Winding River: Chapter 10
Friday, May 26, 2006

A Stargate SG1/ Firefly crossover fanfic. There aren't many of these but since no-one's tracked me down and asked me to take it away, it stays! Please take a look and tell me if it works or not!


Disclaimer: See chapter 1 which you can find at my profile page.

AN/ Finally another chapter up! Sorry for the wait! This chapter should clear up what’s been going on in my head. Hopefully people will like it. If not, let me know what strikes a false note. Still, it’s only a bit of fun and I hope people won’t be too upset with me messing with verse cannon just a bit! Updated now thanks to my beta Little Moppet and a very useful comment from Grace Macy that reminded me that I had forgotten about poor Wash. Here's the new version with all Wash scenes fully restored and digitally enhanced. ______________________________________ Chapter 10 Encounter

Mal released a silent breath of relief as the tall man dressed in dappled green relaxed in submission, letting the odd z-shaped weapon in his hand drop into the dirt. Then his muscles tensed again as his eyes locked with Zoë’s past the guy’s greying temple. Her dark face was even graver than usual, the soft curves cut with deep grooves and her full lips flattened into a tight line.

She jerked her head towards the buildings behind her. “There are two more hidin’ back there, sir”, she told him quietly.

Mal scanned the dusty buildings but could see nothing. He brought his gun up to a more prominent position to hold it at shoulder height, the barrel mere inches from his prisoner’s forehead. “If either of you care more’n a shiny penny for this fella’s hide you’ll be wanting to come out nice an’ slow!” he called out roughly.

He was gratified to see two figures emerge slowly from the shadows, a compact blonde woman and a spectacled guy in a wide-brimmed floppy hat, their guns held high in a non-threatening position. They threw the weapons towards Zoë at the eloquent jerk of the muzzle of her Mare’s leg carbine. In a somewhat dangerous move, considering the circumstances, the one in the silly hat took a step towards them, hands held palm out.

“We really don’t mean you any harm.” He spoke out in an earnest voice. Mal didn’t blame him for looking a touch taken aback when Zoë responded to this speech with an impatient shushing motion. Then Mal also caught the rapid tattoo of running footsteps and held himself in tense readiness.

The sight of River tearing across the ground toward him, her long hair streaming behind her, had him frozen to the spot and doubting his sanity. She passed by him like a breath of wind and flung herself at the vacant doctor. Mal watched the play of emotions wash over the boy’s normally expressionless face. Shock seemed to win out, causing his legs to buckle beneath him in a near faint, pulling River down with him in a tangle of limbs.

There was a long wordless moment as everyone in the clearing stared at the two kneeling people. Wash broke the breathless silence as he spoke up in a slightly unsteady voice. "You all can see her too, right? Or have I finally lost what's left of my mind?"

Simon didn't seem to register him. He was was pressing the slim body of his sister so hard against his own that it was almost as if he was trying to fuse them into one being. River put up with this for a while then pulled back a few inches to look into Simon’s tight, bloodless face.

“Strength killed the Reaver, and there were strawberries and jelly and I wore a paper dress and was turned into energy and danced in the vortex,” she told him with an excited smile.

Simon just let the happy babble of her voice wash over him, reaching up with one hand to touch her cheek in wonderment. “River!” he whispered with a choked breath.

Not the most original of greetings, Mal thought, but he could forgive the boy’s lack of eloquence given the circumstances. Truth be told he was feeling a mite flabbergasted his own self.

Before a word more could be spoken, there was a rather heavier pounding of feet that had Mal and Zoë tightening their grips on their weapons. Jayne also come forward to join the party, having pulled a bulky pistol from who knows where. As the newcomer rounded the curve of a building, the sight of these three gun-barrels levelled at him and his companions caused him to pull up short. Mal stared at the black guy, taking in the muscles the size of watermelons and the strange bumpy circle branded on his forehead.

Mal was about to offer a challenge to the rather imposing man, but River interrupted by struggling free from Simon’s grasp to run forward and grab the big guy’s hand, pulling him forward into the clearing. “This is Teal’c,” she informed Simon, adding firmly to the rest of them “He’s nice. Restful.”

The tall guy with the salt and pepper haircut gave a snort. “Hey, River! Couldn’t you vouch for us too?” he called out in an amused voice.

