Created By: HouseAbsolute on March 13, 2011 Last Edited By: 69BookWorM69 on September 8, 2013
Troped

Stress Vomit

Characters throw up in a stressful situation

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Trope
"My stomach's doing hula hoops around my ass."
Stanley Goodspeed, The Rock

Stress comes in many shapes and forms. You almost kill a patient on your first day as a doctor. You find out your parents were never in love. You discover the world you thought you knew was never real. You shoot the enemy in the heat of battle. Conflict creates stress, and, on television at least, stress creates vomiting.

Note that no nauseous event or spectacle need occur to precipitate a Stress Vomit, though a sufficiently gory and horrific sight will most certainly do it for some people. If any event or revelation causes high levels of anxiety in a particular person, that person will lose their lunch.

This is Truth in Television; some people do respond to anxiety with retching (dry heaves) or actual vomiting, and in some cases it happens repeatedly, in a condition known as Cyclic(al) Vomiting Syndrome (CVS).

Super Trope to Vomiting Cop, since cops are human too (well, mostly or formerly).

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Maya Ibuki does this after seeing Unit 01 devouring another angel...
  • In episode 2 of Kotoura-san, this is the direct result of Hiyori's Poke in the Third Eye Mind Rape on Haruka, by using emphasizing the trigger of a girl who endured a decade of emotional trauma.
  • In Fruits Basket, Kyo throws up some Bishie Sparkle after a stressful conversation with his father.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Simon's robot, the Lagann, starts vomiting Spiral Energy during the more stressful moments Simon goes through after Kamina's death.
  • Soul Eater has a comedic example in the anime. Maka's team loses a game of basketball, so as a forfeit she has to offer to spend the weekend with her Bumbling Dad. He's so happy at the prospect of unexpectedly spending time with his sort-of-estranged daughter he vomits.

Comics

Film

  • In The Rock, Stanley Goodspeed throws up when he's recruited to be part of the rescue mission, and told the full risks of going in.
  • Saving Private Ryan had some of the soldiers in the landing craft losing their cookies on their way to the D-Day landing. Though the sea travel likely didn't help, anxiety about invading France to retake it from the Nazis doubtless contributed to their nausea. This was parodied (along with the rest of the landing sequence) in Conker's Bad Fur Day.
  • The Matrix. While in virtual reality Neo learns that his entire previous life has been an illusion and most of the human race is enslaved by the machines. He can't accept this, and after returning to the real world he throws up on the deck of the hovership.
  • Justin Timberlake's Establishing Character Moment in Black Snake Moan is him vomiting into a toilet, showcasing his crippling anxiety.
  • In The Bourne Identity, Marie throws up after Jason Bourne effectively fights an assassin with a ballpoint pen and leads her back out to the street. Or it could have been the dead old lady in the hallway.
  • Serenity. While on the planet Miranda, the crew learns a horrifying truth about the origin of the Reavers, causing River Tam to throw up.
  • Played For Comedy in Pitch Perfect. Aubrey throws up over the entire audience during a group performance. Later on she does it again as part of a particular hilarious argument.
  • In Killer Elite, Danny's team hires Jake, an inexperienced small-time criminal who promptly vomits after shooting both an enemy agent and fellow team member Meier in the head in a fit of panic

