The Wookiee Commode

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Zine
Title: The Wookiee Commode
Publisher: Double D Press
Editor(s): Mary Urhausen and Samia Martz
Date(s): 1984-1989
Series?:
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Star Wars
Language: English
External Links:
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The Wookiee Commode was a gen Star Wars zine which contained stories by multiple authors. It had color covers and interior illustrations by various fan artists, and ran for seven issues.

Reprints

From Southern Enclave #22: "There are a couple of things in your editorial that I wanted to comment on, Cheree. One thing was the problem—growing problem, unfortunately of zine "piracy." It seems more and more common among editors that have some issues behind them, especially issues that now are sold out. I won't name any offenders by name, but we have run into this situation with THE WOOKIEE COMMODE, too. Both our 3rd and 4th issues are sold out (and the 5th nearly is, as I write this), and I know: for a fact that there are unauthorized xeroxed copies out there. {For my solution to this situation, see my LoC in SE20.) In fandom, as in any human endeavor, there will always be a few bad apples and quick-buck artists; the responsibility lies with the zine-buying public. If no one would buy "black market xeroxes," they wouldn't exist."

From issue #24 of Southern Enclave #24: "Issues #3, #4, #5 are now officially out of print (OOP). In accordance with the terms of the Clone Wars Treaty, Double D Press hereby gives all fans permission to make themselves single, not for resale, xerox copies of these three issues for their own personal use. Double D Press will not be printing any of them. [1]

From Zine Scene v.2 n.1: "Sorry, issues three, four, five, and seven are sold out! All fans have permission to make single, not-for-resale Xerox copies of these four issues only! For those have to get xeroxed copies, or any interested party, I have some copies of the color covers of issues 4, 5, 7 available. They are free for the asking -- if you send me a 9x12 manila envelope with correct postage (2 ounces -- 54 cents)."

Regarding a Planned Last Issue

In early 1991, the editor, Mary Urhausen, wrote:
I apologize to everyone who had written to me recently inquiring about WC#8 and hasn't received a reply from me yet. I have been trying to hold off writing to people until I had a more concrete report to give. Well, this is about as concrete as it's gonna get! Currently, WC#8 is not in production. I am not saying it will never go into production; I am just saying that we are not working on it at this time. That's right — there will not be a new issue of WC out for MediaWest this year [the first time that's happened since 1984]. Quite frankly, we do not have enough good material to put out an issue at this time. That's not to say that we don't have any good material; or that we have some good material and a lot of bad material. We just don't have enough good material to justify the work.... Finally, yes, we are still accepting sub- missions for WC#8; but please realize that all submissions are accepted conditionally, since the future of the zine is still very much up in the air. This is probably one of those rare cases where the writers seem to have burnt out before the zine eds did! [2]

Issue 1

front cover of issue #1 by Karen River
back cover of issue #1
flyer for issue #1 that is in the 1984 Media West program guide

The Wookiee Commode 1 was published in 1984 and is 128 pages long. Nominee for a FanQ Award. Fiction, articles and poetry by Ripley, Peed, Thomas, Martz, Rogan, Saye and others. Art by River, Peed, Fregni, Carleton and others. Cover by Karen River.

  • Environmental Impact Statement, editorial by Mary Urhausen (2)
  • Co-Editorial Response by Samia Martz (3)
  • The Care and Keeping of Wookiees by Michael Halboran (5)
  • Life on Dagobah by Giovann Fregni (7)
  • Force of the Future by Laura Thomas (9)
  • Horoscope by Betsy Peed (13)
  • Word Search Puzzles by Linda Vandiver (17)
  • Shadow of Change by Elizabeth Ciaco (19)
  • The Training of a Young Jedi by Giovanni Fregni (23)
  • The Ballad Of Lexi Cullivan by Samia Martz (24)
  • Six Years Later by Laura Thomas (26)
  • The Ride of Your Life by Mary Urhausen (30)
  • Nothing But the Truth by Betsy Peed (33)
  • The Secret of the Jedi by Betsy Peed (39)
  • Dreamer by J. Rogan (39)
  • Once by Betsy Peed (42)
  • Future Options for Fannish Writers by Sharon Saye (47)
  • Celebrate the Night by Karen Ripley (47)
  • The Learner by Samia Martz (56)
  • The Third Co-Ed: A Fantasy? by Samia Martz

