Tales of Lauchenoiria: Behind the Scenes

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Tales of Lauchenoiria: Behind the Scenes

Post by Lauchenoiria » Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:39 pm

Tales of Lauchenoiria - Lauchenoirian behind-the-scenes-thread

OOC: The Federation of Lauchenoiria is a democracy in central Hespia which suffered from a devastating civil war in 2018. These tales from present-day Lauchenoiria offer an inside glimpse into the lives of those involved in Lauchenoirian politics and Lauchenoirian affairs. They will give a look into the lives of people such as Prime Minister Josephine Alvarez and President Alex Marwick, along with opposition politicians, and certain individuals whose lives give an insight into what living in Lauchenoiria is like, especially after the war.

Contents:
1. An Uneasy Relationship (1st Sept 2019)
2. Preventing a deal? (8th Sept 2019)
3. What Aelurians Want (11th Sept 2019)
4. The Liberal Life of Students (16th Sept 2019)

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Re: Tales of Lauchenoiria: Behind the Scenes

Post by Lauchenoiria » Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:40 pm

An Uneasy Relationship

Fleura House, Residence of the President of Lauchenoiria

“Good evening, Mr. President,” Josephine Alvarez greeted Alex Marwick, somewhat frostily. “So, what will our response be to this earthquake, beyond words?”

“Straight to business, then?” remarked Marwick, though he looked relieved. The two took their seats, and sipped their coffees without looking each other in the eye. They’d had an uneasy relationship since the Bloch affair, when Alvarez had publicly called out Marwick’s decision to proceed with the extradition. Whenever the topics of either Shuell or Sanctaria came up when they were in each other’s presence, the air turned noticeably colder.

“Yes. This is an urgent crisis, after all. So, I was thinking…”

“Are any of the families of the Lauchenoirians doing media appearances?”

“… I’m sorry, what?” blinked Alvarez.

“I’m thinking, we get them to do a speech saying what they want us to do, and then people will likely agree with them cause they’ll get a lot of sympathy, right? Then we can decide what to do.”

“Mr. President, I understand that you were elected on a platform of doing what the public wants, however there are some issues such as the response to natural disasters which need decisions made quickly. You’ve been told this a number of times!”

“You’re angrier with me than usual today,” Marwick commented, taking another sip.

“A reporter came up to me outside church asking for a comment based on a rumour that you were planning to authorise the extradition of the two Xiomeran journalists that we recently charged with attempted arson.”

“Since when did you go to church?”

“What?” sputtered Alvarez. “In what universe is that the relevant part of this conversation? It is the anniversary of my grandfather’s death, I go every year around this time. Do you plan to extradite more dissidents to dictatorships, Mr. President?”

“There’s no plan, we were just investigating the…”

Stop. You realise how unpopular you are right now? Someone managed to get ‘impeachment’ trending in Costeno on social media the day after the Bloch affair. You’re getting us into trouble with our allies. What happened to you? You seemed so reasonable before you were elected, but right now, I will be blunt, Mr. President. You are out of your depth, you need to stay out of this, and in a few months’ time we will quietly repeal that extradition law and pretend none of this happened.”

“He’s not dead, the Shuellians told me…”

“Are you listening to me?” Alvarez demanded.

“You sound like Charissa Clarke, trying to control me like she did MacKenzie. Shuell has helped us, stop hating them just because they’re not a democracy.”

There was a silence, then Alvarez stood up, picking up her coffee cup and walking over to the window. When she spoke, it was quietly and slowly.

“We both suffered during the war. I saw the cuts on your face on those broadcasts, and I know you went through something though I don’t know what. But let me tell you what happened to me.”

“I don’t see how this is relevant,” Marwick snorted, leaning back in his chair.

“I was arrested in my office, only minutes after Chaher’s coup. They kept me in an interrogation room for 48 hours, and then he came by to tell me that either I recognise his government or I go to prison for life. After Sonja, I mean Jennifer, rescued me, it was only so that I would be captured by Kerlians later. Tortured, to force Jennifer to join the Council to get me free. The only reason I am free now is because the Sanctarians forced the Kerlians to let me go. So, yes, maybe I hate dictatorships more than you. I am justified in doing so. I am surprised, given what they did to you, that you don’t share my thoughts.”

