Old Hunters on the New Wild

      Brian S. Wheeler
Old Hunters on the New Wild

Wyatt Holmes, the great human hunter revered by the clones, embarks on his final expedition. Sickness eats his bones and crowds his lungs. Yet Wyatt still marches deep into the new wild. For he alone owns the will to kill what the hungry clone stomachs require, and Wyatt fears what may befall the original world if no other man or woman shoulders the last responsibility reserved for humankind.Wyatt Holmes has claimed nearly every trophy offered by the new world. He has fallen the graceful genolope, conquered the furious razor boar, and bested the terrible splicer-lynx. Yet on a last hunt upon the savanna, Wyatt discovers a new creature introduced to the second creation that is more splendid than any animal the tall grasses ever revealed to him. And Wyatt fears that humanity owns no defense against it.Cayden Holmes joins his father on a thrilling voyage into the new wild. He is determined to show his old man that he too owns the courage required to pull his rifle’s trigger and drop the game encountered in the veld. But Cayden finds that the killing is easier said than done. For every creature centered in his weapon’s scope reminds him of everything the lost world wasted, until shame weighs upon Cayden’s heart so that pulling that trigger feels impossible.Kendra’s face bears the clone’s mark - a pair of blue rings circling the right eye that conveys the secrets of her genetic construction. Her life has never been easy upon the savanna, but it had been consistent before the great hunter Wyatt Holmes brought his son onto the hunt. The dry season ends by delivering cataclysmic change to Kendra’s community, a change that forces Kendra and her kind to rely as never before on the hunters’ courage to pull their weapons’ triggers.For a new hunger has arrived in the second creation, one that threatens to forever upend the natural distinctions between the human and the clone.

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    Jimmy Jack and the Smartman

      Brian S. Wheeler
Jimmy Jack and the Smartman

Each week, Jimmy Jack visits the bubble that protects Yogi. Yogi is the community smartman, and he is obliged to honestly answer Jimmy Jack's questions. Yet when Yogi discovers an intelligence amid the stars, the natural order between a community and its smartman becomes jeopardized, and Jimmy Jack and Yogi must reevaluate their friendship before the first saucer lands.Generations of genetic modifications have destroyed the smartmen's resistance to the plague. Fragile and susceptible to that terrible disease, the smartmen who hoped to reengineer their minds to rise above the poor and less fortunate find themselves at the mercy of the common folk for shelter. Housed in plastic bubbles maintained by the populace, the smartmen must weekly hear the troubles and travails of their communities and offer their best advice, a payment the communities demand in exchange for the maintenance and care given to the bubbles that protect the smartmen from disease. But the smartmen find a new hope to return to the top of the social ladder when they discover an alien intelligence amid the stars. They hire work crews from their communities and race to construct a giant radio with which to communicate with those alien minds that might know how to free them from disease and their bubbles. Only, the smartmen are not the only ones interested in speaking with those beings visiting from the stars, and not everyone welcomes the thought of the smartmen finding freedom from their plastic shelters.

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    Firedrop Garnish

      Brian S. Wheeler
Firedrop Garnish

The crimson blossoms of the alien firedrop flower pull mankind into the stars. Though the firedrop offers no taste nor nutritional value, there is little humanity would not sacrifice to serve the firedrop upon a household's finest china. Space knows a thousand ways to kill those who dare float amid the stars, and yet the simple pulse and glow of an alien weed make all the dangers worthwhile.Catastrophe promotes Sal Maddox to the position of a harvester aboard the starship Klondike. But Sal is a green recruit, having served aboard the Klondike for only a few hops between the stars. Sal's education in harvesting the glowing firedrop, in collecting that treasure that swoons the hearts of women and men, must be a quick one. For he must face the dangers of descending to that small moon crowded by a giant and angry planet, where gravity and the void kill so easily those who dare journey to look upon the firedrop teeming in its strange soil. The harvest changes more than just Sal's bones, until that young spacer's heart calls a new landscape home.

