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Found 110 results

  1. Life as a spy meant keeping parts of her life in neat little boxes. It was surprisingly useful in superhero work as well, it turns out. Talya had her life as the costumed crimefighter Bombshell and the domestic side of her existence with Willow and Erik. Unfortunately, though, there was a third box to keep up in the air; Bombshell was known as Talya Browning, after all, which meant she had a public persona to keep up appearances for as well. That's where things got tricky to juggle. While Talya didn't mind making those necessary appearances alone - it certainly was in keeping with the public perception of Natalya Browning, thief - it was a rare treat to have one of her spouses on her arm for an engagement. "Should be a relatively boring evening, really. It's just a fundraiser with some of the more... ah, well let's go with 'shady' upper crust of Freedom City. I know, you'd think with so many heroes, they wouldn't be nearly so blatant but they're not super villains. Probably. Most likely," Talya offered over her shoulder as she finished her makeup in the mirror. "Super villians have their own secret identities so while I wouldn't be terribly surprised if one crops up, I don't know of any who have RSVP'd." A masquerade, however, meant that she had a little leeway in keeping the boxes separate which meant she had a date for the evening. Willow was content to stay home with the children; a boring evening party with potentially rude people she wasn't allowed to smite was not high on the dryad's list. Honestly, she had to remember exactly how she did her makeup to go with this outfit. Talya hadn't worn this costume since the nineteen sixties after all. Hard to believe that she'd made a name for herself scaling buildings in a black minidress and go-go boots. It had really been a different era. At least the hollow heels had space for lockpicks and a few other emergency odds and ends. The black domino mask still sat on her vanity as Talya stood up and slipped the dress over her shoulders before padding out barefoot to find Erik. She turned around, presenting her back to be zipped up. "You truly don't mind coming with me? Your reputation is far more sterling than mine. Being on the same team is one thing but fraternizing is another." It was a testament to how much their relationship had grown that rather than cavalier, Talya's tone was at turns wistful and sardonic. That she made no effort to hide her emotions, at least in their bedroom, was real growth on the part of the former spy. That she both wanted the company and that she worried for any gossip or rumors, entirely on his behalf was quite clear.
  2. Friday, June 21st, 2019, 6:23 pm Espadas School of Self-Defense and Swordsmanship The West End, bustling and chaotic, was winding down for the evening. While still short of sundown, the cooling day drew people to porches and cafes and away from the daily grind. The weekend was at hand, and the weather was lovely. It was at this moment, a warm breeze whistling between the buildings, that something odd happened. In the alley behind the Espadas School of Self-Defense and Swordsmanship a series of rents opened in space. Or more specifically, five thin, two-dimensional lines, spaced like vertical claw marks, split open space. The lines widened, drawing back reality to reveal two figures. The tall one stepped through the portal followed by smaller. "Good girl, Penny. You're improving every day," said the larger figure: Mona. The smaller figure, a Siamese mix the size of a giant bobcat, meowed her reply. Mona was expected. Word travels quickly in the West End. Especially when Gina "Nana" Espadas was Mona's first visit. There was catching up, pictures of grand kids, and the general goings on in the neighborhood. Then Gina put the word out that Mona was back in town. Not that she was really ever gone. You see, Fulcrum had gone globe. But she was always in contact. Video chatting from an art exhibition in Berlin. Seashells from the Seychelles. Pictures of sushi from Tokyo. Boxing footage with a mutated Tasmanian devil (no one was hurt). Postcards from Dakana. Lots of pictures of rampaging, giant robots. A surprising number. And from time-to-time, she'd fly home to provide her famous Mona Bear Hugs and all sorts of eclectic presents. Recently though...she'd been going silent for longer periods. Months at a time even. Today that ended. Before the portal swirled closed, Mona plucked out a large steamer trunk and hoisted it over one shoulder. She smiled as she knocked on the back door. Home sweet home.
  3. The OOC thread for here.
  4. Winter 2018 It wasn't exactly the Interceptors' Christmas party - but there was a tree up and lights in it, and there were children watching Christmas movies, eating cookies, sword-fighting with boffer weapons, or truly doing all of those things at once. It was a well-spent afternoon, anyway. Steve was sitting by himself on the couch in one of the upstairs bedrooms, just having finished a discussion with Yolanda about how these movies were just for babies that had left him feeling pleased at her emotional progression, when Erik entered the room. Despite the half-dozing children on the carpet by the couch (Yolanda on her phone) and the Santa hat perched incongruously on the Omegadrone's bald head, his face was serious as he asked "Does the evening go well?"
