Professional Enquiry

illirica

Breaker of Forums
Staff member
[googlefont="Fira Sans"][div style="border-top:4px #CCCCCC solid;border-bottom:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:2px #A0522D solid;border-right:2px #A0522D solid;"][div style="border-right:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:4px #cccccc solid;border-bottom:2px #A0522D solid;border-top:2px #A0522D solid;padding:8px;background-color:white;color:black;font-family:'Fira Sans';font-size:12px;"]Today had been standard so far. Laine appreciated that. Everything was tidy, which was the way it was supposed to be. She had progressed through her designated routine, pausing at the doorway of the lab of Dr. Kallie.

Laine's checklist for today included saying hello to a minimum of 12 researchers during her rounds and having a brief conversation with at least three. She had added this to her list so that included researcher maintenance as well as anomaly maintenance. Laine had been instructed that she was not supposed to refer to it as researcher maintenance because some people considered this to be impolite. It was, however, the most accurate term. It was important to maintain a semblance of interpersonal relationships so that personnel would not hesitate to request aid if it was required. This was important for Foundation security. Thus, researcher maintenance was important for Foundation security, even if Laine was not supposed to call it that.

[font color="a0522d"]"Good morning, Dr. Kallie."[/font] Laine placed a checkmark very neatly within the boundaries of one of the 12 boxes under the parameter of greet research personnel and wrote Dr. Kallie's name and rank on the line beside it. It was important to keep track of this information so that she regularly spoke to all personnel and favoritism was not suspected.

Conversation was much more challenging. Laine was not good with people. [font color="a0522d"]"Is your research progressing within desired parameters?"[/font]
 
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Kallie was running samples through her centrifuge. It was the second set of samples taken from William, in an attempt to cross-reference the results. She had several other samples, some tacked to glass for use under the microscope, some sitting in vials ready for chemical experiments. All of this was routine, and advancing as it should. Or, it would have had the centrifuge not just stopped halfway through its cycle.

Kallie knew what the problem was, and she also knew that if she opened it and took it apart to flip it over and fix the issue, the sample wouldn’t be usable anymore. She needed someone to assist her in lifting the machine just enough that she could access the bottom plate and readjust it so the device sat upright and continued to run. This was a known problem with her little centrifuge, and while she was on a list to have it replaced, she imagined that list must be long. She had just been about to resign herself to enduring William for another visit when a voice came from her doorway.

It was Agent Cantrille. Ideally, another agent would have been better. She was very aware of the fact that touching Laine was not a Good Idea. However, she would have to do. [font color=purple] “Agent Laine Cantrille. Lovely to see you. I’ve actually encountered an issue and your help in remedying it would be greatly appreciated.”[/font color]

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[googlefont="Fira Sans"][div style="border-top:4px #CCCCCC solid;border-bottom:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:2px #A0522D solid;border-right:2px #A0522D solid;"][div style="border-right:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:4px #cccccc solid;border-bottom:2px #A0522D solid;border-top:2px #A0522D solid;padding:8px;background-color:white;color:black;font-family:'Fira Sans';font-size:12px;"]This was not how the conversation usually went, but it was not unacceptable. Researchers were permitted to request assitance from other Foundation personnel. Laine was a Foundation personnel. She stepped into the lab and set the clipboard down on an appropriate table where nothing else seemed to belong at the time.

Dr. Kallie was working with a centrifuge. Centrifuges were generally good for taking things apart. Laine was not generally good at taking things apart, but she was not a researcher, or a centrifuge. She was concerned by the phrase lovely to see you, but Dr. Kallie was distracted, and researchers often said strange things while they were distracted. It was not likely to have significance.

The request was, at least, easy enough to interpret. Requests were almost like a conversation, except much more streamlined. Laine appreciated the idea behind requests. If done properly, they avoided most of the unnecessary conversational fallacies. Of course, most often they were not done properly, because people were very strange about requesting things.

Laine did not understand that.

