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Enmity with an Object

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Edward Elric: Picking fights with milk since 2001.
"This wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. Either it goes or I do."
Oscar Wildenote 
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If Companion Cube is the love someone will have for an inanimate object, this is the other side of that coin — a deep-seated, irrational hatred a person has for an object.

The person will usually treat the object as a hated enemy or rival in spite of the fact that the object has no will of its own and cannot in any way return the person's antipathy. If the quarrel is physical in nature, whatever damage the object delivers onto the person may seem to be driven by malicious intent, but it's just simple mechanics and bad luck.

Often Played for Laughs, unless it's something like an Artifact of Doom or Artifact of Death.

May be justified with a Job-Stealing Robot (as long as the robot is just a mindless tool) or Vengeful Vending Machine. It's also very common when the person has The Alleged Car, because if your car hates you, you're going to hate it back.

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This is a sister trope of Cargo Envy, where a person is envious of something that an attractive person is showing affection to, which may or may not lead to a rivalry with the object.

Compare Does Not Like Spam. Compare also Animal Nemesis, where the foe is at least alive, if not capable of reason.

Careful when your object is/turns out to be an Animate Inanimate Object - the object must not be sentient/sapient, or at least the person with the enmity must not know about it. Otherwise it doesn't fall here.


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Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • In an advertisement for the Audi Quattro, a tow-truck driver in a snowy, mountainous region describes how he's towed every kind of car except the Quattro. When he speaks about the Quattro he uses phrases like "It haunts my dreams", and "Sometimes I think it's mocking me". The commercial ends with him screaming "Quattro!!"

    Anime & Manga 
  • In episode 50 of Fairy Tail, a misused and dodgy love potion cause Makarov to see alcohol as his rival (because it gets him drunk), Ezra sees a pillar as hers (it won't get out of her way), and at the end, Grey sees the horizon as his rival.
  • Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist doesn't just dislike drinking milk, he actively despises seeing any because it is "an opaque, white liquid secreted by a cow". This is played as part of the gag about Edward's diminutive stature, with characters speculating that his lack of height could be a direct result of his hatred of milk.
  • In A Certain Magical Index and A Certain Scientific Railgun, Mikoto Misaka has an enmity with a certain vending machine which once swallowed her 10,000 Yen (about $100) note. She often gets revenge on it by kicking or using her Shock and Awe powers on it to induce it into giving free drinks.
  • Full Metal Panic! takes this in a humorous direction when Al, the support Artificial Intelligence in Sosuke's ARX-8 Laevatein, declares that Big Bad Leonard Testarossa's mech the Belial is his Arch-Enemy. Al constantly trash-talks it, including calling it a "cheating pile of junk" that can't even function without a Lambda Driver; while these descriptors could also apply to the Laevatein itself, Sosuke decides not to say this out loud.

    Comic Books 
  • Luke Cage. Power Man vs. the coffee vending machine at police headquarters is a Running Gag. The soda machine in his office too; vending machines hate him.
  • Robin (1993): Tim does not at all care for the poster his girlfriend Stephanie has hanging over her bed, which pictures a winking, flirtatious Superboy. Made even more amusing by the fact that Superboy is one of Tim's best friends and Steph seems even more determined to keep the poster out of amusement at Tim's dislike of it.
  • In The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, a Running Gag is that everyone in the crew besides Rodimus despises the "Rodpod", a dropship modeled after Rodimus' head. When exploring the ancient remains of a titan, they intentionally leave it unlocked in the hopes that someone will come by and steal it. When they wind up going in a circle, Whirl yells "I blame the frigging Rodpod!" and starts beating it with a stick.
  • One panel of a Happy Noodle Boy comic has the titular character yelling at a toaster.
    You fucking toaster!! You're nothing! That's all you'll ever be! A toaster! Damn! I have no kiwis!!

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin's bicycle is out to get him. Really. And his baseball tried to bite him. Did we mention the leaf pile which tried to eat him? Twice? He's also been attacked by his mother's cooking on several occasions.
  • Peanuts: Charlie Brown and the Kite-Eating Tree.
  • Garfield: Garfield and RX-2, the talking scale.

