Flinx's Folly (Pip and Flinx Adventure Series #8) [NOOK Book]

Overview

New York Times bestselling author Alan Dean Foster delivers the eagerly awaited new Pip and Flinx novel featuring a certain twenty-four-year-old with red hair, growing powers, and a loyal sidekick who just happens to be a flying mini-dragon. Sure to delight longtime fans and win new ones, Flinx’s Folly follows Flinx on a thrilling quest to unravel the mysteries of his mind and body. It is a quest that forces him to confront a horror almost ...
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Flinx's Folly (Pip and Flinx Adventure Series #8)

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Overview

New York Times bestselling author Alan Dean Foster delivers the eagerly awaited new Pip and Flinx novel featuring a certain twenty-four-year-old with red hair, growing powers, and a loyal sidekick who just happens to be a flying mini-dragon. Sure to delight longtime fans and win new ones, Flinx’s Folly follows Flinx on a thrilling quest to unravel the mysteries of his mind and body. It is a quest that forces him to confront a horror almost beyond human comprehension concealed somewhere in the universe . . . and coming closer.

It’s a good thing Flinx is no stranger to trouble, because he’s swimming in it. Even before the latest murderous attack by a new gang of assailants, there seems no end to people determined to arrest, examine, or kill him. To add insult to all that injury, Flinx has been spirited away and enlisted in a battle against a monstrous extra-galactic threat. Hidden behind the Great Emptiness, in a place where it seems matter and energy have never been, there is only evil. Pure evil that is approaching him, accelerating.

Against such a quintessence of colossal evil what can one puny human and a formidable mini-drag protector do? Flinx must tell someone or go out of his already addled mind. Choosing a confidant is easy: Clarity Held, a crush he hasn’t seen in six years. She is a young woman who has clearly gone on with her life in ways that (he soon learns) don’t necessarily include Flinx.
Whatever happens, Flinx makes up his mind to act quickly. His decision is the beginning of a terrifying, high-stakes adventure through perilous new realms that will rocket him into the very heart of danger–and into the arms of the only woman he’s ever loved. As he and Pip bravely travel to a place where no man or mini-drag has gone before,
Flinx discovers he has a few more friends than he thought–and far more enemies than he ever imagined.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Foster (Drowning World) offers brisk, lightweight SF entertainment in his eighth novel about Flinx (aka telepath Philip Lynx) and his Alaspinian flying snake (or minidrag) Pip. On the planet Goldin IV, Flinx discovers that his dreams about a monstrous evil beyond the Great Emptiness are now reaching other people with deleterious results. He also learns that he's being chased by the Order of Null, dedicated adepts who want a cleansing death for the whole universe and are afraid he'll prevent it. Fleeing in his alien-built supership to the paradise planet New Riviera, he takes up with his old lover, Clarity Held. Unfortunately, she's picking up the dreams, too. Still more unfortunately, Clarity's fianc , Bill Ormann, is becoming homicidally jealous. In fact, he's about to kill them both when Flinx's old mentors, the thranx Truzenzuzex and the human Tse-Mallory, do a good imitation of a deus ex machina and dispose of Mr. Ormann. Much of the rest of the book dissolves into informational dialogue about several long-vanished alien species who may hold the key to preventing the evil from coming out of the Great Emptiness and making an end to all things. Fans of serious SF will give this a pass, but Foster's large following should ensure another bestseller. (Nov. 4) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Another outing for Flinx—Philip Lynx—who, as the product of illegal eugenic experiments, has the ability to sense and sometimes control the emotions of those around him (Reunion, 2001, etc.). The series is mostly background, very little plot. Flinx has many enemies. The nasty, reptilian AAnn want his wonderful spaceship. The Commonwealth yearns to unravel the secrets of his strange brain. The outlawed eugenicist Meliorare Society desire to use him. But, far out in space, Flinx senses a Great Emptiness that contains pure evil; it’s accelerating toward the galaxy’s civilizations and will leave neither life nor sentience in its wake. Somehow he knows he’s the key to defeating the evil. There are some good guys too: an ancient artificial intelligence associated with the alien Krang; a perception of intense green emanating from the sentient plants of planet Midworld; and others that may or may not be the race that built his spaceship. A poorly timed dream somehow mentally projects him into the Great Emptiness. He’s threatened by the Order of Null—they consider the Great Emptiness to be a great cleansing and therefore must stop Flinx. On planet Nur, he locates Clarity Held, the woman he loved six years ago: Flinx, you see, desperately needs someone to talk to. Clarity, however, is involved with drug company executive Bill Ormann. Angry and jealous Bill arranges for gangsters to dispose of Flinx and deprogram Clarity (he thinks Flinx has brainwashed her), from which peril Flinx must be rescued by old friends who, fortunately, are searching for him. Flinx flunks.
From the Publisher
Praise for Alan Dean Foster and Reunion, a Pip and Flinx adventure

