A Gamma World® play-by-post adventure run by gammaworld_gm
Using my chameleon powers and silently approaching the two guards, I ease my vines along the floor and touch them both at their feet, releasing my electrical generation into them (all 4d6) hoping at least to stun the two so I can quietly dispatch them.
If both go down I will take their weapons and make sure they are both either unconscious or dead. If they do not go down, I will attack by wrapping my vines around their necks and constricting until loss of consciousness occurs.
Then, with my force field turned on and stealtly ascending the ladder, I will try to see where the unlucky Duckoid is and how he fares.
Both mutants squeal in pain as the electricity hits them. The Armadilloid drops his small hand-held device and curls up in an impenetrable armored ball on the floor. The Rabbitoid snarls and leaps completely over you and away from your vines. Before you can turn around, it raises its rubber vibro stick up to strike you.
The Rabbitoid squeals again in pain before it has a chance to strike you. Turning around, you see Brimstone sinking his teeth into the Rabbitoid's soft throat, then pulling the kicking Rabbitoid to the floor, his death bite intact.
Going up the wide ladder to the top, you hear the roar of the crowd and the sounds of laser fire increase. Turning over the barrel that is covering the hole, you see Howard. Grabbing him with a vine, you pull him inside to safety, and put the barrel back as it was. You help Howard back down to Brimstone and the two helpless mutants. Brimstone has released his bite on the Rabbitoid, who remains motionless.
The crowd roars with laughter when Howard knocks over the white barrel at which many of them had been pointing. Like Howard, they are guessing and betting, and wrong. On the top of each barrel is a different number to direct their betting. A laser blast slams into Howard's chest, taking his force field down and throwing him to the floor on his back, with his webbed feet pointing straight up. The crowd roars, as this looks to be the Duckoid's death. Smoke rises from a small dark spot on Howard breast (Note: even male ducks don't have a chest).
Without warning, a red barrel tips over beside Howard. As it does, a vine stretches out of the dark hole underneath, wraps around Howard and pulls him inside, and then stands the barrel back up---all actions which happen in less than three seconds.
A few minutes later, Howard is standing in a small room below the hole, with Mycinod and Brimstone. Two mutants, an Armadilloid and a Rabbitoid are either dead or unconscious on the floor.
During Jonn's movement toward Lamia, Lamia's exit, and Frieda's entrance, Brimstone slipped away and entered the stairway. Following the Mushroom's strange spoor trail and the faint scent of Duckoid, he hurried downward, skipping two or three steps at a time like a dog on a hot rabbit trail.
"Dammit, I thought so. Come with us, PSH." Grabbing Jonn by the body armor, Liz pulls him along with her as she makes her way behind Frieda through a sea of Gamma Girls to Hampshire. When Jonn resists (he doesn't really) Liz knees him hard in the groin and pulls him along anyway. Jonn arrives back at Hampshire's side somewhat stooped over and clutching himself, a grimace of pain written on his weathered face. It almost causes Liz to smile.
Seeing Howie make his escape, the Pigoid turns and looks at Frieda, disappointed that the Duckoid survived yet again. "You'sss right Frieda, maybe'sss I was a bad host'sss. Forgive me'sss. I always liked you'sss, Frieda. You'sss a good egg." <Oik, oik>
Pulling Frieda's bag from her hand, she looks inside. "It's here, boss hog."
"Hmmm, a deal is a deal, then... I guess'sss that only leaves the bribe. You'sss did bring me'sss a bribe didn't you'sss, Dukas'sss? All'sss of you'sss and Dodgers are free to go, and I will honor'sss any NARC argeement'sss we have. Come on Dukas'sss, we don't have much time."
"I say, I say there porkchop, ya' ever hear the one about a Pigoid and and Horseoid who walk into a bar and the robot bartender says to the Horseoid, why the long face?"
A tense moment passes as Hampshire looks at the interrupting, joke-telling cock-o-whoop. <Snort, snort, snort> (Translation: snort = laughter). "I like'sss him! Tell'sss me what I can help you'sss with, Dukas'sss, but only'sss this one time'sss." Spittle flies out of his mouth as he speaks.
The robot shows Jonn his free arm but remains silent, recording everything and communicating with K-11 via a silent com-link.
