An Educational Experience (Candidate Project)
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Xanadu Weyr - Observation Level
Dark blue seats form a semi-circle around the sands below, the lowest row separating from the sands themselves by merely a railing. The seats climb upwards, each row a bit higher then the previous, and they are broken up into sections by 3 sets of staircases. Lights are evenly spaced along the outer wall, lighting the seats and the sands easily, though they tend to be dimmed unless a major event is taking place. A large balcony looms overhead, darkening some of the seats, providing a place for observers of the draconic kind to watch without obstructing the view for others.
When one looks over the railing, the oddly hued sand below can be seen easily, the circle-shaped area of the sands spread out to the far walls, the sand itself a unique mixture of red and white grains.


After lunch and before naptime, a group of the children from the nursery got a special field trip to go see the dragon eggs. They even got an informative talk from a real dragonhealer - that'd be D'ren, who's also been watching the group and keeping any of them from toppling over the rail head first. Thus far, anyhow. But… the informative talk has been over for a while now. The person from the nursery to pick them up… was supposed to be here about ten minutes ago. It's still just a graying dragonhealer riding herd on a group of kids. Or at least, it is until someone appears on the stairs! …unfortunately, it's still not someone from the nursery. It's Soriana, come to find D'ren because someone back at the Annex had a question for him.

Cody is one such lucky weyrbrat! Not much more than six or seven he's one of those kids who has a perpetual runny nose, even when they don't have a cold. Like most kids he never actually blows his nose, just sort of wipes it, and usually it's on his sleeve. He's a bit mousey, with light brown hair and blue eyes and a pair of pants he's out grown but insists on wearing as often as possible. He's got his sister with him, a cute little girl with blonde locks that fall in nice curls down her back. She's about four, and hasn't grown out of the 'what's this taste like' phase. At least not when it comes to candy she finds on the ground. She's found some sort of sticky hard candy under one of the benches and leans down to pick it up. Her brother is busy looking out at the eggs, then turns to the dragonhealer and tugs on his sleeve. "Rider D'ren… where do eggs come from?"

Woah. Lookit that! And woah! Lookit that! And WOAH it's so hot! Defante has been rather enjoying this trip, especially since that lady from the nursery isn't here to keep him attached to her side. If she could leash him, she probably would. But she does so without literally tying rope around his waist the best she can by keeping an extremely close eye on him, making it near impossible for the attention-hogging four turn old to get away with anything! But now. NOW. Freedooom! His interest in the eggs and dragons has kept him occupied enough that he could be mistaken for good. He sure looks the part. Large, inquisitive brown eyes set upon an angelic youthful brown face. Black hair is a mop of short twists, and his clothing fits well and looks newish. Thus far, he hasn't said much, but now .. now they've been doing a lot of nothing but standing around foorrreeeevveeerr. Someone is getting bored. "Hey old man. Ol' man!! It's hot. How come it's so hot 'n here?" he demands.

D'ren leans down to Cody with an avuncular smile that's become a little ragged around the edges. He has grandkids! He loves his grandkids! What he especially loves about them, right now, is that there's only two of them. Two children, two eyes. Two children, two hands. It's like destiny. He still smiles, though. "What's that? Oh. Well, you see, when a gold dragon decides she wants to have babies, she gets a bronze to fly with her and make eggs." …and never you mind the details until you're older, Cody. D'ren's gaze once more sweeps the area for trouble, but just before it reaches Cody's sister and her floor candy, Defante pulls the dragonhealer's attention away. "Because eggs need heat to help the baby dragons grow big and strong. Just like you have to eat your greens." And as D'ren's gaze lifts again, he suddenly brightens as he notices Soriana there by the stairs. Yeah, she's just standing there, because the sight of that gaggle of brats made her steps slow to a halt. What are they still doing here? Weren't they supposed to be gone? "Uhhh…" she says. D'ren simply beams, coming toward her and patting the top of Defante's head along the way. "Oh, Soriana. Could you take these children back to the nursery?"