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

First issues are never easy, particularly if you're putting out a SW zine. SW fandom is dominated by fat, super-expensive, annual zines that look almost professional. The editors of TWC must therefore be lauded for daring to put out a zine under 200 pages, and with less than perfect repro. The biggest problem with the qraphics in the zine is that pages show thru on the other side too clearly. However, it is nice to see a zine with nary a typo to be noted. The contents are mostly lightweight, meant for an easy summer afternoon's reading. Some tongue-in-cheek poetry, cartoons, "The Care and Keeping of Wookiees" by Michael Halloran are an example of this. Some serious poetry is also offered, such as Betsy Peed's "The Secret of the Jedi" (a powerful and mystical piece) and "Once" by the same author (a very affecting and poignant summary of one Jedi Knight's struggles.) Sharon Saye has a "Future Options for Fannish Writers," which posits some excellent ideas for SW fanfic. The point seems to be to get us all out of the non-creative doldrums that fanfic appears to be stuck in (tho certainly not all of it.) Probably the most interesting thing in the zine is Betsy Peed's "Horrorscope," an astrological analysis of Lord Vader's personality written by an astrologer to the Emperor. Creative, well-written, and engrossing, it shows a strong understanding of the complexities of a creature known as Darth Vader. A couple of Han pieces by Laura Thomas which delve into Han's life as Leia's husband are a bit unsatisfying and depthless. Elizabeth Cisco's "Shadows of Change" has an excellent idea, about Vader's seeking the advice of a Jedi spirit in an ancient ritual to try to understand why he was unable to convince Luke to join him (in TESB). The answers he gets don't make the Dark Lord very happy. Betsy Peed's "Nothing But the Truth" is an all too short piece that has Vader visiting the Organa household and encountering the fiery teenage Leia. Karen Ripley's "Celebrate the Night" offers a refreshing and welcomed view of the "Han-the-galactic-stud/Leia-the-royal-cvirgin" caricature. I admit I loved this story just because of the surprise ending, but the rest of it is presented subtly enough to enjoy for its own value. The longest piece is by Samira Martz, entitled "The Learner, or "Ord Mantell -- A Nice Place to Visit, But..." Unfortunately, this story is a difficult read because it offers yet another SW Mary-Sue type: a 15-year old girl Jedi, student of Luke's, whose parents were killed by the Empire, whose father was a Jedi, loved as a younger sister by Han, loved by Chewie, saves the day, etc., etc. Even her name—Jeni Petersen—bears the mark of the MS cliche. (Oh, Ben talks to her, too.) The story simply doesn't succeed. It is oversentimental, gushy, repetitive, overdone in almost all respects. Everyone speaks in slangy dialogue {'somethin*," 'nothin'," "an") and the scenes with Han and Jeni are forced and unconvincing. With tighter editing, it could have succeeded at least as a good adventure story, but the overwhelming attempts to make the reader care and feel fall flat. Ultimately, you just don't feel like continuing. I Were this zine priced under $10, I would say take a look at it if your pocket feels generous, and if you feel like supporting two obviously sincere editors, but at $12.50, I hesitate. There are some nice moments herein, but I have to balance out the contents' worth against the reader's pocket. Here, the latter must win out. [3]

Issue 2

issue #2, image courtesy Star Wars Collector's Bible

The Wookiee Commode 2 was published in 1985 and has 208 pages. The art is by Wanda Lybarger, Karen River, Sherry Charvat, Carol McPherson, Brian Ahearn Rebecca Carey, Carolyn Golledge, Betsy Peed, Dani, Danaline Bryant, Pat Easley, and Wanda Lybarger. It won the 1986 FanQ for best SW zine.

