Tales of Redemption

Hastings - "Diary of a Madman"
Hastings

Hastings

Today had been boring. Driving in the rover hadn’t been that exciting and the brief chase through the woods had barely given Hastings a chance to stretch his legs. He was happy to finally be at the compound, not so much out of a need for revenge, though from what he heard of Groc, Hastings would have no problem slowly killing the man. No, Hastings was damn bored and wanted some fun. He waited idly while the rest of them ‘planned and plotted’ his hands stroking the gun he was holding, his blades carefully stashed about his person.

Then it had happened. The sky opened and let forth a wave of destruction the likes of which Hastings had never seen. From the stunned silence of those around him it appeared the others had never witnessed it before either.

Hastings watched the laser beam play across the field with an almost childlike face of amusement. “It is dancing” he thinks to himself as the light darts lightly across the ground twisting and spinning with no determinant course, like a man made tornado causing a random path of utter destruction. Then as suddenly as it had appeared it was gone, the flames left behind to continue the destruction with their own dance, not the graceful swirl of the laser beam, but more of a steady marching band plodding across a field with occassional flourishes and twists as the flames are buffeted by the wind.

His lips draw down into a frown, not so much at the disappointment of the wanton destruction taking place before his eyes, but at the fact that the pretty laser beam is gone. He lets out a sign and glances at the party around him taking in their assorted facial expressions like a connoisseur of human emotion. He doesn’t see much, masked horror mostly. The borg as usually doesn’t have much to read, and Cross looks pissed as always. He shrugs and turns back to the carnage.

He is rewarded by the beginning of another light show. The sky crackles and dances with strange lightning as the Rift begins to open. He’d only seen leylines a few times in his life and in his travels and never actually seen the openning of a rift. Around him he hears whispered curses, and he feels the mood of despair. He watches again with bemusement as the sky morphs and the clouds part, not revealing the sun, but a strange world. The lightning is blotted out as the creatures begin to spill forth. There dances are at least more entertaining than the fire, as they scurry from body to body devouring flesh of both the living and the dead. The borg next to him begins to fire and Hastings thinks this isn’t a terrible idea.

He takes off his rifle and begins to focus in on targets. A bug here, a bug there, a half eaten human now and then (hey it is a mercy of sorts). His head swivels left and right and a faint giggle escapes his lips as he shots target after target. His gun pivots towards the forest edge and picks a squirrel of a branch before knocking down a few more bugs. Perhaps today isn’t going to be so boring after all.

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Drew's Mental Logs #4
Andrew Logan

Begin internal diagnostic. Focus on left arm.

Hope Springs was a fiasco. The villian got away. The townsfolk chased us out. My bike was destroyed. Found out Nickel is a mage. Left arm is not right.

Internal diagnostic still in progress.

We part ways with the dogboy. He was badly hurt but still functional. Declined to join our troupe.

No unusual radio activity detected.

Internal diagnostic completed. Excessive stresses placed on left arm. Additional stress could cause fracture. I frown. This was not good news.

Arrival at camp. Trent was seduced into magic by a mage. My family is ruined because of a mage. I am what I am today because of a mage.

Nickel is a mage.

I walk up to Nickel and let him know what I feel about him. Josh asks me not to end his life like I should. I respect his wishes and comply.

I keep thinking of that mage Lars. And his face when I hit him. And Trent’s betrayal. I spend the rest of the night trying to determine if I did something wrong. Every path of disaster keeps coming back to meeting that mage. I did nothing wrong, despite Trent’s final words to me.

Morning arrives. We move out. Armor is damage but functional. Weapons are reloaded. I match pace with Cross’ Outrider. We head towards what we believe is Grok’s compound.

A robot patrol attacks us. We defeat them. There are humans directing them. One gets away in a helicoptor. Others are captured. They provide little information.We strip them and leave them behind.

Everyone spends time arguing over how to change the plan. I decide to scout ahead. Cross is angry at me leaving. Good. Maybe he’ll spend less time talking and more time acting. He asks me to stop before reaching the compound. I comply.

Exactly 30.0 miles are travelled. Estimate this spot to be 10.0 miles from the base.

