yo-ho-ho and a bottle of galoobian wine

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A space pirate's last chance at retirement

Yo-Ho-Ho and a Bottle of Galoobian Wine

By

Aaron Cassese

 

 

 

The starship Black Raptor dropped out of lightspeed and deploying her solar sail moved toward the bright silver star that wasn’t a star. 

“Ahoy.” Said Sanchez. But there was no response. 

“Ahoy.” Sanchez, repeated a minute later. Still no response.

The space station known as the Descendancy seemed to be fully operational—at least from the point of view of Captain “Archie” Archibald Sanchez—there were various other starships, freighters and cruisers flying in and out of its hanger bay and its beacon and other systems operation lights appeared to be functioning as normal.

“Ahoy!” He exclaimed getting annoyed. 

A blast of static and then.“You have arrived in UNITED GALACTIC FEDERATION space. State your name and business, please.” Came the message over the Raptor’s com. 

“Yeah, yeah” said Sanchez sarcastically, before toggling on his mic. “This is Archibald Sanchez, captain of the Black Raptor and I’m here to see Governor Quigley of the Tyson system. He’s expecting me.

“One moment.” The com went dead with a loud click. A few seconds later it crackled  back to life “You are clear for docking in hanger 0426. Please proceed bearing 2.013.”

“About bloody time.” Sanchez said. 

The Black Raptor continued on to its new course towards the Descendancy and hanger 0426.

Governor Quigley’s office was large and gaudy. A gigantic chandelier made from Vizagoth crystal glimmered in the center of the room, there were also several paintings and sculptures by artists ranging from the purple deserts of Betelgeuse to the floating cities of the Governors own planet of Tyson IV. The governor certainly had a taste for the finer things in life, and apparently, the color chartreuse. 

Captain Sanchez entered the room with his usual swagger.

Quigley stood up from behind his oversized desk. “Welcome, Archie, welcome my friend!” He bellowed. 

Governor Quigley was an extremely rotund man, short, mustachioed and about sixty years old. He would’ve been considered a jolly sort to anyone who didn’t know him. Sadly, Captain Sanchez knew the man all to well.

“Wheres my money, friend?”

“Archie, why all business? Come now, let's catch up.” He indicated for Sanchez to sit down. There were several comfortable looking furnishings in the Governors office but Sanchez was in no mood for pleasantries.  

“I’ll stand.” Said Sanchez. “Wheres my money? Don’t make me ask again.”

“You forget who you talk to Captain. I’m not one of your filthy crew waiting at your beck and call. You’ll get paid when I see results and as for as I can tell Zaargon is still breathing.”

Sanchez, lighting fast unholstered his weapon. A plasma gun now aimed right at Quigley’s enormous, bulbous head.

“Have some bloody respect.” Said Sanchez. “My crew are my mates and just one of em’ is worth ten of you. 

“You wouldn’t dare shoot me.” Said Quigley. HIs sweaty brow would have given away his bluff, had his sweaty brow not been ubiquitous. “Now put that blunderbuss away before you do something you’ll regret.” 

Sanchez lowered but did not re-holster his gun. “Remember what I said. But you’re right, Zaargon is still breathing. In fact he’s breathing quite comfortably in my brig, as we speak.” Sanchez boasted.

Quigley did a happy little jig. His excitement was quite pathetic. “Well, what are you waiting for? If you have him bring him to me." The jig continued.

“Looks like maybe you should use the gents first.”

“Nonsense.” Said Quigley. The joke going over his head at lightspeed. “Bring him to me now!” 

“I think we need to re-negotiate the terms.”

“Pirate! Rogue! Shyster!” Yelled Quigley. His face turning a shade of crimson never seen before “We had a deal!”

“As you say, I’m a pirate, seems pretty stupid of you to trust a man of my occupation.” Sanchez, smiled. “If you want Zaargon, then I’m gonna need triple the original agreement. And you put in a good word for us with your boys in the UGF.”

“Thats impossible!” Spat Quigley. He felt weak with anger and proceeded behind his desk, slumping into his chair. “I can’t come up with that amount of credits.” He pounded his fist on the desk.  

