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Post by Crono on Tue Jul 21, 2009 12:15 am

To: BoG Crew
From: Crono Arinborn
Subject: Relevant Key Search Brainstorm

With routing to the wireless access points of this Earth opened to us, I've begun work on deciphering the local's variations of network protocols and information markup patterns. Once I complete that, I'll be formulating a script to crawl the network space link by link and tag popular traffic flow, keywords, and content. By the time I'm done, we should have a fairly formalized 'search engine' that runs properly through our own system weighted by those heuristics. With that coming potential in mind, I have two things to ask of each of you.

First, if you think you have the expertise to offer assistance in the setup, the sooner we get this underway, the better. Come see me.

Second, I'd like to ask for a brainstorm of potential 'keywords' to try and follow what would be relevant. Think of it as though we are making an attempt to database their entire public network (though that isn't really the case, just a comparison) - we'll have everything organized for us, but we still have to know what we're looking for.

'wrecked ship'
'aliens'
'Endymion'
'Void'

Anything and everything you can think of that might relate to our goal, I'm willing to try. The orders of magnitude on computing work for a new search are infinitely smaller than those of the overarching project, so don't hesitate. Thank you for all of your assistance.
-Crono Arinborn


Last edited by Crono on Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Shaila on Tue Jul 21, 2009 5:57 pm

I have ideas for key terms!

'invaders'
'prisoners'
'crash'
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Post by MajorJim on Tue Jul 21, 2009 6:31 pm

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say any actual data on a real alien incursion of any sort is gonna be massively suppressed by the megacorps that are in charge. Check out Mitsuhama, Renraku, Ares Macrotechnology, Aztechnology, NeoNET, Saeder-Krupp, Shiawase, Wuxing, and EVO for some idea of the sorts of folks we're dealing with. They are... very powerful. I doubt anything available on the public nets is going to be of particular use to us.

If we want real data on it, our best bet is to try to burrow in with one of more of the megacorps and either legitimately or otherwise access their data. Check out the Zurich Orbital platform. From what I can tell from my research it's their major financial center.
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Post by Crono on Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:01 am

Unfortunately, I feel that is an extremely dangerous limb to tread. Given the nature of disunity of the system in place, I wouldn't make the assumption that the given balance of power allows for any overall encompassing cover up. In situations like these, an individual can hold and hide much. A long shot, I agree, that anything immediate would show up from this effort, but potential none-the-less. But the purpose of the mapping in fact serves a more interesting purpose than your initial assumption.

Consider the request and the space we're in. If there was some sighting of the Endymion in any form, there would still have to be some trail of its presence to follow on one public end or another.

First - the potential of cover up. In fact, automated crawling managed to flag this to my attention after I broadened a few search parameters: There are several reports of a small asteroid hitting a location 'Puget Sound'. A fairly small news event, yet specific information on it is sparse, aside from the claim that 'the majority of the asteroid burned up in the atmosphere'. This is the first potential lead I'd like to follow up on, based on a few observations.
1) The event took place within a relevant time frame, several days ago.
2) Burning up is a convenient excuse for lack of asteroid evidence, a thought in conflict with the fact that...
3) Anything entering atmosphere significant enough to require a news report would have already been reported upon long prior to impact. Consider even less-advanced Earth variants, who have the ability to star-gaze with confidence to detect whether or not a space-bound object would or would not ever be on a collision course with them.

So far, this is the biggest trail I feel we have to follow up on in terms of the Endymion itself. As far as further purpose of the network mapping, I'm making a follow up comment on that immediately after this update.
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Post by Crono on Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:54 am

Now, for some further analysis of the planet itself, specifically the balance of power to offer a larger understanding of the setting, networking traffic monitoring has revealed the following. Planetside, entities known as 'Megacorporations' are the dominant superpowers on the planet. From public reference, it seems they do not operate under the laws of the country(s) they sprawl across. The only governing body surrounding them is something referred to as the 'Corporate Court'. Corporations come in three ranks, A, AA, and AAA. The term 'megacorp' seems to apply specifically to the 'AAA' corps, the others not escaping legal boundaries like them.

