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Third Place “Masked” Competition.

Welcome to Reality

Is this the real life?

I stare at my own reflection, still not convinced that that is really me. It’s not how I would usually picture myself; not how I usually saw myself. My eyes seem duller than usual. The hair on my head not quite so lush and verdant, but more hair than I’m used to everywhere else. My chest somehow thinner and not as toned. And, as my eyes roam down the reflection, I don’t quite recognise my cock, which is very strange given how often I look at it and think about it.

The mirror is spotless, but all around it, the paint is peeling off the bathroom walls. The entire flat is that way – clean and tidy, but slowly falling apart. In contrast, the shiny silver bodysuit and face mask on the counter next to me look like they belong in the twenty-second century. Although, I ponder, that is probably only about a decade away. If my estimates are correct, anyway. Next to them, though, lies a small box with wires messily sticking out of the sides, and a switch on one side, which looks decidedly twentieth century to me.

That switch is at the heart of my dilemma. Outside the locked bathroom door, a naked woman bangs on the door. A woman who, just yesterday, turned my world upside down. She dragged me away from a life that was perfect in every way, except for one minor detail.


Yesterday was a perfectly normal day until sometime between my seventh and eighth orgasms. So, probably about mid-morning. Perhaps, if anything, the sex was even better than usual, the colours a little brighter and the Nekta shake I’d been drinking a little tastier. I was relaxing for a moment, watching Esta, a small, young blonde woman, being double penetrated by two exceptional well-endowed young men on the couch opposite me. The room resounded to the moans of dozens of others as the seemingly endless orgy rolled on. As I lounged on a leather couch, sipping at the drink that would surely give me the energy for a few more rounds, Zee, a dark-skinned woman knelt on the lush carpet in front of me, casually deep-throating my ten-inch cock.

Then I caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of my eye. I would have sworn that it was a woman in a simple blue dress, but that puzzled me greatly. For three reasons in total. Firstly, she was massively overdressed for the circumstances – the few other guests at the club who weren’t naked were wearing flimsy, semi-transparent things. Secondly, she seemed vaguely familiar. But lastly, and probably most significantly, as I turned to look directly at her, she seemed to fade into the background. I blinked a few times, confused, until a tongue on my balls drew my attention immediately back to the ongoing orgy.

Esta and I know each other very well, and knows exactly what turns me on, so I was excited when she said, between gasps, “After you’ve finished that...” She nodded to the drink in my hand. “And that,” she added, nodding to where Zee was gagging on my cock, “then I hope you’ll be up for another round with me.”

“Of course,” I said, reaching across to give her nipple a tweak, “I’ll give you a pounding that you won’t forget.” I knew what turned her on too.

Esta and I were close friends as well as frequent sex partners. In contrast, Zee and I hardly spoke, despite both frequently visiting Stimulation. Although that may have been because she spent an extraordinary amount of time with her mouth full. While the two men stretching Esta to the limit were newcomers, the regulars were like family to me. There were plenty of other clubs offering similar experiences and I’d visited a few from time to time myself. Some catered more to those who liked mixing pain with their pleasure, and one I tried out once was aimed more at men who liked other men.

But Stimulation had become something like my second home. There was no jealousy and never any trouble. It felt like everyone knew me there, even if no one knew my real name. But they knew a side of me that I would never have exposed if I’d not been anonymous.

Esta was reaching the state of rolling orgasms that seems to come easily to her, thrashing around on the couch, and Zee’s relentless tongue and probing finger were pushing me close to my own orgasm, when everything changed in an instant.


I felt a sudden jolt and was suddenly sitting on a hard, wooden chair in a plain room with bare floorboards. Around me were several people dressed in silver suits with full face masks, standing, sitting or lying alone, many rhythmically thrusting their hips. The suits were form-fitting. Extremely form-fitting. That is, fitting absolutely every inch of each person’s form. They fit like a second skin, with tiny sensors and stimulators for every part of the body. So it was impossible not to notice that most of the people in the room were men. And most were very much aroused.

In front of me, stood a person who was very much a woman, and very much stood out. She had no mask and no silver suit. Her wavy brown hair drew my eyes down to the deep cleavage displayed by her blue dress. She looked familiar to me, but I was too disoriented to think where I knew her from.

