Alternate Ending #1
When Liz awoke it was morning and she was alone in the bed. She knew that Max was still terribly upset about Isabel and she quickly pulled on her clothes to go look for him. She left the room, looking down the hallway in both directions, wondering where to go, when she heard voices coming from a room on the right. The door was slightly ajar and Liz could hear Max’s voice inside along with that of his mother and the priest Jaetus.
She reached out to open the door and join them, but their words stopped her.
“We all felt Liz’s power through the connection my son,” Kasha said. “We know that you changed her, but to get Isabel back and win this war we are going to need all the allies we can get. And your marriage to Liz doesn’t gain you anything.”
“Doesn’t gain me anything?” Max asked incredulously.
“Yes, your Majesty,” Jaetus agreed. “We may be able to secure a treaty with some of the more powerful families with a marriage…”
“I’m already married!” Max roared, cutting him off. “I’m not going to marry some simpering noble’s daughter to gain support. Am I the King or what? I have already made my decision. Liz is my first and only wife. We are bonded. I love her and I would never upset her or dishonor our vows by marrying anyone else for any reason. Being married to Liz gains me everything. She is my soul mate, my other half, the best part of me.”
“But Zan,” Kasha protested.
“My name is Max now,” he said cutting her off. “And Liz might be the best chance we have at saving Isabel.”
Jaetus’ brow creased in confusion. “What do you mean? How could she help?”
Suddenly Liz felt Max in her mind. Come to me, he said.
She was somewhat surprised that he knew she was there but she pushed the door open and entered the room. Without looking behind him, Max held out his hand to her and she automatically crossed to him and took it.
Max squeezed her hand and continued. “You know I changed Liz, but you don’t know what her special power is.”
He turned to meet Liz’s eyes, speaking in her mind. I’m sorry to ask you this. You know I don’t want to pressure you, but I thought we could use the Granolith.
Liz nodded, knowing exactly what he was asking. Max wanted to use the power of the Granolith to help her get a vision. Of course Max, she answered him the same way. I’d do anything to help you and Isabel.
Kasha spoke up. “So what is Liz’s special power?”
Max met his mother’s eyes. “Visions, mother. Liz gets visions of the future. They are usually pretty vague and she can’t always tell what is happening. But her visions are clearer when I push my power into her. I thought if we accessed the energy of the Granolith it would be so much more power than I could push into her...
“Wait,” Kasha said cutting him off. “You and Liz can share power?”
“I am not familiar with the expression,” Max said. “But this is what I’m talking about…”
Max trailed off and turned to meet Liz’s eyes, allowing a burst of power to flow into her. Liz held his gaze and pushed her power into him. They felt each other’s energy rush into them, joining with their own, mingling and building. And they turned as one, showing their eyes that burned with power to Max’s mother and the priest.
Kasha gasped and Jaetus dropped to the ground murmuring.
“I’m sorry Max, Liz,” Kasha apologized. “We didn’t realize you could share power. It is a rare thing among our people and requires great power. You are truly meant to be together.”
“I shouldn’t have questioned your judgment, your Majesty,” Jaetus said groveling on the floor. “It was arrogant of me, your Majesty. Liz is truly worthy of you and being Queen. Please forgive me.”
“Get up,” Max ordered Jaetus. “We have enough problems without all of this crap.”
“Of course,” Kasha said. “You and Liz visit the Granolith and I will call a meeting with all of the commanders.”
Max held Liz to him tightly as they stood before the Granolith. “I’m sorry Liz. I shouldn’t have just sprung that on you. I should have discussed it with you first, asked you in private.”
“It’s okay Max,” Liz soothed. “I would have suggested it anyway.”
He touched her face. “I just don’t want you to worry if you don’t see anything.”
Max kissed her forehead. “I don’t exactly know how we access the Granolith, if we need a control crystal or what.” He held out his hand toward the dark cone. “I can feel the power now. I never did before. I never felt anything from it before. I wonder why?”
“Maybe you had to have a certain amount of your own power to sense it,” Liz suggested. “Or maybe you just weren’t ready before.”
“Or maybe it’s us together,” Max said, holding her eyes. “The strength you give me, the courage. Maybe I didn’t want to face what the Granolith could mean for me without you.”
“Max,” she said softly, tears pricking her eyes.
