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World's Finest Writer's Corner BB: Meg's Turn (C)

Discussion in 'The Story Board' started by SilentBat18, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. SilentBat18

    SilentBat18 Hmm, so, yeah

    Jun 23, 2006
    Likes Received:
    ****So i've been sitting on this for a while, hoping it will hatch into some sort of fuzzy feathered amazingness; instead, i've realized i've been sitting on it out of fear rather than hope. So i'm taking the chance and starting a new fic with new characters and what not. It's a continuation in the series, BB: Lost in the Unconscious being the latest part of the volume. If you havent read any of my fics, click on the link and just follow the links within the links to the first fic titled A new Beginning and take it from there. There is a reference to BB:Summer Blaze oneshot. Otherwise, hope you guys enjoy this easy read. No particularly big plans for this, just a plot thread i've been thinking about for a while now and it's high time i post it already. Anyway, enjoy and i hope will update often since i've run out of classes to take within my curriculum.
    Disclaimer: me not own amazing series of Batman Beyond****

    The battlefield looks familiar, the Jokers surrounding them even more so. Gotham’s popular duo stand back to back as they assess their surroundings: at least a dozen Jokers are sneering back, all knowing this is their best chance to finally take the legends down.

    “The plan?” Batgirl asks.

    “The usual,” Batman replies, knowing they’ve been in this predicament enough times for her to understand his meaning.

    “Then it’s your move,” she replies before the bravest Joker rushes at her with electric brass knuckles in fist. “Heads up,” she warns just as the Joker gets close enough to her.

    She ducks under his swing before she rams her shoulder into his gut and lifts him off his feet. Batman, quick to react, grabs the Joker being thrown back by his partner and hurls him towards the group in front of him. The Joker collides into three other members, accidentally shocking them and himself when the knuckles make contact.

    The assault triggers the rest of the group to charge, closing the circle the two Bats are in. Before they could be tackled to the ground, Batman drops three pellets that almost instantaneously fill the area with blinding smoke, concealing the heroes well. They both know that they have a few minutes before the smoke is lifted by drafts blowing through Gotham’s buildings, so they have to work quickly and efficiently to knock out as many offenders as they can. They split up, each one sneaking up to confused Jokers and using a few well places blows to render them unconscious.

    Batman is having an easy time with this, his calculated punches and kicks land successfully each time, while Batgirl struggles. By the time the smoke dissipates, Batman had already taken down six clown-clad criminals while Batgirl is still trying to knock out her third one. Frowning with dissatisfaction, Batman leans against a car beside him and crosses his arms as he waits for Batgirl to finish up.

    “Harder,” he coaches when a blow to the Joker’s jaw leaves him unaffected.

    When she goes to try again, two other Jokers leap on top of her, pushing her off balance. Once she hits the ground, the two Jokers pin her down while the third pulls out a switchblade. Batman, showing no intention of helping her, sighs with disappointment and hopes she’ll pull herself out of this mess without being sliced open. Luckily, with her legs still free, she kicks away the knife before it touches her. She knocks back the Joker still looming over her with both feet before she turns her attention to the other two Jokers pinning her down. With flexibility on her side, she lands another kick on the side of one Joker’s head and punches the other with her freed fist.

    Finally able to leap to her feet, she quickly knocks out the Joker she just punched; she takes a quick look around to make sure everyone on the ground will stay there before straightening up with a tired sigh. However, as she takes a step towards Batman, an arm wraps around her neck before a blade dives deep into her neck.

    “Dead,” Terry sighs as he pulls off his mask. “Again,” he adds, straightening up and walking towards Batgirl.

    She groans as she pushes away the Joker’s hand holding the retractable blade to her neck. “Come on, I did what you told me,” she complains as the background disappears and the cave’s walls replace it. The cynthoid Joker who had “killed” her steps back and sets itself to sleep mode.

    “No you didn’t. He’s the one you kicked back earlier; clearly you didn’t hit him hard enough.”

    “If I had hit him any harder, my feet would be making friends with his lungs,” she argues, removing her mask and pushing her sweat-soaked bangs to the side.

    “There you go overestimating things again,” Terry replies, rolling his eyes. He hops off the simulator and walks towards the control panel. “I’ve told you a million times: when fighting a large group, you have to give it your all; otherwise, you end up dead like the last three times.”

    “I did give it my all; you probably just upped the juice on these cynthoids making them undefeatable or something,” she says as she takes a seat on the edge of the platform.

    “They’re all set to Joker mode, Jazz; weak, wimpy Joker mode, which is exactly what you’d expect from the real deal,” he explains as he flips switches and presses buttons. Groaning again, Jazz lies back and spreads her arms out as she stares at the stalactites on the cave’s ceiling. “And that performance wasn’t even close to what you can do. Look, you have to start pushing it ‘cause I can’t keep checking on you when we’re fighting like this.”

    “I know, I know,” she replies, unintentionally sounding disheartened.

    Terry lifts curious eyes, the discouraged tone she used suddenly making him feel guilty for being too harsh. He remembers what she had shared with him that afternoon on the mountain three months ago, the panic he heard in her voice when she told him about her fear of losing control and accidentally killing someone. She had never seemed so vulnerable before, so afraid; and even though her decision to return had a positive outcome, her performance has not been the same. He could tell she’s weighed down by her worries, and he can’t help trying to figure out a way that would relieve her concerns. Before he can think of something, she suddenly sits up and hops to her feet before moving away from the simulator.

    “I need some air,” she sighs, never looking back at Terry as she makes her way through one of the cave’s many tunnels.

    It doesn’t take long for her to find her way out into an open clearing shadowed by the night; she finds herself at the base of the hill the manor is set on, glad the wide-open space is helping lift the heavy shadow shrouded over her. The few trees scattered around her have already shed their leaves for the coming fall, making the gnarled and crooked branches look ominous in the shadows, as though begging the crescent moon to lend them some of its beauty; but Jazz isn’t intimidated by the scenery. Instead, she’s grateful for it since it allows the silence to remain unbroken by the sound of leaves rustling in the slight breeze. She moves towards an old oak tree a few yards away and pulls herself up on one of the low-hanging branches. Climbing a few feet higher, she perches herself on a thick branch, letting her legs lie across the length of it and leaning her back against the trunk. A deep sigh escapes her as she turns her eyes up to the sky, seeking comfort in the stars speckled above her.

