Return to the Moon
The ISS realizes one of its major benefits by acting as a stepping stone to the moon. With technology 45 years in advance of previous missions, astronauts return to the surface of the moon. Discovery of water ice in a polar crater allows a permanent base to be constructed cheaply and efficiently. As interesting and informative as the moon might be, the base is merely serving as a field test for the manned Mars mission.
2014: John Finn and Sergei Yarnovek return the human presence to the moon.
2017: Experimental fusion plant on-line in Houston area. It uses a Special Deuterium-Tritium mixture extracted from seawater for fuel.
Man on Mars
Amid the biggest media hoopla since the first moon landings, a team of twenty astronauts completes a year and a half journey to the Red Planet. Barsoom Base is set up in the high plain known as Solis Lacus (Lake of the Sun). With water for hydroponics and solar energy power, the scientists create a modified Biosphere and become self-supporting.
2020: Icebergs are floated from the polar ice cap to irrigate farmland in Northern Africa.
2024: Mars Landing
2025: First main production Fusion Plant. It powers the greater Los Angeles area.
2027: Human Cloning outlawed by UN.
The Great Los Angeles Flood
Terrorists invade the Los Angeles Fusion plant and threaten to cause a runaway reaction unless monies that are now being spent on space technologies are turned earthward. The populations of the Third World countries have passed critical mass and starvation is the normal condition for four-fifths of humanity. Despite last-minute negotiations and infiltration by a crack team of commandos, the Los Angeles Fusion Plant is destroyed in a low-yield thermonuclear blast. The blast itself does not kill any civilians, since the plant is 20 miles off-shore. However the resultant energy releases much of the tectonic forces of the Southern California area, resulting in unprecedented earthquakes and a seismic sea wave of 120 feet. Three million perish in the flooding and fires. The global economy is rocked. The irony is that those of the underdeveloped countries are the worst hurt, since monies that might have gone to them are re-routed to help Southern California. Interestingly, the world's reaction is not to turn away from space. Instead, experiments that have been conducted for the last thirty years are used in practical applications. Hydroponics farming and genetically-enhanced crops feed millions. Orbital power stations gather sunlight and safely turn it into electricity, beaming it to earth by microwave. Others gather energy directly from the earth's magnetic field, trailing 20 km induction cables. In short, the partial destruction of Los Angeles focuses humanity's attention on using its technology to alleviate human suffering.
2031: Plastic recycling is perfected, needing no new petroleum sources to create.
2033: The Great Los Angeles Flood 2036: Hydroponics Farms set up in Northern Africa
2037: Manned space power stations set up at Earth's Libration Points.
2040: New York Metroplex replaces its police officers' handguns with experimental hand lasers. The weapons are a failure, lacking the stopping power of bullets.
A City on the Moon, A Global Village
Slowly but surely, the moon base has been growing. Every rotation of personnel brings more material and equipment to the site. Each year of its existence has seen its population double. John Finn surprise the world by saying that he does not plan to return. He will retire on the moon. The Moon is no longer seen as a place people visit, but a place where people live. The distinction is subtle but has profound effects on the human psyche. Prompted by public opinion, and following the trend of over half a century, national boundaries are drastically reduced. Travel has been so cheap and communication so instant, that a global culture and identity has been created. The United Nations has slowly been taking more and more governmental duties to itself. On January 1, 2050. The United Nations formally adopts a new charter, becoming the United Earth Government. (EarthGov). The only major holdout is China, which retains national sovereignty.
2045: Takahashi and Wojnecek discover "safe" fusion, a reaction that is much easier to contain and control.
2048: Moon Population passes 1000-mark.
2050: Global Government
The T&W Fusion process is not allowed on earth by a nervous EarthGov. Too many people remember the horrors of 2033 to believe it can be safely harnessed. However, there is no restriction on its use in space. T&W Fusion is used to power the Moon colony. Eventually, an experimental spaceship is built with fusion drive. It is capable of sustaining a thrust of .05g for nearly a week. The Mars Base suddenly becomes a cost-effective proposition, as it can be reached in as little time as a month. The most costly proposition is getting enough water into orbit, since it is needed as a reaction mass. Moon and Mars Base populations explode so quickly ,that for the next ten years only engineers and builders are allowed to emigrate.
