Ship and Pilot: Quantum Drive fuel Curves

Thalstan

Space Marshal
Jun 5, 2016
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Thalstan
In this issue of Ship and Pilot, we go though the pros and cons of the various quantum drives out on the market. We tested each for economy, price, speed, and spool time. This guide is intended for those new to ship modifications. We try to identify sweet spots we find, but like always, you might have specific goals for your modifications. For instance, the cheapest no matter what, the fastest, the one with the smallest signature so you can sneak away without blowing your cover, etc. When those are your goals, I would recommend looking at other guides out there, perhaps from http://erkul.games

Our test data comes from Erkul, but it has also been placed on a google sheet for graphical head to head comparisons. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1S8DhigdddVDoV1Qm6IVs9pW7ZFJuvmTGvFlpjh81mNw/edit#gid=0


Size 1
Economy drives
- for those wanting the longest ranges, this is where you want to be looking. Ships using Size 1 drives tend to have the smallest fuel tanks, so if this is your station hopper or long range package delivery vehicle and time is not of the essence, this is probably where you want to be.

Most Efficient - Lightfire, which sips quantum fuel at just 4.9 units/Mkm. Oddly enough, this is not the slowest running at .3 c, but it is the second most costly of the low speed drives. In fact, most medium speed drives cost less. What you gain the most here is range. However, as a competition class drive, this one might be a bit more temperamental than others over the long term. While the Industrial Goliath can produce the same speed, it also uses almost 20 percent more fuel meaning if ultimate range is your goal, the lightfire is the one you want

Best Alternative - The Colossus At 5.5 units of quantum fuel/Mkm, it's not the most efficient, but is also runs at 3.1 C, which is a 3 percent increase in speed. The biggest benefits here are cost (16,150 vs 26,450 or about 40 percent less), and that it is an industrial class B unit, which should provide a good long life

Mid-Range Drives: - Fuel consumption takes a jump here, but there are good spots as well.

Best overall - The Atlas sits at the sweet spot here. At .51C, it is 70 percent faster than the Lightfire long range drives, and only consumes 7.5 units of fuel/Mkm for a 53 percent increase in consumption. It's not the cheapest of the mid speed drives, but at 17, 900 it's still a lot cheaper than the lightfire. If you don't need ultra long range and you don't need high speed to get ahead of that bounty, then this would be a good choice. With it being a Civilian class A type, it will get the job done

Best Alternatives: The Burst is a Class B standout at the high end of the mid-range units. It has one of the highest speeds at .57c while only costs 13,100 aUEC. It's a bit thirsty at 11.4 units of fuel/Mkm, but the drift consumes 16.7 at the same speed, costs more, and is class C. If you don't mind the stop between Port O and Microtech, this is the midrange drive you want. However, if you are looking for the fastest drive that will get you from Port O to MicroTech, the Voyage is you best bet. Good economy at 9.1 units/Mkm, a decent price of 15,600, and enough range to allow an Aurora to navigate most of the Stanton system.

Performance Drives: These are used when you need to be able to catch fleeing ships, have very short time frame for cargo deliveries, and when you don't care about how much fuel you burn.
Best drive choice: The Beacon is the a very fast unit while maintaining good fuel consumption. It also have the lowest cost of the high performance drives at 37,850 aUEC. If you need a very fast drive, this is the one I would recommend. Fuel consumption goes up faster than speed does for the Siren and VK-00.

Best alternative: If you need a faster drive than the beacon, then the VK-00 is the one you want. At 43,300 aUEC, this drive is cheaper than the Siren and is class A. The Siren takes a much bigger jump in fuel consumptions for the increase in speed compared to the Beacon and is the highest priced unit out there. There is no advantage to spool times in this range as all three performance units have a spool time of just 2 seconds.

