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28th February, the Mid-Atlantic...dawn...


The sun was rising through partial cloud, little more than a glow in the horizon, casting deep orange shades through the sky. Deep orange, and red. 


Red sky in the morning....shepherds warning...


The Cruise Ship Magnificent was not the biggest or most luxurious cruise ship on the sea, but it was certainly within spitting distance of it. A crew of eighty, a passenger roster of three hundred. Fine food, fine wine, and mediocre entertainment, it was a ship that looked good, catered well, and charged high. 


And it was dead in the water. 


Captain Pike trotted out the mayday message again. He was a tall, man, forty five, with a good head of carefully groomed hair, clean shaven, and trim build. Only his eyes let him down as a poster boy - set close together, small, squirrel like. He was a veteran of the sea, but tired, cynical, pondering what to do with his remaining years after a failed marriage. 


His experiences today would class as new and exciting, he felt. But scary, yes, scary. That was the thing. Frightening him and the ships inhabitants to the bone. 


"Mayday Mayday! Ship adrift, no power. Approach with caution! Ghosts aboard!" went the message. He didn't honestly know what else to say. Maybe they wouldn't believe him, maybe they would. He wondered what would be worse. 


The message did indeed sail through the air. And was received by Freedom City, a coastgaurd who perhaps was less incredulous at the spooky claim. A Coast guard that felt, given the unusual nature of the mayday, an unusual response was needed...


...the aquatic heroes of Freedom City!

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Ghosts aboard. Even in Freedom, that was not the kind of message one expected to hear. 


Eliza had been getting ready for school when her dad had gotten the news - from his bathroom sink, and the tiny ondine that had washed in through the pipes while he was washing his face. There was a lot of gossip going on amongst the Court of Tides about the still ship lying off the coast - and the ghosts pouring onto it. As a proper elemental, Michael could do little to interfere in the affairs of mortals (or, in this case, "others"). But...


Well, at least it's gotten to where he's pointing me to these things, Eliza thought as she threw on her pea coat and crafted her mask. That's some great progress. Once the ice sled had finished forming in the tub, she took off out the window, planting her feet on it and soaring through the sky. Temperance proceeded eastward, keeping her eyes open for the dead ship. 

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The Coast Guard vessel that received and sent out the uncanny call for help, the usually dauntless crew trusting to powers beyond the human, lost a passenger.


Wave-Eye was used to resting against the hulls of boats, his finned head below the gunwales as he listened to idle human talk. It was pleasant, and something he quietly envied the busy mortals. A few times he'd tried to get involved, but that often ended in terror and disaster as his inhuman form rose into view, and once a nasty cut from a bullet. So around then the son of Chalchiuhtlicüe had been listening with a careful ear to the crackling radio, waiting patiently for something to come up he could help with.


At the word 'ghosts' his ears had twitched upwards, and his fan-like hair stood up with alarm. Pausing just long enough to hear the coordinates, he dove into the water below with a faint splash, his tail lashing as it propelled him like a red arrow towards the endangered cruise liner! A chance glance upwards caught sight of a flying block of ice with a familiar coat flapping above it, and, grinning in relief and recognition, the triton changed course to better follow the witch-sighted girl.

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Giang Trang sliced through the ocean waters, the cold morning water not bothering the teenager in the least.  A short while ago she had been getting ready for her morning classes, when a call had come in from the Coast Guard requesting her assistance, the authorities having gotten the number of a cell phone she used as Tsunami back in the summer when she had been one of several heroes to respond to an incident near Lonely Point.


After having a quick word with Headmaster Summer, the Asian teen had gotten permission for her and her roommate to go and offer what assistance they could.  So now both she and Thealia were speeding through the waves, headed for the distressed cruise ship.

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Thaelia hadn't actually listened to the full details of the distress call when Giang had gotten them permission to leave class.  The important parts to the Atlantean demigoddess amounted to someone was in trouble and they needed to help.  Which to Thaelia was all that mattered as their bodies cut through the water at an amazing velocity.  Had she been listening to the full details of the Coast Guard's request, then an obvious mixture of glee would have shone forth on her face at the prospect of seeing ghosts.


She would instead have to settle for the total exuberance that came with being immersed in the water.  Every time she left its comfort for land there was this initial feeling as if she was shedding off a piece of herself.  And every time she entered it once more, it felt like a homecoming.  As if the ocean itself was embracing her return.  Better that she got to enjoy that sensation while in the company of her close friend before entering the throes of battle.  It was as if the stars had aligned to bless the warrior princess with quite a perfect day.

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The aquatic foursome sped through waves and water and arrived at the Magnificent pretty much simultaneously. It was dead in the water, without power, bobbing gently in the waves. 


