Gestalt is a top-secret project spawned from the joint efforts between King Sulwyn Starsong and the Director of Vaifen’s National Intelligence Center, James Exley.

It was created out of the imperious necessity for a brand-new elite task force group capable of turning the tide against the extraordinary threats that the Nation of Vaifen faces — most notably, that of the Ashen Reckoning, who has unleashed a series of gruesome attacks on Vaifen, claiming the lives of hundreds of its citizens.

King Starsong and Director Exley envisioned Gestalt as a small, multi-disciplinary team, composed of some of the finest sons and daughters of the Nation. Each of its members would bring a unique distinct set of abilities that, when summed into the greater whole, would result in a team unlike any other.

To further achieve their goals, the Gestalt unit is equipped with bleeding edge technology far above anything that the nation has ever seen before. Being independent and separate from the rest of Vaifen’s security forces.
Furthermore, at the center of their arsenal rests a series of highly advanced Battle Suits that enhance the team’s already exceptional abilities to new heights, with a wide array of firearms and other types of weaponry tailor-picked to each team member’s corresponding aptitudes. The Battle Suits owe their unique technology and design to the legacy of the now near-extinct Nasivern race.

The first iteration of the Gestalt team is made of seven members: Five in the Strike Team, who are each assigned a color-coded Battle Suit; A Quartermaster, tasked with the design and maintenance of Gestalt’s arsenal and systems, and an Operator, tasked with providing the team with tactical support during their missions.

All seven members carry out their duties under the watchful eyes of James Exley, who oversees and commands the entire autonomous project whilst fulfilling his duties as the head of the National Intelligence Center.
Gestalt is granted exceptional operating liberties that allow them to act in an unrestricted manner — as growing suspicions indicate that Vaifen’s security apparatus could have been compromised by the nation’s enemies, both internal and external.

The unit was assigned its own separate enclave, located at the outskirts of Vaifen’s capital, the crown city of Ternion. No expenses were spared in the creation of Gestalt, as the security and peace of Vaifen demanded it so.

The initiative is not without its detractors, however, made worse by the fact that the Nation’s regent forcefully exerted his will to authorize and implement Gestalt without undergoing through the due legislative process that a project of such nature calls for.

Members of Vaifen’s Senate, politicians, and those who oppose the rule of the Crown of Starsong who, upon seeing Gestalt in action, have had no qualms in denouncing the team as nothing but the “Crown’s armed thugs” — an organization that, while they have reluctantly accepted that is indeed fighting against the greatest threat to Vaifen’s safety in recent times, “ultimately answers to the King and to the King only,” or so they claim.

While each member comes from a different background and excels in their own respective areas, they all share a desire to do good, to protect others, and to bring peace to a nation under siege.


"A Natural-born leader and one of Vaifen’s finest soldiers"

Hailed as one of the finest soldiers in Vaifen’s modern history, Commander Erron John Leitner was the first to be recruited into the Gestalt fold to lead the Strike Team.

Erron is a tall man of humble origins, kind-hearted, charismatic, and always willing to face each and every day with a smile. He was born in Vaifen’s southern region of Jera, son to a hard-working farmer and a loving mother, and brother to a rebellious younger sister.

Gifted with remarkable physical prowess, Erron stood at a crossroads towards the end of his high school education and a choice had to be made by the young graduate: To pursue a promising sports career or to join the military — he opted for the latter, much to the dismay of his family.

His astounding performance and discipline as an early cadet drew the immediate attention of Colonel Michael Traxler, who didn’t hesitate to snatch the talented soldier and directly oversee his training, recruiting him into the special unit under his command: Silent Echo.

By blood, hard work, and sweat, Erron joined Silent Echo and rapidly exceeded Traxler’s wildest expectations, becoming the youngest person ever to join the infamous elite black ops group.

His tenure on Silent Echo, while prolific, was rather short-lived. All details pertaining to Erron’s days as part of Silent Echo remain completely sealed and highly classified, much like the rest of the group’s actions.
Scarce as the details may be, it is known that Erron managed to participate in several of Silent Echo’s clandestine operations — up until the tragic events that unfolded on the night of Operation Warm Daylight, a mission with catastrophic results that took place in the forests of Nimir, where Silent Echo met its demise.

