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Battletech: Mission 1: Training

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With a new lance commander, Jason knew Battle lance would need some real training to get used to working together. He called the entire unit together, and nodded.

"Alright people listen up. Today battle lance is going into the swamplands West of base for field exercises. Weapons will be powered down or shoot blanks, and the computers placed in training mode. I don't mind if you spar with each other, but you WILL follow the orders of your lance commander. There will be NO physical contact, as that does take real time to repair."

He smiled. "The Planetary council wants to meet, so I'll be taking battle lance on our own exercises in the city. Now, to avoid any foul ups, Command's gonna leave first as soon as we're done here. Then battle can begin exercises at 10 am, two hours from now."

He nodded. "Targets have been placed on the battlefield, and our PSL may observe. Recon has the day off, as they mapped the are of the swamp we'll be using yesterday. If they wish however to participate in exercises, they may do so, wouldn't want to let battle have all the fun. Maybe they could provide some training at hitting fast targets. Any questions?"

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"Are there prizes?" pipes up a female on the back left of the assembled company. A dandelion mop of red hair marked the speaker, though at shoulder height to the people around her, that was all most could see of her. Her immediate neighbors parted a bit, revealing a smudged, button-nosed face that looked pretty young for a mech-warrior. At least for a mercenary.

"If you win, I mean."

Some of the harder vets grumbled or chuckled, shaking their heads.

"What? It's a war game; a combat exercise. Incentivize it."

"Your incentive," commented a hard-edged, scarred man in front of her, "is survival. And body count. In that order."

The redhead blew air out her nose in exasperation. "We're not dying or killing in a combat exercise."

A grim smirk curved the corner of the scarred man's mouth. "Famous last words."

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"I would welcome any volunteers from Recon Lance.", the new Lance Commander Lt. Nathaniel Thorne pronounced as he stood up and bowed politely cursing himself for his behaviour the moment he stood straight again. Damn habits...

"I prefer shooting live targets and we don't have much time to be fully ready for combat as a unit. As for an incentive, how about a bet? I'm not sure how familiar everyone here is with the Clan Batchall and bidding so I'll roughly summarize it for you:

I, Lt. Nathaniel Thorne Lance Commander of Aldridge's Avengers Heavy Battle Lance challenge the Recon Lance for a fight of honor. Here's my bid - Anyone on Battle Lance can maintain full target lock with any of your mechs for at least 30 seconds. Your dead if you're for 45 seconds on our sights.", Nathan waited for a moment before he finished.

"Your counter bid should raise my challenge. We tradeoff bids until we agree to one set of conditions. Since you were asking for incentives I leave it up to you to come up with a nice price. I heard Hyena is stashing some nice Liqour somewhere in his bunk.", he winked at the goofy Mechwarrior and smiled friendly. He was still new to the unit and hoped he hasn't crossed any lines with his little 'game'. They would be facing the Clans on the battlefield and he thought it might be worth knowing how their system of challenges worked - just in case they would be facing a Clanner who would issue a Batchall.

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"Huh..." Deezy pursed her lips, trying to think of something to meet the challenge with. The question of difficulty was tricky. A lot of it was circumstantial. And there was the question of whether or not any agreement she made on the behalf of her lance would be taken seriously, since she wasn't in charge of it.

"Headshots," she said. "We'll make all our kills with headshots. Salvage kills. Any shot we make that doesn't hit the head doesn't count."

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"That's not what he means by upping the bid Deezy." Olivia looked at her. "It was a solid effort, but the purpose is not a battle, it is to see how long it will take for them to kill you. Keeping a target lock for that length of time, especially on light faster mechs is near impossible. I think A better batchall would be how long it takes for Battle lance to bring down Recon, Lieutenant Nathan."

The former clan warrior's refusal to use surnames was a known thing. She had gotten better, she would at least use Jason's or the Recon commander's, but that was because they were Tukayidd verterans.

He looked to Deezy. "If you intend to meet the challenge you would declare what forces, or in this instance how long you believe you can evade them. If they but forth a minute, you could put forth two. They would have to go lower than their initial build either reducing forces, or the time. Ypu would be raising the time, or reducing your forces."

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"But I'm not saying we'll evade them," the smaller mechwarrior persisted. "I'm saying we'll beat them." She digested Olivia's words. "So...force reduction. Okay. I'll beat them. Just me."

She nodded cheerfully.

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"I say we forget about that lame batch-ball thing," Jules piped up in reply to Deezy. She had her hips hitched up on a cabinet while her long legs stretched out in front of her. Her arms were crossed under her breasts; it was warm outside, so she was wearing a tank top shirt tucked into her jeans. Her grin became predatory as she said, "I'll just put money on that."

