Aphelion Issue 275, Volume 26
August 2022
 
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Insurgents

by Joseph Vadalma


They called themselves the Spakerusms, which in their language means "the peace makers." They came from an alien world many parsecs from the solar system. They were an old race, civilized for millions of years, they claimed. Certainly their technology was far beyond anything any earth nation had. Their appearance was almost human, except for those two little horns on their heads, their tails and their reddish complexions. Comedians made jokes about that, comparing them to devils. Some far out religious groups claimed that was exactly what they were, demons from hell. Their starships were enormous, appearing in the night sky as small moons. Astronomers estimated that they were as large as two miles in diameter.

The first to land were the diplomats, who came to the capitals of the most powerful nations of earth. For two centuries -- they said -- they had been spying on earth in small craft which earthlings had dubbed flying saucers and UFOs. During that time their anthropologists had learned the languages, culture, customs, religion and psychology of earth's many nations. They had witnessed the earth's wars, crimes of brutality, intolerance and hate against each other and were appalled. They told the leaders of the world governments that it was time to bring peace and prosperity to the solar system. They asked that the leaders to meet and form a true world democratic government based on the principles of peace, justice and freedom for all. They would help this effort by providing guidance, support and military might. In addition, they would provide experts to the new order in many fields. Once the earth had become peaceful and enlightened, the solar system would be allowed to join the galactic union, and the invaders would leave, allowing earth to govern itself.

Of course, no leader of any nation would agree to such a proposal. It would mean giving up their own power and their country's sovereignty. Besides, they did not trust the aliens. It sounded as though their real purpose was to take over the world. The world government would simply be a puppet regime through which the aliens would rule.

The chief Spakerusm diplomat gave an impassioned speech to consider the alien's proposal at the United Nations. When he/she (the aliens could change sex at will) was booed and hissed in the Security Council, she/he said, "I'm afraid that if you refuse our advice and fail to form your own world government, we must do it for you. From this day forward, this planet is under Spakerusm control. Our military leader, Millions Leader Jaamakko, will issue a series of orders which you earthlings must obey. Any nation not complying will have its capital destroyed." He was booed off the platform.

The next day the aliens used their superior technology to replace every TV broadcast, radio broadcast and Internet news web site with the face of Leader Jaamakko, a stern military type with large horns and a beet red face, whose tail swished back and forth as he/she iterated the aliens' demands. His words were broadcast in the appropriate language for each country.

"First, the Sears Tower in the city you call Chicago must be evacuated. It will be the main headquarters of the temporary world government. Secondly, all weapons, whether in the hands of the military, the police or privately owned, must be turned over to us. Directions to accomplish this will be forthcoming. Thirdly, all military actions and law enforcement will be by personnel under my command until such time we can train humans in the proper conduct of policing authority. Once we establish our headquarters, other rules and orders will be issued. Should a governmental body of any nation disobey, the largest city of that nation will be destroyed. We regret having to take such drastic action, but it appears that it is the only way we can show you humans that we mean business. If any individual disobeys, he or she will be arrested and tried by a tribunal. The penalty for disobeying a lawful command given by a Spakerusm or a human law enforcement agent under our command will be death."

At the same time, thousands of UFOs filled the skies, each of which landed in a city that was not a capital. Armored and armed Spakerusms spewed forth from these saucers shouting orders and disintegrating anyone who disobeyed. In this way, a military headquarters and beachhead was established in each nation.

The first country to react to this intrusion was North Korea. Their armed forces attacked the landed aliens. Because the alien's laser weapons were so advanced, the attacking force was obliterated in hours. In addition, the aliens destroyed Pyongyang, blasting it to ashes from space. Other nations' leaders, seeing the power of the Spakerusms, readily capitulated. Those who held out suffered the same fate as North Korea. Their capital cities were obliterated. One of those was Washington, D.C. when the United States president ordered a nuclear strike on one of the mother ships. The missiles were destroyed before they left the atmosphere.

