Portraits of Characters – Time Change Pawns

Portraits of Characters – Time Change Pawns

Time change pawns are the people caught in the temporal crossfire, when history is jiggered.

Eleanor Daniels, one of the time change pawns
Eleanor Daniels, one of the time change pawns (image of Cate Blanchett is provided for educational purposes only)

Origins

So it hardly seems worth it to go back in time without actually changing something or other. Hence this gave rise to otric theory. However, sometimes people unwittingly change due to temporal shenanigans, and that spells trouble for the overall timeline. I will not go into the real people who were affected. Instead, this blog post covers my own characters.

Portrayals

Times of the HG Wells

Phyllis Benson  changes during a training run. She is played by Mayim Bialik.

Octavia Caecilia of Pompeii  (Keira Knightley) serves as one of Rick’s conquests.

Christopher Donnelly  changes in Rome when Ebola virus kills him, years before that should have ever happened. He is played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. His parents are Gene Donnelly (Mark Harmon) and Marion Donnelly (played by Virginia Madsen). His sisters are Gail  (Emma Watson)and  Leslie (Camille Guaty). Angela Libertini is another earlier than expected Ebola victim. Ornella Muti plays her.

Diane Evans (played by Marsha Thomason) and Sherry Wilson (Christina Milian) change during the incident at Kent State.

Martha Fernandes (Catalina Sandino Moreno) and Bruce Ishikawa (Ninomiya Kazunari) both change during the Temporal Integrity Commission’s own time period. Ishikawa starts off as a dog trainer and, for a while, is a sideline reporter. So does Darragh Stratton (Molly Sims), whose changes end up being the most significant.

Mrs. (no first name given) Klinghofer changes when Prague Spring ends late although she most likely dies from cancer either way. However, no one plays her.

Cameron Petraeus (John Goodman)  changes during World War III.

Barnstorming Series

Because this series has never really been completed (as of the writing of this blog post), the changes occur in a story not yet posted anywhere, Time Out. Furthermore, a second story, Overtime, shows that the changes Richard Daniels wrought turned out to not be quite enough to restore the timeline. However, Overtime remains unfinished, and probably will stay that way. Nearly all of these characters are aliens.

Also, a lot of the actors are duplicates of actors I had already used, probably for me to save time. For others, they seem to have been picked out of a hat. Since this series ground to a screeching halt, that serves as another symptom of burnout on my part.

First of all, the following are Klingons: Cilla  (Ellen Pompeo),  Inshar (Chris Jericho), and Krosh (n/a).

Also, these characters are Xindi sloth: Lethar (Kyle Chandler) and Reskin (Salma Hayek).

In addition, these characters are Imvari: Grosk  (Vinny Del Negro) and Skoloth (David James Elliott).

Also, these characters are Orion: Anchel  (n/a) and Rinchak (Mark Calaway,The Undertaker).

Finally, these characters come from other species, including human:

Personalities

Most of the Barnstorming characters had little definition (which is one of the reasons the series ended up being abandoned). Majira is a kind physician with empathic healing abilities, and M’Belle is a fluffy, sweet Caitian. Both of them are in Mack‘s inner circle.  Tag is kind of a jerk a lot of the time (and he sleeps with the Calafan spy, Y’imspi). However, those are the only even partly-defined personalities in Barnstorming.

As for the Times of the HG Wells, Phyllis Benson is a soldier but is overly sensitive. Octavia is kind of flighty (she’s a teenager when Mount Vesuvius kills her). The Donnellys are a military family, and Sherry and Diane are just classmates of Windy‘s. I don’t have much on Ishikawa except that he’s a dog trainer. Darragh Stratton gets a lot more airtime and is the socialite wife of Boris Yarin. However, in several alternate timelines, she becomes an Empress Consort or the like. Mrs. Klinghofer doesn’t have a lot to her. Finally, Petraeus is just a weasel who Otra kills quickly in Multiverse II.