“Oh, I think you will. From what I understand Zaargon has quite the set of loose lips. Said Sanchez, sneering. “You know what they say ‘Loose lips, sink starships’ right? And you wouldn’t want him blabbing your business all over the galaxy now would, ya?" Sanchez said. He took a seat in the chair opposite Quigley’s desk and put his feet up, his dirty boots soiling the governors papers.”So I think you will be able to come up with the coin I’m asking for.” Sanchez smiled.”You have two days before I collect my treasure. If you don’t come up with the money, I’ll release Zaargon to the guild. ” 

Quigley leaned forward, elbows on the desk. On the floor was a panic button which summoned his personal guard. He stepped on the button with his disproportionately small foot.

“The guild would crucify me Archie. I have a lot of other jobs for you, you wouldn’t want to miss out on more work, now would you?”

“This is my last job, when it’s done I’m retiring.” Sanchez said, standing up. 

The door burst open. Four armed guards ran into the room laser guns drawn. 

“Retiring to your grave, you Judas.” Said Quigley.

Not holstering his gun had proven good fortune, he immediately pointed it at Quigley.

“Stand down boys, or the governor’s office gets a new, much needed paint job.”

“Don't listen to him. He needs me alive. Kill him.”

“Now who’s the Judas? You’re pretty stupid if you didn’t think I had a backup plan. Maybe I don’t need you alive after all.”  He puled the trigger. The blast hit Quigley dead in the face. The governors head exploded in an instant, as bone, gristle, blubber and brain went flying in every direction. One of Quigley’s ejected eyes looked down upon the scene from its landing place on the ceiling.

As the guards looked in horror, Sanchez took advantage of the beat and dove behind Quigley's huge desk and flipped it over using it as a shield. The guards blasted the overturned desk as Sanchez peeked around it to return fire. His first blast hit one of the guards in the jugular. He fell to the ground bleeding out. His second blast missed and their return fire was quickly reducing the desk to splinters. He would have to find new shielding quick. 

He looked around and saw that Quigley’s chair was on casters. He slipped behind the chair and—although it took all of his strength—pushed it, while staying behind it and moved with it towards the exit. The body took heavy fire but the huge body mass of the governor was more than enough to act as human kevlar . Flesh and muscle exploded in bloody spurts—most of it landing on Sanchez— as the blaster fire perforated Quigley’s body. His return fire managed to take out a second guard doubling his chances of getting out alive. Two to one with him trying to maneuver Quigley’s dead weight in the chair, while avoiding blaster fire and trying to fight back though, was still high odds.

He was almost to the door when a blast from one of the guards hit him in the temple.

“Bloody hell!” He screamed, clutching his face.  With renewed anger and focus he shot back and dispatched the third guard. A head shot that killed him instantly.  Now it it was one on one. 

The wound was bleeding profusely. Sanchez using all of his strength pushed the chair at the last guard.  It rolled a few feet and then tipped over. The dead body of Governor Quigley launched out of the chair knocking down the guard. He was trapped underneath the morbidly obese corpse, struggling desperately to wiggle out but to no avail. “Help me please.” Pleaded the guard. 

Sanchez walked over to the guard and shot him in the head. He pulled out his com device. “Oy, It’s Sanchez ready the Raptor. And Alert the medic, I’m on my way.” He thumbed off the com and left, dripping blood trailing him the whole way.

 

“You’re gonna lose that eye.” Said Cagnar, the ships medic. She was extremely tall, about seven and a half feet, four armed and covered from head to her three toes in iridescent scales.  “Theres too much damage. I can build a bionic one but we don’t have the parts I need on board.

“Screw it, I’ll wear a patch for now. We got business to attend to and I don’t have time to go all over the galaxy looking for spare parts.” Sanchez sat up.

“Lie down,Captain. I’m not done yet.” Cagnar held him down with three of her four arms.

“I need to speak to Zaargon, right away.” Said Sanchez, struggling under Cagnar’s emense strength.

“It’ll only take a few moments. I’ve already administered the local anesthetic. That eye has to go.”

“Fine, make it quick.”

“What color patch would you like?”

Squelch.

 

 

Zaargon was a Galoobian and like most of his species, had dark green skin—almost black in certain light—a thirteen foot tail and overlong canines that protruded several inches even when his mouth was closed. Hailing from the extinct planet Galob.