    She’s not sure how burning balls of gas millions of light-years away can help her reach the relief she prays for, but those jewels in the sky never fail to at least quiet her mind. Worries to impress and live up to expectations dissolve away, leaving behind emptiness that resembles the dark expanse defined between the stars. She feels like her mind has been wiped clean from the chaos that was cluttering it, giving her an opportunity to start over again without the overwhelming emotions getting in the way.

    She doesn’t understand why she didn’t perform up to par during training tonight, or since her return for that matter. Terry has been working hard to rebuild her confidence in the past three months, but his patience is clearly starting to wan. She doesn’t blame him for that; hell, she’s even surprised he’s been patient this long. But it’s the disappointed responses she elicits, particularly from Bruce, that make every training session worse than the next. She’s glad he wasn’t there to watch tonight’s dismal performance, but even so, she could hear his criticizing remarks before assigning some grueling strength training as means for her to improve.

    He doesn’t seem to understand that fifty reps of pull-ups with weights attached to her ankles does nothing to that hesitation growing within her. Terry may have helped her understand that her soul isn’t a monster waiting to spring, but the fear of losing control wasn’t calmed. She doesn’t have to be a monster to make a fatal mistake, a miscalculation that could make Terry doubt the belief he so generously and irresponsibly puts in her. That pressure to perform is getting to her and only becomes worse as time passes.

    The sound of leaves crunching underfoot peels Jazz’s eyes away from the sky and down to find a shadow approaching. She watches him quietly walk up to the tree, the red insignia on his chest growing clearer with every step before he stops at its base.

    “How’d you find me?” She asks, remembering the tunnel she had taken is riddled with several misleading forks.

    Instead of replying, Terry tosses a sports drink up to her, which she catches and sets in her lap. He pulls himself up in the same manner as she did and keeps climbing until he reaches the branch a foot lower and almost parallel to hers. He settles himself in much the same manner as her, clasping hands that rest on the top of his raven head.

    “On your right,” he finally replies without turning to her.

    She brings her eyes to search the trunk over her right shoulder and finds numbers carved into the dry bark. Taking a closer look, she reads the date 9/23/2042 before turning back to Terry with the understanding that he has used this tree as his perch in the past and most likely came out here to sit in it rather than in search of her.

    “It’s the day my dad died,” he explains before she could pose the question. “I carved it in there a month after I started here. I needed something solid to remind me why I do this every night.”

    “I take it you come out here often?”

    He shrugs. “I need a way to stay sane,” he replies, remembering the tough nights years ago when doubt filled his mind.

    “And it helped?” She asks, her tone unintentionally sounding desperate and making Terry look up at her.

    “Yeah,” he sincerely replies, studying her face in hopes of learning which direction she’s trying to move the conversation.

    A moment of still silence passes before she lowers her eyes from the bejeweled sky to the drink in her hand. “I’m really trying, Ter, but I’m still afraid,” she quietly confesses, nervously fingering the wrapper that’s peeling off.

    He can tell she’s been punishing herself, that her strength is crumbling away like a wall of bricks beaten by a sledgehammer for too long. Soon she’ll be nothing but a pile of rubble too unrecognizable to be put back together.

    “Look,” Jazz continues in a hopeless tone. “If you’d rather not have me out there, I’ll understand.”

    “Wait, what? No one said anything about pulling you out,” Terry replies, watching her shoulders slump forward with defeat.

    “You said you can’t keep checking on me when we’re out in the field.”

    “I was just frustrated.”

    “You wouldn’t have said it at all if you weren’t thinking it.”

    “Fine,” he sighs, bringing his arms down to his lap before continuing, “yeah, you’re right.” Jazz whips her head in his direction, surprised by his agreement. “It may not be a good idea for you to be by my side with the way you keep messing up; but it doesn’t change the fact that I need you, so I’m not giving up on you.”

    She scoffs at that. “How exactly do you plan to help? And don’t say more training.”

    “Then we’ll find another way. I’ll do whatever it takes, Jazz.”

    “Whatever it takes, huh?” She repeats, bringing her eyes back up to the sky.

    “Just name it.”

    “Can we skip the simulations?”

    Terry can’t help but crack a smile. “We’ll just call it a night,” he replies following her gaze in time to catch a shooting star speed by. “Anything else?”

    She hesitates for a second as she lowers her gaze to her fiddling fingers before she timidly asks, “can you just sit with me for a little bit?”

    His smile eases when he hears the fear in her tone and looks up at her to find her hugging knees drawn up to her chest. He sympathizes with her strife, knowing from experience how difficult it is to feel so doubtful, so unsure, so untrustworthy. Getting to his feet, he lifts himself over to her branch and sits facing her with one leg dangling and the other pulled closer to his chest so he can rest an arm on his knee.

    They sit in silence, close enough for their feet to barely touch; Jazz absorbs the comfort Terry’s presence gives her, and Terry patiently watches her, waiting for her to say something. When he notices the tension in her finally start to give way, his fist gently bumps her knee, bringing her shadowed eyes to stare into his. Their locked gaze fills Jazz with a sense of safety, reassured that if she ever decides to lean on him, he’ll be there to hold her. She smiles at him as she holds out the unopened bottle that was originally his.

    He shakes his head, declining the offer. “It’s yours,” he explains, in turn confessing that he had come out here in search of her after all. Before she could call him out on the fact, he leans back to lie on the branch and turns his eyes skywards, cradling his head with interlaced fingers. “So why stargazing?” He asks, quickly changing the subject.

    She bashfully shrugs as her eyes turn up to the twinkling sky. “You remember that hot night when we were filling the pool this summer?” She asks.

    “Yeah,” he replies, lifting his head slightly to shoot a curious look her way.

    “It was the first time I saw stars over Gotham,” she quietly confesses.

    “No kidding,” he smiles before bringing his head back down.

    “Yeah; I mean, usually I’m in the city where it’s too bright to see anything cause of the lights. So when we were lounging that night and I finally got to see them, it was… comforting, you know? It’s like, you can always count on them to be there, that reliable constant in the sky, the one thing you know won’t change anytime soon. Time just stops and I feel like I can breathe again,” she sighs.

    “My dad used to take me and Matt camping over the summer,” Terry recounts. “He was a nature buff and loved doing all that out-doorsy stuff. I wasn’t a fan, so it was the most miserable week of my life; but the only reason I let him take me was for the nights. After we put out the campfire, my dad would set up the telescope and spend the night teaching us about stars, planets, galaxies. He was like some endless vault of astronomical info, knowing the answer to every question we asked.”