  5. Saturday September Eighth 2018 10:00 AM Espadas School of Self-Defense and Swordsmanship But for the low hum of an electric motor and the tinted windows the Danger International fleet car that pulled to the curb a few car lengths from the Espadas Dojo was nondescript and would hardly elicit note from passer by. This was perhaps slightly less true about it's occupants. Before exiting the car Ace turned to his niece. "Alright so, as I said, he's the best, but also a little touchy about keeping a low profile." which was to say had a standing threat to stab Ace should he descend on his home with reporters again. "So uh, casual is hte rule I guess?" Low profile was really no more in Aces vocabulary than his companions, luckily this was actually nothing but a legitimate visit for the establishments actual purpose. That said the immortal adventurer hopped from the car and strode confidently up to the doors to the dojo slipping inside to await the proprietor, he'd even done the due diligence of arriving between scheduled classes.
  6. Location: Just a few wrong turns from the Downtown strip of the West End Date: 9 - 23 - 18, 9:15 PM GM Post: Claremont Kids It certainly wasn't a date-date, but a 'lets check out the game store in the West End' had turned into a quick dinner and an involved discussion of the recent tabletop game shaping up for the latest crop of Claremont kids. It should have been a few quick turns to get back to the bus stop that would take them back to the safety of Claremont's dorms but a right instead of a left (or two), and the pair were decidedly nowhere near where the bus stop should be. Instead, they'd crossed the border into a dark and poorly lit Greenbank where more buildings were abandoned than not, especially at this time of night, and the rail yard loomed in the distance. They were absolutely and certainly lost. It seemed entirely deserted, at least, at first. After a few moments. Then, the faintly audible murmur of voices talking caught their attention. Peering around the corner, there was a small knot of shadowy looking individuals apparently intently arguing in low pitched Russian. At their center was a woman dressed in all black. More disconcertingly, there were certain ominous and unmarked crates sitting out. To Lulu's mental senses, the woman at the center didn't even seem to exist but she was absolutely there plain as day. Something shady was going on! GM Post: Interceptors When Talya had gotten a bit of intel on a possible S.H.A.D.O.W. cell operating near the West End, she hadn't kept it to herself. Such growth, really! Her plan, however, to infiltrate the group and ferret out the ringleader had gone over like a sack of bricks. Min, especially, hadn't been too keen on the 'I'll just let myself get captured, then we'll have plenty of information' solution of the former spy. Relationships, after all, were all about compromise. Months of work, though, and it had finally led to tonight. If everything went well, they'd finally have the information for who thought operating on the Interceptors territory was a good idea. Dressed in all black, Bombshell stood disguised in the center of some very, very dangerous people and their even more dangerous weapons, haggling for a 'good deal' for missile launchers and cluster bombs. Somewhere, out of sight, Jack of all Blades waited. She'd dropped enough hints that S.H.A.D.O.W. agents should suspect her real identity. It was a trap. Bombshell and Jack knew it was a trap, and the intended to spring it on their own terms. Everything had been accounted for. Everything, but a pair of Claremont students. Even the best laid plans...
  7. The Espadas School of Self-Defense and Swordsmanship! September 29, 2017 Whump. Whump. Whump. Erik Espadas' fists impacted the punching bag suspended from the dojo's ceiling over and over, hard enough to rattle the chain and give him time to switch up his footwork between strikes as the bag swung back toward him. It wasn't rhythmic exactly, as his attacks varied staccato triplets of quick jabs to single heavy swings with the entire weight of his body behind them. Even so their was a somewhat hypnotic quality to the overall pattern, his steady breathing framing the train of percussion while a light sheen of sweats showed on the skin exposed by his light tank top. He'd been at it when Raina had decided to set up in one of the stackable chairs lying against the back wall and he'd kept at it for at least ten straight minutes since, gradually picking up speed and punishing the bag more and more severely. He'd definitely seen her come in but hadn't said anything, expression focused and uncharacteristically severe. While the teenager knew the swordsman wasn't baseline human she was pretty sure he didn't have any measure of super strength and wouldn't be punching the bag clean off of its securely fastened chain. He certainly seemed to be making a go of it nonetheless. Whump. Whump. Whump.
