A/N: I wrote a Krang pov little one-shot some time ago, and recently (maybe it's with the new movie coming out...still not seen) I felt inspired to write more technodrome crew stuff. anyway this is something more from Shredder's pov, and a little bit more going on, i guess!

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Playthings

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It'd been Krang's idea to patrol some unknown part of Dimension X in the transport module, only because he was bored, and it seemed like it might be fun.

These were good enough reasons for alien brains from Dimension X, even if Shredder protested, or Bebop and Rocksteady whined about wanting to watch some garbage on the TV.

To Krang, the world was a giant playground. He was a weird brain-shaped kid, running head first (well, what else did he have) into something that looked like it might be fun. There was nothing particularly rational about it, because kids were rarely that. The only difference being that Krang was far more spiteful. Oh, and dangerous. Like giving a kid on a sugar-high a hand grenade.

Shredder looked over at him as he pushed the coordinates into the transport module.

"So you just want to go rampaging around this wretched planet because you're bored? For saying you're all brains, you leave something to be desired, Krang."

Krang smirked as he crawled inside his android body.

"It'll be fun. I promise."

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"Bebop, you idiot. Get back in here!"

Shredder shoved the staggering and bleeding mutant back into the transport module, slamming the door shut just in time. He pressed his back against it for good measure, as something heavy and large thwacked into it.

The module shuddered and creaked in places it wasn't supposed to, and outside there were noises which were screeching and quite beyond human sounds. For not the the first time, Shredder wondered about the sanity of his decision to join an alien brain in a quest for world domination.

Another thump on the door, and Shredder looked at the alien brain with what he hoped was a furious and not frightened face;

"What unspeakable life form have you managed to upset this time, Krang?"

Krang glared ferociously up at him; "someone who's far too sensitive, I'm sure."

It was admirable how he could still manage intimidation when he was just sat atop his android body like a pink gloop of goo. Said android body was sparking and snaking smoke from it's joints like something that needed to be quickly disposed of in the dump.

"Just help me fix my body," Krang flailed his tentacles, holding up a screwdriver in one of them. "We don't have much time!"

Shredder peeled reluctantly away from the module door, and cursed the dull ache in his leg. It'd happened when Krang's body had decided to topple onto him. It was some kind of miracle they'd even managed to drag it back into the module in the first place.

"Shredder, don't just stand there!"

Shredder rolled his eyes. Miracle...more like bad luck.

He knelt down next to the android body, and looked over it with disinterest. "I'm sorry, Krang. Looks like you're going to be confined to your attractive little bubble cart for a while," he took some delight in saying.

Krang glared at him. "Not likely."

From somewhere behind them both, Bebop sniggered.

Shredder turned round. "Be quiet, you. Keep your eye on Rocksteady."

"Uh, yes, boss," Bebop said.

The two mutants had been bumped around a bit in the crash too. Bebop seemed to be sporting a gash on his leg and Rocksteady was out cold, lying like a sleeping baby against the other side of the module. That suited Shredder just fine for the moment. Krang was enough to deal with.

"Hurry!" the alien brain said.

"Hurry with what? We have bigger problems than your body here, Krang. Like how do we get the module moving again before our unfriendly neighbours make scrap metal of us?"

"The only scrap metal around here is you, Shredder," Krang waved his arms out to him, which always indicated he wanted to be picked up. Shredder lifted him off the android body and onto the floor.

"Would you like to add mushed brain to that scrap metal?"

At the same time there was another crash against the module, and everyone tumbled with the impact.

Shredder jumped to his feet, ignoring the flash of pain which nagged at his leg almost as much as Krang himself.

"Looks like they're tryin' ta get in here, boss," Bebop said.

"Nice deduction, genius," Shredder said, then noticed Rocksteady was coming round.

"Urgh. Did we beat em?" the mutant asked. "or did we die?"

"Don't be stupid. The boss wouldn't let us die," Bebop pulled the other mutant up onto rather unstable feet.

Shredder shook his head at them both, "I should be so lucky."

There was another crash at the door, and those horrible screeching sounds again. The module was strong, but Shredder was certain these creatures were far stronger.

"Help me, Shredder," Krang said. He was holding the screwdriver up again, and his face looked more desperate, maybe a bit imploring. It was always weird when Krang did that. Like a monster trying to find some of it's non-existent humanity.

