LADY OUTLAWS

 

A special thanks to Angie, the wonderful Beta who helped me improve my story so much.

By Josette Smith                                                                                                       

 

 

 

 

Chris Larabee sat on the front porch outside of the Standish Tavern finishing his first cup of morning coffee.  The sun was coming up over the horizon and the town of Four Corners was just beginning to come to life.  He looked up to see Vin Tanner approaching with a folded piece of paper in his hand. “How did patrol go last night?” he asked.

 

“Everything was quiet as a church mouse,” Vin replied.  “Say, Mary gave me this here telegram to give you.  She says it’s from the Judge.”

 

Chris accepted the telegram and unfolded it to view its contents.  “It appears the Judge wants a couple of us to guard a gold shipment in route to the Denver mint.”

 

“Want me to go along?” 

 

Chris paused to consider it a moment.  “Naw, maybe I’ll take Ezra. He needs to get off his ass and help out.  Ever since he bought back his damn saloon that’s all he cares about. You stay here an see ta things while we’re gone.”

 

“Sure thing. When will ya be leavin’?” 

 

“Judge says a detachment of cavalry officers will be bringing the gold in this far sometime tomorrow.   Apparently they aren’t available to guard it the whole way. We take it from here by stage to the train.”

 

“How much gold are we talking about?” 

 

“Somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000.”

 

“That’s one hell of a lot of money,” said Vin.  “Are you SURE you want to take Ezra along?  You remember what happened with the $10,000 blood money that belonged to the Stuz’s,” he joked.

 

“Yeah, I won’t be forgettin’ that any time soon,” laughed Chris, “but I think he learned his lesson and when it counted he really came through for us.  Without him Mary wouldn’t be alive today.”

 

 

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The next day around noon the detachment of cavalry arrived with their valuable shipment in tow.  Captain Samuel Jacobs, a tall, muscular, dark-haired man in his forties, dismounted his large Appaloosa and climbed the steps to the jail.  Inside, J.D. Dunne sat behind the desk with his feet propped up.

 

“Can you please tell me where I can find a Mr. Chris Larabee, young man?” Captain Jacobs asked.

 

“He’s expecting you, Captain,” said J.D., hurriedly taking his feet down and standing up. “He should be back any minute now. Can I get you a cup of coffee while you wait?”

 

“Not necessary,” replied Jacobs.

 

A few minutes later, Chris walked up to the door with Ezra at his elbow. 

 

“Mr. Larabee, just what is this all about?” the gambler inquired.  “I’m expecting several of my colleagues to arrive in town tonight for a poker game with a considerable amount of funds for the pot.”

 

“I need help guarding a load of gold from here to the train on its way to the Denver mint,” stated Chris, “and it’s your turn.”

 

“Did I hear you correctly?  Did you say gold? Just how much gold are we talking about?”

 

“Yes gold, $100,000 worth, so keep quiet about it.  We don’t want every yahoo west of the Mississippi coming after it.”

 

Upon entering the jail they found Captain Jacobs and J.D engaged in conversation.

 

“Captain Jacobs?  I’m Chris Larabee.  Judge Travis sent a telegram informing me of your arrival.  I take it your cargo is outside with your detachment?”

 

“Actually, I need to talk to you about that,” replied the Captain.  “There has been a change of plans.  We have decided to use you and your associate as decoys. We will be escorting the gold to the train ourselves, using another route.  You will proceed as planned.  We have an empty strong box outside to be used as the decoy.  One of you will sit up top and ride shotgun while the other stays inside the coach.  We have inside information that the Clint Davis gang is planning to hold up the stage, so we’re hoping to lure them in and catch them in the act.”

 

“Just how many are in this Clint Davis gang?”

 

“Three members are all we’re aware of,” answered Jacobs. “I’ve heard of you and your men, Mr. Larabee, and I have complete confidence you and your partner here can handle them alright.  We expect them to hit around Devil’s Pass so we’ll have some extra soldiers waiting to take them off your hands when you get to the train. If you leave now you should arrive around noon tomorrow.”

 

“Sounds good,” Chris said with a nod. “Ezra, you ready to leave?”

 

“Mr. Larabee, I have a business to see to. I can’t just run off at a moments notice.”

