Portal Breach: The Collision of Worlds :: v.4.0


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    Red and the Transistor
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    Post by Red and the Transistor on Sat Sep 20, 2014 10:57 pm

    Time: 9:11 PM
    Date: September 20, 2014

    It was a beautiful evening in the City. The sky was mostly clear, with a light breeze and scattered clouds overhead. The sort of evening that would top the polls of Cloudbank City.

    Except wherever this was, it couldn't be Cloudbank.

    A lone figure was making her way down the road toward the massive building, a red-haired young lady wearing a slightly oversized leather jacket over a damaged golden evening gown which, due to recent circumstances, was missing most of its skirt. More unusual, however, was the rather large object she held in her grasp: a rather large sword, which she held by the handle but dragged along the sidewalk behind her due to its sheer size and weight. Or at least one would assume it was a sword due to its general size and shape, though swords tended not to glow or speak, as this one was doing at the moment.

    "Let's see: biggest building on the block, old and pretentious architecture, more columns and stairs than could possibly be practical-- definitely the Admin building."

    Red nodded in agreement as she came to a halt before the structure. It certainly did have an air of authority about it, and hopefully whoever was inside could help her and her companion with their current predicament.

    "May as well go inside. With any luck they'll still be open and maybe we can find out where we are and how to get back to Cloudbank- or at least whatever's left of it-- ow!"

    She had already begun to ascend the steps to the entrance before the man in the Transistor had finished his sentence. At his outburst, she stopped for a moment to heft the Transistor over her shoulder before resuming her climb.

    "Ah, thanks. And here I thought Bracket Tower's stairs were bad- at least they weren't made of solid concrete!"

    Once she had reached the top of the stairwell, Red set the Transistor back down and immediately went for the nearest door.

    "...You know, we might need to find a temporary living arrangement here-- wherever here is-- in case we can't afford a ticket out of here. I left my wallet with my old body and unless that dress of yours has pockets I don't know about we're more or less dead broke right now."

    Red briefly mused on the idea as she pushed in on the large wooden door. It resisted a little, but not as much as she was expecting, so once she was inside she stumbled a bit before regaining her footing. Once she had her bearings, she looked up to find more shelves and books than she had ever seen in an administrative building, let alone any building at all. In fact, it looked more like they were inside a giant--

    "A library?"

    Yeah, that.

    "Ok, so this isn't the admin building, my bad. Still, a library this big and fancy has gotta have a lot of references, may as well take a look around! Gotta be someone or something here that could help us."

    The sheer size of the place was rather intimidating, but Red figured her companion had a point. With a grunt, she hefted the Transistor back over her shoulder and made her way further inside, hoping her current attire and would-be armament wouldn't get them both kicked out.
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    Re: Browse()

    Post by GLaDOS on Sun Sep 21, 2014 12:14 am

    GLaDOS was rather tired of books.

    Most of Aperture's records were digital, and could be quickly brought up in her processor. If she ever needed data on such-and-such a test or a certain test subject or employee, usually she could simply pull it up in her system and analyze the entire thing in a few seconds. There were physical records, but usually they had digital duplicates. For the ones that didn't, she would have to search the facility for them, take them somewhere to be scanned, decipher the handwriting (if it was handwritten rather than typed), and enter it into her own system--a rather grueling process for such a simple task as data retrieval.

    True, she didn't have to read through the things here in the library, but there was a lot of data that could only be found in physical records. So, not having much to do between more important things, she often found herself reading through any bit of nonfiction she could find and storing whatever relevant data, if any, she could find.

    At the moment, however, she was taking a break from the books and giving her hover unit a rest, latched onto the ceiling with a cord plugged into the wall. Her optic was unlit as she went over the data she'd collected for the day.

    Or at least, she had been doing that until some idiot came in and began yammering far above a whisper.

    GLaDOS hadn't expected many people to be here this late at night, and the disturbance wasn't exactly welcome. Someone to take out her frustrations on, however, was.

