Only way to pump up the Church’s numbers on Adherents.Com

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The first commandment was when Eve told Adam to eat the apple

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The Break-In

watergate3Linda Sunkel was nineteen and living on Seattle streets with her very young baby, Hailey, nursing her in alleys, selling blow jobs, living on whatever change she could get from passers-by, and furtively hiding from police, who would surely interpret her vagrancy as a form of child abuse and take the baby away from her. She never stayed in one part of the town for long, for she was afraid the police would soon come to notice her as an unwelcome fixture.

The existence of the safe houses ran by the B’nei Elohim for battered women and runaway teenaged girls became known to Linda by flyers pasted on telephone poles. She hesitated going to one of them, being neither a battered woman nor a teen, and thought she would be unwelcome there too, but positive word-of-mouth on the street gradually steered her closer and closer. All were welcome. Narcotic dependent ladies.  Ladies who had no concept of personal hygiene. Even rowdy ladies, because no matter how rowdy they thought they were, Lilith and Hunky were rowdier.

Linda drifted south past the Seattle City limits and eventually came to one of the safe houses in Franklin down in the Green River Gorge. Soon she found there was no shortage of women willing to help her with baby Hailey. Indeed, it was rare that she even had to change her baby’s diapers.

But truth be known, Linda was just there for the handouts, and she expected to wear out her welcome in short order. To her surprise, the B’nei Elohim purse was nearly bottomless. If a gal was turned away, it was often only for lack of room in the house.

On the summit of End Dome Hill, amid the ruins of the Temple, Robyn presided over the ritual of belonging for Morgan Brooklyn to become fully B’nei Elohim.  On this occasion Linda Sunkel was invited to attend as an observer, and she had been happy to oblige.  It seemed such a very small thing to do in return for everything the B’nei Elohim had already done for her.

Robyn said to Morgan, “The Grays accept narrow horizons and the ebb and flow of cause and chance. In large numbers they become like a torrent of water filling the easy channels. Abdicating their responsibility to choose, they become a flood sweeping away everything in their path. Be a Green, Erin. A Green is a unique source of newness! A Green creates her moments afresh at each instant. A Green’s every decision is not just another link in the chain of cause and effect, but rather an anchor for a new chain of consequences. Greens thrive on the knife-edge between cause and chance, where meaningful complexity finds fertile ground. Will you join us, Morgan, to become an immortal surprise generator of the universe?”

“I will,” she said.

And just as she had seen Julie Pritchard become Trish, now Morgan Brooklyn became Audrey, the sixth member of the B’nei Elohim.

When they walked back down from the top of End Dome, Linda had many questions about what she had seen, and the other B’nei Elohim allowed Audrey to answer all of them to cement Audrey’s own sense of belonging to something new.  “We call it the Change, Linda,” she said. “It is something that comes to us from outside of this world. All the cells in my brain are not really alive anymore, they are very complicated micro-machines.”

“And that cup at the back of your head?  What is that for?”

“That is a way to attach machines directly to my mind.”

“What kind of machines?”

“Machines that don’t even exist yet.”

“May I touch it?”

Audrey allowed Linda to tug on the connector, and see that it was indeed deeply embedded in her head, and not just a prop applied with glue. Linda asked, “So what good is it for?”

“We have a cable that allows women who have been Changed to talk to each other, directly, mind-to-mind. There can be no lying in such an exchange, and I cannot even begin to tell you what it’s like in words. You have to experience it yourself, if that is what you choose to do one day.”

“So is that all you can do right now, is link yourselves together?”

“Did you know that Jill was once two persons, Linda?  That she was once a woman named Rebecca and also a man named Jerry?”

“How did that happen?”

“Jerry was killed by our enemies, but Rebecca saved him.  Everything that he was, all his memories, she pulled into herself with that cable.   Then she became a new person who calls herself Jill, but she is still Jerry and Rebecca inside.  Jerry didn’t really die!   None of us can ever really die.”

Lord Asmodeus was a quick study.  After witnessing what the Beaters could do to his forces when they bunched together, he ordered them to stay far apart.  But this nullified any possible coordination of his fleet. The battle became a free-for-all.  Asmodeus sacrificed coherence in his force for the only prospect of victory he had left.  

