Moebius Calls

North Timistania

Roleplay Moderator
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Prologue:
Once upon a time a bunch of down on their luck explorers stumbled by blind jump on to a verdant and unspoilt world in an uncharted patch of space. They landed and after doing a few deep scans found the world to be absolutely jampacked with mineral wealth. There were a few odd readings in the planets noosphere but no one seemed too fussed.

Well pirates killed those explorers and decided to do some investigating of their own. They promptly all started having bad dreams and eventually went mad and killed each other.

Eventually and almost as accidentally as the first ill-fated explorers an adrift starship carrying telepathic exiles rediscovered the world. The telepaths were overjoyed to discover that the world was able to support carbon-based life and promptly settled. They named the planet Moebius.

Something was off almost from the start, hallucinations, visions and insanity afflicting the hypersensitive telepaths. Soon the worst affected became utterly demented and tried to kill anyone not similarly insane. The ‘possessed’ as they came to be known threatened to destroy the entire colony with their rampage.

For five years the unaffected battle the possessed and constant assaults upon their psyche. During this time latent telepath and leader of the colony, Serenthia Kaan, discovered that the source of the attacks. The planet was host to its own sentience; a vast telepathic field covered the entire planet.

Serenthia realized the only way to save her people was to placate the entity. She communed with the world spirit and became one with it, her physical body dying in the process. The possessed regained their sanity and the colony survived. Serenthia was venerated as a saviour.
The new colony soon began to develop a society that grew rich as the mineral wealth of the planet was exploited. Over time hyperspace lanes connected Moebius to the wider universe and corporate interests as well as new immigrants swelled the size of the world.

A curious thing occurred during those years; the world spirit was found to have retained Serenthia’s consciousness within itself. She would return to life several times over the course of millennia in order to save her people. Over time understanding of the world-spirit was lost and Serenthia became more mythological deity then historical figure.

The world continued to swell and grow, the telepath population fading into the background as the number of unattuned grew to untold billions. Two thousand years after its settlement Moebius is a vast planet-wide city of billions.

Its corporate nobility has grown rich off of its rare minerals and the sale of forbidden psychic technologies. Meanwhile, in the darkest recesses of the planet city, the poorest toil in darkness never seeing the sun. The nightmares have begun again, terrible madness afflicts the masses, a droning background noise slowly rising to become all-consuming.

But the people have forgotten the world spirit, their leaders blame extremism and poverty for the rising violence utterly ignorant of the truth. Moebius has deified Serenthia, worshipping her as an immortal god, but they have not seen her presence in centuries and they cease to believe in her return. If something is not done soon the planet will be consumed by the rising tide of madness and despair.
 

North Timistania

Roleplay Moderator
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Chapter one: Portents

LI


Hub 416, Lago District, Moebius

I'm in the throes of a beautiful dream, green forests and lush open fields, they are waiting on the edge of the hill. My wife smiles as she catches sight of me, that look that always set my pulse racing. My son runs through the long grass towards me, I reach out to embrace him

“TIME TO GET UP CORPSMAN LI!!!!’ The alarm jolts me out unconsciousness and back into the sore darkness of the waking world

“shit!” I growl as the apartment AI sets the lights to dim and begins reciting the usual droning list of two dos, should dos and don'ts dos

My room looks like a tsunami ripped through it, uniform strewn across the floor, empty syn beer capsules on the bedside, an ash tray so full of cigarettes its more synbacco then glass. I drag myself to the end of the bed and sit slumped, my mind goes through the daily process of negotiating with my body to start moving. I light a cigarette and savor the dull burn in my throat as the toxins swirl in my lungs. A Bioscan light flashes from the wall and runs up my chest.

“Corpsman Li! Your cancer risk assessment is now at 19.5%” it blares in that overly cheerful tone

Home AI, one of the many perks of government employment, they install them in all state housing to keep the occupants fit and productive. Mostly they just yell announcements and complain when you do anything they are programmed not to like. I ignore its nagging and retrieve my boots and green fatigues before stumbling into the shower.

The pipes spin up and blast me with 20 seconds of lukewarm, mostly nontoxic, recycled water. I stand under the drying light and attempt to get my brain into some form of functionality, it gets harder the older I get. I pull on my creased overall and strap on my boots before heading for the living room, I don’t bother shaving.