[font color="a0522d"]"What did you need help with?"[/font]
 
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[font color=purple] “Thank you. I just need you to carefully lift and slightly tilt this centrifuge. I need to dislodge the base plate and reaffix it. It should only take five minutes.”[/font color] The woman stepped away from the table and dug through a drawer until she found an ice pick and a screwdriver. She brought them back over and set them down on a table.

The centrifuge was a rather small model- nothing heavy or serious. It could even be considered compact. She tapped a few spots on the bottom of the centrifuge with her fingers. [font color=purple] “This is the spot you’re going to want to hold it by. And don’t worry too much if it falls– it’s already broken, and that might help me get to the top of the list for equipment replacement.”[/font color]

Her voice was dry as she said this, an eyebrow crooked slightly. While she was making a joke, it was obvious that part of her was quite serious about this as well. She damn well wouldn’t mind if Laine dropped the stupid thing. It was causing enough delays in her work as was.

She chose to take a step back then, leaving space for Laine to step in.

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[googlefont="Fira Sans"][div style="border-top:4px #CCCCCC solid;border-bottom:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:2px #A0522D solid;border-right:2px #A0522D solid;"][div style="border-right:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:4px #cccccc solid;border-bottom:2px #A0522D solid;border-top:2px #A0522D solid;padding:8px;background-color:white;color:black;font-family:'Fira Sans';font-size:12px;"]Laine nodded. Five minutes was an acceptable time parameter and would not unnecessarily upset her standard routine. She would not need to update her agenda at this time, though she would log the change in her paperwork afterwards.

Dr. Kallie seemed to have the tools she required. Laine did not question the use of an ice pick as a tool, because if it was what fit for the job, then it was what should be used. She listened carefully while the researcher explained what was to be done, then stepped in once a space was made, carefully lifting the device and touching her fingertip to the places where Dr. Kallie had instructed her to hold it.

[font color="acacac"]"Stay."[/font] Laine turned back to Dr. Kallie, then stepped back as well, to give her space to work. Of course the centrifuge stayed tilted up as Dr. Kallie had instructed - that was where it was supposed to be right now, after all.

[font color="a0522d"]"It will not fall,"[/font] she stated. [font color="a0522d"]"I am not authorized to deliberately break Foundation equipment."[/font]
 
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That was perfect. She breathed out a sigh and nodded her head thoughtfully. Laine’s anomalous abilities were incredibly helpful to have around. She lifted the ice pick and jammed it right into the space between the plate and the rest of the centrifuge. Or, the space where there should have been space. Instead, the plate had slipped inside, meaning Kallie had to pry it free. She had found that an ice pick was the best tool for the job after multiple failed attempts with other tools. She had tried unscrewing it first in the past, but that had stripped the screws that were then pressed in at an angle.

She gave it a hard thwack, and the pick slid between the two pieces of metal. She began to leverage the plate out, moving the ice pick from side to side to pry it free.[font color=purple] “I’m well aware you aren’t authorized to do so, Agent Cantrille. It was merely a joke made out of frustration. In particular, frustration at this machine, and not at you.”[/font color]

She looked up at the young woman and nodded thoughtfully to herself.[font color=purple] “Have you had your physical for this year done? I check all our anohuman’s files at the end of the year to ensure accurate information. I haven’t seen your updated physical results as of yet.”[/font color]

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[googlefont="Fira Sans"][div style="border-top:4px #CCCCCC solid;border-bottom:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:2px #A0522D solid;border-right:2px #A0522D solid;"][div style="border-right:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:4px #cccccc solid;border-bottom:2px #A0522D solid;border-top:2px #A0522D solid;padding:8px;background-color:white;color:black;font-family:'Fira Sans';font-size:12px;"]Dr. Kallie said that she had not been serious. This was not wrong, but it also was wrong. Laine thought Dr. Kallie had been both serious and not serious, but she was probably not correct about that. People were very difficult to understand. [font color="a0522d"]"I am not very good at humor."[/font]

It was not that Laine did not have a sense of humor so much as that it did not always match up. She did not consider breaking Foundation property to be something humorous. Of course, Laine did not consider breaking anything to be humorous, so perhaps that was it.

