Contemplating Infinity: A Scientist's Notes

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Contemplating Infinity: A Scientist's Notes

Post  MichaelHerbertGilmour on Tue May 10, 2011 5:33 am

Michael looked out across his domains, from the pitch-black fungal forests of Habitat Two to the growing ecosystem on CV-β4, and it was good. He could feel the fibrous tangle penetrating the rocky soil of Habitat Three, and the dance of life and death between Sporekint and Fungi playing out every moment of every day. Though vast sensor networks that spread out like cobwebs between mighty pillars of organic superstructure he could hear the chatter of life across an infinite number of wavelengths, and with a mental queue he could send out his own signals to communicate across the void. Even now, a billion impulses flew across a billion synapses, forming a bridge that connected him to all his worlds, and all his worlds back to him. In a brilliant instant, he had felt his colony on CV-β4 grow large enough to call home, and he responded with loving embrace. In return, it shared with him its secrets, and he felt them well up within his domain.

But still, there was something to deal with. His newest addition, while a perfect, glimmering jewel in the ocean of space, had to be cleaned. It's surface was covered by grime, a filth that refused to clean away with simple soap and water. He would have to give it a bit more attention, it seemed... at least to clear things with any real speed.

After all, his success was inevitable. The only question was one of time.

Eventually, his fungus would eat it away. Even if he had to get some sort of natural leyas manipulation hard-coded into it, it would eventually succeed. He had weight of numbers too heavy on his side, and soon enough his creations would simply make domes over those sores, blocking out all the oxygen those inside needed to live. Already, he completely surrounded each of those enclosures, powerful hyphae breaking down and consuming even the mighty mountains. Every day they assimilated more of the planet, and eventually every last atom would be integrated into the whole.

The slow-growth strategy wasn't even required. More diverse forms were starting to appear even without his input, wonderful amalgamations of his original inhabitants. Delightful, betenticled creatures were starting to take shape, using the housekeeping fungus as muscle and the thick, corded networks as structure. They took the shape of an almost formless mass, slowly walking along the ground on thick, protruding tendrils. Grey-white glassy spheres adorned them seemingly at random, collecting only the most primitive visual information from their surroundings. Acting on a level below even instinct, they would be slowly guided by the network below them toward areas of danger to 'deal' with potential threats.

Perhaps even more interesting were the nets. Between the tall stalks of fungi growing from the ground formed impossibly thin, weblike nets of tiny fibers. Difficult to see, they were laden with nematocysts, ready to penetrate anything that came into contact with them. In addition to injecting powerful digestive enzymes, it would use the points of penetration to continue growing into whatever stumbled into it, quickly invading deep inside. From there it would expand, killing its host. The host would then be consumed and sporulation would begin, spreading it far and wide.

And even they might not be required to excise those tumors from the face of his perfect world. With his teleportation network coming online, he'd have an easy bridge between his planets, as well as a method of simply flooding the inside of those 'nightmare pits' with toxins and spores. With any luck, something in there would be both A) important and B) susceptible to infection. Considering his fast mutation rate, both of those conditions were inevitable. His teleportation networks would also start to spread his spores throughout the entire system, targeting any planets, moons, asteroids, or ships within range. All matter would be consumed in an effort to increase biomass, and therefore diversity and computational power.

Contemplating all these things, he looked back out over CV-β4 once more, watching the steady march of generation after generation. He could see where they came from and where they stood, but his worlds continued to surprise him with where they went. He looked out across them, and it was good.
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Re: Contemplating Infinity: A Scientist's Notes

Post  MichaelHerbertGilmour on Wed May 25, 2011 7:12 pm

So much had been accomplished, but so much more was yet to be done. His work on CV-ß4 had progressed wonderfully, and the results of those efforts could be felt across his planets. Even as he looked across the expanse under his control, the scientist could feel his domain growing. He had finally achieved the goal of totally converting a celestial body, and others would be soon after.

Habitat II was ready to expand. It had finally grown as much as it could given the constraints it was under, but still it hungered for more. He hungered for more. Running through several simulations, The Scientist tried to determine how much more mass he would need to begin initiation of the second phase of the Habitat's life-cycle. Hopefully there would be enough in-system, to make the process go as quickly as possible. If not, Habitat III should be able to supply the rest, with luck.