  • Environmental Impact Statement by Mary Urhausen (2)
  • Co-Editorial Response by Samia Martz (3)
  • Letters of Comment (4)
  • Zodiac for a Galaxy Long Ago and Far Away by Barbara T (13)
  • Loose Ends, story by Karen Ripley (14)
  • cartoon by Rebecca S. Cope (31)
  • Intergalactic Laundry Advice by Debbie Billig (32)
  • word search by Lynda Vandiver (33)
  • cartoon by John Sies (33)
  • poem by Sharon Saye (34)
  • A Debt Paid, story by Carolyn Golledge (How did Han Solo recover so quickly from hibernation sickness that he was able to take part in the fight over the Sarlacc pit? What part did Lando play? What did Han and Leia say when finally reunited aboard the sail skiff?) (revision printed in Never Say Die) (36)
  • Mr. America Harrison Ford Style by Marci Erwin (56)
  • Masters & Friends, story by Rebecca S. Cope (62)
  • The Wookiee and the Time Lord, vignette by Tara Carstensen (Doctor Who crossover) (95)
  • Saga by J. Rogan (96)
  • From Star Wars to Jedi, the Fanzine Way by Sharon Saye (97)
  • cartoon by Rebecca S. Cope (107)
  • Confrontation, vignette by Gail Small (108)
  • Gossip by Linda Vandiver (110)
  • The Little Green Man, poem by Lisa Williams (113)
  • Lord Vader's Son, story by Ellen Randolph (114)
  • cartoon by Rebecca S. Cope (14)
  • The Beginner, story by Samia Martz (141)

Excerpts from "From Star Wars to Jedi, the Fanzine Way":

The real attraction of fans to the SW universe has always been George Lucas' characters. Each has his, or her, proponents, but, by far, the favorite character in all of fan fiction is Han Solo. Over the course of eight years he has gone from being the red-neck trucker of the skyways to a responsive general in the Alliance. In fan literature he has had an exceedingly varied career. After SW , fans accepted him pretty much as presented: a charming, sexy smuggler with a hidden heart of gold. But after TESB, fans saw him in a different light. He has been depicted as everything from the "other" to a prince. He has been Darth Vader's son and his brother, Luke Skywalker's uncle and even his father; Leia Organa's childhood rescuer and her murderer. He has been beaten, tortured, wounded, killed, maimed, blinded and drugged. He has fan-created sisters, mothers, father, brothers, grandparents and children. Women of every race and occupation have been involved with him [. . . ] One of the advantages Han Solo presents to writers is his lack of a past. [ . . . ] Even his alleged heritage as a Corellian is nowhere verified in the movies. He can be anyone. What more could a fan writer want?
Leia Organa is the one character who has had more than her share of detractors. In some fanzines she is pictured as cold, manipulative, and heartless. Leia in reality is a very complicated character who changes throughout the saga while staying essentially the same. She is loyal, dedicated, understanding, committed and intelligent, but she is often depicted as one-dimensional and selfish. Even in the best of stories, "Life-Line" by Anne Elizabeth Zeek (Kessel Run 4), for example, Leia emerges as the most dangerous of the series stars. In this story she would slag the Rurlizar Prison where Luke is held in order to prevent his revealing Alliance secrets to Vader. Later, only Han prevents her from murdering eight unconscious prison guards. Leia's pragmatism and relentless loyalty to the Rebellion earn her an eternal revenge in Zeek's sequel, "Blood Line"(Kessel Run 4). One zine, Against the Sith, was extremely anti-Leia, in an analysis of the virtues of each of the SW characters, Leia ranked just above Darth Vader.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

[A Debt Paid]: Read "A Debt Paid" the other night in WOOKIEE COMMODE the other night. Great story. A little too many "ingly" words, but not to worry, nothing was spoiled. I got the zine a while back, but why I didn't read your story then, is beyond me now. If anyone has not read this story, by all means do. It fills in the gray area at the beginning of ROTJ, [in] regards [to] Han Solo. [4]

Issue 3

cover issue #3

The Wookiee Commode 3 was published in 1986 and has 256 pages. It won the 1997 FanQ Award for 'Best Star Wars 'Zine.' Art by Ronda Henderson, Pat Easley, Christine Haire, Jim Markle, Sherry Charvat, Jean Kluge, Dani, Rebecca Carey, and Melea Fisher.

