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Spearbreakers is a Dwarf Fortress Let's Play conducted on the Bay 12 Forums. It began with the ambitious goal of being the first epic fortress of version 0.34, featuring the return of Syrupleaf's Spawn of Holistic and encouraging players to participate in storytelling.

What followed was a chaotic mess of mismanagement, hypercompetent management, Spawn getting stuck on ledges, hundreds and hundreds of mugs accidentally being produced for no reason, serial medical malpractice, zombie sieges of apocalyptic proportions, and lots and lots of story-based fiction, ranging in subject matter from a humble caravan guard accidentally averting the apocalypse to a convoluted science-fiction plot involving planeshifting agents of corrupt interdimensional research corporations and an extremist fringe group spearheaded by a megalomaniac trying to take them down.

Spearbreakers provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Mugs are suggested, and even dwarven children, to combat Spawn and Manamaids. These are suggested to serve as ammo for catapults.
  • Aborted Arc: Was originally intended as a Fan Sequel to Syrupleaf; however, this aspect was gradually dropped as the fort developed its own narrative, only showing in the form of occasional mentions of Parasol.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: The Narrator of Vanya's journals.
  • After the End: Technically, Spearbreakers takes place after Syrupleaf, which ended in a cataclysmic apocalypse where the world was turned into a giant block of obsidian.
  • Almost Kiss: One of these is shared by Vanya and Urist.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Spawn are evil without exception.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Colonel Fischer's gender is constantly being gotten wrong, almost as a Running Gag.
  • A Mech by Any Other Name:
    • One overseer, Tomio, is basically an automoton, though he has another name for it.
    • Parasol employs mechs and mechsuits in its forces.
  • Anachronism Stew: To an extent, logical technological development is completely ignored, and the timewar companies have mechs, jetpacks and VTO Ls, but no fixed-wing aircraft. Spearbreakers also cobbles together multi-dimensional portals, time travel, and medieval warfare.
  • And I Must Scream: Softa, Ashsaber and Mad-Dok's consciousnesses remains trapped in their mind, unable to influence the body. Softa barely clings to her sanity by virtue of Fischer, Splint among others visiting her. Ashsaber is not known to Spearbreakers itself, though canon says he is a gibbering wreck. Mad-Dok is that one spawn that never screeches. Just looks. Creepy indeed.
  • Anti-Climax: Mitchewawa promised us he would invade hell during his turn. He didn't.
  • Antihero:
    • Mr Frog, though technically a good guy, would make a pretty wicked villain.
    • Talvi is also technically a good guy/girl, but she eventually becomes the antihero of several story arcs.
  • Anyone Can Die: In most Dwarf Fortress succession games, people embrace the fact that their characters can die at any moment. Due to Spearbreakers' canon style, the writers made sure the overseers avoided deaths whenever possible, but even the best efforts were often futile.
  • Ascended Extra: There are a few that fall into this category.
    • Joseph began as an Imaginary Friend of Talvi's, but gradually was revealed to become the leader of a powerful interdimensional company.
    • Vanya was originally a narrator for Talvi's adventures in the side stories, but turned into a main character that several overseers mentioned or made reference to in canon.
    • The italics portions in Vanya's journals turn into second person narration by Dr. Urist Jones.
  • Asexuality: Mr Frog doesn't loathe romance, and it isn't that he doesn't understand it, either. He simply doesn't care about it.
  • Awesome Yet Practical:
    • Mr Frog's serrated disc launcher.
    • Parasol's E.L.E.P.H.A.N.T., a giant creature with turrets mounted to its armor.
  • Ax-Crazy: Talvi, when she tried to murder Mr Frog. In fact, she literally had an axe as her Weapon of Choice.
  • Back from the Dead: This is actually an extremely rare occurrence, but it does happen. After Jack Magnus dies in combat, he gets resurrected again... and again... and again...
  • Back Story: Plenty of it, as found in Boatmurdered, Headshoots and Syrupleaf.
  • Badass Cape: In the canon, Mr Frog wears a cloak that makes him look more Bad Ass.
  • Baleful Polymorph: The new Spawn can inflict this on anyone they successfully land a bite on.
