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A Story for Japan – Day 7 Wrapup March 26, 2011

Posted by techtigger in A Story For Japan.
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A Story For Japan Banner Thank you.  After all that writing, I’ve run out of words to describe how amazing you all are, so I’ll stick to the classics – Thank you.  🙂

$252 dollars were donated, and with the matching gift I had promised, we topped out at a whopping $502 for the American Red Cross relief fund for Japan.

The week is done, but the story is not.  You may have noticed it’s right in the middle – that’s because I intend to keep going.  The story will end up as short novella, which will be turned into an e-book.  All proceeds from that will go to the Red Cross as well.

I’d like to mention those who contributed:

Thanks to

Julie (O-kami)

James Wisneski

for both their donations, and the kind words on their blogs.

And many thanks to a host of anonymous donors who also took part.

If I missed anyone that donated, and did not want to remain anonymous, please let me know and I will update this post.

Okay, you’re probably getting tired of hearing it, but I’ll say it one more time, thank you.  You took a crazy idea of mine and made it work! 🙂

-Angie

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A Story For Japan – Day 6 March 25, 2011

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A Story For Japan BannerThis story is a stand-alone Nox and Grimm tale, being written to raise funds to help the Red Cross Japan relief fund.  For every dollar donated, I will add a sentence to the story.

As of this morning, we are at 252 lines! And there is still a day to donate – Pitch in, help the Red Cross and watch the story grow!

To donate, click on the button below.

Thank you!

To read Day 1 –  click here

To read Day 2 – click here

To read Day 3 – click here

To read Day 4/5 – click here

—————————————————————

Time compressed, and sped up in another blinding flash of light.  The next thing Nox knew, she was hurtling through the air, limp as a rag doll. That was probably the only thing that saved her, when she hit the brick wall. All of the air whooshed out of her lungs and she plummeted to ground, landing on a heap of stinking refuse.  She lay there and waited for the world to quit spinning, while every bone in her body started to ache. The good news was that she was alive, and it didn’t feel like anything was broken.  Unfortunately,  she acted on that knowledge by trying to stand up.  Her stomach lurched, and she was violently ill against the wall.

It was only after her stomach quit imitating a geyser that it occurred to her there were no brick walls in the middle of the wastelands. She could still sense the elements, so she created a handful of snow to clean out her mouth while she examined her new surroundings.  The buildings to either side were tall enough to keep the alley in permanent shade. Boxes made of metal, and others of dense, brown paper covered the ground, leaving only a thin, puddle strewn path open.

Nox staggered for a few steps, but the ache in her bones was spreading. Her whole body started to shake, and she clutched a hand to her chest. The last minutes of the fight came back to her in a rush – Loki going down beneath the blades, and Grimm… panic set in as she realized the ache was spreading out from where their soul-bond had been. That link was the only thing that kept the curse he suffered under from annihilating him.

It was gone. She had failed him.  She threw back her head and screamed.

Miles away, alarm claxons sounded throughout a tall, ordinary looking office building.  John ran full tilt through the hallways, knowing the Director was going to want all hands on deck. The Nexus had been spitting out unusually high levels of radiation all afternoon, and every member of the task force had been put on standby.

He nearly bowled over one of the junior medical officers as he turned a corner.  They spun around and lurched to a halt, apologizing profusely as they extricated themselves.  He was one of the new recruits, just in from the central office in D.C.

“Sir, both of the staff empaths collapsed!”

“If they’ve gone down, the Director may have taken a hit as well. Let’s move.”

They pelted through the halls, past rooms full of empty desks and banks of elevators with Out of Order signs tacked on them.  Pulses from the Nexus played havoc with electronics. At first they had mistaken it for a terrorist group using an EMP. Once they realized it was a natural phenomenon, they had set up a heavily shielded bunker in the basement to use as a command center whenever the Nexus got frisky.  Only a quick response team stayed topside, keeping their eyes, and any other senses they had, open for the signs of trouble that always followed a pulse.

Five flights of stairs later, they were ushered through a pair of airlocks into a large room lit with the multi-hued glow from an entire wall of computer screens. The Director was sitting with his head tilted back, using a handkerchief to mop up the blood from his nose.

