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H50 Fic: The Eleventh Hour 10/13

February 24th, 2011 (07:13 am)

A/N: And now, plot! Action! Hopefully the plot points make sense and that the action seems worth the wait :) Thanks!  Previous parts here.



Steve had been on enough dangerous missions in his life to know that sometimes things went wrong.

Minor complications were perfectly normal. Expected, in fact. Plans were never set in stone, but working guidelines to help get things done.

However, there was a major difference between minor hiccups and the whole damn thing falling apart.

Case in point, getting caught off guard by Blaine and his would-be goon was inconvenient. A little embarrassing, even. Getting knocked out and handcuffed, though, could arguably happen to anyone. With enough high profile cases, they were going to get roughed up from time to time, and sometimes they'd probably even come out on the losing end of such altercations.

Steve was willing to accept that and had made his peace with it a long time ago.

However, as poorly as this case had started off, it was showing zero sign of improving anytime soon. If getting knocked out was acceptable in the grander scheme of things, getting Danny shot was most definitely not.

And now, to make things even worse, Blaine was gone, Malcolm looked sick, and Danny was unconscious.

Oh, and as if that hadn't been enough, Danny's last words to him before passing out?

Tell Grace.

What, Steve wasn't sure, but he was confident that the specifics didn't matter. Steve knew a goodbye when he heard one. Danny wasn't the sentimental type and even if he was irrationally prone to hysteria, he wasn't one to quit when it counted. If Danny was passing out with thoughts of his daughter on his mind, then things were bad.

Check that, things were really bad. Things were falling apart and Steve was still handcuffed to a damn chair unable to do anything.

Except sit and wait.

Wait for Blaine to come back. Wait for Malcolm to get too twitchy with his trigger finger. Wait for Chin and Kono to find them.

Wait for Danny to die.

There were many problems with all that. The least of which was the fact that waiting? Was not Steve's strength.

Steve was a man of action.

Steve didn't wait. Steve acted.

When Danny wanted to get a warrant, Steve found a reason to go in anyway. When Danny wanted to call for backup, Steve reasoned that Danny was the backup. When Danny wanted to take the time to question a suspect properly, Steve figured dangling them off a roof or dumping them in a shark cage would get the job done that much faster and that much more effectively.

Steve was not a patient man. So he didn't want to wait for Blaine or Malcolm or even Chin or Kono. And he certainly wasn't going to wait for Danny to bleed out right behind him.

Danny's weight was leaned forward, and even if Steve couldn't get a good look at his partner, he could see the pool of blood on the floor. It was bigger than before. Not big enough to kill him - yet. But getting closer.

Danny wouldn't be waking up again - not without help.

Help Steve couldn't give while he was handcuffed to a chair.

Hissing in frustration, he yanked hard at the cuffs, twisting and maneuvering to see what could happen. The effort drew fresh blood and left him breathless. He didn't doubt he could get out of the cuffs, but Danny's caustic voice was still in his head. And maybe Danny was right about this much: it really wasn't the fast plan of attack.

Breaking handcuffs took time, which Steve didn't have. The fastest way to get out of a pair of cuffs was to have someone unlock them.

Steve looked up. Malcolm was still standing there. The kid looked worse than before, and it was clear that the sight of the blood was more than Malcolm had bargained for. The kid was the decidedly weak link in all of this. He was undoubtedly necessary - although Steve had yet to figure out how he was drawn up in all of this and why he'd bought the warehouse to begin with - but being involved with the plan didn't make him an equal player in the plan. These kinds of plans required full commitment.

Blaine had thought through a lot of the details, but Steve wondered if he'd thought through Malcolm's role. Maybe the kid had inserted himself into the situation of his own accord and Blaine had no choice. Maybe a third party had insisted upon Malcolm's presence for some reason. Maybe Blaine planned on killing Malcolm along with the rest of them. But Blaine had obviously counted on Malcolm following orders until the proper time.

To the kid's credit (or discredit, really, Steve wasn't sure which at this point), he had followed orders so far. But Steve knew that look on his face. Malcolm wanted out.

Steve could use that. He and Danny had been working the kid up all day.