    Fan Works 
  • A running joke in A Voice Among the Strangers, where Jessica at various points swears vengeance against a tree (after bashing her already injured shoulder into it), stones on the path (which she has to walk on in bare feet), a staircase (again due to her bare feet) and her own brain (after she gets a headache from trying to rationalize the world around her).
  • In Ciaphas Cain fanfiction Service In His Shadow", Commissary Ariel Abel decides the recaff machine -nicknamed 'Little Horus' by the office staff because of being an irritating, treacherous thing- has to die:
    I thought my day was just about hitting rock bottom when Adders' negotiations with Little Horus resulted in a stream of hot recaff nailing me square in the face.
    "That does it!" I hollered, caring not for repercussions or potential hitting somebody hitting somebody with a ricochet. I drew my laspistol, shouted something about His divine wrath and blasted a hole straight through Little Horus, sending sprays of recaff in all directions.
  • In Naruto: The Abridged Series, Sasuke's eternal rival is The Log. Sasuke even notes how he keeps mistaking logs for people, causing him to mess up his aim. All because he hates the Log.
  • In Code MENT, Suzaku has a score of 1-1 with a hotel. Not the hotel staff or the company who owns it, but the hotel itself.
  • Hordak Vs. The Cantankerous-ly Campy Cat Canvas is about Hordak's hatred for an admittedly garish painting that his girlfriend owns. He tried to have it burned during their breakup, assigns an imaginary, creepy voice to it, and lies to her in an attempt to get it out of their new home. She is completely unaware of Hordak's negative feelings- after all, he stares at the painting so much!

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Battle Creek (a.k.a. The Big Brawl), Jerry maintains a venomous relationship with the practice dummy.
  • The dad from A Christmas Story was "one of the most feared furnace fighters in Northern Indiana." He attacks the thing offscreen while swearing so loudly at it, the whole house can hear.
  • In Office Space, the main characters have a very antagonistic relationship with a fax/copy machine. They end up dragging into an abandoned field and executing it with a baseball bat.
  • A 1967 Mustang GT500 has tantalized Memphis Raines in Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) throughout his career as car thief. It's mentioned that he was arrested and imprisoned while trying to steal one, and at one point, Raines refers to this car as "unicorn:" something fantastic and wonderful that he can never, ever have.
  • In Happy Gilmore Gary tries to help Happy improve his putting by telling him to imagine sinking a hole as sending the ball home. When he still fails to get it into the hole, he starts cussing out the ball. "You son of a bitch ball! Why don't you just go home?! That's your HOME! Are you too good for your home? Answer me! Suck my white ass, ball!"
  • In an example not played for laughs, Tommy from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) seems to really hate Harold, the scarecrow in his family farm, who he'll often bash with his baseball bat or throw beer bottles at while insulting him. Then Harold comes to life to show Tommy that the feeling is mutual...