The other conversation was an improvement. That, at least, she could understand. [font color="a0522d"]"I have not had my physical. It is scheduled for September twenty-second. I have determined that mid to late September is the optimal time to complete physicals. The early parts of the year are busy with individuals who wish to 'get it over with,' and the end of the year is busy with individuals who wait until the last minute. The summer is frequently occupied by personnel needing last minute physicals for designated mandatory vacation travel, and also breaches are statistically more significant during the late spring, summer, and month of October. I made a chart. I am very good with charts."[/font]
 
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She nodded along to Laine’s explanation. That, of course, made perfect sense. She had timed it out for the most optimal time possible. She wiggled the plate some more and it popped out with a sharp crack, pulling the stripped screw out with it. She picked it up and sighed. This was going to take more tools than she thought. She walked back over to her drawers.

[font color=purple] “A good plan. Who will you be having your physical done with?”[/font color] A bit of a rude question, but she was curious about whether or not it would be with herself. Depending on who it was, she might have Laine reschedule it with herself. Actually, now that she thought about it, she had time to spare that afternoon if the answer was unsatisfactory.

She dug through her drawer until she found a pair of sturdy pliers and a new screw. Then, she found a nail. That would do. She walked back over to the centrifuge, still suspended in the air, and set her new tools down.

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[googlefont="Fira Sans"][div style="border-top:4px #CCCCCC solid;border-bottom:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:2px #A0522D solid;border-right:2px #A0522D solid;"][div style="border-right:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:4px #cccccc solid;border-bottom:2px #A0522D solid;border-top:2px #A0522D solid;padding:8px;background-color:white;color:black;font-family:'Fira Sans';font-size:12px;"][font color="a0522d"]"Dr. Murry. I have established a rotational flowchart to optimize maintaining a professional relationship with some personnel so that changes are easier to detect, and included the occasional insertion of new personnel so that there is a better chance of issues not being overlooked. However, there are no changes at this time."[/font] Laine would have known if they were. Personally, she thought it would be much easier if they just gave her the paperwork and let her fill in all the information about lab results and blood pressure and everything else, but that was not how the Foundation did it, and in fairness most personnel did not seem to know their comprehensive metabolic panel informatics offhand. Further, Laine was an anomaly, so her statements should be confirmed by research rather than trusted outright. That was standard security protocol, after all.

Dr. Kallie had retrieved additional tools, which seemed to be what she wanted to have for the task ahead of her. Laine looked curiously at the centrifuge, as well as the assembled samples that were waiting to be separated. [font color="a0522d"]"What are you attempting to break apart, other than the centrifuge?"[/font]
 
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[font color=purple] “Dr. Murray. He’ll suffice. There are some among the staff who’s physicals are not up to par, so I merely inquired as a way to make sure you would be adequately attended to.”[/font color] Well, that meant she wouldn’t have to give up her afternoon to make sure it went well after all. She could probably still offer, but she wasn’t sure how the young woman would take it. She decided to do so anyway.[font color=purple] “I have some free time after I get these samples running. If you would like, we could get your physical done after your rounds today, if that would be preferable to you, or allowed by your schedule.”[/font color]

Kallie looked at the samples sitting beside the table and sighed audibly.[font color=purple] “These samples are from Six Eight Four Two. You know, Archer? He was very uncooperative when I took them. He insists on being as petulant as possible when I have to examine him and take samples. These are just to confirm his last results, but they’re important none theless.”[/font color]

She took the pliers and began to straighten out the bar that the screw secured in on. She had done this no less than ten times before, and it was clearly wearing away on the band. She didn’t know how many more times it would be able to withstand being bent.

