Disclaimer: Own alpha, but not the test. I saw that Lady StarScream did this and decided to do it too.


I smirked and then sat back, waiting. Any second now…I looked down as a bang was heard and saw a human sized version of my fancharacter, AlphaFighter, looking up at me. I waved, "Hi, Alpha!"

"Oh…Primus…" alpha muttered, standing up. "What the hell do you want now?"

"Time to take a test!" I said, smiling, as I pulled her over to the computer. "Okay, so, we're gonna see if you're a Mary Sue."

Alpha's face went white. "There's a possibility, I could be one of them?" She asked, horrified.

I shrugged, "Maybe, but that's why we're about to take this test!" I said, logging onto my computer. "Ready? We're about to start."

Alpha nodded. "What's the first question?"

First Question:

Is your character named after yourself or your screen name? (+1)

"No." I stated.

"Your nickname's the same as mine." Alpha stated.

"So? It says NAME or PENNAME! 'Sides, Al for Alpha and Alex doesn't count."

"Whatever." Alpha sighed.

Is your character described as beautiful? (+1)

"No." Alpha answered.

"Modest, ain'tcha?" I chuckled, but typed in no. After all, she was a truck, not beautiful, just a fighter.

"Unusually" or "astonishingly" beautiful? (+2)

"I said no!" Alpha huffed.

The most beautiful Transformer who's ever lived? (+3)

"Please." We muttered.

Are her optics an unusual color? (+1)

"I've got emerald. So, no not really." Alpha shrugged.

Do they change color according to her mood? (+1)

"Nope."

Does she have long, flowing hair? (+2)

Alpha blinked. "Hair…on a Transformer?"

"Watch Beast Machines, Al." I stated before moving on.

Do you describe it on the first page of the story? (+2)

Do you describe it more than once? (+3)

"Nope and nope." I said, smiling.

Is she a recolored and/or "feminized" version of a canon character? (+1)

"No." We deadpanned.

Is she a Seeker? (+1)

"No!" Alpha said, blinking. "I'm a truck!"

Do you spend more than two consecutive paragraphs describing her physical appearance? (+1)

"No." Alpha sighed.

Do you begin the story with her description? (+1)

"No." I sighed.

Do you make it a point to mention that she's as tall, or taller, than the average male? (+1)

"No." We both answered, "'Cause she/I ain't."

Does the story begin with something like, "Hi there! I'm (character name) and this is my story..." etc.? (+10)

"Please. I can think of something better than THAT to start a story with." Alpha said, crossing her arms.

I nodded, "'S true."

Does she have wings on her shoulders? (+1)

"I don't have wings at all." Alpha said, looking at me.

I shrugged and went on with the test.

Does she have wings on her butt? (-20 and you're excused from the rest of the test.)

"…Ew…" We muttered.

Does she have more than one alt-mode? (+1)

More than two? (+2)

More than three? (+3)

Is her robot mode surprisingly lacking in the "kibble" that would logically be necessary to transform
into all these things (because then she wouldn't be as purty)? (+2)

"No!" Alpha said proudly.

I nodded, "It's true."

Does she transform via "magic" or some advanced and/or alien technology? (+2)

"No." Alpha muttered.

Is one of her alt-modes an animal with wings? (+1)

An animal that doesn't typically have wings (like a cat)? (+2)

Any fantasy-type creature (dragon, unicorn, griffin, etc.)? (+2)

Is one of her alt-modes organic or partly organic (if she's G1)? (+2)

"Noppie." I shrugged.

Does her name contain one or more of the following:

Star/Sun/Sky? (+1)

Fire/Flame? (+1)

Night/Day/Dawn/Shadow? (+1)

Black/Silver? (+1)

Cat/Wolf/Raptor/Dragon? (+1)

Dark/Blood/Death/Blade? (+1)

I took a deep breath, "In order. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no,
and no." I said.

"Though some of those would be cool." Alpha muttered.

I wapped her.

Any variation of Optimus, Ultra, Mega, Galva, etc. (Includes Prime and -tron suffixes)? (+2)

Alpha fell over laughing. "That's horrible!"

I nodded, "Yep. The answer's no."

A deliberately misspelled word, like Fyre or Darke? (+2)

An inexplicable capital letter in the middle of the name? (+2)

"No and no…it had its purpose." Alpha huffed.