2052: T&W Fusion Drive Ship built in Earth orbit, from materials mined on the moon.
2048: Moon Population passes 10,000-mark, mostly laborers.
2059: Manned expedition to the Jovian System
2060: Mars base population passes 1000-mark.
The Population Crisis
Energy and food production technologies have managed to feed billions who would otherwise have starved. The techniques have passed their projected limits, despite all EarthGov attempts to institute a global birth management program. The population of earth reaches 14 billion, far more than the economy can feed. Unfortunately, the greatest bulk of humanity is in the least developed areas of the world. Many areas begin to murmur about being "managed" for the benefit of the upper classes. EarthGov's current president is one Nestor Tate, a man who lacks the extranational sense of his predecessors. His administration features one public relations bungle after another. China, now starving as no nation has starved in the history of the world, grabs the hydroponics farms of neighboring Russasia. This sets off a series of minor skirmishes. The Chinese, prompted by unprecedented human need captures more and more territory. EarthGov cautiously tries to hold them back, for the fighting is only destroying more and more precious resources. The world gets more and more nervous as the battles become larger and larger in scope.
2061: L-5 Station O'Neal is retrofitted for spaceship construction.
2063: Construction begins on Los Angeles Station
2064: John Finn dies. The Moon base is renamed Ice Station Finn.
2065: Asteroid mining begins on Vesta which proves to be rich in Lithium and Tungsten.
2068: China Population passes 5 billion-mark.
The Great Winter and the Years of Chaos
On March 11, 2073, a high-yield thermonuclear blast destroys the Sakharov Hydroponic Community in Siberian Rusasia. For three days, a frightened humanity waits for the sword to fall. On the dawn of the third day, under circumstances that are still disputed, a limited nuclear exchange ravages the globe. Fortunately, the amount of nuclear ordinance was nowhere near as high as late 20th century stockpiles, but enough dust is kicked into the atmosphere to plunge the planet into a three-year ice age. Millions are killed by the blasts, but billions starve. By the end of the decade, 7 billion people are left alive. Most of those are still starving. All support for the space colonies is lost. EarthGov tries to recall all personnel. To its consternation, the colonies refuse. There are now more than 20,000 people who live and work in space, and they consider it their home. Despite all EarthGov threats and pleas, the colonists stay. The Moon declares a separate national identity, calling itself the Lunar High Republic.
2073: World War III, China is destroyed.
2076: First Year of Summer, Colonies declare independence from Earth.
The Fall of the Lunar High Republic
The Earth is somewhat stable at a population of 6 Billion. EarthGov, now more totalitarian due to the necessities of population management, enforces its Birth Management Program. Each couple is allowed one child. Superior achievement will increase the allotment accordingly. Infraction is punishable by sterilization and imprisonment in a labor camp.
The laws are harsh, but the prevailing attitude is that they are necessary. With the crisis managed, EarthGov turns its attentions to the Moon and Mars, and the L-5 stations. Despite the fact that they are self-supporting and have been for decades, EarthGov sees a political advantage in casting them as an enemy, manipulating public opinion into believing that the same attitude that created the colonies is the same attitude that allowed billions to starve. The Earth-First Party (no relation to the 20th century eco-terrorists) controls EarthGov and seeks to control the colonies. Although the colonies are vastly out gunned and outnumbered, they have two distinct advantages: 1) Nearly unlimited power. They have fusion plants and the power satellites, as well as fusion powered space-ships. 2) The high ground. Earth is in a gravitic well, and must spend seven times the amount of energy to raise a payload to orbit. The moon has fusion-powered linear accelerators to lift ore payloads to the L-5 Stations and it requires little effort to target the earth with them. The fight is bitter, but in the end, the Moon's advantages are not enough. The Republic falls and EarthGov occupies Finn City. The leaders of the Lunar Revolution are declared criminals and executed. Despite their claims that the colonies are a drain, EarthGov continues to operate them, saying that now the Colonies will work for Earth instead of the other way around. This is of course, patently untrue, but in the world of the late 21st century, few people care to criticize EarthGov. The Mars colony retains independence.
2081: EarthGov creates a planetary defense force to defend against incoming attacks. It is a highly effective combination of ground-based lasers and hypersonic missiles.
2082: War of Lunar Secession won by EarthGov. First of the Lunar Territorial Governors is appointed.
