Westchester Blues: Back Yard

September 12, 2014:

The X-men deal with one wing of the Hydra attack in the forest behind the Xavier Institute.


NPCs: Hydra goons (emitted by Aspect)



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

The scenes are all over the news. Trouble in M-Town, big trouble. Even though Magneto shorted out most of the cameras at ground level, the ones in the sky could hardly miss his announcement that the protest was under attack by Hydra terrorists. That's why when an SRD convoy was spotted rolling out of the city headed north not long after, it was pretty darn suspicious. And it didn't take much to confirm that no, indeed, there were no SRD or Police resources assigned to be doing anything anywhere near Westchester County. This could, really, only mean one thing.

On top of what looks like an armored assault convoy rolling up toward the front door, three helicopters with SRD markings just overflew the Institute and hovered, dropping… something off. People, it looks like. They're a mile out. It won't take them long to be here. That can't be good. Not at all


What had been a gloriously sunny day just a little while before, goes sour. Thunderheads start to roll in. Anyone that has worked with Storm before is used to having to fight in this sort of environment, and she tends to try to keep the rain isolated unless she needs it as a weapon too.

As the helicopters fly overhead, she rises in the air, reporting what she sees to the other X-men over her comm. When they choppers come back in her direction, she simply shakes her head. Pointing at the helicopters, they are struck by lightning


In Manhattan, Red Team was embroiled in crisis response for the M-Town attack when the alert came in from the Institute. For most of the Manhattan-based team, the Institute is a strong stand-in for home and family — the idea of Hydra attacking that symbolic home, while they were miles away? Unacceptable. So it is that the grounds behind the mansion are bathed in searing light and reinforcements arrive via a seconds-long layover in Limbo.

Sunspot steps off the teleportation disk, wearing one of the prototypes of his Red Team uniform: black pants topped by a large, red X-symbol; armored boots and gloves in red and gold, with shoulders and chest covered in a matching plate; bare upper arms and midsection. It favors mobility over protection, and this will be its first test in combat.

He catches the last of Storm's status report over the comlink, and speaks into a round X-badge just below his chin to reply. "Red Team incoming to reinforce your position, Storm," he says. "Tell us where you need us."


A second stepping-disc drops and a two and a half meter tall humanoid robot is left behind. Given that Mike is still on his way from Seattle and won't be here for another three hours, he's somehow made very good time.

The robot has the circle-x on its belt and one of the red team logos on one shoulder, and otherwise it's jet black in color, with a gold faceplate. The robot hovers in place just above the ground for a moment, scanning the area, and then the faceplate tilts up at the nearest copters, which have been struck by lightning — their rotors immediately stop moving and (along with the barrels of any mounted guns) curl up like pretty pretty flowerbuds, the doors and windows seal up, and the free-fall turns into a fast slap as they're brought hard towards the ground. Upside-down.

Metal won't let them hit the ground with full speed. Nor will he put them down gently. Just not fatally.

What he did NOT see, arriving fashionably seconds late, was the drop of the Hydra agents.


Remy LeBeau awakens from his slumber upon the hammock of his boathouse loft to stare sleepily across Breakstone Lake at the chopper hovering there. Climbing from his bedding he stumbles inside and proceeds to hunt down his coffee mug.

Cold as it is the Cajun still takes a sip of it while trying to wrestle free of his grogginess. "Dis not be good. Thought I was still 'sleep." The static warbling over his compiece on the balcony draws his attention away from the noise around the school picking it up he listens a moment then speaks, "We got make distractions, keep dem away from the school side o things." He says in to it. Nothing else before his own words made out. He's still waking up after all.

That coffee mug begins to vibrate in his hand as it charges with kinetic energy until it's a glowing bulb in his palm.

That ceramic mug is now a destructive grenade he'll launch with unnatural precision at that stray whirly bird.

Time to join in the fun.


Crunch That's not exactly the noise. It's more an agonized song of abused metal and rumbling earth. Followed shortly by BOOM! as a mug-grenade displaces more metal and part of the pilot's good arm.

Then there's the sound of booted feet and shouting voices. Three choppers, twenty four men, or thereabouts. All armed with some kind of submachine gun. All in full SRD riot armor and… several of them toting what look like miniature virus bombs.


