ALT #431: Memories Are Films About Ghosts
Memories Are Films About Ghosts
Summary: A smattering of personnel return to the ruins of Fleet Headquarters on Picon. For some, it means going home, but not home anymore.
Date: 13/03/2014 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: The Picon stuff loosely, non specifically.
Amos Atalanta Fischer Holtz Kaya Phin Stone Warren 
The ruins of Fleet HQ.
Mon Mar 13 2006

For centuries, the military complex on the outskirts of the city of Perkinston was the center of martial power on the planet of Picon. It was built before Picon herself was a unified planet. It withstood the battles of the First Cylon Wars, when humanitys robotic servants first rose up against them. And, after that war was won, it became the hub of the Colonial Fleet. In the halls of its great stone buildings, the plans were made that ended the First Cylon War in humanitys favor and united the armies of the Twelve Worlds into one force. On its airfields and in its training yards, the Fleets finest were hammered into soldiers for more than a generation.

In the time it took a basestar to drop a nuclear bomb, all of that was obliterated.

Perkinston, once one of the largest cities in the Twelve Worlds, stretches out collapsed buildings and wreckage across the countryside the Raptors fly over. Fleet Headquarters itself rises in the distance, almost like a hill of blasted, broken stone. The airfield has been cleared - more or less - for personnel from ANVIL and some volunteers from the Orion to land. The task is simple. Pick over the ruins and salvage what can be salvaged. Theres not hope of finding much of practical use, given the utter devastation the Cylons wrought upon the place. But, now that humanity is (more or less) in control of Picon again, perhaps it was simply time to see what remains.

It was a mission that Warren couldn't possibly pass up. Its something that he wanted since things went to hell. But its also something he's been dreading from the first reports about Fleet HQ being gone. Warren sits in the back of one of the raptors, in the jump seat facing the back of the raptor. He's not looking outside, more at the floor than anything. His hands are folded together, prone to constant wringing. He knows whats out there, but he hasn't seen it yet. Perhaps he doesn't dare look yet. Either way the tension around the viper jock is visible in his clenched jaw, the way he holds his hands, the way he sits. Soon it will all be real, an undeniable truth.

It was a mission that Warren couldn't possibly pass up. Its something that he wanted since things went to hell. But its also something he's been dreading from the first reports about Fleet HQ being gone. Warren sits in the back of one of the raptors, in the jump seat facing the back of the raptor. He's not looking outside, more at the floor than anything. His hands are folded together, prone to constant wringing. He knows whats out there, but he hasn't seen it yet. Perhaps he doesn't dare look yet. Either way the tension around the viper jock is visible in his clenched jaw, the way he holds his hands, the way he sits. Soon it will all be real, an undeniable truth.

Leaning back in his seat on the way over there, Fischer is looking a bit thoughtful as he does, without saying much as he looks out at the destroyed city. He couldn't pass up the opportunity to help looking around here, it would seem. Glancing over towards Warren, he offers the man a quiet nod now. "Anxious, sir?" he asks, a bit quietly.

It might not be as personal for Holtz as it is for Warren. Nevertheless, when the call for volunteers went out, the major's name was one of the ones on the list. He sits across from Warren, looking much more relaxed than his squadmate as the Raptor makes its approach to the landing point, though he doesn't try to crane his neck to look out the window either — instead, he occasionally peers ahead, trying to get a look over the ECO's shoulder at the readouts on his screens. Other than that, though, he's quiet, apparently lost in thought.

Phin looks. He can't resist looking. He tries not to be too obvious about his rubbernecking, but his head is turned out the viewport from where he sits near the back of the Raptor. He's looked a touch uncomfortable throughout the flight. He prefers to fly himself in a Viper rather than travel by Raptor, though he'd probably not admit it. Since the city - or what's left of it - has come into view, though, he's been quiet. Just sitting, and taking it in. He does glance at Warren, as if thinking about saying something. But nothing comes just yet.

Kaya arrives from the Tinyplot Room Nexus.

Stone arrives from the Tinyplot Room Nexus.

"To you we're going to Fleet HQ. The center of the fleet. To me? I'm going home," Warren states rather tersely. Its not that he means to be short, but this whole trip is a rather sensitive matter to him. "And my parents were likely there when things went to hell. So there's that too," he adds after a moment not looking any more or less tense, then again he might not be able to get more tense currently.

