The world beyond Darkness

Times, they are a' changin'!
Not so Gay Paris

4th of November, 1893

Confronting old ghosts

Upon return to London, DK has an old letter from an old freind arrive, asking her to come to Paris, because of some strange goings on. With the letter in hand, and Johanns concern for the loss of contact with the lodge in Paris, she and Dirk convince Adriana that they should go, even though she is trying to stay away. Johann tells them that the Carre Lune Lodge has not sent a report or responded to telegrams for over 2 months. He had sent two teams. One did not return, and another pair did, but could not find any trace of the lodge.

They travel to Paris, keeping a low profile with Dirk’s new friends in tow as well as Peter. The take rooms at the hotel across the street from the Cafe Carre Lune, where the lodge should be. While watching, they notice some strange activity. And while tracking down her old friend, DK makes a startling discovery…and meets Vincent!

The Grand Budapest Effect
or Nightguard on a train

I’ve always loved trains. The rhythm of the wheels along the track setting the entire length of cars swaying in an elaborate, stately dance lulliing the passengers into a state of communal well being. People are always nicer on cross country trains. So are the ghosts. Spirits that inhabit trains tend to be wandering souls who are finding peace or solace within the lullying confines of the cars. The longer they ride the more at peace they are. The train between Berlin and Calais had several spirits coexisting very much like a close knit family. They welcomed me and my entourage without so much as a warble. PopPop spent most of the trip playing chess with a grandly mustachioed conductor who had been riding this particular train for over twenty years before he passed. Although relatively new to the spirit world he seemed well adjusted and content and only interrupted the match between gentlemen to make his rounds once every hour. It was after one of these walks to check on the state of his train that the unusually intent passengers in the next cabin came to our notice. Seems the group of severe looking men had been slowly but surely moving from car to car, taking over cabins, quietly but forcibly removing people in order to continue their progress from front to rear.

We had chosen a cabin one car away from both luggage and diner so were very nearly at the end of the train, a fact that had kept us from discovery very nearly the entire journey. I dare say, if the train had been but two cars longer we might have alighted at the ferry terminal without discovery. But. The train was not, and so we were, in fact, discovered.

There were three of them… one for each of us, I suppose, not taking Peter into account, which perhaps was all in our favor. It would have begun with them rudely opening our compartment door. taking us by surprise, but we had warning from Herr Meyer that they were coming so were able to prepare…

Worlds beneath worlds?
Can an oddball professor lead them to a missing villian?

30th of October, 1893

Tense time in Berlin

Following the only lead to Dr. Frankenstein, our legendary rippers meet Professor Hans Otto Lidenbrock in his tiny office of one of the libraries at the newly formed Royal Polytechnic University. Prior to their visit, they are warned of a strong presence of Night Guard in Berlin, and to exercise caution, because the Guard are apparently hunting them.

They have learned that the professor is considered to be somewhat off his nut, and has many crackpot theories, one of which he regales them with after they mention his acquaintance with Dr. Frankenstein. It seems the last he saw the Verruckt Doctor, they were going to explore a network of underground caves that Lidenbock believes are located beneath the Snæfellsjökull Glacier in Iceland. However, before their expedition, Frankenstien hired a private steamer to take him to Reykjavík, and had not returned any of the letters that Lidenbrock sent. They make a deal with him to take his unpublished manusscript about these caves and explore them, giving him credit for anything they find…including the Dinosaurs he expects…

Our Rippers make their way to the Dunkleturm lodge, which is quite secretive, and they find someone to translate the manuscript. The manuscript is mostly a translation of a haphazard day Journal by someone known as Saknussemm, who was supposedly lost in the caves. There are a few maps and notes as well. However, Lidenbock also claims to have found coded messages in an ancient Norse legend, the Heimskringla, that validates this.

Researching what they can of this new information, they discover that the Snow-fell Glacier (the Snæfell), is about 40 miles from Raykjavik, and it does have several tunnels beneath it. One of which descends over 200 feet, and has never been explored, but that some of the locals claim to have seen lights and heard strange sounds emanating from. While they research, Johann distresses slightly about their delay, as his father has now been missing for over a year! However, he is loathe to interfere with these obviously successful Rippers. He is also upset by the amount of unnatural activity that has been reported as happening in Paris…including the complete loss of communication from the Carré lune lodge.

