Ashes to Ashes

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Jeran Korak, Jun 23, 2014.

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  1. The OOC Thread

    ---Daily Situation Update---

    Current Date: March 18th, 2028.

    Daily Weather Forecast: Cloudy in the morning, with intermittent showers from 8:30 AM till 12 AM. Skies will be clear from 1 PM till 5.30 PM, becoming more overcast towards the evening. Average temperature will be 13 degrees Celsius, spiking to 18-20 in direct sunlight. The only wind will be a mild easterly breeze, which is expected to last throughout the day.

    {OOC Note: I'll be doing these every so often when we come to the end of a day, or if people collectively decide to time-skip for any reason. Since my personal time is limited for the moment, I'll post this and leave it up to anybody to kick things off. My own first post should be up within twelve hours after work. Have fun!}
  2. The Thames flowed swiftly beneath the jetty Gavin was sat on. The sound of rushing water filled the air, white noise which scoured the mind of a listener clean as efficiently as steel wire. It was the early afternoon, or ‘the dead zone’ as Gavin often referred to it. Everything that he really needed to do during the day was done in the morning, from washing and eating to checking the traps and snares he often set around Hyde Park. Until evening came and it was time to start a fire to cook whatever he’d managed to catch during the day, Gavin’s time was his own. Sometimes he scavenged the abandoned houses around him, or tried to fish in the fast-flowing waters of the Thames with a length of pipe and a hook from his survival tin. He almost missed the days when he was constantly on edge, always wondering if the next person he saw on the road would greet him amiably or try to slit his throat the moment they got close enough. That kind of adrenaline rarely came to him anymore, not when the worst thing he was likely to encounter during the day was a feral dog that often as not would have three legs and teeth so rotten that he was more likely to die of halitosis than a torn throat. The nastiest thing he had ever stumbled across while in London had been a mother deer with a young fawn in Regent’s Park, whose maternal instincts and complete lack of prior encounters with humans had encouraged her to chase him across the York Bridge. From that point on, Gavin had resolutely stuck to the smaller but safer Hyde Park as his base of operations.

    The London Eye was almost directly opposite Gavin, only a few dozen meters downriver. On especially windy days he could hear it creak ominously on its old, rusty bearings. There was nowhere near enough of a breeze to sway the monolithic structure at the moment, but he still liked to imagine the day when the supports gave way and the whole vast edifice tumbled into the river. He had fantasized about climbing it once or twice, but condemned the notion as an act of suicidal boredom. Breaking into libraries and bookstores was about as adventurous as Gavin allowed himself to get in the pursuit of entertainment; there was no need to go insane and try something that could end with a fifty-foot plummet onto solid concrete on top of that. Thoughts about climbing Big Ben or raiding Westminster Abby had met similar logic, and so he ended up wiling away the hours till sundown in places like this; safe, comfortable and relatively private. He hadn't so much as seen another human being for weeks. His last sighting had been near the British Library, and that had just been the vague impression of a jacketed figure ducking out of sight into an alleyway. Gavin had known better than to investigate further. Being a good neighbour in the post-burn world generally involved having as little contact with those around you as possible, something he had learned through bitter experience.

    No, he thought; best to keep things ostentatious. If somebody wants a bit of chit-chat, I’m not exactly hard to find.

    Gavin didn't have a watch on him; an oversight that he kept intending to fix, but never quite got round to. But he had learned to estimate the time of day by the position of the sun. Currently, the invisible hands pointed to it being around 1PM. It would be a long time until the shadows lengthened and the air grew chilly enough to make finding somewhere to sleep a priority. For now he was content to continue enjoying the sound of running water. Maybe in an hour or two he’d cross the bridge and see about visiting the colleges within easy walking distance. He could do with some more practical reading material. Perhaps something about gardening was a good idea; hunting and salvaging tinned food wasn't going to be a practical solution to his survival needs forever, after all. For now though, Gavin was content to sit on the edge of the jetty, staring out towards the London Eye and listen to the water streaming past.