Having volunteered, not oddly enough, and letting his gaze go out over the area from the raptor. Silently taking in the sight. Remember a time when it was still standing, home. Stone doesn't really reply to any of the others around, mostly just studying the surroundings, waiting for them to touch down.

"I had a cousin living out in the city," Fischer remarks a bit quietly, before he adds, "We used to make fun of him for chosing to move into the big city." A brief pause, before he adds, "So I know a bit of how it feels." Turning to look out the window again.

As the Raptors approach the airfield, they begin to descend. Landing with that slight 'thud' that's unavoidable in even the most gracefully driven bus. The ECO checks the DRADIS, and there's some brief wireless chatter, to check with the current planetary CAP. To make certain the area is clear of Cylons. The answer they get back is an affirmative. Area's clear. Nothing but the rain out here. Literally. A very slight drizzle. That word received, the Raptor's doors open, and the personnel inside are cleared to disembark.

They've landed in what was once part of Fleet HQ's main airfield. On a real, proper runway. The wreckage of some military aircraft - Vipers and Raptors - is visible. Some look like they were blasted out of the sky, but as more were reduced to metal rubble lined up in neat, orderly rows. The attack here came with no warning. And there was almost no chance to fight back.

FNG alert. Kaya is sitting quietly watching the others. She'd volunteered for the mission and now found herself among a Raptorful of new faces. Hearing the terseness of one of the men, she glances over briefly, though doesn't allow it to linger. Sit down, shut up and listen, that was her personal mantra of late. The remainder of the flight has her sitting quietly, though she does peer up front to see who is piloting it. As the Raptor lands, her hands move to the straps, deftly unfastening herself from the confines.

When he feels the slight bump of the craft making landfall, Holtz quickly sheds his restraints and stands. He might not be part of the flight crew on this trip, but he's wearing his flightsuit nonetheless(although he did leave the helmet at home). His eyes slide in the direction of Warren, Phin, and Fischer; for a moment he looks like he wants to say something, but he doesn't. A hand rests on the butt of his pistol as he ducks out through the open hatch, eyes narrowing slightly as he climbs down the wing.

Fischer's remark doesn't get a reply this time, Warren instead stays silent. But then there's the THUD of touchdown, and the all clear. Warren inhales sharply, before he goes and undoes his restraints. Being in the jump seat had the advantage of not seeing everything on the way in, but perhaps also the disadvantage of being the one to be the first out, or close to it. Its hard to tell if that was planned or just the way things worked out. Again another deep breath as he watches Holtz step out through the hatch. Warren doesn't wait long to step out after Holtz onto the wing of the raptor, then the ground. Once on the ground, he finally really looks up and out at the blasted landscape.

Phin waits until the Raptor has settled, then undoes his restraints and gets ready to mosey. He's in uniform greens rather than flight gear, for his part. And he's wearing his service pistol. Even if this area is supposed to be Cylon-free. He exits after Holtz, tipping his head up slightly to feel the rain on his face. Before tipping it back down, to peer out over the remains of the airfield. He still has that look of wanting to say something, but having no idea quite what. So, instead, he tries to make smalltalk with the Marines. "It's, uh, Fischer, right?" he asks said Marine. "And…Stone? You've got a brother who's a Viper jock, yeah?"

Atalanta arrives from the Tinyplot Room Nexus.

Stone does get his own restraints off and moves to go out of the raptor as well. Prepared just in case there are still cylons. Always good to be prepared. Glancing towards Phin as he speaks. "Yeah, Nic." He agrees about his brother. Relaxing a bit. Eyes always sweeping over the area.

Oh and there was Phin! Kaya offers a smile to the pilot. "Hey Flyboy." Opting for the one name he had said but not invited her to call him. She disembarks like the others, hopping out onto the wing then stepping off it. She's got her rifle, but then anytime she leaves Orion and Piraeus she's got it.

Getting out as well, Fischer stretches a bit, as he nods at Phin's words, "That's right…" Not saying much more at the moment as he looks around as well, letting out a bit of a sigh now. Glancing to Stone, momentarily.