More than that, Blaine had other business to attend to. There was no way Blaine would be taking a social visit at a time like this - not with time running out on getting answers like it was. Blaine was being pressed by the third party Steve wasn't sure about just yet - and it had forced him to leave Malcolm in a position of authority.

Malcolm had the gun, but the grim, whitewashed look on his face hardly suggested authority.

Blaine wouldn't unlock the cuffs, but Blaine didn't have to. All Steve needed was Malcolm.

He looked up, staring at Malcolm until the kid met his eyes.

The gaze settled for just a moment, before skittering away. The kid shifted uneasily.

Steve did not waver; couldn't let himself waver as he felt the labored breathing from his partner. "If he dies," Steve warned, letting his voice carry the warning hard, "you're going down for murder."

Malcolm flinched, looking up. "I didn't shoot him."

It was a desperately naive defense, and they both knew it. In other circumstances, he would pity Malcolm. Probably even lobby the state to go light in sentencing. This sort of kid could be rehabilitated and put back onto the straight and narrow.

But Malcolm's would-be innocence was somehow not very compelling with Danny slumped unconscious at his back, the pool of blood still growing on the floor.

"You helped orchestrate the kidnapping and have held us hostage," Steve said. He kept his voice clear, enunciating the words so Malcolm wouldn't miss their true meaning. "At best, you'll get off as an accessory, but you're dealing with the governor's handpicked team here. The state will push for a minimum of voluntary manslaughter for refusing to provide any kind of treatment."

The legalities weren't as certain as Steve sounded, but Steve didn't care what they charged the kid with. He only cared that Malcolm believed he'd be on the hook for all of this. And, truthfully, if Danny did die, any notion of leniency would evaporate in Steve's mind. If this kid's negligence and fear got Danny killed, Steve would push to throw the book at Malcolm as hard as possible - regardless of how green the kid was in all of this. First time criminal or not, Steve wasn't about to play around with Danny's life and he wasn't about to waste sympathy on someone who did.

Malcolm swallowed a little, fidgeting nervously. He shook his head. "None of this was my idea."

Steve raised his eyebrows. "So that makes watching an innocent man die okay?"

"He doesn't have to die," Malcolm said quickly. "Just tell me the name and this can be over."

Steve laughed, looking at the ceiling for a moment in sheer incredulity. As if it had ever been that simple. If it had, Steve wouldn't have held out this long. If he had truly believed that he could save Danny's life by giving up the source, then he would have at least tried it.

But Blaine didn't just want the information. He wanted a clean getaway. Steve and Danny were loose ends. If Malcolm was laboring under any other notion, then the kid was more naive than Steve had previously thought.

Lowering his head, his smile faded and he narrowed his gaze on Malcolm once again, with a deadly calm. "Do you really think that Blaine is going to let us go?"

The statement made Malcolm flinch again, his forehead furrowing as he looked away. It was a simple question, and no matter how hard Malcolm tried to deny it, they both knew the answer. Steve was able to admit that, but Malcolm was clinging desperately to another fantasy.

It was a fleeting hope, though. Malcolm wasn't stupid and even if the kid tried not to look at Steve, tried not to look at Danny, tried not to look at the blood on the floor, it was obvious that he knew the truth all the same.

Steve saw the weakness and did not hesitate to exploit it. Now was not the time to play nice. "He'll kill Danny and he'll kill me. That's double murder. When the authorities catch you - and I promise, they will catch you - you'll get life in prison. No parole." He paused, narrowing his eyes. "You're how old? Twenty-five? Twenty-six? That's only about seventy-five years behind bars."

Malcolm took a shuddering breath and when he looked at Steve again, his eyes were wet. "None of this was my idea," he insisted again, a little more desperate this time.

"Then whose was it?" Steve demanded. "Blaine? Someone else?"

Malcolm looked a little surprised. "Blaine's a middle man," he said finally. "I never even met him before today."

"You bought the warehouse from him," Steve said pointedly.

"Only in name," Malcolm defended. "None of it was my money."

"Still your name on the lease," Steve said.

Malcolm took another breath, swallowing it back heavily. "I didn't have a choice."

"Oh, and we did?" Steve shot back. "You kidnapped us and stood by while Blaine did whatever he wanted. What do you think could possibly make that okay?"

