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Old July 20 2009, 08:38 PM   #16
Mistral
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

A very good start, interesting characters and hints of further depth to be revealed. Don't like the city-ship concept but am willing to see where you go with it.
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Old July 20 2009, 09:02 PM   #17
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

You were worried about posting this!?!?!?!!? This is great!!! I can't wait for more! Icheb as XO- brilliant! Love that - like the doctor too! Four (alien) thumbs up!
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Old July 20 2009, 09:45 PM   #18
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Question... is Oyugo a new captain, or does she have some experience under her belt? I have a hard time thinking Starfleet would have put a newly minted starship commander in charge of such an important mission.

Oh, and just one note, Voyager was not Janeway's first command.
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Old July 20 2009, 09:46 PM   #19
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Question... is Oyugo a new captain, or does she have some experience under her belt? I have a hard time thinking Starfleet would have put a newly minted starship commander in charge of such an important mission.

Oh, and just one note, Voyager was not Janeway's first command: http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Kathryn_Janeway
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Old July 20 2009, 09:55 PM   #20
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Gibraltar wrote: View Post
Question... is Oyugo a new captain, or does she have some experience under her belt? I have a hard time thinking Starfleet would have put a newly minted starship commander in charge of such an important mission.

Oh, and just one note, Voyager was not Janeway's first command: http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Kathryn_Janeway
Hmmm. You're technically correct about that! Though she wasn't a Captain as far as I can tell ... hmm, time's up to edit, but I'm going to make changes to the one saved on my hard drive. If I get around to posting it on Ad Astra, it'll be fixed.

Oyugo is not a new captain. I see now that it's vague from the way I worded that section. (You guys are very helpful! This is the first time I've written anything like this, so I need all the help I can get.) Oyugo is not a super, super experienced captain, either, though. She's smart and competent and has made a name for herself by handling command well under pressure in some nasty situations, but she's only in her mid 40s. For a seven year mission into possibly hostile territory, you don't want someone too old, especially with a second-in-command who is unusually young. I will say of Oyugo that there may be more at play with her than meets the eye as far as why she was picked. But I haven't written those chapters yet.

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Old July 22 2009, 05:51 AM   #21
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

CHAPTER FOUR

Adele glanced at the chronometer and groaned. She set the PADD she’d been reviewing down on the side table and rubbed her eyes. Once again, she had stayed up far too late reading all she could about the history and politics of the Delta Quadrant as the Federation understood it. She had read the same reports over and over again, but she felt the need to keep the details fresh in her mind. With barely more than two days left before launch, reviewing the data helped her feel more ready.

It also made her feel exhausted. She had taken her evening meal in her room, reading as she picked at a bowl of replicated pasta. She had then drifted to the sofa, where she sat now, feeling foolish for staying up, knowing she would regret the choice in the morning. Slowly, she stretched and stood up. She had changed out of her uniform several hours ago, so all that was left was to clean up and get in bed.

As she brushed her teeth, she stared into the large mirror in her nicely appointed lavatory. At 44, she still had the smooth dark skin of her early youth, but the years had started to take their toll in other ways. She thought she had aged more quickly in her last six years as a Captain than at any other time. She noted the first hints of lines developing around the dark black eyes that were a genetic gift from her maternal grandmother, a Betazoid. She also saw how tired those eyes looked.

In most ways, she was as energetic as ever, and she certainly felt up to the task of commanding the Tesseract. But the battles of the past weighed on her, as did the loss of her husband at the Battle of Wolf 359 eighteen years prior. Had it really been so long? They had been newlyweds then, ensigns both, serving on the USS Endeavour. Theirs had been the sole surviving ship of the 40 that engaged the Borg, but Ken Oyugo had been one of the casualties. She was thankful that he had been killed rather than assimilated as so many others had been that awful day, but she still missed him keenly all these years later. She had never found love again. Then again, she had never really looked for it. She had thrown herself into her work to compensate for her loss, and everyone who had ever sought more than friendship with her, she had pushed away.

She finished brushing her teeth, rinsed her mouth and wiped the edge of the sink off. As she turned to shut off the light and head for bed, her communicator chirped. The voice of Lieutenant Borux, the Denobulan officer commanding the night watch, said, “Captain Oyugo, please report to the bridge. We are receiving a distress call.”

I guess I should have slept when I had the chance, Adele thought. “On my way,” she replied aloud, and strode over to the closet that held her clothing. She quickly pulled on the dark red high-necked shirt and sleek black and grey flightsuit that made up her uniform and affixed four pips to her collar. She slipped on her boots and headed for the turbolift.

