Merrily Met
Roleplaying Log: Merrily Met
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Batgirl drops off some intel to the Titans new HQ, and finally crosses paths with the girl Dick has been talking about — Kory.

Other Characters Referenced: Dick Grayson, John Constantine, Tim Drake, Zatanna Zatara, Owen Mercer
IC Date: December 28, 2018
IC Location: Titans HQ
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 30 Dec 2018 22:07
Rating & Warnings: PG
NPC & GM Credits: None
Associated Plots

Really, Red Robin? A shopping mall?

It works, but there is some quiet judgement to be had once the Batgirl checked the address. Perhaps the worse part of the judgement from the first generation Bat was that it was actual freaking brilliant, because who is going to notice a bunch of young people in various dress and diversity coming in and out of a mall? Kudos.

Back in the early days of the Titans, Barbara wouldn't have second-guessed herself on showing up in either of her identities — but, this is Tim's show now, and after Owen's monumental freak-out about one of her identities slipping, she decides to ultimately step into the Titans headquarters in her new Batgirl ensemble with her motorcycle helmet tucked under her arm.

* * *

It is definitely true that this shopping mall, bastion of American teen life, does not much look like a heroic headquarters!

The most impressive thing is that despite being ostensibly abandonned, the space does not actually look empty or deserted. Individual storefronts are still bright and lit, with merchandise in the window displays. The food court has various stands and counters, and while none of them are currently manned, the machines and such look shiny, well-maintained and functional. There is even a mild odor of hotdogs. Perhaps the famous Batfunds (tm) have been employed to maintain it in a quasi-active state to maintain the illusion? Perhaps they're all Cyborgs holograms? Who can say!

Needless to say, that paranoid pair still has plenty of security installed. In this case, security scans promptly identify one Batgirl - a designated ally! - and no mannequins morph into defense drones. The mall remains merely an empty mall…

… until, WOOSH, and suddenly it isn't!

"Greetings! You are the Batgirl, yes?" A golden-skinned woman hovers in the air, although she looks like she is dressed more for a slumber party than for any serious heroics, or perhaps like she was caught in the middle of digging through one of the countless boutiques than actually focusing on monitor duty.

* * *

The redhead in purple-clad leathers is not easily startled, but Starfire does it flawlessly. She jumps, stepping back a stride with her hand dropping instinctively to where she tucks an easy-to-slip batarangs on her belt. Then she takes a slow breath, settles that sudden rush of nerves that is accompanied by a surge of adrenaline, and she smiles.

"Hi." Beat. "Yes." She arches her brows high above her blue eyes, though her cowl does wonders to hide the expression beyond the slight opening of her freckled face. "Sorry." The apology is actually odd for her, but she's looking into a woman who… "You… I've seen you before." She hesitates, and that protective instinct flares up a moment. She can't call him Nightwing here, though perhaps she can, but then again… she's unsure. So she settles for a casual, "You know Dick Grayson."

* * *

If Starfire takes any notice of Batgirl's defensive impulse… well it doesn't show, not on her perpetually beaming face, with those big, too-innocent looking eyes and radiant smile. She's a hard one to scowl at!

"You are sorry? For what reason?" she wonders, canting her head to an angle that makes the gesture look slightly more animal-like. "You are listed as an ally of the Titans and so you are most welcome to visit here. Are you looking for someone?"

This question, also far too innocently offered, dovetails far too conveniently into what follows. "Oh! Yes, Dick and I are very close. Are you looking-" Maybe SHE doesn't take the identity nonsense quite so seriously as the Robins, or finds it all a little silly. But she plays along, at least when she remembers. She barely remembers! "Are you looking for someone in particular? Unfortunately much of the team is not here right now."

A creature that, in company that allows it, enjoys the freedom of flight that came naturally to her even before gaining some of her otehr abilities, Kori casually drifts back, and slightly up, as she inquires, making a gesture as if to include the whole of the space.

"You can see that it is a little quiet. I find it lonely like this, but someone must remain and perform the monitor duty. Would you like something to eat? They have many wonderful things here."

* * *

Starfire has this wonderfully disarming power that works on Batgirl flawlessly. So flawlessly that she is actually smiling with a twitch of a warm smile at her lips, holding up her hand with a gentle shake of her head. "I was hoping to find Dick here." There, they got that out of the way. "I had some information for him on a case he's been working on."