Malcolm blinked rapidly. "My mother was going to default on her mortgage," he said. "We didn't have any money left. She took this deal with this private investor who said he could pay it all off for some small services in return. It sounded funny but I didn't know what else to do, so I told her I'd do the services and she could have them pay off her debt. For a while it was just my name on a lease, but then I got a call saying they'd undo everything and my mom would get sent to jail. That I was already a part of this and I had to finish it. So I was going to finish it, be done, and forget it ever happened. It was just an easy thing, I was told. Nothing about beating and killing. I swear."

It was a lot to process, but Steve focused on the salient parts. "Who?" he asked. "Who set this up?"

Malcolm was shaking now, a single tear streaking down his face. He shook his head, sniffling. "Some military guy. Which is why I thought it had to be legit. I mean-"

Steve went cold, his heart thudding in his chest. There were countless servicemen. More than Steve would ever know or even recognize. But in a case that had been as interrelated as this one, Steve had a bad feeling. "What was his name?" he interrupted.

Malcolm blinked, shrugging. "A Lieutenant Blakely," he said. "He said he was Navy and had the uniform and everything and I thought it had to be okay."

Malcolm's naivete was one issue, but not the important one. Lieutenant Blakely. Steve knew the name. Knew it well because it'd been in the back of his mind the entire time. Because Lieutenant Christopher Blakely had been the informant from the very beginning.

Steve had thought it good fortune when Blakely had told him about Blaine's skimming. He had thought him a real hero for coming forward, even with the risk of retribution from Blaine's suppliers. That was why he'd protected Blakely all this time.

But now Steve saw it in a new light. Blakely had informed on Blaine to keep a cut of the money without having to worry about ongoing business risks. Blaine wanted to keep expanding, but Blakely wanted to keep it simple. He wasn't afraid of retribution; he was afraid of going down with Blaine if the truth came out.

So why had Blaine not turned on Blakely to begin with?

Because there was still some honor among thieves, especially loyal business partners. Blaine still had something of a stash or he never would have been able to buy his way out of prison - he was only missing some of it. Who had watched it for him?

Blakely. And while Blaine had many attributes, overestimating his own intelligence was chief on his list of faults. Just like he thought Malcolm was easily controlled, he had never questioned that Blakely would manage his money just fine, even orchestrating the sale of the warehouse to an innocent third party to further liquidate some assets and cover their trail, never suspecting that he'd been the one to turn on him.

And the warehouse - it was a ploy. By forcing Malcolm to buy it at an inflated price, they had a fall guy and inflated assets to help hide their real bounty.

As for that bounty, that the missing money was probably stashed away in some account Blakely had opened without his knowledge.

With Blaine in prison for life, Blakely was in the clear. But when Blaine broke out and headed straight to Blakely to have him help with retribution, Blakely had panicked.

Blaine hadn't been worried on the phone calls; he'd been annoyed. He probably had Blakely off running other loose ends to no avail.

Hell, Blakely was probably the one who told Blaine that Steve had been tipped off to begin with because he knew that Blaine would do something stupid to find out for sure. Setting Blaine up in a hostage situation and then letting Blaine bury himself under a new host of charges was a brilliant way to have Blaine end up in prison or on the run - all of his own doing.

And better yet, if it ended up with Steve dying, no one would ever know Blakely was involved.

It was brilliant. Almost genius.

If it worked.

Steve didn't intend on letting it work.

Because Steve wasn't a willing or submissive pawn, and he wasn't going to let Danny or Malcolm be one either.

With an intense earnestness, Steve kept his eyes on Malcolm. He took the accusation out of his voice and replaced it with desperate reason. "It's not okay," he said. "None of this is okay. But we can work together to make it okay."

Malcolm was listening now - with a new earnestness that made Steve dare to hope.

"You just need to let us go," Steve continued, keeping his gaze steady and his voice tempered. "Blaine's gone. You can let us go and we'll all leave here together before Blaine has a chance to find us."

Malcolm was quivering now, shaking his head. "I don't have a key."

"I don't need a key," Steve said, willing himself to stay calm. "Just find a paperclip. A piece of metal. Something small enough to put in the lock and pry it open."