Max smiled. “But when we’re together I not afraid of anything.”
Liz touched his face. “I’ll always be here for you Max. That’s a promise.”
After a moment she motioned to the Granolith. “If you can feel the power maybe we can just include it in our connection, let it join with our power like we do with each others’.”
Max nodded. “Let’s try it.” He sat on the floor, pulling Liz into his lap and wrapping her in his arms.
Liz leaned back against him and grasped his hand around her waist, opening their connection wide, the power automatically flowing between them.
Max reached out his other hand and touched the base of the Granolith, widening their connection. Instantly they both felt a surge of the Granolith’s power.
It’s working, Max said in her mind.
I can feel it too, Liz said.
I’m going to bring it into our connection, Max said, and channel it into you.
Max allowed a small amount of the Granolith’s power to join with their own, directing it all into Liz. Gradually he increased the amount, always aware of Liz through their bond, careful not to give her too much.
It’s incredible, Liz gasped in his mind. So much power.
Along with her awe Max also felt her arousal. It was inevitable really, sex and power had combined for them so many times that it was a conditioned response. And Liz’s sexual excitement instantly triggered his own. He tried to ignore it as he continued to channel more of the Granolith’s energy into her, but he was not only fighting his own body’s reactions.
Through their connection Max knew when moisture pooled between Liz’s legs, he felt her nipples harden. He felt the energy surging over every inch of her skin, and pushing inside her, arousing her even more. Her whole body hummed with the overwhelming power, jerking and spasming in his arms like he was making love to her. Max pushed even more energy into her, making her heart race and her breath come faster and faster until she was gasping for air.
She would climax soon and he had to put as much power into her as possible before that happened. He tried to control his need for her as he controlled the energy flowing into her, but he couldn’t seem to stop himself from touching her. His hand roamed over her stomach and up to cup her breast. “Liz,” he growled in her ear.
She arched into his touch and the rest of his control broke. He kissed her neck and quickly stroked the hard nub of her breast with his thumb as he thrust even more power into her. He felt the need to make her come and moved his hand down directing the power across her clit.
Suddenly she cried out and squeezed her eyes shut as the orgasm ripped through her body. “Max,” she gasped excitedly, “I can see. I can see.”
And somehow Max was pulled into the vision with her. They had been connected before when Liz experienced visions but Max had never witnessed what she saw. He wondered what was different this time but almost immediately answered his own question. Of course it must be the addition of the Granolith’s power.
The images and emotions filtered through Liz’s mind so quickly that he could barely grasp them. He saw Isabel and a man he assumed was Khivar, he felt a rush of surprise and fear, he saw Liz and the Granolith and felt a surge of tremendous power. And just as suddenly as he had been drawn into the vision he was cast out.
Max could still feel the continuing waves of pleasure washing through Liz and he held her tightly to him.
“Isabel,” Liz gasped.
“What do you see?” Max asked before he realized, and then immediately chastised himself. He was afraid that the interruption would bring Liz out of the vision.
“There’s so much,” Liz breathed. “I can’t focus on it all.”
“Tell me what you can see.” Max said.
“The Granolith,” Liz said in between gasps of breath, “I see you, touching the Granolith. Khivar’s troops, I think. Isabel and Michael. There’s so much power, Max,” Liz whispered. “She’ll be okay. I can feel it. We’ll save her.”
“How Liz?” Max asked. “How do we save her?”
Liz shook her head, her brow creasing in concentration. “It’s there, I just can’t…”
She trailed off as the combined pleasure of the orgasm and the power overwhelmed her. Max stroked her cheek. “It’s okay Liz. It will be okay. We’ll figure it out.”
That night Isabel visited Michael again in his dream. But this time he wasn’t dreaming about Maria, he was dreaming about her. It was the dream that Tess had planted in their minds when she had first come to town. The dream that had made Isabel think she was pregnant.
And for good reason. She and Michael were making out on the jutting, rocky structure that housed the pod chamber and it was just as passionate as she remembered. Of course now that she had Vilondra’s memories of being with Rath, Isabel knew that even though the vision had been fake, the passion wasn’t.
“Michael?” she said tentatively.
Again the dream dissolved around them as he acknowledged her. “Isabel.”
With determined strides he crossed to her taking her head in his hands and kissed her hard.
