The Harem Saga

CAST OF CHARACTERS

CAST OF CHARACTERS

You can't tell the players without a score card; particularly when half of them have the same last name. What follows is a cast list for the entire Saga, with appropriate comments. Remember: my own take on the Tenchiverse is going to differ from canon in some respects. The two most glaring examples being"

* The "Kiyone-vs-Achika" debate. I am assuming that you, The Reader, are already familiar with the discrepancy between the True Tenchi Novels and the pre-GXP graphic media, i.e., in the former Tenchi's mother is named Kiyone Masaki, and in the latter Achika Masaki — where Mihoshi's partner Kiyone Makibi appears. Frankly, I thought the GP detective was just too good a character to toss out (and so must the TM!R producers, since they brought in Noike as a substitute), so I opted for the Achika version.

* The fate of Tenchi's great-grandfather, Azusa. He is hale and hearty in the relevant graphic media, as well as the novels — but, since I wanted Tenchi on the throne, that was going to require his removal (one way or another). No one abdicates a monarchy unless forced into it, and it just didn't seem likely that Azusa Masaki would, either. That only left one viable alternative...

Doubtless, you will find other blips. What I couldn't reconcile, I at least tried to make consistent. You, The Reader, will just have to judge the results for yourself.

CENTRAL CHARACTERS

TSUNAMI:

Origin: Unknown.

Age: Unknown.

Species: Unknown.

Intentions: Apparently benign.

For whatever reason, this ancient primordial entity has attached itself to humanity in general, and the Empire of Jurai in particular, and continues to act as a guiding and protective influence.

The first recorded contact with Tsunami was established approximately 20,000 years ago, at a time when Juraian botanists were experimenting with adapting a species of intelligent trees to spaceflight. Tsunami assimilated with the test subject, introducing itself to the astonished scientists, and explained that the arboreal species was the most capable of interacting directly with the entity's vast intelligence and extremely high Power levels without being overwhelmed. Tsunami then suggested forming a symbiotic bond between a human and the Genesis Tree (as it was soon labeled), using the tree as a filter for communication. The individual deemed most capable of sustaining the linkage was Emperor Ashisato, and the arrangement proved extremely beneficial to all participants. It was the Emperor who first christened the asexual tree with a feminine endowment ("All ships are female, you know,"), and the tradition has continued unabated.

As the Genesis Tree reproduced, some of Tsunami's attributes (notably Power manipulation) were passed along to its descendents. The Jurai aristocracy has continued the practice of forming symbiotic bonds to these sentients, the human partners coming principally from the four Great Houses (the Masaki, Kamiki, Amaki, and Tatsuki Clans), which are composed predominantly of Master Class Power Adepts. These pairings form the primary interface to Tsunami.

The secondary interface appears to be a direct assimilation with a few specially-endowed humans. The current emperor, Tenchi Masaki Jurai, is one of only two known Super Class Power adepts (the other being his wife, Ryoko), and has publicly admitted to direct communication with Tsunami and all of the descendent trees. There are rumors of other gifted individuals, but none publicly identified.

And on rare occasions, Tsunami projects a holographic/astral image of a blue-haired, attractive young woman, capable of interfacing with ordinary humans. This capability seems of recent vintage, and must be rather limited due to Tsunami's long-standing preference for mind-to-mind communication.

Tenchi Masaki JURAI:

NOTE: According to Juraian custom, the reigning monarch and his/her immediate family always append the name "Jurai" to the surname. Members of the extended family are permitted to, as well, but it is seldom practiced. For example, all references to His Majesty during his tenure on the Throne should be described as "Tenchi Masaki Jurai"; all references to him before he was crowned, or after his death/retirement, should be described as "Tenchi Masaki."

The reigning monarch of the Empire of Jurai, one of humanity's two known Super Class Power adepts, and the master of one of the most volatile harems imaginable.

Much has been written about him, and will continue to be recorded. He is personable, honorable, loyal, courageous, and has willingly faced death several times in the defense of his family and realm. While raised in virtual obscurity on a Regressed World, it is unlikely that fate would have allowed him to remain there (such tremendous potential would have been fulfilled sooner or later). His grandfather set in motion the events that ultimately led to his exposure to galactic culture and his own heritage.

His Power attributes first manifested on his initial meeting with Ryoko Hakubi, and his introduction to, and acceptance by, the Master Key. He approached the artifact with the same hesitation and reluctance shown to personal relationships, but he nonetheless persevered. The Kagato Incident, which followed soon after, nearly cost him his life; but Tsunami's timely intervention not only repaired his devastated body, but unlocked the full spectrum of Power attributes available to him. He not only killed Kagato (who had defeated his great-grandfather Azusa many centuries earlier), but he obliterated the dreadnought Souja. This was only the beginning. In subsequent episodes, he evaporated a singularity created by the mad scientist Dr. Clay, survived the metamorphosis of his Ascendency, and personally eliminated large numbers of enemy warships during the K'vimm Incursion. His most recent public exhibitions were held in conjunction with the field-tests of the Navy's new realspace engine — based upon one of his own Power manifestations! He has already carved a place for himself in the annals of legendary Juraian monarchs, and he is still only in his mid-20's.

As noted, his personal life seems to be filled with as many trials as his public life. And most of these are centered around his serail...

Ryoko Masaki JURAI:

Formerly Ryoko HAKUBI, she is a tragic figure: a "test-tube baby" and unwilling accomplice of the Eternally Wanted Criminal Kagato. She has spent the vast majority of her life confined, isolated, or enslaved. Destruction and woe have been her signatures wherever she has travelled.

While the lowest point in her life was her attack on, and retreat from, the planet Jurai, it also marked the turning point. The subsequent entombment provided the conditions she needed to throw-off Kagato's mental yoke. When released by Tenchi Masaki, she had all of her wits and her first taste of unrestricted freedom. And her worst nightmare — recapture by Kagato — was eliminated forever by the same Tenchi Masaki.

She is Tenchi's first wife, and is absolutely devoted to him. Separation from her husband is an almost physically painful experience. Under Tenchi's influence she has blossomed from a distrustful and selfish parasite into an independent soul capable of generosity and deep affection. Though still loud and brash most of the time, the family has witnessed many moments of quiet introspection. She is an extremely professional security agent, head of the Royal Bodyguard, and closely affiliated with Funaho. While reluctant to share her husband with the other members of the serail — particularly her genetic mother Washu! — she considers it an unavoidable necessity. She has even made a lasting friendship with her 'sister' Ayeka.