Amos has his rifle too, but once he's out of the raptor and taken a quick look at the surroundings then it's slung on his back and ignored as much as his side arm. With the word coming that the area is clear though he's opted for him habitual greens rather than combat dress. Boots on the ground he scans the surrounding area, it's been a long time since he's been to HQ, but he still remembers what used to be where well enough and no matter the destruction he's seen elsewhere on Picon, it never gets any easier.

Stone does have his rifle on his back, the pistol at his hip. Just being well prepared, looking around a bit. Glancing to those gathered. "Seems calm here." He offers before running a hand through his hair.

Home. He's finally here. Its finally real. Warren just stands there a moment, staring out at the landscape. He's been here, stood here. This is not just another airfield to him. Its a few moments before he even moves, but finally he does walking towards one of the wrecks. He crouches down reaching out touching the rubble that used to be the nose of a viper. He moves again, shifting his spot before reaching out, brushing some of the dust and dirt off of the craft even as the rain falls down, slowly revealing the scorched squadron symbol.

"Uh, Kaya, yeah?" is Phin's reply to her. Her last name fails him, but he remembers that part. "And, uh, McBride is fine." His tone isn't too conversational, though. He lets out a long exhale at the sight of the wreckage, and at the ruins of the headquarters buildings themselves in the distance. "Frak…" he murmurs. Very low. Almost inaudible, but not quite. At Stone's words, he nods. "Yeah. It's really quiet." He says that like he's not entirely comfortable with this particular kind of silence. When Warren heads toward one of the wrecks he follows the Viper Captain. But he doesn't reach out to touch the plane himself. He holds back, both reluctant to interrupt and reluctant to just leave Warren to it.

Amos turns his attention back to the group for a moment, glancing quickly to Kaya and Stone before making a quick gesture to let them know to keep their eyes open. It all looks safe, but he's heard that before. Not that he's on high alert mind, but he's still keeping his attentionon an invisible parimeter as the pilots move towards the ruined vipers.

The last time Holtz was at Fleet HQ, he wore the green pins of an enlisted rating instead of officer's gold. The flightline is mostly unfamiliar to him, but the conditions aren't. Shattered aircraft, blasted rubble… he's seen enough of that already to last a lifetime. His steps carry him in the same general direction as Warren and Phin, and he turns to examine the same bit of wreckage Warren's focused on. A grim frown crosses his features as the marred squadron markings slowly begin to reveal themselves. "Thirty-second," he mutters as he recognizes the insignia. "Wolfhounds." He studies the piece of metal for a few seconds longer before abruptly straightening and looking around.

"Seems so," Fischer replies as he hears Stone's words. Having his own rifle with him, just in case, he looks around at their surroundings, as he moves a bit further forward. Kaya gets a bit of a nod too, as he remembers her from that mission some days back. Glancing to Warren and the Viper wreckage for a few moments, before he goes back to looking around, going to one of the ruined buildings off in the distance, for a few moments.

"Kaya, yes." And then the Marine gets a good look at the destruction, but she'd just arrived on Orion from Picon. She'd seen most of it already. She glances towards Fischer and nods in return, though the movement is brief. Her attention goes to Holtz and she looks at the markings, gaze only skittering over it before the frown that mars the Pilot's face echoes on her own.

There are already personnel here from the Picon resistance. Guards to secure the perimeter, but most have come for the same reason those from the Orion did. To sift through the wreckage, and see what's left. Some are working to collect scrap or spare parts from the wreckage of the planes, but most are further in, within what's left of the buildings themselves. One of them, an enlisted rating woman of about 40, approaches Amos. He has a vaguely authoritative look about him. "Thanks for coming," she says. "We've got teams out here, taking what they can for scrap off the planes and the vehicles in the outer garages. None of them are running out of here under their own power, but the parts might come in handy. Most the buildings have collapsed, but we've had crews working to clear the rubble for the past few days, so we can move around a little inside. Medical's swept the place, mercifully. Got a lot of the bodies out, so gods willing we won't run into too much of that. We're working on IDs, but it's going to take some time. Your people can join the work teams out here, or in the main buildings. There's no shortage of it to do."

Franklin is the last one out of the Raptor — behind even the pilot and the ECO. It should come as no surprise, really. At some point during the trip here, she'd actually drifted out… not off, but out. Lost in her paperwork, staring blankly at the top sheet of one of several files that she'd brought with her and buried herself in for the duration of the flight. She must've set it aside, as she's empty-handed when she climbs out onto the Raptor's wing, when she jumps down onto the ground with a soft thud, her boots hitting what's left of the asphalt. Green eyes survey the area slowly, but she says nothing.