But in retrospect it was a good decision.   Asmodeus may have fancied himself a tactical genius, but he was really a hopeless amateur, and releasing his tight grip on his forces allowed far more competent men to salvage something of the battle.

As Ezqeel pressed his vessels into orbit around Hybla, he fired on the destroyers on his flanks and sustained no damage from the torpedoes they fired. At this point the battle began to shift back in favor of the forces loyal to Asmodeus.

Ezqeel’s cruisers opened up on Atarculph’s forces with railguns, delivering devastatingly accurate fire.

Desperately, Intrepid attempted to extract herself from the danger facing her. Realizing that no assistance would be forthcoming from the Beater ship closest to her, Luminary, and her own survival was unlikely in the face of such overwhelming fire, she dropped to a lower orbit over Hybla. As she did so, two torpedoes impacted on her submacro engines. Having taken the coup de grâce, Intrepid exploded.

Each Loyalist ship had fired between 60 and one hundred rounds. Valorous was disabled by the explosions of these shells and torpedoes  and began to burn uncontrollably.  Ezqeel, aboard his flagship cruiser Pursuer, realized his targets were too smothered with smoke and debris to target them accurately anymore and ordered a general cease-fire.

As the twisting, burning hulk of Valorous passed Indomitable, the men aboard Indomitable realized they had badly misjudged the other vessel’s course. Franticly, they attempted to avoid a collision, but Indomitable’s bow buried itself in Valourous’ stern. Indomitable had her hull breached by the impact and her bow deformed. Slowly, the two carriers parted again and Indomitable fell back.

At some point in the middle of all this confusion, amid the new and unexpected tactical reverses suffered by the Beater fleet, Edgar the Elder overcame the objections of his companions and assumed direct command of the starship Redemption.  The vessel got underway from the gravitational null point between Hybla and Dia called Central where she had been constructed several weeks before she was fully ready to deploy.   

Atarculph was just as surprised and dismayed as Asmodeus to see the anti-matter engine of Redemption kick in and the vessel begin to accelerate relentlessly at one full gee out of the system.

Asmodeus threw everything he had left at the fleeing Redemption in a suicidal bid to stop it.  And Atarculph thew everything he had left in a suicidal bid to stop him.

They bugged the wrong phone during the May 1972 Watergate break-in. It was just a secretary’s phone mostly used by staffers to order in Chinese food, not the one used by the Democratic Party chairman that was clear on the other side of the office in a locked room.

The corresponding Operation GEMSTONE transcripts were useless and the Attorney General, loath to piss away $89,000 in diverted and laundered campaign funds, ordered a second break-in to square things away because the President himself insisted they keep collecting whatever information they could on his political enemies, around the clock.

On June 14 the GEMSTONE leader code-named “Daddy” got his Washington team back together and the “Spook” told the same group of burglars he used the first time to fly back up from Miami. It took two days to get everyone into place with the right equipment, mostly off-the-shelf stuff that couldn’t be traced, but there was no written plan and no rehearsal.

This astonished the “Photographer”, a semi-retired CIA operative who had captained a boat for over three hundred missions to communist Cuba (some of which were extraordinary renditions of men who might have been his friends had he dared to lift their hoods). But his friend the “Realtor”, a fellow Bay of Pigs veteran, practically worshiped the ground the Spook walked on.

The “Quiet Man” walked nonchalantly through the front door of the Watergate office complex, signed in, took the elevator to the top floor, entered the stairwell, then used duct tape to cheat the locks on every door all the way down to the parking garage levels.

But the Quiet Man was a complete moron. He taped the doors horizontally, rather than vertically, so anyone and his dog could see it.

A private security guard named Frank Wills did see the tape, because his first task was always to check the basement doors for tampering when he came on to his shift at midnight. He pulled the tape off and called his supervisor, who told him to check the other doors and call back in fifteen minutes.

But what Frank did instead was go get some fast food across the street with a young intern who was pulling a late-nighter, a young lady that he was trying to make tracks with.

When the actual burglary commenced, it lasted for about seven minutes before they came back to their base of operations in Room 419 of the Watergate Hotel and told Daddy the duct tape on the B-2 garage level door was missing. Meanwhile the “Locksmith” and “The Goon” went around looking for another lock to pick.

