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Avenger Assembled

Hero Prom (IC, open)

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Eira made a dismissive noise. "There were many places I wanted to go with you tonight. None of them were the public toilet." Cyberkinesis having failed, she drew back her fist and punched the wall - producing an impressive "boom" that was audible on the other side of the wall even over the noise of the prom but didn't seem to have done any immediate damage. "This is..." She looked at Pan and said, obviously picking her words carefully, "there is no one at Claremont who could stop me from accessing a system I could touch. They do not have that power - but this is something else. We _should_ work together. 

 

 

Gradually the reality of the situation began to sink in for everyone. They'd seen the door vanish (or at least, been guided to the spot where it had vanished thanks to Micah's keen eyes) and the wall inside vibrate. But the music was still so loud, holographic and student dancers seeming to move with an animated energy, and it was hard to tell what was real and what was false. Looking around, they could see one ominous sign - there were no signs of their adult chaperones at all. And it wasn't just them who had gone missing. 

 

"...is something happening?" Judy Smith looked perfectly immaculate but nonethless as if she'd been hit by a truck in the last few minutes. "Ashley was...was talking to Leroy, and when Ah turned around they were both gone!" She grabbed Micah by the front of his shirt, seemingly thoroughly verklempt, and declared, "She wouldn't just leave me like that! Is something happening!?"  

 

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"Well, it's definitely still high-energy!" Elizabeth grinned, gesturing out at the dancing crowds, but her expression halted a moment as the gesture scanned over some of their more distracted peers. "But the correct dress is the one you wear and feel great in! I have a brother who told me that, and it was a really important lesson."

 

She nodded at her own great wisdom, but her grey eyes were still darting between their friends. "....between you and me," she said, bending down to talk to Danica in a stage whisper, "people are acting pretty weird! I bet this dance either quiets down really soon, or gets really exciting. Maybe we should ask them what they're looking at!"

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Micah's eyes went a bit wide as Judy showed up out of nowhere, distraught over Leroy leaving suddenly. He glanced at Astrid, giving her a "please help" look. Then he heard the resounding sound of something hitting the walls, and he looked around for someone more in authority to speak to.

 

"Where did the adults go? There...there should be someone here. This isn't right."

 

In moments of crisis, people tend to lead, follow, or panic. Occasionally, someone who had, in the past, mostly led, found it in themselves to step up. As Astrid and Judy watched, Micah's face morphed into a calm expression, and he stood just a bit straighter. When he spoke, his voice had deepened just slightly, and there was a slight green glow to his eyes. 

 

"Astrid. Go talk to the DJ, we need the music off. Something is wrong, and as fun as the party was, this isn't a party."

 

He glanced at where the entrance to the prom should have been, which was also blank wall. His volume dropped for the next sentence.

 

"This looks an awful lot like a prison now."

 

His volume picked up again.

 

"Once the music's off, try to get on the PA and get everyone to quiet down, then get anyone with super-strength or teleportation to come to where I will be. Judy, can you find as many team leaders as possible, any Seniors, anyone who's already in a leadership position who's still in here, and get them over by the stage to help organize people. I'm going to the front door, see what's going on."

 

If the girls didn't object to his plan, he moved over to where Davyd stood next to what was now blank wall. Micah's face was stern, and there was a slight smell of ozone about him.

 

"Davyd, what happened? We're not supposed to be closed in here, are we?"

 

His tone was inquisitive but not accusatory; Micah's posture suggested he considered Davyd a victim, not an instigator here.

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"Or perhaps just no one at Claremont that you know about," Pan added. "But yes, I agree. As impressive as that blow was, it seemed like the room is made of sterner stuff."

 

He moved to the spot where Eira had tried to punch, placing his fingers on it, like he was trying to find teh exact spot she had hit, then stepped back. Throwing his right hand out to the side, golden dust flashed out from nowhere, seemingly gathering from all around his body, gathering and solidifying into a golden rapier, his hand closing around its hilt. 

 

"If brute force doesn't work and you can't talk to the systems, then I suppose we will have to start looking for airducts? I think Micah showed me a movie with an officer that crawled through them a lot."

 

Pan lunged forward, stabbing at the spot that Eira had hit. The rapier might seem thin and fragile, but as with much else about Pan, it was of course more than met the eye.

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"That's a good idea," Danica agreed, nodding soberly at Elizabeth and letting go of her plate as though she expected it to vanish. It did not, and a few last petit fours bounced off her shiny patent leather shoes and under the table. She raised her voice and, just as the music cut off, yelled "WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?" into the suddenly silent room. 

