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Astounding Wolf Man (Image Comics Kirkman)

Astounding Wolf-Man


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

Context

This super-werewolf appeared in his own Image Comics book, by Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, from 2007 to 2010. He has since regularly popped up in Invincible comic books, since he lives in the same universe as most of Kirkman’s super-heroes.


Background

  • Real Name: Gary Hampton.
  • Marital Status: Widowed.
  • Known Relatives: Rebecca Hampton (wife, deceased), Chloe Hampton (daughter).
  • Group Affiliation: Wolf Corps.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 5’9” (Human) 7’0” (Wolf). Weight: 170 lbs (Human) 400lbs (Wolf).
  • Eyes: Brown (Human) Red (Wolf). Hair: Brown (Human) Grey (Wolf).


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Powers & Abilities

Strength Level

While in his lupine form, Gary possesses supernatural strength which allows him to lift (press) at least one ton directly overhead.

His human body possesses the normal strength that one would expect of a human male his relative age, weight and height that engages in regular vigorous exercise.

Known Superhuman Powers

As a result of the bite he received from the Earth’s last remaining “elder” werewolf, Gary Hampton has been afflicted lycanthropy.

Due to this, Gary periodically undergoes a metamorphosis that transforms his mortal body into that of a superhumanly powerful werewolf. As it stands, his lupine form is significantly more powerful than the average werewolf.

Like all werewolves, Gary’s lupine form possesses supernatural strength, speed and resiliency to harm. But unlike the werewolves of legend, he can be harmed by mundane weapons.


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While he is in this form, he is capable of punching through concrete walls and shrugging off small arms fire. To make matters worse, the “wolf’s” teeth and claws are sharp enough to rend metal like paper; and can (and have) do much worse to bone and/or flesh.

In this state, his senses are comparable (or superior) to those possessed by several predatory animals. Furthermore, he has learned to react with a similar cunning.

By rapidly shifting between his human and lupine forms Gary can completely repair the damaged or destroyed cells in an instant. Gary has noted that the consecutive transformations leave him drained, but the alternative would be much worse.

Abilities

Gary is an accomplished business man. He also possesses a knack for solving complex problems with simple solutions.

Outside of that, he has received some informal training in hand to hand combat from the Wolf Elder.

Limitations

While Gary’s curse differs in many ways from the werewolves of legend, one particular piece of the legend holds true; his sensitivity to silver. Something about this unique metal cripples Gary’s supernatural constitution.

Any silver that is introduced into his system (for example in the form of a bullet) causes the wound to fester and prevents his supernatural healing abilities to operate.

Through practice and by the dint of his sheer willpower, Gary has learned how to control his transformation into his lupine form on nights when the moon is not full.

However, this all changes on the three nights of a full moon. On those nights, the wolf within his soul becomes the dominant personality and all traces of Gary’s humanity are wiped away.


History

Gary Hampton was a workaholic CEO whose work and home life were spiralling out of control. While his business was failing, he managed to neglect both his wife (Rebecca) and daughter (Chloe), and thus put his marriage at risk.

In the attempts to reconcile with the women in his life, Gary planned a trip to the Willow Creek Camping Ground in Montana. The trip started well, and it seemed to be a success… until the night that Gary was mauled and left near-dead by what his wife thought was a bear. By the time the paramedics arrived, Gary had slipped into a coma.

Once bitten

It took Gary a full month to awaken from the deep restorative sleep his mind had retreated into. By that point, his body had recovered sufficiently enough for him to be removed from intensive care. Rebecca had sat by his side throughout the entirety of the month, praying for his swift recovery. For all intents and purposes it seemed to have worked.

The Wolf-Man leaping (Image Comics)

With Gary awake, the nurses asked Rebecca to leave his room in order to examine him. At this point her fatigue and relief finally caught up with her. She spent the night sleeping deeply outside of Gary’s room. In doing so missed one of the most startling moments of their life.

While she slept, Gary suddenly felt a sharp and intense pain course through his body. Even while he attempted to call out for help, he struggled helplessly while his humanity slipped away and his body convulsed. Fur sprouted from his every pore, and his arms and legs elongated.

Before he could react, Gary was gone and a massive werewolf stood in his place.