The news is playing on the vidscreen, scenes of mourners in white and flags at half-mast are plastered across the screen. The face of Tryko Naeve, the aging Grand Consul of the Moebius republic, flashes on the screen. The Navaeuns distinctive red skin and tattooed concave head flash on the screen, his black Avian eyes piercing even in advanced age.

I pause for a moment, I'm not usually one for politics but when a man runs Moebius for over 100 years it's hard not to be thoughtful. It's the end of an Era and that means endless lines of funeral processions and months of traffic buildup, great.

“Corpsman Li! Your partner, Corpsman Drek, is waiting for you in the lobby!” the AI announces with artificial cheer once again snapping me out of my daydreaming

“Yeah whatever” I mutter as I light another cigarette, a bio scan flashes

“Cancer risk assessment is currently at 19.5.1%!” it yells in a nagging voice

“I’ll take my chances!” I growl slamming the door

**********************************************************
Drek is waiting for me in the building lobby, his tufty ears perk up as he hears my distinct ambulance corps boots clatter on the tiles. He gives me a toothy grin as I come into eyeshot. Drek is a splicer, a human fetus that was combined in utero with other species DNA, in his case canine.

Splicers were all the rage twenty years ago, these days they make headlines for all the wrong reasons, the growing purist movement making their lives in the lower wards' hell. Drek raises a furry claw in greeting, I nod in acknowledgement.

“Smoking I see? Didn’t shave either,” he says with a tut

“You aren't my super!” I mutter defensively as I take another drag on the cigarette

Drek rolls his orange eyes disapprovingly, I've been working with him for over ten years, you’d think he’d be used to my slow descent into self-destruction by now. Ten years with Drek, How many with the corps? Twenty-one next month...the number hits me like a dull blow, I've been an ambulance Corpsman for twenty-one years.

There was a time when I wore the dress greens with pride, there was a time when I still believed I was making a difference, got harder to be so enthused by it all as the years' war on. I stub out my cigarette in a nearby deposit bin and motion to the holo set on Drek’s wrist.

“so, what's the day looking like?” I ask as we head for the door

“Its hub 416 so, stabbings, OD’s and traffic accidents, live ones to the med zone and the stiffs to the morgue” he replies bluntly his spliced vocals a bizarre mesh of dog growls and human speech

“Another day on Moebius,” I think with a mirthless grin

We head outside, the sea of neon signs and holo ads flashes and glitters endlessly above. A cacophony of ads jostle and compete for our attention, selling everything from cancer pills to the latest synthetic concubines. We ignore the infomercs with practised indifference and haul ourselves into the waiting ambulances.

Drek activates the ambulance with a retinal scan and opens the dispatch menu, a gigantic map of Hub 416 flashes across the window. Alarming red icons glow in clusters all across the Hub, blue icons representing the local militia are covering about a quarter of the total incidents.

It's an endless battle, the civil militia hopelessly overstretched by the unending tide of violent crimes and suicides that seem to define life in the inner-city hubs. Drek and I started placing bets on If the militia would be able to answer even half the incidents.

“30 Nex* says they don’t get above 50%,” I say with a dark smile

“You're on,” he says with an approving half growl “think ill get a vat-grown steak for lunch” he replies with an overconfident smirk

I roll my eyes; I don’t know if it’s the Canid DNA but there's definitely a sort of dumb optimism present in Drek that I've never seen in any pureblood. He keeps things entertaining at very least, I might even buy him a steak when I win.

“This is dispatch, R43* in Shi’Uggur tenements, police on the scene, any units please respond” the dispatch holofeed buzzes

Drek presses the confirm icon and boots up the engines, the ambulances VTOL pushes us off the street and we rise up into the glittering dawn air. Golden spires and lines of air traffic greet us as we reach maximum height.

“time to go to work,” He says with a grin

“hit the sirens” I reply as I click my badge in place

Ultraviolet and green lights flash above us warning traffic to get out of the way, the ambulances engines burn into life and we race through the airways. Drek touches an icon of Serenthia that hangs above the dashboard, I look away disinterested in his superstition. The endless sea of plasteel and gold spreads out in front of us, from up here it almost seems idyllic.