Brodkill are present. They are burying something. I try to stay hidden. They spot me and advance. instead of attacking they talk to me.

Universal translator searches… language found. Translating from Eruo now.

The monsters tell me the creature riding warrior women we have seen previously are robots. I radio this information back to the group. They act as shocked as I feel over both the info and the fact that the brodkill communicate with me. The monsters leave. I check what they were burying. Some kind of rapidly decaying body. I quickly re-bury it.

I do some minor scouting. Discover nothing unusual. The crew takes 22 minutes to reach my position.

With the group arrived we move closer to the base. At the edge of the forest we spot it. The weather is getting bad. Nickel warns us of an impending Ley-Line storm.

I hate magic.

The monster riding women who are robots are attacking the base. There is a device of some kind on top that glows before being destroyed. Then it happens.

Holy shit.

Just like Cross predicted. A giant laser beam comes from the sky, destroying everything it touches. Many people appear to be dying. I am too stunned to move. The beam cuts a seemingly random path of destruction and death through the Earth.

I can hear the screams and pleas of the dying.

The robots leave. The survivors are picked off by bugs that emerge from a sudden Rift. I shoot at the bugs. They die but there are too many. The bugs disperse.

We are left to stare at the carnage left behind. We could not make a difference during the events. Can we now?

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SIr Joshuah's Journal #8

Sir Joshuah Malley

It started off well enough with a simple plan. Cross had rigged up two of the recovered robots to work under his control. We would send them in advance for recon and to disable the headbands. We would then move in during the confusion and find those responsible for the crimes against humanity.

If only things would go as smoothly as they do on paper. First, we came under attack from a couple robots and soldiers who were not on a normal patrol route. They were easily dispatched (although the helicopter got away), and Cross was able to extract information about the camp from them. Unfortunately, our approach was no longer a surprise.

Drew ran ahead to scout, but ten miles to the camp he came into a clearing where he was spotted by Broodkill. Lucky for him they were more interested in running away from something rather than killing. He radioed us to relay what he had learned, but we could hear a battle ensuing behind him. I was worried he may have gotten himself into trouble, but as we approached we realized something bigger was going on here.

The ladies on the dinobots were attacking the complex. So much for the plan. Suddenly something felt wrong as I watched the dome in the complex glow and fade. Like a finger from God a solid pillar of light reached down and touched the earth.

As the white fire from the sky cut through the camp like a surgeon’s knife in the care of a madman, I felt a little bile in my throat at the sheer awesome display of power. The light lasted for only thirty seconds, but never have I seen so much chaos in my lifetime. Approximately a quarter mile away, I was helpless to assist the escaping masses. What could I do? To add insult to injury the deaths amplified the leyline storm culminating in the opening of a Rift.

Like a mouth, the Rift opened and drooled black figures into the compound. There must have been thousands of them. The rift closed and as they emerged from the ruins, I felt their hunger as if it were my own — a pain deep inside. No other emotion emanated from them…just pure unrelenting hunger. The survivors still on the outskirts of the city were devoured by the “bugs”. Drew opened fire on the black bugs as soon as they appeared in the field, and following his lead I joined him. It seemed as if the gunfire was making them keep their distance from us, and before we knew it, all the bugs had vanished into the forest.

After witnessing those events, several questions come to mind:

What the hell is Grok doing that would incite such an ruthless attack? We learned that the dinoriders are not human, but rather robots. Who do they work for if not Grok? Is what happened here the same thing that happened to Columb? What would cause the Broodkill to be so scared? Is this the power of the orbs?

In any case, if we want to check the ruins, we had better get a move on. The beam probably acted like a beacon and this place will be swarming with Coalition very soon.

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Sir Joshuah's Journal Entry #7

Sir Joshuah Malley

I knew the people out to get us were bad, but I did not realize they would go to such lengths! Wendell’s daughter was murdered…and they made her do it. Using a mind control device, they made her pull the pin while Duke tried to rescue her taking them both out. Groc and his men have committed an unforgivable sin, and they will pay a grave penance for it. We must not lash out in anger or rage, but rather keep steady and thoughtful. He is a powerful enemy and we’ll need to work together to bring him down.