The top ten largest companies listed are as follows.
* Ares Macrotechnology, a Detroit-based conglomerate of arms (Ares Arms, the original company), automobile (General Motors), and space (AresSpace, the former NASA) industries. Ares also owns Knight Errant Security, and Apple Computer, amongst its numerous divisions. The first American-based Megacorp—currently led by one Damien Knight.
* Aztechnology, a corporation from Aztlan (formerly Mexico) heavily involved in consumer goods, chemistry and magic. This corporation does not seem as PR focused as the rest.
* Evo Corporation, a corp based in Vladivostok, Russia, that focuses on nano- and bio-technology, genetics research and other "transhumanist" technologies, and “metahuman factors engineering” (products made specifically for metas)**. The first corp to become transplanetary after establishing a Mars base.
**The term metahuman seems to refer to orks, elves, dwarves, trolls and the 'metavariants' such as gnomes, giants, and minotaurs. These came from the phenomenon 'UGE' or 'Unexplained Genetic Expression', for whatever that is worth.
* Horizon, A Los Angeles based media corporation, fairly new to the AAA scene. While they are primarily invested in media, PR, and entertainment they are also strong in consumer goods, real estate, and pharmaceuticals.
* Mitsuhama Computer Technologies, focuses largely on robotics, heavy machinery, magical goods, and computers.
* NeoNET - the pioneers of the fairly recent wireless Matrix, but also have diversified holdings in many other sectors.
* Renraku Computer Systems, mainly computer and arms-producing giant from Japan. Slowly rebuilding after several startling debacles.
* Saeder-Krupp Heavy Industries, the world's largest corp. a German conglomerate based on the production of steel, heavy-industrial goods, cars (BMW), arms and communication in Europe. Its majority shareholder and chairman is Lofwyr, a Great Dragon. (Reports account he bought the stocks from 'hoarded treasures').
* Shiawase Corporation, a starter family business, expanded itself in energy production, biotech and environmental procedures. First to fight for and be granted megacorporate sovereignty (officially called extraterritoriality): exemption of law on foreign soil.
* Wuxing Inc., a Hong Kong-based company, heavily focused on shipping and finance, and recently chipping into the magical-goods market.


With this basic setup in mind, the question becomes, what now? Along with one of our specialists, Daena Atterro, we're working on using the network crawling method to monitor specific traffic flow source. Specifically, our goal is to find which corporations (or any sources, for that matter), are specifically interested in making queries like the ones originally mentioned (the 'alien conspiracies', as it were). The ones with the biggest traffic flow concerning those topics are the ones more likely to hold some investment at covering up (or alternatively, finding a corp covering up) the discovery of the Endymion. The perk to this method is that we are not directly forcing or making any access to any corporations network. Instead, we're simply monitoring their public queries, and therefore have a better chance at narrowing down who we can start looking deeper into rather than diving blind and pointing uninformed fingers.

Following this update will be discussion of few more topics gathered based on other crew analysis.
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Post by Crono on Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:39 am

Further crew's topics of discussion and analysis:

Foster: Has been working on researching local weapons and gear technology on the public end. If we have to set foot on ground, we'll know a basis of what to expect, and also know what we're looking for in terms of retrieving said gear to fit in more with the populace, considering we'd like to negate the observance of our presence. This brings up some thought as to 'how' we go about retrieving said gear, but that is another topic altogether. Expect specifics from Foster as they are retrieved.

Shirakawa: Upon request, has done some extensive research into the planet's fairly common 'neural transmitters'. Its come to our attention that the vast bulk of users in the wireless network actually access more on the end of virtual immersion than computer interface, with a few varying levels of intensity on this interaction. Thanks to the Doctor's efforts we have a basic schematic for interfacing on this virtual level. Given proper precaution, again on the focus of fitting in, we'll potentially turn to this as the norm due to its commonplace in the society. However, on that note, I will stress that I will personally discourage any reckless exploration on this topic. I have little official say in this, but this is not something I wish to resort to until I can personally guarantee our awareness of a stable process and full risk involved in this kind of interface, or another aboard can show similar preparation.

