Categories > Comics > X-Men > Eternal Flame0 Reviews
Takes place after Ultimate X-men 60. A new force with power similar to the Phoenix begins to manifest in Scott, leading to a confrontation with forces the likes of which the X-men have never faced ...
Chapter 2: Morning Confusion
Jean stayed with Scott through the night, lending what support she could as he remained restless, exhausted, and utterly confused. Eventually, he did manage to fall asleep, but it was still a very troubled rest for the X-leader, who was growing increasingly weary as to where these dreams were leading him.
As the morning sun arose over the Xavier Institute, things went pretty much as they usually did with the residents waking up and gathering downstairs for breakfast. Scott, however, did not wake up as he usually did and continued to sleep well into the morning. Jean was somewhat relieved to see this and eventually managed to slip out of his firm grip in order to make her leave, but not before giving him one last reassuring kiss on the forehead.
'Rest up, babe...' she sent him via telepathy as she stretched her arms in the morning sun before going through her regular morning routine.
Down in the kitchen where breakfast was being served, things were pretty much as lively as they usually were with the exception of the Professor and Scott not being present. But this didn't seem to bother too many of them, even those who had been up to see Scott's little 'episode' last night. For Jean it was sort of frustrating to see their lack of concern, but she set that aside as she grabbed a box of fruit loops and poured herself a bowl.
"You look like shit this morning, Jean," commented Ali, who was sitting next to Warren and sharing a box of Cocoa Puffs, "What's the matter? Wake up floating in mid air again?"
Jean just shot the punk rocker an annoyed look. For a girl on probation, she sure knew how to press her buttons.
"Not now, Ali. I had a rough night," she groaned as she sat down at the table next to Kitty.
"It happened again, didn't it?" said Kitty, casting her friend a worried look.
"What? You mean Scott's nightmares?" said Ororo, who was sitting next to the ever reserved Logan, a habit she had been developing rather precariously lately.
"What gave it away?" she muttered as she took a few bites of her cereal.
"Easy...Only shades can make ya this moody so early in the morning," commented Logan, earning him a scorn from Jean.
"Shut up, Logan! Just because your back doesn't mean I want to put up with your bullshit again! Just leave me alone."
Logan was tempted to make another statement, but a quick glance from Ororo helped restrain him. Jean hated his guts enough and was probably the least thrilled to hear of his return. After having been used by him during the whole Magneto mess and after he tried to kill Scott just to get with her, she had very little admiration for the former living weapon.
Nobody said another word to Jean as she focused on her cereal after that, prompting everybody to focus more on their own affairs. Although that didn't stop some of the others from worrying.
"Are you going to be okay, Jean?" asked Kitty, still worried about her friend.
"Don't worry Kitty. I'll manage."
"But vhat about, Scott?" inquired Kurt, who had been there last night to see what had transpired concerning their friend and leader, "How's he holding up?"
"Not much better I'm afraid," she muttered, not sounding too optimistic about it.
"Yeah, like that's a step up," said Bobby, rolling his eyes as he used his ice powers to make some ice for his water, "I take it he's still going to be the same grouchy drill sergeant during today's danger room session and..."
Then suddenly, just before Bobby could finish he was cut off by the last voice he probably would have wanted to hear at that moment.
"Hey, good morning to you too, Iceman," said Scott as he stepped into the kitchen, still looking quite restless after his rather tumultuous night.
Bobby immediately shut his mouth, prompting a rather humored glance from Kitty, which he tried to ignore. It was bad enough things had fallen apart between them, but after she started seeing Spiderman, he had been a little bitter to say the least.
"Ah, he finally awakens," said Piotr as he handed his friend a bowl from the cabinet, "Did you manage to get any sleep, comrade?"
"About as much as I could muster," he replied in a somewhat monotone voice.
"Well ya look terrible, so it must not have been enough," made Logan as he bit into some freshly made sausage.
"You should talk, Logan. You're practically a poster child for insomnia," muttered Scott as he took a seat next to Jean and began rubbing his still sore temples.
"Hey, I've got healing powers. You don't."
"Yeah, and it shows," said Warren, having never seen Scott this restless in all the time he had been at the institute.
