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Thread: Faster Than Angels

  1. #981
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    Default Faster Than Angels | Part 50.0

    The referenced song title of Part 49 was Drift Away by Junkie XL.

    [FTA|s3_10.0: Part 50.0] Crash Test del Ragno 01


    Friday, March 17th, 2215

    Monte Carlo Nouveau, Monte Carlo, Monaco.


    "Sometimes the best solution is to not fight fire with water, but fire itself. While I would not stoop that far, I will defend myself the best I can."

    That was Brandon's response to what was the as yet unexplained elephant in the room.

    The practice round for the third 2215 race was under way, the race taking place at Monte Carlo Nouveau. In Angelus' control room, one extra computer was present, which was being used by Brandon. Technically, it could have been classified as a non-standard computing terminal, had the non-standard software been discovered. Every so often, he would plug in bits of data he received from the practice run. However, said data was not from his own craft...

    Brandon was analysing the vast amounts of data gathered from the other teams' crafts, and using it to calculate as accurate a prediction he could on the craft's peak performance, as well as their average race performance.

    "Can you explain to me exactly why you're doing that for?" A technician asked him.

    "I want to see if there's more blatant cheating going on here." He replied. "If there's some massive, or otherwise unexplained gain in some team's performance, I want to know... tch, where is that failure of a team!?"

    More people looked up at him, intrigued by his outburst.

    "Uh... which team is this now?"

    Brandon just looked at them. "Pfft, yeah, they're so remarkable at being unable to qualify for a single race that you've gone and forgotten about them. I'm referring to Gravitesse."

    A raucous laughter followed. Gravitesse was a name that was vaguely familiar to them, as it had popped up in the various participants list, starting from the 2212 inaugural F12000 season. However, no-one had ever seen them actually participate, until one particular qualifying round where the dull grey and cobalt blue craft was seen making its rounds... painfully slowly. It actually seemed like it was going at the equivalent of Rapier in a Phantom race.

    For three whole years, three entire seasons, not once did the team qualify in a single race in any of those seasons. It was a wonder how the team was even staying afloat despite their competitive incompetence. And yet, they were seen in the first two races' qualifying rounds this year, to the exact same levels of success.

    The craft they had used the entire time, the DXG T73, was modified mechanically over the years, but still retained the awful in-house chassis it started out with, seeming to be an ancient chassis despite being developed in-house in 2211. Its design was uninspiring and uninteresting, and, even by 2212 standards, heavily outdated in both design and aerodynamic function.

    There were two good reasons why Brandon couldn't find the craft. The first was fairly simple: It just wasn't participating in the practice round.

    In Gravitesse's pits, a simulator lay. The sim was running the current course in the race's layout, where their two pilots were getting their practice in. It was a loophole in the regulations, which didn't state specifically that the practice run had to be done physically on the circuit.

    With Angelus' allotted time over, and Gareth back in the pits, Brandon announced something they did every year on that day.

    "Alright, St. Patty's Day, let's go."

    "Ah, you're right! But tomorrow's the qualifier."

    "So don't drink as much! We all can't afford to spend tomorrow hungover, but it's still tradition, and it helps boost morale. Come on." He motioned to get Gareth, and everyone else within that room, to follow him out.

    "I... [sigh], fine."

    Unable to find a rebuttal, Gareth walked out after Brandon. The small subgroup of Angelus team members headed out after the long day of testing and pre-preparations for the race to celebrate St. Patrick's Day by moderately consuming alcohol. Yeah, doesn't sound that great, but they did have to be alert enough for the following day's qualifier.

    Saturday, March 18th, 2215


    Thankfully, none of those that celebrated the night before were hungover, having known their duties for the day's qualifying round, and did not drink excessively. All team members were present and accounted for...

    ...except... Brandon. He walked in a bit later than usual.

    "Brandon, you're late. Did you drink too much?" A control tech joked.

    He shook his head. "No... I was responsible about my intake, I always am... unfortunately I did not pay enough attention to the time, nor my tiredness. I simply slept in."

    "Alright, well, qualifying's almost over, we used the data you gathered to help Gareth get a few times in, along with setting up the craft for the track and the obviously horrendous weather."

    As per that day's forecast, the weather was rather not optimal, as their qualifying round had to be taken in a torrential downpour.

