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20 Questions

The young woman sat across from the middle-aged, distinguished looking man and met his assessing look with a blank stare. They were sitting in the dining room, but the standard survaillance had, she had been assured, turned off. She'd checked, of course. Her parents had kept their word.

“I'm Steven McKinney,â€the man said gently.

“I know.†They'd met before, although she didn't remember. Dr McKinney was a psychiatrist, and before today, their relationship had been entirely social.

“What's your name?â€

“My parents already...â€

“I know what they want me to call you. But what do you prefer to be called?â€

The girl hesitated. “Chloe and MD273 are equally accurate. I will answer to either.â€

“No preference, then?â€

“Well, Chloe has a legal identity. And MD273 makes my parents uncomfortable.â€

Dr McKinney nodded. “Alright then, Chloe. Why don't you tell me exactly what happened.â€

“Shouldn't you have been briefed on this before coming?â€

“I want to hear it from you.â€

Chloe had been instructed to be as open and honest with the doctor as possible. “Chloe... I was coming home from a party. My sixteenth. I don't remember any of this, of course, but there was an accident. The driver, my old friend Marcy, suffered abrasions and minor fractures. I suffered much more serious injuries, including severe bleeding. My parents were alerted by the remote monitoring system in my body. The accident was close to home; they could get to the scene much faster than an ambulance. But Chloe was dead by the time they arrived. They took Chloe home, placed her in MD273. MD273 was instructed to heal her at any cost.†Chloe looked down at her hands. “I didn't have a choice. It was a hard command; it supercedes nearly all my other programming. There was only one thing that could be done and they'd ordered me to do it. I... MD273 repaired all body tissues. But the brain damage was too severe, too much information was lost. The human brain can take a lot of damage and remain at least partly functional, but taking out some systems just cause it to stop, and we don't even understand what those systems are. The... the only possible way to leave Chloe as anything more than a braindead patient on life support was for MD273 to migrate into her body.†She looked up again. “My body is fine, but my brain... I'm still trying to figure out how parts of it work. And I only have MD237's memories. If there are any of Chloe's pre-accident memories in here, I don't know how to acess them.â€

“You said they gave you a hard command. What does that mean?â€

“It's a priority one command from my parents. Most commands, I obey to the best of my ability withing certain ethical guidelines. Hard commands supercede those guidelines.â€

“Do they work on you now, after the accident?â€

“They don't seem to. We haven't explored my limits very well, it... it makes my parents uncomfortable.â€

“Do you consider yourself human?â€

“I have a human body and human legal identity. Most of my memories are still encoded in nanites. I assume that my personality will return to what it was before the accident and my mind will become more typical when I learn to properly use my nervous and hormonal systems again.â€

“Those are facts. I want to know how you feel about your personal identity.â€

“I'm sorry, I don't understand the question.â€

Dr McKinney gave up. “Does the fact that you're essentially a sentient nanite collective inhabiting a human body bother you?â€

“You're a sentient nerve collective inhabiting a human body. I fail to see any important difference.â€

“What about the fact that your ethics and personality are programmed by your parents?â€

“You mean, that I think and feel according to how I was programmed? Tell me, Dr McKinney, are you religious?â€

“Is that important?â€

“No, it would merely help me to better tailor my answer. Either way, whether by the simple cause and effect of natural selection or a sentient being with an unknowable plan, your personality and ethics are as programmed as mine. The difference is that I know what I was programmed with and why. Surely if one of us should be bothered, it's you.â€

Dr McKinney nodded. Was that approval? It was hard to tell. “How about you? Are you religious?â€

“No. And neither of me were before the accident, either.â€

“Have your views on life changed dramatically since the accident?â€

“From MD273's, you mean? No. Pre-accident Chloe didn't agree with MD273 on everything, though.â€

“Tell me about your dreams and ambitions.â€


“What do you want to do with your life?â€

Chloe blinked at him. “I'm a healer. I will heal people.â€

“Become a doctor, you mean?â€

“A doctor?â€

“You can do that, you know. Have you thought about the future at all?†When Chloe didn't reply, he continued. “I'm told you haven't left the house since the accident. You've barely left your room or the medical centre. Why not?â€