Shredder knelt down with an agitated sigh.

"It's useless, Krang. Your body will have to wait until we get back to the Technodrome."

"You mean if we do."

"Of course we will," Shredder flinched as a spark of electricity danced from the android, catching both Krang and Shredder. "Optimistically speaking."

He moved Krang a few inches back from the sparking android.

Now it was Krang's turn to roll his eyes. "we can't work on wishful thinking."

Shredder pulled the screwdriver out of Krang's tenctacles. "nor fried brains,"

"Any better ideas then, my dear Shredder?" Krang wondered, very sarcastically.

Shredder grimaced. "I suppose I can try to assess and repair the damage on the module. But to do that I'll need to go back outside."

"Where those freaks are?" Bebop said. "No problem, boss. We got your back."

"Yeah," Rocksteady staggered more than stepped, but his face was determined.

Shredder looked at them appreciatively. It was nice to have a mask to hide superfluous things like a moment of gratitude behind.

"Alright," he nodded and turned back to Krang with a sardonic face. "How's that sound, oh mighty leader?"

"Incredibly idiotic and dangerous. But for you three, A plus."

"Charming as ever, Krang."

Krang blinked at him, a crack of something rare entering his voice;

"Be careful, Shredder."

Shredder was always surprised when Krang said that.

"Aren't I always," He motioned for Bebop and Rocksteady, who flanked his sides at once. "I won't be five minutes."

"I'll be counting."

88

Five minutes became more like fifteen, not that Shredder was counting himself, nor was he particularly interested in keeping track of that when there were precarious bits of metal, wiring and smoke demanding his attention and burning his hands.

He'd ripped open the module's rear end, which contained a damaged engine (which connected to the drilling mechanism at the front of the transporter) and other parts he was only partially familiar with. Realistically, he needed Krang to be looking at this and instructing him on what to do. As it was, he'd have to make do with some wild guesswork and improvisation.

Around him, there were growls and grunts which came from both sides. Shredder didn't put particular faith in Rocksteady and Bebop at the best of times, and now, at their worst, he knew they were getting by on extremely good luck.

The creatures which Krang may or may not have offended, were like nothing Shredder had ever seen before. But then this was Dimension X, and Shredder had quickly learnt that it was best to expect the unexpected.

Today the unexpected happened to be a large group of purplish blobs with eye stalks and razor sharp teeth. They'd approached the module with immediate hostility, and for a few minutes Shredder had thought they might be able to take them out.

A busted android body and some nasty bruises later had proven otherwise, and even though they'd managed to retreat back to the module, there had been the added problem that the module didn't want to work anymore.

A wire fizzed and popped against Shredder's hand, and he cursed again under his breath. Near to his side he heard a bang, and Bebop was shielding his back with a heavy grunt.

Overall, today was turning into a pretty bad day, and that was something when there were no turtles involved for once.

"Fun, he says?" Shredder muttered. "the devil is this fun..."

"Uh boss…are you…'bout done, there?" Bebop asked, panting quite a bit. "Don't think we can… keep 'em back much longer…"

Shredder guessed as much. Fiddling with a few more wires which made about as much sense as strands of spaghetti, seemed pointless now. He'd just have to brace himself for Krang's "I told you so" lecture later.

He stood and spun round, ready for the line of sharp teeth which came for him.

"Nice try," he said, raising a spiked arm and shoving the alien being back with more effort than he would have liked. Rocksteady and Bebop backed up with him, toward the module entrance.

"Get in," he growled at the two mutants, pulling the door open.

The three of them tumbled back into the module, and Shredder had barely a second to lock the door before he heard another crash against it.

He leaned against the wall. "well Krang, tell me when the fun starts. I'm really looking forward to that part."

"I don't hear the engines," Krang said.

The alien brain was sat on the control panel, looking at the read-out with a frustrated frown.

"Try to be patient for once in your miserable life, Krang," Shredder said, but looked at the read-out with a bleak face. The module wasn't responding to anything, and now he was going to hear about it from Krang too.

He punched a fist on the panel; "blast it."

"This isn't good, Shredder," for once, Krang was not gloating at his failure. "those beings are not friendly."