Malcolm blinked rapidly, and then nodded convulsively. He hesitated another moment, putting the gun down and moving to the table. His hands were shaking violently as he searched.

"Even the pen," Steve said, remembering the plan he'd hatched earlier. "Take it apart and give me the smallest piece."

Malcolm's hands fumbled, picking up the pen and sloppily unscrewing it.

Steve strained, and it was an effort to keep himself still. His heart was throbbing with adrenaline now, the thought of potential escape more real to him than ever.

And more pressing than ever.

He stole a glance backward and saw Danny's head still tipped forward, the blood on the floor still spreading.

His stomach twisted and his entire body felt jittery. The inability to do anything was slow insanity for him. For a man of action, depending on someone else to get the job done was simply against his nature.

Especially when it involved saving his partner's life.

Malcolm was still twisting the pen, and when he dropped it, he let out a curse before picking it up with one hand and swiping the other across his brow. He found more success this time, and the pen came apart, pieces scattering on the table. Malcolm swore again, grasping for the right pieces, and turning back to Steve with a look of triumph on his face.

"Good," Steve said. He jerked his head. "Now give them to me."

Malcolm clearly didn't need to be told twice. The kid was obviously thoroughly trained at taking orders by now. Maybe Steve owed Blaine a thank you for that.

He frowned grimly at the thought. He'd send the thank you note right after the judge handed down a fresh sentence for kidnapping and attempted murder.

Malcolm moved quickly now, holding the pen parts in front of him. "I don't know which one - I mean, I don't know-"

Steve eyed them, ignoring Malcolm's sputtering. "The long metal one," he said. "Do you know how to pop the lock?"

Malcolm shook his head, eyes wide. "No, I mean-"

Steve didn't have time for it. "Put it in my hand, then," he ordered brusquely.

Malcolm obliged, bending over to snake the part into Steve's grasp. When he had a firm grip, Malcolm stood again, looking at him with hopeful expectancy.

With the object in hand, that was all Steve needed. His adrenaline pumped up even further, pulsing throughout his body with enough intensity that he was nearly vibrating with it. It was all coming together now, all the pieces he needed to get them out of here and live up to his promises to Danny. He would get them out of here. Blaine would go back to jail, and Blakely would join him. And Danny would be fine.

He would be, Steve would make sure of that.

Senses alert, Steve didn't need to see his hands to make steady progress. It took some maneuvering to position the piece of metal in his hand, but after only a few missed pokes, it found its mark.

He twisted, working as best he could to turn the metal in the hole. He needed to find the right spot, the right leverage, and it would pop free, just like that. A little more, a little further, and-

His efforts were thwarted by the abrupt sound of a gunshot.

It took all the self-control Steve had to not drop the metal. As it was, his hands jarred, and he lost his position. Finding it again was a pressing concern, but it would have to wait until he regained control of the situation.

Malcolm's mouth was opening, and he was shaking so hard that it looked like he could fall over at any second. He swallowed, holding his hands out. "I was just resting," he stammered. "I swear. I promise."

Blaine, standing not far away, did not look convinced.

Of course, from the look on Blaine's face, Steve could only venture that the business meeting had not gone well. If Blaine had gone to see Blakely, he'd inevitably gotten another runaround, forcing him to delay his plans even more. Without cooperation from Blakely or Steve, Blaine was rapidly running out of time and options.

And patience, if the gun in his hand was any indication.

It was pointed at Malcolm, and Steve could make out a hole in the wall behind the kid from Blaine's warning shot. Blaine couldn't have seen much - except Malcolm standing with a decided lack of attention and his gun discarded - so it was possible that he didn't know just how close Steve was to getting free.

With that thought, Steve tucked the part up in his hands, clenching his fist tightly to obscure it as best he could.

The action made his fingers brush against Danny's, and he couldn't help but notice how cool and clammy they felt.

Still, as important as Danny's situation was right then, dealing with Blaine took precedence. And for as little as Blaine could know for sure, it was clear by the disdain on his face that he knew enough.

Lips drawn into a sneer, Blaine kept his aim steady, finger on the trigger. "And I just wanted to play target shooting," he said snidely. He shook his head with a tsk. "Please, Malcolm, I thought you understood that this wasn't a game."