What D'ren also probably likes is the fact that he can give his grandkids -back- once he's done playing with them or spoiling them. Cody wipes his nose on his sleeve and looks up at D'ren curiously. It's not running, do to the heat, but now it's dry. And crusty. "But why? How does she decide when she wants eggs? How does she pick a bronze? Where do they fly to? Do their riders go? Can I go? Can we go down to touch the eggs? Yeah, why's it so hot in here? Can I get a drink of water?" Cody's sister, Gerebelle, or just Bell for short, has a piece of candy! She brushes some dirt and dust from it, then pops it into her mouth. After a moment she announces, "Strawberry!" She takes it out of her mouth then and offers Defante a taste.

Greens? Defante makes a face. "No not me! I dun like no greens, yuck!" Because this is something everyone must know, he says it loudly. Or, perhaps his voice just has one set volume: Loud. He peeks up at the head pat he receives from the passing "old man", scowling at him and sticking his tongnue out at his back. Why? Well … why not? Oh D'ren? Aren't you happy this one isn't a grandkid? His tongue is slurped back in his mouth now. "It's hot," he says again, in that same "why are you so loud?" volume. He looks at his classmates, zeroing in on the girl with candy. He blinks twice then makes no hesitation to head towards her, eyes on that candy piece she found, dirt and all. "'ey, that's mine!" GASP! She ate it. His jaw drops in a classic O shape. Oh no she didn't… He's gonna teeeeelllll!

Oh, D'ren loves that part about his grandkids. Also, they're little angels for grandpa the source of candy and the toys that make the funny noises that their mom won't buy them. Angels. Like, the exact opposite of… say… Defante. Why does a dragon decide to have babies? Right now, he can hardly imagine. "She just does," he answers Cody. "And they fly someplace quiet," Oh, he could go for some quiet about now, "-and cuddle." Yes, cuddle. They… cuddle. "You can touch them if you get searched," he adds, glancing back at Cody before returning his attention to Soriana, whose expression is… …what? Seriously, what? D'ren expects her to… what? "Uhhhh…" she says. D'ren just smiles. "Thank you," he says in the easy fashion of someone who really only phrased it as a question out of politeness, and therefore can take 'uhh' as an affirmative. He starts down the stairs. Soriana stares a moment, then calls after him, "You've still got to file the report about Western!" That's what she was supposed to be doing up here. As for what she's actually doing… her gaze turns back to the swarm of children. Oh. Shards. "Uh…" Her gaze settles on Bell. "Hey, wait, what're you… eww, don't do that." Thing one, no floor candy. Thing two… no sharing licked candy! She makes her way toward them, trying to take the candy away.

Garawan is still curious about the eggs! Even knowing generally what awaits him at the hatching, he's still curious about this clutch. Their minds are very different from what he'd known. But then, he supposed they were like people in that regard. Nonetheless, that's what brings him to the observation level of the gallery that day… only to find there are kids EVERYWHERE oh Faranth. He pauses, blinking in confusion. Who lost their kidlets?

Cody wrinkles his nose at Defante's yelling. "Little kids are so LOUD!" Because he's the bigger kid. So he can call anyone younger than him little. "Cuddle? That sounds boring. They should battle! Be all reeeeor ROAR scratch scratch flap flap grrr…" This goes on at length. "And then they should come back and eat herdbeasts like narf-nomnom. I saw a dragon eat one once. It was gross." Cody turns his attention to Garawan then, who has ventured too close. "Have you ever seen one? I could see all the bones!" Bell pulls the candy back in away from Defante. Well if that's how he's gonna be, no sharing! "No! I found it! It's MINE." She's about to stick it back into her mouth when it's snatched by Soriana. Lip wibble. Lip wibble. And then the bawling begins. "It was… mine…"

And Bell dare deny Defante his candy? Candy that is rightfully his! Because all floor candy belongs to him, don't you know? She obviously doesn't, thus she must be schooled. And she would've been schooled if it wasn't for the sudden interference of Soriana, who swipes the candy away. Whaa-? He blinks owlishly, those dark brown eyes lifting up to the meanie who's denying them (but most importantly, him!) the sweet treat. "HEY YOU!" His little face, once so innocent looking, scrunches up to an angry look, complete with pouty lips and little balled fist. "Y'took my candy!" Yes, little kids are very loud, and they seem louder now with Bell's crying being added to the mix. It's enough to catch Defante's attention though, and he looks at her as he contemplates whether he should join in on the wailing or not. Decisions, decisions.