*Navaeuns-An avian species from a distant world in the Inaius periphery, noted for their deep red skin, low beaks and long-life spans.

*The currency of Moebius, 30 Nex is about the price of a moderately expensive meal or a carton of synth tobacco.

*code for stabbing
**********************************************************
The Shi’Uggur tenement is the sort of dime a dozen mass hab block that you can find anywhere in Hub 416. The working classes crowd into these ageing conurbs by the millions. Piles of trash are heaped outside the tall plasteel spire, municipal only sends armed patrols to collect trash once a month. Grime covers every surface with a greasy film and there isn't a single surface that isn't tagged with holo graffiti or classic.
Several militia patrol-craft and holding vans are parked in a curve outside the building entrance. Militia officers in black body armour and dark tinted helmets are standing guard around a red holo line. Everyone is armed, militia officers with G96 heavy pulse rifles scan the crowds for any potential threats, no one comes to the mass habs unarmed anymore.

“So, what's the word?” I ask as Drek returns from conversing with an officer

“Dockworker started seeing demons in his sleep and stabbed his whole family before taking a stride off the ledge...this is a cleanup job; bodies need taking to the morgue” he replies motioning to the line of yellow body bags in a line next to the curb.

I sigh, this is par for the course in the lower habs, it's been getting worse with each passing year. Doesn’t seem to be a day that goes by that you don’t hear about someone losing their mind and lashing out, sometimes we get here to find arrests and living survivors, mostly its corpse detail.

We start hauling the bodies into the ambulance's freezer unit when the last one is loaded, we get airborne and head for Lago general. Coroner likes his stiffs delivered on time after all.

As we glide through the pale indigo sky, I notice something glittering in the distance. Like a star but brighter and closer, it's so bright it pierces the clouds and smog that usually block out celestial bodies. Golden light flows across the sky in a luminous trail as it descends.

“Hey, you see that?” I say pointing to the light

Drek shrugs “probably a liner from Siezon or the alliance, those things generate a lot of light when they make planetfall,” he says dismissively

“Guess so,” I say, but I'm not convinced

The light seems to be getting brighter and a heck of a lot closer. Something is in an awful hurry to make planetfall.
**********************************************************
A sensation is the first thing it feels, a feeling of falling. It sees nothing save the blinding glow of own descent; it does know why it falls only that it does so. Strange sounds echo up from an unseen origin, it feels an instinctive familiarity as it struggles to make out the individual noises in the midst of the din.

Immense heat gives way to cool icy winds that shriek and hammer at its glowing form. Its vision begins to clear, eyes it has eyes! It starts to make outlines of towering objects and countless objects that move past and howl as they swerve to avoid its skyward descent.

It sees a great grey expanse rising to greet it, limbs it knows as hands glitter as it holds them out as if trying to embrace the ground below. Its hands remain outstretched, it crashes into the hard surface, a cloud of dust rises and obscures everything.

It sleeps.
 
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North Timistania

Roleplay Moderator
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Chapter 2: Fallen Star

LI

Hub 416, Founders Hill hospital, Moebius
Founders Hill was named for the legendary first site that the ancient Terran colonists chose to construct the initial settlement upon. From memory the actual hill is several miles away in Hub 415, but why let facts stand in the way of a good name right?

The early morning sky is bright pink as Davek* glitters and illuminates everything with his burning gaze. Founders hill is located in the high-rise zone and the landing platform affords a view of the entire surrounding area. Tall spires and endless lines of sky traffic fill the morning air, Moebius in full manic activity.

We offload the last of the stiffs, hazmat garbed morgue staff with hovering freeze capsules in tow arrive to collect and process the deceased. If the dead are lucky, they have family who can come and claim them for burial. If they aren’t, they will lie unclaimed in the freezer for weeks before being recycled in the bio mulcher.

Life in a city the size of a planet necessitated a certain degree of brutal practicality; any source of energy or protein was used unless you could give a damn good reason for it not being. Most days I try to avoid thinking too hard about where the protein in the synth food Is sourced from, it makes breakfast a little more palatable that way.