Casting his attention out across the expanse of CV-ß4, he couldn't help but feel a measure of pride in his work. By this point it was already resembling the dense networks on Habitat II, and the twisted web of fungal hyphae was already becoming a thick, glossy black as they adapted to the incoming solar radiation. Nearly every incident photon was absorbed and converted into useful energy, conducted throughout the network to fuel further expansion and research. The branching tangle was now expanding far, far above the original surface of the planet, and it would be difficult if not impossible to determine to what height the ground used to expand. Miles and miles of pure fungus now existed in a delicate balance, harvesting the energy of that which fell and died from above, and in turn dieing to fuel those below them. All the while, the massive lattice served to conduct signals across the whole of its form, providing The Scientist with vast quantities of useful data, as well as simply informing the network of occurrences across the expanse of the planet.

Reaching out mentally, Michael the gardener gently nudged his creations through their growth, arranging them into more interesting forms, guiding their progression into greater and greater diversity. It was though these methods that he was able to unlock so many secrets of their biology, and was learning to assert even more demanding control. Those in orbit could see large sections of the landscape actually ripple and shift beneath his attentions, and The Scientist smiled to himself at the power he wielded. A single corded tendril, meters thick and made up of hundreds of thousands of individual stands, slowly began to lift from the surface, glossy and slick with the motile fungus surrounding it. It reached into the air, coiled once, and once again slipped down into the fabric below.

The planet had nearly awakened now, he could feel it. It had nearly exhausted all the non-self matter within, and though it could survive on starlight alone, it certainly couldn't grow any larger. Luckily, this system had plenty more matter to sustain further growth, and with a few thoughts Michael began to direct several teleportation networks deep within the mass to begin colonizing all the worlds surrounding. Soon their mass would be channeled right back to CV-ß4, and it would grow ever larger. The Scientist himself grew hungrier at the thought, and every cell within Habitat thrummed at the possibilities. He would expand through the stars, and through his creations he would unlock the secrets within the fabric of reality itself. But first, he needed more mass.

And once again, he awakens from his daydream and finds himself on CV-ß4. Deeper and deeper he feels his networks dive into the ground, so close to simply taking it all... all except those thrice-damned pits. With a guttural, mental growl, he suddenly sees them loom large in his sight, festering like sores on the face of nascent perfection. A tiny line of death surrounds them, remnants of fungi that tried too hard to remove them from existence, to do to them what the rest of the network had done to the entire world. But still, they resisted. He surrounded them on all sides, and indeed, the towering fungal forests were starting to eclipse even the mountains themselves, rendering them small in his shadow. But it wasn't enough. Never enough. Even now they mocked him, digging tunnels through his sublime creation, spiting him with their every existence. He hadn't yet attempted to direct anything toward them yet... he didn't want them to survive the attack and subsequently entrench further. But something had to be done. CV-ß4 was already beginning its first preparations to excise that tumor before it grew further, and Michael simply let it work for the time being. Even unconsciously, the planet knew what to do with such foreign infections, and just as the human body would push a splinter from its skin, CV-ß4 would remove that blight once and for all.

And if not, Michael could do it himself. He stretched once more, and the planet writhed below him in anticipation. The metamorphosis would be complete soon, and his larva would cast off its shackles and begin its journey into the void.


Last edited by MichaelHerbertGilmour on Thu May 26, 2011 12:05 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Fixed italics tags)
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Re: Contemplating Infinity: A Scientist's Notes

Post  MichaelHerbertGilmour on Thu Jun 02, 2011 5:45 am

01:00:00:00 UST

A wave of calm flowed through the consciousness of The Scientist, who was just now taking a moment to enjoy the spoils of his conquest. It had taken longer than he would have liked, and it certainly didn't go as he had planned, but the ends justified the means. CV-ß4 was his. Looking across his newest acquisition, he found himself lingering on the pits and divots on the face of the planet as they slowly began to mend. Even those little signs of Viggo's former presence on his world were enough to cause a familiar irritation to well up within the depths of his mind, but it would fade with time. Perhaps he should even thank the Kasanthian for his efforts someday, as their little 'battle' may have provided The Scientist with more than anyone might have recognized. Holes in his strategy had been found, and were being repaired as he waited. In time his glorious creations would spread throughout the universe, bringing it ever closer to a more perfect order.