Then her expression softens with understanding of the loneliness — the quiet that comes into a space when everyone else is out. Batman thrives on it, but Batgirl — not so much. There's a good reason why she's moved in with Dinah Lance, who is never quiet (love you, Dinah).

She takes a step forward, looking around the shopping mall space with a slight tilt of her head. "I like the new space," she comments idly, only to be offered something to eat. There's a thoughtful beat, and then the redheaded Bat inquires casually, "Does this place have an Auntie Anne's Pretzel?"

* * *

It seems as though Starfire is relieved to let down that charade. Lies and deceptions are basically the antithesis of her all-too frank and open personality, and she's painfully bad at them besides. "No, he is gone as well," she admits, as if shrugging off a weight, with the new understanding that they can speak freely on such matters.

"Usually… he does not stay here any more?" she then continues, her head now tilting the other way in an unspoken question, as she tries to clarify how familiar this Bat-Girl is with the Titans dealings. "Even before we left, it has been many years since he lived at the Tower." It is impossible not to note the touch of sadness in her voice, recalling that fact. He moved on to bigger things, and Star remained with the team, welcoming the new generation. Now she is 'the old lady' beside Cyborg!

Food provides a convenient distraction from any such thingering thoughts.

"Oh yes, that one is very popular! It is over here." She flies partway across the courtyard, toward where the familiar pretzel purveyor is located. "Everything works, but usually we must use the machines ourselves. I am not certain how the pretzel-making devices function. Normally I simply enjoy the hot dogs with ample mustard." Her eyes go a little dreamy just thinking of it!

* * *

Starfire is relieved, and so is Barbara. It is nice that some charades and lies can be pushed aside in favor of being honest. Besides, Starfire was at the whole Christmas Ball with Dick when it all went south, and something tells her that the amazingly tall woman is more than your average alien.

"I know." The response is casual, but meaningful. "But he suggested I drop it off here. We've not had much time to cross paths with him spending most of his time in New York." The explanation is easy, relaxed. The sad note, though, from the woman is carefully, quietly acknowledged — in fact, it is understood.

Loss and change are things that Barbara finds plenty of sorrow in.

The graceful flying of the woman is something to envy, and Barbara envies it with a quiet politeness. She follows on foot, moving with graceful strides on her long, purple-clad legs without trouble. The note of longing from the woman incites a warmer smile from the redhead. "Have you tried pretzels and mustard? The Germans swear by it."

* * *

Kori is definitely hard to mistake. For starters, her idea of a secrety identity is rather flimsy, if not outright counterproductive. Aside from the sunglasses or contacts she wears to avoid an blatantly alien appearance in public, there's little that conceals her. Which puts her at a slight disadvantage compared her costume-clad counterpart redhead.

"Oh yes. When I first came here, I put the mustard on everything. It is wonderful!" She is perhaps the universe's #1 fan of the spicy condiment. It also seems that a lack of certainty about the functioning of the pretzel machines is not actually going to stop her from trying! And so Starfire's flight leads her over the counter and into the back, where soon some (perhaps worryingly loud) mechanical tinkering can be heard.

"Whatever you have for Dick, if you would like, you may leave it here and I will make sure he receives it?" She pauses thoughtfully, and offers an alternative, uncertain about the woman's level of trust and… well, whatever the value of the information she brings. "Or you could leave it in Red Robin's security office?"

The machines groan a bit, but sound as if they might be on, and she sticks her head back out from behind them. Here, while dough stirs, she wonders: "You are working together again, on a new case? He often spoke of you," she pauses briefly, "and the others who are trained by the Batman."

* * *

When I first came here is a clear clue to something that Barbara had been trying to decide — metahuman, mutant, or alien? She's definitely settling on the latter, and she probes in the most detective way possible — with casual questions. "Are spices not exactly common where you come from?" She settles into the counter, letting the woman try to figure out the pretzel machine.

The offer to take whatever she has for Dick is met with a vague nod. "Alright. It isn't urgent, so whenever you see him." Though she does smile at the alternative, and she shakes her head. "No… that's alright. The Titans are my allies, even those I haven't met." Then something dawns on her.