Scott let out a deep groan as he rested his head on his arms, still feeling the effects of several weeks of sleeplessness. He was glad to have gotten some last night thanks to Jean, but it hardly made up for all the rest he had lost. In addition, his mind had still been very preoccupied with that nightmare and even as he walked around wide awake, he couldn't shake the anxious feelings that he felt from it.
"Maybe you should sit today's Danger Room session out, babe," said Jean, putting her hand atop his, "It doesn't look like you're in any condition to handle the stress."
"No, it's okay, Jean...Really," he said, giving her hand a reassuring squeeze in response, "Besides, maybe tearing through a few sentinels will be good for me."
"Hey, it works for me," shrugged Logan as he used his claws to pick up the last remaining pieces of sausage.
Jean wasn't all that fond of seeing her boyfriend put himself through this. It was bad enough for him that he wasn't getting any rest and he was just so stubborn at times that it was hard to get him to think of his own well being. Then again, that probably shouldn't have surprised anybody because if there was one thing they knew about Scott Summers, it's that he tended to put the team before himself...Even if it did drive him crazy at times.
"But seriously, dude...You should watch yourself," said Bobby, "A lack of sleep can really drive people crazy. Remember that episode of the Simpsons?"
"God Bobby! Do you have to relate EVERYTHING to cartoons or movies?" said Kitty, rolling her eyes at her former love interest's immaturity.
"Hey, it's no different then centering your life around some stupid wall crawler!"
"Shut up! He's not stupid you..."
"Guys please!" said Scott, cutting them off before things devolved any further, "My head is killing me enough as it is! Could you argue about this later?"
Both Bobby and Kitty shot each other one last snide look, causing much of the table to roll their eyes, for this spectacle was becoming increasingly common ever since Kitty hooked up with that Spiderman guy they helped a while back. It was clear to anybody with eyes that Bobby was noticeably jealous...But part of that may have been because he was still hung up on Rogue. But for whatever reason, these little escapades were getting pretty annoying and they had enough to deal with already.
"You think those two are ever going to just shut up and make out already?" muttered Ali.
"I don't know. But I sure hope so," said Ororo as she finished up the last of her cereal, "It's starting to even give me a headache."
Later that day, the team suited up for a scheduled Danger Room session and despite some further coaxing from Jean, Scott was there to lead. The Professor also finally made his appearance after having spent the morning in his study. It looked as though he hadn't slept much either, but nobody commented on it as they focused on getting through the task at hand.
"Are you sure we can't help out, Professor?" asked Warren, who was up in the observation deck with Xavier along with Ali.
"You two are still on probation last time I checked, so yes I'm sure," stated the Professor as he brought up the program for the day.
"Man, what a jip," muttered Ali as she casually leaned up against the console, looking indifferent to it all, "We try to do the right thing and what do we get? Probation!"
"Helping a wanted criminal escape is hardly the right thing last time I checked," quipped the Professor in response, "And as I recall, I specifically forbade it."
"Yeah, yeah...I know. But what if, like, we're attacked again like that whole Weapon X shit? Would we still be on probation then?"
"Let's just take things as they come, Dazzler," said the Professor, sounding as though he wasn't in the mood to have this argument again.
Finally, as the program was finally primed to begin, Xavier watched as the team entered into the main arena down below. Scott was there as well, which greatly concerned him after what happened last night, but he could sense no abnormalities other than restlessness and he seemed very much bent on tearing apart a few sentinels to let out his frustration.
"Alright X-men! Line up and get ready," said the Professor into the microphone as the high tech machinery of the danger room began to hum with activity.
"What are our objectives, Professor?" asked Scott as he prepped his visor for what was sure to be some heavy use.
"It's the senior level Sentinel program, level 5," he explained as he brought up a the stat readouts, "You will be placed in the middle of Manhattan during a full scale sentinel attack, but be careful this time because your score is affected by collateral damage."
"So I guess that means keeping it to a minimum?" asked Jean.
"Precisely, now you will also have a time limit, so stay sharp team. And good luck."
As the scenario began to load, the X-men prepared the session. After the whole Washington incident where Beast was killed in the line of fire, they had been running a lot of Sentinel programs. And after the whole fiasco with Longshot, they were also paying special attention to collateral damage.
"Okay guys, you know the drill," said Scott as the familiar city landscape of lower Manhattan formed around them, "Marvel Girl, Iceman, and Nightcrawler stick with me on the north end while Storm, Wolverine, Colussus, and Shadowcat take on the south side."