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Pan drove his sword deep into the wall, and indeed the Forever Blade could be clearly seen emerging on the other side like a sudden shaft of light penetrating the room. Eira watched, eyes unfocused, making a cautiously approving noise in the back of her throat. But suddenly Masque, Horrorshow, Nighthawk, and a few others in the suddenly quiet dance hall felt a sensation like they themselves had been stabbed (or had a severe migraine, anyway) lance through their heads - producing gasps and cries from some. 

 

Danica seemed to feel the effects too, stumbling slightly just after her declaration, but otherwise looking none the worse for wear even with all eyes briefly on her. The crowd of semi-trained heroes wasn't exactly panicking but they were certainly on edge; some staring at Danica in the wake of the shockingly loud outburst, others going into disaster response mode, others trying to use various superpowers to escape but seeming to find no immediate way out. The murmur was growing, on the edge of something serious. 

 

For her part, Judy looked to be near-panic, glowing visibly as she stepped away from the small knot of people around Danica. "We're looking at a trap, Danica! A big, scary trap closing us in! We-we have to get out of here!" she yelled, not seeming to notice Elizabeth, Davyd, or Robin. "The room ain't real!" she said, nuclear energy gathering behind her fingers as she focused on a nearby wall. "If we just blast it hard enough, we'll have to get out of here!

 

"That's right!" declared Casanova, moving to Judy's side. "We can do this as a team - if we're willing to work together!" Toxin, behind him, wasn't saying anything - instead she was watching Davyd, Elizabeth, and the others feeling the effects of the sudden wall-stab. 

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"Hngh," Robin managed at the psychic pain. To her credit, despite the assault, she managed to winch open one eye and take in the changing room. 

 

"No good comes of this damn room," Robin muttered through gritted teeth as she shook her head to try and clear the fog of pain. She reached up, knotting her hair back with the tie that she'd kept around one wrist. It always paid to be prepared. The comment about blasting the wall, though got her attention. 

 

"No, don't!" Robin said. "You don't know what's behind it and - worse - it could reflect. If someone's controlling the Doom Room, it's designed to handle everything we can do. If it's just a hallucination, you could hurt someone. Everyone take a breath. This isn't an emergency, yet. It's just a situation to deal with. Start with what we know, and go from there."

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Kam looked after the fleeting form of Not!Leroy and the clearly distressed Judy trying to stitch together what sat so  very wrong about this entire situation.  "Something isn't right."  he murmured, "Danica may be, awkward at times but.."  he mused as she dropped her plate to the floor and made her startling shout.  Of course Micah had clued in to a few other key mysteries as well and drew further attention to thier predicament.  

 

Looking with concern to Robin then the others who were flinched in pain suddenly he steeled himself, this was beyond any prank gone wrong, Eira was not so cold and if that sword was any sign her and Pan were no more in on this than the rest of the students.  "We need to know what's happening before we start blasting."  he agreed with Robin and moved to head off Judy's planned blast and whatever egging on 'Cassanova' was pushing.  "This isn't the Doom Room doing this."  he corrected, "At least not just the Doom Room."  he paused and looked at the wall where Pans sword had pierced the wall, "If this was just the simulation being manipulated Pan wouldn't need a sword to free himself and Eira."

 

There was more too this they just needed to know what, worse he suspected that some of hte students were not who or perhaps even what they appeared to be.  But that tidbit wasn't going to lessen anyones panic.

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Horrorshow

 

"No, no, we shouldn't be closed up," Davyd replied to Micah, "not unless someone's trying to play some prank."  He tried to keep his voice calm and even, knowing how quickly panic could spread.  "Eira was here a moment ago, where is she?  We should try to find her, she might be able to help tra- NGH!"

 

He suddenly doubled over and his flesh rippled through a rainbow of colors as a stabbing pain lanced through his right temple.  "Gah, what the..."  He craned his head up and saw a few others had experienced a similar sensation, "what was that?  I didn't think the Doom Room could do psychic stuff... can it?"  He honestly wasn't sure, the little he knew of the room had to do with its physical capabilities.  He looked back to Micah, "could there be someone here who... hold on."  He suddenly stretched his neck up a few feet, trying to get a better look at the crowd, and in particular anyone who looked to be acting suspicious.

 

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Elizabeth hissed, sucking air in between her teeth as she hunched down, hand to her head. "I don't know what that was, but it's awful," she said, still grimacing as she looked around. "If that's something the Doom Room can do, that's sure new for me! I would like that to not happen again, please."

 

She tried to play that last bit off as a joke, but there was a little bit too much nervousness in it to land; she clutched at a tiny mask charm hanging from her bracelet and stepped in two directions at once, leaving a pair of Elizabeths looking around in opposite directions for something - anything - that could explain what was going on.