“Where am I?” I asked, dragging my focus back up to the woman’s face.

“Welcome to reality. Population two.” She smiled at my baffled look, and then added, “You’re exactly where you were, but unenhanced.”

“Where did Zee go?”


“The woman who was... well, kneeling before me.”

The woman laughed. “Ah, well, sometimes the masks communicate with each other – it gives more variety in ideas than the computers can think up themselves – but sometimes you just see what you want to see. And feel what you want to feel. I guess there’s just a whole lot more guys who fantasise about getting blowjobs than women who fantasise about giving them.”

“You’re saying she didn’t exist? Doesn’t exist?”

“Maybe she does, and the Corporation is re-using a real person’s fantasy. Or maybe she doesn’t. Hard to know.” She shrugged.

“And which one is Esta?”

“Hard to know. Could be any of the women. Or any of the men. Or none of them at all. Their masks project what they want to project, yours helps you to see what you want to see, and the computers fudge the rest. There’s no way to be really sure that the person you’re seeing is real, let alone to know what others see or how anyone else sees you. No way to figure out what’s going on in the real world. Plato would have loved it.”


“You really didn’t pay much attention in Philosophy class, did you?”

I recalled paying a lot of attention to a small blonde woman. She looked a bit like Esta now that I thought about it. We’d sit in the back row and make fun of the people who were studying so hard, thinking that they might get a job with the Corporation. ‘People like... hang on,’ I thought. I blinked a few times. “Who are you anyway?”

The woman stared at me for a few moments, then looked away and took a deep breath. “Okay, I guess it’ll take you a little while to adjust to having your mask switched off. I’m Andra Cook. We were at school together for years. I’m sure you must remember me.”

I remembered her. She’d always been a little odd, in my eyes and those of just about everyone else. Clearly extremely gifted at academic pursuits but not so much at fitting in. But I had always tried to be nice and hide those thoughts.

“Why me?” I asked.

“We shared something special then. I’m sure we can again. Surely, you remember the way we looked at each other.”

I remembered being seventeen and trying to look at her in a friendly way so that she wouldn’t suspect the cruel comments about her my friends had been sharing. ‘Perhaps,’ I thought, ‘she just saw what she wanted to see.’

Although by that stage, Andra had developed some serious curves which had frequently attracted my attention. But I’d still been more interested in a couple of other girls, not least because my friends would have been blown away had I managed to get either of them to go out with me.

I shook my head, ending the reminiscence, and contemplated the situation I found myself in. “But... how the hell did you find me? I wear that mask all the time. No one here has the faintest idea who I am.”

She laughed. “Ah yes, so anonymous, while the Corporation collects your every thought. They have so much information on—“

“Hang on. You hacked the Corporation?!?”

She shrugged again. “That was easy. Turning off your mask on the other hand...” She opened her hand, to show a little black box with a few dials and a red button on it, and a wire hanging out of the side. “I couldn’t manage it with your usual mask; I needed one that I could tinker with, so I had to send you an old model, pretending to be an upgrade. Then the switch didn’t work at first – I thought you hadn’t fallen for it...”

“Wait!” I blinked a few times, remembering changing masks the previous day. Or maybe a few days earlier; the days tended to blur into one. “You... but, but... this mask was definitely better than my old one.”

She laughed. “My boss at the Corporation would have loved that. He was old-school, remembered the days when they were first selling augmented reality masks. He always said if you tell people it’s an improvement then they’ll think it is. People see what they want to see, mask or no mask. I doubt the new bosses have a sense of humour, but if they did, they’d probably laugh at our weaknesses.”

I was silent for a moment. I’d almost forgotten that Andra had been chosen to work for the Corporation, as the best few at the school had been each year. Myself, I’d never been in the running for that. Never really wanted to be, and I thought things had panned out pretty well as it was. On leaving school, I’d finally been able to don a mask. Why anyone would choose to work instead remained a mystery to me.

Finally, I said, “But... hacking the Corporation. They’ll fucking kill you.”

“No. Or, at least, probably not. They don’t seem to be able to directly kill individuals. Leaving a species to amuse itself to death is a different thing altogether though.”

I must have looked thoroughly confused. I certainly felt it.

“Never mind,” she said. “There’ll be plenty of time to explain my theories later. Follow me.”