“I see your even starting to dress the part, now.” Said Zaargon. He was imprisoned behind laser bars in the Raptor’s brig, seated upon a metal cargo case and restrained with black Gressik steal chains. “What happened to you?”

“This?” Sanchez pointed at his new accessory, a crimson colored eyepatch. “I had a run in with your old pal the Governor.” Answered Sanchez.

“He did that?"

“Ha! Not bloody likely, it was a gift from one of old Quig’s bodyguards.”

“You’re losing your touch, Sanchez.” 

“They’re dead, I’m alive.”

“Good point, and Quigley?”

“Headed for the all you can eat buffet in the sky.”

“He sure did love to eat, didn’t he?” Laughed Zaargon.

“And drink, and as you know, that’s where you come in. Now that I’ve cut out the middle man, what say you and I strike up a bargain?”

“How do I know you won’t kill me like you did Quig’s?”

“You don’t, but you’re running out of options. As far as I can see it's a win, win. Your freedom plus enough coin to live off of for the rest of your life. All in return for the location of a few measly grapes.” Sanchez hit the release button to the laser bars. They guttered and then disappeared. “What do you say?”

“I say Galoobian’s can live for thousands of years, so I’m gonna need a bigger cut.”

Sanchez laughed. “I think we can arrange something. Wheres the map?”

Zaargon tapped his head with his finger. “My insurance policy. I get my money, you get the goods. Or I take my planets secret to the grave.” 

“I could torture you, get the information that way.” 

“My species is notoriously stubborn.”

Sanchez pulled out a small device that was hooked on his belt, input a code and the Gressik steel manacles opened with a loud click, releasing the prisoner. 

Zaargon rubbed his sore wrists as Sanchez extended a hand. “I think we have a deal.” Said Sanchez. They shook hands. “Now tell me what coordinates to put into the navigation system and let's go treasure hunting.”

 

Grapes you ask? What could be so special about grapes? Well these were no ordinary grapes. If we were talking about ordinary grapes you’d be right on the money but these were Galoobian grapes.  Galoobian wine has been considered the finest and most desired wine in the history of all the known galaxies. 

When Galob was destroyed, all of their wine cellars and vineyards were destroyed with it. When word got out that Galob was gone, even common vintages went for sums unheard of. 

Before the planet was destroyed, a lottery was held for passage on a shuttle that would evacuate just twelve hundred Galoobian’s off world to safer shores—the only caveat being you could carry only one item with you—and when Zaargon learned he would be one of the twelve hundred to be on the shuttle before the planet became a mere memory, he had the foresight to take with him one single bunch of Galoobian grapes in a miniature cryogenic storage unit. A seed from just one of those grapes was now worth one billion UGF credits.  

 

Captain Sanchez stood before his crew—a small, menagerie of human and aliens alike—and addressed them on the eve of what he hoped would be their last, great mission together. It was a small group but they were all essential in one way or the other. He’d been through a lot with them but they always had his back and he theirs. 

“The course is set. This is the big one. The one that we’ve worked so hard for. Time for us all to walk away from this life and retire, while we’re still young enough to enjoy it. Sorry, Jory.” Sanchez said, referring to the Raptor’s science officer, a grizzled old codger named, Jorell. The rest of the crew laughed at the swift jab.

“Screw you, cap.” Said Jorell. Flexing his non-existent biceps. “I'm still spry as a Braxion doecorn” More laughs ensued from the crew.

“That you are, old Jor, that you are. In all seriousness though, this isn’t gonna be an easy one mates. My scuffle with Governor Quigley has put quite the large bounty on my head. I know I’ve put us all in danger. But we’ve been there before right? Remember that job we pulled off on Vintari VII? And the Karvdok standoff? We all bare the scars from that one, aye? But I say, If we’re smart, quick and stealthy we may get through this still breathing. What say you? ”

In unison the crew let out a yell of affirmation. All jumping up and down in excitement. The promise of fortune and triumph, gleaming in their tired eyes. 

 

 

 

 

On the bridge of the Black Raptor captain Sanchez and the Galoobian Zaargon looked out of the viewport at glowing red orb of planet Xigoth.  

“I still can’t believe you chose Xigoth to hide your treasure.” Said Sanchez. 

