5704 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

Batwoman (Katherine Kane) (DC Comics modern) during 52

Batwoman

(Katherine Rebecca Kane) (Greg Rucka's take)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

“The bat they shine in the sky… civilians think it’s a call for help. The bad guys think it’s warning. But it’s more than that. It’s something higher. It’s a call to arms… I’ve found my way to serve.”


Context

There have been several different takes on Batwoman. This is the modern one – first appearing in 2006 during the 52 storyline, but launched full-bore in 2008. This version of Batwoman is a former West Point cadet who was inspired to serve as Batman’s replacement while he was missing.

This profile is an authorial take profile. It is Batwoman as written by her creator, Greg Rucka . Unfortunately, things happened so that chiefly means the “Go” origin sequence in Detective Comics. Fortunately, it was awesome.


Background

  • Real Name: Katherine Rebecca Kane.
  • Other Aliases: “Candy” Kane, “Katya”.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Colonel Jacob “Jake” Kane (father), Bette Kane (formerly Flamebird, cousin), Elizabeth Kane (aka Alice, twin sister), Captain Gabrielle “Gabi” Kane (mother, deceased), Catherine “Cathy” Kane (stepmother, possibly née Hamilton).
  • Note: From context, I don’t think that Marie “Manya” Ketterman, an elderly Polish Jew woman living in Gotham and featured in one story, is Kate’s maternal grandmother – she seems to just be a friend, since she mentions having no living relatives.
  • Group Affiliation: Occasional agent of Oracle, former member of Darkseid’s Female Furies (Final Crisis version), member of Batman’s Network.
  • Base Of Operations: Gotham City.
  • Height: 5’9” Weight: 135 lbs. Age: 32.
  • Eyes: Green Hair: Red.
  • Other Distinguishing Features: Unusually pale skin, several tattoos (including a red and black nautical star on her back ; a green Special Forces insignia (sword crossed by three parallel lightning bolts over a spearhead shape) over her upper left arm ; a stylised dove (not unlike the Peacemaker’s logo) over her right upper arm), large stabbing scar over her sternum.


Powers and Abilities

Kate is highly intelligent, athletically gifted, and extremely disciplined. She has been trained by the best experts Colonel Kane could retain in a wide variety of useful skills. These include hand-to-hand combat, acrobatics, stealth, forensics, interrogation and the like (she’s not trained as a pilot, though). Said training buildt up on her quasi-Olympic level of skill in gymnastics.

Though she’s a relative newcomer, Batwoman is already a superb street-level heroine. She doesn’t have a ton of Hero Points  yet, though.

Batwoman is a soldier with a special operations outlook. She doesn’t believe in prancing around. She generally attacks by surprise and with strong momentum, hitting like a truck (in DC Heroes terms, Martial Artist subbing for EV)) and attacking relentlessly until all hostiles are down and checked. Batwoman has lots of practice crashing through windows to attack flat-footed opponents.

Nightwing determined that she was using 3 different styles – from what is known from her training I’d hazard Krav Maga , a style of Pentjak Silat  and MCMAP  or some other combat system used by the US military. She has also developed moves of her own – usually very acrobatic and relying on her speed and precision.

Kane does a lot of physical intimidation and violent interrogation work – though she wouldn’t torture or deliberately maim people.

She leverages her considerable presence, her impressive vampire-like looks in costume, the bat symbol, her excellent training in psychology and interrogation, being obviously willing and able to hit people really really hard, suddenly shifting toward feminine protectiveness, etc. to achieve remarkable results.

Batwoman often sports a nice smile or smirk, which in context generally comes across as smugly menacing or vampire-like.

Batwoman (Kate Kane) on a bridge in the night

Batwoman’s headquarters is at the very top of a distinctive building, presumably owned by Hamilton Industries. It is a spitting image of the pre-Crisis Wayne Foundation building, complete with giant tree in the middle of the building (perhaps as Cabalistic imagery). The tip of the tree’s trunk crosses the centre of this circular space, which holds a lot of ordnance, computers and equipment.

There’s a hidden lift that can carry Batwoman and the Ducati right below street-level. She then drives along a hidden tunnel to emerge in Gotham, which is all very UFO Robot Grendizer (video) . Kate Kane’s huge penthouse loft apartment seems to be right under Batwoman’s HQ.

Given the terrifying amount of physical damage she has been through during her career so far, Kate evidences remarkable pain tolerance and a formidable power of recovery.

Though Batwoman always packs an arsenal on her belt, she usually fights hand-to-hand. The weapons are tactic-specific. They only get used if she can see a clear tactical need for that weapon, usually taking her decision as she observes the scene from hiding and comes up with her script for her attack. Presumably, she prefers her hands and feet to better control the damage she inflicts.

Kate’s homosexuality does not carry a significant social stigma (at least nothing that would be notable in game terms). She’s just too wealthy and high-status to suffer from discrimination.

Table of equipment

Batwoman’s equipment is cutting-edge, specialised gear. It’s not quite Batman-level, but it’s the cream of military equipment. The main pieces are :

The black-and-red Batwoman costume

The bullet-proof, stab-resistant material of the suit has been treated with a shear thickening compound, which hardens as it is subjected to stress.

Embedded electronics and peripherals include a heavily encrypted radio link, a GPS and life signs monitors, allowing the Colonel to constantly monitor, locate and communicate with Batwoman. All sounds and conversations in the vicinity of the costume are recorded, and analysed after missions. One scene also implies some type of night vision.

The cape is woven using nanotube composites, making it very light and resilient, and has weighted ends. It can be used a bit like a shield to block – but since it is very light and thin, it is chiefly useful to stop light, lethal projectiles such as thrown knives, arrows, bullets, etc.

This is particularly useful when Batwoman is trying to protect a bystander from such. Presumably it would also work against a flamethrower and some other specialised attacks.

The claw-like steel blades along her gauntlets can be used to facilitate parrying blades with her forearms, and the entire gloves seem to be armoured ; the blades can also be used to punch an emergency hold into some surfaces by slamming her forearms into it.

The eyeholes on the mask seem covered in a one-way film similar to that used in Spider-Man’s mask, which is particularly useful whilst riding the Ducati.

The custom-designed throwing blades

These shuriken-like weapons look like two rose thorns affixed end-to-end, and have surprising sharpness and heft. They’re usually thrown in volleys of three.

