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They didn't show it happening — nowhere in the dialogue or narration was it explicitly stated that it happened — but the evidence that it did happen (though indirect) is pretty clear just the same.

Maybe it happened before the story proper, in the backstory. Maybe it happened in the interim between sequels (or even scenes). Maybe it was going on in the background just out of the audience's sight.

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An Implied Trope is where the author leaves a trail of clues to hint that a trope happened without actually showing it; the clues are taken from Subtext. This can be done by showing the build up to a trope, by showing the after-effects, or both. It is something between playing a trope straight and subverting it. As with a Subverted Trope, an Implied Trope assumes the audience is familiar enough with the trope that they'll be able to understand what's being suggested, but rather than defying those expectations, the work uses them to create the same effect as the trope while leaving the details up to the audience's imagination.

However, an Implied Trope can create an effect akin to dominoes. If A implies B, then C implies D, which implies E, which implies F, which... Yeah. Tropers can sometimes take things too far and infer more details than they should.

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When something is implied because it's inappropriate, that's Getting Crap Past the Radar. When multiple tropes can be inferred, but they can't all have happened together, you have an Ambiguous Situation. Not to be confused with an Invoked Trope.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 

    Arts 
  • David: The only thing Michelangelo sculpted here is David himself, but the king's ready weapon and decisive stare pretty clearly indicate the presence of The Antagonist, the mighty Goliath, off on the horizon of David's view.
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    Comic Books 
  • A Voice in the Dark Implies Villainous Rescue. When Zoey is exploring the layout of the Lambda Theta Kappa house she is caught and Brock attempts to rape her. The unnamed hockey-mask-wearing party-goer rescues her by knocking Brock out. It is implied that he is actually the Serial Killer that has been murdering female students at Blair, but more issues will be needed to confirm if he is or is not.
  • Batman: Zero Year Implied Adaptation Origin Connection with Batman and The Joker in the last part of "Secret City." In the third chapter of the arc, the Red Hood Gang leader tells Bruce how it was the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, and the terror that the deaths of these prominent citizens to a random mugging sparked in the minds of most Gothamites, that inspired him to turn to a life of crime and similarly terrorize Gotham. The Red Hood Gang leader is implied to be the future Joker, resulting in this trope.
  • Black Canary Implied Moment of Weakness. During the Cry for Justice & Rise and Fall storylines, Dinah abandons her husband Oliver and her adopted son Speedy I/Arsenal/Red Arrow I (Roy Harper). She left the both of them because Oliver murders Prometheus for destroying Star City and causing the death of his adopted granddaughter Lian, while Roy goes back to using heroin after the pain in his right arm becomes too unbearable because of the infection and the horrible prosthetic Cyborg made, with Dinah officially considering him a lost cause. However, it is hinted that Dinah was traumatized because of the events of the story and was lashing out at them. It is also hinted that Dinah was subconsciously looking for an excuse to abandon them and leave the painful tragedy behind her. In Birds of Prey, it is revealed Dinah harbors a huge amount of guilt for her actions and regrets abandoning them when they needed her the most.
  • Black Magick Implies Sigil Spam. The organization which hunts witches uses a hammer as its symbol, and its mark on the lighter used in the first issue is what makes Rowan realize that this is not an isolated case of insanity.
  • DuckTales Implies Triple Shifter. Launchpad continually drops references to his other life in St. Canard while he's with Scrooge and his family, which seemingly indicates that the pilot skips back and forth between the two cities to keep up with both of his "families." How he manages to do this without collapsing in exhaustion (or being absent very often from either Duckburg or St. Canard) is never explained.
  • Dynamo5 Implied Daddy's Girl. According to Chrysalis, Captain Dynamo/William Warner was close to Cynthia and told her that flying with her was one of the happiest times of his life. Cynthia outright questions if Dynamo 5 is worthy of inheriting their father's name and points out that she was the one he raised.