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    Polish, Dust and Sparkle

      Brian S. Wheeler
Polish, Dust and Sparkle

The men in the tight suits and narrow ties grow wealthy by cultivating the worth of their towers’ sparkle. Yet their economy depends upon the toil of the polishers, who work to keep so much glass clean. A magic dancer jeopardizes the fragile skyline when her steps summon a thundering herd, turning the polishers into hunters, and threatening to shatter all the foundations made of fragile glass.Doug Stewart counts himself among the men who sit atop the city’s sparkling towers of glass. Doug is troubled while his colleagues, dressed in their tight suits and narrow ties, enjoy the wealth delivered by their skyline’s glimmer and sparkle; for Doug counts the terrifying number of polishers who are leaping from their scaffolds rather than face another day with the mop and the broom. And Doug sees the signs of a mighty dust storm brewing above the wild lands to the east, and he fears that the wind prepares to carry a force into his world capable of suffocating the faith civilization places in those fragile towers built of glass.

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    Opus Wall

      Brian S. Wheeler
Opus Wall

Mr. Sievers is a relic of a lost time. His knowledge of fine arts has earned him his post as the art gallery's curator. But the modern art world doesn't need the curator's trained eye. For the paint-by-number templates determine what the curator mounts upon his walls. Mr. Sievers feels helpless until a dark painting unexpectedly arrives at his gallery to rekindle the stale art world with new fire.The strange painting Max Sievers mounts upon the wall confuses the gallery's customary visitors. The guests' tastes have been cultivated over the last many years by the template kits sold in the gift shop. Guests are accustomed to reviewing the works of artists who carefully follow directions and keep their pigments carefully contained between the template's black outlines. Those guests lack the tools to understand the wild and abstract painting that Max Sievers one day centers in his exhibition room. They may not understand it, but those guests cannot deny the power of that strange canvas. That painting sets one visitor's soul on fire, and so sends Max Sievers out into the ruined district of town to search for the artist whose opus wall holds the potential to bring the art world to its knees.

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    Mr. Moon's Daredevil Messiahs

      Brian S. Wheeler
Mr. Moon's Daredevil Messiahs

Famous memory-maker and artist Mr. Moon shatters the natural hierarchy separating human and synthetic when a clone of the Company’s Gus line explodes into flame in an attempt to set a new motorcycle jump record. A new church rises, one that views clones of that Gus line as divine. The world holds its breath as a new order forms after tasting a divine memory harvested by a simple clone.Registrar Lester Ferris has never seen anything like it. Fervent followers of the Risen Moon consider the Company’s line of Gus model clones as divine beings, as reborn vessels holding the soul of that deceased Gus clone lost in the flames of a failed motorcycle jump engineered by the world’s favorite creator of memories, Mr. Moon.Registrar Ferris grasps for bearing as the world spins around him. He fails to recognize his place after witnessing the motorcycle accident that kills that fateful clone of the Company’s athletic and strong Gus line. The Bureau forces him to carry a gun. He chases clone abominations in the streets. He dons riot gear and strains to disperse angry crowds. When he had first signed on to the Bureau, his only duty had been to check paperwork and to scan that Company brand that circles every manufactured clone’s right eye.And Registrar Ferris realizes that those of the Risen Moon consider him most special. For he is the Registrar who wears the pink tie, the Registrar who witnessed first-hand that motorcycle accident that through flame forged a divine memory, the Registrar who yearns for reunion with a lost love.For those of the Risen Moon believe that Lester Ferris possesses the last bits of knowledge needed to reveal death’s secret to all of mankind.