A Bright New Day

I have to admit, other than the pain from the gashes, I found that this was much needed down time. Though we are accustomed to frequent lulls in our travels, this is the first time in a very long while that I’ve been able to relax. A truly restful sleep each night and what seemed like an almost endless chain of carefree days. I almost forgot what it was to feel normal. If I’m to be honest though, there is but a single reason for this but let me start at the beginning.

With our time to be spent at the Van Helsing manor in research and recuperation, Johan saw it fit to have our wounds properly tended. In this decision, he chose not only to see our physical wounds cared for but our emotional state as well. I believe there might have been a bit of pity shown to us but I won’t charge him with this as I’ve wisened a large measure from my more youthful days. He saw that even though we had a physical victory, it was a very obvious moral defeat with the loss of a profound Ripper. While the impact of our failure wasn’t brought to bear immediately, it was very clear as we pondered the horrors of that day. The death of the Witch Hunters leader would leave a large hole to be filled and yet another Ripper death is on our hands. Good people don’t become Rippers by droves. I sometimes question if good people ever become Rippers at all. Surely my failures in life pay testament to such a thought. Nevertheless, it was these burdens that weighed on us and forced Johan to take action.

His first course of remedy was our introduction to a nurse. I was in the library researching with DK and Adrianna when they stepped into the room. My jaw was agape when I lazily looked up from my midday nap. As we turned in his direction Johan nodded toward the woman and said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Nurse Porter. I’ve secured her services for you during your stay in London.’ He then looked back at the nurse and asked that she ensure we be returned to perfect health.

Now Ms. Lily Porter was tasked with caring for our wounds. I don’t think it was part of Johan’s plan, you see, but the first sight of Ms. Porter’s smile at her introduction reinvigorated my senses. Ms. Porter, at most in her early twenties, holds an exceptional beauty that had to vex every man of her acquaintance. How strange that she wouldn’t be married by this age and is employed in nursing. This sudden thought both gave me a shock as well as hope. One thing was certain though, I had to concentrate on calming my heart because it felt like it would jump from my chest.

Ms. Porter took each of the ladies into another room to speak with them and assess her duties. While she was away with the other, both Adrianna and DK gave me quite an amusing glare in the other’s absence. It appears my self control was bit lacking. I believed their rebuke was due to simple body language until DK gave me a ribbing for not saying a word during our introduction. She seems to believe I didn’t respond at all as we were introducing ourselves to her. I don’t happen to remember personal introductions at all. I have no doubt that DK’s simply poking fun.

On my inspection, she asked that both DK and Adrianna stay present as it was only proper that there be a chaperone. I immediately found it a odd when she stepped directly to me, pulled on my chin to open my mouth and peered while asking, “Mr. Johnson is it? That’s odd, I don’t see anything wrong.” I stepped back confounded and told her that I had no injury in the mouth. My stomach lurched in pure shock when she retorted that she “wasn’t as certain since I was unable to speak until this examination. I was sure that you must be a mute.” I dart my eyes to DK and see both her and Adrianna giggling at the spectacle. At this I stumble for the words to pull myself out of pure embarrassment stuttering, “I uh, well, uh.” My eyes had to be the size of my Stetson when she said, “Oh I see. Not mute. Dumb.” Now without looking I hear the other ladies burst out laughing in hysteria.

The sudden rush of anger flushed rapidly through and brought be back to ground. I asked, albeit a little slow, if she would like to see the actual injuries. I couldn’t help but laugh and wince a little when she replied just as slowly with, “Yes, lets do that.” The other ladies made a spitting sound and started giggling again. I’m obviously quite happy that I could be an amusement show.

I removed my shirt and started to unwrap the bandage across my chest. Ms Porter stopped me and finished the job herself, somehow removing it without pulling the scabs open. Her expression changed when she saw the full extent of my wounds. Her eyes jumped to look at mine then back down to the gashes in my skin. I hear her mutter a question about how could I be mobile in this condition. Adrianna and DK have stopped laughing and have a look of shock on their face. I’m not certain why everyone’s so concerned. We’ve been through this before, though they haven’t seen my wounds when in this condition. I look down and only then do I notice Ms Porter tracing the outline of the gashes and scars on my chest. I realize at that moment why there’s a sudden mood change from the women. Each line is a testament to the luck that I seem to carry by still being alive. Ms. Porter clears her throat, starts pulling bandages from her satchel, and tells me that I haven’t been changing my bandage often enough. 3 times daily, no exceptions. I repeat her last statement, no exceptions while staring at her while she worked. She glanced up at that with the slightest smirk and I knew we would get along very well.