"I'm sorry," this time the apology is earnest, "I didn't ask for your name." This fits in nicely with Starfire's comment that Grayson spoke of her, and others. She hopes that the woman bears a name she recognizes, so she can return the sentiment — not that her and Grayson had much to say after he left to become Nightwing. That was during their… less than communicative time.

The groan of the machine is met with a slight arch on the balls of her feet, peeking toward the dough briefly before she settles back onto the heels of her yellow boots.

* * *

Once again, Starfire proves she doesn't do deception. Or even just… discretion. "Oh no. On Tamaran, there are many distinctive and interesting flavors! By comparison, I do find that some foods on Earth are prepared in a fashion that is too mild. Yet we do not have anything quite like the mustard. It is truly wonderful! So very… 'zesty,' yes?" Alien confirmed. That, or a VERY strange tourist.

Aside from culinary matters, what seems to serve most in terms of bonding is the trust that Barbara then offers, with whatever these case files are. Letting the machines run in the background, she comes back to the counter, hovering just behind it, and lifts a hand to clasp against her breastbone. "I am honored by your trust. I will guard them with my life, and see that they are delivered." That sounds… 100% serious.

"Ah! Forgive me. I am Princess Koriand'r, Second Daughter of the First House of Tamarus of the planet Tamaran." She really lays it all out there! "On the team, I am also called Starfire. It is a pleasure."

Eventually there's a buzz from the machine, and she glances. "Oh, I think the dough is stirred. Now I must perform the rolling and the slicing, and then make the pretzel shapes." Even this she sounds as if she takes quite seriously!

* * *

"I've always been a classic yellow mustard fan," it is a casual offering, a rather odd participation in such a conversation. She's not entirely used to sharing her mustard preferences, but… this is nothing if not a promising moment between the two. Starfire seals the deal by speaking of her honor of being trusted, and Batgirl gestures off-handedly.

"Koriand'r?" Barbara is wise not to make a comparison to the well-known spice, and instead smiles warmly. "I'm Barbara, but you already know my other identity." There's something about Kory that suggests safety, though she's not sure if being so open about her actual name is wise. Time will tell. Besides, Zatanna already knows her name.

Then the machine makes its noise, and the purple-clad Bat is swinging up over the counter. "Here, I can help. If we're going to make our own pretzels, lets get creative."

She starts helping Kory measure out the dough into equal parts, her gloves now off to not get dough in the crevasses of the leather.

* * *

"Oh!" The revelation here is definitely an important one. Kori has heard plenty about her, on both sides of the Babs-Bat duality, but never had any reason to put them together. Dick has plenty of lady friends, after all, so there's no reason to assume one redhead is the same as another! Especially not the mild mannered librarian and the crime-fighter!

Batfolk, secret ID-ing like pros.

That initial surprise lasts long enough for Barbara to join her behind the counter… whereupon she is subjected to a very thorough and perhaps just mildly chest-cavity crushing hug. "I am surprised and I am also not surprised! The two of you have known each other so long, and you have also been the partners in crime-fighting, and the lovers as well, yes?" Woahthere! Clearly what she lacks on subtlety… she also lacks in boundaries and human awkwardness.

"I am sorry we did not get to speak at the party, the other night. I have been looking forward to meeting you, and speaking with you, for a long time. Now I understand it all, why he has always spoken of you as he has…"

While all of this hangs in the air, she rather casually takes up the dough-related artistry, and proves… both very capable with kitchen tools and also a bit over the top where it comes to her pretzel craft. Some of them come out in shapes that defy the logic of 3D space.

* * *

Whoa, indeed! Barbara is given a crushing hug, and then she blinks in surprise as she realizes just what Dick Grayson has said about her — both of her. She returns the hug instinctively, squeezing her in return bit without the creak of ribs. She steps back a bit, looking up at the tall woman with a slight blush at the height of her cheeks. No, Kory is definitely not lacking in subtlety.

"I have known him for a long time… very long time. He's one of my oldest friends." She warms slightly at the idea, because Dick is one of her oldest friends — and perhaps someone who occupies a space in Babs's heart that she won't let go, or give up. It's sweet in its own right, if not a bit so Barbara. It is, at least, a nonthreatening affection.

Then she steps up beside Kory, and begins to make her own dough. She's simple in her geometry compared to Kory, but no less impressed by what the alien woman comes up with. She even… recognizes some of it from the sacred geometry studies she's engaged in since hooking back up with John.