Before anyone could respond there was a flash of movement from inside Serenity’s cargo hold and, with a squeal so high-pitched that it would cause a bat to wince, Kaylee came flying down the ramp. She swept River into a bone-cracking hug, happy tears leaking over her flushed cheeks. River tolerated the enthusiastic embrace with a small, bemused smile.

Mal just had to comment. “Kaylee, didn’t we discuss how you were gonna stay on the gorram ship?”

His frustration mounted as she just turned overlarge, moist eyes on him and spoke past a quivering lip. “But Cap’n! It’s River!” she said breathlessly, as if this was all that needed to be said on the matter of disregarding orders.

Simon reached forward to reclaim his sister, pulling her close to him and finally breaking the grip which she had maintained on the big man’s hand. He composed his face into its usual formal mask as he spoke up in a polite, even voice. “I don’t know how I can begin to thank you for returning my sister to me.”

Once again it was the older man who spoke up in a good-natured tone. “Well, not holding us at gun-point would be a good start.”

Mal frowned, neither his nor Zoë’s gun wavering an inch. “Well, let’s not rush into anythin’ now,” he drawled with some amusement, despite the tense situation. “It’s true that we’re all manner of grateful for the safe return of our little lost lamb. Still, me and mine have a deep and abidin’ distrust of strangers in uniforms.”

The younger man in glasses tried another disarming smile. “Well, as you can see we’re not strangers to River. My name’s Daniel Jackson. The person whose head you’re pressing the gun to is Colonel Jack O’Neill. This is Major Samantha Carter and River’s already introduced Teal’c.”

The well-muscled fellow inclined his shaven head in grave acknowledgement. Mal caught the slight frown that flashed over Simon’s face and couldn’t blame the boy for the touch of jealousy. It wasn’t often that River took to someone that much, let alone showed outright affection.

Kaylee turned to face the group, a bright smile on her face. “Well, it’s sure nice to meet y’all. Can I get you a drink? I’ve got some homemade lemonade in the galley. Well, it’s not actually made from lemons but the acetic acid’s got almost the same bite to it if you don’t think too hard...”

“Kaylee!” Mal bit off in exasperation. “We ain’t done holdin’ these folks hostage yet! I ain’t in the habit of offerin’ tea and dumplings to people I’m holdin’ a weapon on.”

She grinned at him, completely unrepentant. “Don’t worry Cap’n, I’ll bring you a glass too. Aft’rall, ya only need one hand to point a gun at these nice folks.”

Mal scowled at her fiercely, trying to regain some of the threatening tension that his irritating mechanic was so cheerfully destroying. His scowl deepened as the Colonel spoke up helpfully. “You know, I could really go for a glass of lemonade about now.”

Yep, clearly unintimidated. Mal’s pistol sagged a little in resignation then snapped up again as O’Neill slowly shrugged his pack from his shoulders and carefully lowered it to the ground. “Actually, I’ve got some provisions I could add to the picnic if you’re interested.” Maintaining eye contact with Mal, the guy reached into the sack and pulled out a plastic coated bar, tossing it towards Kaylee with a grin.

“Ohmygod! Is this chocolate? Real chocolate?” she squealed in delight, ripping open the wrappings and taking a large bite before Mal could say a word in protest. Her eyes rolled back in her head and an expression of almost indecent bliss flushed over her features. She let out a low, satisfied moan that caused some to shift uncomfortably. Her tongue flicked out to slide softly over her lower lip, lapping at a crumb of fallen chocolate. All eyes were on her, some fascinated and some, like Mal, a touch discomforted by the blatant sensuality.

Typically it was Jayne who broke the silence with a lavicious smirk. “Hell, Kaylee! If ya wanna be alone with the chocolate ya can take my bunk!” Ever one to push an innuendo that bit too far he added “If yer good I might even join ya.’”

Kaylee’s eyes shot open and a flush crept over her cheeks. Wash rolled his eyes. "And he wonders why he has to pay for dates!" he muttered in acerbic amusement.

Mal shot Jayne a stern look but, despite Kaylee’s obvious embarrassment, couldn’t help teasing her a bit himself. “Li’l girl, didn’t your parents teach ya not to take candy from strange men?” he drawled.

“Hey! I’m not that strange!” O’Neill spoke up in mock indignation, clearly enjoying the whole situation a tad too much.

