The Year We Fell [40K Group story]

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The Year We Fell [40K Group story]

Postby LordLucan » Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:43 pm

I have an idea for a new group story, which is as follows:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Year we Fell


Balfayre is a world of man, but only by happenstance does it claim the dubious honour of being part of the great human endeavour wise men call the Imperium of Man. It is a world of psykers, governed and controlled by the Gilded Seers, the great college of warp mysticism, built into the bedrock of Balfayre’s eldest mountain peaks. The Seers have controlled the development of the human society of the world for as long as humans have made their home there. There are psykers that help manage the crop cycles and agriculture, schools of technically minded seers to aid the few Adeptus Mechanicus representatives on the planet, there are notable psychic soldiers within the Peerguard (the PDF for the planet), Libraries full of Lore from their rich history; psykers aid in countless functions across the glittering metropolis of the Silver city.

There is little crime on Balfayre, and while the Imperial Truth is encouraged, the local Arbitrators of the law only make a token effort in chastising those who wish to follow other faiths, such as the religion of the Chain or the Denomination of the Eight Strangers. These faiths are seen as harmless throwbacks to older times, and are slowly dying out. Balfayre is located far from most Imperial shipping lanes, so the small presence of Imperial officials tolerates most of the Governor- Queen’s excesses.

That is, until the black ship came, and the heartless Inquisitor commanding it attempts to take away every psyker child on Balfayre, to be processed before the Throne of Terra. While most of the Balfayrans attempt to civilly persuade the Hereticus Inquisitor to reconsider, some do not. A Peerguard soldier, fearing the black ship would take his infant son from him, accosts the Inquisitor, who (having already noted the rampant heresy of the Balfayrans) condemns their whole planet to destruction.

The Balfayrans do not let him leave. The Black Ship is destroyed, and the Inquisitor and his staff are killed, and the Imperial complex on the planet is stormed. Its Astropaths are slain, but not before one manages to send a signal to the wider Imperium.

Balfayre and its people are heretics now, and Imperial retribution is inevitable. As an Inquisitorial/Ecclesiastical armada approaches, Balfayre’s people must prepare for the coming storm, by any means possible...


###

Ok, the above is the premise. I want to write a story where the heretics are not only the protagonists, but genuinely good people, driven to desperate ends in the face of the uncompromising Imperium. The world of Balfayre has about a year before the Imperium comes, and I want this story to depict this year, as tensions mount amongst the people of Balfayre. We can have chapters depicting the heretics as they attempt to gain allies from nearby systems, be they human, xenos or ‘fellow’ heretics, and their effects on Balfayre society.

I intend this group story to be a character-driven piece for about five writers in addition to myself.

I need writers to cover the points of view of different groups within the Balfayran heretics. I’m thinking one writer for someone in the PDF, writers for high up political characters, one for the Gilded Seers and perhaps some writers to cover the common man, or perhaps one of the adherents of the Eight Strangers, and how their faith get more extreme and radicalised as fear of the Imperium seeps into the planet. I’ll slip in occasional Imperial crusade POVs, as the ponderous Imperial crusade gradually makes its way to Balfayre, just to keep up the tension.

The Balfayre writers are also free to adapt the vague outlines I have for the world between them. The geography and social structure of the place is pretty flexible, so long as the world is depicted as a functioning, almost pleasant place to live (before its slow deterioration).

We can plan together how the plot will develop, and decide the fate of the world in the end. There will probably be a large battle at the end, and the one at the start against the Inquisitor will have to be depicted too, but otherwise I would like the story to focus on characterisation and really developing these characters; this will also mean the final battle will have a real impact on the readers, if we start killing off characters they’ve grown to enjoy and like.

So, who is up for this? Please comment below if you have an interest in writing a POV for this story, or if you have any thoughts on refining this idea.
Check out my debut fantasy novel from Fox Spirit Books, The Hobgoblin's Herald (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobgoblins-Herald-R-Aston/dp/1910462047). If you've read it, please rate and review it on amazon; I'd be eternally grateful. The sequel, Eater of Names, is out in 2018, so watch this space.
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Re: The Year We Fell [40K Group story]

Postby Ghurlag » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:00 am

As I mentioned in the Shoutbox, I'm interested in taking part.

For a POV, howabout this for a 'common man' sort of angle?

Madak Chenauls is a seer who works with the Adeptus Mechanicus outpost on Balfayre. The research outpost, staffed mostly with inconvenient radical elements from the Magos Biologis Neuralis, has developed a close working relationship with the Balfayran population, making great strides in the field of psychically-controllable servitor production, which the local population are already seeing the benefit of in their daily lives.