When she arrived on the bridge moments later, the bridge crew was receiving an incoming transmission from Starfleet. “Send it to my ready room,” Adele requested. “Yes, sir,” replied the ensign at the communications console. Borux handed the Captain a PADD with data on the distress call as she walked off the bridge to receive the transmission.

In her ready room, Adele sat down at her desk, glanced briefly at the PADD she was holding, and activated the viewscreen. Admiral Ben McAllister’s aged face appeared on the screen.

“Captain Oyugo. How are the preparations going?”

“Fine, sir. We’re set to launch on schedule, but you should know we just received a distress call.” She glanced back down at the PADD. “It was from the science colony on Aris 4.”

“That’s why I’m contacting you,” replied the Admiral. “The Tesseract is the closest vessel to the area by three days, and the only one with slipstream capability. I want you to respond. Time is critical, we’ve lost all communication with the colony, and the sensor data they transmitted with their initial distress call indicated a massive explosion.”

Adele looked back down at the PADD, which held the same data the Admiral was describing. Her eyes widened when she saw the data on the explosion. “Yes, sir, I have that information here,” she said, “but we’re in no way ready to respond. Nearly half our crew isn’t even here yet, we’re expecting them to arrive on transports later today. And Engineering hasn’t finished running final checks, yet.”

“I’m sorry, Captain, I can’t give you more time. There are 113 people at that colony who need assistance now. You’re the only vessel close enough to give it to them. You’re a clever problem solver; I’m confident you’ll figure something out. Good luck, Captain.” With that, McAllister’s face disappeared from the screen. Adele sighed heavily.

She thought for a moment, and quickly came up with a possible solution. The auxiliary ships. The tactical and rescue teams. They haven’t trained yet, but they know their assignments, and most of them are already on board. Adele quickly pulled up the roster for Tactical and Rescue Team Alpha, and tapped her comm. badge. “Captain Oyugo to Commander Icheb,” she said.

Last edited by kes7; July 22 2009 at 06:09 AM. Reason: name change
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Old July 22 2009, 05:57 AM   #22
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Is that the same Cartwright from trek 6? I figured he'd be in the slammer.

One thing I have noticed in a lot of trek is the under-prepared ship answering a distress signal. I've done it too, I admit. I just hope you don't start saying that things wont arrive till Tuesday.

other then that, another good addition. Keep it up.
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Old July 22 2009, 06:00 AM   #23
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Kaziarl wrote: View Post
Is that the same Cartwright from trek 6? I figured he'd be in the slammer.

One thing I have noticed in a lot of trek is the under-prepared ship answering a distress signal. I've done it too, I admit. I just hope you don't start saying that things wont arrive till Tuesday.

other then that, another good addition. Keep it up.

Well, it wasn't MEANT to be the same one ... changing his name to eliminate confusion. Too many names in Trek ... can't keep it all straight.

ETA -- nothing is arriving on Tuesday, don't worry.
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Old July 22 2009, 06:05 AM   #24
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

kes7 wrote: View Post
Kaziarl wrote: View Post
Is that the same Cartwright from trek 6? I figured he'd be in the slammer.

One thing I have noticed in a lot of trek is the under-prepared ship answering a distress signal. I've done it too, I admit. I just hope you don't start saying that things wont arrive till Tuesday.

other then that, another good addition. Keep it up.

Well, it wasn't MEANT to be the same one ... changing his name to eliminate confusion. Too many names in Trek ... can't keep it all straight.
So true... I run across that all the time...
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Old July 22 2009, 05:00 PM   #25
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Well, it appears Tesseract's space trials will begin a bit sooner than planned. Whoever's messing with that colony is going to get quiet a surprise when that ship arrives in orbit.

A good installment!
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Old July 22 2009, 07:13 PM   #26
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Keep it coming!
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Old July 22 2009, 09:44 PM   #27
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Adele is very much the typical starship captain, married to her command. And then again in some ways she strikes me as a rather unique individual as well. It be interesting to see where you take her.

If your deft handling of your characters is any indication, I'm looking forward to see what you've got planned for the plot.
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Old July 27 2009, 12:21 AM   #28
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

CHAPTER FIVE

Icheb stepped through the open door into Maren’s quarters and looked around. The rush of familiarity he felt as he took in the view disoriented him. The Earth art on the walls, the images of favorite places Maren had traveled -- mostly places they had traveled together -- cycling on the viewscreen, the small crucifix beside the bed, and the barely perceptible scent of Maren’s longtime favorite perfume gave him the feeling of stepping back in time several years, to a much happier place.