  8. It was a small list - the friends that Talya still had from her time among the Allies of Freedom was a small list that grew smaller yet every year. Most of them - all of them, really - had public personas just as flashy as Natalya Browning's public facade. They were also well aware that Talya's actual private life was something she had always kept decidedly so, so the understanding that discretion was expected was well understood alongside her invitation to visit the recently renovated apartments above the Espadas' School. Well, to most of them, it was likely well understood. For Ace, she made the effort to include a pointed phone call alongside sending a private town car - lest she get the damn Dangermobile hovering outside a window just because he wanted to tease. It might have been any other cheerful weekend afternoon at the rather noisy home of four very young children. That Talya was tense was only clear to those who knew her very well - and those who could compare her usual level of tidiness to the current downright sparkling level of cleanliness in an apartment with very young children. It was, frankly, unnatural to see the living room looking like something out of a magazine as the blonde Brit frowned before going to rearrange the art fully folded quilt on the couch's arm for the third time.
  9. GM A few minutes away from FCPD Precinct 13 West End Freedom City, New JerseyThursday, December 28th, 2017 6:00 PM It was a cool, wintry night fast approaching the end of the month. Despite the old joke about police officers handing out more tickets near the closing off the month to meet some sort of quota the local police station in the West End had not seen a noted increase in traffic. In fact, the night was so quiet it was hard to miss the expression on a young Japanese woman's face as she exited Precinct 13. Pure dissatisfaction, clearly still distraught over whatever occurred in her meeting. In fact, her exit seemed to attract the attention of two heavily tattooed men who made no effort to hide the fact that they were following her. The woman appeared to be in her late teens with a fair complexion that felt right at home in the winter. Her long, straight, brunette hair almost blended into the leather jacket she was using to keep warm. A jacket that was apparently a size or two too large for her frame, indicating that it belonged to someone else. Her pursuers had bright green hair, and tattoos that showed affiliation to some small time local gang. She sped off to try and shake her pursuers. Unfortunately, they were quicker than her. Manhandling with ease they pushed the woman into an alleyway were there were two more men waiting. Only these men were each holding a sword in each hand. As if prepared for her arrival, they each tossed one of their swords to the men who pushed the woman inside of the alleyway.
  10. Gizmo

    Present Arms

    January 13, 2017 3:45 PM Even in a city that catered to as many esoteric subcultures as Freedom there were only so many places a teenager might go to improve their skills with medieval weaponry. With the faculty of Claremont Academy in something of a restructuring period - and portions of the student body's faith in the combat training there having suffered somewhat - Cathy Clouston had suggested the next best thing to her girlfriend: a privately run dojo in the city's West End that had been introduced to her by her roommate. Said roommate had continued to receiving mentoring of her own there, albeit in the form of classes not openly available to the public at large. There were certain skills painfully absent from a young lady's usual education these days: picking locks while hanging upside down, disarming an attacker while wearing heels, disarming an attacker with a pair of heels...
  11. Espadas School of Self-Defense and Swordsmanship! December 16, 9:07 PM "Alright, we're locked up," Erik Espadas confirmed as he rounded the gap in the wall between the dojo's entryway and the training space. With the blinds drawn over the big front windows and a few more sophisticated measures in place the small group gathered were ready for their planned after-hours class. Unlike usual the mats were littered with piled weights, cardboard boxes and anything else that had been handy and looked like it might make for an inconvenient obstacle. "Remember, we're working on mobility tonight," he reminded the deceptively lanky man and the woman with short black hair in front of him, folding his bare arms across his plain white workout shirt. They could have easily been a pair of the college students who frequented his intermediary self-defence classes. "That means something a little different for you two than the rest of us so I figured it was past time you compared notes." The fencer let a lopsided grin split his businesslike demeanour as he stepped back toward far corner where Talya and Steve were watching. "That said, loser has to mop the footprints off my ceiling." In the apartments up above Ellie Espadas held her breath as she tip-toed out of the nursery, hoping against hope that her newest niece and nephew would stay asleep at least long enough to get back to the kitchen. Either one of them crying inevitably woke the other and even with three pairs of hands helping she wasn't sure how their parents were coping. Making it down the hallway and all the way to the kitchen table the med student silently raised a pair of crossed fingers as she sat down between Min and Mara. "And I thought pulling a double at Trinity took it out of you," she drawled just barely louder than a whisper. "Please tell me there's coffee or tea or something."