    Literature 
  • From If Chins Could Kill, Bruce Campbell's autobiography, "The Classic", Sam Raimi's 1973 Delta 88 Oldsmobile. Raimi in particular is convinced that Campbell is out to destroy it in jealousy.
  • In Death. Eve Dallas has an irrational fear and hatred of all vending machines. If at all possible she refuses to use them directly, preferring to hand her money to someone else and have them buy the candy bar or whatever for her.
  • Discworld series:
    • Cribbins in Making Money stole the spring-powered dentures from a man he'd robbed. It's possible they were haunted by the ghost of their former owner, because the springs tend to malfunction at the worst times, and he has to gnash them back into position at the most awkward times. He's put out of commission when the springs finally break inside his mouth and nearly stab him in the brain.
    • There's a side story in The Truth about a town mayor who got hit by a meteorite. He then gets hit again, but this time it was waiting for him down an alleyway.
  • The First Law: The crippled Sand dan Glokta hates stairs because they're so painful and treacherous for him to climb. He has several internal diatribes about how he hates them above all things. The person he most wishes he could torture would be their inventor.
  • A non-fiction example from Ignition! An Informal History Of Liquid Rocket Propellants, the memoirs of research chemist John Drury Clark. His experiences with Mainframes and Minicomputers were frequently an exercise in frustration, leading to this memorable (and accurate) quote:
    "Everyone who uses a computer frequently has had, from time to time, a mad desire to attack the precocious abacus with an axe."
  • Life, the Universe and Everything: The Silastic Armourfiends of Striterax tried to channel their blood-thirsty nature into less violent pursuits. This meant their passing a law requiring every Armourfiend to spend forty-five minutes a day beating up a bag of potatoes. It worked for a while, until one Armourfiend suggested just shooting the potatoes, and so a week's worth of enforced peace, the longest in the Armourfiends' history, came to an end. Eventually, the Armourfiends managed to kill themselves, much to the relief of the potatoes, and indeed everyone else.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Chief O'Brien hates the station's computer so much he calls it his archenemy. Eventually an alien A.I. makes a home in it that makes it better disposed to him.
  • In an episode of CHiPs a big man in a tiny car gets pulled over for speeding and he beats up his car in retaliation, tearing it to pieces right there on the highway. His name in the credits is "car killer."
  • The villain Annorax from the Star Trek: Voyager two-parter "Year of Hell" considers time itself to be his archenemy. And no, it's not meant in a mundane way like worrying too much about punctuality or about one's age or something; he believes that space-time itself is determined to punish him for his multiple temporal incursions by repeatedly denying him his heart's desire to resurrect his wife. Tom Paris decides that he's a paranoid megalomaniac.
  • An episode of Seinfeld had George express anger towards a watch with "I hate you, you time piece from Hades!"
  • Inverted in a sketch on The Benny Hill Show. Benny is playing a slot machine and is coming up a loser every time. A man walks up to the machine next to him and starts giving it love talk ("I love you my darling" etc.) and it pays off every time he pulls the arm. Benny is bemused at first but as the man continues to win gets the idea. After the man leaves, Benny gives his machine love talk only to continue to lose. Then he quits playing it. The other man goes up to the same machine Benny was playing a moment ago, says to it "how's the wife and kids?" and scores big again.
  • Granville and the cash-register in Open All Hours. The spring is wound too tight and Arkwright is too cheap to fix it, but Granville is convinced it hungers for fingers. In Still Open All Hours, he now believes it's haunted by Arkwright's ghost, and becomes particularly vicious if he thinks about spending money.
  • Fawlty Towers: In one episode, Basil goes into a frothing rage against his car, warning that if it malfunctions once more, there will be consequences. The car breaks down again, so he promptly gets out, fetches a tree branch and beats the car as punishment.
  • Mr. Bean: Played ambiguously for comedy with Mr. Bean's archnemesis: a blue Reliant Robin. Because the driver of the car is never seen, it's unclear whether Bean hates the driver, the car itself, or all blue Reliant Robins.
  • New Girl: Nick Miller is shown not being able to open a door due to anger/awkwardness and finally shouts "I hate doors!"
  • In one episode of Malcolm in the Middle, new neighbors move in, and each character gets their own arch nemesis from the group, with the exception of Hal, who loves his counterpart. Dewey's nemesis is a garden gnome.
  • Liz Lemon spends an episode of 30 Rock feuding with a plastic bag, which was hanging in a tree outside her new apartment.
  • Red Dwarf: After joining the crew in series VII, Kochanski develops a seething hatred for a pipe in her quarters which constantly makes irritating noises that keep her awake. She resorts to hitting the pipe with a wrench to try and make it stop.
  • Sesame Street: Elmo and Rocco, Zoe's pet rock. While it's mostly because Elmo is convinced Zoe's using the rock as an excuse to get her way or just mess with everyone, Rocco getting involved in anything is one of the few things that can put him in a bad mood, or even make him legitimately furious.
  • The Brooklyn Nine-Nine character Frederick is convinced that his then-boyfriend hated a duck ornament Frederick owned so much that he stole it from their shared apartment and threw it in the trash, going so far as to break up with the guy over it. The heroes play along with this belief to get Frederick to do something for them. He's completely right. Holt did steal the "ugly and gross" duck and tipped it into a nearby river. If the flashback to the act is any indication, he did it with slow, deliberate relish.

