barbara_icon.gif cat_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif francois_icon.gif lynette_icon.gif

Scene Title Communication
Synopsis Francois summons the available Ferry council to make a request.
Date March 22, 2011

Pollepel Island: Burial Grounds

It starts with one freshly turned grave, a swatch of black earth that will only grow over with flora in the coming spring. Out the corner of one's eye, an erected cross, leading the gaze to yet another burial site. And another. Moving through the trees, the evidence of burial becomes more frequent, coming to a cluster at an open clearing devoted to burying the dead of the Ferrymen. There are rocks of grey and black to mark each site, and on chalk that is renewed nearly every day, especially when the rain comes, are the names of the deceased, the day of their death, and their age.

Placeholders, for when they can be honoured properly. This place is quiet, reverent, and almost claustrophobic in the press of trees and the density of the buried. Crosses made of wood, both cut and raw, can be spied looming their shadows like guardians, save for one cross made of metal, a relic of a church perhaps, leaning against a tree.

Rain comes down as a thin, gauzy sheet of wetness, one that can be readily curbed by thick canopy, woolen hoods, or even bowed heads. Francois trusts only the first part to protect him, even turning his face up to the eerily dark late afternoon, a time for crows and inside activities and grey puddles, and welcome to the ice-tinged fall ghosting down. He wears a green scarf, the kind with a loose enough knit that one can stick their fingers through without stretching, and it snakes over brown leather jacket, the grey cotton beneath. Blue denim, damp up to the knees, and boots that sink into soft earth that's been disturbed a number of times.

Too many times. Francois, presently, doesn't look like someone you want to randomly encounter in a makeshift graveyard — though he isn't very tall or even very threatening a person, the bruises on his face suggest someone who's life exposes them to brawls and related unpleasantness. A darkened eye and a bruised mouth, a few days fresh, and stark on pale skin.

Carding fingers through rain-slicked hair, he resumes pacing around the clearing, soaking up the quietness as he waits for the arrival of those who have decided to see what's going on.

Well, if there's anything Lynette can't resist besides a good martini, it's curiosity. She comes strolling up through the rain in a hooded jacket. And while Francois looks a fright, Lynette looks fairly healthy and even seems to be in a good mood.

"Well, you look like you've had an interesting night," she greets, her smile a little crooked. If the dream she had that involved him is bothering her at all, she's doing a good job not showing it.
He isn't alone long. Booted feet, below jeans and a hooded lighter jacket, also an umbrella, tread the earth behind him in a somber approach. The attire generally serves to obscure body shape, make it more difficult to divine her as woman or man. The French doctor, having been spotted, is addressed in a quiet and familiar voice using his native language.

"Salut, Francois," offers the woman who never forgets.

From there Cat's eyes drift over to Lynette. "You've had more than an interesting night," she dryly remarks, "from what I'm told you could have several interesting nights all in the same stretch of time."

Barbara isn't far behind Lynette, the old NYU sweatshirt she is often spotted wearing now held tightly over her head - she can get by without it on the rest of her body so long as she can protect herself from the rain falling above. Really, it's not really where she wants to be at the moment, the chance of getting sick on the island is high enough without traipsing out into the rain. But so it goes, and she's still out here with a somewhat feigned smile on her face.

A look and a nod is given over to Cat as she walks up, Barbara letting out a bit of a sigh. "Why, hello everyone," she says with a bit of a musement, eyes moving from person to person.

There is a difference between hearing about death and then witnessing firsthand. Eileen's work has kept her away from the island, but now that she's actually here and can smell the damp soil covering the graves dug by those left behind, she finds herself at the mercy of a deluge of emotions — guilt and remorse the most powerful among them, though not nearly as crippling as what kept her separate during the initial days following the network's mass exodus from New York City back in November.

That feels like a lifetime ago. She is the last to arrive in wool and leather thoroughly soaked by the rain, her dark hair like tendrils of ink running wet down a solemn face that has aged a decade in the last two and a half years. The Englishwoman has not come from the indoors — the temptation to look in on Astor is too strong, and at the moment the kind she'd like to avoid succumbing to. That and all forms of human contact.

She makes an exception for this.