  12. Content Notices: Violence, Birth Scene Location: Espadas School of Self Defense and Swordsmanship! Date: July 19, 2016 Talya was very good at suppressing the potential consequences for her actions. Leaping off buildings, after all, was much easier if one didn't think about what missing a handhold might mean. Unfortunately, ignoring the eventual ramifications of the biology of how a baby (or two. Two!) would enter the world did not actually prevent the event. The cramps and back ache had only gotten worse despite her refusal to acknowledge that it might not just be late term pregnancy aches and pains. Although, she'd not admitted (and likely never would), it was fairly clear to those closest to Talya that the ex-spy was at least unsettled by the impending birth. Perhaps even frightened. At the moment, though, she was mostly just holding up the relocation to Sanctuary as if not stepping through the portal might some how prevent the next several hours. "I've changed my mind," Talya announced mulishly, her arms crossed over her chest. "Perhaps I could just be unconscious for the entire thing, after all. They still do that, don't they? If we went to the hospital instead, could they just knock me out?" Unlikely to say the least with her magical ability to shake off most things mundane and Talya's mystical biology did not often play well with other magics. Intellectually, she knew that but at the moment, logic was not high on the spy's list. "I'd bounce right back from a c-section. Probably. Almost certainly."
  13. GM post Sunday, February 28th 2016 10:30 AM Espadas School of Self-Defense and Swordsmanship, Private Apartments "It is still early for a Sunday Ma'am." the personal assistant suggested quietly, the protest fell however on deaf ears. "Marjorie, If this was not time sensitive I wouldn't be bothering the poor woman." came the reply clipped but not cold, "Besides they have children and I have raised enough of those to know late mornings are likely the least of their concerns." She added a bit more warmly, "Make the call please." Thus on the crisp february morning the phone in the apartment housing the ever growing Espadas family began to ring. The number was blocked, and at a very high level though expertise such as the household AI like as not could break it in short order and reveal the call as originating from Danger Internationals sprawling Hannover Campus. When the phone was answered Marjorie spoke in a bright and clear tone, "Good morning, I'm trying to reach a Ms. Rebecka Danvers." she requested politely, "Is she available?"
  14. Alright, let's get some initiative rolls out of the way to start with. Jack of all Blades - Initiative: 1d20+9 28 Hooks -Initiative: 1d20+7 19 Katar - Initiative: 1d20 18 Kopesh - Initiative: 1d20+5 18 Butterfly - Initiative: 1d20+7 25 Shadows - Initiative: 1d20+5 19
  15. Monday April 25 Trinity Hospital After the events in Ocean Heights, Rhode Island, and Mexico, the heroes of Freedom City (and indeed the world) are aware of the global threat of the Makot Mitzrayim - the Plagues of Egypt. The threat isn't just the Plagues, of course, but the people driven to hysteria (one way or another) by an apocalypse that seems ("but only seems" Seven stressed in her briefing sent to the major superteams) to correspond to that of the three largest religions on Earth. The Interceptors in particular, thanks to Harrier and Echo's report from down in Mexico, have gotten a strong picture of what's going on. But with only one attack in Freedom City proper, it's easy for most people to let life go on. In the West End in the last few days there's been a freakishly rare flu epidemic, one of those bizarre moments that can happen in a city full of people and exposed to all sorts of exotic chemicals, viruses, and other ailments over the years. Things are bad enough that the hospital is nearly full, getting them to send non-emergency cases home, and they've called out volunteer doctors from other hospitals to help deal with the crisis. The flu can be a scary disease for parents, the elderly, the unlucky - especially when it turns to pneumonia. So if the hospital chapel is particularly packed with people praying for their families and themselves, well, maybe it has nothing to do with the Plagues of Egypt. At least until you turn on the news - and catch the continued cleanup elsewhere in the city, the nation, the world. But the heroes of Freedom have dealt with worse than this...right?
