[[quoteright:259:[[Series/FawltyTowers http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/carthrash.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:259: And quite often, the feeling's mutual.]]

->''"My car won't start!" \\
"Well, maybe there's a ''killer'' after you."''
-->-- '''Creator/MitchHedberg''', ''Mitch All Together''

%% One quote is sufficient. Please place additional entries on the quotes tab.

The BigBad, TheDragon, and everything with teeth are just outside the character's locked car door, salivating and howling to get in. Naturally, the car will not start. No doubt the character is thinking "My car hates me."

Note that even if the car is stalled during an earthquake on a burning railroad track with two trains coming and a nuclear warhead heading toward the area, the driver will keep turning the ignition key, hitting the gas pedal, and praying, "Please start, please start...". The driver won't try abandoning the car and running for it, even if the danger is slow and distant enough to evade on foot. Chalk it up to either GenreBlindness or being horrifically attached to personal property. Some may even get out only to apply PercussiveMaintenance to the hood, which has a higher success rate than you would guess.

A favourite device of SlasherMovie and {{Horror}} in general. A common consequence of driving TheAllegedCar. Also see PlotSensitiveItems. Can be preceded by a DangerousKeyFumble, if the bad guys are a bit too far away to catch up. Often occurs after engaging in AutoErotica.

Subtrope of PlotDrivenBreakdown.
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!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Advertising]]
* Parodied in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BcjWMvwKXg this]] Volkswagen ad.
* ...and in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-7gb0jU0WU&feature=related this]] Chevrolet ad.
* One auto-part advertisement featured a variation which could be considered "My Car Hates Itself". It features a car sliding downhill on ice, headed toward another parked car. The owner of the parked car races towards his car (in order to move it out of the way), gets inside, and...fails to start it. As a result, the sliding car hits and damages the parked car.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* The French-Canadian movie ''Elvis Gratton'' [[PlayingWithATrope spoofs this trope]] with a literal version of it. It involves a [[CoolCar talking limousine]] which actually ''insults'' the titular character.
* ''Film/IntoTheNight'': Inverted. Insomniac Creator/JeffGoldblum, who drove to the airport after finding his wife in ''flagrante delicto,'' has decided to go back home, but he can't get his car started. Enter Michelle Pfeiffer, being chased by Iranian diamond smugglers. She jumps into his car and tells him to go -- and the car starts right up!
* ''Film/BackToTheFuture'' -- the moment it becomes critical for the time-traveling [=DeLorean=] to start up, it doesn't. There's an elaborate fan theory as to why this is, involving the supposition that the [=DeLorean=]'s time circuit is being used [[MeanwhileInTheFuture at another point in time]] (preventing the one in the "now" from working), but it could also just be {{Plot Driven|Breakdown}} PhlebotinumBreakdown. Of course, despite the fact that he was working on a very strict timetable, and failed to get moving as soon as his alarm went off, he still managed to hit the wire [[MillionToOneChance at the exact moment lightning struck]]. To be fair, the movie does establish that there is something wrong with the starter[[note]]Not precisely accurate, as we hear the starter trying to turn the engine over[[/note]], so it isn't as if the car ran perfectly until the very moment the plot needed it to break down. The [=DeLorean=]'s problems with breaking down were [[TheAllegedCar very much]] TruthInTelevision. It was also theorized that it was simply the the laws of time travel at work to keep time together. Marty wanted to go back to mall earlier to prevent the events of the movie thus far from happening. Since that would further complicate the situation (and have two Delorean's and Marty's in the same area at once) the car failed to start until it was too late for him to do so.
* ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'': The Millennium Falcon. The ship flies just fine, but the faster-than-light "hyperdrive" system is unreliable. Of course, this happens the first time after taking damage in battle, and the second time because of sabotage at the place of repair. Once R2-D2 manages to find and fix the uncoupled power coupling, it functions perfectly for the duration of the final film.