  • Evil Empire Implied The Schlub Pub Seduction Deduction. In issue 5, when a Serial Killer named Ace Partner goes to a bar to search for a new victim, he is shocked to see a group of 5 woman with a men tied to a table. The woman are bragging that the man wishes that he was spending another night at that brothel instead of the bachelorette party, implying the women were having a bachelorette party and hired a male stripper they planned to murder.
  • The Flash Implied Divorce Is Temporary. Ashley and Hunter Zolomon's marriage ended on the worst of terms. Hunter predicted that a suspect wouldn't have a gun, and thus urged his team to make the arrest without waiting for backup. He turned out to be wrong, and the killer shot him in the knee, crippling him, before gunning down his father-in-law; in response, Ashley filed for divorce and he was let go from the FBI. When Ashley later learns of Hunter's transformation into Zoom, she doesn't hesitate to leave her entire career at the FBI behind to come to Keystone City to take over his former spot as the local metahuman profiler to help reform him. She make it clear that she still loves him and feels guilty for not being there for him, feeling that he would never have become Zoom had she not left him. Though not stated, it's implied that she plans to get back together with Hunter once she reforms him.
  • Hack/Slash Implied Cruel and Unusual Death. We don’t see Lisa Elsten or Chris Krank body’s, due to them being under the covers, but they were killed by Doctor Gross, and there’s copious amounts of blood.
  • Hellblazer Implies Loser Deity. God stays offscreen, but is arguably insane, Can't Take Criticism, and created the First of the Fallen as a conscience he could beat up for backtalking. However, this is according to the First himself; later appearances with different writers portray him closer to a Big Good.
  • The Punisher: Born Implies Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!. Despite the fact that Valley Forge is isolated in the middle of enemy territory and that he can count on only one platoon of Marines due to the total collapse of the morale of the firebase’s garrison, Frank Castle is very successful in his attacks against the NVA’s supply convoys, inflicting significant casualties on the enemy. It is implied (and made explicit in a later story arc of The Punisher MAX) that this is the reason why the NVA decides to wipe out the marines once and for all as soon as the rainy season impairs American air power, leaving the firebase without any air support.
  • White Tiger Implied Broken Bird. Soledad Ayala intended to file for divorce immediately after her husband White Tiger (Hector Ayala) was wrongfully arrested for murder, because Hector had promised her he'd give up being a superhero. Matt Murdock convinces her to hold off divorcing him until after the trial because if she divorces him right now that would just send the message that he's guilty. She agrees to hold off the divorce, admitting both that she knows he's not guilty and that she still loves Hector. But during the trial, when the prosecuter questions their marriage, she can't stand the pressure and leaves the courthouse. Soon after, Hector is convicted despite the efforts of his lawyer, Murdock. Hector is shot dead trying to escape, shortly before evidence emerges that belatedly proves his innocence. In Soledad's last appearance in White Tiger #6, according to Hector's sister Awilda, Ayala hasn't been right in the head ever since Hector's death, implying that the death and the guilt she has for leaving the trial has destroyed her. She takes the appearance of someone as a new White Tiger as a sign from God that Hector forgives her.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Next Gen Implies Posthumous Character. Matthew is shown leaving in the opening credits and Mai and Molly are shown attending a funeral in an image, implying he died not long after leaving the house due to his' and Molly's argument.
  • ParaNorman Implies Jerkass Realization. When Norman lashes out and yells at his friends (out of frustration) to get out when searching for Agatha's records. He rants about how Courtney never listens to him and no one else listens to him, and how everyone thinks he's a freak. While she did leave, after seeing him endanger himself she becomes more kind and supporting to Norman, implying she realizes how much pain he is in when he was a outcast and now she wants to help him.