The next couple days seem to pass by exceptionally quick. I, in good spirits, seem to be pressing DK and Adrianna to move quicker and start each day. DK seems the most frustrated at this but she and George have been working long hours at some sketches, apparently to no avail. This is when Johan’s next course of remedy kicked in. He kicked us out. Well sort of. He told us to get fresh air and spend the day out of his library as the books were feeling worn and required a much needed break. This seemed to make DK and George quite happy since they needed to go shopping for some mechanical bits of some type or other. Adrianna had her own excursion planned with Peter which left me to myself. That’s when I decided to put my guts in check.

Ms. Porter seemed shocked that I would dare ask her to accompany me on a trip to Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens on the Thames. After our initial encounter, we had gotten along well for the few days we’ve been acquainted. For this request though she rebuffed me quickly with no concern to my feelings. She stated as a matter of fact that it wasn’t proper for a nurse to accompany her charge through gardens. She defiantly added that it isn’t proper to do so unsupervised either. It’s as if she was trying to come up with excuses. She shot me an angry glare when I smiled and pointed out it was an order by Johan that I leave the premises for the day. I then pointed out her medical orders of “3 bandage swaps a day, no exceptions. Now how would I manage my care alone while out in London under the orders of Johan?” She inhaled sharply as her anger started to build but I cut her off to give in a little on the matter by offering her choice of chaperone during our excursion. I should have guessed when her face turned from pure anger to a sly grin. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t notice because I could only think of how beautiful she was, even when angry. She cut in sharply with, “Fine. I’ll send word for my brothers.” She turned on her heals and stormed out of the room.

Since we’ve been spending so much time at the Van Helsing lodge, I’d taken up the habit of dressing the part of a gentleman. This was of course the sole reason for a change in my daily attire, no matter what Adrianna and DK said to the contrary. The wait wasn’t very long considering the impromptu summoning. Maybe an hour and a half had passed before her brothers arrived. I, with nothing else to do during this time, felt like it was an eternity. Luckily I was of sound mind to think ahead and send a messenger to make a reservation for 4 at a local restaurant in the garden’s district. No sense having hunger set in and ruin an outing. It may be a bit over the top and damned more expensive than I’ve learned to be accustomed but this is my first shot at letting Ms. Porter know that I’m interested.

I received word that the Porter family had arrived so I made haste to the side entry that we normally use. I was hoping this bit of protocol wouldn’t darken their first impression. In truth, I possibly introduced myself a bit too eagerly to them in an attempt to make up for it. Well that and my look of surprise when I counted 5 brothers standing in the foyer. For some reason, I assumed two. 5 brothers to placate while entertaining their sister will prove to be quite a task. Maybe even more difficult than swaying her affections.

The introductions could have gone substantially better. I was of course able to speak this time round but it seems that was a problem all on it’s own. As I introduced myself and reached my hand out to shake theirs, Ms. Porter introduced her brothers by name. I was met with a Searing gaze from one. Another scoffed with a huff and a third shook his head while glancing at Ms. Porter. The fourth brother chimed in about me being a bloody Yank colonist and something about American’s being unsatisfactory for any rank of a British bloodline. I could barely understand him as his accent was somehow much thicker than the others. The fifth brother simply said nothing at all. So this is how I met the Porter Brothers. William, Charles, Robert, Arthur, and Lawrence. I look to Ms. Porter with a bit of dismay when she tilted her head slightly with a shrug and a smile. She begged a few moments to prepare and walked out of the foyer with her head held high leaving me to her brothers disposal.

I watch her stroll to the next room then turn back at the brothers who are staring me down like Daniel Boone. Lawrence, who was the silent one, asked directly why I have any interest in Lily. Before I could answer, he asked whom had set me up to this. Taken aback, I told them that I found her whit quite refreshing as she’s kept me on my toes the last several days. I also explained that no one had set me up to this. The outing was purely my device to enjoy her company while taking advantage of a wonderful day.

