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Bright and early one morning, the crack troops of the Extraordinary Bunny Dispersal (EBD) unit assembled in their hanger somewhere in the middle of England.

"Right boys," the commander began, only to be interrupted by a pointed cough, "And girls - sorry. Today you've got a busy day ahead of you. I trust you've already picked up your itineraries?"

The assembled crew nodded.

"So, first up...Mortimer. Difficult challenge for you today, my son. You've got Vick."

Mortimer's colleagues visibly winced, but Mortimer himself stood tall. "I'm ready for the challenge, boss."

"You do know what you're up against, don't you? You've heard about...about...about the pie?"

"I know boss. And I'm ready. And, were the worst to happen, I'd know I'd've gone down serving a noble cause."

"Good lad. Now, Brian and Simon - honestly, do you know how silly you look in those hoods?"

Brian and Simon looked at each other, not quite understanding how their boss could say such a thing. "I think we look cool," Simon said, quietly.

"We do look cool," Brian agreed.

"Nevermind...you two are off to London. Eleanore is your target. She's elusive - so I hope you've got your AtoZs with you? And your Oyster cards?"

Brian suddenly turned white, or at least, as white as a brown furry creature could. "Go on, go and get it. And be quick about it! Now, Thumper. You're down for Jayj. An interesting story for you - something about a broken bed. Do you think you're up to delivering it?"

"Yes boss. I know where she's going to be, and if I don't get her on her way to work, I'll get her at lunch time when she's on her way to buy her sandwiches."

"Good rabbit."

Simon nudged Thumper knowingly. "A broken bed?" he giggled. "Yesterday it was all about chairs - have you got a furniture fetish or something?"

"And finally, you lot over there." The commander turned to face a small army of slightly unruly rabbits, all of them eager and ready to go. "You've got Kathryn. You know the drill, right? Ambush her at every turn?" A cheer of anticipation went up. "Good boys -and girls! Now, you lot, get to work!"

***

Edmonton Barnaby Dunlop - with a name like that, he felt he'd been destined since birth to be in charge of the EBD unit - was worried. The news from the field was not good. Only one of his rabbits had returned to HQ and none of the others had yet even made contact.

And even Thumper, the sole plot-deliverance-operative to make it back to base, had a rather sorry tale to tell.

"I normally get her on the way to work, but she left early this morning and I missed her. So I planned to get her at lunchtime, but she was in a meeting. And when she was at work - it was actually as if she was doing work. That's odd, boss. That's not like her at all...I caught her after work, of course, but still - I'm worried she's developing some kind of resistance. And tomorrow, I heard her say she's on a course, so even if I get to her, I might not be able to provoke her to post..."

"It's alright, Thumper. Well, you've done well today. But - perhaps -" The chief's eyes flickered towards a red door in the corner of the hanger marked "Meta-Rabbits: Do not enter." "Perhaps, Thumper, it's time for you to take a rest. Perhaps take on other missions. I think we might need - I think we might need something a little different. Something she won't be able to resist."

***

Meanwhile, somewhere near Victoria Coach Station, Brian and Simon were lost.

***

"What's that noise?" Mrs Smith said to her husband.

Mr Smith, watching Paxman talk politics on Newsnight, ignored his wife.

Unperturbed, Mrs Smith got up and went to the window to see if she could identify the source of the noise. "Goodness me!" she said. "Mr Smith, come and look at this!"

Needless to state, Mr Smith couldn't be bothered to get up. But if he had, he'd certainly have joined Mrs Smith in her shock. For a tidal wave of small rodents had just swept down the street. Rats, Mrs Smith had thought at first, but when one or two of them hung back to nibble away at next door's raised beds, she realised they were rabbits.

Mrs Smith went to the kitchen to pour herself a stiff gin.

***

In the control centre, Rosalie Rabbit* was keeping a close eye on the CBB. As a post went up in St Mildreds she reached for the bright red button on her desk. She hit it and sirens sounded, lights flashed, a disco ball began to revolve and confetti descended from the ceiling.

Edmonton, who had been pacing the hanger rather despondently, rushed over to the intercom at once.

"Who is it, Rosalie?"

"It's the Beecharmer bunnies, Sir. Some of those little fellas have hit home."

As she spoke, another post caught her eye, and she hit the siren button again. The confetti began to fall once more and a peculiar wooshing sound could be heard. An odd blue box appeared and two rabbits tumbled from it, squabbling. "I told you Abi wouldn't kill him." "No you didn't. "Yes I did." "Didn't." "Did."

Edmonton reached for a celebratory carrot.


*That wasn't her real name, of course. Her real name was Cottontail, which was fine when she was a baby bunny, but had become rather more embarrassing once she had reached full grown Rabbit-hood. If she'd've been employed by the Beatrix Potter Foundation, she could have got away with it, but for an EBD unit operative, she had decided that Rosalie was a much more appropriate name.




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