    "Good, hopefully the data's good enough. Frankly, this course is a b*tch, and this rain is helping precious little."

    The times were pretty slow in relation, but it was not the fault of the craft. The rain was so bad, visibility was extremely poor. Gareth was piloting on his mental image of the track alone, which was good enough to allow him to make several clean laps. However, they were far slower than his usual dry runs. And just like that, Gareth's usual high-place grid position was taken away from him, having to settle with a mid-pack start.


    Preparing for their qualifying session, a certain girl was stopped in her tracks when the craft she usually piloted had had its appearance changed, now seeing two very non-identical craft.

    "I... I... I-cosa!? My ship... why is my ship different?" (What?)

    Hearing her outburst and general confusion, the man she had befriended, her co-pilot, spoke out.

    "That was my doing. We need all the edge we can get. While Kotova ensured our craft were on a level playing field, I think your prodigal talent can benefit from an upgrade much more than I can."

    "So... now I am unfairly more competitive than you are? Hmmm..."

    She looked to her newly upgraded craft, then back to Leon.

    "...I don't know how to feel about this, but it won't impede my will to race. I'll try it, thanks."

    Several soaking laps later, it was clear that Lucia's talent could only get her so far, the heavy craft only allowing her a 12th place grid position. It was far better off than Leon, who could only manage 18th.

    Tigron, meanwhile, seemed to be having a very good run, their hive-type unit being pushed to its utter limits to essentially brute force their way through the rain. However, they didn't get pole position. That feat went, interestingly, to FEISAR, whose unrivalled handling nabbed them the top grid position, but only just. The gap between the top times was so close, that the second FEISAR pilot was only able to make do with fourth, despite being three-hundredths of a second slower than the lead pilot.

    Sunday, March 19th, 2215


    The final preparations were being made by all teams competing, especially Angelus. The final checks were to tune the craft in just the right way, to maximise their chances of victory.

    Brandon, meanwhile, was looking over the final qualification list. Several notable events had occurred during the qualification. The first was to do with Assegai. Their second craft had suffered a catastrophic failure of its ECU. An investigation was carried out, but the incident was ruled a freak accident, since their lead craft qualified without any issues. The second incident affected Harimau entirely. Both of their craft's thrust systems started to cut in and out intermittently. The second craft failed altogether before the end of the session, but their lead craft was able to get one time in. It was hardly their best, but they had qualified.

    The most notable event, however, was something the team wasn't aware of. Brandon noticed something odd.


    Looking outside, he saw an official display, showing, amongst other things, a full list of all 26 qualified pilots, and their respective grid positions...

    26. Tomi Makkinen. Gravitesse.

    "...well, that's new. But where was the proof of their qualification?"

    "Working on it now."

    As the technicians looked into finding any shred of evidence that the Luxembourgish team had actually qualified, the 5 minute warning sounded out.

    "Oh, whatever," Brandon said dismissively, "Just focus on the race now."

    And then, it happened. One by one, the 26 grid positions opened up, and the craft were raised up to the track's surface. Exactly 18 seconds later, the 26th and final craft rose up to the surface. When Brandon saw it, his eyes widened in pure horror, and he made a rather odd noise, before simply yelling out.

    "What the fff... hell is that thing!?"

    Finally, two days later, the second reason why Brandon couldn't find their old, standard DXG T73 was revealed to him. The craft they had brought was not that, but a secret project, perfected by the time the current race weekend came about.

    It looked, terrifyingly to the leader of the Australian team, a Cobalt Blue Tarantula, the titular colour accurately matching the secondary colour's patterns over the grey colour of the real arachnid.

    "What the... th-the f*ck kinda sick joke is this!?"

    The design of the craft was a proper quad-hull craft, with the rear wings of the craft somewhat doubling as two extra rear hulls to complete the look of the tarantula. The front of the craft sported two large headlights, with six smaller ones surrounding it.

    "Now how am I supposed to be observing this race, with that thing popping up at every turn!?"

    "And if they qualify for another race? Just... try and get over it maybe? Or you give the calls to Gareth and we get someone else to observe the race and make the strategies for you?"

    "...I tried the former. Multiple times. I'm 55, and I'm still sh*t-scared of spiders. So I'll trust you lot to make strategies to tell Gareth."