When the Inquisitor is slain, and the Imperial Astropaths overpowered by the population, the Mechanicus outpost is left stranded, their situation uncertain. As increasing restrictions are placed on the once-friendly Magi's movements, and the desperate Balfayrans put increasing pressure on the Mechanicus to militarise their technology against the Imperium, Madak finds himself having to balance loyalty to the tight-knit Balfayran community against his friendship with the Mechanicus coworkers he's grown to trust.

On the one hand, he's prompted to defend the tech-priests from the increasingly hostile and desperate public, whilst on the other he begins to ferment suspicions about certain of the research staff's activities.


The idea behind the POV is that while it's mostly 'behind the lines', it gives a perspective on the population's handling of pseudo-imperial representatives (the dominant question of the story-arc being whether the 'friendly' tech-priests should be trusted) while also having a tangible connection to the war effort. As a seer/researcher, I see Madak as more isolated from the broader cultural and religious upheavals, so it'd still be a good idea to have someone cover those (perhaps an Eight Strangers adherant would be best).

As the misty veil of Albion is cast aside, we turn our gaze to the war-torn island of Albany, where the Red King vies with his former master for the control of a realm in dire threat.
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Re: The Year We Fell [40K Group story]

Postby LordLucan » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:14 am

That's just the sort of bio I am after Ghurlag. That's awesome. I like the dilemna invoked too.
Check out my debut fantasy novel from Fox Spirit Books, The Hobgoblin's Herald (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobgoblins-Herald-R-Aston/dp/1910462047). If you've read it, please rate and review it on amazon; I'd be eternally grateful. The sequel, Eater of Names, is out in 2018, so watch this space.
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Re: The Year We Fell [40K Group story]

Postby Corrigan Phoenix » Fri Apr 12, 2013 7:50 am

I'm in, as I stated before. I've had a better idea than my PDF guy. I hope you like;

When she was first inducted into their ranks as a child, Wynn Cussons was hailed as a rising star of their order - a primaris psyker in the making. Her curiosity began to grow alongside the strength of her powers, and she became known as an unpstart - constantly questioning. When the uprising began, and the strike team was formed to infiltrate the Black Ship, her elders sent Wynn along, seeing it as a way to be rid of her.

Her powers quickly tempered in the crucible of battle, both against the Black Ship's custodians and the evils that were unleashed when they freed those kept captive within, and Wynn became instrumental in the final destruction of the ship. Upon return to their planet her status is much elevated, and she finds herself rubbing shoulders with the leaders of their ad-hoc insurrection, to the pleasure of some and the jealousy of others.

Torn between guilt for the lives she took on that accursed ship, loyalty to her fellow psykers that would have been persecuted had they not taken action, and dread for some of the paths her fellow Balfayrians have been set on, Wynn must tread carefully, lest she falls...or is pushed.


Traditional Bio

Name: Wynn Cussons
Age: 28
Gender: Female
Homeworld: Balfayre
Rank: Primaris Trainee (Before Insurrection)
Height: 5' 6"
Appearance: Fair-skinned, strawberry-blonde, shoulder-blade length hair with a white streak running down the centre, blue eyes, very slight build.
Clothes: She wears a dark blue body-glove interlaced with psychic-crystal circuitry, designed to help the flow of trainee's powers. Over this she wears a knee-length floral dress with black leggings, usually accompanied by a black leather jacket that her late father made for her.
Accessories: Wynn carries a purple leather satchel, and wears knee-high, black leather boots.
Armament: Polestaff, slim dirk & laspistol sidearm
Background: Born to a farmer family on the outskirts of one of Balfayre's capitol citys, her raw talents were quickly discovered and she was passed on to the Guilded Seers training halls. A rogue psyker on rampage destroyed her family and village not long after she left - she blames herself for not being there to save them.
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Re: The Year We Fell [40K Group story]

Postby Corrigan Phoenix » Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:01 am

So yeah, that's my girl. I was thinking it places a good mid-point between the people she's bonded with when they attacked the Black Ship, the Guilded Seers ruling council members, and the other insurrectionists.

Maybe on the Black Ship there are a few xenos psykers too that are released and therefore join with the insurrectionists, not to mention a few shadier human psykers that are accidentally let loose in the attack (and some that go/are crazy and run rampage through the ship - in fact this could be one of the tactics that was used to break the ship's defenses...infiltrate and release prisoners)
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Re: The Year We Fell [40K Group story]

Postby Ghurlag » Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:15 am

Pretty cool, character CP. Some thoughts/ideas you've prompted:

1) The Black Ships are staffed by nulls trained to handle psykers. Nulls are pretty rare, so we might say that the Balfayrans haven't seen them before. They produce revulsion in most people, so to a psyker-flush infiltration squad...