Six months later, the world was more or less at peace. Most governments had surrendered. Possession of firearms, certain types of knives, hunting bows and other types of weapons, even as collector's items, was banned. For the most part, the Spakerusms were benevolent rulers, allowing freedom of speech and religion and other freedoms that most Americans and western countries were familiar with. Nonetheless, many of their new laws were unpopular with certain elements. Pornography was allowed unless it dealt with children, recreational drugs became legal with a doctor's prescription, gays were allowed to marry and abortion became legal everywhere. People in every country, regardless of gender, could dress anyway they pleased, even to walk around naked if so inclined. All children under the age of eighteen were required to attend public school, where atheism, human sexuality, ethics, tolerance, the scientific method and evolution were part of the curriculum. Income, regardless of source, was capped at two hundred thousand credits a year (a credit was equivalent to a U.S. dollar or a Euro), even for athletes, movie and TV stars and corporate CEOs. All political parties were allotted the same amount of airtime on the media, and contributions to political campaigns were outlawed. New laws were decreed that concerned the use of the world's resources and to aid in the prevention of pollution. These rules were required to be written into a constitution for the new world government, which was to be elected a year later. Meanwhile, representatives from each former nation were to draft the constitution and decide the form the world government would take.

Not all was peaceful, however. Groups of insurgents who resented the Spakerusms began a campaign of sabotage and terror.

####

George Majoraski lived on the Near Northside of Chicago in a renovated old frame house with his wife, Clorissa, and two children, a nine-year-old girl and a six-year-old boy. One day he received E-mail from John J. Smith, a man George hadn't seen since college. He was a bit surprised to see that it was an invitation to Smith's home in Cicero, Illinois for the sake of old times. It said that Smith had something extremely important to tell him. George found this cryptic. It aroused his curiosity. He wondered what a man he had not seen for ten years, whom he had not really been friends with, would have to tell him that could be important. Although they had been roommates, George never really liked Smith. He was too conservative, somewhat bullying and was always trying to convert George from Catholicism to his brand of fundamentalist Protestantism. Nonetheless, he accepted the invitation.

When Majoraski arrived, Smith greeted him like someone whom he had been buddies with for years, shaking his hand and hugging him. As Majoraski was introduced to the other guests, he was surprised. Several were types that he never expected Smith to pal around with. For example, Abu Bin Mohammed was a Sunni Moslem from Iraq, Moshel Goldheim was an Israeli, and Sam Brown was a dark-skinned Jamaican. Altogether, there were twenty men of diverse backgrounds and nationalities. Since the Spakerusms had taken over, people traveled freely over borders without passport or visas. It had really become one world.

After Smith's mousy wife, Doris, served coffee and Danish, Smith stood in front of the TV and said, "I suppose you're wondering why I've invited all of you here. I couldn't say much in my E-mail. You never what those demon Spakerusms are monitoring. Well, the truth is that I've been in touch with an organization to bring the evil devils down. I know that everyone here has reason to hate them."

This sent the group into an uproar of questions and comments.

Smith said, "Please. I see many of you have things to say before I begin my recruitment speech. Before I begin, let me hear your questions and comments one at a time." He pointed at Sam Brown, the Jamaican. "What's troubling you, Sam?"

"What use is it fighting the Spakerusms? They're too powerful. They can destroy a city in an instant."

"True. But their power is also their weakness. If we use the techniques of terror and guerrilla fighting, they will retaliate with brute force, causing more and more people to turn against them. Bin, tell them how you drove us Americans out of Iraq."

Bin Mohammed grinned. "Yes. For years we car-bombed and sent in suicide squads against your military and the cursed Shiites until your country was forced to withdraw by the ever rising cost of the occupation. These Spakerusms are no different. The important thing is that we must be committed. We must believe in our cause wholeheartedly enough to go to any lengths to make them go home with their tails between their legs. And in their case, I mean tails literally" This caused a smattering of laughter among the group. "We must consider this a jihad, a holy war, against the devils. Allah is on our side."

Majoraski realized that the group consisted of men who hated the aliens with a passion, men who bordered on the fanatical. Although he disliked much of what the aliens had done and were doing, he felt compelled to speak in their defense. "I realize that the Spakerusms have done terrible things. But we humans have done worse throughout our long history. And to our fellow humans. Think about the two world wars of the twentieth century, the holocaust of the Nazis, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the inquisition, slavery, genocide and the list goes on of man's inhumanity to man. At least with the Spakerusms making us form a world government, perhaps all such madness will come to an end."