2085: EarthGov begins shipping political criminals to the Lunar mines
Over the next decade, EarthGov makes several half-hearted attempts to take the Mars Colony. The 20,000 Martians retain their independence for many years, insulated by 75 million kilometers of space. In 2097, however, a Lunar assembled warfleet, under the command of EarthGov Admiral Shane Grant destroys the Martian defense forces. The total number of ships involved is 19. Mars is under the EarthGov yoke. At the end of the 21st century, Earth is home for billions of uneducated people fed on government lies. By an ironic twist, the number of political criminals exported to the Lunar mines exceeds the previous number of emigrating colonists by a factor of three. The most independent and highly-trained minds in the solar system labor in Lunar mines. The cutting edge of human technology is being developed under the forceful eye of oppressive thugs. It is a situation that cannot last.
2093: Mars Population exceeds 20,000
2097: Mars captured by EarthGov
2098: A small group of Martians escapes to the Jovian moons where they colonize Ganymede.
2100: The "Air Tax" on Luna incites the Airlock Rebellion. The EarthGov governor is spaced.
The institution of a tax on breathable air is the final straw for the oppressed Lunar citizens. They respond by throwing their oppressors out of the nearest airlocks. The "Airlock Rebellion" swiftly escalates. With the help of Vestan ships, the Moon and Mars are freed in a bitter struggle. Vast payloads of ore are sent into earth orbit with small fusion motors attached. It is quickly dubbed the "Ring of Death". EarthGov could not possibly hope to stop them all, should Luna decide to drop them from orbit. With instant retaliatory death poised to drop from the sky on command, EarthGov capitulates and recognizes the Colonial independence. This war of independence was where many of the individuals met who were later to form the Skywalkers. Heroes of the revolution, they nursed a deep and bitter hatred for Earthgov. Luna and Mars continue to accept émigrés from earth, provided they can meet stringent requirements. Thousands of people hoping to escape the feeling of hopelessness on earth, apply for emigration. EarthGov agrees to this, hoping to insinuate spies into the colonies. EarthGov spies are like EarthGov politicians, though, clumsy and stupid. They are invariably discovered and introduced to the harsh realities of vacuum.
2105: Lunar population exceeds 100,000
The colonies are now fully autonomous and independent from Earth. With the re-routing of a small comet into Lunar orbit, not even water is needed from the mother planet. EarthGov is cowed and acceding to colonial demands left and right. A steady influx of eager colonists is providing a population boom. The colonies expand like lightning. The four lunar mines become complete townships. three new Libration satellites are begun. A Terraforming project is begun on Mars. It is the time of vigorous growth everywhere.
2114: Vesta settled
2114: Dusting begins on the Southern polar ice cap of Mars.
2117: Lunar population exceeds 200,000
2119: Mars Population exceeds 45,000
The Land Rush
So many people are emigrating from an increasingly-unlivable earth, that some places actually begin to feel crowded. Most of the colonies of the Solar system date from this period. In 2123, the Colonial Charter Board created to deal with issues of territory. They are not a government, but more or less of an international court of appeals, bound by various treaties between planets. It is the CCB that settles disputes between rival claimants for the resources of the Solar System. A system is set up wherein anyone can claim territory simple by committing the resources to develop it. In Practice, this means that only Corporations or the extremely wealthy can claim territory, but the laws are lenient enough to allow co-ops of colonists and to scale the requirements for settling based on the relative worth of the land claimed. Incidentally, this is also the decade that first saw the activities of the Skywalkers, a terrorist group dedicated to thwarting EarthGov at every opportunity. The Skywalkers were primarily comprised of the survivors of people particualry badly treated or tortured by EarthGov. To their credit, the Solar Colonies actively opposed the Skywalkers, but they had limited resources to deal with what was essentially "an Earth problem". Finally, this era saw the invention of Synthfood, an entirely synthetic product manufactured from non-organic resources and extremely recyclable food substitute. Although not entirely adequate as a food replacement, lacking some vitamins, it could supplement natural food in a 30 to 1 ratio and still maintain a nutritious diet. It was slow to catch on, lacking flavor and a driving need to supplement hydroponic farming. At this point, the colonies are still underpopulated enough to feed themselves adequately.
2121: Ceres settled.
2122: Callisto settled
2123: Colonial Charter Board created .