"Brimsthone!!! I thought I'd never hear mysthelf shtay thisth, but I am stho glad to sthee you! And, Myc, thanksth for the resthcue. Your timing was quite in the myc of time, haugh!" The Duckoid manages some humor in the adrenaline rush of his near-death and rescue. "You know, Myc, I never met a Fungoid I liked until you!" Howard attempts to shake Myc's hand/tentacles in thanks, then glances somberly at the two immobile mutants on the floor. "Friendsth of oursth? Or enemiesth?"
"Stho, what happend?! Where'sth Jonn? I gotta bone to pick with that 'sthrainer'!"
[The groups have shifted:
"There must be robots in worse shape than I. Like most of life's problems, this one can be solved with arm replacement." The once bar-tending robot phantomly waves its detached arm.
"I say, I say there Jonn-boy, stand up straight. Y'know Jonn-boy, of all the friends I've had and lost, you're the first to survive! Who would have thought Porky Pig and Hell would really exist together, and that it would be in Datil? We just gotta be sure this deal isn't another fraud, like global warming, nuclear winter or second-hand smoke."
"I have the feeling I need to reboot."
This post brought to you by Arachno-Spores, the fatal mushroom spore with the funny name.
"Friend Howard, events were most strained when I took leave and snuck away to try and prevent your untimely demise, I am glad to be of service and am glad Brimestone and myself were able to help you, I believe we should go back upstairs and attempt to rejoin the rest before Brimstone's and my presence is missed."
Turning to Brmstone, I continue, "Friend Brimstone, I am in your debt for the timely assistance. I thank you. Do either of you recognize the two objects that the two on the floor were holding?"
Jonn, still doubled over, throbbing and seeing stars as a result of Liz's well-placed knee, hears Frieda, Geo and Leghorn nearby as the crowd noise dies down. His Pure Strain brain is a veritable soup of worries. Where did that Gamma bitch take Lamia? Did they kill Dodgers? <throb> What would Timon do to them if he saw them? Were the Captain's wife and chicks still alive? <throb> Could Jake repair Geo's arm? Did he find Frieda's kids in time? If so, how could they be in the building so quickly? Would they ever get back their weapons and Mute? <throb, throb> Could he ever have children with....
Leghorn interrupts his runaway train of thought with a helping hand up. As the yellow stars, blue diamonds, green clovers and purple horseshoes fade before his eyes, he notes the frown on Hampshire's face. "At least Dodgers made it," Jonn surmises silently. He manages a gritty smile, and stutters a reply to Leghorn, "Captain...Hamp's NARC. His word is good.... Tell him what we're here for---info on your family... and tell him to hide us from Timon!"
Suddenly, Jonn remembers Jake's last words to him. "Oh, Captain! Give him... this," Jonn says, handing Captain Leghorn all of his (37) domars, "and I want my Gren back," Jonn winces plaintively, before doubling over again.
Our newest GWA recipient is lamia_best for Lamia's most recent post . Past recipients are:
Good posters should always be praised. Lamia's post is a good example of an excellent post. Lamia_best told me that she never believed she could write an award-winning post. That just shows you anyone can do it if they try hard enough. Three people nominated her for this award.
I cluck in a laughing manner and adjust my cigar in my oversized beak trying to keep pork chop happy. Heartily accepting Jonn's ill-gotten booty, I shake it and hand it to porky. "I say, I say there Hampy, tha's your bribe. I certainly do know who is in charge around here. Y-y-you run a mighty tight ship-p-p. Here's the five things we want:"
(Thumb) "I say, I say there Hamp, w-w-we want the Gren back. One of your Gamma Chic-letts led her away. She's abouts yay tall, very curvy, green skin, nice assets." I wink at Frieda, using both hands in a cupping motion.
(First Finger) "I-I-I want three, I say three Chickenoids released. They's answer to the names Penny, Raggy and Little Bit <brooock>. Evens a dumb Roosteroid likes me knows you have them. Timon sold thems to yous as slaves. I say, I say givem up, Hamp."
(Second Finger) "F-f-fork over Howie too. I'm still fixing to a make a pillow and Howie's 'DOWN' right good at making those."
(Third Finger) "I say, I say give us those things and we will be out of your nonexistent hair before Timon arrives. Tick, tick Hamp."
I hide the remaining unused pinkie (that little pinkie "went to the market and went wee-wee-wee 'cuz he couldn't find his way home").