John put a hand on his shoulder. “Are you okay, Stephen?”

“Just a black out. I banged my nose on the desktop when I heard that scream.”

“Do we have a reading on where it came from?” John asked, turning to look at the map of the city on the wall behind them.  There was a smear of blood near the waterfront.

“I marked the hit,” Stephen said, “but I can’t give you an exact location. Take two men, and proceed with caution. This one is suffering from severe emotional trauma, as well as having a strong talent blown open. Class two, maybe even one.”

John didn’t wait hear more. Stephen was a class one psychic, and it had taken him years to learn how to control his skills. John was a class two telekinetic, and he could knock holes in buildings with nothing more than the force of his will.  The thought of someone with that kind of power, out of control in a heavily populated city, made his blood run cold.

——

<-Back to Day 5

 

A Story for Japan – Day 4 & 5 March 24, 2011

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A Story For Japan BannerPlaying catchup today, had a bunch roll in at once, and more to come tonight!   🙂  There is still a day to donate, and pitch in to help the Red Cross!

This story is a stand-alone Nox and Grimm tale, being written to raise funds to help the Red Cross Japan relief fund.  For every dollar donated, I will add a sentence to the story.   To see the original post, Click Here

To donate, click on the button below.

Thank you!

To read Day 1 –  click here

To read Day 2 – click here

To read Day 3 – click here

—————————————————————

Grimm and Loki exchanged a look. Nox was a technomancer, and they considered almost everything she did to be patently insane. If she was appalled by what was happening below, things were about to get ugly.

The ribbons of energy began to strike the ground at a faster pace, and the earth shook in sympathy. Nox had to catch her glasses as they bounced off her nose. “Whatever it is he’s bringing through, it’s going to be big.”

Grimm shook his head. “No, he’s not bringing something through. He’s sending them somewhere. They are thinking so loudly about a recruiting mission, I can hear their thoughts from up here.”

Loki gripped Nox’s shoulder.  “How common are sorcerers in the human realms?”

“I don’t know, I’ve never been there, and mother never said. Supposedly it runs along matrilineal lines, although men do get the talent on occasion. I get my scrap of sorcery from my mother and my grandmother,” she said, but stopped as Loki gave her a little shake.

“Cut the lecture short, professor. Can they recruit an army of sorcerers?”

“Oh. Crud.” She tucked her glasses into a pocket slid back down behind the ridge.  “All right, I’m going to try and collapse that portal. Those things are inherently unstable until the last lines of energy are set into place, so it shouldn’t take much to un-make it.  Can you keep the New Dawn goons distracted until I’m done?”

Loki gave her a fierce grin. “I think I can manage that.  Let’s call back the ghosts.”

Nox pulled out a pair of force gauntlets and shoved her hands into them. “You’re my wingman, Grimm.”

“Always.”

They skirted around the edge of the hill, keeping low to the ground to avoid showing up against the brilliant flashes of energy that rained down on the plain with increasing force.  As they crept closer, Loki split off with a ghost to either side of him. Nox and Grimm circled around to the far side of the portal, trusting that their target would be too blinded by the tapestry of light in front of him to notice anything beyond it.

Nox heard Grimm send a thought Loki’s way, and the entire plain lit up as the silhouette of a dragon roared overhead.  She had to stifle a laugh – it was nothing more than smoke, and buffets of air from the two Wind Knights, but the cultists didn’t know that.  Some of Loki’s not-so-distant ancestors could transform into real dragons, and everyone grew up hearing stories about the devastation they had caused.

She darted forward, dodging between energy strikes with Grimm at her heels.  The portal rose up in front of them, ten feet high and more than twenty feet wide.  The enemy technomancer was going to rush his troops all through at once, rather than one at a time. That meant he could not keep it open for long. She was close enough now to see metal rings on each of his fingers, and that the energy being woven into the portal was attached to them.  She had to hurry, he was almost done.