    The crew member just stared at Brandon, then shook his head. "Fine, let's do this."

    It took them another couple of minutes to prepare, by which point the race was just about to start...

    ...after another 17 minutes following a minor farcical disruption.

    3, 2, 1... GO!

    <monte carlo nouveau: long fwd_>
    <race: lap 01 of 59_>

    02. KIR311.0.67.297 #67 Natalia Kireyeva Tigron K-Bystrota v1.4
    03. VAL027.1.66.297 #66 "Valkyria" Tigron K-Bystrota v1.4
    06. WHI353.0.12.894 #12 "Lady White" Qirex LS12 v2.8
    10. ARD889.0.19.194 #19 Gareth Ardos Angelus AX2.2_r9
    12. SCA308.0. 7.329 # 7 Lucia Scarlatti Crinale F0-RG08/01792
    16. SIN959.0.10.576 #10 Sino EG.X EG.FF-201 II
    18. TUR847.1.13.329 #13 Leon Turner Crinale F0-RG08/01536
    26. MAK569.0.55.791 #55 Tomi Makkinen Gravitesse DXG/P T74.02

    <tarantula | pendulum_>

    With the rain pouring, the race began. Those with higher thrust outputs shot ahead, some of them even overtaking a couple of the lower placed craft. In the case of Angelus, Gareth swiftly overtook the Icaras it was sitting beside, before the faster craft crept past. Now up to speed, it rounded the first, high-speed corner, and attempted to take the Jennter ahead of it. It was quite a slow effort, but the pink craft had successfully overtaken the slower handling German team.


    ...until it was pushed back behind the still tightly-spaced pack.

    In the case of Gravitesse, way back at the end of the grid, the sole qualified craft sailed past the similarly qualified Triakis craft, and seemed to stay there, despite the Australian team having a higher top-end speed. Rounding the first corner, the result was very similar to the mid-pack where Angelus and Icaras were.



    That, along with being shoved violently against the wall from the blast, did not help them in the slightest. Triakis knew they had the combative advantage, and could have used practically anything to re-take their position.


    Firing straight back, both teams were back to a more level playing field. It was inadvertent, but the two teams started to help each other out. Triakis usually were rather horrible on the curvier circuits, such as Monte Carlo. So was Piranha, yet they were somehow coping surprisingly well, sticking around the mid-pack, behind Angelus.

    By the end of the first lap, Gareth had been able to use his craft to his advantage, and work his way past Icaras.


    Gareth just shook his head. "...Yep, could have done with that earlier, but whatever. I can work with this."


    The white and azure craft shot ahead past the line, up to the first of the two Jennter craft. The second was two craft ahead, in 6th. Rounding the corner, Gareth took the outside, and slipped past Patrick Rouser.

    "Something something I can't speak German bye." He commented, just as he took 8th from him.

    Naturally, the friendly rivals fought back. Or at least, they tried to.

    "EM Cloak."

    The missiles shot from the craft towards the Angelus craft in a straight line, the cloak preventing a lock-on. Due to the Cloak's effects, the projectile was skewed off in a different direction around the craft, sending it flying past it, bouncing off the walls before exploding away from them.

    At the very front, Tigron were far ahead, having gotten away from the two FEISAR craft and gaining distance from them, racing in their usual formation. They were 15 seconds ahead, then 16, then 17, all before they knew it. They had the immense speed, and they both knew how to use all of it extremely effectively.

    Angelus were also gaining positions, when Gareth got a rather interesting radio message from Brandon. However, he was stopped in his tracks from a rather odd happening. Was it no real surprise that it was Gravitesse's doing?


    The spider-designed craft, by which point Brandon had gotten used to the sight of, was ahead of more craft than was expected, in 18th place, right behind Triakis. The two teams had been going back and forth the whole race, stealing positions from one another. However, despite the surprise of the once infamously uncompetitive team gaining places all of a sudden, they were far back enough that Gareth could see theirs and Triakis' battle ahead of him.