"You know I love you, right Jonn?" the words repeated endlessly in my head. Jonn never answered. Endless sky circled me. Harsh wind whipped at my clothes. The Gamma Girl carried me, half dragging me, threw me into the vehicle. My eyes opened, still somewhat blurry. "My payment," she demanded. I heard repeating gun fire and then a thud. Someone uttered, "Payment in full." The vehicle rose from the rubble-strewn roof of the skyscraper and flew away without a sound. I blinked my eyes. Three feathered figures huddled silently nearby, watching me. My head throbbed painfully.
Most of the info from this post came from the sweet GM, may Cupid not miss his hit list. I can't believe I won a GWA. I knew Jax's brain was good for something! <hugs Dave>
Howard takes a glance at the two fallen mutated animals, using his experience and/or Examiner skills to identify their devices, to which Myc refers. He also checks to see if the mutated animals are dead or alive. "Well? Thesthe guysth friendsth or not?" Assuming not, Howard gladly borrows any weaponry and gadgets they might be carrying. He doesn't need their clothes: he is too angry and his mind is too set on revenge to dress like a hu-mann.
Once they deal with the two mutated animals, Howard agrees that they should get back to the rest of their group. "Sthrength in numbersth!" He wonders what he will say to Jonn when he sees him.
Frieda frowns at Liz's rough handling of Jonn, but pushes on to get to Hampshire. When she gets ahead of Liz, her friend takes advantage of the moment to further abuse Jonn with her knee.
After she admonishes Hampshire, Frieda keeps her glare on him until he apologizes, then she softens and says, "Thanks, Oik. You're learning. I think there's hope for you, yet." When Leghorn seizes the moment, all attention turns to him. In the tense silence after he tells his joke, Frieda holds her breath. When Hampshire's laughter breaks the tension, she chuckles at the joke, too. When Leghorn and Geo address Jonn, Frieda turns to see the human and is puzzled by his grimace. His posture tells the story, though, and she glares at Liz. Before she can say anything to her, Leghorn continues:
"I say, I say there Jonn-boy, stand up straight. Y'know Jonn-boy, of all the friends I've had and lost, you're the first to survive! Who would have thought Porky Pig and Hell would really exist together, and that it would be in Datil?"
His words strike her. He too has friends who have died. How many of hers had she lost, today? She didn't even know. Maybe Datil was hell, after all. The thought brings back Jake's words about the city. "I hope he's okay. I don't want to lose him, too," she thinks. Frieda can't explain it even to herself, but she feels connected somehow to the strange man. She takes a couple of steps so she can tell Jonn about Jake while Leghorn has Hampshire's attention. Jonn is still in pain. Seeing him leaning forward with his hands on his knees, Frieda puts her hand on his arm and says, "Are you all right? I have to tell you something." Jonn nods, straightens a bit, and turns to face her as he listens.
But something happens to Frieda. Once again, time slows down. She hears herself telling Jonn about Freya, Kicker, and Jake, and shares her concern for Jake's safety, but as the words come out, her thoughts are completely separated from them. Under her hand, she feels the strength in his arm. She notices how handsome his face is. His deep blue eyes fascinate her completely. There is no doubt that he, too, is a pure strain. Something deep inside her silently and urgently says, "Where have you been? Haven't I always known you? You feel it too, don't you?" And then, another, louder voice breaks into her thoughts, "No! You can't do this."
"...She's abouts yay tall, very curvy, green skin, nice assets." I wink at Frieda, using both hands in a cupping motion.
Leghorn catches Frieda's attention with his crude remark, but she is too confused to respond. As she struggles to take note of his demands, she lets his neglect to state the 5th of a promised five demands distract her, and in a moment, her mind clears. Looking up at Liz, she sees the girl is grinding her teeth.
"Enemiesth... I mean enemies, and you'll see Jonn soon enough. C'mon let's beat feat." Saying that, Brimstone leads Howard and Mycinod back upstairs.
Taking the items in question from the Fungoid, Howard examines them. "One isth a rubber vibro sthick and the other isth a tasther."
Once on the balcony, Brimstone keeps Howard just far enough away from Hampshire so he cannot confront the Pigoid.
