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The Scarecrow's Dance

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  • Gandhalfit
    Day 6

    As you walk to the office you try to think why on earth they wouldn't let you in the gym. There was no reply from Dave this morning and asking too many questions on the web now would not look good if they are still watching.

    Two hours by the desk go by, just comparing maps to data gathered and then you send Slav and Dan a message. "Want to meet up for lunch?" That looks perfectly an everyday sort of message you think to yourself. And you really do just want to see them. After an hour Dan sends you a message back saying that she was called for a general training day for office workers… That's strange? All of them, just some departments, why is she allowed to train and you're not? Something isn't right.

    You use the staff's cafeteria and try to make contact with the few people who are there. Nobody seems like they want to socialize. The rest of the day goes by and there's still no reply from Dave. As you walk back that afternoon you see Dave with some two other guys walking towards you.

    Where have you been? You were summoned for the general training hours ago?

    What? I didn't get any message?

    No matter, just come in now and sign in, that's all they really care about.

    You start following Dave, the two guys are walking behind you and he looks busy on his tablet. You get to the gym and everyone seem to be packing up bags of sparring equipment.
    Looks like it's all over, you tell Dave. He looks around and says "not over yet, they are getting ready for the last event, sparring. Just get to that port at the far end and sign in, I'll fix the times later". And he walks away to talk to some other General. You get to the port and sign in. it says "09:00 AM, Sign In". That's strange. The next thing you know is that your name is being called to start the rounds with a bunch of other people. So you go to where the others have started walking to, 4 circular markings on the gym floor.

    "Okay so you here, some old guy in a track suit tells you, will be sparing with Josh". You look around and see a fairly young looking and fit man about twice your size coming to meet you.

    Hi, I'm Josh, I haven't noticed you here all day. I expect there are too many people

    Oh, I've been here and there… wait, you work at a desk?

    Well I do now. I got injured and my mom runs the resource department so she made sure I would be some place safe to recover… I hate every minute of it but at least I get to train a few hours a day. Still, I miss the raids.

    You were in the raids squat?

    Yep, and it looks like I would be back soon. I turned up here today for the fun.

    The loudspeaker announces that anyone not in the first round of sparring has five minutes to get to the outside ring.

    Well good luck, I'll see you in a bit. Josh waves you goodbye.

    Great! You think to yourself. Someone must have planned this.

    Okay so I have 5 minutes to warm up and then I have to face that raiding monster over there, known as Josh.
    (Warm up everything)

    If you completed 3 or less sets:
    Okay says the old guy in the track suit. I think we should stop this here before you'll get hurt.
    Hey man, I hope you're okay. Josh says – I sometimes forget myself.

    If you completed 5 or less sets:
    The spar is over. Josh looks at you somewhat impressed. Good spar man. Nice knowing ya.

    If you completed 7 sets:
    Josh looks like he had a tough warm up done and comes to talk to you after drinking some weird smelling shake that doesn't remind you of Just's tea at all.
    That was a good round man. I didn't think I'll have to go so hard. Great knowing you. And he shakes your hand and walks away.

    Something is definitely going on.
    I need to find Dan…

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  • Gandhalfit
    Day 5

    Don't let him relax. I want him shaken and uncertain.

    Of course sir.

    I still can't believe they both got away. I will have to do something about our helpers at the in-betweens or just have them all killed. Completely unreliable.

    We do train our soldiers well sir.

    Yes, but you would think that being vastly outnumbered would help. In any case, at least we have the cart. It's a shame he can't be out and about again but I suppose putting him where he at least can't do harm is 'something'.

    I tried to avoid it sir but we really can't send them out again after what happened.

    Very reasonable. Just make sure he doesn't know his left from his right by the time we'll try again, or you'll have to do it yourself.

    Of course sir, I will sir.

    After yesterday's commotion, today was spent in a tiny office by a desk where Dan or Slav were nowhere to be seen. This is starting to feel like my job at Selunerini, you think to yourself.
    You get to the department's gym but one of the rooks, on security duty stops you from entering. "Sorry sir, I have instructions not to let you in"

    What? Why?