“sign here corpsman,” a masked morgue staffer says in a weary, muffled voice before passing me a tablet with a gloved hand

I press my thumb down on the palm reader, a government bio ID immediately fills in the required sections. Old Terran script flows across the screen revealing my full name and title:
State Ambulance Service, Corpsman Cuthbert Sheng Li, Indigo* grade

I grimace slightly as the wall of text reveals itself, I hate the way the systems vomit every detail and title onto official documents. The little three-eyed smiley face icon always accompanies the sign-off and the damn “have a nice day!” message is just disturbing.

“We done here?” Drek asks impatiently asked as I pass the tablet back to the morgue officer

Yup all signed off” I reply before lighting a cigarette

“Cool because I reckon it's time for breakfast, there's this Bathan* joint on the way....” the words die in his throat
The cigarette drops from my mouth as we gaze up with dumbfounded horror. The bright light from earlier is accelerating downwards like a missile towards the founders square below. An explosive shriek fills the air as whatever that light is, impacts with the ground and kicks a vast cloud of dust. Alarms and sirens screech across the Hub in response.

*Davek was one of Serenthia Kaan’s companions during the mythical Possessed war. Legend has it Serenthia entrusted to him the care of the colony before her sacrifice. His name adorns shops, squares, warships and even the stellar body which illuminates Moebius. Legend claims him as the first Grand Consul, some two thousand years before the present date.
*Decorated service over a period of two decades, a specialist rank
*Bathan are a race of big game hunters from the Inaius Periphery
**********************************************************
We race through cleared skyways, militia patrollers screech past at high speed as we all head for the impact site. The dispatch is awash with status updates as the civil defence protocols kick in, hundreds of personnel are being thrown at the founder's square.

“R15 in progress, potential mass casevac, all available units reroute” the dispatcher buzzes on the comms

Hundreds of ambulance officers, militia grunts and fire service units are simultaneously torn away from other callouts. Murders, stabbings, suicides and fires go ignored as priority shifts towards the explosion on founder's square, the planet might as well have been invaded.

The square comes into view as the ambulance hovers overhead, clouds of dust swirl around the smashed permacrete and obscure our vision. I pull out my respirator and strap it in place, Drek does the same grumbling as growling uncomfortably as he shoves the ill-fitted mask onto his face. They never bothered to issue properly shaped masks for splicers.

I pull down my infrared lenses and the world is suddenly bathed in blue light. We pitch down at the edge of the crater and leap out of the vehicle with our gear in hand. The scene we step in to is like the aftermath of an orbital bombardment.

Statues made from solid adamantium lie in shattered pieces and the floor of the square has been cracked open. It looks like the fist of some angry deity has smashed into the earth; a long trench has been formed where something ploughed through the square.

Militia troopers spread out and begin establishing a perimeter, survivors are herded to makeshift medical tents, thousands of civilian's stream past with torn clothing and dust-covered faces. A militia officer runs up to us panting visibly, his armour already caked in dust.

“Hey guys, looks like the biggest impact was the retail block up ahead! We need med techs in there!” he says breathlessly, pointing to a nearby mega mall

We pull the auto stretcher from the back of the ambulance; it hovers behind us as we move towards the stricken commerce building. A gigantic hole has been created where whatever unnatural force impacted with the front of the building. Metal frames on the edges of the hole look as though some sort of heat has melted them.

“What the hell is going on!” I growl as we struggle through the dust

Drek is struggling to keep up, his mask digging into him uncomfortably as we wade through rubble and smog. He doesn’t answer, instead he touches a pendent around his neck, a tiny micro image of Serenthia on its crystalline face.

We clamber over a hill of collapsed Perma-crete pillars and shattered metal frames. Militia troopers are already inside searching the darkened hallways for injured and dead, the lights are flickering erratically and the mall AI keeps blurting out broken messages in an eerie loop

“We...Wel...Welcome to founders arca...cad....Arcaaaaddeee....Shhhhh....shop...t-tilll you Drop!” the AI drones, the cheerful tone all the creepier when paired with the sheer devastation around us

I scan the nearby stalls and shopfronts; shattered glass is everywhere that and a long trench down the Centre of the hall. I see an arm poking out from an overturned pillar.