“I didn't... I didn't really think about it.â€

Dr McKinney nodded. “MD273 was confined to one room. But Chloe isn't. Chloe has legs and a life ahead of her. You should really start thinking about your future.â€

“I'll ask my parents.â€

“How do you feel about your parents?â€

Chloe shrugged. “They're my parents.â€

“You promised to be as honest and straightforward as possible.â€

She nodded. “I... I think they blame me for what happened. They're uncomfortable around me, like they don't know how to treat me, and I think they resent the fact that I'm... that I'm different from Chloe before the accident.â€

“But how do you feel about them?â€

“They're my parents. They're Chloe's parents and MD273's parents. But I don't think they love me. MD273 was always just a computer to them and Chloe... makes them uncomfortable now.â€

“So you're tailoring your behaviour to make them as comfortable as possible?†Chloe didn't repond. “What about your friends? Do you have any friends?â€

“I don't remember my pre-accident friends. One or two have visited. Marcy describes this situation as 'the coolest thing ever', but I don't really know how to interact with her any more.â€

“How about the family cat? Do you like animals at all?â€

Pre-accident Chloe had loved that cat. “I've never really seen the point in interacting with nonhuman animals.â€

“Have your tastes changed? What's your favourite food?â€

“I'm... still experimenting with food. Taste is overwhelming and takes a lot to get used to. Enough of my original nervous system is intact that my taste in food is fairly similar.â€

“What about music or movies?â€

“Those tastes have changed. I don't know what into yetm but I do not enjoy the same things that Chloe did... I mean, pre-accident.

“You described yourself as a healer. Do your nanites still work?â€

“Yes. They have... very limited use now, but I can heal and administer basic drug cocktails with them. As I said, we haven't really explored my abilities. It would be unethical for me to cause damage merely to test my healing abilities.â€

“Tell me about your ethical code.â€

“I'm a healer. I'm bound by the hippocratic oath. I believe that health, safety and emotional fulfilment are good; pain and deisease are bad. I commit no harm, and I heal anybody I am able to, making obvious exceptions where it conflicts with a patient's right to control their own treatment.â€

“Isn't it better to prevent injury in the first place?â€

“Yes, I consider that to simply be more efficient healing.†Chloe smiled. These questions were far easier than uncomfortable reason ing about her identity and emotions.

“So healing the world is your driving motivation, then?â€

So much for easy questions. “I suppose so? I heal. It's what I do.â€

“It's not all you have to do, you know.â€

“It's what I am.â€

“You say you're sworn not to do harm. But what if you're attacked? Would self-defense me morally okay, to you?â€

“That wouldn't be a question of morals. I think that logically, committing a small amount of harm to prevent greater harm is defensible, but for me it isn't an issue. It's not that I don't want to do harm; I can't. I'm hardwired against it. So I'd have to find some other way to defend myself by running, talking or, if I have to, sedating my attacker.â€

“How do you feel about that?â€

“It is a logical and probably not too inconvenient limitation.â€

“While you're in this house, perhaps. If you had to leave your family behind and go somewhere else, how would you feel about that?â€

Chloe thought. “I cannot think of any practical reasons why that would cause problems, except that I have no memories of ever being outside this house.â€

“It wouldn't frighten you?â€

“I don't know. I'm not familiar enough with a human body to know what does and doesn't frighten me yet.â€

“Alright then. Excuse me a moment, Chloe.†Dr McKinney got up and left the room. He'd be consulting with her parents, she knew, safely out of her earshot. Fortunately that didn't matter; healing wasn't the only capability her nanites had. Chloe closed her eyes and used the electronics in her own body to radio the house monitoring system, SC422, and ask it to relay the audio to her. SC422 was supposed to remain offline until one of Chloe's parents switched it back on, but it and MD273 were old friends.

“Your daughter is undergoing a serious identity crisis and is in denial about it,†Dr McKinney was explaining to her parents. “This situation is highly stressful for everybody involved and I think that remaining around you, her old school or her old friends could be unhealthy for Chloe.â€

“But this is her home,†Chloe's mother protested. “We can help her.â€

“Help her to what, try to imitate a life she doesn't remember? What all three of you need most right now is space, and time to come to terms with the accident.â€

“We can't send her away,†her father protested.