Batwoman also owns a genuine batarang straight from the Bat-cave (which is presumably kept as a memento), and briefly used replica batarangs before opting for the thorns.

Six of the throwing blades are actually the claw-like blades on her forearms. They can be unlocked, removed and flipped into a deployed, propeller-like configuration. She seems to have a half-dozen additional blades – the rest presumably is stored on her belt.

Batwoman (Kate Kane) throws thorn-like blades

The hypersport motorbike

Kane’s Ducati high-performance supermoto crotch rocket has apparently been hardened, and can operate without a hitch even after having been ditched on the asphalt at high speeds. It likely has further, unrevealed improvements, which is good since Kate drives like a maniac.

For non-bikers, “supermoto” means that it’s off-road-capable (especially since Batwoman’s bike appears to have been considerably reinforced over a normal Hypermotard bike).

Batwoman (Kate Kane) on her Ducati

A bladed staff

This strange weapon appears to be a telescopic metallic staff, not unlike the one used by Robin and about the length of a half-staff (like the Japanese jo). It telescopes in and out using buttons at the centre of the staff and, oddly, is tipped on each end with a stylised bat.

It *might* be comparable to a blunted lajatang, an unusual Indonesian stick weapon – especially since Kate seems to have trained there. Batwoman uses it to hit big things, like werewolves – it’s not a common part of her arsenal. The “lajatang” was used but once and it was before the “soft reboot “.

The pellet pistol

This weapon looks like a standard M9 pistol, but is actually gas-powered and silently shoots pellets of a virulent pepper gas mix. Batwoman also carries a small aerosol spray neutralising the gas’s effect.

A pellet holds a small dose, and has to impact on the target’s chest to achieve the desired mix of low lethality and high stopping power (Kate can make such shots without penalties). Part of its impact is that targets who think it’s a normal pistol and know Batwoman doesn’t shoot people might be too surprised to spend Hero Points to resist the gas when she does shoot them.

Batwoman (Kate Kane) costume character sheet

Demolition charges and Xaver camera

Batwoman’s shaped demolition charges are normally used to perform dynamic entry (that is, blow a wall up and rush right in to capitalise over the shock) if she cannot find a window placed right to crash through. Setting those charges is usually done after scanning the room with a Xaver-type camera, which can provide 3D images through walls.

This equipment is neatly packed in her demolitions bag, which she doesn’t always carry.

Miniaturised explosives

These tiny demolition charges can be slapped on a surface and include a small timer. The one we saw in use was a shaped charge. Though they are the size of a large thumb, they detonate with considerable power.


Colonel Kane

Batwoman’s daddy, Colonel Kane, plays an important role in her operations as her one-man command, control and communication centre. They stay in constant radio link, with the elder Kane being able to run researches, provide advice, and generally work in the background using his considerable knowledge, contacts and experience.

Colonel Kane primarily uses his connections and his intelligence gathering-and-management skills. His DCH Skills include Scientist (Research): 06 and Scientist (Computers): 04 plus Expertises Expertises in Military equipment and protocols, Special Operations tactics and Crisis management.

In DCA terms this is Expertise (Intelligence gathering/management) +12, Expertise (Computer science) +9 and Expertise (Special Forces work) +11.

Kane has numerous connections (including US Military (Powerful, High) and US Intelligence Agencie (Low)) plus Medium Credentials with USSOCOM and the Pentagon and a smattering of Connections all over the world in allied services, including the British military’s SAS and the Mossad.

He has access to numerous databases that are normally only accessible to the military and law enforcement, with tons of extremely useful information, and is adept at searching them on the fly to provide intel to his daughter.

Batwoman (Kate Kane) and Colonel Kane shooting a MP5K

Colonel Kane doesn’t seem to currently have a command, but he’s still a full-bird in active service, presumably as some sort of security/crisis consultant with broad access.

He can regularly procure highly experimental equipment used by USSOCOM troops. He can even launch non-combat missions without outside clearance – such as having an experimental hypersonic transport take him and some gear to England with practically no notice.

Jake Kane is extremely supportive of his daughter, and loves her unconditionally. Though he’s a stern military officer Kate is a model soldier, making his authoritarian tendencies irrelevant since she’s highly disciplined by herself.

Mostly he wishes she wouldn’t take so many risks and be so badly driven, but he understands that Kate absolutely has to be Batwoman and supports her to the best of his considerable abilities.

He does have some traits traditionally associated with Jewish mothers, though, such as mild badgering, kvetching  and overprotectiveness. He seems to be a fan of classic noir detective novels, particularly Chandler.

Colonel Kane seems to now be about 60, and his body has presumably been battered by an entire life spent as a Special Forces soldier, officer and advisor. He still has professional-level field skills, but he knows these are no longer enough to engage serious threats. Still, if Batwoman’s life signs go bad, he will almost certainly rush there.

Field skills in game terms :
DCH In DCH Medicine (First aid): 05, Vehicles (Air, Land, Water): 04, Military Science: 05, Weaponry (Infantry weapons): 04. He usually packs a Heckler & Koch MP5K 9mm submachinegun [BODY 04, Projectile Weapons: 05, Ammo: 07, Advantage : Autofire, R#02], plus a .45 and, presumably, a compact backup piece.
M&M In DCA Treatment +8 (Limited to Stabilised and Revive), Vehicles +5, Ranged attack (Firearms) +6 total and a Submachinegun and Light Pistol.

As of this writing the Colonel and his daughter are estranged.


History, part 1

(There are discrepancies between the 52 appearances and the later appearances. This account favours the stealth-redesigned version in Rucka’s Detective Comics stories.)

Kate and her twin sister Beth are the daughters of two elite US military officers. Mr. Kane, an Army man and currently a highly-decorated Colonel, seems to have been a field officer with USSOCOM  for most of his career. He led numerous tactical operations across the globe.

Mrs. Kane, based on her uniform, likely was a Captain with the USAF Security Forces – presumably with the special tactical military police in the Emergency Services Team . She also sported a considerable array of decorations. Both Kanes worked extensively with military intelligence services.

Being Army brats, the twins grew up in a wide variety of towns and bases, moving as their parents were promoted. Then-Lieutenant Kane was often away from home, his duties including intervention in various international military crises.

The Kanes being from a non-Orthodox Jewish family, the childhood of Kate and Beth followed the rhythm of the traditional celebrations and rituals.