Running wild

Instinctively, the wolf pounced out of the open hospital window and started running across the city. Jubilant, confused and elated at its freedom, the wolf charged from rooftop to rooftop, until it came across an elderly man. In that instant, the wolf knew rage, and in a single savage moment ravaged the old man.

The wolf rampaged throughout the city for the rest of the night, but no one else got hurt. Somehow, instinctively, the wolf slipped back into Gary’s hospital room when the moon began to set in the sky. As the sun rose into the sky, the wolf transformed back into Gary who had no memories of the previous night.

Gary was discharged from the hospital later that day. He immediately threw himself back into his old life. For the next two days he grappled with his old problems during the day, while the wolf rampaged throughout the night.

The woman who saw the man who was the wolf

Rebecca eventually realized that something was wrong on night three when Gary awoke in bed with his pyjamas in tatters. The pair used the security cameras of the Hampton mansion to view footage from the previous night. They were shocked to see the wolf roaming the manor grounds in what was left of Gary’s torn clothing.

While the two desperately tried to come up with a plausible explanation for what was happening, a stranger sauntered into the room and offered to tell them the truth.

Zechariah revealed to them that Gary hadn’t been mauled by a bear, but instead had survived an attack by a werewolf. Though Gary and his wife initially dismissed Zechariah’s explanation as make-believe, when he revealed that he was a vampire they were persuaded to believe his story.

The Astounding… Wolf-Man?

Over the next three weeks, Zechariah taught Gary the methods he needed to control the transformation from human to wolf. The two spent every night together, testing the limits of Gary’s newfound strength.

The Astounding Wolf Man leaping across rooftops by night, with a vampire bat - Image Comics

One night, the two came across a burning building that fire fighters were struggling to control. When Gary’s enhanced senses picked up the presences of two young children that were trapped in the blazing building he was compelled to act.

Without thought for his own safety, Gary threw himself into the building and raced to the children’s aid. He burst through the flames, scooped up both children in his arms and then leapt through a window to safety.

When he returned the children to their mother’s side, he was initially met with fear and repulsion, but even then some of the bystanders recognized what he had done. After a few more days of good deeds, the papers gave him the name “Wolf-Man.”

For the first time in a long while, Gary was happy. Despite the fact that his wife and family had expressed distrust in Zechariah and his true intentions, he had found a new best friend. Though it came to him under horrific circumstances, he had gained enough power to actually help people. And as a fringe benefit they were starting to recognize him for it.

Alas, Gary’s happiness was not meant to last.

Bloodlust, part 1

One night while making love to his wife, Gary felt a familiar sharp pain jolt through his body. Instinctively, he pulled away from her as he realized that the change was coming upon him and he couldn’t hold it back.

Rebecca could only watch with fear and puzzlement as Gary’s transformation completed and he hurled himself from their home and away from her. The wolf raced throughout the night, and eventually made its way into the city where it encountered Sergeant Superior.

Sergeant Superior was a member of a low powered group of superheroes that called themselves the Actioneers. Superior himself had met Gary the previous night, and considered themselves tentative allies.

As Superior approached with his defences down, the Wolf reacted in the only way it knew how. In a flash of motion, it drove it’s clawed hand directly through Superiors chest and out his back.

When Gary returned to his human form in the morning, he immediately sequestered himself within the secret headquarters he had built under a shopping centre. Terrified at what had nearly happened to Rebecca he hid within the darkness until Zechariah returned. It took Zechariah two weeks to return.

Bloodlust, part 2

Though the two had a physical confrontation when he arrived, Zechariah eventually calmed Gary down. He then explained that he had left Gary on his own on purpose, to teach him the dangers of the wolf within him. He also admitted that he had miscalculated Gary’s savagery, and revealed what had happened to Sergeant Superior.

Horrified by his actions, but having little else to do, Gary returned to his life with a new respect for the wolf within him. But things continued to spiral out of control for Gary. No matter what he did his life grew more and more out of control.

While patrolling for crime, both he and Zechariah were assaulted by a group of unknown werewolves. They were intent on murdering Zechariah for a past crime. But Gary, not knowing who to trust, fought off the wolves with Zechariah.

