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Fiction – Ruth’s Story #32 Contact to the right at the Lake City Way barricade

May 3, 2012

I whip my head to the right and realize I cannot see shit. I slam my car in park and lean over the passenger seat. Grabbing my POF AR15, I lay it across my lap with the AAC suppressor facing the passenger seat.

Reaching over and grabbing my LBV, I pop my driver’s door open. Leaving my little car idling I get out and while standing put my LBV on securely fastening the vest. I make sure that my SOG Pentagon Elite pocket knife is still clipped to my front right pants pocket.

I want to hang my Glock fighting knife from the pistol belt I am wearing, but that would mean opening the bonnet, and I do not want to do that now. Never know who is watching and I do not need to advertise. Holding my AR15 vertical in my left arm, I consider stuffing a couple of frag grenades in my LBV but decide against it.

Straightening up outside my car with my POF AR15, I realize it is a bit cold. I am a child of the desert and these damn clammy Seattle mornings remind me of DC in the winter. I know the clock says it is very early afternoon, but it is still damn cold.

Being a little chilled even with my field jacket on, I decide another layer is a good idea. If I get too warm, I can always peel off the outer layer. Lacking a Ghillie suit, another layer might give me some camouflage.

Yanking my Scottevest jacket off the floor, I realize the only problem is the jacket is a remarkably pretty dark blue. So if I silhouette myself against the sky, if this shitty marine layer burns off, maybe then I can hide. So much for the camouflage idea.

Slipping into my Scottevest jacket, which fits me more like a trench coat, reminds me just how heavy this stupid jacket is. It is not terribly bulky, but with the pockets stuffed this jacket could weigh far too much. Like most tactical gear items with lots of pockets, you have to resist the urge to stuff every pocket to capacity. The Scottevest jacket’s bullet resistant material might come in handy in case the zombies start to shoot back.

Looking back into the passenger floorboard of my little car, I see my frag grenades have settled in a small pile. I also see a large black plastic clam shell box I do not recall seeing this morning. What the hell is this?

I lay my AR15 flat across the roof of my car, AAC suppressor facing the passenger door. The contact momentarily forgotten, I reach in and grab the large box.

The outside of the box has German writing, which is one of the ten languages that I am fluent. The box was made in Germany by the Steiner Company. This could be entertaining. Opening the box reveals a thick layer of black foam padding and snuggled in a depression, in the center, is a large pair of Steiner military binoculars.

I lift the binoculars out of their case and set the case in my driver’s seat. As I am stooping over to lay the box in the seat I hear the damn door chime of the little car and its tinny voice constantly repeating “the driver’s door is ajar.” “No it’s a door, not a jar,” I mumble as I close the door to stop the noise before it pisses me off.

The binos are exceptionally nice Steiner 1528 10×50 military Laser Range Finder (LRF) 2,500 yard binoculars. Wow frightfully expensive and extremely nice binoculars to give to someone. Popping the black plastic lens covers off and letting them dangle on the little lanyards, I put the binos to my eyes adjusting them to fit me.

The images I see in the binos’ left lens includes superimposed data such as temperature, compass direction (with magnetic north indicated and options for relative or true compass bearings), barometer reading, and angle of view. The right lens has a mil dot ranging grid displayed with the push of a button or a Horus™ ranging grid with the push of another button.

A light gathering fiber optic strip on the right binos lens housing offers illumination for the dual ranging grids should battery power fail. Pressing the scan button gives me instantaneous range readings displayed in the left lens. Another button changes the letter and image color of the superimposed information from green, red, yellow, or blue by pressing the button each time. The settings button changes the distance reading from yards to meters and the temperature from F to C. The whole thing is a little overwhelming with almost too much data.

While the manufacturer may list these as “lightweight,” they are certainly not something I want to hang around my neck. That and their near $9,000 price tag would make me nervous to take the binos out of the house.

Using the roof of my car for a rest steadies the “light weight” Steiner binos. I find myself scanning and ranging various targets while leaning on my little car. I have used similar but much simpler binos in the IDF and have used spotting scopes with mil dot ranging grids. The Horus™ system is something I am not familiar with although I have heard about it from various sharp shooters. I would bet that Sutton knows what the Horus™ system is and how to use it.