I looked around the room. In one corner was a man shuddering as, I assumed, he came inside his suit. Part of me thought it looked a bit pathetic, but another part of me wanted what he was having – to see what he was seeing and to feel what he was feeling. I sighed, still not sure why I’d been dragged out of that world, but I figured that this woman was the key to figuring out what was going on, and to returning to the familiar world I’d just left. I grabbed my drink – I wasn’t going to leave something that delicious behind – and followed her out the door.


Andra walked quickly and purposefully, while I trailed in her wake. The sun was directly overhead, shining so bright that it hurt my eyes to even look up. But my eye was drawn time and again to the city which I’d lived in all my life, which was suddenly completely unfamiliar. I was used to sparkling lights, full-screen ads for the latest, greatest Corporation products, flying cars zooming by and beautiful people in all forms of wild fashions. Instead, there was only crumbling masonry, an eerie silence broken only by a lone raven cawing, and just a few individuals walking past, all dressed identically – full face masks and standard issue silver suits covering them from the neck down.

On top of one of the dilapidated buildings, there stood a massive metal structure, shining so brightly in the sun that it hurt my eyes, but I still stopped and stared.

 “Ah,” Andra said, seeing why I’d stopped. “The communications towers – that’s about the only part of the city that the Corporation cares about. I tried knocking out one or two. Thought that if I got enough, it might disconnect your mask from the central computers. Damn things seem to be self-healing though. Maybe together we’ll figure out a way to destroy them.”

I shrugged, still struggling to process exactly what was going on. I took a few steps before I had to stop again, this time to scratch myself through my suit.

“Yes,” said Andra with a smile, “you’ll feel a bit itchy.”

“A bit? It’s like there are little creatures crawling over every inch of me.”

“Close. Nanobots, really. Cleaning you. If it’s too bad, you could take the suit off.”

I looked at her quizzically. “And go naked?”

She shrugged. “You’re shy, after the club? You’re virtually naked anyway. Those suits don’t exactly hide much.”

I looked down at where the silver fabric gripped my genitals, slightly embarrassed to be still semi-erect. Thinking about it didn’t help.

“And,” she continued, “you’ve been naked virtually in the club all morning.” She gave a little laugh at her own joke, but when I didn’t respond, she returned to a serious expression.

“But the club is adults-only,” I said. “There might be kids around here.”

She shook her head. “I doubt it. Probably best to take that thing off slowly and carefully, anyway. You know, make sure all the bots go with it.”


Andra found the building she was looking for and guided me in.

Her flat was clearly cared for, but still slowly falling apart. I found myself staring at the plants covering most of the balcony.

“Vegetables,” she said. “Real food. And I’ve got some meat cooking too.” She waved at where a small creature was roasting over an open fire. “Squirrel’s not the greatest, but it’s edible.”

I really tried hard not to turn up my nose, but I didn’t quite succeed.

“Oh sure,” she said, “it might not have all the flavours that the Corporation’s fake food will give you, but it’s what our bodies were designed for.”

I pointedly lifted the drink I’d carried with me from the club and raised it toward my mask. I realized the problem just before the straw bumped into the plastic at the bottom of the mask.

Andra laughed a little. “You could just take the mask off, you know. Or just not bother drinking that stuff.”

I glared at her through the glass visor.

“Okay, I guess you need to find out some things for yourself. If you line up the straw here,” she said, guiding the straw to a slight indentation in the mask, “then there’s a straw inside the mask which you can probably find with your lips. Then you just suck the stuff through the so-called filtering system and—“

I gagged a little, fighting to resist the urge to spit the drink out onto the inside of my mask. I somehow managed to swallow it down. “What the? That’s awful. What happened to it?”

“Well, I did try to warn you. It’ll keep you alive for weeks and horny for hours, but it tastes like shit.”

“So...” I was thinking things through. “The filter usually makes it taste good, but because you switched my mask off—“

“Nope. The ‘filter’ does sweet FA. The mask just interferes slightly with your brainwaves, just enough that you taste what you want to taste. I’ve got some rainwater if you prefer?”