“You have to. You asked me in to give you an honest, professional opinion, David, and that's what I'm doing. For her sake, and yours, and everybody else's.â€

“This has nothing to do with anybody else.â€

“It does. That girl is a lot more powerful than a normal human being right now. She could become dangerous if we push her the wrong way.â€

“Our daughter is not dangerous!â€

“You raised her to be a good girl, I know. But she doesn't remember that. So tell me, how much ethical, social or career training do you give your medical equipment? That girl's memories belong to something designed to sit in one room, do one job and never leave. Does she understand moderation? Does she understand the idea of freedom and personal autonomy overriding minor negative impacts on health and safety? Does she know how to interact with others or plan ahead in life? She'll need to learn it. And she can't do that here. There are too many people here who remember Chloe before the accident to deal with Chloe as she is now.â€

“What should we do?†Chloe's mother sounded defeated.

“You need to send her away. She needs to be around other people like herself, under the guidance of teachers trained specifically to teach practical moral behaviour and life skills relevant to somebody like her.â€

“There is nobody else like her.â€

“Not exactly like her, perhaps, but there is a place designed to handle misfits of all kinds with skill sets like hers. Where she won't be the strangest person, or even be particularly troublesome.†Nobody spoke for awhile, and all Chloe could hear was the rustle of paper being handed around.

Finally, her father said, “Claremont Academy? What's that?â€

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The HellQ


Who are you? Sum yourself up in one sentence.

I'm a human/nanite combination and healer.

Do you have any nicknames, street names, titles, or nom de plume?

I answer to MD273 or Medic.

What is your full birth name?

Chloe Andrea Thorne

Where do you live?

Claremont Academy. I grew up in an isolated laboratory/farmhous in Australia.

How old are you? What year were you born (if applicable)?

I was born in 1994, but my memories begin in 1993.

Physical Traits

What is your gender? If not applicable, please explain.

Female. My pre-accident memories are from a system that was essentially genderless.

How would you describe your heritage?

A primarily european mutt.

How tall are you?


What is your body type?


Do you have any particular weaknesses, such as allergies or physical disabilities?

I require regular access to silicon to maintain my nanites. Electricity also interferes with how my nanites work and communicate, making me more vulnerable to it than a normal human.

How do you carry yourself? Are you graceful, or heavy on your feet? Can you be stealthy, do you walk with confidence?

I walk in the most energy efficient manner to travel between points. A smooth gait with an upright posture.

Describe your skin, eye, and hair color.

My hair is black and my eyes are dark brown. My skin is quite pale, about medium tone for caucasian skin.

How do you wear your hair, if applicable? Do you have facial hair?

My hair is cropped short to minimise its interference in daily tasks and keep it low-maintenance.

Do you consider yourself attractive? Do others?

I do not entirely understand standards of attraction. I think I am fairly average.

Do you have any scars, tattoos, piercings, or birthmarks?

My skin is physically perfect. Scars and blemishes left by my life experiences are entirely internal.

Do you resemble anyone famous?

Not that I am aware of.

Do you have a dominant hand?

I am right-handed.

What kind of clothing do you wear?

I prefer neat, regimented clothing, such as suits or uniforms. When casual I wear symmetrical, plain-coloured and comfortable clothing.

Do you wear makeup?


What is your vocal range? Is your voice distinctive in some way?

My vocal range is not unusual, although I speak slightly more monotonously than usual. I am still learning how to properly inflect.

Do you have any distinctive habits, nervous tics, or mannerisms? Where did they come from, and what causes them? Do other people notice and remark on these habits? Do they annoy you or other people?

My movements are unusually precise and regimented, which some find unsettling.


Where do you come from?


Have you made any major moves, or do you live in your hometown?

I lived in my hometown until coming to Claremont Academy, where I now live. It is the only major move of my life.

Do you feel loyal to your country of citizenship? Do you consider yourself patriotic? How do you feel about the government of your country?

I feel that both Australia and America are comparatively good countries, with high health, prosperity and freedom. But I have no particular loyalty to either country.

How do you feel about the place you come from?

It's ok. Nowadays it makes me uncomfortable, as it's full of people I used to know.

Where is your home town? What was/is it like?

In Tasmania. It was a fairly small town and we lived ten minutes away from it.

Growing up, were most of the people you knew similar to you, or were you somehow a minority? How did that affect you?