Malcolm's hands were still out and he nodded readily. "I know," he said quickly. "I know it's not a game. I do. I was just resting. Really."

Steve couldn't blame the kid for covering his own backside. He wouldn't even begrudge him that. He'd made am ally out of Malcolm, and he had no desire to see the kid get killed. More than that, for all of Malcolm's backpedalling, he hadn't given Steve's escape route up just yet.

But given the look on Blaine's face, Malcolm wouldn't have to tell him anything. The entire thing was going from bad to worse - and quickly.

Danny still limp at his back, Steve renewed his efforts with as much stealth as he could muster. However long Blaine let Malcolm try to explain was as long as he might have to make one last ditch attempt to get the hell out.

Blaine's arm held steady. "It was a simple job," he said, almost lecturing now. "When choosing sides, you should always pick the one with the most guns."

With an attitude like that, it was no wonder that Blaine had been locked up in a federal prison.

Still, Steve didn't think it was overly relevant to offer any kind of counteroffer at the moment. He focused instead on maneuvering the metal back into the cuffs. He found the spot more quickly this time, straining as he tried not to let his efforts be visible, a wary eye trained on Blaine.

Malcolm shook his head again, almost convulsively. "I wasn't choosing sides," he said. He took a shuddering breath. "Please, this isn't what I thought it would be."

"It doesn't matter what you thought it would be," Blaine snapped, with a ferocity that made Malcolm jump.

Steve tensed, but didn't stop working, shifting his fingers to find the right leverage.

"You just had to follow orders," Blaine continued. "Simple orders. Keep an eye on the prisoners until I get back."

"But he's bleeding," Malcolm said, gesturing helplessly toward Danny.

Steve froze instinctively, but Blaine's gaze didn't shift.

"Would it make you feel better if he were already dead?" Blaine said tersely. "Because he can die now or he can die later, and it makes little difference to me."

Malcolm paled, but Steve didn't allow himself to even consider it. He kept working, feeling the mechanism shift ever so slightly.

Blaine cocked his head. "I would think you would understand the concept of a loose end," he continued. "Detective Williams, Lieutenant Commander McGarrett - are loose ends. They will only survive to tell me what I want to know, but surely you can see as clearly as McGarrett that this won't end well. It is why he has made himself obstinately difficult. He understood his position, and knew from the beginning that he was royally screwed."

Malcolm was trembling harder now, sweat on his forehead. Steve grit his teeth, ignoring the fresh blood slicking his wrists as he desperately sought release.

"You didn't have to be," Blaine said, gun still trained. "You could have walked away from this."

Steve's heart skipped a beat. Blaine's monologuing was a good distraction, but it would only last so long. And the last thing he really wanted was Malcolm's blood on his hands. Because the kid had made his choice, and Blaine knew it as well as Steve did.

He just had to tweak the cuffs, get out, find a way to overpower Blaine. The two of them - it might work. It had to work-

Another gunshot jarred his thoughts and his fingers jerked again. He looked up, mouth open and eyes wide, only to find that he was too late.

He was too late.

Malcolm was on the floor, eyes closed and face ashen, bleeding from a shot to the chest. There was no way to tell if it was a killing shot and there was no time to figure it out with Blaine standing in front of him, the end of his gun leveled between Steve's eyes.

"Clever," Blaine said.

Steve's heart skipped a beat, his blood going cold as a new sheen of sweat broke out across his body. Blaine knew just as well as Steve did. The game was over. The posturing was done. Blaine had let his loose ends fray as far as he could. It was time to tie them off.

"I suppose asking you to give up the name is pointless now, isn't it?" he asked.

"Blaine, none of this is what you think," Steve tried to explain. "You've been set up."

Blaine made a face. "What, by my little friend over there?" he asked, jerking his head back toward Malcolm's prone form. "That's what I get for hiring cheap help."

Steve shook his head. "Blakely," he said. "Blakely was my source."

Blaine's expression stilled in confusion, and he shook his head. "You know about Blakely?"

"I know more than you do about Blakely," Steve explained desperately. "He was the one who tipped us off all those years ago. He's the one that set you up to kidnap me. He doesn't care if you know the truth, he just wants you to waste enough time here to get caught and go back to prison."