The lizard man Hastings and Drew sensed disturbs me a little. Is he friend or foe? Hastings said he’s been around us before, sometime in Dayton and Cross is of the mind it is not the same lizard man we released in Middletown. After what happened in that cave, I always thought something would come of it. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

We were sidetracked by the sound of wagons approaching. Gene and I made our way down the road to scout it out. Something was off about them, but they seemed harmless. They had a brief conversation with Drew before moving on down the road. Not too long afterwards, a lone man came walking back. He said his name was Nickle and that the caravan had been attacked by enormous beasts. Everyone was dead. Dangerous beasts such as these should not be allowed to roam and attack freely along the road. We left Cross, Gene, and Wendell behind while the rest of us went to vanquish the beasts.

They stood little chance against us. Drew headed back, Nickle and Hastings salvaged the horns, and the three of us headed over to John and buried the bodies. Once we were all back, it seems Cross had salvaged two robots from the wreckage and had located the general area of the camp that was controlling them. We stayed the night at the camp and in the morning, headed in the direction with Cross in the lead. It will take us a day or two to reach it if nothing gets in our way.

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Crosslog Entry 4
Cross Operator

Nathan Cross

turns on the camera, Cross sitting in the chair spinning side to side twirling a headband in one hand and the pieces of a fusion power source in the other. looking back over his shoulder, he presses a button and the camera zooms in on the pile of bots where a spare tire should be

been a tough day. seems we managed to find our ways out of one fight and damn near ran headlong into another. Seems someone.. something hit Columb like a damn force of nature. dont much know about what was going ‘cept there was Dead Boys doin what they do best all over the city. Dying. the Knight, the Borg, and Hastings slipped in to try and see what’s what… i was more than happy to keep myself nice and occupied on the outside of town. Poking my nosse into the SAMAS and getting that up and running.

by the time those boys found their way back, John and me had managed to pretty much shove the Titan’s source into the SAM. It wasnt pretty, but thing will work till i get a chance to lock it down some. Not quite sure what that boy does, but he’s handy enough with a wrench to keep from blowing something up. Looking at his bike, sure that’s a feat worthy of mentionin’ all by it’s lonesome.

so we lit outta there like the devil himself was on our asses. no rest for the likes of us. Figgered EDO was the next closest place and well away from this hell hole. i HATE the magic zone… too damn many things aint right with this place…. and too damn close to Coalition for my likings. course we didnt get more than a couple hours before we got bushwhacked out in the woods north of the place. Damned robots and some folk we run into before, the two humans wore headbands…

im not one to play hero, but ill be damned any person kept like a slave like that. may not like folk much, but they wanna make their own mistakes, gotta pick their own way, not have it pointed out for them. so i did what i could while everyone else was playing with those ‘bots. Got lucky too… managed to read the bots afters… figured headshots make the suckers explode. nice bit to know BEFORE getting into a fight. so while we tried to drag them folk and the scrap to the Outrider… MORE o’ the DAMNED THINGS came out of hiding…

Cross slams his fist down on the desk
bastards blew off my tire and put a few missiles into the body. gonna have to start reinforcing the tires more if i keep runing into things trying to hurt my truck. took those suckers down too. nasty little fight. we all smacked them round best they can. took them down, fixed up the Outrider… and made like whipped dogs and ran. followed the old roads up to a place where we can settle in for a bit and make plans.

twirls the headband in his finger
i read this thing. not the only one, and those bots came from somewhere. Seems that Groc fella is fixing to do some mighty not nice things to a lotta folk.

looks dead into the camera
i can FIND this Groc fella… and i gots me the startins of a plan. A real nice… vicious.. NASTY plan. we get our wits together… i plan on bringing the thunder to Groc and bringing his home down around HIS head. Boy likes to play with ’bots… im gonna show him whats its like to piss off an operator.

Cross… OUT!
slams a button and the camera switches off

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Sir Joshuah's Journal Entry #6
sir-joshuah-malley

Sir Joshuah Malley

It has been some time since I last had a breath long enough to write. Even now as I sit here fishing for food, we should be on the move; but, at the rate we were going, we would get killed either from those that attacked us or exhaustion.