2) Kind of building on that, perhaps the strike goes wrong (while still of course killing the Inquisitor and destroying the ship) and the reason Wynn sees herself moving in influential circles is because she is one of the few who can report on this previously unencountered threat? Of course, you might have your own ideas for that.

3)With this combat experience under her belt, I could see Wynn being somehow involved in training other psykers for war. Alternatively, perhaps she's managing the relationship with a xenos they found on the ship?

4)I like the way Chaos is brought in here. The Balfayrans must already know there are 'entities' of some kind in the warp - perhaps some think that they can harness those creatures to the war effort, but Wynn saw something on the ship which gives her an insight others are missing?

As the misty veil of Albion is cast aside, we turn our gaze to the war-torn island of Albany, where the Red King vies with his former master for the control of a realm in dire threat.
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Re: The Year We Fell [40K Group story]

Postby LordLucan » Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:38 am

I was thinking taht the Inquisitor and his retinue were planetside, as he is overseeing the deportation of the psyker infants on the surface. He's attacked by one random guy, and deems the whole planet unsalvageable. His team are killed planetside.

I can't see a psyker team storming a black ship personally. They are designed to resist the worst psykers in the Imperium. I was thinking more that the Balfayre orbital platforms turn their big guns on the ship, to cripple it while its shields are down.

Then it'd make it more plausible taht Wynn Cussons and her team would be able to overcome the few surviving nulls and Adepta Sororitas on board.

Also, I like the idea of the mosntrous psykers on board having to be killed too.

However, what if one of these 'monster' psychics didn't at first, seem evil at all? maybe they are merely a child, and Wynn thinks the Gilded Seers can train this young one, and she saves them? That could open up some interesting opportunities for characterisation. Is the child really an innocent with vast power? Or is it a monster, hiding behind a facade?

Also fellas, I'm not bothered one iota about traditional bios. This isn't a roleplay, so I don't care what she's armed with or whatever. ;)
Check out my debut fantasy novel from Fox Spirit Books, The Hobgoblin's Herald (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobgoblins-Herald-R-Aston/dp/1910462047). If you've read it, please rate and review it on amazon; I'd be eternally grateful. The sequel, Eater of Names, is out in 2018, so watch this space.
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Re: The Year We Fell [40K Group story]

Postby Corrigan Phoenix » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:40 pm

Fair enough in regards to the traditional bio - I just thought I'd sling it up there to better cement her character in my mind (not to mention show you guys). And in fact, ignore the arms section - I've come up with better ideas for how she fights using her power so she doesnt need the weapons (aside from the dirk - that'll be her father's that's been passed on)

I admit I had forgotten about the null-handlers; and I think, LL your idea about Wynn being part of the "mopping up" crew after the orbital stations had crippled it perfect.

I also like Ghurlag's explanation that she encounters the nulls and is thrust into a liason position between the insurrectionists and the liberated prisoners, meaning that she moves in higher circles suddenly.

Having to 'put down' some of the really out of control psykers aboard the ship gives her perfect insight into why siding with chaos isn't the boon some of the others come to see it as - maybe the strike team send her alone into a room against a psyker or two that go chaosy - therefore why only she see's the inherent danger (apart from what all the psykers are taught). And I LOVE the idea of her saving another psyker that actually turns out to be one of the most dangerous to everything.
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Re: The Year We Fell [40K Group story]

Postby schaferwhat‽ » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:33 pm

I have the smatterings of an idea about a noble/highly placed civil servant type who is trying to keep the world functioning following the mess. He abstained from the vote that ended with the guns being turned on the Black Ship and thus either hasn't been targeted by the Arbites response to that crime or used his psyker powers (I'm viewing it as a world with a higher than average psyker population which hasn't been dealt with due to the Imperium's tenuous hold) to deal with it.

What he really wants is to be able to explain away the transgressions, find a way to have the Imperium excuse and spare his planet but obviously as the year progresses he is either going to become increasingly delusional to keep up with such beliefs or be forced to decide between the Imperium and his homeworld.

I'll write something up either on my break at work or when I get back tonight.
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Re: The Year We Fell [40K Group story]

Postby Ghurlag » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:42 pm

Sounds intriguing, schafe. I like the idea of having a character be part of a 'peace party' in the political-level debates.