Size 2

Economy Drive:

Most Efficient: The Sparkfire is another competition class C drive from the same manufacturers as the Lightfire. While it has great fuel economy at 5.5 quantum units/Mkm, both it and the class B SunFire have the highest prices of the economy and mid-range drives. If you are looking for the longest range, this if probably the one you want. The Sparkfire has a 6 second spool time

Best Alternative The Huracan is a class B industrial unit class B unit that is slightly faster than the Sparkfire and a fuel consumption of 6.1 units/Mkm. This is roughly 10 percent more fuel burn, but the Huracan is also 20k aUEC cheaper overall. If you are not looking for the absolute best efficiency but still want that longer range unit, this would be my choice. The Huracan has an 8 second spool time, which is tied for last place on Size 2 drives.

Mid Range Drives:
Best Overall: Hemera - It cruises at a respectable .42c and uses only 8.4 units/Mkm of fuel which is very close to what the economy engines use. The Hemera is a class A drive from RSI and the price is 38,250 aUEC. This drive has a 5 second spool time. Avoid the Nova, Bolt, or Spicule as these are near the fuel consumption of the high speed drives while still only offering mid-range velocities.

Best Alternative: If you can't find a Hemera, try for an Aither or maybe a Flash. However, both of these are very close to the Hemera in terms of performance and both are Class B. While the Flash has a price advantage at 27,650 and a slight speed advantage of .47c, it sucks down 12.6 units of fuel/Mkm. The Aither is 35,650 aUEC, goes .41c, and uses 9.2 units of fuel/Mkm. Both drives have a 5 second spool time.

Performance Drives:
Best drive choice: The Crossfield - This Size 2 class C military drive has the best mix of economy and speed. At .79c , it really moves you from one place to another, great for those time critical jobs, chaining missions as fast as possible, or running down your prey. It uses 20.7 units of fuel/Mkm , which is a big increase over most mid-range drives. At 60k, it's over one third less than the XL-1, making it a very attractive choice

Best Alternatives: Both the Yeager and XL-1 are good alternatives if you want even more speed. The XL-1 is the priciest coming in at 94,900, while the Yeager is 74,350 aUEC. The xl-1 is .87c and uses 24 units of fuel/Mkm, while the Yeager is .83c and uses 22.9 units of fuel/Mkm

Size 3

Economy Drive:

Best Economy Choice: Agni. Of the efficiency drives, this has the lowest fuel consumption and the highest overall speed at .21c This makes it the choice for long haul routes or systems where you might want to take a few detours to avoid...entanglements. It will also see you through entire systems where fuel might be scarce. The downside, it takes 20 seconds to spool, the longest of any class 3 drive.

Best Alternative: None. If absolutely needed and you can't find the Agni, the Kama is probably the second best with a .2c speed, 38.6 units/Mkm and a spool of 19 seconds, but the Agni would be my choice if at all possible and you wanted long range.

Mid-Range Drive:
Best Drive Choice: Erebos - While identical stat-wise to the Echo, the Erebos is a class A drive vs a class D. For 10k extra (for a 100+k item) you get a 1 second faster spool time and higher reliability. It has a .34c top speed and consumes 48.6 units of fuel/Mkm.

Best Alternative: The Tyche is a class B civilian drive that makes a good alternative when you can't get an Erebos. It's 7k aUEC more expensive than the Erebos while being .02c slower. It also 54.1 units/Mkm which is 4.5 more /Mkm than the Erebos

Performance Drive:
Best drive choice: The TS2 is the top end performance model. While the Balandin is more fuel efficient, the rate of change for fuel consumption and speed are very well matched. Best of all, the TS-2 is almost 50k aUEC less than the Balandin, making it a significantly cheaper option. In fact, it is the second cheapest S3 quantum drive on the market. It also has a very fast spool time of 4 seconds for those times you "Wanna get away".

Best Alternative: The Pontes would be my second choice of top end drives. While class C and more expensive than the TS-2, it also only uses 122.4 units/Mkm compared to 141.7 of the TS-2. With the Balandin being about 25k more than the Pontes and almost 50k more than the TS-2. It does suffer from being 2 seconds longer for the spool at 6 seconds, but this is still fairly quick for a large drive, I would not buy a Balandin at all unless I had no other choice and I absolutely needed a very fast military drive.