The door slid shut behind Maren as she entered the room. He turned to face her, and they both froze, staring at each other as silently as they had on the bridge a few hours before.

“Why are you here?” Maren asked, her voice defiant but shaky.

“Starfleet believed my experience in the Delta Quadrant, particularly with the Borg, would be valuable to this mission,” answered Icheb, though he knew it wasn’t the meaning of her question.

“Of course they did,” agreed Maren impatiently, and clarified: “Why are you here in my quarters?”

Icheb hesitated before answering. The difficulty was, he didn’t really have a good answer for that. He wondered about it himself. What had he hoped to accomplish by coming here?

Earlier, he had told himself he would try to smooth things over, appeal to Maren’s sense of duty and convince her they could have a civil and professional relationship for the sake of the mission. Only, he wasn’t completely sure of that himself. Standing face-to-face with the woman he had once asked to be his wife, he was suddenly overcome with the strange feeling that walking away from her might have been the wrong decision.

He shoved the thought aside and forced himself to behave as her commanding officer. He said in an oddly formal voice, “After you left the bridge this afternoon, the Captain emphasized that it is my responsibility to keep things professional between us. I’ve come to ask for your assistance.” Maren’s eyes widened in apparent disbelief, then quickly narrowed.

“With all due respect, Commander,” she said quietly, “I think we crossed that bridge a long time ago.”

“Maren .... ” Icheb stopped himself from answering as he realized that she was correct. Any attempt to pretend otherwise would be futile. He couldn’t stop looking at her, and what he saw was not a department head -- what he saw was his wife, or at least the woman who should have been his wife. The thick blond hair in which he had so often tangled his fingers while in her embrace was secured with a simple clip at the nape of her neck. Her cheeks were flushed with emotion -- which emotions, he could only speculate. After nearly ten years separated from the Collective and living among humans, he still had occasional trouble navigating the subtleties of human feeling. By now, he was honestly unsure whether this was a Brunali trait or a permanent side effect of his programming by the Borg. He suspected the latter, but there was no way to be certain.

Deciding to try a different approach, he carefully reached out and caressed Maren's cheek. When she didn’t immediately resist, he leaned down and pressed his lips to hers. For a moment, she relaxed into him and returned his kiss as passionately as she ever had in their academy days. But then, as suddenly as the kiss had begun, it was over -- Maren pulled away and slapped him, hard. She cried out in pain.

Icheb knew that had hurt Maren more than it hurt him. Most of the left side of his face under the skin was still solid metal Borg hardware, dense as armor, and Maren had struck him with her right hand. Given her detailed knowledge of his cybernetic systems, he was surprised she had made that mistake, but Maren often made tactical errors when she was angry. Wincing, she drew back her hand, cursed, and fought back angry tears.

“What is wrong with you?” she cried. “What makes you think you have the right to just walk back into my life and kiss me like that after disappearing for two years?!”

“I’m sorry,” said Icheb, stunned and embarrassed at his own inappropriateness. “Let me look at your hand. It might be fractured.”

“Don’t worry about my hand, it’s fine,” Maren snapped. “It’s not your concern.”

“It is my concern,” Icheb said insistently. “I’m the First Officer, and you’re part of my crew. It’s my responsibility to ensure your physical well-being.” Maren looked at him incredulously, and he realized how stupid that sounded given the line he had just crossed. He hesitated before continuing. “Maren, please. I care about you. I never stopped caring. I know you’re angry with me and you have every right to be. But I left you because I loved you. Please try to understand.”

Looking as if she would hit him again if not for her sore hand, Maren hissed, “I don’t understand! I didn’t understand then, and I don’t understand now. One day, we were planning the rest of our lives together, and the next day, you decided for both of us that I’d somehow be better off without you. You’re right, I do not understand.”

“Maren, I -- “

She held up a hand to silence him. “Don’t, Icheb. Just don’t. There’s nothing you can say to make this better. I should never have taken this assignment.” Her voice wavered and the tears that filled her eyes threatened to spill over. “I let my curiosity get the better of my common sense -- that and my pride. I was so honored to be chosen as Chief Engineer of such an important mission, and all the stories you and the rest of the Voyager crew told about the Delta Quadrant all those years ... I just wanted to see it for myself. I figured you might be assigned here in some capacity, but as one of a crew of 1500, someone I could avoid! I never expected you to be my commanding officer.”