    The smile Jazz hears in his voice as he reminisces brings her eyes down to study whatever she can see of his face, amazed to find him content rather than bereaved. It’s as though talking about his father has the same effect the stars have on her, and the realization makes her glad they share the same soothing experience the indigo sky offers. When she brings her reassured eyes back up, a shooting star careens across her field of vision and brings her to gasp with awe.

    The two suddenly and simultaneously ask, “did you see that?”

    Terry lifts his head to reveal an amused grin before he straightens up, letting both legs dangle on either side of the branch. “Give me your hand,” he orders, making her frown.


    “Matt and I used to play this game where we would count the shooting stars and whoever had the most before bed got to sleep in the good sleeping bag. So whenever we saw the same shooting star, we thumb wrestled for the right to claim it ours.” The quizzical glance she gives him makes him roll his eyes. “I’m competitive, remember?”

    Scoffing, she straightens up and straddles the branch as she scoots closer until their knees touch. “Gloves off,” she grins before she reveals a bare hand.

    “Gloves off,” he repeats with agreement, pulling his off and curling his fingers into hers.

    “Best two out of three. Winner gets the last piece of pie in the fridge.”

    “Deal,” he agrees, then starts the countdown that leads to Jazz giggling as her thumb wiggles around and Terry calling her out whenever she tries to cheat.

    The grateful smile that she gives him for helping ease her worries is short lived after a squeak of disapproval escapes her throat when he pins her thumb down and wins the game she hasn’t played since she was nine.


    Meg is considered one of those very average names, lacking the uniqueness that clings to memory or catches attention, and it seems to fit its owner too well. Her bored, brown eyes roam over to the classroom’s clock mounted just above the door, a nefarious piece of technology that seems to cast invisible bars across the room’s only exit and keeping her locked in. She grimaces at the digital face telling her seventeen minutes are left of algebra class, seventeen very long minutes that tick by too slowly as if to mock her imprisonment. Stuck in a boring high school math class and surrounded by teenagers who never seem to see her, she groans inwardly as she rests her cheek on a fist and envisions the life she plans after this grueling period of her life is over.

    She dreams of finally escaping Smallville, moving to a place where the art of ballet is revered rather than insulted and scoffed at. She wishes a letter would arrive in the mail, surprising her with an acceptance to the American Ballet company, an invitation to tour with the most renowned dancers and join them on stage. She wonders if she should change her name to something unique and memorable like Marilyn or Natasha; after all, who ever heard of a famous ballet dancer called Meg?

    Grounding her floating mind, she blows a puff of air upwards to get the stray lock of brown hair out of her eye… average, brown hair… frizzy, average, brown hair, she criticizes. She glances over at Jennifer’s soft, golden curls spilling over her shoulders, and finds herself envious of how it always stays perfect no matter how high the humidity levels spike. Oh, what she would give to trade her frizzy locks for Jennifer’s golden mane. A sigh escapes Meg’s lips as she turns her eyes back to the equations scribbled on the touch screen black board.

    “Chris?” Her teacher asks looking at the boy snickering with his neighbor in the back row. “Care to answer?”

    ‘X is less than 3/7y + 9,’
    Meg mentally calculates, trying to telepathically send the answer into Chris’s head. She knows there’s no way he’ll get it; algebra just isn’t his forte, but who gives a crap if you have looks like his? Meg stops herself from swooning over her crush so no one would notice the way she melts when he speaks.

    “X is less than 7y?” He finally asks, making Meg’s head drop onto her desk with disappointment. If only he is as good at math as he is at swimming.

    The final bell rings, releasing the grateful students from their classes and bringing Meg’s eyes to shoot up just in time to see Chris’s red head walk out the door. She quickly collects her things and rushes out hoping to “accidentally” bump into the sixteen year old and say her goodbyes before the weekend can deny her of his presence until Monday morning.

    She pushes her way through the crowded hallway and ignores the many shoves she receives when students bump into her shoulders, proving her invisibility theory right; she reaches her locker just as Chris, coincidentally her neighbor, shuts his.

    “Have a great weekend, Chris,” she breathlessly wishes just as he turns away to meet his friends.

    Her voice, however, doesn’t seem to reach his ears since he strides away while laughing with his group of friends. At least she caught a glimpse of his pearly white smile before he left, Meg tries consoling herself.

    The look of boredom that vexes all teenage faces conquers hers once she takes her seat on the yellow bus. She plugs her earphones in to escape the noise of students chattering and laughing, and counts the minutes until she’s home, sitting at her desk to write a new blog entry about the levels of superficiality some female teenagers have reached.


    “Kent,” Bruce stiffly greets the superhero, who has taken the liberty of letting himself into the manor.

    “Thanks for meeting me, Bruce,” Clark replies as he enters the living room.

    “Not like I could have stopped you,” Bruce quips. A smile dimmed by worry crosses Clark’s lips before he settles in the couch. “Not that I mind your visits,” Bruce starts, the sarcasm never getting lost on Clark, “but is there a reason you couldn’t make the request over the phone?”

    “My identity’s been compromised,” Clark begins, cutting straight to the point. “So I don’t have a lot of trust in unsecure lines.”

    “Compromised?” Bruce frowns, finding it strange how a high profile identity like his would go unnoticed in the media world for this long.

    “It’s not about the attention,” Clark continues, as though reading Bruce’s mind, proof that the two have worked together far too long. “It’s personal. Did you know old villains hold grudges?” He tries to joke, but predictably Bruce isn’t amused. “Anyway, I was contacted a few days ago by a group who have yet to reveal themselves, and they’ve threatened to hurt my family. I thought I could handle it on my own at first, but they must be part of some underground operation I didn’t even know existed. They’re like ghosts, disappearing when they don’t want to be found.”

    “And finding them is my area of expertise,” Bruce finishes for him. Clark nods, but the look in his eye suggests there’s more. “What is it?”

    “You know my son Greg, right?”

    “I know of him,” Bruce corrects sitting perfectly still with hands resting on his cane and eyes steady on his old friend.

    “I think he’s the one they’re after. He’s the only one who’s vulnerable, and they know the only way to hurt me is to get to my family.”