"Oh joy," commented Iceman, "At least we get a view of Lady Liberty from our end."
"Shut up, Bobby," groaned Kitty.
Scott just rolled his eyes. He had enough frustration to deal with at the moment without having these two at each others' throats. Then again, that's what he hoped to help alleviate once they all had some giant robots to tear into.
"I can see why you split those two up, mien friend," made Kurt under his breath.
"If they can't be mature around one another, then they can't work with one another."
"Well as long as they don't argue in mid battle, that's fine with me," shrugged Jean as she prepared her mind for combat.
Then, as the final structures of the scene finished loading, the Sentinels appeared out of the holographic sky. There were a few mock screams of panic all throughout the streets, but this was solely to give a sense of realism and the team of young mutants prepared to commence the program.
"Okay X-men! Let's move!" ordered Scott as the team split up and began taking on the giant robot humanoids.
There were nearly a dozen Sentinels in all, half on each end of the street. They were running a standard confinement and termination program from the looks of it, a tactic the team was quite familiar with as they put their powers to the test and tore into the pack of killer robots.
"Mutant's identified. Objective: Destroy."
"Seriously, guys...Whoever designed these things needs a visit from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," commented Bobby as he used his ice powers to form a large slide that put him at around chest level with the robots so he could hit them with barrages of icicles.
"Iceman, focus! Sentinels now...Witty banter later!" yelled Scott through the melee as he unleashed a series of powerful optic blasts that disabled one Sentinel while knocking another off balance momentarily.
"Sheesh! Just trying to lighten the mood a bit," said Bobby as he used his powers to freeze some of the weapons systems that were build right into the giant hand of the robot humanoids.
"More like trying to imitate a witty wall-crawler," commented Jean with a slight grin as she took to the air in a halo of fire, using her telekinetic powers to slam a couple of Sentinels together in order to knock them off balance.
"And doing so rather poorly I might add," said Kurt as he used his teleportation powers to handle the civilians.
On the other end, things seemed to be going just as well with Ororo using her weather manipulation powers to kick up a large cyclonic wind to disorient the massive mutant killing machines while Wolverine and Colossus took care of things below hurling cars, punching through metal, and tearing out robot entrails in a plethora of sparks and miniature explosions.
"Get ready you two! I'm going to try to short circuit them with a few lightning bursts, so keep your distance!" said Ororo from the air as she avoided several blasts from the heavily armed Sentinels.
"Just try not to shock us, Ro! Both Petey and I are still part metal last time I checked!" growled Logan as he managed to bring one of the Sentinels down by disemboweling its head with his claws.
"Which is why I ask that you keep your distance!"
Taking a brief moment to help Kitty out with the civilians, Logan and Peter scrambled in order to give the windrider a clear shot. And once they were a safe distance, she unleashed a barrage of lighting upon four of the remaining sentinels.
"That a girl, Storm!" said Kitty as she phased a few civilian holograms through some walls in order to get to them to safety, "Keep those explosions coming!"
"WHAT?" she yelled over the noise.
"I said...Oh never mind!" she said as she converged with Wolverine and Colossus in the main street again.
"I think Spiderman is starting to rub off on her, don't you?" commented the Russian Colossus as they prepared for what they hoped would be her final assault.
"Yeah...Just peachy," muttered Wolverine, who wasn't exactly a big fan of Spidy after a few of their encounters.
Up in the observation deck, the Professor seemed quite pleased with the stats he was getting. The team was definitely showing some signs of improvement and at this rate they would be ready for the next level in no time. Both Warren and Alison seemed to have lost interest in what was going on below, but it was almost over so they didn't count on having to wait much longer.
Then suddenly, things began to take a sudden shift down on Scott's end.
"Okay guys! Just three more!" he reported as he dodged another quick blast from one of the sentinels, "Let's draw them in close and take them all down with one assault!"
"Sounds like a plan, Herr Cyclops," said Kurt as he appeared with a 'bamf' in front of Scott to draw the fire of the raging Sentinel robots.
"Right! I'll be right down," said Jean as she made a quick sweep over the heads of the three remaining robots, "Just give me a second to..."
But before she could finish her sentence, the young psychic was hit by a heavy pulse ray that sent her falling from the sky down towards the hard pavement below.