  16. Gizmo

    U-Haul

    "Is there room for one more in that box?" Gina Espadas asked, wheeling herself backward in a tight arc with one hand and holding up a framed photo with the other. "It's one of the bigger ones." The retired police officer and single mother of two was in fully serious organizational mode partly in deference to the task at hand and partly to sidestep some of the lingering awkwardness that resulted from being left alone with the other woman in the room. Talya Browning - Gina had enough aliases to keep straight these days without worrying about whether that was the correct civilian identity for this apartment or safe house or what have you - was on the nearby couch with the last new open cardboard boxes, rearranging pictures to pack them as efficiently as possible. The renovations of the apartment Talya shared with Gina's son and daughter-in-law were close enough to completion to move most of her personal effects over but unsurprisingly there was some last minute packing left to do while Erik retrieved the borrowed truck. That left the two of them to sort things out between them in more than one sense.
  17. Date: 2/18/16 Talya was down in the dojo, neither teaching nor working out. No, today was more of a maintenance day - ensuring that everything was in working order, taking inventory, and all the so-very-dull minutiae that kept the business running. Ostensibly, Talya was down in the dojo to help but the ex-theif was really as much hindrance as she was aid. Boredom was not something the immortal handled well and she was certainly not above trying to distract Erik into more entertaining endeavors. At the moment, though, Talya was vaguely on task as she was double checking to make sure that the rings she'd set into the ceiling months ago were still holding up after the use they'd seen in class. Since there were no classes at the moment, she'd discarded the extra layers that were doing less and less to conceal her pregnancy to scale the rope with a power drill in one hand to tighten the bolts, with the rope caught between her knees. "I shall never complain about teaching classes again," Talya commented, which was most likely entirely false. Oh, she liked teaching but every now and again, everyone had a day where the last thing they wanted to do was crawl out of bed in the morning.
  18. Date: January 25, 2016 It wasn't until after winter break that Raina could round up a small cluster of fellow students to come along to extra curricular training. On the bright side, it meant she'd had several weeks of one on one classes to be confident with both the workings of the school and the general format of the training. Always nice to be the expert in the group, after all. With a large enough group, Claremont sent the teenagers to their extra credit activity in one of the few vans for such purposes rather than letting the students make their own way. The unmarked school van pulled up to let the students unload directly in front of a well kept building in the middle of the West End. A sign proclaimed 'The Espadas School of Self-Defense and Swordsmanship!' (Exclamation mark included), and through the front doors was a small lobby and receptionist desk before the dojo itself. As they had forewarning that there was going to be more than just the one student, Talya had come down early to straighten things in the lobby and keep an eye out just in case the school van had trouble finding a good drop off point. Rather than standing behind the desk, the attractive blonde was perched on top of it, seated on the surface as she sorted through papers. Lately, Talya had taken to wearing a loose cut tanktop over her formfitting practice wear and today was no different. As the students disembarked she shifted the paperwork to one side to welcome the knot of teenagers. "Come on in and pick a cubby for your shoes and anything else you want to put away," Talya invited in a clipped, British accent. She flashed Raina a smile as the young woman stepped in, "Hullo, Raina." She added before raising her voice slightly, "Erik, the students are here."
  19. Although Talya's reputation might give the impression that all her New Year's Eves were spent at fabulous parties or madcap adventure, the fact of the matter was she'd had plenty of quiet New Years as well. There were certainly enough years where time's steady march onwards had not been a matter to celebrate. Still, in all of the New Years that she had celebrated, loud or quiet, Talya had certainly never fallen asleep a good half an hour before the overly-hyped television special had even begun it's crescendo. Yet sleeping was just what the blonde was doing, rather uncomfortably in her position as human barrier. Sometime between when Min and Erik had stepped out, the former to bathe Eden and the latter to produce snacks, Talya had curled up on the floor to keep Mia from getting past her and was now serving as an even better handhold for cruising than the couch had provided. How Talya continued to sleep through the chubby - and potentially sticky - baby hands yanking on her side was anyone's best guess. Normally, the ex-thief slept relatively lightly. Today, though, Mia's hand catching in her hair earned only a sleepy snort as Talya shifted, one arm encircling Mia absently.