2124: Europa settled, Skywalker bomb kills 3000 at Kennedy Spaceport
2126: Mars population exceeds 100,000
2127: Juno settled 2128: Mariner Valley open farming begins on Mars.
2129: Titan Settled
2130: Synthofood perfected by Titan. Philo Jones
With the most valuable pieces of real estate in the solar system claimed, the claimants had to live up to their commitments. Some failed, and were ousted by other, more efficient claimants. Some succeeded wildly. The period was one of gamble and enterprise. One of the greatest requirements to success was people. The settlers needed people to carry out their plans of development. Any group that fell too far short of their development plan could see their colonial rights stripped from them by the CCB. Emigration restrictions from earth were relaxed even more. Sometimes undesirable elements were accepted, simply because no one else would take the job. The jobs were tough and the work was hard and dangerous, but the potential rewards were great.
2131: Mercury settled.
2134: Lunar population exceeds 1 million.
2136: Four Skywalker leaders publicly executed by EarthGov
2140: Insular and autocratic Promethean Party gains control of Titan.
EarthGov was not entirely submissive during these years. Decades passed while they saw their best and brightest stolen from them, while the colonies were plundering untold riches from the heavens above them, riches that belonged to Earth. The Birth Management Laws had seen the stabilization of the population, but at terrible cost to human liberty. Technological progress on earth had stifled in all areas but two, weaponry and bio-tech. EarthGov had never ceased to perfect their planetary defense systems. While the colonies were concerned with their little games of "Wagon Trains to the Stars", EarthGov had put all of their technological innovation into dealing with the orbital "Ring of Death"; the lunar ore payloads poised to drop and hit with multi-megatons of force. Such a threat, if enacted, would cause far more devastation than WW3, but without lingering radiation. Why the colonies were probably just waiting for some provocation to wipe out the lowly earthworms below them and claim the riches of the earth as they had the rest of the Solar System. Such were the thoughts of the 37th President-for-Life Gunther Leidecker. The EarthGov had long been riddled with crackpots, madmen and petty despots, but few were as mad as Leidecker. He approved a plan known as Project Spoilsport, designed to prevent the use of earth, should EarthGov be defeated. Using the vast bio-resources earth had at its command, EarthGov created a series of biological Doomsday viruses. In 2145, The Lunar High Republic placed the straw that broke the camel's back. Their spies had long known that EarthGov was not idle. They knew that key individuals were working on some master plan of retribution. Instead of inviting colonists from the beleaguered masses of earth, the Lunar Republic began to name specific individuals. Of course, many of the individuals named were workers on Project Spoilsport. This turned out to be merely the waving of a red flag before President Leidecker, who figured that his plan had been discovered. Figuring that his days were numbered, he sent the scientists and engineers to the Emigration Station at L-4. Before they left, he had them infected with the most virulent and deadly synthetic viruses
EarthGov had been able to produce in 30 years of concentrated effort. Fortunately for the human race, a bright young doctor realized the situation and took action. L-4 Emigration Station immediately went under quarantine. Within 48 hours, not a soul remained alive on board. The Lunar Republic was outraged. The Ring of Death was used as a threat to demand the resignation and expatriation of Leidecker. EarthGov was thrown into turmoil and three days of bloody revolution followed. Nuclear weapons were used more than once. Leidecker, in desperation, ordered the release of the Doomsday Virus, hoping to remain safe in an airtight bunker. On June 5, the virus was released to the environment. Plague spread as fast as the winds; faster, due to the amount of supersonic travel. The world seemed doomed. Millions plead to the Lunar High Republic to allow them to escape from the earth before they too, fell to the horrible killer. In pity, The High Republic announced that they would grant them asylum on the Largest of the L-5 Stations, on the condition that they remain on board whatever ship they were in for 48 hours before boarding the refugee satellite. The Skywalkers went insane when they heard this. The damn Loonies were going to let the Plague Dogs of Earth contaminate the purity of the Solar System? Never! On June 9, the Skywalkers committed the bulk of their organization to the taking of Clavius Base, military center of Luna. The base was nearly destroyed, but in the end, it lay in the hands of the Skywalkers. Using the codes and the controls, they brought down the Ring of Death. The resultant destruction was never documented. The earth was covered with clouds of vapor and dust that have not disappeared after nearly a century. It is believed that the climate of the planet has been irrevocably damaged. The defense forces of earth were totally unequal to the task of stopping the fall of the lunar rocks. There is much speculation on the last days of the planet earth. All that is known is that within three years, the last radio broadcast ceased and from that day to this, the planet has been as silent as a tomb.