"JEAN!" yelled Scott, quickly abandoned his position behind a car and leapt out to catch his girlfriend in his arms.
"Yo Cyclops!" yelled Bobby as he joined up with Kurt, "Is she...WHAO MAMMA!"
But before he could finish as well, one of the cars they were taking cover behind was hit and they were both knocked back by the force of the explosion. Scott quickly picked up on this as he held a groaning, yet still conscious Jean in his arms.
"Oh shit..." he cursed as he ran for cover towards the center of the street.
This sudden breakdown didn't go unnoticed by the others on the south end. The sound of the explosion had momentarily diverted Ororo's attention, who was still hovering high in the sky...Which was probably not the best thing to do in a situation like this.
"Cyclops, are you all...AHHHHH!"
Now Ororo was hit as well, causing Logan to spring into action as he leapt off of one of the Sentinel's he had been trying to disable and rushed to her aid.
"I got ya, Ro!" he yelled as he somersaulted through the air and caught her before she hit the ground.
He then tried to get her some cover as well, but apparently the sentinel he had been trying to destroy wasn't quite out of the fight yet.
"Logan! Watch out for the..." began Colossus, but unfortunately his warning came too late.
One of the Sentinels had launched a grenade towards their position and Logan hadn't been fast enough get out of the way. So naturally...He turned his back and bore the blunt end of the explosion, which sent him flying against the wall of a nearby building as the three remaining sentinels closed in.
"Oh boy...This is not good!" said Kitty as she ran over to Logan and Ororo's aid.
"Get them back, Katya!" yelled Colossus as he began hurling cars at the oncoming Sentinels, "I cannot hold them off on my own!"
It was all starting to fall apart. The team was getting boxed in again near the center of the street. Jean and Ororo were slow to recover, so they didn't have any air support and Bobby was still wobbly so they couldn't take the high road either. Scott kept trying to frantically hold them back with a barrage of optic blast, growing increasingly frustrated by their stiff resistance.
"Come on team! Hold your ground!" he yelled, losing more and more control over the chaos, "Stay together!"
"Cyclops! We need to regroup!" yelled Colossus as the gap between them continued to narrow.
"There's no time!" exclaimed the X-leader, keeping his eye on his watch which told the amount of time they had left.
"Then we'll have to...Erahhh!"
This time, Colossus was hit, his momentary distraction giving the mutant killing machines all the time they needed to get of a single lucky shot that hit him right in his metal covered head.
Now the team was really in bad shape and Scott knew it. Looking around, he saw that everybody was slow to get up and their chance for a counterattack was quickly dwindling. Up in the observation deck, the Professor was growing increasingly worried. Even Alison and Warren were showing some renewed interests. He was about to initiate some of the safety measures...When suddenly, one of the readouts began showing signs of some very unusual activity.
"What the..." he began, but before he could make sense of it, his attention was drawn back to the scene below.
Scott was trying to hold them all off on his own, but they just kept coming. He carefully set Jean down behind a car and tried to get a few good shots off, but it was no use. They wouldn't stop coming. They were locking them in their sights.
"Mutant identified. Objective: destroy."
The six robots from both sides looked poised for a single, devastating attack. At this rate, the safety measures would kick in, but in the ever frustrated and anxious mind of Scott Summers that wasn't soon enough. Then suddenly, he found himself overcome with a familiar burning feeling that suddenly consumed him from within.
"Oh no..." gasped the Professor, his tone wrought with dread as the computer began showing him unreal readings.
"Uh, Professor? What the hell is going on with Scott?" said Warren wearily as he looked back down at the scene below.
Scott was now clutching his head and his whole body was beginning to glow a reddish reddish, fiery color. He was yelling out in pain, as if something was attacking him from within. The others saw this as well and were almost mesmerized by it. For a moment, nobody was sure what to do, but as soon as Jean came to and saw what was happening, she yelled out to the others as she took cover.
"Don't need to tell me twice!" yelled Bobby as he and Kitty leapt behind an alley along with Logan and Ororo while Kurt and Colossus joined Jean behind a cluster of cars.
Then finally...It happened. Scott's glowing body suddenly 'exploded' with what looked to be an eruption like blast of bright ruby red energy that was also mixed with bright yellow fire. And all of the sudden, his ruby quartz visor exploded and shattered with a bang as his eyes began to glow brightly and a new force seemed to consume him down to his very soul.
