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The comm link channel piped up. Malice heard the Captain's voice come over it. Hey, Malice, you there? The Captain hesitated for a few moments when he did not get an answer. It seemed that Malice was playing hard to get. Hey I know I've been calling you up a lot lately, but I promise I am not in any trouble this time.

The Captain waited again. After there was no response, The Captain tried again. Look, I know your good with technology, and I just thought that you might be able to look at my Adrenaline Cannon. I found an abandoned warehouse near the water front that we can work in. Call me back.

The comm link clicked off there.

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I really do hate that guy some times, ok, most times. Because the Captain was the only one to have Malice's "home phone" as it were, Malice knew that any time it rang, there was trouble. Which is why this call came as such a surprise. The Captain wasn't shouting, there weren't any explosions, and he was trying to be diplomatic?

This was either an elaborate rouse or... well it was an elaborate rouse. But the ever so slim chance that the Captain was actually coming around was quite enticing. This pot was further sweetened by the fact that Malice had been wondering from day 1 where the heck this idiot had gotten his hands on the "Adrenaline Cannon". And I thought my guns had stupid names.

Malice ignored the call for more than 15 minutes, but the entire time it kept gnawing at him. "Alright. Where the hell's this warehouse?" called over the comm link when he finally caved.

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"Hah! I knew you would pick up if I started going on about some technology!" The Captain said in a very satisfied tone of voice. "It's down by the waterfront, on pier twelve." The Captain said, "I'll meet you there tomorrow night at eight."

The Captain switched off the comm link. He took pride in the fact that he knew just how to work people. However Malice was different than most others. The Captain sighed. "I'm probably going to have to offer him a load of stuff for this..."

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With a defeated sigh, Malice responded "I'll see you then." Shutting the Comm Link off, Eric strode over to the bar he had recently installed in his base. It was always a pain in the butt to go back up stairs whenever he wanted a drink or had to go to the bathroom. Eric was thinking of essentially making a second house with all the amenities down in the bunker. But the bar was obviously the first pick, manual labor isn't so bad when you're hammered.

Eric made himself a drink he had dubbed "The Captian" It was an unholy abomination of equal parts Absolute 90 proof vodka, Baileys, Jack Daniels and Kaluha in a 8 oz glass. And of course a dash of Captain Morgan rum. It was so named because it was bitter, left a bad taste in your mouth, left you deaf, dumb, blind and stupid and worst of all, you hated yourself for liking it. Eric found himself drinking this a lot now and days.

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It was a cool brisk night. The sea winds blew past the docks and made the already cool weather colder. The unpleasant kind of colder. Oh well, The Captain thought, At least i will be inside soon.

It was approaching 8pm as The Captain pushed open the doors to the warehouse he had told Malice to meet him at. I would not be surprised if he was already here. The Captain thought.

It was dark inside the warehouse, because unfortunately, someone had destroyed all of the lights at some point. It took a moment for Captain Knievel's eyes to adjust.

"Malce? You in here?"

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The Captain's eyes caught a blaze of light from up on one of the catwalks over looking the warehouse. Without any other light source in the warehouse, the various nodes and blips on the suit made Malice light up like a Christmas tree. He was sitting down on the catwalk, with his legs hanging off the side and his arms hanging onto one of the supports for the railing. When Captain called out into the warehouse, Malice answered "Nope. Tonight I'm playing the part of Jolly Old St. Nick."

Malice stood up from his sitting position on the catwalk, and fumbled with something that the Captain couldn't quite make out at this distance. With something rather big and bulky in his arms, Malice lept off the catwalk, using his jet boosters to slow his decent before he hit the ground. Malice set down the box down on a bunch of crates covered in a cloth, which looked like they were going to be used as an improved workbench. Flicking on a lamp he had most likely brough with him or found buried with the other junk here, Malice opened up the box to reveal the widest array of tools the Captain had likly ever seen before. "Hey look. I even brough the elves. Please tell me you brought something worth my while."