Also under her husband's guidance, she has achieved her full potential as a Power adept, moving from Master Class into the Super Class. She has been seen generating ten Lighthawk Wings, the only human capable of doing so (Tsunami being the only other entity known to share the ability).

Ryoko has one daughter by Tenchi, Nagisa (named in honor of a long-lost acquaintance).

Washu Masaki JURAI:

Formerly Washu HAKUBI, she is Tenchi's second wife and one of the oldest beings in human space. Personnel records that include her (notably the Galaxy Academy) extend back almost 20,000 years! Modern biology can prolong the human lifespan by an order of magnitude, slowing the aging process drastically — but the knowledge was not believed to be available that long ago. This has given rise to several myths about Washu:

* Washu is not an original, but the latest in a series of clones, with the memories of preceding editions installed into the current edition by some mysterious process. If the transfer occurred before a new clone was ready, it would explain the many recorded appearances of her in an immature form (a child of approximate 12 years of age).

* Washu is human now, but started life 'somewhere else' as 'something else' and assumed human form. One version even describes her as being similar to Tsunami, who voluntarily placed 99% of her essence into special containers for later retrieval.

* Washu is an android, ageless and immortal.

She is a distinguished scholar and prolific technologist, patenting a number of inventions on a regular basis.

She is a Master Class Power Adept who has publicly demonstrated teleportation, levitation, and energy projection.

She is a certified scientific genius — with all of the personality disorders often associated with the stereotype.

She has spent much of her life in isolation, seen many friends and familiars pass away, and run the gamut of experiences from being Galaxy Academy proctor to kidnap victim.

Washu has born three children: son Mikumo (sired by Mikamo Kuramitsu), daughter Ryoko (sire unknown), and daughter Achika (sired by Tenchi Masaki). She has also engineered two life forms, Ryo-Ohki and Fuku, known colloquially as "cabbits."

Mihoshi Masaki JURAI:

Formerly Mihoshi KURAMITSU, she is Tenchi's third wife and an officer in the GP (currently a Detective Captain). Her Power attributes manifested early, when it was discovered that she was an empath, that is, one who can physically share another sapient's emotions without any telepathic elements. She is also Lucky (i.e., she can stack probabilities in her favor), a Kuramitsu family trait. She can be clumsy, accident-prone, and easily-distracted; however, when focused she can be extremely proficient, another family trait. Perennially cheerful, she is the comic relief of the family.

Mihoshi's GP career has been something of a rollercoaster ride. She did well scholastically at the Academy, although rumors abounded that her grades were adjusted at the request of her grandfather, the GP Marshall. She was paired with several partners before settling with Kiyone Makibi, her longest-duration assignment. After Kiyone's disappearance during a raid on Naja Akara's space station, Mihoshi's career took a nose-dive, going through another spate of partners and eventually getting assigned to one of the 'backwater' areas of the Juraian Empire — the protected sector containing Earth. Things went from bad to worse when the Eternally Wanted Criminal Kagato was reported to be in the area. She hit rock-bottom (literally) when the AI of her cruiser, Yukinojo, ejected her to avoid getting dragged into a subspace pocket. Her Luck attribute asserted itself at this point, and she was rescued by Tenchi Masaki. He rescued her again when she was trapped aboard Kagato's ship, the Souja, in the process freeing Washu Hakubi from a Stasis Unit, and still again when menaced by the mad scientist Dr. Clay.

In one of those odd twists of fate (or, maybe not...) Mihoshi is related to Washu through her paternal grandfather, Minami Kuramitsu. He is a direct descendent of Washu's first child, Mikumo Kuramitsu. There are still sufficient genetic markers to confirm the lineage, and may even be the source of much of the Kuramitsu Family's Power attributes.

Mihoshi has one daughter by Tenchi, Miyuki.

Ayeka Masaki JURAI:

Formerly Ayeka MASAKI, she is Tenchi's fourth wife and a Princess of the Blood. She can trace her ancestry through at least two of the four Great Houses for many generations. She was once betrothed to Tenchi's grandfather, Yosho Masaki. She has always been a popular figure with the citizens of the Empire, both for her romantic crusade to find Yosho, for her triumphant return as part of Tenchi's harem, and for her repeated siding with the middle and lower classes on economic and social issues.

Publicly, Ayeka comports herself with dignity and grace, and repeatedly serves as the spokesperson or representative for the Royal Family. In private, however, she can be temperamental and emotional (her arguments with Ryoko are legendary; but in truth both parties enjoy the conflicts as a form of release). Her original hair color was the same azure shade as her mother and sister, but it was genetically modified at age four to the same purple shade as her father. However, the process was reversed after her wedding, and it was rumored to be an act of protest showing her displeasure over Azusa's treatment of her husband.

Ayeka has closely bonded with her 'sister' Ryoko, and though the two wives are polar opposites in personality, they actually faced similar pressures as children.

Her Tree Ship Companion is the second generation tree Ryu-oh.

Ayeka has one son by Tenchi, Azusa.

Sasami MASAKI:

She is betrothed to Tenchi, and will be his fifth wife upon her Ascendency, becoming Sasami Masaki Jurai. Like her older sister, she is a Princess of the Blood, and can trace her genealogy back to Emperors and Empresses. Her personality is quite different from her older sister, being gregarious and even-tempered. Her cooking skills are renowned, as is her sense of humor (no one is safe from her practical jokes).

She is rumored to have suffered a near-fatal accident during the Kagato/Ryoko invasion, and it was only due to the direct intervention of Tsunami that she survived. If true, then she has been assimilated much like the Genesis Tree was — and by implication, humans have over the intervening generations developed the necessary properties to interface directly with the alien entity.

Sasami is almost never seen without the hybrid life form Ryo-Ohki, riding on her head or walking bipedally.

Her Tree Ship Companion is the Genesis Tree, Tsunami.

Ryo-Ohki:

A biological construct built by Washu Masaki Jurai. Ryo-Ohki's substance is primarily Masu, a primordial element with polymorphic and energy accumulation properties. She has been observed in several guises:

* The small furry quadruped known as a "cabbit."

* A large, crystalline form capable of sub-light and trans-light velocities, similar in concept to a turtle. A juvenile humanoid, although this form is unstable and a sudden shock (such as a fall) will break the concentration needed to maintain it.