Does she have a two-part name composed entirely of the previous, like "FyreBlade NightDragyn"?
(+20, and come on)
"Nope." I giggled.

"Oh come on! Those are lame!" Alpha hugged.

Does her full name include a "the," followed by some supposedly cool-sounding descriptive,
like, "DeathWolf the Soul-Flayer"? (+2)

We laughed. "Nope."

Is her name a completely made-up word like nothing any canon TF has ever had, just because you
thought it sounded cool? (+3)

Alpha and I looked at each other. "Well…no."

Is her name a painfully blatant feminization of a canon name, like "Starscreamia" or "Lady Optimus"?
(+10)

We both busted out laughing.

Have you used the same name for a non-TF character in another universe? (+1)

no Two or more other universes? (+2)

"Nope." I answered.

Is it because she's actually the same character and has the ability to travel between dimensions and
alter her appearance to suit each one, or some such? (+10, and sigh)

"Nope." We both answered.

Does she have any of the following abilities:

Telepathy? (+1)

More powerful than Soundwave's? (+2)

no Teleportation? (+1)

More powerful than Skywarp's? (+2)

no Super-speed? (+1)

Faster than Blurr's? (+2)

no Unusually keen senses? (Sight, hearing, smell, etc.) (+1 for each)

Telekenesis? (+2)

"Magical" powers, often vaguely defined or whatever the situation calls for

(including magical healing of self or others)? (+2)

"…Only with her brother, so maybe…" I muttered. (+1)

"No…er…my brother and I can switch places…don't think that counts, though…no…no…no…only in
RPGs…" Alpha sighed.

Time-travel under her own power? (+2)

Control of the weather or other natural elements? (+2)

The ability to communicate with animals? (+2)

Precognition or a "sixth sense" regarding imminent danger (including precognitive dreams or
visions)? (+2)

Any ability which no canon TF has ever been shown to have? (+3)

ALL of the above? (+100 points and kindly never write anything again)

"No. No. Neat, but no. Nuh-huh." I shook my head.

"And finally, no." Alpha finished.

A brilliant scientist and/or inventor? (+1)

So brilliant that she effortlessly solves problems that Wheeljack, Ratchet, and/or Perceptor couldn't?
(+2)

"Nope." Alpha shook her head. "Sorry."

Is she a phenomenally skilled martial artist? (+1)

"Nope." Alpha sighed. "Not at all."

In Metallikato? (+2)

"WTF?" We both blinked.

In some hitherto-unknown Cybertronian martial art that you just made up? (+3)

"Nope." I answered.

Is she the only female ever to be trained in this art? (+1)

Alpha snorted. "Nope, sorry."

Is she an incredible sharpshooter? (+1)

At any distance? (+1)

With any weapon? (+1)

"No."

"Heck no!" Alpha sighed.

"And no." We answered at the same time.

If you've made Tech Specs for her:

Are they all sevens and/or eights? (+1)

Nines and/or tens? (+2)

Higher than tens? (+5)

"No, No, No." I muttered.

Does she have a beautiful singing voice? (+1)

"In her dreams. She can't sing worth a flip." I smirked.

"…Damn you…"

Does she play a musical instrument? (+1)

"…No…" Alpha shook her head.

"Hey! I'm answering!"

"Then answer!"

Is it the flute? (+20)

"No." I sighed.

Is it the bagpipes? (-20)

Alpha laughed while I facepalmed. "No."

Is she extremely fond of a particular Earth musical group, TV show, movie, etc.? (+1)

"Yeah…" Alpha nodded. (+1)

That just happens to be YOUR favorite musical group, TV show, movie, etc.? (+2)

I sighed, "Only a few…" (+2)

Is she so obsessed with a particular rock band that she named herself after it? (+10) ;-)

"NO!" We laughed.

------------------------------------------------------

II. We Are Family

Is your character the daughter of a canon character? (+1)

Is it StarScream? (+1)

Alpha swallowed.

I patted her arm. "Don't worry. You're not."

"Oh thank Primus." Alpha sighed.

Is it Megatron? (+2)

Alpha's optics were wide. She looked at me and then fainted.

I laughed. "That's a no."

Is it Optimus Prime? (+3)

Alpha laughed as she woke up. "No! Sorry."