"Nice observation," Shredder folded his arms. "what gave it away?"

Krang ignored his sarcasm. "And they're known to neutralise other species without reason. They won't stop until they get in here."

Shredder rubbed a hand over his temples, feeling more resigned than angry. "couldn't you have told us about this before? It might have been handy to know."

Krang looked indignant. "You're the one who wanted to go on the attack, Shredder. It's not like I had much chance to warn you and your bungling mutants."

"And it was your idea to go looking for trouble in the first place!"

Krang folded his tentacles, and a sneer curled onto his mouth. "What's the matter, Shredder? If the idea of taking over the world is getting a little too ambitious for you, just let me know and I'll take you right back to earth."

"I never wanted to take over this wretched place!" Shredder turned away, his fists twitching with a desire to slice and dice the alien brain right there.

He noticed Bebop and Rocksteady in the far corner of the module. Rocksteady was kneeling next to Bebop, who had a dark, bloody gash struck right across his stomach.

"We'll have to bail on the module," Shredder decided.

Krang looked horrified. "No! We can't just leave my body here! It's all I've got."

"Then what do you suggest? We wait until those creatures pry us out of here? Brilliant plan, Krang. Masterful," He looked around, "are there any bandages in here?"

"We are not leaving," Krang said. He was looking at the monitor and pressing buttons more frantically.

Shredder fished around in a few compartment drawers until he found a meagre looking first aid box. It'd have to do. He tossed it over to Rocksteady.

"Fix him up," he turned back to Krang. "Then I supposed I'll have to take you back by force."

"You wouldn't dare."

"Why? It's not like you're in any position to argue," Shredder narrowed his eyes along with Krang's.

A heavy tension suddenly enveloped the module.

Shredder had never been one to hold a proper stand-off with Krang. Usually it just wasn't worth the effort. Sure, they argued, but in the end Krang had the means to run the Technodrome, and Krang had the brains to create it.

Loathe to admit, Shredder knew that Krang saw him as little more than the muscle of the operation. And even worse, Shredder knew he was right. As if he'd ever truly take over anything with Krang in charge, anyway.

Krang looked back at the bleeping monitor screen. "We might be able to coordinate a course back to the Technodrome after all."

"How-"

There was another thud against the module door, and Shredder teetered on his feet, catching Krang before he fell off the control panel.

"Those things don't know when to quit," he put Krang back on the panel and them looked guardedly out the small porthole window.

The creatures were still there; Shredder counted about eight of them, crawling all over the module, occasionally biting and ramming against it. Besides that, he noticed something else.

The fire-red sky of Dimension X had surrendered into something darker, and large streaks were falling from it. Then Shredder realised.

"It's raining."

"Thank you for the weather report, Shredder. So helpful," Krang said. His attention was back on the monitor screen. "I think the problem might be a bad connection between the controls and the engine. Nothing too technical..."

Shredder was only half listening; outside the rain was getting worse, and not just in the usual sense. There was a strange burning smell from somewhere above, like metal mingling with fire. Then there was smoke, spiralling just over the port window.

"Krang..."

"if I can just re-calibrate the signal..."

"Krang!"

"What is it now, Shredder?!"

"We might have a bigger problem, here."

"What do you mean-" Krang turned to face him, but his annoyance morphed into something else when he followed Shredder's gesture outside. "Oh no...as if it couldn't get any worse..."

"Aw no. Rain? And I didn't bring no raincoat with me," Rocksteady lamented.

"Acid rain," Krang corrected, his eyes on Shredder.

Shredder stiffened. "at least those creatures will leave us alone now, right?"

Krang's expression did not alter.

"Is this the part where you tell us that those things are immune to acid rain too?"

Krang nodded gravely. "in fact, I think a part of their DNA is made up of acid rain...they feed off it, in a sense."

"Wonderful. Best news of my life," Shredder said. "makes no sense, but then what in this stupid dimension ever did?"

A hissing sound, which had seemed faint and almost imagined at first, emitted above their heads, and Shredder knew the rain was burning through the roof. Time was of the essence, and yet it seemed they were finished whatever they did.

Shredder looked at the battered door and then began to unlock it. He felt more than saw Krang's horrified face.

"Shredder, what're you doing?!"

"If the problem's outside, we need to fix it now, Krang."