The sky was pretty clear, a hazy cloud here or there, illuminated red, now orange, with the rising sun. There was no precipitation. A very gentle breeze, and light, rolling waves. Certainly far from perilous conditions, even for the most amateur of mariners. About the only lament one could lay on the weather that it would not fill your sails particularly well. But neither was it complete doldrums. 


Captain Pike was keeping watch, and spied the approaching heroes through his binoculars. 


"Well I'll be damned...ghosts and now superheroes...." he said, a grin spreading across what had previously been a most wan face. 


He snatched up his flare gun and jumped outside, lighting the sky with an orange flare, and accompanying it with an energetic waving of his hand. 


A few moments later...


"I don't know what happened. The ships dead in the water, seized right up. Completely busted, our engineers said, like someone thrown a proverbial spanner in the proverbial works. Our lads are taking it apart right now, but it's not looking good, that s the word"


"But that's not the worst of it, not by far. Its the entertainment. No, don't laugh. I know cruise ship entertainment can be pretty horrible sometimes, but we don't have the worst of it. Can't say I like Sammy Smooth, our singer, but I've heard worse. I think. Anyway, the entertainment deck got sealed up, everyone screaming, spooked. A few got out, said ghosts walked in. Pirate ghosts at that. Then, it spread out, the whole damn ship, like a virus. Doors jamming shut, ghosts walking everywhere, terrorising our guests. Its like a Somali Hijacking. Only the decks are safe!"


"We tried battering down the doors, but without tools, we are dead. Now, we lost contact with engineering, with the rest of the ship. All we got is our radio and this flare gun!" he said, looking at his now empty and impotent gun, before tossing it aside. 

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Nochehuatl shifted a little from foot to foot. The massive sea-warrior was uncomfortably familiar with piracy, though luckily mostly on the receiving side. The strategy here baffled him however. "Ghosts from the past age?" Wave-Eye gurgled, twisting his head quizzically to one side and staring at the captain with what was likely confusion in his depthless black eyes "And they wish only to be seen and keep the passengers at hand? I do not see the profit. Have they made no threats, no commands at all?" he pressed with a deep rasp "Captain Blood, that creature does nothing without an eye for gain!"


Admittedly, it wasn't the normal kind of wealth the cursed captain was after, but still, this crime seemed random even from a masterless pirate "Perhaps...one of your guests has something? Aye, that could be it." a light flashed in the triton's dull eye "An artifact they know naught of, whose power draws the cruel thing here. Young Lady Temperance," with a clatter of bronze armor Wave-Eye made a slight bow "could your eyes tell if the shiplord Blood was here, and if so, where?"


Turning to the other two young women, he added gravely "Well met, fellow guardians. I am Wave-Eye, son of Tlaloc, father of the blessed rain and Chalchiuhtlicuë, mother and queen of waters. Alas," with a creak he grinned abashedly, exposing rows of needle-sharp teeth as white as bone "I am of little help in subtle matters, my senses and divine might are bound to this world alone. What of yours?" He noted the Atlantean girl with a twinge of encouragement. If one so young had come, then surely the people aboard would soon be rescued. Unless it was to save the face of their elders should they fail...

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Temperance was about to offer up some comment on how her eyes were more suited to spirits rather than ghosts, and was even ready to go down into the usual ontological lecture on which was which. But then she realized that her senses were picking something up. Trails of ephemera passed through the air, like diamonds trapped in fog. The concentration here was incredibly thin, like footprints left in melting snow, but she could see more distinct shapes off in the distance - and a thick concentration further afield.

"I'm picking up something," she said. "They're on the ship all over, but the big concentrations seem to be..." She turned around - fortunately, there was a "YOU ARE HERE" sign near the bridge, which helped quite a bit. "...the engine room and the entertainment hall."

Don't usually pick up on ghosts. Guess what they say about Captain Blood is true - he's got backing from a greater spirit. Probably Baron Samedi screwing with things as usual...

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Wave-Eye's introduction felt so formal the princess in Thaelia almost bowed as a knee jerk reaction.  The sharp toothed creature was a natural a sight as any to her.  "Thaelia, princess of Atlantis and daughter of Poseidon.  Or as I am otherwise known as the Glamazon.  My eyes can see through the illusions most ethereal.  But if you seek the aid in terms of subtlety, then I am not one to seek.  I am loud."  Closing the remark with pride at her 'I am loud' statement.  She rarely openly uttered the words daughter of Poseidon, it didn't have the same ring as Daughter of the seas to begin with.  But more importantly, she felt it gave too much credence to a father whom she can't actually manage to speak to.
"As much as I verily wish to exchange in a battle most glorious with wretched apparitions.  My concern lies with those still captured."  Prioritizing a desire to smash wrongdoers behind saving those they wronged was a lesson Thaelia had gradually begun to learn. It didn't flat out overwrite her impulsiveness, however.  As she leaned forward practically ready to leap off towards the boat now that the largest concentration of the spirits had been somewhat located.  Her head snapping in Temperance's direction being the only thing stopping her from doing as such.  Waiting to see what either her or Tsunami came up for a plan of action.