Lee Wong replied, "What you say is true. I could even forgive the fact that half of my family died when they destroyed Pyongyang. But this world government they want to form will not be a human controlled government. It will be puppet manipulated by the Spakerusms for their own purposes. And who knows what they may be."

Smith said, "Probably to destroy us. One thing is for sure, they intend to destroy our human cultures. Consider this group alone. We all have different belief systems, different religions, different ways of doing thing. Once the puppet government takes over the world, all that will slowly erode until there will no longer be any real human culture, but only a Spakerusm culture." He pronounced the word for the aliens as though he had a bitter taste in his mouth. "Look, they've already done away with private and parochial education. Ask your kids what they're taught about God in school. I'll tell you what. That He doesn't exist."

Majoraski thought about that. He knew that he did not want his children to grow up godless. Nonetheless, since they were required by law to attend public school that taught such things, it would be difficult to set them on the right path. There were other things too. The new laws allowed anyone to marry anyone regardless of sex or any number of people. This would denigrate the institution of marriage. He also felt that the cap on income would destroy initiative -- no more Henry Fords or Bill Gates. It would be the end of capitalism and free enterprise. "I hear what you're saying. You're right. We must drive the aliens back to where they came from. But how?"

"Guerrilla warfare. That's why I've brought you men here tonight. To recruit you into an insurgency. By day, we'll be model citizens. By night we'll wage war on the aliens and their collaborators."

"But won't the Spakerusm destroy any city where we operate?"

"No. Since no official government is sponsoring us, they'll have to deal with us as individuals and small groups. Of course, if you're caught, expect to be dealt with harshly. You may be executed without trial or thrown in a cell to rot for many years. You may even be tortured. I was careful of the men I chose to come to this meeting. I know that every one of you is a courageous man and will be loyal to the cause. Okay, now that you know what this is all about, I will ask each of you privately whether you wish to join the insurgency. If you answer no, you may simply return home. All I ask is that you say nothing about all this to anyone, even your wives. If you answer yes, I'll give you the name and phone number of a contact. You'll receive further instructions from your contact."

Moshel Goldheim said, "I have one question. Will there be women involved in this insurgency? I'm sure my wife would like to join."

"Of course. You and her may use the same contact. I'm sure there will be other women who are interested." He turned to Majoraski. "Do you think Clorissa will be interested?"

"If I join, she probably will too."

One by one, Smith took each man into another room. The men left by another door so that no one knew which of them joined up and which did not. Majoraski thought hard and long. He knew that once he was committed, there would be no quitting. He was probably shortening his life and putting his family at risk. On the other hand, it was intolerable that an alien race should be allowed to change everything, to rule the human race, to destroy all human institutions and traditions.

When it was his turn to enter the room, he had decided. His answer would be yes.

####

After Majoraski was contacted, he was trained in guerrilla tactics and terrorist activity in a secret training camp in the upper part of Wisconsin. He spent his entire three weeks vacation at the camp. Clorissa, who would be performing only a supporting role, went for a week. The kids were sent to relatives for that period. Everyone thought they had gone to Hawaii for a second honeymoon. At the camp, he was given an automatic weapon to keep as his own. This he hid in a toolbox.

A week after he returned, he was contacted again. Late at night he met his coconspirators in a private drinking club whose entrance was in an alley. Some were men he had met at Smith's meeting. Smith, himself, was the leader of this group.

When Majoraski was told what their assignment would be, he became extremely nervous. It was to attack a Spakerusm convoy coming into Chicago on the Eisenhower Expressway from Indiana. He realized that he could be killed in the encounter. It was the same feeling that he had years previously when he had been in Iraq.

He drove his own car to a rendezvous point under an underpass. When he arrived, he put on ski mask and slammed a clip into his full automatic. He and the others crept up the ramp and took up positions on either side of the highway. Traffic was light that time at night. Although the evening was cool, perspiration ran down Majoraski's back. He kept thinking, What have I got myself into? But then his mind went back to his army days. This was not much different except that he was on the side of the insurgents this time.

