A Utopian Society: Melloasis


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*While each mer-person understands the constitution, it is not a formalized, legalized document. Rather, it is something that can be orally recited and referred to through song. While it is recorded below in English (human form), it only exists in Mermish as a beautiful melody. Often times, you will hear bits and pieces of this beautiful song throughout the villages as a constant reminder and celebration of the mer-people’s unified endeavor to be in tune with nature.

We, the citizens of Melloasis, hereby declare ourselves to always strive to be harmonious with nature, maintaining the equilibrium between our society and our surrounding environment.

Article 1: MELLOASIS
This utopia is officially known as Melloasis, a combination of “mellow” and “oasis”. 

Melloasis is founded on the principles of respect for nature, the preservation of ecological harmony,  the communal bond, and the pursuit of nondestructive happiness.

The reasoning behind the mer-people’s passionate respect of nature dates back to an old fable concerning a land-species, named humans, who destroyed its mother nature over the course of thousands of years, Eventually, humans’ actions and behaviors brought about disturbances in the global climate, sea levels and water temperatures, the atmosphere’s chemical makeup, and were directly held responsible for the unnatural extinction of many animals and plant species. Therefore, the forefathers of this society determined that a peaceful co-existence with nature was a crucial necessity for their species’ long-term survival.

Melloasis shall be an oligarchy of five Elders, composed of the oldest (and therefore, wisest) merman or mermaid from each of the five villages.

Article 4: LANGUAGE
The mer-people of Melloasis shall communicate in their original language, Mermish. This language consists of squeaking and squealing intonations, similar to that of dolphins, as well as beautiful song, similar to that of humpback whales–but in their distinctive Mermish dialect.

Melloasis encourages an atmosphere of free-will, in which individuals have the right to be relaxed and in a blissful state of mind, as long as equilibrium with nature is not affected. Although there are no written, strict laws and rules of conduct, cheerfulness and productivity is highly encouraged. Thankfully, in this society, most members are naturally inclined to behave and perform in this manner, and a pessimistic or dangerous character is rarely found.

All mermen and mermaids are equal before the law. There is never any negative discrimination concerning gender, age, nor status. Elders are looked upon in a slightly more favorable light, however, because society relies on them to peacefully exist in equilibrium with nature.

There are five Elders who work to preserve harmony in this utopia with nature; they are the most wise mer-people in society at any given time. One’s wisdom is measured solely by age, and Elders often live up to 200 years old. The oldest mer-person in each village holds this position for life. Once an Elder passes, the now (new) oldest member in that village becomes the Elder.

The Elders do not create solid, strict rules, but there are certain types of behavior that are celebrated. It is easy for them to encourage a harmonious relationship with nature, both individually and communally, because the mer-people of this society are already predisposed to behave in this way.

Because they are the most wise mer-people of this society, each Elder is trusted with the task of making decisions that affect each mer-person. Whether it is deciding to pause hunting on a specific species of fish, or exiling a rare rogue member out of society (which happens once in a blue moon), they always work to maintain a balance with nature.

Article 9: ECONOMICS
Mer-people specialize in roles such as fish hunting and gathering, medical assistance, and reproduction caretaking. However, these roles are not set jobs that are worked on the daily for a specific number of hours. For example, while a certain group of mer-people may be great hunters, this does not restrict others from hunting on their own free will. These skillful hunters, also, are not obligated with the responsibility of feeding their entire village.

Their roles can also easily change depending on the situation. If there is not enough food for everyone in this society, everyone (who is able) will focus on hunting to feed themselves and other members.

Everyone in each village will share the food and other goods, either obtained through earning, gifting, or bartering. There will be no form of money.

Fire and electricity do not exist in this underwater world. Their technology depends on the natural behavior of the sun/sunlight, water and waves, and the surrounding species with special characteristics. Most importantly, the water functions as a medium for communication. Sound travels father in water than in air, and about six times more effectively. The mer-people communicate while hunting, mating and reproducing, trading, and playing.

Because their technology is limited by water, the mer-people use surrounding materials to benefit their lives. They use things they can discard back into their environment, always in a way that is not harmful to nature.

Article 11: ECOLOGY
Melloasis’ ultimate goal is to maintain harmony with nature. With every action completed with careful and thoughtful consideration, the inseparable bond with nature always strives to be kept at equilibrium. Therefore, it is this society’s responsibility to maintain harmony with nature by not doing anything beyond natural preservation.