But now he was simply getting ahead of himself.

He couldn't help but let his awareness drift back to Habitat II at the thought, mentally weaving himself amongst the massive spires of fungi that pressed up through the tangle, ever reaching for the void beyond. It was here that he could already sense new and wonderful modifications beginning to take place, the result of countless lives all growing toward a common purpose. Soon he would solve the last little problem before true migration could take place, allowing him to finally dance amongst the stars. Successful teleportation designs were being tweaked and prodded, mutated and reshaped, slowly edging toward a more perfect system. Impulses racing through the network filled him in on all the details, and with a subtle mental cue he would gentle guide their growth toward the inevitable goal. The technologies of the TRILAT had provided a wonderful baseline... but it was time to advance beyond such primitive ideas.

Such succulent fruits took time to grow, however, and the issue of time weighted all too heavily on his mind. With the ability to easily transport his creations into orbit, he had been provided with a new means of expansion, and he'd be foolish not to take advantage of it. Saggitae under his control began to pick up massive pods filled with new life, and with a mental command they cast off. They searched for those places that had been otherwise avoided by the other empires, blasted moons and crushing gas-giants hostile to all life. Nearly all life. They would then cast off their cargo and return again for more, trying to seed all systems within reach. The Scientist was sure not all would be successful, or perhaps even most... but was that not the goal of his work? Surely as more diversity was added to his network, the chances of colonizing even the most inimical landscapes would become trivial- he just had to start.

Even as all these things went on, some part of his mind couldn't help but fixate on the tiniest little modification, an organelle he had been sculpting for years. In Habitat III, where time itself had lost its grip, a tiny colony of The Scientist's newest creation was growing. It contained a yet nameless structure that miniaturized his teleportation matrix to the smallest scales, enabling the fungi to transport important metabolites form one part of the cell to another. Michael marveled at its capacities, and hoped that it would eventually take the role of a huge number of important cellular processes, dramatically increasing the efficiency of his creations. It was far, far too early to determine if it could be scaled up in a meaningful manner, but the simple fact that such a thing could exist even in this primitive state was a joy in and of itself.

01:00:00:01 UST

The moment flickers by, only to be replaced with another, and another. As they collapsed in on each-other to form seconds and minutes, Michael continued to tend to his creation and make plans for the future. And what a glorious future it would be.
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Re: Contemplating Infinity: A Scientist's Notes

Post  MichaelHerbertGilmour on Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:02 am

The Scientist sighs inwardly, taking stock of his situation. It was not one of exhaustion, or depression; it was one of pure, unadulterated satisfaction.

He had been suckerpunched by a planned assault, and he broke their fist on his chin. Life didn't get much better. The fact that so many had to die was the only sour note of the whole affair, but with the way this universe had been going, he supposed that everyone should be lucky it went as well as it did.

His former continent had been completely shattered as a result of both the bombardment and what seemed to be tunnels dug out from below. Thinking back on what had happened he really should have been more suspicious about the quall digging below him. What else could they have possibly been doing down there?

But it didn't matter.

He had lost over 1.5 x 10^13 metric tons of biomass. It would have worked out to around 200 trillion people.

But he still had so much. And it would all come back, in time.

There he was, basking in a sea of heat. Molten rock screamed red around him, but he simply soaked in its warm caress. Indeed, the temperature just fueled his growth, and with every moment that passed his reach continued to extend. Streamers reached down through the lava into the stone below, even as puffy spheres broke the surface of the bubbling rock above, bursting to send out thick clouds of spores into the air. Carried on convection currents, they'd spread out through the boiling sea of Kyrpos, wandering far and wide.

Even the jagged spires broken by the assault were starting to grow with life once more. Familiar, branched structures would climb up from the rock, looking all the world like stalagmites from some surreal cave forgotten by time. They too would sew their seed into the air, letting it whisk them off to parts unknown.

