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The novel-length prologue to an upcoming game, written by Ryohgo Narita, author of Baccano!, announced on April 1st, 2008... oh.

Although the text (this incarnation instead titled Fake/states night) was taken down from Narita's site after only one day, the novel was later included as a bonus with the second issue of the Type-Moon Ace magazine, with an afterword by the author and illustrations by Shizuki Morii. Despite being a prologue, no continuation seemed to have been planned, making the whole thing an introduction to a cast of characters who will likely never be seen again...until it was announced that Fate/Strange Fake would finally be officially published as a light novel and monthly manga series.

The story centers around a False Holy Grail War, faultily copied from the Third Holy Grail War, in Snowfield, a small town in Nevada (California in the previous version), years after Fate/hollow ataraxia. When the Third Holy Grail War occurred seventy years ago, a group of mages separate from the London-based Mage Association decided that they would copy the ritual. Okay, they were only able to steal parts of it, but they could fill in the blanks for the rest. (Yes. They're FUDGING a ritual that involves a hole in reality, the most powerful and bloody legends brought to life, and a fight where There Can Be Only One.) They completely lost the Saber template, the definition of "Hero" gets even more blurry, and the participants are less sane. And nobody paid attention to the clusterfucks that were the Third, Fourth and Fifth Grail Wars. Oh, and most of the participants seem to have missed the memo that Holy Grail Wars are supposed to be a secret.

This will end well.

So, those independent mages, working with the U.S. Government, manipulated events in Snowfield, Nevada (just north of Las Vegas) to replicate the Sacred Land needed to generate a Grail.

Master and Servant combos:

  • Archer: Gilgamesh. Yes, that Gilgamesh. If we're going by Nasu canon, this is not the same Gilgamesh as in zero/stay night/hollow ataraxia but rather a new copy summoned from the Throne of Heroes without that first copy's memories. Still a colossal dick, and for the most part wanted nothing to do with the War; more so when, upon summoning Gilgamesh, his Master immediately gets assassinated by a young Magical Native American girl, Tine Chelc, who wants a prosperous, free nation for her people. Gil decides to stay in the War after hearing about Lancer and takes her on as his Master.
  • Lancer: Enkidu, the first sidekick. Gilgamesh's Best Friend; originally Enkidu's Master was going to use his Wolf Familiar as a sacrifice to summon Enkidu, but then the Wolf turned out to have a mind of its own and figured out how to summon Enkidu as its Servant. Enkidu has the "appearance of a woman." He is an androgynous shapeshifter made from clay by the gods.
  • Berserker: Jack the Ripper. In this flawed copy, since Jack was already bloodthirsty, somehow turning him into The Berserker actually resulted in the opposite. He is now completely calm. Since nobody knew who Jack the Ripper was, Jack can shapeshift into any legend of Jack the Ripper he wants to be. His master Flat Escardos is best described as a doofus who just happens to be a mage prodigy, who used a toy knife as the catalyst for the summoning. However, a False knife in a False Grail War worked just fine to summon a False Berserker from a False Hero.
  • Assassin: The Unspoken Hassan known also as No Name or Beautiful Assassin. Among the Hassan clan of Assassins, there was a woman who excelled at all of their techniques but was never allowed to become Hassan Sabbah—officially because she never developed a technique of her own, but in truth out of fear of her: fear that deified her as a legend in her own right. Assassin has decided that the Holy Grail is a falsehood to her faith whether it functions the way the mages want it to or not, and has committed to destroying it. Upon being summoned, she even rips out the heart of her Master; unfortunately, her Master is the Dead Apostle Jester Calture, known as the Six-Hearted Revolver. True to his nickname, he still has five more hearts, and bodies to match. Calture decides that his goal is to crush Assassin's faith.
  • Caster: Alexandre Dumas. Having not actually been trained as a mage, Caster is the weakest Caster in record and possibly the weakest Servant; however, he can "write" items into reality. His master is the Police Chief of Snowfield, who has a very loyal cadre of deputies—all mages. He has Caster write them up a batch of Noble Phantasms, resulting in a special ops unit of magic-wielding cops armed with enchanted weapons.