The Realtor and the Spook told Daddy they wanted to abort the mission, because obviously a guard must have removed the tape. The Photographer said he was ready to do whatever Daddy decided to do. Daddy decided to cancel the evolution and try again two weeks later.

So the Quiet Man made his rounds again, this time removing the tape from all the doors. By the time Frank Wills finished his hamburger and actually did what his supervisor told him to do (check the other doors), there was no tape. He figured it had just been some lazy workman who taped the B-2 level door open that one time to save a few seconds of hassle fumbling for keys while carrying something big. Wills forgot about the entire episode.

But the third time was the charm for the burglars. On July 1 the GEMSTONE team returned one more time to the sixth floor offices of the DNC at the Watergate complex, bugged the correct phone, photographed ten rolls of film of the Realtor holding documents in his blue-gloved hands, and even made off with some blank stationary with Party letterhead.

What they didn’t find was evidence that Cuban President Fidel Castro was giving money to the Democratic Party, which is what they hoped to find. But that was okay, because President Nixon’s master of dirty tricks, Donald Segretti, simply used the letterhead they stole and the  photographs of various signatures to manufacture such evidence.

Tactically, there was little profit in any of this illegal activity, all it really did was turn what would have been a historic 49-state victory in November 1972 into an even more historic 50-state victory. But having avoided a messy second term scandal, Nixon was free to bring about what he called the New American Revolution, making the executive branch nearly omnipotent with a cabinet whose heads were supremely loyal to him. Congress he largely ignored. But this notion of an imperial presidency was going to bite America in the ass in October 1973 when the Yom Kippur War spiraled out of anyone’s control, even that of an Imperial President.

Rewind to early Saturday morning, June 17, 1972. At 12:30 in the morning, Robyn and Lilith walked across the street from the Howard Johnsons and entered the parking garage of the Watergate hotel/office complex. Robyn led them one level down, and walked toward the door leading into the building. It was locked.

“This is going to sound very strange, Lil, but if there’s an empty  mailbag sitting right here for the next hour, Washington DC will not get nuked..”

“A mailbag?”

“Yeah, you know, like the kind a mailman carries.”

“What’s going on here anyway?”

“President Nixon sent some burglars here tonight. Well, not the President exactly, but men working for him did.  If the burglars get caught, there’s not going to be a nuclear war. He’ll be too preoccupied by the scandal.”

“Why would such a small thing become a scandal?”

“Because Nixon will abuse his power and try to cover it up, and that will be the scandal.”

“So why don’t we just call the police?”

“If we do, they’ll get away. They’ve got a lookout posted in our hotel.  In the room right next to ours, in fact.”

“So how does a mailbag lead to them getting caught?”

“It’s very complicated.  If I try to explain, we’ll run out of time.”

“Fine, I’ll go find a mailbag.”

“Empty one, Lil.”

Robyn saw Lilith shift a little bit, change her position slightly, but she was carrying an empty mailbag.  Lilith had used the worm-tunnel to pop into a nearby post office, lifted a bag, dumped out the mail, and returned to the same spot and instant that she left.

Then they both went back across the street to their room and watched from the balcony.

At one AM the balding Quiet Man pushed open the door from the inside, noted that the duct tape he had placed there before was missing.  But he did not immediately assume a guard had removed it, because he saw the empty US Postal Service mail bag sitting there.  He assumed a mailman had come and tried to use his key to unlock the door, but found the door was already accessible thanks to the strip of tape.   The Quiet Man also assumed the mailman had removed the tape, but that he would be too busy delivering mail to think of reporting it to anyone.  So he replaced the missing tape with another strip to cheat the lock, and of course being stupid he posted it horizontally, leaving it perfectly visible.

At about one thirty, the Watergate security guard Frank Willis pushed the door open a second time and saw another strip of tape along the edge there after he had removed the first. He said, “What the hell?” but left the second piece tape in place.  He left to call the police.

At 1:52 AM, Robyn and Lilith watched a piece of junk car pull up across the street.  Two informally dressed longhaired men got out of the vehicle and entered the hotel. Neither Robyn nor Lilith realized they were plainclothes cops using an unmarked car, and neither did Alfred Baldwin, watching from the balcony right next door to them.  Lilith scowled at the man, then went back inside the room.

