Revelatory reunion


mackenzie_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title Revelatory Reunion
Synopsis A once-marked woman returns to NYC. Surprises are exchanged.
Date January 23 2009

The Nite Owl

The Nite Owl is a survivor from ages past - one of those ancient diners with huge plate glass windows, checkerboard linoleum floor, and a neon owl over the entrance that blinks at those entering. Inside, there's an L-shaped main counter, complete with vintage soda fountain and worn steel stools. All of the cooking is done on the ranges ranked against the rear wall. The outer wall is lined with booths upholstered in cracked scarlet vinyl, tables trimmed with polished chrome. Despite its age, it's been lovingly maintained. The air is redolent with the scent of fresh coffee, vanilla, and frying food.

MacKenzie enters the Nite Owl and lets her eyes roam to try to spot her friend. Upon seeing that few people occupy diner she unzips her black coat and loosens her matching scarf. She then makes her way to the counter.

Above freezing, windless, and without precipitation? The addition of sunshine on top has prompted Ygraine to take the chance to discard one layer of the Wintry wrappings in which she has recently tended to be swathed, while her demeanour is markedly cheerful as she enters the Owl.

Pausing just inside the entrance, she unwraps the scarf from around her neck, to let it hang freely down her front, before starting to strip off her gloves. Part-way through removing the first, she spots MacKenzie and a broad grin breaks out on her features. Waving cheerily, she strides towards her friend. "Hi! Good grief, it feels like forever!", she exclaims, her accent only enhanced by her use of a rather foreign idiom.

MacKenzie's face lights up, as though Ygraine's grin is contagious. "Forever and ever," she says, as her arms leave her sides, preparing to give her friend a hug.

Ygraine pulls MacKenzie tightly to her, hugging warmly - and using her powerful leg and abdominal muscles to straighten fully upright, lifting the other woman off her feet for a moment. "Hi there", she says with another grin from close quarters, carefully setting Kenzie down again.

The woman who is used to being in control squeals at being lifted and breaks into a fit of laughter when being set down. She doesn't seem at all offended but she clears her throat and says, "Hi … what are you having?"

Ygraine takes a moment to stop beaming like a lunatic, glancing towards the counter. "Ummmm. Oh. Hot chocolate, please. My usual addiction." She pulls back a touch, shrugging out of her long leather trenchcoat and scarf, neatly draping them over the back of a chair before removing her gloves and tucking them into one of her coat's pockets.

MacKenzie warmly greets a man behind the counter wearing a button that says, "Yes, we can." "One hot chocolate and one chai tea latte please." Still smiling she adds, "Nice button."

Ygraine darts a glance over in response to that comment, but settles down at her chosen table, stretching long legs out before her with a marked air of contentment.

MacKenzie thanks the man behind the counter while he hands her the drinks. She then makes her way to Ygraine's chosen table and falls into her seat, letting her body slide a bit beneath the table. Looking at her friend through half-closed eyes she sighs, "Awww."

Ygraine giggles, sitting up and leaning forward to snare her hot chocolate, cradling it gratefully in her hands. "So… how've you been? Running your own commercial empire yet?"

MacKenzie sits up herself and laughs. "No, I've spent the past few months in Albany, launching some new sites for Capricorn there. That's been more than enough work for me." She takes a sip of her latte and then looks up to ask, "What have you been up to?"

Ygraine takes a long, appreciative sip of her own drink, hastily licking her lips mostly-clean of chocolate before replying. "Mmmmm. It really _has_ been a while. I take it there were no other… nasty incidents for you? Me… ummm. Still working at Alley Cat Courier Service, though I've just been given the offer of a rather different sort of job. Managed to make a few friends - and didn't see any of them get shot at. Ummmm." She takes a deep breath, and another sip of her drink, darting a slightly nervous glance at her companion, either because of her last comment, or because she's debating adding something else.

MacKenzie shakes her head when she's asked about "nasty incidents". Once her friend has finished speaking, she says, "Ygraine, I asked to be assigned to Albany. I needed to get away from here and —" She looks away briefly, and tears well up in her eyes.

Ygraine winces, then leans forward, offering one hand, palm up, on the table. "It's okay. I'm here _to_ face demons", she says softly. "But I was away for nearly two years before I came back. Believe me, I can sympathise with a need to get away from things."