  • Rider: They were a mage couple who looked at Zouken Matou's work on dark magical worms and thought to themselves..."We can do better than that." So they experimented on their child daughter Tsubaki Kuruoka, and came up with Black Magic bacteria and infected her with it. It put her into a coma but made her into an exceptionally powerful Master. Apparently, they were going to puppet their will into the False Grail War, and summon the First Emperor of China as their Servant. However, before they can attempt the summoning, they are killed by Tsubaki's true Servant, the Pale Rider—neither man nor woman, but a legendary entity embodying the concept of pestilence, including the infamous Spanish influenza and the Black Death that killed off most of Europe. The Pale Rider rides people and when done with them, imprisons them in Tsubaki's coma. The first people it possesses are Tsubaki's parents. The first thing they have to do in her dream world is buy her cake.
  • Ayaka Sajyou: Originally, the role of the seventh master was taken by the Player Character who could summon his or her choice of any servant five times. In the finalized version, Ayaka takes this role instead. Her current Servant is a male Saber wielding an alternate version of Excalibur, later revealed to be King Richard the Lionheart.

And as it happens, the False Holy Grail War is only a cover to generate the energy for a True Grail War. The True Servants of the actual Holy Grail War in Snowfield? Well...


Provides examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Berserker is quite a pleasant sort for a Serial Killer.
  • All That Glitters: Subverted. Flat thought his teacher had given him a valuable relic to summon a Servant. El-Melloi II thought Flat wanted a cheap piece of merch he didn't care about and gave it to him without a second thought. Due to Flat's unusual abilities and the False Grail War's quirks, it was still enough to bring forth an incarnation of Jack the Ripper.
  • All Your Powers Combined:
    • Assassin mastered all the special abilities of the eighteen grandmasters who preceded her, but couldn't come up with a new one.
    • Gilgamesh, as per usual.
  • Anger Born of Worry: After realizing that Flat has joined the Holy Grail War and finally getting ahold of his number, El-Melloi II calls him and angerly berates Flat for two straight hours over his recklessness. Then he asks to talk with Jack and gives him a heartfelt plea to do whatever they can to keep Flat safe.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • Gilgamesh asks Tine one in the casino when she explains what her tribe wants out of the Holy Grail War.
    Gilgamesh: Is retaking this land from the mages your will? Or do you speak as another’s puppet, abandoning choice and making fate your excuse?
    • Earlier on, El-Melloi II asks several of these to Flat, hoping to get through just how dangerous the Holy Grail War is. While Flat doesn't quite get the point of the questions, he does at the very least start thinking a bit about the possibilities.
  • Asshole Victim: The unnamed mage who initially summoned Archer is promptly killed by Tine Chelc. See It's All About Me and Offing the Offspring for where the "asshole" part comes in.
  • Badass Army: By the standards of a "war" that's supposed to involve fourteen people total, thirty cops equipped with Noble Phantasms by Caster easily qualify.
  • Blatant Lies: Caster's prone to outlandish bragging, especially about his luck with women.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor:
    • Jack the Ripper makes a passing mention to one time where they absent-mindedly turned into what Apocrypha or Grand Order fans would recognize as the "real" Jack the Ripper of the Fate universe. Flat's response is to freak out, immediately cover them in a blanket, and demand that they change into literally anything else before someone sees them and calls the cops.
    • Saber offhandedly dismisses the notion of using the Grail to alter how his time as king went, stating such a thing is "nothing to wish on the Grail about." Long time fans will know such a desire was the original wish of the franchise's first Saber as stated in Fate/Zero.
  • Broken Masquerade: A much bigger focus than in previous installments of Fate/. As Lord El Melloi II points out, the rise of the internet and social media has made it much harder to keep something as big as a Holy Grail War under wraps and predicts that the world of magecraft will be fully revealed within the next five years. It might even be earlier than that, as Saber gets arrested on national television mere minutes after being summoned and is later uploaded to Youtube.
    • Haruri Borzak, True Berserker's Master, loathes the world of magecraft, and her wish to the Grail is to render all forms of the Masquerade useless.
  • The Cameo: Gray from the Lord El-Melloi II Case Files series, though unnamed, is heavily implied to be the female student who helps El Melloi II up after he faints from learning that Flat participated in the Grail War in the first volume.