  • Treasure Planet Implies Acquainted with Emergency Services. Jim Hawkins has apparently violated a particular law about hoverboarding often enough that, when the robotic constables who are bringing him home forget what number the law has attached to it, he is able to finish the number from memory.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • But You Were There, and You, and You in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010). We know that Alice dismisses her first visit to Wonderland as a dream. At the garden party, she meets an old woman who has traits of the Red Queen, and twins (the Chataway sisters) who behave like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.
  • The Avengers implies that Black Widow deliberately let herself get captured by the Russian officer early in the film in order to trick him into confessing what he was intending to do before she was forced to abort the operation thanks in part to Loki's arrival.
  • Domestic Abuse in Brightburn. Noah berates his wife when she told him that giving a rifle to Brandon is not the smartest birthday gift, and leaves her when he's attacked by Brandon. It's hard to tell if the latter is just him not thinking straight, saving Brandon, actually leaving his wife, or all three.
  • Driving into a Truck is implied to have happened in The Cannonball Run. When the police set up a roadblock specifically to catch and arrest the Cannonballers, JJ spots a semi with an empty flatbed. Cut to a shot of the semi & flatbed with a suspiciously shaped object — which looks like JJ and Victor's car — under a tarp. They sneak by the roadblock under there.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy implies that it was Ra's Al Ghul's Body Double who died, not him.
    • Taking You with Me is implied when Gambol attempts to have The Joker killed before settling on a bounty.
    • It's implied that Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb's answer to people making death threats is Drinking on Duty.
    • Detective Gerard Stephens is implied to be The Lancer for Gordon.
    • Detective John Blake is implied to go on to be a Vigilante Man, due to his frustrations with police procedure throughout the film.
    • Victor Zsasz is implied to be a Serial Killer, since there's so many scars on his body, and if you know about his comic book origin...
    • The Chechen is implied to have been fed to his own dogs.
    • Jen is implied to be a Hooker with a Heart of Gold.
    • In The Dark Knight Rises, Heroic Sacrifice is implied with the nuclear flash, mushroom cloud, and the characters mourning at Bruce's grave. Later subverted.
  • Population Control is implied in Demolition Man, in which pregnancy is illegal without a license, and fluids are cleaned and transferred by authorized medical personnel.
  • Unreliable Narrator in Detour. Main character Al Roberts describes a series of events where a person dies, and Roberts ends up hiding the body and taking their belongings and identity for perfectly innocent reasons. The narration points out that no one would ever believe it.
  • The Draughtsman's Contract:
  • Murder the Hypotenuse in Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dynamite. John kills his former best friend Nolan after the latter betrays him, but a later flashback shows the two of them kissing the same woman, leaving the true motivation behind John's actions ambiguous.
  • Punch-Clock Villain is implied to be common in the Get Smart movie.
  • Brother–Sister Incest in Gladiator, with Commodus quite clearly lusting after Lucilla (though he is never shown to act upon those impulses).
  • Glove Snap is implied in a scene in Kung Pow! Enter the Fist:
    Master Tang: Prepare... the long rubber glove. [sound of latex snapping] Eeny... meeny... miney... moe... I wonder where... my glove will go...
  • Men in Black:
    • The first film implies that Frank the Pug (then known as Agent Eff) attempted a Groin Attack when he was laughed at by a fellow agent.
    • The sequel implies that Agent K is Laura/The Light of Zartha's birth-father.
  • Murder in the First's closing narration says Henry Young was found dead in his cell with a note saying he was free, indicating he had killed himself to escape.
  • Safety Not Guaranteed implies You Already Changed the Past. Mark says he's going back in time to save his first girlfriend from being killed by a drunk driver. Except that she's alive, they were never together, and he was the driver.
  • Heroic Suicide in The Thing (1982). Fuchs is found as a charred corpse. There was no reason for the Thing to kill him off instead of assimilating him, so it's safe to assume that he did it to himself in order to avoid being assimilated and thus being used to assimilate the rest.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father in Warcraft. Garona, a half-orc, talks about her orc mother dying shortly after giving birth to her. Later, the human Medivh talks to Garona about love and drops some heavy hints that he fell in love with her mother and is her father.