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Oh good he IS here.

The Captain smiled. He had seen that one coming. After all, Malice was the, "scratch my back and I'll scratch yours," type of guy. "Now see, that's the thing. I made that call, and then I thought to myself, 'Malice is gonna want something in return for his help.'" The captain put his hands on his hips and turned away from Malice. "Something of course, besides the place to work, and besides the constant source of amusement I provide, and besides the invaluable help I provide in this little war we've got going on here." The Captain pointedly looked back at Malice, "Besides all that right? Yea I thought so."

The Captain turned all the way around again. "But what do you offer the guy that seemingly has everything? Or if he doesn't have it, he could probably invent it for himself, or buy it? That's a tough question." The Captain lightly rooted through a few of the tools on the table. He picked up one of the more odd looking ones and turned it over in his hands. He then placed it back where it belonged. "But that's the problem isn't it. You don't actually want anything, do you? Well, nothing physical at least." The Captain looked back up into the steel visage that was Malice's face.

"No...You want something else. You want information, don't you? The Captain said, smiling, *SHEEN* "Well it just so happens that I recently came across a few choice tidbits of information about Dr. Archeville that we might be able to use. You know, a little insight into who it is we are actually fighting? Granted, it's nothing incredibly important, but every little bit helps, and I am willing to share it.

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Malice really hadn't really wanted anything else in return for working on the Cannon. He had honestly just wanted to do the job so that he could look over the Adrenaline Cannon. It probably wasn't something the Captain had realized, and Malice was definately not going to pass up any opprotunity go get ahead. But Captain had hit the nail on the head, Malice loved information.

It was a common trait of these super science types really. These people were quite honestly beyond the cutting edge of science. They were pushing boundaries that normal scientists didn't even realize were there. But it was also common place that because each of these scientists were pushing different boundaries, they each had their own unique insights and methods for a particularly problem. There wasn't a doubt in his mind that Dr. Archeville knew far more about physics than he did, but just as likely Malice had a strong feeling that he knew far more about creating high explosives than Dr. Archeville did.

So getting to tinker with the Captain's Adrenaline Cannon was by itself a pretty sweet deal. Getting an insight into the method's behind Dr. Archeville's (almost literal) madness was a veritable cherry on top. Malice gave a small chuckle at the Captain's proposal. "Alright, let's get to work." he said turning around back to the workbench. But he stopped in mid step "Wait. Captain. As much as it pains me to say this, you did good. Here, you earned this." Malice ejects a bullet from one of the guns that's about the size of a child's shoe. After examining it for a moment, the Captain discovers that the words "Captain Knievel" are scrawled on the bullet. Turning back to the table Malice says "Only 11,724 more to go, keep this up and you'll be in the clear."

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The Captain stood in stark silence, holding the bullet in his had. His jaw had dropped. Once again, The Captain found that he was in the presence of the only person on the planet that could leave him speechless.

"You know, you'd think that I would get tired of saying this, but it never ceases to be true. Malice, I sure am glad that I am on your good side." The Captain smiled, flipped the bullet up into the air, caught it, pocketed it, and strode forward.

"Now," Captain Knievel began, removing the Adrenaline Cannon from his forearm. "I guess I should start by telling you how the thing has BEEN running before we move onto how I WANT it to run." Malice dropped the Cannon into Malice's outstretched hand.

"So far, I have found its usage pretty limited. Its a great weapon, but it just fires too darn slow. I think the biggest problem stems from the fact that it has to charge up for so long. The other problem is that every time I fire this thing off I have to pay so much attention to making it fire on target that someone always comes up behind me and clocks me on the head or something. But we can work on that later. For right now, I just need it to fire faster. After we take care of that problem, I might try and have you add a few extras, but that can come a little later as well..."