“It was a car crash.”

“What?”

“The scars, we were driving through the storm and we hit a tree. Wasn’t the Clarke regime.”

“You…” Alvarez turned to stare at him incredulously, “you let everyone think you’d been beaten up or tortured by the Clarke regime. The entire country believes that. They voted for you on the back of your Resistance broadcasts because you were a fearless warrior for democracy and really you were just a kid whose friend was a bad driver?”

“Hey, I helped! Morale, yeah? The broadcasts gave people hope.”

“People gave their lives for democracy and you capitalised on that for votes. You’re a fraud, Marwick.”

“Yeah, well you only care so much about Bloch cause it upset your friends in Sanctaria who saved you from the big bad Kerlians like your war criminal wife.”

“I…” Josephine Alvarez was not often at a loss for words but she was this time.

“Are we gonna discuss the earthquake or not? We can’t send them money cause we don’t have any so what’s the point?”

“President Marwick, I would like an apology.”

“For what?” Marwick frowned, sipping his coffee.

“If you do not know, then I do not believe you are fit to hold executive office in this country. Mr. President, you are behaving like a spoiled child. You see fit to insult me and my family, to insult our allies, and to insult the laws of this nation. Since you seem unable to have a conversation like an adult, I am going to leave.”

“You’re the one storming off like in a tantrum!” Marwick laughed, the kind of laugh that reminded Alvarez of the bullies in her high school.

“Like a… Mr. President, I have some advice for you. Don’t run for re-election, if you do, you will be revealed for the fraud you are. I will send Thomas to meet with you next week.”

You’re Prime Minister, not Thomas Averforth! You’re meant to meet with me, not your deputy!”

“I am under no obligation.”

“Yes, you are!”

“No, I am not. Read the constitution, Mr. President. Goodbye.”

Alvarez quickly exited, shutting the door behind her and hurrying off down the corridor. She blinked away a couple of tears which were threatening to fall. Talking about the whole situation with the war and Jennifer Hale tended to do that.

She didn’t know what had happened to Marwick. When they’d met during the campaign, he’d seemed like a genuinely nice, if a little naïve guy. Since his election, however, he had become rude and foolish. It was the fastest case of ‘power corrupts’ she had ever had the misfortune of seeing. She hoped – for his sake, as well as the country’s – that he would retire from politics in April.

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Re: Tales of Lauchenoiria: Behind the Scenes

Post by Lauchenoiria » Sun Sep 08, 2019 2:49 pm

Preventing a deal?

Communist Party HQ, Buttercity
8th September 2019 – morning

Two women sat in the deserted headquarters of the Lauchenoirian Communist Party, a plate of plain biscuits untouched in between them. The small, cramped office was deserted, given it was a Sunday. Paperwork sat in untidy piles on the tops of desks, and a dictatorship-era Lauchenoirian flag was draped over a chair in the corner. One of the women noticed the flag and wrinkled her nose a little.

“I must say, I’m surprised you wanted to speak to me,” Lucie Scott, leader of the Green Party said, glancing around the empty office.

“Nobody is to find out about this,” warned Élia Agramunt, new leader of the Communist Party. “I think we can help each other.”

“In what way? You must realise that my party is fundamentally opposed to yours, given the events of last year. We may share some policies, but, well, to be blunt – we don’t trust you, since the Clarke incident,” Scott said, biting into one of the biscuits. It was just as tasteless as she was expecting.

“I understand you are opposed to this Shuell trade deal that Alvarez is planning. Something about Shuell’s lack of environmental policies, I believe. Naturally, we are too,” Agramunt said, leaning back slightly in her chair. “The Alvarez administration is temporary, but if this deal is made, it will last longer. We cannot let this pass, it would be a disaster. The coalition is fragile, if both our parties work together, we can stop this.”

“On this one issue? Well, I must say I’m not a big fan of this deal. The Bloch incident worried me, but I don’t think it is necessarily the total disaster you make it out to be. Shuell has some environmental policies, although they do solely focus on the oceans. This deal could, if played right, be used to encourage Shuell to improve their policies on the matter. I understand why you might be concerned, but you will have to convince me.”