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[googlefont="Fira Sans"][div style="border-top:4px #CCCCCC solid;border-bottom:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:2px #A0522D solid;border-right:2px #A0522D solid;"][div style="border-right:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:4px #cccccc solid;border-bottom:2px #A0522D solid;border-top:2px #A0522D solid;padding:8px;background-color:white;color:black;font-family:'Fira Sans';font-size:12px;"][font color="a0522d"]"No, thank you."[/font] For a no thank you, this one was particularly firm, in the sort of way that meant absolutely not, that will not be happening. This was not personal. Laine considered this, and thought she should make it explicit that it was not personal, because people were strange about that. [font color="a0522d"]"I am not adequately mentally prepared for that at this time, and I do not like change."[/font]

Physicals were challenging. Laine accepted them as necessary and kept up to date on them because the Foundation told her that this was what she was supposed to do, but there was a lot of required contact involved and she did not like it at all. With adequate preparation, she could tolerate it, but she also always scheduled a mandatory vacation day for the day afterwards and spent it sitting quietly in solitary confinement until she was ready to deal with humanity again.

Scheduling was an important part of the process. It meant that everything was planned, orderly. The way it was supposed to be. Changing that would remove one of the supports that Laine had built into the system, and she did not know where that was going to end up, but she was also not particularly eager to find out.

She did not, therefore, comment on the petulance of ACF-6842. Perhaps he was being as cooperative as he could, under whatever circumstances were required of him. Perhaps he did not like it any more than she did.

[font color="a0522d"]"That part is going to break soon."[/font] This was a much safer venue of conversation. Laine looked at it curiously, then ventured, with some caution, [font color="a0522d"]"Would you like me to try to... reinforce it? I am not sure if it would work, but if it did, it would probably stay. At least, it would stay unless you took it out of L-14. Then I think I would lose the hold."[/font]
 
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[font color=purple] “Quite understandable. I only meant to offer if it were convenient to you. If you’re not adequately prepared either mentally or timewise, then it is wise to stick to your schedule. For future reference, I can perform your physicals with minimal touching. I understand it is quite uncomfortable for you. There’s many aspects of the physical that can done without any physical contact, but most of my colleagues seem, to disagree with that.”[/font color]

She nodded her head as she wrenched the support bar back into place. Then she looked up at Laine and paused for a moment. Truth be told, Kallie didn’t like to touch people either. Pepper was an exception, not the standard for her. Many people forgot that and breached her personal space freely. She had no issue telling them to stop, but it was also socially unacceptable to do it the way she wanted to. So instead she had to politely inform people that she was not, in fact, a hugger. In that way, she understood Laine’s aversion.

[font color=purple] “You’re right. It is going to break soon. I put in for a replacement machine months ago. I just need it to hold out until they can process the request. If you think you can assist me in assuring this, I would greatly appreciate it. I can’t do my work without this frustrating machine.”[/font color]

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[googlefont="Fira Sans"][div style="border-top:4px #CCCCCC solid;border-bottom:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:2px #A0522D solid;border-right:2px #A0522D solid;"][div style="border-right:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:4px #cccccc solid;border-bottom:2px #A0522D solid;border-top:2px #A0522D solid;padding:8px;background-color:white;color:black;font-family:'Fira Sans';font-size:12px;"]Dr. Kallie's offer was surprisingly understanding. Laine was not always used to that, with researchers. Perhaps there was something that could be worked out there. Laine did not need a researcher, because she already had one. Still, there were times when other researchers were needed for things like standard medical procedures, and perhaps it would be useful to have an... auxiliary.