    Don't know sir, I just have this on the computer not to let you in.

    You turn around and use one of the street's info ports to send a message to Dave asking if anything went wrong with the security revalidation. You wait there for about two minutes and then head back to your apartment. There's no point trying to ask any of your friends what's going on. Best keep calm right now.

    No matter, you think to yourself. You start an intense indoors yoga session instead

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  • Gandhalfit
    Day 4: rest

    The interview with Internal Security was long and exhausting. Beside ask every possible question about a million times on who did you talk to before the mission, what happened when they caught you and every other aspect of your miserable adventure, they also scanned your chips. They are supposed to be disabled but to make sure they performed a little surgery to pull them out and get them back in again. You waited for Dan outside her hospital confinement room. They really took their time with her and when she came back out she looked like someone else and was escorted by two security officers. All four of you made your way back to the department. This isn't over yet.

    Dave stares at you when you walk into his office. He dismisses the security officers and offers you to sit on the big couch near the wall.
    "I watched the interrogations" he lets you know. "I didn't honestly think that a breach came from your side but you know, protocol. On the other hand, you failed to protect a highly valuable intelligence gathering vehicle from falling into enemy hands". He stares again. You turn your head to look at Dan and sees that she's staring at the rug on the floor. "We have therefore, he continues, decided to reassign both of you from combat gathering and give you new desk jobs. You will be given your new assignment tomorrow". You want to protest but Dave immediately goes on to say "we value your input and analysis skills greatly but it seems you are, at the moment at least, less suitable for more dangerous situations". You look at Dan again when Dave says "you may leave now". You want to say something but Dan races out of the room so you follow her.

    When you reach the outside court Dan finally stops and looks at you. This could have been worse she says.

    What? This is bad, Dan, really bad.

    Yes it is, but I thought we were going down as traitors for sure. We're lucky actually.

    Listen, you get closer to her and whisper, I need to tell you something but not here. Do you know a safe place?

    Maybe, but what for?

    I learned something at the In-Between. It could change everything.

    Dan starts saying something but you quickly walk away and trying to sound cheerful shout 'see you later".

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  • Gandhalfit
    Part 2
    Week 1
    Day 3

    Why didn't they get one of the automatic carts, you ask Dan. She looks at you with a skewed expression.

    There aren't that many automatic carts. And now there's one less… with too much information on it… and they have it. She looks depressed and scared which you didn't think was possible with Dan.
    There will be trouble she says.

    You stare at her for a while and she stares back. You want to tell her what the old woman who helped you said but at that moment you hear the rescue commander calling you.

    "We still have a way to go and we rode this thing all the way to get you two. . Given that you are in relatively good shape, we would appreciate it if you could help out". The commander sees the looks on your faces and the state you're in and adds: you could do it together so it's less of an effort.

    You stare at each other and then both of you take positions on different parts of the operating machine.

    You make it back and are immediately taken to the hospital wing of the intelligence gathering unit. There, you see not only doctors and nurses but the official internal security officers.

    Your guys know Slarick.

    Your guy allowed himself to get caught, and in a gathering vehicle nonetheless, Miro.

    That's not the point right now. Miro looked beside himself with anger. How did they even know where to look and when?

    John Slarick seemed to cower down a bit. I will find out Miro, don't worry…

    Not to worry… this was after our visit to Farm 4. Someone knows something that we don't know John, or worse. Someone knows something that I don't know but you do.

    Oh come on Miro. I want to bring The Organization down as much as you do, possibly even more.

    Then get to your boss and find out what's going on.

    Slarick made his way in the tube lift back to his office and tried to calm down before returning to his job, the job that was originally his primary function but since has become his mask. Wait a minute. What if. This was crazy but, what if… what if Miro was the leak, the double agent? I would have to be very careful, that is if I'm not already exposed, John Slarick thought to himself.

