Fear the Walking Dead, Season 2, Episode 9, “Los Muertos”

It’s time to hang out a bit with The Dead.

The Snarking Dead TV Recaps

AMC Fear the Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 9 Los Muertos [Image via AMC] And now we come to Episode 9 of Fear the Walking Dead, where we continue Nick’s story and take a seaside rendezvous with Maddie, Strand, and the girls:

The Children of the Resurrection.

There’s blood on the sheets and coughing, but not from Nick (Frank Dillane), who’s laying in bed.  The coughing comes the older woman next to him in the clinic.  She coughing up a lot blood:  there’s a pan full of her tissues.  He goes outside:  it’s quiet, deserted.  Leaving the compound he follows a road and eventually finds a little girl.  From his advantage he see a lot of dead people behind a fence, a bus in the fence, and a lot of the people from the compound watching Lucinda and Alejandro wish some guy well.

AMC Fear the Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 9 Los Muertos [Image via AMC] The dude goes into the bus and walks through into where the dead as the…

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Troubles on the Laptop Front

Yesterday, all my writing was so far away…

I lazed around all afternoon because I really did need the rest–at least I was lazing until I lost my video driver that allows me to connect my laptop to my television, at which point I had about an hour trying to figure out how to get it back, which wasn’t a lot of fun.  Then I was going to do maybe forty minutes of writing after taking my notes for Fear the Walking Dead, and I plug in my HDMI cable and get a picture on my TV, but no sound.  That took me about forty minutes–my writing time–to finally figure out to do a full-on reboot with the cable plugged in to reset the drivers and get everything back to where it was–

"This is not fun!  I could be writing about my kids being miserable!"

“This is not fun! I could be writing about my kids being miserable!”

So now I know the routine:  if I lose my HDMI connection plug in the cable, reboot the system, get the drivers back where they were.  Easy Peasy, as Pinkie Pie would say.  At least I relaxed, didn’t take a two hour nap, and slept through the night–though, if all the stuff I kicked off the bed and on to the floor is any indication, I didn’t sleep easy.

So, lots of writing tonight as we prepare for what a lot in the U.S. consider the last full week of summer.  I don’t ’cause it’ll stay hot for a few weeks into September, what what do I know?

Well, I know Kerry’s about to admit something–

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Kerry glanced to his right. “You mean here? Or San Francisco?”

“The later.”

Kerry stared off towards the bridge. “I miss it more than I like to admit—and, at the same time, I don’t.” He sighed. “Does that make sense?”

Annie rested her hand upon Kerry’s leg. “Not yet, but I’m certain you can explain yourself.”

He nodded. “Before I came to school I missed living in San Fran a lot. This is where I sort of grew up, and there was a time—maybe about the time my grandfather brought me here—I figured I’d live here forever.

“Then you told me about the difference between a house and a home and how all the time I lived here I was in a house; I didn’t have a home.” He began bobbing up and down slowly, something Kerry did when he was nervous. “I still don’t have a home, but that’s another story—

“Before I met you face-to-face I thought maybe I’d come back here some day and maybe, I don’t know, get a place downtown and live here for a while.” Kerry set his left hand over Annie’s. “I never said anything but I, um, thought you’d be with me, too.”

Annie was surprised to hear this as it was the first time Kerry ever admitted he thought of them sharing a life together before they knew it would happen. “You never said anything because you were afraid of how I’d react, weren’t you?”

 

Right here is the first indication we have that Kerry Who Could Remember His Dreams–not to be confused with the kid in the A Level book who couldn’t–thought at an early age that maybe Annie and he would eventually, you know, settle down with The Chestnut Girl–whom he latter knew to be Annie–and, I don’t know, have a life together in the City by the Bay?  The stuff you wouldn’t imaging he ever thought about, but apparently did.  Which is why when he thought Annie was abandoning him, he completely lost it and blocked her out–completely.

No need to worry about that, but he makes an another admission he’s probably not said many times–

 

“I’ve always been afraid, Darling.” Kerry hung his head a little. “I was nine and had only said I loved you a few months before. Even though we’d both professed our love, it’s another thing to mention to your ten year old girlfriend that you sometimes imagined you both living together.” He finally turned to her and offered a weak smile. “We know better now, don’t we?”