    Tabletop Games 
  • From Dungeons & Dragons, the Tale of Eric and the Dread Gazebo, although the player in question had thought that a 'gazebo' was a kind of monster. The party eventually enlightened him, although not before he'd annoyed the DM so much that the guy had the gazebo actually catch and eat his character.
  • Warhammer: One of the tales that illustrated the Dwarfs's "revenge at any cost, consequences be dammed!" dogma, involve the Battle of Grimspike Pass where they took massive losses fighting the Greenskins after an Ork Shaman exploded causing a massive landslide. The Dwarfs wanted revenge, but since the offending Greenskin was dead, and the Dwarfs already had vowed to exterminate all Greenskins for other reasons, they declared a grudge against Grimspike Pass, broke down the surrounding mountains and used the rocks to fill up the pass.

    Theatre 
  • In the musical adaptation of Candide, Cunegonde has these lines in "Life Is Happiness Indeed," during which, in the original Broadway production, she tears apart a rose.
    With the rose my only rival
    I admit to some frustration
    What a pity its survival
    Is of limited duration!

    Video Games 
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, a Malkavian character can have arguments with several inanimate objects. These include a TV (which argues via the newscaster) and a stop sign.
    "You've made a powerful enemy today, sign."
  • There's a gag in Red Dead Redemption II where a taxidermied squirrel that John Marston gets in the epilogue that his wife Abigail hates gets put in increasingly well-hidden places in the house. The last place you find it is on the top of a rugged mountain the next state over.
  • In Deltarune, Ralsei reluctantly gives the ax-wielding Susie a What the Hell, Hero? lecture about what kind of a hero she's being — including not only being needlessly, counterproductively violent, in keeping with the well-established pacifistic themes, but having eaten an innocent man's cake. Susie has already asserted her opponents were enemies — and, therefore, "FOR terrorizing" — before here offering the rationale, "Cakes... are also my enemy." Ralsei gives her a deadpan Disapproving Look.
  • In Psychonauts, Sasha Nein has a deep hatred of Tiffany Lamps and uses them as target practice. It's implied that this is because since one was nearby when his mother passed he associated them with that memory.
  • The Director in Left 4 Dead is, essentially, a bunch of lines of code; it's the AI routine that determines what enemies you face and when. You will not find a single L4D player who does not bear a lifelong, burning-hot grudge against the Director.

    Visual Novels 
  • Tsukihime: Used for drama when in one scene, Shiki (the player character) suddenly and inexplicably becomes irrationally angry at a chair and tears it apart, a sign that he's becoming very mentally unhinged. The narration for this scene is nothing more than the words "This chair," repeated over and over again.

    Webcomics 
  • El Goonish Shive: The Demonic Duck evidently has this towards the Shiny Object.
  • In The Order of the Stick, dwarven cleric Durkon Thundershield believes that trees are not trustworthy. Of course, given that this is a D&D parody, that might not be entirely unjustified. Later strips reveal that this apparently extends to the entire dwarf race. Their "logic" is that they must be evil since they keep getting hit by lightning, and Thor's main weapon is lightning; Thor himself thinks it's ridiculous but has given up trying to explain it.
  • In Tales from the Pit, Mark Rosewater's sworn enemy is the copier machine.
  • In Nebula it's inverted: Saturn thinks that their moons (which are just completely normal rocks) hate them, rather than them hating their moons.
  • In one gag of Awkward Zombie, Katie Tiedrich goes to Staples to buy... well, staples. But when she sees that all the boxes are labeled the same she leaves while angrily telling the boxes "You're jerks and imposters and I hate all of you!"