“Bestseller Foster has created yet another entertaining adventure story in the far-flung reaches of a far-future outer space. . . . Using the traditional cliff-hangers and narrow escapes of classic SF adventure page-turners, and propelling Flinx from one crisis to another, from moral dilemma to deus-ex-machina, Foster enlists multiple formulas for a surefire . . . reading experience that should appeal to space-opera fans.”
–Publishers Weekly

“Flinx’s trek through the deadly desert and his encounters with the AAnn make for a good read.”
Locus

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345469908
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/4/2003
  • Series: Pip and Flinx Adventure Series , #8
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 107,771
  • File size: 327 KB

Meet the Author

Alan Dean Foster has written in a variety of genres, including hard science fiction, fantasy, horror, detective, western, historical, and contemporary fiction. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Star Wars: The Approaching Storm, as well as novelizations of several films including Star Wars, the first three Alien films, and Alien Nation. His novel Cyber Way won the Southwest Book Award for Fiction in 1990, the first science fiction work to ever do so. Foster and his wife, JoAnn Oxley, reside in Prescott, Arizona, in a house built of brick that was salvaged from a turn-of-the-century miners’ brothel. He is presently at work on several new novels and media projects.
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Read an Excerpt


CHAPTER 1


“He’s not dead—but watch out for the winged snake.”

As she studied the tall young man lying unconscious on the fast-moving gurney, the alert eyes of the duty physician at Reides Central narrowed. “What winged snake?”

The harried medtech guiding the gurney gestured at the slow rise and fall of the patient’s chest. “It’s coiled up under his shirt between his left arm and his ribs. Squirmed in there and hid when we arrived to pick him up. Sticks its head out occasionally for a quick look around, but that’s all. Won’t leave. Hasn’t bothered anyone—so far. Almost as if it senses we’re trying to help.”

The emergency sector physician nodded tersely as she continued to pace the gurney. “I’ll be sure and keep my fingers away. Why wasn’t it caught and neutralized before the patient was brought in?”

The medtech glanced sideways at her. “Quickref says it’s an Alaspinian minidrag. They bond emotionally with their owners. If you’d heard what I was told, you wouldn’t get any ideas about trying to separate them.”

They rounded a corner, dodged an oncoming stasis chair, and headed up another corridor. “Hell of a way to practice medicine,” the doctor muttered to no one in particular. “Like there aren’t enough obstacles put in our way.” She leaned slightly forward over the motionless form, but she was unable to detect any movement in the indicated area. “It’s dangerous, then?”

The medtech smoothly eased the gurney into an empty monitoring chamber. “Apparently only if you try to separate them. Or if it thinks you’re trying to harm its master.”

“We’re trying to help him, just like we’re trying to help all the others who were brought in.”

As soon as the waiting sensors detected the gurney’s presence, a dozen different automated appliances initiated a standard preliminary patient scan. They automatically disregarded the presence of the flying snake just as they ignored the basic but neat and clean clothing in which the patient was dressed. The doctor stepped back from the gurney and examined her pad as one recording after another was made and silently transferred. A duplicate set was simultaneously being entered into the official hospital files.

The medtech looked on thoughtfully. “Want me to stay?”