"Bonjour," is a general murmur to the group and their varied greetings and alternative silence, a green-eyed glance fleeting to Lynette and managing a sore looking half-smile at her comment. Francois isn't about to explain the bruises as dark as the unshaven grain along jaw and throat, because it's not what he came here to do— well. Actually. It might be. But first thing is, as always, first. "I will try to be swift — this seemed like a quiet and pragmatic place to talk until the skies opened."

Although he seems comfortable in the damp, or at least, not showing his discomfort on the outside. "I have a few things to address. The Endgame group as led by Elisabeth Harrison and Richard Cardinal, and communications. And another, about a potential refugee. Thank you for coming."

Lynette waves a hello to the others as they come along, and she takes up a spot sort of next to Barbara, a hand going to the other women's arm in a brief, but warm greeting. There is an extra glance for Eileen, just a look over for obvious wounds and the like.

But as Francois starts to explain what the meeting is all about, the blonde looks over his way, an eyebrow lifting. "Sounds like a party. Endgame wants communications with us?"

Her brows lift in a fashion which might be described as Spockesque, which fits well as she's on more than one occasion been accused of having pointed ears and green blood instead of red. "Endgame has a number of avenues to communicate," Cat replies, "there's me, and Barbara, and apparently a number of nameless others. Last time I spoke with Richard, he said persons among us have approached to say they're going freelance or wanting to work with him, because we've become militant. That we're becoming Messiah, and hiding from the world. I partly suspect it was Richard being himself, trying to sow seeds of doubt. But I do wonder."

She takes a silent moment to exhale a slow breath.

"I was also told he recently had an encounter with Sylar, and asked why he wasn't told Gabriel was back to his old activities."

Barbara grimaces a bit at the mention of Endgame. She hasn't spoken to Richard Cardinal or Elisabeth Harrison in some time. Not unless one counts the bizarre dream she had not too long ago. But the talk of them becoming like Messiah and sowing seeds of doubt catches her a bit off guard, the redhead looking over in Cat's direction with a look of surprise. "What? I can't see why Richard would want to spread doubt with us. Unless he has something against us I'm not aware of, and in that case I don't believe Elisabeth would allow such a thing."


But that's not what catches her attention the most. Looking back to Francois, she quirks an eyebrow at him, looking thoughtful. "A potential refugee? I… am unsure about bringing anyone new to the island, at the moment. Not while we're still dealing with the outbreak, and I haven't heard back on any of the safehouse scouting on the mainland."

"Cardinal owns Redbird Security Solutions," Eileen puts in, her voice soft but rough with something that's difficult to place, "which the government has contracted to do its work alongside Stillwater, which assisted in the raids that drove us out of New York last year — either he's an active participant in what the Department of Evolved Affairs and Colonel Heller are doing, or he's so self-absorbed that he doesn't care.

"If we have allies who have chosen to dissociate themselves with us in favour of his little group, then they weren't worth having as allies to begin with." A gloved hand cinches a little tighter around the wolf's head cane she carries, thin rivulets of rainwater misting on the ornate silver handle and gathering between its teeth. "Elisabeth Harrison is in command of Frontline unit assigned to New York City, and has orders to shoot a number of us on sight. They're playing both sides because they haven't the courage to make any real decisions apart from the kind that ensures their own survival — it's only a matter of time until their lack of resolution explodes spectacularly in their faces, and when it does I think it would be wise if they knew as little about our operation as possible."

That's not a no. "I'm not against sharing intelligence with Endgame, only sensitive information we cannot afford to fall into the government's hands. I don't know what business he has with Gabriel but perhaps he ought to take that up with the man himself, though you should feel free to tell him, Catherine, that if he so much as breathes on him I'll put a bullet between his eyes myself."

Hands go up, bare of gloves, rings, scarless and cleanly kept as a surgeon might have the knack to. Steady on, ladies. He has said like five words!

Bon dieu.

Francois' expression is neutral as he patiently waits out reaction, hands coming back together to fold. He lets silence settle for a beat as he collects his speechifying. "I want Endgame to have communications with us," he clarifies. There. "In a second, mademoiselle," this to Barbara, "and I shall explain one thing at a time — but non, I am not proposing a new Evolved on Pollepel." His smile grows crooked. "It is worse than that, in a way.