Charles, the scoffer, scoffed again at my answer while William chuckled. William then chimed in with, “This Yank obviously doesn’t have ‘is ’ed on straight. ’E’s just glutton for punishment. Either from her or by us. Let’s just be done with ’em ’ere Lawrence.”

Lawrence spoke, seemingly to understand what he’s hearing. “You’re standing here in front of the five of us. Trying to tell us that you enjoy her stinging, unrelenting ‘whit’ as you call it? You’re her charge and she didn’t somehow pain you in any way while dealing with your ailments to keep you from trying something like this? You realize she’s only allowed to care for women at the ward now because of the way she handles men. She’s already made up her mind that no man will conquer her as she puts it. She’ll call us in to deal with would be suitors at which point, you gents have backed down from the idea of seeing her again. Just do yourself a favor, call it off now and we won’t have to rough you up to save yourself from her.” At this, the brothers begin to circle me. I stand my ground and start take off my jacket.

At this point the brothers have only taken a few slow steps when Lawrence tells them to wait. He looks me dead in the eye with what would be a devilish poker face. He’s trying to read me. Looking for a tell. When I notice this, I start rolling up my sleeves. He asks, ‘So you’re going to get roughed up by us. Then end up not taking her out?’ Lawrence begins to size me up again trying to read my intentions. This may be the few seconds that make or break my chance at seeing Ms. Porter in anything other than her professional domain. I decide to go for it. I tell him that I haven’t met the woman they’ve described. Ms. Porter has taken exceptional care of me and …’ I’m interrupted by laughter from every brother. I go on louder this time over their laughter, ‘And if this is the price to pay for an innocent stroll through the park with such a remarkable woman then I’m ready when you are.’

By this point, they have me completely surrounded but I take my bare-knuckle stance and ready for the first blow. They all stop laughing, almost in unison. Lawrence starts to call them off and points out that I’m serious. I then hear hear William from behind. " ’E’s a bloody yank ‘E is so that’s good enough for a roughin.’ Lawrence starts to talk him down when from the doorway Ms. Porter speaks up. “If you boys are finished, we must be on our way. There will be time for you to play your games some other time.”

The men in the room don’t move but stare at each other blankly surprised at her reversal when she speaks up again, “Must I repeat myself? Surely you’re not all daft are you? The gardens won’t see themselves now will they?” Lawrence and I quizzically shrug to each other then grab our things. Charles and William start chattering about how that’s not the way this works.

Witches, yet another new thing to add to our growing list of encounters. I feel the same way towards them that I do mummies. Would gladly avoid them in the future. I can’t believe they can kill someone just to improve themselves. I just don’t understand it. What did he ever do to them, besides hunt them down and kill them. I wish we could have gotten to them sooner and stopped the sacrifice. But there were just too many of them. The part that I have to concentrate on is that we stopped them from ever doing it again. We were not successful in stopping the ritual but we did kill them. We paid a heavy price as well. We are all injured and need a lot of time to recover. We nearly lost Hunter and Peter, again. This is becoming a problem. I don’t want to lose another person I care about. I’m going to make it my mission to work with Peter once we both recover. I need to make him stronger. I’ll train him to shot better and make better decisions when in battle. I’ll have to train myself as well. I keep saying my attack plan needs to be from afar. My best move is to shot from far away and let Dirk do the up close and personal fighting. I just can’t take a hit from anything without slowing down, or being totally useless. So me and Peter need to surround our opponents and attack together. No more moving in and getting hurt. That has not worked for either of us. We have the permanent injuries and marks to remind us of that all the time. So after relaxing and recovering for awhile, Peter and I spend all our time going over ways to move together. We come up with ways to mirror each other as well as stay out of each others gun fire. We spend a lot of time just firing at targets. Both moving and still. We go over situations we have been in before so we can see where to improve. After many hours together we feel as though we understand each others movements better. We can communicate in battle with each other without having to talk. We will be more like a team and less like individuals. Hopefully this will allow us to face more battles together and come out unharmed. Adrianna Blackburn


Somebody Else's Problem
Or how I plan on not being a stationary target any longer

Recovery seems never ending and eats at your soul as you do nothing, rest and wait.

I don’t do it well.