When the doctor glanced up from her softly glowing pad, it was only to eye the patient. “Up to you. I’ll be careful of the snake.” Now that she knew where it was, she could see the slight bulge occasionally moving beneath the patient’s shirt. “If I have any problems, I’ll alert Security.”

Nodding, the medtech turned to go. “Suit yourself. They probably need me in Receiving now, anyway.”

The doctor continued speaking without looking at him. “How many all together?”

“Twenty-two. All standing, walking, or sitting within a few meters of one another in the same part of the Reides shopping complex. All displayed the same symptoms: a sharp gasp, followed by a rolling back of the eyes, and down they went—out cold. Adults, children, males, females—two thranx, one Tolian, the rest human. No external signs of injury, no indication of stroke or myocardial infarction, nothing. As if they’d all simultaneously been put to sleep. That’s what the official witness reports say, anyway. They’re pretty consistent throughout.”

She gestured absently. “It’ll take a minute or two for Processing to finish admitting this one. First thing we’ll do is correlate data between patients for indications of other similarities, so we can try and define some parameters. I’d be surprised if there weren’t several.” Her voice fell slightly. “There’d better be.”

Halfway out the portal, the medtech hesitated. “Viral or bacterial infection?”

“Nothing that contradicts it, but it’s much too early to say.” She looked up from her pad to meet his gaze. Concern was writ large there, and he was clearly looking for some sort of reassurance. “At a guess, I’d say neither one. The zone of influence was too sharply circumscribed. Same goes for a narcoleptic gas. And there are no overt indicators that would indicate an airborne infectious agent—no elevated or reduced blood pressure, no respiratory problems, no dermatological indications, no dilated pupils: not so much as a rash or a reported sneezing fit.”

“What then?”

“Again, it’s too soon to say. Some kind of area-specific sonic projection, maybe, though there’s no evidence of cochlear damage in any of the patients. Delineated flash hallucinogen, cerebroelectrical interrupt—there are numerous possibilities. Based on what I’ve read and seen so far, I’d say the event was a site-specific one-time event, and that no organic agent is involved. But that’s a very preliminary assessment.”

With a grateful nod, the medtech departed. As the portal opaqued behind him, the doctor turned back to her patient.

Other than being taller than average and discounting the presence of the alien pet, he appeared no different from others who had been brought in. She knew results were expected fast. Having twenty-two customers suddenly drop unconscious in one’s place of business was not good publicity for any enterprise. Fortunately for Reides’s management, everything had happened so quickly and the local emergency teams had reacted rapidly enough that the local media had not yet found their way to the hospital. By the time they did, she and her fellow consulting physicians hoped to be ready with some answers.

An attractive young man, she decided, with his red hair and olive-hued skin. Tall, slim, and apparently healthy, if one discounted his current condition. She guessed him to be somewhere in his early twenties. A universal command bracelet encircled one wrist, but there was no sign of whatever specially attuned devices it might control. Probably nothing more elaborate than a vit player, she decided. If it contained usable ident and medical information, the medtech had failed to tap into it. Well, that could come later, following the initial diagnosis. The scanners would tell her everything she needed to know to prescribe treatment. On the bracelet a single telltale glowed softly green, showing that it was active.

Beneath the patient’s shirt, a ropy shape shifted position. She did her best not to stare in its direction. She knew nothing about Alaspinian minidrags beyond the little the medtech had just told her. As long as it did not interfere with her work, she had no desire to know more.

She fidgeted, waiting for the scanners to finish. Even though no serious trauma was involved, the sudden influx of unconscious patients had momentarily overwhelmed the hospital’s emergency staff. She was already eager to move on to the next patient.

The preliminary readings began appearing on her pad as well as on the main monitor that projected from the wall. Heart rate, hemoglobin content, white cell count, respiration, temperature: everything was well within normal, accepted parameters. If anything, the readings suggested an exceptionally healthy individual. Cerebral scan indicated that the patient was presently engaged in active dreaming. Neural activity levels . . . general brain scan . . .

