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Virmire: Assault

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  • Base outskirts
  • Entry point 1: front door
  • Entry point 2: detainment level
  • Saren's labs
  • Facility main level
  • Surprise revelations
  • The bombsite
You must infiltrate Saren's base and destroy it completely. Captain Kirrahe will assist with a diversionary strike to draw off most of the geth.

Acquisition Edit

Prerequisite: Virmire: Saren's Plan

This mission is acquired after leaving the salarian camp on Virmire and beginning the attack on Saren's base.

Preparation Edit

The mission's encounter environments run the gamut from long-range to close range against krogan and geth. You will encounter groups of several krogan at once, so consider including talents that can knock charging krogan off their feet - e.g. Neural Shock, Lift, Throw. Apart from that you will be fighting some fairly large geth at sometimes uncomfortably close ranges, so some abilities such as Sabotage to foul their weapons and AI Hacking to turn them against each other wouldn't go amiss.

Whereas the previous part of Virmire tended to emphasize long-range weapons like sniper rifles, this one slightly favors close range specialists e.g. with shotgun training, so consider bringing at least one of those. Tali and Wrex are good examples of squadmates to bring along, Tali in particular, she has a shotgun and tech talents that can help stop incoming fire. Wrex on the other hand brings biotic talents to knock down his fellow krogan and the occasional geth. If she wasn't sent with Kirrahe, Ashley also becomes a viable option, since she has a shotgun, although the lack of crowd control talents should be noted.

Consider modifying weapons to utilize ammo that either prevents health regeneration, knocks opponents down, or both. The sheer amount of charging enemies with defensive powers will become problematic. Armor configurations should be geared toward shield and health regeneration, since hostile fire will normally occur in places with poor cover, and and using all your medigel to stay alive only to run out when a particularly powerful opponent comes along will make this battle tough.

Walkthrough Edit

Sneaking in the Back Edit

You and your two selected squadmates jump down behind a wall and survey the area. Captain Kirrahe comes over the comm and does a quick comm check. Once you are done with him, he will say that he is starting their attack and he reminds Shepard to be on the lookout for anything that can help them.

Virmire comm tower
When you gain control head forward and in the distance, there is a watchtower of sorts. Head towards the tower and its unfriendly inhabitants: Geth Troopers, Geth Rocket Troopers, and Geth Shock Troopers. They will greet you with a hail of gunfire. Use the nearby rocks or charge up the ramp to deal with them. The geth also deploy a few smaller shields on the upper level, providing them additional protection.

Insanity Tips: On higher difficulty levels, Geth Snipers and a Geth Destroyer will be present, so using the rocks for cover is safer, however it may be harder to acquire firing solutions from here as the geth rarely venture away from their cover; normally after their numbers are thinned. Snipers can easily one-shot you on Insanity level, so try to keep defensive abilities like Immunity or Barrier active whenever possible.

When the geth are full of holes, move up the ramp and over to the console. Select it to disable the geth’s communications and triangulation frequencies. Be sure to hack the weapons locker before you leave as well. Head back down the ramp and either keep going to the T-junction or go around to the north and around. No matter the way you choose you will run into some more geth, depending on your route:

Virmire satellite uplink tower
When you reach the next watchtower, you encounter more geth except there may be a Geth Destroyer that just loves to get in your face. Because of this, focus on it first and then the rest. Also there is a krogan here as well but he doesn’t usually charge at first like the Destroyer does. When the krogan and geth are down target the structure on the roof, and just about anything, even a hard sneeze will knock it off, disrupting the geth’s satellite uplinks. Before heading up the ramp here go the other way to get the experience from killing the enemies, or just head up; your choice.

Base Approach Edit

When you head up the ramp in the distance there will be a Destroyer which you should try to take out before it moves out of sight. If it does get away, it will soon be coming around the corner to find you. Once you reach a T-junction head left/south and be prepared for combat. On this platform are two krogan that waste no time attacking you. Because there is little cover, use powers to get them off balance and then gunfire to kill them. Throw will stop a charging krogan. Lift and Neural Shock work even better as they prevent the krogan from regenerating as well. While you are taking the krogan down, if you haven't taken out the Destroyer yet, make sure you keep an eye out for it.