"But Endgame is the main reason I am here. I am one of them myself." He squares a look to Eileen, not really apologetic. It is what it is. "And due to their affiliations, they have good intelligence— government level intel— that my instinct is to inform the Ferry so that we can adequately defend ourselves. Humanis First infiltration, and other notions. I can assure you now that I would never run with those who align with Heller and the Evo Affairs Department. But you can see how that would be abusive, if I freely shared information between divisions and without permission on either side.

"And good relations. Elisabeth has reasons of her own to maintain distance, not the least of which is her career, and Richard has little trust of us these days, but that is because he chooses not to know what we do and why we do it. I have faith in him enough that I do not think it is malicious, or truly deliberate."

He takes a breath, lets it out. "And so I managed to volunteer myself to act as a liaison, so that we know what we can to function. No offense intended to those here who feel they are a good enough contact for Endgame. But they have no reason to doubt my loyalty — your roles as leaders," and he speaks mainly to Cat, here, "put you in a position of other priorities. And hopefully the vaccine raid has your faith in me as well."

A sharp look from Eileen to Catherine. "Please do not tell him such a thing. I think that is bad diplomacy. In fact, if such a thing needs to be communicated, I volunteer for the mirror role I was given in Endgame."

There's just a little chuckle from Lynette. Oh irony. "Well, I'm not one of them, but I like Richard and Elisabeth both just fine. I don't think they are, at present, trying to sow seeds of doubt or otherwise harm the network. That being said, Eileen is right that their link to the very government is a danger we can't really afford to be flippant about. Whatever their reasons for dabbling a toe in both pools, there are pros and cons to that decision. And I'm sure they're keeping their own sensitive intel to themselves and it's imperative for us to do likewise. The information that keeps us and our charges safe. But I do think there's a level of information that can be given. And it's important we do communicate with those who have an ear to the ground. Particularly ones who might be able to warn us if Heller and his kind are coming right for us." Lynette looks over at the other ladies, tossing in her endorsement for Francois with a look, before she looks back to the Frenchman.

"But what do you mean, worse than bringing an Evolved to the island?"

Whatever emotions she feels are kept out of the speaking voice, stoicism in charge as is customary for Cat. "Richard recently mounted an operation to spring Amid Halebi from Federal hands," she explains, "and in doing so his team was attacked by Sylar. He says they managed to make it appear Halebi was dead and his power could not be collected to fend him off. In discussing this, we suspect Sarisa Kershner had a hand in that attempt. To my view, it underscores our decision not to assist in freeing Halebi, it bears the stench of a Federal attempt to set us up with the blame for another tragedy on the scale of Midtown. Richard counters this is why his action was a good thing, saying if not for their presence nothing would've blocked him collecting that power. I don't believe Gabriel did that. But I also don't believe Richard would falsely claim it happened."

Her eyes move to settle on Lynette. "In my recent talk with Richard, which I arranged when Samara asked for help regarding her missing fiance, Brian Fulk, Mr. Cardinal told me he once drew up a plan to give Brian an overdose of Refrain. He believed Brian wasn't his original self, and the move would bring the real Brian back to surface. This, I'm told, is what the version of Richard who inhabits Tyler Case did to Brian, at or after the exchange of your power with his. Brian, meanwhile, managed to contact Samara Dunham by phone. I have contacts trying to find where he called from, a place he described as a combination ghetto and prison. I doubt it's an actual prison, though, such places aren't in the habit of allowing us phone calls, or even phones."

Moving right along, eyes settling on each person present in turn while she speaks now.

"Richard tells me he's learned Mayor Lockheart is with Humanis First, which I find not at all surprising, and some other details, which can't yet be proven. He would like to collect such and make it public. I would like the same end, but sad experience tells me we're not likely to acquire it. As for Elisabeth, her position with Frontline is challenged. If she falls, Heller steps into her slot and becomes stronger. It would be far better to have his head on a pole well before he can secure a general's star."

Barbara purses her lips as Cat speaks, her falsely cheery exterior fading more and more by the minute until a flat expression sits across her face. "Srisa Kuersher, the one person in FRONTLINE above Elisabeth, if I'm not mistaken?If it was a setup, she was probably looking for more than just us. I wasn't fond of aprticipating in that to begin with, though I hear several Ferrymen did regardless." She lets out a big of a sigh, tightening her sweatshirt hat a bit more. "I have nothing against Elisabeth, personally. She has been nothing but good to me. But I understad the line she walks. Richard… has had my sister commiting thefts and break ins to aquire things, and has had information about my brother he hasn't felt like sharing with me. So, I cannot say I'm too fond of him or his organisation. Still, I think keeping a liason isn't a terrible idea. We did the same thing with Messiah, did we not? And I think they would run a much greater risk than Richard's activities do much of the time."