Literature
  • In Requiem for a Dream, we get this twice. The first time is after Marian sleeps with her therapist for money. The second time is while Tyrone is making prison food while the security guard mocks him.
  • Dean Koontz's Phantoms. As a monster dissolves Gordy Brogan's body, Lisa Yamaguchi vomits into a nearby gutter.
  • Several of these in the Deryni works by Katherine Kurtz:
    • In Deryni Checkmate, Sean Lord Derry is on a reconnaissance mission for Morgan in the town of Fathane when he's accosted in an alley by two men who try to drug him. He kills one of them outright in his fight for freedom, but he has to slit the throat of the injured partner before the fellow comes to and raises the alarm. Derry leaves the alley and resumes his drunk act, retching in a nearby gutter. Passersby thought him simply drunk, "but Derry knew better."
    • After his forces defeat those of Sicard and Loris at the climax of The King's Justice, Kelson goes in search of Duncan McLain. On seeing the extent of Duncan's injuries, Kelson is so lightheaded he must put his head briefly between his knees. When he assists the men treating Duncan by using his powers on Duncan's mind, the memories of Duncan's torture and near-execution combined with his present pain are too much for Kelson; Morgan takes over, and he is violently sick before passing out from exhaustion.
    • In the epilogue to The Quest for Saint Camber, we learn that the execution of Kelson's cousin Conall for treason went badly, partly because the executioner was unnerved at having to kill a Haldane prince, and partly because Conall himself flinched: "It had taken two more blows to end the matter--though at least Conall knew nothing after the first--and Kelson had been violently and wretchedly sick as soon as he was out of public view."
  • In Going Postal, after Moist von Lipwig kills an assassin in self defense, the text notes that it would be the perfect time for a Bond One-Liner. Instead, Moist just becomes noisily sick.
  • Subverted in The Turkish Gambit, when Varya throws up after spending days bandaging the wounded and, to top it off, learning that her fiance attempted suicide. She thinks that it's just stress but it turns out that she contracted typhoid fever, putting her out of commission for weeks.
  • Late in Lynn Shepherd's 2012 novel The Solitary House, protagonist and investigator Charles Maddox finds his housemaid vomiting in the kitchen, and he learns from another servant that she had been accosted while buying provisions at the markets and a package was added to her basket. The package proves to contain the decaying remains of the little finger from Charles' right hand, which had been forcibly amputated in an attack on him several days previously.

Live Action Television
  • M*A*S*H: After B.J. first arrives in Korea, he faces a young Korean girl injured in a minefield, pinned down by guerilla sniper fire, and having to assist foot soldiers under mortar fire, all before he even got to camp; at one point, when he sees how badly a soldier had been wounded (and killed) by mortar fire, and the situation finally sinks in, he crawls over to a thicket of tall grass to vomit, while Hawkeye holds his head for him.
  • Grey's Anatomy. Episode 1: Meredith almost kills a patient through inaction. After a stressful moment that patient is saved and Meredith endures the scorn of her attending physician and her resident. She rushes out of the hospital into the pouring rain to empty her guts tastefully into the bushes.
  • Horatio Hornblower
    • "Mutiny": A sailor from Hornblower's division falls down from a mast and gets smashed on the deck. His blood splatters on Midshipman Wellard, who promptly throws up.
    • Horatio is known to suffer from seasickness when he comes aboard any ship before a cruise after being ashore. In "Duty", he's heard vomiting in his cabin; however, it happened just before his wedding and he was having cold feet, so his stomach might have been unsettled by being nervous.
  • Sex and the City: Carrie throws up in the sink when she discovers Aiden's engagement ring. She finds it ugly and she's not very certain about their relationship. A reaction this strong surprises her though.
  • In a Flashback episode of The Mentalist showing Jane's first case with the CBI, before he even becomes an official "consultant," he vomits after seeing his first dead body.
  • Midsomer Murders: one character immediately starts vomiting when she learns the guy she's been banging through the whole episode is actually her nephew. He doesn't really react to that, given that he also just learned he's the product of Brother-Sister Incest.
  • In a Flashback episode of The Mentalist showing Jane's first case with the CBI, before he even becomes an official "consultant," he vomits after seeing his first dead body.

Web Original

Western Animation
  • In The Awesomes, Muscleman reveals that he rarely freaks out due to long experience with the bizarre things that happen around superheroes, but when he does, he vomits. The episode then has him vomit repeatedly.
  • In the Adventure Time episode "Jake the Dog", Jake vomits after realizing the gravity of the present situation: his wish to Prismo is the only chance he has to save the world, and he has to be specific, or else there could be disastrous consequences.
  • Sterling Archer of, well, Archer will throw up if he pictures someone sleeping with his mother.
  • In South Park, Stan vomits whenever Wendy talks to him, sometimes even vomiting on her. They're still an item in spite of this.

Video Games
  • In the 2002 game The Thing your teammates do this.
  • In the first mission of Hotline Miami, your character vomits next to the body of a man he just killed.
  • In Heavy Rain, Ethan will vomit if you make him kill the drug dealer during the Shark trial.