"Didn't you already try that? You go out there again and if you're not minced up by those aliens you'll be melted metal anyway!"

"Better that than die listening to you whining about your useless android body for the last few moments of my life."

"Shredder, you...wait! That's it!"

Shredder began opening the door anyway. "What is it, a new master plan or something?"

"Or something, yes," Krang rested a tentacle on Shredder's foot, as if that was going to stop him from leaving the module. "If we can fix up my body, we can use it to go back outside and fix the exterior."

Shredder looked at him sceptically. "how do you know your body isn't vulnerable to acid rain?"

Krang cackled, despite the situation. "you don't think I was that meticulous when designing it?"

Shredder locked the door and turned properly to Krang. "I guess I shouldn't be so surprised. You are a talking brain, after all," he looked over at the sorry pile which was Krang's body. "do you think we can fix it in time?"

"With less bickering and more fixing, yes!"

8

"Alright, now just connect that wire with the blue one. Carefully, Shredder."

The combined hissing of the module hull and thumping of attack against it set Shredder on edge, but he did his best to keep his composure, and listened carefully to whatever Krang told him to do.

It wasn't the first time he'd put their lives in Krang's "hands", as crazy as it seemed. To trust someone who was so unapologetically scheming and opportunistic, was always a gamble. And add to that a creature which wasn't even human, and Shredder often doubted could ever grasp human thought, was crazy in itself.

But then Shredder remembered that he himself was not exactly a shining example of humanity. Maybe even, beyond the surface, they were far too similar.

"Good, good work," Krang was saying. He sounded nervous.

Shredder shifted, to get a better view of the mess of wires in Krang's body, avoiding the crackles and sparks emitting from it every now and then. He caught a quick glance at Krang himself, and noticed his nervous voice matched his face.

Shredder knew that the android body meant a lot to Krang, as ridiculous as it was. He also knew that Krang felt ridiculous without it, which had been laughable to Shredder for a while, but these days he sort of understood it.

"Shredder, let me do this bit, it's rather delicate," Krang waved his arms out, and Shredder automatically picked him up.

Shredder hated being vulnerable, that dreaded sense of exposure. So wearing armour and a mask was an ideal default (besides being handy in combat). He knew that Krang disliked that feeling too, and it must've been something of a catastrophe when he'd lost his original body. Now he was nothing but flesh, and it would've been so easy to finish him off. Like a turtle without it's shell.

And yet Shredder always found himself holding the alien with a care which betrayed everything else he ever did.

"Thank you, Shredder," and even stranger, Krang trusted him completely in these moments.

Shredder placed him on the floor and they both surveyed the android body. It lifted itself up with a whirring sound, not especially healthy, but it was something. Then it flexed out it's stubby arms, grasping at air for a moment, and stomped it's feet.

Krang grinned. "it's perfect," it made another strange whirring sound. "close enough."

Shredder hesitated as he picked Krang up. "are you sure it's fixed?"

Krang laughed indulgently. "since when was I ever wrong? Trust me, Shredder."

The words were weighted, even though Krang said them in a careless sort of way. His tentacles were waving eagerly, desperate to be reunited with his body.

Shredder replaced Krang back inside of it, and suddenly the alien was large and imposing , and walking about the module in a way which invited trouble. Shredder smiled behind his mask, despite everything.

"Myself, Bebop and Rocksteady can cover you-"

"Nonsense!" Krang snapped, and looked dangerous as he began to open the module door. "I won't be long out there, and I need you here to keep your eyes on the monitor, and set coordinates when we get power."

Shredder stared at Krang.

"Alright. But be careful."

"Aren't I always," Krang said, echoing Shredder's words.

88

Considering everything, neither Shredder or Krang were particularly careful.

They were both reckless, the only difference being that Shredder was ruled by his emotion (typical human, as Krang would tell him in some derisive voice). Krang's recklessness was a whole other animal, which Shredder was beginning to understand a little better. He knew that Krang didn't work the same as any human.

Shredder was like one of Krang's playthings, an expendable little figure, and if he got broken it didn't matter. Krang would find something else, and then something after that. And if it wasn't broken before, he'd probably end up destroying it anyway. Like a kid, he'd get bored easily.

Shredder didn't need to worry about Krang, because Krang wouldn't have worried about him.