Then her eyes settle on Catherine, narrowed a bit. "The mayor would explain the asinine rise in registration requirements throughout the city, and much of her other policy. I've caught TV when I've been in town. She's been al but flat out accused of it before, so I can't say I'm surprised.

Eileen presses out a slow breath that manifests as a vapour as, up in the buttresses, a gyrfalcon with snowy feathers shifts its weight from clawed foot to clawed foot, and pierces the air with a shrill whistle of obvious irritation that sounds strange and distant to the ears of the congregation below but encapsulates what the avian telepath among them is feeling.

"We aren't here to discuss Gabriel, or Brian, or who is and who isn't a member of Humanis First," she reminds Cat, comparatively much lower, "whether it came from Richard darling or not. To hell with the Colonel and his decorations — let's hear Francois speak."

Now they talk, and Francois listens, more content now that he's said at least some of his piece as they, as they should, debate their standing. He listens with keen interest, although admittedly tunes out around the part of Brian — it is not on his agenda, and he'd rather inspect his nails — but he gives Eileen a half-smile when she reaches her point. "We are a little, on a couple of those points. What motivated me to raise this with Richard was his group's knowledge of Humanis First. They have speculation that, as well as the Mayor, Samuel Irons, the commissioner of the policde department, Georgia Mayes of Evolved Affairs fame and the Evolved villages they create, a man named Gregory Armond, Dep Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, are all Humanis First.

"And so I asked if I could inform you, and so here we are. In return, Richard would like to know of Sylar as well, and whether his disruption of their work is— known. Or explicable, considering he is your ally, Eileen. It is why I specifically asked you here." A beat. "But perhaps we can negotiate later."

Francois' hands raise, spread. "That is the intel I have come to share. As a start. I would prefer that in good faith, you consider this useful for defense only, but I think I have a sense of our priorities. Assassinations not being one of them, in this crisis." And oh, how the crucifixes loom as a stoic reminder. "As for the extent of communications with Endgame, and my part in that, you do not have to decide now. Just let me know."

He blinks, then, letting a pause settle. This feels like a bad time to bring up the second thing, a glance to Lynette, reluctant silence. The cool of the air makes bruises twinge, like a reminder. "Institute," he grits out. Braces himself, at least on the inside.

"It might not have been him at all," Lynette says offers, on the point of Gabriel, "Quinn told me she saw two of him. Maybe a copy, maybe a clone, maybe an impersonator, who the hell knows. Point is, Richard may just be accusing the wrong person entirely."

Oh, but Francois manages to get her attention away from that topic. He, in fact, gets her full and complete attention. She may be calm about Endgame, FRONTLINE and Humanis First invading the government, but the Institute is another story. "Oh, fuck that," she says emphatically.

For all appearances, Cat seems to have spoken her piece, or at least not to believe she needs elaborate further after Francois illustrates her unstated reasons for mentioning such things, this being demonstrated by the adoption and maintenance of silence on her part.

Well, there's two things that catch Barbara more than a bit off guard, and she isn't sure which to address first. Crossing her arms over herself, she looks a bit off to the side. "I agree with Lynette. ANything involving the INstitute isn't even an option." THough she casts a look over to Lynette, she doesn't pick up the topic of two Sylars. She's going to let Francois speak, as Eileen has asked.

Well, there's two things that catch Barbara more than a bit off guard, and she isn't sure which to address first. Crossing her arms over herself, she looks a bit off to the side. "I agree with Lynette. ANything involving the INstitute isn't even an option." THough she casts a look over to Lynette, she doesn't pick up the topic of two Sylars. She's going to let Francois speak, as Eileen has asked.

