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September 6, 247 H.E.

I should have known tonight’s watch would kiss the mule’s bum when Sergeant Ahuda stopped me after baton training. “A private word, Cooper,” she told me, and pulled me into a quiet corner of the training yard. Her dark eyes were sharp on my face. We’d gotten on well since I’d finished my Puppy year and in my five months’ work as a Dog. I couldn’t think what I might have done to vex her.

“Your reports have gotten sloppy.” That was Ahuda, never one to soften her words. “You leave out detail, you skip what’s said. You used to write the best reports of any Puppy or first year Dog, but not of late. Have you slacked on the memory exercises?”

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