 

“Don’t worry, Ezra. Buck and I can look after things at the saloon,” volunteered J.D. “And Inez is there to help.”

 

“And who, pray tell will look after things at the jail if you do, Mr. Dunne?” the gambler asked irately.

 

“Vin and Josiah will be available for that. I’ve already talked to them,” Chris stated firmly.

 

“It would seem I have no argument for staying then,” reasoned the con man.

 

 

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Moments later the stage pulled out with Chris riding shot gun and Ezra inside the coach.  The horses started out at a good clip, but the sun was high and bright and the day’s heat eventually slowed them down. 

 

“Were going to have to stop at the relay station up ahead to rest and water the horses,” exclaimed the driver.  “It will mean a bit of a detour but I think it’s necessary.” 

 

“I don’t like the idea of making last minute changes in our plans,” shouted Chris above the gallop of the horses.

 

“It’s just a couple of miles beyond that bend,” yelled the driver.

 

The blond thought about it and knew there was no choice. “Let’s do it.”

 

 

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Atop the hill in the distance sat three riders partially hidden behind a clump of trees. 

 

“Zee, are you sure you got your information right?  That stage should have been here by now,” asked one of the three worriedly.

 

“Of course I am!  Clint Davis always talks in his sleep after he’s been drinking,” replied the leader of the trio as she wiped the sweat from her brow and pushed back her long blonde hair. Off in the distance the stage came into view. “There! There’s the stage we’re waitin’ for!” 

 

“Yep, $100,000 riding right into our laps!” remarked the third rider named Starr, a fiery red-head, as she slapped at her thigh.

 

“Remember, no one gets hurt, you promised, Zee. I can’t stand it when someone we hold up gets hurt,” cried the worrier.

 

 “Oh Brooke, Pull your pretty little self together and stop fretting over folks getting’ hurt,” exclaimed Starr, “Nobody’s ever worried about us!”

 

“But last time—“

 

“Last time our mark pulled a gun, we didn’t have a choice. We do what we have to,” replied Zee coolly. “Okay, here it comes; on my signal, we ride!”

 

As the stage rounded the bend the three lady outlaws raced down the hill wildly firing their guns. One of the shots hit the driver in the center of his forehead and he slumped forward. Before Chris could react, the horses barreled out of control causing the coach to sway and snapping the hitch that held the horses harnessed to it.  The coach righted itself and catapulted helplessly off the side of the road and down the steep embankment while the horses, still harnessed to the broken hitch, stampeded on down the road.   The stage bounced and jolted down the steep gradient all the way to the bottom of the canyon, tipping over on its side when it reached the base of the hill.   If good fortune had been smiling on him, Chris would have been thrown clear, but instead, he was dropped painfully to the ground just seconds before the heavy wagon landed on top of him pinning him underneath.  At the same moment, the door of the coach flew open and threw Ezra face down onto the ground, clear of the coach but knocking him out cold.   After several moments the dust settled around them and the three bandits cautiously made their way down the hill.

 

“Are they alive?” inquired Starr, dismounting and making her way towards the injured men.

 

“The one you shot ain’t!” retorted Zee, angrily leaning over the dead driver.  “Where’d the strong box get off to?”

 

“Yeah, well it looked like they were gonna get away from us and I had to stop them somehow!”

 

“You could have just winged him!”

 

“Yeah, well….it was an accident,” remarked the redhead.

 

With that Chris moaned.

 

“Okay this one’s still alive,” Zee exclaimed as she made her way toward Chris. “Help me get him out from under the coach. Get your horse; we’ll need it to help pull the coach off.’

 

“Why should we help him? He’s no trouble to us where he’s at.”

 

“Just do it Starr!” yelled Zee.

 

Without saying a word, Brooke dismounted and walked over to Ezra. “This one’s still breathin’ too but I think he’s hurt bad,” she remarked.

 

“Come on, we need help over here, Brooke!”

 

Fortunately, most of the weight of the coach had fallen atop a nearby boulder preventing Chris from being severely injured. Between the three of them and with the help of Starr’s horse they were able to raise the coach a few inches and pull Chris free.  “Okay, now what?” questioned Starr sarcastically.

 

“Find the strong box…there it is,” pointed Zee.