I almost immediately locate our contact. I spot a pair of knobby-tired, dirt bike motorcycles closely followed by three late model, four door sedans screaming towards the barricade. The cars are barreling westbound down NE 80th street straight at the north east corner of the barricade.

The first car is a white Subaru station wagon, possibly an older Forester, with a fool leaning out of the rear driver’s side passenger window over the car’s roof, repeatedly blowing a white self-contained canister, air horn. The air horn is particularly loud, echoing off the buildings with an ear-piercing, bellowing honk.

The middle car, a square wallowing, old school land yacht-sized, pale blue Cadillac that has to weigh nearly two tons, barrels down the roadway with angry rap music blaring from its stereo. The Caddy’s engine is particularly loud; it sounds as if it has no muffler and emits clouds of furious white smoke. The Caddy’s roof is covered with a ripped black material, which shows rusty metal underneath in spots. The Caddy’s stereo is impressive, and we can almost feel the thumping bass, but it cannot compete with the cacophony from the air horn.

The Caddy’s driver is a shirtless, pasty white male, whose stick thin arms, cadaverous upper body and bald head display Aryan Nation and white supremacist tattoos. Caddy driver is clean shaven and appears to have no body hair what so ever. Caddy driver also appears to have no teeth, or at least a highly minimal amount of teeth. Constantly mashing his gums, Caddy driver looks as if a geriatric white supremacist escaped from a nursing home.

The last car, a beat-up rust and red Honda Civic, with a cracked windshield and a squeaky fan belt, also has some loud rap music playing, but it is not nearly as loud as the Caddy and comes nowhere close to competing with the air horn. As the Honda makes the left turn towards the barricade, I see the Honda’s driver has a narrow, spikey bright fluorescent-red Mohawk that keeps getting smashed against the low roof of the car. The sides of driver Mohawk’s shaved pasty white head are covered with dark blue-black white supremacist tattoos.

Driver Mohawk has a bright, shiny, thin herringbone gold chain that runs from his nose down through a small gold ring in his upper lip to a gold stud in left his ear that flops around catching my eye. Driver Mohawk also wears a pair of polarized large aviator style sun glasses and a metal studded black leather vest. Occasionally, as driver Mohawk steers the little Honda, I see his black leather gloves with silver metal spikes on the knuckles gripping the steering wheel.

Air horn, still leaning out of the leading Subaru, continuously wails on the deafening device, reminding me of early football games (what Americans call “soccer”) before air horns were banned by the governing body. Maybe air horn was previously a soccer hooligan; I had heard that the US had a few hooligans as football became more popular. I hope the compressed air canister on the air horn runs out of air for that damn thing soon.

Air horn’s shaved head would look like a billiards cue ball if it were not for the numerous white supremacist tattoos covering his bald pate. The large dark and heavy swastika covering the back of his head from neck to the crown and ear to ear is hard to miss. The large twin lightning bolts (actually stylized Armanen sig runes) of the Nazi Schutzstaffel (SS) in the middle of his forehead reminds me of the late Charles Manson. Subtlety is obviously not air horn’s strong suite.

Air horn wears a large pair of wraparound sunglasses maybe Oakley or similar knock offs. The black pistol grip, of what I assume, is a short sawed off shot gun flaps around inside the open front of his black leather trench coat. The open jacket displays his black tee shirt underneath. What, did this guy see the Matrix or Mad Max too many times?

After the distraction of air horn, I notice that both motorcycle riders wear cheap dime store helmets with full tinted face masks. The left rider must think he is some sort of Roman Centurion as he has a two-inch wide, bright red bristly, four-inch tall Mohawk of some sort on his shiny sky blue helmet.

The right rider has a single line of shiny chrome pointy spikes, forming a lizardlike crest running up the middle of his shiny, glittery black helmet. The top spikes on the helmet must be at least eight inches long. The row of spikes resembles the crest of some lizard or dinosaur like Dimetrodon grandis or Spinosaurus from Jurassic Park III.

The motorcycle riders are dressed in what I would call “Mad Max wannabe” black leather complete with chains, and a plethora of stupid-looking metal spikes stuck in everything. Both riders have several large knives, as well as at least one pistol each.