    Detaching herself from the ceiling and unplugging and retracting her charging cable, she hovered down toward the ground and made her way toward the entrance of the library, where she'd heard the noise. She was slightly, if not visibly, surprised to find a female human with what appeared to be an impractically large sword--but hadn't the voice she'd heard been masculine? Nonetheless, she approached the stranger, keeping her head level with the woman's.

    "I'm not sure what sort of world you come from," she began, keeping her voice at a reasonable volume for a library, "But here, it is considered highly inappropriate to use one's normal voice in a library." She tilted her head. "If that is your normal voice, anyway. It seems quite abnormal given your... physical appearance."
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    Re: Browse()

    Post by Red and the Transistor on Sun Sep 21, 2014 12:50 am

    The sudden approach of this strange new guest startled both Red and her companion considerably, though both expressed their surprise in a different way. Red's surprise was more visible: she gasped sharply, her eyes widened in shock, she jumped about half a foot away from the floating mechanical thing before her, and she tightened her grip on the Transistor, one hand on the grip and the other keeping the blade level with the ground. Meanwhile, the Transistor itself flashed almost completely white as the voice inside exclaimed "HOLY-", then, finally registering what this machine had just spoken, dropped to a whisper "-oh, right, library. Sorry."

    Both of them took a moment to regain their composure. There were libraries in Cloudbank, and like everything else in the city they had various features and aspects come and go as the populace voted in or out new features. There was a time when the library held actual books, but last either remembered they had completely changed over to digital archives accessed by OVC terminal. Red had thought it strange enough that this place still had paper books, but this was certainly unlike anything she would have expected. It didn't appear to be hostile though, so she gently set down the Transistor and de-ruffled herself, slightly embarrassed by this unexpected first impression.

    After a moment, the Transistor spoke up, in as quiet-yet-coherent a whisper as its synthetic voice could allow: "Pardon us, we're kind of new in town and... well, from the outside this looked like the Administration building. We were kinda hoping to find out where we are and how we're supposed to get back to Cloudbank City from here; does this library have any sort of archives that would shed light on our predicament?"
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    Re: Browse()

    Post by GLaDOS on Fri Sep 26, 2014 3:45 pm

    GLaDOS made no outward expression at startling the human--she was used to frightening people, after all, and did not dislike it. She did, however, look down in mild surprise when the sword began to flash, the blade pulsing in time with its speech. It reminded her of the cores, whose optics would behave similarly when the robots talked. That explained where the masculine voice was coming from, in any case.

    The woman had not said anything yet, and GLaDOS's body froze up for a moment as a brief torrent of emotions surged through her at the memory of another mute woman and her talkative... companion.

    But she was quickly able to shrug it off and bury the emotions. Even though the weapon was the only one talking at the moment, she slowly alternated her gaze between the two every so often, knowing better than to ignore a mute human. "New in town," she repeated flatly. It took her barely a picosecond to figure out just what she was dealing with here; her flaceplate turned downward to form an unimpressed expression. "I see. Here's a tip for you, then: I am not part of the library staff. Do not pester me with pointless questions."

    She contemplated ending it at that and leaving the two to fend for themselves, but perhaps she could get some information out of them. "Nonetheless, I have studied this... place for quite some time, and there is no Cloudbank City anywhere in the immediate area." Slowly she began to hover away, heading toward part of the nonfiction section. While she didn't turn back to look at the two, she moved slow enough for them to follow her at an easy pace. "However, I believe I know where you may find some of the information you seek."[/color]
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    Re: Browse()

    Post by Red and the Transistor on Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:24 pm

    This talking machine was starting to worry Red; something about it just didn't sit well with her. Maybe it was just its appearance-- the way it hung upside-down from that hovercraft seemed a little creepy, and the way most of its parts were either pure white or solid black almost made it look like it could be some form of Process. That was unlikely, of course, the Process tended to either look like they were made from loosely-connected geometric shapes or have those more uncanny organic-looking designs, while this thing was clearly made of normal everyday electronic hardware and plastic. That and it didn't look like any sort of Process she had encountered before, though it did remind her a bit of the Spine, due to its shape and the way it hung from that circular hovercraft reminded her of the Spine's tail stabbing at her through that strange portal.