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  • Gandhalfit
    Part 2
    Week 1
    Day 2

    You found out where you are. A little old lady helped you hide but now you must run again. Adanech is close by but you told her, from the old woman's house over an old piece of machinery, to advance and that you will catch up with her. It's too dangerous to stay in one place for too long.
    The road is rough. Full of thorny bushes, rocks that are neither fixed enough to land on nor small enough to ignore. You run but the Flames have tracked you down and are chasing you. There should be a rescue force up ahead but for now you have to manage on your own.

    You catch up with the rescue unit and see they already have Adanech. They take care of your pursuers.

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  • vrsthe1
    That's really nice of you to accept the request..
    and Thank You..

    This one is long.. but thanks again this way I am sure I'll be doing atleast one workout per day for sure..

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  • Gandhalfit
    The Scarecrow's Dance
    Part 2
    Week 5
    Day 1 (loooong)

    Good morning sunshine,
    The Earth says hello.
    It's an old song I found, basically it means, get up already. The cart is about to leave.
    What do you mean the cart is about to leave, we, are driving the cart.
    Why do have to argue with everything. I want to get there before sundown and the ride takes hours.
    You and Adanech start walking to the headquarters. I have to say, you tell her, It's much nicer in the city. I can't believe I actually lived here.
    Yeah, it doesn't seem like a big deal at first but getting out of basic training was a whole new world.
    You go in and get to the office where you will be given your assignment. Dave* is waiting for you. I didn't think you'll get here so soon he says. I thought you would want to get there after dark.
    You give Dan a look.
    Without looking back at you she says "We've learned that arriving during the day is safer. They don't have a regular army of any kind and they don't keep watch. The Organization have people around for Intel but they hardly know what they're doing. Whenever we get there at night we usually spot a surveillance team. Also, our own Security Crews tend to be more alert at night and they are definitely being watched and makes it harder for us to… "
    Okay, okay… I know I'm new to this department but you don't have to bombard me with information sergeant Ada.
    It's Adanech actually but everyone calls ma Dan…
    She stops when she catches the look on his face.
    Of course sir, sorry.
    He stared at her for a bit which was unsettling unless you were Dan but then continued.
    This is a simple one and you would already know what to do but given that this is your first assignment outside the city, he stopped again to stare at you this time, I feel that going over the security protocol wouldn't be a bad idea.

    You got out after an hour and caught a cable car to the lower ring. Dan then leads you through a door and further down into an underground train station.
    What's this place you ask? I've been outside plenty of times but I was never here.
    We keep the automatic carts here. So that we don't have to waste energy getting there.
    And why didn't you use it when you picked me up from there?
    We weren’t sure where you will be and these are easier to track, now could you please just get in. I have a book I want to finish and you can take guard duty – on that monitor there. She points to a computer at the front of the cart.
    And why…
    I woke up ages ago and need to rest, besides, I outrank you.
    You sit next to the monitor and start the ride. A few hours in and everything is fine.

    You are already at the in-between and the cart goes underground. Okay, Dan says I'll find a place to stop and you can get some rest.

    About a day goes by and everything is fine other than the fact there's nothing to do except watch the monitor and download the data from the sensors up above.
    Suddenly you hear a loud noise and get knocked over. Oh come on not again, you think to yourself. You find yourself unable to move. Like the cart caved in on you. Dan! Dan where are you?
    I'm here, you hear a faint voice. But I can't move.
    What was that?
    That, was us. You hear another voice. Loud and clear this time. We're going to let you out now and I need you to promise not to try anything stupid otherwise my friends here will have to shoot you. And it won't be with stunners this time either.
    The flames take you out of the strange coffin they fired at you and put handcuffs on you. You see about thirty of them standing around with guns. Dan is beside you
    The guy standing in front of you takes a good look and says, yeah it's him all right. You think it's the guy from that day at the office at Selunerini. Someone else fires a stunner at Dan and the other guy punches you in the stomach. Get them in the cart.