Since we left the battlefield between the women and the robots, we have been to Columb…or at least what’s left of it, attacked by an unknown force, and rescued both Gene and Wendell from technology-induced mind control. Let me begin with the city.

I cannot say trouble in Columb was unexpected, but trouble and devastation are two entirely different entities. It seems a Rift had opened over the city and the Coalition was in the process of eliminating the insurgence…and losing badly. They appeared to have gained a footing along the western edge and had set up a camp of sorts. In an effort to obtain information, Drew and I used some recovered uniforms to infiltrate the base. Our disguises worked all to well in the undermanned operation, and we were assigned to a unit heading to the front.

The streets were light by the burning buildings and bodies. Battle sounds echoed through the streets, and the smell was unbearable. We managed to split off from the platoon we went in with, but the search was futile. The only thing to find in Columb was our own demise. We opted to leave the city – radioing Cross and John to rendezvous with us at the North entrance.

We had just met up, when out of the blue we were attacked by humanoid robots. To our surprise, Gene and Wendell were in their company – firing at us! We quickly dispatched the force, and discovered our two friends were under the control of headbands. In the effort to subdue them, they were knocked unconscious. Cross too the headbands for further study and we made to load up and get out of here to a safer location.

We hadn’t even got the soldier and the knight to the truck when another squad came from the Northeast and began to fire on the vehicles. These came armed with missiles; but, due to their focus on the transportation no one was seriously hurt. We loaded up some of the bodies, changed Cross’ tire, and got the hell out before anything else could get us.

So here I am, on the shore after my first nights rest in 2 or 3 days. I better bring what I have to the camp and check on Gene and Wendell. They’re sure to have quite a story to tell.

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Crosslog Entry 3
Cross Operator

Nathan Cross

camera image quickly comes into focus as Cross puts down the remote he used to activate the system. shaking his head as he fiddles with another piece of equipment barely visible at the bottom of the screen.

“What we have here is another one of those good news, bad news kind situations. And im finding myself stuck in those a lot more than i care to admit lately.”

pulls out a circuit board of some sort, wires attached, examines it and tosses it behind him into an unlabeled pile of spare parts and junk lying on the floor of the Outrider

“The good news, we’re out of Dayton. Movin’ on to Columb, and gettin’ the frak away from the Coalition. Bad news, not as far from the Coalition as i’d like to get. And yes, the Cyber Knight is still around.”

“Seems once we got to Dayton and made a right royal mess o’ things there, we found ourselves in a tunnel underneath the city and fought with some gorram rift-demon. damned thing used some magic right ‘afore the group of us managed to blow the sucker away. Also managed to pick us up another member whilst we were in town. Some not-so-right-in-the-head if ya get my meanin’ fella by the name of Hastings. Lot less uptight than the Knight, but something bout that boy just aint right.”

stops mucking with the machine and turns off camera, wincing. The sound of an explosion can be heard from somewhere outside. Muffled, however, and well away from the vehicle

“Right. So we killed the damned thing, picked up a buncha stuff from the people it’d killed, and right quickly took our leave of the town. Now at this point, im of a mind to end the whole deal, ignore Columb, and make a straight run for Old Bones or Lazlo. Moreso now with a half-working Flying Titan in the back. I was thinking of just rebuilding the beastie, then we came across a deserted Coalition patrol. Literally, seems the soldiers just landed, up and left every damned thing behind. Fully loaded APC, a couple of SAMs, even one of them new Abolishers! No power sources tho, and ill be damned if i was gonna stick around to figure out why. Not especially with one group of thugs bearing down from one side, and some critter-riding’ broads comin on up from the other. So me and Jonathan heaved one of the fully loaded, INTACT, SAMs (minus the reactor… no biggie tho) into the back of the ‘rider, and made off like a gorram bat outta hell. ’Course didnt stop some from stickin round to see what’s what.”

hears another boom, and the others howling over the static

“Right, that would be them now getting into trouble.”

clicks something

“You boys doin all right out there?”

several shouts come back, Cross just clicks the comm, just listening at this point before going back to work