<Snort, snort, snort> "Sweet Dukas'sss, I had'sss faith in you'sss, and Captain Leghorn'sss. The Gren and'sss the three bird'sss are safe. They'sss were just picked up'sss by Kasteen'sss people on the roof'sss minutes ago, you'sss didn't know'sss? It'sss must be a NARC'sss command thing!"
The Gamma Girl points towards the Duckoid who just arrived, noting that part of the bargain being filled. "Timon will be here soon, boss!"
The crowd shouts for joy as a very large golden-skinned runner is led out into the arena below. You recognize him as Ormahzd.
<Snort, snort, snort> Hampshire claps at the new runner. "Go'sss now. I'sss want to'sss watch Timon'sss new runner in peace'sss. Come'sss back and'sss visit sometime, especially you'sss Frieda." <Snort, snort, snort>
Liz and a few of the Gamma Girls lead all of you over to the elevator. Only Liz enters the elevator with you; the others return to Hampshire. Liz pushes button number 5 and the elevator doors close.
At that same moment your elevator doors close, the doors on the next elevator over open. Timon and his people exit the elevator and head towards Hampshire.
[The groups have coalesced somewhat:
It's almost more than Howard can bear: remaining silent against his will and wishes while Brimstone and Myc lead him into Hampshire's presence and hold him back. The Cougaroid pushes Howard into an elevator car after a few confusing words from the Pigoid blow past. "Where's Lamia, and who are the birds?" he wonders to himself, struggling to see past the Cougaroid's trenchcoat.
Before he has the chance to break free and give Hampshire a piece of his mind (accompanied with his taser and vibro stick, which he'd implement inactivated as a blunt object if given the opportunity, guards be damned), Howard gasps at the mention of Ormahzd. He thought the big guy ran off, but apparently he has been captured! Soon he is pushed back into an elevator car and his group packs him into a rear corner.
When the Gamma Girl pushes the elevator control, Howard has only seconds to act. He drops the taser and vibro stick, shimmies his way between various pairs of humanoid and Cougaroid legs and yells out as the door closes, "Hampsthire, you frakking basthard!" while giving him the four-finger salute. Howard, having four middle fingers each on his mutated hands, smiles as he gets the last word (and hand gesture), even if he wouldn't be there to enjoy the Pigoid's reaction.
The Duckoid looks up consternated at the Gamma Girl, then Jonn, then the rest of the car crew from his squat position spread out on the elevator floor among legs, boots and his dropped weapons. "Sthomebody mind telling me what'sth going on pleasthe?!"
Taking up my cigar again, I chew on it for a while as we stand together in the moving elevator. I relax my posture, blink moistly and exhale a long low <boooock>. Reaching out with each arm, I put one around Frieda and the other around Jonn and pull the two of them in close. "J-j-jonn, ya remember <cluck> back at the Factory when I called you guys a band of scum and filthy cock-a-roaches? I say, I say, I really regrets saying that. You's knows I am going to off that miserable cock-a-roach Timon for what he did to my family, don't you?" Blinking my moist eyes, I release the two PSH I pulled close together and continue chewing on my cigar and thinking of my family.
In the confusion I, reach down and pick up the stick and the taser, slipping the taser under my hood and holding the vibro-stick close to my body so as to keep it hidden. If anyone asks, I will return them, but only to Jonn, as he seems to be in charge.
The pain in his groin subsiding, Jonn focused on what Frieda had to say. "ClusterFrak™!" he moaned inwardly at the dismal news. They had failed to rescue her kids, and miserably. Jake taken out? Freya killed?? The low throbbing between his legs was soon replaced by a growing, gnawing sense of guilt between his ears. They should've stayed together. Jake and Freya might have escaped harm, Geo might have kept his arm, Frieda's kids might have been rescued and she might have been able to arrange for the group's audience with Hampshire painlessly, and Howard might not have had to endure the arena, and....
Lamia! "And for her eyes: what could such eyes do there \ But weep, and weep, that they were born so fair?" Only the Ancients had bards that could come close to describing her beauty, but not even Keats' much-vaunted verse could aspire to illustrate the depths of the feelings he now realized he felt for the Gren. Where had she been taken? And why? Whoever it was might as well have rip't out his heart. That sloven Hamp better not have had anything to do with it.
He had half a mind to throttle the Pigoid for the answers, but the other half soon became aware that Frieda had stopped speaking and was staring at him, nay into him.