“Yes, we do.” She raised his hand to hers and kissed the back. “Tell me more, my love.”

He nodded. “Now that I know what you would like and we know our future together, I don’t have the feelings about this place that I used to have. Do I want to bring you here for a visit? Yes. Would I live here if The Guardians had us working out of the headquarters? Absolutely, though with jaunting we could live at Lake Tahoe and commute every day.”

“We could, yes.” He understand that we can live in locations that aren’t close to our work.

“But as far as coming back to live here because I miss the local?” He shook his head. “I don’t need that anymore. The whole world is starting to open up to us and it’s ridiculous to think I should confine myself to this spot because my seven year old self thought I’d stay here forever.”

 

Now you gotta give him a little credit:  he’s thinking that if they ever work in San Fran Annie and he and whatever gaggle of little witches they have can live up in the mountains around Lake Tahoe and jaunt into work every day, then jaunt home when the day is done.  The reality is you can always live anywhere within a time zone or two of your place of employment and just teleport back and forth to work on a daily basis.  So, you know, they could both live in the Rocky Mountains and jaunt off to the West Coast or Chicago and be within an hour of either place.  It makes communing a lot less stressful, that’s for sure.

Even then, however, Kerry admits to being scared.  Not about fighting things that want to kill him, but rather his personal life.  And we’ve seen that a lot with him, and will probably see it more in the future.  I know we will because I know their future, and it won’t always be pretty.

So we finish up this scene tomorrow, I do my recap and a little writing tonight and everything will be copacetic.

Let’s just hope I don’t have any more computer issues.  I hate that.

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart…

Would you like to hear from the Real Annie? Now you can…

Easy Reading is Damned Hard Writing

You’d think that would be the simplest advice to follow, right? WRONG. Why? Because sometimes your heart turns into a fire-breathing dragon, hell-bent on destroying everything you create–that’s why. But I digress, because this time I went through a very different kind of torture to get my heart to breathe onto my paper.

First off, I have to admit that a few days ago–I turned into something of a word snob…bottling up my very being and stealing it away, leaving my writing empty and soulless.

Let me explain.

A lot of my creative writing revolves around a twelve-year-old Bulgarian girl named Annie. I write her for an online role play, based off the world of Harry Potter. She’s completely head over heels over a boy named Kerry and at the moment, excelling in her magical endeavors at school.

A month into school and she’s got the world at her feet–literally. An…

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East to West Memories

Believe it or not I didn’t hit my thousand word limit last night.  I had a two hour nap then wrote just over six hundred words before calling it a night.  However, this morning I sat down and ripped off eight hundred and eighty-four words in about seventy-five minutes, bringing the two day total to nearly fifteen hundred words and bringing a end to scene two of Chapter Two.

See, I didn't lie.  I never lie except when I do.

See, I didn’t lie. I never lie except when I do.

It was a lot of fun bringing the scene to a close and there was something I wrote this morning that forced me to stop and sniff back a few tears, because that’s how I get sometimes when I’m writing and a come upon a line in a scene that invokes a strong emotion.  I’m just like my kids in that sense:  at least I don’t swoon and nearly faint.

Because I’ve written so much during this period I’m gonna present about half of the remainder of this scene, which is going to nicely tie up what was presented yesterday.  And I should be able to write a little of the next scene today, as I don’t intend going out and doing anything today.  I was working through some of that scene this morning–I didn’t sleep well last night and was up at five today–and I think I’m gonna have a good time putting it together.

Picking up from yesterday…  Now that we know about the political affiliation of Annie’s family, Kerry’s got all that stuff out of his system–yeah?  Well, maybe that takes him somewhere else…

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

“I’ll remember that.” Maybe fifteen seconds of silence went by before Kerry started giggling. “Sorry.”

Annie almost rolled her eyes again because she knew something silly was coming. “What is it?”

“Oh…” Kerry half-looked towards Annie with a sheepish look. “I was just trying to imagined what you’d look like if you were living thirty years ago. You know, winter comes and you’re walking around in your black skirt and black boots—” He turned a little more towards her. “A heavy jacket over your sweater and, you know, your hands stuffed in a fur muffler and one of those big fur hats on your head and…” His voice trailed off. “I’m digging myself in a hole, ain’t I?”