“Guess theyre doin fine. Me, im a wait for whatever brujaha is goin to be all done with, head back a little later, see if there’s anything else left to scavenge, and then make like the blazes for Columb. What with the equipment we got out of the sewers and the stuff off this field, i can afford me those modifications i been wanting. Not to mention, mebbe get my feet wet dealin arms. Seems i got enough of ‘em, and i know a few folk here and there be more n’ happy to take these things offa my hands.”

smiles as he picks up the remote

“More’n happy indeed.”

click, image shuts off

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Sir Joshuah's Journal #5

Sir Joshuah Malley

The beast was dead, but there was no time to relax. If anything was going to be salvaged we would have to work quickly. While sorting through some of the scraps, Cross stopped over a particular piece of chest armor and brushed off some of the dirt. “Hey guys, check this out,” he said while holding it up for us to see. Seeing “NERT” written boldly across the armor caused my heart to sink. I have no love for the Coalition, but I believe Nert to be generally good at heart, and one of the few we could trust. With him gone it is likely no one knows of the commission he placed on us.

Cross began to size up some of the larger gear in the room. He would place his hand on a particular item, and either shake his head and walk away, or take real interest in it. The others went to investigate a breeze and noise coming from the direction the monster appeared from. They discovered it was a passage that lead out to the riverside in the middle of the city. I stayed with Cross to help in load up several large sacks that were filling up rather quickly.

We brought all the things we had gathered out to the shore, and realized we were stuck in quite a predicament. How do we get all the stuff to the Outrigger without drawing the attention of the guards? After much discussion, I suggested several of us create a diversion with the monster’s head while the others slipped through town.

Parading through the streets with the monster’s head, Hastings, Drew and I announced how we had saved the city from the minotaur-like beast that had been preying on them right under their noses. We were soon greeted by several soldiers who wanted to know what the entire ruckus was about seeing as how it was well into the evening. We told them of our brave and noble deed. The incredulous soldiers mockingly asked how the three of us could slay such an remarkable beast, to which I replied “We were five.”

They took us to their headquarters to fill out paperwork, of all things, and in the meantime, John and Cross snuck the gear (including a wingless Titan armor to which I have no idea how they managed) back to the parking lot. With no contact and no museum, the city held little for us to stay. We left the city that night bound for Columb.

The road had not been traveled in quite some time and the going was hard. To compound the matter, a storm whipped up around us and it began to rain. It was decided we should make camp until morning. As the rain began to let up on my watch I noted the glimmering lights of a nearby Leyline in the North. They truly are an awesome and terrible sight.

We broke camp and rode East until we came to a clearing. Fate seems to never let us get too long of a break as Hastings and Drew smelt the stench of battle lingering in the air. As we approached the other side of the clearing we came upon three downed SAMAS, an infantry transport, and a suit of power armor that I did not recognize; but, its skull theme clearly defined it as Coalition as well. Not far from the wreckage twenty empty helmets lay strewn about the ground. What ever did this was either an inside job or something so dreadful it left no detectable trace of its existence.

As Cross was inspecting the condition of the wrecks, a group of 8 skelebots were approaching from the North. Scrambling to find fortification, Cross tried to get the gun on the tank up and running until someone saw the three females riding the backs of dinobeasts. Hoping to make a few allies, I tied a rag to my rifle and held it up and rode to them…until several booms came from them in my general direction. We thought at this point it would be in our best interest to leave. As we made our way to the treeline, Hastings in firm resolve decided to stay and watch to help the females if need be.

This attracted the attention of the skelebots as two split from the group and made their way towards his position. Realizing he would need some help Drew took off running and John and I followed on Michael. Drew got their first and used his rocket launcher on a skelebot. I formed a psilance and charged at the one Drew hit leaped off my horse and landed the finishing blow. The last was quickly dispatched as we heard the battle of the dinobots and skelebots coming to a close.

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Johnathan Reily Logbook Entry #2
Johnathan Reily

Johnathan “Trigger” Reily

I don’t write in this logbook enough…

I don’t quite recall what happened to me to land me in a CS medical faculity, but there i was, johnny coat and all being examined by a wickedly disgusting nurse who clamed she took care of here 5 children for years. I still cannot fathome the man that would sleep whit, and actually ingage in, reproductive acts with her. Even in my debilitated state, druged or whatever it was which aflicted me would i have congegal rights with that monkey of a woman. Having said that, the prostate exame they performed way anything but enjoyable.

