- "Archer" redirects here. For the TV series, see Archer (TV series).
|First appearance||Mole Hunt|
|Voiced by||H. Jon Benjamin|
36 (season 1 to season 3) |
Duchess (official ISIS code name)
|Skills||Krav Maga, edged weapons, small arms, honey pot, scuba, lacrosse, hand to hand combat|
Malory Archer (mother)|
Abbiejean Kane-Archer (daughter)
Ron Cadillac (Stepfather)
Lana Kane (child's mother/girlfriend)|
Katya Kazanova (late/ex fiancée)
Linda Belcher (wife/ex-wife?)
|“||I am the perfect gentleman.||”|
Sterling Malory Archer, better known simply as Archer, is the world's deadliest spy and the main character of the eponymous show.
Sterling Archer (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin) was born in a bar in Tangiers, in northern Morocco, Africa. According to the episode Once Bitten, Archer celebrated his sixth birthday while his mother assisted in overthrowing the government of Guatemala. (In reality, the CIA overthrew Guatemala's government in 1954, putting his birth year around 1948. Malory speculated in Lo Scandalo that Archer was conceived shortly before she participated in Operation Gladio, which began the same year. Woodhouse transported him to an OSS safe-house as a newborn; that organization's covert operations duties were transferred to the CIA in July 1948). Archer lost his virginity at age 12 to his female Brazilian au pair, who was seemingly unaware of the American age of consent.
He spent up to 15 years at boarding school, despite American schooling taking 13 years. His hobby was lacrosse, and flashbacks have indicated he had few friends. At age 18, he was regarded as the most recruited lacrosse player in America, although an incident with a crazed stalker gut-shooting him cost him both his lacrosse career and a possible scholarship to Johns Hopkins University (although it is implied this would not have happened anyway because of his poor SAT scores). A picture of Archer in Placebo Effect shows him graduating from Georgetown University, implying he is at least smart enough to receive a bachelor's degree in an unknown major (although according to his mother, he flunked out of college).
His relationship with his mother Malory--who is also his boss at ISIS--is often strained, never sympathetic, and sometimes bluntly abusive. In The Double Deuce it is implied that Malory overused "negative reinforcement" on him during his childhood, making him overly-dependent on her. She was absent for lengthy periods of his childhood and he was raised by Woodhouse, who had been with his family since assisting Malory at his birth. Archer believed for most of his life that his father was a deceased, decorated Navy pilot, John Fitzgerald Archer. It was revealed in Dial M for Mother that his father may be KGB head Major Nikolai Jakov, ODIN director Len Trexler, or jazz drummer Buddy Rich. Later added to the list of possible fathers was an unnamed young Italian man who was gunned down in the streets of Italy and had "blue eyes, full lips and thick wavy hair". In addition in Once Bitten, Sterling had a repressed memory that he met his father. Though because he was suffering from the snake's venom it's unknown if it was real or a hallucination.
Upon growing up, Archer began work as a spy at his mother's agency, quickly climbing the ranks as their top spy thanks to both his genuine skill and his mother's preferential treatment. Archer has the less than masculine code name of "Duchess" (taken from his mother's beloved Afghan hound, though Malory Archer denies this) and used to have an on-again, off-again relationship with fellow agent Lana Kane, which makes their working environment tenuous and difficult. When not on missions, Archer resides in an ISIS-owned penthouse in New York City, waited on by the elderly yet capable Woodhouse--whom he grossly mistreats.
Archer is very self-centered and almost entirely focused on himself and his needs and desires. His most defining and often commented on trait is that he is a "giant gaping asshole" to anyone and everyone. If he aids someone else, it's always ultimately for his own benefit. He does insist on compensating anyone from whom he commandeers equipment or goods, although he doesn't always trade them items they want or need.
Although he has numerous personality flaws, such as insensitivity, egotism, and nonchalance when putting others in danger, he is also undeniably an intuitively good operative with a fairly high degree of personal bravery. During his escape from Moscow, he showed great prowess and cleverness best displayed where he consistently outwitted and outfought the numerous soldiers dispatched to recapture him despite never having a functional firearm and having "three pounds of glass" in his feet. When he was finally cornered in an elevator, he blindfolded himself and fully intended his last words to be "F*** you, you douchebags."