"Pitiful creatures!" he bellowed in a voice that sounded nothing like that of the Scott Summers they knew, "Feel the wrath of the power of the cosmos!"
Everybody stayed low as the glowing body of Scott Summers raised his hands, levitated into the air, and let out a massive bolt of energy that resembled the swish of a sword. It sliced through the last six Sentinels like a hot knife through butter, turning them into mere scrap metal with a single blinding burst of raw power. It was so bright that even the Professor, Warren, and Alison were forced to cover their eyes up in the observation deck and as soon as it faded, the body and mind of the Scott Summers seemed completely overcome by whatever this thing was.
"Heed my words, mortals! I am the universal force of destruction! I am the son of light! I AM HORUS!"
'Scott!' sent the Professor through a powerful telepathic probe, 'Wake up, Scott! Come back to us!'
The sudden burst of psychic energy caused the hovering Scott Summers to falter a bit as he clenched his head in agony, letting out pained screams that echoed all throughout the room.
Another bright burst of energy erupted from his fiery body, causing the others to once again take cover. But once it faded, the force that had consumed Scott Summers retreated along with it and he fell limply to the ground.
"Easy babe...I've got you," said Jean as she used her telekinetic powers to catch him in mid air and gently lower him to the ground.
Once all was said and done, the whole scenario faded and the true extent of the damage that had been caused became clear for all to see.
"Dude..." gasped Kitty as she took in the sight of the mangled components that lay littered all over the floor like twisted scraps.
"Damn! What the hell was that?!" grunted Logan as he rubbed his sore head from the impact he had suffered.
"I...I don't know," said Jean as she gazed anxiously down at her half conscious boyfriend, who was groaning as if he was still in pain.
She could hear his ragged breath, she could feel the weakness in his body, and she could sense the confusion and anxiety surging through his mind. It was truly overwhelming. It left everybody dazed and uncertain as to what was going on. But for Jean, it was an all too familiar sight and what really scared her was that she really felt it.
"Is everybody okay?" said the Professor's voice from the intercom above.
"Depends on your definition of okay," muttered a still sore Bobby.
"We're fine Professor. But Scott..."
"I know...Just get him to the infirmary. I'll meet you there," he ordered as he began to wheel himself out of the observation deck, "The rest of you are dismissed."
"Wait!" said Ororo, not satisfied with just leaving a friend when he was in need, "Professor, I may not be a doctor of sorts, but..."
"I'm sorry, Ororo. But this is not up for discussion. Just leave it to me. I'll let you all know more when I find out more."
The Professor left no room for argument in his words as everybody looked back towards the weakened and half conscious Scott Summers. After what they had just seen, it was clear to them that this was serious and those nightmares that had been keeping their leader up at night were more than just bad dreams. But whatever they were, they left that little mystery in the hands of the Professor.
Later on in the infirmary, Scott was finally resting comfortably on one of the beds. Both Jean and the Professor had been running test after test for the better part of the last three hours, but unfortunately they were no closer to any answers now than they were before. It was just so frustrating because what they had seen sounded like a true, conscious force...One that had taken over the body and mind of Scott Summers. They had no idea what it was, what it wanted, or why it was attacking Scott. And for Jean Grey, it was even harder because this was a road she had been down before.
"So what's the word, Professor?" said a noticeably tired Jean as she collapsed in a seat next to her boyfriend's bed.
"The blood work was...Inconclusive," sighed the Professor, giving her the charts to look over so she could see for herself.
"Figures," she said, not even bothering to give them a second glance.
"I don't understand it. We've done every kind of test and there's no medical reason why Scott should be in this state. The only thing I've managed to find is that his body seems be running on rather high levels of adrenaline, but that's probably just a reaction to whatever it was that attacked him."
Jean found herself at a loss as she took Scott's limp hand in hers and gave it a squeeze. She was almost in tears, feeling very much afraid for her boyfriend's well being. It was hard for the Professor to look at, but he was at just a much a loss as she was.
"I'm sorry Jean, but I honestly don't know what happened to him," he said, casting her a comforting glance, "The readings from the Danger Room scanners were just...Impossible. The only other time I ever managed to pick up such levels of raw power was when you were..."