 

Starr walked towards the box, pulled her gun and shot the lock. When it snapped away, she reached down and opened the lid. “It’s empty!” she screamed angrily kicking the box, “I can’t believe it, it’s empty! All this for nothing!”

 

“No, it can’t be!” cried Zee. “I know that information was good!”

 

Chris moaned again drawing the attention of all three women.

 

“Alright, wise guy, where’s the gold?” Zee sneered standing over Chris.

 

Chris smiled weakly. “There isn’t any, lady. You’ve been had!”

 

Zee was livid with anger.

 

“Where were Clint and his bunch supposed to hit it?” Brooke asked.

 

“At Devils Pass. By now they know it ain’t comin’.  Come on, let’s figure out what we’re gonna do with these two and get out of here before someone spots us.”

 

“You know, they ain’t too hard on the eyes. How ‘bout we take them back with us and use them as love slaves,” teased Starr.  “It’s been a long time since I’ve been with a man as good lookin’ as these two!”

 

“No. We’ll be bringing them back with us, but I got better plans for them,” Zee said with a dangerous edge to her voice. “Much better plans.  They’re gonna help us when we take the bank in Cimarron. Brooke, go round up two of the horses from the stage. Starr, you keep an eye on these two while I find something to tie them up with.”

 

The petite brunette obeyed and mounted up, galloping off after the horses that had spooked away during the accident, while Zee went over to investigate the contents of her saddle bags.  All of the sudden Ezra moaned, catching Starr’s attention. With both ladies attention diverted away, Chris cautiously and slowly lowered his hand down towards his gun and began to ease it out of the holster.  Suddenly he heard a loud cracking sound, accompanied by an intense cutting pain coming from his hand.  Chris yelped as his gun catapulted away. Looking up, he saw Starr glaring down at him and swinging a bull whip.  “Don’t try that again or you’ll be missing a hand!” she shrieked. Chris looked down to see his hand covered with blood.

 

A short time later Brooke rode in with two horses in tow.  Zee had found some rawhide strips in her saddle bags and proceeded to tie Chris’s hands.  “Can you stand?” she questioned Chris.

 

 “No,” he moaned, “my legs feel numb.”

 

 “Help me get him up on one of the horses,” she snapped. 

 

“Wait!” cried out Brooke, “If he has a back injury, you could make it worse.  He really needs to be moved carefully. It would be best to get a buckboard to move these two.  I saw a farm off in the distance, maybe we can get one from there.”

 

“Ok, but hurry,” replied the blonde leader. “I’ll go check on the other one. Keep an eye on him,” she nodded toward Chris, “he’s a tricky one.”  She made her way towards Ezra, who was still unconscious, and knelt down beside him, carefully turning him over.  “Shit!” she exclaimed, “this one’s got a bullet in him.”  She pulled away Ezra’s bloody jacket to reveal a blood soaked area in his right side.

 

“Must have been a ricochet,” the redhead commented.

 

“Not likely,” remarked Zee, “more likely another one of your accidents!  He’s bleeding badly; we’ll have to cauterize it. 

 

Before long Brooke returned with the stolen buckboard driven by her horse.  Together the three lady bandits loaded the two bound men on to the back of the buckboard and started off.

 

 

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Clint Davis cursed under his breath. “Where’s that God damn stage?  It should have been here by now!”

 

“Maybe they got wise and changed their route at the last minute,” replied a tough-looking, tall, dark haired rider named Virgil.

 

“They had no cause to suspect anything!” Clint retorted.

 

“So do we go look for it or what?” asked a scruffy looking rider with an eye patch referred to as One-eyed Jack.

 

“It’s starting to get dark, we’ll have to wait till tomorrow,” replied Clint with an impatient tone.

 

 

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The three lady outlaws arrived back at their hideout, an abandoned cabin up in the hills, with their two prisoners just at dusk.  About that time thunder rumbled in the distance.  “Looks like we’re in for it,” said Starr.

 

“Good,” Zee replied,” It will wash out all of our tracks.  Come on, let’s get these two inside.”