"It's gross," says Soriana. Not about the herdbeasts, though. She can only deal with so many things at once, and so Cody is free to rampage at Garawan. Sori's talking about the candy. …and now she's holding it. Double eww. …it's got things stuck to it. Triple eww. …now what does she do with it? Quadruple eww. But she can't very well give it back to Bell, because she's not sure she could handle a quintuple eww right now, she can't just drop it (because Bell'd just pick it up off the floor again), and somebody has been slacking on stocking this place with wastebaskets (besides, Bell'd probably dig it out of there. So… she makes a face like she can't believe she's doing this, and puts the dirty, sticky candy into her pocket. Okay. Problem one, solved… eeeeexcept for the bit with the crying Gerebelle and the angry Defante. "You can get new candy." Logic: that's totally going to help this situation. "Better candy." Candy not covered in dirt! Cody is right. Little kids are so loud. "We'll get you some at the nursery. How about we go there?" Please?

And suddenly he's been noticed! Fardles. There goes his chance of a silent escape! "Ah… no, I've not had the, er, pleasure of watching a dragon eat before," Garawan replies, looking a little shell-shocked at all the goings-on. So many kids! Sadly? This is normally how he handles kidlet duty. Namely, not well. He's generally good with the baby ones that can't talk yet, but when they get loud and boisterous like these? He has no clue what to do.

Bell is an eater of all things candy, be they yucky or not. So she might dig it out of the trash as soon as Sori's back is turned. She watches it go into her pocket through all the tears. "But I want that candy…" Sniff sniff. "Can it be strawberry?" At least the wailing has stopped with the promise of new candy, though the tears are still flowing a little at the loss of the old candy. Cody grins at Garawan. It's almost evil looking on such a little kid. Really he's just pleased that this big kid hasn't seen a dragon eat, but he has. "It's soooo gross! There was blood and guts everywhere and the dragon was tearing all the meat off it. Eeeew!"

Defante gracefully decides not to cry and just ends up staring at Bell, as if to judge her technique. Is there a sufficient amount of tears? What's her sob to wail ratio? And importantly, who is this girl who stole the candy away! Now he zeroes in on Soriana, fixing her with his mad face as that candy is stuck away in her pocket. Fume! But, what's this? There's candy elsewhere? In the nursery, you say? Well now! That's a totally different story. "Is there a lot? There's a lot there?" His angry face wilts a little due to intrigue. Hmmmmm! "Ok, I'll go!" Hooray! He rounds on Bell. "Dun you eat my candy, you girl," he warns, pointing a little finger and everything. And, while he's being suspicious, that suspicious eye is turned to Soriana. "Better be 'nough candy for ME." One can only suppose just how much enough may be!

"Yeah. It'll be strawberry," Soriana promises Bell. The nursery staff may not be so happy about that, but at least it's stopped Bell from crying. Also, so far as Soriana's concerned, the nursery staff lost their chance to complain when they failed to show up and take these kids back themselves! She stares right back at Defante, then nods. "Yeah, you too. Candy for both of you." How much? She's not gonna say. One candy apiece is still candy, right? Right. "Come on," says Soriana, stepping between Bell and Defante and reaching a hand for each of their backs to try and nudge them toward the stairs. "Let's…" Oh, look. It's a Cody! "You'd be a messy eater too, if you tried to do it without any hands," Soriana informs him, then looks up at Garawan. "Hi."

At first it was mostly wail and not much cry. Now it's mostly cry and the wailing is over. That is Bell's technique. To start out annoying, then be cute and lovable afterwards so she gets her way. Bell furrows her brow at Defante. "Don't you eat -MY- candy. She didn't say -YOU- get any." She looks up at Soriana. "He doesn't get any, right?" Sori might be in a lot of trouble when they get to the nursery and there's no candy to be found. Bell starts to sniffle again when Soriana says Defante can get candy, too. She reluctantly moves in the direction pushed, but no further. Cody grins at Sori. "I wish I could eat like that! Just stuff my head into my food and wiggle it and be all like NOMNOMNOM."

Muir hops up the stairs two at a time, perhaps here to gaze at the eggs, or maybe looking for somewhere quiet. He'll get neither, apparently, rocking to a stop with his sweetstick half way to his mouth. One of several clutched in his other fist as he blinks at the invasion of children. Blink. And takes a slooooow step backwards.