Virmire - geth flyers
When the krogan are down make sure to grab the crate that is on the platform before you leave. Head back and when you see a rock ramp leading up head up it until the end and you are rewarded with a great view of the base entrance and a technician kit. Insanity Tip: Remember this spot as it is a great place to snipe the geth and krogan guarding the base entrance.

Head back down the ramp and head left/north. Along the way you hear the squadmate that you sent with Kirrahe telling everyone to bunker down before the Geth Flyers come back. If you don’t hear that then you are going the wrong way. When you round a corner you should see a few fuel tanks and some Rocket Drones. Shoot the tanks, or for maximum effect Sabotage them, and that should take out or at least severely damage a few of the flyers. Insanity Tip: It is best to use Sabotage on the Rocket Drones as often as possible, as dodging the rockets can be difficult on the narrow platform. Alternatively, approach them from below the platform, which not only gives you cover using the platform itself, but the Rocket Drones have a tendency to approach in ones or twos.

Head back down either path and if you hear Kirrahe saying that the flyers haven’t shown up then you did it right; if you hear that the flyers are back, then you missed one. When you reach the final bridge to Saren’s base, it is covered in hexagonal geth shields. Two Geth Snipers and two krogan will attack as you approach; find cover as appropriate.

The krogan that appear here have a habit of walking down the bridge then charging about halfway across, then proceeding to melee and use their shotguns to fill the squad full of holes. Insanity Tip: If you return to the sniping spot noted earlier, you can get all the geth down before any of the krogan can get to you -- plus you'll usually face the krogan one at a time instead of together. Note that you may need to approach the bridge to Saren's base closely enough to get the enemies to spawn first, before heading to the sniping point.

Once the area is clear head across the bridge. You now have two options to get into the base: the door on the upper level to the right of the bridge, or a path down through the base's underworks that begins to the left of the bridge. Before committing to either path, be sure to grab the crate on the left and hack the wall safe on the right. Tip: Going through the underworks gives access to more loot and more enemies -- and at the same time allows you to bypass more enemies if you're trying to avoid them.

Base Underworks Edit

Virmire - underworks indoctrinated salarians
To reach the underworks head to the left after crossing the bridge, and down a dirt/sand ramp on the left. When you get to the bottom of the ramp, use decryption on the door to enter. Make your way through the pipes until you reach a room where on your right is an elevated platform and a small, waist high wall on the level you are on. The room contains several indoctrinated salarians and some Geth Troopers. Use the cover to take them all out but watch for the salarians because they will charge down the ramp and attack your squad.

Once they all fall, grab the technician kit on the lower level then head to the upper level and access the security console. One of your squadmates will hack the console - if you are in the habit of skipping through conversations go carefully through this one - and say there are two options, either disable the alarms or generate alarms on the other side of the base. If you select to generate the alarms then Kirrahe will be killed unless you were able to disrupt Geth communications, destroy the satellite uplink and destroy the Geth flyers, in which case he will live; if you choose to disable the alarms you also get more experience in the form of more enemies to fight, and you are rewarded after the mission. In the next room, be sure not to miss the group of four crates behind the staircase.

Saren’s Base Exterior Edit

Open the door, send your squadmates up the stairs, and be prepared to fight some more indoctrinated salarians. They are relatively easy to eliminate however and are a pushover. When they are down, head back down the stairs and under the staircase are four crates that each hold some valuable weapons and armor, so make sure to pick them up. Head up the stairs and keep going around. When you get up the next flight of stairs, head around and in a cell is a salarian who can actually talk rather than just shoot.

Virmire - holding cells
When you talk to the salarian he introduces himself as Private Menos Avot and says that experiments have been performed on him for the six days he has been imprisoned. Your squadmates will comment on his condition and both think that something is off about him. You now have a choice, let him out, or leave him in.

If you let him out he repeats the orders and attacks along with some indoctrinated salarians from adjoining cells, there is some exp here. If you choose to leave him, he will mumble and say that he can’t stay, then he will charge the glass and crack his skull on the glass, killing himself. If you didn't release Avot, then before moving on there are some salarians in the next cell, again you can choose to release them or keep them in the cells. No matter the option these salarians are harmless, and you can’t shoot them either way.

