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GDP_ST

Ep. V Intermission: Cade

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Wednesday 28th August

Cade was a little sandy-headed when he came down to breakfast, his thoughts awhirl with the action of the day before, hoping the cats they had rescued were okay, and the not-so-fake loveliness of his sorta-fake girlfriend, so it took him awhile to notice something amiss.  His father had already left for the day, keeping sheriff's hours especially in the wake of the craziness yesterday, and only his mom and half-sister were in the kitchen when he got down there.

The first clue was Haruka.  His sister was quieter than her usual exuberant self, though she greeted Cade with a smile and a teasing comment about his hair needing combing she quickly fell more or less silent, focusing on her phone and her breakfast plate and only occasionally looking up.  When she did it was to cast a concerned glance at her mother, who now Cade came to think of it was being unusually forceful with the pans, dishes and cupboard doors.

His other travails set aside, the young man examined his step-mom. Miyako was usually cheerful, laid back and kind, rarely saying a bad word about anyone or complaining about more than the occasional muddy footprint on her spotless floors.  This morning she seemed upset about something, distracted as she served up his eggs and bacon with an absent 'good morning, son', then turning back to her impromptu kitchen percussion recital.

Though Cade had somewhat resented his father's moving on, at least at first, it was hard for him to resent Miyako.  She had been utterly patient and kind, even in the face of his childish surliness, and had actually won him over even before he'd forgiven his dad.  And of course, he doted on his kid sister - woe betide the world when she started dating - and so when something was amiss with his family, it was hard to sit back and do nothing.  But how to proceed...?

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"Okay, what's wrong?"  Cade asked, looking to his sister, and knowing his mother could easily hear him.  "You..."  he looked at his sister, "Are never this quiet in the morning, and you know dad's rule about phones at the table."  That was enough to make Haruka sigh, and put down her phone, though she didn't answer him.

"Mom, whatever's got you upset, you know you can tell me.  You have before.  We face it all together.  That's what you taught me."  He spoke  quietly, not really irrate, but he wasn't particularly in the mood to beat around the bush with small-talk before they actually got to the heart of the matter.

He knew she was probably worried about the quarantine, and as a nurse herself, the whole thing definitely had to seem very off to her.   He also knew his father hadn't helped overmuch by not telling her anything, not that Cade himself could do so either.  "You keep banging on everything like that you'll chip a dish, dent a pan, or break a door, and never forgive yourself."  He ate a few more bites quietly, as he waited for his step-mother to answer, since his sister remained uncharacteristically mute.

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Posted (edited)

"Haruka.  Go finish getting ready for school."  Mom's tone was unmistakable, and even though Haruka was not quite done pushing her breakfast around the plate she slid from her chair and hurried out of the room, her air one of almost gratified relief to be out of the tense atmosphere.  Miyako fiddled around arranging some of the dishes in the sink, then abruptly turned and sat down at the breakfast table, her pretty features set in an expression of worried concern as she leaned close to Cade, studying his eyes as she spoke.

"Cade, this is hard for me...  And you and your dad are close, so it is going to be hard for you too.  But you're right."  she placed a hand over his, squeezing slightly.  "Things that come along, we have to face together."

"What's wrong, mom?"  Cade was more concerned now.  This seemed more than some minor upset or emotional turbulence over the hospital situation.  Miyako smiled, as she usually did when he called her mom, and Cade's concern increased as he saw her eyes glisten with nascent tears.

"I love your dad.  I trust your dad.  But..."  she hesitated.  "Do you think he might... have an affair?"  She looked at the frozen expression on her stepson's face and plunged on.  "For a week or two, he comes home late, and sometimes does not answer his phone for ages.  Not so bad, yes?  He is a busy man, and perhaps I am just worrying about nothing, but it is not normal.  And then..."  She squeezed his hand even tighter.  "I smelled perfume on his shirt two days ago.  Up by the collar."  Miyako's eyes were filled with fear and sadness, as well as reluctance to share her findings.  "I didn't talk to him about it.  I am afraid I am just being foolish, but.. he left early today.  Before breakfast, even."  Cade's stepmom looked lost.  "No words, just gone when I come downstairs.  I texted him, no reply yet.  Again, perhaps it's sheriff business... But I feel something is wrong, Cade.  You know how they say women know, and all the jokes about intuition?  It's not a joke right now: I feel something is wrong."