MacKenzie extends her own hand but it doesn't quite reach Ygraine's. "You're too kind," she says, wiping away tears. "The bullet — it was for me, but it could have just as easily went into you, and that would have been my fault. I did something really, really foolish." Looking Ygraine in the eye, she says, "I don't blame you if you never want to talk to me again, but you deserve my apology … I'm sorry."

Ygraine frowns, but after a moment she does reach for MacKenzie's hand. "What did you do? Or… is this something we shouldn't discuss in public?", she enquires softly.

Using one hand to wipe tears from her eyes as she tries to regain composure and another to squeeze Ygraine's, MacKenzie says, "If this should be discussed anywhere, it probably shouldn't be in public."

Ygraine chuckles faintly, fingers tightening their grip for a moment. "Let's finish up our drinks while you regain your composure", she suggests, "then I can hail a cab and take us back to my place, if you like."

MacKenzie nods in agreement while sipping from her drink. Between sips she says, "Thank you … I don't deserve this."

Ygraine frowns worriedly, but after a few moments finds her voice. "You know, if you've started a career as a serial killer murdering young women in their homes, do please tell me before I take you back to mine…"

MacKenzie lets out a long series of laughs and, finding it cathartic, makes no attempt to restrain it. Once it has run its course she says, "If I killed you, who would make me laugh?"

Ygraine grins impishly, giving Kenzie's hand another squeeze, clearly pleased that her ploy worked. "Well, at least that confirms that I'm safe - but you're not allowed to kill my fiancee, either. She'd object. As would I, for that matter."

MacKenzie finishing her latte she looks wide-eyed at her friend and sets down the mug with a loud "clink!". "Fiancee! Oooh, it has been too long! You have to tell me *everything*."

Ygraine laughs, hiding behind her drink for a moment, before offering her other hand to Kenzie, this one now sporting a silver knotwork ring on the appropriate finger. "I fell for a rather beautiful and talented little actress", she confesses sheepishly. "And for some reason, she seems to see something in a washed-up former professional cyclist."

MacKenzie inspects the ring, holding Ygraine's hand gently as she does so. "Ooh, it's beautiful." Looking her friend in the eye, she says, "I don't blame her. What's not to like?"

Ygraine blushes, quickly and rather brightly at that. "I… was worried it'd, well. Be awkward. Admitting to you." She shrugs guiltily. "Never sure how people'll react. And… thank you. I've no idea what to say."

MacKenzie asks, "Admitting what? That you like women? It wasn't awkward … just surprising." Giving Ygraine a suggestive smile, she says, "I guess my gaydar is as broken as yours."

Ygraine turns a deeper red, blinking just once before eloquently answering, "Oh." She giggles, shaking her head. "No, I'd no idea. I'm… used to people making assumptions - pro sportswomen are _all_ gay, you know. Or else "up for it", because they appear in public in skin-tight lycra as a matter of habit, of course. But… heh. No, I'd no idea. Didn't occur to me to wonder. You're… just nice."

MacKenzie laughs and says, "Thank you." She adds, "Yes, insofar as someone who has only had one romantic partner in her entire life can be said to have *any* sexual orientation, I'm a lesbian."

Ygraine chuckles, squeezing once more. "Jennifer's my first girlfriend. I've had boyfriends, but… she's certainly the first one I wanted to marry. Or form a civil partnership with, to be more legally accurate. We're set to head across to the UK at the end of the Summer for it…."

Squeezing back, MacKenzie says, "Ooh, girl, I'm so excited!"

Ygraine laughs happily, though she's still blushing. "I'll have to introduce you to her. Don't think she'll be there now - I'm afraid I'm a bit of a cradle-snatcher, it seems, and she's still in college. But…." She polishes off the last of her drink. "Shall we adjourn to my place?"

MacKenzie nods. As she rewraps her scarf around her neck and puts her coat back on she says, "But don't think you're getting out of introducing her to me!"

Ygraine giggles, shaking her head. "Believe me, I'm very proud to show her off", she says with a grin, busying herself with restoring her own outer-wear before heading outside to hail a cab….

Le Rivage: Ygraine's Apartment

A comparatively large and well-maintained apartment occupying one corner of its floor. Windows dominate two sides of the living room, illuminating it brightly throughout most days. A kitchenette occupies one corner of the lounge, while several doors offer exits.