Recommendation Summary

S1
S2
S3
Economy
LightFire​
SparkFire​
Agni​
Best Economy Alternative
Colossus​
Huracan​
Kama​
Mid-Range
Atlas​
Hemera​
Erebos​
Best Mid-Range Alternative(s)
Burst or Voyage (Voyage for PO to MT range)​
Aither/Flash​
Tyche​
Performance
Beacon​
Crossfield​
TS-2​
Best Performance Alternative
VK-00​
Yeager or XL-1​
Pontes​
 
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Stevetank

Lead Aurora Theorycrafter
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Stevetank
My method for picking a good quantun drive is to pull them off of my other ships and pray it's good. It's not the most effective way, but it's my way. Your way is so much better and not reliant on luck, ha!

Mostly use the one off the 600i and the Caterpillar.
 

Cugino83

Admiral
Apr 25, 2019
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Cugino
Nice work so far @Thalstan!
I've to say that actuallly the "stealth" variant of the QT are basically useless, they are military class drive, but slower and with hight fuel consumption and since the QDrive only get powerd up when jumping is usually not worth to get a stealth one: if you neew to get into an area in a quite way, just jump a bit far away an then fly in normally, if you need to exfiltrate... wel who care if they spot you, by the time the'll be able to engage you'll be already gone...
 

Vavrik

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I was looking into upgrades for my C2 today & saw that it seems to come with the Agni QD. Which is slow as cool molasses in most areas, but that efficiency rating vs the fuel costs of the military QD's makes it a choice between speed & profit
Choose profit until it doesn't matter because of profit. The problem with the C2, as with any cargo ship we currently have is that eventually the Hull D and E will be coming... and they're going to be a devil if you're not able to compete when one of them shows up.
 

Shadow Reaper

Space Marshal
Jun 3, 2016
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Shadow Reaper
My method for picking a good quantun drive is to pull them off of my other ships and pray it's good. It's not the most effective way, but it's my way. Your way is so much better and not reliant on luck, ha!
If you go to erkul, each time you place a drive into a ship it gives you your range, based upon the tankage of that ship, and travel times to three locations based upon the speed--very useful specs.
 

Talonsbane

Grand Admiral
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Choose profit until it doesn't matter because of profit. The problem with the C2, as with any cargo ship we currently have is that eventually the Hull D and E will be coming... and they're going to be a devil if you're not able to compete when one of them shows up.
This is true & I agree that in the hauling game, profit margins are royalty. However the Hull series ships that can haul more than the C2 can't transport cargo down to planets.
 

Cugino83

Admiral
Apr 25, 2019
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Cugino
I was looking into upgrades for my C2 today & saw that it seems to come with the Agni QD. Which is slow as cool molasses in most areas, but that efficiency rating vs the fuel costs of the military QD's makes it a choice between speed & profit.
Considering the limited size of the Stanton system I'll go for a medium stats QDrive, favouring spedd over fuel consumption: C2 has a humongus fuel capacity and even with an hard ddriking QDrive you'll not have any problem on this relative small distances...
Once other system will came out and QTravel distances will eventually increase then you'll have to evaluate the Drive based on the route you'll mostly follow choosing for a quick but range limited drive for intra-system travel, or a more efficient but slow one for extra-systtem route.

Concerning the competition with the Hull series that is not a real problem: Hull series carry a freaking amount of cargo, but is all exposed and starting from the C (I think) that'll not able to land an planet while loaded. Finally Hull series won't be able to carry vehicles easily and will cut them off on several job.
Considering the Hull series will came from MISC I'll also expect a terrible manuvrability and a basically non existing space brake, so the0ll be hardly see in asteroid dense area or similar hard to navigate situatiions.
 

Bambooza

Grand Admiral
Sep 25, 2017
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MrBambooza
And here I just default to the following QT drives
S1: Spectre
S2: XL-1
S3: TS-2

I just know that the default drive for the Carrack and Starfarer are so slow (both in travel and in spin up) that even burning more fuel with the TS-2 over the Agni that the revenu per hour is higher after expenses.