Head out and up the stairs and you reach a security office that holds two more indoctrinated salarians. This office is small but the two salarians are hardly a threat so they fall easily. When they are disposed of there is a weapons locker near where you came in. make sure to grab it before moving on. Head to the door opposite of the one where you came and when you open it there should be a catwalk on the same level as you, if not then try another door, well for now at least, just don’t use the elevator unless you're trying to avoid unnecessary enemies and loot -- it leads directly to the next section.

Head across the catwalk and you will arrive at another door. Tip: If you're trying to AVOID enemies, you don't need to use this door at all; on the other hand if you're trying to get the most experience possible you can go clean it out. If you open it, there is a large room off an even larger warehouse. In the initial room are two more indoctrinated salarians and a Geth Juggernaut. Shoot the salarians and use a power on the Juggernaut to keep it off balance.

When you take down the guards in the office, focus on the salarians and possibly geth that are coming from the lower level warehouse. If you chose to generate alarms on the other side of the base then you'll see only the salarians; otherwise you'll also face Geth Shock Troopers, Geth Troopers, Geth Rocket Troopers, and a Geth Destroyer. The three or four salarians are not a threat but the charging Destroyer is, so focus on that one first. When the attackers are down, grab the medi-gel from the aid station near the stairs heading down into the warehouse before heading back. Note: If you chose to come in through the base's upper level door rather than the underworks, this is the room you'll have entered.

Virmire laboratory
Head back to the security office and the take an immediate right to the door there. When you open the door you should be looking at a staircase heading down and to the right. If not, then find another door just don’t use the elevator, yet.

When you reach the bottom open the door and in the far left cell is another salarian, Lieutenant Ganto Imness. Talking to this salarian will give up a lot more information than the last one that actually talked and didn’t just shoot. Ganto will tell you about the threat of Indoctrination and what happened to his squad, apparently in the other cells.

You can ask him about the tests and what has been happening, and when you have all the information you want you have two options, let him go, or keep him in the cell. He will understand either way, however giving him the chance to outrun the blast give some Paragon points, leaving him to die will grant some Renegade points. You can actually even tell him you're leaving him, gaining the Renegade points, and then change your mind and let him out after all, gaining the Paragon points as well. Afterwards, you can also open up the cell next to his, which contains four salarians. You can just free them, or you can execute them for more Renegade points.

Head back up to the security office and now it is time to use the elevator.

Saren’s Base Interior Edit

When you reach the top of the elevator move out and quickly scan the stasis chamber for a codex entry. Then the guards in the room take notice of you and Doctor Droyas, his asari assistant, and the husks in the chambers attack. Use powers and gunfire to take them down but focus on the husks first because of their proximity to you and their attack that usually does a lot of damage -- the same abilities you use to keep krogan and destroyers off their feet will work well. When they are down loot the area, near the elevator are a technician kit and a wetware kit. On the other side of the room is a medical station. When you are done head out of the room, via the door, and shoot the two Geth Troopers that are near the door.

Virmire sovereign hologram
When you enter the room there is an asari behind a desk. She introduces herself as Rana Thanoptis, a scientist that is in a more permanent position than she would have wanted. You can ask questions and she gives a lot more information about indoctrination and Saren’s flagship, Sovereign. If you keep asking questions then she gives up a wealth of information and access to Saren’s private lab. Now you have the option to either let her go or kill her; she'll make cameos in future Mass Effects if you let her go.

Before heading down to Saren’s lab grab the weapons locker that is in the room first. Take the elevator to Saren’s lab and at the bottom is another beacon, and your squadmates comment that it is the same as the one on Eden Prime. Activate it and the beacon transmits the full vision into Shepard’s brain. However this beacon doesn’t explode when you use it. After Shepard is dropped the squad walks up the stairs and across the overhead catwalk. When you get closer a red hologram appears.

The hologram begins talking and after just a few seconds, Shepard and the squad come to the realization that Sovereign isn’t a Reaper ship, but an actual Reaper. You can ask Sovereign questions and it is willing enough to indulge Shepard for a time. However, after learning that the Reapers are doing what they do for reasons that cannot be understood by organics, and about the destruction of the Protheans, Sovereign ends the conversation and suddenly all the glass around the lab shatters.