That your character does not originally know about? (+1)

Because your character's mother hid her away to "protect" her from something? (+2)

"NO!" Alpha yelled.

Is your character the sister of a canon character? (+1)

"No." I giggled.

Is it Optimus Prime? (+1)

"…That's just creepy…" We both muttered.

Is it Megatron? (+2)

Alpha was scarred for life.

Is it Starscream? (+3)

We look at each other and I laughed while Alpha gagged, even more scarred for life.

Does she have a twin of the same gender? (+1)

"No!" We both said.

Of the opposite gender? (+2)

"Nope." I typed quickly.

Alpha blinked. "…Yes…Omega…remember?"

"Damn! Keep quiet, Alpha!" I moaned. (+2)

Do they communicate telepathically? (+3)

Alpha looked at me.

I groaned and nodded. "Yes, they do…damn plot!"

Alpha headdesked over and over again.

Is she the product of a tragically doomed romance between an Autobot and a Decepticon? (+1)

"…No." We moaned, shaking our heads.

Was she adopted? (+1)

"…No." Alpha answered after a minute of thinking.

Was she found in a basket on a doorstep in the driving rain, with a mysterious note pinned to her
blankie? (Sorry)

"No! But that is funny!" I laughed.

Alpha glared at me.

"Moving on, my friend."

------------------------------------------------------

III. Origin of the Species

Was your character on board the Ark or the Nemesis? (+1)

the Ark, but not at the time of it's crash to Earth. (+1)

Is she part-alien or part- any other non-TF creature? (+1)

"No." I said and Alpha looked confused.

Is she a non-Cybertronian mechanoid who joined the TFs for whatever reason? (+1)

"No."

Is she a human who was turned into a TF? (+2)

"Not. At. All." Alpha answered.

No beating about the bush: is she you turned into a TF? (+3)

"Nope." We answered, looking at each other.

Do you secretly believe that this is really going to happen some day? (+5)

"As much as I would love it to happen, hell no." I typed.

Seriously, though? (+10)

"Yeah right." Alpha sighed.

Is she an alien (organic) who was turned into a TF? (+1)

"No." I muttered.

Is she a fantasy-type creature (elf, mermaid, dragon, unicorn, etc.) who was turned into a TF? (+2)

We looked at each other and fall over laughing.

Is she a canon character from a non-TF universe who was brought into this universe and turned into
a TF? (+3)

"No." I moaned.

Because she was badly injured by/because of a TF and this was the only way they could save her
life? (+1)

"No." Alpha sighed. She munched some popcorn. "This is getting…"

"I know whatcha mean…"

Because she wanted to Join In the Fight Against Evil? (+1)

I shook my head. "Noppie!"

Because Megatron (or Galvatron or whoever) had the idea to turn humans into Decepticons and use
them against the Autobots? (+1)

Alpha shook her head. "Not at all."

Because she was in love with a TF and this was the only way they could be together? (+2)

"Nope." We shook our heads.

Due to a Convenient Unexplained Phenomenon (a dimensional portal, an energy bolt from space,
etc.)? (+2)

"Nope." Alpha shook her head.

For Mysterious Reasons of Her Own? (+2)

"No." I sighed.

Because she wanted revenge on an annoying ex-boyfriend? (-100 points and please send me the
story)

We laughed. "No, sorry!" I managed.

Is she a member of a hitherto-unknown "third race" that fled Cybertron during the Great War? (+2)

Is she royalty of any kind? (+2)

That she does not originally know about? (+3)

Alpha covered my mouth before I could say anything, "No, no, and no. I'm not."

Is she a member of a non-allied mercenary group that Plays By Their Own Rules and Answers To No
One? (+3)

The femme shook her head. "Nope, I'm an Autobot through and through…"

"And a daddy's girl."

"Shut up!"

Is she the leader? (+1)

No,

Is this group made up of stunningly beautiful and incredibly dangerous femmebots? (+1)

We laughed.

Are they Feared and Respected Throughout the Galaxy? (+1)

We laughed harder.

Do they have their own spaceship? (+1)

Alpha sighed, "No!"

Or did your character presumably come about in a perfectly ordinary way, because you don't feel her
origins are worth going on about? (-30 and thank you, thank you, thank you)

We looked at each other. "Well…you're not always talking about your origins…"

"But I don't think I'm normal…"

"You don't go on and on…" I muttered.