Bless George and his cleverness for he found me diversions to take my mind off the need to allow my body to heal. Once I had slept for several days straight he brought me graph paper and handfuls of sharpened pencils and we sat and brainstormed about what sort of machine I should create next. We didn’t land on anything interesting until, in frustration I sighed and said, “What I REALLY want is to be someone else’s problem.” You know… that wholly British skill of ignoring anything that is uncomfortable, or unusual… but, to the things that want to stab, eat, maime, or otherwise do away with my very dear (to me) personage. His eyes lit up and we began brainstorming ways to make me invisible as it were.

What we came up with is ingenious, if I do say so myself and uses the Aether to bend light… well…. that’s all very technical and the patent hasn’t been approved yet so suffice it to say, this newest device will render what we have tagged an S.E.P. Field. With George as my errand boy and heavy lifter we began to put the new device together, but, somewhere in the middle we found ourselves needing several odd bits and pieces.

Since it was a rare, lovely day and my energies were high, we took a carriage down to Portobello Road, in itself a wonderful place to find… well… things but not necessarily where we wanted to be. No, we strolled down most of the length until we came to an odd corner, one that headed off from the main at an unlikely angle, and turned ourselves onto Mulberry Street.

Oh I do love this place more than any other. You want it, you need it, here it will be. We spent several hours strolling and rummaging until, in the back of one very quirky little junque shop we found a wooden box full of bits and pieces. As we dug we could see that it looked to contain a mostly taken apart machine of some sort. Intriqued and delighted to see the pieces we were looking for in one place we bought the box, surprising the funny little frog faced man running the shop by paying his full asking price.

Full of glee and curiousity George lugged it back out to the main streets and we sat with it between us in the carriage back, the contents jingling musically as the wheels bounced over the cobbles. I could not have been in better spirits. Or so I thought.

Once back in the workshop at Van Helsing’s, we removed, catalogued, cleaned and annotated what we found in the box. When dawn surprised us we stopped for tea and took stock of what we had before us. On the bench sat two devices. One, my own S.E.P Field generator and the other a funny little device that dispensed an anticeptic smelling mist… A device we BELIEVE dispenses a healing spray. We discovered it by accident when, while testing the re-built trigger a fine, wet mist sprayed out across George’s scratched and cut knuckles (he being less accustomed to the nuts and bolts of a thing, but insistant that I should still be taking things easy) … his knuckles, within minutes, were healed, the skin as pristine as they had been at the beginning. We hadn’t even known there was any liquid within, there being no cannister or holding jar of any sort. We pressed the trigger again and it dutifully dispensed more of the mist. A third spray and we had some in a glass jar for testing. But. since we had found no source for the liquid, and could see no way for it to be there we decided to stop dispensing so as not to waste something that could be very handy indeed.

Soon we will be off to Germany where once again I will not speak the language. But! I will have a way to not be noticed and a lovely little treasure that might be able to help us not have members of our party killed or maimed.

Hopefully the analysis of the liquid will give me an idea of how to make more. We’ll see.

Pendle Witches Reincarnated
Tragedy wrapped in Victory

23th of October, 1893

Terrible things averted, but not entirely

Searching the ruins of Malkin Tower Farms, they find a hidden chamber. Within, a terrible ritual is taking place, with Chapel on an altar in the middle of a bloody pentagram.

Realizing that they must stop the ritual, our hero’s attack the witches. The ensuing battle leads to a victory for the Rippers, but at great loss…Serious Chapel, leader of the Witch Hunters is sacrificed before them, and one of the witches is well rewarded, but she does not live long to enjoy it.

Heavy hearted, but undeterred, they return to London with the news…

Allowing time to recover, and with no other emergencies to deal with, they plan a trip to Berlin to meet Professor Lindenbokker…a compatriot of Frankenstein, who may have been the last to see him alive.

The Search Continues
And a small break

13th of October, 1893

A year after Van Helsing’s gone missing

Once Jayden was settled at the new lodge, it was decided that he may be too young to initiate into the mysteries of the Rippers, but he can be useful in other ways.

A few nights after they had rested from the encounter with the gadgeteer, several constables arrive, requesting that Adriana, D.K., Dirk and Peter accompany them to a station house, but they are told very little about why…Somehow, this is a trap as well and they end up in a small underground chamber where they are threatened by a man calling himself Baron August Heilden, and he is accompanied by a small troop of the Night Guard! However they handily defeat them, as other member of the local lodge, led by Whale Hunter, come to their aid.