  • Chucking Chalk: A variant. An irritated Cervantes flicks a coin augmented to lethal speed at his ward. However, he sends back the coin, breaking it into perfect eighths. Cervantes apologizes for assuming Hansa hasn't kept up with his training.
  • Church Militant:
    • The first thing we learn about Assassin is her deep faith. She even kills her summoner (not that it sticks) and sets off to destroy the Grail because she considers the idea heretical, as the Grail's concepts come from Christianity.
    • Hanza Cervantes, the Overseer of this war, is a member of the Holy Church Executors.
  • Continuity Porn: The series is littered with tons from all over the Nasuverse, to the point it verges on Reference Overdosed. Examples:
    • Faldeus mentions magical defenses such as a shield of mercury and the transmission of consciousness into insects, both being references to Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald's Volumen Hydrargyrum and Zouken Matou's blood worms, both participants and antagonists of the Holy Grail Wars depicted in Fate/Zero and Fate/stay night.
      • Zouken's Worms are likewise modified into a potent bacteria by the Kuruoka Family, who sought to replicate his research on their own daughter, in a manner similar to Sakura Matou.
    • This war properly introduces Enkidu to the Nasuverse, when he had until then only been mentionned in side materials and in Gilgamesh's backstory and some of his dialogues in Fate/Zero, Fate/stay night, and Fate/Extra CCC.
    • Prelati, the Magus who taught the mad Caster of the Fourth Holy Grail War and whose existence was only hinted at by the name of Caster's Noble Phantasm, Prelati's Spellbook, makes his (or rather her) appearance in Fate/strange fake as a Big Bad and participant in the False Grail War.
      • In the same vein, Prelati expresses her disappointment that she couldn't corrupt Ruler from Fate/Apocrypha the same way she corrupted Caster. That said Gilles almost pulls it off in Grand Order. Almost in that he uses a grail to make one whole-cloth from nothing.
    • Caster mentions rumour of “some dude” able to infinitely create copies with some kind of incredible Magecraft, an explicit description of Emiya Shirou.
    • Maiya Hisau's Child by Rape, only mentioned in her backstory as having been separated from her, appears, named Sigma, as a major character and participant of the False Grail War as the Master of Watcher.
    • Jack the Ripper, as a Berserker here, briefly turns into Assassin of Black, the Jack the Ripper from Fate/Apocrypha.
    • The awakening of ORT, or Type-Mercury, the strongest being in the Nasuverse only mentioned in side materials and the list of the Twenty-Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors, from its slumber somewhere in South America is the goal of Jester Kartur, which Zelretch is trying to prevent. ORT is later mentioned by Prelati along with "the cursed cat of Britain", most likely referring to Cath Palug from Garden of Avalon, also known as Fou, a.k.a Primate Murder to players of Fate/Grand Order.
    • Kischur Zelretch Schweinorg is the Nasuverse's world hopping Archmage, who very rarely appears outside of side materials and directly in main works despite having access to the entirety of the Nasuverse continuity (backstory blurbs on how he aided in the formation of the Holy Grail War system and mention of his intervention during Rin's inquity in Heaven's Feel True End, him acting as Arcueid Brunestud's grandfather, a few phone conversations in Prisma Illya, etc.). Here, however, he gets a major role as he directly interferes in the False Holy Grail War in order to prevent a bad outcome.
      • As a result of Zelretch's meddling, Ayaka Saijyou from Fate/Prototype, or at least a blonde version of hernote , is brought as a new participant in the war. Her manner of selection is itself a reference to the original version of Fate/strange fake as a videogame, being called "the Player" and being apparently customizable.
    • Rohngall mentions that one of the Tohsakas was currently studying in the Clock Tower, which could only refer to Rin as the Grail War in Strange Fake takes place some time after the Fifth in Fuyuki.
    • Though unnamed, as mentioned in The Cameo above, Gray, El Melloi II's personal apprentice from Lord El-Melloi II Case Files is still his student here and is studying Magecraft from her master in the Clock Tower.
    • Risei Kotomine was considered as an adoptive father for Hansa for his expertise in Bajiquan.