The circumstances and events that transpired that night remain a mystery to all but the top echelons of Vaifen’s governance. What little is known through hearsay is that on that night, Silent Echo was meant to quell a small group of rebels in a simple sweep — but they were ambushed and brutally massacred, leaving Erron as the sole survivor. The young soldier could only watch how his Colonel and mentor sacrificed his own life so that he would live to see a new sunrise — the worst one in Erron’s life.

Following the tragedy of Warm Daylight, all records regarding Silent Echo were sealed. With most of its elite soldiers now dead, the unit was unceremoniously disbanded by the government of Vaifen. Erron was immediately granted the rank of Commander and honorably discharged — never to speak a word to anyone about what happened that night.

Troubled as the man’s nights were aside, Erron’s reinsertion into civilian life was otherwise marked by peace and tranquility, which allowed the young man to heal and overcome the tragedy to the best of his ability, and eventually returning to work on the farm that had belonged to his family for generations, that is, until his father died of illness.

The untimely death of John Leitner was followed by a decline in his mother Sarah’s health, which, in addition to a series of unfortunate circumstances led to the painful decision to shut down the farm. 

Erron, now the head of his family, moved to the capital city of Ternion with his mother and sister, and worked in the field of private security for a brief period. While well remunerated at his job, Erron often considered it an unfulfilling misuse of his talents and teachings — and so did others.

General James Exley, aware of the young soldier’s prowess and talents, often kept an eye on the sole survivor of Silent Echo — whether it was because of a genuine sense of remorse of what happened in Warm Daylight, or simply because he saw him as an invaluable asset remains unclear. Exley contacted Erron, and offered him a spot in the Gestalt project.

Once again, duty calls to a soldier of Vaifen, seven years after the events of Warm Daylight. Armed with the teachings of his mentor, the memories of the friends he lost that night, and his unshakable loyalty towards the Nation. Erron now finds himself clad in Gestalt’s blue Battle Suit, leading the chromatic quintet that fights for peace and justice for all of the people of Vaifen.


"Deadly beautiful"

Gale Lacroix is a former spy whose abilities and marksmanship are only matched by her beauty. The last thing many have heard is the whispers of Gale’s weapons — bullets that carry her silent death sentence.

A natural of Vaifen’s coastal region of Talcea, and possessing a remarkable beauty. Gale was born in a prosperous household — but the young woman was often at odds with what was expected of her noble-class family. As a young teenager, she loathed the luxurious life and faux-riddled social gatherings of the nobility, opting to seek the thrill of being a scoundrel, which allowed her to develop a remarkable talent and a skillset that made her able to blend in and out at will, always getting what she wanted, one way or the other.

The adventures and experiences lived through her late adolescent years nurtured a path that led Gale towards the field of espionage right as she entered adulthood. As part of Vaifen’s intelligence apparatus, she had to deal with death and espionage almost at a daily basis, employing her talents to undermine threats to the stability and security of the nation, the gathering of intelligence in other countries, and dispatching those that got in the way of Vaifen’s interests.

Such line of work often forces those walking that path to cast off their moral principles and embrace an unscrupulous cloak, to become a heartless individual and lose yourself in the roles and characters that your current assignment calls for — and for the longest time, Gale embraced that lifestyle to its fullest, until one day, her career came to a grinding halt when love pierced through her veil, something that almost cost her life.

Yet, fate sought to bless Gale who danced with death almost at a daily basis, with the gift of life: Lilly, her daughter. Giving birth to her daughter changed everything for Gale, raising her baby daughter gave the spy a new perspective that allowed her to see and value life through a newfound lens.

The talents she accrued and sharpened over the years aren’t exactly motherly material, nonetheless, she is determined to be the best mother for her daughter. Lilly is her treasure — the purest thing that’ll ever exist in her life after so many missions, so many false identities, so many deaths, lies, and deceits.

It took General James Exley some convincing, but he managed to sway Gale into joining Gestalt as its second member, embracing the color yellow. She now fights to protect her nation, so that her daughter can one day grow up in peace, and live a fulfilling life — staining her hands with blood once more so that her daughter won’t ever have to.

Born in Vaifen’s coastal region of Talcea to a prosperous household, Gale was often at odds with what was expected of her. As a young teenager, she sought the thrill of being a scoundrel, which allowed her to develop a remarkable talent and a skillset that made her able to blend in and out at will, always getting what she wanted, one way or the other.