Several days later, Gwen notifies them of a telegraph from Bleddyn House. It says that a ship, called the Omega, that they have been looking for is due into port in a little over a weeks time. Since this is linked to Dr. Prometheus, the travel back to England, arriving only 2 days before the ship is to arrive. They go to the dock to watch the Omega for a while, and discover there is something strange about all hands on the ship. Uncertain of a course of action, they return to London to find out as much as they can about Dr Prometheus and Professor Victor Frankenstein.

While researching, Johann brings them to his lodge to speak to them. While there he gently berates them for not starting a lodge, though he understands that their expertise has been much more value in the field. They share information about Prometheus and Moreau. He tells them that there was a raid on Moreau’s island a few years back, and the rippers were deeply involved in it. They also discover that the author Herbert G. Wells, whom they had set up an interview with because of his “Novel” about Moreau’s island, is known to work with the Cabal and is considered fairly dangerous.

They have found that the last person who claims to have seen Frankenstien alive is a professor of Geology, Herr Lindenbocker. However, while still continuing to search, Mssr Edmund ask’s if they can help find Serious Chapel, who has gone missing in Lincolnshire. A little research, and consultation with Christopher Blume, who has worked with the Witch Hunters, they travel to Pendle, a sight linked to 17th century witch trials. They have also discovered some reports of missing people and strange lights at a farm.

Arriving at Pendle, they speak to folks at the Red Hart Public house, where they take rooms. They are told that strange happenings are afoot. Bad luck follows visits by strangers…soured milk, dead cats, at least one broken leg…and the wolves beyond the boundaries of the hill…

Interlude Injury
The long boat ride home finally gives me time to relax. I don’t have to be on guard. No looking around to see if anyone is following. I can just rest and recover from the past year. I can’t believe its only been a little over a year since we really became active rippers. So much has happened. It seems like more time should have passed. On the second day of the trip, Peter and I were sitting on the side of the boat talking. I reminded him that this was were we meet on the ride over to Cairo. We spent several hours going over all the time we have spent together since. How easy it was talking to each other that first time. I apologized for dragging him into the craziness of my life. But thanked him at the same time because he has helped keep me sane through all of it. Throughout the rest of the trip we talked about the things we have survived together as a group, the four of us, the past year. We started with Sorsra. Peter thanked me for helping him through that first tomb. He knows that he would not have made it without me there t keep him calm. I reminded him how helpful he was in deciphering what the walls and floors said. Next we figured out who everyone was and worked together to get out of that world even if we didn’t understand it. Even though we went looking for werewolves, I think we got more then we planned on. We ended up without and eyes but we did come away with enough money to improve the lodge there in Cairo. I’m not sure that the improvements make up for all the losses we have caused since we arrived here, but hopefully they it helps. While deep in discussion I’m not paying much attention to whats going on around me. All of a sudden the boat takes a sharp turn. Not expecting the movement, I fall forward onto the floor. Before hitting the deck, I quickly throw out my hands to stop the fall. I only have enough time to get one arm out. The other arm, my left, takes full impact. I just laid on the deck holding the arm. After the pain subsides some I take time to run my hand down the arm. I don’t feel any breaks in the skin. I can still move my whole arm around. It’s just really sore. I might not be using that arm for awhile. At least not with my sword. Pulling out my gun doesn’t seem to be as much of a problem. I guess that will give me reason to stay back whenever we get in any combat. No up close and personal for me. I’ll have to lay off of it for sometime. Allow it to heal. I can’t believe this just happened. So much for relaxing. I should know better then letting my guard down that much. First time I have done it in a long time and see what happens to me.Adrianna Blackburn
Potential recruitment
And murdered Fusiliers?

7th of August, 1893

A new (in many ways) member of the rippers

Our heroes, still waiting for word about Al, have undertaken recruiting new members for the lodge. They identify two potentials after their due diligence and decide to attempt to recruit Jaden, who claims to have seen a “Shadow man” at several murders. He was been cleared of each murder, and put into an orphan situation.

However, they find him too late, when he is found at the scene of another murder with a bloody knife…a crime to which he eventually confesses to…Leading to another mystery that our heroes get involved in!


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