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Something twinkled in Nochehuatl's eyes "Poseidon's begotten? Another one? How many must that old earth-shaker have by now?" he wondered aloud, apparently to the sea at large. His attention was quickly grabbed by Temperance's report though, and he managed an almost kindly smile.


"Since your eyes can pierce illusions, Your Majesty, it might be best to walk beside Lady Temperance. That way we may be undeceived should the creatures try and trick us. Pirates know not even a knight's frail honor." Taking the conch off from around his shoulders, the triton squinted into its mouth, picking out a sizable collection of fish bones and shaking out a small puddle of offal into the waves below "I shall walk in the middle. That way my bulk can be quickly brought to bear from either direction, though ghosts and the other such weightless things are...troublesome to me" he admitted with a sigh like rolling pebbles.


Suddenly remembering Tsunami, he bowed his head to her. "What of you?"

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Giang had listened quietly to the captain of the cruise ship as he explained what had happened.  She recognized Temperance, having worked with the other teen before, but had never met the large creature that introduced itself as Wave-Eye.  But the teenager had been involved in enough strange things since she had come to Freedom City that Wave-Eye's somewhat fearsome appearance did not faze her calm demeanor.


"I am called Tsunami."  She replied to Wave-Eye.  "But I am afraid I have no senses that will assist in detecting spirits or ghosts, and very little in the way of abilities that could interact with them either."

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Just a few moments later...


It was the screams of fear that lead them. The aquatic foursome all heard them, shrieks of pure terror. 


The Captain went white in response. "We...heard those...before...but not so many, not so many!" he said, loosening his collar. "We didn't dare go in, Lord have mercy on us...." he said, ashamed of himself. 


He would not follow, but he could direct the braver souls of Temperance, Wave-Eye, Glamazon and Tsunami through the ship, to its heart, so to speak. The corridors were empty, deserted, with flickering, eerie lights. Temperance could feel the presence of ethereal spectres, and such was the atmosphere, that the spines of all tingled. 


At the entrance to the Entertainment Hall, the screams were loud, every few seconds. 






"Please! Let us go!"


There was little answer, little response. Until one chilling voice replied, full of tombstone and ocean, in a strange and old accent. 


"I'll be letting you go when it pleases me, and not before! till then, yer my guests! Don't worry, yer will be on yer way soon enough. Down, down, yer will go! muahahaha!"

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Wave-Eye's feet curled, long nails scoring the metal floor below. "With your wills, I shall break this door down." his watery voice whispered to the young women "It will allow the prisoners a larger path of escape, and let us move more freely as well. Confining ourselves in a battle with the unbound souls is a foolish plan."


To captain Pike he added gravely "I am sorry, I will repair the damage to your ship after this." With that he reached over Thaelia and Temperance's heads and placed both his spined hands on the door frame, tensing himself for a mighty heave, muscles moving across his massive back like bundles of snakes...


"But speak the command."

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Before they took off, Temperance turned to the captain. "I understand you want to stay back," she said, "but you may know this ship better than any of us. Tell me, are there any ways out of the entertainment hall besides the doors? Service hatches, stage doors, anything like that? We may need an alternate way to get them out... or to get in."

After receiving the captain's answer, she headed towards the Hall with the others. One of the problems with being surrounded by salt water was that it had a lower freezing point - she could solidify it, but it might not necessarily pack the punch of fresh water. Until that time came, though, she had a whole swimming pool she could use. The water rose from its concrete and linoleum basin as she waved her hands, hanging in a shimmering curtain over the dawn-lit deck. "Ready to go," she said.

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In the Entertainment Room...


Sammy Smooth, perma-tanned velvet suited lounge singer was on his knees. 


"Puh---puh---lease----Not me! Not me! I got a whole life ahead of me!" wept the man. He looked like a man in his mid fifties trying to look like a man in his twenties. His hear was combed over, his midriff sporting a slimline corset. 


The man standing over him was a Pirate. A full blown pirate, with musket pistol by his belt, flayboyant hat, and a cutlass he waved lazily in the air. Something about him was faint. Like a ghost. 