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"Alright then, let's have a look see." Malice put the Adrenaline Cannon on the table, and messed around with the lamp until the lighting was just right. He then popped a panel and began fiddling around with a few of the components inside. He then stops all of a sudden and digs in the tool box, and retrieves a simple pad of paper and a pencil. "High tech, huh?"

Malice goes to work scrawling a dozen or so equations (or are they diagrams) that the Captain honestly can't make heads or tails of. After a few minutes of exciting number crunching, Malice backs off the paper, and Captain can see that 2 numbers are boxed in, one much higher than the other.

"Okay, here's the deal. First off, you need to find out who made this Cannon, and plant your foot a minimum of 6 inches up his butt. This is about the most inefficient model of energy conversion I have ever seen. Whoever thought they were doing good here needs to hand in their Mad Science card." Malice points at the small number "This is the amount of power your Cannon needs to fire at its current speed." He points at the much larger number "This is how much power it would need to fire in half the time. My entire suit uses less power than that."

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"Hah!" The Captain burst out laughing all of a sudden. "Find whoever made it...That IS funny." The Captain smiled to himself. Seeing Malice's bored look, which most likely came from not caring enough to make sense of what he was saying, Captain Knievel decided to elaborate. "I got no clue who made this thing, Malice...I picked it up a while back in the 'Death-Ray-Bargain-Bin' of some black market shop. Couldn't even tell you were the shop was anymore. But I guess now I know why it was in there." The Captain strode over to a nearby wall, and leaned up against it. His part in this was gonna be all talk. He doubted Malice wanted his hands anywhere near that precious little work bench of his anymore. "To be honest, I just always told myself the thing had to have been American-made, and that settled my mind a little."

Not bothering to wait for the insult he knew was coming, The Captain kept on trucking. "So I am I to assume that you can fix that first little problem? What am I thinking... of course I am..."

The Captain cleared his throat, it was time to start talking. "So as it turns out, Dr. Archeville possesses no actual mutant genes. Just thought I would throw that out there. While you fixed this little problem with the Cannon." The Captain decided to give up a little more info as Malice was doing his thing. "He is actually just freakishly intelligent. A little bit of hard work went into it, but the man actually confesses that he has even gone as far as running blood tests on himself to try and locate any traces of mutant genes, and none are to be found anywhere. Thought you might find that interesting. Even if you already suspected or expected it, it's nice to have confirmation from the man's own mouth."

The Captain tried craning his neck to see what was going on at the workbench, "So what's the next step for the cannon?"

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The news about Dr. Archeville was comforting, but not unexpected. Malice knew deep down in his core that there was a chance that the Doctor could potentially be a meta-human. But Malice held onto the hope that the Doctor represented what humanity could potentially achieve. Under the mask, Eric cracked a smile. The knowledge that Dr. Archeville's insane intellect was all natural was quite comforting.

"Well normally, I would draw up some plans, test out the components, run a few simulations, build a prototype, test said prototype, revist the drawing board and start the whole process all over again, each time progressively making smaller and smaller tweaks to the device. The whole process would normally take me a month before I would consider implementing the weapon into my suit." Malice waits for the Captain's jaw to be picked up off the floor.

"That being said, because I'm not personally going to be using the damn thing, I see no need to use nearly that much finesse. Besides you like to live dangerously." Malice then proceeds to essentially tear the Adrenaline Cannon in half. He takes one or two parts from one of the halves, before unceremoniously throwing it over his shoulder. From out of his toolbox he pulls out several pieces of scrap metal, circuits and wires.

"Alright, I pretty much got everything I need to make the Cannon take less time to fire, what else would you want on this? It'll make my job easier knowing that before I dive on in."

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Oh thank god he is not planning on spending a month on this thing, The Captain thought to himself as he did, in fact, pick his jaw up off the floor.