Baldwin was more than a little nervous and felt like he had to say something to explain to Robyn why he was out on his balcony watching the Watergate. “Beautiful night.”

“You have no idea.”

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Ruh Roh!

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And dyslexic atheists don’t believe in a dog

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If you like your Internet you can keep your Internet

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Trish

Watergate2Just like Robyn and Hunky, Morgan Brooklyn went through the Change without asking for it to happen.  A slender strawberry-blonde, Morgan was very feminine, just as pensive as her calico named Retardo-Cat. She wore pretty knee-length dresses and didn’t even own a pair of jeans, except for hiking when she made a sole concession and wore cutoff shorts.

When Morgan spoke, which was not often, it was in a hesitant but carefully thought out manner. She hardly ever stuck her foot in her mouth. About the only emotion her blank little porcelain doll face would show was a constant impatience, as if she was eternally bored with the people and places she found herself stuck with. This appearance of ennui tended to limit her popularity when she was in high school.

In a few days Morgan Brooklyn would attend her graduation ceremony at Hazen High, where she had just completed her senior year. She had a license and the keys to her mom’s car and a part time job in a checkout line gave her a little bit of gas money, but she knew better than to spend the summer just sitting behind the wheel. It wasn’t in her plan. She had to get out and move her ass.

Morgan drove south and east and explored the roads between her hometown of Renton and Enumclaw, in the rolling rural areas at the foot of the Cascade front.  Crossing the single-lane bridge at Franklin she ended up on a road that was closed by a large green metal gate where the pavement ended. Morgan parked there and got out to explore the gravel road beyond the gate.

A half mile beyond the gate the road forked, with the right hand climbing sharply uphill. That was the road to the summit of End Dome hill. She decided to keep walking on the main road, which was much more level.

A mile past the gate, the road came to an end. Trails led all over the place from there, and Morgan decided to follow one of them. Later, when she knew more about this place, she would realize how lucky she was that she didn’t fall victim to the many dangers there.

In one well-hidden place there was a curious small round pond surrounded by grassy berms.

Choosing trails at random, Morgan ascended the northwest face of End Dome hill on a broad ridge and in her head there were only gentle thoughts of this timeless interval between the close of her term and graduation, and the vague idea, a common belief of youth, that she would live forever.  As she drew near to a golden object suspended in a grove of cedars ahead, not in her wildest daydreams did Morgan imagine that real immortality was only a few steps away.

On the trails Morgan was well-protected by her big, intimidating Alaskan malamute, Molly.  On the game trail that she had chosen to explore, Morgan’s dog Molly ran ahead to the little cedar grove and was sniffing at something that looked like a treasure chest, covered in a layer of beaten gold film, with perhaps a dozen needles sticking out of the surface.

Molly let out a yelp of pain and backed off a bit. She was snorting, shaking her nose, then she started growling and barking at the shiny chest as a newfound foe.

By this time Morgan was coming up. “Whassamatter Molly? You get stung by a bee? Let me take a look.”

Just as curious as Molly had been, Morgan put her index finger close to a part of the gold-lined box that was needle-free, just as Robyn and Hunky had once done under the Temple sanctuary years before, and the exact same thing happened. Her finger was skewered by a needle.

“Freaking health hazard,” she said, and she planned to tell someone about it. For the time being, she comforted Molly by rubbing the dog’s nose, and turned to walk back to the car. Morgan was no longer in the mood for hiking.

In a few days both Morgan and Molly both developed the classic white bump at the back of their respective heads. Three things saved Morgan from ending up in another government clinic and starting the whole thing all over again. The first thing was that she was too scared to tell anyone, even herself. The second thing was that she loved her dog very much, so she went to an animal hospital. And the third thing was this animal hospital had an employee who worked on macros for Edgar the Elder part time and knew about all these bumps. She steered Morgan to Jill, and all was made clear.   The worst part for Morgan was that Lilith insisted that Molly had to be put down.  She had never made allowances for the Change to happen to animals.