"Jules." Nathan's reply had a hint of reproval in it. "We should know how batchalls work for when we face the Clan on the battlefield."

The pretty woman looked annoyed. "Fine. I'll throw in incentive. I hate cooking, but if Deezy does what she says, I'll cook the Recon Lance dinner. They pick the food, with the provision that I need to be able to actually prepare it. We're talking good solid meals: steak, pasta, pizza, sushi."

"You can do sushi?" One of members of recon lance looked surprised.

"I was married to a DM-raised man. Of course I can make sushi. I make damned fine sushi, actually," Jules boasted with a grin. "I just don't like cooking."

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Lieutenant Tiegart had remained quiet until then, content to see how things fell out. "We'll take that action. I bet it takes you all longer than five minutes to bag us all." The slight red-haired woman nodded. We'll start at a point 10 km in the swamps, with six hundred meters between us. From there, the boundary is a twenty km across circle. Keeps it so you plodders have some chance."

Aldridge chuckled. "Very well. Kinda makes me sad we don't get to partake. He looked to his lance commanders, "Make it happen. Command lance, to your mechs."

With that the four mechwarriors of Command left, mounting their mechs and closing the bay behind them. Heading off intially to the city, as planned.

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Looking up and to the right, a frown crept across Geoff's face. "So if we win, we get honor, and if they win, they get good Sushi made by a beautiful woman?" Geoff said, apparently to himself.

He seemed to struggle with the concept for a few more seconds, then shrugged. "They're crazy. This is a crazy idea. That makes sense. Sort of. Somehow."

"Hey Jules, will you make me sushi if we 'kill' two of them before they take any of us?" he asked, grinning in gleeful anticipation.

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Jules turned to Geoff, her dark eyes smoldering with a suggestion of flirt and mischievous humor. “Lemme get this straight,” she said, planting her hands on the counter she leaned against and pushing off of it with a graceful, sensual movement. As she talked, she walked toward Geoff in a slow saunter. “If we win, then you want me to make you sushi. But I hate making sushi. And if we win, that means I have to do something I really don’t want to do. So, the better question is, if we win, and I make you sushi, what is my reward going to be?”

She’d stopped right in front of the handsome man, hands on her hips as she stared at him, a slight smirk on her lips. She knew he was a player, or tried to be, but he’d never tried to play her. When she’d first gotten here, she’d welcomed that distance. At that time, Dan had been dead less than a year, and the nightmares still came every night. Now, it was almost two years since his death and she didn’t dream of him burning to death all the time. She was an attractive woman; the weight from Ben’s birth was long gone, lost doing her depression after the attack from the Smoke Jags. Yet the player had never made a move on her, and now she was moving from pleased by this to curious. Maybe he was all talk.

Geoff stared at her like a mouse watching a cat as his face turned red. Clearly uncomfortable, he started to stammer a reply to her, but nothing coherent or even something that could be considered a word formed. Jules watched him struggle before shrugging and saying, “Hey, if you’ve got nothing to tempt me with, that’s fair. But you won’t get sushi until I get some reward for my efforts in the botch ball.”

“Batchall.” Tiegart corrected her with a droll smile.

“Yeah, that.” Jules didn’t sound concerned about her mispronunciation issues.

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Deezy gave Tiegart a sour look, then heaved a melodramatic sigh.

"All right...I guess you guys can play too."

Almost immediately she took the new reality and ran with it, brightening. "I scanned the map we made of the swamps. Lets go get something to eat and we can work out our strategy."

She futzed with the controls of the weird metal gauntlet on her left arm and hand, and it sprayed light up into a section of a 3D topo map showing contours of the land that hovered in midair. A circle appeared on the map, outlining the combat area.

Then she looked over her shoulder, gave the Battle Lance a reproving look, and minimized the image so it couldn't be easily seen at a distance as she joined her lancemates and started walking away...still chattering, but now more quietly.

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Nathan watched the whole scene with pleased bemusement. Even though Deezy didn't 'get' his initial bid they at least got the idea to turn this training into a reasonable form of competition.

Still it wasn't entirely done since they haven't really agreed on the terms... but by the looks of it Lt. Tiegart's round up was setting the rules for the match.

"Bargained well and done.", was Nathan's reply to that as he nodded to Olivia watching Command leave for their assignment.

Looking back at the others who were probably a bit surprised by this odd figure of speech, he simply added, "That's how the Clans seal their Batchalls - it's like a formal handshake, that the terms of battle have been agreed on."