    The fear and anxiety radiating from the Man of Steel is almost palpable, and Bruce can understand why. Clark has always believed that friends and family are the most precious commodity man can ever have, and it’s why he still checks on Bruce now and then, including those years he spent confined and depressed (though, it wasn’t easy). If they were ever in danger, Clark never held back or hesitated to save them no matter how grim the situation may have been.

    “What do you want me to do?” Bruce finally asks.

    Clark gives Bruce a relieved if not grateful smile before replying, “I need someone to look over Greg and his family in Smallville while we sort this out.”

    Bruce nods once. “I’ll send the girl,” he decides without question or uncertainty. “Before she goes, care to tell me what she might be facing?”

    “All I know is they’re skilled assassins and not much else. You sure you want to send her?”

    “She’s capable enough if that’s what you’re worried about,” Bruce replies, raising a brow at him. Clark has never met the new recruit, but he has never doubted Bruce’s decisions before and he isn’t about to start now.

    “Of course,” Clark gives him a reassured nod. “Thank you, Bruce. I appreciate it.”

    “We better get to work,” Bruce replies as he stands, leading Clark down to the cave to prove his talents have not been lost to time.

    --to be continued--feedback welcome--
  2. Theking

    Theking Very cute Lego Babe.

    Feb 4, 2002
    Likes Received:
    oh this is awesome!!

    I would love to see Jazz on her own again. There are so many emotions with her.

  3. aiwac

    aiwac Member

    Aug 1, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Welcome back! I would try and let go of the fear. George R. R. Martin commented that writers are like architects or tillers; either they plan their stories far in advance or they plant small seeds and try to help them grow into great trees. There's nothing wrong with being a tiller.

    The only real way to guarantee failure is not to try. Whenever I think of giving up, I remember that I, too, am something of a tiller and that if I don't try to work the land, the seeds certainly won't grow. Perhaps the garden will look different than how I planned it, but I believe it will still be beautiful - with a few rough patches and aborted efforts along the way, of course.

    The best part of this chapter is the relationship between Terry and Jazz. You have a real and natural handle on both these characters; the dialogue and descriptions flow seamlessly and I look forward to seeing their relationship really grow. (PS I don't remember - has Terry told Jazz about the submarine incident with Blight?)

    I'm not sure what you want with Meg, but she seems interesting enough and I look forward to hearing more from her.

    All in all, a very good start.

  4. SilentBat18

    SilentBat18 Hmm, so, yeah

    Jun 23, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Thank you! Glad to hear that because there will be plenty of solo work for her.

    one of my favorite reviews thus far :) Thank you for those encouraging words, and yes, i very much am a tiller. And you're right; the fear of not achieving perfection shouldn't keep me from posting, because perfection, after all, is a subjective and unattainable concept. As for your question, yes, she knows about it, but not because he has told her. She knew the circumstances of Blight's disappearance, but not Terry's side of the story, at least not yet ;) Finally, in regards to Meg, well there's more character development yet to come and i hope she's well received.

    Thanks for taking the time to review. I really value your opinions since it also helps shape my improvement. Another chapter will be coming soon :D
  5. SilentBat18

    SilentBat18 Hmm, so, yeah

    Jun 23, 2006
    Likes Received:
    *****Prepare yourselves, readers, for this is a long chapter. I owe it to you since i'm not disciplined in the art of updating frequently and in a timely manner. I hope it doesnt feel like i'm rushing this story along, because i want it to be more of an easy read, not the next silver screen blockbuster. Anyway, just read on and i hope you enjoy!
    PS let me know what you think of Meg so far! The target i'm hoping to nail is typical teenager, and since i havent been that in a while, i'd really appreciate the feedback.*****
    “There’s no reason for that, pop,” Greg quietly argues over the phone.

    “I’m not asking, Gregory,” Clark replies.

    “I can take care of Steph and Meg on my own.”

    “It’s not that simple, son. I’m not putting the three of you in danger. Please, just accept the help,” Clark pleads.

    He has reason to worry most about Greg; Clark’s two older daughters had inherited Kryptonian powers, but his only son never did. Greg is normal in every way, making him the most vulnerable.

    “Fine,” Greg sighs, bringing a wave of relief to splash over his father.

    “Her name’s Jazz; she’ll be arriving at the airport in a few hours,” Clark explains.

    “Who is she?”

    “A friend.”

    “Anyone I know?” Greg asks, wondering if he’s sending a Leaguer.

    “No,” is the curt reply.

    “So what am I supposed to do with her?”

    “Nothing; just let her do her job, okay?”

    “Okay,” he agrees, rolling his blue eyes.

    “And Greg,” Clark adds, regaining his son’s attention, “Steph and Meg shouldn’t know about this.”

    “Of course; anything else you want to tell me about, pop?”

    “No, just take care of yourselves.”

    “You too,” Greg sighs before hanging up and running a calloused hand through his short salt-and-pepper hair.

    He has grown used to his father facing danger every day since he was a child. Even his older sisters are danger veterans, and although they currently have families of their own, they continue saving the world on a part time basis. Greg, on the other hand, has faced a few close calls, so the knowledge that he is currently a target sends shivers through his body. He had deliberately chosen the quiet life of a modest farmer to avoid such attempts on his life, but it’s obvious they still find a way to reach him. Letting out a final sigh, Greg gets up from his chair to find his wife and daughter and explain they will be hosting a guest for the next few days.


    As they make their way to the airport, Meg can tell something is bothering her father, but she decides against confronting him about it since she’s more concerned with finding out who this mystery guest is. She had never heard of a fifth cousin Jazz once removed on her grandmother’s side, so how does her father? And why was she going to be staying with them so suddenly? Her father was saying something about family should stick together in tough times, but he didn’t sound convincing when he was talking about this Jazz character.

    As her father parked the pick-up truck, she begins to imagine what Jazz looks like. Would she have blue eyes like her grandfather, or rare violet ones like her grandmother? She hopes it isn’t the latter; violet eyes get so much attention from people who seem to instantly fall in love with their owner. She walks through the arrival gate with roaming eyes searching for a lone woman who she hopes has an ugly hump or lazy eye.

    “Hold up the sign, Meg,” her father instructs when they get to baggage claim.

    Rolling her eyes, she does as told and shifts her weight to one leg as she watches people walk past, barely glancing at her sign.

    “Where is she?” Meg groans after a few minutes.

    “She’ll be here,” Greg replies, giving his daughter a reassuring pat on her shoulder.

