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"I have been his friend for years," Archie declared. "I should get to go."

Styles snorted. "With respect, Mr Kennedy, sir, I've known him just as long, and I work harder."

Matthews chuckled at the non-sequiteur. "Which makes you that much sweatier, Styles. And he trusts me."

"He trusts me more," Wellard chimed in. "He let me in on the mutiny before he told anyone."

"He felt sorry for you." That was Bush. "But face it, I'm more mature than any of you."

"You mean you're older, sir," Jack Hammond scoffed. "And I'm by far the most beautiful."

The men looked back and forth between Hammond and Wellard, and couldn't decide, but were relieved the Earl of Edrington was not present.

"I have been in the Navy the longest time," Buckland muttered under his breath.

Everyone laughed. "Yes, and still you're a lieutenant. Do shut up."

"Gentlemen," came an amused voice from the other side of a large leather armchair, a moment before Admiral Pellew emerged from it to join the gathering. "You put forth excellent arguments, but may I remind you of what is really the deciding factor here?"

Everyone looked expectantly at the imposing figure.

"I outrank you all." And with that, Admiral Pellew bid his adieu and marched nonchalantly into the next room, where his lover Horatio awaited.