Considering the limited size of the Stanton system I'll go for a medium stats QDrive, favouring spedd over fuel consumption: C2 has a humongus fuel capacity and even with an hard ddriking QDrive you'll not have any problem on this relative small distances...
Once other system will came out and QTravel distances will eventually increase then you'll have to evaluate the Drive based on the route you'll mostly follow choosing for a quick but range limited drive for intra-system travel, or a more efficient but slow one for extra-systtem route.

Concerning the competition with the Hull series that is not a real problem: Hull series carry a freaking amount of cargo, but is all exposed and starting from the C (I think) that'll not able to land an planet while loaded. Finally Hull series won't be able to carry vehicles easily and will cut them off on several job.
Considering the Hull series will came from MISC I'll also expect a terrible manuvrability and a basically non existing space brake, so the0ll be hardly see in asteroid dense area or similar hard to navigate situatiions.
Yes the Stanton system is small with lots of gas stations. We will need to reconsider these QT engines when pyro comes online as it doesn't have as many places to refuel. As for the Hull the A and B can both land while fully loaded while the C and above cannot land while carrying cargo.
 

Shadow Reaper

Space Marshal
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Shadow Reaper
Considering the limited size of the Stanton system I'll go for a medium stats QDrive, favouring spedd over fuel consumption. . .
Keep in mind that the drives are of sufficiently small size that large frieghters can carry spares and choose between them on any given jump, so picking the middle of the road is not necessary. You might be better off to carry only extremes.
 

Vavrik

Grand Admiral
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This is true & I agree that in the hauling game, profit margins are royalty. However the Hull series ships that can haul more than the C2 can't transport cargo down to planets.
A Hull E can carry enough cargo that it would take over 150 trips of C2's to fill or empty one. That's without mentioning what one of those things could do to a planetary economy. That sets up a lot of game play loops, including several that include combat.

Edit. I'm actually interested in the final part of the list of Quantum drives. Most of the game play I'm interested in has to do with exploration and, for what it's worth I think that conflict with Vanduul is going to be a part of that. So I see a few options for QD but I haven't really looked into the options before.
 
Last edited:

Shadow Reaper

Space Marshal
Jun 3, 2016
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Shadow Reaper
Most of the game play I'm interested in has to do with exploration and, for what it's worth I think that conflict with Vanduul is going to be a part of that.
Sounds like you'll want to take advantage of our special, low, low TESTie prices for pre-owned Vanduul Void Bombers: the perfect ship for exploring Vanduul space free of pestulance, complete with extended service warranty and full, trophy head mounts of the previous owners.
 

NaffNaffBobFace

Space Marshal
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Jan 5, 2016
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NaffNaffBobFace
In this issue of Ship and Pilot, we go though the pros and cons of the various quantum drives out on the market. We tested each for economy, price, speed, and spool time. This guide is intended for those new to ship modifications. We try to identify sweet spots we find, but like always, you might have specific goals for your modifications. For instance, the cheapest no matter what, the fastest, the one with the smallest signature so you can sneak away without blowing your cover, etc. When those are your goals, I would recommend looking at other guides out there, perhaps from http://erkul.games

Our test data comes from Erkul, but it has also been placed on a google sheet for graphical head to head comparisons. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1S8DhigdddVDoV1Qm6IVs9pW7ZFJuvmTGvFlpjh81mNw/edit#gid=0


Size 1
Economy drives
- for those wanting the longest ranges, this is where you want to be looking. Ships using Size 1 drives tend to have the smallest fuel tanks, so if this is your station hopper or long range package delivery vehicle and time is not of the essence, this is probably where you want to be.