She disappeared for a moment and returned with a pink plastic cup, most likely designed for a young girl. “Sorry, the glassware’s pretty much all broken.” She shrugged. “You know, the air filters don’t do much more than the water filter. Maybe block out a little pollution, but that’s not so bad now that people don’t travel much. Why don’t you just take the mask off?”

“But... you know, the diseases?”

She laughed again. “Do you really believe in the pandemics? Do you remember them? Know anyone who died in them?”

“They were before I was born. I’ve read all about—“

“On the Corporation’s history pages? Watched the Corporation’s videos? While wearing their mask, messing with your brainwaves?”

I still wasn’t planning to take the mask off. She seemed to be waiting for me to do so, but eventually, she just sighed and put the straw in the water so that I could drink.

“We’d better get that suit off though – I’ve got some men’s clothes that will probably fit.” She left the room for a minute, returning with a pile of clothes in assorted colours and a bucket and washcloth.

In the time she was gone, I tried to figure out how to remove the suit but made no progress at all. It must have been decades since I’d put it on.

She smiled at my feeble attempts to pull it away from my neck. “If you press here and here,” she said, grabbing at opposite sides of my suit, “it will start to come away. Then we can slowly peel it off.”

“Umm... we?” I said. “I can take it from here.”

“We’ll need to carefully rub down every bit of skin as it’s exposed, if you want the bots to go with the suit. Otherwise, you’ll be itching for a while yet.”

I felt strangely shy. I’d had sex several times already that day, but somehow this felt different. Perhaps it was just that Andra wasn’t throwing herself at me. Maybe it was her gentleness, which was different from the usual hard and fast pumping in the club.  “I can...”

“Would it make you more comfortable if I was naked too?”

I half-shrugged. I wasn’t sure that comfortable was the right word, but I wasn’t going to argue.

She reached for the knot behind her neck. She paused for a moment, pointedly glancing down to where my suit totally failed to hide that I was fully erect. “Looks like you like the idea.” She slowly let the dress drop, revealing that she wore nothing underneath it. Her breasts were large and still sat proudly high on her chest. Her body was soft and curvy, but my eyes were drawn to the patch of unruly dark hair between her legs.

It had been a long time since I’d seen pubic hair. I’d never thought I liked it, but my cock was straining against the suit so, clearly, at some level I did.

“That’s better,” she said. “I spend most of my life naked now. The first time I walked down the street in my birthday suit was a bit scary, but most of the passers-by didn’t even notice me. God knows what their masks were showing. But it can be freeing when you realize everyone else is in their own world. Anyway, this will work best if you stay as still as possible.”

She got to work, slowly peeling pieces of the suit away from my shoulders and down my arms, sponging each area of skin carefully as soon as it was exposed.

She seemed to like to talk as she worked. “The suit is a semi-intelligent fabric – it comes off in pieces, but it will connect up again and shape itself to your skin if you’re not careful. If you move too much, you might find it growing back over you. I had a real struggle taking my own off.”

Her approach was professional and she focussed intently on the task at hand. But I was very much aware that a naked woman was sponging me down and my erection didn’t flag. And when she caught me trying to get a glimpse of her arse in the hallway mirror behind her, the faintest hint of a smile crossed her lips and she bent forward a little to sponge my stomach.


Eventually, my top half was done and she knelt before me. “I’ll have to be extra thorough here. Lots of... um, secretions for the bots to process. Hold extra still.”

She carefully pulled the fabric away from my balls, gently washing as she went. My hard cock rested against her cheek as she examined her handiwork.

Then she started at the base of my cock, easing up the material piece by piece. With just the head still covered in silver fabric, she held it against my stomach and flicked the frenulum lightly with the washcloth.

I let out an involuntary groan.

“Don’t come!” she said, a sudden note of command in her voice. “I mean, it will be best if you don’t.” But she didn’t ease off her attention to my cock.

I was pretty sure that she didn’t need to spend quite so much time washing down my most sensitive spots. But I just breathed deeply and tensed my muscles, trying to resist the urge to come. When I thought I couldn’t hold back any more, she finally took the cloth away from my cock. As I relaxed, a drop of pre-cum formed at the tip of my cock.

She smiled and looked up at me. Then she stuck out her tongue and licked it up.

I exhaled sharply but managed not to come.

“I figured that that might attract the bots,” she said with a shrug, “and I didn’t want it on the cloth.” Then she broke into a smile. “But... yum!”