He reminded himself of this as he turned away from the port window (Krang was out of sight anyway) and blinked over at Bebop and Rocksteady, feeling oddly morose about it.

"Is he alright?" he asked Rocksteady absently.

Rocksteady nodded. "I think so, boss."

Bebop was doubled up against the module, bandaged, but not doing so good as Rocksteady seemed to think he was.

Shredder briefly checked the read-out monitor, and then knelt by him, tightening the bandaging some more.

"We may need to abandon this place, yet. I'm not sure Krang's plan will cut it this time."

Rocksteady looked at him with a concerned face. "in da' acid rain, boss? I'm not sure, but I don't think that's a good idea..."

"Since when have you two ever been concerned about good ideas?" Shredder said, with far more derision than he actually felt. Rocksteady's upset face confirmed the feeling. "oh, forget I said that." he tightened Bebop's bandaging a little more, and the mutant seemed to wake up.

"Gee, thanks boss," Bebop said delicately. "I was feelin' kinda woozy."

"Keep still," Shredder told him. "or you'll make it worse."

With that reasoning, Shredder knew that any hope of bailing on the module was out of the question when it came to Bebop, and Shredder wasn't sure that Rocksteady would leave him anyway.

As it happened, Shredder wasn't so sure he could abandon his mutants either. It was funny how something like affection struck at really inconvenient times.

"Boss, we got out of bigger scrapes than this, right?" Rocksteady was at his side, and he looked meek in contrast to his hulking body. "we don't hafta call it quits just yet, right?"

"Who said anything about calling it quits?" Shredder said, but looked at the forever dead monitor read-out and sighed heavily. "come on, Krang..."

"Remember that time we got sucked in the lava...that was kinda crazy, wasn't it?" Rocksteady said. "and then that time we got invaded by the brain-eating monsters...and you had to throw Krang into the garbage to hide him?"

Behind them, Bebop snorted with laughter. "that was pretty funny, actually, boss."

Rocksteady nodded. "yeah, and that time Krang had to pull you out of that tar pit...gee we were trying to get you out of your armour for hours!"

"Yeah, I think Krang pulled an all-nighter wit' that,"

Shredder blinked between the two mutants, at first recalling the memory with a shudder, and then remembering the smaller details. Like Krang's worried face, and Krang sitting with him all night, even if he didn't have to. And then Krang asleep on the nearby table, covered in as much tar as Shredder himself.

Shredder clutched the communicator against his belt.

"Blast it," he switched it on. "Krang? Are you alright out there?"

Of course Krang's communicator wasn't even switched on, and for some reason it didn't surprise Shredder to realise it. He turned to Rocksteady and pressed the communicator into his hand.

"Stay by the monitor, and I want you to press these buttons as soon as we return. You understand?"

"Yeah...but boss-"

Shredder didn't wait, and he ignored the mutant's protest as he wrenched the module door back open.

8

Outside the air was hot (as it tended to be in Dimension X), and the black streaks began lashing against Shredder at once. He could hear them fizzing and hissing against his armour. There wasn't going to be much time.

"Idiot brain," Shredder said, and then he saw Krang. "idiot," he repeated. And ran to him.

The android body was knelt against the back of the transport module, and yet it looked barely recognisable. It was warped and still warping, the acid rain almost pushing it down, against the module itself.

Shredder crouched down, ignoring the screech of sound that followed behind him. He'd all but forgotten about their other problem with the hostile aliens.

"Krang?" he said. "Krang, are you.."

It was strange not wanting to finish the sentence. As if he might be upset if he found out that Krang was already a melted blob of gum, or even worse, minced brain at the hands of those other creatures.

"Shredder, you idiot!"

Turned out he was neither.

"Krang, you're alright," Shredder couldn't keep the relief out of his voice.

"Never mind that, what're you doing out here?!" Krang sounded furious. "did you lose whatever passed for your brain?"

"Look who's talking," Shredder still couldn't see exactly where Krang was within the hunk of melting android body, but his familiar voice was good enough. "I thought you said this body was protected against acid rain."

"Shut up. I'm nearly done."

"I'd say you are. Brain soup, most likely,"

"I mean the module! I've almost fixed it."