    • Chief Reeve purchased a secret weapon, a hydra venom-soaked knife from Kairi Shishigou.
    • Tine's a bit nervous holing up with Gilgamesh at one of Snowfield's most expensive hotels, recalling the fate of the Fuyuki Hyatt.
    • Bazdilot's mana crystals are directly stated to be a refined version of Atrium Galliasta's system, on a grander scale with many more sacrifices.
    • Francesca mentions the organization she's working with tried to engage the services of Touko Aozaki, who was uninterested even when offered vast sums of money. Francesca feels they would have had more luck had they worded their request to better resonate with Touko's interest; for example, seeing if Touko could create a doll capable of housing a Heroic Spirit.
    • The story briefly cuts to some students in Fuyuki who talk about rumors that there used to be a "ghost in a kimono" who haunted Ryudo Temple, obviously referring to Assassin/Sasaki Kojiro.
    • Atalanta and Jason appear in Bazdilot's dream of True Archer's past.
    • True Caster says it is possible for someone to become a Heroic Spirit while they are still alive, and Francesca wonders if Arturia Pendragon was one of them (she was).
  • Crippling Overspecialization: True Assassin has EX Presence Concealment that only drops down to A+ when he attacks. His true stats also can't be seen. However, as a result, he's even weaker than a normal Assassin and his Noble Phantasm is implied to be unsuited for actual combat.
  • Dreaming of Times Gone By: Masters will sometimes relive their Servants' memories in dreams, as Ayaka does Saber's in the fourth volume.
  • Emotionless Girl: Tine Chelc, which becomes slightly awkward when Archer orders her to rejoice.
  • Evil Gloating: Invoked by Faldeus, who talks about his plans in front of the man he's about to kill, knowing full well that he's speaking to a magic puppet and his words will be heard by the real mage far away.
  • Fountain of Youth: A bored Gilgamesh was about to drink his Elixir of Immortality rather than face the Holy Grail War... and then he senses Enkidu. Suddenly excited for the possiblity that the War might actually pique his interest, he tosses the bottle of Elixir to Tine.
  • Fridge Logic:
    • In-Universe example. False Caster, examining the records, notes the mages copying the Third Holy Grail War expected to take centuries to create a Sacred Land suitable for the Grail's creation. And yet, barely seventy years later, the True and False Holy Grail Wars have begun on Snowfield. Faldeus' inner monologue reveals that a piece of Fuyuki's Grail was stolen and "planted" in Snowfield, opening the possibility it's likewise tainted with All the World's Evils.
    • This also causes problems for the Beautiful Assassin. Despite spamming Noble Phantasms left and right, she never runs out of energy, even though just using them once or twice should be enough to deplete her initial stores after killing her Master. This leads her to realize Karture is still alive, still her Master, and she just executed the Assassins' vaunted techniques with energy given to her by a monster.
  • Genius Ditz: Flat Escardos is an incredible mage and an utter moron.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Apparently the risk involved in the Snowfield Holy Grail War is so high, Zelretch and his fellow Dead Apostle Alcatraz have actually decided to intervene, even if only indirectly. The first even implies there's the possibility of ORT awakening prematurely.
  • Great Offscreen War: It's mentioned that somehow, Fuyuki's Third Holy Grail War was even worse than its successors in terms of both damage and cheating. It's no big surprise, considering it featured the Von Einzbern attempt at summoning a God of Evil and Darnic Prestone Yggdmillennia's bid at stealing the Grail with Nazi help.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Saber enters Ayaka's cell in spirit form, where he says he wants to check how she's doing and make sure she isn't his master. Once Ayaka again affirms she isn't, Saber hangs around despite her protests, as he doesn't have to obey her.
  • The Hedonist: Caster wants women and food as a reward for all his hard work.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: A mohawked drug store clerk mistakes Saber as Ayaka's boyfriend after they both break out of jail. Ayaka denies it while Saber ignores the comment and just excitedly questions the man about the instrument he's carrying.
  • Historical In-Joke: A common occurrence thanks to the premise. Saber is especially prone to them, be it playing "Ja Nus Hons Pris" on electric guitar or claiming his completely ordinary sword is Excalibur.
