Enter the Shadows

It was suppose to be easy...

The moon had just started to rise as London pulled up on her Suzuki Mirage to her apartment. She was glad that Serenity hadn’t decided to actually come and see where she had been staying. She was already on London about her current clothing choices, though to be honest London didn’t fully blame her. London looked down at herself. Her clothing was covered with nearly every bodily fluid possible in addition to the old diet coke that had been spilt under the table that she had taken cover in. She looked at her hands, the only part of her clean at the current moment. They mesmerized her for a moment. She hadn’t felt like herself in almost a year.
Tonight’s job was suppose to be easy. Walk in, walk out, 35,000 creds each, some wings, watch the game and call it a night. Easy, simple, nothing more than that. The team had just finished a run for a Johnson. It hadn’t gone as plan and every turn felt like an additional charge being added to the invoice. The “get in get out” that had been pitched to them had turned into a three day hold out and a depletion of nearly all their supplies. The only thing that had made it all worth it was knowing the fat paycheck that waited all of them when they got back. It was set that London, Serenity, and Thomas would go to meet the Johnson and pick up the credsticks. Bull and Inca tagged along for the after party, unbeknownst to the Johnson. He had been waiting for them in a booth a few seats in from the door. The place wasn’t classy on any level, really intended for the low class Joes to have a place to go after a shit day at work. A civil meeting to get an honest pay in a low profile location. Easy.
London had a gut feeling that there was going to be a catch as soon as she sat down. Something about the way the Johnson held himself, though the stunt he pulled was nothing close to what she had guessed was going on. She had made small talk with him to open conversation and be polite. The job had been hell, but at the time there was no reason to be uncivil. He stated that his wife was fine, and that his mistress was thinking about going back to college. London remembered taking a sip of the crap lager she had ordered out of protocol before stating that it was time to get to business, and inquired about the payment. The laugh that came out of the Johnson, she assumed later, was meant to be intimidating and maniacal, but instead she found it more annoying and forced. He obviously had some speech prepared for this moment, probably written in the shower while he pretended to be a super villain or something. He boosted how clever he was that he had gotten the team to do his dirty work, so trusting. How stupid they all were for coming here to think that they would honestly get paid. He laughed his annoying, whiny, contrived laugh while he informed London that not only were they never going to see a cent of the deal that they were promised but that now his hired guns were going to kill her and her two other comrades. London had taken another sip of the weak alcohol and sighed. She really had been looking forward to wings and watching the game, but knew that was all out of the window now. “Mr. Johnson” she remembered saying calmly “Are you sure that this is your final answer? We take not getting paid very personally and if it was just a joke I would like to give you one chance to make that clear?” The Johnson just laughed again, ending with a whistle to alert his hired guns to do their job. After that: chaos. Bullets and magic rained all around the establishment from all sides. London did her best to get innocent civilians out, so that there would be minimal collateral damage. Inca had been behind the bar offering support by hacking into the restaurant’s systems, and changing the field to her team’s advantage all while taking care of the bartender to make sure he didn’t have a heart attack. Bull, Thomas, and Serenity took care of dispatching the Johnson, and the hired guns. In the chaos London had been trying to get what she could out of his pockets when she had to take cover under a table, using the Johnson’s body as a human shield. She remembered the feeling when she sat down and felt the sticky liquid on the floor hit her skin. It made riffling through the dead body just slightly less worse. Then there were the second pair of hands that found hers. One of the hired guns was looking for the same thing she was, the creds they were suppose to get paid with. He had no problem using an axe to try to get through the body to get to what London had found. Crimson viscous matter flew at her as she tried to keep as far back as she could. She didn’t see what happened to her attacker, only that soon afterwards he was dead himself. By the time she was able to push the bodies out from in front of her everything had been taken care of. She removed the blue disposable gloves from her hands and tossed the to the side.
She was still looking at her hands as she walked into her apartment and locked the door behind her. She couldn’t help but be fixated on the irony that her hands were the only clean part of her at this moment. It made her very aware though of how disgusting the rest of her was though. London removed each piece of clothing carefully, making sure everything ended up in a trash bag and no drips landed on the carpet. Looking at the carpet though, she wasn’t sure if anyone would really question if there had been a drop or two. She left the bag in the kitchen and made her way to the bathroom. She looked back down at her hands. They were no longer clean as when she drove up. Old blood from the clothing had smeared all over them. She began to feel herself shake as her mind flashed. She remembered the day her brother died. She remembered how her hands were covered in his blood. By the time she got to the bathroom she was nearly hyperventilating. She could barely see the world around her, her mind filling her only of images of that day. Looking in the mirror she didn’t see her own face, but that of her brothers. London had to hold onto the sink to keep herself from falling on the tile floor, the blood down dripping down her legs and making the floor slip. Shaking, she reached into the shower and turned on the hot water. Before stepping in she grabbed a plastic bag out of one of the drawers.
Her hands were still shaking as the needle went in deep. It made the initial pain shoot through her arm like crazy, and she knew she would be cursing herself later for the bruise left behind. The hot water flowed over her body, slowly washing the ichor away down the drain. London sat on the floor of the shower, not bothering to cool the water down at all. The ‘Bliss’ flowed over her body warmer then the water did. The memories fluttered away like a dream, being forgotten for another day. She sighed deeply as she let herself sink in deeply. Later she would have to contact the rest of her team and inform them that the credstrip she did find was only for 20,000 total. She would have to pull herself together enough and work on finding her team a new job, a real job this time. Later she would have to put on a smile and charm and talk to another Johnson about money and what he wanted. For now, though, that was all later.