* In ''Film/TwentyEightWeeksLater'', the protagonists jump into a handy van by the side of the road to outrun an advancing cloud of gas, horde of [[TheVirus infected]], and friendly troops with misguided orders. Of course, it doesn't start. This prompts one of the characters to [[HeroicSacrifice sacrifice himself]] by jumping out and pushing the van to get it rolling, only to choke on the zombie-killing gas and then get incinerated by the flamethrower-wielding troops.
* In ''Film/GoneInSixtySeconds2000'' the main character is recklessly driving a Shelby [=GT500=] (nicknamed Eleanor), performing insane stunts and crazy maneuvers in order to get the police off his tail. He eventually manages to do so, and hides in an empty road. But just as a cop car shows up and he wants to inconspicuously get away, he accidentally breaks a sideview mirror and Eleanor's engine dies. He repeatedly tries to start it up (attracting the cop's attention), and when he eventually does the chase resumes with renewed vigor. In the same movie, after the original Eleanor gets destroyed, the main character's friends give him a (mostly) restored Eleanor as a present. He drives off with it, but as the screen fades out we hear the engine die again...
* ''DoubleIndemnity''. They've pulled off the perfect crime, the plan's unfolded like clockwork, they hop in the getaway car and exchange a grin of triumph... cue trope. Supposedly inspired by director Billy Wilder trying to drive off the lot during a break in filming the scene.
* ''Film/{{Octopussy}}'': The DiabolicalMastermind's car at the end. [[spoiler:Especially panic-inducing, as he was trying to escape his own TimeBomb. It started on the second try, though.]]
* Spoofed in ''Film/{{Clue}}.'' "Why is the car stopped?" "It's frightened."
* Subverted in the monster movie parody ''Monster!'' when GenreSavvy hero Lloyd piles into the car with his frantic girlfriend Jill to escape the monster, which is literally right on top of them. Lloyd turns the key in the ignition twice to no avail; finally, he holds up a finger for pause and announces "Wait for it." The monster punches a claw through the hood of the car. Lloyd tries the ignition again -- it works! "Got it," Lloyd declares brightly, and stomps on the gas.
* In ''Film/TheEvilDead1981'', the car actually starts when the side-passenger says that she ''knows'' it won't start.
* Subverted in ''Film/SinCity''. When [[spoiler: the Yellow Bastard kidnaps Nancy for the final time, her finicky car, [[OnlyICanMakeItGo which only Nancy can keep running]], dies on him along the way, which gives Hartigan enough time to find and save her. Naturally, Nancy had pretended to not know why the car had died]].
* ''Film/{{Gremlins}}'' had a beat up Volkswagen that wouldn't start at an inopportune time. Since he wasn't parked long enough for any Gremlins to screw with his car, you have to [[FridgeLogic wonder]] why Billy didn't just leave the engine running.
* The entire plot of the film ''Film/{{Premonition}}'' was that a woman was living a week of time in mixed-up order and that at some point during the week her husband dies. [[spoiler:His death eventually ends up being caused by a mix of her actions (distracting him) and by him being too stupid to get out of the car with an out-of-control semi barreling down the road toward his stalled car.]]
* ''Film/ChildrenOfMen'': This happens when the heroes try to escape the farm. A tense [[ChaseScene chase]] then ensues, with the heroes pushing their non-starting car, followed by angry pursuers -- on foot.
* ''Film/OutOfSight'': Jack Foley was arrested shortly after robbing a bank because his getaway car wouldn't start.
* ''Film/LaCiteDeLaPeur'': Spoofed hilariously in the beginning of the French comedy. The hero of the painfully bad movie-within-the-movie is chased by Red the Communist serial-killer and runs to his car, produces a gigantic keyring and goes on to try all of them (including big old-school door keys). The camera zooms out as the killer approaches and the viewer discovers... ''[[RuleOfFunny it's a convertible]]''. Once in, he proceeds to plug in the radio, the A/C, the phone and the fax machine before trying the ignition, and the car waits the appropriate amount of time before starting off at the last possible second. Red ends up being run over and sent in a pool of gasoline ''twice''.
* ''Bumer'': The titular car in the Russian movie ("bumer" being a slang term for BMW) does absolutely nothing but fall victim to one PlotDrivenBreakdown after another.