Noticing that Metal finishes what she started with the choppers means that Storm can focus on the crowd that is approaching. The winds pick up on street level, making the coming force having to walk into gale force winds.

Storm's head tilts to the comm on her shoulder. "Get the children and staff to the basement," she says to any X-Men that might still be inside.


"Certo," Roberto agrees with Remy's suggestion, becoming the flame-wreathed silhouette that gives him his X-men codename. Storm's thunderheads mean his superpowers won't last indefinitely, but the superstrength and extra resilience of his high-energy state are still only sipping rather than gulping at his fuel reserves. "Also, Metal? If they're carrying plague bombs. I need you to mess those up and kill the virus. Be sneaky — they might detonate early if they realize what you're doing."

That said, he grabs a metal patio table, hefting it easily in front of him as a makeshift shield, and starts sprinting toward the onrushing soldiers. A solar-powered battering ram out to be pretty distracting, right?


"On it," the robot says. Plague bombs… yeah, there's plenty of … those … a cloud of moths erupts from the robot, taking advantage of the winds to arrow against the soldiers, each one picking up one or two of the bugs. Their purpose will be clear in a bit, but for now, they give Mike a way to focus closely on each of the plague bombs individually. It takes him .5 seconds to disable the triggering mechanism on each of the virus bombs, but there are several of them… so he's standing there, apparently motionless, for as long as thirty seconds. Once they're disabled, he'll work on killing the viruses. And figuring out what's up with the viral bombs is the first part of that.


Not one to aim for a kill Remy figures the explosive mug could take the helicopter down or at least damage it enough it'll take notice of him. Not awaiting the signs of impact he rushes inside and puts on his tennis shoes and the trenchcoat (which contains cards, cigarettes and a lighter - all the essentials) collapsing staff snagged on his way out the door and he leaps free of the Boathouse docks to race inland, towards the rest of the Institute grounds where the fighting is bound to happen. Stealth tactics employed with the occasional misdirecting launch of an explosive. He's making sure to remain mobile and the compiece is now in place, though, more than likely the X-Men are linked up telepathically by now. Tends to be the way things run.


The well thrown mug has actually damaged the rather delicate engine of the last bird. It comes down on autorotate with a crunch and furrows into the dirt, empty of its payload which is… now trying to work through a gale force wind.

That's when the gunshots start. Several of them impact a tree nearby. They're not bullets. They're tranq darts full of virus cyanide. Then there's a crunch as the little picnic area table (Picnic area in the middle of the woods away from the school? Well yes, even X-men need down time) removes three guns (and their shooters from the fight.

Mike seems to have the virus bombs under control and disabled. Though they're still full of active virus at the moment.


Storm is making herself a great big target. Look at me, look at me! Lightening strikes the weatherwitch, seeming to use her as a battery, her whole body crackling with the energy. She flies overhead, acting like a mother bird and being a very obvious target that is away from the nest where the chicks are safely ensconced.

The tree that is shot full of darts might not be affected by the virus, but the cyanide isn't doing it any good. "They are using the third strain of the virus. The one with the cyanide. Be careful, may be immune to the virus, but the cyanide will still kill us."


Sunspot's view of the battle is hampered by his makeshift shield, but the darts that bounce off the thing and get crunched underfoot, he can see. "Sim, they're packing poison darts, not bullets." Why oh why did he run into the fight ahead of the guy with total toxin immunity, again? He doesn't have a lot of time to reflect on his life, choices, etc. before bodies start bouncing off his table, which refocuses him. "Have engaged. Will lay down cover fire." Literally. After flinging the table in a nearly straight line, randomly chosen to hopefully get a couple more knockdowns, he juices up his corona with solar power and discharges vicious radiation beams from his hands. He doesn't bother aiming, either: he just blasts at waist level, sweeping each hand in a semicircle to cover nearly 360 degrees. Hit the dirt, Hydra, unless you really want to get fried.


"On it," Metal says, flipping his focus between each of the people with a moth on them… wait, there's MORE coming? Hell. Speed it up Metal. Hydra darts are metal that the virus is shot along. Those needles are now … well, blunt blobs, and the gun barrels are bent at right angles. Well. That's the plan. He can't do them all at once so it happens in sequence, bam bam bam, nearest guys to furthest guys, as he uses his moths as 'focal points' where he can easily target the Hydra agents.