    (Apologies for this taking so long, blame my power company for cutting me off in the act of posting this not once but TWICE today. >.>)
  3. Not a day goes by that Jexxal doesn't thank the spirits for the gifts his family had given him.

    laying along the bank of this migthy river, near the place that he would call home for the night. His hoodie folded underneath his head, making a excellent make shift pillow. He relaxed, his lids shut, his hands tucked within his pockets as he nodded off under the shade of an old oak tree. Its tall branches protecting him from the glare of the sun. Out of all the few enjoyments his life now had, this was his favorite, to lay and appreciate the silence modern life never had and to thank the spirits for his life. It was times like these where he would think back to his family.

    Godjo they would call him, always Godjo or Outsider. Only his mother would call him by the name she bestowed. They were never kind to him, he was always to blame if bad luck was to occur, or when the spirits would punish them. Though try as they might to cleanse their homes, he was always a Godjo, an outsider, one of the unclean. It was his eyes that were to blame, a dark green, his stare always seemed intense or strained. No romani had eyes like him, no gypsy Among other things he had his father to blame for that. Yet besides all of that, the younger generation, however grudgingly, accepted him as his mothers son, and so tuaght him their trades.

    It was those trades that kept them alive today. Thievery, hiding in the shadows, his non trusting nature, those all kept him alive when shit hit the fan. They had never taught him how to read English, nor did he have any formal education at all, but since the fall of society he those diplomas and degrees ceased to matter, if anything Jexxal was raised to survive the end of the world. Even so he had many close calls. His imprisonment, the man with the crooked smile, who almost killed jim weeks prior. Through all that he survived thanks to his familly. Survivng to enjoy the quiet the world has become.​
  4. The world kept spinning on regardless of your opinion on the matter, this was a truth one human being could do with out. Seated on a cracked plastic chair in a neglected stadium where once this country's finest had made a living kicking balls he looked like a figure dragged out of history. A uniformed soldier whose life story was written upon his burnt and tattooed body. The face in particular in its ruined and twisted state spoke much about him. Not only in that his life had contained violence but that its fury could not hold him back.

    But where bullets, knives, and even fire had failed to crush him a simple and primitive form of life had. A virus, a organism that was neither alive nor dead had snuffed the spark of joy out of the seated figure's life. It had taken the only light in life away, leaving him in the darkness of being a survivor. Left him to face the cold and bitter winds of living in a world they did not exist in.

    The sympathetic words of the men and women he had fought and bled beside only added to the burdens he bore. Their gestures only serving to rip the wounds anew. There was no point in a life without his heart and soul but the knife was a cowards way out, a sinner's way out. And so the patriot threw himself into missions with suicidal zeal. Never caring about the odds stacked against him.

    Which is how the seated figure found himself here eating a mouthful of dried food and washing it back it with a swig of water from his canteen. Not exactly the most satisfactorily meal but beggars can't be choosers. And here a stranger in a land not his own was exactly what he was. Of course the rifle resting in the seat next to him was a great equaliser. Its fully automatic fire and reasonably good accuracy ensured superiority in a time were firearms were worth almost more then a good meal. Almost that is, for the soldier couldn't remember the last decent meal he had. All his meals for the longest time could be summed up as better then nothing. They had kept him alive and healthy but that was the sole extent of theit vitures.

    And what little scavenging the stranger had done since his arrival had turned up only a can of spam. Which he had torn open and bolted in record time. It was almost insulting to his sensibilities how satisfying that bit of processed mystery meat was.

    Such things though were the norm though in this new world. In this festering corpse of the old world. Were blood had been spilled over trivial matters like a can of soup or a bottle of stale water. The folly of man had lead to this. And no where was what the world had become more clear then in the cities of man.