Visual Novel
  • In Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, when Keiichi tries to pat Satoko's head after her uncle has been abusing her, Satoko has a complete mental breakdown, and in the process vomits all over the floor.

Community Feedback Replies: 72
  • March 14, 2011
    Arivne
    @ House Absolute: Is it the "throwing up in ways you don't see in Real Life" that's the core of this trope? So it was the fact that Meredith was throwing up in the rain that makes it count? Or is it "dramatically throwing up in stressful situations"?

    I'll throw out an example and let the OP decide if it counts.

    Film
    • The Matrix. While in virtual reality Neo learns that his entire previous life has been an illusion and most of the human race is enslaved by the machines. He can't accept this, and after returning to the real world he throws up on the deck of the hovership.
  • March 14, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    Not generally a lumper, but I think Stress Vomit might be better to combine this with Vomiting Cop.
  • March 14, 2011
    INUH
    Needs A Better Description. The description shouldn't be an entry from the examples list followed by "yeah, stuff like that."
  • March 14, 2011
    HouseAbsolute
    It definitely needs a better description. I don't have time to fully write it out right now (and I'm not sure even when I have time that my final effort will be good enough without some help), but I did make some effort to make it more generic. I'll also move my example into a separate reply.
  • March 14, 2011
    HouseAbsolute
    Television
    • Greys Anatomy. Episode 1: Meredith almost kills a patient through inaction. After a stressful moment that patient is saved and Meredith endures the scorn of her attending physician and her resident. She rushes out of the hospital into the pouring rain to empty her guts tastefully into the bushes.
  • March 14, 2011
    HouseAbsolute
    @Arivne: Yes, this example is exactly what I'm thinking of.
  • March 14, 2011
    KTera
    In Heavy Rain, Ethan will vomit if you make him kill the drug dealer during the Shark trial.
  • March 14, 2011
    TheWeirdo
    In Evangelion, Maya Ibuki does this after seeing Unit 01 devouring another angel...
  • March 15, 2011
    DannyVElAcme
    • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Simon's robot, the Lagann, starts vomiting Spiral Energy during the more stressful moments Simon goes through after Kamina's death.
  • March 15, 2011
    animeg3282
    In Fruits Basket, Kyo throws up some Bishie Sparkle after a stressful conversation with his father.
  • March 15, 2011
    TBTabby
    In South Park, Stan vomits whenever Wendy talks to him, sometimes even vomiting on her. They're still an item in spite of this.
  • January 26, 2013
    Beans8895
    As far as the description goes, perhaps removing the examples will work. Then it would just be a simple and short explanation of the trope.
  • January 26, 2013
    KTera
    • In the first mission of Hotline Miami, your character vomits next to the body of a man he just killed.
  • January 27, 2013
    Arivne
    Film
    • Serenity. While on the planet Miranda, the crew learns a horrifying truth about the origin of the Reavers, causing River Tam to throw up.
  • January 27, 2013
    Koveras
    • Subverted in The Turkish Gambit, when Varya throws up after spending days bandaging the wounded and, to top it off, learning that her fiance attempted suicide. She thinks that it's just stress but it turns out that she contracted typhoid fever, putting her out of commission for weeks.
  • January 27, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Film
    • One of the cheerleading competitors in Bring It On vomits from performance anxiety. At the time, her coach was trying to get this girl to relax.
  • January 27, 2013
    justanotherrandomlurker
    Live Action TV
    • [[Series/MASH M*A*S*H]]: After B.J. first arrives in Korea, he faces a young Korean girl injured in a minefield, pinned down by guerilla sniper fire, and having to assist foot soldiers under mortar fire, all before he even got to camp; at one point, when he sees how badly a soldier had been wounded (and killed) by mortar fire, and the situation finally sinks in, he crawls over to a thicket of tall grass to vomit, while Hawkeye holds his head for him.
  • February 24, 2013
    SamCurt
    Anime and Manga
  • February 25, 2013
    XFllo
    Live Action TV
    • Horatio Hornblower
      • "Mutiny": A sailor from Hornblower's division falls down from a mast and gets smashed on the deck. His blood splatters on Midshipman Wellard, who promptly throws up.
      • Horatio is known to suffer from seasickness when he comes aboard any ship before a cruise after being ashore. In "Duty", he's heard vomiting in his cabin; however, it happened just before his wedding and he was having cold feet, so his stomach might have been unsettled by being nervous.
    • Sex And The City: Carrie throws up in the sink when she discovers Aiden's engagement ring. She finds it ugly and she's not very certain about their relationship. A reaction this strong surprises her though.
    • Dexter:
      • Dexter's foster-father Harry vomits after he finds Dexter dissecting his kill at their home. He trained him to be a vigilante killer with twisted noble ideas of justice but the ugly reality was too much to take.
      • Debra throws up rather violently after she comes to a full realization that her brother is a serial killer.