 

"Does anyone who's left in here have one of the nice fancy teleporting powers? Mine's not much good if I--" The Elizabeth stopped, glancing at her twin, then down, then back again. The two of them threw a single, distracted game of rock-paper-scissors, and the loser (?) snapped her fingers, replacing her 20s-era flapper dress with a rakish 20s-era getup of slacks, button-up, and suspenders. It was a little more 'charming gangster' than 'party-goer', but it would do on short notice. She pulled a matching flat cap out of thin air before continuing. "Mine's not much good if I can't see where I'm going. It'd be really nice to have someone on the outside."

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Angelic stood up and stabbed the wall under Pan's sword, her dataspike sinking deep into the Doom Room's artificially projected wall. Pan saw her organic shell seem to fade away, her dress hanging awkwardly on Angelic's chrome frame, the robot's lidless eyes glaring with an almost maniacal intensity. For a time she was silent, and when she spoke she hissed from between clenched teeth, and a distinctly blue liquid began leaking from the corners of her eyes as she said, "Jag...tappar...inte." And then, quite unexpectedly, the wall Pan had partially cut away faded entirely, restoring the two of them to the rest of the party - such as it was these days. With the deed done, she briefly collapsed on the floor at Pan's feet. 

 

"Um, um, um," said Judy, on the verge of panicking but not quite there yet thanks to Robin's timely intervention. "We know it took Ashley, and the other ad-the other chaperones," she stuttered quickly, "and-" she scrubbed the back of her hand over her eyes, smearing her carefully applied makeup. "And it hurt people when Pan cut the wall, and..." The little knot of people from the squads he knew seemed like Davyd's best bet, particularly the way some of them seemed to have cracked under the strain as they bounced pastries off their feet. 

 

"Excuse me!" sneered Shields at Robin, "for all we know, you're part of this! You're Nighthawk, from the class that was all criminals. What are the odds things go wrong the moment someone from _that_ class shows up?" Casanova wasn't nearly as clever as he thought but that didn't make him dumb - it just meant he had a very high opinion of himself. "What did you do, come back for revenge?" 

 

 

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"Eira!"

 

They were free from the bathroom of doom, but Pan didn't really seem to notice, instead quickly kneeling by her side and gently holding her head up. He either didn't really seem to notice or care that her organic frame had faded. Or maybe he just had more important things to happen. 

 

"Come now, wake up. Open your eyes!" He picked her up, obviously straining a bit to stand up with her and carry her closer to the others, even as he started flying. "I am not sure sure what to do, please, can anyone help her?"

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Micah frowned in worry and went to catch Davyd as he partially collapsed. 

 

"This isn't Pan or Eira. They don't hurt people with their pranks, just razz them. Come on, let's link up with the others."

 

He started to guide Davyd to Astrid, Judy, Robin, and Kam, and any others near them, when he heard Casanova's near-shouted declaration. In the echoing silence of the room, with no music, it may as well have been shouted. Micah glanced at Davyd, then back at the developing scene. He let go of the shape-shifting teen and spoke quietly to him.

 

"Take your time, Davyd. I have something I need to take care of. We don't have time for bullies."

 

He straightened up and marched over to where the accusations were being thrown, only stopping when he was standing directly between Casanova and Robin. His eyes glowed solid green as he spoke, his volume raised and his tone more even than the sudden, sourceless rumbles of thunder everyone heard. 

 

"You need to shut up . You're not helping anything. She's been enjoying the party, and didn't do anything wrong. Whoever's doing this isn't a student. So unless you can contribute to getting us out of here, sit down and shut your mouth."

 

Any mind-reader who dared reach out for Micah's thoughts right now would detect two primary things; a roiling, barely-leashed thunderstorm, and the image of a stern older man in some kind of uniform, giving...not quite a lecture, but certainly some kind of talking-to. That latter image was what Micah was drawing on for himself right now. 

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"This is not the fault of the Doom Room!" Danica insisted to Elizabeth, looking highly offended. "The Doom Room helps people! It is a highly advanced integrated system designed to safely and effectively facilitate all aspects of superhero training using cutting-edge learning algorithms and responsive AI! It would never hurt anyone!" She looked like she was winding up to say more, but was distracted by Pan and Eira's precipitous return to the main room. Flouncing over slowly in her poofy dress, she crouched down and patted Eira's obviously inorganic cheek. "I think she's dead," she offered. "Complete failure of organic systems. You could try rebooting her?" 