    Literature 
  • Carrie implies Moment of Weakness. According to Rita Desjardin, Sue Snell is not a bully by nature and therefore joining her classmates in gleefully taunting Carrie and pelting her with tampons was very out of character. It is implied that Sue only acted under peer pressure, being one of Chris Hargensen's cronies. Sue was actually disgusted with herself; she unfriended Chris, and tried to make up with Carrie by having her boyfriend take her to prom.
  • Oppressive States of America is implied in Illuminatus!, and would naturally come up in any work of fiction where The Illuminati (or a similar Ancient Conspiracy) are the ones really running the country.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame in Game of Thrones: Jorah Mormont explains to the exiled former prince Viserys that the death sentence he fled was for selling poachers to a slaver, something that's left Jorah with a lasting sense of shame. Viserys replies that under his reign Jorah wouldn't be punished for "such nonsense." Jorah's expression implies that he'd rather face the punishment than live in the kingdom Viserys would build.
  • Get Smart implies that Dalip, The Brute working for KAOS, has a sister-in-law who's constantly undermining his relationship with his wife and trying to break them up, which causes him endless grief at home.
  • In Grimm, Monroe is implied to be atoning for his previous Big Bad Wolf days.
    • Magical Security Cam is implied in the episode 'Beeware' when Nick asks if they can "do anything" (answer: "no, the camera's stationary") with recorded footage of a flash mob murder.
    • Retired Monster is implied with many of the Wesen. In the second episode, when one of the Jägerbärs is told that his family is performing the traditional manhood ritual (which involves hunting down and killing someone), the first words out of his mouth are, "What? No one does that anymore." It also explains why Blutbaden, whose hungry urges are triggered by the color red, haven't eaten everyone. For other Wesen like Spinnetods, they're rare enough that either they're retired like Charlotte or dead because of the particular demands of their biology aren't compatible with a normal life. There's even a Monsters Anonymous program that Monroe participated in.
  • Scrubs: In "My Princess", Dr. Cox tells about his day at the hospital to his son in the form of a bedtime story. In the story, a maiden being terrorized by a monster is saved in time and lives Happily Ever After, while in reality, it's a fatal disease and JD and Elliot are able to diagnose the patient. When Jordan asks if the story really had a happy ending, he replies "that's the way I'm telling it", implying that she didn't survive.
  • In the series finale of Seinfeld, Susan's parents are seen purchasing a handgun during the trial, implying that they intend to carry out a Vigilante Execution on George as retribution for Susan's death if the gang is found not guilty.