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    So That a Marigold Might Live Free

      Brian S. Wheeler
So That a Marigold Might Live Free

The orange blight threatens to consume the planet of Geralt. Dr. Rhodes races through the planet's golden grassland on a mission to vaccinate the children against the deadly blight, but his mission is nearly impossible. For the patriots of Zeb Griffin, bound to accept the law of no man but their own, resist Dr. Rhodes' efforts at the peril of their families and their planet.Hanson Potts loaded his family onto a starliner and floated the long months to the colony of Geralt with hopes of living free from the interference of the United Systems. He has worked hard alongside his fellow compatriots of Zeb Griffin, and their efforts to complete their construction contract reward them with a planet untainted by the United Systems' bureaucracy. The golden grasses that cover the landscape seem like an Eden until the first blotches of the orange blight appear in the fields. The blight brings horrible and merciless death. When the United Systems sends Dr. Rhodes to the planet to vaccinate the children and suffocate the disease, Hanson Potts must decide if it is best to compromise his faith so that his Maggie receives a needle's medicine, or if it is best to endanger those he loves for the principals that define him.

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    Given to Glass

      Brian S. Wheeler
Given to Glass

Goodman Asher has marred his face to show humility. He has sewn shut his mouth. He has broken his nose and cut notches into his ears. Such hurts reward him by summoning a Fay Regent to his mirror. Goodman Asher smiles, for it is rumored that treasure follows the Regent. Only, Goodman Asher misreads the Regent's intention, and Asher's sewn mouth fails to correct the terrible misunderstanding.The magistrates rush to Goodman Asher's cabin. For Asher's daughter has warned her village that her father's obsession with the mirror tempts wicked magic. Rumors and fables have lured Goodman Asher off of the good path, and so the magistrates rush towards their neighbor's cabin to plead with Goodman Asher to relent from his folly. They will give Goodman Asher a choice, an opportunity, before putting that cabin and its master to flame.

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    Shadow Weapons of Doom

      Brian S. Wheeler
Shadow Weapons of Doom

The Khy'Meir tribes posses few weapons with which to combat the Alhambran Empire. The tribes cannot match the empire's swords, nor do they have the stones with which to build walls. The tribes' only weapon is fear, wielded by their shadows infiltrating the enemy's homeland. But the tribes underestimate how deeply the fear cuts, realizing too late the doom shadows help to summon.The Alhambran Empire has captured a shadow agent of the Khy'Meir tribes. Though they would be happy to murder an agent responsible for casting so much fear through their empire of glowing temples and paved roadways, the captors must stay their hand, for the warlock has told them the shadow agent must be kept alive and lucid. The warlock and his king have forged from the legends of the Khy'Mier tribes a weapon of unparalleled power, a weapon with which to finally scatter the enemy tribes to ash. But the warlock and the king find they cannot put that weapon back in its cage, and so the fate of two enemies hinge on whatever answers a shadow is able to voice.

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    Words Burned to Flame

      Brian S. Wheeler
Words Burned to Flame

James returns to Addieville to finish what Mr. Turner started years ago when the old boneshaker burned his books and set half the town aflame. James returns to recover Mr. Turner's runes and so link his bloodline to that of a cursed family whose study of an ancient and lost alphabet doomed them to suffering and pain. But to James, such a curse is a small cost to pay to bury a dead town’s bones.Addieville offers no friendship to James Frost’s family. James’ father refuses to remove that vile book of Mr. Turner’s poetry from the town library, and so the residents of Addieville view the Frosts as a family undeserving of their trust. Mr. Turner doesn’t allow the kindness the Frosts show him go unreturned, and as Addieville begins to torment the Frosts to drive them out of town, that old poet unravels captivating magic to their son James. Mr. Turner and James learn they share much more in common than their ugliness, and the young boy and old man begin a last ritual for Addieville when they burn books upon a great pyre and spread a cleansing blaze through town.