It was then that Shredder heard a blasting sound, and he looked back to see that the android body was occasionally firing out lasers from it's sides, effectively keeping the other creatures at bay.

Krang cursed; "urgh, I'm out of ammo,"

A growling noise, too close for comfort, and Shredder whirled round just in time to deflect a mass of blobs and teeth.

"Looks like I'm your ammo now," he realised. "good job I did come check up on you."

"Shredder, you're an idiot," Krang said, in a voice which was more distraught than annoyed.

Shredder turned and deflected another attack, and then another, staggering back with nothing but a faint laugh.

"You're always...so grateful...Krang," he swiped at one of the creatures, and it screamed and crawled away in some pain. "hah. These things are child's play."

He swiped some more, catching one across the eye, and the next in the gut, oozing a disgusting green liquid from it.

Krang cackled. "I'm glad to hear you're having fun at last, Shredder."

Shredder found himself laughing too, even if he could feel his limbs slowing and aching.

"Well...if I remember...you did promise..."

The previous injury to his leg suddenly reminded him that it existed, and it began to buckle. Shredder narrowly avoided jaws lurching at his shoulder, and he slipped back, close to the android body's melted stomach.

He dropped to his knees, breathless and arms stinging, some new kind of agony reaching his body.

Oh yeah, the acid rain, he dimly remembered.

"...Shredder, come here,"

Shredder looked up, and saw Krang's shambling, hobbling android body, suddenly leaning over him, essentially shielding him from the rain. It's graceless form melted beyond recognition, and yet still walking forward, completely resolute.

Shredder struggled back up, and hunched against it. He looked down to see Krang was looking up at him too.

"Keep walking, we're nearly there," Krang's face was furrowed, a mixture between abject concern and gratitude, like nothing Shredder had ever seen on the alien before.

They reached the module door, and Shredder felt sick with relief.

Perhaps his own face reflected the same.

8

The module was moving before the door was even locked, and Shredder slid down the wall onto the floor, faintly noticing Krang's body still very close to his side.

"Good job, Rocksteady."

"No problem, boss," the mutant was stood at the control panel, pressing in their coordinates just as Shredder had told him. He wavered when he saw both Krang and Shredder. "uh..boss...is everything okay?"

"Everything's fine," Krang slipped out of his melted body before it crumbled to the ground. He crawled over to Shredder, and then onto his lap.

Shredder was too exhausted to be very surprised about it. He tilted his head back against the module, comforted by the hum of the engine, and the very real fact that they were moving again, and soon they'd be home.

After a moment, he blinked down at Krang, who was staring at his android body with a mournful face.

Shredder knew it was a real loss for Krang, and somehow it made his chest ache. He placed a hand on Krang's head, and patted him lightly.

"Never mind, Krang. We'll make you a better one. This time it'll actually be resistant to acid rain too."

Krang seemed to recoil with the words, and Shredder raised an eyebrow.

"Why'd you lie about that?" he asked.

Krang opened his mouth, like he might snap for just a second, then his eyes rested on one of Shredder's arms, and he softened.

He reached out a tentacle, and placed it lightly on the burnt skin.

"Humans are so weak," he said regretfully, and as if he were talking to himself. "I have to be careful when I play with you."

Shredder considered, and then he realised that Krang was trying to say something else. Like that monster trying to find it's humanity, again. It must be difficult, when you're an alien brain.

Maybe Krang wanted to take better care of his toys. It was almost like he was growing up a bit.

Shredder laughed at the idea.

"What's so funny?" Krang frowned.

"Nothing," Shredder shook his head, and patted Krang again. "at least your body went out on a high note."

"Is that what you'd call it?" Krang did not look convinced.

"Well. Better a busted body than a busted brain, right?"

Krang's mouth quivered. Not quite a smile, but close enough. His tentacle curled a bit more round Shredder's arm. "I hate when you're actually right."

"I have my moments."

Shredder looked over at the monitor read-out, and was infinitely happy to see that they'd reached the Technodrome at last.

He stood up with a groan, and lifted Krang, to his eye level.

"And this was your idea of a fun day out, wasn't it?"

"Shut up," Krang said, but it was without malice. His mouth was still quivering up.

Shredder smirked behind his mask.

In moments like this, he could almost concede that Krang had kept his promise.

888

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end