There is no doubt that Archer possesses the natural talent for being a spy as he is recognized as great threat to other agencies who sometimes try to recruit him into their cause. It is revealed in Fugue and Riffs that he briefly assumed the identity of Bob Belcher from the show Bob's Burgers (which voice-over actor Benjamin also works on). The reason for this sudden life change is that he entered a fugue state (stress-induced amnesia) following Malory's wedding to Ron Cadillac. Even when believing himself to be someone else he still managed to singlehandedly defeat a group of armed KGB agents and was able to notice holes in Lana Kane's story as she spoke to him.
But as seen in Stage Two, he is not totally compassionless. When he believes that he may die from breast cancer, he demonstrates considerable regret at his treatment of his ISIS co-workers: buying roses for Pam and Cheryl, apologizing to Brett Bunsen for horribly beating him while he was making amends to his co-workers, and later stating to Lana Kane that he still loves her (also, in the season 4 finale he gives Lana the last set of scuba gear and tells her he loves her before drowning, before being resuscitated). Archer also bonds with "the wee baby Seamus" over the course of the episode as he considers him the closest that he will ever get to having a child, going so far as to have "Seamus" tattooed on his back in recognition of that affection. Additionally, he establishes a friendship with fellow cancer patient Ruth. Honeypot offers another example: when Archer finds himself in a bar that hosts cockfights, sitting next to him is a big Dominican man who is weeping over the death of his slain rooster; the next time we see Archer, he's covered in dirt and carrying a shovel, and when asked where he's been, he says he was in the Everglades helping a giant Dominican guy bury his rooster. This becomes even more heart-warming in hindsight after the second-season reveal that alligators are one of Archer's three biggest fears. In Heart of Archness: Part 1, he saved Rip Riley from being attacked by a shark by pulling him out his destroyed seaplane (although Archer is the one who destroyed Rip's seaplane), bandaging his head and giving him CPR. In Coyote Lovely he refused to leave two border patrol officers to die in the desert even when being presented the chance of sleeping with a beautiful woman. In The Holdout he was kind enough to track down the wife of a former Japanese soldier who hasn't talked to his family in decades and even told the impatient CIA officers to give them a minute as he watched the soldier tearfully talk to his family.
Archer's compassionate, more-selfless side began to emerge during Lana's pregnancy: he extensively researched human pregnancy and possible complications, and he even got certified as a doula. He also began to display a desire to help Lana raise her child, knowing personally what not having a father figure in one's life can potentially do to a child's development, even though he believed at the time that the child was someone else's. This display of intense personal loyalty is what slowly began to mend the rift between him and Lana. He also expressed hope that Lana would be a better mother to her child than Malory had been to him so that the baby would turn out to be less dysfunctional. He also displayed great care and concern by helping to get Lana settled while she gave birth, and even tried to handle observation of the baby's crowning when left alone through use of a mirror. Lana later revealed that the baby, Abbiejean, is Archer's biological daughter: Lana used his frozen semen at the sperm bank.
After the birth of his daughter, Archer's largely half-assed and laid back demeanor when dealing with life-or-death situations became far more serious. When he believed Abbiejean to be in legitimate danger, he became grounded, serious, and downright murderous toward the man who threatened to harm her, stating that for threatening his daughter he would personally beat him to death with his bare fists. Even though it turned out to be an extremely elaborate ruse by Lana, Archer showed a fiercely protective and paternal side to his personality that made him take far less risks and his daughter's safety his number-one priority. He also begins to be more outspoken against his mother's critiques regarding his and Lana's parenting style. One instance being when he threatened to have Malory arrested if she gave baby A.J. diet pills in response to Malory commenting on how fat she was (and not for the first time, either). This shows an increasingly independent side to Archer, who no longer seems to fear his mother's wrath.
The end of Season 6 saw this new attitude go a new direction. As the team was fired by the CIA and now penniless, Malory wants to find a way to work for them again. Archer responds with an inspiring speech about how they have been outsiders by nature and should hold true to that, especially since their last mission with the CIA left Ray mortally wounded. The others could be seen supporting him, and even smiling when they hear he knows how they can make money in this next stage, leading to speculation that Archer will lead the team in their new lives in Season 7.
As with all of the characters in the show, Archer clashes frequently with his co-workers, yet has his moments with each.