    I think the Dexter examples are listed as examples of Vomiting Cop as well. Even though both Harry and Debra are cops, the Stress Vomit did not happen at the crime scenes they were called to and as such it fits here better. However, I'm also for merging these two concepts together and make it one trope. Too bad trope repair shop is currently full.

    EDIT: Now when I think of it, a lot of this might be covered by Vomit Discretion Shot and Vomit Indiscretion Shot. I'm heading to read the tropes properly.
  • February 27, 2013
    dvorak
    • Saving Private Ryan had some of the soldiers in the landing craft losing their cookies on their way to the D-Day landing. This was parodied (along with the rest of the landing sequence) in Conkers Bad Fur Day.
    • The Thing 2002 has your teammates do this.
  • March 1, 2013
    XFllo
    • Bumping
    • EDIT: Zero-editing to attract attention and get feedback.
    Also, is the OP willing to do Rolling Updates? There are no examples in the draft.
  • March 2, 2013
    Koveras
    ^ OP hasn't been spotted here in two years. Feel free to take this over, I'd say.
  • March 2, 2013
    Chabal2
    Midsomer Murders: one character immediately starts vomiting when she learns the guy she's been banging through the whole episode is actually her nephew. He doesn't really react to that, given that he also just learned he's the product of Brother Sister Incest.
  • March 2, 2013
    hevendor717
    Web Original: In Jacksfilms' "Dubstep Solves Everything" video, Jack's convulsing to his own dubstep noises makes the girl he's coming onto puke in distress and creeped-out-ness.
  • March 3, 2013
    Clevomon
    In Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni, when Keiichi tries to pat Satoko's head after her uncle has been abusing her, Satoko has a complete mental breakdown, and in the process vomits all over the floor.
  • March 4, 2013
    chicagomel
    Possible Real Life: Corner some kinds of snakes right after a meal, and they'll vomit up the prey in order to escape faster (as they're often really bloated and slow after a big meal).
  • March 4, 2013
    sugarplumfairy
    In The Bourne Identity, Marie throws up after Jason Bourne effectively fights an assassin with a ballpoint pen and leads her back out to the street. Or it could have been the dead old lady in the hallway.
  • March 5, 2013
    TomWalpertac2
    NCIS: Gibbs has just survived an explosion and the most recent thing he remembers is way back in 1991. His old mentor, Franks, brings him up to speed on 9/11/01.
  • March 5, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In a Flashback episode of The Mentalist showing Jane's first case with the CBI, before he even becomes an official "consultant," he vomits after seeing his first dead body.
  • March 5, 2013
    Larkmarn
  • March 15, 2013
    Arivne
    Literature
    • Dean Koontz's Phantoms. As a monster dissolves Gordy Brogan's body, Lisa Yamaguchi vomits into a nearby gutter.
  • March 15, 2013
    NESBoy
    • Adventure Time: In the episode "Jake the Dog". Prismo explains to Jake the many ways a wish can backfire. Jake, who wanted to make a wish that hits the Reset Button on Finn's life in an alternate world, has a nervous breakdown, including this trope.
  • August 17, 2013
    SamCurt
  • August 17, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    • In The Rock, Stanley Goodspeed throws up when he's recruited to be part of the rescue mission, and told the full risks of going in.