"It's a doppelganger." If that's what Cardinal is asking for in return. Eileen makes an effort to keep any imperiousness from creeping into her tone, and for the most part succeeds. "Quinn saw two of them because there were — Gabriel and I went to the American Ballet Theatre's charity extravaganza to warn his next target, but the evening did not work out in our favour. He's my partner," and saying the words in her present company causes an involuntary tightening of her throat and voice, which is about the sort of reaction that can be expected from someone as private and discrete as she is when making her intimate personal relationships public knowledge, "not an operative of this network, only an occasional ally. Please relay to Cardinal that it's as much of a mistake to look for him here as it it would be to hold the network accountable for his activities, whatever they may be.

"As for the Institute," because she hasn't forgotten that there's more at stake, "my vote depends entirely upon who it is rather than where they come from. If the Ferry turned people away based solely on their past affiliations, then I wouldn't be here with you now."

Francois is silent for a time, before he says, to Eileen's wishes, "Oui mademoiselle." There is thank you in his tone.

He remembers smoking. He hasn't craved to do so for a few decades, now, but it's an old itch that surfaces now as he considers the three faces around them, and itches the whiskery grain at his chin. "The Institute took my partner from me. For months. Raped his memories, mentally tortured him. I risked my life to get him back. The Insistute is the result of the research of Nazi experimentation, filtered through and lost to American hands during Project Icarus, and I have seen it myself — at all three of these stages, victim of two. For those that do not know, I am seventy-eight years old, give or take a decade for time travel.

"I have no love of the Institute and I would see it and those in it burn. But there is a woman who helped lie for me, to get Teodoro Laudani back from their capture. She is at personal risk now, or could be. Bella Sheridan. Flint Deckard is an operative of ours, and would vouch for her. I owe her protection for my actions. It is a selfish thing, but I would ask the council that you consider helping her should she wind up needing it. For now, it is not a tangible concern.

"And rather, I owe her to try. If you cannot, then I will find other means."

It is so good that Lynette doesn't have her electricity at the moment. Sparks would, quite literally, be flying at that particular name being dropped. As it is, anger is displayed in much more common ways; her fists clench, her jaw tightens and her breathing shallows. But it's just for a moment.

Because she's gotta yell about this one. "Over my dead body," Lynette starts with a growl, but her voice steadily grows louder as she goes on. "She's at personal risk now? Boo-fucking-hoo for her! This isn't some Institute paper pusher deciding to get out of the line of fire. This is— She's—" There's a pause there to let out a noise of frustration before she huffs out a breath and looks over at the others before finishing in a quieter, if not calmer, voice, "I hate her."

Revelations of Gabriel having a doppelganger aren't addressed, that issue is well covered now, and doesn't in her view call for further discussion at this session. Silence is however broken when Bella is spoken of, Cat's eyes moving between Lynette and Francois. The topic and assessment of her situation seems to catch her by some mild form of surprise.

"When you and others were captive, Lynette, I suggested a plan for how to gain her cooperation. Jensen Raith and Richard Cardinal carried out that plan, without my further assistance or knowledge at the time, and gained her agreement to help with the action which freed you and those others. Doctor Sheridan, I was told, was to be given shelter in return. If she's still with the Institute and at risk, the time has come for making good on that guarantee. It won't sit well with you, or with Colette Nichols, but agreements of that nature are agreements and should be honored."

Barbara, for her part, doesn't know Bella Sheriden or her past… we'll call them mistakes. But Lynette's reaction has her expression souring visibly as her eyes move between the blonde and Francois. "I'm… honestly not particularly incluned to giving anyone who works for the institute asylum. I would imagine there would be a lot of people keeping an eye on such a person." She lets out a sigh, leaning back a bit. "I'm not against it totally - if she truly needs asylum, perhaps something can be arranged. But… I am against bringing her, or anyone else who possesses such an affiliation, to this island until we can be sure it won't backfire horribly."

Eileen has witnessed firsthand what Bella Sheridan is capable of. Had she experienced it for herself, she might not say what she does next. "Teodoro is a very good friend of mine, and if Deckard will put his name and reputation to hers, then I believe we owe it to them both to at least hear what he has to say." Whether or not she genuinely believes that Bella might have some sort of redeeming quality or if she's imploring her fellow council member for Francois' sake alone is not clear. There is a certain sort of dubiousness about her severe expression. "Lynette, will you and Joseph do him the courtesy of listening to it before we say no? The Ferry owes him a great deal, but if Cardinal has already made a pact with Sheridan, then it may not be necessary. I don't believe that Jensen, at the time, had any authority to bargain on our behalf, nor would he have."