Batwoman (Kate Kane) and her twin

Kate and Beth were completely identical twins. They deliberately adopted similar hairstyles and clothing, making most people unable to tell whom was whom. The twins hey often used this stratagem to their advantage.

The inseparable twins shared a very strong rapport, almost always being able to tell what the other was thinking. This constant feeling of togetherness, almost of oneness, was a very important aspect of their childhood.

Never any good

The Kanes eventually moved to Belgium, since the parents were now serving at NATO Headquarters in Brussels. Around 1990, the family was shattered by a terrorist operation. Mrs. Kane was taking her daughters to the Grand-Place for waffles and chocolate, they were kidnapped by heavily armed men who killed their NATO chauffeur.

Military intelligence eventually located the hostages, and Jacob Kane was somehow put in charge of the tactical part of the rescue. He and his men were too late, however. Gabrielle had already been executed, and Elizabeth was thought dead. Mr. Kane evacuated Kate himself, but the 12-year old was traumatised by the sight of the corpses of her mum and twin sister.

Batwoman (Kate Kane) after the death of her sister

It would be decades before Kate learned more about these murders. The kidnapping had likely been organised by the Religion of Crime in order to capture the “Twice-Named Daughter of Cain”, a figure prophesied in their holy texts and whom they believed was the Kane twins.

The operation further had a hidden layer. The red-headed little girl whose corpse Kate briefly and partially saw wasn’t Elizabeth, but a decoy. By the time her father’s team went in, Beth had been secreted away. Jacob Kane continued to look for his missing daughter, but never found it in him to tell Kate that her sister was not dead but missing.


Interlude – The Crime Bible

The Religion of Crime, or Dark Faith, is a well-established, influential, but mostly covert faith on the DC Earth. It was inspired by the New Gods of Apokolips, perhaps as part of visions inspired by fragments of the Anti-Life Equation.

In some respects it looks like a perverted, heretical form of Christianity. But this seems to largely be the result of a syncretism  between the Religion and unrelated early forms of Satanism. The key religious figure of the RoC is Cain, who has been confirmed by the Spectre to be the same person as the one in the Christian Bible’s Genesis.

The Dark Faith reveres Cain as the first murderer. Other murderers from classic literary sources and history are also revered, but Cain is special.

The key part of their holy text, the Crime Bible, is the Five Books of Blood. These contain theology about the 4 key ’virtues’ of the Religion, which they call sins. These are Deceit, Lust, Greed and Murder.

The Dark Faith and its prophets (including Bruno “Ugly” Mannheim, Intergang’s boss) have many prophecies, and an important one involves the “twice-named daughter of Cain”.

It was decided that this metaphor was about the Kane sisters. Kane is an homophone of Cain, and the “twice-named” thing could conceivably be about identical twins (though Kate erroneously thought at first that it was about her Batwoman dual identity). This is apparently what led to the kidnapping attempt 20 years ago, and the murder of Gabi Kane.

Unsettlingly, an important character in the Five Books of Blood is a woman named Faithless. The cult decided that it was Renee Montoya, now know as the Question (as “Faithless” is an homophone of “faceless”) and an important relationship in Kate Kane’s life.

The illustration of the “twice-named daughter of Cain” in the unholy text does look strikingly like Kate Kane to boot, with blood on her chest that evokes a bat logo.

The interpretation of the prophecy about the Kanes evolved. The prevalent interpretation of the Book of Lillith (containing the prophecy) became that on a specific date, the first apostle of Cain would murder the twice-named daughter. This would facilitate the return of Cain and opening a literal gateway to Hell in Gotham City.

Thus, the death of Batwoman was a key objective for the Dark Faith.

After the attempted sacrifice failed, an heresy developed that considered that Batwoman’s survival was preordained. In this view, the correct interpretation of their scripture was that twice-named daughter was to live. The Cain Heresy, led by Kyle Abbot (a werewolf) is considered to be deadly enemies by the mainstream Religion of Crime.

Another different interpretation of the prophecy was produced by a British coven of RoC, who agreed that Batwoman was the Twice-Named Daughter, but thought that the place of sacrifice should be the heart of London.


History, resumed

In the aftermath of the traumatic attack, little Kate determined that she would join the military to become an elite soldier like her parents. This way she would spend her life fighting against terrorist organisations to avenge her twin sister and her mother.

She was already undergoing an athletic training regimen, as she (and presumably her sister) had enlisted with a gymnastics program for kids some years before.

She continued to practice intensively and reached senior elite  level. That is, she was part of the national gymnastics team, representing the US in international competitions up to and including the Olympics, though she presumably didn’t get to compete in the latter.

Who by fire

In the early 2000s, Kate enrolled with the Army and qualified for officer training at West Point . She demonstrated exceptional potential even by the school’s standards.

Cadet Captain “Candy” Kane acted as Brigade XO for her cohort. An XO, or Executive Officer, is the person who manages the everyday administration of an unit, and acts as the stand-in for the CO  (Commanding Officer, the boss).

This was but one hint that she would likely have a brilliant military career, promotion to XO being an important asset in that regard.

Furthermore, Kane was at the top of her class and would likely graduate as First Captain. This is the highest ranking senior cadet at West Point. In 2003, earning this highly coveted achievement would have made Kane the second female First Captain in the history of the Academy.

These impressive results are likely what precipitated her downfall.

Batwoman (Kate Kane) smiling sequence

Kane was romantically involved with Sophie “Gimme” Moore. Moore was her roommate, as well as a fellow Cadet Captain and the S3 for the academy brigade (the staff officer in charge of operations).

Though they strove for secrecy, somebody took photos of Kate and Moore kissing and anonymously sent them to the BTO’s office (Brigade Tactical Officer, the person responsible for training and discipline at West Point).

This was likely the act of a jealous Cadet trying to get rid of Kane to improve their chances at making First Captain.

Under article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, as interpreted under the so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”  approach, Kane was liable to be discharged for “unnatural carnal copulation”.

Presumably, Moore was not identifiable on the photos – which reinforces the hypothesis that Kane was targeted because of the competition for First Captaincy, rather than out of homophobia.

This put the BTO in a delicate situation. Not only was Kane a phenomenal Cadet, but he knew and greatly respected her parents. Furthermore, the US military was at that point deeply in stop-loss  and undermanned, and discharging gay servicepersons was making a bad situation worse.