    After a few hours you find yourself on a moving cart with two guards and no Dan. You're still handcuffed but that doesn't mean you can't do anything… you pretend to still be asleep while the guards play on their tablets and seem pretty distracted. You take your time to relax and remember what you've learned about them. Those who work for the organization are divided to those who actually care about bringing the city system down to those who are there for the money. Those two don't seem to be bothered. But the guy who went after you, he's probably around. The handcuffs are some sort of tape and would probably come off with a bit of oiling, or sweat. Oh well, it's not like you wanted to see where they were taking you. I'll better take care of these two and then see how things go.
    You slither to the nearest one and jump, you then knee him in the face again and again. The other one comes along and you aim at him as well. The cart stops and the guy who captured you and the driver walk in but the handcuffs are off now…
    In the struggle you manage to get out. After running for a bit you realize that there is no other cart. You can't tell where Dan is. All you can do is follow the security protocol and find your way to a safe house, knowing that they're still after you and you're not sure where you are. Everything is dark but you have to keep going.

    *Dave was in the room with the mayor. He is on the Security Committee and commands your department - Intelligence Gathering and Analysis Unit 4-19.

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  • PhoebeGilmore
    (but, a "summer/creative break" is of course acceptable )

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  • vrsthe1
    Obviously Continue..

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  • Gandhalfit
    End of part one

    Week 4 Day 7

    You went to see Tam in the hospital. He seemed okay but shaken.

    I'm worried that they might do something to you.

    Don't worry about me. My life have already been turned upside down and inside out. I feel like I can do anything right now. Here, out there, back in Selunerini. I learned so much and I changed.

    They could execute you. They do that you know. Not often but, on occasions.

    I already have a plan for that. Don't worry.

    Tam still looked worried but the nurse came and said visiting hours were done, he needs rest.

    Back at the Body Guards Headquarters you see Adanech.

    Any news yet? You ask her.

    I'm afraid not. They've summoned you again. Two hours from now so we need to get ready.

    What do you mean?

    I don't know what they still want from you but you need to be calm.

    What do you suggest?

    We'll do some exercises.

    At the council hall you sit near the mayor. She didn't talk to you or even looked at you but somehow being invited to seat next to her makes you more at ease. The Council Speaker calls everyone to order and the hall falls silent.

    I am sure some of you heard about recent developments at the border with In-Between DR-SE. Though the attack on the outpost failed it is a most concerning development. The Security Committee have also received intelligence that suggests we, as a society, have neglected to look after the more desired elements at the In-Between. Those matters have been discussed at the Security Committee… at that moment an uproar started at the hall. "It should be discussed with everyone…" "HOW DARE YOU KEEP SECRETS…" "there are good people at the security committee …" the speaker raised his hand and the shouting started to die down. You may refer your complaints to the Council before the next meeting, now be quiet. He waited for everyone to shut up and continued. Some of that intel regards our recent addition to the city. That addition fought off 'Flames' and saved a fellow Dardinian. So before you will voice your objection or approval, I should inform you that the security committee have also decided to let him stay and serve our city in a role more suitable for his skills.

    The uproar began and the speaker looked at you and nodded. The mayor turned to you and said "congratulations. This way please."

    The mayor's bodyguards led you to her office. There, three more people are waiting for you. You sit at the table where you first sat upon arrival to Dardin-Quer.

    We received a message from your friend, Miro. It took a while to get here since it was heavily encrypted. We know what you did and we appreciate it. We want to make you an offer.

    You were relieved until now but that last remark made you anxious. You look at them and wait for the proposal.

    We want you to serve in our special ops unit. It won't be fighting or anything too physically difficult. One of them adds hurriedly. Yes, mostly intelligence gathering and analysis. But it will be very demanding, another one adds.

    You were going to execute me yesterday.

    No, no, it wouldn't have come to that. The in-between was a likely option, but we weren't going to kill you. Do you know how much paperwork that takes?

    Funny… and if I say no? What if I want to go home?

    The in-between is still there and Selunerini won't be safe for you, even if they did welcome you back. Which they won't.

    So I don't really have a choice do I?

    The mayor got up from her sit. You could stay here and work in a security crew or the mapping department… we won't really send you to the in-between. Though I bet you could look after yourself there if you don't mind me saying so.