“I think it’s rather entertaining watching your attempts at bad humor.” She kissed him on the cheek to show she wasn’t angry. “By the way I do have that outfit and you’ve seen me wearing most of it.” Her right eyebrow arched as she considered something. “Though I’m certain the boots I have likely cost far more than the entire outfit would have run in the early 80s.”

“You have the hat and muffler?” Now her was trying to see Annie in the full outfit and imagining how beautiful she’d appear.

“I do, but there isn’t any point in bringing them to school: they’re too dressy.” Annie held her head up and did her best to sound snooty. “I’ve even worn that nearly same outfit in Russia.”

“You’ve been to Russia?”

“Three times: once to Moscow and twice to St. Petersburg: once during our Yule, and once in late June for the White Nights Festival.” She snuggled closer to Kerry. “Some time we’ll go to St. Petersburg in the winter and you can seem me all dressed up in my full outfit.”

Kerry stroked her hair. “Just like a Russian girl.”

“No: Russian girls are snobby.” A grin appeared as Annie turned up her nose. “Nothing like me.”

 

Now we now:  Annie thinks Russian girls are snobs.  Bold talk for a Bulgarian girl who some people thought of as an “Ice Princess” for a while, with one actually having the temerity to tell this to Kerry.  We’ve also discovered she’s been to Russia, though given she’s a bit of a globe trotter this shouldn’t be a surprise.  Her trips to St. Petersburg seem to impress her the most, however, and as well they should because St. Petersburg is consider a beautiful city by a lot of people.

The White Nights Festival runs from June to August and has events that last well into the evening–which, since the city is so far north, doesn’t get all that dark during he summer months.  There are parades and concerts of all kind, with a number of them taking place in the main courtyard of the Winter Palace, probably the most well known location in the city.

Imagine Annie spending a long summer's evening here--

Imagine Annie spending a long summer’s evening here–

And during the winter St. Petersburg is the place to be with lots and lots of snow and sub-zero temperatures:  just the sort of place you’d expect Annie to be walking around in her full-on stylin’ winter outfit with her fur hat and muffler.

Now, crazy me, I spent a considerable amount of time trying to find an image of a Russian girl with that sort of outfit, and while I didn’t find one–believe it or not so many of my image requests kept returning pictures of women in Russia wearing stuff I would think are the wrong sorts of garments one would wear in a Russian winter–I did find one picture of a Russian woman with a fur hat, and this led me to getting down into some history with one of my favorite groups…

Allow me to introduce nineteen year old Natalya Kravtsova of the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, otherwise known as The Night Witches.

See?  Fur hat to keep her warm.

See? Fur hat to keep her warm.

The Night Witches was an all-woman flight group that flew thousands of missions against the Germans form 1942 to 1945.  Starting out as the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, they were later reorganized into the 46th “Taman” Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment, working alongside the 125th Guards Bomber Aviation Regiment of the Soviet Air Force.

Now, because this was an all-woman group, and the Soviets were hard-pressed to find good equipment to pass around, these ladies generally flew outdated Polikarpov Po-2 biplanes with open cockpits and little instrumentation–oh, and two bombs per plane, because that’s all they could carry.  Since the aircraft were so slow and so vulnerable to attack they flew night missions only and were tasked with harassing German positions–

A job they did extremely well.

Just to give you an idea of what they had to work with:  their planes had a top speed of about 95 mph/152 kph, but normally cruised at about 70 mph/110 kph–in other words, about as fast as you drive down a modern interstate.  Because of weight limitations due to their bombs the pilot and navigator found their way to their targets using maps and a compass:  no fancy instrumentation here.  Oh, and the women couldn’t wear parachutes ’cause they weighed too much.  We need that extra weight to carry those bombs, guys.