[font color="a0522d"]"I will... consider that."[/font] The words were a little quiet, not ready to become a decision yet, but Laine did not reject the idea outright. [font color="a0522d"]"Thank you."[/font]

It seemed that Dr. Kallie would also prefer to consider the maintenance of machines rather than anohumans at this time. It seemed she had filed the paperwork, which was important. Laine approved of paperwork. Of course, approving of the existence of paperwork did not necessarily result in approval of the request on the paperwork, and that was not Laine's department to approve anyway. Still, she did have some experience with how things worked. [font color="a0522d"]"Agent Hania is... statistically above average, in matters of getting such things approved in a timely fashion."[/font] It was not precisely giving advice so much as reciting a potentially useful fact - what Dr. Kallie chose to do with that information was also not Laine's department, but perhaps having the information would help her make a decision more beneficial to her. It was, in it's own way, another sort of thank you.

[font color="a0522d"]"I believe if you put it the way you want it to be, I can make sure it stays that way. There are many uncertain factors in this experiment, but it would still be more likely optimized than doing nothing. And I do not think it will cause harm."[/font]
 
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[font color=purple] “Agent Hania. I see. I will see about putting the request through him then. Thank you for that information.”[/font color] She wrenched the piece back into place and sighed, setting down the pliers. It looked about straight again, so that was likely the best she would get. Hopefully whatever Laine was about to do would be enough to keep it in place. She moved away from it again and nodded to Laine. [font color=purple] “When you’re ready, Agent Cantrille.”[/font color]

She didn’t see a way this could really go wrong. At worst, it didn’t work. At best, her centrifuge would be stable for a little while longer while she waited for the new one. She thought for a moment about Laine recommending Agent Hania to her. That felt like a sort of thank you, or at least as close to one as she suspected the young woman could do. She had said thank you, yes, but offering up information was a different kind of thanks. A more significant one.

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[googlefont="Fira Sans"][div style="border-top:4px #CCCCCC solid;border-bottom:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:2px #A0522D solid;border-right:2px #A0522D solid;"][div style="border-right:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:4px #cccccc solid;border-bottom:2px #A0522D solid;border-top:2px #A0522D solid;padding:8px;background-color:white;color:black;font-family:'Fira Sans';font-size:12px;"]Laine stepped in once more, not entirely certain what she was doing. Getting things to stay where they were was one thing, but this part couldn't just stay exactly where it was until she decided to let it go like she had done with the upper part of the centrifuge. It had to be able to move when it was expected to and perform as it was expected to.

That complicated things greatly, as it turned out. It was really quite a bit less like the way the other part was and more like...

...More like she was.

Because she didn't come apart.

This piece was not her, though, not part of her, and Laine wasn't entirely sure what she was doing with it. Ordinarily, this was the sort of thing that would be done with a researcher present. Dr. Kallie was a researcher, of course, but she was not Laine's researcher, and that made a difference. Laine's researcher was... not...

She was not many things. And she didn't belong here.

This was, as both she and Dr. Kallie knew, a relatively harmless sort of experiment. It would either work - in which case she would have helped and they would have learned something, or it would not work, in which case it would break whenever it had been going to break anyway.

Laine touched the part with an inquisitive finger. There was weakness there, but it was still one piece. She tried to focus on that - on the fact that it was singular, a one-thing and not a many-things. It was not about where it was, it was about it was rather than they were. One, not separate.

[font color="acacac"]"Stay together."[/font] Continue to be singular. Do not change. Laine withdrew her finger, and shook her head a little at Dr. Kallie. [font color="a0522d"]"It might have worked."[/font] She didn't like not knowing, but she did not know, and it was the first experiment of this type. [font color="a0522d"]"If it leaves L-14 it won't hold though. Or... if I leave L-14. But that is usually unlikely."[/font] L-14 was where Laine belonged, after all.
 
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Kallie watched as Laine worked. It was simple enough, a small command and a touch. Then she withdrew and said she wasn’t sure if it had worked. To Kallie’s eyes, it looked stable enough, even though nothing had changed. She picked up the screw and gave the woman a nod. [font color=purple] “We’ll find out then, I suppose. I’ll let you know the results when I get the new machine in. Thank you for testing this out for me. I appreciate your assistance in this matter.”[/font color]

She placed the plate back where it went and began to place the screw in, only to realize she hadn’t brought the screwdriver over. She set the screw down with a soft sigh and walked back over to the drawer to dig through it for the screwdriver. [font color=purple] “This damn machine has been breaking for at least a year now. I hope Agent Hania can get that request through. I’d be indebted to you if he did.”[/font color]

Of course, even if he couldn’t, Kallie would still be indebted to Laine for her assistance. Especially if it worked and the piece managed to stay in place.