Much chastened, the B’nei Elohim relocated the Ark to a safer place on Sugarloaf Mountain west of Kangley where Lilith had purchased some land that could be fenced off good.  All of them went together, even Lilith.   As they carried the Ark, Jill introduced Morgan to Julie, with a black eye from her husband Frank that had nearly healed.

Julie had a bump to match Morgan’s, but it had already opened up like a flower.   She said to Morgan, “The only difference between you and me is that I asked for this to happen to me, and you didn’t.”

When they had all reached a consensus on a good place to hide the Ark on Sugarloaf Mountain everyone gathered around in the little wooded glen, and Julie, at the bidding of Robyn, stood forth.

“Take control of your destiny, Julie” Robyn said in her role as Prophet. “Carve out your own free will. Discard your slave name of Julie Pritchard and select a single new name. But consider it well, for it shall be your name for all eternity. Remember, in the B’nei Elohim all of your actions have eternal consequences.  So choose!”

“Let me be called Trish.”

“You are Trish, forever the fifth member of the B’nei Elohim. Welcome to your new family! This is the ceremony of belonging, Trish. You are now fully one of us.”

She wanted to shout Thank You! but no words would come out. The entire experience was too much for her and she burst into tears.  And Morgan, witnessing the ceremony too, was suitably impressed.

After the debacle during the transit through the Eggbeater Asmodeus took much greater precautions, such as only allowing one picket ship at a time to operate search radar.  As a result the rest of the crossing was relatively uneventful.  A year after deploying from Palato the Imperial Loyalist forces entered Hybla-Dia’s gravitational influence, moving toward a certain encounter with Beater naval power

Imperial minesweeping shuttles arrived in high Hybla orbit to sweep out a clear path. The sudden appearance of Gerash anti-mine craft spelled out to Seraph Atarculph, commanding the Beater forces, what was soon to come. He immediately ordered the execution of the defensive plan codenamed Backhand.

Asmodeus, after joining with the Central Force, taking command, and placing Azael into a subordinate position, split off the 2nd Battleship Division under the Cherub Ezqeel. The battleships Tormentor and Devastator, the cruiser Pursuer, and four destroyers were ordered to perform one revolution of Dia and meet Asmodeus again in a l ower Hybla orbit to envelop the Beater forces. Another force, that of Cherub Hochmiel, cruising from the edge of the Eggbeater with the remnants of Space Action Group 16, including the frigage Exiler, would meet them as well as a third prong.  Timing was crucial.

As Atarculph’s Backhand plan developed the contact reports issued by Tormentor and Devastator made the job of SAG16 commander Hochmiel much easier. He preferred to fight the Beaters outright to the more laborious task of protecting the main body. Now, with the Beaters blundering in his direction to carry out Backhand, all Hochmiel had to do was sit and wait. Aboard the carriers Indomitable and Inquisitor, seasoned Loyalist crews flawlessly readied their fighters for strikes against the oncoming Beater Fleet.

Yet it was not any massive strike that dealt the worst damage to the Beaters but a single bomber, clinging closely to their returning search pickets and escaping detection, that singled out the light carrier Evader as its target. Furiously fired at by the light railguns mounted on the small carrier, the bomber planted an armor-piercing sub-macro bomb in the middle of the hangar bay. In her interior, the bomb wrecked fighters that had been intended to join the strike on Asmodeus, igniting severe fires inside her hangar deck.  

Evader’s aft magazines, heated by the blaze in the hangar deck, ignited in turn, sending metal splinters in all directions of the sky, killing 230 crew members and maiming many others. With her hangar deck fires relentlessly spreading forward, Evader’s commanding officer Ophan Kafziel decided to abandon his ship.

Seraph Atarculph left behind three destroyers to retrieve the marooned men and went on to carry out the Backhand operation undeterred. Even as Evader died, strikes from the Indomitable task group swooped down on the Center Force of Lord Asmodeus.  Simultaneously came fighter strikes on Ezqeel’s smaller, but still very potent force.

Indomitable’s shuttles found Devastator, the largest vessel ever to ply space. Indeed, they could hardly miss her.  Like a magnet, the super-battleship attracted the attention of the majority of Beater strike fighters. Half-ton bombs and a torpedo began to hit the battle wagon, but the giant continued on, seemingly impervious to the assault from the Beater gnats.   