"There be no use blubbing an' wailin' like a woman, me hearty! You numbers up, the dice been' rolled. Some of you down to Davy Jones, some of you to join me new army!" he laughed, pointing at the centre of the Entertainment Room. 


There, for all to see, dominating the large hall was a column of barnacles that constantly cracked and blistered, like wood and splinters. It was as high as the ceiling, and as broad as ten men. And in it...something moved. Several things moved. Things that looked like men...


Witness to this marine marvel, several dozen passengers, who tended towards the old and retired, their dreams of a romantic relaxing cruise quite dashed. And taunting them, the ghostly crew of Captain Blood, green and decayed, but with all the paraphanlia of pirates, with cutlasses, picks, and hooks all hefted in a menacing manner. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

The decision made to intervene in whatever was going on in the entertainment room, Tsunami prepared to create an entry for the group.  While she might have wanted to consider a few more preparations, at least half of the gathered heroes seemed keen on moving into action.


As shimmering sheen of water began to swirl around her, offering her protection from attacks as she focused on the doors to the room they group was near. Taking a slight step forward, the Asian teen brought both hands up as she thrust them forward, releasing a powerful jet of twisting coils of water towards the doors to try and blast them open.

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The ship was a sturdy and impressive beast. It would not dare call itself "unsinkable", but a few foolish fantasies of that ilk had been entertained, contrary to the wisdom of history. Its hull was thick, strong, and well designed. 


Its interior was not as robust, of course, but the doors to the entertainment room were a nice thick oak, polished and splendid. Alas, their splendour was now lost. As thick as they were, the elemental power of water was too much for them. 


The doors exploded into the entertainment hall with a mighty sound of cracking wood, and a hail of showering splinters. A few passengers caught some shards of wood, getting a few minor scrapes and cuts. Nothing remotely serious, other than the sly smile of a lawyer guest who mentally clocked Tsunami and, almost as a reflex, started noting down the superficial splinters in his head. 


As for Captain Blood, he jumped in shock, and his musket pistol went off in surprise, shattering a chandelier above them. 



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Temperance entered behind Tsunami's burst, a curtain of water hanging suspended behind her, just waiting to crash down. She clocked the room - hostages towards the rear, an army of malefic skeletons between her and them, and Captain Blood right in the middle of it all. She was going to bring the water down on his head when she noticed the slight blur around the edges. He's in-between. She let out a little curse - for someone with the blood of spirits in her veins, she really didn't have many means for pounding on something that wasn't fully manifested. Fortunately, there were other options, ones that lacked significant amounts of connective tissue.

"I see you dragged up some old friends," she said. "I can see why. It's not like 'pirate' is a job to aspire to in this hemisphere. But I wonder how fondly they remember the depths..." With a flick of her wrist, the water came surging down, sweeping through the empty air in swift currents. It hung suspended between roof and ceiling, playing by its own eerie gravity, but formed riptides and tidal waves as it surged over the skeletons.

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"Me crew serve me well" retorted Captain Blood before the waters of temperance sloshed and foamed, cracking bones and skulls, sweeping over the Captains undead sailors. Some were too close to the still living crew, and were saved by the human shields they guarded. Still, once the furious force of the water swept past, well over half of the undead had been crushed or broken. It was an impressive sight, even to Captain Blood, who was obviously no stranger to the power of wave and storm. 


"Me crew served me well" came the correction. 


It was difficult to judge if Captain Blood felt any loyalty or remorse for his lost shipmembers. He looked irritated if anything else. 


"But today I'm recruiting, today I get the new model!" he laughed, still confident in whatever fiendish and unnatural schemes he had planned for the ship and its guests. 

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"Fool! Your 'new' crew is about to be snatched from your fingers!" Wave-Eye loomed over Temperance, each arm on the shattered doorframe with his head stretched out above the half-spirit's. This was necessary so he wouldn't accidentally block either Tsunami or Glamazon with his mighty frame. "What hope do you have, Captain Blood, when such power as ours is massed against you?!"


'With any luck, this shall draw his ire against me first, to prove that he is strong! Hopefully those ghostly blades and hooks won't be as bad as they seem'


It wasn't any kind of foolproof plan, but at that moment when their best hope lay with the young women who commanded the waves, he was happy to be the shieldsmer. The sight of the rotted and tattered undead crew sent a chill through him, however, reminding him(as all too much did) about the bloody life he'd left behind, and he had to dig his spined claws into the wood to keep from trembling.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Splinters of wood scattered all about in the wet rampage those that entered before Thaelia.  Swerving around Wave Eye's self prompted barricade, the Atlantean demigoddess charged towards the nearest skeleton she could find.  "Cower before the might of the Daughter of the Seas vile fiends!"  Glamazon roared out with certain confidence.  Startling a skeleton into action as it jumped back out of the way.  Narrowly avoiding the punch that came flying towards its skull.