Most Efficient - Lightfire, which sips quantum fuel at just 4.9 units/Mkm. Oddly enough, this is not the slowest running at .3 c, but it is the second most costly of the low speed drives. In fact, most medium speed drives cost less. What you gain the most here is range. However, as a competition class drive, this one might be a bit more temperamental than others over the long term. While the Industrial Goliath can produce the same speed, it also uses almost 20 percent more fuel meaning if ultimate range is your goal, the lightfire is the one you want

Best Alternative - The Colossus At 5.5 units of quantum fuel/Mkm, it's not the most efficient, but is also runs at 3.1 C, which is a 3 percent increase in speed. The biggest benefits here are cost (16,150 vs 26,450 or about 40 percent less), and that it is an industrial class B unit, which should provide a good long life

Mid-Range Drives: - Fuel consumption takes a jump here, but there are good spots as well.

Best overall - The Atlas sits at the sweet spot here. At .51C, it is 70 percent faster than the Lightfire long range drives, and only consumes 7.5 units of fuel/Mkm for a 53 percent increase in consumption. It's not the cheapest of the mid speed drives, but at 17, 900 it's still a lot cheaper than the lightfire. If you don't need ultra long range and you don't need high speed to get ahead of that bounty, then this would be a good choice. With it being a Civilian class A type, it will get the job done

Best Alternatives: The Burst is a Class B standout at the high end of the mid-range units. It has one of the highest speeds at .57c while only costs 13,100 aUEC. It's a bit thirsty at 11.4 units of fuel/Mkm, but the drift consumes 16.7 at the same speed, costs more, and is class C. If you don't mind the stop between Port O and Microtech, this is the midrange drive you want. However, if you are looking for the fastest drive that will get you from Port O to MicroTech, the Voyage is you best bet. Good economy at 9.1 units/Mkm, a decent price of 15,600, and enough range to allow an Aurora to navigate most of the Stanton system.

Performance Drives: These are used when you need to be able to catch fleeing ships, have very short time frame for cargo deliveries, and when you don't care about how much fuel you burn.
Best drive choice: The Beacon is the a very fast unit while maintaining good fuel consumption. It also have the lowest cost of the high performance drives at 37,850 aUEC. If you need a very fast drive, this is the one I would recommend. Fuel consumption goes up faster than speed does for the Siren and VK-00.

Best alternative: If you need a faster drive than the beacon, then the VK-00 is the one you want. At 43,300 aUEC, this drive is cheaper than the Siren and is class A. The Siren takes a much bigger jump in fuel consumptions for the increase in speed compared to the Beacon and is the highest priced unit out there. There is no advantage to spool times in this range as all three performance units have a spool time of just 2 seconds.

Size 2

Economy Drive:

Most Efficient: The Sparkfire is another competition class C drive from the same manufacturers as the Lightfire. While it has great fuel economy at 5.5 quantum units/Mkm, both it and the class B SunFire have the highest prices of the economy and mid-range drives. If you are looking for the longest range, this if probably the one you want. The Sparkfire has a 6 second spool time

Best Alternative The Huracan is a class B industrial unit class B unit that is slightly faster than the Sparkfire and a fuel consumption of 6.1 units/Mkm. This is roughly 10 percent more fuel burn, but the Huracan is also 20k aUEC cheaper overall. If you are not looking for the absolute best efficiency but still want that longer range unit, this would be my choice. The Huracan has an 8 second spool time, which is tied for last place on Size 2 drives.

Mid Range Drives:
Best Overall: Hemera - Avoid the Nova, Bolt, or Spicule as these are near the fuel consumption of the high speed drives while still only offering mid-speed performance. It cruises at a respectable .42c and uses only 8.4 units/Mkm of fuel which is very close to what the economy engines use. The Hemera is a class A drive from RSI and the price is 38,250 aUEC. This drive has a 5 second spool time

Best Alternative: If you can't find a Hemera, try for an Aither or maybe a Flash. However, both of these are very close to the Hemera in terms of performance and both are Class B. While the Flash has a price advantage at 27,650 and a slight speed advantage of .47c, it sucks down 12.6 units of fuel/Mkm. The Aither is 35,650 aUEC, goes .41c, and uses 9.2 units of fuel/Mkm. Both drives have a 5 second spool time.