And through it all, The Scientist watched. Where once there was nothing but barren spires and unforgiving waste, he brought life. The indigenous creatures of this plane, or what was left of them, would find themselves completely unmolested by their newfound neighbors. Indeed, they would likely find that Michael's creations managed to finally bring a realistic foodsource to that place... and with luck, it would begin teeming with new life.

In time, he would increase the level of competition between the denizens of the lava and his fungal creations, but for now, his advantage was simply too strong. It would take time before this place evened out a bit more... but that was something Michael was willing to wait for.

But enough of अग्नि.

His Habitats were expanding flawlessly. Finally breaking the boundaries of their expansion, they were teleporting fungal mass onto any extraplanetary structures within range, converting them to biomass, and simply transporting it back to the habitat itself. Deep inside their structures, even more exciting things were taking place. Finally deciding it was time to cast off the shackles of their home stars, Michael was orchestrating the growth of countless ripdrives throughout the whole of the superstructure. Only Habitat IV was not given such treatment, as The Scientist decided it was simply too valuable to be used as an experimental testbed.

Very soon, Michael would be taking his first footsteps into the void of space. Depending on his total collected biomass, he would either begin construction of his first Dyson system or would begin gathering more mass elsewhere. He believed he had a good chance to construct a single full Dyson ring, but only time would tell. And with that energy, he would be able to fully power long-distance trips with comparative ease, greatly simplifying his efforts.

The future looked bright indeed.
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Re: Contemplating Infinity: A Scientist's Notes

Post  MichaelHerbertGilmour on Tue Jun 28, 2011 1:32 am

Things had been a bit too quiet as of late. While he realized that a good portion of this section of the universe was gearing up for war with the Fleets of Fate, he was still a bit nervous. The last time Michael thought the IR was mostly occupied with fighting the e-strain, The Scientist found himself at the mercy of a massive joint strike from many different forces.

He did not want this repeated.

While rip-drive construction seemed to be continuing, he was urging the growth of slightly more communications network. With any luck, he'd be able to detect potential fleet movements toward his location before they arrived... either from pre-assault communications or from energy distortions off in the distance. With his new understanding of leyas, he might even be able to see the quall energy gates manifesting before they open- even if he couldn't close them yet, that would still be quite useful. Sadly, he had no experience with such things yet. Once Or'cova leaves, he might be able to see her shadow-drive in action... that would be interesting.
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Re: Contemplating Infinity: A Scientist's Notes

Post  MichaelHerbertGilmour on Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:31 am

It was truly beautiful. Michael could see the spores of his creations dancing along the very limits of his vision, slowly drifting deeper and deeper into the plane of Kyrpos. There was something profoundly satisfying about finally bringing some form of life to this otherwise barren expanse, and in time it may very well form a true ecosystem... one that didn't just include those organisms guided by his hand.

However, he couldn't wait for that time, not considering the politics of the region. He was certain that the whole of the quall would likely descend on him soon, and while their efforts had been laughable up to this point... well... they wouldn't always be such a pushover. Prime told him that the quall had a near limitless supply of knowledge at their disposal, and only distaste prevented them from making use of it. Best to entrench himself as strongly as possible for the inevitable.

While his teleportation networks has been spreading his existence throughout the plane of fire, he finally decided to concentrate a bit more of his efforts towards that goal. He knew that his creations were already settling far and wide, but until they grew up, it'd be impossible to know how well they were doing in their new environments.

He wished them well. They'd call him when they were older.
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Re: Contemplating Infinity: A Scientist's Notes

Post  MichaelHerbertGilmour on Wed Jul 13, 2011 4:38 am

There.

Michael could feel the last of the pieces sliding into place, his grand design unfolding before his very eyes. He had been waiting for his habitats to reach the next stage of their evolution for some time now, patently tending to them even as the universe seemed to be tearing itself asunder. It was almost heartbreaking, really, being forced to do nothing but watch as everything went to hell around you.

No longer.