This Is Why I Don't Go To The Mall!

Crowded did not describe how crazy the mall was. Half of my team was stuck outside. Only London was moving around getting any work done. I stopped at the first men’s clothing store and bought a new suit for Thomas. I have never seen him wear something cheap so I found a good one. I suppose Himiko needed an outfit too. I picked something off a virtual mannequin and bought that too. While the clothing headed out to them and Bull got patched up. I found London and got an update from her. I think she went to check on Bull. She doesn’t trust bargain fast flesh surgeries. I assume Inca was working her way into the system as she tends to do. I hoped she stayed close to someone who could shoot straight for her.

I know much chaos was happening all around me but I just couldn’t focus on them. I lost track of Himiko only a moment after she made it inside. I swear she was arguing with someone about Tasty being gay over the comms. London had told me where she’d looked already since she’d done most of the heavy lifting all I had to do was check the stage area. And since Inca could ping the target for a location I went old school. I showed a photo to the groups of screaming fans. I think Thomas zipped tied someone while Inca started in on the drones doing the same job as me. We got luckily though. A punk with seven lips rings told me he’d seen the target at the front of the stage.

I have a Bull though and he’s amazing at getting the crowd to part. Sure enough at the front we found the target….and Himiko fighting with her. I’m sure that if Bull hadn’t separated them it was about to get physical. But she wouldn’t shut up. Then mall security got involved. They just don’t understand how outclassed they are. Bull and I just aren’t good at talking out way through these things so we went with power. One shock glove later we had a downed security guard and a quiet target. Then London appeared with the “I’ll save you little girl” routine. It worked and she ran off. Now Bull and I just had to get out. Easy enough. We played the “Do you really want to fight?” card and the crowd parted again.

Then the real problems started. There was a tank. An actual FREAKING TANK! Not that it presented a problem. Neither did the three boys with guns. This time they tried to kill Inca and London. Why don’t people understand you cannot kill my team. Incapacitate them, detain them, stop them from fucking up your plans. Sure. No problem. We all have to make a living but turn lethal force on them….no way in hell. For the second time that day I suffered drain but they got the message. I melted him to bone then dust in front of the mall. That was most likely caught on tape. Not good for me. I couldn’t let either of them die though…who would I talk to.

We got in the car and took this little nightmare of a girl to her father. She wasn’t as dumb as I thought. She demanded proof we were working for her father. We gave her the recording. She believed us and didn’t try to get out of the car anymore. Himiko and her stared each other down the whole time. I thought they would jump the seats to tear each other’s throats out about the sexual orientation of some star. Don’t get me wrong if the boy was straight I would take him for a ride but I wasn’t about to kill someone over it. The location of the safe house was just outside of town. A little back and forth with the hired guards and family reunited. The Johnson paid us in information. Not sure what we are going to do with it but Rushmore better pay up.