Luxurious but slightly worn brown leather furniture is arranged around the television in the main room, with a small dining table and high-backed chairs diagonally opposite the kitchenette. Wall-mounted shelves and stand-alone cases take up a lot of space along the walls, almost wholly filled with books. A collection of full-size geographic, political, and historical atlases have been given pride of place - though academic texts on history, international relations, conflict theory and linguistics are also prominent, alongside a fair collection of DVDs. The one sizable decoration is a blown-up photograph of mist-shrouded Edinburgh castle at sunset, a black silhouette rising out of white and luminous gold.

Of the exits, one (with an extra lock, deadbolt, and a sturdy chain) leads out of the apartment; another to the bathroom; and the next to a small room that has been converted into a rather cramped home gym. A computer desk, filing cabinet, and a single bed take up most of the space in the next room, while the last is the master bedroom - dominated by a double bed (upon which sits a two foot tall cuddly penguin) and more bookshelves (these holding a jumble of magazines, art books, Neil Gaiman graphic novels, and a collection of science fiction and historical novels), with a clearly well-traveled laptop resting on the bed-side cabinet. Here, high-quality art-prints of dragons decorate the walls, while a small cabinet holds a collection of cycling trophies.

Some little while later, Ygraine has finished unfastening the multiple tiers of security on her door and ushered Kenzie inside the apartment. Divesting herself of scarf, gloves, and coat, she heads through to the kitchen to put the kettle on. "Fancy another warm drink? And… make yourself comfortable. Take your shoes off, if you like."

MacKenzie takes off her coat and scarf and at Ygraine's prompting kicks off her shoes as well. She sits down and says, "Some tea would be nice."

Ygraine sets about providing that, pouring herself a large glass of fruit juice. Propping her rump against the counter, she sips at the brightly-coloured liquid, rather thoughtfully eyeing her companion. "So… d'you want me to enthuse about Jennifer at you - I've got pictures! - or should I pester you into telling me what's got you so worked up first?"

MacKenzie looks to her friend and says, "Pictures?! Oh, wow, well, as much as I'm dying to hear about Jennifer … and see her … if you don't mind, I'd like to pull the band-aid off quickly."

Ygraine quirks a wry smile. "I can provide tea and pictures for you at the same time, if this revelation's as quick as a band-aid to get out of the way", she says gently. "But… sure. Go ahead."

MacKenzie says, "Well, you see, what happened was that I sort of told a lie, because I didn't know any other way to get people to believe the truth." She lowers her head and shakes it. Looking Ygraine in the eye again, she asks, "I'm not off to a good start, am I?"

Ygraine bites her lip, then nods slowly. "I… my post-grad work was in international relations and conflict", she says slowly. "That's part of the reason I got the internship at the UN - though I was just a translator for one of the departments, I could at least follow what was happening. But the key aspect of the discipline, for me, is communications analysis - how to get from point A to point B, or how people wound up at X instead. I've some idea of how hard it can be to get the truth out by simply stating it bluntly…"

MacKenzie bites her lip pensively. "This is scary," she says. "Even scarier than telling my parents I had a girlfriend." After pausing for a moment she says, "Okay, who is your favorite R&B singer? No, scratch that. Who is your favorite *male* R&B singer?"

Ygraine blinks, pauses, then cocks her head, the question clearly catching her off-guard. "Ummmm. I think that I liked Coolio's Gangsta's Paradise", she says uncertainly. "Really not into R&B, I'm afraid…." She half-turns away for a few moments, to complete the preparation of Kenzie's tea, putting cup (with saucer), pot and little jug of milk onto a tray beside her own glass to be carried over to her friend.

MacKenzie asks, "Gangsta's Paradise? … You know, that might even work better." She takes her tea and waits for Ygraine to sit down.

Ygraine does so, frowning worriedly. She takes a sip from her drink, then sets about removing her boots, though her attention remains quite firmly focused upon Kenzie.

MacKenzie takes a deep breath and begins to rap, "As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death / I take a look at my life and realize there's not much left … ." Every word is an imitation of Coolio's voice in every detail, even though until now MacKenzie has spoken only in an ordinary woman's voice.

Ygraine pauses, one boot part-way off, before slowly resuming the process of removing it. She hauls off the other, then curls up in her chosen armchair, watching Kenzie quite intently.