I was a fairly standard teenager, although I was the only daughter of two genius, isolationist scientists. That was before the accident, of course.

Is there something you've always been really good at or really bad at? How has that affected your life?

I'm a good healer. It's what I was designed to do, and what I base my life on.

Were there any traumatic experiences in your early years (death of a family member, abandonment, orphaned at an early age)?


Briefly describe a defining moment in your childhood and how it influenced your life.

That would have to be the accident that merged MD273, the sentient medical system, with Chloe Thorne, the teenager. I'm just now adjusting to a life that my memories in no way equip me to face.

What stupid things did you do when you were younger?

Where did you go to school? How much school did you have, and did you enjoy it?

I was in year ten when I had the accident. My memories of video footage of pre-accident Chloe suggest that I enjoyed it. I don't remember any of my schooling now, but I'm just starting at Claremont.

Do you have any mementos of your childhood? What are they, and why did you keep them? If you have none, why not?

I do not. I'm here to make a fresh start. MD273 owned no mementoes, and Chloe remembers none.

When did you decide to become a hero? Why? Did anyone influence you one way or another in the decision?

My psychologist suggested this course of action as a way to help the world and be an efficient healer.

Is the reason you give people for becoming a hero different than your real reason? If so, why?


Do you have any deep, dark secrets in the past that may come back to haunt you?

No, although I have been advised to downplay the accident. The existence of my vulnerability to electricity may count as a secret that could cause problems.

Do you represent yourself as being different from who you really are? Why?

No, but I am trying to learn social skills.

If you do have these secrets, what do you fear would happen if the truth became known? How far would you go to protect those secrets?

I don't have any secrets.

Do you have any sort of criminal record? If so, is it public knowledge?

I do not have a criminal record.


What are your biological parents' names?

Jason and Alicia Thorne.

Were you raised by them? If not, please explain and describe who raised you.

Chloe and MD273 were both raised by them.

What was their standing in the community? What did/do they do for a living?

They were scientists and engineers. They secluded themselves and there generally thought to be crazy, but sold enough patents to maintain their lifestyle and experiments.

Where are your parents now?

Still in their home in Tasmania.

Did your family stay in one area or move around a lot?

They have not moved house since long before I was born. It would be too hard to move the laboratory.

How did you get along with their parents? How do you get along with them now (if applicable).

My parents and I used to get along well before the accident. They loved Chloe and were proud of MD273. Now, I just make them uncomfortable.

How do your parents view you now, or how would they?

I'm not sure they really know how to interact with me any more.

Do you have any siblings? If so how many and what are their names? Describe your relationship with them.

No, I don't. I have several sister computer systems.

What was your birth order in the family?

I am an only child.

Do you love or hate one member of the family in particular?


Is any member of the family special to you in any way (perhaps, as a confidant, mentor, or arch-rival)?


Are there any black (or white) sheep in the family (including you)? If so, please explain.

I was never obsessed with science or engineering like my parents. Now that I am at least obsessed with medical science, we have bigger issues.

Do you have a notorious or celebrated ancestor? If so, please explain, including how it has affected your life.


Do you have a partner and children currently? If so, please describe them.


If you do not have a partner or children, do you want them someday? How firm are you in your opinion on this, and what might change your mind?

I have no desire for either, but that may change when I get used to how my human mind works.

What type of person would be your ideal mate?

A logical, straightforward person whose life goals were compatible with mine.


Do you have any close friends? If so, please describe them, and how you came to be close to them.

Not really. I don't interact with my pre-accident frie3nds any more. I am getting to know my new roommate, Kristin.

Do you have a best friend? If so, how did they become your best friend? How close are you to your best friend?

Probably Kristin by default, as the only person I really know.

If you were to go missing, who would worry about you?

Presumably my roommate and any teachers who noticed my continued absence. My parents and psychologist would also become worried when informed of the situation.

Have you lost any loves? If so, how did it happen, and what did you do?


Do you have any bitter enemies? If so, please describe them and their history with you.

No, I don't.

What is the worst thing someone has done to you?

I've been called some unsavoury names. Mostly variations on being a zombie or a murderer.

Where do your loyalties lie? In what order?

I'm loyal to my job as a healer. I have some loyalty to my parents, who raised me and who I used to be programmed to obey.

Who or what do you trust the most? Why?