    Being an impatient fifteen-year-old, Meg just rolls her eyes and self-consciously straightens her shirt as she continues looking into the small crowd surrounding a baggage carousel. God, she hopes Jazz doesn’t have the same hourglass figure Jennifer flaunts. Being a board-like size two no thanks to ballet three times a week, Meg is too aware of her size, and even more so about those of the women around her. So if this fifth or sixth cousin is going to live with them for a while, it would be a lot easier if she looked more like lanky Meg than voluptuous Jen.

    The small crowd parts to reveal a woman seated on her suitcase and concentrating on the smartphone in hand as she waits. When she looks up, her silver eyes lock with Meg’s brown ones and cause dread to fill the pit of Meg’s stomach. That woman is a freaking model! Meg watches her rise to a stand and takes note of her long, toned legs, somehow looking so different from her own stringy ones. Her physic, tight in all the right places but curvy in the rest, rivals that of Jen, making the blond look like a chubby invalid. Meg may be a ballerina, but her figure has yet to fill out with the muscles she yearns for. As the corner of Jazz’s perfectly plump, red lips turn up to form a small smile, Meg begins praying this woman isn’t that mysterious cousin. However, with luggage in tow, Jazz starts approaching her, eyes still locked on Meg and smile still stretched on her lips.

    Oh God no; please, not her, Meg continues praying when the stranger stops in front of her, glancing at the sign.

    “Are you the Kents?” She asks, dividing her gaze between Meg and Greg.

    “Sure are; you must be Jazz,” Greg replies smiling at her.

    Jazz holds out a hand for him to shake. “Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Kent,” Jazz smiles when Greg takes her hand.

    “Call me Greg; this is my daughter, Meg.”

    Those silver plates for eyes drift over to meet Meg’s face, who flashes a forced smile and looks away. Jazz uses her unwavering smile to hide the surprise of meeting an unexpectedly tall fifteen year-old. They happen to be of the same height, which is unusual considering fifteen-year-old Matt is at least two inches shorter. Despite the poker face, Meg can sense exactly what Jazz is wondering about; it isn’t the first time she’s received such a reaction.

    ‘Great,’ she mentally scoffs as she follows her father back to the car. ‘Ms. Perfect already thinks I’m a freak.


    “So I hear you have a beautiful farm,” Jazz politely starts, sitting between the two Kents in the pick-up truck.

    “Three hundred acres,” Greg proudly replies. “Most used for crops, and the rest dedicated to my wife’s use.”

    “Oh?” Jazz asks, hoping to keep the discussion going so as not to deal with the awkward silence a moody teenager can create.

    “My wife’s a riding teacher, and she’s rescued and rehabilitated about twenty horses for her school. She’s made quite a name for herself in Smallville.”

    “Impressive,” Jazz replies. “How long has she been doing that?”

    “All her life. She grew up around horses in Wyoming, and can write a book about the things she’s seen. When you get her started, there’s no stopping her.”

    “So does everyone if your family ride?” She asks, stealing a glance at the teenager gazing out the window.

    “We’re not Olympians, but we know our way on a saddle. We thought Meg would have followed in her mother’s shoes and become a champion rider, but she fell in love with ballet instead.”

    “Ballet?” Jazz asks, smiling at the teenager in hopes of pulling her out of this gloomy mood she found her in. Meg shrugs with indifference and lets out an irritated sigh.

    “Oh don’t let that fool you,” Greg speaks for her. “She goes absolute bonkers for it; sometimes we catch her dancing across the farm when she’s supposed to be doing chores.”

    “Dad!” Meg scolds, before groaning with embarrassment.

    “Oh hon, you’re a beautiful dancer! Best in her class. You should have seen her when they did a rendition of Cinderella in the spring. I have the video if you’d like to watch,” he offers, making his daughter hide her cringing face in her hands.

    Polite conversation fills the rest of the ride home with Jazz asking most of the questions; where Greg was from, how he met his wife, how many kids they have. When they finally arrive to the cozy two-story ranch style house, Steph is already waiting outside to greet them in the driveway.

    With pleasantries done and the tour finished, Jazz finally has a chance to unpack in the small guest room made up for her. As she sets her bag on the bed and unzips it, a knock on the door sounds.

    “Come in,” Jazz calls out as she straightens up.

    The door opens and Greg walks in, closing it behind him. “Hey,” he quietly starts, looking a bit nervous. “Listen, I know Dad sent you here for our sake, but is it really necessary?”

    “Your father is Superman, Greg,” she whispers, suggesting the magnitude of what Clark considers trouble is much more different from anyone else’s definition. Greg frowns at the reply, unintentionally taking it as an insult to his ability to protect his family. Realizing her mistake, Jazz corrects herself before Greg has a chance to rebut. “Look, it’s just that I don’t think you’re used to handling this type of trouble.”

    “How would you know?”

    “By being the one asked to protect you.”

    Beginning to understand the seriousness of the issue, he tries to hide the worry that continues to grow. “From what exactly?”

    Jazz kneads the back of her neck as she chooses her words carefully. Superman had specifically ordered her not to disclose information regarding the situation, but she feels his son is entitled to know what kind of danger he might be facing.

    “I can’t say much about it,” she starts, looking up at the concerned face. “But they’re not someone you want to cross paths with.”

    “So what kind of powers do you have that makes you better equipped to handle them?”

    A moment of hesitation passes before Jazz replies, “none.”

    “What?” He gasps, surprised his father would send someone no more special that himself. “Then how the hell are you any better than me with a damn shot gun?” Greg asks, growing even more anxious.

    “You’ll just have to trust me,” Jazz replies with confidence she hopes will settle his concerns.

    But it doesn’t; instead, it makes him question his father’s judgment. What was he thinking sending a powerless girl to protect them against something Superman worries about facing? Although his concerns stop just short of his throat, Jazz can see them drawn on his face with sharp clarity. She tries not to let it get to her, but remembering the trouble she’s been having over the last few months, the doubt turns infectious. Screw Superman, what the hell was Bruce thinking when he let her go?! Thankfully, Jazz is better adept at keeping her doubts hidden and decides to build Greg’s confidence in her instead.