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[googlefont="Fira Sans"][div style="border-top:4px #CCCCCC solid;border-bottom:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:2px #A0522D solid;border-right:2px #A0522D solid;"][div style="border-right:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:4px #cccccc solid;border-bottom:2px #A0522D solid;border-top:2px #A0522D solid;padding:8px;background-color:white;color:black;font-family:'Fira Sans';font-size:12px;"][font color="a0522d"]"I would like to know what happens,"[/font] Laine decided. [font color="a0522d"]"I am not a researcher, but sometimes I am curious."[/font] It was difficult being curious, sometimes, because curiosity meant extending past what she already knew. Laine was most comfortable with the familiar, but sometimes she still had questions about things. It was easier when the questions were about little things.

Laine frowned a little bit at the expletive, quietly redacting it from the notes she was intending to take on the conversation. That was a frequent occurrence, however, and always had been. Many researchers had many things to say that needed to be tidied up before they were entered into the paperwork. The hint of a frown did not vanish, though, with the next words, and there was something in it that Laine was very unsure about.

[font color="a0522d"]"I think... perhaps... debts are not a good idea."[/font] There was just something about the idea of owing that seemed like it was likely to get stuck. It was a hold between people, and not something that would be easy to let go. Laine was not sure if that was something she was authorized to do. She would certainly want to check first and see if any paperwork needed to be filed.
 
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Kallie looked at Laine as she found her screwdriver. She paused for a moment and thought about what it was that Laine was trying to express. She knew about Laine’s anomaly, and taking what she knew into account, she simply nodded and took the screwdriver back over to the machine.[font color=purple] “I see. Then I will simply express my gratitude and we will leave it at that. No need for debts.”[/font color]

She took the screw in her hand again and placed it into the hole and through the newly repaired bracket. It was easy enough to screw it in place. She tightened it until it stopped turning, then set the screwdriver back on the counter. She gave it a tap, and it rang out in a metallic note. She nodded, as though that meant something to her, and looked to Laine. [font color=purple] “You can release it now. Thank you for your assistance.”[/font color]

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[googlefont="Fira Sans"][div style="border-top:4px #CCCCCC solid;border-bottom:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:2px #A0522D solid;border-right:2px #A0522D solid;"][div style="border-right:4px #cccccc solid;border-left:4px #cccccc solid;border-bottom:2px #A0522D solid;border-top:2px #A0522D solid;padding:8px;background-color:white;color:black;font-family:'Fira Sans';font-size:12px;"]I see?

That was strange. Most of the time people did not see. Either they did not understand at all, or they understood a little bit and then wanted to ask many questions that Laine did not know how to answer.

Dr. Kallie did not do that. She understood. Laine did not know how much she understood, but it was evidently enough for the situation. It did not lead to many questions, the conversation simply moved on, and Dr. Kallie told her what to do next, and was polite about it. Laine wondered, perhaps, if more people were like this, if it would be easier to be... with people. Not good with people, but at least with them. There were a few other people like that.

Laine just wasn't quite sure what to make of them. She touched the centrifuge instead, holding on to it for a moment, because letting go abruptly never went well. Still, it was time for the centrifuge to go back to what it was supposed to be doing, and time for Laine to go back to what she was doing as well. She released it, and set it back into place, very carefully, then stepped away again to let Dr. Kallie get on with her work.

[font color="a0522d"]"You are welcome."[/font] Politeness was important. Laine considered this, then added, without context: [font color="a0522d"]"And thank you."[/font]

Perhaps Dr. Kallie would understand that, as well.
 
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