"More incoming from that last chopper," Metal says, sending a few dozen more moths in their direction with all the other debris…


"I 'spect school be out for a bit after dis." Remy says over the communications system. Of course that is if they ever hear about it. Gambit's learned people seem to just 'forget' things about Xavier's pride. Convenient that.

A dart? And it's sticking out of the padding on his trenchcoat. Yanking it free he slings it right back at the individual who shot it at him only it's hyper-charged and wont exactly deliver cyanide on impact. A card here, three cards there. The thief is fast and using his impressive ground coverage to his advantage as he weaves through the X-Ground's forested areas. Places he knows well! Terrain is definitely on their side.

"Hey sug, we get some fog down over dis rumble? We keep dem disoriented and all confused like we be better off."


Metal just became a priority. For a lovingly delivered hand grenade. Fortunately Sunspot's knocking them down admirably and Remy's hat tricks? It sounds like the soundtrack of a war movie out here! There's only about twelve of them left, but they're getting smart and breaking out the explosives. Also shooting at Storm. They've made the weather witch and she's got a couple magazine's worth of darts headed her way now. Hey! Her distraction worked!


Storm hears the call for a blanket of fog and can't help but smile. Thick pea soup fog starts to roll in off the lake, making things difficult for people to see. From above though, Storm has a better vantage point and can call out to the others where the enemy flounders in the obscuring cloud cover.

All that stored energy from letting the lightning hit her before is released as the darts come for her, a corona of electricity surrounding her and frying the darts into charred bits of nothing.


"Obrigado, Metal. Good work," Roberto says with a smile as the guns pointed at him jam up. The fog that descends immediately afterward, he's a little less enthusiastic about. He burns like the Lighthouse of Alexandria when he uses his powers, and the low visibility means he's getting even less sun than before, right after discharging a significant chunk of his stored energy. Only one thing to do, then: he shuts off his powers, allowing him to hide in the fog like everyone else.

This would be a much more effective move if one of the nearer Hydra agents, finding his weapon jammed, hadn't got the clever idea to just tackle the Brazilian mutant. He plows into Roberto, throwing him to the ground with a blurted "Filho da puta!" The two men start to grapple in the fog, but taken by surprise, Sunspot is at a distinct disadvantage.


Grenade? How can you see a grenade coming in this fog? Well, if you can feel all the metal around you, it's like throwing a big steak to a hungry dog. The robot can't grin because he has no face, just a faceplate, but he DOES reach out a hand and pull that grenade into his person, because it's … a big lump of metal with a fuse and explosives in it. Tasty metal. The fuse is separated from the explosives though.

Unfortunately that means he's distracted from the guy who's attacking Berto… but he's also working on disarming more Hydrants. So. They have grenades.

All the grenades that Metal can sense begin coming loose, flying through the air, avoiding trees and fog, and are consumed by the metal robot. Urp.

"Hydra. Surrender now or else," the robot booms, in a loud mechanical voice.


"Merci, Storm."

Obscured and able to move through stealth is Remy's element. He hadn't considered the Red X'ers in this so much but that's in part due to separate teams. Cover yourself in fog then yell out with a booming voice? Suppose that's one way to get everyone to pay you some not so friendly attention. Exactly the thing they wanted though - as long as of course the mutant in question can handle the focus he'll get.

Gambit's staff spins out wide extending in the process to snap in place and he's vaulting with a kick in to one man's chest and delivering a handful of quarters, pennies, dimes and several tic tacs in to another. It's like a shotgun blast (fortunately they're armored). Roberto's plight missed (for the moment).

"Mo bon."

"Y'all best listen to de man. You in a lot of trouble now." The rogue shouts out in to the fog. "Got 'bout one minute left before we get real nasty." He's bluffing. He's giving it his all but they don't know that. At least they shouldn't. Who knows how much of a dossier HYDRA has collected on the Institute and the X-Men. Maybe they didn't even know the X-Men were here. This could just be another assault on mutants in general… then again if they did know?


"CUT OFF ONE HEAD…" There's about eight simultaneous grunts of pain from the fog… "TWO MORE SHALL TAKE ITS PLACE!" Eight sets of eyes begin to glow in the darkness. The only one who doesn't do er, whatever that was, is the one grappling Berto. And Berto might note the large autoinjector hanging on the man's belt. What did they just inject themselves with?