Despite having a great disdain for Archer, Lana shares the closest connection with him of all the characters. They're frequently partnered together on missions, and despite all the stuff he put her through, she still considers him a friend (Heart of Archness: Part III). However, it is obvious to any Archer addict that Archer and Lana care for each other deeply.
During a firefight, both Archer and Lana reveal they are each other's beneficiaries should they die. Lana stated she was going to change that, but it's unknown if she did (Skorpio). Lana showed great concern for Archer when he was diagnosed with breast cancer (Stage Two) and spent the night with him out of pity (he originally believed they had sex, but they did not). After Archer found out his cancer medication was fake, Lana begrudgingly accompanied him in his "rampage," serving as his cameraman and chauffeur (Placebo Effect).
When Archer's car gets stolen, Lana, along with Cyril and Pam, aids him in getting it back from the Yakuza, whom they believed to have been the thieves. After a chase, it's revealed that Malory stole the car to teach Sterling a lesson about taking care of his things, similar to her taking his bike as a child. But it turns out she never gave the bike back, rendering the lesson pointless and Lana shocked (Drift Problem). Archer and Lana help Malory dispose of the body of the Italian prime minister after she called them. Despite constantly disagreeing, they initially agreed that making it look like self-defense was her best option. They instead partake in a dinner party charade when an NYPD detective comes to look around. After the detective has left, Lana makes Archer realize that Malory's story is a lie and that Malory had killed the prime minister. Archer is shocked but still finds himself craving Italian food. He invites Lana out for a slice (Lo Scandalo).
Lana began contemplating having a baby in Season 4. After Archer saves her from falling to her death when she slips off a building, she decides to ask him to be the sperm donor, but she changes her mind once he begins acting like his typical self (The Honeymooners). During a mission to stop a radical environmentalist marine biologist from blowing up Sealab, Lana discloses that she is pregnant, angering Cyril because he isn't the father and prompting Archer to sacrifice his scuba gear and drown so that they could escape. He tells her he loves her before he passes out, and she replies "I know." Lana rushes to get him to the surface and is ecstatic when he starts breathing again (Sea Tunt: Part II).
When ISIS is disavowed and the group turns to selling cocaine, Lana is still pregnant. Archer reads extensively on the complications of pregnancy, showing that he is concerned for her. As Agent Holly sweeps the mansion for illegal activity, Lana contemplates going into Witness Protection, but Archer reveals that once the baby is born it will be taken away, causing her to start crying. He tells her to run, but she tells him she can't leave him, hugging him (House Call). Archer goes to great lengths to get Kenny Loggins to perform at Lana's baby shower, but in the end she reveals that she isn't really familiar with him. Woodhouse then covers for Archer and presents her with Archer's old crib, making it look as if it were his idea. Lana starts crying and states that it was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for her (Baby Shower).
Lana's water breaks after she, Archer and Cheryl are captured by rebel forces fighting Gustavo Calderon (the rebels are revealed to be Agent Holly and the CIA). She's initially enraged with Archer when Holly says that Archer knew all about the scheme. Archer denies knowing and attempts to act as a doula before Malory arrives and ejects him from the room. Lana gives birth to a daughter named Abbiejean. In a heart-to-heart conversation, Lana tells him she still loves him and reveals that she had stolen the sperm he stored during his cancer scare and used it to become pregnant, making Archer the father of her daughter (Arrival/Departure).
After Abbiejean's birth, Archer and Lana are still separated and pursuing sexual interests with other people, behaving much as they did prior to Lana becoming pregnant. Despite this, the two share a genuine concern for their daughter's well-being, actively making sure she will be well cared for. However, all this changes following a painfully elaborate mission by Slater, where after spending the entire mission trying to seduce the mother and son of a foreign country, the pair finally snap and give into the years of sexual tension that had been building between them (Pocket Listing). Following this, Lana and Archer begin officially dating, while both comment on how deeper the feelings are running, and how neither of them wish to mess it up a second time. This however is put to the test when the ISIS group, tired of their happiness, hire Katya to seduce Archer. While Archer rejects her due to his feeling for Lana, they still suffer a short bit of problems due to Lana finding Katya's detachable robot vagina in the bathroom sink. (Reignition Sequence).
In a Top Gun homage trailer for the fifth season, Archer and Lana assumed the roles of Maverick and Charlie, respectively. In the film, they are love interests.