 

Once inside the cabin the rain began to pour.  Ezra had drifted in and out of consciousness the entire trip back.  Brooke was the only one with any medical experience.  She had assisted her uncle who was a doctor back in Kansas when she was growing up. It had been her dream to become one of the first women doctors some day.  Her uncle had even bought her a medical kit to encourage her.  She removed Ezra’s shirt and examined his wound. “We have to get the bullet out and stop the bleeding.  Zee, bring me that bottle of laudanum we have and start a fire.  We need to boil some water so I can sterilize the instruments I need to remove the bullet.”

 

 Zee complied and brought the bottle of laudanum then started the fire and went outside to put up the horses.  Ezra started to regain consciousness but Brooke was able to get some of the laudanum down him to sedate him enough so she could perform the needed surgery.  With the instruments now sterile and his hands tied to the bed posts to keep him from moving she proceeded to probe for the bullet.  Ezra began to writhe in pain with the probing but Brooke soon found the bullet and was able to remove it.  By now Ezra had lost a considerable amount of blood. “Ok, now the fun begins,” she said with hesitation, “I need to cauterize it.”  She removed a bullet from her holster and using a pair of pliers removed the cap from the cartridge.  Carefully she poured the gunpowder over the bloody, exposed wound.  Striking a match she lit the gunpowder; as it flared up Ezra screamed in pain.  “Ok, now we need to keep him quiet and make sure to get some water down him, he’s burning up with fever and we need to bring his temperature down.  Starr, take over here and use a sponge and some water to cool him down.  I’m going check on the blond gunfighter.”

 

She moved to the next bunk to check on Chris.  Zee had tied Chris to the bed as well not trusting him even in his weakened condition.  “Ok cowboy lets see what kind of condition you’re in,” said Brooke.

 

“Don’t call me cowboy!” snorted Chris. 

 

“Alright then, stud!”  she replied.  “Let’s check you out.”

 

“The name’s Chris,” he answered.  “How’s Ezra?  Is he alright?”

 

“He’ll make it,” replied the lady healer.

 

 Brooke removed Chris’s shirt and started to unfasten his pants.  At this Chris jerked away stopping her.  “Everything’s ok down there!” he said quickly. “What are you some doctor or something?”

 

“I do have some medical experience; my uncle was a doctor back in Kansas and I used to help him out.  Now how am I supposed to check your legs with you pants on?” she questioned.

 

“They’re alright; the feeling is starting to return already.”

 

“Ok, what about those ribs? They’re mighty bruised up.”

 

 Chris flinched as Brooke began to push gently on his chest. 

 

“Nothing appears to be broken, but you may have some cracked ribs.  About the only thing I can do is to apply some salve and bandage them tightly.  I can give you some laudanum for the pain,” she added. “I’ll clean up these scrapes and scratches on your face and they should heal nicely on their own. You’re lucky; you could have been hurt much worse with that coach coming down on top of you.  Fortunately for you, that boulder it landed on kept its full weight off you.” She noticed the deep gash in his hand caused by Starr’s bullwhip. “I’ll clean and bandage your hand too; you won’t want to try using a gun for a while with that hand, it will be much too sore.”                             

 

Once Chris was bandaged up and had some laudanum in him, he drifted off to sleep. 

 

Zee returned from putting up the horses.  “I’ll take first watch over these two, you ladies get some sleep,” she said.

 

When morning came Ezra finally regained full consciousness. His face and chest were covered with scrapes and bruises and his side throbbed from the gunshot wound but his fever seemed to have broken.  Soon Brooke entered the room to check on his condition.  “How are you feeling?” she asked sitting down on the bed beside him.  As she leaned over him to examine the cauterized wound he couldn’t help but notice the curve of her breasts swelling up over the top of the tight leather vest she wore.  Her long raven hair hung loose about her petite shoulders and he took notice of her large blue eyes.

 

“Where am I? What happened? he asked groggily.  “I feel dreadful.”

 

“Your stagecoach was involved in a little accident. Here, drink some water,” she offered, “you’ve had quite a bit of blood loss accompanied by fever and you’re dehydrated.  I’m going to make an herbal tea for you that should help as well.”

 

Ezra stared at her for a long moment trying to focus.  Weakly he lifted his head and accepted the water. “Now I’m beginning to remember,” he stated after a long drink of the water, “You and two other women tried to hold up our stage.”

 

“Yeah, only you two tricked us and there wasn’t any gold.”