    Web Original 
  • Pewdiepie with barrels, and to a lesser extent statues.
  • In the Sonic the Hedgehog fan animation Nazo Unleashed, Nazo has a deep sense of jealousy towards the Master Emerald, as Nazo wants to become the most powerful entity in the universe, but can't surpass the Master Emerald's infinite energy. Thus, he wants to blow up the Earth in order to shatter it.
  • Sword Art Online Abridged: The first guild Kirito joined consisted mostly of NPCs the guild leader stole from quests (they keep following you if you don't complete the quest). Due to their bad AI, one of them triggered and escaped from a battle while still holding on to the party's supply of teleport crystals, leading to Sachi's death. Kirito later runs into him again and eviscerates him offscreen, laughing all the while.
    Kirito: YOU LEFT US TO DIE, YOU BASTARD!!! THIS IS FOR SACHI! CHOKE ON IT! CHOKE ON MY VENGEANCE! HOW DOES IT TASTE?!'' AH-HA HAHA HAHA!
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd will often holler and screech at whatever game is upsetting him this week, usually to highlight how pathetic the Nerd is for getting so mad at a simple video game.
  • Critical Role: Vox Machina's enmity with doors became a Running Gag ever since a series of bad rolls resulted in a simple church door barred from the inside requiring an over-complicated plan and three spells to open. And their luck didn't improve with any later doors.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • In the episode "The World", Gumball stubs his toe on a coffee table and prepares to hit it in retribution. However, Everything Talks in Elmore, so the coffee table is able to question his reasoning:
      Table: Hey, wait! Think about what's going on here. You punch me after you kick me? What do you think happened? You think I got up and walked in front of you? I'm a table, man!
      Gumball: Uh... oh yeah. Well, sorry. It’s pretty stupid to take it out on an object. It's not like you did it on purpose.
      (Gumball sees skids marks in the carpet left by the table)
      Gumball: What the— why?
      Table: Uh... because — it's because you’re always putting your feet on me!
      (Coffee Table leaps out of the window and runs off while Gumball stares in confusion)
    • In "The Ex", Darwin says he has a nemesis, which turns out to be a hat (That's what he wants you to believe!). Later in the episode, Gumball sees Darwin wearing the hat and asks if he got over his rivalry with the hat, pointing out that he is wearing it. Darwin runs around screaming that the hat "got him".
  • The Angry Beavers has Norbert's Not-So-Imaginary Friend Stump. Dagget has a fierce rivalry with Stump, especially in his first appearance episode.
  • Bob's Burgers: In "The Deepening", Teddy reveals he has an intense hatred for a shark prop from a movie he was an extra on. He reveals that when he was hitting on a lady extra, the shark operator made the prop knock into him and spill food all over her, causing her to reject him and spiraling him into a lifetime of overeating. Bob questions why Teddy isn't angry at the operator. Teddy realizes Bob has a point but then insists the shark made him do it.
  • In A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, Snoopy is setting up the chairs for an impromptu dinner, and struggles with a large beach chair that won't stay open, and even starts fighting back at one point.
  • Classic Disney Shorts: A common gag is for a character to come at odds with inanimate objects that won't behave themselves. Examples include the piano that won't stay in Goofy's truck in Moving Day, or the mainspring Donald Duck wrestles with in Clock Cleaners. What contributes the most to the surrealism of those scenes is that the objects often openly antagonize the character in question.
  • The police officer in Clone High played by Andy Dick addresses a plastic cup of beer as though it were a Worthy Opponent.
    "Well, well, well. If it isn't my old friend, Underage Drinking. So, we meet again. How are you, Underage Drinking? Besides illegal!"
  • Code Lyoko. Odd vs. Vending Machine. Nicolas has struggled with it as well. Earlier, in the prequel "XANA Awakens", it was used by XANA to electrocute Jérémie.
  • In The Fairly OddParents episode "Odd Jobs", Timmy uses his fairies' magic to help his father find a new job. The second choice is being a professional wrestler; unfortunately, his pencil-themed costume earns him the ire of his opponent, who hates pencils because he blames them for him failing elementary school. We're then shown a flashback of him as a kid, in full costume, trying to write a test and destroying every pencil he attempts to write with because he Does Not Know His Own Strength.
  • Family Guy: Stewie Griffin and the toilet. Because it's funny when Stewie shows the ignorance of a real baby. Brian has a few bones to pick with it, too.