“You really think you can influence Shuell? I would call that naïve, no offence. They are stronger than us, especially since the war. They will more likely than not be the ones who influence us. Our environmental regulations will get worse, our services will be privatised, and our democracy may well find itself under attack.”

Scott laughed in response to Agramunt’s final comment. She took a sip of water from the reusable bottle she carried around with her.

“I hardly think your party is one to talk about democracy. Look, I sympathise, but from what I’ve heard, the Shuellians are actually going to give us a very fair deal, something which may be difficult to come by given our current, well, situation. I obviously don’t agree with them ideologically, and to be honest we will probably vote against or abstain. But I don’t see the need for a massive effort to turn coalition members.”

“I’m disappointed to hear that,” Agramunt said. “Especially from someone who claims to support our democracy so much. I also am disappointed that you are continuing the narrative that we oppose it. Charissa Clarke was a Kerlian. And Suleman Chaher… he had been a member of, what was it, four parties before ours?”

“That flag in the cornet suggests otherwise,” Scott pointed out.

“Hmm?” Agramunt said, glancing around. “Oh, that. Yeah, we only just got around to clearing out Flynn’s office. That’s going in the rubbish, I promise. I’m quite offended you think I would want something like that here.”

“My apologies, I didn’t mean to offend you. I understand why you dislike the Shuellians so much, and if you can come up with a better reason, I’m willing to listen. I don’t have long though, I’m meeting my sister and my nephews in the park for family games,” Scott said, dusting some crumbs off her trousers and standing up.

“Of course, I don’t want to disrupt your weekend. We can talk more during the week, if you prefer?” Agramunt said, picking up the plate of biscuits and covering it with foil.

“If you have something new to add, sure. Are you not doing anything today? We have family game day every Sunday.”

“My husband is coming by shortly, we’re going to go out for lunch.”

“I hope you enjoy yourself. Try to relax, I don’t think we need to worry about a Shuellian invasion just yet!” Scott laughed, heading for the door.

“I’m sure,” Agramunt said, then sat back down and sighed as Scott exited. She closed her eyes and took a couple of deep breaths. Her party had seen failure after failure recently, and she was afraid her country was going to end up a hyper-capitalist state full of inequality. She feared for the poor communities in Summersea and Annatown, that they would remain at their present standard of living while the rich would get richer.

She stood, picking up her light jacket and walking outside to where her husband, Jon, stood, waiting for her and smiling. A couple of security personnel protecting Agramunt stood at a discrete distance, but the couple ignored them.

“Hello, honey,” he said, with a soft kiss on her lips. “I was thinking we could go to that new Zamastanian restaurant that has opened in the east end. I hear it has a lot of variety.”

“And give more money to the capitalists?” she joked, laughing, taking his hand as they began to walk to the nearest subway station.

“You’re the one who always says there’s no such thing as ethical consumption under capitalism,” he pointed out, mocking her a little. “Or would you rather go back to that community meal place from last month?”

“Oh, God no,” she shuddered. There had been a small disagreement with an anarchist the previous month, when the man had realised she was a Communist Party member. It would likely be even worse now given her position. “Zamastanian capitalists it is.”

Jon laughed, and swung their joined arms a little as they walked. She joined in, as they began walking down the stairs into the subway, hiding from the bright sunlight that still shone across Lauchenoiria.

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Re: Tales of Lauchenoiria: Behind the Scenes

Post by Lauchenoiria » Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:23 pm

What Aelurians Want

Julena House Press Room, Liaville, Aeluria
11th September 2019 – morning

“First Minister, are you concerned that the central government will object to this legislation?” asked Claire Carter, a Lauchenoirian Guardian journalist.

“No, Claire, I’m not. The Private and Religious Education bill is fully within our remit since the passage of the new Lauchenoirian constitution. No longer can the central government claim it is illegal for private religious schools to operate, and education has been a devolved policy since the end of the dictatorship in 1993. They can object, but they have no legal basis to do so. Raul?” responded Nazario Macías, First Minister of Aeluria

“How would you address the concerns of many that this will take away the choice of children to decide for themselves which religion to follow?” asked Raul Obiols, of broadcaster Lauchenoirian Broadcasting Network, the producers of Breakfast in Buttercity, the show now notoriously interrupted and taken off air by Chaher’s troops following the coup.