People Make No Sense
Moral Issues I've Not Been Paid Enough To Deal With

We figured out that something possessed the Mayan Cutter but not by the usual means. Seeing as we aren’t wanton murderers I told London she was right. When we dropped him off she told our Mr. Johnson as much. They just told us we were wrong and offered no explanation to the problem. I hate people who do that. I understand not wanting to share the information. When you have a crew of dangerous people standing in your creepy warehouse unsure if they are going to let you murder someone. A someone who had no control. It might be time to offer up a little. We talked London down and left. Based on what I saw as we were leaving I think our Mr. Johnson was about to sacrifice himself. It would have been helpful if he’d just said that. I wouldn’t have had to give London the “Our Morals Are For Sale” speech again.

We had a little bit of quiet time. I worked on a new spell with Thomas. He’s durable and so are the walls. Nothing got broken and I think I have a handle on it. The new furniture got here. I love it. When sitting in the main living room it almost feels like a home until you walk into one of the many empty rooms next to it. I might move my hammock to not clash. Thomas and I spent our Friday evening watching some silly trideo. It was a documentary about ancient state parks. I remember there was a purple forest that interested me. It was nature not science but I couldn’t tell you anymore. I just enjoyed warm atmosphere. We need another job so that the other rooms can feel this good as well. I’m considering buying an actual bed. I can’t remember the last time I slept on a mattress but if anything it would look good in my bedroom. I suppose I could still hang the hammock and have the bed for decoration.

Bull ran into the elf woman from the other day. The idiot one who tried to squeeze her baby daddy for money. He brought her to the shop. Then he put on an apron…that was confusing. I checked with Thomas later he didn’t hire Bull either. We learned he told his mother he had a job and just started working at Tea & Coffee. Anyways the elf asked for some protection. Said she’d left the baby with her sister and was trying to lay low for a couple weeks. Daddy was after her. For some reason I couldnt’ fathom no one wanted to help her AND she was willing to pay. All she wanted was a place to stay for a week or two and someone to make sure she was alive. We didn’t have to watch her like a hawk just bring her a meal once a day. While the others squabbled I agreed to the job. It’s small pay but maybe I’ll use the money to buy the bed. Thomas said he’d help as well so all’s well that ends well. We left her at a shelter. I know the lady that runs the place, gangers don’t come near. Afraid the ‘matron’ will skin them alive. After all she did that for a living until a few years ago.

It was after we took care of all this that my least favorite person called. Rushmore. Like every other time Rushmore calls we get almost no information and connected to a man in a fire fight. He wants us to go get is daughter and take her to the safe house. His personal securtiy is taking care of him. Never said how much he’d pay or where to take her, I warned Rushmore that this was on his head. Don’t stiff us on the bill we don’t owe these people anything and there are bullets invovled. Rushmore gave us a fee and more if there was hazard pay needed. There was hazard pay needed….there always is…

We showed up at the house and the guards at the front gate of the community were already dead. Poor fools. Seeing as the enemy had proven they had ill intend the gloves came off. I set my magic to kill. No need to stun since they weren’t shooting blanks either. Thomas knocked on the door and we got a little old spanish lady answering. She didn’t know where the daughter way. Not surprsing given the barrel of gun pressed to her side. We removed the invaders from the house with no causalities. London and Inca figured out that the daughter was at the mall and took off early. Bull, Thomas, Himiko and I dealt with the guys. I launched Thomas upstairs with my new levitation spell he went through the window quite lovely. I think I have a handle on it but my landings need work. I’m sure even if I crushed his leg Thomas wouldn’t say anything about it. He and Himiko cleared the top floor. Bull was taking care of the bottom floor when he got shot. A lot. Bull took quite a few bullets and I saw him stumble……Bull took too many bullets and the man was loading again. I felt the familiar snap in my brain when I remove the safety. I am like a gun. Don’t point me at someone you don’t want dead and I’m much safer will my self appointed safties are intact. Mana causes radation burns like a person stuck in a mircowave. For a moment my vision went red then black and I radiated the man until there was nothing but blacked bones. Flesh burned away for even thinking of killing my teammate. Only Bull saw the exchange and that’s fine. I found my nose bleeding afterwards. I pushed myself a tad too hard but it was only a little drain. I was willing to take a much worse penalty for that attack. Soon after we met up with London at the mall….teenagers swarmed the place. Here to see Torrid and Tasty the newest sensation. I’d see an advertisement for it while watching the documentary. Damn……

Notalgia Express

I remember now. Not that I ever truly forgot what it was like to run the shadows, but it had been a while. It felt good.