It has been speculated (since Washu won't discuss the subject) that the bulk of Ryo-Ohki's body actually resides in subspace, and only emerges into realspace when needed.

MASAKI FAMILY

Azusa MASAKI

Tenchi Masaki Jurai's great-grandfather, he held the Throne of Jurai for over seven centuries. A taciturn and moody man, combat veteran and Master Class Power Adept with clairvoyant attributes, he was very swashbuckling and roguish in his youth. But with the passage of time, the loss of his children, and perhaps a certain resignation to fate, he became something of a rake. Even the reunion with his children was seen as a deep disappointment, and the appearance of his great-grandson was an unmitigated shock (even as a teenager, Tenchi had sufficient Power to issue a Crown Challenge with full expectation of winning it; that he declined was perceived as an insult by Emperor Azusa ).

Azusa died in the early stages of the K'vimm Incursion, when his first generation Tree Ship Kirito was disabled by a neural stun burst, and then destroyed by a torpedo barrage with a loss of all hands.

Funaho MASAKI:

The placid but iron-willed first wife of Azusa Masaki, she was born on Earth in 13th Century Japan, as the third daughter of a daimyo (feudal warlord). She is a Master Class Power Adept with clairvoyant abilities. She was discovered by Azusa Masaki when his ship crash-landed, and he was completely smitten with her. They were married on Earth and she returned with him to Jurai. She is a typically quiet and dignified woman, well-mannered and keenly observant. She was one of Seto's star 'pupils' and a perfect candidate to head the Juraian Internal Security Service.

She bore only one child by Azusa, their son Yosho — but his half-breed nature became an issue during his Ascendency, which caused much internal strife and political turmoil. She was deeply wounded when Yosho disappeared during the Kagato/Ryoko depredations, and even more so when Misaki's children disappeared searching for Yosho. However, the subsequent reappearance of Yosho, complete with a Super Class Power adept grandson and his retinue of prodigious Power adept wives (including both of Misaki's daughters), has rekindled much of her former spirit.

Her Tree Ship Companion is the first generation tree Mizuho.

Misaki MASAKI:

The exuberant, uninhibited daughter of Utsutsumi and Seto Kamiki, and second wife of Azusa Masaki. She inherited her mother's bone-crushing PK-amplified strength, and her father's total lack of subtlety and sophistication. She views the world through a simplistic filter, wearing her heart on her sleeve. Prone to emotional outbursts, she is extremely loyal and protective, which served her well in her office as head of the Royal Bodyguard. Since her husband's death, she has stepped aside to allow Ryoko to assume the position. She is also rumored to be romantically involved with a senior Naval officer.

She bore two children by Azusa, daughters Ayeka and Sasami, both of whom became part of Tenchi Masaki's serail. When not serving as Ayeka's Privy Councilor, she can usually be found playing with her grandchildren.

Her Tree Ship Companion is the first generation tree Karin.

Yosho MASAKI:

Tenchi Masaki Jurai's grandfather, who bore the title Crown Prince for being the first-born son of Azusa and Funaho Masaki. (The title is little more than a polite gesture, and its only real value comes into play when the ruling monarch dies and the Throne must be occupied until a Crown Challenge can be organized.) Since Yosho had the misfortune of being a half-breed, as well as the subject of much scheming and intrigue at court, he learned early the value of strategy and tactics — and the old political adage that "the only guaranteed losers are the ones who won't play." He was betrothed early to his half-sister, Ayeka, but he sidestepped the betrothal bond when he fell in love and married Airi Magma while at the Galaxy Academy (which is why Airi is often listed as his "second wife" — the commitment to Ayeka predates their wedding).

He managed to dispel much of the scorn directed his way when he defended Jurai from Kagato/Ryoko, and disappeared into space chasing the pirate ship Ryo-Ohki. His betrothed Ayeka waited in vain for his return and, in a display of admirable anguish, set sail to find him (with little sister Sasami as a stowaway). They all dropped out of the public eye until the onset of recent events. Airi would later institute her own search, though less grandiose in scope.

The Good News is that he finally caught and captured Ryoko; the Bad News is that he finally caught and captured Ryoko. One has to wonder if he spared her life out of sympathy (he doubtless recognized that she was just an innocent victim of manipulation — an experience he was only too familiar with), or if he had a precognitive vision of her future importance. Either way, he scavenged the Statis Unit from his Tree Ship and entombed her in an obscure mountain cave. He supervised the construction of a shrine nearby, to prevent her and the locals from disturbing one another.

It is unlikely that he was particularly celibate during the subsequent centuries, which might explain why his son-in-law Nobuyuki bears some resemblance to him. It might also explain why there are several clans living in the Okayama area with the Masaki surname (albeit defined with different characters). Yosho has also had plenty of time to squirrel away a sizeable fortune and learn how to subvert the local bureaucracy...thus, he was able to "hide in plain sight" (aided by his Tree Ship's neat camouflage). He has been using the alias 'Katsuhito Masaki' for a number of years, serving as the Shrine Master and waiting for the day when his grandson 'acquired' the keys to the mountain cave...

His Tree Ship Companion is the first generation tree Funaho (christened in honor of his mother).

Airi MASAKI:

Tenchi's grandmother. Formerly Airi MAGMA. Airi is Yosho Masaki's wife, who he met and married while attending the Galaxy Academy (before he vanished while pursuing Ryoko). She has had two children by Yosho, both daughters: Minaho, born during their college days, and Tenchi's mother, Achika.

Airi was finally reunited with Yosho in the early 1950's (during the beginning of the UFO craze, so at least one of the sightings must have been authentic!). While on Earth she assumed the alias 'Itsuki Masaki. Achika was born in 1952, and Airi stayed around long enough to watch her daughter grow up, marry Nobuyuki, give birth to Tenchi — and then die of as-yet unexplained causes. Knowing that Yosho was forced to remain on Earth for the time being, she agreed to keep his location a secret.

She is currently filling the vital position of President of the Juraian Branch of the Galaxy Police Academy. It is a job that requires tact and patience — qualities that Airi is notably lacking in. She is not a diplomat by choice, but was maneuvered into the post by Seto.

Minaho MASAKI:

Tenchi Masaki Jurai's aunt, she is the surviving daughter of Airi and Yosho, and the older sister of Tenchi's mother, Achika. She serves aboard the Tree Ship Mikagami as Seto Kamiki's adjutant and confidential secretary. Unmarried and (apparently) uninterested in changing her status, she has been scarred by the tragedies that befell her mother and sister not long after marriage and childbirth. Thus, her reticence to cooperate with Seto's match-making is understandable.