  • Balls of Steel: Tomio is impervious to kicks to the groin.
  • Beneath the Earth: Spearbreakers is contained practically completely belowground - even the entrances. This is because the horrors aboveground were deemed too dangerous to face.
  • Benevolent Boss: Though his speech was admittedly a bit difficult to understand, Sus definitely qualifies as this.
  • Beyond the Impossible: Technically speaking, as he had already gathered all the materials for his strange mood, The Master should not have gone insane. He did anyways.
  • Catch Phrase: There are more than one, though most of the characters don't have one.
    • Draignean's is "Armok's Infinite Beard"
    • Talvi's is "Fuggle", a made-up word she uses in the same manner as an expletive.
  • Character Development: For a Succession Game, Spearbreakers Canon sees quite a bit of this. Spoilers of the most prevalent examples follow.
    • Non-clone Mr Frog orients his goals towards taking Eris down, rather than !!SCIENCE!!. Clone Mr Frog grows more appreciative of Vanya.
    • Splint changes and becomes more violent and angry, in addition to his Sanity Slippage.
    • Vanya becomes a stronger character.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Vanya has an issue with jealousy during her first encounter with it.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Talvi becomes this after her episode of Sanity Slippage.
  • Colonel Badass: Colonel Fischer - it's scary how powerful the leader of the army became, racking up over 200 kills by Splint's second reign. Not only that, she was this Bad Ass before she was sent to the danger room.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: This is every dwarf in Spearbreakers. Early on, Ashsaber and Softa transformed into Holistic Spawn, and were locked away in "isolation chambers", screaming their hatred for the living all hours of the day. These chambers were right across from the living area - the dwarves had to learn to sleep through it.
    Hanslanda: "Oh god, everyone in the fort is heavily medicated and boozed up just to deal with backround noise. That's a bit hardcore."
  • Continuity Snarl: There are multiple contributing authours, and their individual plotlines often don't quite match up with each other.
  • Corpse Land: Due to the recurring Zombie Apocalypse, at one point there were literally thousands of bones strewn across the blood plains.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Joseph was originally a Parasol executive who became Drunk with Power and did a Face-Heel Turn, leaving and founding Eris.
  • Creepy Cemetery: The Clover contains hundreds of unmarked graves piled together. Dwarves are forced to pass it on their way to the forges. Simon Tam's room is beneath it, too.
  • Crossdresser: Bombzero was actually a man. However, he's noted in the records as a woman because you'd never know he wasn't.
  • Deadly Training Area: Mr Frog put together an advanced-tech "combat simulation chamber" to rapidly hone the abilities of the militia. This was a subject of controversy among the overseers. Also averted, in Reudh's Spawn Containment Facility. Marksdwarves can engage Spawn in combat in complete safety. Doesn't stop civilians urinating themselves in terror whenever they pass by, though.
  • Deal with the Devil: As Hell is basically an extension of Spearbreakers, this happens often.
    • Mr Frog makes a deal and gets taken to Eris.
    • Mr Frog makes another deal to obtain an amnesiac for Talvi. Both of these deals are with Joseph.
    • Vanya agrees to work with Mr Frog as an assistant in exchange for Hans and Urist's lives.
  • Decapitation Required: The Holistic Spawn require either this, bisection, or the utter destruction of the heart, to be killed.
  • Depending on the Author: Everyone who writes about Colonel Fischer seems to portray her differently.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Vanya Carena. Her Goal in Life is always shifting between arcs, but she's always looking.
  • Did You Actually Believe?: Joseph uses this line against Vanya to great effect as he tries to Break Her By Talking.
  • Demoted to Extra: The Spawn were originally intended to be the main threat to the fortress, but were soon superseded by the fort's own hospital and necromancers.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Both Mr Frog and Vanya dislike guns, preferring to use other modes of weaponry.
  • Doomsday Device: A great number of these are discussed and/or initiated during the fortress's history.
  • Durable Death Trap: The traps that Dr. Urist Jones nearly falls victim to have been standing for over a thousand years.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: This is pretty much typical for a Dwarf Fortress Succession Game.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Several.