The news did not seem to settle well with Blaine. He shook his head again, features twisting into a sneer. "That's not possible."

"It is possible," Steve said. "Think about it. Who else would know enough to take you down? He took enough for a nest egg for himself and turned you in so he could enjoy it. When you got out, he needed to get rid of you. This is how he's doing it. He wants you to kill me because you'll never get away with it."

Blaine's jaw worked, a tremor of rage going through him.

Steve kept his eyes earnest, trying not to look at Malcolm on the floor, Danny at his back.

The indecision cleared from Blaine's face. His mouth set in a grim line and he raised his chin. He still held the gun, trained on Steve, but not aimed for a decisive killing shot. "I'm glad you finally decided to tell me," he said. "We could have spared ourselves a lot of trouble."

"Let me go and we'll take down Blakely," Steve offered hopefully. "We can work out a plea bargain, something to ease your sentence-"

Blaine's mouth quirked into a cold smile. "That's cute," he said. "But now that I know what I need to know, I have more reason than ever to finish this escapade. I do thank you for your help, and I promise, I'll make this quick."

With that Blaine lifted his aim again, back to Steve's temple.

Steve blinked once and knew what was coming. It had been a long shot - telling Blaine the truth was never an ace in the hole, but one last stall. But Steve had known that since the minute he woke up. Dead now or dead later, and Steve had given up all he had and they both knew it.

His eyes skittered to Malcolm on the floor. Danny and the pool of blood at his feet. He looked back at Blaine and saw no regrets, no hesitation, just cold determination.

This was it.

Steve swallowed hard, tensed his body and prepared for the worst.




(Deleted comment)
Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 27th, 2011 02:00 am (UTC)
hawaii family

I don't think that hard about cliffhangers when I'm writing them, but in retrospect, I suppose this one is rather cruel. Thanks :)

Posted by: Kathy (kitmerlot1213)
Posted at: February 24th, 2011 01:38 pm (UTC)
McDanno friendship

Damn, DAMN, but that was exciting!

Good for Malcolm for trying to help Steve and Danny escape but of course Blaine had to show up.

Now I'm afraid to find out what happens next.


Keep up the great work on this fic :)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 27th, 2011 02:00 am (UTC)

I'm glad you've liked how it has developed! I was actually pretty worried about some of the backstory reveal here.

Thanks :)

Posted by: blackdog_lz (blackdog_lz)
Posted at: February 24th, 2011 03:19 pm (UTC)

Now I need to take a deep breath :) You got my Adrenaline going with this. Am waiting anxiously for the next part.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 27th, 2011 02:01 am (UTC)
danny steve walk

I'm glad you got into it! Thanks :)

Posted by: Flute (sgflutegirl)
Posted at: February 24th, 2011 08:51 pm (UTC)

Gah! You ended it there?! You are evil!

I'll be waiting impatiently for the next part.

Really, this is great. The action definitely amped up and I'm so worried for everyone. Love it!!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 27th, 2011 02:01 am (UTC)
danny doesn't get fired

I didn't mean to be evil...it just sort of worked out that way )


Posted by: ratherastory (ratherastory)
Posted at: February 25th, 2011 04:38 am (UTC)
Danno *hands*

God, the cliffhangers in this!


And Danny was unconscious the whole time, which is bad-bad-BAD.

I can't believe I have to wait a whole weekend before I find out the next bit...

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 27th, 2011 02:02 am (UTC)
danny thoughtful

It is a very strange thing to write an entire chapter without a single rant, I have to say :)

Monday should be here soon, so hopefully it'll be worth it. Thanks!

Posted by: gemspegasus (gemspegasus)
Posted at: February 25th, 2011 09:06 pm (UTC)

Hi Faye,

Loved these last two chapters. In the previous chapter, I enjoyed reading Danny's POV And hi reaction to waking with the strange sensation he did in the warehouse. In thi chapter, I love how you have Steve talking to Malcolm and getting him to aid the hostages. Then Blaine had to come back.

Oh Steve what are you going to do?

Faye, I am really enjoying the way you write the characters. The way they come tob life on the screen for me..

take care

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 27th, 2011 02:02 am (UTC)
danny explanation

I'm thrilled the characters seem right to you--that's one of the most important elements of fic :) Thanks!

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