Immediately she responded, her lips clinging to his, but she quickly pulled back out of his arms. “What are we doing?” she asked. “You’re grieving for Maria and I’m with Khivar. We’re both on the rebound. This isn’t right. We’ve practically been brother and sister.”
Michael held her eyes. “This doesn’t have anything to do with Maria or Khivar. It’s just between you and me. I told you yesterday I loved you and I wasn’t talking about in a brotherly kind of way.”
Isabel shook her head. “You’re just remembering Rath’s feelings. This isn’t real. You don’t love me. None of it is real.”
He closed the distance between them and kissed her again hungrily but briefly, and then pulled back enough to see into her eyes. “Does that feel fake?” he asked. “Does it feel like it’s happening to someone else?” Michael shook his head. “This is us. Right here, right now and it is real.” He smiled. “And believe me there is nothing brotherly about the way I kissed you or the way I feel.”
“It’s too fast,” Isabel objected. “You are…”
Michael cut her off with a knowing smile. “Then tell me why you came here Isabel. Tell me why you kissed me back.”
“I don’t know,” she said breathily.
Michael shook his head as he enfolded her in his arms, drawing her closer. “I know,” he said arrogantly. “You came because you wanted this.”
Isabel didn’t answer him. “But what about Maria and Alex,” she objected. “We loved them.”
“Yes,” Michael agreed, holding her eyes, “we did. But they are gone and we’re still here.”
“But Michael,” Isabel objected again, “why now, just all of the sudden? The last few months you’ve acted like I didn’t exist.”
“I know,” Michael said, “and that was wrong. I thought you needed time to get over Alex, and I was involved with Maria. We both had our own lives. But after Maria died and Max started pushing power into me, I started to remember what it was like between Rath and Vilondra, and I want that again.”
He shook his head. “I didn’t say anything because it was so soon after Maria…” he trailed off. “But with what has happened the last few days I realized that our lives are so uncertain and I don’t want to wait any more. I nearly lost you yesterday. Hell, I would have killed you myself if Max had given me the order, that’s why I don’t want to waste any more time and risk losing what could be.”
“And Khivar?” Isabel asked.
Michael shrugged. “What about him? He’ll be dead soon and out of our lives for good.”
Isabel shook her head. “You know that’s not what I mean.”
Michael nodded. “You meant, do I think less of you for being with Khivar?” He held her eyes. “The answer is no. You love him Isabel, I know that, and he loves you. There is nothing wrong with that. Vilondra was wrong because she betrayed her family. But you were willing to sacrifice your love and your life to save us. You had to take on this burden alone, knowing every minute that if Khivar discovered your plan it could mean all of our deaths.” He reached out to stroke her cheek. “I have nothing but respect and admiration for you.”
Max, Liz and Michael had been on Antar for over a week and they had finally come up with a workable plan. The three of them sat with Max’s mother Kasha, the head priest Jaetus, and General Darius working out the final details.
Suddenly a messenger rushed in, dropping to one knee.
“Report,” Max said.
“Your Majesty, our informers have discovered that Khivar is carrying out a very thorough search of the capitol city looking for us. He has his most elite troops conducting the search with orders to keep the whole thing confidential.”
“So Khivar doesn’t want anyone to know that we’re here,” Michael said. “Especially since we got the Granolith back.”
“But why?” Max asked. “Is he afraid of the war escalating, or is the Granolith that important?”
“I think he is afraid of you Max,” Liz said softly, recalling images from her vision. “You, and Granolith, and what you could do with all that power.”
Max shook his head. “I don’t even know…”
The messenger spoke again, interrupting. “I’m sorry your Majesty, I was told to inform you that the search started near our present location, almost as if Khivar knew where to look.”
Michael jumped to his feet. “That’s it, we’ve got to get out of here!”
“It could just be coincidence that Khivar started his search so near us,” Kasha said. “From time to time he has scoured the city looking for us.”
Michael shook his head. “Someone must have betrayed us. Khivar could be here any minute.” He turned to Max, “We need to pack up and leave now.”
Max nodded. “I think you’re right.”
A shiver of foreboding raced through Liz and the words of those around her faded into the background as an image from her vision came into her mind. It was static for a moment, and then it came to life. She saw Max’s followers hurrying to vacate the residence, hastily packing belongings into waiting ships. The image was quickly followed by another, of Khivar’s troops surrounding the house, the flurry of activity having drawn their attention.