"The Phoenix...Yeah, I know. Don't think I haven't forgotten that."
"Indeed...But it's not so much so that the energy readings were so high. It's more that they embodied similar energy signatures compared to the ones taken when you were in this same position."
It was a curious matter that the Professor was clearly intrigued by. It was the only real clue they had to go on...The experience with the Phoenix. Jean knew it as well, but she remained silent about it...Something that was certainly not lost on the Professor.
"Jean...Tell me. Did you feel or sense anything when it happened? Did you at all gain any kind of..."
"No Professor," she answered instinctively, "I didn't."
Xavier didn't look convinced and for good reason too. After all, Jean never was all that good at lying. There was clearly something that she wasn't telling him. And as she held Scott's hand, it was clear to him that it was rather serious. But still, he did not send out any psychic probes. Whatever was going through her mind, she kept it secret for a reason and he had to respect that even if it didn't sit well with him..
"Very well then, I'll leave him in your care for now," said the Professor as he turned to wheel himself out, "I'm going to return to my study to do a bit more research on this matter. If he wakes up, try to keep him in bed. It would probably be better that he remain in a relaxed state until we can find some answers."
"Will do, Professor," affirmed Jean, giving Scott's hand a gentle squeeze as she looked back down at his sleeping form, "And don't worry...He's in good hands."
Trusting her word, the Professor nodded as he turned and wheeled himself out. He was still a bit curious as to what Jean was keeping from him, but he would leave that matter for later. For now, he had some serious work to do. And unlike earlier, he had a name to go on...Horus.
While the Professor made his leave to learn more about this mysterious occurrence, Jean remained fixated on Scott. She kept reaching out to his mind with hers, sending him relaxing thoughts as he rested peacefully on the bed. In addition to her telepathy, she was reaching out to him with something else...Something deeper that she couldn't quite put her finger on. It was making her heart rate jump and her hands tremble, but she kept holding onto her lover for strength. Scott needed her now more than ever and she sure as hell wasn't going to let him down.
"It's going to be okay, Scott. I promise you, my love...It's going to be okay."
However, such words would have been far more comforting if she believed them herself.
While the rest of the mansion was reeling from what happened with Scott, there were other mysterious forces at work outside the mansion. Only this time, it took the form of a mysterious figure that descended upon the institute grounds in a mysterious purple haze that seemed to have a mind of its own.
It was mid afternoon and the sun was hanging high in the sky and bathing the whole area in a thick light, yet the figure took no such comfort in the light as he appeared atop the main outer wall of the Xavier Institute and began surveying the land he would have to traverse if he was to achieve his objective.
"The Xavier Institute," the lone figure said aloud, "Not bad."
Once the fog had cleared, the face of Jack Robinson, the mutant warrior known as Slayer, was now clear for all to see. Only this time, he bore no street clothes of any kind. This time, he was decked out in full dark blue body armor that resembled that of a samurai. He also bore a large, decorated sword in an elaborate case on his back as well as a couple of katanas. His imposing form looked ready for combat of any kind and with what he could see before him, he had quite a challenge ahead of him.
"Of all the places such great power could manifest, it had to happen within these walls," he mused as the mark over his eye began to glow a bright yellow color, "Oh well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Guess it's going to have to be sooner."
He kept scanning the area, using his all seeing eye to zero in on his target. There was a lot to sift through and he tried to make a mental note of anything and anybody he saw. He noticed quite a few adversaries that could potentially stand in his way, but he wasn't too concerned about them. He had only one objective and once his all seeing eye found what he was looking for, he prepared to make his move.
"Ah, there you are. Scott Summers...Not a bad vessel. He's already in the final stages. But no matter, he'll know the true scale of what he's becoming soon enough. And I suppose that it's up to me to make sure he learns it right. Ready or not, Horus...Here comes Slayer."
AN: Oh boy, now it's starting to get a little tense! Now it seems as though the Phoenix isn't the only super powerful cosmic force to worry about. And it's manifesting in Scott Summers, no doubt. Coincidence? Well, you'll just have to wait and see! Now Slayer is poised to make his move! The complications are just beginning folks! Stay tuned to see where it's all leading! So what do you think so far? Want to read more? Please tell me! Send me your reviews via email or post them on the fanfiction website! Thank you all very much for reading and I wish you all the best!
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