“Seemed a good a place as any at the time. I was on the run from the Guild, remember? I didn’t have much of a choice, but my darlings should be fine. The cryobox has a battery life of two hundred years.”

“You better be right.  Deploy the solar sail and make for the coordinates I gave you, Mallory.”

“Aye, aye cap’n.” The Raptor’s pilot and first mate Mal, replied. Adjusting several controls and releasing the solar sail. It was golden and quite a breathtaking sight to take in when it unfolded and bloomed out against the black of space. 

… 

The Raptor made ground on the shores of Pithe City. It had been a glorious island metropolis in its day but now looked like a slight breeze could level it. The beach—as most of the planets surface—was covered in red colored sand and rocks. The rocks crunched underneath the feet of Sanchez and Zaargon as they stepped down from the ships ramp and moved on towards the distant cityscape.

“Take the lead.” Said Sanchez. 

“My pleasure.” He took out a small device. “This can detect the unique signature that the cryobox gives off. But remember I’m the only one that has the combination that unlocks it. So no funny business, Sanchez.” 

“Who, me?” Sanchez said. Looking insulted.

Zaargon clicked on the device. It came to life and every few seconds or so emitted a low beeping sound

“This way.” Said Zaargon. 

Pithe City was largely a dead city.  In its time it had been built in a perfect location. It was the biggest land mass on the surface and was surrounded on all sides by the only fresh water ocean on the planet—the three other much smaller oceans on Xigoth were made of sulphuric acid—but of course as time went on, as is the case with many civilizations, commerce and power became more important than environment and the ocean became polluted beyond redemption. The city was a breeding ground for squatters, lowlifes, murderers and was currently controlled by three waring gangs. And fresh water was what they fought over. 

“I’ve heard horrible things about this place.” Said Sanchez.

“You heard right. The Guild wants no part of this. One of the reasons I hid out here when I did. By the way one thing I didn’t mention, I didn’t leave this place on the best of terms with Salinger.” 

“Who’s Salinger?”

“The leader of the Xigoth Reds.”

“Great.” Sighed Sanchez.

Zaargon’s device continued to lead them into the depths of Pithe City.

 

Looking down on the Pirate and the Galoobian from the roof of a crumbling skyscraper, Vanya, a longtime member of the Xigoth Reds reached for her com and notified her leader that his fathers murderer had returned..

“Keep your tracker on, we’re on our way. Don’t lose sight of them.” Came the reply form Vanya’s com.

“Not to worry, I’m on them like stink on a fingling.” Vanya said putting away her com and stealthily following the pair of offworlder’s leaping from rooftop to rooftop. 

 

 

“We’re being followed.” said Zaargon. 

“How close are we to the box?” Asked Sanchez.

“Close.” The time between beeps had increased to about once every second. “Its buried about a hundred yards from here. That way.” Zaargon pointed in the direction of dilapidated, medium sized building.

“Captain?” The voice came over Sanchez’s com. 

“Sanchez here.” He answered.

“We’ve got company Cap. Several Guild ships just came out of lightspeed. Looks like they’re heading our way.” Mal said. 

“Thats the last thing we need.”

“Oy,Zaargon! You made a big mistake coming back here!” Came a voice from behind them. 

Sanchez and Zaardon turned around. Facing them were three members of the Xigoth Reds. All carrying blunt force weapons as well as laser guns. 

“I’m gonna have to get back to you, Mal.” Said Sanchez. 

“Lets talk this out, Salinger.” Said Zaargon raising his hands to the sky. Sanchez did the same.

“Talk time was over the second you left my father for dead.” Said Salinger.

“That was a misunderstanding. I can explain. I know we can work something out here that’ll be beneficial to us all.” Said Zaargon.

“Who’s your friend?” Salinger asked.

“The names, Archibald Sanchez. Captain of the Black Raptor.” Said Sanchez making the introduction himself. 

“That supposed to mean something to me?” Tell me why I shouldn’t shoot you dead right now, Zaargon?”

“This.” Zaargon, showed Salinger the tracking device.

“Whats it tracking?”

“ My planets legacy.”

“Show us, or die.”

At gunpoint and threat of death Sanchez and Zaargon led the Xigoth Reds to the abandoned structure the device was pinging. They entered the building. It was completely rundown, dust covered every surface and looked and smelled like it had been used as a bathroom for the city’s indigent.