The Polikarpov was a noisy plane: Wehrmacht troops called it Nähmaschine, which means “sewing machine”, because that’s what it sounded like as it flew up on your position.  But the Night Witches knew how to get around this:  as they approached their target they cut the engine and glide in on the usually sleeping Germans.  Then they’d drop their bombs and once they glided a short distance, refire the engine and fly the hell out of there and back to base, usually at tree top levels to avoid being shot down by Luftwaffe pilots on night patrol.  I should point out that that last was hard to do as the top speed of the Polikarpov was well below the stall speed of all German fighters, which mean the Germans pretty much had to put their planes into a controlled crash to hit these pesky Russians.

The Germans were the ones who gave the unit the name “Night Witches” because they said the sound of the planes coming in for a bombing run sounded like a witch’s broom swooping by in the darkness.  Some of the pilots said the Germans would often scream at them as they flew by, though surprisingly the last word screamed at then often wasn’t witch but something that sounded quite similar.  The Germans hated these women, and at one point Luftwaffe pilots were promised the Iron Cross–one of their most sought-after medals–for every Night Witch downed.

All together the units flew about thirty thousand missions:  Natalya Kravtsova flew nine hundred and eighty during her tenure as a Night Witch.  They were about as bad ass as anyone can get, and they are proof that while Annie thinks Russian girls may be a little stuck up, you should never mess with one, witch or Normal.  (It was noted that on occasions when the engine of their aircraft shut off in mid-flight, it was necessary for the copilot/navigator to climb out on the wing while the plane was going down and hand-crank the prop to get the engine started.  Yeah, bad ass.)

And here's one witch getting ready to fly during the winter.  Annie probably has this outfit as well.

And here’s one witch getting ready to fly during the winter. Annie probably has this outfit as well.

Now you know where Vicky gets her call sign and why her patch has it written in Russian.  And why she’s proud as hell to have that call sign…

Now that we’ve gone past that history, Kerry has something else he wants to bring up, history-wise:

 

Kerry had to admit there were no other girls like Annie, Russian or English or American—or anywhere in the world. There was something tugging at the back of his mind, however, that had nothing to do with Annie… “That brings up something else: how did your parents and grandparents get out of Bulgaria to go do school in America? Did The Foundation use magic to get them out without anyone noticing?”

“No, they didn’t have to.” Annie crossed her legs and rubbed the bottom of her foot as if she were looking for dream dirt. “From what my family has said The Foundation had a good working relationship with the Soviet Union; they were a foreign trade organization with favorable status with people in Moscow. Since their headquarters were in Paris they could claim that they weren’t unduly influenced by America.” She narrowed her eyes as she stared at Kerry. “Our bourgeoisie enemy.”

He laughed. “Is that you or them speaking?”

“My grandmother once said that jokingly. Anyway, the managed to prove—probably with a little help from The Art—that children from the Soviet Bloc were not only going to receive an ideology-free education, but that they’d freely bring that knowledge back to help their comrades.” She started grinning. “Yes, I said that.

“The Foundation also helped the Russians with…” Annie grasped at words. “I was told they often assisted them with engineering and scientific matters, though nothing that required them to become involved in their military efforts. The way my fraternal grandfather put it, The Foundation made certain the Soviets didn’t fall too far behind the West, but also made certain they didn’t get too far ahead.”

Kerry nodded slowly. “They helped keep the playing field even.”

“Quite so, yes. They were also here to make certain the Deconstructors didn’t gain a foothold in the country.” She rested her chin against her fist for a moment. “We haven’t leaned about it in history yet, but I think the Deconstructors were somewhat behind the Cuban Missile Crises.”

 

Now we find out Deconstructors may have played a part in trying to blow up the world in 1963, which sounds crazy, but then it doesn’t seem like they give a shit about a lot of things.  These guys just love embracing the crazy, don’t they?

 

“I can see that happening.” Now that the relationship between the Russians and The Foundation were clearer, he had another thought. “Did The Foundation get anything from the Russians? Were they paid?”

“No, they received something better: land. Since the Russians couldn’t pay them—rubles weren’t convertible to other forms of money—they bartered for land in Siberia where they could open lab and training facilities. That’s how Department 62 in Serov and The Cosmodrome came into existence.