2145: The Great Plague. The Skywalkers drop the Ring of Death. Ganymede settled.
2146: Ellis station lost to plague
2148: Last transmission received from earth.
The Solar Colonies were now faced with a problem. Nearly 30 million people had escaped the destruction of earth. For the most part they were resourceful enough to have escaped, but they were untrained in the
Special skills needed for survival in space. The CCB made promises to each colony to grant
Special concessions and waivers to any who would absorb their share of refugees. Faced with potential loss of their colonial rights should they fail to meet their development plan, many colonies chose to accept the refugees. Unfortunately, this meant that the greatest number of people went to the most mis-managed colonies. This led to years of colossal blunders and suffering. Several attempts were made to scout out the surface of the earth, but none were successful. Project Spoilsport had many different facets, and one of them was a ship defense system designed to obliterate any incoming vessels or large masses. The one ship that did manage to evade the defenses was overcome by the virus, despite rigorous precautions. Over the decades, once the resources were again available, a few more attempts were made to scout the planet, but they invariably met with disaster. After the accidental infection of Lunar city Sagan Station, the planet was interdicted by the CCB. A multi-colonial naval force was permanently attached to earth orbit to forbid any landings on the surface below. The naval force is hardly needed. The planetary surface to ship defenses still operate, presumably by computer control. The upper atmosphere is clouded with tiny charged metallic particles that bounce all radio signals. The cloud cover of earth appears to be permanent and infra-red show the average temperature of the planet to have decreased by 5 degrees C. Ise saps have spread 15° southwards and the seas have receded exposing vast tracts of seaboard ocean bed. The last attempt to scout the planet was made in 2200, and it was not heard from again, presumably destroyed.
2155: Titan-leased synthfood factories go on-line at Copernicus
2156: Port Phobos alterations completed. It now spins for gravity.
2158: Synthfood production exceeds farmed food production through the Colonies
The next years are filled with education and building. Life support systems are strained to capacity. The Total population of humanity is perhaps 60 million. There is much bickering and infighting among the colonies as resources are stretched to the maximum. Many of the Earth refugees are resented and on some colonies to this day, are second-class citizens.
2169: William Mercer
2170: Third attempt to colonize Europa fails
Evidence is found that Titan, the Moon of Saturn, is harboring Skywalker bases. The CCB, which has grown greatly in power, lodges a protest and demands that Titan allow the other colonies to shut down the bases and bring the terrorists in to trial. Titan, (which never accepted Earth refuses, claiming that they are a sovereign territory and that the bases are an internal affair. Titan's political power and wealth has grown so great by this time that the claims might have been accepted had not the formula for Synthfood been revealed at this time. With their stranglehold on food production in the colonies broken, Titan's unchallenged supremeacy is destroyed. A few brief battles are fought, but Titan is so far away that a war is prohibitively costly. The CCB settles for imposing economic sanctions and Titan (and by default the entire Saturnian system) is interdicted.
2172: Popular revolution on Ganymede
2175: Skywalker Bases discovered on Titan. Synthfood formula revealed by Reanne Stellar.
2180: Ganymede re-applies for charter under "Free World" status
The Greening of Mars
The open farming begun on Mars 50 years ago has covered much of the floor of the Mariner Valley. The atmosphere released from the melting of the polar caps plus the tinkering the terraformers did with plants and bacteria have added a small, but important complement of oxygen. At the bottom of the valley, the pressure is great enough to eliminate the need for pressure suits. Only a compressor mask and cold weather suit are needed to openly defy the Martian environment. The bad news is that this is the limit. There is simply no more air to be released by the caps. Mars will never be a new earth. Only hardy,
Specially bred plants can survive the harsh conditions unaided, and even they are dependent on the vast irrigation systems. Martians continue to live in domes. In the Solar System as a whole, most of the Earth refugees have been fully assimilated and life on earth is rapidly passing from living memory. Humanity is fully space-worthy.