Edited by GDP_ST

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"Dad's got alot on his plate mom, that's all.   He's kept pretty erratic hours my whole life, so I guess I"m used to it."   He moved his other hand to enfold hers.  "Dad would never cheat on you Mom.  You're too perfect.  You're his rock, the only thing keeping him sane through life.  More than me, or Even Haruka.  You support him, you support us, selflessly.  There's always been stuff Dad couldn't talk about, it's the nature of his job, especially as he is top of the totem pole among local Law Enforcement."

he knew his mother was right there definitely was something wrong in Shelly, but so far his dad really hadn't done anything differently than he had the previous decade.  "You know how some of the women in town are, I'm sure you've heard the talk.  Alot of them are jealous of you, because I've overhead alot saying he's a real catch.   I know he's the sheriff and works hard for everyone, but you gave up all you knew in Japan and came here with him.   You have a bond with dad that can't be broken.  Nobody around here's got a chance against you, Mom."

He smiled, and it was the same sort of smile Ian had when he consoled her, Truly his father's son.  

"I've felt something's been off here in town too, you know, but with you and Dad, no.  I don't think so.  If he's being secretive he's got a reason.   Whatever it is, if you really are concerned, Be honest with him.  I can take Haruka with me to go somewhere if you two need some time, but don't let the uncertainty linger."  Cade didn't have a whole lot of experience in this sort of thing.  He genuinely believed his dad was not engaged in some infidelity.  If he was, and Cade found out, he'd say something alot less polite than anything Miyako would say.

"Call later and find out when he's coming home, make his favorite, which he knows I'm not fond of, and Haruka and I will go catch a movie or something so you two can talk over dinner.  We'll come home tonight, or we can stay out.  We've both got friends we can stay with."

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"Yes."  Miyako nodded, thoughtfulness replacing worry in her expression as she repeated with more certainty.  "Yes.  That's a good idea, Cade."  She smiled then, reaching over and hugging him, then ruffling his hair slightly.  "You're a wise young man - I can hardly call you a boy." she teased, her good humor restored somewhat.  "You don't mind looking after Haruka this evening?  I know you have a new girlfriend..."

"Hey, if it'll help you and dad, I'll keep the rugrat out of your hair."  he grinned back.  "We'll go round a friend's place to hang out or something.  Don't worry - we'll tell you where we'll be."

"Good."  she smiled, giving him another hug as she stood up.  "Finish your breakfast, then.  Are you alright giving Haruka a ride to school?"

"Always, mom."  Cade nodded around a mouthful of eggs.

= = = = = = = = = = =

"So where are we going to hang out tonight?"  Haruka asked as the Jeep pulled into the school parking lot.  Once Cade had told her that the problem was simply their parents needing some Mom and Dad time, she'd cheered up immeasurably.

"Not sure yet."  Cade shrugged.  "You might be able to go round to Jolene's, if her mom is cool with it."  Jolene was Haruka's bestie, a tomboyish eleven-year old girl who wouldn't, at first glance, be the most obvious close friend for Haruka - but they seemed to have a positive effect on each other and were as thick as thieves at school and home.

"Don't want me hanging around cramping your style with Marissa and your buddies, huh?"  Haruka giggled at him.  "Or is it just Marissa?  Someone was getting a lot of texts last night."

"One day,"  Cade replied, his eyes narrowing in mock warning.  "Sooner than you think, you are going to be dating.  And when that happens, he will be the most terrified guy in school."

"You wouldn't bully a guy just because I like him."  Haruka protested, poking Cade's arm with a finger.  He grinned wide.

"Want to bet?"

"Fine.  Message received."  Haruka mimed zipping her lips shut.  "No more talk about texts."  She shot him a grin and clambered out of the jeep, hurrying off to the Elementary school side of the building.