He looked really pleased by the outcome of this and smiled at himself as he closed in to Jules and Geoff. His eyes were focused again and he assumed his somewhat stiff stance which he was used to by years of service with the DCMS.

The exotic beauty intrigued him - less in a sexual way, although she was breathtakingly beautiful - but much more in what she didn't show. Something was not quiet right and Nathan was almost sure she was holding back something, something big. If his straightforward look and examination of her would be taken as indiscreet or impolite his own handsome features gave him some leeway to get away with it - and he really wasn't checking her out, it was more as if he was trying to see the real Jules and not the one dealing with Geoff... or any other man actually.

"We shouldn't worry that much about any rewards for winning this challenge. We have to win it first before we can think about incentives.", he smiled at his Lancemates and looked over to his table - "Want to join me to talk tactics?", his invitation was open and polite - it was hard to tell if it was actually an issued order in disguise...

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Geoff, spluttering and red faced, was more than happy to squeak a "yes" in response to his lance commander. Women aren't supposed to be this... this... GAH! Tactical withdrawal!

He spun, and gave Nathan a proper half-bow to Nathan. Not the respect that he should show one's superior, Nathan thought, but better than curt nods he's been giving me up until now. It was abundantly clear to Nathan that Geoff was unhappy about Nathan, but on it was also clear that he respected the chain of command, and was never outright insolent.

"Come on! We have a victory to plan! Road runners to catch!" Geoff yelled, leading Battle lance away from Recon. If he was a little too loud, only that and the bright red of his cheeks gave it away.

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Mel followed the rest of Battle Lance, not having spoken up or made a joke for once. To be honest, he was enjoying Rogue's little show just fine. Honestly, the whole idea of the batchall was a bit... well, Hyena couldn't define it, but it nagged in an uncomfortable way.

Aside from the fact that it was a Clan thing, and on reflex he detested the Clans ever since his family was killed in the flotilla invasion, it seemed something distant from reality, more suited towards a war game and the bets they were making in a friendly way than the wide-scale use during the Invasion.

After all, the whole concept of trying to use as little men as possible, limiting yourselves, single combat... this was not a some noble sport or place for honor. Somethings weren't done on the battlefield, but still... War was war in the end.

And the Clans complain about losing at Tukkayid?

The fact that Captain Aldridge had willingly engaged in a batchall was too complicating to think about right now, so Mel turned his focus towards as Justice said, winning this challenge.

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About an hour later the Mechs of Battle and Recon lances were out in their "playground" about to begin exercises. "Alright, at precisely 1100, we begin the exercise." Tiegart's voice came through over the coms, her Shadowcat looking mean as ever, She was a fine mechjock, easily one of the best in the unit, and a fair commander. She had her Lance arranged in a diamond formation, with the big Shadowcats taking tail and point. Battle was six hundred meters away. On the private recon lance channel she purred almost. "Hoskins, as soon as things get underway, take that Hitman of yours and head south. they'll never catch you in the hills, and once you hit the forest, they'll never get you in five minutes."

Dale Hoskins nodded. "Acknowledged Battle One, They were idiots to try some crazy scheme like this."

"Corporal Chen, I want you to keep your eyes peeled with the beagle. Something tells me Command is out here too." The wistful voice of the corporal answered. "Yeah, me too, it's just like the Demi Precentor..."

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From the tiny cockpit of her Shadowcat, Deezy's eyes roved rapidly over the tech specs of the battlemechs in their opposing lance.

"Only one of their mechs has active sensors," she reported. "Lets focus fire on it first. Then we stick in formation for ECM coverage, and never let them get close enough to open up with those wickedly huge laser arrays they've got. We'll peck 'em to death from afar. Just watch out for sinkholes."

She blew air out her nose in exasperation. "This is terrible terrain we picked for this though. A rocky canyon would have been awesome."

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Battle Lance was standing in classical 2 by 2 formation waiting for Lt. Thorne’s orders.

Nathaniel checked the loadout of his Marauder making sure all systems were nominal and glanced sideways to his wingman Rogue. Parallel to them were Warpath and Hyena ready for action. Opening a channel Nathan waited a few breaths before he actually spoke. His voice was calm and serene, almost like a whisper.

“They’re probably going to try to get as much distance between us and them. We should have the superior range and under normal conditions they wouldn’t stand a chance because we would simply wear them out over time. But time is not on our side. I don’t care if we actually win by the agreed upon rules. The Clanners make the mistake to follow their rules too strictly and they rarely expect betrayal because they prefer the direct confrontation. I suppose after Tukayyid they had to revaluate their pressured rules of engagement.”, he pushed the throttle forward initiating full speed on his Marauder while he scanned the horizon for a possible target.