“Individuals are, of course, free to choose their religion, and these private schools will be required to follow the normal curriculum and teach pupils about other religions, which will enable them to make an informed choice. But parents should have options too. It should be the right of the parent to choose the best education for their child. Instead, right now, parents are being forced to make difficult choices, with some even being arrested just for wanting what is best for their child. This is a situation which cannot continue, and this bill will be the first step in addressing this. One last question. Marco?”

“What of Lurite parents who cannot afford private fees?” asked Marco Polley of the Liaville Times.

“I imagine schools will put in place scholarship programmes to assist with those who struggle with fees, although unfortunately due to the limitations of the Lauchenoirian constitution in religious matters it is impossible for us to fund such things ourselves. Despite the best efforts of Prime Minister Noguera at the time, concessions had to be made. That’s all, thank you.”

Macías exited the room as a multitude of voices yelling “First Minister” echoed behind him. His Chief of Staff, Alyssa Robinson passed him a coffee as she joined him in walking down the corridor.

“That went well,” he said to her.

“Indeed, it did, far better than some other press conferences I’ve had the misfortune of attending. You’re beginning to win back the trust you lost after the failed referendum. Most people on the island support this bill, you shouldn’t have any trouble with it,” Alyssa said, as they walked.

The corridor in which they travelled was light and airy, the carpet and walls decorated in pastel colours, with various small plants dotted around. The Lurian religion was important to Aelurians, and indoor plants were kept in every room in a Lurite household, to increase the inhabitant’s closeness to nature. Though Macías was not devout, it would not do to have the First Minister of Aeluria living and working somewhere without plants.

“You were at the press conference where Noguera announced rationing, weren’t you? I tell you, all of us in the cabinet were afraid to set foot outside our houses for a few hours after that one, lest we run afoul of a lynch mob,” Macías shook his head.

“That one was probably the most stressful of all, yes. I remember watching the ships surround the island at the start of the blockade. It was a terrible time, and I wasn’t entirely sure if we would survive it. But we did.”

“But we did,” Macías agreed.

“I’m slightly concerned that the environmental protests in Buttercity are going to get out of hand, sir. There are a lot of Aelurians there, and you know how the far-right will target them if there’s any violence. We may need to prepare a response in case anything, well, happens,” Alyssa grimaced apologetically.

“I hope it doesn’t, but prepare something just in case. I wonder if I should make a statement on the Manauia Island matter myself. It strikes me that Xiomera is about to do to them what Lauchenoiria did to us in the 1950s,” Macías shook his head.

“Sir, I would advise against that. It would only serve to anger the Xiomerans, and they could become a crucial ally to Aeluria in the future. They already have a strained relationship with the mainland, they could potentially take our side if any disputes between us and the mainland heat up again,” Alyssa pointed out.

The pair arrived at the First Minister’s office, entering. Macías took his seat and Alyssa stood nearby, next to an oddly shaped tree which twisted and turned in a pot by the desk. The trunk was smooth to the touch, but patterned to look at, and Alyssa knew that when Keitha Noguera had been First Minister, she had liked to stroke the leaves of the tree when she was stressed and didn’t know what to do. It had happened a lot during the war.

“You make a good point,” sighed Macías. “Very well, I will refrain from angering the Xiomerans for the time being. I believe there’s meant to be another protest outside their embassy today, in addition to the big ones?”

“That is correct, yes,” nodded Alyssa.

“I’d like a report on that when it happens. In the meantime, I believe I’ve got another appointment with a parents’ group?”

“You do, sir. Christians, afraid that the increased support for Lurites will lead to religious discrimination. You have the talking points?”

“Religious schooling will be open to Christians and other religions too, it will benefit all on the island, not just Lurites, and could lead to greater understanding and respect for a variety of belief systems,” Macías recited.

“Good, shall I send them in?” Alyssa asked.

“Yes, please do so. No need to stay, I know you have reports to be writing.”

“Very well, sir,” Alyssa said, exiting the room and informing the group of Christian parents waiting outside that they could enter. Once they were settled, she took off down the corridor, humming softly to herself in the sunlight coming in the large windows. Julena House wasn’t a very secure building, she thought, but it was beautiful.