Sounds of fighting and waves of heat rolled past. The cultists must have seen through Loki’s bluff.  The technomancer paused to look over his shoulder, and that was when Nox attacked.  She made a slashing motion with one hand, and an electro-magnetic pulse shot out from her gauntlet. One of the lines of energy snapped, causing the fabric of the portal to buckle.  She punched out with both fists, and the shock waves from the gauntlets sent more tears ripping through the fabric.

The technomancer stared right at her through the holes and screamed, “Forget him! Kill the girl!”

Grimm let out a blood-curdling howl that stopped the charging cultists in their tracks. He barred his teeth and stalked forward, his rumbling growls audible even over the sound of the energy ribbons crashing around them. No one wanted to be the first to take on Hel’s own hound, and they edged forward in a slow, disorganized group.

Behind them, the technomancer screeched out orders while trying to simultaneously repair the damage Nox was doing to his portal.  There was no time for him to take off his rings; he was attached to the construct and would go down with it if it failed.  The fabric buckled again, and a wave rolled along its entire length, knocking him to the ground.

Loki and the ghosts chose that moment to attack from the rear.  The cultists panicked as Grimm waded into them, and they scattered into the night.  The construct began to fly apart, sending bolts of energy back up into the sky.  The technomancer screamed as he was dragged along the ground, scrabbling to find any hand hold to keep from being sucked up in to the maelstrom brewing overhead.

Nox let out a victory whoop and yelled over the tumult to Grimm.  “That is why I always use a permanent base for a portal!”

Grimm turned to fire back a joke about degrees of insanity, when the heavens opened.  For a single instant, Nox was illuminated by a river of light pouring down from sky.

Time stretched out for Nox, moving as slow as sap from a winter-bound tree. She could see Grimm leap up to reach her, and a group of cultists ambush Loki. She tried to cry out a warning as their swords moved, inch by nightmarish inch toward his back, but she could not make a sound. The last thing she saw was the look of shock on his face before the world went black.

—–

<- Back to Day 3Continue to Day 6 ->

A Story For Japan – Update and News March 22, 2011

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A Story For Japan BannerUpdate and News!

A Story for Japan is rolling into Day 4 of 7, and as of noon we have hit $152 USD towards the Red Cross relief fund for Japan! You people are incredible, and I can’t thank you enough for pitching in!  I am always amazed by the generosity of strangers in the face of disaster.  Humanity, on the whole, has a very big heart. I want to honor that – and I want to do more. So I’ve decided to up the ante.

When the story wraps up this Friday, I will match every dollar that’s been donated, up to $250.

I will also take the story, wherever it ends up on Friday, and write it out to its logical conclusion.  Then I’ll edit it, put it in an e-book and donate all the proceeds from the sale of the e-book as well.

———————————————————————————————————–

I know this has all been rather off-the-cuff, although  it does seem to be working so far 🙂 But I figured it couldn’t hurt to explain a bit of the method behind my madness, for the folks that don’t know me. (and for those that do know me, quit laughing! There’s a method, I swear! *lol*)

What set the ball rolling?

It was a thirty second news blip. Don’t ask me why this one bit hit me so hard, amidst all the heart breaking images and events I’ve all watched unfold since the initial quake.  I simply can’t get this story out of my head. A couple who owned a little shop were being interviewed a few days after the tsunami. Cars were piled up three deep around them, the front of their building was torn off and everything was buried in mud.  They had nothing but 2 shovels and their bare hands to clean up with, and when asked if they thought they could do it, they said yes.  No hand-wringing, no complaining.  Just a quiet determination and a simple grace, in the face of the overwhelming, to do whatever they could, with whatever little they had to hand. 

I can’t fix a nuclear reactor, or fly over there to help with the cleanup.  But dangit, I have two hands and I can write.  I know a dollar a line doesn’t seem like much, but trust me, it adds up.  

Why Nox and Grimm?

For anyone not familiar with the series, you’re probably wondering what the heck a fantasy story has to do with Japan.  You see, I’m a huge anime fan, and the web series that this story is based on has been heavily influenced by that.  I know I’ve always imagined the characters drawn in that style.

I’ve had the bare bones of this particular story in my archives for a couple years now. I wrote the beginning of an outline, and a few snippets, but wasn’t sure what to do with it. I loved the idea, but it didn’t really fit the current story arc, and tended more towards urban fantasy than pure fantasy.  I’m glad now that I saved it, and that it can be put to such good use. 