She frowned, checked her pad again. Her eyes rose to squint at the main monitor. It was already scrolling through a list of possible allergies and finding none. Manually interrupting the process, she used her pad to go back to the readout that had attracted her attention. It now appeared on both her pad and the monitor as a separate insert.

The figures were wrong. They had to be wrong. So was the direct imaging. There had to be something the matter with this room’s cerebral scanner. If its results had been a little off, she would have put it down to a calibration error. But the readouts were so far out of line that she was concerned they could potentially compromise patient treatment.

For one thing the patient’s parietal lobes—the parts of the brain responsible for handling visual and spatial tasks—appeared grossly swollen. Since according to the steadily lengthening list of benchmarks being provided by the instrumentation there was no neurobiological basis for such enlargement, it had to be a scanner error. However, that did not account for the exceptionally heightened blood flow to all parts of the patient’s brain, nor for what appeared to be some completely unrecognizable enzymatic and electrical activity. Furthermore, although the frontal cortex was quite dense, its apparent normality was hardly in keeping with the contrasting readouts for other portions of the cerebellum.

While many neurons were perfectly normal, dense clusters of others scanned in certain parts of the brain were swollen so large and were so inundated with activity as to suggest a potentially fatal ongoing mutation—potentially, because it was patently evident that the patient was still alive. Deeper probing soon discovered additional unnatural distortions, including what appeared to be scattered small tumors of a type and extensive neural integration she had not previously encountered, either in vivo or the medical literature.

She was not prepared to go beyond initial observation to render a formal interpretation of what she was seeing. She was no specialist, and these readings cried out for one capable of properly analyzing them. That, or a technician to repair and recalibrate the scanners. She opted to seek the latter’s advice first. Bad scans made more sense than neurobiological impossibilities. Take those distinctive tumors, for example. By rights, intrusive growths of such size and in such locations should have resulted in a serious degeneration of cognitive faculties or even death. Yet all correlating scans indicated normal ongoing physiological activity. Of course, she couldn’t be sure the patient was not an idiot until he woke up and started to respond. All she knew was that for a dumb dead man, he appeared to be in excellent shape.

From the Hardcover edition.

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First Chapter


CHAPTER 1


"He's not dead—but watch out for the winged snake."

As she studied the tall young man lying unconscious on the fast-moving gurney, the alert eyes of the duty physician at Reides Central narrowed. "What winged snake?"

The harried medtech guiding the gurney gestured at the slow rise and fall of the patient's chest. "It's coiled up under his shirt between his left arm and his ribs. Squirmed in there and hid when we arrived to pick him up. Sticks its head out occasionally for a quick look around, but that's all. Won't leave. Hasn't bothered anyone—so far. Almost as if it senses we're trying to help."

The emergency sector physician nodded tersely as she continued to pace the gurney. "I'll be sure and keep my fingers away. Why wasn't it caught and neutralized before the patient was brought in?"

The medtech glanced sideways at her. "Quickref says it's an Alaspinian minidrag. They bond emotionally with their owners. If you'd heard what I was told, you wouldn't get any ideas about trying to separate them."

They rounded a corner, dodged an oncoming stasis chair, and headed up another corridor. "Hell of a way to practice medicine," the doctor muttered to no one in particular. "Like there aren't enough obstacles put in our way." She leaned slightly forward over the motionless form, but she was unable to detect any movement in the indicated area. "It's dangerous, then?"

The medtech smoothly eased the gurney into an empty monitoring chamber. "Apparently only if you try to separate them. Or if it thinks you're trying to harm its master."

"We're trying to help him, just like we're trying to help all theothers who were brought in."

As soon as the waiting sensors detected the gurney's presence, a dozen different automated appliances initiated a standard preliminary patient scan. They automatically disregarded the presence of the flying snake just as they ignored the basic but neat and clean clothing in which the patient was dressed. The doctor stepped back from the gurney and examined her pad as one recording after another was made and silently transferred. A duplicate set was simultaneously being entered into the official hospital files.

The medtech looked on thoughtfully. "Want me to stay?"