“5 Minutes can last forever in a real fight but it won’t be enough for this engagement. Just assume that the Enemy is expecting reinforcements and we have to take them out before they arrive. I don’t expect to win this challenge, I DO expect a hit ratio of more than .666. Make your shots count.”

Nathan went for a direct head to head approach to the starting position of Recon Lance, forcing them to move at least parallel to them if they wanted to avoid getting too close. As soon as he could tell which side they would evade for he’d give his next order.

“Everyone follow my lead, stay close together – we spread in star formation on my call. Lets make them sweat.”

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Tigeart smiled. "Typical Lyran style. I wonder if the Drac was one in a past life."

He's counting on tonnage to win, stick to the plan." With those words, Hoskins took off like a flushed rabbit, his nimble Hitman moving over 120kph peeling off to the south west. He was already nearly out of even the most extended ranges, with only the most longrange autocannons and lasers able to get a shot at him.

Chen stayed between the larger shadowcats, moving to line up a shot with his ER large laser.

(time to test the rules. you may move up to your MPx30 meters per turn in any direction. Keep in mind your weapon ranges, and that Recon is going to be moving west, away from you, except for the Hitman, which ran due south. You begin 600m apart, roughly 20 hexes in the old terminology. Everyone declare your move, and we'll move on to combat phase. I expect this to be slow this first time, but once we get going, and see what needs adjusting it can change to be more streamlined.)

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Maneuvering carefully over the rough ground, and trying to keep the lance commander's Maurauder covering his left flank, Geoff walked Lucy forward at cruise speed. Hopefully, they won't make me the pincushion, he thought, the snorted at that. Said the lamb on the way to the butcher's yard. Well, this lamb bites back!

He brought up his targetting computer, looking for a lock for an alpha strike, and hoped Lucy could keep it together until they cleaned up recon lance.

(If Nathan's running at full speed, Geoff's going to walk for his first turn to try to keep steady for an alpha strike, or at least a pair of PPCs. If Nathan's being careful, Geoff's not going to go any faster than the boss.)

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Mel nodded at Nathan's words as he heard them. The bet and Recon's actions were not exactly winnable terms but yeah, getting the job done would be good. He sent the Penetrator lurching forward in motion to keep pace... the ranges would be too far at the moment to open fire and expect a hit.

OOC
Mel will walk or run as appropriate to keep close, depending on how fast Nathan is going.

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Deezy sticks with her formation, moving as they do and twisting her torso to keep an eye out for the other mechs...ready to open up with her large lasers when they appear.

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Tiegart and the rest of Recon maintained formation, moving to the east, forcing Battle to split up if they wanted to get Hoskins too. Both She and Chen lashed out at extreme range, spearing Geoff's Loki with a trio of ER Large lasers at extreme range. two hit the left torso, and the one from Chen hit the Loki's Center torso. the total damage was a loss of nearly two tons of armor, slewing the heavy around abit.

(okay, keep in mind that in battletech, EVERYONE gets to fire, and the resolution of all damage occurs simultaneously. They are at extreme range, roughly 600m so you need a weapon with a range of 20 to even get a shot on them. A weapon with a range of 30 is needed to shoot the hitman. Now for a quick and dirty run down on attacking. The base value you need to beat equals your gunnery score. Because we are at long range, it is +4 difficulty to hit. because recon all walked save the hitman, it is another +1, If you walked, it is +1, if you ran, +2. you roll 2d6 and compare to the target number (meet or beat) to attack for each weapon fired. For now I will handle hit location rolls. Keep in mind your heat when firing weapons, and good shooting.

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"Ouch!" Geoff whispered to himself. He had enough discipline to keep idle chatter off the comms, and they were only using simulated weaponry, so he hadn't really lost two tonnes of armor, but he had enough theoretical knowledge to know the situation wasn't the best.

Double checking to make sure he was clear, he returned fire with the only weapons of his that had range: his ER PPCs. Unfortunately, he hadn't quite had as much training in gunnery as he'd had in piloting, and it showed: one of his shots was off by a few degrees, and ionized particles caused a small gout of steam to erupt a few meters from one of the Shadow Cats, although the other one only missed by about a meter. Sadly, close did not count in the case of ionized beam weapons.

Using his chin switched, he opened his channel to the rest of the lance. "Boss, you know how much I hate to whine, but I suspect I'm going to be used for target practice." The cabin was spiking in heat, as the battle computer simulated the heat bloom from firing the two heavy weapons.