The adventures and experiences lived through her late adolescent years nurtured a path that led Gale towards the field of espionage right as she entered adulthood. As part of Vaifen’s intelligence apparatus she had to deal with death and espionage almost at a daily basis, employing her talents to undermine threats to the stability and security of the nation, the gathering of intelligence in other countries, and dispatching those that got in the way of Vaifen’s interests.

Such line of work often forces those walking that path to cast off their moral principles and embrace an unscrupulous cloak, to become a heartless individual and lose yourself in the roles your current job calls for — and for the longest time, Gale embraced that to its fullest, until one day, her career came to a grinding halt when love pierced through her veil, something that almost cost her life..

Yet, fate sought to bless Gale, who dealt with death almost daily, with the gift of life, in the form of a daughter, Lilly. Bringing her daughter to the world changed everything for Gale; raising Lilly gave Gale a new perspective that allowed her to see and value life through a newfound lens.

The talents she accrued and sharpened over the years aren’t exactly motherly material, nonetheless, she is determined to be the best mother for her daughter. Lilly is her treasure — the purest thing that’ll ever be in her life after so many missions, deaths, lies, and deceits.

It took General James Exley some convincing, but he managed to sway Gale into joining Gestalt and its second member, donning the team’s yellow color, much like her blonde hair. She now fights to protect her nation, so that her daughter can one day grow up in peace, and live a fulfilling life, staining her hands with blood so that her daughter won’t ever have to.


"Stalwart duty, honor, and excellence"

Cade Saunders is a man born in a family with a longstanding and stalwart military tradition. He was recruited by General Exley to be the third member of Gestalt.

For generations, the Saunders family has given Vaifen upstanding Generals, Admirals, and other distinguished officials across the branches of the nation’s military — thus, family tradition dictated that Cade pursued a military career and serve his nation just like his father, uncles, and grandfather did in their time.

Instead, the young man chose to pivot towards Vaifen’s Special Forces — an unheard path in his family’s lineage, where he performed remarkably and always upholding a sense of duty worthy of his family name.

His choice wasn’t well received by his family, especially his father, who always envisioned where his son would be a bright and exemplary General among Vaifen’s ranks.

What drove Cade to divert from his father’s grand designs? An unconscious desire to rebel? A sense of higher calling? To build his own path in his own terms? The answer is something the stern and sometimes obtuse man has never shared with anyone — and perhaps may never will.

Joining Special Forces allowed Cade to attain expertise across a multitude of firearms and combat tactics. Additionally, Cade also opted to train in the specialty of combat medic, allowing him not just to be a formidable soldier, but to provide emergency aid to his would-be teammates should the circumstances arise.

One day, a moral impasse between Cade and one of his superiors at the time drew the attention of Exley, who found his outstanding performance more suited to Gestalt’s needs, depriving Special Forces of a most valuable member in the process while giving Gestalt its third member.

Cade accepted the offer with pride and left away Vaifen’s Special Forces almost instantly. As someone raised with a high regard for meritocracy and a “by the book” inflexible way of doing things, his expectations with regards to Gestalt often clash with the atypical nature of the team — especially with the relaxed and easygoing nature of some of its members seem to unapologetically exude and the “irregular” way some were selected, not to mention their past deeds.

While not fond of it, he was assigned the color green among the team; his stern nature means that he’s rarely seen smiling, and some may say he is just incapable of doing so.


"A song of control"

Cameron is a young and carefree woman with an intoxicating energy, an unbound curiosity, a recklessness that has caused headaches to many in the past, an even greater love of music, and often prone to speak her mind — even during inappropriate times.

The young woman’s talents rest not in physical prowess or in the art of combat strategy. Beneath the apparent immaturity that she so naturally radiates lies one of the most dangerous hackers on the planet.
To truly talk about Cameron is to talk about the rumored “Rhapsody,” a recent myth in the field of cybersecurity.

No one could accurately prove the existence of Rhapsody, and for the longest time, cybersecurity services around the planet thought of it as a non-existent escape goat figure — a moniker used by hackers to shift culpability away from themselves.