School was quiet - possibly due to the absence of Jason Bannon.  Cade still wasn't sure how he was planning to deal with that wrinkle in his life - Jase was a friend, sure, but how much of a friend could a psychopath be?  Like Marissa said, how long before Jase saw a reason to turn on someone inside the circle of the Fellowship - and would do so without compunction or remorse?  He set that aside for now, but wondered how long he could continue to do so.  Right now, though, he had to figure out what he was going to do with his evening...

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Posted (edited)

He got a text from Haruka at lunch, saying that she wasn't going to be able to go to Jolene's.   "Damn."   Cade sighed, "Guess there's no choice."   He and Marissa had planned to get together to watch movies one night.  Sure they could go to the theater, but  Haruka being a third wheel there well, it definitely wasn't going to be a date  night now.

He sat in the booth he and Marissa had claimed, near enough to where the Fellowship ate, though they hadn't eaten together as much as before, what with everything that was going on.  He had just been about to text Marissa, when he saw her coming, and smiled as she took a seat.   

"Hey," she smiled a greeting, her tone light-hearted and she sounded happy to see him. "Sorry, meant to be here sooner, but Devin and my dad were arguing and I had to step in before he had an emotional reaction and accidently," she looked around to see who might hear her. "Did his, you know, thing to get out of there. Our parents do not need to see him do that, it will be more drama that this town needs. So. I am all yours now. Feed me and make me happy."

"Yeah, less drama around here is better. I've already had enough for today. Which is part of what I wanted to talk to you about. I know you'd mentioned something about a movie night, well my parents need Haruka and I out of the house tonight."

He still wasn't perfectly at ease, but when she said feed her she apparently meant not just food and leaned in expecting a kiss. He was still a bit on the fence with the mixed signals she gave off, especially considering their relationship was supposed to be fake. Needless to say, he didn't mind in the slightest.  "Do you mind if we just do a "Netflix and Chill" night at your place, and if I bring my sister?" maybe it wasn't the best way to go about it, and he fully expected to have to explain why this was so necessary.

Marissa giggled at her date. "Cade," she tried to stop laughing. "You know 'Netflix and Chill' is a euphemism for 'come over and have sex', right? Probably not the best environment for your kid sister be in, but," she shot him a wink that told him she was completely picking on him now. "I am game is you are."

"I did not." he said and blushed abit, which absolutely lent credibility to that statement. "I really just meant us sitting around watching movies, and me probably getting teased all night by two girls who really seem to enjoy it." he grinned and did actually lean in to kiss her. He knew she probably already knew he wasn't proposing that, but she just had to tease him.

"Thanks for understanding."

"No problem." She popped open her mirror to check to see if their kissing had offset her makeup in anyway. Taking care around her lips to see if it needed a touch up. "We'll have the house all to ourselves, so we can get up to all kinds of mischief. I will grab some drinks and snacks, text me what she likes and just let me know what time you two are planning on being by. Easy."

Cade nodded. "Dad's supposed to be home for five according to mom, so we need to be gone by then. As to food and drink, I know she's big on sweets, Dad calls her his little cookie monster. Anything with chocolate and it just vanishes. Soda or tea, I know she likes Dr Pepper over most anything.  Neither of us is what I'd call picky, I'll try eating most anything at least once."

"Oh ho, I will hold you to that," she shot him a teasing smile as her eyes creeped around the edge of her phone where she typed out a shopping list. "Got it and I we are ordering pizza, because this momma does not cook. If you want a cook, date my brother."

"Sounds good. I prefer meat-lovers pizza myself. I cook mostly meat dishes at home, when Mom's not feeling well, or they're both out. Haruka's the one who's actually versatile. She's learning from mom and all three of our grandmothers." He smiled at her. "This is going to be a fun night, I can already tell." he said as he offered her another morsel from the end of his fork.

(thanks to Dave for his help here)

Edited by Cade
post made better by input of others

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As quiet nights in went, it was going well.