The motorcycles themselves are a pair of black and red, ratty-looking cheap two-cycle Honda dirt bike knock offs. Both bikes have been similarly outfitted as their riders, with a plethora of spikes, although Mohawk’s motorcycle does not bear a Mohawk as he does.

I cannot get a real good look at the rest of occupants of the cars as I am attempting to look through abandoned cars and a crappy barricade. Each car appears to hold at least four scruffy looking white males dressed in more black leather “Mad Max wannabe” wear.

The frightening thing that causes my empty stomach to clench is the fucking humongous horde of zombies following the motorcycles and three cars. Obviously attracted by the noise and the frequent bellowing of that thrice damned idiot air horn, the zombies comprise the largest horde I have seen other than on the news.

The zombies shuffle in utter silence the only noise they make is the sound of their feet slapping on the asphalt. The majority of the zombie horde is walking down NE 80th street, but there are several zombies walking through the blocks of homes and businesses to the south east of the barricade. The two groups of zombies will converge on the barricade effectively covering the entire eastern side.

“Hit ‘em!” is transmitted over the radio. I have the briefest of moments to ponder “hit who?” before I came to the conclusion that the order means kill the greatest threat, which would be the raiders.

Before the last syllable of the first transmitted word fades, suddenly spike’s full face mask explosively implodes. Abruptly a large hole forms in the back of his helmet. The impact of the bullet knocks several of the spikes off his helmet proving they were only glued on. Accompanied by a thick blossoming fountain of blood, bone, brain matter and chunks of pink foam insulation, the explosive implosion of spike’s face mask and the gaping hole through his helmet explodes out the back coating the first car’s hood.

The shot through spike’s helmet is utterly silent, so I bet I know who made the kill. Spike’s corpse now astride an out of control motorcycle crashes into an abandoned car on NE 85th street launching his corpse, skyward though, he does not do as good an impression of Superman as the other dead motorcycle rider did.

Spike’s corpse lands face down in a boneless pile, limbs akimbo in the middle of Lake City Way just to the east of the barricade near where 14th Avenue Northeast merges with Lake City Way and Northeast 80th street. His little motor bike sputters for a few minutes against the abandoned car and then dies with a clattering rattle emitting little puffs of bluish-gray smoke.

I have never seen a suppressed .300 Win Mag close range (about 75 yards) head shot through a motorcycle helmet before. I have to say that I am a little disappointed. However, that shot seems to have taken the fight out of the would be raiders, who immediately slam on the brakes, and start trying to turn around attempting to leave as fast as they came. Unfortunately, the raiders find themselves pinched between the defenders and the horde of zombies they brought with them.

A second suppressed shot again most likely from Sutton’s bolt action .300 Win Mag rifle nearly takes the head off of the fool with the air horn. The second shot hit the tattooed white supremacist hood rat between his SS tattoo, liquefying his cranium, obliterating the large swastika and most of the rear of his skull. Air horn’s nearly headless corpse flops beside the car door, near to the asphalt as the driver frantically whips the car to the left.

The chunky, dripping and smeared bloody mess now coating the driver’s side passenger door and rear of the small Subaru Forester station wagon is pretty gross and contrasts starkly with the white car. Air horn’s black leather trench coat appears to be the only thing keeping him in the car as his arms drag on the ground leaving bloody lines behind the car. Chunks of bloody, Jello-like gray brain matter and blood continue to ooze out of air horn’s corpse, leaving a gory snail trail.

The wildly gyrating Subaru runs over the legs of spike’s corpse, pulverizing them within the black leather pants. Spike’s corpse speed bump causes air horn’s short, sawed off, pump shot gun with its black pistol grip to fall out of his coat and rattle across the asphalt. As the Subaru driver makes a hard right whipping the car in the opposite direction, air horn’s corpse finally falls out of the window, rolling across the asphalt in a boneless roll.

Air horn’s death brings momentary silence, quickly broken. A brief burst of fire from the M240 on the rear Humvee followed by a slightly less brief burst from the twin M2HB on the deuce stitches the last two cars with numerous holes, turning both cars and their occupants in to Swiss cheese.

Not sure about the M240 but it looks like the twin .50 on the deuce is loaded with Kandahar Special (KS). KS is the policy or habit of mixing the composition of the ammo belts so every six rounds of ball ammo is followed by an Armor Piercing Incendiary Tracer (APIT) bullet and then an Armor Piercing Explosive Incendiary (APEI) bullet.