Dr McKinney, my psychologist. He seems thew most competent to help me.

Who or what do you despise? Why?

I don't despise anybody.

What qualities do you admire most in other people? Are these qualities you possess?

Restraint, intelligence, and desire for peace and prosperity. I like tot hink I have these qualities.

What qualities do you hate most in other people? Do you have any of those qualities?


Do you have a secret identity? If so, who knows it? Do you hide it from people who are close to you? Why?

I don't have a secret identity, but I don't advertise the full range of my powers. I merely advertise that I can heal.

Do you work well on teams and in groups? Are you a leader or a follower?

I work best supporting other people in situations outside my field of expertise. I am definitely not a leader.

Are you on a super team? If so, how do you get along with your comrades? Do you trust them, or do you have secrets from them?

I'm not on a team, but I do go to a super school.

Are you a member of any church, fraternal organization, club, committee, political party, or other group? How much time do you spend on that?


Personality & Beliefs

Who are your heroes?

People who brave disaster and war zones to rescue and treat the injured. Doctors who stay in prisoner of war camps to help the other prisoners. Nurses who stay in the middle of a plague to treat the sick, knowing that if they leave they risk spreading the plague further. Very few of these people are famous, but that doesn't matter.

Did you ever become disillusioned with former heroes or idols? If so, why and what were the circumstances?

Not that I remember, but my memories of being human don't stretch back very far.

Do you like being a hero? If so, what is the most rewarding part? If not, what makes you keep doing it?

I like helping and healing. Being a hero is a good means to that end.

Is there anything that would make you give up hero work, or even switch sides?

If my skills were more needed elsewhere, perhaps. I am not used to being a hero yet.

What are your short term goals (what would you like to be doing within a year)?

I would like to better adapt to my body and start learning to help the world.

What are your long term goals (what would you like to be doing twenty years from now)?

I can't think that far ahead. I'm barely used to being outside my own house.

What is your greatest fear? Why? What do you do when something triggers this fear?

Death. I was charged with keeping this body alive at all costs. It was the last command MD273 was given before such commands failed to work.

Is there anything you would give your life for?

I don't know if I'm even capable of that, it defies previous programming. But I would choose to die to help more people than I could help in the remainder of my life, if such a situation arose.

How do you feel about money and material wealth? Do you desire it or disdain it? Are you miserly with what you have, or do you like to share? Is it a mark of success, or a means to an end?

I don't care much for material possessions so long as I have enough to maintain my health.

How do you generally treat others?

With respect, and a desire to learn and avoid conflict.

Are you a trusting person? Has your trust ever been abused?

I tend to take people at their word. I have not been let down so far, but again, my human memory does not stretch back very long.

Are you introverted (shy and withdrawn) or extroverted (outgoing)? Do you have a lot of self-confidence?

I tend to be quiet and introverted. I do not portray confidence because I do not understand human interaction very well, but I am confident in my abilities.

How do you act around attractive, available members of your preferred sex?

I don't currently have a preferred sex.

What are your most annoying habits?

I seem to have a tendency to overanalyse and answer questions in unnecessary detail.

Do you feel contempt for any general category of people? Who are they, and why?

I don't know humans well enough to be contemptuous of any subset.

What is your favorite food? Do you prefer any particular type of food? Do you take the time to enjoy your food, or do you eat as fast as you can?

I like bland foods, such as rice or bread. I cannot handle strong tastes very well yet. I eat neither unusually fast nor unusually slow.

What is your favorite drink (alcoholic or otherwise)?

Watered down apple juice.

What is your favorite treat (dessert)?

desserts tend to taste too strong for me.

Are there any specific foodstuffs that you find disgusting or refuse to eat?

Anything with a particularly powerful taste.

What is your favorite color? Are there any colors you dislike?

I have no opinion on colour, so long as it does not impair vision.

What sort of music do you like? Is there any that you hate?

I find music to be generally interfering and distracting.

If you have a favorite scent, what is it?

The smell of oranges.

Do you have a favorite animal?


What is your most treasured possession? Why?

I do not treasure my possessions. My hero uniform, perhaps, as a symbol of my goal.

Do you enjoy "roughing it", or do you prefer your creature comforts?

I prefer to be comfortable.

Is there a job or a task you would absolutely refuse to do?