Still, based on evidence, it would seem like Rhapsody, the real one, has never acted out of malice.
From unmasking criminals hidden in plain sight, cases of corruption, to casting a light over companies’ unethical practices, the list of attacks, security breaches, and information leaks that can be accurately attributed to the Rhapsody and not any copycat or third parties are numerous, yet not a single one of those crimes has caused harm to innocents — quite the opposite rather.

It would also seem like Rhapsody has had enough of the imposters as people and groups that have erstwhile used the name for ill-intent have begun to be apprehended by authorities all over the world, leads provided anonymously through untraceable means have led to the location of said groups — as if suddenly, breadcrumbs that weren’t there before appeared out of thin air.

The myth of the Rhapsody, recent as it may still be, continued as it was until not long ago, when one single analyst among dozens at Vaifen’s Intelligence Center was able to outwit Rhapsody. It was then when it was revealed that the Rhapsody was no group, just a single Vaifen citizen: Cameron Bennett.

Director Exley personally offered Cameron a deal, she would never be prosecuted for her actions as the Rhapsody if she agreed to join Gestalt and employ her talents for the good of the nation — to which she, after some consideration, agreed to.

Clad in a modified version of the original prototype BS-100 Nightingale Battle Suit — now bathed in pink as per her request — Cameron sings her song of control in the battlefield with the help of her SED-A10 Drones. As an orphan, Cameron sees in her teammates the brothers and sisters that she never had.

Quartermaster Edram Pertz and Cameron are often trapped in a never ending competition. Her incessant tinkering of her Battle Suit’s firmware to allow the suit’s systems to run unsigned code for the explicit purpose of installing a music player in it has made the quartermaster patch the suit’s firmware over and over again.
It is all game for Cameron, a game that she says will only end when the Quartermaster finally adds it as an official feature in the suit’s operating system.


"The Crimson blaze"

Bastiel’s life has always been atypical and inexorably marked by the legacy of his family from the very moment of his birth. His father, Aeoros Isthal, was the instrumental key figure in establishing an alliance between the Nasivern race and the Nation of Vaifen almost three decades ago, while his grandmother, Isthara, was the celebrated legendary hero that helped bring down the Arghest Empire during the Nasivern race’s Age of Devastation.

The heroic deeds of his family, and the history of his race, are only known to Bastiel through the tales and words of others, as he was never able to meet them in person. His mother, father, and grandmother all fell in battle during the fall of Nineveh — the darkest hour of the now near-extinct Nasivern, a race of warriors often referred to as the “Heirs of Sin.”

His father’s last request to his friend and ally, King Sulwyn Starsong of Vaifen, was for the regent to take care of his then infant child, to make sure that he lived a peaceful life. It was a promise that the troubled regent agreed to right before the man known as the “Indigo Blaze” charged towards his last stand, sacrificing himself and his unit so that the spark of his people would endure even as their world died.

Following the tragic events that ended with the near-complete decimation of Nasivern race and the obliteration of their home-world, King Sulwyn took care of Bastiel and raised him alongside his son and soon-to-be-born daughter.

Growing up among the Royal House of Starsong, Bastiel always felt like an odd piece out, as if he was aware that he lived in a world that wasn’t his own to begin with. Nonetheless, he lived a joyful childhood life within the confines of the nation’s Crown and even partook in some of its luxuries, causing all sorts of mischief along with the royal heirs as the years went by.

King Sulwyn always aspired to uphold the promise made to his friend, to make sure that Bastiel lived a good, fulfilling, and normal life — as it was his father’s last wish. But a fateful encounter at the age of ten changed everything for the young white-haired boy. An exchange between the King, Bastiel, and a warrior from a bygone era it what would’ve otherwise been an unremarkable night opened the way for Bastiel to walk the path towards the doctrine of those that preceded him. And thus, Bastiel embarked on a long journey to embrace his heritage.

Year after year, the young child would travel to an undisclosed place in Vaifen and train in the ways of the Nasivern warriors and their Absolute Doctrine, hoping that one day he too would be able to become a hero worthy of their ancestral tradition.

With time, Bastiel developed a keen warrior sense and a mastery of melee and unarmed combat, always maintaining his unshakable loyalty for the Nation of Vaifen and the Crown.

Bastiel deeply cares for the royal heirs that he grew up alongside and harbors an absolute respect towards the King of Vaifen. He also would stop at nothing to protect the royal family, friends, and innocents alike.