    Also, the line he says afterward could make a good page quote:
    "My stomach's doing hula hoops around my ass."
  • August 17, 2013
    paycheckgurl
    Mary Jane has done at least twice in the Spider Man comics. Once when Peter and Felicia told her their plan to find the kidnapped Aunt May involved freeing Norman Osborn from jail. Another happened during One More Day after Peter tells her about the Deal With The Devil Mesphitio offered them. Of course, since said deal involved wiping away their marriage from existence and any future kids are presumably a part of that, a common fan theory has that MJ may have vomited for a different reason.
  • August 17, 2013
    Bisected8
    • Soul Eater has a comedic example in the anime. Maka's team loses a game of basketball, so as a forfeit she has to offer to spend the weekend with her Bumbling Dad. He's so happy at the prospect of unexpectedly spending time with his sort-of-estranged daughter he vomits.
  • August 17, 2013
    samitv
    • Played For Comedy in Pitch Perfect. Aubrey throws up over the entire audience during a group performance. Later on she does it again as part of a particular hilarious argument.
  • August 18, 2013
    nitrokitty
    In Going Postal, after Moist von Lipwig kills an assassin in self defense, the text notes that it would be the perfect time for a Bond One Liner. Instead, Moist just becomes noisily sick.
  • August 18, 2013
    DAN004
    Needs to be checked whether it's Truth In Television or not.
  • August 18, 2013
    azul120
  • August 19, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    Since this is Up For Grabs, anyone up to doing Rolling Updates?
  • August 20, 2013
    AP
    • In Requiem For A Dream, we get this twice. The first time is after Marian sleeps with her therapist for money. The second time is while Tyrone is making prison food while the security guard mocks him.
  • August 20, 2013
    dalek955
  • August 20, 2013
    gallium
    Regarding the Saving Private Ryan example above, isn't that seasickness?
  • August 20, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Yeah, the context looks like that, but it could also be this.

    You know, there are some examples I've seen where some tropes could be one thing or another. There is clearly a trope, but it's not clear which.
  • August 23, 2013
    69BookWorM69
    @ ParadiscaCorbasi I'm inclined to call this a Super Trope to Vomiting Cop. When cops vomit, they're also responding to stress; yet it's also true that cops vomiting have specific meanings (the it's-so-bad-hardened-veterans-puke one and the rookie-cop-sees-bad-stuff-for-the-first-time one). While some of these examples are like that (the M*A*S*H* one, for instance, is a rookie's first day), others aren't.

    Oh, and have another Literature example:
    • In the epilogue to The Quest for Saint Camber, we learn that the execution of Kelson's cousin Conall for treason went badly, partly because the executioner was unnerved at having to kill a Haldane prince, and partly because Conall himself flinched: "It had taken two more blows to end the matter--though at least Conall knew nothing after the first--and Kelson had been violently and wretchedly sick as soon as he was out of public view."
  • August 24, 2013
    DAN004
    Is this Up For Grabs yet?
  • August 24, 2013
    SKJAM
    In The Awesomes, Muscleman reveals that he rarely freaks out due to long experience with the bizarre things that happen around superheroes, but when he does, he vomits. The episode then has him vomit repeatedly.
  • August 25, 2013
    69BookWorM69
    OK it's tagged Up For Grabs, and nobody's done anything about this, so I'm adding examples and revising the description to make this a missing Super Trope to Vomiting Cop. Then see what you lot think.

    @ TheWeirdo Is that Neon Genesis Evangelion or Rebuild Of Evangelion or Adeptus Evangelion or Aeon Entelechy Evangelion?

    @ dvorak Is "The Thing 2002" a video game, or what?

    @ TomWalpertac2 I'm inclined to file that one under Vomiting Cop, since NCIS is a military police organization. I'm also inclinded to put the Dexter ones under that as well, for the same reason: people with police training are expected to inured to horrors as part of their jobs, so their vomiting episodes have added meaning that those of other people don't. Besides, Harry is witnessing a crime in progress in that example; the second example you give might be a better fit here, so I'd like some feedback on that.

    @ DAN004 I looked it up, and it's real all right.

    Now I'm off to do other things...I'll check back on this later.
  • August 25, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ What TheWeirdo said happens in Neon Genesis Evangelion. dvorak's example would seem to be from The Thing.