The whole room was alive with barked orders and activity and Liz gasped. “Wait!”
Max instantly grasped her hand, concerned. “What’s wrong?”
“We can’t leave,” she said.
Michael spoke up, “We have to leave before Khivar finds us.”
“No,” Liz said. “It will bring us to Khivar’s attention. We have to stay.”
Michael opened his mouth but hesitated before he spoke, having learned to respect Liz’s visions. “You’re sure? You’ve seen this?”
Liz nodded. “We may get away but many of our people won’t.” She looked at Michael and then Max. “We need to stay here all together. I think the Granolith’s power is,” she shook her head searching for the right words, “it’s cloaking us somehow.”
Max met her eyes and nodded.
The priest Jaetus spoke up. “How could she know that about the Granolith? We don’t even know…”
Max cut him off. “Liz is right. We stay put.” He looked around waiting for the others to acknowledge his command. Everyone nodded.
But Michael wasn’t satisfied. “Shouldn’t we be worried about how Khivar knew where to start looking for us?” he argued. “Someone must have betrayed us.”
Max shook his head. “No. If Khivar knew our location he would have simply come here. He wouldn’t be searching for us.”
Michael’s brow creased. “So him starting a search so close to us is just a coincidence?”
Max nodded. “Maybe.” He looked to Liz. “Can you tell how long we’re safe here?”
Liz shook her head.
“Okay,” Max said, “tell our people to keep an eye on Khivar’s troops. We’ll get a few people out at a time to a new location. If Khivar gets too close then we’ll make a run for it
“And what about Isabel?” Michael asked.
“We need to finish this plan to rescue her,” Max said, glancing at Liz, feeling her tension through their connection. “And we need to hurry.”
Michael tossed and turned in his bed, unable to sleep because he was so worried about Isabel. Every day they delayed was one more day she was in danger.
He thought about the months she had spent with Khivar and the Skins on Earth pretending to be part of them. She must have been so scared and lonely, wondering every day if they would discover her treachery.
He still couldn’t believe that he had thought Isabel had betrayed them. He felt so much guilt about doubting her. Isabel had been so close to him for so long, he should have known she just wasn’t capable of it.
Liz had given away her true love, her future happiness, to save them, and he respected her for the sacrifice. But Isabel had not only been willing to give up her love, she had also risked her life in the process. She had been so brave and selfless and it made him love her even more.
Michael had loved Maria, but she was gone, and he knew she wouldn’t want him to be alone. She would want him to be happy, and he had a chance for happiness with Isabel.
He smiled. He wasn’t sure exactly when his feelings for Isabel had changed from friendship to love. It had come on gradually over the last few weeks as his feelings had merged with his recovered memories. And he probably wouldn’t have realized it so soon if Isabel’s life hadn’t been in danger. But he did recognize his feelings and he didn’t want to risk losing her before they even had a chance to begin.
Khivar led the search for Max and his followers himself. For days he and his troops had searched the area where Khivar believed they were hidden, but with no luck. There had no sign of them. Obviously the information Khivar had received about their location was wrong.
He slammed his fist against the console in his vehicle. None of this was going as planned. He had intended to kill Max and the others when they first arrived on Antar. Then he could have taken Isabel as his bride and easily ended the war. With her support and the Granolith at his side no one would question his claim to the throne. But Max had escaped him, and with the Granolith.
Khivar’s scowl deepened as he watched his troops continuing the search. He had underestimated Max again and again, but he wouldn’t make that mistake again. He couldn’t afford to slip up now that Max had the Granolith.
But he had been working on another plan. And the time was rapidly approaching to put it into motion.
Every night since they arrived on Antar, Max and Liz had gone to the Granolith and used its power to help Liz get visions. And every night a vision had come to her, but she was disappointed that it was the same vague images again and again. She had been able to see a few more details but she still didn’t know what the vision was trying to tell her.
Each time she saw Max and the Granolith, Isabel & Michael. Khivar and his troops were ever present and they seemed to occupy more of the vision each night. But despite that seemingly ominous portent Liz still felt like they were going to get Isabel back. And she got into bed that night with the images from the vision swirling through her mind, trying to extract anything she could from them.