Destroy Saren’s Base Edit

Joker comes over the radio and says that Sovereign just pulled a turn that would shear any ship in the Alliance Navy in half. Move out and back up the elevator. When you exit the upper elevator station, a Geth Destroyer is waiting for you, so make sure not to disappoint. When you reenter Rana’s former office, if you didn’t grab the locker earlier then do so. Exit and you see the bridge leading back the way you came from raised and the one in front of the squad lowered.

Virmire - geth interdiction
On the other side are three krogan with shotguns, and at the far end so they can’t do that much damage yet. Send your squadmates up and be sure to keep an eye on them because the krogan will usually charge. Using Lift on the krogan when they charge will often send them out of the playable area for an instant kill. When the krogan are down move through the tunnel and exit.

On the lower platform are three crates that give loot, so just walk down the stairs and take them. When you are done there, head around the corner and be prepared for more geth and another krogan. The krogan is on the lower platform to the right and is quite easy to send flying into the abyss using Lift, then Throw. Then focus on the annoying Geth Hopper jumping around, and be prepared for two Geth Rocket Drones and a Geth Assault Drone waiting around the corner.

Insanity Tip: One of the hoppers is a Geth Ghost so it is easy for Shepard to get one-shotted by its Assassination ability. Therefore on the highest levels it's recommended you disable the hoppers first. Stun them with a Lift, subvert them with AI Hacking, or Sabotage their weapons, and you will be able to take them out quickly before the krogan becomes a threat.

When all the geth are finally dealt with, head to where the krogan was and you are rewarded with another two crates. Then head up to the platform and turn around because there are some geth that apparently followed you up the elevator. A Geth Rocket Trooper, some Geth Troopers, and two Geth Rocket Drones attack. There is little cover however you really don’t need it because the geth are a pushover. When you are done with the geth activate the console to disable the AA tower. Kirrahe comes over the comm congratulating you and saying that now it is his turn. Grab the wall safe and the weapon locker before activating the elevator.

When you activate the elevator be prepared because it doesn’t come up empty. Inside the elevator are two Geth Troopers and a Geth Shock Trooper. Take them out and then take the elevator yourself. When you exit you are in one of the krogan breeding trenches. There are a few Geth Stalkers jumping around so make sure to put them out of their misery; none of the dangerous Ghosts for now. Head across the room shooting as you go and using the cover as necessary.

Head to the next door and open it to reveal a large empty space that holds several Geth Troopers, Geth Rocket Troopers, Geth Shock Troopers, and a Destroyer or Juggernaut on higher difficulties. When you take them down you are treated to a cutscene.

Planting The Bomb Edit

The Normandy swoops in and the squadmate you didn’t send with Kirrahe earlier walks down the ramp with the salarian drive core that has been converted into a nuclear bomb. As the bomb is place near the geothermal taps that power the base, and its one weak point, your other squadmate comes over the radio saying that they are pinned down on the second AA tower. The squadmate with you says to go because they still need a few minutes to finish the arming sequence, so do so. You have the option to reselect your squad at this point because you will have access to neither Kaidan nor Ashley at this point, no matter your choices. Insanity Tip: Unless Shepard is a biotic, you'll almost certainly want to include Liara in this squad for her "krogan control" abilities -- the upcoming encounter with the Krogan Warlord is arguably the most difficult to survive in the rest of the level.

Virmire krogan breeding grounds
When you regain control head to the door to your right, and be prepared for yet another fight. In this trench are three krogan, including a Krogan Warlord, and a few Geth Hoppers. First objective is to get into cover fast to avoid Assassination by the hoppers and then keep an eye on the Warlord because he has a habit of charging before the rest. He also has a habit of going just after Shepard and leaving the rest of the squad alone.

When the Warlord goes down, focus on the geth then the remaining krogan. Finally when the attackers are down, run across and take the elevator up. Insanity Tips: On insanity this battle is a lot more dangerous than it initially looks because of the nature of the enemies and the fairly tight space. Both hoppers will be deadly Geth Ghosts on this difficulty level. Consider remaining outside the main door and picking off both of the Ghosts to simplify the situation, and then see if you can lure over one krogan at a time.

When you reach the top head to your left and make sure to grab the crate before heading up the ramp. When you walk up the stairs you are treated to a cutscene and a big decision.