Kaylee drew the tattered shreds of her dignity around her, chin held high as she zipped the rest of the bar into a thigh pocket in a possessive gesture. “’Course he isn’t, Cap’n. He’s a sweetie-pie!” She gave Mal a haughty look. “He brought me chocolate.” She added in a definite voice, as if this settled matters.

Mal gave into the inevitable and let the barrel of his gun sink down to point at the ground. “Fine!” he grumbled. “But if they end up shootin’ you ta death don’t come cryin’ ta me.”

Jayne looked askance at him. “Well, I ain’t gonna start trusting any gorram yáng yāo‘less I find out what they want and where ‘xactly they sprang from in a planet that’s s’posed to be full of nothin’ but ghosts.”

Mal looked enquiringly at the group, also interested in the answers to these questions. The first voice to pipe up in response, though, didn’t belong to any of the strangers but to little River.

“They came from Earth-that-is.” A puzzled silence followed her calm announcement.

Simon bent his head close to his sister’s with a perplexed frown. “Mei-mei, that’s not possible. Earth-that-was is gone. It was destroyed a long while ago.” He spoke in a soft voice, as if afraid of upsetting her, but looked up, startled, at O’Neill’s snort of laughter.

“Well, there are about six billion people back home that that might come as a bit of a shock to,” the Colonel commented with a broad grin.

“Show him the book.” River directed the pre-emptory order at Jackson, who blinked at her in surprise but reached obediently for his pack.

“What, you mean the journal?” he asked, pulling out an old discoloured leather-bound volume with careful hands. “You think they’d know something about this?”

Mal wasn’t surprised that it was Book who was the first to move forward in interest. The Shepherd was probably the only one except Simon who’d ever actually handled a luxury object like a real old paper book. He took the journal gently from Jackson, splitting it open a crack to peer inside.

Jackson hovered over him like a broody hen. “We think this is the history of some of the people that colonised this planet. They were pioneers, taken from Earth over four hundred years ago,” he commented, leaning over Book’s shoulder as the preacher read.

Book’s eyes widened at something on the page in front of him, then gazed off into space, thoughtfully. “You know,” he said in his rich, gravely voice, “if this is even half true it might explain a few questions that have always bothered me.”

Mal couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Shepherd, you ain’t buyin’ inta this fèihuà?” he demanded incredulously. “Every kid knows that we left the old homestead in ships half a millennium back ‘cos it got all used up.”

Book fixed him with a penetrating stare. “That’s what we all know because that’s what we’ve all been taught. You should know better than anyone that half of writing history is hiding the truth. Is it such a stretch to believe that our past isn’t quite what we thought it was?”

Mal gaped at him in wordless bewilderment but Book pushed on, as if he’d experienced some sort of epiphany. “If we were taken from Earth-that-was instead of leaving by choice it would explain why no-one has any record of its location. Considering how valuable and scarce old artefacts are, you’d think someone would have tried going back to see what was left, if the where of it was known.”

Mal let a humouring smile creep over his face as he asked “Okay, so if we were taken who d’ya reckon did the takin’?”

O’Neill, who had been listening with interest to this debate, cut in at this point, seeming glad to be able to contribute. “Ah, now that would be where the aliens come into it,” he supplied helpfully.

Jayne threw up his hands in exasperation at this, causing Wash to flinch as the heavy gun that Jayne still had his clutched in one of them passed through firing range of his head. “I ain’t stayin’ here to listen to this fēngdiānhúshuō,” Jayne bellowed, then turned and stomped up the ramp into the ship.

Mal watched him go then looked back at O’Neill with raised eyebrows. “Hard as it is ta believe, Jayne does have a point. Only a sha gua believes in aliens. Rest of us just accept that we’re alone out here in the black.”

O’Neill just grinned. “Riiight!” he drawled with heavy sarcasm. “’Cos the galaxy’s such a small place and you’ve explored every part of it!”

Before Mal could come up with a response to that the younger man, Jackson, chimed in. “Actually, although this might be hard to accept, the divinity you worship is actually an alien parasite inside the body of a man.”

Mal stared at him for a long second before bursting out in a deep belly laugh. Book shot him a disapproving look before his own face gave in and cracked into an amused grin. “Son, being a preacher I thought I’d heard everything, but you’ve surely got the strangest line in blasphemy!”