* ''Film/TheMummyReturns'': Rick's car hates Jonathan. He tries to start it when he hears fighting so that when Rick, Evie and Ardeth emerge from the British Museum they can all get away, but instead the key snaps off in the ignition and Jonathan has to steal a double decker bus.
* In ''Film/ThePrincessDiaries'', the emergency brake in the main character's car comes right off in her hand. Naturally, this is as she's going up a hill in San Fransisco. It makes you wonder why she decided to use the same car again when she had to [[spoiler:rush out to the climatic ball, as it predictably stalls and won't start again. Though it isn't a life threatening situation, if she didn't announce her ascension to the throne at that time, she would lose her crown and someone else would take over]]. The car was established as a piece of shit even before all of this, though.
* In ''Film/Tremors3BackToPerfection'', Desert Jack has a switch in his jeep that he uses to deliberately invoke this trope to make his Graboid safaris more exciting.
* ''Film/FerrisBuellersDayOff'' and Cameron's piece of shit car (pre-Ferrari).
* ''Film/TheLoveBug'': All of the movies at some point have Herbie refusing to start after the main character insults the car, and of course is right when they are about to race.
* ''Rainbow Valley'': This John Wayne western manages to pull this off with just one automobile in a movie full of horses. As a posse heads off under the mistaken impression that John Wayne is working for the bad guys his car-owning friend receives a telegram with the news that he's actually undercover. The car won't start so he ends up hitching it to a team of horses.
* ''Kidnapping, Caucasian Style'': Edik's ambulance in the Soviet comedy is, in the (translated) words of the driver, an "asthmatic vacuum cleaner." Hopefully, it doesn't have these kinds of problems when there's a medical emergency...
* ''Film/Terminator2JudgmentDay'': John Connor's motorcycle fails to start while trying to escape from the [[BigBad T-1000]] until it eventually gets going and he makes his escape.
* ''Film/TheGodsMustBeCrazy'' Has a landrover affectionately called "The Antichrist". Needless to say, a lot of bad things happen with it including having no handbrake, no brakes at all, [[spoiler: and even being stuck up in a tree.]]
* In ''Film/PoltergeistIITheOtherSide'' when the father is cursing his car, Taylor tells him that his car is literally angry at him and refuses to work properly because of that. This of course leads to a dramatic situation when the family is trying to escape.
* Inverted as part of the symbolism in ''Film/TuckerAndDaleVsEvil''--when college kid Chad finally goes from crazy but functional to just plain crazy, the hillbillies [[HillbillyHorrors he insists are crazed murderers]] frantically try to start their car while he comes towards them with an axe.
* In ''Film/{{P2}}'', Angela's BMW doesn't start when she tries to make it home on Christmas Eve evening. Justified, in that it's implied that her stalker sabotaged it so Angela would be stuck in the parking garage to serve as his CaptiveDate.
* In ''Film/BehindTheMaskTheRiseOfLeslieVernon'', the DangerouslyGenreSavvy killer [[InvokedTrope sabotages]] his victims' cars before starting his attack, including the car of [[spoiler: the journalists]] who [[TooDumbToLive really should have seen it coming]].
* Parodied in ''Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex (But Were Afraid To Ask).'' In a segment parodying horror movies, Woody Allen discovers at an inopportune time, "The battery's dead and we're out of gas, oil, and water."
* In ''Film/{{Reincarnation}}'' this happens to the truck driver's own truck right before he meets his fate.
* Happens to two cops who try to escape the title creature in ''Film/{{Tarantula}}''. This is especially strange given it was a (then) brand new 1955 car.
* The ''Film/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets'' film has a straighter example than the book (see below). When Harry and Ron are trying to escape the spiders, the Ford Anglia's flying gear happens to be jammed until Ron manages to unjam it at the last moment.
* At the end of ''Film/TheStoningOfSorayaM'', when the journalist tries to flee the village, his car breaks down in the middle of the road. He managers to restart it JustInTime before the mob arrives.