“There's someone here!” I call out as we pull out our multi-tools and begin removing rubble

Several troopers join us and soon we have enough space to haul the body free, it’s an old Bathan male, his fur is ashen with dust and he feels limp in our grip as we heave him out. Drek runs a bio scan with his diagnostic kit, he shakes his head as the readings come back.

“Probably died in the blast” Drek says

I sigh and pull up my comms, calling in casualties is always an ugly business. Once upon a time I dreaded making the S-0 update, nowadays it's so common I do it on instinct.
“Dispatch, this is ambulance crew 342-16, one confirmed S-0 at the impact site,” I say calmly

“Copy 342, prepare the body for transfer and continue your search” the dispatch responds, I suspect this isn’t the first S-0 she's had to deal with today, and it won't be the last

We place bag the body and place the holotag on the front, Drek mouths a little prayer to Serenthia and the world spirit, then we are up and moving. Further up in the main foyer we hear screams as a Ketrian* in a torn waiter's uniform holds flashes a knife at a group of militia troopers

“Sir calm down and drop the knife!” an officer yells attempting to diffuse the situation

“The light has fallen! She walks amongst us!!! The darkness rises to meet her! It’s the end times!!! Get away!!!” he screams

I reach for my sedater* and load a dose of anti-psych, Drek quickly runs a check on the dosage for me, 10mgs of Hetramine*, enough to stop an adult human for at least a few hours. I aim the sedater and fire, a small micro-dart hits the Ketrian in his neck and he stumbles and collapses as the Hetramine diffuses into his bloodstream.

“Restrain him and get a psych callout, probably trauma from the blast” I say as the officer nods and motions for the troopers to secure the sedated Ketrian

A shout fills the arcade “We found the impact crater!” a trooper yells, everyone begins running in the direction of her voice

We are soon standing over a vast hole in the floor, below darkness obscures everything. Whatever that light was it's bored right down into the lower levels of the building. I open my kit and retrieve the rappelling tool.

I shoot a length of polymer gel onto the ground to secure the nano-rope with, then I attach the harness and switch the attached lights to full intensity. Drek checks the line and then I begin my descent. Several troopers and a few other Corpsmen begin doing the same as I lower myself into the darkness.

*Ketrians are a tall, emotionally hypersensitive race from the barren world of Ketris on the Inaius Periphery. Hairless and pale skinned with weak pupil free eyes, they have an amazing sense of smell and minor telepathy which allows them to navigate the darkened tunnels of their homeworld. Their limited diet and telepathic traits make them highly susceptible to pharmaceutical substances.
*Sedaters are the standard-issue tranquillizers given to frontline health workers and militia units in order to subdue distressed or violent patients or offenders non-lethally.
*Hetramine is a synthetic sedative and anti-psychotic that is delivered via nanocarriers to the bloodstream and brainstem, it is one of the most universally effective drugs when dealing with standard nervous systems.
*********************************************************
I finally hit the bottom of the crater, my boots crunching on rubble as I land. My rigs lights pierce the gloom as I scan the area, overturned storage units and crates suggest the impact dug right into the basement.

I move forward scanning the surroundings with my lenses, a sea of blue stretches out in front of me, no signs of life anywhere. I pause as I realize my foot is brushing against something hard, I look down to see a smashed warehouse droid, its eye sockets are smoking.

“What in Serenthia’s...” my voice trails off as I hear something crash up ahead

My heart begins to pound as scan the room, I see something move in the corner of my eye and I pull out my Sedater and raise it in front of me. I do so more out of fear then common sense, the dose isn’t even loaded into the chamber.

My lenses pick up a single heat sig, red hot and... moving right towards me. A shadow stumbles into view, my chest is pounding so hard I begin to think it will smash through my ribcage.
“Li your heart rate is in the hundreds! What's happening down there...” Drek is shouting over the Intercomm

I'm not listening though, the shadow looms into view and steps forward, a Terran woman in her early 30’s shuffles into view. She is completely naked and her eyes have a disorientated, crazed look about them. I calm down and breath in before speaking.

“Ma’am?” I say gently as I holster the sedater and step forward “Are you hur...” my words cut off as she lunges at me and grabs my throat

Everything stops for a moment, a sensation fills me like paralysis, I feel like someone is pulling me out of my body. It stops suddenly, she releases her grip and falls back, her eyes roll back in her head for a moment as she hits the ground, then she's completely still.