A Geth Dropship flies overhead and Shepard radios the squadmate back at the bomb site, they say that the geth are dropping in all over the place and they arm the bomb. If you ask, then they will say that they are making sure the bomb goes off no matter what. Then the same dialogue no matter where Kaidan or Ashley are. Both are insistent that Shepard go and save the other one. Because there is no time to save both, you must now make the choice, Kaidan or Ashley, the other will die when the bomb goes off. Make your choice.

Depending on whom you choose to save you will either continue to the AA tower or head back to the bomb site.

Note: You will lose all the equipment you have equipped on the squad member you do not save.

Saving a Squadmate Edit

Whichever route you take you'll be forced to follow that option until the end of the mission. If you choose to continue to the AA tower, the elevator back will be disabled. If you choose to return to the bomb site, the door to the AA tower will be disabled.

AA Tower Edit

Virmire - aa tower geth + salarians
Keep heading down the path and when you reach the door enter and head around and down to the elevator. Before you get in however, grab the weapons locker in the small alcove and the medi gel from the Aid Station. Once you are ready save your game and head up. Once the elevator opens, draw weapons and head around until you can see geth attacking Kirrahe’s remaining men. So oblige and attack the geth before they have a chance to do more damage.

The elevator opens away from the geth, giving you time to pick a path. Your right-hand side has a wall for cover and a clear firing path to the geth, and your left-hand side also has a wall for cover but with much of the view obstructed by a bunch of nearby crates. Both have their obvious advantages and disadvantages. There are 2 fuel tanks at the far end (one is obstructed by a crate if coming in from your right and the other is almost obscured by the near crates if you're coming in from the left) and 2 fuel tanks at each side (may not be readily visible depending on where you are), you may want to blow them up to burn any geth inbound or nearby. You may also want to save some for the coming boss fight. Your call.

The second the last geth falls a cutscene starts where Saren appears overhead and barrage Shepard and the squad with biotic attacks from his hover-platform. Eventually after an attack that blows Shepard into cover Saren lands and begins a conversation.

He is impressed because his geth thought that the salarians were the real threat. Over the course of conversation you can get a lot of information about why Saren betrayed the Council and what Sovereign's motives are. If certain dialogue options are chosen, you are presented with Charm and Intimidation options. Using either of them will yield morality points as well as facilitate another persuasion check later in the game.

Virmire Saren Fueltank Full
No matter your option it devolves into a fight. Saren gets back on his platform and is immune to biotic attacks, except for Warp and Stasis. Here at the AA tower, no matter where you are after finishing off the geth you take off from the cutscene to cover on the left of the elevator.

Use the cover that is provided to shoot at Saren until the fight is over. The best way is to order your squadmates to attack Saren because Saren usually focuses on Shepard and leaves the remaining squad members alone. Because there is a lot of cover here use it to your advantage and stay in cover and take shots at Saren until the fight ends. Other than that, just keep your defensive abilities active, Sabotage Saren's weapons and use Damping on his abilities as often as possible, and you should be fine.

Tip: Saren will sometimes hover over places where fuel tanks are, so lucky for you if he does on a fuel tank you refrained from destroying. You can blow it up for great justice - use Sabotage for maximum effect.

Back to the Bomb Site Edit

Virmire - bombsite geth
When you reenter the bomb site, take cover immediately behind the large box right there on your left. There are a few more geth, mainly Destroyers and Shock Troopers -- but on higher difficulty levels there will be a Juggernaut and two Snipers, one of which likes to lurk in the back ready to take you down if you get too confident.

There is very little cover here, from the door your only cover is a stack of man-sized crates. On the upside, the geth are in a shooting gallery. There are 4 fuel tanks in the area, if your trigger finger didn't get itchy and got them destroyed on first arrival earlier you can shoot them when geth are nearby to end the fight quickly. If you can save any, well and good, they'll be useful at the upcoming boss fight.

The second the last geth falls a cutscene starts where Saren appears overhead and barrage Shepard and the squad with biotic attacks from his hover-platform. Eventually after an attack that blows Shepard into cover Saren lands and begins a conversation.

He is impressed because his geth thought that the salarians were the real threat. Over the course of conversation you can get a lot of information about why Saren betrayed the Council and what Sovereign's motives are. If certain dialogue options are chosen, you are presented with Charm and Intimidation options. Using either of them will yield morality points as well as facilitate another persuasion check later in the game.