Icheb opened his mouth to reply, but Maren wasn’t finished, and cut him off. “When did they make you a Commander, anyway? I know people with three times your experience who haven’t made that rank,” she exclaimed, shaking her head in disbelief.

“You’re aware of the advantages my cranial implants give me, Maren,” Icheb replied. “I can’t just turn them off. I’ll continue to perform to the best of my ability, and if Starfleet chooses to keep advancing me, I’m not going to protest the decision.”

Maren sighed and gave him a wary look. Her voice softened considerably. “Speaking of implants, I assume you haven’t told Starfleet about your prognosis yet, or they never would have sent you on this mission at all.” The tears she had been struggling to keep in finally started their journey down her cheeks. “My God, I’ve worried about you every day. After everything we went through together those last couple of years, I still can’t believe you just --”

Icheb gently laid a hand on her shoulder, fighting the temptation to bring her closer. “I’m sorry, Maren, I am sorry. I should have explained, should have told you -- I was in shock and I wasn’t thinking clearly. But please try to understand, I was only trying to keep you from experiencing something worse.”

“I didn’t need you to protect me, Icheb. I knew what I was in for and I chose to stay. And you of all people should know better than to try and face this alone. When Seven tried it -- ”

“That was different," Icheb interrupted. "There was a clear way to save her --”

It was Maren's turn to interrupt. “It wasn’t a clear way, it was a huge risk and everyone told you ‘No,’ and you did it anyway. And now you’re paying for it. The fact is, you don’t know for sure there’s not something Starfleet could do for you, and -- ” she was cut off by the sudden chirping sound of Icheb’s communicator.

“Captain Oyugo to Commander Icheb.” Icheb and Maren both flinched at the sudden interruption. Icheb reluctantly tapped his comm. badge.

“This is Commander Icheb. Go ahead, Captain.”

“Report to my Ready Room immediately.”

“Understood,” answered Icheb. He looked at Maren. She nodded stiffly.

“Go,” she said. “It sounds like they need you down there.”

“Maren. We have to discuss this -- all of it. We won’t make it through the next seven years if we don’t.”

“Go, Icheb.” Maren was insistent this time. Icheb slowly nodded, rose and headed for the door. As he paused for it to open, he turned back and took another look at Maren. She was staring down at her bruised hand, lost in thought. Icheb left the room and the door slid shut behind him, reminding him too much of the last time he had left her.

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Old July 27 2009, 12:30 AM   #29
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

CHAPTER SIX

Yawning, Lieutenant Commander Adrian Keller rubbed his eyes and set his comm. badge back down on the nightstand. He sat up, then leaned over and kissed his sleeping wife, who forced her eyes open to look at him.

“Claire, honey, I have to report to the hangar deck. There’s been a distress call at Aris 4.”

“What happened?” she mumbled, still half-asleep.

“I don’t know. But don’t worry about it, darling, with the slipstream drive, I’ll probably be back before breakfast,” he reassured her in his clipped London accent. He kissed her one more time, got up and dressed quickly, then ran out the door without replicating his morning cup of tea.

By the time Adrian arrived in the docking bay eight minutes later, most of the Tactical and Rescue Team had already assembled. A surprisingly young-looking officer with an unfamiliar nose ridge, some kind of metal implant on his face, and three pips on his collar was standing in the middle of a small crowd of about thirty people, holding a PADD and giving orders. Ah, thought Adrian. The infamous Borg First Officer. This should be interesting.

He walked up to the group so he could hear Commander Icheb. “The report we received from Aris 4 is sketchy. They sent out a distress call 45 minutes ago, but the transmission was too degraded to be of much use and either they’ve stopped transmitting or something is blocking it. The only hard information we’ve received is that there was a massive explosion either at the colony or near it. The Tesseract was asked to respond, but since she's still waiting for additional crew and isn't quite ready for launch, Captain Oyugo ordered our team to take one of the auxiliary ships to investigate.”

Icheb turned to a tall Lieutenant, every bit as young as he, who was standing at the back of the group so as not to block anyone’s view with his 6’4” frame. “John -- Lieutenant Quigley,” Icheb quickly corrected himself, “You’re with me on the bridge of the Sol," he said, indicating one of the two small Saber-class starships docked in the hangar bay behind him. "I may need your tactical expertise. Lieutenant Commander Keller, are you here?” he asked, looking over the group. Adrian stepped forward and raised his hand. Icheb nodded at him. “Good. You’ll be at the helm of the Sol. I’m told you’re the best pilot on the Tesseract,” Icheb said with a small smile.