He watched as two of the men planted explosives in the express lane. The dynamite was set to go off at the push of a button on remote control. Then came a period of nerve-wracking waiting. Majoraski's heart beat faster, and his muscles cramped with tension. Finally, he heard a rumble that meant the approach of the alien convoy. He watched as they appeared over the rise of the bridge. Seconds later, the first vehicle drove over the explosives. There was an earsplitting roar, and the vehicle seemed to leap into the air and turned over on its side. Brakes squealed and there was a crash as a second vehicle slammed into the disabled one. There was more squealing of brakes and more crashes. Not only did two additional alien vehicles smash into the mess, but several civilian cars that were traveling the highway slammed into the wreckage. There was a smell of gasoline, and several vehicles burst into flame.

Moments later, Spakerusm army troops left their disabled vehicles. That was the signal for the insurgents to go into action. Majoraski braced his automatic weapon on his knee and fired at the alien soldiers. It gave his a great sense of satisfaction as he saw the aliens he had aimed at fall. The aliens fired back, but they were at a disadvantage since the insurgents were dressed in black and hidden in the shadows. One of Majoraski's group had a rocket launcher. He let one go into the midst of the aliens. There was an explosion, and bodies, body parts and metal flew into the air. This was followed by secondary explosions as gas tanks caught on fire. The whole section of highway burst into flames.

This was the time to make their getaway. Heart pounding like a hammer, Majoraski ran back down the ramp toward his parked car, flung open the door and slid into the driver's seat. Without closing the door, he started the car and peeled out onto the street. He slammed the door shut and raced down a side street at fifty miles per hour. Two blocks later, he slowed to the city speed limit of thirty, ripped off his ski mask and turned on a rock and roll station. Although he checked his rearview mirror often, no police or alien patrol had followed him. He sighed with relief. Everything had gone as planned, and he had gotten away safely. As the tension left him, he felt a sense of triumph. They had dealt a blow to the aliens.

####

The next morning's newspaper headlines read CRAZED FANATICAL TERRORISTS CAUSE CHAOS ON EXPRESSWAY. Majoraski thought, Crazed fanatical terrorists? Is that how true patriots to the human race are going to be viewed? It deflated his ego and the triumph that he had felt after the mission. Nonetheless, it made him even more determined to continue fighting against the aliens. It would be a lonely uphill battle, but someone had to do it. At least they were not alone. Other groups, whether affiliated with his or not he was unsure, were performing similar actions. Each day, the news reported such incidents all over the world.

After he went on several similar raids, apparently someone had talked, because the aliens sent a force into Smith's neighborhood in Cicero. The alien soldiers went from house to house taking all males into custody. They did this in a brutal and callous manner, breaking down doors, shoving women and children around and beating the men mercilessly. Since the alien soldiers did not speak English, their motions and mispronunciation of English phrases caused some of the occupants to unknowingly disobey their commands. These people were disintegrated on the spot. Also, anyone putting up any kind of resistance was also summarily executed. When a cache of weapons was found in Smith's home, his house and the ones on either side were destroyed. By a miracle, Smith and his wife escaped.

The next night, Smith appeared at Majoraski's house. He said, "You and your family cannot stay here. Some persons captured by the aliens have revealed the names of everyone in our group. The aliens have machines that can read people's minds."

Clorissa cried, "But where will we go? What about our kids?"

"We have a safe house down state. You'll have to share with another family, but it's a large house. Take only one suitcase each. We need to travel light."

"What about our furniture, the TV, all our stuff?" asked Majoraski.

Smith shook his head sadly. "You'll have to abandon it. Lock up the house. Maybe it'll still be here if you ever return. I doubt it though. Oh. You can't take your own car. If they have your name, they'll also have your license number and a description of the vehicle. Also, get rid of your credit cards, driver's license and any other documents that might identify you. We'll have fake ids made up for you. You'll become different people."

"But my job?"

"We'll get you new employment where you're going. I know your making a great sacrifice, but this is war. Everyone involved is making similar sacrifices. Just keep your mind on the goal. The son-of-a-bitching aliens must go. Power to humans." He raised his fist in a gesture of defiance.

Majoraski looked around at the home he was leaving. Suddenly, he realized that his cozy normal life was over. Once he had gotten used to the danger on the missions, the life of an insurgent had begun to seem exciting and glamorous. Now, he realized that there was a price to pay besides risking death. His life had been turned upside down.

####

Majoraski and his family were taken to a farm in central Illinois. There they shared a house with three other families. At first it was hard for Majoraski doing farm work after a lifetime of working in an office, but his hands soon grew calluses and his arm muscles expanded.