"Should we just say no? I mean, it can't hurt our score…" Alpha shrugged.

"But…okay…"

------------------------------------------------------

IV. All You Need Is Love

Does your character fall in love with a canon character? (+1)

"No, but she does have a crush. But…that doesn't count." I grinned.

Is it Optimus Prime? (+1)

Is it Megatron? (+2)

Is it Starscream? (+3)

"No, ew, ew…" Alpha winced.

"Let's skip, shall we?" I offered.

Does she fall in love with someone from an opposing faction? (+1)

From a different continuity? (i.e. an Autobot and a Maximal)? (+2)

From an opposing faction AND a different continuity? (i.e. an Autobot and a Vehicon)? (+3)

Did they fall in love within days of meeting each other? (+1)

Did they fall in love At First Sight or The Moment Their Eyes Met? (+2)

Do they defy anyone's direct orders to be together? (+1)

Does one of them defect from their faction so they can be together? (+1)

Do they BOTH defect from their factions so they can be together? (+2)

"No." Alpha sighed.

Do canon characters fight (or otherwise compete) for her affections? (+1)

"No." I said this time.

Does she "reform" a thought-to-be-irredeemably-evil character through The Power of Her Love?
(+100 and pass me the Pepto-Bismol.)

We busted out laughing.

"That's so Mary Sue!!" I managed.

Does your character have sex with the object of her affections? (+1)

"Ew…" We muttered.

Alpha almost threw up.

More than once? (+2)

"No." We managed.

That you describe in point-by-point detail? (+1)

We looked at each other and gagged.

For more than two consecutive pages? (+3)

"Gross…" Alpha muttered.

I nodded.

Is it a life-altering experience for her? (+1)

"…" Alpha blinked.

"That's a no because the last couple of answers were NO!!!"

For him? (+1)

"Gross…" Alpha and I gagged.

Do one or both of them cry afterwards because it was so beautiful? (+1)

We shuddered and almost threw up again.

Did you cry afterwards because it was so beautiful? (+2)

I widened my eyes. "Good God…I am not that crazy!"

"…Galvatron ain't that crazy!" Alpha muttered.

Do they get married? (+1)

Alpha winced, "Eww…"

Do you describe the wedding ceremony? (+1)

For more than two consecutive pages? (+2)

Including giving the name of every single character who was invited? (+3)

"There is no wedding!" I yelled.

Is the wedding attended by members of opposing factions, because they decided to set aside their
differences in order to share in the joy of this wondrous event? (+20)

Alpha anime fell. "That's impossible!"

"I know." I nodded.

"…Do people really DO that in stories?" Alpha asked, horrified.

"Yep." I nodded again.

"Good God…" Alpha muttered.

Does this wedding ceremony bear an astonishing similarity to a late 20th/early 21st century American
middle-class Christian wedding, complete with vows, veil, and bouquet, despite the fact that this is
far from the only type of wedding ceremony that exists (or has ever existed) on Earth, so to expect
giant robots from outer space to use this exact same ritual is PATENTLY ABSURD! (Sorry.) (+50)

I widened my eyes. "HELL! NO!!"

Do they have a child together? (+1)

More than one? (+2)

More than two? (+3)

More than three? (+4)

Are any of them twins? (+5)

With telepathic powers? (+6)

Alpha yelled, "NOOOO!!! GET IT THROUGH YER HEAD!!"

------------------------------------------------------

V. It's a Sad, Sad, Sad, Sad World

Is your character an orphan? (+1)

Alpha looked at me, "For the lova Primus, I am not an orphan!! I have parents…somewhere…"

"That's a no." I sighed.

Were her parents killed in an attack by the opposing faction? (+1)

In an attack by pirates, mercenaries, an alien invasion, or anything other than a canon TF faction?
(+2)

Did this attack destroy her entire city or colony? (+2)

Her entire world? (+3)

Alpha growled, "What part of 'My parents are ALIVE did you not understand?!"

"Down girl." I sighed. "No."

As a result of this attack, was she Left Alone To Fend For Herself In a Cruel Uncaring Universe? (+1)

"…There was NO ATTACK!!" Alpha yelled.

Was she Forced To Do Terrible Things To Survive? (+1)

"No," I said after calming Alpha down.