    Portsmouth, once home to one of the most densely populated regions of England was now little more then a graveyard. Bodies littered the streets, reduced to mere skeletons they showed the blind indifference of those still living. The rights of the dead mattered not a single whit to the struggle of those still living.

    Disgust and apathy mixed in equal amounts to the shaven headed figure in his front row seat in a abandoned stadium. Apathy was the slightly stronger emotion and so he rose grabbing pack and rifle to march on like every other fool. Secretly suicidal or not the soldier in his faded uniform still had a mission to accomplish. Still had to head up the A3 to London and get the lay of the land. Had to compile a report and find some way off this island.

    Looking up at the clouds covering the early morning sky and the rain drops falling from them he wondered if that would even be possible.
  5. Nowhere in this world did Elyasi feel accepted. Maybe she didn't want to be. This was a decayed and sorrowful world, and something inside told her that nothing could fix how empty she felt inside. In a way, she didn't mind the solitary life that she would now have to live. There she was sprawled out in one of the few grassy patches left in the nearly empty and torn down Regent's Park, a journal on her heart and a pen in one hand. No living thing seemed to be around to disturb the peace and quiet. Just clouds in the sky and an occasional breeze of wind that would cut the silence in the air. Another light breeze came by and swatted at her clothes; while it was slightly nippy this was the mildest weather she had seen in a while. Bored and alone, hazel coloured eyes stared up at the sky and watched the clouds float away to wherever they were going next. 'They're not in London anymore...' The thought stuck, piercing heavily into her mind. A tear rolled out of just one eye for the people she loved, then disappeared as it fell into her dark hair. Where it seemed like she would have no motivation left to live; in her mind there was plenty.

    Rolling over to lay on her stomach, the young woman opened up the small journal and began to write down a few things; personal thoughts, poems, and occurrences. Of course her words may never make it objective history; then again maybe no one would ever get to lay eyes on what she wrote. A part of her wished that she was born long ago, born before the greed of humanity destroyed everything and anything it touched. Throughout the morning, she dropped and picked up her pen, taking momentary pauses to nibble on small pieces of beef jerky and to take sips of water. Afternoon approached and Elyasi finished up what she had wrote, a heavy and sad sigh escaped her rosy lips; pouting at the words on the paper. "Oh well." She shed the grass off of her clothes, and hurried off to another area hoping to find some more clothes to scavenge or some vulnerable abandoned house to rob.

    Her dark boots began to make light clicking noises against the cracked and once paved Luxborough street. To feel comfortable, Elyasi pulled up the scarf to her face to hide it and began humming an old song. It kept her at peace as she watched a few stray people passed by. With her skills, it would be easy to rob them in such an isolated area, but her conscience just wasn't in the mood for stealing from people who didn't even give her a second look. It was all about surviving. 'Choose the wrong target, and you're dead.' Her older brother once told her before he had passed away. Now she took the advice to heart. The street was eerily quiet, albeit the young woman's humming and footsteps; most buildings on this street were now rubble, except for a few abandoned mansions and the somewhat standing University of Westminster.

    As she wandered down the street, Elyasi began thinking about her next meal and living for as long as she could.
  6. "Shhh, it's that freak again." Similar whispers, none friendly, were caught by Jin's ears. The city, once teeming with life, had grown darker, and many, not being used to such conditions, have committed suicide, gone mad, or tried to deny it all. Trudging along, he kept his head down, hands in his pockets, and walked along. A thin, yet muscular man blocked his way, "Get lost, will ya! We don't need freaks around here." Jin raised his head, a scarred and bruised face that screamed for relief, rest, and sleep. "Your in front home." While his English wasn't perfect, he could still understand it, and speak it, though it would be broken. One of the man's friends whispered in his ear, though it was intentionally loud enough for everyone around to hear, "Careful, this guy is one of those Northies. They don't have much sanity, and they're all cannibals. Bet he has a knife that he uses to cut up people and eat em." The thin man frowned, then stepped away, "I don't have the time for this." A small group followed him out of the alley. He had no energy to fight, no will to live, no purpose or agenda. It was a miracle he hadn't committed suicide already. However, to him, suicide was an action deserving of intense hatred. A mere escape and attempt to cheat themselves out of life.