    That still begged the question of what exactly this thing *was*. It was clearly some sort of machine, but why could it talk like it did? It sounded so human... *rude* even. It even pointed out that it wasn't some sort of automated librarian like Red assumed it was, so what was it doing here?

    Perhaps this thing was just some sort of Proxy? Royce had used one to contact them in Goldwalk all the way from his studio in Fairview, but it was a lot smaller and considerably more efficient-looking. It even had a display screen so they could see Royce face-to-face as he spoke to them, not that he seemed to notice whenever her companion tried to speak back. Maybe this was an older model? That would explain it- some cranky antsocial woman needed to check out a book, but rather than face human contact just sent out this clunky old--

    "PSST"

    The Transistor's interjection brought her back to reality. The strange machine had moved away a few feet, and was moving at a speed that implied she was supposed to follow it. It seemed Red had been so caught up in judging this strange machine that she forgot it was trying to help her. Feeling guilty and a little frustrated with herself, she shouldered the Transistor and did her best to catch up to and keep pace with the hovering machine, taking care not to let the Transistor bump into any of the shelves along the way.
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    Re: Browse()

    Post by GLaDOS on Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:27 pm

    While GLaDOS went slowly enough to be followed, she did not stop and wait for the red-haired woman, who was apparently lost in thought. If she didn't want help, well, that was one less thing for GLaDOS to do. But sure enough, the human followed, carrying her sentient weapon alongside her.

    For a brief moment, GLaDOS turned to look at the human and her companion before facing forward again. She'd seen many strange things here, but a sentient weapon was certainly new. Though it wasn't difficult to tell what this thing probably was. "Putting a sentient AI into a weapon seems a waste," she remarked without looking back, "especially if you cannot move on your own."

    She left them to think on that as she finally stopped at a shelf and drew a claw out of her hover unit. She took a second to glance over the books before snagging one and pulling it out: a smaller book on the geography of Portal Breach with barely more information than the tourist guide. At least it contained a map.

    "Here," GLaDOS said, holding out the book. "This should give you information on your current location."
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    Red and the Transistor
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    Re: Browse()

    Post by Red and the Transistor on Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:34 pm

    Red simply smiled, nodded, and mouthed "Thank you" as she propped up the Transistor against the nearest shelf and took the book from the machine's claw. The Transistor, meanwhile, just to ensure Red's soundless attempt at expressing gratitude was not mistaken for ungrateful silence, added "She says thanks" as Red examined the book and started examining its contents.

    "For the record, though," he continued, "I'm *technically* not exactly what you could call an AI. And for that matter, this thing-- the Transistor-- technically isn't exactly a weapon, either. It's kind of a long story, but for now let's just say me dying and Red here losing her voice was *not* the worst thing to happen to either of us last night. And it's kind of important that the both of us figure out how to get back home so we can use this thing to fix... well, whatever's left of our city after last night. Right Red?"

    Red nodded absentmindedly as she browsed the small almanac. The map at least gave her a good idea of the layout of the city they had found themselves in, Portal City, it seemed to be called, which proved a source of both relief and dread. Red had never even heard of this place; the furthest place she knew from Cloudbank besides The Country itself was Fairview Island, which thanks to recent events was only a short bridge trip away from Cloudbank itself. Worse yet, Red could find no mention of Cloudbank anywhere-- just how far away were they?

    "Uh... Red?"

    For what it was worth, at least Portal City seemed to have its fair share of other attractions; Red made a note to investigate a few of the local inns since it looked like they may be here a while.
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    Re: Browse()

    Post by GLaDOS on Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:19 pm

    "I would have never guessed," GLaDOS hummed, her faceplate briefly turning downward in an annoyed look. "It's helpful that she has a translator alongside her."