Nemura: Upon request, has taken up to monitoring any packets entering our network flagged of suspicion. Simple truth of the matter is, we're inhaling a lot of information in our study currently, and while I've trying to filter our access to be as efficient and innocent as possible, our data flow is certainly our most noticeable footprint in this dimension thus far. Network access is still our most likely means of going by unnoticed, but due to our pursuit of it, I'd like to make sure we're taking precautions regardless. If anyone has any interest in helping this monitoring effort, please arrange to speak with her.

Swiftblade: Upon request, has taken to hand-picking from the resulting list of potentially relevant 'conspiracy' web spaces to give them a human assessment. If something has come up as a result of the first wave of network crawling, she will be ready to inform us.

Lastly:
I'd like to take note of the presence of a SIN protocol, or "System Identification Number," on this planet. Every legitimate transaction is logged and tracked by an individual's SIN. The concern here thus becomes, even if we manage to mingle, we are likely to be limited in our presence, if not taken immediately singled out as outsiders due to our lack thereof. We should look into a solution for this problem immediately if prolonged exposure does become necessity.
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Post by Dulkor on Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:43 am

I know I'm not part of the 'official' investigation, but I'm doing some digging to look for hacker communities and other little bundles of miscreants and ne'er-do-wells out there. I'll report if I find anything worthwhile.

-Eleste

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Post by Excellen on Wed Jul 22, 2009 4:28 am

FROM: Seiya Sumeragi
TO: Blaze of Glory Posting Board
TOPIC: RE: Network Analysis Public Discussion

This post is regarding studies of the societal environment involved with this realm's inherent magical properties.

It has been confirmed that as posited before, residents of this Earth are familiar with this world's particular brand of magical essence. Instability seems to be unheard-of for them.
In fact, the practice of harnessing magic is widespread to the point where major academies exist for its training, including what is known in this world as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Magic (MIT&M). Mages are considered a valuable human resource, and numerous militaries and companies seem to be continually recruiting them.

This being said, magic is still only harnessed by those born with the natural aptitude and affinity required for it. Such people are still relatively uncommon, and they must still undergo extensive training to hone any natural talent they have.

The existing schools of magic are broken down into three primary categories: Hermetic Magic, Shamanistic Magic, and Adept Magic.
Hermetic mages seem to follow knowledge-related pursuits in their mastery of the arcane arts. They fit the mold of what many would consider a "traditional" sorcerer. Shamanistic mages seem to act in harmony with nature, invoking the power of the planet and its natural environment. Adepts are those who harness their magical power in such a way as to enhance their own bodies and natural abilities.

In both the Hermetic and Shamanistic fields of study, there exist two primary areas of specialization. These are sorcery and conjuration.
Sorcery seems to be an all-encompassing field which covers all main forms of an individual's own personal spellcasting. Conjuration is a field which involves the summoning of spirits to perform tasks as requested.
Studying in one field does not seem to preclude studying in the other, and indeed, most practitioners seem to be versed in both, even if versed more strongly in one particular field.

As shown above, the study of magic is a fairly well-developed field in this world. This extends into the realm of serious potential dangers from exploitation of this world's magical power.

Among the articles I searched, I found multiple mentions of a "Great Ghost Dance." From what I was able to learn, this incident happened roughly 50 years ago. When it occurred, what followed was the simultaneous eruption of every volcano in the near vicinity of the city of Seattle, Washington, in the continental United States, although details are sketchy at best.

I do hope some of this information may be of use in future dealings with local residents.


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Post by MajorJim on Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:51 am

FROM: Major James Foster
TO: Blaze of Glory Posting Board
TOPIC: Guns, Ammo, Armor, and combat cyberware

I have undertaken a survey of the publically available data involving weapons, armor, ammunition, and because it came up a lot in cross-marketing during my searches, combat cyberware.