She walked into her own office, and the light level dropped. She breathed a sigh of relief to finally be alone. Her job had become exceedingly stressful since the end of the war. She had thought that the war would be the height of it, but since then she had found herself unable to sleep at night. The promotion hadn’t helped at all, and Macías had been a more demanding boss than Noguera ever was.

Still, she reasoned, at least the smoking had stopped. Throughout the war, it had become impossible to breathe on the island. She was very grateful for the federal law prohibiting tobacco, and that she wasn’t a Kvaskm or Shuellian, or any of the other myriad nations where smoking was common. She sighed, and sat down at her desk, turning one of the screens to a 24-hour news channel and getting to work on her reports.

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Re: Tales of Lauchenoiria: Behind the Scenes

Post by Lauchenoiria » Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:43 pm

The Liberal Life of Students

Student Union, Usera University, Usera, Yervia, Lauchenoiria
16th September 2019 – evening

“He’s meeting with some member of Alvarez’s staff tomorrow. I wasn’t invited, which I’m kind of annoyed about. I worked really closely with her on the campaign too,” Leonie Bennett said glumly, flopping onto a beanbag.

“Yeah, but you and the others ‘betrayed’ her, didn’t you?” Darya McCauley, Leonie’s roommate said, sitting down next to her. Darya was also in her first year, studying biology, and was originally from Aeluria. She and Leonie had immediately hit it off, sharing a common interest in politics and hatred of the Chaher-Clarke regime.

Leonie rolled her eyes and took a bite of the chocolate bar she was in the process of eating. She savoured the taste of it as their two other friends, Veronica Penners and Zahra Ali, sat down next to them. They were seated in a brightly coloured area of Usera University Union, away from the loud music that plagued the area closer to the main bar.

“We didn’t betray them so much as they betrayed their manifesto,” Zahra pointed out, handing Leonie a glass of water and sitting on a nearby chair. Zahra, a second-year politics student, was on the national committee of the Young Liberals with Leonie, being their secretary. The two had known each other before Leonie had started university.

“You came out in support of protests against her government,” Darya said, taking a sip of her beer. “Roni, what do you think? Did the Young Liberals betray Alvarez?”

“You could have warned her, Leonie,” Veronica said, flopping down on the floor and sitting cross-legged. Veronica was a second-year mathematics & statistics student, and was Zahra’s roommate. “Weren’t you close?”

“You don’t warn people you’re about to betray, Roni,” Darya pointed out.

“Oh, come on! It wasn’t a betrayal!” Leonie exclaimed, drawing some looks from a group of passing drunk people.

“Keep your voice down, you’re not even drinking,” chuckled Veronica.

“I wanted to tell her, but…” Leonie began.

“She was outvoted, and thank goodness. Little Miss Bennett here is far too friendly with those in power. She has two Prime Ministers of Lauchenoiria in her contacts list,” Zahra interrupted, shaking her head.

“Ooh lucky for some, eh?” Darya laughed mockingly, nudging Veronica who had joined her in her amusement. Leonie’s cheeks had turned slightly pink.

“Anyway,” Leonie said loudly, “are we going to go to the Baking Society meeting tomorrow or not?”

“Ooh we definitely should,” Zahra enthused. “I mean, they’re going to be handing out free cakes, and it looks really fun. I heard every week they give free cakes to the people who lost their homes in the war, so you should like it, Leonie.”

“You realise I have other personality traits than just caring about the aftermath of the war?” Leonie laughed. “But yes, that’s partly what attracted me to it.”

“Well, I’m up for giving everything a try,” Veronica said. “Except men of course,” she added, wrinkling her nose.

“Which reminds me, the LGBT society is having a picnic on Friday, are you two going?” Darya asked Leonie and Veronica.

“I definitely am, what about you, Leonie?” Veronica added.

“Yeah, sure, why not? Though I think I left my bi flag at my parents’ house when I was packing.”

“You don’t need flags for a picnic,” Veronica laughed. “I’m just worried my ex will be there. She really, truly hates me.”

“Don’t worry, Leonie will protect you. She can just imagine your ex is a Kerlian,” Darya suggested.