"Do we have a plan to deal with this little range issue?" He chinned the channel shut, then added to himself "At least one that doesn't involve me riding a fireball to the heavens?"

Crunch!
[kael] 8:49 pm: Alright, Long: Gunnery 4, +4 at long range -1 targetting computer +1 me walking, +1 for them walking is an 8. (4+4-1+1+1). 9, dammit!

[kael] 8:51 pm: Alright. First ER PPC:

kael *rolls* 2d6: 2+4: 6

[kael] 8:52 pm: Second ER PPC:

kael *rolls* 2d6: 4+4: 8

[kael] 8:52 pm: Third ER PPC:

[kael] 8:52 pm: Whatcha mean I don't have a third ER PPC?

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"Woo!" Deezy yelped as the fracas started. "Let the wild rumpus start!"

She jockeyed her Shadowcat's torso around. It was a custom job...Clan tech was a joy to work with when she could get it. Even the non-Omni mechs used lots of standardized and modular parts. All energy weapons, loads of electronics. It didn't skimp on armor either, at least for its size and engine capacity. It was painted a dark, rusty orange, with a pattern that suggested ruffles of fur. A pair of eyes on the center torso bracketed the cockpit window, and a painted grinning mouth of fangs stretched between the torso laser cannon. It was called The Great Metal Beast.

The engagement range was too far for the torso guns, so she locked the arms in firing position and eyeballed a targeting solution. At this speed, it would have been an easy shot...but the range was extreme. Even gauss cannon or missile batteries would have trouble at this range.

There was a pause as the combat computer synced with the results from the simulation processor, then Deezy whooped again as two solid hits were reported. It wasn't as exciting as a real combat, with the whine of hypercapacitors and the sizzle-cracks of superheated, ionized air...but you didn't get as dead either.

"I got a solid pair, and I'm going for at -least- three of a kind," she reported to her teammates. "Damn but they build those things solid."

SalmonMax *rolls* 2d6: 6+3: 9

SalmonMax *rolls* 2d6: 5+6: 11

[salmonMax] 10:51 pm: Hah! Two hits!

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Geoff was slammed again by hard hits from another pair of large lasers, this time to the loki's Right torso and arm. The loss of nearly three tons of armor from the Loki's already threadbare protection hurt badly, Even as The battle continued.

(I need a piloting check from Geoff for taking 20+ points of damage DC is 4)

Battle lance caught a break, Chen's Mongoose slipped, it's feet sinking into the swampy morass, immobilizing it. knowing he'd be pounded to nothing, Tiegart stood her ground, knowing that at max speed battle would get into range of the three of them.

(everyone move as you will, you will be able to move into 18 hexs range if you run this turn, so you should all be able to fire something. Clearly indicate your targets, and roll your attack for each weapon fired. I will score all hits and post afterwards)

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Mel jerked his Penetrator into the full pace forward, and entered extreme range of Tiegart. He bit his lip, wondering if he should open fire now. Worth a try. The ER Large Lasers opened up on Recon Lance's commander. The first shot tore up earth and missed, but Mel seamlessly adjusted, and his next shot hit a leg.

OOC
[Jeremy] 11:21 am: what woud be the range and total mods?

[Long6] 11:22 am: you'd have to run, so base gunnery +2+4(long range)

[Jeremy] 11:29 am: ok - Running and using 2 ER Large Lasers on Tiegart... target number 8

Jeremy *rolls* 2d6: 3+3: 6

Jeremy *rolls* 2d6: 6+3: 9

[Long6] 11:31 am: 1 hits left leg

[Jeremy] 11:31 am: Damage 8

Heat Level: 2

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Cursing, Geoff struggled for a moment to keep Lucy upright, then modified his course, angling off to the right, trying to maintain the range on Recon lance while distancing himself from his lance mates. His left torso's armor registered as completely stripped, and the rest of his torso was a shot away from exposing internals as well.

Geoff activated his radio again: "Armor breached, distancing to avoid destruction splash. Over."

He continued to fire at Tiegart's Shadow Cat, and cursed again as his fire bracketed the smaller 'mech without hitting it.

Crunch
[kael] 1:32 pm: Rolling for piloting check:

kael *rolls* 2d6: 3+1: 4

kael wipes his brow.

[kael] 1:56 pm: Alright, so a pair of ER PPCs again, at Tiegart. Target number 9 again (4 + 4 Long

range +1 walk +1 Tiegart's movement -1 Targeting computer).

[kael] 1:56 pm: ER PPC #1:

kael *rolls* 2d6: 3+5: 8

[kael] 1:56 pm: ER PPC #2:

kael *rolls* 2d6: 5+3: 8

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