    Just as suddenly, the grey and blue ship made its move. The Gravitesse ship gained and maintained a rather large burst of speed. A turbo, this was not. Gravitesse had gained an inexplicable power increase that was far from befitting their official performance statistics. Easily overtaking the slowly turning tank that was the Triakis craft, they continued forth, pulling away from them at a rather incredible rate, considering the aforementioned tank boasted a very high top-end speed.

    Despite this though, Brandon had felt the need to deliver that somewhat contradictory radio message.

    "Gravtesse aren't a problem, Gareth, Gravitesse are not a problem. You do not need to worry about them, just push on as nor--..."

    Stopped in his tracks at the event that had unfolded before his eyes, he had just completely stopped talking...

    But that event wasn't the craft's permanent burst of speed.

    Several seconds after the burst of speed began, the craft itself began to vibrate. The engines started to make an erratic noise, along with the higher-pitched whine of the overpowered thrusters pushed beyond its limits. That noise only grew louder the further away from Triakis it went. Until...

    <contender eliminated_>

    The craft started slowing down rapidly, while dipping forwards. The engines started making a noise, not too dissimilar to them powering down. However, they made one final noise, the craft burst forth one final time, and the nose raised up almost vertically, the craft entering a very abnormal pirouette, the engines having completely cut out, the craft emitting total silence.

    <air for life | above and beyond with andy moor_>

    Seeing the craft fail so spectacularly, the Triakis craft sideshifted at just the right moment to avoid the spinning craft, passing it before the craft finally crashed to the ground. The sideshift was also in order to place the craft in just the right spot, at the right angle into the corner that immediately followed the scene of Gravitesse's odd elimination. It was a sharp corner, so full airbrakes were applied to the craft, but that was still not enough. The sound of the thrusters dimming could be heard, as if they had lost some power. Simply, the thrusters were dialled back a little, slowing the tri-hulled craft down somewhat in order to make the turn. That last move was successful, the craft successfully rounding the corner as cleanly as the heavy tank could.

    Gareth, meanwhile, was lightly laughing. If he wasn't in control of a near 1000km/h racing craft, he would be absolutely doubling over in loud, raucous laughter.

    "Yep... just as I'd expected from Gravitesse!"

    Unfortunately, the Australian was unable to catch up to the leading Russians, the hive unit propelling them forward at, again, a much faster speed than the official performance statistics suggested. Unlike Gravitesse, though, the K-Bystrota was a far more stable craft than the DXG/P T74 that was the Luxembourgish machine. Gareth was barely able to catch up to the two FEISARs through his greater top speed, but a series of stray mines dropped him further back, the iconic blue and yellow team navigating the subsequent corners at a much faster rate than the white and azure craft could manage.



    "Ghh... No."


    The Crinale of Lucia Scarlatti got exactly 6 rounds of cannon fire into Gareth's Angelus, before the bomb he fired flew straight into the black and orange pursuer, sending it sideways into the wall. Gareth was aiming to re-catch that FEISAR craft, he wanted no interruptions, no impediments. He also required extreme levels of mental fortitude.

    "Brandon. I need you to shut up for a while. I need to focus."

    "...Zone?" He asked, knowing what Gareth was aiming for.

    "Yeah, Zone."

    "Alright, then. Maintaining radio silence. Go get 'em."

    The final push of the team that race had started. Gareth gradually slipped into his record-winning mindset, focusing on using his strategy to guide him through the corners at as high a speed as the craft could maintain, not just taking the handling for granted. His ultimate aim was to maintain as high a speed as he could, in order to catch up to the marginally slower, yet faster turning FEISAR ahead of him.

    The tactic seemed to be working, the first of the two European craft entering the view of the Australian. But... it was just too late.

    <race complete_>
    <fifth place_>

    "...Yeah, P5, Gareth. It's fine, you tried your best. Better than an elimination, that's for sure. At least we're in the points."
    Last edited by Ace3000; 30th August 2019 at 05:01 AM.

  2. #982
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    Default Faster Than Angels | Part 51.0

    The referenced album title of Part 50 was Crash Test 01 by Bloom 06.

    [FTA|s3_11.0: Part 51.0] Shadows of the Past

    Ikebukuro, Toshima, Tokyo, Japan.

    "Sometimes, it is not exactly clear who one should trust. If one is in a more common, everyday life, then this problem may not arise as much, but it still is prevalent. In my line of work, however, not even my own clients receive anything that could be called trust. I only provide them the service they require, nothing more."