“With those and other places available The Foundation could play with forms of magic and technology that wasn’t possible in areas where they might not be able to hide a—mistake. Also, being out in Siberia allowed The Foundation to keep track of…” Annie looked off across the straight as her voice dropped to about half her normal speaking volume. “Other things.” She turned back to Kerry and smiled. “Enough of that: why did you want me to see this? Do you miss being here?”

 

And at this last we find out that The Foundation has worked on stuff in Russia that may or may not have led to a mistake, and you gotta wonder what the hell they were doing where a mistake is big enough that not having anyone within a hundred kilometers of their test site is a good thing.  Also…  they’re keeping an eye on other things in Russia?  Stuff… and things.  What’s going on in Russia?  Well, I know, and maybe one day you’ll know, too.

We are left with this last thought:  “Do you miss being here?”  And you know what?

You’ll find out tomorrow.

Love and Rockets and Politics

Here I am back earlier than I’d imagined.  Shopping done and a lot of money spent, probably more than I should have spent.  I was considering going out for lunch but I think I’ll keep it indoors for today and relax and catch a nap.  But I will get all my writing in today.  And some tomorrow.  But I will get it in.  After that nap ’cause I can feel yawning coming on.

Yesterday Kerry was going on about the defenses that used to be around San Francisco, and while he touched on the big guns there he left off one thing that Annie remembers to bring up:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

“And what is this Nike base you mentioned?”

“Oh, that.” He once more pointed off to his right. “They had missiles there from the 1950s until the mid 1970s.” Kerry moved so he now faced Annie. “They were supposed to shoot down missiles that were coming in to bomb the city.”

Annie searched her memory for she was certain she knew the event that Kerry was describing. “That was during the Cold War, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah. Back when Russia was our—the U.S.’s—enemy. As was any country that was aligned with them.” A broad smile appeared as he leaned closer to his dream girl. “Which means your family was the enemy—Comrade Kirilova.”

“Oh, please.” She broke into laughter as she spent a few seconds rolling her eyes. “No one has ever called me comrade, nor have I ever heard someone being called comrade. You must have gotten that from a movie.”

“Not really.” Kerry couldn’t keep the smile off his face. “I’m just imagining what it’s like having a girlfriend whose parents were communists.”

Part of Annie knew he was being silly, part of her admired the fact that Kerry knew the history of her country. Bulgaria was four months away from celebrating twenty-four years since leaving the Warsaw Pack and she imagined that the only people who actually gave any thought of the condition of those countries were people like Alex and her and a few others at school who were from those countries. “My parents were never communists: they were too young. They were several months into their B Levels when Bulgaria gained independence from Russia and the Warsaw Pack.” She gave him a smirk that considered of a great deal of side eye. “So you needn’t worry about having communists in-laws.”

“Fair enough.” He stared straight ahead for a few seconds before speaking in a low voice. “What about your grandparents?”

 

Before we get into Annie’s history, let’s look at this other history:

San Francisco is the last place in the U.S. to have a relatively intact Nike Launch Facility, SF 88.  The control center is on top of a hill called Wolf Ridge, but you have to hike up there as it appears the road that used to lead to the center has washed out.  The launch facility looks pretty much as it did when it was decommissioned in the 1970s–

Pretty nice, huh?

Pretty nice, huh?

–save for the fact that it no longer has any nuclear missiles.  That’s right:  SF 88 was one of the sites in the Strategic Defense Network of Nike launch centers where the Nike Hercules missiles, which was armed with either a 2 kiloton or 20 kiloton warhead, were located.

This must be the nucwewer missel.

This must be the nucwewer missel.  Someone tell Chekhov.

While there may be a missile or two still there, they are not active, nor do they have warheads.  And Kerry was wrong:  they weren’t designed to knock down missiles–at least not at first–but were instead shot at incoming bomber with the intention of blowing them out of the sky with nuclear fire.  None of that ever happened, which is good ’cause if it had happened I probably wouldn’t be writing this now.

And, as we see in the picture below, the base is close to the gun batteries Kerry described that were actually set inside a hill, Battery Wallace #1 and #2:

Needless to say there has been a lot of money spent on defending of San Francisco.

Needless to say there has been a lot of money spent on defending of San Francisco.