The next morning proved to be no better for Gary. He was informed that he had been removed from his position with his company by the board of directors and that his family had been evicted from their home.

Superior returns

Left with no where else to go, Gary moved his family into the secret headquarters he had designed for his alter-ego. During this time, Gary and Zechariah were attacked once more by the unknown band of werewolves. But through a clever ruse Gary managed to not only settle the dispute but also to trick them into believing that he had murdered Zechariah himself.

Astounding Wolf Man (Image Comics Kirkman) - More leaping werewolf

Gary’s life settled back into what passed for normal for him. He kept up his patrols and tried to help where he could. While he was in the middle of a pitched battle with a super-villain, he was attacked by the Actioneers who were drawn to the commotion the battle had caused.

The Actioneers’ assault was as relentless as it was brutal. They had discovered the cause of their friend’s disappearance and had come to exact their vengeance.

Gary was on the verge of death itself when he was saved by the last person he expected to see, Sergeant Superior himself. Dismayed and happy at the return of their friend, the Actioneers let Gary leave. Gary sought out Zechariah while he recovered and demanded an explanation for Superior’s appearance.

Zechariah explained to him that he had turned into a vampire in order to preserve his life. Gary, unable to handle Zechariah’s actions and secrecy, told him to leave him be and to never contact him again. He then returned to his lair in frustration and defeat only to find that Rebecca was leaving him.

Wolf-Man… Murderer?

Rebecca found that she couldn’t handle Gary’s new life, and their present living conditions only exasperated the situation. Gary immediately agreed, told her the happenings of that night and announced his intentions to leave that life behind him. Happy and relieved, Rebecca agreed to stay once more.

Gary left momentarily while Rebecca began to unpack her things. While he was away, Zechariah entered the lair to try and reconcile with Gary. Rebecca confronted Zechariah and unloaded all of her anger upon him. The startled vampire did his best to control his temper, but eventually Rebecca managed to anger him.

He struck her once and with a sickening thump, she fell to the ground dead. As he stood there in shock, Zechariah could only watch as Rebecca’s life blood spread in a delicate pool on the ground around her. Unable to contain his bloodlust, he began to feed on her body at the exact moment that Gary returned.

In a flash, Gary’s rage was ignited and he attacked Zechariah only to watch him escape. Howling wildly, Gary picked up his wife’s corpse in his arm and cradled her gently. He crouched there for several moments mourning, until he looked up and saw his daughter Chloe staring at him in horror.

Broken home

Chloe had been having troubles accepting that the monster before her was her father, and in that moment had decided that the Wolf had killed her mother. She started screaming in horror, and no matter what Gary did, he could neither calm her down or convince her of his innocence. Reluctant yet resolute, Gary left Chloe in the care of his assistant Dunford and ran out of the lair.

Dunford left with little choice called the police. The two were questioned about what happened to Rebecca. They believed Chloe’s version of the story, and a manhunt began for Gary.

Left with no other choice, Gary fled the city. Over a few days he made his way back to the place where it all started… the Willow Creek Campground. It was there where he knew he could gain the knowledge and power that he would need to get the one thing that was left to him; revenge.

It took a single night for Gary to encounter the Elder wolf. After a brief struggle between the two, the Elder agreed to teach Gary all that he could about his powers, his history and more importantly how to kill a vampire.

Invincible

The two trained for weeks, until the mystical super-villain The Giant escaped and had begun to rampage through Willow Creek. Gary was unable to simply stand by while the Giant destroyed the campgrounds. Despite the protests of the Elder, he went to confront the powerful foe.

Model sheet for the Astounding Wolf Man (Image Comics)

The Giant proved to be too much for Gary who quickly found himself at the mercy of the gigantic villain. It was only the timely arrival of the powerful young hero Invincible that prevented the Giant from doing Gary serious harm.

Gary tried to slip away from Invincible while he was engaged with the Giant, but Invincible was far to quick for him. Instead of fighting though, the two parlayed and Gary told the Viltrumite youth his entire sad story.

Surrender

Invincible, touched by Gary’s grief, convinced Gary that he couldn’t run forever and that he should turn himself in. Gary put his trust in the young hero (truthfully he had little choice as the young hero was far more powerful than he was) and agreed to face the music.