The ship's furnishings did not fare as well.  A table was upturned as the skeleton easily avoided the attack.  Shattering upon contact with her fists the splinters of the table exploded all about.  Highlighting who spectacularly Thaelia managed to miss her target.  And how much damage she could have caused had she managed to hit her mark.  It was a simple straightforward method of assault.  But the Glamazon was clearly intent on continuing as such.

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Captain Blood was initially shocked as Glamazon burst forward and started rearranging the furniture. 


"Well then, four of you is it? On another day I would turn tail and flee. I know when I'm outnumbered. Me crew serve me well enough, but are no match for mighty mariners like yerself, I'll admit it!" he retorted, waving his cutlass lazily through the air. As it swished to and fro, a ghostly chill was left in its wake. 


"But today be no ordinary day! Today be a day for drowning! I have been given a power from the far depths, me hearties! A new power, a new crew! behold! behold!"


As he spoke, the Barnacle column convulsed, and split, shards of shell thundering around the entertainment hall and showering all - bar Captain Blood himself. The dust like shell fragments just flew through him, and settled under him. 


And then, with a creak and a groan, the barnacle column spat out three of the passengers, fully encrusted with thick barnacles, so they looked more like white and grey monsters than human beings. 

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Giang watched as the other three leapt into action, Temperance cutting down the numbers of skeleton pirates, which Wave-Eye and Thaelia both moved in to try to draw some of Captain Blood's focus.  But then the ghostly pirate made his speech and the barnacle column in the room erupted, reveling three former passengers that had been somehow altered by whatever power Blood was bragging about.


She knew she could not allow Blood to do that to any of the other passengers or crew.  Taking a deep breath, the Asian teen focused herself as she took a step forward.  "We shall see about that villain."  She stated aloud as she brought her hands up to her side before bringing them together palm-to-palm in front of her.  As she did, a ripple effect emanated from her, like a still body of water disturbed by something breaking its surface.  The ripple effect passed over everyone, and everything in the room, continuing through the walls to the rest of the ship and the sea several hundred feet beyond. 


The other gathered heroes could briefly feel the effect wash over them, though Giang had excluded them from its effects.  However, all the passengers and crew in the room, along with Captain Blood himself, his skeletons and one of the barnacle covered passengers were all effected, seeming to freeze in place as the effect passed over them.  Everything else in the room stopped as well, suspended where it was, splinters and pieces of the table Thaelia had smashed ceased to fall, hanging in the air where they were.  Curtains and table cloths, disrupted by gusts of air caused by the sudden appearance of the heroes or the water from Temperance's attack, froze where they were as well, hanging in the air instead of settling back into place.


Only two of the barnacle covered passengers managed to resist Giang's control over time, remaining active, and still very much a threat.


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"What's this?" said Captain Blood as Tsunami came forward. "You cannot harm me, m'lady! I live for the sea, I live in it! I seen strange depths and stranger tides than you could ever imagine! Throw me storm, throw me wave, throw me a tsunami! I'll live through it, never you fear! Nothing can touch me!" he laughed, swishing his spectral sword to and fro, revelling in his ghostly status. 


His face was shock as the wave of time swept through the Entertainment hall. Sammy Smooth, the now ruffled showman of mediocre talent but sparkly suit, gasped in fear at it rumbled over him. 


"What! No! Pity! Mercy! Save me, I can't die yet I haven't...." his voice was cut short as he yelped out his fear, his throat as frozen as the rest of him. 


"Not water? What have you..." said the surprised Captain Blood, whose spectral form was now as just as still. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Temperance watched with awe as the power rippled out from Tsunami, freezing everything around it like flies as amber. She gazed, maintaining just enough composure not to go completely slack-jawed, as flesh, bone, barnacle, and ephemera alike became still as a statue. She'd seen lightning dance across rubber, water run back up a house, steel bend and wilt like flowers, all in observation of the spirit world. And she'd liked to think she'd seen a damn sight of things as a hero, too. This, though...

Remind me never to make her angry.

The sound of scraping barnacles caught her attention. Tsunami's show of force hadn't taken everyone, it seemed. "Perhaps you should follow the lead of your colleagues," she said to the golem. "You'd be better as statuary." She didn't feel comfortable hurling around such a large proportion of water, though it was good to know it was still there. Instead, she called up a portion of what was once the pool, and with a wave of her hand, it flash froze into dense orbs. With another flick, the orbs flew out, aiming right for the barnacle golem at great velocity.

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