A secret entrance to a storm cellar allowed them to hide when the authorities came calling, which was not often since the local police and sheriff's department were sympathetic to the cause; some were insurgents themselves.

In addition to waylaying alien convoys, they performed acts of sabotage to the infrastructure of nearby cities, Chicago, Peoria, Springfield, St. Louis. Utility company facilities were bombed, oil refineries were set on fire, communication lines were cut, and public transports were sabotaged. As the movement grew and more infrastructure was destroyed, unemployment rose -- which meant more persons could be recruited into the movement.

Another tactic was the use of car bombs in heavily trafficked areas where many people would die or be wounded. Majoraski disliked this because it meant the death and mutilation of innocent humans, but he was overruled when a meeting was held to discuss how to conduct the revolt. Smith said, "We need to do whatever it takes. Sure, I don't like to see fellow humans die anymore than the next guy. But it's the future of humanity that's at stake."

The Spakerusms began to get tough themselves. They set curfews, declared martial law, checked IDs everywhere and raided more homes and businesses. More men in the insurgency died at the hand of the invaders. This spurred a spate of new volunteers by those who were related or friends with the dead men. The more the aliens cracked down, the more recruits became available.

Because of the lack of enough aliens to fight the insurgency, the Spakerusms began to train humans as police and soldiers. In addition, they put pressure on the representatives from the various countries to finish the constitution and form a world government. The theory was that once the humans ruled themselves, with benevolent advice from the Spakerusms, the rebels would be defeated.

Smith visited the farmhouse one day and said, "We've got a new tactic going. To keep the aliens from forming a puppet government, we must go after the fucking quislings. We're going to kidnap Spakerusms, bigwigs and people who collaborate with the enemy. Then we'll trade them for our people being held prisoners. I need volunteers."

Majoraski was one of the first to raise his hand. They used a van to do the kidnapping. They parked on a street where the official was known to stroll. When the person appeared, Majoraski and the other men leaped from the van, forced the person into it and raced away. When the police chased them, they pulled over as though they were going to meekly surrender. Once the police car stopped, they fired at it with automatic weapons until the cops were all dead.

####

One day, five captured Spakerusms were brought to the farmhouse. As they were led in bound and blindfolded, they shivered visibly with fear. Majoraski was charged with guarding them. He gazed at them with loathing. He hated their red reptilian skin and their ugly devil faces. To make them obey him, he punched them with the butt of his rifle the moment they did not move fast enough. "You evil things, we should wipe out the lot of you like the scum you are."

Apparently, one of the smaller aliens knew some English. "Please sir. We are simply innocent workers. We did not want to come to this planet. We were..."

"You mean you were drafted, conscripted?"

"I do not know these words. We were forced to come here against our will. It is our leaders who decided to invade you."

Majoraski thought about this for a moment. He wondered whether he should believe the alien or whether the creature was simply trying to save his skin. He still hated them, but nonetheless became less cruel in his treatment of them.

A deadline was given to the Spakerusm leaders. Either they released a thousand human prisoners in a week or the five captured aliens would die. A video was made. The aliens were forced to say that they wanted to return to their home planet and that the invasion was a mistake. This was sent to the officials and to the worldwide TV networks. It was also broadcast on the Internet. The deadline passed. The Spakerusms refused to negotiate for the captives released.

Smith came in one day. "We've got to show the aliens we mean business. Line up the fuckers in front of the camcorder. Make them kneel down."

Majoraski realized with horror that Smith was going to make him kill the aliens. It was one thing to shoot an intelligent being in the heat of a gun battle, another to murder it in cold blood. Nonetheless, it was necessary to further the cause.

When the camcorder was set up, Smith said, "Do you know what to do, George?"

Majoraski nodded. He said to the alien who spoke English, "If you or your friends believe in any sort of god or gods, now is the time to pray."

"Pray? I do not understand."

"Too bad. I guess you'll just go to hell where you belong."

Majoraski took out his pistol and checked that it had a full clip. He held it against the head of the one that spoke English and pulled the trigger. He went to the others, one by one, and shot them in the same manner. When five alien bodies lay on the floor leaking their green blood, he turned away and went into another room. Tears streamed down his cheeks. Never in his whole life did he think he could perform such an action.