Article 12: RELIGION
Members of this society do not practice any religion that idolizes objects or unseen gods, mainly because “religion” is a human concept. The only omnipresent force they believe exists is nature– but they understand that they cannot influence it with prayers and incantations. They do not worship nature, but are often in awe of it. They admire the natural beauty of their environment, and are thankful to be living as witnesses to it—such as the stillness of the deep, blue sea; the colorful illustration marked on sea creatures and marine life; and the natural wonders of whirlpools.

There is no discrimination based on gender, and gender roles are nonexistent. Any merman and mermaid can specialize in any role depending on their availability, capability, and aspirations. A mermaid may be an excellent hunter or a respected Elder, while a merman may be a wonderful nurturer and caretaker.

The distinction between a merman and mermaid is simply based on their role in the mating and reproductive process. The mermaid carries and lays the eggs, and the mermen fertilizes them.

There may also some physical differences, in which mermen are inclined to expose their bare torso, while mermaids favor placing some kind of ornaments on their torso (such as a starfish).

Mermen and Mermaids choose multiple partners for reproduction (approximately between 3-5 in their lifetime), usually based on genetic compatibility. Love is not an important factor in mating.

Most mermaids lay an average of five eggs, via external insemination, per each successful mating. Not all eggs are guaranteed to hatch, because of accidents, predators, and by chance. The eggs are cared for by the entire community, with extra attention given by the specialized nurturers, and once born, the mer-children are raised communally as well. Furthermore, the mer-people live communally in underwater caves and are not organized into nuclear families.

Article 15: ETHICS AND LAW
Mer-people are instinctively inclined to understand and appreciate nature; everyone automatically behaves appropriately—in a way that is positively helpful and valuable to nature. In this society, everyone puts in an equal effort to sustain harmony with nature.

Punishment does not exist in this society because: 1) no one is intentionally bad, and 2) there is absolutely no good that punishment would bring to nature. If problems arise, the mer-people work together to re-establish the peace, and continually encourage a sense of community through expressive and meaningful interactions.

Expanded Information:

Physical Setting
Melloasis exists somewhere off the coast of an area that echoes Hawaii. Thriving in warm-water temperatures, the mer-people live near the surface of the water, up to 200 meters (656 feet) below the surface—which is known as the euphotic or “sunlight” zone. Melloasis approximately spans a territory of a comfortable seven cubic miles, they rest in underwater caves, which are found in sporadic clusters. These underwater caves are categorized into five different villages, with 100 mer-people belonging to each village. They live in peaceful co-existence to other marine life within this territory.

Physical Appearance
Adult mermen and mermaids both range in height from 5’4” to 5’10.”  A typical weight for them ranges from 120 lbs to 180 lbs.  There are no malnourished or overweight mer-people, but each merman and mermaid has its own individual body shape and size (they are not cookie-cutter or cloned-looking creatures).  On the whole, mermen are slightly larger than mermaids but only by an inch or two at the most and ten pounds to twenty pounds heavier.  There are no appreciable differences between the sexes in terms of strength that would affect the types of jobs they can do.  Neither sex has nipples nor belly buttons, and they gestate their young externally like sea horses.  Both sexes are human from the waist up and fish from the waist down (with legs-length tails, covered in scales).

The scales are the same colors as the particular mer-person’s hair, which typically vary from different hues of blue, indigo, and coral.  This is a genetic occurrence that happens naturally. Because of this natural, geneticoccurrence, if some mer-people choose to dye their hair in a different color, they will most likely dye their individual scales into a similar color as well, to keep their head-to-tail appearance consistent.  Some mer-people like to have different color patterns on their scales such as a striped black-white pattern to show their personality and individuality (their hair will mostly likely be some sort of incorporation of both black and white/blond as well).

The dye is an oil that is excreted from the leaves of the Sea Cress plant.  The plant grows plentifully on the sea floor outside their caves.  The Sea Cress Plant come in shades of red, orange, yellow, green, brown, and purple.  One application of the oil into a mer-person’s hair or scales will dye them the color of the oil and a second application of the same oil will wash it out.  Because the dye is oil based, the ocean water will not wash out the dye though the color will fade slightly over time.