It was The Look™.
No less an event had tilted Uranus on its side.
You see, Pure Strain Humans are rarer in Gamma World than 8-track tape decks. Jonn had already come to grips with this frightening fact (for a PSH) during his epiphany in the courtyard of the Oad-Ck-Factory. But he also knew he had a soft spot for pure strain fems. Indeed, this was common among PSHs living in this violent, mutated world: loner PSHs were almost unimaginable. Meeting Alpha had reminded him of his soft spot, even though he now suspected she was a mutant. Later, he'd felt something of the feeling when Liska had joined his group, though her association with Xervian had muted his response (or was it Lamia's reaction to his awkwardness around Alpha?). When he met Frieda at Frederick's, there was a good deal of sizing up that went on (again squelched by Lamia), but then they had split up into two groups.
But now Frieda was back, and in his face, and he knew what she was feeling. It scared him. Her exquisite features screamed on a PSH wavelength that he could not ignore. Had he not just moments before delved the fathoms of his emotions for Lamia, Jonn would have immediately capitulated. Frieda's Look™ was that irresistible, though she was obviously not aware of it---she had that way-out-there-orbiting-Venus expression that is so embarassing to have caught on film. Our stalwart Gren-lover would not have lasted another picosecond had not Hampshire unwittingly saved his tattooed ass.
"The Gren and'sss the three bird'sss are safe. They'sss were just picked up'sss by Kasteen'sss people on the roof'sss minutes ago, you'sss didn't know'sss? It'sss must be a NARC'sss command thing!"
Confusion set in.
"Xervian!?!" just mouthing the very name cleared the air around him, and he snapped out of his brain cloud. He fleetingly caught Frieda's gaze, undulled and very aware of him and her own vulnerability, but he quickly avoided it like a radioactive hot zone---a little bit too quickly, he thought later in the elevator.
Ushered into the elevator by the red-headed Gamma Girl who kneed him, Jonn is relieved to see Howard there, and even more relieved for the chance to pigeonhole his conflicting emotions. His longtime Duckoid sidekick is apparently none the worse for the wear as he adeptly scrambles to the front of the elevator in a flurry of singed feathers and dropped gadgets (Jonn doesn't find this unusual; he knows Howard can't resist collecting junk). With characteristic flair, Howard thanks Hampshire for the jolly good time he had down in the arena.
"Dodgers!" Jonn says jovially, scooping up the fowl and rubbing his top feathers despite his friend's protestations as the doors close. "Ok, ok, calm down indigo fowl! I'm glad you made it out! Hey, how come you never told me you had a history with Hamp?" Jonn puts Howard back down and briefly explains to him (and the group) what he missed while dodging laser blasts in the arena. He also briefs everybody on Frieda's report, and Howard follows up with a terse recounting of his rescue by Mycinod and Brimstone.
Many thanks are in order, and Jonn doles them out liberally to Mycinod, who beams proudly and stands tall (for a Fungoid) in the corner of the elevator, and to Brimstone. He thanks Geo for presumably calling in the cavalry, and publicly and humbly apologizes for the loss of his arm. He expresses admiration for Captain Leghorn's deductive skills, and for the way he handled Hampshire. Lastly he thanks Frieda's midriff for showing up in the nick of time with the ID machine.
Geo notes the tension between the two pure strains. Why doesn't Jonn look her in the eye, like he does to everyone else? What has he missed? He records Jonn's avoidance techniques for later analysis, and opens a new observation file on the pure strain female designated Frieda Abel. Simultaneously he struggles to approximate the probability (very low) that he will regain the use of his arm. If T-Rex entrusted Jake with its repairs, then surely Jake could reattach a wayward limb, right? If he still lives....
Captain Leghorn draws Jonn and Frieda close with his befeathered arms as the elevator dings, slows and opens onto the fourth floor. He speaks as the Gamma Girl impatiently jams and rejams her thumb on the "close door" button of the tired elevator:
"You's knows I am going to off that miserable cock-a-roach Timon for what he did to my family, don't you?"
Jonn's skin bristles with goosebumps underneath his plastic armor as if his body hair were auto-aligning along Frieda's magnetic field lines. She is so close that his lungs fill with her faint perfume on every breath. In his peripheral vision, he can sense the quickening tempo of her diaphragm, rising and falling in pure strain time. But he just stands there looking at her boots as Leghorn's tobacco-stained drawl wafts between them.