The relationship between mother and son is quite strained, with both constantly bickering and blaming one another for their problems. Due to his lack of parental care growing up (he didn't have a father and Malory was frequently absent for extended periods), Sterling holds a rather disturbing obsession with his mother. When Krenshaw reveals himself to be a KGB mole, he takes Malory hostage. When Krenshaw describes how he's going to kill her, Archer becomes sexually aroused (Mole Hunt)
Malory tends to alternate between being deeply concerned for his safety and being uncaring, allowing him to struggle for himself (Midnight Ron)
Archer tends to find Cyril to be a joke, annoyed with the fact he dated Lana throughout Season 1, even attempting to sabotage his efforts to make it as a field agent to get Lana to dump him (Training Day). When Lana was believed to be captured, Archer, albeit in a teasing manner, attempted to calm Cyril down. But when Archer left to go save Lana, it is shown Cyril doesn't trust her and is led to believe Lana and Archer will have sex (Skorpio). This fuels more suspicion of the two as Cyril snuck onto the Excelsior in an effort to spy on her (Skytanic). Ironically, it turned out that Cyril was the one being unfaithful with Cheryl.
When Archer was labeled the father of Trinette McGoon's son Seamus, Archer initially attempted to alter the blood tests and switch his out with Cyril's. The test somehow identifies Archer as the father, unable to "ever contest the results". Archer realizes, after remembering Trinette complain about candy bars, that Cyril is indeed the biological father (Blood Test), because ODIN thought that Cyril's blood sample was now labelled as Archer's. Archer assists Cyril after the latter inadvertently uploaded a virus into ISIS's data banks, after being duped by George Spelvin into thinking this was him proving to be the hero instead of Archer (Tragical History). After getting detained on a trip to Vegas with Woodhouse's brother Dicky, he uses Cyril's name and causes him to get arrested and prepped for an extradition to Nevada. When informed the cancer has spread to his lymph nodes, Archer breaks down and laments how badly he treated everyone, and told Cyril he'd take care of his problem (initially believed to inform the police it was him. Another call from the doctor caused him to switch to getting Cyril a new identity.) (Stage Two).
Cyril finds himself having to race to save Archer (and Ray) after they got bitten by a poisonous snake and pulled their back, respectively (Once Bitten). When ISIS was hired to do surveillance at a high top restaurant, Archer took great pleasure in bossing Cyril around due to him being guised as a sous chef and Cyril a kitchen boy (Live and Let Dine). Cyril once again spied on Archer and Lana when they went undercover as newlyweds (Cyril and Lana having resumed dating after a nasty split in Job Offer). When a shootout broke out, Cyril ran in and assisted in the fight (getting punched purposely by Archer in the process). Lana questions why he was there, and when he answers, she decides to not use him in her "big decision" (revealed to be asking for a surrogate) and walks out (The Honeymooners). As a result of his anger when learning Lana was pregnant and didn't tell him, he was quick to declare Archer dead after he sacrificed himself, and advised against attempting to resurrect him (Sea Tunt: Part II).
Cyril and Ray accompany Archer to South America in a doomed from the start attempt to sell cocaine to La Madrina. She turns out to be a deep undercover police officer and arrests the three (Smugglers' Blues). The two of them have to work together to get a fake paralyzed Ray back home, and Cyril shoots Archer in the leg in an attempt to subdue some narco transporters (The Rules of Extraction). Later on Archer shoots Cyril as a distraction to the fact that he had sex with Julianna (Palace Intrigue: Part II). Cyril then puts Archer in jail after Archer tried to call dibs on being the dictator of San Marcos (Filibuster). At the end of season 5 Archer punches Cyril after Lana's baby is born (Arrival/Departure).
Numerous hints throughout the series suggest that Archer has Asperger syndrome: he is often the only character to count bullets during gun fights, including multiple automatic weapons; this coupled with his ability to identify the make and model of firearms allows him to ascertain when enemies are reloading. He is able to identify the make and model of a blender in Fugue and Riffs just by hearing the sound it makes through the phone, and he has an unusual affinity for animals and is able to 'converse' with Babou and Kazak. Archer also shows an inability to pick up on social clues and a lack of empathy on the cognitive level, rather than being void of it entirely, and seems to be unable to dress himself without help from Woodhouse. Another characteristic is his voice, which stays very monotone and changes only in response to strong emotions, particularly rage. The possibility of Archer being on the autism spectrum is directly addressed in the episode Coyote Lovely; when asked if he is autistic, Archer seriously considers the possibility.