* Jack's van in ''Film/JackBrooksMonsterSlayer'' stalls out every time, including when the creatures are coming after him.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In Creator/StephenKing's ''Literature/{{Cujo}}'', mom and son are trapped for several days on a yard in a Ford Pinto by the eponymous dog. It's a Ford Pinto. They're (un)lucky the car got them there in the first place, (they went there to get it fixed) and it's surprising the dog jumping on the back of the thing didn't [[EveryCarIsAPinto cause it to explode]]. As King himself owned a Ford Pinto at one time, the choice of car is probably a TakeThat at Ford.
* ''NeedfulThings'': Later called back, as one of the characters ends up next to the same house where the events of ''Cujo'' happened. Then she thinks she hears a dog growling. Then she thinks she sees glowing red eyes to match the growling. Then her car won't start. Then, as whatever it is starts moving towards her...[[spoiler:the car finally starts and she gets away. Phew.]]
* ''Literature/{{Christine}}'': The basic plot of the Creator/StephenKing novel. To be fair, she didn't hate her owner -- she was [[WomanScorned just]] [[ClingyJealousGirl jealous]] of his girlfriend.
* In Jim Butcher's ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' novels, Wizard Harry Dresden drives an old beat up VW Beetle, choosing it for its simple and rugged nature so that it won't be overly hexed by his magic-ness. However that doesn't stop him from getting troped by this one very often, usually at the most inopportune of times.
* The legendary turquoise Ford Anglia from ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets'' was actually a very faithful (flying) automobile indeed (from staying airborne much longer than it was used to, to saving Harry and Ron's necks from a swarm of hungry Acromantulas). It did, however, happen to lose steam at the most unfortunate time- when Ron and Harry were positioned right above the Whomping Willow.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Seen several times on the classic ''[[Series/TheTwilightZone Twilight Zone]]'':
** In "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street" (first aired February 4th, 1960), perhaps the earliest instance of this trope on TV, an entire neighborhood loses its power, cars as well as electricity. When one guy's car ''does'' start running, everyone assumes he's guilty of something.
** "A Thing About Machines" features a man who hates machinery being murdered by his car>
** In "You Drive" the car from a hit-and-run accident won't stop honking, running the radio, and attempting to kill him until the owner gives up and sits in the car... and it drives him to the police station.
* In the ''Series/FawltyTowers'' episode "Gourmet Night," [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mv0onXhyLlE Basil shows]] not only that [[MyCarHatesMe his car hates him]], but he hates his car in return and promptly gives it a damn good thrashing. This scene won the series a BAFTA award. They tried it with branches of varying size, until they found the funniest one.
* Arrived at serendipitously in an episode of ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}''. After the characters spend the entire episode looking for their car in a mall parking garage, the intended ending was for them to just find the car and drive off. No one was happy with it, but none of them could think of a better ending. Then they actually shot the scene, and the car wouldn't start. Everyone knew they had found their better ending. The reason the car wouldn't start was that it wasn't a real car, they just let the scene run after the actors got in the car.
* Subverted in the ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' episode "Jaynestown". Wash can't seem to get Serenity up in the air when the crew needs to make a quick getaway, until Inara walks into the cockpit and asks if there's a problem, when Wash gears up to yell at her-and the engines finally turn over. Subverted because there was a legitimate reason it wouldn't start; [[spoiler:the magistrate had a landlock put on Serenity to keep Jayne hanging around long enough to bring him to "justice", and it finally started when the magistrate's son put a call into port to lift the landlock-Inara's pep talk about what really makes a man made more of a man out of him than losing his virginity ever could, and he says so. His father actually backs out of the room, baffled and angrily mute, unable to fathom that his own son might object to the way he runs his mud farm]].
* In ''Series/DoctorWho'', this has happened to the TARDIS at least once. She's not the most reliable of ships, and has been known to sulk.
* Mitch Hedburg references it in one of his shows - "I'd be a terrible mechanic. If someone told me their car didn't start, I'd say 'Maybe you're being followed by a crazy killer!'"