    “Look, do you think your dad would really risk your lives by sending an incompetent protector?” She can see he’s been mulling over that very question just a moment ago, so she continues without giving him a chance to reply. “No, he wouldn’t, and I’m sure about that because of the way he leads the League. He personally sought my help, Mr. Kent,” she fibs. Hey, it’s about confidence, right? “And if he had even the slightest inkling that I couldn’t do it, I wouldn’t be the one you’re having this discussion with right now.”

    The nervous sigh he gives in response tells her that the little speech she gave is enough to win him over for now. It’s clear he won’t fully trust her until she’s proven her abilities, the act that she’s dreading the most, but at this point even a little trust will suffice.

    “If anything should happen, Jazz, protect my wife and daughter first,” Greg requests, finally coming to terms with the arrangement.

    “Everyone is my priority, Greg; those are my orders,” Jazz replies.

    She stares at the man standing two inches taller than her and feigning bravery. She can tell he’s never seen a battlefield, but he shares his father’s heart, and that’s something she admires and maybe even envies at this point.

    “Thank you,” Greg nods, his respect for her slowly growing.

    “There’s no need,” she replies with a small smile, glad her façade of courage convinced him.

    “Dinner should be ready soon, so just make yourself at home,” he explains before moving to the door.

    After watching him leave the room, Jazz takes her time unpacking the small suitcase she brought along. Bruce had asked her to leave the suit behind, explaining that if the assassins knew of Batgirl’s involvement, the reinforcements they might bring would be more than she could handle. Conversely, if she keeps a low profile without raising alarm, she would be able to protect the family a lot more easily and hopefully long enough until Superman can resolve his little dilemma.

    However, she didn’t leave Gotham completely unarmed. Bruce had recently begun training her to use various other weaponry, particularly the bo staff. She had discovered Nightwing’s staff to be particularly useful for this mission, liking its ability to extend and separate when she needs it to. It isn’t the only one that she brought along though. Since Nightwing’s staff has to be hollow in order to collapse on itself, Bruce had her take a second, sturdier staff. She was hesitant to bring it since it lacks the same portability as Nightwing’s staff, but figured it’s better to have two weapons than one while she’s suit-less. Fishing it out from the bottom of the suitcase, she reassembles the divided staff and hides it under her bed by lining it against the edge of the floor so it remains hidden. Nightwing’s staff she keeps hidden in one of the bag’s pockets for safekeeping. Once everything has been put away, she heads out to the barn to survey her surroundings.

    Four buildings, not including the house, make up the Kent Farm. The largest of the four is the stable housing the twenty horses. Finding no one around to give her a tour, she takes the opportunity to check it out for herself. Walking into the long building, she finds ten stalls lining each side. As she carouses the hallway, looking at the horses snoozing in their stalls, she makes note of the high rafters that could offer cover.

    She uses a ladder she finds in the corner to climb up to the attic and discovers it riddled with dusty boxes full of unused equipment. When she makes her way back down, she notices an alcove in the opposite corner that leads to a cramped office. Taking a quick look around the small room that can barely fit a desk and chair, she figures this is where Steph conducts her riding school business. The ribbons and medals that line one wall impress her while the photos of people and horses pinned to a cork board make her smile.

    With nothing else left to check in this building, she moves on to the next a few yards away. Although half the size of the first, it’s surprisingly large on the inside, capable of housing square hay bales in ten-foot high stacks on one side. Saddles and bridles hang neatly on the opposite wall, whereas grooming tools sit in drawers and baskets in the corner by the tack equipment. She picks up an unfamiliar tool that has a pointed tip curved at a 90-degree angle. Twirling it in her hand, she tries to figure out what it could be used for.

    “It’s called a hoof pick,” a voice explains, as though reading Jazz’s mind.

    She turns to find Meg standing behind her and carrying what looks like a wooden toolbox. “Oh, hey, I was just looking around,” Jazz replies, setting the hoof pick back and smiling at her.

    “Whatever,” the tall adolescent sighs, moving past Jazz.

    She grabs a few more grooming tools, sets them in the caddy, and turns towards the saddles. Jazz quietly watches her scan the tack wall before picking out an English saddle, hanging it on her arm before reaching for the necessary bridle.

    “Need some help?” Jazz offers when Meg has trouble getting the bridle off the hook.

    “No,” she grunts despite the difficulty she’s having with balancing everything in her hands while trying to free the bridle.

    Jazz rolls her eyes and gives her a hand unhooking the bridle. Meg mutters a word of gratitude and heads back to the main stable. Having followed her out of curiosity, Jazz watches her stop in front of a stall door and set the gear on a saddle stand before sliding the door open and stepping in. She quietly approaches and smiles when she finds Meg cooing gentle words to the brown thoroughbred as she slips the halter on. She leads her out to the hallway and clips the crossties on the sides of the halter so she stands in the middle of the passageway.

    “What’s her name?” Jazz asks as Meg searches for the right grooming tools.

    “Rosie,” is the curt reply before the teen begins the brushing process.

    “Can I pet her?” Jazz tries again, for some reason feeling a strong need to pull this moody teen out of her slump.

    “Whatever,” Meg shrugs.

    “So how long you been riding?” Jazz asks, watching the horse sniff her hand before nuzzling it.

    “I don’t know,” Meg mumbles, making it clear she doesn’t want to talk to Ms. Perfect.

    “Fine,” Jazz sighs and steps away. “I can take a hint.”

    Just as she turns to head out, an unfamiliar girl dressed in tan riding breeches and helmet in hand marches into the stable. Jazz’s eyes follow the blond as she storms her way towards the horse, standing with a hip popped to the side and eyes glaring at Meg.

    “She was supposed to be ready before I got here,” she complains, flipping her curls over her shoulder.

    “I was busy before, so I’m doing it now, Jen,” Meg quietly replies. Jazz can’t help but notice how Meg deliberately avoids Jen’s angry gaze.

    “Busy? I didn’t realize you finally found that life you were looking for,” she sneers.

    “Whatever,” Meg mutters, as she continues to brush Rosie’s leg. Jazz frowns when Meg doesn’t take the chance to stand up for herself.

    Whatever, whatever,” Jen mocks. “You should just trademark that already; not like you say anything else.”

    “How about you pull out the crop that was shoved up your ass and find something better to do,” Jazz suddenly retorts, having heard enough of the abuse.

    Surprised by her interference, both Jen and Meg turn their attentions to the woman glaring at the blond. “Excuse me?” Jen frowns, taking a step towards Jazz.