Still want to donate?

It’s easy, just click on the button below. 

Every dollar donated adds a sentence to the story, and 100% of your donations will go to the Red Cross.  And again, thanks to everyone who has donated and spread the word!

-Angie Capozello
@techtigger

To read Day 1 –  click here

To read Day 2 – click here

To read Day 3 – click here

A Story for Japan – Day 3 March 21, 2011

Posted by techtigger in A Story For Japan.
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A Story For Japan BannerThis story is a stand-alone Nox and Grimm tale, being written to raise funds to help the Red Cross Japan relief fund.  For every dollar donated, I will add a sentence to the story.  Go on, make me write. I dare you!  To see the original post, Click Here

To donate, click on the button below.

Thank you!

To read Day 1 –  click here

To read Day 2 – click here

—————————————————————

“Armed caravans aren’t too unusual around here,” Nox said. “Now that the Chimaera have been beaten back, traders are starting take shortcuts through the wastelands. It shaves a whole week off a trip between the Storm and Hail territories, which is more than enough to offset the risk.”

Loki scrubbed at the neatly trimmed beard on his chin. “Yes, but this is not the most direct route. I have never known a trader to go a single mile out of their way if they could avoid it.”

“What elements do they represent?” Grimm said.

The ghost turned his head and assumed a listening pose. “Markus says they are predominantly fire.”

“Ah, Hel,” Loki cursed, “none of my allies would be out here.”

Grimm padded over to the edge of the parapet, his nose lifted to catch whatever news the night air could bring him. “Still, we cannot assume that they are hostile – innocent until proven guilty.”

“That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t check them out.” Loki got to his feet and gave Nox and hand up. “Can you two hide our heat signatures from them?”

“I think we have enough Ice and Air between us to manage that, as long as you cool down a little,” Nox said. “We’ll have to go on foot though, the horses give off more body heat than I can cover.”

“They would be too noisy anyway,” Grimm said, as he led them down the curving stone stairwell to the ground floor.

They moved quickly through the tall grasses that covered the plains around the guard tower.The ghost floated ahead of them, visible only as a darker spot against night sky.  Grimm padded alongside Nox, their powers meshed through the soul-bond they shared to summon a barrier of cool wind around them. Loki came last, dropping back every so often to make sure they were keeping their shield even with the ambient temperature.

The land rose up into rolling hills as the miles passed, and the shifting lights in the sky grew closer. Thin streamers of them reached down to touch the earth, and the ground trembled as they struck.  It was like watching lightning in slow motion.  Thunder rolled past, and the shockwaves hit them in the chest with a bone-rattling thump.

The ghost of the second Wind Knight, Markus, stopped them before they got close enough to see clearly where the ribbons of light touched down.  He floated to a kneeling position in front of Grimm, and motioned them all to join him. They had to lean in and strain their ears to hear his breathy, sepulchral voice over the noise.

“There are thirty four fire elementals over the next rise and one other whose element we do not recognize.  He has just left his tent, and the rest formed up in ranks behind him. If you stick to the left of this ridge, there should be enough cover to allow you to observe them without being seen. Jerome and I will continue to scout ahead, with your permission, Captain.”

Grimm nodded. “One to each flank, warn us if any patrols come our way.”

“Sir!” “Yes sir!” The knights saluted and disappeared.

The three friends crept up to the top of the ridge, and Grimm hunkered down so far that his belly brushed the ground.  He tilted his head and canted his ears forward to listen.

“They are chanting, that’s never a good sign.”

Nox pulled a pair of magnifying glasses out of her pocket, and twisted the brass ring around each lens to let her view the scene more clearly. “They’re wearing red robes. So much for my innocent trader idea, no one hires the New Dawn for anything wholesome. How am I supposed to study this phenomenon with a horde of foaming-at-the-mouth cultists in the way?”

“Carefully, and at a great distance,” Loki quipped. “Can you see their leader?”

“Hold on,” she said, and fiddled with the lenses again.  Another ribbon of light struck the ground nearby, and illuminated the plain below them. A pudgy, balding man stood at the head of the cultists, waving his hands in rhythmic patterns, as if gathering the light and weaving it together.