    But she listened as the apparent AI--or not--talked, and twitched slightly. "Oh. So you were once a living thing that was transferred into... that, then," she guessed, her speech sounding faintly tense. It reminded her too much of something she more than wished she could forget. "And you wish to go back home."

    She watched the human gaze over the map of the city, and tilted her head. Without saying anything, she reached out with her claw, grabbed a corner of the page, and turned it to the next one, which showed a full map of the entire continent. While she didn't put too much faith in the intelligence of humans--having tested that intelligence for some time now--she guessed that this human would be smart enough to put two-and-two together here. Or if not, perhaps that not-AI would.
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    Re: Browse()

    Post by Red and the Transistor on Sat Oct 11, 2014 12:36 am

    "...You know, you probably could have just told her there was something important on the next page. You look like you're going to hurt someone with that thing."

    Red tried to brush away the interloping robot's claw, until she saw what was on the page it had turned her book to. Irritation gave way to shock, and for a moment Red just stared at the continental map in disbelief.

    "Anyway, yeah, that's about the long and short of it. It's not just me in here either, but for some reason everyone else has gotten awful quiet as of- hey!"

    Red had snatched up the Transistor so quickly it almost appeared as if the blade had just leapt from its resting place into her grasp. She kneeled down slightly to hold the book level with the large red gem on the Transistor's blade-- its eye, as it were-- holding the same stunned expression all the while.

    "What are you- wait... what the heck?"

    It didn't take long for him to figure out what she wanted him to see.

    "What is this place? I've never seen anywhere like this in my life. Not that I'd gotten out much, but still..."

    Red briefly flipped the page back to the city map, indicating the library where they supposedly stood currently, then flipped back to the world map.

    "Wait a second, you mean... this is where we are? That can't be right, where's Cloudbank? I don't see it anywhere on this map- turn the page! Maybe it's on a different one!"

    Flipping forward and back a few pages did produce a few new maps, each of them corresponding to a location indicated on the world map, but none of them were in any way recognizable, and none of them had any sign or mention of Cloudbank.

    "No, no, no, this can't be, why isn't- wait, maybe they just took it off! Yeah, the Process erased the whole thing and now they can't even bother to show it on- no, that's not right, they would have to make the whole map over to cover up that huge empty spot. Then how far out would we have to be that it wouldn't show up at all? How would we even get that far away from Fairview to here?"

    Though the Transistor bore no expression, one could easily hear the panic starting to build in its voice. The glow on the blade that accompanied its speech started to become more intense as well, in proportion to the tone of said voice. Red, on the other hand, was visibly panicked, and even fighting back tears as her mind raced with much of the same questions that plagued her friend. Her grasp on the Transistor tightened as the hand holding her book began to tremble.

    ""This can't be real. This is a joke, it has to be. This piece of crap book is fake and you're just screwing with us. Well, very funny miss whatever-the-h*ll you are, play time's over. Tell us the truth- where are we, how did we get here, and how the h*ll do we get back to where we came from? You better start talking- remember what I said about this thing not being a weapon? Not entirely true."
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    Re: Browse()

    Post by GLaDOS on Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:00 pm

    "I could have done that, yes. But I didn't," came GLaDOS's plain response. She may have made a comment about how stupid the average human tended to be, but she held it back when she spotted the human's reaction. This would be interesting.

    She picked up on the not-AI's brief comment on apparently not being the only... being within that object, but again, declined to comment in favor of watching the proceedings. Her claw retracted back into her hover unit as she observed the human and the not-AI's one-sided conversation, silently taking in their mounting panic. Though her face did not easily betray her emotions, her optic did have the faintest glint of a smile to it.

    It was good to see human fear every once in a while.

    When the not-AI finally addressed her, she made no change in expression. "Yes, obviously this library keeps a good stock of fiction in its non-fiction section," she replied, dipping her head ever-so-slightly in a condescending manner. "You are in Portal City, in Portal Breach, and have been taken from your home world via a portal." She looked up, appearing thoughtful. "As for how to get back... that is the question, now, isn't it?"