* Parodied in the 'Audition Tape' short which ended Creator/StephenColbert's WHCA speech. Colbert reaches the car, with [[AbhorrentAdmirer Helen Thomas]] in hot -well, gradual pursuit, but is so terrified that he repeatedly fumbles the keys (in an exaggerated fashion) until he finally realizes the keys have a remote lock. Once he's in the car, He again fumbles the keys to get them in the ignition. However once he does, the car starts first time. He does however wait in the car engine running. He screams for a while, then backs out of the spot. Then stops for some more screaming. Then finally he drives out.
* In ''Series/{{Primeval}}'' the presence of dinosaurs causes ignitions to fail.
* ''Series/TopGear''
** Discussed by name on during a news segment in which, hilariously, Jeremy brought up astrology in relation to car ownership:
--> '''Clarkson''' : [[TheEeyore Pisceans]] like a bit of a blub, and there's nothing guaranteed to get the blubbing going like -- "It's broken down again, it ''hates'' me!" It doesn't hate you, it's just an Alfa!
** Also ''occurs'' on their trip through the US deep south, when they need to get away from a gas station after their [[TooDumbToLive deliberate attempts]] to offend the locals prove [[GoneHorriblyRight excessively successful]].
** In South America the trio travels along the Yungas Road aka ''El Camino de la Muerte'' -- the Road of Death. A dead battery caused by a non-functional alternator means that James May has to swap batteries with Richard Hammond (who's alternator is [[TheAllegedCar one of the few things on his car that does work]]), strap a pair of torches/flashlights to the front since using the headlights drains the battery too fast and follow Hammond so closely their bumpers are almost touching. Genuinely terrifying.
** Also happens regularly in their Cheap Car Challenges.
* In an episode of ''Series/{{ER}}'', as Doug is driving to a benefit that he doesn't want to attend, his car suddenly blows a tire. Suddenly, the trope is subverted as this results in a young boy coming to him for help in saving his trapped brother, in one of the show's best episodes.
* It's pretty much a RunningGag that the cast and crew of ''Series/DestinationTruth'' are simply incapable of using a vehicle without having it break down or otherwise run into trouble. Pretty much every vehicle they've used on screen over the course of multiple seasons has had these troubles. They've lampshaded it recently, as it's now fairly common to hear somebody say "Can't we just get a car that works? Just once?"
* The RV in ''Series/BreakingBad'' causes its share of problems for Walt. In one episode toward the end of Season 4 Walt and Jesse are reminiscing about it, and it's explicitly pointed out that the only reason they had that particular RV because it was the only one they could afford at the start; after the first couple of cooks they had money and could have bought a much more reliable vehicle but didn't due to "inertia".
* ''Series/WhoseLineIsItAnyway'' had a RunningGag in the "Sound Effects" game[[note]]The version where Ryan Styles provides sound effects for Colin Mochrie[[/note]]: Every time Colin tried to start his car, Ryan would make sounds of the engine failing; as soon as Colin got out to look, Ryan would mime [[MurphysLaw the car driving off without him]]. Which prompted Colin to [[CrazyAwesome chase it down on foot]].
** Variations include the OldWest-themed game with Colin's ''horse'' doing the same, and the ''Film/StarWars''-themed game where Jedi Colin used the Force to stop his ship.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* The narrator in the song [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDy3kV8Kuu4 ''Two Ton Paperweight'' by Psychostick]] is under the impression this is the case ("You never get me very far, when you decide driving to the store is a mortal sin"), and assures that, like in Fawlty Towers, the feeling is indeed mutual ("I guess I'm just a little angry, but for some reason getting stranded kinda chafes my hide").
* Referenced in "Stuck In A Movie!" by Music/TheAquabats:
-->Coming after you, and it's getting dark\\
You fumble with your keys, and your car won't start
* Brazilian example: Raimundos, "Eu Quero Ver o Oco" is about the bad experiences of the narrator with cars - a line goes "My hatred for automotives started early, when I [[{{Fingore}} trapped my fingers in the door]] of an [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Opala Opal„o]]".