    Stewie: So they DO make bigger diapers! That deceitful woman told me I had to learn to use the toilet! Well fah on the toilet! It's made slaves of you all! I've seen it sitting in there, lazy, slothful porcelain layabout... feeding on other people's doo-doos while contributing nothing of its own to society! (runs to bathroom) You get a job!
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: Hoss Delgado has a high school rivalry with a traffic cone named Kyle.
  • On Harvey Street Kids, Audrey seems to carry an irrational hatred of potpourri, saying that "[it] never works" when Lotta suggests using it to cover up the foul odor of the soup that she's been feeding Marco.
  • The B plot of the Kim Possible episode "Stop Team Go" features Dr. Drakken becoming increasingly frustrated by the failure of his escalating attempts (up to and including blasting it with a death ray) to open an Impossible Pickle Jar.
  • Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness. "My old enemy — stairs."
  • The Looney Tunes short Bartholomew Versus the Wheel has the eponymous dog Bartholomew develop a vicious hatred towards wheels after his tail gets run over.
  • In one episode of Phineas and Ferb, when Perry fails to show up, Doofenshmirtz uses a potted plant as a stand in for Perry as he rants about his evil plans, and even ties him up. Due to a series of accidents, the potted plant ends up thwarting Doofenshmirtz and is even awarded a medal at the end for his heroic efforts.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Sideshow Bob and rakes, after the extended "rake tripping" scene from the "Cape Feare" episode. Bart even lampshades how Bob apparently equates that rivalry with the one between the two (mind you, Bart at that point got Bob sent to jail multiple times).
    • In the episode "Deep Space Homer," Homer has an intense hatred for an inanimate carbon rod that was named Employee of the Month instead of him. After he accidentally saves the space shuttle crew (from a mess he himself caused, of course) by jamming it in a broken door while trying to bash his colleague with it, he's mad that the carbon rod he "used" to jam the door shut got the hero's welcome (including a Ticker Tape Parade) instead.
    • And there's the newspaper picture of Abe with the headline "Old man yells at cloud" from "The Old Man and the Key".
    • One episode had Homer's special recipe for moonshine remind a hillbilly of his feud with a nearby tree.
    • Mr. Burns once mistook a candy vending machine for a working candy store, and when it failed to respond to his verbal request for a snack, he gave it a Death Glare and said it had made a powerful enemy.
  • On Sítio do Picapau Amarelo, while almost everyone loves Aunt Nastácia's berry cake, Emília is resentful toward it because, as a doll, she can't experience flavor on the same level as them. This leads to her eating the whole thing in an attempt to figure out why it's so beloved and then trying to atone by baking another cake to the best of her ability.
  • In the Steven Universe episode "Nightmare Hospital", Mrs. Maheswaran threatens to use an abacus to figure out how long to ground Connie for bringing a sword into the house. When she leaves, Connie mutters a resentful "I hate that abacus".
  • Captain Fanzone of Transformers: Animated hates machines (sentient or otherwise) to the point of it being his Catchphrase. This includes his cell phone which, for added effect, is so obsolete it has a rotary dial.

    Real Life 
  • As any pet owner can attest, animals, and dogs in particular, hate loud appliances. Even the most mellow puppy goes nuts when a vacuum cleaner is turned on. Cats, on the other paw, are much more inclined to run and hide from such racket.
  • The enemy of a good night sleep, the ender of weekends, and the herald of school or work: does anyone not hate the alarm clock?
  • The Page quote. Oscar Wilde hated his wallpaper.
  • According to Herodotus, Persian Emperor Xerxes I was so enraged when a sea storm destroyed his army's bridges that he punished the ocean by whipping it and "burning" it with hot irons. Say what you want about his methods, but his second set of bridges survived his crossing.
  • Among people who play tabletop games like Dungeons & Dragons, it's common to blame the dice when unfavorable outcomes are rolled. Dice-sized dunce caps, time-out chairs, and jails are used to "punish" dice for making bad rolls. In more extreme examples, (such as the Battletech incident that coined the term "Hellbie Dice" for an Epic Fail of crappy rollsExplanation ), they're even outright executed, be it thrown into the trash or melted into a black puddle.

Alternative Title(s): Cargo Nemesis, Inanimate Rivalry

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