Although he always struggled with the intricacies and nuances of what’s considered a normal life and finding his own place in the grand scheme of things, Bastiel would grow up to be a humble and kind man. Those that know him and those that are friends with him find in Bastiel a man that’s always willing to help others, expecting nothing but their smiles and happiness in return.

Entranced as a kid by the stories and heroic tales of the fallen Nasivern warriors that he grew up listening to, the young white-haired “sinner” is burdened by a legacy that he feels obligated to respect and live up to — yet, the planet Orbis, and the Nation of Vaifen itself, are much different than the fallen Nasivern society, and there’s little to no room for a Nasivern would-be hero in a modern human world.

After graduating from high school, he found little to no interest in pursuing a professional career, dropping out of pursuing a higher education. He continued to train through the years to hone his abilities while engaging in all sorts of exploits and antics alongside the two Royal Heirs until he moved on his own.

But no matter how much he tried to deny it, an ever-growing itch continued to bother his mind, like a splinter that pierced through him, a fire waiting to be ignited — a burning desire to be a hero, and to employ the Absolute Doctrine that he was now close to mastering to start doing good in the world.

And so, with adamant determination, he adapted the heroic dreams of his childhood down to a more grounded reality, and opted to craft a persona for himself, concealing his identity with a modified helmet and a one-of-a-kind black jacket. 

“Null,” he called it.

Bastiel would spend night after night dispatching his own unsanctioned sense of justice, with more than a handful of close encounters with both sides of the law, and a fair abundance of bruises and injuries on his body along the way. 

King Sulwyn Starsong, aware of the potential in Bastiel, his nature, and dreams, personally offered him the fifth and final spot in Gestalt’s strike team — an offer that the young man did not hesitate to accept.

Clad in crimson red, armed with blades most sharp, wielding the legacy of his people, and ready to serve his nation and crown, Bastiel aims to carve his own path in Vaifen’s history, just like his family did in the past. The white-haired sinner aims to become a hero in a modern fragile world that he may not ever be a normal part of.


"A boundless spark of creation"

Stout, with a disregard for workspace order, and with an insatiable appetite for building and creating new pieces of technology. “Eddie,” as he’s affectionately referred to by his teammates, is Gestalt’s sole Quartermaster, and the brilliant mind behind their highly advanced arsenal.

Edram is tasked with the creation and maintenance of the entirety of the Gestalt Arsenal, from the Battle Suits, new experimental weapons and gadgets, to even the Gestalt Operating System that links everything together.

He is one of Gestalt’s two Nasivern members. Edram’s mother, and most of his family died during the fall of Nineveh while his father, Edorath Pertz, an renowned engineer, died years later in Vaifen after a catastrophic workplace accident, of which little to no information has been made public.

Edram longs to restore the technology of his people, lost through centuries of strife and conflict. He’s always seeking inspiration from the past in order to create the tools that will shape a better tomorrow, that is his way of preserving the memory and legacy of the Nasivern race he belongs to — a race now all but set to be extinct with time.

One morning, he was looking into his father’s belongings, he stumbled upon an old photograph of his old man and his peers standing behind two of the most renowned Nasivern Battle Armors models: The Acri and the Illustris.

That single photograph sparked a fire within the then aspiring engineer’s mind, setting his eyes upon one single goal: to bring back the glory of those advanced suits to life once more — to eventually go even further and surpass them.

To that end, he began to create a full fledged proposal towards the end of his college education. His ambitious and zealous dream required a heavy amount of funding, which made Eddie do all sorts of things, recklessly indebting himself with dangerous people in the process.

His original proposal envisioned a “fully interlinked and automated battlefield solution” that combined advanced technology with suits inspired by the Nasivern armors of yore that would be wielded by nothing but the best of warriors.

However, his proposal and the proof of concept PeRTZtech-BSX0 Battle Suit were not met with the reception he expected, nearly crushing his dreams. It did, however, call the attention of General James Exley. 

Exley not only took care of Edram’s debt, he “got rid of the rest of the problems that came with doing business with such disreputable kind” as well. The young man was told by the General not to bother with the meaning of those words, only to focus on the task at hand.

As soon as Edram joined the then nascent Gestalt project, he was given a vast amount of resources to bring his vision to life.