    “Didn’t understand that? My bad, I forgot people like you have a vocabulary limited to self-praise. So let me repeat myself: use that pretty blond head of yours to figure out where to find a nice, shiny mirror that you can stare into and tell yourself all the wonderful things that will massage your conceited ego because no one here is going to do that for you.”

    “Ouch,” Jen mocks as the sneer returns to her face. “Was that supposed to hurt my feelings?”

    “No, just get your attention so I can point out the fact we’re not fooled. No amount of concealer is going to keep us from noticing that giant zit on your chin,” Jazz replies with a smirk.

    A hand flies up to her chin as she squawks with embarrassment. “B****!” She curses as she rushes out the barn.

    “Ouch; was that supposed to hurt my feelings?” Jazz taunts after her as her smile grows.

    “What the hell did you do that for?!” Meg suddenly rounds on Jazz.

    “You need to learn how to stand up for yourself,” Jazz replies, replacing the smile with a glare. “You keep letting b******* like that slide, it won’t be long before someone suggests you tattoo ‘welcome’ on your forehead and change your name to Doormat.”

    “Easy for you to say when you don’t have to see her five times a week!”

    “So that’s what’s stopping you?” Jazz asks with a raised brow. “Look, this Jen character is just a bully. If you prove you have the guts to stand up to her, she won’t bother you.”

    “God, you don’t get it! You’re so far off into your la-la land that you can’t understand that this Jen is someone with power, someone who can make the entire school ruin your life; she’s not someone you piss off!”

    “Here’s something you don’t get, then. Law of nature: show them you can fight, they won’t eat you,” Jazz replies, her gaze unintentionally hardening and causing Meg to stay quiet. “That applies everywhere,” she continues before turning away and walking down the hall, “especially high school.”

    The comment however, leaves Meg in a worse mood than before. She kicks the wooden caddy out of frustration once Jazz is out of sight.

    “What the hell does Ms. Perfect know,” she grumbles as she returns to brushing the horse’s chocolate coat, never considering if Jazz might have learned that lesson from experience.


    The atmosphere at dinner is unnecessarily tense, partly due to Jazz and Meg’s last conversation and partly due to the unresolved awkwardness between the guest and the hosting family. Although Greg is fully aware of the reason for her visit, Steph’s skepticism keeps Jazz from winning her over. Although Steph is polite, Jazz can tell she’s doing it out of obligation. But the Gothamite isn’t sure how to resolve this dilemma, and instead leaves it alone for now. She manages to get through dinner by answering the superficial questions with misleading lies regarding where she’s from and what she does.

    After helping with the dishes, Jazz heads to her room feeling tired and ready to call it a night; but she knows that now isn’t the time for sleep. She needs to perch herself on the roof to guard the house. From what Superman has told her, the assassins are more likely to strike at night and work in groups no larger than two. Although it has yet to be confirmed, it reminds her of the fallen Society of Assassins and makes her hope these killers don’t wield notoriously sharp blades.

    Kneeling, Jazz reaches a hand under the bed to fetch the weapon she had concealed earlier before retrieving the second collapsed staff sitting in her luggage. She pulls on a black sweater as well as a pair of black cargo pants and hides her smaller staff in a pocket. She divides her larger staff and slides the two halves into a carrying pouch, which she slings onto her back. Turning out her light, she nimbly climbs out of her window and balances herself on the top of the roof, looking around to make sure she has most of the field in view. Satisfied with her sentry, Jazz takes out her comlink, puts it in her ear and presses the power button.

    “Hey, you there?” She whispers as her trained eyes roam the fields looking for unusual shadows or movements.

    “She lives,” Terry replies with a grin in his voice.

    “Barely; the kid tried beheading me today. Any news from Clark?”

    “Yeah; turns out old foe’s still holding a grudge against him and hired spies to do the research which led to the compromise,” he explains as he makes his way to the parked Batmobile. “Once they knew his identity, they hired assassins to take care of the rest.”

    “Which group do the assassins work for?”

    “Still working on that; so far we know it’s a small firm based in Japan.”

    “So I’ll be dealing with ninjas,” Jazz replies, sounding less enthusiastic about her job. “Lucky me.”

    “Only if you live.”

    “Wow, great pep talk, McGinnis. You should be leading an army.”

    “Just instilling the will to survive,” Terry quips with a grin that she shares before a movement catches her attention.

    She whips her head in the direction and narrows her eyes as she studies the area. She has been trained to rely on her peripherals, having learned from Bruce that they detect movement better in the dark. A few tense minutes pass before she lets the air out of her lungs.

    “You busy?” Jazz asks, pulling her hood over her head.

    “The car’s busted so no, why?”

    “I wouldn’t mind the company,” she replies, watching the breeze rustle the corn stalks.

    Terry smiles, happy to have time to spend with her even if she is hundreds of miles away. “I’m all yours,” he says, relieved she can’t see his sheepish face. Jazz represses a smile as the blood rushes to her cheeks. “So, seen any good crop circles yet?”

    A snort of laughter escapes her throat before she stifles it. “No; I actually like it here, though. It’s quiet.”

    “Don’t use that as an excuse to move away; I still need you back here when this is over,” he says, as he opens the car’s hood to reveal the complicated machinery hidden beneath. The comment reminds her of their conversation the night before.

    She pulls her knees up to hug them. “I know you do,” she smiles, somehow comforted to know she has made a difference in his life. Falling silent with thought, she lifts her eyes to the sky to find glitter twinkling down in the thousands. “Stars are out,” Jazz quietly informs, a statement that has recently become somewhat of a catchphrase for her, a sign that she’s allowing the tiny lights to engulf her, send her mind wandering; and Terry knows it.

    He remains quiet as he visualizes her sitting on the rooftop and staring up at the sky. Events from the night before flit through his mind, reminding him of the way he was able to pull Jazz out of her slump, even more so of the happiness he felt when he was successful. They’ve slowly been growing closer, each day that passes making him feel like he understands her a little bit more. Signs of the initial hostility they had towards each other in the beginning have long melted away, especially as they each realized how much they have in common with the other. It started with a comment here and a gesture there that would illicit a smile or even a giggle.