Mer-people live to the advanced age of 200, they age a bit slower than humans.  Mer-children reach physical and mental maturity at the age of 25 instead of 18.  Their correspondent growth as children is slower in proportion to this fact.

Melloasis is divided into five villages with roughly 100 members each. Each of the five villages has one Elder who is the oldest in his or her village. The Elder’s age ranges from 150 to 200 years old and holds the position for life. Once a mer-person reaches the age of 150, he or she is qualified to be an Elder if there isn’t already an Elder in place. As a mer-person ages, their wisdom also grows with them so it would only make sense that the oldest mer-people are the Elders and they are in charge of their villages.

The Elders do not create absolute, strict rules, but there are certain types of behavior that are celebrated. For example, being idle is not looked down upon, but being productive is celebrated. The mer-people are free to explore their territory and be playful, while being generally productive. Being productive is considered hunting for fish, swimming around finding trinkets or shells to collect, observing other maritime species, exploring the territory, taking care of and feeding the young, and grooming themselves.

There are mer-people who specialize in roles such as fish hunter/gatherer, doctors, caretakers, etc. but their roles can be easily changed depending on the situation. For example, if by chance a shark enters their territory and some of the mer-people are hurt. There are mer-people who are doctors but that may not be enough to help these injured individuals. At this point an announcement will be made and caretakers and fish hunters will come and help out the doctors. Another example is if a hunter is injured or deceased. In this society everyone is free to find their own food but the hunter is their main source of food. Since the hunters are very efficient fish hunters within the society, the absence of one hunter can largely affect the food supply. In this case the mer-people will automatically chip in help lend additional support.

As a mer-child grows up he or she shadows or is an apprentice to an expert in the field of his or her choice. This is to prepare the mer-child for adulthood. The Elders delegate the responsibility of having an apprentice to the experts. When a mer-child reaches the age range of 18-25, he/she has a meeting with the Elder to discuss entering adulthood and the specialized role he/she may possibly fulfill. The specialized roles are ultimately chosen by the Elders because they are the most wise, but if a mer-person dislikes the role, he/she is allowed to suggest a different role to fulfill and explore other options.

Everyone in the village shares the food and other goods will be obtained by bartering with other members. Different levels of value are not placed on traded goods/services. Rather, whatever a mer-person needs/wants and does not need/want at a particular moment dictates what they trade. For example, a mermaid may trade a fish (when they are not hungry) for a coral “hairbrush” because their desire for smoother hair is higher than their current appetite level. Once her hair is smooth, however, she may later trade it for bunch of seaweed because her hunger has grown.

There is no form of money. The mer-people do not have many personal belongings because that would crowd up their caves. They are allowed to keep maybe one or two trinkets such as pretty, shiny objects like pearls, or shells. These items should be able to be found naturally in the sea. A mer-person should not be keeping anything that is foreign or human made. If an individual desires an object that another mer-person has, the individual can offer to trade an object for the desired object. Each item in the trade must be considered equal or around equal value just to make sure it is a fair trade.

Fire and man-made electricity do not exist in this underwater world. Their technology depends on the natural behavior of the sun/sunlight, water and waves, and surrounding species with special characteristics.

The sun/sunlight gives natural lighting to their environment and gives an indication of the time of day. They spend most of their day performing activities while the sun is out, and they usually spend the night resting or sleeping after the sun has set. The water offers hydration and sustainable life to the ecosystem’s species and food sources. The characteristics of the waves offer indication of the weather of the current and surrounding environments (e.g. hurricanes). The water also functions as the mer-people’s medium for communication. Sound travels farther in water than air (and about six times more effectively). The mer-people are able to communicate with each other while they hunt, mate, and play—through cheerful squeaks that are similar to dolphins and in beautiful song that is similar to whales.

Other underwater creatures inherently offer help to the mer-people. Bioluminescent marine life, such as plankton and small fish, offer lighting underwater. This is particularly useful to the mer-people on cloudy days where sunlight is unable to penetrate through the water’s surface. This also enables the mer-people to continue tasks and explore their environment even after the sun has set—they do not necessarily have to go to sleep right away.