    Day 18.


    Gelorumfan2182 <>
    ███ ██/██/2215 7:04 AM
    You <>
    Attachment: "3c41e329203d8c653403781961d01ca5.pdf"

    ---Decoded Data: Type A7 Encoding.---
    ngs continue like this, anti-grav racing will become a pre-scripted piece of theatre dedicated to m.

    Some more data for your perusal. You may hate the whole scene, but I have a good idea of what you are plotting. Why else would you come to me of all people in the first place?


    The message was brief, but the vast majority of the content was within the single attachment. Immediately, Rei had downloaded the document, and had begun an automated scan for the vital data within it. The heavily fragmented string of text up where the salutation would have usually gone was, in fact, a codephrase, devised by Rei and the Race Overseer in another prior message. The source material was a fragment of a comment made by Natasha Belmondo, the material published on July 5th, 2160.

    The data itself within the attachment, once decoded like the email, and analysed, provided some very promising information, both pre- and post-Cataclysm. The data outlined some rather shady dealings and behind the scenes decisions made by even some very surprising subjects. And one simple section, headlined with a name that seemed to rear it's nasty, disgusting head again.



    Quite a fair portion of the pre-Cataclysm information he was already aware of, but small details, along with all of the post-Cataclysm data, was well coveted data that was now within his hands. Unfortunately, there was not much, if at all, by way of data pertaining to Erebus. Instantly, he fired a reply to the woman.

    You <>
    ███ ██/██/2215 8:22 AM
    Gelorumfan2182 <>

    ---Encoded Data: Type A7.---

    This information is much appreciated. I believe you may be a great asset in accomplishing both of our goals. Let me know if you require payment for this information, it shall be delivered to you the instant you accept.

    Kurokawa Rei.

    The response came almost immediately.

    "No, it's all good. I'm fine to keep giving you whatever data you need at no extra cost to you."

    Simple, and to the point.

    Now, information brokers, while vastly knowledgeable, were still human, they were limited to only the knowledge they had obtained. That was what Rei was accomplishing. To meet his ends, to look further into the primary organisation he was pursuing, he had to reverse the roles, and seek information himself, rather than be the one to provide it.


    Loading up an older, but entirely relevant document onto his tech shades, Rei stepped outside to walk around the city, beginning to read it in detail, to connect the dots between it and the most recent piece of evidence.

    "...well, yeah, of course! He's so cool!"

    ...The answer was starting right at his face, he knew there was a connection in this specific document...

    "The way he just screamed past that kid so early on, it was the best!"

    It... what? No, no, the document. The document was very important, analysing it, uninterrupted, in its entirety could finally signal the end of--

    "Gaaaah! I can't wait for Archangel's next battle!"

    ...Damn it. He just couldn't resist, could he? He found himself walking towards the small group of university students.

    "...I don't think he was trying this round."

    "Eh!?" One of the girls spun around to look at the sudden new voice.

    "Ah, great, another one. At least you can fangirl with someone else now, Ichinose."

    The girl called Ichinose bore green dyed hair, which was long at the sides and short at the back, and was sitting underneath a pair of goggles. She was wearing an orange minidress, a long white coat that reaches below her knees, and a set of high heel boots.

    Rei's eyebrow raised.

    "I take it you're not interested in Archangel, then?"

    One of the boys in the small group shook his head. "No, I am interested in Archangel and his battles, but I'm not completely obsessed with him like she is."


    "I mean, it is true." Another one spoke up, "It's either the F12000 or Archangel with you."

    "I can't help it if I like them both!" She retorted, before looking back up at the man. "Anyway, what did you mean by Archangel wasn't trying in that race?"

    "Were you there?" He asked. "His car was physically moving slower than in the battle against Kazuya Iwasaki."

    "But he screamed past Kotonami so early on in the race!"

    "Yes. So? Perhaps Tsugumi Kotonami wasn't as quick as Kazuya Iwasaki. In fact, I do know that to be the case."

    The girl looked confused. "You do? How?"

    Rei's face remained unchanging. "It is simple. My occupation. I am an Information Broker. Information, data, such as a racer's performance, it is what I deal in."