Like .many of our runs in past our group had gathered a bunch of disparate clues that didn’t fit together until at last we found a common thread. Like most other clues it came in the form of a body. This guy was murdered because of his involvement with the previous Mayan Cutter case, or so we thought. There were only two bodies so far, but their death’s were within four hours of each other so Serenity and I thought that there might be something to that. This combined with the fact that both of them helped put the last cutter behind bars, and Bingo we did it again!

Blinded by our success I was overcome by a moment of nostalgia. Meanwhile Inca was doing her thing and she noticed that our Johnson’s wife was also on the list, running on this hung she checked on the wife’s address and wouldn’t you know it, she lived nearby. On a hunch we loaded into our vehicles and went to go check on her. We found the front door askew and quickly got into position before kicking it in. We were finished in a flash but they had already grabbed the wife and absconded with her when we had arrived. Inca found their position and we moved on, tracking them to an empty dock just outside a lonely island.

With just one inept guard on either side of the river we infiltrated their base without a hitch and started to set up on the outside of their building. Inca hooked into the building’s security and Serenity confirmed the locations of the guards within. I moved to the top of building while the others piled in from the front, the idea was to sow chaos in the main room and wipe out their backup before finishing off the rest of them. Unfortunately the guards were all pushovers and we cleaned up real quick.

The wife was alright at the end of the day and that is what I was really worried about. Serenity and I brought her back to our place to take care of her for a bit and we will return her in the morning after coffee.

Crossing the Delaware
A Job Well Done

I am amazing. I have always known this but it’s good to have a day that reaffirms this belief. Not getting work for 6 months was a fluke that I still blame Kimbell for. I always get the job done. My group has found the Mayan Cutter.

As predicted the Mayan Cutter was hunting down anyone involved with the first two cases. We arrived at the Johnson’s house to find the door broken open. A plan was set quick and then we were off. Thomas through the front door, Bull and London through the back and I would cover Inca as she gathered information. None of the home invaders stood a chance. Powerbolts, bullets and a Bull into a car later they ended up tied up in the trunk of Squire Winston my Jackrabbit. London is a better shot than most give her credit for that man will never walk without replacing his knees. The silly hacker (I call him such since his craft was not refined enough to be a real decker) thought he could get into Inca’s mind. That only served to piss us off. You don’t touch our decker. Seeing as people in this sweet little part of suburban Seattle were starting to file into the streets we left. The knights shouldn’t chase us down since all the tapes show that none of us harmed any citizens of this middle class place. Hmmm…..perhaps we should drop these cretins off at a Knight Errant office. It never hurts to do good by law enforcement. Sometimes they know to look the other way.

We followed the information trail to a spot on the docks. About a quarter mile off he shore was a tiny spot of rock with a building on it. That’s were this gang of meta human haters set up shop. I don’t understand hate groups. I understand hate just fine. I hate lots of people. I don’t understand having no reason to hate someone. Perhaps it is a social need of theirs to belong and the hate group is the only place they accepting. There is some irony there. Either way we dispatched the single guard on the docks. He wasn’t a problem. Poor thing. We all climbed into the little boats and headed out over the water. Inca and I were the plan to get us undetected to the island. As soon as we got close enough that Inca could touch the camera’s she put the external ones on a loop. Then she started giggling and taking about a video edit. My job was to remove the guards at the front door. I set up at the front of the boat and started to channel energy. Thomas make some joke about how I looked like Washington crossing the Delaware. We’d mocked that picture at Nikea this morning. I stifled a laugh so I wouldn’t bring my concentration. I never have looked at myself while I challenge with my foci I think I look good though. The looks people get of fear or awe is addicting. The guards were small blurs in the distance but I could tell them apart from the background. I saw them hit the ground and announced them dealt with.