When the doctor glanced up from her softly glowing pad, it was only to eye the patient. "Up to you. I'll be careful of the snake." Now that she knew where it was, she could see the slight bulge occasionally moving beneath the patient's shirt. "If I have any problems, I'll alert Security."

Nodding, the medtech turned to go. "Suit yourself. They probably need me in Receiving now, anyway."

The doctor continued speaking without looking at him. "How many all together?"

"Twenty-two. All standing, walking, or sitting within a few meters of one another in the same part of the Reides shopping complex. All displayed the same symptoms: a sharp gasp, followed by a rolling back of the eyes, and down they went—out cold. Adults, children, males, females—two thranx, one Tolian, the rest human. No external signs of injury, no indication of stroke or myocardial infarction, nothing. As if they'd all simultaneously been put to sleep. That's what the official witness reports say, anyway. They're pretty consistent throughout."

She gestured absently. "It'll take a minute or two for Processing to finish admitting this one. First thing we'll do is correlate data between patients for indications of other similarities, so we can try and define some parameters. I'd be surprised if there weren't several." Her voice fell slightly. "There'd better be."

Halfway out the portal, the medtech hesitated. "Viral or bacterial infection?"

"Nothing that contradicts it, but it's much too early to say." She looked up from her pad to meet his gaze. Concern was writ large there, and he was clearly looking for some sort of reassurance. "At a guess, I'd say neither one. The zone of influence was too sharply circumscribed. Same goes for a narcoleptic gas. And there are no overt indicators that would indicate an airborne infectious agent—no elevated or reduced blood pressure, no respiratory problems, no dermatological indications, no dilated pupils: not so much as a rash or a reported sneezing fit."

"What then?"

"Again, it's too soon to say. Some kind of area-specific sonic projection, maybe, though there's no evidence of cochlear damage in any of the patients. Delineated flash hallucinogen, cerebroelectrical interrupt—there are numerous possibilities. Based on what I've read and seen so far, I'd say the event was a site-specific one-time event, and that no organic agent is involved. But that's a very preliminary assessment."

With a grateful nod, the medtech departed. As the portal opaqued behind him, the doctor turned back to her patient.

Other than being taller than average and discounting the presence of the alien pet, he appeared no different from others who had been brought in. She knew results were expected fast. Having twenty-two customers suddenly drop unconscious in one's place of business was not good publicity for any enterprise. Fortunately for Reides's management, everything had happened so quickly and the local emergency teams had reacted rapidly enough that the local media had not yet found their way to the hospital. By the time they did, she and her fellow consulting physicians hoped to be ready with some answers.

An attractive young man, she decided, with his red hair and olive-hued skin. Tall, slim, and apparently healthy, if one discounted his current condition. She guessed him to be somewhere in his early twenties. A universal command bracelet encircled one wrist, but there was no sign of whatever specially attuned devices it might control. Probably nothing more elaborate than a vit player, she decided. If it contained usable ident and medical information, the medtech had failed to tap into it. Well, that could come later, following the initial diagnosis. The scanners would tell her everything she needed to know to prescribe treatment. On the bracelet a single telltale glowed softly green, showing that it was active.

Beneath the patient's shirt, a ropy shape shifted position. She did her best not to stare in its direction. She knew nothing about Alaspinian minidrags beyond the little the medtech had just told her. As long as it did not interfere with her work, she had no desire to know more.

She fidgeted, waiting for the scanners to finish. Even though no serious trauma was involved, the sudden influx of unconscious patients had momentarily overwhelmed the hospital's emergency staff. She was already eager to move on to the next patient.

The preliminary readings began appearing on her pad as well as on the main monitor that projected from the wall. Heart rate, hemoglobin content, white cell count, respiration, temperature: everything was well within normal, accepted parameters. If anything, the readings suggested an exceptionally healthy individual. Cerebral scan indicated that the patient was presently engaged in active dreaming. Neural activity levels . . . general brain scan . . .

She frowned, checked her pad again. Her eyes rose to squint at the main monitor. It was already scrolling through a list of possible allergies and finding none. Manually interrupting the process, she used her pad to go back to the readout that had attracted her attention. It now appeared on both her pad and the monitor as a separate insert.