Because their technology is limited by water, the merpeople use surrounding materials to benefit their lives. Driftwood becomes a hunting spear and seaweed becomes a temporary net—things they can discard back into their environment in a way that is not dangerous to nature. With careful and constant observation of their environment, however, they are able to enhance some of their daily activities. They pick up seashells from the sand and use them as megaphones—they are able to project their sounds not only from a farther distance, but also at a greater volume. They also use coral to comb their hair and smooth out their scales.

This utopia’s ultimate goal is to maintain harmony with nature. With every action completed with careful and thoughtful consideration, the inseparable bond with nature always strives to be kept at equilibrium.

The underwater world is a place for all maritime creatures. Nature has its ways for recycling and reusing natural waste, therefore, preserving life. Nothing supplementary is needed to sustain the beauty of marine life. Therefore, it is this society’s responsibility to maintain harmony with nature by not doing anything beyond preservation.

At times, the mer-people are very interested in observing their environment, discovering new species, and gaining stronger understandings of marine life—but it is always in a way that does not disrupt nature. Anything “(mer)man-made” does not cause permanent damage to nature, always considering environmentally-friendly values. The reasoning behind their passionate respect to nature dates back to an old fable concerning a land-species, named humans, who destroyed its mother nature over the course of thousands of years. Slowly, and then all at once, humans’ actions and behaviors brought about disturbances to the global climate, sea levels and water temperatures, the atmosphere’s chemical makeup, and were to blame for the extinction of many animals and plant species. Their destruction ultimately made earth an un-livable planet for the humans, and they eventually sought refuge on other planets within the Solar System. Therefore, the forefathers of this Melloasis determined that a peaceful co-existence with nature was a crucial necessity for their species’ long-term survival.

The mer-people’s population is controlled by predators (larger fish, sharks, whales), accidents, and natural occurrences (death by old age), and they, in turn, keep other species’ populations in check—it’s the natural circle of life. Also, unlike similarly-intelligible humans, the mer-people do not domesticate animals nor enjoy ownership of pets.

While mer-people may hide from (in caves or seaweed fields), swim out of reach of, or use distraction techniques against predators, they do not set up physically dangerous traps of any kind because it is not natural– they are not the predator. Their village is not an optimal swimming location for their predators (mainly due to insignificant sea level for whales, or unsatisfying food options for sharks who prefer seals), but predators will occasionally cross borders since there aren’t any definite “fences” of any kind. Moreover, any mer-person who swims outside of Melloasis also risks being in an area where predators are more likely to be around.

Mer-people never developed a religion in the sense of believing in a god or gods. This is an abstract idea to these creatures because religion is a concept developed by humans.  They don’t need to rely on idols or gods because the only power underwater is nature– a natural force that cannot be swayed through faith. They are not spiritual and see no need to create blessings or prayers.

They do, however, have an awe of and appreciation for nature.  They are also very observant of their surrounding environment– understanding the circle of life, the food chain, and existing predators. Because of this, they appreciate nature in the sense that they recognize the full worth of the fish they eat, the sharks they fear, and their own part in the larger whole.  They accept that each part is vital and necessary to the health of the whole. They show this by taking great care in their hunting to keep the food chain in balance and being very concerned with the ecology of their environment in the whole.

They also find joy appreciating the natural beauty of their world– from naturally occurring whirlpools, the presence of colorful coral reefs, and the hypnotizing way the sunlight reflects off certain objects.

The Relationship between the Sexes
Mermaids and mermen do not have defined gender roles.  Since mermaids and mermen are physically very similar; the main difference being an inch or so of height and only a few pounds in weight, there are no jobs that physically, only mermen or only mermaids can do.  Also, since mermaids to do not gestate their young internally or breastfeed, care of mer-children from conception can be done by either sex.         Because there are no gender roles, there is no discrimination based on gender either.  Any mer-person can have any job specialization they want including Elder once they hit 150 years of age.

There are minor physical and role differences when it specifically comes to reproduction; the mermaid lays eggs and the merman fertilizes them.  However, since mating is only for survival of the species and both mermaids and mermen have multiple partners in order to maximize egg hatching potential, there is no jealousy or other negative relationship-based problems among the sexes.

Sexual Reproduction
All mer-people start reproducing when they hit the age of sexual and physical/mental maturity at 25 and have started their adult lives.  They have a natural urge to mate when spring starts and the weather gets warmer because the changes in the temperature of the ocean affect their hormones.