“Yes, sir.” Adrian could not suppress a satisfied smile of his own as he nodded at the friendly, efficient young Commander. It was hard not to take an instant liking to him, all antipathy for the Borg aside. He had a feeling a lot of people’s preconceptions about the Borg were about to be challenged by this charming kid.

“Lieutenant T’Pring, you and Ensign Par Renn will be on the bridge with me,” Icheb continued, nodding at the Vulcan and Bajoran, respectively. The rest of you, take the default positions you were assigned before you arrived on the Tesseract. I’ll relay further instructions once we’re on board. Let’s go.”

Adrian wasted no time jogging over to the transport pads. There were two pads, each capable of beaming five people at a time. It took less than two minutes to get the entire group into their assigned locations.

Aboard the Saber-class Sol, Icheb took command of the bridge and sat down in the Captain’s chair. John Quigley took up his post behind Icheb at the tactical console, and Adrian sat down at the helm. Lieutenant T’Pring and Ensign Par rounded out the bridge crew at science and ops.

“Commander Icheb to Sickbay -- report,” Icheb said over the comm. Given the fact that only 28 of the 40 away team members had yet been on board the Tesseract when they received the distress call, he wanted to be sure they had someone on board capable of treating any injuries.

“We’re ready,” came the slightly accented reply. Icheb vaguely recognized the voice, and with the assistance of the Borg computers integrated with his brain, endlessly cataloging his every experience, it took him only a fraction of a second to recall the associated name: Sheila Duggal, the young Indian doctor he had met the previous morning.

“Thank you, Doctor Duggal,” he replied. He checked in with Engineering next. “Engineering, report.”

“We’re missing a few people down here, Commander. We should be okay, though. Just try not to bust the slipstream drive or we’ll be stuck at traditional warp. None of us here are cleared to fix that thing unsupervised.”

John Quigley let out an amused snicker. “That’s just great. Where’s Maren when you need her, eh?” Icheb turned around and gave him an irritated glance, and John shrugged and looked back down at his console.

Adrian chimed in, “Aris 4 is only nine light years away. The chap in Engineering is right, we’d be okay without slipstream.”

Icheb quickly shut him down. “We don’t know what we’re going to find there. The data on the explosion indicate it was massive. It’s likely that it was a natural phenomenon, but if it wasn’t, we shouldn’t be caught unprepared to fight or evade an enemy capable of that kind of destruction.”

“Icheb to Tesseract,” he said over the comm. “We need someone qualified on slipstream to take over our Engineering, now. We’re missing our Chief.”

“O’Connor’s all I’ve got at the moment and I can’t spare her,” came the reply from Captain Oyugo. “You’re well-versed in slipstream technology, Commander. If it breaks, you should be quite capable of fixing it.”

“Understood, Captain,” Icheb replied tersely, pinching his nose ridge between two fingers. He felt on the verge of developing a headache, and realized he was overdue for regeneration. It would have to wait. He sincerely hoped he wouldn’t have to try to command the mission and work in engineering simultaneously. He looked around the Bridge for a long moment before activating the Sol’s ship-wide communications system.

“All hands, this is Commander Icheb. Prepare for departure.” Ready or not, here we come, he thought to himself, paraphrasing a line from an Earth children’s game he’d learned years ago from Maren’s little cousins. His usual confidence was diminished under the less-than ideal conditions. He may have been separated from the Collective, but the Borg hardware in his brain still sounded the alarm whenever conditions were less than optimal for success. As far as he was concerned, this sudden, premature activation of the Tactical and Rescue team coupled with the absence of more than a quarter of their number was certainly less than optimal.

Adrian entered the sequence for release from the hangar bay and requested clearance, which was granted. With one more push of a button, the enormous bay doors slowly slid open, revealing the blackness of space.

Last edited by kes7; July 27 2009 at 03:52 AM.
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Old July 27 2009, 01:23 AM   #30
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

More excellence! The scene between Maren and Icheb was touching in its raw intensity. There's obviously a lot of unresolved issues between those two.

And now this rescue mission under mysterious circumstances. I liked the bit about Icheb having difficulty with his implants when the situation is less than optimal. Something tells me he's going to be coming down with a lot of headaches in the next seven years.
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