Part of the answer might be forthcoming when Mike's warning is replied to with a small uprooted tree coming to visit him… at high speed.


Storm summons another chain of lightning to hit her, charging herself up once more. She suspects that this fight won't take much longer. These HYDRA agents are sorely out of their depth. There are many that are unconscious now. Metal makes the call for surrender and…. well, that should have been more expected then it was.

"Be warned, my friends. They have mutated. Super strength from at least one of them. Metal! Duck!"


Roberto manages to wriggle around so that he's facing his assailant, although he takes a few hits to his unprotected abdomen in the process. "Foda-se," he mutters, barely able to talk with the wind knocked out of him. He flares back into Sunspot form, gets a leg between himself and the Hydra goon, and sends the man flying up through the forest canopy to land he cares not where. Not before grabbing that auto-injector, though — he still has it clutched in his hand, wrenched free by the force of his kick.

The flames around him die and he sits back against the bole of a tree. He'll be back in the fight as soon as he can, but for the moment he has to hide and get his breath back.


TREE! Metal has space for three consciousness threads to run on this particular chassis, and his power is primarily limited to one of those, but he can use one of them to run his body. His personal space is defended by sonar! Well, usually that's good enough; with Storm's warning coming as the tree is launched at him, M1 barely has the time required to twist and grab to parry that thing, and it goes flying in one direction (away from his friends and possibly at a Hydrant) while he is knocked back about two meters.

M2 has control of the metal sense and manipulation. Now comes the time when those moths that were flung out earlier become useful. For every one of the virus bombs, a metal moth begins moving onto the surface, and melding into the metal of the bomb. The payload is a powerful soluble oxidant, which transfers into the inside, not enough to explode but definitely enough to poison and kill all the viroid… but each one takes time, and things are moving faster than that, so while it will kill the bombs, it won't necessarily keep everything together in the mean-time.

M3 activates the robot's sonic weapon in the direction of whatever it was that launched the tree. A shoulder-mounted device pops out and emits a directional sonic burst. While Lunair's "dance" blaster was interesting, Mike's design is simpler; it will cause cramping, spasms, possibly powerful smooth-muscle contractions in its target. At least, it did when he tested it before. Let's hope it's on target.


So, guys are not going down now? Remy's staff thwaps and non-lethal kinetic charge attacks are proving to be ineffective. Card + ground makes for metsubushi! The Cajun sucks at Japanese.



Gambit disengages from close quarters to place his back towards the forest, "I tink dey called our bluff, mes amis." The man squares off against two of the mutated HYDRA shock troopers.

Very little of this making sense to him but this is the kinda thing he is here for… the uneXpected.


"Sorry I'm late!"

The voice resonates through the forest as a Rabbit Hole opens, depositing the Cheshire cat himself on the grass. "Had a hostage situa—" he looks around. "Oh man, I came late to the party. This is beyond fashionably late. Now I'm positively avant garde fashion."

He speaks with a light-hearted tone, but he quickly takes in the situation and produces two glowing, purple Flamingo Club constructs, because this calls for double-wielding. Having landed near Roberto's hiding space, he comments "You know… you're a rich playboy, I expected that hanging out with you involved more pearl onions, jazz bands and drinks with little umbrellas. This? Not so much." He grins and leaps forward, ready to visit Wonderland Justice upon the nearest mutated troopers.


It's like fighting with eight mini Hulks. They're not nearly that strong nor that tough, but they are all strong and tough. Mike is engaged by another one with a tree, this one larger and being used as a club. Remy, lucky sod that he is, gets not one, but two. Yet another leaps - LEAPS! - at Storm and tries to snatch her from the air. Vorpal gets a very large rock chucked after him…

Which leaves one to pick himself up off the ground from where Mike smacked him and start sniffing around for Berto. Ooops, make that two.


Since the troopers have upped the ante, Storm has decided to make some work for the Institute's gardeners. Lightning cracks the air, hitting the ground at the feet of the enemy. Not deadly, but certainly loud and disorienting.

One small batch of clouds clear to send a beam of sunlight right onto Roberto. Yes, it spotlights him, but it also gives him the fuel he needs to replenish himself. And with that day-glo cat standing next to him, spotlighting Sunspot shouldn't be as much of a problem as it was

The one leaping for Storm gets to find out if his new mutant abilities make him able to cope with 3 million volts as another bolt of lightning strikes.