Max felt her tension and held her to him tightly. He was worried about Isabel of course, but he was also worried about Liz. If they failed to save Isabel, Max was afraid that Liz would blame herself, and it would be his fault. He had encouraged her to use her abilities to help Isabel, thinking he didn’t have another choice. But Liz hadn’t seen anything useful and now he regretted getting her involved. But he also knew that Liz would have insisted on trying to get a vision to help Isabel herself.
He kissed the top of Liz’s head. Through their connection he whispered words of love and support, gently stroking her hair until she finally fell asleep.
Even more images flooded into Liz’s unconscious mind. She saw Khivar’s troops standing behind Michael with their hands raised toward him. Then the image changed and Liz saw Khivar holding Isabel by the throat.
More images crowded into her mind, flowing faster and faster, so many that she couldn’t focus on half of them; a room in the palace, Michael and Isabel kissing, Khivar sending out a tremendous burst of power, Max reaching toward the Granolith and being pulled inside. And through it all she was almost overwhelmed by feelings of terror, of betrayal, and terrible loss.
Over the last week Isabel had visited Michael every night in his dreams. Every night they talked and Isabel had tried to convince Michael to use the Granolith to destroy her and Khivar. Michael denied each of her requests, but every night he took her into his arms.
And Isabel had gone willingly, allowing the few stolen hours with Michael ease her guilty heart. But as the days passed she grew more and more anxious that Khivar would discover their plan.
After Isabel was sure Khivar was asleep she wrapped her naked body in a robe and went into the sitting room to be alone. When she entered Michael’s dreams she found him waiting for her. He reached for her, pulling her into a kiss, his tongue sliding across her lips demanding entrance. She opened to him and he devoured her mouth not able to get enough of her. And Isabel felt the same way but she put her hands to his chest and pushed him away.
Michael cupped her cheek. “What’s wrong?”
“Michael you have to convince Max…”
He cut her off. “I already told you it’s not going to happen. We’re working on a plan.”
“It’s taking too long,” Isabel objected. “Khivar isn’t stupid. He’s going to figure it out.”
“We are not sacrificing you to get to Khivar,” Michael said.
Isabel shook her head. “I don’t deserve to be saved,” she said softly.
Michael started to shake his head and she continued quickly. “Michael, I knew about what Tess did to Max months before he found out. I knew there was no baby, I knew he didn’t sleep with her but I didn’t say anything. I said nothing while he suffered with the belief that he had betrayed Liz, while he was tormented with the visions of his son.”
A scowl creased Michael’s brow. “Damn it Isabel…”
“And I never told you what really happened to Maria,” Isabel said cutting him off.
“What?” Michael demanded, grasping her shoulders. “What do you mean, what really happened?”
Isabel held his eyes. “I’ve known the truth the whole time but I never told you.”
Michael’s grip tightened almost painfully. “You’ve known what?”
“Maria’s death wasn’t really an accident,” Isabel said. “Tess always hated Maria, didn’t think Maria was good enough for you.”
A muscle in Michael’s jaw twitched as Isabel continued. “Tess knew that Maria never really accepted your alien side, never believed in your strength, and she played on Maria’s insecurities, enhanced them. She convinced Maria that you would die if she didn’t intervene. Tess made Maria think that you would die unless she intervened. Maria believed that she was saving your life by jumping in front of you.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Michael roared, shaking her.
Isabel shrugged. “Because I’m a cast-iron bitch.”
Michael’s face hardened. “I know what you’re doing and I already told you Isabel, I’m not going to help you commit suicide.”
Tears came to her eyes and Isabel slapped him. “Damn you Michael.”
Michael slammed her back into the wall. “Damn us both,” he growled and crashed his lips against hers.
Isabel kissed him back but slipped her hand between them and used a burst of power intending to throw Michael into the wall behind him. But he held her so tightly that they both fell to the floor. They hit hard and Michael rolled trapping her underneath him.
“I hate you,” Isabel hissed, but she wrapped her arms around him pulling Michael down into a rough kiss.
He kissed her back hard, devouring her mouth. Their bodies were pressed tightly together, and hands started wandering, demanding, pulling at clothes. Isabel’s robe parted and Michael grasped her breast as she tugged his pants down. Michael ate at her mouth as he wiggled his hips attempting to discard his jeans. When they were about half way down he gave up and simply shoved her legs apart and moved between them. And with a powerful thrust he was finally inside.