Then she realizes something, and she blinks after a moment. "Wait." The name clicks then. "You're Kory, aren't you?" Then some laughter bubbles at her lips, humming as she keeps her smile pressed together. She doesn't even need to have the woman confirm, because she's smiling again. "We have that in common, I think, Kory… I've been wanting to meet you, too."

* * *

"Yes, I got that sense. I think because of his work, he did not have… as many friends as someone like him-" Like him how? Rich, handsome, charming? It does usually do the trick! "-Might otherwise gather? So those with whom he could share all parts of his life, that meant a great deal. The team was like that too, but you and the others the Batman trained, you were the family he lost." There is a fondness that hangs in the last, although maybe not just for Dick, but extended to Barbara now: "It was good he had you."

Once the pretzelcraft is largely complete, Kori will eventually gather up the platter to carry (still floating!) toward the nearby oven. This is hopefully the least complicated of the machines, working like any other of its sort, minus the larger size. "And then press this button to set the timer…" she murmurs, recalling (or reading) the instructions. "And now the waiting!"

Which also means they're stuck with conversation and no further distractions for a little while!

"It is not exactly a very… cunning disguise, is it?" she then wonders as Babs puts the names together, making it clear she's not quite so oblivious to the obviousness of it all. "I do not like hiding myself. Sometimes Dick has tried to arrange for more complicated subterfuges, but I find them tiring to keep up." Now she clasps her hands together. "For us it is no longer necessary! I am so happy we can speak freely about everything."

* * *

Warmth fills Barbara's cheeks at the start of Starfire's words. The compliments, the it was good he had you, all settles into the redhead quietly and deeply. She's left a bit speechless as the tall, breathlessly beautiful woman settles into getting the pretzels into the oven. "Now the waiting," Babs repeats quietly, more or less to herself.

Then she looks up into those startling neon eyes, and she tilts her head slightly at the confession from Kory. Her smile twitches a bit, and she nods in frank understanding. "I actually… surprisingly — " And her eyes shut briefly. " — get that." Then she braces her hands onto the counter, heaving herself up onto it so her booted feet dangle.

"I want to say that Dick spoke often of you, but… we had gone a bit radio silent on each other when he left to become Nightwing." The confession is sad, but heartfelt all the same. "But, I recall the lovesick. He was very fond of you."

* * *

Kori turns about and floats back toward the counter, where she can finally settle down, abandonning the air to sit the way that Barbara does, in somewhat of an mirroring pose.

"It is alright," she says after a long quiet moment, although obviously she is a little sad to hear - or perhaps simply speak aloud and confirm - that things did not quite work the same in reverse. However, she does not sound surprised. "Things then happened very quickly. I did not have a… full appreciation for the way your people treat such interactions, and we were so much younger then. For me that was not a problem," she declares with a bit of a mischieviousness creeping into her smile, "but for him, perhaps it was so. He does not do things part-way. And it was a lonely time for me as well, and so for him to return things so strongly, I could not have been happier."

The strange orange alien woman leans back a bit further, like she might casually just sprawl out across the countertop, although her height would probably make it awkward. "And now it feels a bit like that again. It has been wonderful, and I have been overjoyed to have that togetherness again, but I worry… that things may repeat themselves. That he is still waiting for something else."

… Which may sound like a bit of an accusation, even if it's not really meant as such, though she quickly moves past the thought. "So you are dating someone also? I had so hoped we could all speak at the gala, but it turned out terribly."

* * *

Barbara's head bows slightly, and a small smile settles onto her lips. It has a light, soft amusement there — and a bit of its own confessed sadness. "Yes… that sounds just like him. He does tend to love full-hearted." Even if sometimes he loves often, at least Dick loves with his entire being. It has both its attraction, and its downfall. She understands Kory's worries — without a doubt.

"Be persistent. I'm sure that he will stay at your side as long as you will have him." Her bare fingers fold together, crisscrossing at the knuckles loosely.

Kory's casual ask about her own love life has her humming with a gentle laugh, and she nods. "Yeah, I think we can say that now." Her smile is light. "His name is John. John Constantine." The mention of the gala has her grimacing slightly, and the agreement is plain.