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny: A variant. Lord El-Melloi ordered a game, Night Wars of the British Empire, straight from Japan. Due to an error in the kanji, he thought it was a knight combat simulator, while it was actually an RPG. He filled the survey card, making note of the translation error. And that's how he won that toy knife to begin with.
  • It's All About Me:
    • Archer's initial summoner, who didn't care for the lives of a son with no skill in magic or a wife who couldn't provide him with a magically-powerful heir.
    • As ever, Gilgamesh exemplifies this as well.
    • Tsubaki's parents are ecstatic to know she will still develop functioning ova even if she never wakes up.
  • Kingmaker Scenario: Lord El-Melloi II is not a strong mage, but has an amazing ability to improve other mages. Many of his students have jumped up in magus ranking, something almost unheard of in an age of decaying magic.
  • Look Behind You: When Sigma is attacked by False Assassin, Sigma looks over her shoulder and yells, "Now! Stab her, Chaplin!" When she turns around to counter this nonexistent threat, he throws a flashbang grenade at her and runs.
  • Master of All:
    • Enkidu has straight A stats across the board and in life was durable enough to just tank most of what Gilgamesh could dish out with Gate of Babylon.
    • No Name Assassin has mastered the techniques of all the previous Hassans.
  • Miranda Rights:
    • After Saber blows up an opera house, Ayaka is arrested for it because she was in the area. The policemen who cuff her Mirandize her. She is surprised that the police actually say it, having seen it from watching TV.
    • Later, when the police try to arrest the wisecracking priest Hansa Cervantes, Chief Orlando Reeve says, "You do not have the right to remain silent. Nothing you say will be used in a court of law. You do not have the right to an attorney, and one will not be provided to you. Be prepared."
  • Mistaken for Terrorist: During and after battles, muggles often believe it is a terrorist attack. This is what got Ayaka and Saber arrested.
  • The Mole: Faldeus, who spent some time acting as a member of the Association but really works for the US Government.
  • Muggles Do It Better: Played with. Faldeus has some non-mage subordinates shoot Rohngall, an Association investigator, full of holes and discusses how the right modern weaponry can overcome magic defenses such as a shield of mercury or the transmission of consciousness into insects. On the other hand, since Rohngall's "corpse" was actually a remotely-controlled doll, shooting it full of holes does little more than inconvenience him.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: No Name Assassin can grow a third red arm when using Zabaniya.
  • Mythology Gag: Coupled with the above Continuity Nod list, the books are drowning with references to other characters and scenes from the franchise.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Flat Escardos, if his excited gushing over Jack the Ripper is anything to go on.
  • No Name Given: The original summoner of Archer.
  • Noodle Incident: Saber at one point in his life apparently teamed up with Hassan i-Sabbath and Saladin during the Crusades to take out a Dead Apostle. Said incident is also one of the reasons Saber's seeking out alliances with other heroes, as he knows exactly how dangerous Jester's presence in the War really is.
  • No-Sell:
    • Enkidu's first Noble Phantasm, Enuma Elish, is said to be a linchpin that holds the World together. This means that it's able to outright nullify the Anti-World capabilities of Gilgamesh's own Enuma Elish attack.
    • True Archer completely deflects the full might of the Gate of Babylon without effort.
  • Not Listening to Me, Are You?: Hanza spends his entire mission debriefing playing around on his cellphone. When his superior asks him this question, he cheerfully replies, "Relax, Father. I didn't hear a single word."
  • Odd Couple:
    • It's lampshaded that happy-go-lucky Flat Escardos, who thinks it'd be cooler to make friends with enemy Servants than kill them, is nothing like the Serial Killer he's summoned.
    • Likewise, the dignified police chief who tells his subordinates they are justice is contrasted with the crass Caster who just wants to see the drama unfold.
  • Offing the Offspring: The original summoner of Archer killed his son in his quest for power, and his wife when she tried to stop it.
  • Off the Rails: At first, it looked like it was going to be two different teams vying for the Grail, much like in Fate/Apocrypha. However, instead it turned out that the flawed ritual used to trigger the appearance of the Grail instead allowed for two entirely separate Holy Grail Wars, collectively referred to as the Snowfield Holy Grail War. The False Holy Grail War was only intended to attract fools to generate the necessary power to kickstart the True Holy Grail War. As thus, the former is more flawed, using only six classes, while the True Holy Grail War does use the seven standard classes, and might even require the summoning of Ruler. How the failed ritual, the participants of both Wars and the Holy Grails interact and the fallout from the Wars affects the world is an important theme in the novels.