"Ye-" Warren stops himself and clears his throat, "Yeah. Wolfhounds. My brother flew with them briefly." He glances up the wreckage to what remains of the cockpit quietly noting, "Didn't even get off the ground." He pushes himself up slowly glancing out once more at the wreckage of the airfield, and then off towards the shattered buildings that made up Fleet HQ. Before Warren can even move again there's talk about the dead and he goes rather pale, but stays rather stoic. Warren's made his decision of where he's going even if he doesn't say it out loud, its the main buildings he's starting to move off towards. But he's not moving overly fast. His pace is slow, somber even, and he seems more like he's somewhere else than the shattered ruins of Fleet HQ.

As he's approached, Amos is half tempted to deflect the woman onto Holtz or Franklin, but seeing the Major busy and the Colonel just stretching her legs he doesn't, taking the information himself instead. "Thank you, I'll pass that on and we'll get ourselves sorted, I imagine mot will want to search inside, but I must admit we haven't made ourselves any solid plans. Catching sight of Warren moving out of the corner of his eye he tilts his head in the Captain's direction. "He might have had family here, is there anyone in Medical how might be able to help him find out either way? Any list of the dead or such?"

Stone does nod about keeping his eyes open. Even starting to move out secure the permiter. Being used to it by now, always having it as a routine. Gesturing back that it is clear on his side, once he has made his check. Listening to the others as they talk, but not saying much for now. Just letting eyes jump from one spot to the other.

Phin looks down at the squadron insignia that Warren and Holtz recognize, like he's committing it to memory. "You ever been here before?" he asks Holtz. His eyes follow Warren, but he still seems unsure of what to say to the Captain. "I did my flight training on Picon, but the base was a ways off from here. Did get to H-Q once, though. For the Armilustrium Games. Got pretty crappy seats to a few of the events. I got to see the Colonial Knights, though. It was…amazing…" He can't reflect too fondly on it just now, though. His eyes go to Atalanta as she exits the Raptor. Then, he looks down at the toes of his boots.

"Mmm," Holtz grunts in reply, nodding in affirmation as he takes one more long look around before turning back to Phin. "My last assignment as a petty officer was at HQ as an ordnance master, '87 to '89. Handling requisitions to and from, verifying stock, that sort of thing. Shit job for a certified gun captain, but it put me planetside so I could work on my degree. Applied to OCS the frakkin' day after graduation." His voice is dull, but level. "Seems so long ago, now."

Tearing his gaze away from that building in the distance, Fischer sighs a bit now as he looks between the others, nodding a bit to the part about searching inside as he hears Amos speak. Looking between the others again now, then off into the distance.

Kaya walks along beside Fischer, looking around. She looks towards Amos and nods, saying little for the moment, just listening to the conversation from the others instead. Listen and learn, wasn't that how it worked?

Enough of the rubble has been cleared from that building for Fischer, and anyone else, to enter. It was an air control tower, in better times, though upper floor has caved in and now only the lower one remains. Parts of it are completely buried in mortar, though mundane details are preserved at random. The front desk, with a sign-in sheet and the day's roster still preserved. Only damaged by exposure to the environment. A broken coffee maker on the floor, the break room it once occupied now buried, but somehow it escaped. And on the walls that still stand…that's the eeriest part. Shadows have been burnt into the white-washed stone outside it. Preserved like ink on canvas. Burnt there by the force of a nuclear blast. A truck that had been parked in the yard. The outline of what once must have been a person, standing, the shadow of their arms raised. Both are gone, but the shadows remain. Many, many shadows are burnt into the walls that still stand here, like ghosts.

The talk of getting a list of who may or may not still be alive doesn't seem to even register with Warren as he keeps moving towards the main buildings. He doesn't glance around so much, just keeping focused foward, towards the main buildings at his slow pace.

Stone does move with the others towards the main buildings. Keeping rear as they move on. Listening to the others as well. Glancing to Kaya. "You're still new, right? Give it a moment and I am sure you'll fit right in." He offers with a small smile before going on.