“Is this smell your planets legacy, Zaargon?” Jabbed Salinger. Wafting the smell away from him.

“It’s downstairs.” Zaargon said. “I buried it behind a loose stone at the buildings lowest point.”

“Lets get to it then.” Said Salinger.

The door to the basement was barely hanging on it hinges. A long, perilous looking staircase led down to the cellar. 

“We’re gonna need some light. Said Zaargon. 

Salinger handed him a laser torch. Zaargon hit the illuminator and scanned the stairwell. “I purposely boobytrapped these steps, so step exactly where I step or you’ll be taking a ride.” Said Zaargon. 

Leading the way Zaargon stepped very deliberately and gingerly down the rigged staircase. Sometimes skipping over an entire step sometimes two. Behind him the group followed. The Xigoth Red anchoring the party misstepped and went crashing through the staircase screaming as she fell, landing with an audible crack, dead on the ground below. Blind and coughing from the cloud of dust that blew up from the body's impact, the group had to stop until it settled. 

“Yuri, you dumb bastard. Never could follow directions, that one.” Said Salinger.

“It’s clear. I can see where I’m going now. Said Zaargon. As the continued their descent.

They finally reached the bottom. “There.” Said Zaargon. Holding up the torch and pointing at a small dark colored brick with an x painted on it in the far corner of the room.

“X marks the spot, ay?” Chuckled Sanchez. Just then Sanchez’s com came to life. 

“Captain, They’re here! We’re under attack!.”  The com spit static then went dead.

 

The Guild starships outnumbered the Raptor five to one. Although her shields were up the Black Raptor was taking massive laser cannon fire and wouldn’t be able to hold on for long. Return fire from the Raptor was doing little damage and her shields were now at only 60%. 

Mal tired to get a hold of Sanchez but was getting no answer. It was possible that the Guild was jamming their coms. As the defensive shields dropped below 50% she knew she would have to surrender or risk the annihilation of Raptor and her entire crew. 

“This is the Black Raptor. Cease fire I repeat cease fire. We surrender.”

There was no response and guild ships continued their onslaught. 

The shields dropped down to 40%. 

Mal got on the Raptors intercom. The time had come. “Evacuate! Abandon ship!” She said. Mal mashed the button that dropped the Raptors ramp and ran for the exit. 

“Sounds like your crew are in big trouble, captain. Said Salinger. “Lets get on with it Zaargon. Fetch me my legacy.” Salinger pushed Zaargon forward towards the X marked rock. The push knocked Zaargon off balance and he fell to his knees. He crawled the rest of the way to the wall. Dusting off the brick before removing it, Zaargon reached deep into the hole before grabbing and pulling out the cryobox. It had a blue power indicator that was brightly lit up. 

“She’s still working.” Said Sanchez. Eye wide.

“I told you so.” Replied Zaargon

“Hand it over.” Salinger said.

“Be careful.” Said Zaargon. Handing Salinger the box still in his kneeling position.  

“How do you open it?” Asked Salinger. 

“Only a drop of Galoobian blood can activate the locking mechanism.” Said Zaargon. Getting to his feet. “Someone give me something sharp.”

“Vanya.” Salinger called. “Give me a blade.” He reached out his hand and Vanya slapped a knife into his palm. He clasped the handle and handed it and the box over to Zaargon. 

Zaargon place the cryobox down on the floor. He flipped open a covering on the box revealing a glowing pad the same blue as the power light. Hand up, he sliced his palm with Vanya’s knife, and after made a fist and held it over the box. Droplets of Galoobian blood splashed onto the glowing pad.

“It takes a few seconds for the cryobox to…” Zaargon lunged at Salinger gutting him with Vanya’s knife. Salinger fell to the ground wide eyed, catching his lower intestines as they tumbled out if his lacerated belly.  Sanchez elbowed Vanya—who was standing directly behind him—in the face. She dropped her weapon, it clattered on the floor. Clutching her broken nose as blood gushed between her fingers. Sanchez picked up her dropped laser gun and grabbed her holding the laser gun to her temple. The remaining Reds took aim.

“Don’t even think about it. Drop your weapons or I’ll blow her brains out.” Said Sanchez. As he dragged Vanya back towards the cryobox . “Hand me the box.” Said Sanchez to Zaargon. 