To craft individually-tailored battle suits that enhances the user’s own personal abilities and talents, that was Edram’s initial goal — but given the fact that the team had not been assembled yet, he had to scale down his ambitions and procure a single, unified series of five first generation suits, which he nicknamed the “Nightingale Series.”

Edram takes pride in all of his creations, but he is aware that the suits and weapons he designs lack a soul and a fighting spirit of their own, which is what their wielders provide. It is what brings life to them, it is what brings them whole.

There are many lost mysteries of the Nasivern’s ancient technology that he would love to unravel and restore — fortunately, time is not a resource that he ingenious heir of sin needs to concern himself with.


"Of a mind most keen"

Nicknamed by Cameron Bennett as the “smartest woman in the room,” and with an adept talent for strategic forecasting. The young Leah is among the Intelligence Center’s new generation of analysts, and certainly one of the brightest.

Leah is also the only person that was able to do what many could not: catch the Rhapsody. It was a monumental feat that she, unfortunately, cannot boast about publicly, yet that is something that doesn’t bother her at all.

People are often difficult for the introverted woman — their often noisy behavior too chaotic, but numbers, patterns, plans, layouts, they’re all so clear to her, so beautiful,  that’s where she finds order where others would see chaos. Her personality is a polar opposite of Cameron’s, she is extremely shy and silent, but able to come out of her shell when she’s working on what she does best.

Leah is Gestalt’s guardian angel, the soft voice that guides the team during their missions. Exley has kept her under his wing for most of her career and trusts her enough to let her call the shots when needed — something that’s rather unheard of in the past. 

One would say he is preparing his future replacement.


"A loyal man and master of many mysteries"

The main architect of the Gestalt project.

General James Exley is one of the most renowned names in Vaifen’s intelligence apparatus, a veteran of Vaifen’s gruesome conflict against the terrorist organization known as Pyrexia — were the then young intelligence agent made his name known.

Exley is a man devoted to his work and his duty towards the Nation of Vaifen, with a shrewd mind, and one of the few people in the world with the rare privilege of having King Sulwyn Starsong’s absolute trust.

He was recently placed at the head of Vaifen’s National Intelligence Center, and immediately began to shake down its anemic core, getting rid it of the entropy that had plagued it for so long, despite the numerous continued barrage of criticisms against him, none of which has deterred him from fulfilling his goal of giving Vaifen a better intelligence apparatus. 

His private life has always been shrouded in mystery. “He’s married to his job,” is a joke that is often murmured among the halls of Vaifen’s National Intelligence Center.

Aware that the entire Vaifen’s security apparatus has been subject to corruption and cannot be trusted — the mishandling of the Ashen Reckoning being the most glaring cornerstone of said hypothesis — James, along with King Sulwyn enacted a plan that aims to restore the peace that the nation enjoyed in the past, preserve its present, and to ensure the nation-state’s rightful place in the future.

And thus, the Gestalt project began its inception, much to the distrust and complaints of his fellow government peers, whom he kept out of the loop.

Exley’s strengths are not valued in physical terms, or even in the nuances of military warfare. He is a man of intelligence, with an astute mind when it comes to managing assets, to end conflict before it erupts — to arm his deck with the right cards, and to know when and how to play them best for the benefit of the nation.

His meticulous selection of the Gestalt team is one of the most exemplary displays of Exley’s sagacious nature.

Whether or not his overly expensive plan and the team he carefully constructed yields the immediate short-term positive results that Vaifen desperately needs — and the threat of the Ashen Reckoning and their leader, Dogma, is stopped once and for all, is something that will make or break James Exley’s name in the annals of Vaifen’s history.

Sword of Vaifen is a work in progress. Things are not set in stone and can be subject to change.

Every image, logo, and any other graphics that you see here are placeholders, none of them are final.

2024, by Christian Kaleb Caruzo.

1 Comment

Mew · September 7, 2019 at 2:39 am

I have really been looking forward to this preview. Your writing style and creativity are amazing and I can tell this story is going to be fantastic. I particularly like Cameron/Rhapsody. I can tell you’ve put a lot of thought into these characters, they honestly read like they could be real people. It’s easy to tell that they’re going to have a lot of depth to them. I’m really curious about the Ashen Reckoning; i.e., what their motives are, how and why they were formed, etc. I’m also interested to find out more about the different nations, worlds, and races. Additionally, the technology they have sounds really cool. I can’t wait for more of this.

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