The BTO asked Kane to pretend that it was just a misunderstanding. This way he could do some damage control and prevent his star Cadet from being discharged. But Kane, having always been extremely serious about her conduct as a professional soldier, said that it was impossible for her to lie as a servicewoman, and confirmed her homosexuality. This ended her military career.

By the rivers dark

Having only desired to serve since she was 12, Kane was shattered by her discharge. She spent several aimless years as a desultory party girl and wannabe musician. She vaguely tried to resume college studies but chiefly was a fixture of night clubs and lesbian bars, drinking too much, being hot and scandalous, teaching herself the guitar, womanising and driving loud and powerful cars.

Mr. Kane had by that point remarried with one Catherine Hamilton, a jet-setter and socialite involved in politics. Kate and Catherine didn’t get along too poorly, though Catherine never understood the strong military ethos shared by the Colonel and his daughter.

A side effect of the marriage was that Colonel Kane was now very wealthy – his wife being filthy rich. The Hamilton fortune was built upon guns. They owned the enormously successful Hamilton company, which apparently became a household name during the days of the Old West firearms.

Being flush with money only encouraged Kate in her aimless, shallow lifestyle as it made working for a living wage irrelevant.

As she came back from a party, Ms. Kane was stopped by patrol officer Renee Montoya, then aged 19, for speeding. Despite the circumstances they were immediately attracted toward each other. An intense romantic relationship ensued.

The two women were very different, though. In particular, while the rich and aimless Kate was just lounging and clubbing around without constraints or a sense of purpose, the impoverished but talented Montoya was struggling with establishing a career in an hostile environment. She upheld her duty as a law-enforcer whilst being forced to live deep in the closet.

Batwoman (Kate Kane) kicking

They eventually had a fight when Kate thoughtlessly underestimated Renee’s professional obligations as a cop. Renee further learned that Kate had dropped out of college without telling her, and was now even more purposeless and bohemian. Montoya stormed out. Stubborn like a mule, she never returned Kate’s calls despite Kane’s profuse and desperate apologies.

Trying to get over being dumped by the great love of her life, Kate was stumbling out of a bar late at night when she was assaulted by a random thug. The sloshed ex-Cadet Captain angrily beat the man up as Batman spotted the commotion and swooped in. The towering dark knight silently helped her up after she stumbled and fell from a combination of awe and drunkenness, then left.

As the mum and very impressed Kate watched the ominous vigilante depart in the dark and stormy night to answer the Bat-signal, she had an epiphany. To her, the signal shining in the sky became a call to arms.

First, we take Manhattan

Building upon her West Point instruction and Olympics-level gymnastic skills, Kane aggressively resumed training on her own. She secured a secret HQ in a familial property. Being a familiar figure on nearby military bases due to her father, she used this access to steal an impressive amount of less-than-lethal weaponry and a range of equipment and electronics from military stocks.

Inspired by Batman, she had at last found a way to serve, though outside official channels – as a masked vigilante.

She busted several criminal operations, employing military tactics. Kane relied on tear gas and smoke grenades to allow her to single-handedly take on small groups of armed men with a telescopic truncheon, a gas mask and body armour. Her work was nocturnal and low-profile, and she apparently didn’t have a code-name.

Batwoman (Kate Kane) before using her costume

Kate logged in about six months of intel and reconnaissance work, then 6 months of tactical work. During a recon, as she spied on 2 crooks planning a heist, the dive she was in was raided by the police.

They were led by Renee – now a big bad plainclothes detective paired up with the feared Sgt. Bullock. Montoya scolded Kane, thinking that her ex had continued her descent into idleness and slumming, and Kate went along not to blow her cover.

At that point, Colonel Kane found out what his daughter was doing. Furious, he confronted her as she came back from a successful operation. Kate refused to stop her activities, and explained her motivation and why this was critical for her.

After thinking about it for a minute, Colonel Kane decided to support his daughter, on the condition that she undergo 2 to 3 years of advanced training to his satisfaction in order to diminish the risks she accrued as a Batman-inspired vigilante.

The Colonel activated his enormous network of military contacts to arrange for special, discreet training for his daughter. He got her the very best, including :

  • military intelligence specialists in urban operations
  • British Special Air Service tactical operators as private tutors in commando techniques.
  • Israeli close combat and survival instructors.
  • SERE -type training.
  • private instruction in parkour-like urban acrobatics training.
  • Olympic-level gymnastics training.

Kate also resumed unrevealed graduate-level studies. It was further arranged for her to attend the National FBI Academy – including forensic science classes, law classes, behavioural science classes, etc..

Batwoman (Kate Kane) delivers a kick

Kate completed her training regimen with a 3-month stay with unrevealed parties, possibly in Indonesia. At that point she had aced all her training objectives, and returned to her father after 2 years away from Gotham.

During that time her father had been busy designing and assembling the lair, costume, arsenal and vehicles of Batwoman. Right as she came back he added the last touch – Batwoman’s own version of the bat symbol on the costume’s chest, to make it clear whose side the new heroine was on.

In my secret life

As it turned out, Batwoman started operating at a peculiar juncture. The three cornerstone heroes of the DC Universe (Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman) had been missing for a few months at that point. Thus, Batwoman ended up replacing her role model for several months, just as certain criminal interests moved into Gotham.


Interlude – the first Batwoman

There were various quick references in Morrison’s work to the pre-Crisis Batwoman (Kathy Kane) having existed post-Crisis. As of this writing more material as become available with Batman Incorporated #4. For context, here is what is known about the first Batwoman:

  • Katherine Webb married Nathan Kane as her fourth marriage. Unbeknownst to her, she was the daughter of the Nazi genius and master criminal Doctor Dedalus. Webb was about a decade older than Bruce Wayne.
  • Webb was a greater-than-life figure and polymath, excelling at anything she developed an interest in. She even became a circus performer after her husband bought her a circus, which was renamed Kane’s Kolossal Karnival. Kathy Kane performed as a stunt motorcyclist.
  • Nathan Kane, like many members of the Kane family, met an untimely end. As she mourned her husband, Webb-Kane was contacted by UN intelligence agency Spyral, who was recruiting unusually gifted operatives.
  • Kathy Webb-Kane developed an interest in the Batman, and was assigned by Spyral to discovering his real identity. She designed the identity of Batwoman to upstage him and trigger a rivalry that she intended to have evolve into a romantic relationship. That was during the Silver Age , when Batman’s career was more colourful and light-hearted that it would eventually become.
  • Wayne and Kane actually fell in love and even considered marriage. She did deduce his secret identity but never told Spyral.
  • Kathy eventually discovered that Spyral’s Agent-Zero (the director) was actually Doctor Dedalus, and that he was his father. She catastrophically left Spyral and broke up with Batman, telling him that he was too young for her. Though Robin — who resented Batwoman — was relieved, this was likely one of the events that heralded grittier years for Batman as it broke his heart.
  • Kane then had a relationship with Agent-33 of Spyral, who would become the Gaucho, one of the best-known Argentinean costumed adventurers. She was later assassinated in unrevealed circumstances. Spyral discovered that Agent-Zero was Dedalus and managed to stop him, though that cost their lives to several top operatives.
  • Kathy Webb-Kane had a sidekick dressed like the pre-Crisis Batgirl. This person was likely the same girl who later became Flamebird – Katherine Rebecca Kane’s cousin Bette Kane.

History, re-resumed

These changing times also brought her back into contact with her ex, Renee Montoya. Montoya had since left the police after some traumatic events, and was in the difficult process of rebuilding her life.

Montoya was investigating, at the Question’s behest, Intergang’s inroads into Gotham. She reluctantly contacted Kate for some historical data about Hamilton real estate. This brief reunion was awkward from start to finish, involving Kane punching Montoya before agreeing to get the information for her.

Though the romantic attraction obviously remained strong, the situation made it even more unworkable. Both women feigned catty, hurtful rejection as they were both concerned that Intergang would target their loved ones as a result of their investigations. They were trying to drive each other away for her protection.

Montoya’s work alerted Kane, who started investigating Intergang activities as Batwoman. She shadowed Montoya and her mentor the Question, and burst in to save them from Intergang werebeasts. Through the fight was brief, Renee recognised Kate despite the — admittedly skin-tight — costume.

Batwoman (Kate Kane) dodges beast-men

Montoya and the Question warned Batwoman that she was the reason for Intergang’s presence in Gotham. Led by the unholy prophet Bruno Mannheim, Intergang was specifically preparing to capture Batwoman and sacrifice her on the foretold date to fulfil their key prophecy.

Here it is

The 3 heroes confronted Mannheim, but he escaped. Facing Mannheim to save Batwoman was the Question’s last adventure, and he soon collapsed from terminal lung cancer. Kane arranged for medical care to ease the hero’s last days, and housed the homeless Montoya.

With the impending death of the Question on their mind and now knowing of each other’s pursuits, the two women dropped the emotional manoeuvring. As Montoya’s grief over the Question’s impending death mounted, she and Kate briefly resumed their relationship, but the ex-detective then left on a desperate quest to return the Question to Nanda Parbat and save him.

Batwoman resumed her hunt for Intergang. She met Nightwing during a fight with the werebeasts serving the syndicate and establishing the terms of a working relationship with him.

The Dark Faith eventually deduced Batwoman’s secret identity from their unholy texts and captured her in her home. They also set up powerful demolition devices that would hurl downtown Goham into Earth’s crust, believing that that and the sacrifice of the twice-named daughter would turn the place into a literal gate toward Hell.

Nightwing and Kyle Abbot, an heretical Religion of Crime cultist, set out to to disarm the devices threatening Gotham. Meanwhile Renee Montoya, accepting that she now was the new Question, set out to save Kate. She came in too late, and saw Mannheim plunge a dagger into Kane’s chest.

As they fought, Mannheim got the upper hand against Montoya. However Kane, still alive, got the dagger out of her chest and hurled it at Mannheim, saving Renee. Montoya rushed Batwoman to the hospital, using her mask to staunch her wound, and Kate Kane narrowly survived her ordeal.

Batwoman (Kate Kane) having a flashback

During her near-death experience, Kate experienced a distressing, hallucinatory feeling of being reunited with her mother and sister. Compounding her dismay, Montoya left urgently as Kate was still unconscious in an ICU.

Kane eventually recovered from the grievous wound (which broke her sternum and punctured her heart), and swiftly trained herself back into fighting trim despite months of chronic pain.

Take this longing

Batwoman continued to successfully operate in Gotham. She was reunited after several months with the Question (Renee Montoya), who was tracking down a rare copy of the Crime Bible. Though Kate was happy to be reunited with Renee and used the Question’s intel to take out a Coven of the Dark Faith, the two women parted on awkward terms.

Renee said that she was fighting the Religion of Crime to protect Kate. But it soon became obvious that she was actually fascinated and addicted by their unholy gospel and her own foretold role as Faithless. Distraught, Batwoman let her leave with the book to study its magical properties.

Batwoman was far from done with the Religion of Crime and their inspiration on Apokolips, though. During the Final Crisis, she fought hard against the invading forces, but was eventually among the millions who fell under the sway of the Anti-Life Equation.

Montoya, having just returned to Gotham, tried to save her, but the Anti-Life-possessed Batwoman mauled her. Along with Wonder Woman, Catwoman and Giganta, Kane went on to become one of the new Female Furies. These served Darkseid and hunted down any resistance to his reign.

As a Fury, Kate was riding a giant mastiff and gleefully using a pair of pistols.

Batwoman (Kate Kane) throwing batarangs

Though life on Earth was soon freed from Darkseid’s totalitarian grip, Batman had seemingly been killed while slaying the stone-faced god of evil. This resulted in an upsurge of crime in Gotham City. Batwoman was one of the agents mobilised by Nightwing to try and prevent the entire city from going to hell – figuratively this time.

During this time Kate started a relationship with a lawyer named Anna.&esmp;It miserably failed as the jealous Anna mistook Kate’s frequent nocturnal absences for infidelity and a lack of maturity.

Sisters of mercy

Hearing about a new high priest coming to the 13 Religion of Crime covens in Gotham, Batwoman kept harassing cultists until she found her prey. The new High Madame turned out to be a strange figure, pale-skinned and oddly dressed, apparently thinking that she was Alice Liddell and only communicating by quoting the Lewis Caroll classic .