The latest in Unity technology had finally been integrated into his networks, etched into the very fungal matrix that made up the unknowable expanse of his holdings. Every last fiber had been accounted for, and even as his planets shifted and grew, so did the vast apparatus that would be used to launch them from their tranquil orbits. Even the most subtle changes were conducted through the network, as they altered the fundamental tenor of the patterns within.

All the simulations had been run in advance. Every last cell was accounted for, and Michael looked back from Habitat II for the last time, feeling the distant solar center shine on his face, warming it with those familiar, life-giving energies. How many terrawatts of power had been dispersed into the vacuum of space, dissipated into little but background noise over the lifetime of this star? The number was beyond imagining. How many lives could have been created with it, how much productive work could have been done?

The time to answer that last question was now.

A gentle hum could be heard throughout Habitat II as the ripdrives imbedded into its matrix began to warm up. Michael felt a growing anticipation branch out through his neural circuitry, and after a few more minutes of waiting, The Scientist could feel the final systems engage. There was a moment of intense motion, as if he was getting pulled sharply sideways, and then...

Brilliance.

Michael could feel himself unfurl before the might of Prometheus, the star that had anchored Habitat II for so long. He basked in the scorching radiance, feeling his preparations already going into effect. Where once he had settled for scavenging from an impossibly tiny sliver of its solar output, now he would glut himself on a much, much larger meal. Habitat II was now gone, at least in its former form, and in its place was a massive scattering of comparatively tiny floating nodes, each of them extending vast, thin tendrils out into the void of space. These were then covered in an infinite array of feathery protrusions, harvesting the light of Prometheus' nuclear fire. In time, the nodes would start to connect to one-another, forming a delicate network all about the burning star. The heat-shielding developed from his experimentation in Kyrpos was in full effect, utilizing the whole host of those acquired mutations. No doubt even more would be fostered in the face of this new expanse.

And even closer, a larger piece of the former planet was orbiting at incredible velocity. It was not interested in harvesting the light- it would be used to siphon matter from the solar ocean, extending long, heat-resistant tentacles down to the surface. At this point, The Scientist believed the task to be completely impossible, but in time he may be able to mine the stars themselves for resources. Until then, the node named 'Icarus' would work to bring that dream into reality.

And like that, an entirely new existence was formed, an ecosystem no longer bound up by the constraints of energy or distance. The massive influx of power would allow a tiny reality drill network to tunnel between each of the nodes, further connecting the entire, massive construction. The extreme differences in temperature between the front of those satellites and the back would provide an exotic new challenge to his creations; one he new full well they would meet. In time, he hoped they'd find ways of traveling between the nodes on their own, without any sort of guiding by his own hand. For now though, they'd simply use the network he had engineered into the system.

The excess power was used to drive secondary more massive reality drills that would provide a gate between the Dyson network and nearby sources of matter. Powerful fungal tendrils would reach through and quickly rip apart whatever they found, bringing it back and using it to supplement what had already been gathered. After this solar system had been exhausted, Unity navigational data would be used to open new gates into nearby systems, mining them from across extravagant distances. The resources claimed would be used to generate new nodes, and with luck, another functional Dyson network could be sent to a distant system. Michael's guiding influence would shield inhabited systems, as there was /plenty/ of unclaimed mass to go around. All network nodes would maintain functional ripdrives, in case they had to quickly relocate... considering how the universe was these days, one could never be too careful.

Things were good, and Michael basked resplendent in the brilliance of the light. Another of his major projects was completing even now, and after it was finished he could disassemble Habitat III. From these beginnings, he'd make use of all the wasted energy the universe could provide.
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Re: Contemplating Infinity: A Scientist's Notes

Post  MichaelHerbertGilmour on Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:43 am

Prime's timing was excellent. For once, his fellow scientist needed him, and he was in a position to help. Michael beheld the vessel of his creation, a clone sent to him with Unity's blessings, secreted away in the depths of Habitat III. The mindless body served to nurture several unique strains of fungus inside it, all growing throughout the whole of its body. They were converting it to mycotic mass, just as all his other creations would, but these species were specially engineered by The Scientist, developed to refrain from breaking it down completely. Indeed, the outside observer would find it almost impossible to discern that The Green Man was any different from a normal human, even if that estimation could not be farther from the truth.