    EDIT: Fixed a broken Pot Hole.
  • August 25, 2013
    Snicka
  • August 25, 2013
    69BookWorM69
    ^ Sorry, my bad. I've fixed it.

    ^^ Thanks for the clarifications. I've put them in their proper categories. Also, thanks for the Pot Hole repair. I'm having some trouble making edits stick again.
  • August 25, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Again, Stanley saying "My stomach's doing hula hoops around my ass.", in The Rock, could make a good page quote.
  • August 25, 2013
    69BookWorM69
    Yeah, you have a point.

    More Literature examples:

    • In Deryni Checkmate, Sean Lord Derry is on a reconnaissance mission for Morgan in the town of Fathane when he's accosted in an alley by two men who try to drug him. He kills one of them outright in his fight for freedom, but he has to slit the throat of the injured partner before the fellow comes to and raises the alarm. Derry leaves the alley and resumes his drunk act, retching in a nearby gutter. Passersby thought him simply drunk, "but Derry knew better."

    • Late in Lynn Shepherd's 2012 novel The Solitary House, protagonist and investigator Charles Maddox finds his housemaid vomiting in the kitchen, and he learns from another servant that she had been accosted while buying provisions at the markets and a package was added to her basket. The package proves to contain the decaying remains of the little finger from Charles' right hand, which had been forcibly amputated in an attack on him several days previously.
  • August 25, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    Also, if this launches, we might have enough for an index for puking tropes.

    Perhaps "These Tropes Are Gonna Hurl". :-)
  • August 25, 2013
    69BookWorM69
    ^ Oh, what else besides this and Vomiting Cop?

    Also, I'm only awaiting two more hats to launch, as we have enough examples and the description seems solid. So it's not "if" but "when".
  • August 25, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
  • August 25, 2013
    Sackett
    I'd like to point out that there is a simple biological reason for this. Digestion takes energy. When the body is under a lot of stress often the body will prepare for action by diverting energy from optional things like digestion, to more vital things (fighting and running away).
  • August 25, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ The OP already noted there are reasons, and even provided a link.
  • August 25, 2013
    69BookWorM69
    ^, ^^ I do get scolded for going on at length, so I didn't put that in the Truth In Television part. Do we need it or not?
  • August 25, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ As long as it doesn't read like a Useful Notes section, it's fine, and this one is okay.
  • August 26, 2013
    69BookWorM69
    @ Sackett Someone could always add that to the Analysis subpage.

    Looking for hats...
  • August 28, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In both real life and in some fictional examples [which I can't recall off the top of my head] an actor having Stage Fright will either feel like throwing up or actually throw up.
  • August 28, 2013
    69BookWorM69
    ^ If you can come up with specifics (for a real life or fictional example), please let us know.

    Literature:
    • After his forces defeat those of Sicard and Loris at the climax of The King's Justice, Kelson goes in search of Duncan McLain. On seeing the extent of Duncan's injuries, Kelson is so lightheaded he must put his head briefly between his knees. When he assists the men treating Duncan by using his powers on Duncan's mind, the memories of Duncan's torture and near-execution combined with his present pain are too much for Kelson; Morgan takes over, and he is violently sick before passing out from exhaustion.

    One more hat and I'll launch this.
  • September 2, 2013
    69BookWorM69
    One more hat...bump.
  • September 2, 2013
    Snicka
    South Park is sorted with Live Action TV, when it is, in fact, Western Animation. Edit: Fixed.
  • September 3, 2013
    AP
    The examples from Requiem For A Dream was from the movie, not the book.

    Or at least, I have no idea if they are in the book as I've only seen the movie.
  • September 3, 2013
    jamespolk
    deleted post, never mind
  • September 3, 2013
    RedBuster
    Samus in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption after fight Mogenar, she vomit Phazon.
  • September 4, 2013
    DAN004
    Launch plz.
  • September 4, 2013
    Chernoskill
    • In Killer Elite, Danny's team hires Jake, an inexperienced small-time criminal who promptly vomits after shooting both an enemy agent and fellow team member Meier in the head in a fit of panic.
  • September 4, 2013
    Chernoskill
    Also, doesn't this happen right at the start of Eight Mile to Rabbit?
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