    The small pit that was referred to as his stomach growled, yet it seemed weary, as if it had growled one too many times in his life already. Jin slowly sat down into the dirty box he called his home. Here, he could think without getting disturbed, and think in peace. The area in front of the box was stained red, with congealed blood. Breakfast. Jin lived by a very simple schedule, eat, drink, sleep. Training would be fruitless and energy wasting at the current moment. He hadn't been clean for thirty years, it was foolish for him to believe in a better life. As such, he conditions himself against the world, making himself apathetic to avoid the emotional trauma the events of the last thirty years had tolled upon his soul. He wanted above all else, for someone to kill him, release him, without him having to commit suicide.

    Though, he would bitterly admit, there was nothing else for them. The world they knew is a smoking crater, just like his old world. What use was there for them? To struggle endlessly against an invisible enemy, trying to thrive in a world that no longer exists. He wouldn't blame anyone for suicide. In his mind, all the weak willed committed suicide. He would not commit suicide, he had convinced himself that he was strong willed, and wouldn't let anything bring him down, especially the... tragedy that had befallen the planet he was living in.

    His eyes quickly darted to the side, an unlucky ant that had become lost due to people disturbing the pheromone trail. Without a second of hesitation Jin snatched the ant by the head and crunched down. In a few seconds, the ant was reduced from a living creature to a light snack. To Jin, luck had nothing to do with anything. Luck was what people blamed whenever misfortune befalls them, and luck is what they thank in an excuse that they do not control themselves. Such people do not live, but let others dictate their life. As with weak willed people, Jin loathed them. His eyes once again fixated on something, he swung the stone rope dart at what his eyes were staring at. This time, he wasn't hunting an ant. The rat gave a shrill scream as it darted away, dragging a crushed foot behind it. Jin missed. He sighed, wasting unnecessary energy on some movements was bound to kill him one day.
  7. Darkness waved through her eyes like the waves of an ocean. Struggling to open them, she yawned and stretched. It felt like she had only slept a few hours since entering the library. During her recent scavenging hunt for food, her journey into London had taken longer than usual. It would normally take around nine hours to walk from her stash to here, however she had to continue to avoid other wanderers. It wasn't as if she didn't want to be around others. Actually, Anna Sophia was dying to be around other people. However, since the world turned in on itself, she couldn't trust anyone. She had learnt that the hard way. First with her mom killing herself and everything. Then when she had left that house, she had joined up with a small group of people over in a Waitrose in Bromley.

    Clearly that hadn't ended well. It was something she didn't think about. Ever. Her parents dying was awful, but what had happened in Bromley was even worse. Now she stuck to herself. She wasn't sure how long it had been since then. Her calendar had gotten wet when she had fallen into the Thames. That was another lesson. With nobody to care for the bridges or buildings, they were beginning to crumble. Crossing the Thames on the Tower Bridge after leaving Bromley, she had stopped to rest. The bridge was built to stay, though fires from wrecked vehicles that littered the Tower Bridge had weakened it in spots. It was her luck that she just so happened to lean against a weakened railing and fall in. The Thames looks peaceful, but it is far from. She had almost drowned that day. By the time she reached the shore, she had been pushed down river six miles. She had been lucky that she washed up near abandoned buildings. That's when she decided to get out of London.

    Her trek landed her in the south on a farm between M23 and M25. It was a nice farm. Despite being so close to the motorways, it was secluded by trees. She had begun her own garden there. It worked for some vegetables, but not others. So far, she had no luck with any fruits. It was small, but she had to be able to maintain it. Even while she was away for a few days at a time. Right now, in her countryside, carrots and potatoes were waiting to be harvested. Still growing were carrots, garlic, lettuce, and tomatoes. She had been lucky the farmer had kept seeds in the shed she found. This was where she slept, and where her stash of goodies was. How she longed to be back there in the familiar countryside.