Sometimes the troops mix Saboted Light Armor Piercing (SLAP) or Saboted Light Armor Piercing Tracer (SLAP-T) and Raufoss rounds (or all three) in the KS mix depending on availability of ammo and the expected threat. Although the newer APEI, rounds are remarkably similar to the Raufoss round, with slightly better lethality and greater explosive capability, the earlier Raufoss round and its clones are more prevalent.

The two riddled cars start to burn, and each flaming car comes to a crashing halt against an abandoned vehicle. Judging by the brief screams someone was alive for a moment in one or both of the cars.

The first car, the little white Subaru station wagon, is still attempting to weave their way through the abandoned cars, but the horde of zombies significantly impedes their progress. The little Subaru does not have the mass like the two ton land yacht Caddy to be able to barrel its way through the tightly packed zombies.

Thankfully, the screaming of the burning car occupants is brief and silence returns for a moment as we watch the flames consume both cars and starts to ignite the abandoned cars they came to rest against. A few curious zombies, attracted by the noise and the bright flames, get a little too close and become blazers, the common moniker of a walking zombie that is on fire.

Thankfully blazers have a short life spans and usually die fairly quickly, but they can be a hazard, setting fire to other structures and items. A horrid fate is to be grabbed by a blazer; if you are lucky you can get away or hopefully die quickly.

At SeaTac Airport, we watched several blazers walk from burning planes into buildings setting them on fire. Blazers also chased people into other planes setting the plane and its occupants on fire. This was unfortunate because there were several planes full of people under quarantine that never had a chance.

Because some of the planes were sitting as many as six days (that I know of), they had run out of fuel, food, water, and the toilet systems were over flowing. The living conditions in those planes must have been ghastly.

Maybe I was fortunate that I got stuck in the terminal, not in a plane. Several times when someone got out of the plane, for instance to use the bushes, blazers (or other zombies) chased them back into the plane creating another whole plane load of zombies or setting the plane on fire killing everyone that could not get out. My reminiscing of my time at Sea Tac is interrupted by the whining of a car’s engine being revved too high in too low of a gear.

The last surviving car, the white Subaru Forester, now missing air horn’s nearly headless corpse flopping out of the left rear passenger window, makes a brave attempt to flee, the driver doing his damned best to weave through the numerous abandoned cars. The driver is certainly not sparing the vehicle and has his foot in the little car, attempting to slam his car through the packed horde of zombies.

A sudden red and black movement catches my eye, and I see centurion Mohawk rider whip his little bike up in a wheelie, attempting to flee south along the side walk of Lake City Way just outside the barricade. Putting the binos down, I lift my POF AR15 putting it to my right shoulder. Centurion Mohawk rider is nearly perpendicular to my location as I start to take slack off of the match quality three pound two-stage trigger.

The twist rate of my 16.5″ POF AR15 barrel is 1-6.5 which is a little too fast for these light weight 5.56 NATO rounds. I much prefer, heavier 80 grain (or more) Open Tip Match (OTM) high ballistic coefficient (BC) bullets, but beggars cannot be choosy.

My rifle is set on a single round as I take a bead on the bright red Mohawk. Quickly pulling the trigger twice, keeping the trigger in the second stage, I double tap Centurion Mohawk. I cannot hear the impact of the bullets, but I see their immediate effect. The cough of the AAC suppressor is nearly lost in the surrounding noise, but the noise of the recoil spring in the stock beside my right ear is unmistakable.

Centurion Mohawk falls backward off his motorcycle, which was still in a wheelie landing, on his back. The motorcycle, freed of the weight of its rider, falls back on its front wheel wobbles south a few feet and then topples over to lay on its right side, idling.

Covering Centurion Mohawk rider with my rifle, I watch a moment to see if there is any movement. Not seeing any obvious movement, after a moment, I put my rifle back on the roof of my car and grabbing my binos, put them to my eyes. Focusing on Centurion Mohawk’s helmet I see two small holes in the right side, a little farther apart than I would like, just above the temple area where I was aiming. Moving my binos south I watch for movement of Centurion Mohawk’s chest a few moments to establish there is no movement. No need to expend another round.