Sunspot isn't feeling quite ready for more fighting, but doesn't have the luxury of waiting any longer. No juice left for blasting, and less than a minute of superstrength, he thinks. Better conserve his energy: strike quickly, then blend back into the fog. So long as he keeps the element of surprise, he should be able to —

His head droops, palm coming up to slap against his forehead. "Oi, Vorpal," he mutters, his tone acid.

Well, so much for any plan that involves sneaking. He pushes himself up, the shadow and fire of Sunspot descending over his body, just as Storm's well-placed sunbeam descends to recharge him. "Oh, now we're talking," he says, his wicked grin outlined by his own fiery breath. He runs straight at the nearest sniffing beastie, leaping and aiming an armored foot at his chin. It'd take a normal man's head off, but he's betting that these monsters are made of sterner stuff.


Oh, you did NOT just come after me with a freaking tree… the Z-Mek chassis is 2.5 meters, which means it's an attractive target, even in the fog, and these guys seem to be seeing their enemies as easily as Z-Mek is targeting them. A robot shouldn't be able to move that fast, but this one does, coming in low and lashing with one foot at the gut of the tree-wielding guy. It's constrained, attempting to match the apparent strength of the enemy because it's horrible to have to wash Hydrant off your feet. The tree-club scrapes against his left arm and knocks the sonic emitter from that shoulder.

Meanwhile, another five virus bottles get to be neutralized, yay!

The third consciousness thread tracks the nearest guy to attempt a quick side-punch, if he's close enough.


So… Fashionably late it is, but from afar the smoke that rises from the direction of Xavier's does not make her flight slow, in fact for once in a long time she can take it from leisure to a speed that leaves a blast where she was followed by a blur across the sky and when you can actually /hear/ the approach it is too damn late.

The concentrated storms, the flare of light and suddenly Rogue circles the group to see what exactly was what, enough speed in that motion that has the trees bending in pass number one, leaves in a flurry to tear horizontally just before the earth in front of Remy kicks up like a wave with her landing.

Much like a base-stealing slide a deep furrow is dug into the ground between Remy and the duo of amped up Agents, one in passing getting picked up by his leg as she slides past, using the momentum and her own strength to swing him up and at his partner like a Louisville slugger.

"Ah almost missed all tha fun!"

Bull in a china shop.



Gambit has thrown his two favorite cards with no apparent effect. The staff is hefted like a javelin and about to let loose when Rogue's entrance has him as surprised as the two who had him cornered.

"Guess I be de dude in distress again, non?" The impact of one HYDRA trooper in to another has him grinning from ear to ear. "Almost said goodbye to my favorite staff. You get dem, River Rat!" Look, the Southern Wrecking Belle has her very own cheerleader.

His focus is fairly directed at the two Micro-Hulks that almost snuffed him and his savior so he has yet to see everyone else's activities.


"Oh, come on, you're not happy to see m-HELLO rock!" The clubs vanish as he creates a wall in mid-air to intercept the rock just in the nick of time. "Geez, so that is the game we're playing? I can play that, too." Vorpal snarls, snapping his fingers. Soon, the monster who threw the rock at him will find several glowing purple safes falling towards him from the sky. At about ten feet in size, each safe is also lovingly stamped ACME, because Vorpal cares. "Safety first!"

Okay, that was terrible, but they can't all be gems. What's important is that safes are raining from the sky at a bad person who can throw fricking boulders and who clearly deserves it. He is wowed, though, by Rogue's entrance. "Holy…!"


They say you can't defend against yourself. That certainly seems to be the case here as Rogue wrecks mini-hulk face with other mini-hulk face. Stylish, that. Remy is saved! Well, probably.

The safes do the trick. Well not the first one. Or the second. The next three though? Totally put that thing on the ground. Over in Storms direction… huh. Mini-hulks are not lightning proof. Who knew? Apparently Storm did. Berto apparently finds his Hulk has a bit of glass jaw. It's still up and swinging but mook is committed now… and then gets hit by that sound. He collapses to the ground, twitching. Ohgodthatstinkssobad.


After making sure she didn't kill her mini-Hulk thing, she starts to be a little more accurate with her lightning strikes. If they can take it, she'll happily dish it out. She always has to be so careful not to hit people with her lightning bolts, so this is a lovely and refreshing change.