For the record one home I owned in Indiana was close to Nike launch site C-47, which was actually the first site to deploy the nuclear-armed Nike Hercules missiles, and I drove past the site many times.  Going back even further, when I was a kid, I can remember my parents driving past launch site C-46 in Munster, IN, and seeing the missiles out there ever so often, ready to go just in case war broke out.  Which if it had–

 

With this history out of the way, let’s move on to this new discussion of Kerry’s soul mate and–dirty little commie?

For those who don’t remember, from 1945 until 1989 Bulgaria was a communist country, being a member of the Soviet Union-controlled Warsaw Pack known as the People’s Republic of Bulgaria.  This means they sat behind the other side of the Iron Curtain, and were considered by many in the west to be nothing more than a puppet of the USSR, aka The Evil Empire as Ronnie Raygun once told us.

Now, from Annie’s point of view, the last of this happened ten years before she was born, but given that her parents were both born in 1977, they spent twelve years of their lives under communist rule.  (And a note of trivia:  Annie’s mother Pavlina was born on 28 August, which means she turned eleven while waiting to report to school, which happened on 1 September, 1988, exactly twenty-three years before her lovely daughter did the same.  Talk about just hitting the cut-off for admission.)

But as Annie points out, neither of her parents were ever old enough to join the Communist Party, though who knows if they had to do Communist Youth stuff as they were growing up.  Probably not, as the party in Bulgaria was falling apart in the 1980s, and maybe there was some witchy stuff that kept her folks from having to do anything party-wise.

But what about her grandparents?  This is probably the first time in her life Annie’s been grilled about her family’s political affiliations:

"Communists?  No one in my family is, or ever has been, a communist.  Wait, what story is this?"

“Communists? No one in my family is, or ever has been, a communist. Wait, what story is this?”

However, when it comes to Annie’s family–

 

She didn’t lie because she was certain Kerry had likely figured everything out. “Both my paternal and maternal grandparents were in the Communist Party, and I think their parents as well. My father’s parents worked in national energy production and were required to travel to Russia a couple of times a year for meetings and training, and my mother’s parents were involved with a state organization that imported goods from Western Europe. Because of what they did, it was almost mandatory that they be party members.”

Kerry eventually nodded in agreement. “I can see that. They’d need to be connected politically to get ahead.”

“Exactly.” Annie learned towards Kerry, a whimsical smile upon her face. “My grandparents were in the Communist Party, but they weren’t communists.”

He nodded a couple of times fast. “I didn’t mean to imply they were: I was just joking.”

“I know.” She wrapped her arms around his. “I can’t wait until you finally meet my grandparents; they’ll probably love it that you know these things and will happy to answer your questions.”

 

There you have it:  while all the grandparents were in the party, they weren’t communists.  The same probably goes for Alex’s parents and grandparents–being from the Ukraine her family were actually considered living Soviet Russia for a while–and for another girl in their level, Dariga Dulatuli, who is from Kazakhstan and had parents and grandparents who were considered living in Russia for a good part of their lives.

There is probably a part of Kerry’s mind that has slipped back and imagined what it might have been like for them if Annie and he had been born twenty years earlier and they were trying to meet each other over the Iron Curtain–

What am I saying?  You know he has done just that…

Saturday Morning Silliness

The post title says it all:  it’s a quick update of what’s going on but…  you’re getting more than that this morning.  Oh, yeah:  a lot more–

You are tired, (I think)…

Some old thought from a friend long ago.

Easy Reading is Damned Hard Writing

At this very moment in time, while the sheeting rain lashes out at my window, and I’m listening to the keyboard tap, tap, tapping vaguely disguised hints… This is what is running thorough my mind.

You are tired,
(I think)
Of the always puzzle of living and doing;
And so am I.

Come with me, then,
And we’ll leave it far and far away—
(Only you and I, understand!)

You have played,
(I think)
And broke the toys you were fondest of,
And are a little tired now;
Tired of things that break, and—
Just tired.
So am I.

But I come with a dream in my eyes tonight,
And knock with a rose at the hopeless gate of your heart—
Open to me!
For I will show you the places Nobody knows,
And, if you like,
The perfect places of Sleep.

Ah, come with me!
I’ll blow you that wonderful bubble…

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