Achika MASAKI:

Tenchi Masaki's mother, by all accounts a sweet-natured and strong-willed young lady. That she was a Master Class Power Adept is a given; that she may have even been Super Class is a distinct possibility. She never displayed any Power manifestations, so her attributes can only be speculated about.

She met Nobuyuki Masaki (no obvious relation) in high school, and they were married after his graduation from college. She was 26 years old when Tenchi was born in 1979. She was 31 years old at the time of her death from undiagnosed symptoms.

Nobuyuki MASAKI:

Tenchi Masaki's father, an architect by trade, a recluse by nature. He was completely shattered by the death of his wife, Achika, and retreated into his vocation and his collection of adult literature and videos. It is fair to say that much of Tenchi's upbringing fell onto the shoulders of his grandparents.

Nobuyuki's initial disappointment in his son's social reticence yielded to eager acceptance of Tenchi's alien houseguests: five charming and beautiful females, one of which was bound to crack his son's shell; in the end, they all did.

Nobuyuki had adjusted to the role of father-in-law and grandfather, and had resigned himself to returning to a quiet and monotonous existence, when he met the widow Reina and her children Ken'ichi and Kiyoko. After their whirlwind courtship, and the subsequent wedding, and the Galaxy Academy Science Station installed near his home, his life is anything but dull.

KAMIKI FAMILY

Seto KAMIKI:

Original family affiliations unknown. She was one of the few survivors of the K1190 disaster. She was six years old when found, and though traumatized she recognized the Research Station's Director of Operations, Naja Akara. It was quickly discovered why she was a survivor: she is a Master Class Power Adept, whose normal body strength is augmented psychokinetically. (This "superstrength" characteristic was eventually passed to her daughter Misaki, and on to her grand-daughters Ayeka and Sasami. This manifestation has also been displayed by Seina Yamada's wife, Amane. However, this Power Attribute should not be confused with the genetically enhanced muscular structures Washu Masaki Jurai applied to her daughter, Ryoko, which is true superstrength.) Seto's mental acuity was also identified early, which brought her to the attention of the four Great Houses.

Her full potential was recognized by the astute Ushio Kamiki, and she was quickly adopted into the Kamiki Clan. Shrewd move on the old man's part; his son (and only heir) Utsutsumi proved to be less than agile cognitively, so Ushio arranged for Seto's and Utsutsumi's marriage. He died happy, knowing that House Kamiki was in extremely capable hands.

Seto's meddling is legendary: when not playing King-Maker, she frequently arranges marriages for members of the aristocracy and the wealthy gentry (such as the Kuanaq Family). She has ties and spies everywhere, knows everyone and everything. She has also mentored a number of high-caliber strategists, including Funaho and Yosho. She has earned the nickname "Ogre Princess."

Her Tree Ship Companion is the second generation tree Mikagami.

Utsutsumi KAMIKI:

Current lineage-holder of House Kamiki. Seto keeps him busy with ceremonial functions and Household matters. Described as an amiable person, if somewhat reserved, he is most easily recognized by his massive moustache and muttonchop sideburns. His long-suffering patience has also been noted...which has doubtless contributed to his stable relationship with Seto.

Utsutsumi and Seto have sired one daughter, Misaki, and adopted one daughter, Noike.

Noike KAMIKI:

Formerly Noike SAKATSU, she is the adopted daughter of Utsutsumi and Seto. At first glance meek and retiring, she is more than capable of accomplishing whatever task is set before her. She replaced Mihoshi and Ryoko Masaki Jurai in Funaho's Special Investigations Unit after the births of their daughters.

Her Tree Ship Companion is the third generation tree Kyoko.

KURAMITSU FAMILY

Minami KURAMITSU:

Mihoshi Masaki Jurai's maternal grandfather, he has been the GP Marshal for many years. Minami takes a special interest in the 'hardware' aspects of his troops, and can often be seen wandering about the docks inspecting vessels (whether this is simple curiosity, or concern for expensive assets, has never been made clear).

Mikami KURAMITSU:

Dean of Students of the Juraian branch of the GP Academy, Mikami is the older sister of Minami, which means that she's Mihoshi Masaki Jurai's great aunt. She is competent, not very excitable (a big contrast to Mihoshi and Mitoto); she has no problems taking charge or dealing with discipline problems.

Mitoto KURAMITSU:

Mihoshi Masaki Jurai's mother. Mitoto works for the GP as a maintenance engineer (janitor). Like Mihoshi, she is a 'luck prodigy' (and an apparent master of teleportation). And like Mihoshi, she can be surprisingly competent (in typical Kuramitsu fashion) when she is focused on something to the point of being completely oblivious to everything else. Even hostile groups like pirates obey three rules about her: Never shoot at her, Never try to capture her, Never get involved with her. She likes to pet soft things...like Seina Yamada's hair.

Misao KURAMITSU:

Mihoshi Masaki Jurai's brother, Juraian military officer in charge of an elite unit similar to a British SAS or US Navy SEAL team. The family resemblance is unmistakable, but his personality is more like his great aunt Mikami.

Mashisu KURAMITSU:

Misao Kuramitsu's wife, a Naval officer presently posted as captain of the battlecruiser Chobimaru. She is not a native of Seniwa.

YAMADA FAMILY

Seina YAMADA

Seina shares many of the qualities of his childhood neighbor and schoolmate, Tenchi Masaki Jurai: Earth-born and bred, he had no prior knowledge of interstellar affairs and politics until recent events. He is considered a "diamond in the rough," that is, he is a Master Class Power Adept with only one attribute — Luck — but it is deep and pure and does not spill into other talents, as is the norm.

Seina's Companion is an ancient mecha whose energy source is a seed from the Genesis Tree, many thousands of years old. Its Power attributes are comparable (if not superior) to a first generation Tree Ship. It is perhaps the clarity of Seina's own manifestation that allowed the linkage, since he lacks any psionic talents at all. Seina's mecha unit has been seen generating six Lighthawk Wings, making it the third most potent life form in human space.

Seina is Lucky, in the same vein as the Kuramitsu Family, but his was predominantly negative until meeting and bonding with the women that would later form his harem. And, like Tenchi, female adepts are sensitive to his Power envelope and gravitate towards him (an effect never witnessed by Earth females towards either Tenchi or Seina).