The figures were wrong. They had to be wrong. So was the direct imaging. There had to be something the matter with this room's cerebral scanner. If its results had been a little off, she would have put it down to a calibration error. But the readouts were so far out of line that she was concerned they could potentially compromise patient treatment.

For one thing the patient's parietal lobes—the parts of the brain responsible for handling visual and spatial tasks—appeared grossly swollen. Since according to the steadily lengthening list of benchmarks being provided by the instrumentation there was no neurobiological basis for such enlargement, it had to be a scanner error. However, that did not account for the exceptionally heightened blood flow to all parts of the patient's brain, nor for what appeared to be some completely unrecognizable enzymatic and electrical activity. Furthermore, although the frontal cortex was quite dense, its apparent normality was hardly in keeping with the contrasting readouts for other portions of the cerebellum.

While many neurons were perfectly normal, dense clusters of others scanned in certain parts of the brain were swollen so large and were so inundated with activity as to suggest a potentially fatal ongoing mutation—potentially, because it was patently evident that the patient was still alive. Deeper probing soon discovered additional unnatural distortions, including what appeared to be scattered small tumors of a type and extensive neural integration she had not previously encountered, either in vivo or the medical literature.

She was not prepared to go beyond initial observation to render a formal interpretation of what she was seeing. She was no specialist, and these readings cried out for one capable of properly analyzing them. That, or a technician to repair and recalibrate the scanners. She opted to seek the latter's advice first. Bad scans made more sense than neurobiological impossibilities. Take those distinctive tumors, for example. By rights, intrusive growths of such size and in such locations should have resulted in a serious degeneration of cognitive faculties or even death. Yet all correlating scans indicated normal ongoing physiological activity. Of course, she couldn't be sure the patient was not an idiot until he woke up and started to respond. All she knew was that for a dumb dead man, he appeared to be in excellent shape.

Copyright© 2003 by Alan Dean Foster
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 17 of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 20, 2012

    Love this series

    I started to read them out of order, then I had to go to the start to learn how Flinx got his pet and his powers. The aliens that Foster give us has more depth the anyone else.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2004

    This one's good

    This one is one of the better books in the series. For starts Flinx doesn't loose all his powers at the start of the book. There is really good character development in this book. Flinx is still his moody mixed up self but he starts to explore his abilities and his Purpose. By the end of the book Flinx has made some decisions about his life and his loves, with the help of his childhood mentors, Bran and Tru. This book really moves the story line along. I can't wait for the next book. Flinx has ended his endless wonderings and now has a purpose other than who am I, and why Me?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2003

    Fun space opera

    The outlawed Gengineer Melianare Society biomanipulated Fling¿s neurological system giving him the ability to read minds and projects emotions. He is a very powerful empathic telepath who many races take a very deep interest in, which is why he travels under false credentials. The viru-ujurians, who are under indictment, gave Flinx a ship that is unlike any in the Commonwealth. They would like him to use it to keep him safe.<P> He is a very lonely twenty-four year old man who is only emotionally bonded to Pip, an Alesphinian minidras snake who regards Flinx as his bondmate and protector. Needing someone to confide in about his dreams where he is the key to saving the universe from something that is coming in the distant future, he travels to the planet New Riviera. There he connects with his old girlfriend Trinity in the hopes she can help him figure out if his dreams are a premonition of things to come. While on the planet, he has to deal with Trinity¿s boyfriend who is trying to kill him. He also must contend with a group that knows what Flinx is dreaming about is true and want to eliminate him so the cosmos will be destroyed.<P> With every Flinx and Pip adventure, readers come one step closer to learning how Flinx will grow into his mental powers. Many races and people believe he is the key to saving the universe from a threat that is not fully understood. The way they protect him from his myriad of enemies is quite interesting but not as fascinating as the blossoming romance of Flinx and Trinity who is bonded to Pip¿s offspring. FLINX¿S FOLLY is space opera at its finest.<P> Harriet Klausner

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