The largest one, Teal’c, rumbled into life at this, a heavy scowl lining his face. “It is true. Aten is a false god, as are all of the Goa’uld.”

Again there was a long silence, broken only by the sighing wind. Mal shook his head, totally confused as he asked in a lost voice “The what an’ the who, now?”


At the slightly queasy suggestion of the guy in the awful shirt, Jack and his team had been allowed to move away from the mass grave to the far side of the space ship. Jack had had to give Carter a firm look to prevent her from darting over to inspect the exterior engines of the unusual vessel. Now most of the group had taken a seat on the ground whilst they tried to sort things out.

It had taken a while to explain their theory of how this planet had been populated by slaves from the Orient 3000 years ago, then topped up by a group of settlers more recently. The story hadn’t been well received. Reactions had ranged from dubious sympathy from the pretty young girl to a scornful outburst in Chinese from the Captain that had had Daniel wincing and the rest of SG1 frowning in puzzlement.

The conversation got a bit sidetracked when the Shepherd informed them that none of the ship’s crew was actually from this planet.

Jack frowned in confusion “Then where exactly do you come from?” he asked.

The other man gave a shrug. “Oh, various places.”

Carter leaned forward in interest. “Does your ship have a faster than light drive?” she asked eagerly. “How many planets are you able to reach?”

It was the young girl in the overalls that answered Carter’s question. “’Course Serenity can’t go fast’r’n light speed. That’d be impossible! But she does real good getting’ us around the half dozen central planets and nigh on seventy border worlds.”

Carter blinked, as confused as if the whole explanation had been in Chinese. “But.. it would be astronomically impossible for there to be that many inhabitable planets in one solar system.”

The other girl’s brow wrinkled as she gazed at Carter’s face, as if checking that she wasn’t being wound up by some elaborate practical joke. “No,” she explained patiently “they ain’t all planets round one sun. There’re a coupl’a stars in this cluster and most folks live on moons that’ve been terraformed.”

Carter’s eyes lit up like a kid who’s just heard Santa was coming. “That’s amazing! How does that work? What does the process involve?”

Against everyone’s expectations it was Teal’c who responded first. “Several of the Goa’uld system lords do possess terraforming technology,” he commented in his deep rasp.

The brown-coated Captain had remained standing off to one side, his beautiful but forbidding second-in-command hovering at his shoulder like a shadow. At Teal’c’s words he threw up his hands in exaggerated impatience. “An’ now you’re back ta the talk of aliens! This is a joke that is rapidly ceasing to be funny.”

The fair-haired man who Jack had so far not caught the name of gave a broad grin from where he was lounging in the dust. "Oh, I don't know." he commented brightly. "I'm feeling pretty entertained."

Jack had a sudden brainwave. “Teal’c, would you mind showing them where you used to stash Junior?”

Teal’c inclined his head in grave assent and wordlessly began to unbutton the top of his fatigues. There was a moment of stunned silence at the unveiling of the deep diagonal gashes that formed the flaps of a pouch in the taut muscles of his stomach. The Captain exchanged a long look with his shadow before stalking forward in disbelief. River’s brother also got to his feet to come forward for a better view.

“That’s not … What is that?” Simon asked in fascination, leaning in for a closer look, one hand half raised towards Teal’c’s abdomen.

“Oh Doc!” The Captain spat out in disgust. “You ain’t gonna be puttin’ your hand in there are ya? ‘Cos that’s all manner of unhygienic!”

The doctor shot him an annoyed look before switching his gaze back to the opening. “How was this done?” he breathed in amazement. “And why?” he asked in puzzlement, glancing up at Teal’c’s face.

Teal’c snapped his shirt shut, doing up the buttons as he stared stoically ahead. “It is done to every Jaffa when they come of age so that they may carry inside of them the larval form of the Goa’uld. By this means are we kept enslaved to the false gods.”

Jack was watching the baffled expression on the young doctor’s face closely. “But you’ve never heard of a Jaffa, right?” he asked thoughtfully.

“That would make sense, sir.” Carter cut in with her usual level of intensity. “If this group of worlds has been cut off from the rest of the Goa’uld for 3000 years the Jaffa would have died out long ago.” She paused for a moment, the whirring of her mental gears almost audible. “Aten would have been completely cut off here. If it took a while for someone to open the canopic jar he was trapped in, he might have woken to a totally unfamiliar situation.”