    • The Holistic Spawn.
    • Manamaids - grotesque creatures, a rough cross between a mermaid and a manatee.
    • Scythods - terrifying beasts, an alien version of a giant preying mantis.
  • Elsewhere Fic: Many of the later stories don't take place at the fortress itself.
  • Expy:
    • Draignean is an expy of Zapp Brannigan from Futurama.
    • Orodogoth is an expy of Dale Gribble from King of the Hill.
  • Famed in Story: Uncommon for succession games, but as there's a timewar going on, Spearbreakers fic gets to see its own future.
    • Fischer is noted as a god in several places by multiple people.
    • Vanya is noted to be famous among both dwarves and elves (though it's said that the elves hate her).
    • Urist is noted to be a figure of legend as well, though primarily among dwarves.
  • Fan Sequel: To Syrupleaf, technically, though this doesn't come up much.
  • Flat "What.": Mr Frog drops one of these while watching Vanya and Urist argue.
  • Fiery Redhead: Rose is so much of one the trope could've been based on her.
  • Friendless Background: Vanya has had very few friends in her lifetime.
  • Fun with Acronyms: A huge number of these. Most of them are short.
    • Fowl Restrained Over Gate
    • Spearbreakers Laws of Interdimensional Teleportation
    • Personal Electronic Assistant
    • Spawn Powered Uninvitee Destroyer
    • Spawn Powered Invader Terminator
    • Combat And Training Simulator
    • Fucking Incredible Superdwarven Culler of Horrors and Ender of Reigns
  • General Failure: Draignean is the perfect example of this, being somewhat similar to Futurama's Zapp Brannigan.
  • Genetic Engineering is the New Nuke: Nuclear warheads? Fixed-wing jets? No, none at all here. Instead, there's plenty of genetic gadgetry, mentalic mishaps and perilous propulsing.
  • Genre Shift: Many of the later story entries focus on an extended conflict between multiple interdimensional superpowers, a large shift away from DF's typical medieval fantasy setting.
  • Gentle Giant: Hans, the miner/militiadwarf.
  • Glass Cannon: The demons below Spearbreakers are strong enough to fling a dwarf across a room, but weak enough that a single bolt can kill them.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: After Talvi learned about the Spawn, her brain practically fried.
  • Grenade Hot Potato: Hans bats away a grenade that a novice Ballpoint soldier threw.
  • Groin Attack: Vanya attempted this against Tomio, to try to escape him.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Splint's love, Stova, died after the initial Spawn attack. Splint redirects the pain towards the Spawn as hatred.
  • He Knows Too Much: Not really that much of a surprise, given Spearbreakers' conspiracy setting.
    • Mr Frog is exiled from Ballpoint pre-story because of what he knows.
    • Joseph and Mr Frog separately try to kill Vanya because of what she's seen.
    • Mr Frog tries to administer an amnesiac to Talvi to force her to forget what she's seen, and later obtains the assistance of Joseph for that purpose.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Sus sacrificed his life on the spikebridge to save the last people who were coming in from outside. Interestingly, Sus II got a broken spine from that same bit of Malevolent Architecture.
  • Honor Before Reason: Sus II, after having been critically injured in a goblin attack, recovered, and was then critically injured again in a spike mishap. He still trains as a soldier despite having a BROKEN SPINE, making him a paraplegic. He lies on the ground attempting to train.
    • Mincer also refused treatment on his torn hand. His wife, Uvash, attempts to carry out orders despite missing her left foot.
  • I Call Her "Vera": Multiple examples of this, some in-story, some in-game.
    • The Master named his beloved wooden pike "Chestnut" in Canon.
    • Colonel Fischer named her pike "Splashslowed" after she made a couple hundred kills with it.
    • Dicer named her axe "Beltadores."
    • Jack Magnus named his axe "Chancefin."
    • Niccolo named his steel pike "Heatherbreeds."
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Urist says this, though in different phrasing, to explain some of his actions.
  • If I Can't Have You: Later in the story, Talvi tried to kill her crush, Mr Frog.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Mr Frog says variations of this many times over the duration of his turn. This gets dropped afterwards.