Wait. What? Defante's face scrunches again, and he resists Soriana's helpful herding hand by dragging his feet and pressing backwards against her even though despite his efforts…he's four and she's sixteen. He will be moved forward. "I dun WANT strawberry!" he scowls, shake-shake-shaking his head, causing his hair twists to bounce-bounce-bounce. "I dun like it. I dun want it! I want…I…I want…" Well, what kind does he want? He seems unsure, but he's sure he doesn't want ol' stupid strawberry! "I wan' a blue one!" he finally comes up with, as loud as ever. And to Bella, he glowers. Isn't he adorable? "I dun want your stuuuupit strawberries candy noway. I'ma get a blue one. An' a green one! An' a … an' a .. a ….BIG one." So ha ha! He sure told her. He sure told the both of them! Showed them who's boss… "I'm hot.." Uuungh!

Soriana is many things! Comfortable around children is not one of them, but… neither is being a liar. She may have both hands full, but what she also has is a brown firelizard who's used to running errands. Admittedly, he's not exactly used to getting his instructions in 1.3 second increments in between one of the children doing something that drags Soriana's attention back to the present… and she has no idea if there's actually strawberry in that bag of mixed candies she vaguely remembers being… somewhere… in the kitchen? Or was it on her mom's desk? Anyway, there's the bag of candies, and Toral should find it. And, hey, no matter what flavor it is, one or the other of Bell and Defante will be happy, right? "You'll both get to pick the one you want." One. Singular. "…but only if we get there before my firelizard eats them all." Okay. For small children, apparently Soriana is a liar. Her firelizard doesn't like candy. So, the time before he eats the candy is likely to be rather long, actually. "Come on," she encourage-prods them again. Cody is, somehow, one of the closest things to a voice of reason here. That… is scary. "Yeah, well, don't try it with hot and sour soup. Or chili." Even if it would look awesome. It would also burn like whoa. …maybe Soriana shouldn't be giving these kids ideas. Oh well. She notices Muir. Muir… with candy. "Hi. We're just leaving." Prod, prod, please oh please children, do not notice that Muir has those sweetsticks.

Garawan, for his part, seems fairly pleased with the fact that the kids seem to have moved their attention off of him in favor of something else. Gah, kidlets. He breathes a sigh of relief. At this age, he has no idea how to deal with them. For the time being, he stays out of the area of their main attention span. That was one good thing about kids anyway… their small attention spans meant he didn't have to deal with the scrutiny for long!

Bell starts to cry again, and latches onto Sori, holding her hand and pulling. "Waaaaa.. there's gonna be strawberry right? I just want one strawberry. He's being mean to me!" She points to Defante with her free hand. Now who is telling on who? That's about the time that Muir enters. And he enters… with candy. Perhaps a bad choice. Bell, the little blonde goldilocks makes a B-line straight for him. Crying? Stopped. Soriana? Forgotten. "SWEEEETSTICKS! Can I have one? Please? Please??" Bounce bounce bounce bounce. Tug tug. Cody ponders Soriana's suggestion for a bit. then suddenly he's holding at his crotch. "I have to go POTTY!"

"Oh sh-" Muir says, catching himself at the last moment. He's been spotted. Holding his sweetsticks up high he frowns down at Bell. "What are you going to do for me?" he asks of the girl. "Nothing's free you know." Then he looks up in alarm at Cody. "Don't pee onto the Sands!"

Defante is content. Why is he content? Well because he knows he is boss, that's why! And so all of his noise is gone for a little bit as he revels in that fact. He's the boss! He's getting candy from a firelizard and he's the boss! Not that "stupit" girl or that other boy who…huh. Yes. Bathroom! He watches Cody, and one can almost see the wheels turning in his head. Does he need to go too? ………. why yes. Yes he does! His candy dilemma forgotten, he takes on the same stance as Cody. Hey, if the big kid can hold his weewee, so can he! "I gotta go too! I gotta go. I gotta gooo!" All of a sudden, this is an emergency.

…shards. They noticed. Worse yet… Cody and Defante… "Can't you wait?" Soriana asks, exasperated as she looks between the two. …yeah, no, they really don't look like they can. "F- …ine." She reaches down to grab for Cody and Defante's hands, and gives Muir a pleading look. "Will you watch her?" A tilt of her head toward Bell. "Please? Just for a minute?" This is the look of 'I will give you anything, name your price' she's giving him, and she doesn't wait for an answer before dragging the younger boys off toward the nearest bathroom.