Nox made the slight mental shift that allowed her to view auras and other energy fields, and the whole world was filled with brilliant colors. Her jaw dropped as she realized what the man was doing.

“Your uncle’s batshit crazy technomancer is down there creating a portal out of the energy fields, with no base to contain it!”

<-Back to Day 2

A Story for Japan – Day 2 March 21, 2011

Posted by techtigger in A Story For Japan, writing.
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A Story For Japan BannerThis story is a stand-alone Nox and Grimm tale, being written to raise funds to help the Red Cross Japan relief fund.  For every dollar donated, I will add a sentence to the story.  Go on, make me write. I dare you!  To see the original post, Click Here

To donate, click on the button below.

Thank you!

Read the first part here.

—————————————————————

“Loki!”  Nox jumped up and launched herself into the arms of the ginger haired fire elemental waiting for her.

He staggered a bit and laughed as he caught her.  “I’d ask if you missed me, but I think I know the answer.”

She planted a kiss on him that left no doubts, and Grimm turned his head and coughed.  “They are always in heat,” he muttered to himself.

Loki got boyish a grin on his face, once Nox let him come up for air.  “Hello, luv.  And hello to you too, Grimm.”

“Welcome back, fireborn.”

They all sat down again, with Nox tucked happily into the curve of Loki’s arm.

“How are things going at the Convocation?” Grimm said.

“Simmering.  The negotiations are still plodding on – everyone has an agenda, and no-one is ready to commit to one side or the other. I keep hoping we can avoid civil war.” He kissed Nox’s hair and held her a little tighter. “I find myself rather looking forward to things settling down.”

“Me too,” she said, and gave him a wistful smile. “Your uncle won’t step down without a fight, though.”

“I know, but if there is a chance that I can avoid taking out half of my House along with him, I have to try it.”

“No one wants this war, I’m sure the Summer Kings will come around to your side,” she said.

“Maybe,” he said, and shrugged. “Let’s not talk politics. I’ve had my fill of that over the past few months. Tell me about this madcap scheme that brought you all the way out to the back end of nowhere.”

Grimm’s ears perked up. “No schemes, we’re hunting down an energy field.”

Nox pointed to the horizon. “Take a look at those shifting colors. At first we thought it was an atmospheric effect, but there are no weather systems moving through to cause it.”

Loki’s brow furrowed as he peered through the gloom.  “Do the northern lights show up this far south?”

“Not often, and definitely not in the same place every night,” she said. “From what my father tells me, that was the same phenomenon he saw the day my mother crossed into our dimension. He never got a chance to study it though.”

“No, he was too busy staring at your mother,” Grimm snickered.  “I have never seen him look so dumbstruck.”

Nox giggled at the thought, and Loki pointed a warning finger at her. “If a man comes through, you are not allowed to follow the family tradition and marry him.”

She gave him an arch look. “And what if we find a woman?”

“You can’t run off with her either,” he said, waggling his eyebrows.

The air chilled around them, and a pale apparition floated past, taking on the shape of a man wearing antique plate armor.  The ghost of the Wind Knight spoke in a breathy whisper. “If you had anything like sense you would have married her already, and not have to worry about her running off. Now in my day…” he said, earning a groan from young couple.

Grimm drew himself up to a sitting position, and barked out a thought like a drill sergeant. “Report, Lieutenant.” Nox mouthed the words, thank you, and the hound gave her a wink.

The ghost floated around to face Grimm and snapped a salute.  “Yes sir, Captain! You asked to be warned if anyone was moving through the wastelands. We came across a well armed caravan, camped a few miles to the east.”

How many of them are there?”

“I counted thirty. Markus stayed to keep an eye on them.”

<-Back to Day 1 —   Continue to Day 3 ->

A Story for Japan – Day 1 March 19, 2011

Posted by techtigger in A Story For Japan.
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A Story For Japan BannerThis story is a stand-alone Nox and Grimm tale, being written to raise funds to help the Red Cross Japan relief fund.  For every dollar donated, I will add a sentence to the story.  Go on, make me write. I dare you!  To see the original post, Click Here

To donate, click on the button below.