Seina's serail was not a product of spontaneous interaction, as was Tenchi's. It was a politically-motivated arrangement designed by Seto Kamiki, who had determined that Seina's talent would be best utilized when paired permanently with his GP partners. That they all harbored deep feelings for him, and he for them, was the glue that would make the arrangement viable. Cluster marriages are rare, and cluster weddings even more so. It would have been a roaring success — if it wasn't for the intervention of the 'Seto Scouts.'

The Seto Scouts were four emissaries sent by the neighboring Remza Union (one of the buffer states that exist along Jurai's flanks). They requested assistance with the resurgence of pirate activities that coincided with the K'vimm Incursion and the death of Emperor Azusa. Being a smaller nation without the vast resources of Jurai, and getting no real relief from the overtaxed GP, the RU was casting about for any help it could find. Seto was sympathetic, but at the time had no real answer to their problem, so she kept them close at hand as aides aboard her Tree Ship. However, with the appearance of the Pirate Magnet, Seto acquired not only a weapon to suppress the pirates, but a tool to bind Jurai and the RU closer together. A few discreet suggestions from Seto, and the delighted Scouts approached Seina with their offer. He refused, they refused his refusal, and Seto was reported to have laughed uproariously through the entire kidnapping/rape/shotgun wedding episode that followed.

There is a great deal of stress in the Yamada Family, but it is kept in check in an effort to cooperate. The Yamada women are all 'team players,' and despite the shocking events that created the harem, they are all committed to making it work.

Amane YAMADA:

Formerly Amane KAUNAQ, she is an only child, and thus heir to their financial empire. Amane has extraordinary intuition and combat abilities based on that intuition, and as a result she's prone to trusting her instincts instead of deductive reasoning. She also exhibits physical strength attributes well above and beyond the GP's Body Strengthening regimen — and has been seen throwing and kicking large objects (like Seiryo Tennan) considerable distances.

Mihoshi Masaki Jurai and Amane were childhood friends on Seniwa; but, possibly because of the Kaunaq Family's meteoric rise in social status (due to the Kaunaq Family's commercial successes), they eventually drifted apart...which spared Mihoshi the dubious 'pleasure' of meeting Amane's other (self-proclaimed) childhood friend, Seiryo. Amane rarely crossed paths with Mihoshi, but they did keep track of one another.

Gyokuren YAMADA:

The oldest of the original 'Seto Scouts'. Nicknamed 'The Ghost' because of her psionic ability to erase her awareness from the minds of local observers, as well as being extremely reticent. As the old saying goes, "Still waters run deep," and her feelings for Seina are seldom expressed but unmistakable.

Hakuren YAMADA:

The leader of the original 'Seto Scouts'. Humorless and impatient, she often trades tact for brevity. She is also prone to leaping to conclusions. She has a gentle side, though, and is often found daydreaming (which tends to center around the mundane, practical aspects of living with Seina).

Karen YAMADA:

The youngest, the most outspoken, and generally the most sensible of the original 'Seto Scouts'. Being the closest to Seina in age, she is best able to relate to him, and often provides the advice that defuses potentially explosive situations. She works the hardest to provide a domestic framework for Seina's serail.

Kiriko YAMADA:

Formerly Kiriko MASAKI, she is normally a very quiet and intense individual — until provoked. She has looked after Seina since he was a child, as one of the boy's few friends (another being her younger brother Kai), and is thus very protective of him.

Kiriko, like Tenchi Masaki Jurai's father Nobuyuki Masaki, is a native of Earth but with Imperial DNA in her constitution. If fact, she was recruited for the GP early, explaining her long absences to family and friends as "being away at college." She has had the standard Body Conditioning regimen required of all GP cadets, and on at least one occasion has demonstrated her skills at tactical assault and hostage retrieval, hinting of extensive special training.

While not a Master Class Power Adept, her psionic rating is high enough to allow bonding with the second generation Tree Ship Mizuki.

Neeju YAMADA:

Formerly Neeju NA MELMAS, she served for 2000 years as the high priestess of the religious state of the planet Melmas. Neeju's adolescent form was biochemically 'frozen' for ecumenical interests upon her assumption of the office, and was maintained throughout her term of service. But when she returned to secular life, the antiagathic treatments were terminated, allowing her to age normally. She was forced to resign her position when the Grand Council grew tired of her incessant political meddling and increasing support from the general populace, fearing that she might foment a revolution.

Ryoko YAMADA:

Formerly Ryoko BALTA, and a recently-recognized member of the Imperial Balta Family, life has not been kind to her. Her parents had rejected the privilege and prestige of the aristocratic lifestyle, and instead raised their only daughter in seclusion. Perhaps this was due to her manifesting Power attributes (she is metamorphic, i.e., a shape-shifter), or maybe just a general rejection of the ostentation expected of their station. For whatever reason, the result was a quiet childhood steeped in education and the social graces. However, this shelter was shattered by the death of her parents while a juvenile, and she was raised in an orphanage. The change was both brutal and traumatic: she spent more time on the street than in the schoolroom, racking-up an impressive criminal record. In the end, she only escaped prison by running away to the stars.

She acquired the sobriquet 'Ryoko' among the pirate guilds, pasted onto her as an affront to her affinity for the genteel arts. The historical Ryoko (Ryoko Masaki Jurai) had a reputation for ferocity and tactical genius, and she turned the tables on her tormentors by bearing the name proudly. Despite her impressive reputation, she is actually quite refined...a definite paradox.

Suiren YAMADA:

The cyberneticist of the original 'Seto Scouts'. Gentle and studious by nature, excellent with computers, she is also a noted clairvoyant. Her dreams are often disturbing and precognitive...and usually centered around Seina. She has been tutoring Seina to bring him on par with educational 'norms' established throughout human space.

Fuku:

Fuku is a Masu-bred life form created by Washu Masaki Jurai, similar to Ryo-Ohki. While Fuku is capable of generating some impressive Power manifestations, she can't compete with Ryo-Ohki in terms of raw energy. However, while Ryo-Ohki is extremely flexible as an individual, Fuku's forte is her ability to form symbiotic links with artificial constructs (notably spaceships). Thus, they are rated in the same class.