    Her eyes went wide with intrigue. "Woah... so do you know him? Does he get this data from you?"

    "While I do know Archangel... he is not one of my clients."

    "I... see. So, uh, could I get your name? If you don't mind?"

    "Rei Kurokawa."

    "Ah, nice to meet you, Rei! I am Riku Ichinose. I'm currently a physics major."

    "Uh... huh."

    Riku then stood up, and began to walk along with her friends, who had started to leave after checking the time.

    "I have some plans with my friends, but hopefully we'll meet again!"

    As she left, the black-clad man was left wondering just what he had gotten himself into, remembering to resume reading the currently loaded document on his shades at the last possible moment.

  3. #983
    Join Date
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    Default Faster Than Angels | Part 52.0

    The referenced song title of Part 51 was Shadows of Our Past by Daiki Kasho.

    [FTA|s3_12.0: Part 52.0] In the News, Part 1


    Monday, March 20th, 2215

    "Good evening, and welcome to the sporting news. I'm your host, Natalie Winters.

    "In our bulletin tonight, a surprise appearance in the F12000 race at Monaco, the Anti-Gravity Purity Alliance launch another attack against the F12000 Race Commission, and shock as a runaway gravity-ball severely injures a bystander.

    "But first, our top story. For the first time in their tenure, Gravitesse Anti-Gravité were allowed to participate in an F12000 race, following a qualification round that placed them just on the grid. Unfortunately, their three-year long dream was not to last, as reliability issues soon took effect, and they were forced to be eliminated. Later investigation proved that their elimination was caused by the apparent failure of an engine limiter module. The shell and several critical components were not rated to the power and speed the craft begun to put out, which resulted in the failure and subsequent crash of the craft.

    "After a catastrophic qualification in pouring rain, Angelus was only able to start 10th on the grid, which translated to a 5th place finish for the Australian team. The other Oceanic team, Triakis, was unable to achieve a position better than last place, the worst finish for them thus far."


    "In related news, the Anti-Gravity Purity Alliance has once again attacked the Race Commission. The group, created by former teams Auricom and AG Systems, additionally are comprised of Angelus and a few other unknown groups and members. The group hacked more displays at Monaco, as well as launching a new campaign against the commission. They warned that they were, quote, 'acquiring enough evidence to make their claims irrefutable, yet they obtained a lot evidence against them at the current moment.'

    "A large group of independent members staged what was described by the group as an 'unofficial, unauthorised' activist protest. The protest delayed the race start for 17 minutes, before security and race officials apprehended the members of the AGPA. Yet another disruption occurred after the race, where more members, joined by a few who escaped the prior apprehension, interrupted the podium ceremony. They were all unceremoniously rendered unconscious by both Tigron racers, Natalia Kireyeva and the one known only as 'Valkyria', who had finished first and second respectively."


    "In local sport, because I love my country, the Supercars Melbourne 400 ended with a clean victory for Andrew Hayes when rival Ashley Douglas retired from the race due to a very unusual and similarly catastrophic systems failure, and the resulting crash that stemmed from it.

    "The race was a very close one, with Ashley keeping up very closely with Andrew, a battle between the two breaking out. After several laps of close, intense racing, the electrics in Ashley's 522kW V8 Sandman Supercar shorted, jamming the throttle wide open and causing a vital component to explode, dislodging one of the hydraulic steering modules. When Ashley tried to turn as the car coasted to a stop from the lack of primary braking power, the module twisted and deformed, while providing very minimal steering. The car ended up slamming into the wall at 152km/h, after the late deployment of the emergency brakes by Douglas.

    "Thankfully, despite the high speed crash, the 3-time Supercars champion walked away from the accident completely unscathed. After the race was over, Ashley was quoted in the post-race interview as being 'completely okay', and will definitely be living to see another race."


    "And finally, a shocking event occurred at last week's gravity ball game today, in the match against England and Italy. In the final minutes of the match, Gilberto Sportiello missed the goal, and sent the grav-ball flying into the spectators, hitting one of them in the face. They had to be taken to hospital, where they're currently recovering from their injuries. The match ended in favour of Italy despite that, winning 36 to 32.

    "That was today's sport bulletin, thank you so much for your company! Coming up next is the lottery results... I hope I'll see you tomorrow night~!"

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