Bell sniffles at Muir. "I dunno…" She digs through her pockets and pulls out a 1/32 mark piece. It's dirty and gross and looks like she found it in an abandoned tunnelsnake burrow or something. "This?" Cody does the 'gotta go' dance. Similar to the 'hot sands' dance, but with more crotch-holding. Also there is more whimpering. "Hurry hurry!" Off they go! To the potty room! At least Cody is old enough to do -that- on his own. And not make a mess.

Muir shakes his head, frowning. "I don't want your money. You gotta /do/ something for me." And the Candidate looks around, peering thoughtfully. "Like find me something /really/ neat up here. Not like trash, something someone lost that's great. Then you'll get /two/ sweet sticks." Maybe that'll keep her busy for a bit?

Defante's hand clutches Soriana's and he's dragged off with the other boy. "Gotta go, gotta go!" he chants as they head off to the restroom, enjoying his little potty song. But … yeah, he really does have to go! He too knows how to use the potty without anyone helping him (lucky Sori!) and this at least happens without incident.

And Soriana is so grateful that the boys can manage going potty on their own. So, so grateful. You don't even know how grateful she is. Well, maybe if you saw how she slumps in and rests her head against the wall while they're in there, you might have some guesses. While she's there, she sees about maybe taking the floor candy out of her pocket and throwing it away, because there's a trashcan and Bell isn't watching, but… nope. It's stuck. "..sharding fardle shells and stars and shard…"

Bell looks up at Muir quizzically. "Do what?" She tilts her head at his explanation. "Like what kind of thing? Where is it?" Bell starts looking for some nebulous item under all the benches. But, like any small child, her attention span isn't set up for long tasks and she starts to get frustrated. Which means the lip starts to wibble. "I can't find nothing!" Cody finishes up with his business and then heads over to Soriana without washing his hands. He reaches over so he can look into her pocket. "What's wrong, lady?"

And he's done! Flush goes a toilet, and indeed Defante washes his hands. But when one is four, such things are drilled into your head til they're more of a law than an option, and he stares wide eyed as Cody goes off without doing so! He finishes washing (though it's more like rinsing) and scoots out, pointing his finger. "He didn' wash his hands! He didn't!" he says, giving Cody a 'You're in big trouble now' look. "I did," he says triumphantly, holding up wet palms for Soriana to investigate, a beaming look on his face.

Muir shrugs, "Then no sweetsticks for you," he calls to Bell, happily chomping on his sweetstick. "It's gotta be something neat! Like a treasure."

…lefards, the kid was listening to her. Soriana looks up at Cody with eyes wide for a moment, then shoves her pocket back down. …no, down, no sticking to her fingers and coming back up. "Nothing," she tells him, then looks back to Defante. What? Oh. Hands. She looks dutifully down at them. Yep. Those're wet! So, uh, apparently washing does not include drying. Back to Cody. "Wash your hands," she informs him. She's not gonna touch unwashed weewee hands! Back to Defante. "Don't tattle."

Cody furrows his brow at Defante. "Shut up you little sharding fardle shell! I did SO wash my hands!" He lies. Then he gives the little tattle-tale a shove to the shoulder. Yes that's right. He's bigger! Then he stomps over to wash his hands defiantly. Also he dries them, so there! And then he moves over to let Sori inspect them since that seems to be what she's doing. Bell has given up the search. She instead sits down on a bench and start to cry. "I can't find anything here….Waaaaaa!"

Muir shrugs, "No sweets for you then," he says again, looking around as he sucks on his own sweetstick. Ignoring Bell, apparently. Where is Sori? This kid is starting to get on his nerves. "Hey, hush up. You don't want the dragons to eat you."

Defante's beaming expression remains as he lowers his hands down to look at them himself. He's proud of his work. These are the best clean hands he's ever seen! But then, someone's talking gibberish to him. He looks at Cody. A little sharding what now? Oo, those are neat sounding words! He'll make it a point to repeat them later. But now, he has to set the record straight. "Nuh-uh, no you di-…" he starts but doesn't finish, for he's soon attacked! .. Well, not "attacked" but one couldn't tell by the way the little guy gasps at the shove and stumbles backwards a foot, landing on his rear. And if that wasn't bad enough, he's been called a tattle tale by a kid and a growup today! He's in shock. For a few precious moments, there's nothing other than him sitting there, perhaps deciding the best course of action. Perhaps too in shock to move. But give him a minute. … Tears begin to well, that bottom lip juts out, a shakey breath is inhaled, and the waterworks begin. "Maamaaa! I want my mamaaaaa!"