"Yea, good point. I was thinking maybe you could pack a few different types of short range ammunition in there? Something like those jell-capsules that ignite when discharged, or maybe an electromagnetic circuit that can discharge a bolt of short range electricity? The Captain thought things over for just a second. See, I have a bunch of ideas kicking around in my head, but I can't really put them to work by myself. The Captain shrugged his shoulders helplessly.

Another thing I was thinking about was a short range concussive blast of air that I might be able to use to cripple someone's pressure points with... By now Captain Knievel was pacing up and down past the work bench, counting off on his fingers the laundry list of ridiculous ideas he had come up with. Malice's ears only caught the few more interesting ideas though......And I was also thinking you might be able to attach these cables, kind of like the ones used in those stun guns... That bit might be able to drain someone's reserves of strength away... Malice tinkered with the device a little, while tuning The Captain out for a minute.

...But here is the kicker, right?... The Captain stopped next to the work bench, put his hands on the makeshift flat surface, and leaned forward to look at Malice. This one might be hard to do, but it is probably the one that I am most excited about The Captain made a dramatic pause...It's gonna have some kind of cable, or whip, or laser grabby thingy...And its gonna stretch out really far and I'll be able to wrap people up with it. See, I was fighting this Meta the other day, and the damn thing kept flying around me all day long. I figure if I just has some way that I could reach up and yoink it out of the air, you know?

The Captain looked hopeful. These ideas had been kicking around for a while now. He was happy that he was finally going to get the chance to put them into action...

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Malice just glares at the Captain when he mentioned the laser lasso thing might be "hard to do". "I've built a shrink ray before. I think I can handle it. I can't do most of your ideas, mostly because I would rather shoot myself than make such a silly weapon, but everything is doable. It won't be my best work because of the limited time and materials, but'll definately get the job done."

Malice spent probably the next 20 or so minutes organizing parts on the table and muttering to himself. After it looked like he was done, Malice stood back a moment, and crossed him arms. "Hrmmmm." he said as his eyes flicked back and forth between the large amount of junk on the table and Captain Knievel.

"Okay, here's the deal. All of that junk on the table right there? Needs to go on your arm for the new Cannon. Now getting all together is a compartamentalization problem, but I'm good at solving those..." as a demonstration, Malice's "ground pounder" form unfolds itself from within his frame, as well as 4 mini guns, 2 laser cannons, a giant chest laser, what appears to be a Flak gun on his back, and mini missles just every where. They then all prompty fold back to where ever it was they came from.

"Problem is, that this gets really fricken heavy. So much so, even someone of your strength won't be able to fire it properly because its weight is so concentrated."

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"Oh that is probably fine," The Captain looked thoughtful. After completely glossing over Malice's disregard for his ideas, he did not seem to phase him at all. After thinking for a second about how it might look, The Captain said, "Hey, I just had another really good idea! Trust me, you are gonna hate this one..."

The Captain proceeded to explain to Malice how he thought it would be a wonderful idea if he could not only distribute the weight of the cannon along his arm, but if possible, run some sort of extension down his legs to his boots. The possible advantage of this would be the ability to fire multiple types of ammunition out of his feet in the form of a powerful kick as well as using them to throw powerful punches.

"To be honest with you, I am pretty sure that if anyone were able to do this it would be you. What do you say?" The Captain said with a huge smile that gave off a large *SHEEN*

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"Honestly? I think it's so stupid that it has to work. We'll have to ensure that some of the heavier stuff is on your back, to minimize you being lopsided, but a person of your strength should be able to compensate without much difficulty. But if this is gonna go over most of your body, I'll need some measurements. Stand over there with your feet spread apart and hold your arms out straight."

If the Captain was expecting Malice to pull out a tape measurer, he would have been mistaken. Unless the Captain's eyes were decieving him, Malice's eyes were starting to glow a little green. Malice had installed a highly accurate range finder in his HUD, which made aiming quite a lot easier, but in this case, by comparing the distances from one point to another, Malice could render a 3-D image of a person's proportions. Malice had found out about this particular effect after he had been... distracted... on one of his stakeouts.