Though she dominated the clash, Batwoman got badly poisoned. Spotting her fading life signs, Colonel Kane rushed in to save his daughter. The Kanes were saved by Kyle Abbot and his fellow heretics, who engaged the orthodox Religion of Crime followers of Alice since their own faith demanded that the twice-named daughter of Cain live.

As Kate recovered, Abbot explained that Alice’s goal was to succeed where Mannheim had failed, and destroy Gotham.

Thanks to Abbot’s support, Kate realised that Alice was about to kidnap her father. She’d then use Colonel Kane’s access to steal some decommissioned chemical WMDs from an Army base and to destroy Gotham. She reluctantly allied with Abbot, who made it possible for her to intercept the C-23  carrying Alice, the WMDs, a bound Colonel Kane and some cultists.

Batwoman successfully stormed the plane in mid-flight, letting her father land it safely as she engaged Alice. During the fight, both the Colonel and Kane realised with horror that Alice was actually Elizabeth Kane, who threw herself from the plane to her apparent death.

Batwoman (Kate Kane) using a swingline

Though her father tried to explain why he had never told Kate that Beth had not died 20 years before, she reacted poorly to this revelation. Kate soon irrationally blamed herself for having killed her sister. As usual, she soldiered on and resumed her work, though she stopped talking to her father for months despite his efforts.

Bird on a wire

In her next known case Batwoman stalked the Cutter, a psychotic killer who had been stopped by Batman 10 years before. The Cutter, despite Batwoman’s determined opposition, managed to capture Kate’s cousin Bette Kane. Batwoman prevailed, but in the process of saving Bette gave her a clue about her secret identity.

Batwoman also tracked down a Religion of Crime coven operating in London. Their own interpretation of their texts had led them to attempt in London a reprise of Mannheim’s Gotham plan, complete with her sacrifice and demolition devices to draw the city into Hell.

The English cultists managed to capture her, but she was narrowly rescued by Batman (Dick Grayson) and his closest British allies, the Knight and the Squire.

Batman had determined that this London RoC coven controlled the last known Lazarus Pit. They decided to bring the supposed corpse of Bruce Wayne to resurrect him. Batwoman tried to explain that it likely was a very, very bad idea, to little avail – and was soon proved right when the person resurrected proved to be an unstable, murderous, evil berserker.

As the Batman zombie battered the heroes aside, Batwoman was fatally wounded by the blows and a partial collapse of the mine they had been fighting in.

Batwoman (Kate Kane) maintaining her costume

Knowing that she was dying, Batwoman had Grayson explain to her how a Lazarus Pit worked. She then deliberately killed herself by overdosing on morphine. Grayson, the Knight and the Squire cleared the rubble from the Pit and immersed her in it. Since Kate was still pumped full of morphine, she was resurrected without the usual side effects.

With the help of Colonel Kane, Batman and Batwoman rushed back to Gotham, where they successfully intercepted and defeated the zombie Batman.

(Batwoman’s cunning and brave plan *did* result in her death, though. Although it didn’t stick it is possible that it counted as a successful sacrifice for the purposes of the RoC’s plan.)

Starting with the Cutter case, Batwoman also began establishing ties with Captain Sawyer, the head of the GCPD’s MCU, much like the Batman/Commissioner Gordon relationship. Kate also knew Sawyer from her civilian life, since the Captain, recently single again, had pulled her cougar act on Ms. Kane with some success.

Meanwhile, Bette Kane came to meet her cousin Kate. Bette revealed that she used to be the minor super-heroine Flamebird, that she had been unable to let go of that past, and that she wanted to return to heroing along with Batwoman.

Most recently, Batwoman has partnered with Batman and several allies of his, such as the Hood and the Gaucho, to investigate the machinations of Doctor Dedalus. She also seems to have mended bridges with her father. With this investigation, the true reasons for the murder of the previous Batwoman are coming to light.

Kate Kane character design sheet


Relationship with other heroes

As of this writing, Batwoman has :

  • Teamed up with the Question (Renee Montoya), each knowing their respective Secret ID.
  • Worked as an agent of Oracle (Barbara Gordon), along with the Question (Montoya), though she’s not a Bird of Prey. Batwoman is also a part of the Network, a group of Batman’s most trusted allies assembled to deal with crises.
  • Teamed up with Nightwing during Intergang’s attempt to sink Gotham. Nightwing quickly came to trust her (in part because of her remarkable attractiveness, and her red hair), and she made it possible for him to deduce her secret identity as a show of trust. Nightwing acknowledged her as an ally by giving her a genuine batarang for Christmas.
  • Batman (Dick Grayson) has made it clear that it was OK for her to operate in Gotham, and told her that the Religion of Crime activities in particular were her ’turf‘ unless she needed help. Batwoman also knows that the current Batman is not the original, but a former Robin.
  • Batwoman is known to the JLA, and is considered to be trusted after Grayson told them about her.
  • Batwoman has met with the Batman (Bruce Wayne) and may become a Batman, Inc. member.

Description

Kate Kane is a highly athletic woman in her early 30s. Her appearance is memorable – her skin is unusually pale, almost chalk-white, and never tans in the slightest. In contrast her hair is of an unusually vivid shade of red.

Her features and body are stunning and oft-commented upon, with observers of her skin-tight costume often pointing out that she’s visibly a Batwoman and not a Batgirl. Furthermore, she’s really hot. Additionally, she’s scrumptious.

The colour red was chosen as the second colour of the Batwoman suit for cabalistic reasons. It is the colour associated with the fifth sefirah, Gevurah, symbolising strength and divine justice in the Tree of Life. It’s also always a good colour for night operations.

The Batwoman prototype uniform had heeled boots, but Kate immediately had the soles replaced by something similar to combat boots. The long hair she sports as Batwoman is a wig (her actual hair is styled much shorter), but is pretty much the same shade of red as the real thing.

Batwoman (Kate Kane) on the phone

As Kane, her manner of speaking and dressing correspond to those of a younger woman than she is. Some of her phrases are closer to what people in their 20s use. She generally comes across as being relaxed and confident, yet slightly aloof and sophisticated. She’s often found in jeans and belly shirts, and will go for ruinous designer original dresses when dressing up.

When she feels like making a personal statement — which is often — she goes for a personal, unusual, expensive mix of goth and punk. When being all punk she will often wear distinctive black shadows all around her eyes, further augmenting the sharp contrasts between the stark red of her lips and hair, the white of her skin and the green of her eyes.