"I've only just been piecing together what happened that night. A friend of mine ended up in the kitchen, and I was there to help him… we only heard what was happening out in the main room." She looks expectantly at the Princess. "Demon-bone-wearing gangers who seem to be on super steroids?"

* * *

"I hope that it is so. There are many wonderful people on this world, and many I could love…" Single Kori is a dangerous creature, to be sure. Tamaranean on the prowl! "… Still, with how we met, he will always be special, the boy who welcomed me to the world that has become my home." In her raw alien honesty, she doesn't hesistate to go full saccharine.

How to make her stop? Demon-gang-thug distraction is a good bet.

With the change of topics, she becomes quite business-like, answering with a kind military precision. "The men revealed themselves before their musical number, and Dick sent me to protect the councilman. I quickly flew to his position, and then cleared a path for him and his escort to reach the exit." Then she interjects, in what is clearly a less factual and more instinctive sidenote: "The councilman himself… he seemed to have a guilty conscience."

Then it's right back to the big details: "After that, a number of the gang members began to grow larger. The biggest of them was strong enough to be a bit of a nuissance." Which is praise of a sort, from the exceedingly strong alien. "Considering the damage it was causing, we removed him from the room, myself and the Man of Iron." A quick grin. "He was very nice!"

"Investigation is something that Dick always did, or now Red Robin. So I have not considered much more about it. Are the things you brought over about the case?" Not that she lingers too much on that, when there's a happier topic. "Perhaps we should all go out sometime, you and this John, myself and Dick. It could be a great deal of fun." Or an awkward disaster!

* * *

"There are," Barbara agrees without missing a beat, and her smile returns with a gentle dimpling once more. She loosens her hands, fingers clasping gently onto the edge of the counter. The mention of how Star and Dick met is met with another tilt of her head, and there's just the hint of envy there. She's pretty sure that she told Robin to 'stop being a dick' when they met. The contrast is blinding.

The change in Starfire's demeanor is noted, and Barbara sits a bit taller in her own seat as she listens to the details the alien woman provides. "Guilty conscience?" Her mouth tightens a bit. "Any idea about… what?" Though now with Jennings stepping down, perhaps that guilt might be something more worthwhile to investigate…

"Y-you mean like a double-date?" That definitely takes her out of the detective mind and into the twenty-something girlfriend mind. "Oh, um. That would be great, Koriand'r." Right? It would be great.

* * *

"He may have said something about things being his fault, or being to blame. Something of this sort?" Kori recalls, again nearly cat-like in the way she tilts her head while thinking about it. "We were surrounded and the situation was chaotic, so I did not pay his ramblings as much attention as perhaps would have been wise. At first, I believed he was in shock. Maybe it was also so."

Beyond giving her report, Starfire does not seem very concerned with the whole thing. Maybe it is her alien perspective. Odd as the gang members were and looked, they probably do not compare to some of the cosmic horrors she has encountered. There is something else too: "I have confidence you will succeed in dealing with them. And if more strength is needed to do so, you have many friends here who would be happy to give you aid. This place is a big, strange family, but it comes together when it is needed."

Overwhelming positivity is soon joined by the *ding* of the oven, which summons Kori upward from the counter and over to check on things. "Oh! I think the effort is a success. There is minimal burning." Close enough! She grasps the tray (without gloves) and brings it over to cool while pondering this 'double date.' "Yes, I think that is the correct terminology. Although when I first heard it, I was somewhat mistaken as to the meaning." Oh my! "If it would not be uncomfortable? I realize, meeting you, that it is… strange we have not spoken more. It should not be that way, that we split off and live separate and almost secret lives, pretending that some other part does not exist. Is that not more awkward?"

There is something more, which (in a very rare moment of social awareness) she seems to hesitate to offer, but finally even this passes the historically loose Kori-filter: "I feel as though he is a little awkward about your new boyfriend. It would be good for him to see that you are happy and things are normal, maybe? I do not wish for him to be restless. And if he remains so…" Well, that speaks poorly for their odds, even if she doesn't voice the last.

* * *

Barbara is starting to see glimmers of what endeared Dick to this alien woman. It is hard not to like Kory in her truest natures — and the whole thing with the searing hot tray is definitely worth noting. She smiles with a dimpling of understanding, nodding her head slightly. "You make a hell of a bodyguard, Kory." There's a warm earnest there before she slides off the counter, making room for the pretzels.