Fuku's most successful linkage is with the Kamidake II (K2), a prototype vessel built by Washu. The vessel contains not only state-of-the-art Juraian technology, but many custom functions added by its designer. Kiriko Yamada's Companion Mizuki has also been linked to the K2, and when working in concert the vessel is nearly as powerful as a first generation Tree Ship. However, since both Fuku and Mizuki are still immature, difficulties often surface in their dealings with humans.

OTHER CHARACTERS

Kagato AKARA:

Eternally Wanted Criminal responsible for vandalism on an enormous scale. A clone of Naja Akara, he inherited all of her intellect and her basic disregard for life (human and otherwise)...probably because he knew himself to be an artificial creation. A very bitter individual, he learned early to seek Power in all its many forms. Probably not a Master Class Power Adept originally, he found artificial ways to augment his inherent talents and boost his skills far beyond their natural limits. He pursued his goals with a ruthless single-mindedness, along the way indulging his tastes for cruel amusements. Among the many crimes attributed to him:

* Destroying priceless artifacts and plundering ancient ruins chasing tales of ancient Power sources.

* Kidnapping anyone that might prove useful, murdering anyone that proved an obstruction (Washu Hakubi fell into the former category, and Tenchi Masaki nearly fell into the latter category).

* Enslaving Ryoko Hakubi for centuries to do his dirty work, letting her take the blame for some of his nefarious activities.

* He nearly killed Azusa Masaki in a duel, which leads to speculation that he was strong enough to win a Crown Challenge (a thought which sends shivers down the spines of many historians).

Kagato finally met his match in his second confrontation with Tenchi Masaki.

Naja AKARA:

Washu Masaki Jurai's schoolmate from their days in the Galaxy Academy. They were intellectual equals, and formed a deep friendship that lasted until Naja's Research Station on K1190 was attacked. Naja went into hiding for a very long time, eventually surfacing with revenge as the sole motivating force in her life.

Naja's terrorist activities were finally ended when she kidnapped Mihoshi and Ryoko Masaki Jurai, with the intention of dissecting the former and impregnating the latter with some of her son's frozen sperm. Not surprisingly, their husband objected — lethally.

Dr. CLAY:

An old rival of Washu Masaki Jurai's, she outmaneuvered him to become Proctor of the Galaxy Academy many centuries ago. He never forgave her for that, and when the opportunity came to get even, he jumped on it with panache. His personal starship was an interesting mix of high technology and classical art, which was destroyed when he caused the reactor core to implode into a singularity.

He had many automated servants, the most important being Zero: a chameleoid AI capable of independent action. Zero copied Ryoko Hakubi and infiltrated the Masaki household on Earth, in an attempt to get at Washu. In the end, the plan failed because Ryoko's engrams were too potent, and the AI assumed all of Ryoko's personality traits — particularly her love for Tenchi.

Professor Araciela GAYAL:

Highly respected vocal coach living in the Juraian capitol, and affiliated with the Galaxy Academy. An acquaintance of Former Empress Misaki Masaki, the latter was instrumental in arranging an interview with the Emperor, which resulted in voice instruction for the members of his serail.

Professor Kiyuma GAYAL:

Accomplished musician who assists her mother Araciela with her clients and research projects.

Captain Sir Noniel JELHAM, IJN:

Commanding officer of the destroyer Attakiassa, the testbed for the Navy's new prototype realspace driver. He made a big splash in internal Naval politics when he applied his expertise at torpedo warfare to revising the standard curriculum for the Naval War College. He has many supporters within the Naval hierarchy — and he had to call-in a lot of favors to win the plum assignment.

He has also been seen frequently in the company of Former Empress Misaki Masaki, leading to a host of rumors of romantic involvement.

Baron Kitsune MASAKI:

Special Envoy for His Majesty Emperor Azusa, and his distant cousin. The Baron was sent to Earth to deliver an ultimatum to the emperor's great-grandson: pick a wife, and prepare to return to Jurai for a 'proper' education. While Tenchi Masaki ultimately yielded to the latter request, he side-stepped the former by proposing to all five of his houseguests (who promptly accepted) at his grandfather's suggestion. The official reply delivered by the Baron caused quite a stir at the capitol.

Rear Admiral Kowis MOBINITA, IJN:

Admiral Mobinita had been assigned the 'cakewalk' task of shadowing Tenchi Masaki on one of his visits back to Earth. It proved to be far more difficult, however, since his task force became the target of a K'vimm Squadron in the opening phases of their Incursion, and his command was used as the backbone of Crown Prince Tenchi's effort to break the K'vimm blockade around Jurai.

Admiral Mobinita also coordinated the field trials and initial combat simulations for the new Masaki Drive realspace engines, and thus provided official media 'cover' when the Genesis Tree and the IJN destroyer Attakiassa vanished during the early stages of the exercises.

Kiyone QUALSTON:

Formerly Kiyone MAKIBI. Ambitious workaholic, she is the no-nonsense partner that Mihoshi Masaki accidentally pushed off a gantry during a firefight at Naja Akara's space station. Listed as MIA and presumed dead, she was actually trapped at the event horizon created when the station's reactor core contracted into a singularity. Rescued by Washu Masaki Jurai, she later quit the GP to work in Former Empress Funaho Masaki's Special Investigations Unit. Married to Tenchi's friend Sir Trinnard Qualston.

Sir Trinnard QUALSTON:

Tenchi's close friend and sponsor in the Order of the Flaming Sword, one of the Chivalrous Orders of the Empire of Jurai. A former firefighter, athletic, and very outgoing, he has served as Tenchi's Companion and bodyguard on several occasions. Recently married to Kiyone Makibi, Mihoshi Masaki Jurai's close friend.

Seiryo TENNAN:

Galactic loser par excellence. Nature dealt him a bad hand with thick, pink, poofy hair, and his personality merely exacerbated the problem. The Tennan family is filthy rich, if unscrupulous, and Seiryo certainly followed the pattern. He is alleged to be something of a genius, but as so often happens with prodigies he wavers between sanity and lunacy. Azusa attempted to marry him to Ayeka at one point, which resulted in a duel with Tenchi Masaki Jurai. As with everything that Seiryo touches, it resulted in a humiliating swim in the Masaki Family lake — but if circumstances had actually resorted to swordplay, the outcome may very well have been different (he's reportedly an excellent swordsman). Afterwards, he spent some time as an instructor in the GP (making a real nuisance of himself to childhood acquaintance Amane Yamada), followed by a stint with the pirate guilds, and eventually a partnership with Naja Akara — that got him clapped into prison on charges of treason.