"Rogue, can you throw them into the lake? Let them use their energy to keep themselves afloat rather then fighting us."


"Merda, do I ever wish I could fly like that," Roberto says with a grin as Rogue blasts so spectacularly into the fray. Except for gouging a trench in the ground when he lands, of course — he does that part pretty reliably. With his face.

It's not a cheery thought, but it does give him an idea. One more mini-hulk is rushing at him, so he leaps straight at its face and grabs onto its head. Normally, from here he would have no leverage and be easily grabbed and tossed aside. But! Sunspot can sort of fly, using rocket blasts from his corona. So he piles on the momentum and hits hard, knocking the mutate over backward, and then fires a downward blast of thrust. In volleyball, this would be a spike — it's a signature crappy Sunspot landing, but with the force delivered to his opponent's head instead of his own.


With the current crop of Hydrants apparently under control, at least the ones attacking him, Metal is able to focus more on the viral loads. Also, the ones in the guns need to be killed as well, but that might need a different method — he only had a finite amount of the oxidizer.

"Checking for further backup,' Metal says, sending a pair of robin-sized airborne scanners out to look for further signs of enemies beyond these.


Rogue is rising, one hand dusting off those denim shorts, shaking out the hem of one of them, the tatters of threads bearing some of the dirt granules while an obvious smudge runs up her outer thigh to her hip. Road rash for anyone else leaving her unscathed while she pats her leg down and flicks some of that caked earth from the pockets edge. "Ah think I got dirt in all the wrong…"

…Go on dust your shoulders off…

In her other gloved hand though is the ankle of one of the ugly green HydraHulks. She has not quite let him go yet while she now pushes her auburn and white hair back from her face and looks around with mossy green gaze, most of those here unfamiliar to her, ringing brows to a furrow.

"So… what'd Ah miss…" Her eyes go from the others back to Remy and then pausing in the sweep on his cat printed boxers. Her mouth opens, and then closes… "That is a sign of a budding problem.." She states pointing a waggling finger from his boxers to his bare chest.


Like a cartoon the one Rogue is holding by his ankle starts to move and she hefts him up and over her head in an arch to slam him back - then forth from one side to the next until he is unconscious again. Treated much like a ragdoll.

Pot - kettle?

Sunspots display gets her gaze towards him from periphery followed by the onset of a smirk, nodding to Storm's request and dragging the one behind her while she gathers the next, the brown leather bomber jacket slipping off her bare shoulder only to be hefted back up.

The partner is gathered and drug in the same fashion as she gets a bit of a running start and then stops, launching them up and forward to pinwheel limply towards and (maybe) into the lake (because Rogue really doesn't care /where/ they land from there.).



"Oh, stop complaining," Vorpal says with a grin to Sunspot. "You can flame. I wish I could flame." A mutate leaps for him, one arm coming around to punch at him, but the judicious application of a Rabbit Hole means that the HYDRA Mike Tyson ends up, essentially, punching himself from behind. Because the concept is simply hilarious. "— and one word out of your mouth, Roberto, and I will anvil you so hard." He says, realizing the setup he had just given to Sunspot. He looks around as the cleanup happens and dusts his hands. "Well… that was something. Sorry for the delay."


"Remy can help you wid dat sand issue, cher." A glance down at himself when she finger wags and the man grins, one hand drawing the trench closed over his bare chest and legs those cat boxers too. No one pay mind the man is dressed like a flasher right now: Sneakers and a trenchcoat! That's how it's done.

"Dis no problem. This jus' fashion of the 90's lookin' good again." A rakish smile appears before he's looking around them at the carnage. "Time to play clean up. This not gonna look good on paper and we got unfortunate timing that Charles be out of de country right now. " At least last he heard. Slowly his attention peels off from the woman before him to the others, "We good, everyone okay?" He had to ask. Someone always has to ask that question.


That seems to be the last of them. It'll be about ten minutes before the SRD shows up to take possession of the culprits and of course there'll be questions to answer. Probably best left to Berto, but there ya go. The important thing here is that the X-Men were challenged on their own turf and have proven decisively that they won't simply roll over and die for the likes of Hydra. And that is a victory to be savored, even if the time between now and the next crisis will be all too short.

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