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    Heritage and Shimmer

      Brian S. Wheeler
Heritage and Shimmer

Jayce and Beverly detour to visit the memorial commemorating a community’s victory over an alien invasion. Guided by the cemetery’s caretaker, they consider the stories told by the holograms installed within each grave, neither suspecting that following the caretaker too far might reveal a buried truth far unlike the history preached by figures of light.Twenty-five years ago, the aliens arrived in the star-filled sky and attempted to conquer the world. The carnage of that battle poisoned the environment, but it also united humanity in defiance of the extraterrestrial invaders. Guided by the Starwatch, humankind vows to be prepared should the aliens ever return to battle for Earth. Starwatch gives those surviving on a sick world hope to push onward until the world can recover from the poisons the alien menace delivered to the planet.Jayce Gorman and Beverly Wilcox visit the memorial dedicated to the community of New Bethany, which fought off the alien invasion before those attackers could establish a foothold on Earth. There, they listen and watch as holograms of the deceased sparkle in the night air to share their stories of defiance with the living. They are guided by a sad caretaker, who seems powerless to combat the cemetery weeds.But the caretaker knows more than Jayce or Beverly first assume, and he slowly pulls secrets out from his sleeves, until he contradicts the fables told by holograms with a history he witnessed first-hand, so that Jayce and Beverly must decide how deep they dare dig to know the truth of what appeared in the night sky.

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    The Warden's Mark

      Brian S. Wheeler
The Warden's Mark

Wilson waits for his freedom while monsters growl within the prison walls. Unnatural darkness shrouds the prison since the murder of his prophet Luke Turner. He smiles though his cellmates plan his murder. For his prophet's tattoos snake upon his skin, promising that death will be but a short sleep before he awakes a free man. Wilson's faith cannot suspect that prophets keep unspoken motives.Wilson Greene waits for his freedom while monsters growl within the walls. Deep, unnatural darkness shrouds the prison since the Brotherhood murdered his penitentiary prophet Luke Turner. Wilson sits in that darkness and waits for the blades his prophet promised would be plunged into him. He smiles in the dark though his guards and cellmates plan his murder. For his prophet's tattoos snake upon his skin, dark runes shifting in the shadows and promising that the death soon to be delivered is but a temporary sleep before he awakes a free man. The teeth of Wilson's bracelet rattle. Luke Turner has harvested all of Wilson's faith, and that prisoner with the ink shifting beneath his skin has no reason to suspect those tattoos mark him for a terrible warden waiting beyond those prison walls.

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    Glorious Gardens of Teetering Rust

      Brian S. Wheeler
Glorious Gardens of Teetering Rust

Brandon Tuggle slumbers and toils upon the world's sharpest acres. During the day, he mans the salvage crane and stacks refuse into teetering piles. During the night, he traces maps in his dreams. His skin is scarred by the salvage yard's sharp piles, and lonely Brandon wonders where all his uncles have gone. It takes a surprise visit from Mercy before Brandon can see a color other than rust.Loneliness irritates Brandon Tuggle's scarred skin. He never knew his mother, and his father has left him behind in the Tuggle salvage yard to be raised by a crowd of uncles. Each day, Brandon operates the yard's giant crane as a fleet of trucks dumps the world's refuse at his doorstep. He is helpless as his uncles vanish amid the maze of junk piles looming throughout the yard, and Brandon can't help but worry that he too will soon find himself lost in that jungle of sharp steel and rusting ore. But a day comes when a truck delivers him Mercy, opening the door to color and splendor that Brandon never thought he would see floating between his family's junk piles.

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    Harpies of Planet Sutherland

      Brian S. Wheeler
Harpies of Planet Sutherland

Mankind can only guess how long the alien water baskets have stood upon the planet of Sutherland. No clues have been found of the alien race who constructed such delicate mechanisms so long ago to harvest water from the arid planet's atmosphere. Those of the United Systems simply recognize the water's value, and so they refuse to allow the settlers of Zeb to jeopardize such ancient artifacts.The actions of those settlers who call Zeb Griffin their teacher, mentor and prophet once again mortify Operative Sheridan, sent to the barren and rocky planet named Sutherland in order to protect the ancient water baskets that harvest moisture from a dry sky. Some settler of Zeb has broken an ancient water basket. Some settler of Zeb has failed to appreciate the water baskets' value and splendor. The baskets represent the first traces of another intelligence other than mankind's amid the stars. The water baskets harvest water, mankind's most precious resource in the colonization of the stars. Yet those who claim to follow the long-dead philosopher named Zeb Griffin still damage the mechanisms their clumsy hands cannot work, whose design their closed minds cannot understand. Operative Sheridan holds the pieces of a water basket destroyed by a careless settler of Zeb, and his crafty mind hatches a plan to secure those incredible devices from the settlers' folly. He will fire no shot, nor request a single soldier. Yet in the end, those who call Zeb their mentor will serve as puppets to Operative Sheridan's designs.