The two arrived at the Pentagon a short while later and attempted to convince Cecil Stedman of Gary’s innocence. To their mutual surprise and disappointment, Cecil didn’t seem to care whether Gary was innocent or not. He simply wanted to take him into custody.

When Cecil attempted to take Gary into custody, Invincible resisted and helped Gary escape. The two even had a confrontation with the Guardians of the Globe, but made short work of the would be heroes. Invincible returned Gary first to his home, and eventually to Willow Creek where he found him. The two parted ways as friends.

Wolf-Man… Convict

Gary’s luck finally ran out. He was captured while visiting Rebecca’s gravesite. He mourned quietly for her until the first rays of sunlight peeked up over the horizon.

It was that moment where the police and government agents mobilized into action. They had been monitoring Rebecca’s grave in the hopes that Gary would turn up there.

Gary was taken into custody after a brief struggle. While he was there, Cecil visited him and told him that he had his teams perform their own investigation and that he believed that Gary was innocent. Gary’s heart fluttered with a faint hope for only a moment. But Cecil then told him that he still needed proof though before he could do anything to help.

Unfortunately for Gary, Cecil was unable to provide any further evidence for him before his trial could conclude. After a short public trial, Gary found himself convicted of his wife’s murder and sentenced to life in Stronghold Penitentiary.

Wolf-Man… Imprisoned

Gary’s first few days were exactly as he expected them to be. He was beaten by several guards and assaulted by his fellow inmates when he refused to pledge his allegiance to the “Face.” The Face was the prisoner who was truly the one in charge at Stronghold Penitentiary, and he had big plans for Gary.

After a few of these episodes, Gary agreed to join the Face’s faction. His condition was that the criminal use his resources to find Chloe. As it happened, Dunford had visited the prison a few days prior and revealed to Gary that Chloe had gone missing immediately after his trial.

The Face was elated. He began to reveal his plans to Gary, who immediately began to relay the information to Cecil Stedman’s attention. Cecil had arranged to have Gary’s inhibiter modified in order to let Gary secretly access his abilities. The former businessman was to act as a mole within the prison in return for providing enough evidence to exonerate Gary and locate Chloe.

Wolf-Man… Rioter

Wolfman’s prison sentence was cut short. In a surprise move, Zechariah openly attacked the prison alongside the Actioneers and Chloe. Like Sergeant Superior, the remaining Actioneers had all been transformed into vampires while Chloe appeared to have gained vampire like speed and strength.

Astounding Wolf Man (Image Comics Kirkman) - Leaps art studies

The group had come for a single purpose, to murder Gary before he could be exonerated for the crime he had been falsely accused of.

As the conflict escalated, several of the inmates got involved. The Guardians of the Globe had to be called in to quell the riot. In the confusion, Gary came face to face with Zechariah and hurled himself at him without mercy.

Unlike their previous confrontation, this one was far more even. Gary’s training with the Elder had paid off in spades. In moments, Gary had dismembered Zechariah and staked him to the ground with a broken piece of wood. He planned to leave him there to die via exposure to the impending sunrise, all the while ignoring his pleas for mercy.

Wolf-Man… Fugitive

Chloe chose that moment to attack her father. Gary, unable to bring himself to fight his own daughter, quickly found himself helpless and at her mercy. Instead of fighting, he once again attempted to convince her of her innocence and revealed Zechariah’s role in her mother’s death.

Chloe, seemingly unconvinced, drove her sword through her father’s chest hoping to end his life.

Saddened, Gary simply removed the sword and professed his undying love for his daughter and quietly succumbed to his injury. Overwhelmed by remorse and grief for her father’s loss, Chloe dropped to her knees. She apologized to Gary while attempting to save his life.

Gary eventually regenerated from the wound, and he and Chloe reconciled their differences. He then asked her to trust him, and used his powers to help the Face escape the prison along with a handful of his lieutenants.

The fugitives eventually made their way to Stonehenge. There, using their powers and a ceremony that the Face had discovered awakened a massive demonic being who had been imprisoned under the monument for centuries. The Face had hoped that the demon would grant him power as a reward, but instead he was consumed by it.