MacKenzie stops herself. "It's not just voices," she says. She then begins to sing the first few lines of "Who Let the Dogs out?" and faithfully reproduces not only the vocals but the dogs' barking.

Ygraine can't help but let out a startled laugh at that, shaking her head. "So… ahhh… you're Evolved, then? I… take it this has something to do with… telling a lie to get the truth out?", she asks cautiously.

MacKenzie starts at the mention of the word 'Evolved' and in her own voice softly says, "Yes, I'm afraid so. I gave the police a recording of something a terrible mobster had done. It really happened, mind you. But I didn't record it by conventional means."

Ygraine takes a deep breath, then nods slowly. "You're Registered? The police know about you? Or…? What happened?"

MacKenzie clutches her seat. "Oh, god, no. The police only know me as the woman who helped put Frankie Civella behind bars. I don't want to be registered. I —" She starts to sob. "If this is too much for you, I can go. But please don't tell anyone about me. I won't hurt anyone else. I just wanted Frankie behind bars because of what he had done to my friends when I was a kid. Please …"

Ygraine bites her lip, dithering a moment… then apparently decides to trust Kenzie. For, after a second's delay of focusing upon her glass, she up-ends it… though the contents remain calmly in place as if the receptacle were still the right way up. She coughs, pointedly.

MacKenzie's tears stop. She stares at the glass dumbfounded. "Your juice … you …" A smile slowly grows on her face, and then she abruptly bursts forth with another fit of cathartic laughter. Holding her sides, she says, "You — you've been Evolved the whole time!"

Ygraine rights the glass, taking a sip before leaning forward to set it down, offering Kenzie a sheepish grin. "I was worried that being so interested in Suresh's work might have given it away, but it IS rather a popular book…"

MacKenzie says, "Ha! I was worried about that too." Then, having another moment of realization, she says, "The night I was shot … your drink didn't spill. I thought it was just the blood leaving my brain …"

Ygraine quirks a wry smile. "I… often do that, when carrying hot drinks. I… I can reset gravity, from one object to another. No sending myself flying - it's got to be two things close to me, or me to something I could touch. But… comes in useful every now and then."

MacKenzie nods. "It's a gift not many people have — maybe no one else has. If there were any sense in the world, you could shout about it from the rooftops … but instead you have to talk about it in hushed tones to a foolish woman who barks like a dog."

Ygraine giggles, shaking her head. "I've bumped into someone who has far more… wide-ranging control over gravity than myself. I studied this, quite seriously - thought it was just hallucination at first - but he… he throws himself across the city in great leaps, and seems to have no idea or notion of practice, really. But… yeah - I'm unregistered, and fully intend to stay that way. I loathe the idea, and am seriously worried about what it might turn into."

MacKenzie says, "My mind immediately goes to slave ships and other relics from times and places of humanity's most vicious acts." After a moment of hesitation she adds, "Before leaving for Albany I tried to get my hands on everything about PARIAH I could find."

Ygraine blinks in surprise. "You really are in a mood for showing trust, aren't you?", she asks dryly. "PARIAH, as I understand it, is defunct. There was a split of sorts - and the violent wing got hit by the police some time later. Though the news suggests that some, at least, got away to show up again in more recent violence. If you've been through mid-town, or poked around the 'net, you might have seen some stuff with Phoenix graffiti laid over the top of PARIAH images."

MacKenzie says, "I'm prudent. There's a part of me that keeps telling me to keep my mouth shut. But what sort of life is a life lived in silence? I need to tell someone, and if I'm to tell anyone, why not my most trusted friend?"

Another blink, followed by a swift blush. "I… thank you", Ygraine says, clearly both flattered and surprised. "I… don't know what to say. But… I can understand being wary about trusting someone. I was… terrified of admitting anything to Jennifer. That I liked her as much as I did, never mind that I was something some people don't think is human…"

MacKenzie asks, "She knows? She's okay with it?" Tears well up in her eyes, and she smiles. "I'm so glad you found her."

Ygraine giggles, shrugging sheepishly, even as she grins broadly. "So'm I. Though I probably shouldn't take this as a cue to bounce off and grab a few photos to show you…"

MacKenzie zings, "Wrong! If you don't show me pictures of her, I will … I will … I will make howler monkey sounds at you!"