    Tabletop Games 
  • An Archaeological Arms Race is implied in Eberron. Several countries are gearing up for war and there are a great deal of powerful magical artifacts to uncover. Whether the trope is played straight is up to the DM, of course.

    Video Games 
  • Rage Against the Reflection in Fallout: New Vegas. One of the characters you meet, Boone, is a Shell-Shocked Veteran plagued by guilt over innocents he's had to kill. The bathroom mirror in his hotel room is broken, and there's a small bloodstain underneath.
    • Bestiality Is Depraved: In the same game, you get Cook-Cook, flamethrower wielding psychopathic rapist, who goes berserk when you kill his pet brahmin (mutated cow), and who really stinks.
    • Driven to Suicide or Death by Despair: In one of the many motels you can visit in the game, you may stumble across a room with a briefcase full of pre-War money and clothes. When you investigate the bathroom, you'll find a skeleton in the bathtub, surrounded by untouched doses of Jet and Med-X and some empty syringes. It's hard to determine whether or not the drug overdose was deliberate, but it's almost certainly what ended his life, and given the state the world was left in after the War, it's not surprising some people would try to seek some form of refuge from reality in one way or another.
  • Grand Theft Auto V: Implied Cuckold, Rape as Drama and Cruel and Unusual Death. During the middle segment of the game, Trevor forces his way into the home of his assistant's cousin, Floyd. Floyd is home alone because his fiancee Debra is out of town on business trips, and during this time, the player will often switch to Trevor's POV and find him sleeping next to a traumatized Floyd, to whom Trevor gives an "affectionate" pat on the butt. This sidestory is capped off with an irate Debra returning and demanding that both Trevor and Floyd leave, stating that "Robert was right" about Floyd, to which Floyd replies "Who the fuck is Robert?!". The scene ends with Trevor leaving the apartment covered in blood, and a news report later announces that a man and woman were found dead in the area.
  • Mark of the Ninja implies an "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight at the very end.
  • The Special Forces and Vigoorian Military in the Updated Re-release of Ninja Gaiden are implied to be Punch Clock Villains.
  • Oppressive States of America is implied in Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri. One of Pravin Lal's quotes references a painful lesson about the importance of free flow of information learned by Americans in Earth's final century.
  • The first episode of Hector: Badge of Carnage implies The Password Is Always "Swordfish" regarding the passcode to Exotico's back room: we never actually find out what it is, but when Hector learns it, he remarks that he has the same combination on his luggage, and when he uses it he comments that he should've been able to guess it.
  • The X-Universe series doesn't list the sizes of their ships specifically, but the jumpgates are known to be about a kilometer in diameter and travel speeds are given in meters per second. Thus a modder was able to prove that just about everything of frigate size and up in the series was a Mile-Long Ship.