    How much time do I have to think about this?

    Two days at the most. After that, it's our call.

    You go back to your room to think it over. No one is waiting for you, this choice you'll need to make on your own.

    Survivor level completed

    Continue or Quit

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  • Gandhalfit
    Week 4 Day 6: Rest

    You and Tam have been taken to a hospital. The staff there insisted on running all the medical tests on you so for now the security questioning has been delayed. Tam seems to be recovering all right. He lost some blood but he was conscious the whole time and now he's in the recovery room. Your prisoners were taken to a separate wing. You see your company commander at the far end of the hallway. She's walking towards you.
    "They need to question you now".

    What's going to happen?

    I don't know but you've been taken out of service and I was told they needed you in the Sunflower Council Hall. I think they're going to vote on whether they'll allow you to stay.

    You sit in the council hall listening to a discussion about the future of the city, the in-betweens, the Organization and you. They talk about you as if you weren't there, a line in a report. Some of them think you're an asset, some say you're a spy. Adanech talked on your behalf, the mayor gave some supportive statements. But in the end it's down to a vote by the council. They could decide to keep you in the security crew, send you on a train to an in-between, execute you… Finally, you are called to speak for yourself.

    Tell us, why are you here.

    I don't really know, you say. I stumbled upon something in a map, I got into a train crash, I was chased, I was helped… and that's how I got here. You know all the details.

    Miro, the security agent who you claimed helped you, has denied knowing you. Selunerinian officials said you ran with classified material and are asking for your extradition. What do you say to that? The chief investigator asked. Murmurs of agreement and anger were suddenly heard across the hall.

    I told you all I know. I don't know why Miro would say that and… I don't think I care anymore. I was dragged into this… thing and I have tried to do deal with it the best I could. I wanted to understand but I don't have enough information. I joined the training program to help secure Dardin – Quer and I met great people along the way. I captured in-betweeners who hurt my friend, one of your own… There's nothing more I can say or do now. You need to find who is trying to undermine your city and your way of life. You can do whatever you want with me. I just want this to end.

    Angry voices were rising again. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON'T CARE? Do you think this is a game? He is disrespecting our procedures… the hall soon became too loud to make anything out.
    The mayor stepped on the podium and turned the speaker on: please follow the protocol. He gave his testimony. We will now disperse and reconvene to vote on the matter tomorrow.

    "Well that went well". You see Slavik and Dan waiting in your old room in the body guard's quarters. Don't worry, Dan says, it's not over and we've done some serious backstage campaigning.
    It would have been helpful if you were a bit more, amm… cooperative.

    I'm sorry. I'm tired and I'm worried and…

    Yeah, I know but you can't let that influence you like that.

    Okay get off his back Slav. like I said, it's not over. Now we just need to wait.

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  • Gandhalfit
    Week 4 Day 5

    You're camped out in the desert with the rest of your company. The morning is stifling hot and upsetting. The next drill is Couple's Navigation. Your partner, Tam, heard vicious rumors about this exercise and unfortunately, Tam's info usually turns out to be correct.

    You gather for the briefing with the other teams.

    Okay listen up. You and your partner need to get from here to a pick-up point, somewhere along the outer perimeter. There are 5 points with coordinates for 5 teams and you will raffle the coordinates from this hat. If you have studied the routes and terrain well, you should be fine. You are also given a map and a tracker inside a sealed envelope. If you get lost or more than 24 hours have past and you're still not at the pick-up point, you may open it and call for help. It also means you failed the exercise and I don't know what happens after that, it's none of my business but you will be out of here. You also have your usual equipment with you. Every gun and knife and bullet are counted for so don't lose them and don't use them unless you absolutely have to, or… you will fail. The drill sergeant looks at you and continues: some of you, really can't afford to fail. Okay, get here by your team number and pick a note.

    You and Tam are team 3. You wait for the other two teams to get their gear and envelopes and go to the drill sergeant holding the hat with the remaining three notes.