Some basic observations will follow:

Hand Weapons: Pistols are fairly common, ranging from light, to heavy, to machine pistols, generally built as intimidating and as metallic as possible. Pistols are seen more as a weapon of first resort, societally, than a backup for assault rifles, due to the nature of regulation. Nearly all pistols are semi-automatic varieties, but burst fire and machine pistols do exist, as do a few single-action revolvers, most notably the Ruger Warhawk. Most of our slugthrowers will fit in relatively well with only minor modifications in visual profile if we want to seem local. Concealability and subtlety seem to be secondary factors at best with the majority of these weapons, but there are a few obvious exceptions like the Raecor Stinger, a pistol so small it fists inside your fist and has only a small targeter peeking out.


Assault rifles: These are fairly uncommonly sold outside of corporate security forces and private mercenary companies (there appear to be a lot of these based from the advertisements I saw), and require some significant legal licensing. They function much as the slugthrowers aboard the blaze of glory do. Walking around with these would be viewed as highly suspicious.

Machineguns: See above for purposes of legality and social acceptance. I'd say on any missions we're doing where any civilian interaction is going to be likely, these are right out. That being said depending if we have to tangle with corporate security or local authorities these are liable to be deployed against us. There's no particular tactical concern we should have except for the extreme accuracy that some have been afforded by Gyrostabilizer mounts, apparently a large framework that fits over heavy armor which allows the machineguns to fire long bursts with high accuracy. Be warned.

Support weapons: Grenade Launchers and rocket launchers fall into this category. These are also available but once again, require massively prohibitive licensing in order to use. Not recommended for blending in with the populace. As usual, however, the security forces or local authorities will have access to them, no doubt.

New toys: Due to the size of metahumans and the prevalence of physical-enhancement cyberware, a new form of longarm has apparently come into common use in this earth-analog. The Assault Cannon. These are basically upsized battle rifles, generally single or semi-automatic weapons firing shells of explosives anywhere from twenty to forty milimeters. A single shot will paste a human being, even in heavy combat armor. See accompany pictures.

While these would have minimal impact to something like our armored auxiliary forces, I suspect their deployment is impossible in any case. But be aware, weapons of this caliber are ferociously dangerous.

Gyrojet pistols are also coming into play here. For those unfamiliar with gyrojet weapons they are basically small arms that fire small rockets, which speed up and reach armor-piercing velocities outside of the barrel under their own propulsion. Very nasty, but apparently comparatively rare.

Directed Energy weapons: There do not appear to be any particle beam weaponry on this planet, yet. However there are experimental and expensive (in Nuyen) lasers, which come in two varieties, man portable and vehicular. They seem to have a pretty significant dropoff in power past close range, but have demonstrated and brutal armor penetration in that area. Beware. There are also advanced taser pistols for non-lethal takedowns, and these seem pretty well able to bypass even heavy armor.

Ammunition: There are several types of ammunition on this earth Analogue that should be of interest to us: Gel, APDS, Explosive, and flechette.

Gel Rounds: Basically a form of less-lethal ammunition, these are designed to knock targets unconscious and render them mission kills, rather than actually dead. These are actually extremely easy to buy, apparently encouraged by self-defense advocates and the like as a less-lethal solution than standard ammunition.

APDS: We have a form of this aboard the blaze already. Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot ammunition. This stuff makes swiss cheese out of anything less than full military specification heavy armor. This kind of munition is generally confined to military or corporate use.

Explosive: Far less advanced than the kind of explosive ammunition we use, these basically don't cause people to explode so much as cause internal fragmentation of the bullet, and thus, nastier wounds. This kind of munition is generally confined to military or corporate use.