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    Not All Spirits Be Foul

      Brian S. Wheeler
Not All Spirits Be Foul

Until the arrival of a pair of brothers, Buck would have whispered to anyone who could hear him that loneliness was the most painful aspect of his haunting. With the arrival of brothers, Buck's old home is filled with games that remind Buck how to laugh. But when an uninvited spirit intrudes, Buck's ghost will transform into any shape needed to defend the new brothers he comes to call family.Their family's new move into the large home in the country makes brothers Trent and Trevor very happy. They enjoy the space now provided in the home for their toys and games. They enjoy the open air of the woods behind their home. And most of all, Trent and Trevor enjoy the company of the ghost residing in the home who joins them in contests of video game hockey. Trent and Trevor's mother, however, does not share her sons' excitement for a trespassing ghost. When she returns from a business trip with a voodoo mask she believes will exorcise the young ghost from her home, she instead brings a far more terrible, and vengeful, spirit into the brothers' room. That terrifying new spirit shrieks and chokes, and the war Carol and her sons will wage with that wraith reminds them that blood is not the only defining marker of family.

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    The House on Maple Street

      Brian S. Wheeler
The House on Maple Street

A reunion with his life’s only true love, Maxine, relieves Gerald Hollenkamp from his years of regret. Time, however, cannot be paused for the sake of memory; and Gerald fears he has lost his true love for good when Maxine’s weakening mind places her in a retirement home. Yet a magic remains, and with a glamour masking his gray beard, Gerald has a chance to remain next to Maxine.Fate separated Gerald Hollenkamp from his life's only true love Maxine so many lost years ago. Though Maxine moved forward in her life and raised a family of her own, in a home shared with a loving husband, Gerald drifted from one job to the next, with a small key kept in his pocket to always remind him of Maxine, with a key's charm in his pocket protecting him from the dangers his drifting years encountered. And just when Gerald thinks he will no longer have to taste the bitter regret that has plagued his days, Maxine's weakening memory once again separates Gerald from his love. Only, that small key holds a last hope, a power to veil Gerald's face in shimmering magic, a power that gives Gerald a chance to in the end remain next to Maxine's side.

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    Patriots of Griffin XIII

      Brian S. Wheeler
Patriots of Griffin XIII

The followers of Griffin have built their thirteenth colony in record time. The United Systems rewards the effort by placing the governance of Griffin XIII into the hands of the colonists. For the thirteenth time, the followers of Zeb may live in true freedom. Only none of the twelve previous colonies named Griffin remain, and the ultimate danger resides in the colonists themselvesKassie Mayhap strives to live her life true to the tenants of Zeb Griffin. While the lethal, lavender and gold skies of Griffin XIII sway beyond her colony's glass dome, Kassie vows to live a life of self-reliance. She will answer to no government. Nor will she seek to establish any rule over her neighbors. Kassie will seek no charity, and she will pay no tax. The United Systems has retreated back into the stars with a promise to leave the colonists of Griffin XIII to themselves. Only, the United Systems delivers a final tool to each patriot of Griffin XIII as a last payment for his or her labor. Though the tool feels so soothing in each hand that grips it, the tool empowers each colonist with the power to both preserve and destroy. Though all twelve of the previous colonies of Griffin XIII have perished, Kassie remains faithful that the thirteenth effort of her people will survive in the merciless worlds beyond the supervision of the United Systems.