Though Franklin's eyes had been on Warren, following his figure from several yards behind, she stops when she passes by the air control tower. She stops, and she stares, her eyes clouding as she takes in the blurred outlines of the shadowy figures — what remains of the people who had served here. The corners of her lips twitch for a moment before she presses them into a thin line, one that slowly drains of color, the pink turning a yellowish-white. She heaves a heavy sigh, then strides forward again.

Fischer grimaces as he looks inside that air control tower as well, noticing the shadows on the wall. Muttering something under his breath, his expression is quite neutral as he turns to look to the others again now. Stepping over to that front desk, he looks to the sign-in sheet and the roster there, to see the names mentioned now.

"Wasn't even two years ago for me," Phin says to Holtz. "Feels like forever, though. Another life-time." He turns, moving to follow Warren toward the main complex. Though his pace is slow. He's in no hurry to see what's in there. Even if it's likely just more of the same that's out here. His eyes go to the remains of the control tower, and Atalanta and Fischer as they venture up to it. He keeps his distance, for his part, though he can't help but stop and stare.

The sound of footsteps behind him, and then stopping seems to somewhat bring Warren out of whatever daze he was in at least for a moment. But its long enough to get Warren to glance back over his shoulder to see who's following along behind him. "Fran-," Warren clears his throat again, "Fraklin?" Its not overly loud but its there. Its also informal, well as informal as anyones heard them refer to each other at least. Normally it'd be 'Colonel' or perhaps her callsign, but that formality is just not there at the moment. As she starts moving again he waits, long enough for her to catch up before he starts moving again. He glances over to her a moment before back to the 'path' before them. "This…this is really whats left of Fleet isn't it?" he asks quietly, "All thats left…"

Holtz again nods his assent as Phin speaks. "Yeah, I know exactly what you mean." He also turns towards the control tower along with Phin and the others, but he doesn't slow up as he approaches the scarred walls. There's a cold look in the directions of the outlines burned into the whitewashed surface, but that's as strong as his outward reaction gets as he continues along. He looks briefly at Warren, but again says nothing. The question wasn't meant for him, and he won't intrude.

"No," Franklin says quietly. "We're what's left of the Fleet — all of the ships and the personnel of NOMAD, and Blackjack, and Linten." There's a pause, a beat. "This is what's left of Fleet HQ." In short, those aren't quite the same thing. But she isn't going to point that out now. No, she's simply going to jam her hands into the pockets of her green fatigues, where they ball up into fists. Her head turns. She watches him, her brows furrowing together.

Among the main buildings, beyond the broken gates, left of the main Fleet HQ complex looms. Up close, there's a randomness to the destruction that couldn't be seen from the air. Entire walls still stand, emblazoned with those ghostly shadows, in the middle of buildings which are otherwise entirely bombed out. A few of the pictures on the wall - portraits of old Fleet admirals - have survived in places. Peering proudly over the wreckage. A statue in the courtyard, a scaled-down replica of a battlestar done in marble, lies in pieces with all the other rubble.

Kaya glances back at Stone and nods in return. "I am. Kaya Kent. Thanks, I hope so. I'm just going day by day." As the others start looking around, she does as well, though sticking next to Stone for now, since she didn't want to split off on her own.

"Thats not what," Warren shakes his head sadly, "not what I meant. Fleet HQ. -Home-. This is really it…" He takes a deep breath, "Its actually real now. I mean I knew. Its just…" And then they're there and Warren stops. He stands there a moment staring at the buildings, the walls, the broken statue. "Gone…" Warren manages out just above a whisper. Again he moves towards the statue, standing near its base looking at it before crouching down to just touch one of the pieces. "I must have come here thousands of times as a kid. Remember looking up at this statue, wanting to be on one. Make," he swallows hard, "Make my parents proud."

Stone nods to Kaya, "Colt Stone." He offers in return. Moving with Kaya, as it seems. Studying the surroundings as well. Perhaps reminiscing as well. Studying the area as well as the portraits. "It's odd to see things as run down as this." He offers. Even if he has seen similar things earlier, on one of their other runs down to Picon, as well as other places.

Really, what can she — or anyone else — say in the face of something like that? Her nostrils flare as she drags in a long, slow breath. A ragged thing. One that catches in her throat. There really isn't anything to say at all. Franklin just drops her hand down onto one of Warren's shoulders, resting it there lightly at first, but then squeezing — squeezing until the tips of her fingers turn red, then white. Squeezing so hard it's impossible not to feel it, even under all numbing shock of such sudden and intense pain. "I know," is all she can manage.