Her eyes sparkled as she ran over the scenario in her mind. “Think about it, sir. Exiled to a society that had advanced with the technology he had abandoned them with but without any Goa’uld rule to keep them servile. He would have no Jaffa soldiers or futuristic devices to establish his credentials as a god. It could be that that’s why these people are not directly aware of his existence. He would have had to maintain a low profile and manipulate things from behind the scenes.”

O’Neill looked at her sceptically. “Nice story but what makes you think he would put up with that when he could escape through the Stargate to somewhere he could go back to being top of the heap?”

It was Teal’c who answered the question, obviously taken with the picture Sam was painting. “It is possible that he would not know the exact location in an ever changing planetary system. Such details are the concern of a First Prime not of a god.”

River’s quiet voice broke into the private bubble of their thoughts. “He searched first with civics, then with fire,” she told their blank faces.

Jack took a breath, even though he wasn’t sure what he was going to ask, but was cut short by a loud beep from his wrist.

“Well, folks, as fascinating as this all is, and as much as I’d love to get to know River’s gun-toting friends some more, it’s time for us to head back to the SGC.” Jack announced, then waited for the inevitable discontent.

As expected, Daniel was the first to erupt with “What? We can’t leave now, there’s so much we haven’t learnt yet!” What Jack hadn’t been prepared for was the near universal objections from the others around him. There was a clamour of protests from the ship’s Captain; the priest; the blond guy;the young girl, Kaylee; and the doctor as well as Carter, and even a frown from Teal’c.

It was the Captain who cut through the babble as he spat out an impatient string of Chinese. “Nee mun doh BEE-jway!”

O’Neill found himself on the receiving end of a hard stare in the sudden silence into which the other man spoke in a firm, low tone. “No-one’s leaving this rock till I get myself some proper answers.”

Jack levered himself to his feet to return the eyeballing with one of his own. “I really don’t advise you trying to hold us here,” he cautioned, the friendly tone of his voice a thin coating over a core of steel. “See, for one thing that might make me a little peevish, and we were starting to get along so well!”

The corner of the man’s mouth twitched ever so slightly but he didn’t budge an inch from the tense standoff, so Jack continued. “And for another, if we don’t check in with our superiors soon there are going to be a lot of very upset people coming to look for us. With big weapons.”

Jack watched the Captain’s eyes flick over to the tall, black woman, who had remained quiet throughout. After a moment of silent communication it seemed that he conceded to Jack’s point.

“Fine!” the younger man ground out. “How about one of you go back to this ‘Stargate’ to talk to your people, whilst the rest of us stay here all cosy like an’ hash things through some more.”

Jack gave a thin smile in gratitude for this kind permission. “Teal’c” he called out, not taking his eyes from the man in front of him. “Go back to the cave and call up General Hammond. Say ‘Hi’ from me.” He flashed a quick look at his Jaffa friend, making eye contact for just long enough to convey the order that the SGC should be fully briefed about the situation here.

The Captain turned to his accomplice, making no effort to lower his voice as he bit out orders to her. “Zoë, you go with him. Check out this gate thing.” He pulled a clunky rectangle from an inside pocket of his coat and threw it to her. “Listen to what he says and you report back to me, dǒng ma?”

She gave a short nod of her beautiful head. “Understood, sir.”

The fair-haired, stocky man rose to his feet to take a half-step forward, a frown flashing briefly over his face before he checked himself. “Have fun, Sweetie!” he called out in a voice of slightly forced cheerfulness, before turning his attention to Teal’c. “And you, try to have her back before dark. And don’t forget she’s a married woman,” he instructed in a tone of mock severity. “I really wouldn’t want to have to get physical with you,” he added fervently, glancing over the Jaffa’s bulging muscles.

Teal’c, as ever, took this in his stride and gestured with a gallant bow and an open palm for the woman to precede him. She just gave a grim smile and a little jerk of the long gun she still clutched in one hand. Teal’c raised one eyebrow but proceeded to set out in front of her, setting a good pace as they marched off.