  20. Talya had never really thought she'd miss English weather but the unseasonably warm December really had begun to cut into the Christmas mood, in her opinion. Still, that hadn't deterred her from enjoying the season, especially with the Espadas children to shop for. Although, to be fair, it wasn't like the ex-spy needed an excuse to shop but the season was more magical when there were children to spoil and Eden was right at the right age for that. So, it wasn't unusual for Talya to try and coax Min or Erik on a holiday shopping trip once Thanksgiving had passed. Nor was it unusual for Talya to turn up in the dojo when she wasn't scheduled to teach and knew Erik's classes were light, but she wasn't dressed to spar and her expression lacked the coaxing smile that usually accompanied Talya's suggestions to play hooky. Still, things couldn't be all that terrible as she waited for things to finish up before twining her arms around his waist and offering him an affectionate kiss. "And good morning to you, handsome. I don't suppose you have time in your busy schedule for a quick errand?"
  21. alderwitch

    Old Fiends

    Talya's directions had them parking well away from the school. The racy sportscar was more suited towards the life that went with the high end apartment building than her West End activities so she never parked it in the same place and never close to the school. Walking wasn't exceptionally onerous, after all. When she stepped out of her car, she pulled a different jacket over the top of her blouse, modernizing the pencil skirt enough to distance it from the tailored retro style she favored in public appearances. As Talya's quick changes went, it was relatively minor on the spectrum of what Dimitri had seen before as far as Talya's efforts went. There was no wig and only very minor make up and clothing adjustments. He was well aware that there was probably no less than four or five very different disguises in the trunk of her car. She threaded her hand through Dimitri's parka covered arm, her Russian still flawless despite the definitely loose swing of her hips and the roll of her steps. She wasn't sober, but it would take a discerning eye to notice such things. Talya put on a very convincing facade of sobriety, aided by the fact that she could probably still scale the building in her heels and narrow skirt without missing a step. Fortunately, that wasn't necessary as she fished a key out of her pocket to unlock the closed door to the front of the dojo, "We ought stay down here. If the girls are asleep, I don't want to wake them." Talya said as she opened the door and then locked it behind them, "But, I can show you where I'm spending my time, nonetheless. You can tell me what you think of the very minor addition I made."
  22. September 5, 2015 It started with a wave of car thefts from the edge of the West End, all of them parked, secured vehicles in the parking lots of the many strip malls and other commercial areas that took up space between the West End and the growing suburbs of Ashton and Grenville. Then came the dumpsters, emptying out without a trace, and then finally vanishing themselves. When store owners put out security cameras and caught glowing lights surrounding their missing property before it vanished, they called their local superheroes for help. This meant the Interceptors - this meant stakeout. A little investigation revealed what looked to be a regular pattern to the thefts; and suggested the next place the thieves would strike. The team was currently occupying the next location on the list; a strip mall adjoining a small stretch of scrub woods that had for the moment escaped the growth of the city all around them. This late, only the all-night liquor store anchoring one end of the complex was open; the rest of the businesses, like much of the neighborhood, were sleeping. Luckily, Steve had a face for customer service, and so behind the counter he sat in the uniform of Al's Liquor Store, his scarred face and brusque demeanor making him seem 'like the kind of person who would work at a liquor store late at night." He wasn't entirely sure he understood what that meant; but he'd been given a mission by his team and he did his job. He knew the other Interceptors were on the case too. Of course, they weren't the only people out tonight trying to solve the mysterious disappearances...
  23. June 8th, 2015 The citizens of Freedom City tended to be a politically active sort, as keen to hold protests as rallies, to throw parades and circulate petitions. There was something about taking to the streets to make a spectacular demonstration that was simply baked into the city's core. Even so, there was only so much of the specific mechanics of actual government that the average citizen was honestly willing to wrap their head around so it would be understandable if the name Stewart Bench didn't ring any immediate bells. If he'd emerged with surprising speed as the front runner to be the new city councilman for one of the western wards in the next election, well, who had really heard of any of the candidates before the campaign signs started going up? If his poll numbers indicated a noticeably higher voter turnout rate than previous terms, well, it was just nice to see the youth of today exercising their democratic rights. It had only taken Ellie Stein a little bit of digging to realize that those numbers simply didn't add up and while creative use of statistics might have been a way of life for politicians it was enough to convince her to investigate further. The more she looked into Bench, the less she like what she found. Eventually it was the blue and silver clad heroine Echo who peered down at his campaign offices, the lights still on at this late hour, ready for some more hands-on research...
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