage, stuck out like a hare's tail. Why would Reuben use real rabbits for the distraction when he could just as easily have used a voice recorder, explosives, or even a stuffed rabbit? I knew the answer. They weren't considered "real" rabbits. My fur heated with rage; now I knew why the members of L.E.L.A. were so excited about their plan. I also felt their excitement. Then again came the feeling of apprehension when I realized that I was thisclose to losing my position as officer, and that by enacting this plan I was basically asking for trouble. The apprehension was dissolved by excitement again when a little voice in my head told me that this was only the beginning of an important revolution.