The demon left the shores of Ireland and made its way to the continental United States. However, Gary and the artificial hero, Mechamaid eventually stopped it in front of a national audience. Hailed as a hero for his actions, and exonerated for his crime by Cecil, Gary returned to what passed for a normal life.

Wolf-Man… King? (part 1)

While Gary got back into his normal routine, Zechariah (who had been taken into custody by Cecil Stedman) escaped his captors’ clutches. He then concocted a devious yet simple plan to gain vengeance on Gary. He planned to kidnap Chloe once more knowing full well that Gary would pursue him to a location of his choosing.

Fate had other plans though, and in the very moment he chose to strike, the pack of wolves that menaced them many weeks prior chose that moment to strike again.

Gary and Zechariah found themselves fighting side by side once more, until the wolves suddenly retreated. The attack happened at Gary’s mansion, and Dunford was caught up in the confrontation. Gary had only moments to mourn for his friend as Zechariah had escaped with Chloe during the confrontation.

When Gary attempted to pursue, he himself was confronted by the Elder who revealed that he had arranged the attack as a test of Gary’s competence.

Gary managed to parlay a delay in their confrontation for a full day until Chloe was found. Gary contacted Cecil once again, and utilized his vast resources to quickly locate Zechariah and Chloe.

Wolf-Man… King? (part 2)

He, alongside Mechamaid, confronted Zechariah when the sun went down. The two exchanged heated words. But as the situation seemed to be about to boil over into violence, the Elder arrived with his wolves in tow.

In a flash of rage and annoyance, the Elder murdered Zechariah with casual indifference in order to fully concentrate his attention on Gary. Gary confused as to why the Elder had decided to attack, fought back to the best of his ability.

During their confrontation, the remaining wolves waited and watched the fight with an eager intensity. None moved or dared to interfere.

Despite his greater size and obvious power, the Elder couldn’t defeat Gary easily. Thus, he eventually explained his actions. The Elder’s original attack on Gary had not been an accident. Instead he had sought out and turned Gary for a single purpose; the Elder had grown tired of life and needed someone to replace him.

He had watched Gary in secret for years and had decided that Gary was the one to replace him as the wolves elder. But the wolves wouldn’t simply follow Gary, he had to prove that he was worthy through combat.

Wolf-Man… King? (part 3)

Left with little choice, Gary eventually struck back at the Elder and tore his throat out. Despite the violence that led to his death, the Elder died peacefully and hopeful for the future of his people. With the Elder’s death, the other wolves that had surrounded him dropped dutifully to their knees before Gary who had become their new leader.

After getting over the initial shock, Gary embraced his role as the one remaining werewolf Elder. He began to gather his people in his mansion. He resolved to not only give them a home but to also give them a purpose in life.

Using volunteers from his tribe, he created the Wolf Corps. This is a group of superhuman operatives that would at the behest of Cecil Stedman confront evil and danger that the Guardians of the Globe could not.


Description

Gary is a relatively normal looking man in his human form. He is a man of average looks and build, and dresses in clothing appropriate to the situation that he is in.

When Gary assumes his lupine form, he grows over a foot in height and gains at least 200 pounds of muscle. His skin is covered with a thick pelt of grey fur and his face assumes lupine features. He gains a long snout and his ears move upon the top of his head.

As the Wolf-Man, Gary wears a pair of black stretch pants and a matching set of grey bracers on both his feet and his wrists. His chest is covered with a large green plate that has armor-like properties. In the centre of the plate sits a yellows wolf-head surrounded by a thin yellow circle.


Personality

Gary is basically a good, upstanding young man who wants to do right by everyone. He is deeply concerned with the welfare of his fellow man. He also feels a true sense of responsibility towards those that look to him for leadership.

He was willing to endure severe personal and financial loss in order to ensure that his employees had a job to go to and were capable of keeping their homes. As the Wolf-man, these feelings of responsibility are magnified. He reasons that with his abilities he has no choice but to help his fellow man.

The Wolf within him though, does not share Gary’s altruistic streak. The Wolf’s thought processes are very basic; destroy, maim, hunt, rend, tear, etc. The wolf is essentially an instinctive killing machine. It is unable to form complex thoughts, verbalize its intentions, or even recognize friend from foe.