    GLaDOS looked back, her gaze drifting from the face of the human to the eye of the not-AI. "Tell me what happened immediately before you arrived here, and show me where you arrived. Perhaps that will yield some answers."
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    Re: Browse()

    Post by Red and the Transistor on Sat Oct 25, 2014 12:42 am

    "...Fine."

    Red shot a glare to the Transistor that undoubtedly showed a disapproval with his answer.

    "Look, I don't like this any more than you do, but we don't exactly have a lot of options now, do we? Whether or not anything she said was a load of bull, it doesn't change the fact that we're completely lost in a city neither of us has ever heard of, and by the looks of things nobody here has heard of Cloudbank either. I still don't trust her, but if there's even a chance she can actually help us it'll be the best option we have. Unless of course you'd prefer we just hit the road and try figuring things out ourselves- I certainly wouldn't stop you if you tried, and it's not like we haven't been winging it all last night, right?"

    Red was indignant, but he had a point. She lowered the Transistor with a sigh that may as well have been a groan. As tempting as it was just to leave the floating modern art sculpture behind in this library and never look back, she really had no better ideas. Besides, her friend in the Transistor had never let her down yet- she could trust his intuition, and right now it was saying to let the machine help them.

    Red hefted the Transistor and turned toward the exit, but not before gesturing to the floating robot to follow her.

    The eye on the Transistor imperceptibly shifted, turning to focus on the floating machine now behind Red but still well within its range of vision. "Looks like we got a deal. Come on, the alley was a good ways off and I can tell you about what happened along the way."
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    Re: Browse()

    Post by GLaDOS on Sat Oct 25, 2014 9:49 pm

    "Oh, look. It appears one of you has a shred of sense in what qualifies as your brain," GLaDOS remarked after the not-AI's rant. She didn't particularly care whether or not either of these two believed her, so long as she got the data she sought. While there was something she certainly hoped she would find, she had not found it yet, and knew better than to get her hopes up.

    The human began walking back toward the exit, and GLaDOS followed calmly, but not without a faint air of caution. That not-AI did seem to have something of a temper, and she wasn't keen on using her taser when she wasn't fully charged. Keeping a reasonable distance, she followed the two, looking at the not-AI again when it addressed her.

    "I would like to know all the relevant details. I've been conducting studies on this phenomenon and it... interests me."
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    Re: Browse()

    Post by Red and the Transistor on Sun Oct 26, 2014 2:10 am

    Phenomenon? This sort of thing has happened before?

    For a moment Red wished she were actually able to ask this question out loud, but instead she simply continued to retrace her steps back to the alley where they landed, for lack of a better term. She still didn't like this arrogant nonsensical machine, but now it had officially piqued her curiosity. With any luck, they might even have some actual answers by the time this ordeal was over.

    "Sure thing. It's kind of a long story, but that's probably what you were hoping for isn't it? Let's see, where to begin..." The Transistor paused a moment, doing his best to recall as much about what happened to Cloudbank that night, and by extension Red and himself.

    "We found ourselves here in an alley, after Red had beaten a mad engineer in a fight over me-- well, not me, but the Transistor itself-- so she could get back to Cloudbank with it after it sent her off to this weird place after she put it...

    You know what? Let me just start from the top: Just a few hours ago I was a regular human being, and Red here was one of the best singers in all of Cloudbank. Then last night after one of her shows we get attacked by these guys called the Camerata. We didn't know much about them at the time, all we knew was that they were some sort of secretive organization made of a handful of Cloudbank's elite. They were being led by Grant Kendrell, one of Cloudbank's own Administrators, and he was trying to use the Transistor to steal Red's Trace before I jumped in and tried to stop him.

    Next thing I know we're both in Goldwalk, Red's voice is gone, and I'm staring at my own corpse from the Transistor jutting out of my chest. As if that weren't enough we start getting attacked by these things called the Process, which we assumed the Camerata had sent after us to finish Red off and reclaim the Transistor. I figured we should just skip town, but Red wasn't about to let the Camerata get away with what they did to us..."