2185: Jack Allman
2188: Daughters of Parthenus order on Callisto exiled for illegal human cloning
2189: William Mercer
2190: Dale Roberto Oakley
The Pax Solarium
This is a decade of relative calm. Most colonies have fulfilled the majority of their development plans and are safe from having their charters revoked by the CCB. The CCB's power gradually shifts during this time to the regulation of trade and the international treaty negotiation. Many building projects are completed at this time. This is also a time of revolution in space drive technology. Fast Fusion drive is invented, reducing travel time between planets from months to weeks.
2192: Venus Station built
2195: Rowan Gallo
2196: Venerian Ceramics produce parts allowing faster fusion drive
2199: Morgan Shea
The Genome Crisis
An attempt is made by Martian scientists to bio-engineer human beings capable of surviving the Martian environment. The work has potential, but the failures are so abominable and hideous that genetic engineering of the human form is forbidden. It is believed that the gene pool of mankind is so small now, that any tampering with it threatens the very future of the human race. Many of the Belters protest this. Living with limited rad-shielding has caused a high rate of mutation in the Belters. Extra fingers, albinism and other abnormalities are common. Although they have a sterilization policy for any whose mutations are too great for safety, they feel that the Genetics laws may require them to abandon the asteroids altogether. There are some who argue for this. It is also during this decade that trade restrictions are gradually reduced for Titan. Titan allows ships to enter the Saturnian system, but will not let them land on the surface of their world. All commerce with Titan takes place on an orbital facility.
2201: EuropaCorp founded
2202: Dagmar Bjork Oetinger
2205: Martian genetics program closed
2206: CCB agreement banning human genetic alteration passed into law
2210: Triton applies for Colonial Charter
The Titan Wars
The Titanians grow more and more restrictive with what ships they will allow in their system. Heavy tariffs are placed on goods from The Lunar High Republic, ships are searched with little reason. It seems as if the Titanians are cutting their own throats economically. The Titanians will permit no one to exploit any of the moons of Saturn but themselves. They have an unlimited supply of water ice in the rings, but charge an exorbitant fee to refuel ships. In 2214, the Titanians eject Belter prospectors from their Libration points. The Belters object at this, saying that Titan cannot possibly claim the entire solar system outside of Jupiter. The CCB sides with the Belters, but the Titanians ignore this. The Titanians also insist that the Titanian colony on Triton, moon of Neptune, be abandoned. The Tritons protest and say they will defend their colonial rights as set forth by the CCB. When a particularly rich source of Lithium is discovered on Triton, all hell breaks loose. The Titanians attack and capture the Triton Colony. The CCB can be defied no further and requests the gathering of a multi-colonial fleet. The Fleet, primarily Belter and Lunar engages the Titanian fleet at Triton in an attempt to liberate the colony. The battle is difficult, but the Titanians are ousted. It is revealed at this time that the Titanians are no longer precisely human. They have been using forbidden genetic alteration techniques to augment their physiology. They have warriors of frightening zeal and endurance. Titan resists CCB interference by striking back directly at the rest of the Colonies. It is the first true total interplanetary war, and no colony escapes unscathed. Finally, the Titanians are defeated and beaten back to their system. The station that was used as a trading outpost is refurbished as a military base to fence in the Titanians. The planet is totally interdicted to all Solar Colony traffic. The Titanians are forbidden from leaving their world.
2214: Saturnian Trojan points claimed by Titan
2216: Spore ship lands on Triton, Triton captured
2217: Vesta captured by Titan
2218: Triton liberated, colony abandoned after thermonuclear blast destroys Lithium mine.
War and Strife
The first half of this decade sees the end of the Titan Wars. After the fencing of Titan, the laws against genetic tampering with mankind are toughened. The Belters are required to follow tougher sterilization guidelines. They protest and much saber rattling ensues. Technically, the Asteroid Belt Miners are in open defiance of CCB edicts, but no one wants to go to war over it, so a blind eye is turned for now. Many of the independent Belters develop a dislike for the rest of the more planet-bound colonials at this time. Piracy becomes a genuine problem. The Martians likewise have problems in that unscrupulous geneticists have developed several plant strains which can be cultivated and processed for hallucinogenic properties. A drug problem ensues. Organized crime, long a thing of the dead past begins to rear its head again.
2223: Titan fenced in. Titan Wars officially over.
2226: Existence of Spore discovered by a small number of Colonials
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