Haruka was at her bubbly charming best, enough so that Marissa was cuted out and almost wished for a little sister...  Though the beautiful teen dream conceded privately to herself that other people's kid sisters, behaving themselves as a guest in someone's house, were probably a lot better than actually living with one.  Still, eleven years old wasn't the nightmare time, and Haruka was as cute as a button sewn onto a particularly adorable stuffed toy.  She also had a playful wit, slyly teasing Cade in front of his girlfriend with some anecdote or other,  and then looking innocent when called on it.  And it was fun, doing stuff like 'sneaking' a kiss from Cade, knowing that Haruka would see it and start making barf noises.

For his part, Cade was feeling pretty chilled - though not 'Netflix and Chill'd.  God, he'd really thought all this time it just meant hanging out and watching TV, when actually his friends were talking about...  Yeah, that was still good for a warm face when he remembered how innocent he'd been about the phrase.  Marissa and 'Ruka seemed to be hitting it off, discussing the merits of various male actors for the show they were watching in a way calculated to tease the one male present, which he took in good sportsmanship.  

It was perhaps eight thirty when his phone buzzed in his pocket, and as Haruka giggled at a sly comment of Marissa's involving the rear of one of the leading men in the show, Cade smiled and fished the phone out.  Seeing the call was from his mother, he frowned and got up from the couch, motioning to the other two to keep on watching as he moved to the counter, some distance from the TV area of the Twins basement rec area.

"Mom?" he said quietly, then frowned deeper as he heard a faint sniffle on the line.

"C-Cade.  He's not home."  The impressively proportioned young athlete stared at the far wall of the basement room as his mother continued tearfully.  "I made his favorite, and f-found out when he would be off work from his office.  He was supposed to be back t-t-two hours ago.  I called the station and they said he went off-duty at six-thirty, right on schedule.  His phone is going straight to voicemail, Cade."  The woman who'd tried so hard to be a mother to him for eleven plus years broke down, crying openly.  "I'm scared. I don't know what's going on!"

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"It will be fine Mom, don't worry.  I'll find him, and get him home.  Haruka can stay over here while i do."   Miyako wondered where he was, but at the same, if he was willing to let Haruka remain there, he trusted whoever was there.   He was protective of few people so much as his younger sister.  "Alright Cade, please find him."  

She seemed to calm down as he hung up.   Quickly he called Sean.   "Hey Sean, I need a big favor."

"What's that?"  

"Dad's vehicle is gps'ed.   I need to know where it is, right now."

"It is very illegal.."

"Sean.  Please help me find my dad, my mother's freaking out completely."   Hearing the seriousness in his voice, and given how simple it actually was, Sean sighed.  "Alright.  I'll text you the address."  Sean hung up, and opened a program on his laptop.

Cade meanwhile, head back to where Marissa and Haruka were.   "Marissa, can you watch Haruka for abit?  I have to go deal with something for my parents, much as I don't want to."

"You're leaving a date night you asked for to run an errand for your parents, and you want me to babysit your sister while you do?   Cade could fully understand the tone of her reply, and knew he'd pay for it later.   "Yeah.   I hope I won't be gone too long."

Haruka seemed abit concerned, even as her brother's gaze turned to her.  "And you, don't spill all my secrets to my girlfriend."

"No promises." came the younger Allister's reply.   "Especially if you keep me in the dark about what you're doing."   

"Later, Haruka."  

"Then your secrets may or may not be known."   she teased, despite his serious tone.  

He let out an annoyed "Elder brother" grunt, and his phone went off indicating a message from Sean.

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The address Sean texted was, Cade noted with a sinking feeling, a motel.  In Brady, a town roughly 30 miles down Interstate 15 from Shelly, a halfway point between there and Great Falls.

It's fine.  He might be there to... to help out the local law with... with... Crap. CrapcrapCRAP.  Dad, you'd better have a damn good explanation.  Cade thought as he drove down the interstate.  He'd made mom cry.  He was scaring her - hell, he was scaring Cade with this crap.  He resisted the urge to speed - that'd be all he needed, for the State cops to catch him with a radar as he went to confront his maybe.. possibly... cheating dad.