Quotes

“SNARRLL !”

(Rescuing people from a burning building) “It’s okay — I’ve got you — you’re going to be fine !”

“Okay — Let’s see how much punishment this guy can take !”

Spore: “Better men than you have tried [to stop me] !”
Wolf-Man: “Do I look like a man to you ?!”

“I’ll give her the reason to believe me. I’ll show her the kind of man that I am — the kind of man I’ve always been.”

“I’ve got an army of werewolves looking to me for answers, waiting for me to command them. It’s weird.”

(When asked about what he’s going to do with his newfound army) “I’m going to use them to make everyone’s lives better. I’m going to put them to work. These people are looking to me to do the right thing. It’s time someone made their lives worth living — gave them a purpose.”


DC Universe History

The Wolf-man is such a minor character overall, he would be able to be inserted wholesale into any DC Universe campaign.

If inserted into a Gotham like setting, his crimefighting motif would definitely bring him into conflict with the Batman.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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The Astounding Wolf-man

Dex: 07 Str: 07 Bod: 07 Motivation: Responsibility of Power
Int: 07 Wil: 07 Min: 05 Occupation: Superhero
Inf: 04 Aur: 05 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 012
Init: 021 HP: 035

Powers:
Analytic Smell/Tracking Scent: 06, Claws: 08, Extended Hearing: 02, Invulnerability: 11, Jumping: 05, Mind Over Matter: 07, Running: 05, Sharpness (Claws): 01, Ultra Vision: 06

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Claws includes teeth, which he can also use to make a normal attack while Grappling an opponent (+2FC).
  • Jumping has the Catfall bonus (+1FC).
  • Ultra Vision only offsets low-light penalties; it does not allow sight in total darkness or the ability to see invisible objects (-2FC).

Skills:
Acrobatics (Athletics, Climbing, Dodging)*: 07, Martial Artist: 03, Thief (Stealth)*: 07, Vehicles (Land)*: 07

Advantages
Leadership, Life Support (No Need to Sleep), Lightning Reflexes, Miscellaneous (Whenever Gary transforms to or from his Wolf form, he automatically gains a Recovery check [once per scene]), Scholar (Big Business), Silent Assistant (Dunford), Slowed Aging.

Connections:
Wolf Corps. (High), Cecil Steadman (High), Guardians of the Globe (Low).

Drawbacks:
Alter Ego (Partially Controllable, Human Form), Authority Figure (Werewolf Elder), Dependant (Chloe), Limelight, Power Loss Vulnerability (Silver, Invulnerability drops to 0 APs and he loses his miscellaneous advantage if even a trace of Silver is within Gary’s body), Public Identity, Strange Appearance.

Genre:
Action.

Equipment:
Moonlight Bracers [BODY 07. Bonuses & Limitations: Retain enough moonlight within them to allow Gary to assume his Wolf Form for up to 1 hour in the absence of moonlight.]


Alter Ego – Gary Hampton

Gary can shift back and forth between his wolf and human form(s) at will, but only in the presence of moonlight.

His human form’s physical stats are DEX 03, STR 02, BOD 03. In this form he has no powers and he loses his Lightning Reflexes advantage. On the plus side, he loses his Catastrophic Rage and Strange Appearance disadvantages as well.

Under normal circumstances, Gary is in full control of the change. But on the three nights of the full moon, he looses control of the transformation and shifts into his wolf form until the sun rises. During this period, his Motivation becomes Psychopath and both his INT and WIL drop to 1. He also gains the SPR (Cannot Speak) disadvantage.


Design notes

Sharpness was added to really punctuate how effective the Wolfman’s claws are. On numerous occasions, he one-shots heroes, monsters… let’s just call them victims with a single gory swipe of his claws. Even HP expenditure can’t explain exactly how effective they are.


By Bryan Gittens.

Source of Character: Image Comics Series – The Astounding Wolfman, created by Robert Kirkman (author), Jason Howard (illustrator/artist), Rus Wooton (Illustrator).

Helper(s): Roy Cowan, Sébastien Andrivet.

Writeup completed on the 26th of October, 2013.

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