The initial ask about whether or not it would be uncomfortable is met with an automatic, "Of course not. It will be fine." Then Barbara thinks about it more, and she nods to herself. No, really, it would be fine. Dick and Barbara were desperate, first-love type sweethearts. Their care for each other is there, their love for each other hasn't really disappeared… but it's changed, evolved to fit their adult lives.

Kory's mention of Dick's worries for her is met with a perplexed furrow of her brows, and then she nods slowly. "Yes. No. I think that would be good. John's a bit… atypical when it comes to dating, but we'll come up with something."

* * *

Now all that's left for the pretzels is the stuff that goes on top. Like that delicious mustard. Kori finds it, quickly returns, and begins generously coating one of the pretzels, although she leaves the others untouched for the time. She learned a while ago that the Titans as a whole did not appreciate 'mustard pizza' the way she does, and the lesson is generally applicable!

"I am glad the councilman was not injured, regardless of his involvement. Yet I am uncertain if he was really that much of a target." This realization comes with some of the benefit of hindsight, absent in the heat of things. "The thugs were causnig chaos and were in the way, but I do not feel their deployment revealed any kind of… tactical objective focused on his person. For instance, if that was the case, it seems logical their stronger, large-sized soldiers may have attempted to attack him. They did not."

Tactical analysis and pretzels, just a normal day at Titans T- Mall.

"Oh, this is most delicious!" Kori almost squeals at the joy experienced from her mustard-soaked salty bread. "I am flexible when it comes to such things," she offers for the planning of this date. Maybe too flexible! "However Dick does seem to enjoy the more traditional Earth courtship activities."

* * *

Now there's a thought that Barbara had not had, nor had heard from any others she had spoken to about this. She leans back a bit, frowning thoughtfully with a tilt of her head. "… Yeah. You know, I hadn't thought about that." She actually rubs slightly at her jawline, and her brain starts to drift back into all she's learned about the ball. It is distracting enough that Barbara does not clue back in until Kory is already deeply engaged with her mustard-smeared pretzel.

She will have to think about that more, and maybe even get a few more brains thinking about it as well. While Kory digs in with expressive delight, Babs tears off a piece and chews on it thoughtfully.

Traditional Earth courtship activities draws an amused smile to her lips, and she tilts her head a bit to admire Kory. "He could use some less traditional Earth or non-Earth courtship activities." She laughs more or less to herself before she pops another bite of pretzel in her mouth. Then she grabs a napkin from the counter, and sleights a pen into sight. She jots down her number, before presenting the napkin to Kory.

"I should get back on the road home to Gotham, but… here's my number. We will set up a date with the guys."

* * *

Whatever revelations she might offer about the case, Kori leaves those to Barbara to ponder without further comment, if not without a smile. Given her experience with various Robins and this meeting with Batgirl, it seems increasingly obvious that all of the extended Bat-clan enjoys nothing more than a mystery to unravel. She finds it sort of cute to watch!

So instead… dates.

"Oh, you would prefer to leave Earth?" She takes that one very literally! "It is possible. My smaller personal craft is still concealed nearby. However, this star system lacks for worlds with conditions tolerable to humans, let alone festive locations. It could prove challenging." Still, she looks as if she is now very seriously pondering space dates.

When it is finally time for Barbara to go, Starfire not only accepts the napkin, but again sails close to offer another crushing hug, although this one seems slightly more moderated than the last, as if she is slowly working out the physical tolerances involved. "Wonderful! I am very glad we were able to meet and speak like this, and I would be happy if in the future we could become great friends. You will travel safely, yes?"

* * *

Leave Earth? Barbara blinks in surprise, and her mouth gapes a bit. She thinks back to her planeswalking experience with John, and then starts to shake her head. "Nope, I… think we should stay on Earth." Then she starts to laugh softly. "Definitely stay on Earth."

Thens he breathes out a slow exhale, and is about to say more before she's back in Kory's crushing embrace. She whooshes out a breath before she returns the hug, laughter humming between her lightly sealed lips. "Wonderful meeting you too, Kory."

Then she takes a step back, squeezing the woman's forearm gently. "I will travel safe." She smiles gently. "Take care, Kory. Be safe out there."

She grabs a pretzel to go, and then begins to make her leave from the T-Mall.

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