Having finished his look through the lists of names, noting a few familiar ones, Fischer gets out again from the remains of that tower, moving over to where Kaya and Stone are for now, keeping silent as he does.

Touch. Its not something Warren was perhaps was expecting and he glances at the hand there on his shoulder a moment. He brings his hand up covering Atia's hand as she clamps down on his shoulder. He tenses a moment before he slowly starts to rise again, hand still on hers. Theres a moment he doesn't say anything, doesn't do anything, before he turns and HUGS the prim and propper CAG, shutting his eyes tight, for a long few moments.

Even though Kaya is nearer Stone and Fischer, she hears Warren and her eyes crinkle at the sides as she looks at him with equal measures of concern and sympathy. She offers no words behind it though, not wishing to embarrass him by observing his vulnerable moment. Instead, she looks the other way, nodding to Stone as she swallows a lump in her throat. "It's good to meet you.." she says almost hoarsely.

Stone does listen to Warren as well, though sighing a bit to himself as he goes on with them. "Same." He offers to Kaya. Giving a nod to Fischer as he closes in to them. He himself looking through some of the things they find.

If Franklin is shocked, she doesn't show it. Not for long, at least. Her face swiftly becomes its usual serene mask, the facade broken only by the slight wrinkling of skin at the corners of her eyes. She wraps her arms — still too, too thin — around his shoulders, hugging him tight. "I know," she whispers again. "I know." There's a crack in her voice, which hitches upwards on the last syllable.

Warren takes a deep breath before he nods, then again. Finally though he pulls away from the hug, nodding once again. Slowly his eyes open and he brings his hands up to rub at them a moment, before looking around again. It takes him a moment but he manages to slowly put back together a stoic look on his face, though thats the only part of him that seems stoic; the way he starts moving towards one of the buildings certainly shows how the experience wears on him. Inside he glances about a bit looking at this and that before he bends over to pick up one of the framed pictures on the floor. He shakes free the broken glass and brushes his hand over it to clear the dust away. Theres a slight smirk, its a sad one though. Warren glances up at the roof and lets out a sigh before he moves over to the wall and rests against it before just sliding down it. The picture gets tossed off to the side, clattering along the floor, and he puts his elbows on his knees, holding his head in his hands a long moment before once more leaning back against the wall and looking up at the ceiling wordlessly.

Fischer keeps quiet, with a brief glance to Warren, before looking away. Knowing that there are times when words doesn't help, no matter how much people would want them to. Moving to look through some of what they find, similar to how Stone is doing it.

Kaya deliberately keeps her gaze averted from the deeply emotional moment. "What is your home colony, Colt?" Just going with the first name for now, being all casual, hopefully a little nonchalant, trying not to interrupt the two. She looks through a few things, but doesn't put a lot of heart into it. It all looked mostly the same.

Stone does go along with KAya. Not interupting the others that is. Glancing to Fischer to let him come on over if he wishes. Not wanting to leave anyone alone, unless they want to be left. Looking back to Kaya as she speaks. "Picon." He offers, looking around a bit. "That's why it's always hard to see it like this. You?"

There's a brief nod of acknowledgement to Stone as he mentions this very colony. Kaya hooks a thumb through the strap of her rifle and offers a rueful smile. "Virgon." Enough said.

Warren leaves, heading toward the Tinyplot Room Nexus [Out].

Fischer nods, "It is quite hard, even if it's a different part of the planet…" A bit quietly as he gestures to that apartment building he was looking at earlier, over in one of the other parts of the city. "My cousin used to live there," he remarks. Wincing as he hears Kaya's words. "That must be even harder, how that colony was treated…"

Stone ahs to Kaya, nodding a bit. "Indeed, as Fischer said." Glancing over to him as well. Nodding about his cousin. "Ah, I admit. I only occasionally came into the big city. More so for duties." He explains in turn. "Though I do believe we all remember things even if we were only here a few times." Looking to Kaya as well, with a bit of a smile to her. "And despite it being perhaps not the greatest times, welcome to the marines of Orion. We look out for one another from now on, a new home." He assures her.

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