Inca found a safe spot to set up outside of the building still muttering about the edit. She couldn’t be certain where everyone was so I did a check for living things. It only do this in low tech areas where Inca can be the eyes of the all seeing. Thomas headed onto the roof to surprise a few we found in the center. Inca could make noise to cover his work on the roof. Bull wasn’t going to be easy to hide. Then I remembered a spell I’d picked up for just the occasion. Which reminds me I should smack London for her requests. I am not a god. I do have to spend time learning spells to do the crazy things I do. I swear FLYING, who flies around Seattle! So with Bull covered in invisibility I opened the door while Inca set off lots of speaker feedback. I almost felt sorry for them. Almost that is. Bull ran do the hall and smashed into the two there. I attempted to stun the mage…he counter-spelled me….that was a mistaken. Between London and Bull he landed at my feet and I just shook my head. I didn’t see what happened in the other room but by the time I got there three were down. Only a spirit and a troll were still standing. That didn’t last long. The combat spirit never had a chance against Thomas and when her job failed she left quiet. Now we just have to sort out who is who and get paid!

NiKea and the Long Day at Work
I've never been good at investigating

Since Thomas and I moved into the top floor of our high class haven we have not spent any money fixing the place up. The work hasn’t come like usual and we were trying to be practical. Now that Rushmore has promised us work Thomas has insisted we buy furniture for our home. He isn’t wrong. We should have done that months ago. Thomas has more guns stashed around than any wage slaves will see in their entire life. I have enough clothing that the ‘master bed room’ was the only place big enough to store it all. Besides that there is only a tacked up hammock in the living area and a glass case for his suit. There is a lot of empty space. Thinking about it I don’t know where Thomas sleeps in our home but I believe that’s from lack of paying attention. If I ask him I can’t think of a reason why he wouldn’t tell me. After all the only person I trust well enough to let them see me brush my teeth is Thomas and that trust goes both ways.

We took a trip to Nikea upon Thomas’s urging. Ordering out the catalog wasn’t good enough for us. My tastes have always been picky and expensive. While I picked out fabric for the big couch in the living room Thomas rolled his eyes. I know he was thinking “How am I going to pay for all this”. I’m reasonable though we can do it one room at a time. First room is the living room. I picked black and sliver for the main tone for the room. It will be wonderful once finished. Next is the kitchen and I have my eye on marble but I’ll need to a few good jobs first. In the end, the trip only had one casualty in the form of a stuffed monkey. That’s good for us.

London called with a mission, REAL WORK. I am so excited. Thomas and I headed straight to the restaurant. I’d heard of the place before. They cater to trolls and orks so I’d never had a reason to step foot in their before. The owner was our client. He was a sad drunk ork. That didn’t bother me so I sat at the bar with Thomas. We listened in through London as he explained the mission. He spoke of the Mayan Cutter. I remember the Cutter. His copycat had the streets in my neighborhood empty during his spree. The ork wants the copycat cutter. Sounds like the Cutter killed someone important to him and he wants to kill him…perhaps again but the way he’s talking. So the job is find a man, bring him to this ork and let him kill him and it’s 10,000 nuyen. Well this Mayan Cutter has killed and will kill again. I feel no need for a moral tax.

After we got all the information we agreed to split into two groups. London assigned me the crime scene. I’m not an investigator but the other option was to talk to an old man cop….no thank you. Once we got to the screen a beat cop let us past the yellow tape. Our client must be well connected or just have deep pockets. I scanned for magic on the scene because of London’s theory of it being an evil spirit that body jumped. It wasn’t a bad idea. There was no magical trail to follow though. This was a mundane serial killing. Thomas and Inca came up with nothing as well. There was no DNA we could find or digital trail. I suppose Inca did narrow down the timeline a little bit better because of one door magnet. If the Cutter had to use the door he can’t be an evil spirit.

The other’s had only a little more success than us. They convinced the cop to send them the forensics report once finished. Good luck struck, the Mayan Cutter had killed in Undertown. Only an hour ago. We all headed there as fast as possible. There were many dirty looks as he headed to the ‘house’ of the victim. No one dared approach though. Bull, Himiko, Thomas and myself are some of the scarier muscle in Seattle. Especially when we all decided to work together instead of compete.

No one stopped us from getting inside. We found a DNA signature….at least now we can accuse random people, beat them down and test our sample against them….. I was just starting to loose my temper at our lack of success when a street gang entered. They were trying to remove us from the scene and I was itching for a fight. London talked everyone down by name dropping our client. While she did this I realized something about our victims. They were all connected to the previous case. Inca got us a list of everyone else connected and FINALLY we had a lead. Now just to get out of Undertown.