A sudden incredibly loud, booming shot careens off the surrounding building like a slap to the face, ripping through the area, startling me. Whipping my binos to the north, I see a fist-sized hole obliterated the Subaru Pleiades symbol in the rear hatch of the retreating station wagon.

The shot cracked all the windows in the Subaru, with the exception of the one that air horn was leaning out of, and coated the inside of the windows with a sticky red paste like someone stuck a lit firecracker in an open can of red latex paint. A fine mist of the red goop flew out of air horn’s open window misting several zombies nearby who reacted to the shot but not being sprayed with gunk.

The small car, which suddenly fills with a smoky red haze, immediately slows. The driverless Subaru crashes without ever hitting the brakes into the sidewalk guard rail. Light gray smoke leaks out of air horn’s open window. The small engine settles into a rough coughing idle, before coughing a few times and dying.

I bet that last shot that took out the Subaru and its occupants was a Raufoss round. By the incredible face-punching, report of the shot, I am betting one of the soldiers has either a semi-auto or bolt action .50 BMG sniper rifle with a fucking gigantic howitzer-sized muzzle break. I have shot a couple of the Barrett rifles and dislike them thoroughly. Far too heavy for me to use comfortably, even the M82 Barrett semi-auto rifle, which kicks about like a pump 12 gauge shot gun, is too much for my liking.

The IDF in particular loved the Barrett rifles. I have shot several of the various Barrett rifle models in nearly every caliber available. Part of my infantry officer’s orientation was being familiar with all the weapons that my soldiers might carry.

While I was appreciative of the knowledge, I thoroughly disliked the muzzle blast from the enormous howitzer style muzzle breaks commonly found on these rifles. You never want to shoot one of the .50 BMG rifles with the muzzle break removed because it will knock the crap right out of you. With a suppressor replacing the howitzer muzzle break, the rifle recoils too much for me to shoot comfortably.

One of the principal draw backs of the Barrett and similar rifles like the Accuracy International Weapons (AIW) rifles with their immense soup can-sized howitzer muzzle breaks is that you cannot shoot one of the most popular .50 caliber ammunitions – SLAP and SLAP-T rounds.

The owner’s manual for the Barrett and the AIW weapons specifically recommend that SLAP rounds not be fired in the weapon or personnel injury, and weapon damage can occur. Apparently the plastic sabot used in the SLAP rounds might melt in the long barrel. Another concern is the sabot coming off and either jamming in the muzzle brake or flying out of the muzzle brake striking nearby personnel.

The US Marine Corps had Barrett remove the muzzle breaks on a few M82s and work the chamber to seat a SLAP. The project was abandoned after a while, and the modified rifles returned to original specification with muzzle breaks either by USMC armorers or Barrett.

My thoughts about big fucking rifles are interrupted by ammo in the two burning cars cooking off. The heavy, thick smoke from the two cars blocks part of the zombie horde from sight but their progress is relentless. Despite the few zombies that catch fire, there is no discernible reduction in zombie numbers.

My radio suddenly crackles to life startling me. Jamal still has his transmit button locked. “Thank you for that, that gang has been particularly bothersome.”

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24 Comments
  1. John permalink

    Caught this segment at work, and I liked it fine. However given the action going on, I did find myself skipping over the detailed descriptions of the “perps”. Perhaps the degree of detail when describing a character should be more proportional to how long they’re going to be around in the story?

    Keep up the “gear detail” though I love that. By the way with those binoculars, Ruth has a Gear “Sugar Daddy”, not a fairy.

    That’s my $0.02 for the day, even if it’s overcharging.

  2. Thanks John that is something I will consider if more people suggest shorter character descriptions. I like your idea of character description based on length of character life in the story. I also like your term “gear sugar daddy” rather than “gear fairy.” The gear sugar daddy will be revealed next segment.

  3. BobOK permalink

    Great entry!
    I await the quad .50s and 20mm playtime. And I too enjoy the equipment detail. I have not served my Country in the Armed Forces, but am a history buff. Something I remember reading was a quad .50 used to defoliate a grove of trees in search of a sniper. Grove of trees was basically leveled.

    Big guns for the win!

    Again, I am enjoying your writing and THANKS!