TOKIMI:

Origin: Unknown.

Age: Unknown.

Species: Unknown.

Intentions: Unknown.

This entity is seldom discussed, usually in whispers, and with generous helpings of apprehension. The indications are that it is of the same class/type/species as Tsunami, thus, transgalactic in nature. Knowledge of Tokimi's existence was revealed by Washu on a strictly need-to-know basis. It has been surmised that Tsunami's goals and efforts are preparations in case Tokimi ever makes an appearance, but there is no real proof of this, and Tsunami remains deliberately vague on the subject.

ROYAL TREE SHIPS

It was said that the most ancient Trees did not grow in rich soils and warm climates, but struggled mightily in harsh soils at high altitudes, like Brobdinagian bonsai trees. Thin clear air and dense ultraviolet radiation toughened these leviathans, whose dense resinous woods and meter-thick bark were virtually impervious to insects and bacteria. Crystal structures in their trunks, nurtured and accumulated over many millennia, eventually reached a critical mass, and consciousness arose. A slow, sonorous form of mind, rich in memory and cognition and power. They observed the frantic creatures living and dying around them with a curious amusement, a perspective possible only to an organism whose life span was measured in thousands of years. Inevitably, their own sentience was recognized by one of the fervent, far-ranging species (humanity), and communication was established. Dialogs yielded to discourse and eventually to deals, and one of the ancient ones consented to form a symbiosis with a leader among the humans.

The Tree (dubbed The Genesis Tree by those with optimistic visions) was transplanted into a custom-tailored Habitat Module, where its roots and branches were coaxed to borrow through the semi-permeable membrane. Since its bark was already highly radiation- and temperature-resistant, adaptation to the vacuum of space was easy: it was sealed with a witch's brew of nutrient baths and DNA-modifiers, and the neural networks of the Habitat were integrated with the Tree's crystals and capillary systems. Armed with its solidified skin and the locomotive capabilities of the Habitat, the Tree was ferried into the microgravity of outer space, where it learned how to become ambulatory and, eventually, to sail across the sea of stars.

The process served as a model for successive generations. Each new seed is planted in a climate-controlled greenhouse unit, where it is monitored over the centuries of root expansion. As the sapling matures, it rouses from dormancy and starts communicating with its far-flung siblings. At that point the botanists of the Imperial Arboretum begin the process of preparing the young Tree for a life in space, as well as introducing it to the bevy of human Bonding Candidates. The Trees are neither pets nor livestock, but fully sapient beings. It is they who examine the eager humans, and it is they who render acceptance or denial. A successful pairing is a cause to celebrate, and a Bonding Ceremony is then held to consummate the event. (The tradition was started by Emperor Ashisato, who had successfully Bonded with The Genesis Tree. It was also he who started the tradition of christening the asexual sentients with a feminine endowment — i.e., naming the tree — no doubt prompted by the discovery that the Tree had been recently assimilated by Tsunami, and the subsequent "storm" that resulted.) Afterwards, the human Companion's basic physiology is modified to accept energy from the Tree, extending his/her lifespan considerably (a must when dealing with the long-lived Trees).

So successful was the pattern that it was bred into the offspring of each symbiont, replicating down the generations as successive pairings continued. And, just as no two humans are identical in appearance or temperament, no two Trees are identical in appearance or temperament. Neither symbiont loses any of their individuality; it is the harmony and close cooperation of both participants that makes the union so fruitful and productive.

However, in time a flaw was discovered: unlike the humans, descending generations of Trees experienced a loss in their ability to manipulate Power. The first generation Trees contained only a fraction of Tsunami's attributes, the second generation trees manifested even less. By the third and fourth generations, their abilities were almost nonexistent. Dilution and dissipation of some critical quality had occurred. Both species were deeply disappointed, and so the nature of the linkage was wrapped in secrecy, and public perceptions were altered. In the end, first-generation Trees were paired to members of the Royal Family, second-generation Trees partnered with ranking nobility, and third-generation and fourth-generation Trees were parsed to various Juraian fleets, to be used as flagships and diplomatic couriers. There were less than a hundred of them. The fifth generation were even now growing in the Imperial Arboretum, but expectations are not high. (The Navy, however, relishes the prospect of more Trees for its fleets — they were still formidable by normal standards, and vastly preferable to traditional steel-hulled vessels.)

THE GENESIS TREE ('Ouke no ki'):

The only member of the sentient arboreal species to consent to genetic manipulation, rendering it capable of survival in the harsh environment of outer space. No other member of the species was willing to make the adaptation. The point eventually became moot: once the modifications were completed the Tree was assimilated by Tsunami, and it/they/she was more than willing to donate seeds to the continuation of the project.

The Genesis Tree's current Companion is Sasami Masaki.

The First Generation:

There were only five successful progeny in the first generation, usually attached to members of the Royal Family or lineage holders of the four Great Houses. These are:

* Kirito (deceased) / Azusa Masaki (deceased)

* Mizuho / Funaho Masaki

* Karin / Misaki Masaki

* Funaho / Yosho Masaki

* Yuubu / Fleet Admiral Kasumi Masaki, IJN

The Second Generation:

There were 12 saplings in the second generation, attached to ranking nobility across the Four Great Houses. These include:

* Mikagami / Seto Kamiki

* Ryu-oh / Ayeka Masaki Jurai

* Mizuki / Kiriko Masaki Yamada

The Third Generation:

There were 27 saplings in the third generation, attached to second rank nobility and the Sentinental Squadron protecting Jurai. These include:

* Kyoko / Noike Sakatsu Kamiki

* Sumikenki / Commodore Linetsskha Ma'rhissa, IJN

The Fourth Generation:

There were 38 saplings in the fourth generation, five of which are assigned to the Sentinental Squadron, while the remainder were distributed throughout the Imperial Fleets.

The Fifth Generation:

There are nearly sixty fifth-generation trees presently growing in the Royal Arboretum. The first stand will reach maturity in the next decade, bringing the total number in service to well over 100.

The Habitat Module:

Imagine a house-sized bubble, lozenge- or spherically-shaped. The membrane is fabricated of an exotic semi-organic material that is the result of many thousands of years of research and development. The single major attribute of this material is its extreme flexibility:

*Its permeability can be modulated — in its most rigid configuration, it will block a wide range of radiation and microscopic projectile impacts; in its most porous configuration, it offers no resistance whatsoever to passage by solid objects.