  • One-Hit Kill: No-Name Assassin's good at this. She can use Zabaniya, make Your Head A-Splode, or burn you to death.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Archer shows an unusual amount of an emotion that's not arrogance or anger when he realizes that Enkidu has been summoned.
  • Pet the Dog: During Bazdilot's dream, he saw a vision of True Archer and Jason during their time as an Argonaut. For all the kind of douchebaggery of Jason we've known since Fate/Grand Order, he considered True Archer/Heracles as a true friend and his goal was to make a kingdom where everyone is equal and even monstrous people like Heracles can live and be loved. When Bazdilot woke up and chided Jason as a fool, Alcides (who was already deprived of his honorable traits) only agreed for a half of it: He may agree that Jason was foolish, but he was one of the few people that treated Alcides as a human being so he didn't take the insult towards Jason that well.
  • Precision F-Strike: Lord El-Melloi II's reaction when he realizes that Flat is involved in the Holy Grail War.
  • Post-Modern Magik: Ever wonder what would happen if Alexandre Dumas discovered the internet or wizards had access to S.W.A.T. teams? Well, now you know.
  • Psychic Link: Most of the Masters share one with their Servants, allowing them to share senses and speak telepathically with them. The exceptions are Ayaka, who doesn't have a proper contract with Saber, and Orlando, who deliberately avoided establishing one because he finds Caster too obnoxious to share headspace with.
  • Quest for Identity: Berserker knows that he's Jack the Ripper, but has no more idea who committed those murders than anyone else. He intends to wish on the Grail for the answer.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Gilgamesh points out to Tine that they could win the war right now if she ordered him with a Command Spell to wipe Snowfield off the map. She refuses, not wanting to sacrifice all the townspeople. He then says he just wanted to test how she would react.
  • Super Strength: True Rider interrupts the fight between Gilgamesh and Archer by punching Archer so hard he flies away and crashes into a mountain.
  • Tracking Device: Orlando Reeve fitted himself and his subordinates with electronic chips that he can detect with his magical senses. It allows him to tell False Berserker is impersonating his secretary.
  • Translation Convention: Though the series is written in Japanese, most of the characters are noted to be speaking in English. There's even an In-Universe example — when Ayaka has a dream about Saber's past, she takes note of how everyone appears to be speaking in modern Japanese rather than Old English.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Tine Chelc, who's about twelve, first literally unhands and then kills another man as calmly as she does everything else.
  • Ultimate Blacksmith: Caster takes on this sort of role. The Noble Phantasms he creates are apparently more powerful than the ones they mimic.
  • Unwitting Pawn: All of the False Masters. This is the reason Faldeus chose people like the Kuruokas or the original False Masters of Lancer and Archer - the False Holy Grail War was intended only to serve as a primer for the True one.
  • The Voice: Caubac Alcatraz doesn't enter the scene himself; he appears only through Zelretch's phone.
  • "Weird Al" Effect: An In-Universe example — one of Watcher's phantoms is rather disconcerted to learn that Sigma's entire frame of reference for Arthurian legend is Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
  • Yin-Yang Clash: Gilgamesh's Enuma Elish is an attack designed to destroy the world, while Enkidu's Enuma Elish is a linchpin that holds the world together. The blasts cancel each other out.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Jack the Ripper, of all characters, gets one of these from El-Melloi II.
    El-Melloi II: Who or what actually committed those murders in 1800s London is a black box. Even within the Clock Tower, opinions are greatly divided. Still, I am frankly grateful that it was a level-headed being like yourself who appeared to Flat. If that foolish apprentice of mine has had any influence on you, for better or for worse, then I believe it would be right to say that a new facet of Jack the Ripper has undoubtedly been born. I promise to remember you, not an urban legend or a Heroic Spirit, regardless of what you were in life. I promise to remember the you I am speaking with now as Flat’s Servant, the being who showed him the way, if only for a short time.

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