In the second wave only three more torpedoes won through to hit Devastor. But the third wave scored eleven bombs hits and eight torpedo hits along the superbattleship’s length.   Asmodeus, watching from his flagship Tormentor, grew alarmed and ordered the bulk of his Central Force to pull in close to come to the aid of Devastator.

The anti-matter weapon introduced to the Beaters by Edgar the Elder was so powerful it didn’t matter if it actually hit the Devastator, it just needed to get close.  None had ever seen an explosion so unimaginably powerful.  The dreadnought was completely obliterated.   The capital ships that had been pulled in close to protect her were left dead in space.  The smaller destroyers and frigates that had tried to form a bubble around Devastator were damaged in various degrees from lightly to serious, including the frigate Exiler, which was ordered to limp home with a convoy of other hulks.  Even the survivors suffered from high doses of gamma radiation,  All of this came from just one warhead.  Once more the Beaters had the full attention of Mastema

Robyn and Lilith ran out of Highway 50 at the nation’s capital and got a room on the fourth floor of the Howard Johnson’s hotel on Virginia Avenue.   After they got all settled in, and the sun had gone down, Lilith took Robyn out on the balcony and said, “I brought you here to sensitize you, to let you practice what I need you to do.   So please tell me what comes to mind.”

Robyn was silent for a moment as she surveyed the stack of events that piled up in her mind.   At length she said, “All this, the city, it’s gone in a few months.  H-bomb.”

“In October there will be a war in the Middle-East that will spin out of control.   It won’t turn into World War III, but if you are able, Robyn, tell me what does happen.”

“There’s chaos at first.  Millions of people are dead, here and in Russia.  The United States moves the capital back to Philadelphia, where it was in the very beginning, but the states in the South and the mountain West take advantage of the opportunity and file for divorce.  So you get two countries again, like way back in the Civil War, with America basically down to just New England and the states north of the Ohio River over to Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, that area.  The other side picks Atlanta to be their capital, and they get southern California, the Rockies, the Great Plains, and Dixie. They actually go ahead and call it the New Confederacy.  But Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, they form a third country called Pacifica.”

“So look out towards the end of the century, Robyn.  Tell me what happens.”

“Okay, so what’s left of the United States still has the most people and industry and money, but militarily they’re kind of weak.  All the bases were in the south and the west.   The New Confederacy has the most land and resources, but their culture and their political system isn’t set up to allow their people to flourish, only large corporations.  It was the same thing in the Civil War, men dying to keep cotton-growers in the money.  Anyone who isn’t white and Protestant will be basically non-citizens there. The New Confederates end up using the military they inherited to extort their neighbors, US and Mexico, the Caribbean, and try to bite off chunks of land. Everyone thinks they’re assholes.   But they won’t mess too much with Pacifica, though, because that country inherits the west coast submarine fleet, a bunch of carriers and a crapload of nukes.”

“Tell me about Pacifica then.  That’s where we shall have to live.”

“Pacifica is the smallest piece, with the fewest people, but in that country the people will come first.  They will do some amazing things to make life on Earth a paradise, but the operative word there is Earth.  The space program is entirely forgotten in all this, except for lofting some satellites.  Everyone turns inward.  And this, Lilith, if I understand your goals correctly, will not do.”

“No, Robyn, it will not do at all.  We must make some sort of change, if only to make sure the suffering of those millions of people will not come to be.   But I’m entirely at a loss as to how to proceed.  I need to find a place where events constrict in such a way that if we apply a small change it will prevent the Cold War from going hot in October.  But only you can see time that way, how it does constrict.”

Robyn desperately wanted to help, or at least give Lilith the impression that she was trying to help.  She looked across the well-lit street at a large array of striking, modern buildings with graceful curves, very unlike any architecture she had ever seen.   “There’s something about that place,” she said with more confidence than she really felt.  “Something important, and the President is mixed up in it, but we’re about a year too late and now I can’t unravel what it was.”

“Give me a date and we’re there.”

“What day is it now?  Some vacation, huh?  I completely lost track.”

“Today is Saturday, June 16, 1973.”

“So there you go, Lilith.  Make it June 16, 1972.”

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