Flechette: This is different from the flechette rounds we use as well, these are designed to be used against unarmored targets, but are generally stopped almost cold by even the most subtle of ballistic armors. Think buckshot. These aren't very difficult to procure, being mostly thought of as sporting equipment. (The UCAS and the CAS are still basically american in their love of the old 2nd amendment and "sporting" weapons)

Armor: This is an interesting discovery. Armor on this earth analogue is actually something of a fashion statement. Subtlety is valued, at least among the civilian-available varieties of personal armor, and includes fully ballistic armored business suits, trenchcoats suitable for formal nights out, and even armored ballgowns, though these obviously have somewhat less resistance than more standard vests and the like. Obvious armor is still subject to legal restrictions, but among the commercially available varieties the philosophy appears to be whatever looks good you can get away with.

Concealed body armor and under-armor seems to be very common with security sales as well, but there are also a wide variety of bulkier armors for sale that range from the toughness of the land warrior flak armor varieties that the blaze of glory crewers like Egret and Cless use, up to the nigh-buglike full carapace suits that I personally prefer to deploy in. These are NOT socially acceptable to wear in most locales, at least from what I've gathered by checking out the local trideo networks.

There doesn't appear to be commercially available powered suits, but I would imagine there is a fairly strong possibility of some of the megacorps and national militaries having such things.

The last subject I shall cover in detail is Combat Cyberware: Simply put, this was one of the largest search areas I was able to examine, so I'll give a swift extract of what I found with some highlights.

THe most common piece of combat cyberware I saw advertised is the Smartlink, basically a ballistic computer/targeting combination which feeds directly into a user's optical nerve. We use a similar system on the Blaze of glory in at least some of the armors and weapon combinations that our crew uses. But this is a fairly standard and cheap piece of technology on this Earth, so be aware any locals we encounter may be suprisingly excellent shots.

A close second were wrist razors (basically finger claws), and cyber-spurs, which are more like short swords mounted in the user's forearms. Our close combat specialists should be aware that any opponent may have some rather nasty concealed weapon suprises.

Dermal armor and sheathing are also common, but quite noticeable, since they both give a metallic sheen, or added bulk that looks platelike to the wearer.

There are also a wide variety of reflex and speed enhancing products, so expect the possibility that any opponents may be far faster on the draw than a normal human being.

Muscle replacements and full limb replacements are also common. So look out for particularly bulky humanoids, they may be far stronger than you think.

As a quick end note: This society, from what I've seen on the Trideo feeds, has a STRONG criminal underclass, and many problems are apparently solved by violence. It's worth noting their two most loved sports are both combat sports where fatalities are common, Urban Brawl and Combat biker. We're not going into a very nice place, once we make landfall. Be wary, and be safe.
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Post by Shaila on Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:49 am

I'm refining my searches of these conspiracy sites to focus on information about the Renraku, Ares and MCT corporations, Shadowrunners, the two dead reporters and this new Mr. Johnson that's related to the runners.

I'll also be keeping a lookout for any mention of this Mit guy.
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Post by MajorJim on Thu Jul 23, 2009 8:01 am

I'm going to be retargeting my research for now to cultural and anthropological information, since if we are going to be operating here for a while it's going to be useful to understand slang and fashion, particularly that of the criminal classes and the underclasses we saw so recently in the Barrens. Pursuant to that I'm examining a lot of the television and literature which is presently being broadcast on free trideo in the seattle area. It may sound like an odd area of emphasis but I suspect understanding how a culture thinks, talks and dresses may bear fruit for us in making a more subtle impression than we'd previously been able to.
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Post by Crono on Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:07 pm

Updates of focus after the prior to days reports - if you have not read them I suggest you do so, listed
https://djrpg.forumotion.net/general-and-player-announcements-f5/07-22-after-mission-report-t246.htm
https://djrpg.forumotion.net/general-and-player-announcements-f5/07-23-after-mission-report-t248.htm

1) We have been given six commlinks. I'll be spending a portion of the afternoon trying to adapt these into schematics for our replicators. We won't be able to replicate any further SIN's from this method, but given the Augmented Reality functionality provided with them, I'd like more units available for that purpose, as well as a means of communication between us that doesn't single us out, we that can transmit through their common protocol. Foreign signals are dangerous.