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    The Llungruel and the Lom

      Brian S. Wheeler
The Llungruel and the Lom

Llungruel linger in the lom fields around the village. The llungruel is a feared lizard, whose bite brings ravaging fever that drives the mind wild. Malek and Elloch hate the creature, but they must bear the poisonous lizard to grow a sustaining harvest. But after the llungruel kills a brother, Malek and Elloch vow to destroy the lizard, and so discover secrets more bitter than the choking lomMalek and Elloch's village has not hungered since the gray men and their gray ships transformed the surrounding swamps into fields by planting the lom seed onto the land. Though a prevalent and hardy staple crop, the lom is also bitter. The llungruel lizard, with its venom that turns its victims' minds wild, multiplies in the fields and plagues the villagers depending upon the lom. Malek and Elloch vow to destroy the llungruel after they must witness a brother succumb to the lizard's poison. They vow to ignore any of the gray men's rules that prevent them from banishing that fearful creature. Their quest will unveil bitter truths, and demand further sacrifice, before a more delicate balance can be rediscovered to bring relief from the llungruel hissing in the field

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    A Dog to Put Down

      Brian S. Wheeler
A Dog to Put Down

Harmon’s heart breaks when his dog Tonka turns wild and and buries teeth into his master. The madness overtakes that mighty dog just as Harmon fears the third man drawing close. The third man brings the bullet and the blade. The third man reminds all the old pushers and pimps that the city never forgets. So Harmon hurries to train Tonka’s replacement, and in the end, Harmon succeeds too well.Harmon Fowler fears the past hunts him. Harmon could once count himself as one of the street princes, once as one of the street boss's trusted men, granted the permission to pimp women and peddle dope in the city's underground trade. But then one street boss replaced another, and Harmon was forced to flee the corner he once ruled, stopping only when he found a rural and ruined town in the heartland so forgotten that Harmon believed the village might hide him from the hitmen the new boss would likely one day send on his trail. He transformed himself into a breeder and trainer of fine dogs, and he strove to introduce a new canine line that would cement his fame. Harmon nearly had that goal in hand when the sheriff warned that strangers came to town, strangers who Harmon sensed came from those old street corners he long ago fled.

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    Legacy of the Chain

      Brian S. Wheeler
Legacy of the Chain

John Johnson is tired of his family and name, and so his dreams weave elaborate stories to replace the mediocrity of his days. And then one summer night, a tattooed wizard arrives at the community park to unfold magic of the most incredible kind. With a final unraveling of chain, that stranger transforms John Johnson into a new man by replacing the bonds John knows with much more sinister knots.A tattooed wizard unleashes double-edged magic in this excerpt from the novel The Sisters Will Dance by Brian S. Wheeler. The wizard with the strange patterns of ink swirling across his skin discovers an audience of one in the young man named John Johnson. Spells of earth and smoke unfurl at the wizard's summons and captivate John, whose life until witnessing such magical powers felt timid and dull. The wizard saves his most amazing, and most diabolical, trick until the end. With water and chain, that wizard wraps John's soul into floating, iron chain, and so forever shatters the smooth conformity until then known by John Johnson's days.

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    Grandchildren Returning Their Spoils

      Brian S. Wheeler
Grandchildren Returning Their Spoils

Ben Cane has outlived the world, and so he waits for his ailing grandchild to deliver his execution in the center of that room surrounded by glass walls. Every bone in his body throbs with arthritis. His guts burn after so many rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. And mercy is the last thing Ben desires at the end of the world.Mallory Cane resists the urge to cry as the projectors knit glory all around her. She knows that all of the worlds the vision chamber shows her have long gone extinct. None of the laughing hyenas remain. No more elephants shrill. The eagles no longer soar. Not a single domesticated dog or cat remain to nuzzle with Mallory when her illness brings suffering. She understands that the vision chamber offers only illusion and heartbreak, and yet her father forces her to look upon the color that glowed before the world was wasted. He tells Mallory that she must be made strong, and that she must remember all that has been lost. He tells Mallory that she must prepare herself to punish that generation that did nothing as the world faded to gray.

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