Relationships

There are few known relationships in this mixed bag of a group. The Donnellys of course are married (and their son, Christopher, is Luke‘s ancestor). However, apart from Tag hitting on a lot of people, I didn’t give most of these characters much depth or romance. Oh, and Ishikawa dates (and eventually marries) Deirdre Katzman, and Boris Yarin and Darragh Stratton are married.

Mirror Universe

Many of these characters do not have impediments to existing in the Mirror. In fact, Phyllis Benson must, as she is an ancestor of Leah Benson. However, I have not explored any of the other family trees in detail. Since that probably won’t happen, this is what I’ve got.

Quotes

Times of the HG Wells

There are only a few characters with real and decent quotes so I will only list those here.

  • Phyllis Benson  – “God forgive us. How can we be so selfish and stupid?”
  • Octavia Caecilia of Pompeii  – “Who are you; that you knew of this?”
  • Martha Fernandes  –“There was heavy bombing in Teheran and Omaha todayas western forces repelled eastern incursions. In other news, a manned mission to Mars resulted in a safe landing on the red planet. Astronauts expect to walk on that world in a day or two.”
  • Cameron Petraeus  – “Chicago’s a lot closer’n Millinocket, Twiggy. But get a bath, or you’ll be out ‘fore Augusta.”

Barnstorming Series

Unfortunately, many of these characters were a good idea at the time but were not really developed. Hence I’ll do the same as for the Times of the HG Wells characters, and only quote the big ones.

  • Darren (Tag) Shaw  – “Aren’t you supposed to be encouraging us, Coach?”
  • Majira  – “Can you tell me how you handle losses?”
  • M’Belle  – “It might provide some confidence, for I am sorely lacking in that area, when it comes to the water.”

Upshot

Because I switched over to more original work and more or less dropped the Barnstorming series, it unfortunately suffered for that. Time-changed individuals can be a hoot to write, as a mild-mannered schoolteacher is instantly transformed into a snarling attorney. I wish I had done the Barnstorming folks more justice.

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Review – The Dish, a Passive-Aggressive Short Story

Review – The Dish

Background

The Dish - Barking Up the Muse Tree
The Dish

The Dish came from a dirty plate in our kitchen sink. Therefore, it proves you can get writing inspiration from just about anywhere.

Also, without a doubt, it serves as an utterly passive-aggressive study of human nature. Essentially, you first. No, you. I insist. I’m not gonna until you do it first. Etc you get the idea.

Plot

The main concept behind this plot serves to almost warn couples but also provide a bit of a primer on how to really be passive-aggressive. The narrator is never named and is only barely described as being female but there is nothing else.

Hence she remains a cypher, as does the cause of whatever the argument was initially all about. Also, the husband remains a cypher.

A plate is an odd place for inspiration, but the truth is that a plate had been sitting in our sink and I was getting annoyed by that. However, I didn’t make any moves to take care of this tiny mess. Neither did my husband. We are only talking about a few days here. The plot, of course, takes some liberties with the time, as this is fiction and not reportage.

Story Postings

This story is only available on Wattpad.

Rating

The Story is Rated K.

Upshot

As I noted previously, inspiration can come from nearly anywhere. And while this little story could perhaps stand some improvement, people tend to like it wherever I have posted it. For I did use it as a sample of my non-scholastic writing for a course when I was getting my Master’s.

By the way, yes, that’s really one of our dishes. And I think I was the one to rinse it off and put it into the dishwasher.

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Portraits of Characters– The Crusher Clan

Portraits of Characters– The Crusher Clan

The Crusher clan does not end with Wesley. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

Wesley Crusher of the Crusher Clan
Wesley Crusher of the Crusher Clan

Origins

I mainly started with Crackerjack, as I had wanted Wesley to have a home and a loving family. In addition, I wanted him to be a lot older and so the idea of him having grandchildren made a great deal of sense. Because I have already covered Wes himself and Lakeisha Warren, I won’t repeat what I wrote here.

Portrayals

As in canon, Wes’s mother, Beverly Crusher, MD, is played by actress Gates McFadden.  His father, Jack Crusher, does not appear, but there is a grandson with that name.