Since there are only 100 mer-people in each village and mer-people can reproduce from the ages of 25-55, only about about 20-30 mer-people are fertile and able to mate each year.  In order for the best chances of the eggs to hatch, mermaids and mermen choose multiple partners based on which physical and mental characteristics that they have and which characteristics a genetically compatible partner would have to have in order to produce viable children.   In order to have the best chance of viable eggs, merpeople will conceive with all available genetically compatible partners within their village.  The relationships between one mer-person’s choices of partners and other mer-people’s choices of partners will intertwine to form a spider’s web.  Because of this and the small selection from which they have to choose from, each mer-person will average between 3-5 different partners.

By the end of spring, most mermaids have produced an average of five fertilized eggs via external insemination.  Because not all eggs hatch, and mer-children are raised communally, birth control is not practiced and most mermaids will produce approximately 30 fertilized eggs over the course of their lifetime.  The eggs are kept in special incubator rooms in the childcare cave which is a specific complex within each village of 100 merpeople.  Approximately one to two eggs hatch from each mermaid’s conception for a total of about 15-20 new mer-children a year.  About the same number of merpeople die from old age or accidents per year so the communities even out in terms of population numbers.

The reasons not all eggs hatch are infertility/egg/sperm problems in a particular mer-person, various genetic defects in the fertilized eggs that make them non-viable so they never hatch, improper handling by the childcare workers in charge of the eggs that would cause them to break or become damaged, environmental problems in the ocean that would affect all the eggs for that year, predators managing to swim into the childcare center and eat the eggs, or just plain bad luck.

Family and Reproduction
Mer-people are a hybrid of different species of fish that have slowly developed intelligible thoughts and behaviors similar to human intelligence. Through millions of years of evolution, mermen and mermaids have come to exhibit mental abilities (e.g. emotions) that differentiate them from most simple marine life.

Mermaids and mermen both have the same degree of emotional attachment with their children, which, since they are produced and gestated externally, are weaker than human bonds.  Therefore, they have no problem swimming over to the childcare center in early May with their freshly fertilized eggs for them to be raised communally by other mer-people.  Some mermaids and merman are born with stronger bonds to children so it is their calling to work in the childcare center and communally raise all the children of their particular village.

Because mer-people are a hybrid of fish (simple animals that gestate very quickly), and humans are much more complex (and therefore take nine months to gestate), it takes on average between 2-5 months for fertilized eggs to hatch. Mer-children are born similar to infant humans (being a small, naive form of adults that undergoes much development with time) but instead of needing breastmilk, they eat plankton and other small fish that don’t require chewing. They are already born able to swim as it is an innate necessity (like sharks).

They grow up in the childcare center and stay there while they prepare for adulthood by shadowing or being an apprentice to an adult mer-person who has a job they might want.  After the mer-child reaches the age range of 18-25 and met with an Elder to discuss their specialization, they are allowed to move into the communal adult cave system.   Each village of 100 mer-people live communally as a whole since they are not organized into individual families (in multiple clusters of caves, not just one cave).  Mer-people do not have individual homes but will sleep in whichever cave in the village they want and may change caves as often as they like.

Mer-People Rights
In Melloasis, it is ideal that everyone contributes to the society, but that is not always the case. There may be one mer-person who has been influenced in a certain way that what he or she does in his or her daily life will negatively impact the community. If any of the mer-people suspect another mer-person to be adversely affecting the village, a report should be made to the Elder. The Elder will have a personal conversation with the said mer-person and if the suspicions are deemed true, the Elder will have the power to exile him/her from society. However, some suspicious reports could happen from misunderstandings and miscommunications– that is why all reports go to the wise Elders.

If a mer-person finds an unnatural object (such as a human-made object), he/she must report it to the Elder. This object could be harmful to the society. The Elder will have a meeting with the Elders from the other villages and come up with a way to properly dispose of this object.

Mer-people are instinctively inclined to understand and appreciate nature; everyone automatically behaves appropriately—meaning they behave in a way that is positively helpful and valuable to nature, or in a way that is neutral. In this utopia, everyone puts in an equal effort to sustain harmony with nature. Inappropriate behavior is anything that negatively harms nature– such as over-hunting, or developing tools that cannot be recycled back into the environment. However, it is not in the mer-people’s nature to act inappropriately (although there are random, rare exceptions due to genetic mutations).