The next time he had to execute prisoners, even though some were human, his heart had hardened. He did it without flinching or tears. Nonetheless, afterwards he prayed for forgiveness -- and he did so again the next time, and the time after that...

####

Months went by. The world government could not get its act together, especially since many of the representatives had been kidnapped or assassinated by the insurgency. As the aliens grew harsher, the rebels became stronger. Soon every major city and most smaller ones had descended into chaos. Parts of the world could no longer be considered under control of the Spakerusms, even though they had substantially increased the number of their military.

One day Clorissa came to Majoraski and kissed him passionately in the middle of the afternoon. Tears were running down her cheeks. There was something odd about the set of her jaw as though she had made up her mind about something. Also, what Majoraski found odd was that although the day was warm she wore a coat.

"What's going on, Hon?"

"My brother and sister have been killed by the damned aliens. But they didn't stop there. They murdered the children." He could see the rage in her eyes.

"Oh my God. What happened?"

"They must've thought that the insurgency was operating in their neighborhood. They went from house to house killing everyone that seemed suspicious to them." She hesitated. "The murdering bastards must be dealt with regardless of the cost. This is hard." Tears formed again in her eyes. "George, I need to say good bye to you and our children."

"What do you mean? Where are you going?"

"To heaven." She opened her coat. She had explosive wrapped around her body. She closed it up again.

"That's insane. You can't mean that you're going to become a suicide bomber."

She nodded. "My whole family was killed by those bastards. I need to do something to even the score. I'm going to blow myself up somewhere where I can take at least a dozen of the devils with me. I don't want my children and grandchildren living under the rule of those evil monsters. I'm will to die to prevent that. Don't try to stop me. I've made up my mind. Don't say that it isn't worth dying for. You risk your life every time you go out on one of your missions. Someday, you won't return."

"Sure I risk my life, but it's not a sure thing that I will die. Don't do this, Clorissa. Nothing, not even the cause, is worth throwing your life away like that. Think of me and the children."

"It's for you three that I do this."

By this time tears were flowing down both their faces.

"I won't let you."

"You can't stop me. I've made my mind up. I can't live in the world as it is now anyway. Look how long it has been since we've gone to bed with full bellies. Things have gone from bad to worse since the aliens arrived. It matters not whether we live or die, only that our descendants are not ruled by the monsters."

She hugged him one more time and pulled away. As she walked toward the door, she said, "I love you. Tell the kids that I love them too."

Majoraski lunged forward to prevent her from leaving. Two of the other men grabbed his arms. Sam Brown said, "It's what she wants to do. The cause is more important than individuals. You will see her again in heaven."

Majoraski could not believe what he was hearing. What have we become that we value human life so little? he thought. The whole insurgency began to seem to be nothing but madness to him. His life had become nothing but killing and seeing friends and loved ones die.

Past midnight he quietly gathered his children and left the farmhouse. He stole a car and traveled north to Canada. After he crossed the border, he kept going north until he was in total wilderness. He recalled renting a cabin up there once when he used to go hunting during that life that was so good before the aliens came. To his relief it was empty and well stocked with provisions. He realized that sooner or later, either the insurgency or the authorities would catch up to him. Until then, he and his children would live off the land and not kill any more people, alien or human, except in self-defense. Even animals he would not kill except for food. He knew that he would miss Clorissa terribly though.

THE END


© 2007 Joseph Vadalma

Bio: "Papa Joe" says: "I've loved science fiction and fantasy from the time I learned to read. My hobbies, besides writing, are adventure game playing and do-it-yourself projects. Before I retired, I was a technical writer at a major computer manufacturer. Several short stories of mine have been published in E-zines, and I've sold a series of dark fantasy novels called The Morgaine Chronicles to Renaissance E Books. Renaissance has also published two collections of my short stories, The Sands of Time and Mordrake's Apprentice, two SF novels, Star Tower and The Bagod, and a dark fantasy called The Laws of Magic. These books are also available at Fictionwise. Delingers Publishing has published my science fiction novel, The Isaac Project. The Book of Retslu, a humorous fantasy, has been accepted by Mundania, and will be published soon." Joe's work has appeared many times in Aphelion, most recently in the June 2007 edition (Alien Mosquito).

E-mail: Joseph Vadalma

Website: The Fantastic World of Papa Joe

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