In addition, Wes and Lakeisha’s children are Tim Crusher and Ellen Crusher Farley. Ellen is divorced and has three children, Cynthia and Tara. Tim is also divorced but he has remarried; his second wife is Mei Lin and Mei Lin’s son from her first marriage is Scotty. Tad and Jack (named after the canon character) are Tim’s sons. However, they are of different races so perhaps only one of them is biologically from his first marriage. The other (I think Tad ends up older) would be, perhaps, adopted.

Sharp-eyed readers will also notice that Lakeisha’s maiden name is Warren. Yes, she is a descendant of Benjamin and Jim Warren, and she may have a connection to Rosemary Parker although I am personally a bit unclear on that.

The non-canon portrayals go as follows:

Personalities

First of all, a big part of the Crackerjack storyline concerns racism. As a result, I don’t show or describe the younger section of the Crusher clan. And that is precisely for this purpose. However, the actors I have chosen have differing races, because Tim is played by a Caucasian actor whereas Ellen is played by an African-American actress. Because Lakeisha is also of African descent, that tells me now, years later, that Tim was adopted. Also, perhaps the younger Jack is as well, for he is of African descent whereas Tad is Caucasian.

Or maybe I just messed up my casting.

Relationships

The relationships are only as described above. However, both of Wesley’s children had marriages which ended in divorce. So these days, that is a not so uncommon occurrence.

Mirror Universe

So some of the Crusher clan could conceivably exist in the Mirror. In addition, very intelligent people would score well on the standard examinations, and could conceivably avoid becoming cannon fodder.

Quotes

Scotty Chen: “What’s a bigot?

Jack Crusher: “But you and Grammy have always been together!

Mei-Lin Chen Crusher: “It’s a little warm out there.”  (while that’s not very exciting, but this is the only quote I have from her)

Tad Crusher: “More story!

Tim Crusher: “We should take a picture. It’s a great day for a family portrait.”

Cynthia Farley: “That’s really stupid. I mean, it’s like jumping to conclusions without knowing all the facts about somebody. What if you’re really wrong? I know I’d be, like, totally mortified.

Ellen Crusher Farley: “Well, there’s a little bit more, for you and Geordi changed a bit because of this experience, right?

Tara Farley: “The Reverend thought Geordi liked Rosemary. You know, like really liked her.

Upshot

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Review – The Canadian Caper

Review – The Canadian Caper

Background

The Canadian Caper - Barking Up the Muse Tree
The Canadian Caper

The Canadian Caper exists as my foray into writing bandfic/real person fiction.

First of all, my true mission here was to try to combat the surfeit of Wattpad band fiction, mainly centering around both One Direction and Justin Bieber. Furthermore, I was really into Postmodern Jukebox when I wrote it. Hence the entire story serves as an attempt to almost newsjack two separate genres and trends. Hence one was the bandfic trend on Wattpad, and the other was the popularity of PMJ on both YouTube and Facebook.

Plot

The PMJ Detective Agency has to solve a mystery when Puddles Pity Party, the six foot eight tall clown with the golden voice, is kidnapped.

Music

So as should be expected, the story is chock full of music.

The first song is Robyn Adele Anderson singing Jason Derulo and Snoop Dogg’s Wiggle.

As the team assembles, the next song is Von Smith singing Magic!’s Rude as he romances his girl.

So it was great fun turning tiny Ashley Stroud into a professional kickboxer. The next song is her singing Iggy Azalea’s Fancy.

Next up, I turned Cristina Gatti into a video games aficionado and computer hacker. Here she sings Stay with Me by Sam Smith.

In addition, ecology maven Morgan James doesn’t taken any guff from the loser she’s been dating, and lets him have it with Really Don’t Care by Demi Lovato.

Once the team assembles, they’ll need disguises, so it’s off to the Thrift Shop, a cover of the (Grandpa Style) Macklemore song, as sung by Robyn Adele Anderson.

In keeping with the somewhat corny plot thread, our heroes win a singing contest in a small town when Robyn sings Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines.

As they thwart their enemies, our heroes sing Ellie Goulding’s Burn.