Punishment does not exist in this utopia, simply because: 1) no one is intentionally mischievous, and 2) there is absolutely no good that punishment endured by mer-people would bring to nature. The only problems that arise within this utopia come from accidental misfortunes, such as an accidental harpooning of another hunter while catching fish, or an unintentional overhunting of a small fish species. In the case of a “friendly fire” death, the entire community may mourn over the lost life, but the “killer” is not punished. Instead, everyone works together to re-establish the peace by putting in slightly more effort to make up for the lost work of one body, and by encouraging a sense of community through expressive interactions such as hugs and smiles. Everyone works to take care of the nuclear family “left behind” collectively, because they are all part of one larger family– everyone in its community is entwined. With a loss of a life, there may be a memorial, but never a burial (because it is an unnatural action).

If someone accidentally hunts too much of a fish species to the point that its population becomes endangered, the mer-people lay off hunting that particular species until it naturally repopulates itself to a safe level. However, if it becomes extinct even after the mer-people have stopped hunting that species, it is looked upon as a natural and inevitable termination.

Now what if someone deliberately breaks the code of being one with nature? Although this is a species where everyone is innately born with the understanding and appreciation for nature, there is an extremely rare occurrence of an outlaw. It is natural for a species to experience some individual abnormalities, such as a clownfish born with a deformed fin (e.g. Nemo). Although very uncommon, a merman or mermaid born without an appreciation for nature is possible. Once an Elder realizes that an individual mer-person does not follow the natural code, they have the power to exile him/her out of the society. Once cast out, this mer-person is soon expected to die because they are incapable of surviving by themselves. It is nearly impossible to survive on their own because they come from a species that significantly relies on one another. No remorse is shown by any mer-person inside the society because they only uphold equilibrium with nature.

3 thoughts on “A Utopian Society: Melloasis

  1. I love this utopia!

    Not only do I love mermaids to begin with, but your construction created a utopian society that actually seems not only great, but feasible. Your descriptions of the mermaids’ physical nature and system of reproduction are thoroughly planned and thought out. I also like how you were able to create a communal system that would not inevitably lead to a dystopia. For example, in The Giver and in Herland we saw that only certain people were allowed to take care of children based on their own qualities and as mandated by the government. Here, however, though a certain group raises the children based on their innate ability to caretake, it has a different quality. Perhaps this is because of the external fertilization process. Everyone is still allowed to have children, but they raise them together in the child care centers. Your community really seems to have developed into a very peaceful, truly communal system.

    What I also found funny (and I believe someone mentioned this in class), is that the only society created as a utopia by our class was the one that did not include humans.

  2. I was very impressed with how much attention you paid to detail in order to make this more realistic. For example, your inclusion of the fact that sound travels father in water than in air and that the warm environment of spring brings about changes in hormones that lead to a desire to reproduce. Any questions that I had while reading, such as the absence of romantic love in a utopia, were answered in ways that made a lot of sense.

    I think the focus on nature is really important as well and echoed some current human practices such as recycling. As Ecotopia and the current “Go Green” trend in our society suggest, it is important to live in sustainability with the environment around us. I am sad to think of the negative impacts humans must have on this society: the increase of human objects found in Melloasis as a result of oil spills and garbage thrown in the oceans, or fishing industries that endanger or eliminate the food populations that make up the supporting food chain. I wonder how destructive of a role these threats would play in Melloasis.

    I would seriously want to live here. I particularly loved reading about the mer-people’s awe of nature itself. This is a quality that more of us up here on land should have as a reminder to slow down, appreciate, and respect the simple yet wonderful natural features of our world.

  3. I think that Melloasis is the perfect utopia. As I was reading through your themes, the more I wanted to be part of it (plus, being a mermaid would be fun).

    I particularly enjoyed the part about ethics and how the group of mer people would deal with certain problems that could arise. The community oriented solutions and cohesiveness of the mer people is definitely what I want to be a part of in real life… so it is super cool that you guys incorporated it into your society. You also seem to get rid of human nature (well, they aren’t humans…) by explaining that it is unusual for mer people to act out unless there is a genetic mutation.

    I’m really curious to see where your conflict will be that would interrupt the utopian atmosphere of Melloasis. With equal rights, community and freedom…. what could go wrong?

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