“LI WHAT IS HAPPENING!!!” Drek yells down the comms

“I’m okay Drek, you might want to tell the rest of the team to bring a stretcher down here though...we have a survivor,” I say catching my breath as I stare down at my unconscious assailant

Soon I can hear the other officers rappelling down into the darkness, their lights piercing the black. I open my med kit and retrieve a thermal sheet which I place over the woman for decency.

It only begins to hit me later as we are winching her up, how the hell does someone survive the epicentre of a block levelling blast? And what the hell did she do to me? Despite my usual reservations, I find myself making the sacred sign of Serenthia for protection.
 
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North Timistania

Roleplay Moderator
-
Chapter 3: Awakenings

Serenthia


Founders Hill Hospital, Hub 416, Moebius


An Untethered mind drifts in the unconscious, a billion minds whisper in the dark, from this realm I glimpse the webs cast by sentient life with unburdened sight. A dock worker returns home, most nights he drinks, tonight he is overcome by a rage he cannot place, he beats his wife bloody. A militia officer feels a sudden surge of anxiety and squeezes the trigger of his rifle instinctively, a target is a man reaching for his phone. A civil servant signs a holodoc, it will make thousands redundant, he feels a surge of malicious self-satisfaction.

I feel the pull of the waking world, the light seeps into this dark mirror world, I struggle listlessly against the onslaught to no avail. I let out a low scream with unformed lips, and then the throbbing ache of corporeal existence drags me mercilessly back into the waking world. Being pulled from formless incorporeality back into the physical is never a pleasant experience, it seeing everything and then being blinded.
The light floods in like a blinding wave, I groan audibly as the weight of being trapped in fleshy prison bears down upon me. My wrists and ankles are bound in synth steel shackles and I can feel the painful buzz of psychic suppression devices around my neck. I scan the room, the bleep of medical equipment and the stink of disinfectant permeates the bed space, I am in a hospital. That they saw fit to restrain me suggests medical care is not their primary concern.

I try to cast my mind's eye back to the fall but all I earn for that is a blur of painful images. The trauma of returning to flesh and bone has left gaps in my memory, the omnipresence I once enjoyed has been severed. In its place a feeling of dejection fills me, to be one with all things and then walled off from them has narrowed my focus. I can feel the gaps in my understanding, things I should know I cannot grasp within the confines of this meat prison.

I have returned to mortal life three times since my physical death, each time bearing the trauma of resurrection. I do so because I have a purpose, if only I could remember what it was, I need to remember. First things first though, these bindings have to go. The psychic dampener was designed to suppress telepaths, but not ones as latent as myself. I focus my awareness into a sharpened point and feel the dampener strain against the tide of pure mental energy, a few sparks fly and the lights on the machine dim.

The bindings are easier, my body may be mortal but it was forged by a distinctly immortal force, every strand of muscle and bone is strong enough to bend steel. A simple raising of my arms and legs the synth steel bindings shatter harmlessly. I drag myself up, tearing tubing and medical gear from my body. I hear them before I see them, determined one tone mental emanations, disciplined and ready to act without hesitation, a hit squad.

I look around the room, windowless and padded, my options are limited. The crash of boots grows louder, I can hear the click of weapons and feel the surging adrenaline as they prepare for the kill. I decide to pre-empt. A surge of telepathic energy rips my room door from its hinges, it crashes to the ground with a loud crack. A cluster of armoured figures surrounds me, black gear without insignia, they raise their rifles ready to tear me to shreds.

I glare and send a wave of energy shrieking through their minds; their inbuilt psychic dampeners are wholly unprepared. A series of shots ring out, the smell of blood and superheated ozone fills the air, I step over the bodies clogging the hallway. I head for the locker room; I won’t get far in a hospital gown.
“come on Sar, time to go to work” I snarl inwardly as I tear a locked door open

I search the room pulling boots from a locker, serendipitously they are a perfect fit. I grab a pair of pants a few sizes too short and I pull a vest with the words “telepaths do it better” from its hanger. I'm about to leave and then I see it, a tan synth leather jacket with red wings, I snatch it up and pull it on, I'm ready now.
Alarms begin to ring out behind me as I reach the lift
 
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