After a brawl (hey, it’s noir fiction!), PMJ sings Lorde’s Royals.

Finally, for the last chapter, as romance blossoms and PMJ gets everything they ever wanted, Scott gets the girl, and Robyn sings Katy Perry’s Birthday.

Story Postings

This story only exists on Wattpad.

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

Furthermore, while it was a good idea at the time (I suppose), I grossly overestimated Wattpad interest in Postmodern Jukebox. However the truth is, the two sets of demographics do not really mesh that well at all. However, my attempt at trendjacking was not a completely bad idea. It would have probably done better elsewhere, but there are few places to post wholly original fiction you don’t really want to try to sell.

Finally, the story also became dated fairly quickly when, apparently, Bradlee and Anderson stopped seeing each other. Ah, well. That’s the nature of trendjacking; it never lasts.

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Progress Report – November 2017

Progress Report – November 2017

November 2017 creeped up on me and then suddenly I was exceptionally busy.

Posted Works

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | November 2017
First of all, the G & T Show has ended and may or may not be revived, so I posted nothing there.

And on Fanfiction.net, I started Deep Future, which is the post-Stranger H. G. Wells stories. Since the Wells series is winding down there, I am starting to think about the E2 stories, as they are always fun to write and post. The stories in Deep Future start with It’s Not Really a Reset if you remember it and then The Sweetest Universe and then I put up Eight separately as it seemed to make more sense to do it that way.

And then finally, on Wattpad, I posted more of Shake Your Body.

Milestones

See the Stats page for individual read and review counts.

WIP Corner

NaNoWriMo! I spent a lot of time working on Mettle although there was still a great deal of research that I had to do even as I was writing.

Prep Work

I put together the drafts for He Stays a Stranger on Wattpad.  I also set up the drafts for Mirror Masquerade on Fanfiction.net as that will come up next and, since I have a cover anyway, I may as well create a separate document for it.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

One thing that absolutely zapped my productivity was having to get a new computer. The old one died in October and I replaced it during then, but there were still, on occasion, things I simply could no longer find. This included a lot of images, sadly.

Another issue was work as I went to full time and I had to end things with three side clients. Plus I needed to get up to speed with the full-time gig. As would be expected, NaNoWriMo also ate up my life. Yet so did Semantic Shenanigans even as we made an effort to keep it low key.

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Portrait of a Character – M’Roan

Portrait of a Character – M’Roan

Origins

M’Roan is a Caitian. Of course a Caitian character would be in full makeup, so adding an actor seems a bit absurd. However, won’t you humor me a bit?

Portrayal

M’Roan is played by actor Jason Alexander. I like this funny but also overly nervous kind of an actor.

M’Roan

Personality

Loquacious, a bit servile, and courtly to a fault, M’Roan cannot help but to charm the first humans he meets – the first humans any Caitian ever meets, for that matter – Lily Sloane and Zefram Cochrane. Sharp-eyed viewers will also spot a Derellian bat amidst his possessions, although he treats the bat more like a colleague/pet than a healing tool or medicine.

However, this begs the question: why is this somewhat charming and certainly lonely individual traveling alone? Because I doubt I will pick this one up again, the answer will most likely never come. Although it would be something to, perhaps, explore if the opportunity presented itself.

Relationships

M’Roan has no known relationships. In fact, I suspect he has none, as he seems a little too eager to just up and travel around with Zef.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to M’Roan existing in the Mirror Universe. All of the males I write in the MU are tougher, but a Caitian would not sport the Y Chromosome Skew. In addition, if M’Roan were to meet Lily and Zef, he might shoot first and ask questions later, a scenario which comes up with Cochrane himself in the In a Mirror, Darkly ENT episodes. I recall seeing that opening sequence for the first time, and it proved rather shocking. In other words, perfect.

Quote

“I was curious and now I have seen far too deeply into your life. I am so sorry. But this is, in a way, how friends can be made, yes?”

Upshot

One thing I really enjoyed about this one was not just to create a brand-new First Contact story, but also to christen the Jersey Lily and connect Archer to Cochrane, and even to the TOS Metamorphosis episode.