That she deeply regretted doing, because deep down inside she was still a good and kind individual?
(+1)

At any point in your character's history:

Was she kidnapped? (+1)

Was she sexually assaulted? (+2)

By more than one individual? (+3)

By a canon character? (+100 points and shame on you)

Was she forced into slavery? (+2)

Was it sexual in nature? (+5)

Was she captured by the opposing faction or other evil persons? (+1)

Was she tortured? (+1)

Alpha's face goes white. Her green optics widened. "…uh…"

"That's a big ol' HELL NO!!! Except for the kidnap part…that's true." I admitted sheepishly. +1

Was her mind forcibly read by a telepath or some kind of evil brain-scanning device? (+1)

Alpha shook her head. "Nope."

Was her mind altered in any way (false memories implanted, brainwashed into betraying her faction,
etc.)? (+1)

I shook my head, "Nope."

Did she swear revenge on a particular group or faction as a result of Her Tragic Experience (whatever
it was)? (+1)

Alpha blinked.

"No." We both sighed.

Did she swear revenge on a particular individual? (+1)

"No…again…" I was getting bored.

Did she change her name, upgrade her body configuration, or otherwise alter herself in any way
because of it? (+2)

"Nope, sorry."

Alpha blinked, "Though that would be cool…"

I sighed, "Stay with me here, Alpha…"

At any point in her history, does she change factions? (Going from Neutral to a named faction, or vice-
versa, counts.) (+1)

"Yeah. 'Con to 'Bot." +1

Does she change factions more than once? (+2)

"…No."

More than twice? (+3)

Alpha sighed, "Let me answer this one. No!"

Do the other characters get so sick of her faction-swapping that they finally just haul off and shoot
her? (-50)

"Nope."

Alpha snickered, "That's be funny. Maybe Omega would want to see that…"

Is she insane, or suspected of being insane? (+1)

Alpha scoffed, "Is this thing talkin' 'bout you…or me?"

I wapped the femme. "Shut up!"

Does she experience flashbacks or other mental lapses? (+1)

"…No."

Does she suffer from a pathological phobia of clowns? (-20)

"No, not really." I typed.

Alpha huffed, "Not at ALL, ya mean!"

------------------------------------------------------

VI. Don't Fear the Reaper

Does your character die? (+1)

…Yep…(+1)

Alpha looked horrified, but shrugged, "Oh well. Knew it was gonna happen one day."

Does she sacrifice herself to save the object of her affections? (+2)

Nope

To save her entire faction? (+3)

"…No…"

Alpha thought about it. "Well…"

"Moving on!"

To save Cybertron and/or Earth? (+4)

"…Yes…damn my crazy mind!" I cursed.

Alpha sighed, "You and your plots."

"Shut up." +4

To save the galaxy? (+5) no To save the entire universe/multiverse/space-time continuum? (+10)

We sighed, "Nope."

Does she repair a time paradox by dying? (+2)

"No." I muttered.

Does she cause one? (+2)

We looked at each other and shook our heads. "No." We answered at the same time.

Is her death witnessed by five or more canon characters? (+1)

"Nope." I shook my head.

Do any of them cry? (+1)

I laughed.

Alpha snickered. "That'd be embarrassing…"

I manage to nod.

Does anyone shout "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" at any point? (number of O's and exclamation points
may vary.) (+2)

We looked at each other and busted out laughing.

Does she make a speech before she dies? (+1)

"…No…"

Is it more than two paragraphs long? (+2)

Alpha answered for me. "No."

More than two pages long? (+3)

Does she sing "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina" in a loud, bellowing voice? (-10)

Do you describe her funeral? (+1)

"How can I when there IS NO FUNERAL?!" I yelled.

Alpha put a hand on my shoulder, "Just type no…"

I did so and moved on.

Is it awfully similar to an Earth-type funeral? (See the question about weddings.) (+2)

We looked at each other and typed. "NO!"

Do the attendees make moving speeches about how wonderful she was and what a difference she
made in their lives? (+3)

"…No…"

"HELL NO!!" Alpha yelled.

Are these speeches more than two paragraphs long? (+4)

"…How could they have speeches without a funeral?" Alpha blinked.

"Don't ask, Alpha…" I sighed.