Performance Drives:
Best drive choice: The Crossfield - This Size 2 class C military drive has the best mix of economy and speed. At .79c , it really moves you from one place to another, great for those time critical jobs, chaining missions as fast as possible, or running down your prey. It uses 20.7 units of fuel/Mkm , which is a big increase over most mid-range drives. At 60k, it's over one third less than the XL-1, making it a very attractive choice

Best Alternatives: Both the Yeager and XL-1 are good alternatives if you want even more speed. The XL-1 is the priciest coming in at 94,900, while the Yeager is 74,350 aUEC. The xl-1 is .87c and uses 24 units of fuel/Mkm, while the Yeager is .83c and uses 22.9 units of fuel/Mkm

Size 3

Economy Drive:

Best Economy Choice: Agni. Of the efficiency drives, this has the lowest fuel consumption and the highest overall speed at .21c This makes it the choice for long haul routes or systems where you might want to take a few detours to avoid...entanglements. It will also see you through entire systems where fuel might be scarce. The downside, it takes 20 seconds to spool, the longest of any class 3 drive.

Best Alternative: None. If absolutely needed and you can't find the Agni, the Kama is probably the second best with a .2c speed, 38.6 units/Mkm and a spool of 19 seconds, but the Kama would be my choice if at all possible and you wanted long range.

Mid-Range Drive:
Best Drive Choice: Erebos - While identical stat-wise to the Echo, the Erebos is a class A drive vs a class D. For 10k extra (for a 100+k item) you get a 1 second faster spool time and higher reliability. It has a .34c top speed and consumes 48.6 units of fuel/Mkm.

Best Alternative: The Tyche is a class B civilian drive that makes a good alternative when you can't get an Erebos. It's 7k aUEC more expensive than the Erebos while being .02c slower. It also 54.1 units/Mkm which is 4.5 more /Mkm than the Erebos

Performance Drive:
Best drive choice: The TS2 is the top end performance model. While the Balandin is more fuel efficient, the rate of change for fuel consumption and speed are very well matched. Best of all, the TS-2 is almost 50k aUEC less than the Balandin, making it a significantly cheaper option. In fact, it is the second cheapest S3 quantum drive on the market. It also has a very fast spool time of 4 seconds for those times you "Wanna get away".

Best Alternative: The Pontes would be my second choice of top end drives. While class C and more expensive than the TS-2, it also only uses 122.4 units/Mkm compared to 141.7 of the TS-2. With the Balandin being about 25k more than the Pontes and almost 50k more than the TS-2. It does suffer from being 2 seconds longer for the spool at 6 seconds, but this is still fairly quick for a large drive, I would not buy a Balandin at all unless I had no other choice and I absolutely needed a very fast military drive.
Yo, that's phresh.
 

Esctasy

Vice Admiral
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Esctasy
My Default:
S1 - Atlas, can't really use the faster drives because you can't even reach the next planet.
S2 - XL1, once you have the fuel, speed all the way
S3 - Pontes, again speed and they are free if you have spare Cats lying around 😝
 

Cugino83

Admiral
Apr 25, 2019
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Cugino
My Default:
S1 - Atlas, can't really use the faster drives because you can't even reach the next planet.
S2 - XL1, once you have the fuel, speed all the way
S3 - Pontes, again speed and they are free if you have spare Cats lying around 😝
Acytually since the short distances in Stanton there is nearly no signficant difference beteween the hight speed QT.
For exmaple the Crossfield and XL1: PO to Microtech (one of the longest trip in stanton) is 4:42 VS4:21... so just 21" difference beteween the two... but while the crossfiedl cost around 60k the Xl1 is almost 95k.
A 30% price increase right now is not a valuable investment considering the performance difference, more so if you add the fuel consumpion: 121MKm range for the Crossfield and 104Mkm (based on a Vanguard Hoplite fuel thank) for the XL1, that is a lot of milange left on the field forr save just 20".

On the longer distances we'll have in the future the speed difference could be a meningfull choice, but then we'll have to dealing with the fuel capacity like we have today on smaller ship: will the addes speed allow us to reach the destination in a single jump or the save up time will be spent on a refuelling station?
 
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