They broke the kiss surprised, meeting each others’ eyes. Both had been so caught up in the moment that they hadn’t realized what they were doing.
For long moments they simply looked at each other.
The sensation was strange for both of them but at the same time familiar because of their recovered memories. Visions of Vilondra and Rath flashed through their minds, of bodies moving together to bring them both to ecstasy.
Isabel’s fingers flexed, her nails digging into the muscles of Michael’s back.
He groaned and his body tightened, pulling him out a couple of inches before he slid back in.
“Michael,” Isabel gasped as she gripped him tighter.
Still holding her eyes he started to move within her. The first few thrusts were slow, tentative but their bodies quickly caught fire as the pleasure started to build. Their motions rapidly became frenzied, hands grasping, attempting to pull each other closer as they strained together.
Michael slammed into her seemingly faster and harder with each stroke and Isabel welcomed him, thrusting her hips up to meet him. She couldn’t seem to get enough of him and grasped his ass urging him to even greater speeds.
They moved together for long moments, the only sounds moans of pleasure and gasps of breath. Michael grasped her shoulders to give himself more traction, holding her tightly, painfully as he surged inside.
The end came quickly for them both. Isabel’s eyes squeezed shut in ecstasy and her whole body arched as Michael thrust into her a final time, groaning his release.
They collapsed together gasping for breath, both silent for several minutes.
Isabel was the first to speak. “So what do you think now that you’ve fucked me?”
Michael pulled back enough to meet her eyes. “I think it is as good as it ever was between Rath and Vilondra, and now you’ll be looking to trade up from Khivar.”
Isabel held his eyes stubbornly. “This is just a dreamwalk. It isn’t real. It doesn’t change anything. And when I leave here I’ll be going back into Khivar’s bed willingly.”
She smiled. “Or was this just about getting back at Khivar? You just fucked me because I’m with him.”
Michael trailed his hand down her chest and across her breast, smiling when she shivered in reaction. “You can’t make me hate you Isabel. And I know you’re looking forward to the real thing as much as I am.”
Isabel opened her mouth but no words would come. She shook her head incredulously.
Michael kissed her. “Tomorrow night. We’ll have the last of the plan worked out tomorrow. We’ll all be waiting for you and we’ll fill you in on the whole thing.” He held her eyes. “We’re bringing you home Isabel, safe and sound.”
Isabel’s eyes filled with tears and Michael wrapped her in his arms, holding her tightly while she cried.
The next night Max, Liz, Michael, Kasha, Jaetus and Darius waited anxiously for Isabel to contact them.
Max addressed Michael. “You said Isabel was depressed when she contacted you last night.”
Michael nodded. “Yeah, this whole thing has been really hard on her. She feels like it was her fault.”
“She tried to save us,” Liz said.
“That’s what I told her,” Michael said.
“You don’t think she would do something desperate,” Max said.
Michael shook her head. “I hope not. I told her that we would have the plan worked out tonight…” he trailed off as he felt Isabel in his head. “She’s here.”
The group connected to hear her.
“Isabel,” Kasha greeted, “it’s so good to hear your voice again my daughter.”
“Yes Isabel,” Liz agreed, “we’re so glad you’re safe.”
“We’ve worked out the plan,” Max said, “and we’ll get you back.”
Isabel sighed. “I’m ready to come home. I’ve been so scared Khivar would find out...” she trailed off and a sort of gasping sound escaped her.
A new deeper voice joined their conversation. “But Khivar did find out,” Khivar said appearing behind Isabel in their connected minds, his hand tightly gripping her throat.
Michael and Max surged forward and Khivar laughed. “Do you think you can save Isabel here? In your linked minds?” He laughed again. “I have my hand around Isabel’s beautiful, white throat miles away from you.”
“Damn you Khivar,” Max started.
But Khivar cut him off. “The only thing that will save Isabel is for all of you to surrender yourselves to me immediately, with the Granolith of course. I expect to hear from you within the hour.”
Immedaitely Khivar and Isabel were pulled out of the connection and the others opened their eyes. All of them turned to look at Max.
Michael spoke first. “What do we do now?”
Soaring With Angels |
Alt End #1 Part 1 - Alt End #1 Part 3
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