My erection didn’t flag as she worked down my legs and finally removed the boot section. After what felt like an eternity, we were both naked from the neck down. I still wore my mask.

She looked up from where she was still kneeling at my feet. “How do you feel?”

Finally able to move, I stretched my arms and jiggled my legs a little. I noticed her watching as my cock bounced in front of her eyes. “Um... horny?”

She laughed. “I meant ‘are you itchy?’”

“No. You were very thorough.”

“But maybe we’ll scratch that itch too.” She ran one nail lightly from the base of my cock to the tip.

She stood, and pressed her naked body against mine. “So,” she whispered in my ear. “Have you ever had real sex? No masks, no suits, no make-believe. Just your skin against my skin.” Her hard nipples pressed into my chest as one of her hands slipped down my back. “Really feeling each other. Tasting each other. Your hard cock in my tight, hot pussy. My juices coating you as you pump me full of your cum. Take the mask off and kiss me.” Her hand slipped down between her legs and when she raised her hand, her middle finger came out glistening. “Taste me.”

I still wasn’t quite convinced that it was safe, but I reached for the release switch and took the mask off. Andra brought her hand to my face as if to trace the newly-exposed contours of my jaw, but I greedily sucked her finger into my mouth, revelling in the taste. Somehow sweeter than the tastes I’d experienced in the club, as if all the technology messing with my brainwaves couldn’t quite match the real thing.

Then she kissed me.

The masks were able to give some imitation of the sensation of a kiss, but nothing like the real thing. Our tongues gently touched and my cock, pressed up between us, throbbed.


We tumbled onto her bed, still kissing. I could have happily kept kissing for hours, but I didn’t complain when she started kissing down my body.

“Ooh, more,” she said, seeing more pre-cum oozing out of my cock. She licked it up and then eased her lips over me. She wasn’t able to deep-throat me in the way that most of the women in the club could, despite my cock, in reality, being only average length, but the feeling was still exquisite as the head slid over the roof of her mouth. And as she slid her lips back down, and her tongue flicked over the most sensitive parts on the underside, I could feel myself getting close to coming.

But clearly, she sensed that and released my cock. She shuffled her body around and I reached for her hips as she put one leg over my head and lowered herself down onto my face. Her smell filled my senses; stronger, sweeter, more real than any I’d experienced in the club. I reached my tongue out and touched her lips, gently licking her before pushing my tongue inside her.

Her soft moans were muffled as she sank her mouth back down onto my cock. I eased a finger inside her and moved my tongue slightly higher. She gasped a little as I found her hard little nub and circled it with my tongue.

It wasn’t long before she raised her head off my cock and let out a small scream. Her pussy gripped my finger tightly as her hips shook. I kept my tongue on her clit until she pulled her hips away, seemingly too sensitive for any more.

After recovering for a few moments, she turned herself around above me and kissed some of her own juices off my face. “I have a confession to make,” she said, “you could have come earlier. It probably wouldn’t have caused any issues; I just didn’t want you to. I want you to come inside me.”

“I forgive you,” I said magnanimously as she rocked her hips back and pushed down until I was buried deep inside her. “I want to come inside you too.”

Her pussy was so warm and so wet, similar to the virtual imitations I’d experienced over so many years, and yet completely different. The sex was slower and gentler than what I was used to, as Andra controlled the pace, slowly grinding on top of me.

Our pace quickened and we fell out of rhythm with each other. But Andra just laughed – a musical, sexy and extremely infectious laugh. And then we carried on.

After a few minutes, we were thrusting hard against each other. Andra’s breasts bounced above me as a flush spread over them.

She ground down against me, threw her head back and let out a triumphant, “Yes!”

As her pussy grasped my cock, I too cried out and pumped my cum inside her.


I woke to bright sunshine coming through the window. Andra gave me a smile, but my eyes had still not adjusted to the sunlight and I had to look away. I looked over at the mask and suit still sitting by the bed, along with her home-made device.

“Would the same switch work to start my mask again?” I asked.

 “Yes, but...” Her voice trailed off.

“I’m not saying that I’d wear it all the time again. But just now and then. Maybe we could both go to Stimulation for a day and then come back here—“

“You really think that you could switch it off yourself?”