"Captain, I won't deprive you of your right for revenge, even if it goes against NARC orders! After we find Penny an' your chicks, and if'n you still wanna piece o' Blackbeard, it'd behoove you to hurry, 'cuz it looks like Ormahzd is a-lookin' to bust a move on 'im," Jonn says, finding the Roosteroid's accent strangely contagious: an odd distraction for an unexpected attraction, he would later realize.
Released from Leghorn's embrace, Jonn regains his airspace with a step back, careful to avoid the scowling Gamma Girl. He finally addresses Frieda, though her pursed lips are the farthest north he can bring his baby blues. "Frieda, look, I uh... I'm...." Her lips open to say something, and his eyes find the fine curve of her nose, but the elevator dings for floor five and slows its ascent. Not now, he decides, returning to her boots. "I'm sorry for what happened to your kids, and to you and Jake. And... Freya. Thank you again for helping us. I don't pretend to think that I can make it up to you, but---" The doors open into a lab-like setting, and the redhead pushes Jonn out with a jab of her spiked forearm.
"Hey, woman, what've I done to you?!" Jonn whirls around, exploding in the Gamma Girl's face, the steam from his boiling kettle of emotions and guilt having finally found egress. "And while you're at it, where did Hamp send our Gren and Chickenoids? And where's our gear?!"
"Jake!" the robot gasps, and rushes into the room past the Gamma Girl and Jonn.
And then, another, louder voice breaks into her thoughts, "No! You can't do this." Looking up at Liz, she sees the girl is grinding her teeth.
She cannot hide the guilt in her eyes, but Hampshire unwittingly rescues her (not just Dukas) from the awkward moment.
"Come'sss back and'sss visit sometime, especially you'sss Frieda." <Snort, snort, snort>
"Thanks, Hamp. If things get better, I'll try. You've got some good folkhere. I won't need my last payday. Do with it what you will."
After the other Gamma Girlz leave, Liz waits outside the elevator to make sure the NARCs load into the elevator. Frieda stays with her. "Thanks, Liz, you made it a lot easier." Frieda looks back at the exiting Girlz and then at Liz, "You're coming with us?"
"Just think of me as a chaperone," Liz answers with a crack of her knuckles.
Howard's antics in the elevator serve both to break the tension and to mix up the party. Frieda finds herself next to the mushroom. Before she can introduce herself, Jonn bursts out with his greeting of Dodgers. When he tells Myc's story, Frieda congratulates him. "Hello, I'm Frieda. I've never seen a sentient myceta, before. I had thought you were just a legend, but it seems you are making a true legend of yourself." The beaming Mycinod introduces himself and offers a tentacle.
"J-j-jonn, ya remember <cluck> back at the Factory when I called you guys a band of scum and filthy cock-a-roaches? I say, I say, I really regrets saying that. You's knows I am going to off that miserable cock-a-roach Timon for what he did to my family, don't you?" Blinking my moist eyes, I release the two PSH I pulled close together and continue chewing on my cigar and thinking of my family.
After Jonn mentions Frieda's deed, she finds herself being drawn away by the Roosteroid and soon finds herself in a nose to nose to beak conversation. While Leghorn speaks, something inside of Frieda breathes a sigh of satisfaction at being back in Jonn's presence and an old song rises in her chest. "Thrice-fairer than myself, the field's chief flower, sweet above compare, stain to all nymphs...," the song calls to her, but Lamia has been kind to her, and she silences the voice. As the Roosteroid and Jonn speak, she looks attentively into their eyes, and pleasantly discovers how easy it is to look upon Jonn this way, as if she has known him for years. Jonn's inability to meet her gaze gives her a quiet thrill. "I'll deal with it later," she thinks, but she is glad to know that she has had some effect on him.
The Captain's words, though, have an even bigger pull on her attention. He has children to care for, too, and they were his own! Maybe he would understand. The talk of revenge frightens her, though. She is about to ask them about his family when their conversation is interrupted. A moment later, Jonn and Liz nearly come to blows, but Geo turns their attention to Jake. Frieda rushes past them to catch up with Geo, hoping to find that her new compatriot is okay.
This page updated: Mon Jan 09 14:22:18 2006
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