  • Insert Grenade Here: Bugi, a Ballpoint mercenary, throws a grenade into one of Eris's tanks to blow it up.
  • Interdimensional Travel Device: Although Spearbreakers itself only contains one, portals are everywhere, driven entirely by technology.
  • I Will Find You: A surprisingly common occurrence.
    • Mr Frog shouts this at Vanya as she runs away from him after breaking into his room.
    • Vanya shouts this to Salaia as they're separated.
    • Reudh vows he'll find his One True Love, Vanya.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: Talvi Diamondknight, both ingame and in canon.
  • Kick the Dog: A favorite pastime of overseers is throwing cavies into the Spawn containment rooms.
  • Kill 'em All: Joseph wants to wipe out all of Parasol and Ballpoint, using Spearbreakers as the agent to get them to attack each other.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Talvi had a certain obsessive fondness for cavies.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Urist has one.
  • Last of His Kind: Mr Frog is apparently the only survivor of his species in the Shared Universe, though not, perhaps, The Multiverse. He's described as being a dwarf-sized gnome, though he perhaps has an inch in height above the average dwarf.
  • Living Shadow: Rose's pet/companion, Halen. This causes a great deal of confusion as everyone seems to have a problem with it, treating its induction into canon as Serious Business.
  • Low Culture, High Tech: Eventually the Spearbreakers dwarves come across the timewar technology. Urist, Vanya, and Hans play around with it quite a bit.
  • MacGyvering: Mr Frog excels at this, creating bombs and weapons from spare lab equipment.
  • Mad Doctor: Kannan especially, but technically, any of the hospital staff could qualify as this.
  • Madness Mantra: The Master's "CARNAGE!"
  • Mad Scientist: Spearbreakers has many.
    • Mr Frog is notorious for his experiments, which have little regard for morality. However, he's not precisely "mad"... At least, not most of the time.
    • Draconik Sankis claims this title with the creation of the Spawn of Fischer, as well as resurrecting Jack Magnus twice. Like Mr Frog, he's quite a bit saner than most of the other residents. It's ironic that in Spearbreakers, the mad scientists have more sense than everyone else.
    • Aussie Evil conducts unusual experiments with blood, greatly enjoying its taste and trying to "improve upon it". He's without a doubt the most "mad" of the three.
  • Malaproper: Talvi has a tendency to use phrases that don't make any sense at all.
  • Malevolent Architecture: The Spikebridge.
  • Manchurian Agent: Vanya, the skulker, was what became known in the canon as a "Sleeper Agent" of Parasol, i.e. the person's agent side "sleeps" until "awakened", and they have no knowledge of that aspect of their lives.
  • Meaningful Echo: Vanya's story plays with this trope quite a bit.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: In Spearbreakers, there is no Black and White Morality. No one is all bad, and no one is all good. The players like to show everything from every possible perspective. Sometimes even the Villains get displayed as heroes, and vice versa.
  • Multiversal Conqueror: Spearbreakers' universe has one. It's Joseph.
  • Mysterious Waif: Vanya Carena, a skulker.
  • Necromancer:
    • Spearbreakers has these in spades.
    • The armies of Ballpoint employ them, and on a few occasions, it's implied that Joseph may employ them, too.
    • There are a couple people in Spearbreakers who manage to learn powers related to necromancy, among them being Talvi.
  • No OSHA Compliance: This happens a lot.
    • The whole of Spearbreakers. Unusual casualties and lost dwarves happen regularly, and sometimes to invaders. Spawn often get stuck in pits or on ledges.
    • Parasol doesn't care about the safety of its employees.
  • No Social Skills: Mr Frog can never understand people, and, on occasion, Terrahex finds Holistic Spawn easier to understand than his own species.
  • Oh Crap: When The Master came back to life, several players promptly shat their pants. A lot of dwarves did so in canon too.
    "wait, where are you going? you are coming back, right? your not going to leave us with The Master, are you?"
  • Older than They Look: Nobody ever guesses Mr Frog's true age until he reveals it. Who would've thought he's been around since Syrupleaf?