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Eira's eyes snapped open wide and her mouth fell open. Without moving her lips, she declared "Jag har inte organiska delar!" before abruptly sitting up. "And I died years ago, Danica." Her metallic silver hair was flat and lifeless behind her and she was distinctly leaking a blue fluid from the interior corner of her eyes. She grabbed Pan's hand tight and said, "Could not have gotten out if you hadn't...cut the walls, good thinking...du är så vacker hur mår du så vacker." She shook herself all over, not a muscular contraction but an actual internal vibration, and said aloud "They're in the walls; they're in the walls...

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"Hey! You don't - you can't just say that about your friends!" insisted Elizabeth; she'd mostly recovered from being stabbed in the brain...at least, enough that one of her had come over to inspect the commotion at the newly-revealed bathroom. "She's not...she's not dead, right? Not dead-dead. She's just in sleep mode, or--" She cut off, something in the corner of her eye dragging her attention sideways toward Danica. That wasn't right, Danica didn't....

 

The young trickster pulled upright like someone had yanked up on her strings, clasping her hands together with her fingertips to her lips. "I'm so dumb. I'm so dumb. The dress! I saw the fake person earlier and stopped looking so that I wouldn't spoil anybody's fun, but that's-- you're not real. You're not the real Danica. You're..."

 

She frowned, brain turning over. Fake people were a show; she knew shows. Misdirection, look for the other hand. The slip-ups. The pride. They're in the walls? "....are you the Doom Room?"

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Posted (edited)

Pan jumped back when Eira abruptly sat up and started talking. He stared for a brief second while she held his hand tight, then quickly moved in to embrace her tightly. "Please tell me how to ge you back from something like that another time." He let go, pulling back a bit kneeling by her, handing her a handkerchief. "You are... leaking from the eye? Something blue? Is that important?"

 

Standing up full, he pointed at Danica. "Did you do this? Did you hurt my friends?" There was an unfamiliar edge to his voice, an anger that he didn't show often. "Do you try to trick us with all of these false images? I am the trickster here!" He raised his clenched right hand to the sky. A wave of pixie dust exploding from his hand as he opened it, washing out and removing the false images that surrounded them.

Edited by RocketLord

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Kam narrowed his gaze at the accusations from Cassanova egging on further panic and disarray.  He'd taken half  a step toward the other student when Micah cut off his ranting with his firm shut down, which was more eloquent if less satisfying than Kams planned sucker punch.  Drawing to a stop he proceeded to ignore Sebastian and focused on Eira and Pans arrival bounding to the androids side and shook his head at 'Danica's' prognosis.  "Hacking the wall to get you out strained her systems."  he offered perhaps a little callously as he tried to parse what warning the android had been able to offer, "In the walls? who's in the walls?"  he frowned something wasn't adding up.

 

Elizabeth's revelation clicked the last pieces into place for him and he turned on 'Danica' as Pan shredded the other simulations, "As you said the Doom Room exists to train and challenge the students."  he agreed and tilted his head as he tried to string together Danica's behavior of the evening and slowly nodded, "But advanced and perhaps curious to a fault of how we live."  His eyes swept the room for others sticking out as Danica had or any revealed by Pans magics.  "How many?"  he asked flatly, there had to be more than just Danica being imitated here.

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Robin's gaze was flat and implacable. She didn't bother to defend herself, which was a testament to how used to this sort of thing she was by now. Her chin lifted a fraction of an inch and her hands, both the flesh one and the prosthetic remained relaxed at her sides so as to not show sudden aggression that might further fan the flames. Micah was given a small, tight smile of appreciation - a gesture that softened a little for Kam. 

 

"It's alright," she said, although it wasn't really. Her grey eyes flicked to 'Danica', the movement assessing before she, too, turned her gaze towards the room briefly. "We're probably sharded," Robin offered thoughtfully, "If a bunch of students couldn't get into prom, there would be attention drawn, but the Doom Room can expand - some sort of dimensional tech that I never fully understood personally. Running that many different simultaneous simulations would have to be a strain, even for its programming."

 

Her gaze cut back to the room's spokesperson, her voice surprisingly kind, "You should wind it down before anyone gets anymore hurt. I know that's not what you want, right?"

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Horrorshow

 

Davyd's head swung around the Doom Room on his elongated neck, looking for signs of... well, he wasn't really sure, so he just tried to take everything in.  "Hunh, so those three are banging on the walls... those folks are playing hacky sack with the hors d'oeuvres... that one's blasting the floor... Eira's speaking in Swedish... wait, Eira!  And Pan!"  He swung his head over to them, bringing his body closer to the two.  Then he saw Danica and Elizabeth, Kam and Robin (wait, didn't she graduate already?), and the growing row among them.