- Going to an event where they make a huge food item, eating a piece, and then laughing because he murdered Cyril
- Murder Cyril
- Bang Joe Frazier (though in the same episode he also says if he ever slept with a man it would be one who remembers to bring gum, and also black.)
- Taking a dump on Turkmenistan
Archer also revealed in the season six episode "The Archer Sanction" that "Be in an avalanche" was on his bucket list. He, however, did not number it.
- Brain Aneurysms
- The Bermuda Triangle
- Brain Embolisms
- Cyborgs
- Predator
- Jason Fitzgerald served as the model for Sterling.
- Archer also resembles Bond-actor George Lazenby.
- Archer slightly resembles the actor John Travolta.
- Coincidentally, John Travolta played a FBI agent in Face/Off, whose last name is "Archer"
- Frequently uses a red ping pong paddle during intercourse. His mother used to spank his bare bottom with a similar paddle. Some famous sadists, such as the Marquis de Sade and Aleister Crowley, were also severely beaten on their bare buttocks in their formative years, which some (including themselves) theorized as being influential in their later fetish for this behaviour.
- Though highly proficient with multiple types of guns, Archer's preferred firearm is the Walther PPK, which he has needlepoint accuracy with. He has an odd habit of carrying it everywhere he goes, even into a bath.
- As of Archer Vice: The Rules of Extraction, Archer has been shot 27 times, although technically 28 including being shot with a bean bag round.
- His ringtone is usually "Mulatto Butts", but in The Wind Cries Mary he has personalized calls from Lana Kane to play "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins, a reference to his recurring joke on her that she is in the "Danger Zone" because of her obsession with him, as well as it being one of his favorite songs.
- Is fond of creating elaborate voicemail pranks, in which the recording is designed to trick people into believing he has answered his phone.
- He is abusive to anyone of lower social status or rank than him (such as Woodhouse). This is probably taught by his mother, who is even more derisive than he is toward such people (except to Woodhouse, to whom she does show respect based on their prior history).
- Archer was shipped off to boarding school by Malory as early as kindergarten, and remained for as long as fifteen years (two years longer than grades would allow). This apparent abandonment by his mother is often a sensitive topic for him, which he tends to colour as a more positive experience than flashbacks and recollections tend to portray.
- He was shown to have spent time in the Army.
- In his adult life he continues to have very few friends. In Heart of Archness: Part III, he tells Lana she is his only friend. The only other close relationship shown is with Lucas Troy, whom Archer did not know had raped him while harboring a homosexual attraction to him.
- Archer favors the use of Nightvision goggles during missions, despite being repeatedly blinded by them due to exposure to bright light.
- He is known to faint. Malory has remarked: "You would think he was a half fainting goat". His condition could possibly be due to Vasovagal Response, which is known to cause fainting episodes in stressful situations; as seen in the episodes Dial M for Mother, Stage Two, The Man from Jupiter and Skin Game.
- Archer frequently uses the name "Randy" for his assumed personas in the field, only changing to "Rando" when the frequency of his usual choice was called into question.
- The acronym AJTTOTD he uses on his Twitter account is "Archer's Just The Tip Of The Day," which was a recurring joke in Mole Hunt.
- He has $480,810 in his ISIS 401(k), though he was unaware of it.
- In the first episode, Mole Hunt, he had multiple scars on his chest and body. These have since disappeared, with the exception of the bullet wound through his foot.
- Archer is rarely shown drinking non-alcoholic drinks. He has an incredibly strong tolerance to alcoholic intoxication rivaling that of Pam Poovey, managing to for the most part avoid hangovers altogether. This builds his liver to such a point that some drugs, such as tranquilisers, barely affect him, although not to the extent of his mother's ability.  This does not mean he is incapable of intoxication however, as he has appeared deeply intoxicated and hung over on few occasions.
- The freelance spies and spies from other agencies consider him the "World's Most Dangerous Spy." Notable as they don't state that he is even a good spy, just most likely to kill them
- Archer is an excellent Lacrosse player, having played it extensively in his boarding school days.