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • In the game, these are often made by the pikesdwarves and axedwarves, most especially by Fischer.
    • In canon, this includes practically any shot made by a railgun or a serrated disc launcher.
  • One-Letter Name: "V" was reluctant to reveal her full name until later on.
  • Only Sane Man: There are a couple examples of these, but each is an isolated occurrence.
    • Mitchewawa, who managed to (barely) pull the fortress back from the brink. This accomplishment didn't last long.
    • Hans, an oversized miner/militiadwarf. While not the sharpest tool in the shed, he's often the only one with his head on straight.
  • Paint the Town Red: Blood falls from the sky, and battles took place everywhere. Red has never looked so red.
  • Parental Abandonment: Though it's hardly touched upon, Vanya is an orphan.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Mr Frog, but only after he's been cloned. The clone, through social interaction, gradually gains a sense of morality.
  • Properly Paranoid: Orodogoth thinks that aliens have invaded Everoc. The Cuckoolander Was Right.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The first Spawn siege in Reudh's reign resulted in NINE deaths, and two cripples. Additionally, Mad-Dok was infected with the Spawn Fever. The second Spawn siege in the same year resulted in two more, including Jack Magnus.
  • Really 700 Years Old:
    • Mr Frog isn't quite 700, but he's well past three hundred.
    • Scylk is pretty old, too, especially by terrestrial standards.
  • Reforged into a Minion: Holistic Detective's Spawn can turn bitten dwarves into more of her toothy minions. This has happened to many over the nearly ten years; among them is Stova, Splint's lover and one of the founders of Spearbreakers, Softa and Ashsaber, both militia, and Mad-Dok, auxiliary militia. Softa, Ashsaber and Mad-Dok are cooped up in holding cells designed by Mr Frog.
  • Reluctant Mad Scientist:
    • Mr Frog would rather be living out his days elsewhere, but has found himself in Spearbreakers.
    • Cloned Mr Frog is working for someone he's rather not be associated with, but without choice.
  • Running Gag: Spearbreakers has plenty of these.
    • Mugs. Mugs everywhere. And then more mugs inside those mugs. The spacetime continuum is screwed up just for the purpose of fitting more mugs within the same physical space as the other mugs.
    • Practically every overseer builds a new entrance (and sometimes two), while messing with or closing off one or more of the old ones.
    • People requesting a turn while expressing their doubts that the fortress will make it far enough for them to take it.
    • Fischer's gender is constantly being mistaken.
    • Did your dwarf die? Yes. Two turns later: No, they just got misplaced.
    • Dwarves (rightfully) assuming the worst when they're sent to the hospital.
    • Using Splint's War Giant Emus for leather.
    • Overseers have a habit of throwing a cavy down into one of the Spawn isolation chambers. Whether this is done for luck, or Just for Fun, nobody really cares.
    • Splint throws mugs at the walls when he's angry.
    • Hans has a tendency to use his shield as a weapon.
    • Something go wrong? Blame it on Reudh.
  • Sanity Slippage:
    • Talvi experiences this over the course of several years.
    • Splint gradually experiences this too, though it takes much longer.
    • Reudh experiences this over the course of roughly six months as a result of the tainted drink. He gets better.
  • Scenery Gorn: Corpses, skulls, bones, zombies, and a plain full of ever-raining blood.
  • Second-Person Narration: Vanya's story is told by an Adventurer Archaeologist who refers to himself in this manner.
  • Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can: Tomio is a technomancer. Inside his body is masses of integrated weaponry. It's not really a sealed entity, more an Astro Boy type affair.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Mr Frog. It started unintentionally, but became a sort of running gag.
  • Shield Bash: In the story, Hans has a tendency to use his shield rather than his weapon, as a Running Gag.
  • Shout-Out: There are many, many of these. Here's a few:
    • The chief medical dwarf was originally Simon Tam, after the Firefly character. Later he got promoted to Mayor and removed from his position. Simon Tam isn't that great of a doctor.
    • "But it was a good once" - a reference to Doctor Who. This isn't the only Doctor Who reference, either.