* Its permeability can be varied across the surface, that is, different properties can be applied to different points (even adjacent locations).

* Its total surface area can be modified as well (put bluntly, the size of the bubble can be changed). Nanotechnology-based mechanisms embedded throughout the outer surface of the membrane allow for:

+ Free-flight capability, due to strings of gravitic drivers. This permits the bubble to move in any direction at a variety of speeds. It can hover above the ground, establish planetary and stellar orbits, and even shift in and out of psuedospace.

+ Extensive sensor modules networked together.

+ Support of a wide range of offensive and defensive weapons systems.

The inner surface of the membrane is microengineered to create and sustain a psuedospace pocket, whose properties depend greatly on the amount of energy available. Generally speaking, the total cubic volume inside the pocket is many times larger than the bubble itself.

This describes the Juraian equivalent of a Dyson Sphere.

The Dyson Sphere (or Dyson Shell) was originally proposed in 1959 by astronomer Freeman Dyson, as a way for an advanced civilization to utilize all of the energy radiated by its sun. It is an artificial sphere the size of a planetary orbit. The sphere would consist of a shell of solar collectors or habitats around the star, so that all (or at least a significant amount) of the energy will hit a receiving surface where it can be used. This would create a huge living space and gather enormous amounts of energy.

The Juraian expression, while much more modest in scope, is still hideously expensive and massively complicated. Each habitat Module is grown rather than constructed, and has but one single purpose: the core structure for an advanced-technology, multi-purpose starship with extended cruising requirements.

The usable volume of the psuedospace pocket is devoted to a biosphere, which reduces or eliminates the need for:

* Residential and administrative spaces restricted by the need to fit within space constraints.

* Inadequate cargo and repair facilities, again the victim of limited space.

Artificially-maintained life support systems (that must be periodically augmented with fresh resources).

* Physical and psychological effects of long-term confinement on the crew.

The benefits of such a bioengineered vessel are:

* Safe and secure — even luxurious — accommodations for the crew.

* There is enough space and power available to build a small city.

* Can be used for the transport of bulk cargo and extensive personnel during time of colonization or emergency.

* Extremely self-sufficient.

Like the star that resides at the center of a Dyson Sphere, a prodigious power source must occupy the heart of the Habitat Module, or it will never achieve its maximum potential. To-date, these power sources have been exclusively the Juraian Royal Trees, or the Masu-bred life form Fuku mated to the prototype vessel Kamidake II.

THE LIGHTHAWK WINGS

One cannot discuss the Lighthawk Wings (LHW) without a basic understanding of physics. Specifically, the structure of space/time. In a nutshell, most of the visible universe appears to be insubstantial; galaxies, stars, planets, molecules, atoms...they are all separated by an amazing amount of seemingly-empty space. However, this image is misleading. The fabric of reality is not an empty vacuum, but a foam of percolating virtual particles that flash in and out of existence in ceaseless turbulence. And this foam is filled with vast amounts of energy. (So intense is this energy that physicists Richard Feynman and John Wheeler calculated that there is more than enough energy in the volume of a coffee cup to vaporize all the water on Earth!).

Remember: matter is energy, also. Each subatomic particle is a thinning of this tumultuous vacuum energy...like bubbles in a vast space/time 'ocean.'

Overlapping the universe is a coincident, deeper-dimensional, thought-like field, called quantum space, and regions of this field are chained to regions of normal spacetime. As the vacuum foam churns, kicking-out clouds of virtual particles and the occasional real particle, it causes the fabric of quantum space to ripple and surge, forming intensely complicated and interlocked moiré patterns. These quantum patterns are thus bound to the particles created in spacetime, like Peter Pan and his shadow. And since the connection is a two-way arrangement, each affects the other: manipulate the particles, you adjust the corresponding patterns; alter the patterns, and the attached particles are changed.

Let's review:

* The universe is composed of energy, most of it invisible, the rest observable as matter (which is composed of 'thinned' or 'frozen' energy).

* Particles in space/time are linked to patterns in quantum space — and the link is a two-way connection.

* If you change the particles, you automatically change the patterns; if you change the patterns, you automatically change the particles.

Few quantum patterns reside in isolation. Most are nested one within another like Russian Matrushka dolls, or woven into fractal carpets of increasing complexity: particle - atom - molecule - rock - planet.

Is it possible for matter to exist without a corresponding pattern? Unknown. Is it possible for a pattern to exist without its corresponding particles? Yes. Example: a brain is composed of billions of particles, each with its matching pattern in quantum space; a mind is a quantum pattern in its own right, and is simply anchored to a particular brain. (Old Hindu proverb: "The body is all in the mind, but the mind is not all in the body.")

Since patterns have no physical limits, neither would a mind. And since, generally speaking, particles only affect particles, and patterns only affect patterns, it stands to reason that: a mind can touch/affect another mind, and a mind can affect the patterns than govern the behavior of their linked particles.

Given a little thought, you begin to see how some previously-unexplained phenomena are comprehensible — like telekinesis and telepathy, for instance.

Which leads us to the Adeptus Psycher Class.

Power adepts are a class of humans capable of performing psionic activities. These activities (such as telekinesis) are focused by the mind of the adept, and the energy to achieve the effect is drawn from ambient sources in the environment. The class is a relatively small percentage of the human population as a whole, and abilities vary greatly among its members. Adepts are ranked according to talent and abilities, with the top 10% awarded Master Class status. The absolute pinnacle of this ladder is reserved for the Super Class — and only two known human examples exist: Emperor Tenchi Masaki Jurai, and his first wife, Empress Ryoko Masaki Jurai.

To be ranked as Super Class requires the ability to perceive and manipulate quantum patterns directly — and the LHW are a quantum pattern, which can convert virtual particles into real particles utilizing the near-limitless energy of the spacetime vacuum. It is probable that all sapients bear this potential, but the percentage to actually achieve it is staggeringly small. There are more non-humans with this capability than humans — most notably the Royal Trees of Jurai.

In appearance, the LHW resemble plasma fields, whose shapes are dictated by the controlling entity. The effort to create and maintain even one Wing is enormous — each successive Wing consumes as much or more energy than the previous construct. The Genesis Tree has been observed projecting ten LHW, as has Empress Ryoko. His Majesty and the first and second generation Trees are each capable of producing up to three LHW. None of the later generations can create LHW on their own, but can create up to three of them when two or more Trees are networked together.

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