Personality

The Batwoman stories during this era were presented in an often complex manner with flashbacks, vignettes, parallel stories and the like. There were few long characterisation-heavy scenes. This section is thus closer to snippets about her behaviour then the traditional personality profile.

Batwoman is a very, very intense and focused person, and she acts in a determined and businesslike manner. She gathers intelligence through surveillance, sneaking around and infiltration, prepares her strike, goes in, mauls everybody and gets out.

Officially she’s fighting to protect the innocent, serve the greater good and support Batman’s efforts. In actuality it’s clear that her root cause is avenging her mother and sister – even though she told her father that this wasn’t the case.

No matter what the difficulties are, she soldiers on and never lets up. Her pace and endurance are impressive. There’s a hole in her psyche that will never close, inspiring her to extraordinary resolve.

Batwoman doesn’t banter much in combat, but is unlikely to resist a chance for some snarky comeback and threats. She likes to snark.

The similarities with her male counterpart do not end there. She also has a locally semi-famous and flighty public identity, acting like she did before she had her epiphany. As Kate she leads a destructured, easy-going socialite and clubber life, waking up very late, often going out at night, picking up girls in clubs and occasionally playing the guitar.

Her bohemian lifestyle seems to largely be inspired by the modern, post-riot-grrrl punk rock and queercore scenes. These are musical styles she seems to be a fan of, given the fictional band posters in her home (one being a reference to the indie comic Hopeless Savages). It is possible that she occasionally plays the guitar in one such garage band.

Kane lives out of the closet. However many people among the Gotham high society seem to assume that Kate is seen with women as part of her general scandalous and free-spirited image.

Batwoman (Kate Kane) and her father

Unlike Bruce Wayne, it’s not a role – it’s the real Kate as she used to be, and she still enjoys living that way. However, between the nights hitting the clubs and the nights as Batwoman, she’s… not a morning person.

The wealthy, out, privileged and carefree Kate Kane had trouble understanding the constraints of more ordinary people. This is what triggered the break-up with Renee, who was under massive pressure as a working-class Hispanic woman working in a reactionary environment and having to stay deep in the closet.

Presumably, Kate has since gained a better appreciation of the hindrances in the life of those who are less massively privileged than she is. She seems to have mostly dated upper-class professionals since her break-up with Montoya, though.

Though she’s a soldier through and through, Batwoman goes out of her way not to use guns and will not let anybody get shot in her presence if she can help it. After all, she wears the symbol of the bat. She’s nearly as stringent as Batman or Batgirl (Cassandra Cain) on the subject, since she sees it as an important part of her duty and of the uniform she proudly wears as Batwoman.

She has lots and lots of less-than-lethal weapons and tactics at her disposal, though.

Kate makes a big deal of celebrating the holidays on the Judaic calendars, even the small ones like Hanukkah , in the traditional manner. It reminds her of her childhood, her mother and her sister. If she can make those holidays better for Jewish friends and family she will happily do so, even when that required Batwoman to bust some heads to recover a stolen, irreplaceable hanukiah .

Batwoman (Kate Kane) rides her motorbike

When talking to her father, Kate freely alternates between “Colonel”, “Sir”, “Dad” and occasionally “Pop”, depending on context and whim. She is very close to her dad, who is very supportive and proud of her.

Their relationship is somewhat difficult to follow for outsiders. It’s a mix of being best friends, father and daughter, and cadet and colonel, with shared military culture and values, and a shared tragedy. Her father has taken the habit of referring to Cathy Hamilton-Kane as “your mother” when talking to Kate, and Kate will always, always correct him – “*step*mother”.

Kate would die for her father, and he would die for her. In fact they both have the scars to prove that it’s not just a phrase. They are currently estranged, though.

Despite being a highly-driven hardarse and a complete knockout, Kate seems oddly vulnerable and romantic in her love life. In particular she visibly enters sad-needy-baby-bunny mode whenever she feels abandoned by a lover, though she will soldier on through these feelings and just intensify her training and action regimen to change her mind.

Being abandoned likely brings back pain from her youthful trauma. Generally, her romantic feelings seem to be very strong, sincere and all-encompassing, in sharp contrast with her generally disciplined and regimented Batwoman style.


Quotes

“Sir, all I’ve ever wanted since my mother and sister were murdered is to serve.”

’A Cadet shall not *lie*, cheat or steal, nor suffer others to do so’. I’m sorry, sir. I can’t.” (long, painful hesitation) “I’m gay.” (removes her West Point ring)

(Discovering the Batwoman uniform, pointing at the boots in disbelief) “Pop… are those heels ?”

“Lots of very small bones in the hand. Very breakable. Very delicate.”

Sword-wielding fanatic: “I’ll take your heart !”
Batwoman: “No, no, no… my heart belongs to another.” (KRAK !)

Col. Jacob Kane: “Who were you talking to ?”
Kate: “That, sir, was the Batman.”
Jacob: “All right, I’ll bite. He as high speed as they say ?”
Kate: “High speed, low drag all the way, sir.”

(Interrogating cultists to learn the name of the new High Priestess of Crime) “Names have power. You fear mine. I want hers. And at least one of you is going to tell me.”

Colonel Kane: “Batman rule in effect, Kate. Don’t kill her.”
Batwoman: “I’m always on the Batman rule, sir.”

(As Bette Kane points out Kate hasn’t answered her e-mails) “I know. Epic fail in the cousin department.”

“Cutter’s using an armored car, Vigilance Model 7, manufactured by Kord. All armored cars these days have a GPS tracking system installed. Find me that car, Colonel.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Kate Kane

Dex: 08 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Responsibility
Int: 07 Wil: 07 Min: 08 Occupation: Socialite, vigilante
Inf: 07 Aur: 06 Spi: 08 Resources {or Wealth}: 007
Init: 026 HP: 040

Skills:
Acrobatics: 08, Artist (Actress): 06, Artist (Guitarist): 04, Charisma*: 07, Detective (All save Law): 06, Martial Artist: 09, Medicine (First aid): 05, Military science: 07, Thief: 07, Vehicles (Land): 06, Weaponry: 07

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (Gotham City), Attractive, Confidant (Colonel Kane), Credentials (Gotham-area military bases, Low), Expertise (Military equipment and protocols), Familiarity (Judaism lore, Modern punk rock, Religion of Crime activities), Headquarters (Expansive), Iron Nerves, Lightning Reflexes, Rich Friend (Colonel Kane), Schtick (Never Let Me Down ; Pain Management (Low)).