    • "Dr. Urist Jones", named after the famous Indiana Jones series. His character is quite a bit different from Indiana's, however.
  • Shrinking Violet:
    • Vanya starts as this.
    • Terrahex is even more of a shrinking violet than Vanya is. In fact, he's so much of one that he practically redefines the term.
  • Shrouded in Myth:
    • Ballpoint soldiers from the future imply that Spearbreakers' story isn't the best understood, though well known.
    • An Adventurer Archaeologist states through Second-Person Narration that Vanya's story is only vaguely known by the public.
  • Succession Game: Naw, we're just pulling your leg.
  • Spell My Name with an S:
    • Colonel Fischer's name is occasionally misspelled as "Fisher".
    • Mr Frog insists on his name being spelled without the traditional period following "Mr".
    • LFTON's name is often spelled 'Lefton' to avoid headaches. Two of his alter egos, 0009 and Nine, have even more confusing, even unpronouncable names.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: The fortress's most frequent method of dealing with zombies is to wait for a squad of Spawn to show up and kill them instead.
    Draignean: We're into autumn now, WE SURVIVED! (Granted we survived because Godzilla and Mothra arrived at the same time and decided to fight each other, not because of our military prowess)
  • Stalker with a Crush: There are multiple stalkers in Spearbreakers.
    • After the first couple of years, Talvi became obsessed with Mr Frog, believing she was in love.
    • Lord Reudh has a creepy yet adorable crush on Rose, Splint's bodyguard. This is later determined to be an unusual aftereffect of Mr Frog's chemical concotions. After this, a single kiss from Vanya Carena is enough to make him fall in love with her, determined to follow her to the ends of the earth.
  • Strange Salute: During Draignean's reign, a punch to the face (the stronger the better) becomes the Spearbreakers salute.
  • That Was the Last Entry: This happens after Vanya's twenty-fifth journal entry. It's misleading because she's not actually dead.
  • The Alcoholic: Earlier in the story, Mr Frog was always calling for his Merlot.
  • The Atoner:
    • Urist Okablokum has something hidden away in his past that he's trying to make up for.
    • Vanya Carena is trying to make up for what she's done in her past, too, though it wasn't entirely her fault.
  • The Charmer: This is a facade that Joseph uses to manipulate people.
  • The Chessmaster: Joseph's favorite way of doing things is to manipulate events from afar.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Talvi is right about Joseph - he's the bad guy. Splint and Mr Frog don't realize it until later.
  • The Virus: The new Spawn.
  • This Way to Certain Death: Migrants coming to the fortress have to pass by the rotting corpses of other migrants that were left outside to die in the middle of sieges. Caravans have to pass the remains of caravans that didn't quite make it to the depot.
  • Time Machine Did we mention that Portals double as time machines, too?
  • Time Travel: Loads of this everywhere, even though some people protested it. The timestream eventually becomes such a mess that it's a great big Timey-Wimey Ball. Somehow, everything still makes sense.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Dauros, one of Fischer's squaddies, started off relatively strong, but is nearly as strong as Fischer herself. Dauros managed to KICK A SPAWN'S HAND CLEAN OFF.
  • Walking the Earth: Reudh does this after his reign, looking for Vanya, after he vows that he will not rest until he finds her.
  • "What Now?" Ending: Vanya's story is left hanging before she goes to try to save her sister.
  • Would Hit a Girl: A Ballpoint soldier takes a swipe at Vanya, and a little girl gets killed by Vanya herself.
  • Worst Aid: The "hospital" was one of the leading causes of death in the early years of Spearbreakers. Come for a stubbed toe, stay for the dehydration!
  • Yandere: There are at least two instances of this.
    • Talvi, with her obsession over Mr Frog.
    • The Master, who was incredibly possessive of Chestnut, his beloved wooden pike.
  • You Can Run, but You Can't Hide: Mr Frog yells a version of this at Vanya as she runs from him.
  • You Shall Not Pass: At the end of his reign, Sus held back the invaders long enough for everyone to get inside.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: At one point, there were well over 300 zombified animal bits roaming around outside, resulting in a squad of sieging Spawn being immediately ripped to pieces.
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