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Review – The Social Media Guide for Wattpad

Review – The Social Media Guide for Wattpad

The Social Media Guide for Wattpad started off as a means of reviewing what I learned in class at Quinnipiac University. As a student, I wanted to make sure I understood the material. Creating a guide seemed the perfect way of doing just that.

Background

The Social Media Guide to Wattpad - Barking Up the Muse Tree
The Social Media Guide to Wattpad

The Social Media Guide made sense as a project. I wanted to cement my own knowledge, and also to help others. As a result, I started off with talking about exactly what I had learned in school. Namely, this consisted of the POST strategy (people, objectives, strategy, and technology). My main idea was to keep Wattpad posters from simply diving into social media. It made more sense to have a plan before doing so. It always does.

Plot

Of course this one does not truly have a plot. Rather, I divided it into sections. So this was everything from demographics research to determining objectives, to deciding on strategies. For the technology portion, I wrote sections devoted to Facebook and Twitter, and also talked about YouTube, Tumblr, and Pinterest. As I recall, I don’t believe I covered any other social media platforms. Hence there was nothing on Snapchat or Storify, for example.

Story Postings

This work can only be found on Wattpad.

Rating

The book is Rated K.

Upshot

While I imagine it worked out well enough, I am not so sure I would ever really put in the effort to update it. While The Social Media Guide has over 11,000 reads and more than 560 comments (more than for all of the instances of Reversal, combined), the commenting dropped down to nothing once the new content stopped. Furthermore, this is the kind of work which I should be charging money for. While I will not remove the book (hence its free status remains assured), I need to think about personal finance these days.

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Portraits of Characters – The World War II Soldiers

Portraits of Characters – The World War II Soldiers

World War II Soldiers? What do they have to do with Star Trek fan fiction? More than you might think.

Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Day of the Dead | World War II Soldiers

Origins

As a part of Day of the Dead, Tripp Tucker ends up in 1945 Bavaria as a result of a spatial and temporal interphase. So this anomaly dumps him into the United States Army, poised to liberate the Dachau concentration camp. Sharp-eyed readers will notice that three of the women who are liberated are Noemy and Milena Chelenska, along with their neighbor, Mrs. Klinghofer. However, this post concerns the soldiers Tucker meets. Of course, they all think he’s Chuck McBride, the man he displaced.

So those soldiers are Stanislaus Kuzawa, Tony Martinelli, Sergeant Randall McCoy, and Brendan O’Shaughnessy. I’ve already blogged about Herbie Shapiro, the most developed character of the bunch.

Portrayals

Stanislaus Kuzawa is played by Romanian actor Dragos Bucur. As much as Day of the Dead, at times, resembles old World War II films, I wanted the actors to be of ethnicities that closely resembled (if not matched) those of their characters.

World War II Soldiers

However, I reversed myself for the next role. Because Tony Martinelli is played by Christian Slater. Yet that’s more because of the Trek connection than anything else.

World War II Soldiers

Sergeant McCoy may not be played by an Irish actor, but the actor, Tom Berenger, certainly has played a soldier before (although the war was Vietnam and not WWII).

World War II Soldiers

Finally, Brendan O’Shaughnessy gets an Irish actor who has played a soldier – and he was even one of several World War II Soldiers in Saving Private RyanMatt Damon.

World War II Soldiers

Personalities

First of all, Stanislaus Kuzawa comes across as more of a jokester than the others.

Tony Martinelli recognizes the horror. However, he doesn’t do anything about it.

Sergeant Randall McCoy ends up an efficient killer, only following orders.

Brendan O’Shaughnessy also comes across as somewhat apathetic.

Relationships

None of the fellows have any known relationships.

Mirror Universe

Any of the guys could exist in the Mirror.

First of all, Stanislaus Kuzawa could take a different tack in life and be more of a family man.

World War II Soldiers

Tony Martinelli could even be religious, although MU religion might be more like televangelism than monasteries.

World War II Soldiers

Because a violent form of baseball exists in the Mirror, Sergeant Randall McCoy could conceivably play.