* The song "Sabbatical With Options" by hip-hop producer Prefuse 73, featuring rapper Aesop Rock, has a short middle section where Aesop pleads with his car:
-->1985 Dodge Aries hand-me-down freebie [[ClusterFBomb piece-of-fucked-with-shit with the fucking yellow plates]], you are going to '''start''' for me... Do NOT do this to me today. Look, man, look...you have been a very good car to me, okay? I'm going to point you in one direction, all you have to do it go - Look, I'm not even going to steer, man, '''please'''!
* Creator/AdamSandler sings about this in the song "Ode to my Car", complaining about how the car that is so busted up that it barely runs a few feet.
* TheOffspring's "Bad Habit" is a song about an AxCrazy guy who DrivesLikeCrazy with a gun on his hand. The singer [[http://books.google.com/books?id=3R7GZ8ghL8wC&pg=PA90 said he was inspired by]] [[TheAllegedCar his old Chevette that "wasn't really able to reach freeway speeds"]] and thus left him with feelings of revenge.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''{{Exmortis}} 2'': In the Point and Click game, there's a mini game of this trope. The player must find the keys to start a car in the back yard of a building while the [[RedSkyTakeWarning clouds of Exmotis]] approach him.
* ''VideoGame/DeadRising'': The intro scene features a young mother and child attempting to start their car, to find themselves surrounded by zombies and their car hates them.
* In the ending sequence of ''Campfire Legends: The Hookman'' the main character's boyfriend's car wouldn't start until right after the titular villain grabbed the door handle with his hook-hand.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Loserz}}'': Eric's car is an especially bad case. [[http://the-qlc.com/loserz/go/200 See here.]]
--> Eric: Aah! It's got a gun!
* In ''Webcomic/{{Freefall}}'', Sam's spaceship [[http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff800/fv00758.htm quite]] [[http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff800/fv00759.htm literally]] [[http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff800/fv00762.htm hates]] him. It hasn't refused to start when he needs to escape, but it's certainly found other ways to make its displeasure clear.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Machinima/TheGModIdiotBox'': Episode 7 up with a guy ([[ThisLoserIsYou A parody of YouTube visitors on DasBoSchitt's profile]]) not bothering to read the video description. A Combine soldier then attacks his house. His first instinct is to escape in his car, but it does not start and is promptly taken to the air by the soldier. Next the guy attempts starting the ''door knob'' and then a ''home telephone'', both times failing, and finally gets hit hard in the ear by the soldier.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Reboot}}'': A RunningGag is that Bob likes his car, but his car does not like him. Many times he would spy some oncoming peril, leap in and curse as it noisily failed to start. And when he finally does break down and get himself a new mode of transportation, it's nearly immediately destroyed and he's back to his old unreliable car. His car finally was destroyed in the third season, and he finally had it replaced with a semi-reliable one. [[note]]By this point, Bob could fly on his own power anywhere.[[/note]]
* On ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' episode "The Lemon of Troy", when the Springfielders need to escape from the Shelbyville impound lot, Flanders is unable to start the RV. [[SkewedPriorities Turns out Homer was draining the battery by cooking roast chicken.]]
* While ''WesternAnimation/ThePenguinsOfMadagascar'''s car is usually pretty nifty, in "Driven To The Brink" Rico accidentally trashes it and hastily rebuilds it on his own. Afterwards, it ''literally'' hates him, to the point of actively trying to kill him. It was really a mistake in Rico's reconstruction, but Rico became convinced that the car was sentient.
* WesternAnimation/{{Danger Mouse}}'s car, the Mark III, develops a mind of its own and turns on him in "What A Three-Point Turn-Up For The Book." When DM finally gains an upper hand, he discovers that the motor had been altered with the workings of Colonel K's washing machine.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* On 15th February 2011 US Special Agent Jaime Zapata was driving through a [[GangsterLand particularly dangerous area]] of Mexico when he was ambushed by a heavily armed gang. This should not have been too much of a problem because he was driving a [[CoolCar specially armoured Chevy Suburban]] capable of withstanding anything short of an RPG, and the ambushers only had [=AK47s=], but when he stopped the car and put it in Park the car helpfully unlocked its doors. Zapata was killed and his fellow agent seriously injured.
[[/folder]]

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