Connections:
Renee Montoya (aka the Question II, High), Dr. Mallory Kimball (Gotham Hospital forensics expert and doctor, High), Nightwing/Batman (Low), Kyle Abbot and the Heretics of Cain (Low).

Drawbacks:
MIA toward Responsibility and integrity, Secret ID.

Equipment:
Below are the raw stats for her gear – see the Powers section for descriptions and notes. 

  • BATWOMAN COSTUME [BODY 08, Blunting: 06, Data storage: 09, Radio communications (Scrambled): 06, Ultra-vision: 04, Limitation: Ultra-vision is Night Vision Only].
  • Throwing blades (x12) [BODY 03, EV 04, Dart Bonus].
  • Swingline [BODY 08, Snare: 05]. A sort of batarang towing a 4 APs-long high-strength line. Batwoman also uses Batman-type hand-held grapnel guns.
  • MODIFIED DUCATI HYPERMOTARD 1100 EVOLUZIONE [STR 03 BODY 06, Running: 07, R#02].

The rest of her equipment is used less often :

  • Telescoping lajatang [BODY 10, EV 04 (05 w/STR, 10 w/Martial Artist)].
  • PELLET PISTOL [BODY 04, Chemical attack: 07, Range: 03, Ammo: 10, Thief (Stealth): 06, R#03, Limitations: Chemical attack has No Range – use the listed Range instead ; Thief (Stealth) only to muffle the shots].
  • Explosive charges (x2) [BODY 03, EV 10 (Area of effect 1 AP)] and Xaver [BODY 01, X-ray vision: 05, R#3].
  • Stun gun. Batwoman packs a TASER-type weapon, the kind that shoots darts trailing a wire. The performances of this less-than-lethal system are not yet known.
  • Surveillance binoculars [BODY 03, Telescopic vision: 05, Ultra-vision (Night vision only): 06]. Rugged, compact high-powered model, presumably with night vision capabilities.
  • Miniature explosives [BODY 02, EV 08, Miniaturisation: 04, Grenade Drawback].
  • Batwoman’s gear also includes lockpicks, a pair of high-quality handcuffs, a pen flashlight and a cellphone.


Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Batwoman (Katherine Rebecca Kane) — Averaged PL 10

STR STA AGL DEX FGT INT AWE PRE
02 03 05 04 09 03 03 03

Devices

Costume ● 15 points (Subtle, Removable (please))
– Armoured — Protection 2 (Limited 2 – to Sharp Impact)
– Fireproof — Protection 4, Enhanced Fortitude 4 (both Limited 3 – to Fire)
– Insulated — Protection 4, Enhanced Fortitude 4 (both Limited 3 – to Electricity)
– Encrypted radio — Communication 3
– Night vision lenses — Senses 1 (Low-Light vision)
– Feature 2 (Life signs monitors, and constant video/audio monitoring recording)
– Forearm spikes — Second Chance (vs. falling, by slamming the spikes into something)

Throwing blades ● 9 points
Damage 3 Ranged Slashing Multiattack

Modified Ducati Hypermotard 1100 ● 12 points
Medium, STR 1, SPD 6, DEF 0, TOU 10

Combat Advantages

Accurate Attack, Chokehold, Close attack 3, Defensive Roll 2, Evasion 1, Improved Critical 1 (Unarmed), Improved Disarm, Improved Hold, Improved Initiative, Improved Trip, Instant up, Power Attack, Ranged attack 8, Takedown.

Other Advantages

Assessment, Attractive 1, Benefit 3 (Wealth), Benefit 2 (Her father’s access), Contacts (via her father), Daze (Intimidation), Diehard, Equipment 6, Extraordinary Effort, Fearless, Second chance (vs. falling) (w/costume).

Skills

Acrobatics 6 (+11), Athletics 7 (+9), Close combat (Unarmed) 2 (+14), Deception 7 (+10), Expertise (Judaism lore) 1 (+4), Expertise (Punk-rock) 1 (+4), Expertise (Religion of crime) 4 (+7), Expertise (Military equipment and techniques) 8 (+11), Expertise (Gotham City lore) 6 (+9), Insight 8 (+11), Intimidation 7 (+10), Investigation 6 (+9), Perception 9 (+12), Persuasion 4 (+7), Sleight of hand 6 (+10), Stealth 5 (+10), Technology 5 (+8) (Limited 1 to Security, Demolitions, Operating), Treatment 5 (+8) (Limited 1 to Stabilise, Revive), Vehicles 5 (+9) (Limited 1 – no space or air vehicles).

Offense

Initiative +8
Unarmed +14, Close, Damage 2, Critical 19-20
Throwing blades +12, Ranged, Damage 3

Defense

Dodge 13 Fortitude 8
Parry 13 Toughness 5**/3*
Will 12

* Without Defensive Roll
** More w/Costume vs. certain attacks

Complications

  • Motivation Service, justice, honour.
  • Relationship With her father.
  • Enemy The Religion of Crime.
  • Identity Secret identity.
  • Obsession About her twin sister.
  • Relationship Love life and girlfriends troubles.
  • Responsibility To live up to the “Batman code”.

Power levels

  • Trade-off areas Attack & Effect PL 8, Dodge/Toughness PL 9, Parry/Toughness PL 8, Fort & Will PL 10.
  • Point total 214 Abilities 64, Defences 26, Skills 46, Powers 0, Devices 36, Advantages 42. Equiv. PL 15.


Design Notes

Had Kate been a build rather than a writeup I’d have undoubtedly built her at PL10, but as it turns out her combat performance doesn’t align that way. An offence Bonus at +14 backed with solid Strength and Power Attack (and she does use Power Attack an awful lot) makes for one dangerous high-end hand-to-hand fighter, but a PL10 martial artist is Shiva-level.


By Sébastien Andrivet (v1) and Mike Winkler (v0.3 notes).

Source of Character: DC Universe (52 (2006) and later).

Helper(s): Greg Rucka, JH Williams III and rpg.net Other Media (for the Batwoman’s Mom’s Uniform Saga), Darci, Ethan Roe, Barbarossa Rotbart.

Writeup updated on the 24th of May, 2011.

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