Saren'sHovercraft
No matter your option it devolves into a fight. Saren gets back on his platform and is basically immune to biotic attacks, except for Warp and Stasis. Here at the bombsite, no matter where you are after finishing off the geth you take off from the cutscene to cover to the left of the cylindrical edifice, a bit back from the door you came in and a bit further back from the initial cover of man-sized crates near the door.

Use the cover that is provided to shoot at Saren until the fight is over. Saren is essentially out in the open here. The best way is to order your squadmates to attack Saren because Saren usually focuses on Shepard and leaves the remaining squad members alone. Because there is little cover here, keep moving as you use powers, tech attacks, and gunfire to take out Saren before he can do the same. However if you need cover go to the door where you just came from. Just keep your defensive abilities active, Sabotage Saren's weapons and use Damping on his abilities as often as possible, and you should be fine.

Tip: Saren will sometimes hover over places where the fuel tanks are, so lucky for you if he does on a fuel tank you refrained from destroying. You can then shoot or even better Sabotage to cause him a lot of damage.

Virmire Escape and Aftermath Edit

Eventually when Saren takes enough damage, a final cutscene will play showing Saren stepping off his platform, casting his assault rifle aside and grabbing Shepard. The turian holds Shepard over the edge however something gets his attention and Shepard delivers a right hook to Saren’s chin, making him drop Shepard. He then retreats to his platform and flies away. The Normandy comes overhead and the screen fades…

Virmire-The nuke explodes
…To the bombsite where the squad member left behind, clearly wounded, is still shooting at the geth from behind the bomb. They look up to see the Normandy flying away, smiles and gets back to shooting the geth. (If you picked up the squadmate from the bombsite, you won't see the fate of whoever was left at the AA Tower; the game just cuts directly to the next scene)

Then the scene shifts to the Normandy running and Joker trying to outrun the blast while telling everyone to hold on as it will be close. As the nuke goes off, Shepard looks out the window at the mushroom cloud produced by the bomb.

Once you are in the debriefing room, the squadmate you chose to save is trying to argue that they were the wrong choice. You can choose to rebuff or the soft response. If you have Liara in the squad she offers to join your minds again to make sense of the vision. If you have the cipher from Feros then she recognized some of the places from her research, Ilos.

Joker offers to patch the Council in and as usual, you can accept or not talk to them. If you do then the Council is grateful that the mission was a success. While the Council does offer some condolences for the loss of Shepard's squadmate in the explosion, they are half-hearted at best.

Walk around the Normandy after you are done with the Council and Joker, as most of your squadmates will have opinions about the mission and the loss of your squadmate. If Kirrahe survived, you can visit him in the Normandy’s hangar deck along with the surviving salarians. He also offers his condolences to Shepard and will vow to never forget the sacrifice that either Ashley or Kaidan had to make. You can talk to Commander Rentola for any of his leftover gear and an additional armory license that he didn't have available before the battle. Note: Rentola, Kirrahe, and the salarians will depart the ship for good once you head to the Citadel, so if you're planning on visiting them do it before that.

Enemies Edit

Mass Effect 2 Consequences Edit

If you spared Rana Thanoptis, she reappears in Dossier: The Warlord as a scientist complicit again in less-than-ethical tasks. There's no option to kill her there.

The squadmate who survived Virmire won't return as a squadmate. Ashley/Kaidan only makes a small appearance at the mission on Horizon, refusing any offers to join your team despite romantic entanglements if there's any.

Mass Effect 3 Consequences Edit

Rana Thanoptis' cameo concludes in an email newsletter. She has been indoctrinated all along and has killed herself.

The Virmire survivor once more becomes available as a squadmate for one mission before being sidelined to the Huerta Memorial Hospital. Intervening events and decisions will result in them either dead, sent to Admiral Hackett as a War Asset, or reinstated as a permanent squadmate choice for the rest of the game.

Bugs Edit

  • If you choose to return to the bomb site to save whoever you left there, after killing all the geth there's a chance of the cutscene with Saren not triggering, rendering the mission impossible to complete. The only known workaround is a save reload.

Trivia Edit

  • According to an unused audio file, a third option would have allowed Shepard to save both Kaidan Alenko and Ashley Williams, but it was cut from the final game.
Virmire Mission Navigation
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