One note (which I might be corrected on): From LL's description, the Imperial authorities are overthrown on Balfayre, so while the Arbites might've been involved in some sort of attempt to restore order around the inquisitor's death, I think the implication is that they were overwhelmed and thus you (/your character) don't need to worry about them at that sort of level (i.e. I don't think that the rebels are 'underground', the whole world is in revolt).

One more note, because it occurred to me and you didn't seem decided: It might be nice if he was a non-psyker, to represent the non-seer perspective on things.

As the misty veil of Albion is cast aside, we turn our gaze to the war-torn island of Albany, where the Red King vies with his former master for the control of a realm in dire threat.
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Re: The Year We Fell [40K Group story]

Postby Corrigan Phoenix » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:03 pm

Sounds awesome schafe - I too like the idea of having a political perspective on things; gives great scope for admin anomolies when alliances are made and resources are gathered/traded/stolen for ulterior uses.

I guess we ideally need an Imperial writer or two now...unless we're all going to do Balfyrian and leave the Imperial's as NPC (or each write a secondary, smaller-role Imperial character to balance it out). But I'll let LL decide that for certain.
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Re: The Year We Fell [40K Group story]

Postby Ghurlag » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:16 pm

I think LL said he'd write the occasional Imperial POV, but the rest of us would be Balfayran.

Looking at what we have so far, we've got a sort-of-civillian seer working with the stranded Ad-Mech, a somewhat militaristic/warrior seer working between the Seer Council and some dangerous elements from the insurrection, and a high-up political figure trying to find a peaceful resolution.

I think that's a pretty good spread over what LL called for. The only thing we might be missing is a religious perspective.

As the misty veil of Albion is cast aside, we turn our gaze to the war-torn island of Albany, where the Red King vies with his former master for the control of a realm in dire threat.
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Re: The Year We Fell [40K Group story]

Postby Corrigan Phoenix » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:26 pm

Agreed - I'd go with LL's suggestion of someone from one of the older, throw-back religions, as opposed to the Imperial Creed, but we'll see if there's anyone that comes up with something similar.

If not maybe we could all reflect on each person's individual religious-based beliefs at different points throughout the story just to give it some lime light?
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Re: The Year We Fell [40K Group story]

Postby LordLucan » Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:10 pm

I'd be happy if we get one more writer up for maybe a heretic faith position, as I tihnkt he non-Imperial faiths may gain greater support during the year, as the Imperium is now the aggressor in the public perception.

Schaf: yes, Balfayre I envisioned having a high psyker populace, but unusually, it almost self-regulates using the Gilded Seers. The actual Imperial compound on the planet is overrun, with most of it being taken over, though maybe the Arbites hold out for a month and your guy is desperately trying to avoid further Imperial deaths, thinking he can still somehow fix relations between Balfayre and the Imperium.

Do we have a high up political figure, perhaps someone at the Queen's court? We'd need a POV of someone who goes out looking for allies, or someone who treats with envoys of potential allies who come to visit the world. There's a rich seam of political intrigue which could go on there; what would potential allies want in return for their aid agaisnt the crusade? What is their agenda, and what influence do these various groups have on Balfayrian society on the whole? For instance, if real heretics and traitors answer the call to aid, would Balfayre's leaders reject their offers (at least initially)? Would Balfayre treat with aliens, and would minor xenos forces be willing to risk attracting the imperium's attention?

Incidentally, I think Balfayre should be in the Ultima Segmentum, near the eastern edge, as this could explain the lack of major imperial influence.

Finally, I will be doing the occasional Imperial POV. I'll put up a bio later of the perspective character in that section.

In the mean time, anyone else is free to shoot up a bio for this. I'm loving what folks are coming up with so far! :D
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Re: The Year We Fell [40K Group story]

Postby Ghurlag » Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:22 pm

I think schafe's character has that covered - he isn't necessarily the one going out looking for these alliances, but he will be involved in the discussions at the court about their policy, and hear reports about the ongoing efforts to gain support from whoever they approach.

Another character/writer for the 'old faiths' would be good, though I think if it looks unlikely we could go with CP's suggestion and handle that between us (or you could do it, LL - unless your plan is to be more managerial with the odd additional POV item?).

As the misty veil of Albion is cast aside, we turn our gaze to the war-torn island of Albany, where the Red King vies with his former master for the control of a realm in dire threat.
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Re: The Year We Fell [40K Group story]

Postby LordLucan » Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:37 pm

I was considering a more managerial role, but I can dip into the religious POV as well I suppose, if we don't get any more writers volunteering for this position.

And yeah, schaf's character can cover that aspect I reckon.
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Re: The Year We Fell [40K Group story]

Postby schaferwhat‽ » Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:44 pm

I was thinking I'd have a "High Parliamentarian" with one or two subsequent and arcane titles. His parents being even higher up in the governing structure.