Integration with the host had occurred weeks ago, but it was difficult for Michael to say when the process was truly 'complete.' The ecosystem inside The Green Man was much like that of any other living creature- the balance between each element was in constant flux. Now, however, he needed it, and the nervous system of the clone body had been hijacked and rerouted, subsumed into Michael's fungal awareness. Those new pathways did not yet flicker with life, but with a final gaze from without, The Scientist urged them to merge with the network.

Panic. Something was desperately, critically wrong. The Green Man's eyes opened to behold the world around it for the first time, and it was met with nothing but the dimmest light. A vague bioluminesence failed to illuminate even its immediate surroundings, but tons of visual data was being fed directly into its brain from the network. An overpowering mental weight dragged on the back of its mind as the network continued to harmonize with it, but that didn't stop The Green Man from thrashing about on it's 'bed,' gasping for air that did not come. It finally manages to turn onto its side, and out of instinct begins to choke and gasp, disgorging liters of thick, slimy fluid onto the ground. The taste of chunks of bitter fungal colonies was enough to gag it, and if it had anything in its 'stomach,' it would have been quickly disgorged to join the material now oozing into the floor below.

It was only after those first brutal moments of terror that Michael realized he could /feel./ It had been long since he had known the sensation of pressure against his hands, and as he held himself up against the 'bed,' he gripped tighter to savor the experience. Taste too, even if it was so painful for the moment, nearly overwhelmed his local existence, completely unique within the whole of the network. Smell, heat, sound... all of these things had been denied to him until now, at least in this visceral way.

And even as he was gasping and choking, Michael watched from the outside, this tiny piece of his existence acting out of reflex. The experience was much like stubbing one's toe; if one was a toe, it would probably feel like an existential crisis. And with that mindset he waited for The Green Man to calm, the 'brain' inside his creation quickly getting remapped, learning which systems still existed and which were removed for convenience. The digestive tract was gone, as light could be absorbed from the air, and matter could be absorbed from whatever he touched. The circulatory system was still in use, as a structure that large needed a way to transport nutrients from one place to another quickly. The vast majority of biochemical processes had been refined, now operating at efficiencies far beyond those of its previous existence.

Michael would now have to come to terms with the slowness of the network, and hopefully he'd learn how to deal with the issue. His 'mind' spanned planets, spanned dimensions. Getting a thought from one side to another didn't take long, but it still took far longer than nearly all 'normal' creatures. Trying to get his new body to access information from all over the network wouldn't happen on nearly the timescales he wanted, and as such he had to delegate most local processes to the tiny neural network inside of it. Of course, that had the side benefit of rendering the network at least partially safe from direct attacks against The Green Man itself, but he would have to be careful. It seemed as if he'd have to get over his 'phobia' of real-time conversations.

Well, these things happened. Prime called, and he would answer. The Green Man was in harmony with The Scientist, and they were now as one. Michael stood, somewhat uncertainly, but it didn't take long for him to remember how to walk once more. A few halting steps soon grew into a normal pace, and Michael found himself on a teleportation matrix. With a thought, he teleported himself into one of his Saggitae, and yet another thought directed the ship towards Prime's lab. He hoped he would not be too late.
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Re: Contemplating Infinity: A Scientist's Notes

Post  MichaelHerbertGilmour on Sat Jul 30, 2011 5:50 am

Contact with the Green Man had suddenly ceased. While this was disappointing, it was not entirely unexpected; indeed, it was the reason why Michael had installed a method to break the connection in the first place. Something had likely tried to work its way through the network, and in response the network cut it off before it could spread. As evidence of that fact, he could see something growing on the surface of Habitat IV. He was reluctant to do much about it, as it was certainly off-network, but...

Well, at least he'd likely be able to track it easily enough. That was almost certainly the 'contaminant' that made its way through the network, so it was good he caught it when he did. It was then therefore sentient, though he had no idea whether or not it was a threat. To be safe, he hails it in all frequencies, determined to at least get some information. The message is a simple request for identification and mission. Furthermore, all information regarding it was quickly sent via encrypted broadcast to Prime of Unity, as well as a request for his advice on the matter. This was... odd, to say the least.
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