“No, you couldn’t. How many times in the last however many years have you even thought about it?” Andra paused for a moment but went on when she got no answer. “We should destroy it.”

My eyes opened wide, and I took a deep breath. 

“There must be others who have thrown off their masks,” she said. “We could join them, live off the land, maybe even raise a few children before people disappear off the planet.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. Children are raised in special areas so that carers can look after them efficiently—“

“Do you ever see them? Come to the window – do you see anyone under the age of forty or so?”

‘I don’t see how she thinks I could tell,’ I thought, shading my eyes. Everyone passing by was sensible enough to have their face protected by a mask. I thought of all the people I saw at Stimulation. Quite a few looked like they were in their late teens, but that did include people I’d seen there for a couple of decades. And, now that she mentioned it, I couldn’t see anyone walking past that looked particularly young.

She continued, “The Corporation doesn’t need humans any more. When people still worked there, someone had the sense to make sure that their robots are programmed not to kill. Then someone came up with a plan to make sure that they were programmed to ensure people were happy and that the planet was protected. But then the artificial intelligence was, well, intelligent. It figured out the best way to protect the planet was to get rid of the species fucking it up. But everyone’s happy, blissfully unaware...”

I stared. It was difficult for me to imagine that the Corporation would do such a thing. It had been always been good to me, providing free food plus a free mask and suit.

“We can fight back by ignoring the temptations of augmented reality. Eating real food, living real lives.” She slowly ran her hand down my back, before resting it on my butt cheek. “And having real sex. There are others out there, we’ll find them, and our children will inherit the Earth. You can be Adam and I’ll be your Eve.”

I couldn’t figure out if the look in her eye was wildly enthusiastic or just plain wild.

“Well,” I said, “until we die from some virus that our masks might have filtered out.”

“God. Not that again. It’s all lies. Lies! Lies! Lies! All just to make sure people don’t even want to take off their masks. So there’s no danger of them thinking for themselves. Keep everyone as slaves to those bloody masks.”

‘Definitely crazy wild,’ I thought, backing away slowly.


So, that’s my dilemma. I can go back to the only life I’ve known for decades. A life of hedonistic excess and near-perpetual bliss, of exquisite tasting drinks and an endless variety of implausibly amazing sex. The only downside is that it’s not real. But unlike most on the planet, I have a choice and I understand the options.

Somehow, Andra pushes open the door and joins me in the tiny bathroom. The tears flow down her face as she sees me holding the mask. "Please don't," she says. “Don’t leave me. I need you! You’re supposed to stay with me.”

“Supposed to?”

“I mean, I need... I want you to stay. Please! This is real. The real world. Surely...”

‘But,’ I think, ‘the real world kinda sucks. Everything falling apart, overcooked squirrel for dinner, hard work to get anything done and only one woman wanting to have sex with me. And wanting more – a relationship. A commitment.’ I didn’t say any of it out loud, but she must have read my expression and noticed my eyes peering out through the window at the crumbling building.

“Look,” she says. “We’ll work at it together, fix things up a bit. We’ll find others who’ve thrown off their masks. Maybe even travel the world, find people outside the Corporation’s control. It’ll be so much better than just getting your virtual rocks off again and again.”

‘And wanting me to save the whole fucking world,’ I think, with a wry grin. ‘And I really quite enjoyed getting my rocks off again and again, even if it was virtual.’

Andra’s middle-aged, imperfect body had definitely turned me on, but I’d seen, touched and felt so many perfect bodies in the club just down the road. Sure, they weren’t real. Maybe they were sixty-year-old women; maybe they were really sixty-year-old men; maybe they were just constructs existing only in a computer. But they were real in my head. The sex wasn’t real, none of it was real, but if it all felt real then did it really matter?

I've made up my mind. Slipping on the mask and pressing the switch, I feel comforted as the sparkle of the enhanced reality city slowly returns around me. I easily slip back into my suit and then feel secure and comfortable as it grows and seals itself around me.

As I look back at Andra, she looks just as she had moments earlier – wavy dark hair, brown eyes – except that the tears have gone and she’s smiling. Some small part of my brain notes that this is a little strange, but the thought fades as I start pulling wires out of the strange object in my hands and think about returning to Stimulation. Soon, I’m smiling too.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

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