And it's at /this/ point that Mikal comes up to the galleries to perhaps stare dreamily at the eggs. So much for quiet? He pauses on the steps up and blinks as he simply takes in the scene unfolding. All he sees? Some kid crying for their momma.

"And no hitting!" Soriana calls after Cody as he vanishes into the restroom once more. Not that she expects him to listen, and then she goes for Defante. She manages to not say any of the fun new words this time, at least! Instead, she reaches down, and picks the kid up. It's awkward, boy is it awkward, but that's what you do with crying kids, right? Hold 'em like baby firelizard. Like ginormous baby firelizards. What do they feed these kids? "Hey now, it's okay. It's okay," Please be okay. "Eeeeeverything's okay." Once Cody gets back, she looks at his hands, because… yes. Inspecting the hands of small children does seem to be what Soriana's doing. Where in life did she go wrong? Sixteen turns, she wouldn't have thought she could mess up this bad, but… apparently she did. That done, she says, "Come on," because the kid's like seven, surely he can at least walk? and brings them back to the stands, whee she discovers a candy-eating Muir and a crying Bell. Uh. The look she gives Muir now is the 'What did you DO?' look.

Bell isn't that easily fooled. And her crying continues. "Dragons don' eat people! Rider D'ren told us so! I wanna go hoooooome! I want the nice lady with the caaaandyyyy." Things are slowly spiraling into chaos. If Sori doesn't get the kids back to the nannies soon she might have a full blown riot on her hands! That's right, he PUSHED Defante. Cody isn't going to cry, but he is going to pout as they head back to the stands. "Come on, Bell! I want to leave!" Bell reluctantly gets up and heads over to take her brothers hand, sniffling and rubbing her eyes.

Muir didn't do /anything/. "She didn't do what I told her she needed to do to get candy. She's a brat, so she's crying." What was /he/ supposed to do? "Let her cry it out, she'll be fine. She's not hurt or anything, just angry." He rolls his eyes at Bell and gets to his feet, apparently feeling /some/ sort of responsibility now. "Going back to the nannies then?" he asks brightly, flashing Soriana a grin. He's helping! Honest.

It is past their naptime. No wonder the kidlets are getting a bit cranky! Defante included, as usually he'd be very against getting picked up and carried like a baby. He's a big boy, doesn't she knows? But this time only, he'll allow it. He hasn't be carried in a long time, and it's nice, even if the lady carrying him is the lady who called him a tattler. *sniff sniff* Where's his momma? Where are the nannies? He peeks and glares at Cody, the pusher, who is preparing to leave with Bell, the candy thief. "I *hic* wanna…wanna go *hic!* *sniffle!* home."

The look Soriana's giving Muir does not go away or transmute into an approving one, but! She doesn't say anything. Not in front of the children. Just turns her head away after a moment, seeing Cody take his sister's hand. "Thank you," she tells him. Not Muir. Cody. "Let's go." And, still carrying Defante - who is most definitely a big boy, oh, she believes him on that, but right now he's also cranky and crying and she's afraid if she sets him down he'll go into all-out-meltdown - she leads the way out and across the clearing to the nursery. There will be naptimes, and, yes, candies for all three of them, glares from the nannies notwithstanding. Though, as it turns out, the bag Toral is curled around and guarding is just full of peppermints, not strawberry at all. At least it's still sugar.

Mikal hesitates. Does he want to continue? It's hard to tell. He stays put and simply watches. Though he does look like he wouldn't mind some candy.

Muir could have shared his candy. Or just told Bell he'd bring some candy to her later or something, just to quiet her down. But nuuuuu he had to go and assign an impossible task and keep eating candy in front of her. Cody glares back up at Defante. Tattle-tale! They all need naptime and then maybe some candy afterwards. Cody and Bell follow along fairly silently. Bell is still sniffling, but she's calming down. Not that she's very happy with Muir.

Join the club, Bell.


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