    • While I did not have the opportunity to use either a quad .50 or a single 20mm cannon, the 25mm Bushmaster on my Bradley was an awesome gun. Like soldiers before us in other conflicts, if you shot at us we shot back with something much bigger. If that meant tossing a TOWII, a Javelin, or a LAW into a building, driving an Abrams through it, or strafing it with 25mm cannon fire, so be it.

  4. The Mad Max gang was weird…but destroying them was pretty cool.

    • Thanks Deere, I hope you enjoyed the scenario. In keeping with the typical doomsday scenario fiction that has been published, I was attempting to portray a group of lowlifes in a manner that is easy to invision. Not all gangs are going to be skin heads, but major disasters like a zombie plague, tsunami, etc. brings out all the predators.

  5. Is there any other Stuff in your repository, or is it just full of Zombies?

    • Right now just mostly zombie fiction. Later there might be more material about prepping. There are some early ideas for suburban hunting and foraging based on what I saw in Kosovo.

      • Now THAT would be interesting – Kosovo is a real SHTF situation.

  6. Yes Kosovo was a real eye opener. I had never considered people eating their pets and then any stray they could catch. Then they wiped out the city pigeons. Whole blocks of buildings were tore down for fire wood, and almost every tree in the city was cut for firewood. Almost any stick of wooden furniture, some of it hundreds of years old, was burnt for heat and to cook. Kosovo was a real shock. So was Somalia, Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan (there is a reason Afghanistan is called the “Graveyard of Empires”), Panama, Zimbabwe (Rhodesia), and just about every other shit hole I deployed to with the military.

    • Roger permalink

      I would really be interested in some of those stories. If you’re looking for release from your PTSD, I think writing about experiences that caused it would be painful, but allow some needed release.

      • Some of my experiences are worked into the stories that I write. Telling what I have been through in a fictional manner helps. Far too many of my experiences if I dwell on them gives me nightmares, so I tend to avoid those situations.

  7. Great writing & details. Keep up the good work, as often as possible. The details from Kosovo and other assignments would make great story lines.

    • My experiences are blended into the stories. Writing from a fictional perspective helps me distance myself from the events. In time maybe I will be able to talk about my experiences, but for now handling them in a fictional manner helps.

  8. George Wills permalink

    I suspect the Mad Max team’s plan was to overwhelm the defenders with the crowd of zombies chasing them. Not too bright if you’re between the two groups, both of which want to kill you.

    • George, you are correct only the attackers did not count on the ex-soldiers being there. You can lead zombies but it is about impossible to drive them from behind. Would have attacked in another way?

      • CraigE permalink

        I think I would have set fire to something of the defenders and made some type of noise in their direction without exposing myself. Even the defenders had rifles.

      • Yes that would have been one tactic the ex-soldiers could have used. Blowing up the dry cleaners, or one of the houses certainly would have been a good distraction. Most of the soldiers though still think like soldiers, and protecting the civilians is something that just comes naturally. It did not matter if the civilians were Bosnians, Slavs, Urdu, Pashtun, or whatever – I still tried to keep them out of a fire fight between my soldiers and the folks shooting at us. My orders in my last tour of Afghanistan and last two tours of Iraq were simple – keep the peace. The ex-soldiers also had far superior weapons to the barricade defenders and I fully believe in peace by the use (or threat) of superior firepower.

  9. Why the devil face avatar, Allen?

    • It is an avatar that I have used since the early 90s. It also fits my personality as there is a bit of the devil in me. I went through some early Army medical testing, collecting DNA from soldiers. That is when I discovered I have the monoamine oxidase-A gene, the so called “warrior gene.”

  10. Johannes permalink

    The side stories of the Zombie mutants was interesting. I hope to hear more about them.

    • There will be more stories of the mutants, and they will make frequent appearances in the story. It has been final weeks here for me so I have been keeping my nose to the grindstone keeping my grades up. One of my classes was much harder than I was either prepared for or expected and it really took more effort than I was prepared to devote. It is all behind me now, I shall get another blog post up soon.

      • Yes, I would love to see more stories involving mutants, etc. If you’re going to have zombies, then zombie mutants and cannibals are a perfect match. I look forward to the next installment for my morning fiction fix.

      • Thanks Jake there will be more stories of the mutants and zombies shortly. Thank you for continuing to read. I know it has been a while since I posted a new segment. I will rectify that omission shortly now that my semester finals are completed.

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