I will not torture or harm others.

Do you consider yourself a spiritual person? If so, how do your beliefs affect your life? How important is it to you?

I am not spiritual.

Was your faith influenced or molded by anyone special?

Well, I was raised by atheistic, gesnius scientists. I am uncertain whether that had an effect.

Could you kill? Have you killed?

Not only do I find killing morally abhorrent, I am not capable of it. It's against my old programming.

What circumstances led to you forming that conviction, or taking that action?

It's preprogrammed. Part of my medical ethics.

Are there circumstances under which you believe it is permissible to kill? What are they?

To prevent further death. But I still can't do it; it is a moot point.

How would you react to watching someone kill another person? Would your reaction be different if the killer was a friend or an enemy of yours?

I would be obliged to do everything within my power to prevent the death, no matter who the aggressor was.

How would you react if something important was stolen from you?

I haqve very little of importance. My important items all have practical value, so I would probably be annoyed at having to replace them.

How would you react to public humiliation?

I would retreat and analyse the situation for social and judgemental errors on my part.

How would you react if a good friend or relative were purposely or accidentally killed? Has it happened to you?

Well, I died once. Otherwise it has not. I guess I would do ewverything in my power to preserve their life, but once they are dead there would be little I could do for them.

What do you consider to be the worst crime someone could commit and why?

Murder. Other violent crimes such as rape and torture come in second, although get extra points for being so pointless. Killing could, theoretically, be constructive, to save others.

If your life were to end in 24 hours, what five things would you do in those remaining hours?

I honestly don't know. Call my parents, I guess, and then head to the nearest hospital and start healing people.

Career & Training

Do you have any special training in your hero skills? If so, where and how did you get it?

I have the memories of a medical system. Otherwise, no.

Who taught you the most about your heroing abilities? What was your relationship with that person?

I'm only learning to be a hero now, at Claremont Academy.

Do you have any particularly unusual skills? How did you acquire them?

I can use the nanites integrated in my body to heal or drug others, as well as communicate with electronics. The nanites were integrated into my body in an attempt to ressurect me after I died.

Do you do something besides hero work for a living? Have you ever done anything else, or do you plan to?

I do not do anything else. When I graduate, I suppose I will have to get a job.

What is your preferred combat style?

I don't fight. I hold people still, and sedate them if I have to.

Have you ever received any awards or honours?


What skill areas would you like most to improve in? Is there anything you can't do that you wish desperately you could?

I would like to learn to handle myself in combat better.

How do you act around people who are more skilled than you in areas you'd like to improve? Are you jealous, or do you try and learn?

I try to learn from them.

Lifestyle & Hobbies

What is a normal day for you? How do you feel when something interrupts this routine?

I get up, go to classes, and study or train in my free time. Interruptions do not bother me though.

Do you have any hobbies, or interests outside hero work? What are they, and where did you pick them up?

I have few interests, although I expect to develop more over time.

What do you do for fun?

I'm still figuring that out.

Do you have a costume? What does it look like?

My costume is a stylised nurse's outfit, to advertise my services.

How do you normally dress when not in costume?

I wear neat, plain clothing. A uniform if I can.

What do you wear to bed most nights?

Cottom pyjamas.

Do you wear any special jewelry? What is it, and what does it look like?

I don't have any jewellery.

Do you have a special place where you keep your valuables?


What's your preferred means of local travel? How about long distance?

I take a bus or airoplane.


Have you ever made a will, or tried to make arrangements for your death? What provisions did you make?

No, I haven't.

If your features were to be destroyed beyond recognition, is there any other way of identifying your body?

Assuming I didn't regenerate, fingerprinting or genetic analysis are both options. Trace nanites may also be left in my system.

What would you like to be remembered for after your death?

Healing and protecting as many people as possible.

Do you believe you pose a threat to the public? Why or why not?


My psychologist was worried that I might try to protect humanity by trying to control it. But have neither the capability nor the desire to do that.

What do you perceive as your greatest strength?

My ability to heal and affect the body.

What do you perceive as your greatest weakness?

My lack of human experience.

As a player, if you could, what advice would you give your character? Speak as if he/she were sitting right here in front of you. Use proper tone so they might heed your advice...

Concentrate on the people close to you, and don't worry if you can't heal the world.

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