“God no, I don’t want her to kill Cara!” Veronica laughed.

“You people do realise I don’t go around killing Kerlians, right? In fact, for about six months I couldn’t even stand the word ‘Kerlile’ being uttered in my presence,” Leonie pointed out.

“Yeah, but you got over that,” Zahra said. “It was honestly remarkable. You’re really strong, Leonie. I doubt I could have come back to Usera if I’d had your life. And I sure wouldn’t be willing to joke about Kerlians. I’m honestly surprised you chose this university.”

“That’s part of why I did. I can’t let what happened last year rule my life. I definitely wouldn’t suggest to the others doing what I am, but for me, coming here is taking control of it. It’s showing that I am stronger than them, that what they did to me can’t ruin my life. I’m in control, not them.”

“Still, it’s remarkable,” Zahra said.

“I sometimes wish I could speak to Jennifer Hale, you know,” Leonie sighed. “There’s a lot I want to ask her. I even almost handed a letter for her into the Kerlian embassy but… well, I didn’t really want to set foot in the place.”

“Leonie! Zahra!” a voice yelled, and a young man came running down the corridor. “We have a huge problem!”

“Julian, what is it?” Leonie said, alarmed as she jumped to her feet. Her reaction times were still rather fast since the war. Despite all her attempts to claim her trauma had all been handled, the war had still had a lasting effect on her.

“I heard…” Julian Sanderson, Vice President of the Young Liberals, said, gasping for breath, “I heard they…”

“Have some water,” Leonie offered him the glass and he took it gratefully, gulping it down.

“Sorry, I ran here from the train station,” he said, then took another gulp.

“You’re scaring us, Julian,” Zahra said. “Are we being invaded again or something?”

“No, no, sorry… I just came to town a little early, was planning to come tomorrow anyway for the committee meeting, but… Alvarez is planning to kick us all out the Liberal Party.”

Leonie burst into hysterical laughter, leaning against a nearby pillar and gasping for breath through her laughs. Veronica had to help her sit down on a chair and compose herself. When Leonie was finally calm, she looked incredulously up at Julian.

“You scared us for that? Julian, I thought there was a Kerlian invasion, or someone had launched a nuke at us, or that the government had decided to mass arrest the environmental protesters, or something that is an actual crisis. We knew this might happen. You really need to get your priorities straight.”

“You kind of do,” Zahra pointed out. “Seriously, we could have discussed this tomorrow.”

“I’m just gonna go buy another drink,” Darya said, then made a hasty exit. Veronica stayed sitting on a nearby beanbag, watching the three (potentially soon-to-be ex-) Liberals as they began a frantic discussion on what they were going to do about the disaster of being kicked out of a political party.

“It’s important! We can’t just let this happen, we need to get on top of it!” Julian argued.

“Get on top of it how? We agreed principles were more important than politics in our meeting,” Leonie sighed.

“Not all of us agreed with this move, yet all of us are going to end up punished for it!”

“Climate change disproportionately affects poor communities and people of colour,” Zahra pointed out. “Do we only support those communities on paper?”

“This isn’t about climate change, this is about…”

“Seriously, Julian, you only care about your political career!”

The argument continued for about fifteen minutes, after which Julian stormed out of the building in a temper, scattering a crowd of people wearing costumes that made them look like dessert items, one of whom had on a giant birthday badge. The dessert people did not react well to being forced out of the way, but nevertheless, Julian moved too quickly to be stopped.

“I’m glad he’s gone,” Darya, who had returned with drinks for her and Veronica said.

“We all are,” Zahra agreed. “None of us like him, you know.”

“We should get home, if we’re going to have a multiple hour emergency committee meeting tomorrow we will probably have to study tonight,” Leonie pointed out.

“There goes baking society,” Veronica sighed.

The group exited the building, walking in the still-warm darkness of the Lauchenoirian night back to their dorms. Some freshly planted trees along the path that replaced those the Kerlians had destroyed during last year’s occupation of Usera blew in the wind as they walked. The city twinkled in the distance, with one noticeable dark spot to the south west where the buildings had been destroyed last year. At first glance, life in Usera carried on as normal. But underneath the façade, the scars of the civil war remained.

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