    As the ice thawed and the amount they shared grew more with each day, they each learned the pain the other felt was a mutual one despite the different lives they’ve led. He’s never connected with anyone else in the same way, the truth that others never truly understood always getting in the way; but it was different with Jazz. The look in her eye was familiar to him, a hint that showed him that she more than gets it, that she’s living it with him. Knowing he has a friend who knows him at that level, who has gone through what he has, who is currently living the same life is a source of reassurance and even relief. He doesn’t hesitate to take Jazz’s advice or comforting words, because she doesn’t have to pretend like she knows what he’s going through. Realizing he’s been thinking about her a little too much, he bends over the Batmobile’s massive engine and continues repairing the three broken pistons and five blown radiators to preoccupy himself.

    He doesn’t know how long the cave has been quiet for, but when Jazz’s grunt suddenly comes through the speakers, Terry’s head instinctively whips up to stare at the blank screen.

    “Jazz?” He asks, his tone tinged with concern when panting replaces the grunt.

    “Found a scout,” Jazz manages to inform before the sound of rustling corn stalks replace the silence.

    It happened while she was staring at the sky, her eyes hoping to drink the light and shine like the moon. However, instead of brightening, her eyes caught the slightest movement bringing Jazz’s attention from roaming to alert. Her ears seem to prick like a predator’s at the sound of a snapping twig, and her body crouched in an attempt to blend into the darkness. Then she saw him, a head pop up from the cornfields for a fraction of a second before dipping back in like a prairie dog on the lookout.

    When she quietly leapt off the roof, she had no intention of capturing the scout, but merely following him back to his hideout. His skill was obvious when she realized he was leaving the area and not arriving, and it doesn’t help matters when Jazz realizes just how fast he is.

    She now finds herself sprinting after him while managing to stay undetected. Considering they are in a cornfield with stalks higher than both, Jazz relies on her hearing to track him making her stop now and again to get her bearings straightened. Just when it seems like she had traveled across the Midwest, she suddenly bursts through into a plain field causing a jolt of panic to rip through her. Not wanting to blow her cover, she leaps back into the corn and searches the bare field for the scout. The thousands of stars hanging over her provide enough light to bounce off of a shadow gliding away a hundred feet in front of her.

    Her eyes follow him across the field and watch him jump the fence before she decides to race after him. Trying to keep a low profile in a place where there is nowhere to hide takes skill that Jazz has yet to perfect, but the distance between her and the target is wide enough allowing her to follow without being noticed. Unfortunately though, that distance causes Jazz to lose sight of the scout by the time she reaches the fence. Disappointed, she pounds a fist on the wooden post and Terry hears the curse that follows it.

    “Everything okay?” He asks.

    “Lost him,” she pants taking a last look around hoping she could spot the elusive scout.

    “Can you track him?”

    “Not enough light to see and I don’t have a flashlight. This is a problem; they know where the family lives and the lay of the land.”

    “That’s not an advantage,” Terry confidently replies as he tweaks with the new piston in his hands.


    “You know what he knows; actually, you know more since you had a chance to really check out the place. You have the home court advantage.”

    She takes a moment to regard what he said. “I don’t know who’s coming though, or how many,” she finally says as she starts her way back to the house.

    “Not something you should worry about right now. Think about it,” Terry prompts, installing the final piston before moving to the first radiator. “They don’t know who you are or your skills. The scout probably doesn’t even know you’re there let alone what you can do.”

    “What would you do?” She asks, pushing herself through the cornfields. Now and again she uses her staff to lift herself above the stalks so she wouldn’t get lost.

    “Wait, and whenever he shows his face, don’t give a hundred percent because he will be back, with friends. You need him to underestimate you so the next time he strikes he won’t bring the right reinforcement. And by the time he does put together an army, boss is going to be pissed cause Bruce and Superman will have the issue resolved.”

    “I could use your help,” Jazz replies finally reaching the house.

    “Aw, so you do miss me,” Terry teases making Jazz roll her eyes. He pulls the tray full of radiator fluid from under the engine and sets to work on removing the fan and disconnecting the hoses. “Seriously though, if you need me, I’ll be there.”

    “No,” she sighs finally stepping out of the cornfield and into the back yard. “I can manage.”

    She nimbly pulls herself up the side of the house using the drainpipe, and quietly climbs into the guest room. She hides her disassembled staff under the bed, and puts her second, smaller one under her pillow.

    “How’s the car coming along?”

    “Slowly; Bruce just loves radiators,” Terry replies, annoyed with the fact that he has to replace four more of them. “He just had to have a W16 engine.”

    “Mm, but how else can you hit 150 miles per hour in four seconds? Isn’t that why you love taking the car out so much?”

    A grin crosses his face. “Did I say that?”

    “Didn’t have to,” Jazz replies taking her sweater off. “I see the way you take off every night, like you’re trying to break the sound barrier indoors.”

    “I’m just doing the car a favor,” he says before starting on the next radiator.

    “Anyway, I’m going to bed,” Jazz informs slipping on a pair of pajama shorts.

    “Bummer; I still have a few bent panels to replace and I’m not even done with the radiators,” Terry replies, sounding disappointed.

    “Sorry; I have an early wake up.”

    “I guess I’ll talk to you later then; and Jazz, if you need me, I’ll be there.”

    “Thanks,” Jazz replies, reaching for her comlink.

    “I’m serious,” Terry emphasizes, stopping her from terminating the link. “Be careful out there.”

    “I’ll be fine,” Jazz reassures. “Don’t worry about me.”

    He hears the final click that indicates a terminated link before he sighs a prayer, hoping his partner will be fine without him. Jazz, meanwhile, turns to her window to get a last hypnotized glance at the stars before flopping down on the bed and falling into a fitful sleep.

    --to be continued--feedback welcome--
  6. Theking

    Theking Very cute Lego Babe.

    Feb 4, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Very good interation between the sisters.

    You have awesome flow it times very well.

    Keep up the great work.

  7. aiwac

    aiwac Member

    Aug 1, 2008
    Likes Received:
    The dialogue continues to be the best part of this. We learn so much about your characters just through their verbal and non-verbal reactions to situations.

    Try to be more brief with descriptions. If you can say it in two sentences and not three, do so. Don't repeat things the audience already knows or could reasonably figure out themselves. Part of what makes us invested in the story is wanting to connect the dots.

    Also, don't just describe chase scenes - pull us in. Make us feel like we're right there with Jazz. Maybe use terms like hunter and hunted, give us more descriptions of tense breathing and pumping blood in trying to catch a dangerous killer. Less National Geographic, more action-thriller.

    Anyway, keep up the good work. I look forward to seeing more from you. Which reminds me...


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