World War II Soldiers

Finally, Brendan might be an assassin.

World War II Soldiers

Quotes

Stanislaus Kuzawa: “That’s why there’s war brides. You shoulda chatted ‘em up, McBride. Nice young girls, maybe too young, but you bring ‘em to the states, and they learn English, and they get jobs like, like secretaries or somethin’. Or they marry some guy like, like Herbie here.”

Tony Martinelli: Something’s not right. It feels like things just changed, big time. And not for the better.”

Sergeant McCoy: “And all of those people here, all these bodies? You did see all those bodies, right? And you know why it smells like burning skin here? Do you know why, Private? McBride, we found crematoria. I guess they threw the bodies in there but it wouldn’t shock me if living people were sometimes tossed in as well. I, I don’t know what justice is, I guess. And maybe I never will. But I dare anybody who wasn’t here to say that this didn’t happen. It did. And I was here. And I will knock the block offa anyone who ever says differently. Call me what you like, but if we were here tomorrow and not today, you know what woulda happened? Do ya?”

Finally, Brendan O’Shaughnessy: “You know what that is. How can you know what that is? Ain’t nobody seen inside any of these camps, right?”

Upshot

For one-shot characters, these guys have a depth to them. However, I have no way to really write more about them. A pity.

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Review – Milk

Review – Milk

Milk is one of those stories which feels just a little bit too naughty. I mean, it’s a cartoon. But it feels a tad too much, as I look back on it these days. For this short story, actually, is a few years old. I have improved and changed as a writer since then – a lot.

Background

The prompt was to write a crossover story. I went with TOS and TAS, just to be different.

Plot

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Milk
Milk

So the story, told from Scotty’s point of view, is about him getting ready for a date with a newer crew member. She is friendly and pretty and he is a lonely, kind of awkward guy. Furthermore, he admits he can’t quite understand what she would possibly see in a guy like him. And that works out a bit with the canon character, at least in The Original Series. Scotty does not get a lot of chances for romance (Mira Romaine is one such chance, as I recall). But usually he is just called on to be the miracle worker and that’s that. It is not until the films where he gets a romantic interest, and that person is none other than Nyota Uhura.

Maybe that’s even weirder than this story.

In addition, I had not realized that, in the Animated Series, this kind of a relationship was explored a little bit. However, it was not like this, as Scotty is having thoughts which are definitely not for children on a Saturday morning!

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K+.

Upshot

Finally, for Scotty, often seen as a ‘eunuch in a tunic’, I wanted him to have some sexiness in his life. At the very  least, I hope that came across!

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Spotlight on Bicoulamine

Spotlight on Bicoulamine

Bicoulamine, a wholly original drug, needs to be explored more.
Bicoulamine

Background

As a part of the plot of Multiverse II, the collapsed American government needed addicted soldiers to fight. And Coulamine proved to be a great invention, the ‘candy’ pacifying the masses. As I had written them, humans of the post-World War III time period would do just about anything to get their hands on the ‘candy’. They would go without sex, shelter, food, or water, all in the name of just another fix. Furthermore, they would fight as soldiers. However, they still had a small measure of free will, aptly demonstrated by Rita Spinelli. Rita’s breaking of her addiction meant others could do so as well, if they only had enough will, and someone to help them through it. This was one of the reasons why she tried so hard to help Seymour Sonia break his own addiction to the stuff.

However, because I had already created and used my Tricoulamine (a fatal nerve gas) in the Intolerance story, that begged the question: what had existed in between the two chemical compounds, and covered the time period from around 2053 to 2158? Hence I came up with a truly twisted drug which would not pacify the masses. Instead, it turned them into homicidal psychopaths. That had the capacity to make for some really wild writing. However, because the story was never completed, Bicoulamine never really lived up to its fullest potential.

Upshot

While the drug turned out to be a really good idea, I did not get a chance to truly explore it. Hence I feel there is a lot more to tell about Bicoulamine and the post-World War III American landscape.

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Jespah's Ad Astra Journal Community Site and Star Trek fan fiction site

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