More than two pages long? (+5)

"…Do these people really think you're that crazy?" Alpha asked.

I shrugged, "Dunno. This must have happened SOMEWHERE for them to put this here…"

"True."

Does anyone break down and cry in the middle of their speech? (+5)

"…" Alpha deadpanned.

"No." I typed. "Moving on."

Did you cry while you were writing it? (+5)

"…Alpha?"

Alpha looked at me. She looked at the test and yelled, "NOOOO!!!"

During the funeral, does she come lurching out of her coffin as a hideously decomposed cannibal
zombie and massacre everybody in sight? (-20) (Well, I'd like to see that)

"…"

Alpha blinked. "…That's scary…"

"Yeah." I nodded.

Did she leave a will or any kind of last message? (+1)

Alpha headdesked, "Please! I'm not that corny!"

"Nor me!"

Does it begin with an "If you're reading this/seeing this, it means I'm dead" sort of thing? (+1)

"No."

Does everyone think she died, but she actually didn't? (+3)

"No."

Does she actually die, but somehow come back to life at the end of the story? (+4)

"No!"

Will she come back to life in a subsequent story? (+3)
"No."

In which you blatantly contradict and/or ignore the events of the current one? (+20)

"N-"

Alpha interrupted me, "How many times do we have to say no?!"

"Shut up."

Does someone else sacrifice him- or herself to restore your character to life? (+2)

"Nope. She's gone for good."

Alpha blinked. "But what about-"

"Nyah! Technically, my dear creation of my demented mind, you, yourself, don't come back."

"…Point taken."

Does the object of her affections bring her back to life solely through the Power of Their Love? (+50
and you're determined to kill me, aren't you?)

"Ew…" I shuddered.

Alpha shuddered as well. "And, no, we're not going to kill you…not yet, anyways…"

Does she die and get resurrected more than once? (+2)

I shook my head, "Nope, sorry."

More than twice? (+3)

Alpha, "Primus no! I can only die once!"

More than Optimus Prime? (Never mind, that's not possible.)

I snickered, "Of course it's not!"

Alpha sighed and rolled her optics, "Moving on…"

------------------------------------------------------
VII. And, In the End...
Have you written (or are you planning to write) more than one story centered around this character? (+1)

"Yes." I nodded. (+1)

"Really?" Alpha blinked.

"Yep…"

More than two? (+2)

"Yes, dammit…" I growled. (+2)

More than three? (+3)

"…Damn…" (+3)

Do you ONLY write stories centered around this character? (+10)

"No! I'm not obsessed with Alpha!" I huffed.

"Hey!" Said femme growled, crossing her arms.

"What? I've got other charries, ya know."

Have you altered the canon in any way to favor her (i.e., changed the plot of an episode, re-written the Movie so a character doesn't die, etc.)? (+1)

Has she appeared in more than one continuity? (G1, BW, etc.) (+1)

"Nope."

More than two? (+2)

"…NO!"

More than three? (+3)

Alpha looked at me, "What part of no do they not understand?"

"I dunno." I shrugged.

As soon as you hear of a new TF continuity coming out, do you immediately start thinking of how you
can involve your character in it? (+5)

"No, not really."

Do you get cheesed off when readers don't adore and worship your character? (+3)

"Not really."

Alpha raised an optic ridge. "Really?"

"Yes! Everyone has their own opinion!" I shrugged.

"…Okay…"

Do you resent the suggestion that stories based around your fanchars are not as interesting to
other people as they are to you? (+5)

"Nope, sorry."
And finally, while taking this test, did you feel periodic stings of recognition, flashes of annoyance, a
temptation to say, "So what's wrong with THAT?" or "You're making fun of ME, aren't you!" etc. etc.
etc.? (+1 for each time this happens)

"No."

That was the end of the test. I sat back and counted it up. "Alright, Alpha…score is…23!" I said, smiling.

Alpha blinked. "Is that good?" She asked, looking at me.

"Well…25 is Mary Sue, so we'd better watch out, but yeah. We're good." I nodded.

Alpha sighed. She nodded. "Alright…" The femme sighed, "So…can I go back to watching Digimon with my bro?" She asked, looking at me.

"Sure." I shrugged. As she left through her portal thingie, I made plans to get my other Fancharacters to take this test with me.


RG: Whew...so close...