 

“We were decoys and the gold was taken by another route.”

 

Yeah, will you’re gonna make it up to us,” she replied sarcastically, “Zee will see to that.”

 

Upon hearing the conversation between the two Zee and Starr both entered the room.  Ezra was surprised at how attractive the three women were.  Zee was a strikingly tall, beautiful, blue- eyed blonde and Starr was of average height with green eyes and long, wavy auburn hair.  All three women wore tight- fitting black pants tucked into the tops of their boots along with form-fitting black leather vests without blouses under revealing their sensuous shapes.  Each of the three carried a revolver in a tied-down holster belted around their hips.

 

“What’s your name, good lookin’?” asked Zee.

 

“Ezra Standish,” he replied, “You three hardly fit the typical description of your average highwaymen; what caused you to get in this line of work?”

 

“We have our reasons,” answered Starr.

 

Across the room Chris began to stir.  He opened his eyes and looked up at the women. 

 

“How you feelin’, cowboy?” questioned the blonde leader turning to look at Chris.

 

“Like Hell!” he replied.

 

Brooke made her way over to Chris to check out his injuries and gave him a long drink of water as well. “Zee, we’re running low on laudanum, we only have enough for another day or so,” she expressed worriedly.

 

“All right, you and I will make a trip into Cimarron tomorrow and pick up some supplies.  I want to check out the bank there anyway,” said Zee.

 

All day Chris and Ezra rested to try and regain their strength.  They were kept tied to the bedposts for the most part, released only occasionally, one at a time so they could sit up and eat and during those times they were covered by a gun.  Brooke attended to them both constantly giving them laudanum every few hours to ease their discomfort and help them rest.  Ezra continued to fight bouts of fever on and off all day but the lady medic kept a close vigil on him continuously giving him water and herbal teas to drink and sponging him down to help diminish the fever.  By the end of the day the fever broke completely and he began to improve dramatically.

 

The next morning the three lady desperados entered the room to check on their captives.  “So how are they both doing, Brooke?” asked Zee. 

 

“Mr. Standish is showing a lot of improvement,” she said, “his fever has broken and his wound shows no signs of infection. All he needs now is rest and he’ll be good as new in a few days. The same goes for Mr. Larabee.”

 

“Good, you and I will make the trip into Cimarron as planned.  Starr, you keep watch over them while were gone.  See if you can get some more food and water down them so they don’t die on us. Come on Brooke; let’s put on something more lady-like.  We don’t want to be drawing too much attention to ourselves in town.” With that the three ladies left the room.

 

“Mr. Larabee?”  Ezra said weakly turning to look at Chris, “Do you have any idea as to what to do about our present predicament?”

 

“Yes.”  He replied hesitating.

 

“Well, I’m all ears, what do you have in mind?”

 

“Well…first of all…we need to somehow get our hands loose,” said Chris, hesitating again, looking up at the bonds that held his hands and tugging at them.

 

“And then?”

 

“And then we need to somehow overpower those three beautiful bitches and get to the horses.”

 

“Please continue with your brilliant escape plan Mr. Larabee, you have me on the edge of my seat,” Ezra said sarcastically.

 

“Ezra, I just can’t think clearly right now, give me some time.”

 

Just then Zee and Brooke came back to the room once more before leaving.  Both ladies had changed into dresses with low-cut fitted waistcoats, matching skirts and coordinating hats.

 

“Just what have you ladies got in mind for us?” questioned Chris.

 

“Well, since you made us lose out on that gold shipment, you’re gonna help us rob the bank in Cimarron,” sneered Zee.

 

“Fat chance of that,” laughed Chris.

 

“Oh, you’ll do it alright,” Zee smiled, “All you need is a little incentive.”

 

“Couldn’t possibly find any,” remarked Chris.

 

“You’ll be going along with Starr and me to take the bank; Brooke will stay back here with your friend.  If, for some reason, we don’t return, she’ll kill him. That’s what I meant by incentive!”

 

Chris let out a deep breath. “Well, how about letting me sit up in a chair for a while?” he asked.

 

Sure thing,” said Zee, “it’s probably best to separate you two anyway. Cover him while I untie him Brooke.”