Thank you!

Without further ado, let’s get the story started….

—————————————————————

Nox and Grimm sat on the roof of an old stone guard tower, a relic left over from days when the House of Winds still stood. Night had fallen as they finished their dinner, and the stars blanketed the sky till it looked more white than black. A gentle breeze kept the summer evening from being too warm, and brought the heavy scent of wild roses with it. It was a perfect night for star gazing, and telling stories.

“Aradann, evergreen,  Asphodel,  old enchanter, Azmodeus, warrior king, Berannos, fount of wisdom, Calderenne, clever maker, Darendale, fire’s queen.”

Nox paused and scrunched her face up. “Damn. I can never remember the next one.”

“Everard, fortune favored.  Though he always lost when we played cards, so I have no idea where that one came from,” Grimm said, his rumbling telepathic voice tinged with amusement.

Nox reached up to ruffle one of the hound’s furry ears. “I always forget that you knew them. You don’t act like you’re two thousand years old.”

The hound gave her a playful nudge. “Respect the ears, short-stuff. I wouldn’t have lasted all these millennia without them.”

“What were they like back then?”

What, my ears? Less furry.”

She made an exasperated sound. “No, silly!  The old Elemental Lords. I want to hear more about Lord Galen’s counterparts.”

The hound rested his head on his paws.  “They were not much different than the Lords are today, really. People haven’t changed. They are born, do stupid things, and sometimes smart things. They fall in love, have children, and it starts all over again.”

“Oh, c’mon. You must have seen all sorts of interesting things over the years.”

“To be honest, I haven’t seen that much of the world. Not since I was bound to serve your family.  Most of the time I would simply drift, neither here nor there, until one of your bloodline summoned me.”

Nox studied her friend more closely.  “I didn’t know that. Hmm… are you in any of the old stories?”

“They don’t make ballads for lowly guard captains,” he said.

“Don’t be so modest, Grimm.  The ghosts of the Wind Knights told me you were Galen’s right-hand man.”

The hound tilted his head to look at his paws. “Well, I did have hands back then. And I stood to his right at least half the time.”

“Ha, ha, very funny furball,” Nox said, and blew a raspberry at him.  The breeze blew a lock of hair into her eyes, and she brushed it aside.  Grimm had his nose to the wind and eyes half-closed.

“It is good to be out here again,” he said, with a contented sigh.  Nox let out a heavy sigh of her own, and the hound chuckled.  “Loki is fine, short-stuff. He will be here in no time.”

“Do you really think so?”

“I know it,” the hound said, his tongue lolling out in a big doggie grin.  “He’s right behind you.”

“Hello, blue-eyes.”

A Story For Japan March 19, 2011

Posted by techtigger in A Story For Japan, writing.
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A Story For Japan Banner

We have all seen what the power of words can do. Our world is being reshaped by words, spreading like fire around the internet. Words are huge, powerful, and even the smallest of them, like Yes, and No, can make a difference.

I don’t need to tell you what is happening in Japan.

I do need to tell you a story.

But you see, I can’t tell this story without you. I have so many words, but they are useless without your help.

I am here to ask you to donate towards the Red Cross relief fund, and for every dollar you give, I will post a sentence of the story.

How long will the story be?  That depends on you. Make me write. Make me lose sleep, I dare you. I’ll be ready to spin words all week.

All you need to do is click on the donate button below, and it will take you to a secure PayPal page.  The best part is, PayPal is not taking any fees from donations sent through them, so 100% of every dollar you give will go to where it is needed most.

If you want to be mentioned in the wrap-up post on Saturday, March 26th, put the name/twitter/etc. that you want listed in the comment box when you donate.

Can’t afford to donate? I understand, times are rough right now. But you can still help.  Place the story banner above on your site and link back to this page, or tweet about it, facebook it, or email your friends. Let’s show everyone just how much words can do.  🙂

-Angie
@techtigger

—-

Wow, you guys are fast! And made of awesome!  The story starts here:

To read Day 1 –  click here

To read Day 2 – click here

To read Day 3 – click here

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