The flaring of girl-temper has Francois raising his chin some, vaguely prideful, arms folded. The rain has by now lessened, but he wouldn't have noticed had it come down harder or stopped completely. He listens, but mostly watches Lynette, and then abruptly— a wicked kind of half-smile, a spark of memory, and it's to Barbara too that he adds, perhaps to the confusion of Eileen and Cat: "This is a little bit of a reversal, isn't it?"

He can't be sure, anyway, that the two ladies there do remember, that Eileen does not, the dream that might not have been shared at all. Elisabeth didn't have it. But the remark is flippant in any case, and perhaps a conversation for later.

"It does not have to be the island, even — assistance to arrange support on the mainland is just as helpful, and perhaps by then we will have something besides Pollepel Island. As for any past pacts, I know of them not — but hiding people is our job. If you all decide it is not worth the risk, I shall make arrangements myself. It is my debt that concerns her." He lets out a breath, and apart from token threads that need tying off, he senses that he has spoken all the words he had planned onto think. For a brief second, he could look his age, as a hand goes up to rub the back of his neck, eyes lazily hooded.

"Oh yes, that absolves her of everything. Let's invite her over for coffee," Lynette says, perhaps unkindly, in Cat's general direction. Her arms fold as she looks over in Eileen's direction, "I can't speak for Joseph on the matter, but I can listen as long as you want. The fact of the matter is I don't trust her as far as I can throw her and believe me, I was never a sports girl."

Francois gets a pointed look at that comment, and Lynette grimaces. Because he has a point. "I'm not suggesting we shoot her." Oh, hey, looks like she gets the reference.

"I'm not in the absolution business," Cat replies dryly, "no one used the word forgiveness. Or trust. We're simply discussing whether or not to shelter someone who, as far as I'm told, kept her word to assist. I do recommend we let Richard know of her situation first, of course, and see if he will carry out his end of their agreement. If not, well, the Ferry did receive benefit from that agreement. As Eileen said, if we turned away everyone with checkered pasts many of us would not be safe. Including Ben Ryans."

She pauses here.

"As to shooting Bella, take care of Colette Nichols in this, for she might."

"Then if we do take her in, Colette will have to not know, unfortunately. A pledge to keep her safe means from our own members as well." Barbara states this in a very matter-of-fact manner, a hand angling out, palm up and flat as she speaks. "And if she does find out… we'll have to handle that when t comes, if it comes. But that's beside the point, for the moment." The hand moves to Barbara's chin, finger and thumb stretched out across it in a classic gesture. "I'll certainly meet with her and hear her out. I have no issue with that. I' more concerned about where to keep her than anything else, I admit."

As for mentions of reversals and shooting people, Barbara misses the reference at first - it's not until Lynette speaks up that it clicks in her mind, eyes narrowing as she looks between Lynette and Francois. "Is that so? Well… I suppose it isn't," is all she ses on the matter, arms crossing back over her. Looks like she has something to talk about in the near future.

Normally, Lynette is a much calmer individual, tossing off witticisms and sarcasm when things upset her. But nothing upsets her quite like comparing the man she sleeps with to the person she hates the most in the world at this point. And that's why Lynette's contribution to this meeting is summed up as she steps over to Cat and delivers a slap across the other woman's face. "Don't ever compare him to her," she says lowly, before she turns to stalk away from the others.

It is possible, on the subject of Bella Sheridan, Lynette is a little unreasonable. Just a bit.

Slapping Cat isn't so easy as one might think, but in this case partly succeeds. Her own hand shoots up when the palm comes at her face, training in Krav Maga started over two years before being quickly applied and managing to take much of the force away from a blow which lands only by having not been expected. "That's generally the point. Many would, Doctor Sheridan was after all once Company just as he was, and yet there is peace between us. Even cooperation and respect."

She remains poised for further defensive moves should they prove necessary, and when Lynette turns away a few steps are taken to tread the same path. "We've spoken our minds on that subject," is quietly stated, "we have another to cover, Lynette. When you went to Robyn Quinn's gig, you suddenly left. What's up with that?"

A brief glance sweeps across the graves and their markers, before eyes resettle on Lynette. There will be time in the future to walk among and commune with spirits of the so very well remembered.

The dead and buried, after all, aren't going anywhere.

The others are.

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