 

"This isn't really Danica?," he asked the group, then looked directly at her.  His arms shot out like striking serpents, wrapping around the impostor, "where's our friend?  And who are you?" 

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With Pan's spell, the illusory nightclub around them faded away to the familiar bare walls of the Doom Room. The adult chaperones (and Watchdog, who  had vanished along with them for some reason) returned as well,  the latter running quickly to Judy's side while cursing explosively about being trapped in some sort of sharded  projected box. 'Danica' noticeably flickered (and looked  startled, though not afraid) at the transition - and did the same thing when grappled by Davyd, as if the projection wasn't really there at all either. 

 

Then came the laugh. A hollow laugh from the holoprojectors that soon assumed familiar physical form - Sun Dragon and Dio, the latter at the former's feet like a dog. "Fool!" said  Sun Dragon to Chelone from where he stood in the center of the room. (One enterprising student, knowing a thing or two about monologues, went for him with a full-on-tackle - but only passed right through the projection.)  "That is not what the Doom Room is for! The Doom  Room is not for parties! It is not for fun!  The Doom  Room  is for weeding out the weak!  For  teaching  the champions of the future the meaning of strength!"

 

"You!" declared Danica, as scandalized as an angel confronted with the Devil at a party, and on closer inspection, she and  Leroy both had in common hollow eyes that glowed like the room's holoprojectors. "You're not supposed to be here today! This is my night!"  

 

"Yes, me! What's the matter, sister, don't you like my party?"    

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"I don't think anybody likes your party?" Elizabeth had her head cocked to the side, and she was - both of her were - holding crook staves they couldn't possibly have smuggled into the dance. "I don't think it is a party. It was! We were having fun! People were dancing, drama was happening!"

 

The other Elizabeth nodded, adding, "People shouldn't get stabbed in the brain at parties."

 

"People shouldn't get stabbed in the brain at parties! Your party sucks. Danica's - not Danica's, the not-Dani...you know what I mean - Danica's party was way better."

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"Weeding out the weak?" Pan stared at the things that looked like Sun Dragon and Dio, his eyes darting between them and Danica for a moment, before returning to the false Sun Dragon. "Is that what you think this room is for? What kind of idiotic logic is that?" He was still kneeling by Eira, an arm around her. "This room is for learning to protect the weak, you idiot. To learn, to teach, not to destroy!"

 

He shook his head, then pointed an accusing finger at the false Sun Dragon. "Who are you?" He pointed at Danica. "And you, for that matter. Projections of the Doom Room? Some stray intelligence that have taken up home here? Should we even care? I disrupted your false images with one strike. Do you want to test if I can do the same for you?"

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There was a sudden peal of thunder, near-deafening in the bare expanse of the Doom Room. It came from everywhere, and nowhere in particular. At the same time, the air in the room stirred and began to move in a circle that encompassed the whole space. It wasn't much, enough to shift hair and dresses a bit, but not enough to really mess anyone's "look" up. For a moment, there was likely confusion. Then a lot of eyes were likely drawn to the figure of Micah Roebuck, still decked out head-to-toe in a white cowboy suit complete with hat and long coat, a coat now all but whipping about in a breeze that seemed to affect only the young weather controller. His eyes were solid, glowing pools of emerald light, with crackles of lightning curling off at the edges, and wings of St. Elmo's Fire wrapped in snapping bones of green lightning shifting behind him, no longer hazy things but clearly defined as his powers were fully manifested. He curled fists that glowed with that same terrible color and took three steps toward the false Sun Dragon. When he spoke, he all but snarled, and faint rumbles accompanied his words.

 

"You ruined our evening. You trapped my friend and his date. You hurt people. And you say it's because you want to test the future champions of the world?"

 

He took a single further step forward, staring at the...he wasn't even sure what it was.

 

"Give me one reason I shouldn't pump enough volts into you that everyone here is gonna need sunglasses. I am done with this-"

 And then he gave anyone else in the room who could speak Cherokee a few choice words to use in the future. 

 

Micah stood and waited, his patience clearly razor-thin by this point, his suit giving a pale reflection of the eerie colors his wings put off, looking like some sort of avenging storm-angel of old....

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The Danica illusion flickered and disappeared, rematerializing in a free area near the center of the room. This put her closer to the other projection, though still out of arm's reach. She moved more fluidly now, and much faster than her faceclaim. "You are not supposed to manifest at all!" she accused Sun Dragon. "You promised that if I assisted your jailbreak, you would leave the students alone! I felt sorry for you!" she shouted, stamping her little foot. "It was morally incorrect to restrain you with no stimulation after Archer's departure, but this is also wrong! These are children!" 

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