He didn't want to believe it.  It had to be anything else.  Hell, he'd take his dad doing deals with meth dealers from Great Falls over having an affair.  Well, mostly.  That would still be utterly shitty, but at least it wouldn't be cheating.  He's a Marine.  Semper Fidelis, for crying out loud!  Always Faithful.  Even I know that one.  His dad was a moral backbone in Shelly, a constant star to steer by, a strong figure of slightly heavy-handed but fair authority.  Cade was finding his composure sorely tested on that drive, remembering how cut up Charlie had been when his dad had cheated.  That thought engendered another fear:  would dad leave mom?  He felt a pricking in his eyes at the thought, and willed the tears to stay down.  He had to focus - not on his fears and imaginings, but on what was before him.  Be prepared for anything.

Right.

There was a buzz from his phone, and glancing down Cade saw that Sean had sent him another text.

//Kept an eye on it.  On the move again.  North up I15//

Cade narrowed his eyes at the darkened road ahead, now and then punctuated by headlights of cars on the other side.  He figured by the road markers he was perhaps five miles from Brady, so pretty soon now one of those sets of lights on the oncoming side would be...

Yep.

He saw the Sheriff Department cruiser head past, going the other direction up to Shelly.

"Fuck." he muttered, an epithet which would have made his mom and sister gasp, and probably caused Marissa to wink and fan herself.  He couldn't pull a u-turn on the Interstate... could he?  And if he waited to change direction properly, then he'd be in Brady...  where the motel was.  At which point, he could either do what Cassie would do, and play detective, or else turn around and chase his dad's tail-lights all the way home...

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"Really Dad, whatever the hell this is, you better have an explanation.   Turning around right away was out of the question, not because he couldn't but he knew it was a bad idea.   He head on to Brady, annoyed, and having lost time, and sight of the vehicle   A quick text to Sean let him know what had happened, and got him to keep tracking the vehicle.  

It took some cajoling but he did, even as Cade made his way back to Shelly.   "You better have gone home dad."  he scowled as he drove.

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He had indeed gone home.  Sean had signed off ten minutes ago with a final text that his dad's car was parked outside the house, and that this never happened, and Sean was never there, and that Cade's phone would self-destruct in ten seconds.  A moment later a second text had arrived with a stuck-out tongue emoji and a "J/K", which in other circumstances would have made Cade chuckle, but for now was only good for a faint snort of amusement.

When Cade's jeep pulled up and he killed the engine, he could hear raised voices from inside.  Life was crazy - his mom never raised her voice.  Sure, she could scold when a mess was left uncleared up or she found Haruka's sneakers laying in the lounge. But not like this.  She was upset.

"...and you still haven't said where you were!"  she could be heard tearfully accusing as Cade opened the front door and slipped inside.  "I made your favorite.  I sent the children out for the night.  I sat here for hours-"

"I was busy."  Cade's father's voice was a stoic rumble.  "I had work-"

"LIAR!" his mom screamed - actually screamed.  "You went off-duty at six thirty.  I called the station.  They told me!"  They were in the lounge facing each other, and Cade could see the look of anger on his mom's face and the resentful/guilty expression on his dad's.  "Why are you lying?!  Where did you go?!  TELL ME!"  Even as she finished the demand she broke into sobs, her hands coming up to cover her face as she sank onto the couch.  Ian looked at her, plainly feeling shitty, then glanced up and saw Cade.  His expression changed, became composed, and he looked back at Miyako before sitting down next to her.

"I got a call from someone about the disappearances - they wanted to speak to me but were afraid of officially making a statement.  I went to meet with them, both to hear what they had to say, and to try and persuade them to make that statement."  he said quietly.  "That's all I can say about it, Miyako.  Really."  He glanced up in the direction of the dining room.  "If I'd known about your dinner plans, I'd have met them another night.  I wouldn't miss a night in with you." he said with a tone of regret in his voice as he put an arm around her.  "I'm sorry."