“You better not be stabbing me in the back, Sanchez.” Said Zaargon, handing the box over to Sanchez.” 

Sanchez pulled out his com. “Sanchez here. Come in. Anyone there?” Nothing but static over the com. 

The Black Raptor exploded. Fire, smoke and debris went flying in all directions. Luckily no souls were on board when she went down.  The Guild ships had been relentless in their goal of taking the Black Raptor out. Now they set their sights on the five crew people running for their lives towards the dead city. Old Jorell couldn’t keep up and was the first one blasted into atoms. 

Mal was running at full speed—as laser cannon blasts exploded all around her, sending up smoke, red sand and rocks high into the sky and leaving deep craters in the beach—clutching her com in her hand desperately trying to contact Sanchez. 

Finally, she reached the nearest buildings and was able to take cover from the Guild attacks. “Sanchez, Sanchez! The Raptor…she’s gone. We’re on the move. If you can hear me turn on your tracking device and we’ll come to you.” 

The amount of firepower coming from the Guild ships was overwhelming the remaining Raptor crew, and with only hand weapons it was like bringing a knife to a gunfight. Two more crew Kallia and Flynn were unceremoniously taken out. And then it was down to just Mal and Cagnar. 

Suddenly static coming from the com got Mal’s attention. 

“—Sanc—z—c—m—n—nyo.”

It was badly breaking up but Mal could tell it was Sanchez. 

“The captains alive!” Mal exclaimed. 

“Is his tracker on?” Asked Cagnar.

“No.” Said Mal. “I’ll try the com again. Captain turn on your tracker. Captain I repeat. Turn on your tracker.” At that moment the Guild blasted the building they were in and it crumbled down upon them.

 

The com crackled on but the voice trying to get through went unheard.

“I think it’s time I made my grand exit.” Said Sanchez. Still aiming his gun at the remaining Reds. The sound of explosions could be heard coming from above. 

“Hear that? Sounds like the Guild’s joined the party. Of course I don’t need anyone here selling me down the proverbial river so…” Sanchez shot the Reds, all headshots. Then he turned the gun on Zaargon. 

“I alway knew you would double-cross me.” Said Zaargon. 

“It’s just business, but of course you know I can’t leave you alive.” Said Sanchez. Aiming his gun at the Galoobian’s face.

“ Before you kill me there is something you should know. I really have nothing to lose here. Either you kill me or I let the Guild take me in. And I’ll never let the Guild take me in.” Said Zaargon.

“You act as if you have a choice in the matter. But now that my grapes are unlocked, I’ll be living the good life, in the lap of luxury, on the shores of some Island paradise with a beautiful lady by my side.” Said Sanchez. Grinning.

“I didn’t unlock it, I armed it” Said Zaargon. Now it was his turn to grin. He held up his tracking device and pressed the detonator. 

“Wha…”

White light. Pain. Darkness.

 

 

The End


Submitted: May 12, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Burgerhicks80. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Criss Sole

Great twist at the end there. This was full of action!
I really liked Cagnar. This would be very entertaining to watch as a movie.
Great descriptions I could picture all the aliens quite well. Very entertaining story.

Sat, May 15th, 2021 1:38pm

Author
Reply

Thank you for the review. I wrote it for a contest on here. Fingers crossed I at least make the finals.

Sat, May 15th, 2021 7:04am

Arcturus

You can always get me with a good Sci-Fi story and this was a great Sci-Fi story! Would love to read more stuff set in this universe.

I believe I spotted one or two spelling errors, but otherwise very well done, especially the descriptions.

Oh, and also: Good luck with the contest.

Thu, May 20th, 2021 6:24pm

Author
Reply

Thank you very much! I know I need to give it a good edit. I was in a hurry to make the deadline.

Thu, May 20th, 2021 11:33am

Ronald Bunch

Very good story. I hope you turn it into a novel one day! :)
I took my time and read it thoroughly. A page turner for sure.
A perfect length for a contest, and I thought it was terrific. You'll
come close, or, win.

Mon, May 31st, 2021 3:03am

Author
Reply

Thanks for the kind words. I'm pretty proud of it.

Mon, May 31st, 2021 6:03am

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