After about a half hour's work, the piece was coming together. There was still a lot of junk left on the table to cram in, but it at least looked the part. Holding it out to the Captain, Malice said "Try this on and make sure it fits. Once I get everything in there it'll be harder to adjust."

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"Right-O!" The Captain took the assembly that Malice held out from his hand. The Captain fixed the hydraulic tubing to the attachment at the back of his armor that Malice had also quickly thrown together. He then ran the tubing along his forearm and position the familiar feeling gauntlet where it was supposed to go. The gauntlet was a lot heavier now, but Captain Knievel took that as a good sign. It meant there was more in it, and more was always better...

The next step involved Captain Knievel positioning more hydraulic tubing along his right leg. This part of the assembly ended in one long metal greave that fastened around his shin. The assembly seemed to have a few "exhaust ports" at the bottom of his foot. These the Captain guess would be used to propel the different types of ammunition that would power his new kicking tricks.

"Well, it fits great so far," Captain Knievel was almost shaking with excitement. "Oh man, I can't wait to try this bad boy out! What else needs to go in it?"

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It was Malice's turn to bust out laughing. "What else goes into it? How about the weapons? I'm only about half done." Malice held out his hand, waiting for the Captain to hand the Cannon back over.

Malice then started assembling the rest of the weapon. If Captain payed attention to the going ons, the exact precision of the device was astounding. It was like Malice was playing chess, in 3 dimenions, with Tetris pieces, that transformed. Everything managed to fit together just so.

After probably an hour's worth of work, it looked like Malice was putting on the finishing touches. All the electic gizmos were coming to life, all the little blips were lighting up, and most of them moved whenever Malice pushed a button or flicked a switch.

"Alright pay attention now., I'm only going to explain how this works once." Malice turned the guantlet over, and showed the Captain a piece of material that would slip onto his hand like a glove. On that glove there few 4 buttons, just below the fingers. Going from pinky to pointer Malice said "These buttons act like triggers, when you push one of them, it will fire. This is the vitality draining cables, this is the laser lasso, this will activate the conversion matrix on your back to add a new element to your attacks, the controls for which element are hot keyed on your forearm here, and this here is the pressure point blast, when you fire it, make sure your hand isn't blocking this area here, that's where the targeting system is.

And last but not least, the tried and true plasma wave still works. To arm it, press down all 4 bottons on your palm, and then brace yourself. When you're ready to fire, hit this button right by your elbow here. It'll fire about half a second after you push the botton. It still kicks like a mule, so if you aren't balanced, you could wind up on your ass. Any questions?"

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"HOT S***!" The Captain was obviously extremely excited. He quickly slipped the assembly back on to make sure it fit. The glove with all of the triggers on it fit, well, like a glove. The whole things was a done deal, tip top, lock stock. "Time to test this bad boy out."

Quickly fiddling with a few of the controls, The captain made a quick jump away into the center of the room. He threw a back-flip into the jump just to make sure he could still move well. After landing a safe distance away from Malice and his precious tools, The Captain assumed a fighting position. The first thing he tested was the pressurized air blasts. He threw a few punches, walking forwards and backwards. He could see the pressurized blasts extending a few feet foward from his hands.

Satisfied, The Captain switched gears. Quickly hitting a few more buttons, Captain Knievel whirled around in a 180. He used the Cannon to deliver an electrically charged punch, which also extended out a few feet. He took aim at a pillar on the wall, took a crow hop towards it and pressed the third button. Two short range cables extended and attached themselves to the pillar. The Captain could feel the electricity that would drain away someone's life force snapping through the cables. He quickly released the button and the cables jettisoned themselves from his arm.

"Well that's cool." Captain Knievel remarked as the device got the smallest bit lighter.