  • Environmental Impact Statement by Mary Urhausen (3)
  • Co-Editoral Response by Samia Martz (4)
  • Letters of Comment (5)
  • Virgin? by Ronda Henderson (14)
  • Requiem by Ellen Randolph (15)
  • Serpent's Way by Deborah L. Kittle and Peggy Fitzgerald (21)
  • I Want a New Droid by Christine Haire (31)
  • Vana by Marti Schuller (33)
  • An Easy Run by Kathryn Agel (45)
  • Resurrection by Gail Small (47)
  • Word Search Puzzles by Marci Erwin and Lynda Vandiver (48)
  • The Impatient Patient by Lynda Vandiver (49)
  • Poem by L.C. Carr (59)
  • Aurora by Laura Thomas (60)
  • Where is the Post-Jedi Fiction? by Sharon Saye (67)
  • What a Catch by Marci Erwin (74)
  • The Alycian Affair by Paula Freda (77)
  • Revelation by Veronica Wilson (92)
  • Adversity is Destiny by J. Rogan
  • The Master and the Mender by Samia Martz (97)
  • The Clone Wars by Sandi Jones (113)
  • Some Dissembling Required by Karen Ripley (115)
  • A Flicker of Light by Carolyn Golledge (Carolyn's version of the missing sandstorm scene in Return of the Jedi -- She wanted a longer reunion for Luke Leia, and Han. They take refuge in Ben’s old place and Luke finds hidden records about Vader. Han helps Luke discover there is still a chance to bring back Anakin Skywalker. Reprinted in Never Say Die) (128)
  • The Millennium Falcon by Christine Haire (163)
  • A Night to Remember by Jeanine Hennig (165)
  • Destiny's Call by Christine Haire (166)
  • The Proving Ground by Sarah Macht-DeWitt (167)
  • You Belong to the Jedi by Christine Haire (178)
  • Cartoon by Brian Ahern (179)
  • Heart and Hand by Laura Thomas (180)
  • Star Chores by Ronda Henderson (183)
  • Imperial Girl by Christine Haire and Stacy Strey (191)
  • Dita by Renee Hoskin and Rebecca Cope (192)
  • Eulogy for Rancor by Ronda Henderson (250)
  • It's Funny by Kathryn Agel (251)
  • Puzzle Solutions (252)

Issue 4

issue #4

The Wookiee Commode 4 was published in 1987 and has 280 pages. In 1988, it won the FanQ Award for 'Best Star Wars 'Zine.' Art by Dani, Dianne Smith, Rececca Carey, Melea Fisher, Pat Easley, Christine Haire, Brian Afton, Laura Virgil, Vickie Laus, Karen River, Laura Michaels, Cherry Charvat, Susan Perry-Lewis, and Wanda Lybarger.

  • Environmental Impact Statement by Mary Urhausen (3)
  • Co-Editorial Response by Samia Martz (3)
  • Letters of Comment (4)
  • Nightmare by L.A. Carr (5)
  • Family Man by Ruth Radecki (30)
  • A Princess' Dream by Julie Phipps (35)
  • Word Puzzle by Lynda Vandiver (36)
  • The Lieutenant and the Generals by Samia Martz (37)
  • Poem by Paula Freda (61)
  • The Battle by Barbara Gardner (63)
  • Time for Themselves by Christine Haire (67)
  • Chewbacca's Chant of Joy by Sarah Macht-DeWitt (77
  • Reap the Whirlwind by Marcia Brin (78) (reprinted in Who's Scruffy-Lookin'?)
  • No More Dreams by Mary St. Cyr (82)
  • Images of Darkness, Images of Light by Carol Moffat (86)
  • Reversal of Words by Veronica Wilson (100)
  • Shelter by Catriona Campbell (102)
  • Knight Magic by Debra Edwards & Mary St. Cyr (110)
  • Truth and Consequences by Karen Ripley (119)
  • Images by Julie Phipps (134)
  • Paths of Darkness by J. M. D'Agostino-Toney (135)
  • Corellian Centerfold by Karen River
  • Life on the Millennium Falcon by Laura Michaels (149)
  • Return to Alycia by Paula Freda (155)
  • Poem by Paula Freda (173)
  • The Emperor's Revenge by Marti Schuller (174)
  • Poem by Paula Freda (184)
  • The Wookiee Commode Guide to Star Wars Zines 1986 by Sharon Saye (185)
  • Prisoner by Jeanine Hennig (197)
  • Interview With the Sith Lord by Betsy Afton (201)
  • Word Puzzle by Lynda Vandiver (204)
  • Welcome to the Alliance by Jill Thomas (205)
  • Jedi Baffler by Marci Erwin (230)
  • Opportunities by Christine Haire (232)
  • The Significance of Ducks in the Star Wars Saga by Sarah Laker (234)
  • Journey into Darkness by Carolyn Golledge (After his rescue from Jabba, Han learns his eyesight will gradually fail. Should he go ahead with his plans to marry Leia? Can he manage the Endor mission? Will he survive being kidnapped by former smuggler friends?) (236)
  • Puzzle Solutions (280-281)