The Captain gave a little snort. “Talkative pair, ain’t they? Bet that outin’s gonna be a bundle of laughs.” He watched them until they disappeared amongst the battered buildings, then turned back to O’Neill with a steady gaze. “So!” he announced. “While we’re waitin’ for confirmation of your little tale, seems like we still have a few things to discuss.”


The next hour passed remarkably pleasantly, considering the circumstances. On hearing that Kaylee was the ship’s mechanic, Carter had nabbed her and drawn her off to one side, the guy in the shirt trailing rather half-heartedly after them. The two women had become engrossed in their own little world. Judging by the exaggerated hand gestures and the increasingly complex squiggles that were being drawn in the dust, Jack judged that some serious bonding was going on.

Daniel was also involved in an animated discussion, sitting on a low stone wall with the Shepherd, the old book cradled between them. The enigmatic doctor stood behind them, peering over their shoulders to add quiet comments whenever Jackson cracked open the journal to point to a particular phrase.

O’Neill had continued the staring match with the grim-faced Captain for a while before breaking the tension with a compliment on the beautifully crafted old-style pistol that the man had reholstered at his side. This in turn led to an examination of Jack’s zat gun. The sound of the discharge had caused a brief silence to fall over the group, although it was not enough distraction to pull them away from their discussions for long. It did, however, cause the large, grumpy man (and had the Captain really called him Jane?) to poke his head from out the back of the ship with a scowl. Jack carefully phrased his brief explanation of how to operate the weapon, letting the obviously unfamiliar technology speak for itself rather than raising the touchy subject of aliens directly.

Things had unwound enough for the big man to offer up his own extremely heavy hand-gun in exchange for a closer inspection of the zat, when the convivial atmosphere was broken by a crackle from the box at the Captain’s hip.

Zoë’s voice spoke out through the interference. “We’re at the cave now, sir. It’s true that there is a ring that can do things like nothin’ I’ve seen before. Teal’c spoke to a General by way of a smallish tank. He’s got something ta say that I think we need ta hear.”

Jack frowned and pulled his own radio to his mouth. “Teal’c are you receiving me? Over.”

His friend’s deep voice sounded through the small device, sounding even graver than usual. “Colonel O’Neill. General Hammond has ordered that we should return at once through the Stargate. The SGC has been placed under quarantine.”

Carter stood and came to Jack’s side, a worried frown creasing her forehead. “It’s Janet,” she pronounced her voice heavy with anxiety. “I knew something wasn’t right!”

They both jumped as River spoke up from behind them, having been totally unaware of her approach.

“Don’t worry,” she soothed Sam in a distracted tone. “She’s resting in peace.”

________________________________________ Chinese phrases in order of appearance: yáng yāo - Foreign devil fèihuà - Nonsense; rubbish; superfluous words fēng diān hú shuō - Insane drivel sha gua - Retard (lit. stupid melon) Nee mun doh BEE-jway! - Everybody shut the hell up! dǒng ma? – understand?

AN/ Please do let me know whether this is even vaguely believable or if you are happy to suspend your disbelief enough to read more! Plus, apologies to anyone who really speaks Mandarin. I must have the worst grammar! By the way, thanks so much for all who have reviewed.


Friday, May 26, 2006 5:02 AM


I've been waiting for your next installment...and you didn't disappoint!

I like the way each group sees the other.

I love Carter & Kaylee bonding over the engine and Daniel, Book and the Doctor over the academic stuff.

Keep writing I for one, want to know what's going to happen.

Friday, May 26, 2006 2:42 PM


Great stuff here, Emma! Interesting to think the 'Verse is a Goual'd-established colonization project....

And you've set around the time Dr. Fraiser got killed off? Interesting indeed;)


Friday, May 26, 2006 5:21 PM


Yay- I'm so glad you're back! This is fun, keep it up!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 5:27 PM


Yay! More more more!
This is extremely well done. I'm not sure I buy into all of the interactions between Serenity's crew and tha SG team, but Kaylee's offering them lemonade was spot on!
I wanted a little more from River, trying to make the two groups understand each other a little better. But very well done!

Monday, June 26, 2006 6:03 PM


This *is* very good. You betcha its shiny.

Thursday, July 21, 2011 4:24 PM


Shiny! more more more!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011 4:31 PM


In my opinion, a crossover of Firefly and Stargate definiely works... loving it!


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