It had been a while since Thomas was in this situation. He stood still amidst a throng of rabid consumers inside the Nikea. His hand laid limply over the handle of their hover cart as Serenity walked away, her raven hair swishing as she rounded one of the corners inside the display. A deep sigh escaped and he thought to himself, ‘You need a job. It has been six months and it turns out you didn’t save as much as you thought you had. Now you are here, spending more money when next month you could be back on the streets. Then what would she think of you?’ As he thought his hand absent-mindedly fumbled through an endcap of several stuffed animals. An AR ad broke him out of his stupor, “BUY NOW! THESE CUTE AND CUDDLY CREATURES ONCE WALKED THIS EARTH, DON’T LET THEM DIE OUT AGAIN! ADOPT ONE OF OUR FUZZY FRIENDS TODAY! THE EXTINCT COLLECTION, COLLECT THEM ALL!”

Rage seethed through him, the red and orange flashing lights of the ad only serving to goad him on and in the midst of the store he squeezed the doll so hard that its head popped off. A small child to his right gasped. The mother gathered up her child as Thomas took a step forward and shoved the headless doll in the kid’s face. “This is what the world has become kid! These huge corporations only want to destroy everything we once loved …” It was at this time that Thomas realized that he had gathered a small crowd of onlookers around him and he took a step back to his cart. Serenity flashed into his HUD, "Hey, we’ve got a job. London says to meet her somewhere in an hour. Are you ok? "

Thomas calmed down and looked at the toy still in his hand, "Better now, i’ll meet you outside. I’ll pick up the stuff and arrange for the delivery. "

I Blame Kimbell
Late Night Food Fight

Six long months of no work….I have had six long months of waiting for work. I live for my work. It’s all I’ve ever known and six months ago a bomb happy bitch blows it all up.

I have a three easy rules to ensure working with me is smooth and happy for everyone involved. First, tell me what the job is. I’m not a monster but my morals are for sale if the Johnson can afford them. You want me to steal a kid and give him back to his cult? Sure, extra 5,000 nuyen. Second, pay me. It’s a simple rule. Pay me. I’m a reasonable person. If you’ve hit a cash flow problem I’ll work with you. There are payment plans, services for services or goods instead of cash. If I finished the job then you have to keep your end of the bargain. Third, and perhaps the most important rule of working with me, don’t take a shot at me. If you feel the need to stiff me on the bill the least you can do is not try to kill me at the same time. I will kill you back first. Kimbell broke all three of these rules and then the shadows heard the wrong story. Yes, killing a Johnson isn’t good for business but it’s a Johnson’s responsibility to not give you a good reason to kill them. Such as trying to kill you.

Fast forward six months to current day. I’m at the point of having a serious conversation with Thomas about moving to another city to start over. I’m stuck standing at the counter in Tea and Coffee pouring orange powder labeled as ‘pumpkin’ into a Troll’s large coffee. Then my com goes off. It’s a guy named Rushmore. I’ve heard of him before but never worked for him, Inca speaks well of him. So I listen. He says he’s got a job and to gather the team. So I do and even make sure that Inca has a ride…..there is no job. Just the promise of possible work like I’m some charity case. I almost burnt that dwarf where he sat. The napkins suffered in his place. WHY THE HELL AM I IN THIS LITTLE PISS POOR DINER? No one gets to yank me around like that, if Rushmore does it again there will be repercussions. To top it all off he tosses me 100 nuyen like some street corner joytoy. If he tries that again I will kill him. Damn the consequences.

On the way home from this misadventures in proper working conditions Bull got hungry. Not surprising and I suppose I could have used something to eat as well. We stopped at one of those 24 hour snack shops, I know it by location not name. They sell that chocolate covered rice cereal I love. So I agreed to stop with everyone. There were other people in the store. I did not take notice of them more than to be sure they weren’t a threat. Then a group of jackholes decide to do what? Blow us up! London said it was by proxy later but it didn’t matter at the time. I was already a coiled ball of seething angry that needed an outlet. I may have murdered a few gangbangers. Turns out it was an act of kindness as I helped save a mother and child. Grant a moronic mother as she tried to extort the father without a contingency.

All I know is Rushmore better come through.

Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker!/ Food fight
Prologue: 6 Months ago

Its a warm Jun night in seatle.

Welcome to your campaign!
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