Ygraine laughs. "I happened to hear something on the radio about those. A woman who'd studied them for years was now using an array of sounds to try to socialise orphaned monkeys she raised…." As she talks, Ygraine uncurls and slips out of her chair, padding through to her office - returning shortly thereafter with a couple of framed head-shots of Jennifer. The pictures - one monochrome, the other in colour - look as if they might be professionally-taken portraits.

While Ygraine pads off, MacKenzie says, "Interesting … I should be using my abilities to help someone … or some critter less fortunate." When Ygraine returns, Kenzie says, "Wow, she's really pretty … just like you. I don't know if I'll be able to stand to see the two of you together — it will be too much pretty in one room."

Even as she laughs and sticks her tongue out, Ygraine finds herself blushing brightly once more. "_She's_ stunning, I'll agree with you there. And I'm trying to do what I can to deserve her. No more lounging around in exercise gear…. But… there may be ways to help. I've spoken to a few people opposed to Registration, if you wanted to get political. Or I'm sure that places like zoos would love to have your help with the animals."

MacKenzie asks, "How can I use my abilities in a zoo without being discovered." She shakes her head. "No, my priority is my family and my friends." She puts her hand on Ygraine's arm. "Do you need help with anything?"

Ygraine quirks a wry smile, moving to sit beside Kenzie, gaze briefly settling upon the pictures of Jennifer. "Figuring out how to keep Jen - or to stop worrying about it, perhaps. I keep dreading that she'll wake up and realise she could do so much better than me…. But… if you're serious about possibly getting involved in opposing the Linderman Act, then I could talk to some of the locals I know who're politicised. See if they have any ideas."

MacKenzie smiles and says, "Maybe you just need to learn how to see what an extraordinary person you are … even apart from the supapowas, and then you won't worry so much." She pauses and says, "As for politics, well, I suppose you could ask … just don't tell them anything they can use to identify me."

Ygraine chuckles dryly. "What sort of things would you _want_ to get involved in? Public protests against Registration? Phoenix's "Day of Miracles"? Or attacks on places where Evolved are being held, or registration centres, or something? I'm not sure how radical you feel compelled to be."

MacKenzie thinks for a moment. She says very solemnly, "I want to help Evolved who are being held get out."

Ygraine musters another smile. "And the emphasis'd be on that - not on blowing up government offices, or killing guards, or anything? But on helping the people in trouble?"

MacKenzie nods. "No one should have to live in fear. No one should have to live in captivity."

Ygraine inclines her head. "I'll speak to people, and see if they have anything for you to help out with. Not, I should stress, that I know of any Evolved people needing broken out of anywhere. Or anywhere to break into to find them."

MacKenzie says, "Thank you." Touching Ygraine's arm again, she says, "And you'll let me know if you need help … with *anything*?"

Ygraine dithers momentarily, then leans over to plant a kiss on MacKenzie's cheek. "You do realise that any group engaged in that sort of thing is going to want to know all about you", she warns. "And they're not likely to respect privacy or secrets."

MacKenzie squeezes Ygraine's arm as she's kissed. "That — that won't work at all. Any group that works with me has to know I have boundaries. I can't put you or my family under any kind of scrutiny."

Ygraine laughs softly. "If you were to manage to find some group operating in the grey areas of the law - never mind anyone considering breaking into government facilities to liberate detainees - they'd surely want to know who they were being asked to work with, and why you gave a damn. I wouldn't knowingly put you in touch with anyone who'd seek to exploit you - but you'd be taking a risk, at the least. And you'd need to be willing to put up with them checking that you might be someone they could work with. You're, apparently, hoping to find a bunch of people breaking the law, and wanting them to trust you to be let in on the act."

MacKenzie says, "Well, I do trust you," after thinking for a moment. "Just don't put me in touch with anyone who expects me to fall into line. I'm a VP. I'm only used to taking orders from one person."

Ygraine quirks another wry smile. "And I was shooting for a place at the Olympics, until '06. I'm used to being taken seriously, too. I'm not much of a fan of martinets, either."

MacKenzie smiles. "Yes, that's what I like about you — you're strong, independent … If you weren't engaged …" She winks.