I was also thinking the Arbites won't just sit back. Especially on day one of the fall as resistence to the imperium won't be instantaneously coherent and codified. There would be action taken. The sort of action that will steel the resolve of the anti imperials and make those undecided more fearful of the imperium. After that they will soon find themselves entrenched before maybe going to ground as guerilla fighters against the post Imperial regime. The character in my mind while aware of and dealing with those who are seeking to shape a post Imperial future with them as influential members of the governing class his motivations at least to begin with is to work towards a peaceful end. I don't expect that will last very long before reality robs him of such notions.
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Re: The Year We Fell [40K Group story]

Postby schaferwhat‽ » Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:45 pm

I was thinking I'd have a "High Parliamentarian" with one or two subsequent and arcane titles. His parents being even higher up in the governing structure.

I was also thinking the Arbites won't just sit back. Especially on day one of the fall as resistence to the imperium won't be instantaneously coherent and codified. There would be action taken. The sort of action that will steel the resolve of the anti imperials and make those undecided more fearful of the imperium. After that they will soon find themselves entrenched before maybe going to ground as guerilla fighters against the post Imperial regime. The character in my mind while aware of and dealing with those who are seeking to shape a post Imperial future with them as influential members of the governing class his motivations at least to begin with is to work towards a peaceful end. I don't expect that will last very long before reality robs him of such notions.
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Re: The Year We Fell [40K Group story]

Postby LordLucan » Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:57 pm

I like the ide aof a more proactive Arbites and the added complications that brings.

Basically, I want this story to depict all the complicaitons and issues that rebellion brings to a heretical world. Not just the pro-Imperial resistance and the influence of military allies, but also things like what will they do about the trade routes that have been severed from local loyalist worlds, and will the Adeptus Mechanicus planetside be coerced or persuaded into supporting the industry of the planet? What do we do with the survivors of the Black Ship? Most are too old or demented to be trained by the Gilded Seers.


(As an aside to everyone, I'd prefer it if there were no marines on either side.)
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Re: The Year We Fell [40K Group story]

Postby Ghurlag » Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:34 pm

I also like that idea, Schafe. A small pro-imperial resistance group will ramp up tensions in the population.

I'm liking the theme LL outlines - the story's about how difficult and complex such a rebellion is, even for a well-adjusted society.

I'm going to draw together a few details we seem to be converging on, comment on anything that strikes you:

Balfayre is an Ultima Segmentum world with an unusually high psyker population. It has a Queen-Governor, who manages the planet's affairs via a Parliament (of nobles, elected officials or both?). The Imperial presence on Balfayre has always been slight, but a designated compound exists in the capital city (probably close to the spaceport) for the housing of visiting traders and dignitaries, as well as being a venue for Astropathic communications.

The Arbites (based in the Imperial compound?) generally maintained a relaxed attitude towards what they consider minor deviations from the Imperial way of life. When the uprising occurs, they try to protect the Inquisitor and the Imperial compound, but without success. Afterwards, they become the locus of a militant guerilla group, enacting reprisals against senior pro-war figures.

The Imperial Creed has numerous adherents (presumably including preachers from off-world which move amongst the populace), and is slowly gaining dominance over the dying pre-Imperial creeds of the Eight Strangers and the Chain of Denomination. After the uprising, the Creed experiences a sharp decline in favour, becoming a symbol of Imperial oppression.

Elements of the Adeptus Mechanicus have a research outpost on Balfayre (separate from the Imperial compound?) where they work on psychicly-controlled servitor technology (I have lots of ideas on this, but I'll save them for now). They are sufficiently distinct from the Imperium in public perception to survive the initial public backlash, but many start to foster suspicions about their true loyalties - suspicions complicated by Balfayre's desperate need for their production capabilities.

Balfayran society is greatly influenced by the Seer Council, who regulate psyker training and co-ordination (and whose headquarters are in a reclusive mountain fortress). Their reach stretches from Parliament to the Peerguard (PDF) itself (is Wynn one of the psychic members of the Peerguard, perhaps?). They are understandably hostile to the idea of Balfayre submitting its psychic population to the Imperial tithe. With the need for Balfayre to find allies, some of them might start to treat with entities of the immaterium. In this, they may be being led/influenced by elements they rescued from the Black Ship after it was crippled by Balfayre's orbital defences.

As the misty veil of Albion is cast aside, we turn our gaze to the war-torn island of Albany, where the Red King vies with his former master for the control of a realm in dire threat.
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