 

Brooke flipped up her skirt to remove a hidden gun strapped to her slim, curvaceous thigh receiving a look of shock from the gunfighter.  Zee removed the strips of rawhide that fastened Chris’s hands to the bed posts.  “Ok, you can get up now but no fast moves.” 

 

Chris was still stiff and sore and his cracked ribs caused him a sudden surge of pain as he tried to sit up. Slowly he walked to the outer room with Brooke covering him all the way.

 

“Ok, sit down there and put your hands behind you,” said Zee motioning toward a chair.  Chris lowered himself onto the chair and was quickly bound to it with his hands fastened behind him.  With that Zee and Brooke left for town in the buckboard leaving Starr in charge of the two lawmen.

 

They arrived in town with the small amount of money they had removed from their two prisoners to buy their needed supplies.  As they passed by the saloon they noticed a poker game in progress.

 

“Zee, we don’t have enough; we need food, laudanum, bandages and at least a couple boxes of cartridges.  Give me the money and I’ll go double it in that poker game that’s going on inside the saloon,” said Brooke.

 

“Ok, take it; I’ll go case out the bank and meet you back here in an hour,” replied Zee taking out Ezra’s pocket watch and noting the time.

 

The two ladies parted ways and Brooke made her way over to a table in the saloon with four middle-aged men at it. Clearing her throat to draw attention to herself she said “Excuse me gentlemen, is this seat taken?”

 

“No ma’am, but this is a poker game, not Parcheesi,” replied a gray- haired, mustached gentleman appearing to be in his fifties.  The other three men at the table chuckled at his comment.

 

“I’m well aware of that sir,” said Brooke.

 

“We won’t feel right about taking your money from you miss,” stated another player who appeared to be around forty-five.

 

“And I won’t feel one bit bad about takin’ yours,” retorted Brooke, swinging her drawstring purse and taking the vacant seat.

 

 

M7M7M7M7M7M7M7

 

Zee entered the bank and walked toward the teller behind the counter.  “Hello sir,” she stated politely, trying to give off an appearance of being a woman of society, “I’m new in town and need to open an account so I can transfer a large sum of money from my bank in Denver; however, I worry about banks getting robbed and wonder if I’d be better off just keeping it were it is.  Can you tell me if this bank is safe?”

 

“Yes ma’am,” the teller smiled, admiring her beauty and taking notice of the low cut of her dress.   “Our vault is of the latest design; it can’t be opened by manipulating the tumblers.  Even the ranchers who will be making a big deposit on Friday after the sale of their cattle have complete confidence in our bank.  If you’d like to wait, our bank manager, Mr. Horace Stanley, will be back any moment now and he will be happy to show you around.”

 

“Why yes, I believe I will wait,” she replied.

 

 

M7M7M7M7M7M7M7

 

As the poker game commenced Morgan, the gray haired-mustached gentleman drew a card and raised. 

 

“I believe I’ll call you and raise you what I have right here in front of me,” stated Brooke in a delicate lady like voice. 

 

A look of surprise came across Morgan’s face, “I hope you know what you’re doing ma’am.”

 

“I usually do,” she replied.

 

Morgan placed his cards on the table in front of him. “Full house,” he said.

 

Brooke paused briefly before laying down her hand “Royal flush,” said the con lady pleased with herself.

 

“No way!” shouted Morgan, “there’s no way you could have come up with that hand!”

 

“Why mister, that sounds a little bit like you think I cheated,” she stated coldly. In a flash she pulled a derringer from her purse and pointed it directly at Morgan.  “You said that nice and loud mister, now I hope you don’t keep me waiting too long for an apology!”

 

“I—I apologize,” Morgan quickly replied.

 

“Why thank you!”  Brooke replied gathering up the money and putting it inside her purse while continuing to point the derringer at the poker players.  “I hate to be leaving so soon but I do have things to attend to.  You gentlemen have a good day now!” she said and quickly exited the saloon.

 

Outside Brooke saw Zee just leaving the bank.  “What did you find out about the bank?” she asked.

 

“It’s got an alarm system and we’ll have to use nitro but the cattle ranchers are making a big deposit on Friday so we wait until then.  Let’s pick up the supplies and get back; I don’t want to leave Starr by herself for too long.”

 

 

PART 2

 

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