Ygraine blinks, then flushes rapidly, and laughs. "I fear that Jen's not the sharing type even if I were", she says bashfully. "But thank you. I'm… thank you." She tilts over sideways, to bump gently against MacKenzie's shoulder. "You're certainly the only person other than Jen to make me blush this much. Which I suspect might be a sign that your confession didn't go as badly as you feared…"

MacKenzie smiles, looking close to blushing herself. "Part of me knew I could trust you the moment I met you."

Ygraine slips an arm around MacKenzie's shoulders, giving her a squeeze. "You're really rather sweet, you know", she says with a somewhat teasing grin. "So… got any other revelations for me?"

MacKenzie asks, "Does that mean you'll hook me up with one of Jennifer's cute actor friends?" while smiling wryly. "As for revelations, am I not freaky enough for you?"

Ygraine giggles, shaking her head. "I've not actually met any of her cute acting friends - actors or actresses. But I could ask. Which'd you prefer?" She winks teasingly. "And I think that most people I know are pretty odd. I certainly am."

MacKenzie says, "I meant female actors … actresses … the feminist in my family has got me talking like her." She adds, "I don't think you're so odd … unless there's something else *you* haven't told *me*."

Ygraine laughs, lifting her brows. "I'm a gay - or bi - former professional athlete, who's Evolved. And engaged to be married to a college kid. D'you really _need_ much more? Especially when you already know that I'm a nerd, too. And a mad Brit who came _back_ to Manhattan after nearly being blown up here two years ago."

Totally deadpan, MacKenzie says, "Now that you mention it, it is really bizarre that you're British."

Ygraine pokes her tongue out. "You know what I meant!" Reclaiming her arm from around Kenzie's shoulders, she thumps her lightly on the bicep. "Somehow, I seem to find myself getting teased in my own home rather a lot."

MacKenzie giggles. "You're cute when you're angry. You set yourself up for all kinds of abuse that way."

Ygraine grumblemutters, then giggles once more. "If it actually made me genuinely angry, I suspect I'd take more care to avoid it…"

MacKenzie extends a pouty lip and says, "And then I wouldn't get to see you wear your cute flustered look."

Ygraine pokes her tongue out once more, then leans over to reclaim her glass. "Maybe I shouldn't introduce you to Jen. I'll just wound up ganged-up on and blushing even more often than usual."

MacKenzie raises an eyebrow. "And why is that a bad thing?"

Ygraine laughs, shaking her head. "Would _you_ like to be made to blush near-constantly?", she enquires with a grin.

MacKenzie shakes her head. "You don't get it, do you? It's different when it's me."

Ygraine pouts, then giggles. "Definitely a bad idea to introduce you an' Jen", she mutters into her drink.

MacKenzie says, "Damn. I wanted to tell her what a wonderful person you are and how lucky she is to have you."

Ygraine flushes pink once more, before laughing and rising to her feet, heading across to the refrigerator to top up her glass - and hide for a few moments.

MacKenzie sighs. "Well, shit. One moment I'm crying my eyes out, and the next moment I'm laughing my ass off. Do you remember when we boarded this roller coaster?"

Ygraine takes a long drink, a deep breath, then turns around and heads back. "Around the time that told you to tell me if you were a serial killer, I think…"

MacKenzie nods. She takes a sip from her tea and says, "Well, I'm just glad I have someone who blushes a lot along for the ride."

Ygraine curls up in her former chair once more, smiling at MacKenzie even as she attempts to glare over her glass. "Thank you", she says after a moment's hesitation. "It's nice to be trusted enough to be teased."

MacKenzie smiles and says, "Yeah, you know you're loved when people can't stop provoking you."

Ygraine laughs. "I'm not exactly sure that's the way it's meant to work, but I suppose I can take your word for it for now…"

MacKenzie says, "Aww, you know I love you, hon." She then withdraws a vibrating cell phone from her pocket, flips it open, and frowns. "They think they need me again."

Ygraine pouts. "And I'd just been about to suggest a film or something. Well… you know where I am, now. Do keep in touch. And I'll even let you meet Jen, if we can arrange it." Rising to her feet and setting aside her drink, she holds out her arms for another hug. "I've missed you. Welcome back."

MacKenzie hugs Ygraine and lets her head fall into her shoulder. "I've missed you too." Pulling her head back, she looks her friend in the eye and says, "Thank you for taking me back."

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