    And so it continued, the man in the Transistor recounting Red's revenge quest against the Camerata, and how they had battled the Process with the powers granted by the Transistor and its numerous Functions, meanwhile Red was taking them across Portal City to that alley they found themselves in.

    "...Come to find out, the Camerata hadn't been sending the Process to attack the City- they lost control over them the moment they lost the Transistor to Red. What's more, they weren't just out for power like we thought they were; they were just unhappy with the way Cloudbank changed all the time and wanted to use the Transistor, the Traces they had collected, and the Process to turn Cloudbank into a city everyone would be happy with, not just the current majority. Not sure how that was supposed to work though, I'm guessing having the Transistor full of the Traces of most influential people in the city would have given them more control over the Process and the city's changes than the votes of everyone else. Either way, what they ACTUALLY did was pretty much the exact opposite of what they wanted, and by the time we got inside, Grant and Asher were already dead; they'd committed suicide out of guilt over all the deaths and destruction they were responsible for."

    While the Transistor continued its story with how they found the last member of the Camerata: Royce Bracket, the one who discovered the Process responsible for Cloudbank's changing nature in the first place, as well as the Transistor that controlled them, Red had finally found the street she recognized as the first she saw upon leaving the alley. Not much further now...

    "...so he tells us once we put the Transistor back in the Cradle where he found it, it'll make the Process disappear and Red will be able to use the Transistor to remake the City herself from what little is left. I don't remember what exactly happened next- the Transistor sent Red and Bracket somewhere once it was back in the Cradle, and I was... I dunno, less myself at the time. All I knew was that only one of them could go back to Cloudbank and wield the Transistor, and Red won. Except we didn't go back to Cloudbank like we were supposed to, instead we ended up...

    There! In that alley, right there!"
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    Re: Browse()

    Post by GLaDOS on Sun Nov 02, 2014 4:55 pm

    GLaDOS did not like chatterboxes. Or chatter-sword-shaped-devices, as this not-AI appeared to be. Still, she listened diligently, quietly processing the slurry of information the being was spewing at her, and storing it into her memory to pull apart and analyze at her own leisure. But what this thing was telling her was not all what she wanted to hear--it seemed more interested in blathering on about its life story than giving her data relevant to their current situation--that is--how they arrived at Portal Breach.

    But from what she could gather, the place they had come from was probably not Earth. Disappointing, but not unexpected. Beings here came from so many different places she'd come to fully expect them to describe some alien planet whenever she asked about their home world. Perhaps some other time she would find someone to give her useful information about the situation back on Earth.

    Once they arrived at the location--a nondescript alleyway--GLaDOS stopped and stared into the not-AI's gem, which apparently served as an optic. "I did say all relevant details, not irrelevant drivel, but I suppose something that lacks a physical brain might have trouble discerning the difference," she remarked before calmly hovering around the alleyway, looking for traces of anything--a portalable surface, a trace of moon rock dust, a gleam of orange somewhere--but did not find anything relevant. Still, she scanned the area, keeping several images of it in her processor, before turning to the human and her non-human companion again.

    "Just before you arrived here, did you see a flash of blue? Or perhaps, a blue oval?"
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    Red and the Transistor
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    Re: Browse()

    Post by Red and the Transistor on Fri Nov 07, 2014 7:16 pm

    Flash of blue? Yes, I remember something like that...

    Or at least, that's what she would have said were she still able to speak. Instead her show of recognition of the phenomenon the machine described and her attempt to gain its (her?) attention was accompanied by a faint gasp as the Transistor interrupted:

    "Well what did you want me to say? 'We got sent here after my girlfriend finished fighting a huge nerd over me, when we were supposed to be sent back to our city that got erased from existence so she could use me to rebuild it and start again?' ...huh, actually that does sound a lot more- ah, right. No, I don't remember much of what happened before I got here, but it looks like Red might remember something I don't. You wouldn't happen to have a notepad or a keyboard or something, would you?"

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