The CS Clinic discharged me with a clean bill of health (and a normal prostate). My bloodwork came back normal (except for a slightly elevated Liver enzyme count, which is probibly due to my EAID excessive alchohol inebreation disease)

By the time I came to my senses (still quite groggy however) I was outside the clinic and looking for my gear. It would appear that the rest of my compatriots in this endeavor had declined to join me at the clinic and instead decided to engage in acts of neccessary destruction in the town proper. The museam we had been traveling to was under seige. I can only assume the artifact we traveled with was the cause. While at the same time the main parking lot (where my gear was) was under siege by some of those enemies i came across in the woods earlier. As i was weaponless, armorless, witless (perpetually or otherwise), and without a cigar I approached the parking lot and was proptly stopped by CS Soldiers, warding off any which might get caught in the ensuing firefight . After a brief discussion with them, a cigar appeared, and I was permitted to smoke it. One miricle down, 6 illion to go.

After a brief while Cross appeared, atop the stallion of a mount which belonged to Josh. I would contemplate this a bit more later as my brain hurt from the vision alone. Cross made his way thru with the Soldiers to secure some supplies and check the vehicles. As I recall it was quite a display of firepower tha day in the parking lot, yet our gear was unscathed. Another miracle, two in one day, what are the odds?

Since our gear was fine and our comanions accounted for we rested for the night. I’m sure more transpired, but exactly what is still a bit foggy to me.

Our next endeavor will be to enter the sewers and track an escaping gunman, Josh’s idea i think. Why did i stick around?

…Oh yea, redemption…

Reily out.

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Crosslog Entry 2
Cross Operator

Nathan Cross

Right, another day older, another day of getting shot at and not seeing much in return for it. Im not one to place much on obligationg less i have to, but at this point frustration is the easiest way to describe whats going on.

Finally we managed to get ourselves into Dayton after a lot of hemming n’ hawin’, though i werent none too pleased to find dead boys crawlin’ all over the place nice as you please. still, with jonathan down with something and us not planning on doing anything more than stoppin over to drop off the whatsis and make some profit, i dont suppose ive much to complain about. ’sides, last i checked not like ive any outstanding warrants in the states. cant say much for the fellows with me.

though weve picked us up another member. feller just aint right in the head, and im guessin that means we done got us one of those Crazies. nasty in a fight, unpredicatable cusses too, this one calls himself Hastings. but those boys got all sorts of hangups cause of those implants. though i aint actually seen the damned things as of yet, boy act too wired and just too fast to be anything but, and i know damned sure he aint got one of them juicing rigs. right, back to the point. psycho’s makin a delivery run same place same as we are. joshua is of a mind to help every last creature we finds on our path, im not so accomadtin’, but with jonathan down and so close to the damn city, didnt seem right to bother arguin the point.

but here we are, in the amn city and made our drop and the weaselin’ sunnuva bitch Greg is “curator”. i was wonderin’ what scam that deserter was going to run with here, didnt have long to find out. we made our drops and before even the subject of payment could get brought up, seems the mueseum was all sorts of attacked. Drew kept some jumper in Samson busy while the crazy, the knight and myself bagged some others.

Eneded up turning who we caught over to the CS. WORSE, seems it werent the only fight going right then. found out after we made a hasty exit that another attack went on in the parking area and those DAMNED COALITON RATBAGS impounded the Outrider. of all the gorram frakked….

takes several breaths

bastards let us grab a few items, and after the knight and the other went on a nice little chase, we gathered up at some local waterin hole. paid for rooms and made a lot of noise about what we were doin next. lot of chatter got thrown out, think we boiled the gist down to stick around and either question Greg the next couple days while they finish searching our vehicles, then take ourselves and head for Columb, see what theyve got themselves out there.

personally, after i get these suits patched up, im gonna grab some sleep then see if i cant unload some of those extra hoverbikes im haulin round here. grab some credit and get to a decent town with a cyber-doc. or at least find somewhere with a job waitin. got some now to run with, but after repairs and maintenance, well, i got a powerful need to to eat.

but thats me,

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