    The first few hours of walking are going pretty well. So far you recognize the mountains, hills and channels that supposed to lead you to your destination. Tam knows the terrain better than you and have corrected your part of the navigation at one point.

    We should be getting there in the next ten hours or so if we keep this pace, Tam says. I think it's time for a food break. You get to a high point to make sure there won't be any surprises, go back down and start eating your ration. You get through half a can when out of nowhere four *Flames jump you out of a hiding place that looks just like a rock.

    Tam shoots one of them but misses. He aims again and yells at you to shoot them.

    You yell back "they're unarmed man". You point your rifle at one of the two who are running at you and yell "we have food you can take back with you, we won't report this".
    The flame stops and laughs. It's you we want he says and the other one fires at you.

    You are thrown backwards and lose hold of your rifle. You see Tam on the ground wrestling one of the flames and getting kicked by the other. They only have stunners you think to yourself. You roll backwards and get to your feet. You see your rifle and run for it. The other two are right behind you. There's no time or indeed space to load, aim and fire. You start fighting them while holding your weapon:

    You knock one of them unconscious and grab his stunner. You shoot him with it and then shoot the other one twice. You go over to Tam who is still fighting one of them and looks pretty badly injured. You get closer and kick the flamer away then you shoot him twice with the stunner.

    Tam has collapsed to the ground and is breathing heavily. He is bleeding from his eye and thigh. There's no time to waste. You open the envelope and call for help. In the time it gets the rescue to get to you, you take out some bandages for Tam and tie up your attackers. Maybe it will help at the questioning later.

    *Flames is code name for In-Betweeners who are paid by The Organization to attack trains and cities.

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  • Gandhalfit
    Week 4 day 4

    WAKE UP YOU LOWLIFES it's time for some crawling.

    What's going on? You ask Tam in the bed above you.

    Who knows, just get going. "Crawling", phwa! More like "time for some torturing".

    You walk along with the other trainees across the courtyard, past the city's gardens and out to the wilderness. In the dim light of pre-morning you notice rows upon rows of low barb wires.
    Are we supposed to crawl under all that?

    SILENCE! You will use all you have to control yourselves, you will crawl under all those barb-wires and you will do it on your backs.

    Oh for f… sakes, you think to yourself.


    Your abs are on fire and your back has gone through hell. You start to think that maybe a life in the In-between might not be such a bad idea

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  • Gandhalfit
    Day 3: Rest day so a bit of sidelines and background

    Why Scarecrow Miro? I thought they were supposed to keep birds away from fields but you meant for him to attract everybody's attention so they can't see us.

    It is true that traditionally scarecrows 'scare away' but people found that after a while the birds get used to the dummy and use it as a comfortable resting point. Where my family is originally from people hung long clothes on scarecrows to wave in the wind and make the scarecrow look like it's moving, they also attached pieces of meat or dead birds to keep them away. It didn't work. After a while the birds and other animals would catch on so instead, they put the scarecrows away and then the birds and animals followed. They thought the food will be where the scarecrow is.

    I guess that makes sense.

    Of course some people insist there's more to that story.

    What's that then?

    The scarecrows, driven away from humans and back in nature came alive. They searched for their makers.

    Okay, and?

    Turned on them for making them work against nature in the first place.

    Great, thanks for that.

    Miro and Slarick continued the rest of their journey to the outskirts of Farm 4 in silence.

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  • Gandhalfit
    Week 4 Day 2

    Your Scarecrow looks different Miro. I had our agents in Dardin-Quer follow him. They couldn't get too close, the Body Guards have taken him in but the images they did send are showing, well, a mild but obvious change.

    As long as he's still an insecure, scattered minded geek we can go ahead as planned Slarick, don't worry.

    But that's my point, there's something in his eyes that's changed. I'll send you the outdoors workout the Body Guards images I have. Look at his eyes and tell me if that's the person you were counting on to play as a bait. and/or

    Amm I see what you mean.

    Yeah and that's just the warm up but he looks so focused. I think we should make the next step now before we would lose all control over him.

    I think you may be right Slarick. Okay, go ahead then.

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