2) Mit has shared that the size of the recovery Ares made has not had sizable enough transport arrive yet at the scene, leading them to believe its still in a particular section of docks by the water. He's given us access to lines of a few camera drones in the area, with the warning not to tap into them for too long, at the risk of being noticed.

3) Eleste and several others are still working on cracking access to a local data-haven staged in the Seattle area. If they can, its likely we'll find some further whereabouts of recovery from the other two megacorps on the scene of the crash, Renraku and MCT.

4) The new 'Mr. Johnson' on the street lately has still be left unquestioned by us. Mit has answered with the promise of looking into the matter. I feel the coincidences are enough that if we come up with a location for this strange man using foreign tech as payment, we will want to go see him immediately (and given the nature of the assignments he's given, guesses would point to possible apprehension as well).

5) Dr. Shirakawa has been assisting in looking for solution for linking up to their network through means of neural transmitters still. As mentioned, this is something I'd like to be cautious on, but the possibility of establishing avenues through that route may be viable in the near future.

Given the position we're at, first and foremost I'd like to get some eyes on the Ares dock and see what we can come up with. Its the only lead we have with a definitive location on where to look. So until something else more opportune arises, I feel it should be our focus.
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Post by MajorJim on Sun Jul 26, 2009 6:07 pm

FROM: Major James Foster
TO: Blaze of Glory Posting Board
TOPIC: Surge and altered metatypes

Hey guys, I found some interesting new data which will allow us to deploy more of our people without any form of disguises or magical illusions. Apparently during the Year of the Comet, an event within recent history of this earth, SURGE, which was basically a form of genetic expression, caused some -very- strange mutations on people, including horns, feathers, fur, and the like. Even wings in some cases.

These people are called Changelings. Basically, if we have someone aboard ship who is questioned why they don't adhere to the metatyping structure we've seen previously, you can claim to be a Changeling as result of SURGE and nobody will examine this too closely, beyond perhaps pitying or despising you for your mutation.
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Post by Crono on Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:51 am

FROM: Crono Arinborn
TO: BoG Public Discussion
TOPIC: History Lesson

Eleste's efforts finally allowed us access to a local data haven. Unfortunately, we picked a fight we were a little under prepared to chew from, and our assumptions of a 'test' of entry for membership were proven wrong. However, we managed to scrape by this time, with some potential gains to show for our efforts. I have plenty more to unravel, but first, I'd like to most this available to you all.

A History Lesson for the Reality Impaired

The author seems to be 'FastJack', the owner of the haven cracked. I'd like everyone to familiarize themselves with its content, to further our understanding of the setting. I'll be posting further updates, soon.
-Crono Arinborn
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Post by Excellen on Tue Jul 28, 2009 2:05 am

FROM: Seiya Sumeragi
TO: Blaze of Glory Posting Board
TOPIC: Further discussion of magic

To further elaborate upon the post from Dr. Arinborn above, I would like to mention some local discourse on the matter of the drastic upheavals this world has suffered periodically.

There has been a wide range of research, but thus far, the leading theory is that of the hermetic mages' school of thought. The "Sixth World" continually mentioned in the history lesson text is one first brought up in ancient Mayan prophecies, detailing a future world after the end of the then-current "Fifth world," in which the Mayans would reign supreme.

What this seems to entail in this specific world is a theorized 5,000-year periodic cycle of fluctuations in the world's latent magical energies. The world will go 5,000 years with high magical energies, then when they wane, the next period of 5,000 years will have low magical energies, and it continues to alternate. The world is believed to presently be in its sixth such fluctuation, thus, Sixth World.

This theory is lent further credence from resident experts on subjects of ancient history who seemingly lived in the Fourth World, such as great dragons and elves who enjoy some degree of eternal youth.

For my part, I can only cite the classic occult myths of my own Earth analogue, which has a calendar close to the year 2050, Anno Domini. These specific prophecies seem to have had a much more drastic impact in this world than they ever did in mine.

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