Issue 5

issue #5

The Wookiee Commode 5 was published in 1987 and 288 pages It won the 1987 FanQ Award for 'Best Star Wars 'Zine.'

Art by Wanda Lybarger, Melea Fisher, Dianne Smith, Jean Kluge, Dani, Cheryl Mandus, Jean Kluge, Christine Haire, Rebecca Carey, and Catherine Churko.

From the publisher's flyer in Southern Enclave #19: "We have a color cover, inside and out, sure to quicken the pulse of any Star Wars fans-and the ability to raise Luke fans from the dead!"

  • Editorials (3)
  • Letters of Comment (4)
  • She Who Waits by Betsy Afton (21)
  • The Learner's Teachers by Samia Martz (22)
  • The Circle Continues by Carrie Keeler (36)
  • Blood Bonds by Rachel Natasha Mohr (43)
  • Sweet Nothings by Marti Schuller (44)
  • Paradox by Veronica Wilson (59)
  • A Corellian's Dream by Julie Phipps (61)
  • Shimmer by L.A. Carr (62)
  • Spacer's Luck by Madalena Mumford (78)
  • Destiny by Susan Zahn (105)
  • Let the Wookiee Win by Susan Zahn (106)
  • Jedi's Return Maze by Marci Erwin (107)
  • Midnight Visitor by Mary St. Cyr (108)
  • Illusion and Disillusion by Karen Ripley (113)
  • Dark Knight by Carol Moffat (128)
  • Ghosts of the Past by Christine Haire (149)
  • The Wookiee Commode Consumer's Guide to 1987 Star Wars Zines by Sharon Saye (156
  • Enemy Territory by Carolyn Golledge (Sequel to Flicker Of Light. There was no explanation given in Return of the Jedi for Han becoming a General in the Alliance, where the Imperial shuttle for the Endor mission came from, and what the rebels’ feelings were about the cloned stormtrooper POWS. This story also explores Han’s misunderstanding of the relationship between Luke and Leia and his offer to stand aside for them.) (168)
  • Just One More Child by Barbara Gardner (224
  • Here Comes the Bride by Susan Zahn (224)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 5

[Shimmer]: Cute story I've read lately which proved to be an unexpected, pleasant surprise was "Sumner" by L. A. Carr. All Luke fans should read this one! It's a sweet, touching story with a surprise ending that, despite the fact that I considered it a bit too cross-universe, was written so deftly that I smiled. This story is one of the few I've read that gave me that same uplifted feeling first felt at the end of ANH. [5]

Issue 6

issue #6

The Wookiee Commode 6 was published in 1989 and has 386 pages. Cover art is by Dianne Smith. Other art by Rebecca Carey, Renee Grove, Z.P. Florian, Wanda Lybarger, Catherine Churko, Melea Fisher, Mark Fisher, and Pat Easley.

  • Editorial (3)
  • Look What They've Done To My Son, Ma by Samia Martz (15)
  • Destiny Realized by Sue Zahn (32)
  • Past Shadows by Marti Schuller (34) (sequel in the next issue)
  • The Cave by Julie Phipps (57)
  • The Galactic Inquirer by Z.P. Florian (59)
  • Mutiny by Carolyn Golledge (68) (winner of a 1990 [[Fan Q Award].)
  • Union and Reunion by Karen Ripley (108)
  • 1988 in SW Fanzines by Sharon Saye (124)
  • Love's Strength by Sue Zahn (134)
  • Serenity by Barbara Gardner (145)
  • Chal and Haccucha by Eric Goodman (145)
  • Warm Fuzzy by L.A. Carr (157)
  • Jedi Poems by Julie Phipps (161)
  • Missing by Catriona Campbell Boyle (part one -- During a fierce battle, Luke is badly wounded and the last Rebel transport leaves without him. He is stranded with a family who insist he does not mention his name for fear of Imperials.) (162)
  • The Princess and the Pea by Janet MacLellan (221)
  • Dark Odyssey, part one by Carol Moffat (229)
  • The Traitor by J. M. D'Agostino-Toney/Janet Toney (246)
  • 101 Corellian Knights by Madalena Mumford (248)
  • Prometheus Bound by Roz Wheadon (281)
  • So Let It Be Written by Sarah Laker (283)
  • The Power That Is by Becky Cope and Renee Schiber (284)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 6