Pressing the last button, a laser whip extended from the device. He flicked his wrist, and it cracked the air just like a traditional whip. It was a good sound. The whip seemed solid, although it did not look it. He flicked his wrist towards the same column he had used earlier. The whip connected with a *SNAP* and put a crack in the column. Another flick of his wrist caused the whip to quickly wrap around the cracked area of the column. A quick jerk caused the slack to leave the whip and the whip tugged on the column. Captain Knievel didn't pull hard enough to pull the column down, but a few more cracks did make their way into its structure.

"Well, Malice, my only question is...

Finally, Captain Knievel took a few running steps, and leaped into the air. Spinning in a quick rotation, he threw his leg into the position of a flying kick, except he depressed one of the buttons on his hand as well. Suddenly a jet of flame ten feet long flew out of his outstretched boot. Landing hard onto the ground, sending the dust on the floor of the warehouse everywhere, Captain Knievel straightened up to his full height.

AWESOME! Captain Knievel thought.

"When do I get to beat the snot out of somebody with this thing?" *SHEEN*

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Even from underneath his face plate, you can tell Malice just got a mad grin right across his face. "I was hoping you would say something like that." Malice said as he strode forward a few steps. "If I'm going to unleash that thing on the world, I might as well be the first one it's used against. Besides, if there is a problem with it, better if we know it now, so I can fix it here and now. What do you say?"

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The Captain smiled a large smile. "Picking fights, are we?" The Captain laughed a good hearty laugh. He was going to enjoy this.

"I'm game. Besides, I'll bet you have been wanting to do this for a while..." The Captain smiled. He pulled something shiny out of his pocket and looked at it. It was a bullet with his name written on it. "11,724, huh? I can do that." He pocketed the bullet and assumed his normal fighting stance. "I won't use the big cannon on this thing, though. I don't want to bring this whole place down... He gave the rest of the building a quick sideways glance before setting his gaze on Malic one last time.

"Ready whenever you are, chief!"

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After the challenge was issued, Malice got to cleaning up the site of their fight. He left a few crates and what not around, because otherwise it would have just been boring. He made especially sure that all of his tools were on the complete opposite side of the warehouse so they wouldn't get damaged. He flew around and covered all the windows with various tarps and cloths he found lying around, just incase anyone happened by.

As Malice finally finished with his work, you heard the familiar hum from his suit as more of the systems came online in preparation for the fight to come. There was a lot of mechanical whirring and clicking as Malice's various weapons were brought to bear, and then put back in their rightful spot. "Let's go." Malice said as he adopted his fighting stance.

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"HRAaahhh!"As soon as the word "ready" left Malice's mouth, Captain Knievel was off the starting blocks. He leaped into the air and delivered a spinning kick to one of Malice's shoulder joints. He shorted the kick, and let the new weapons system take over. He felt satisfied as a gust of pressurized air leaped from his heel and made contact with Malice's suit. It seemed to prove rather ineffectual, however. Captain Knievel landed but a few feet away from Malice, ready to defend himself from the coming onslaught. Hmm, maybe I can't use the air blast out of my feet, It would make sense if the targetting system is in the wrist unit. Oh well. Better luck next time. Thought The Captain as he readied himself to receive some punishment.

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"Getting a little ancy are we?" called Malice as he switched into his Ground Pounder mode. There wasn't much room to fight here, so the extra speed wouldn't be necessary in this fight. "Guess I should try out one of my new toys too huh?" Malice concentrated the power in his palm, and waited for the Captain to show an opening. The Captain felt like he got kicked in the chest as a concentrated sonic blast washed over him. Malice waited in bated breath to see what effect it would have on the Captain.

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"OOF" The captain said... For a second, The Captain looked like he would be taken out of the fight after just one hit. but he managed to resist most of the blow.

The Captain decided to take another swing at Malice, This time using his hands. This time, the targetting system worked. The blast of forceful air made contact with one of the joints in Malice's armor.

"Tit for Tat, my friend!" The captain bellowed.

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