    Web Comics 

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
    • Implied Child by Rape. Zuko and Azula are almost certainly the result of their father's Marital Rape License, due to Ozai's Domestic Abuse habits and Control Freak behavior. In the comics, Zuko is temporarily led to believe that Ozai isn't his father, and that he's actually the son of Ikem, Ursa's one true love and Zuko's stepfather. Unfortunately, it turns out that Ozai is indeed Zuko's real father, meaning this trope is in full effect.
    • Implied Rape as Backstory. It is, unsurprisingly, never explicitly shown or stated, but given Ozai's and Ursa's marriage was unhappily arranged and Ozai's controlling nature, it isn't hard to guess that neither Zuko nor Azula were willingly conceived.
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
  • Batman Beyond Implies Serial Killer. When Patrick "Ratboy" Poundstone reveal that Dana was not the first person he kidnapped and his comment on how the other don’t laugh at him anymore, it is clear what happened to the previous people that he kidnapped (with the implication that his victims were fed to his pet giant rats).
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Implies Freudian Excuse.
    • It's unknown why Cree Lincoln turned against the Kids Next Door, only that she got older and changed. However, "Operation: M.A.U.R.I.C.E." gives a big hint on a possible reason, when her sister Abby just gives up and says that there was no point in fighting that her sister and her friend Maurice since they're teens, and she's practically a teen now herself. At first Cree is shocked, but then gets happy and hugs Abby, saying she was waiting for her to say that, implying that she went though the same thing, but unlike Abby, Cree did not have someone to bring her up and give her hope.
    • In the comic "Operation F.O.R.G.E.T.". After known boy hater Numbuh Eighty Six/Fanny Fulbright accidentally gets decommissioned, she's shown to be a boy-loving maniac. This hints that her Straw Feminist attitude was caused by a particular Noodle Incident.
  • The Dragon Prince Implies Aborted Declaration of Love. While Rayla tries to get Callum to stay with her during his dark magic-induced fever, she comes close to telling him something. However, when he finally opens his eyes they both scream and she aborts with whatever she was about to confess.
  • Final Space: Implies I Love the Dead. Immediately after meeting Sheryl and becoming smitten with her, Clarence Polkawitz asked her what the prison guards were going to do with her body after her execution. He was also shown to have skinned corpses but it was never revealed what he does to the bodies that have been skinned. He showed a perverted look at the corpse of Melanie DeWinter moments before throwing it out a window and into a dumpster for his past self to collect.
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts Implies Heel Realization. While the Timbercats take him away, Scarlemagne looks so shocked and sad after realizing that Kipo, instead of running away and save herself, was willing to give up her own humanity for the Mute’s sake, included himself, the one who endangered her loved ones and her people.
  • Ok Ko Lets Be Heroes Implies Fantastic Racism. It appears that Foxtail considers people without powers useless. She thinks taking away a hero's power makes them useless, and there's also how she treats Greyman and Carol. She fires Greyman on the spot when he calls her out on her actions, remarking that Greyman's powerlessness means he has no place in POINT anymore. However, it appears she's still respectful to Carol; when Carol goes on her mission and has to bring K.O. with her, Foxtail goes along with Carol in pretending it's a scavenger hunt.
  • Rick and Morty Implies Fallen Hero to be what happened to Rick Sanchez in the past. When talking to Beth (or a clone of Beth?), Rick states that he had a 'hero phase' that he grew out of.
  • Rupert Implies Childhood Friend Romance. In episode "Rupert and the Mulp Gulper", where Rupert's father Mr. Bear reminisces on how he tested his skills at the carnival games to impress a girlfriend when he was younger and Mrs. Bear replies by saying that she certainly was impressed and cuddles her husband affectionately.
  • Parting Words Regret in The Simpsons. When Mona Simpson is Killed Off for Real, Homer tries to apologize to her for a fight they had before he notices she died.
  • Solar Opposites Implies Black Comedy Rape. Yumyulack and Jesse are threatened with military school if they get expelled, and the bullies raping them (or fucking them, as the show describes it) is named as one of the negatives. This gets no reaction from them.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil Implies The Scapegoat. In the end of the series, Star deems magic as evil and the cause of all the problems in the series. She states that using magic to solve problems only causes more problems, and the ones using it are all idiots who don't deserve the power they have, her own family included. It's better to not have it than let it be abused by the corrupt and stupid anymore. However, even though it's true that abuse of magic is one of the cause of problems, it's not the main cause. Rather, it was the racism between the Mewmans and Monsters and battle over the lands. It's implied that Star is just ignoring the complexity of the situation because she wants a quick solution to stop Mina, so she decides to destroy magic. Moon is also implied to put the blame on magic as well. Moon caused the problem in the finale by foolishly siding with Mina because of her unfair grudge again Eclipsa and her thinking she has control over the situation; that backfired, and Star is understandable angry at her mother. Moon is unsure but agrees to help Star destroy magic, and at the end of the episode tells Star she freed them from the reign of magic, putting the blame for her actions on magic rather than herself.
  • Star Wars Rebels: "Zero Hour" Implies With My Hands Tied, as Kallus is escorted into an elevator by two guards with his hands cuffed behind his back, and when the elevator door opens at its destination, he's just finishing taking the cuffs off with the guards unconscious behind him.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation Implies Disgusting Public Toilet. The Pigs pull up to a rest stop and put on hazmat type suits so they can clean the public restrooms.
  • Total Drama
    • Implies Dead Sparks with Duncan and Gwen relationship. Although their relationship did not deteriorate like it did with Duncan's relationship with Courtney, they're shown to lack chemistry and affection at the start of All-Stars. With them being moved to different teams, Gwen's attempts to make up with Courtney combined with Duncan's attempts to get Courtney's attention eventually causes Gwen to break up with Duncan. It's telling that Duncan's more confused than heartbroken regarding the break-up.
    • Implies We Used to Be Friends with it vaguely implied that Bridgette and Geoff's friendships with Gwen broke apart during Action's Aftermaths as a result of Gwen's breakup with Trent.
      • During Island, Bridgette and Gwen were close friends, but Bridgette turned against Gwen during Action, blaming her for breaking up with Trent. While Bridgette does not outright end their friendship, she makes it clear through her words and actions that she disapproves of how Gwen broke up with Trent and she was not on her side. Bridgette even told her that Lindsay and Beth are ticked at her because they found out that Trent threw their team's challenges for her. And while Bridgette disapproves of Geoff's treatment of Gwen and tries to protect her from his torture, the two girls are never seen making up or interacting again for the rest of the series (although this is partly due to Bridgette falling Out of Focus as an early elimination on World Tour while Gwen continued to receive focus as part of a Love Triangle with Duncan and Courtney).
      • Geoff and Gwen became friends during Island, but after he Took a Level in Jerkass during the Aftermath segments in Action, their friendship deteriorates. While he does not outright end his friendship with Gwen, Geoff guilt trips her over her breakup with Trent, nearly drops an anvil on her, and tries to throw her in a dunk tank full of piranhas. When Gwen points out that they are friends, he responds that his new gig "trumps" the times that he and Gwen made s'mores. He also tells her that she did not leave many friends behind in the game. They never made up and do not interact for the the rest of the series (although this is partly due to Geoff falling heavily Out of Focus and not competing at all in World Tour).

Alternative Title(s): Implied, Hinted At

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