Z. P. Florian's "Galactic Enquirer" is very funny (a clone war prequel) but also very clever with her unique creation Hoth Industries". "Dark Odyssey", Part I by Carol Moffatt.. A really fine post ROTJ story pitting the Dark One (you know who isn't dead, after all) against our heroes... a nicely done Jedi Academy and apparent time twist. "Union and Reunion" by Karen Ripley. The infamous (some would say insufferable) KR wraps up her Virgin Prince" universe, post ROTJ serial. Clever ideas, good characterizations and funny and lyrical writing (and yours truly did the illos for it). [6]

Issue 7

flyer printed in Below the Surface #3
cover of issue #7

The Wookiee Commode 7 was published in 1989 and contains 274 pages.

  • art by Wanda Lybarger, Dianne Smith, Cathy Churko, Renee Grove, Rebecca Carey, Z.P. Florian, Sherry Lambert, and others
  • features Sharon Say's Guide to 1989 Star Wars zines
  • Kessel Slave by Carolyn Golledge (The reason for the Life-Debt Bond between Chewbacca and Solo and Carolyn's version of their first meeting. Takes place before Star Wars: A New Hope. Note: written before the SW novels appeared, contains Carolyn's own background for Solo’s life. Warning - by virtue of its subject matter, violent. revision reprinted in Never Say Die. Winner Best Long Story Star AWards 1991.)
  • Kill or Be Killed by Carolyn Golledge (Rebels celebrate one year anniversary of Endor Victory. Han and Leia add one year wedding anniversary. Leia tries to find right moment to tell Han she is pregnant. Imperials attack -- Chewbacca is taken for sale as slave. Han attempts rescue, winds up pitted against a drugged Chewbacca in gladiatorial combat. Reprinted in Never Say Die.)
  • Mutiny by Carolyn Golledge (Han tells the story of his and Leia's adventure with god-like droid aliens years after the Endor experience with Threepio. On honeymoon, Han and Leia uncover an Imperial plot to murder new Republic Senators. Luke too, is tracking down another angle on Imperial counter-revolution.)
  • Missing, part 2 by Catriona Campbell (The exciting conclusion to the gripping story of Luke Skywalker's exile on the Imperial-controlled planet of Irlam.)
  • Shadow Clash by Marti Schuller (Luke must once again confront his evil half-brother Menog in this conclusion to "Past Shadows.")
  • Dies Irae by Samia Martz (A simple accident leads to a lesson in responsibility and forgiveness for both Han and Jeni. A Jeni Petersen story.)
  • Dark Odyssey, part 2 by Carol Moffat (Luke's Dark clone continues his reign of terror in the second installment of this post-ROTJ adventure series.)
  • A Night in the Life of Han Solo by Carolyn Golledge and Karen Estabrook (A slight "equipment failure" for Han leads to a misadventure of impressive... proportions.)
  • A Reflective Matter by Karen Ripley (A non-continued tale of first times and family ties.)
  • Nightmare by Barbara Drake (Leanna Skywalker faces her brother, Darth Vader, and defies his deadly plans for the Jedi.)
  • Seeing Clearly by Matthew Whitney (Han Solo is a changed man following his brush with near-death by carbon freezing.)
  • fiction by Magdelana Mumford, L.A. Carr, Z.P. Florian, and Ming Wathne

References

  1. For some background information regarding the "Clone Wars Treaty," see the remarks at Ethics and Etiquette: A Proposal for the Buying and Selling of Fanzines.
  2. from Southern Enclave #28
  3. from The Southern Enclave #6
  4. from an LoC in Southern Enclave #13 (1986)
  5. from Southern Enclave #26
  6. from Southern Enclave #24