- Archer had breast cancer that is currently in remission (Stage Two, Placebo Effect) due to his careless behavior around radioactivity. He was also told that family history and a history of alcoholism were potential risk factors. Malory had been diagnosed with breast cancer as well (although this was later shown to be a false positive), and both of them show symptoms of alcoholism.
- Archer has two tattoos: one on his right shoulder blade reading "Seamus," and one on his left shoulder blade reading "Dicky"
- Archer has developed minor tinnitus due to his fellow agents firing guns near his ears. As the show progresses, he continues to have guns fired next to the same ear and is exposed to multiple explosions which cause further damage to his eardrums and worsen his tinnitus.
- He has written How to Archer: The Ultimate Guide to Espionage and Style and Women and Also Cocktails Ever Written.
- His hero since he was a small boy is Burt Reynolds. Archer makes a strong effort to imitate Reynolds' various movie and television personas in his daily life. In particular, Archer favors Reynolds' performances in White Lightning and Gator, and constantly expresses his wish to see a third movie to the series.
- He has a surprising fondness for cats, such as Babou the Ocelot and a captive tiger in El Contador. He also claims to love dogs (with the exception of his mother's dog). However, despite this supposed love for dogs, he has a firm "No Dogs" policy regarding his apartment (as seen in the Pilot).
- Always refers to Malory as "Mother," never "Malory" or "Mom."
- Archer is an avid reader of novels, movies and political fiction, and constantly references them in conversation. He seems to have an extensive knowledge of trivia, particularly film, television, and literature.
- He is known to have had sex with many of his female co-workers, including Lana, Cheryl and Pam, the last of which he had a brief friends-with-benefits agreement with.
- He knows a lot about mixing drinks, and is somewhat of a snob about them, constantly criticizing bartenders. He is pretty good at mixing them himself and improvising drinks in odd situations, although at home he generally has Woodhouse make drinks for him. He usually has bloody marys for breakfast.
- Archer is highly skilled in hand to hand combat, as well as fighting with improvised weaponry. He is also an expert escape artist. In particular he can fight in handcuffs or get out of them.
- He often wears black turtleneck sweaters on missions, a style which he claims he invented, and becomes extremely annoyed when he sees other spies, especially ODIN goons, trying to wear them.
- Archer was for a short time married to Linda Belcher, during his amnesia-induced time as Bob Belcher. He proposed twice to former KGB agent Katya, though both times ended without them being married. He proposed to a pregnant Lana in White Elephant, though she blew him off.
- In Arrival/Departure, Lana gave birth to their daughter, Abbiejean Kane-Archer, who Lana made possible by using Archer's sperm.
- He appears to be the only one to notice the mish-mash timeline the show goes through, frequently asking "What year is this?!" and receiving no answer from the person asked. When around others who note the same thing, he replies with "Right?!"
- Nightcrawler AKA Kurt Wagner is his favorite creature with a prehensile tail, his second favorite being Didelphis Virginiana, more commonly known as the Virginia Possum.
- "I swear, I had something for this." - many episodes
- "That is classic her." - many episodes (referencing Malory's overly selfish/sexual behaviour)
- "Do you not?"
- "Lana. Lana! LANAAA!!!"
- "...danger zone!" (often whispered)
- "F*** you, Space!"
- "F*** you, Switzerland!"
- "Just the tip!"
- "Duh, and/or hello!"
- "Can't, or won't?"
- "Well, obviously!"
- "Obviously, the core concept."
- Katya: "Does she hate what I am?"
- Archer: "What you are meaning the one woman who can free her child from the psychological prison she spent a lifetime erecting?!" - Skin Game
- "A little of Column 'A', a little of Column 'B'."
- "Do you want ants? Because that's how you get ants."
- "READ A BOOK!" - when Archer is knowledgeable about something and others do not show the same knowledge
- "What's a gill?"
- "Ah ah ah Pam. I will end you.
- "Seriously are we done with phrasing?"
- "Because I wouldn't be caught dead in a sweater vest."
- Variations of "dammit" and "goddammit!"
- "Keep it loose"
Gallery of ImagesEditThere are 192 images of Sterling Archer on this Wiki, visit the Sterling Archer gallery to view all the images and screenshots.
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