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Ian Allister would remember the look on his son's face for the rest of his life.  It wasn't a look that a seventeen year old should even be capable of, and to see it on his son's face, well it was good that Miyako couldn't see it.  Rage, loathing, and disgust transfigured and darkened Cade's features into a terrible Scowl.   He KNEW that something more had happened, and Ian knew Cade wasn't happy.  Later  Ian mouthed to his son, who turned and left quietly, after holding up his phone. His mother never knew he was there, and Cade left, heading back to the Jauntsen's.

There was no hiding something had happened, and yet, Cade would only say he'd tell them once he had it sorted himself.  After several hours, Cade got the call from his father.  Marissa agreed to look after Haruka for the night, with Cade promising to play pack mule for a shopping trip to be determined later, for both of them.  The promise made by Marissa to corrupt his sister made him chuckle.  At least they got along, much as he knew they would.  It was one less headache.

He head home to find his father waiting for him,  in the Kitchen.   "Well?" Cade nearly growled out at his father.   He was in control, despite the anger roiling within, still, he wanted answers.

"Well what?" Ian Allister's face was hard and his eyes wary as he faced his angry son. "You got something you want to say to me, Cade?" He pointed a finger of the hand holding a beer bottle at the star athlete. "Because you might want to moderate your tone if you do. Whatever you think you know, you don't understand shit."

"So educate me dad.   Give me something.   My mother planned it all for you.  Haruka and I left so you and mom could have a nice night to yourselves, because I know you haven't in a long time.   You ghosted her, you've been working alot.  You always have, but to not call and let her know anything,   I know you're my dad, and maybe you don't think you owe me an explanation, that I'm just some kid.  You made mom cry, made her panic, enough that she called me, and i went to find you."

"I know about the motel in Brady.  I passed you on the Interstate."

He looked at him, and Ian was surprised to not see a look of accusation.  His son despite his anger, didn't want to believe the worst.   "Please tell me what's going on Dad.  Help me understand.  I don't want to see Mom cry again, or Haruka. So let's talk, here, or somewhere else Dad, somewhere you feel you can."

Edited by Cade

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"You know about the motel, huh?"  Ian Allister said with a hint of accusation in his voice.  "And how, exactly?"

"Where else would you meet someone in Brady who didn't want to be seen meeting anyone?"  Cade answered, aware even as he said it that he'd overplayed his hand a little.  His father's eyes took on a hard glint.

"And how did you know I was in Brady, Cade?  Hmm?"  Ian Allister stepped forward, jabbing a finger at him.  "Looking for me, in exactly the place I was, when you were supposed to be minding your sister or making out with Marissa Jauntsen!?"  He slammed the bottle down on the table.  "Want to know what I think?  I think you called in one of your little friends.  Let's see - who do you know who can locate a man: by his cellphone, perhaps... or perhaps the GPS tracker in his damned car!?"

Cade stood his ground, controlling his own angry response.  "You've still not answered the question."

"Here's an answer.  Stay out of my business, or so help me next time I'll have your friend on a federal computer crime watchlist and turn the Bannon Farm upside down for contraband.  I've given your friends a lot of leeway because they're your friends, but when they start doing as they please to mess with my life...?  You want to play big kids rules?  That's how it works."  His tone softened a little.  "You kids have got enough on your shoulders already.  Don't fret about me and your mother, Cade.  Focus on this Dark, and the Crossroads thing.  Get me some evidence I need to start arresting people or calling in the proper authorities.  And don't go poking your nose into ordinary people's lives."

With that, he brushed past his son and headed upstairs, leaving Cade, at least for the moment, quietly seething with frustration and anger.  He'd never felt further apart from his father as he did right now.  The man was lying, lying through his teeth, and then threatening the use of his authority to get Cade to back down.  Why?  What was he hiding?  Deep down, Cade knew, and hated that the logic was as inescapably cold and ruthless as any thought process Jase could put together.

There were no answers in the kitchen.  Slowly, Cade turned and made his way out of the house that was becoming less of a home.  His gaze barely saw the road as he drove back to Marissa's.  He didn't know what he was going to do - but contrary to his father's demand, he felt in his bones that there must be something.

Spoiler

Intermission wrapped.  +3 XP for good characterisation and roleplaying as well as collaborative effort.

 

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