    Now she was stuck in the Chelsea. It was a college for arts, but it had looked relatively untouched when she came across it on her way back from central London. Her trip had come further than she had ever gone since leaving Bromley. It was dark, and she was exhausted. She had only found a few small items. Nothing at all important. She had found a larger backpack than hers, however she couldn't take it with her. It was a larger pack, but it was too large. She had had to leave it. She had also found a katana in a house she had searched. No food. No clothing. Just the katana and useless furniture. The katana had also stayed. Knowing her luck, she would wind up slicing her hand off. So her two day trip had all been for nothing.

    Unless she stayed a bit longer in London. She would need food soon, though. She hadn't eaten anything since before she left. Maybe she would head west along the Thames. She had yet to head to west London. Yes, that is what she would do. Gathering her items from around her, Anna Sophia opened the door from the Darkroom in the Chelsea. She made her way through the darkened school before emerging into the dark grey world outside. It was early. She always awoke early now. Ironic really, considering she had always slept in late before the world ended. That's how she viewed it, at least. She adjusted her pack and set off west along Grosvenor Rd. The Thames to her left, and the city of London off to the right.
  8. Danika & Brooke
    Was this world truly as empty as it felt, right now, as Ruby sat upon the roof of the decrepit bookstore she had called home for the past year and a half. The silence of the world around her made her ears ring slightly, the only noise the rustle of the wind through her hair, the shift in the trees. From up here, she could see down the street in both ways, the expanse of the dead city around her stretching out for ages. It was hard to tell where it stopped, and where it began. It shouldn't have been of importance to her, but it was. As it stood, she wasn't going to get any answers on the question anytime soon.

    Nika stationed her up here an hour ago while she went into the small basement of the store to organize their supplies. They'd need to go scavenging for more soon enough. Ruby wasn't keen on another night of lumpy clam chowder, but Danika refused to go out unless absolutely necessary. She was such a stick in the mud sometimes, even if it was for their better and safety. Ruby just couldn't stand being holed up like this all the time, in the smallest of small, decrepit stores in the middle of tumbleweed London.

    Silence. Pure, utter, silence. She released a soft sigh and leaned back on what was left of the roofing of the building, staring up at the dim sky. She hadn't seen a proper star in awhile, but it was just too bright in the blue above to catch the faint inkling of a glow. When she was little, she used to wish on those stars all the time, but that was a long time ago. Nika kept telling her she had to grow out of her past and move on into this new life, but Ruby couldn't call it a life, not by a long shot. Cooped up in the decrepit bookstore, eating old canned soups and hiding from their predators, their own kind? Not a life.

    "Ruby." Danika's voice drifted up to her from behind the shop, a rough whisper that almost was carried away by the wind. The younger girl crept across the roof and peered down at her companion, whose hair was coated in a thick layer of dust, her hands holding a notebook, covered with scrawled handwriting. She held up the notebook with a little wave. "Come on."

    With the wave, Ruby began to clamber down the side of the wall. There were cracks in the plaster and masonry that allowed her to find a foothold, although a shower of crumbling rock skittered down the surface of the wall as she descended. She jumped the last foot down, shaking her hair back over her shoulder as she leaned in to see what the elder had written on her notebook. It was a shopping list of sorts, of all the things they would need in the next two weeks. They'd have to scour the city for these resources, as they were things no longer easily found. Many of the houses they walked into were picked clean, some littered with broken traps and others with their shelving ripped to pieces, all hidden vaults and caches broken apart in attempts to find sustenance. The abuse was alarming.

    The List (open)

    Dried fruit packets (5-6?)
    Water bottles, 1 week supplie
    Iodine, coffee filters
    Winter wear, astrd. hats, gloves
    Neadle, thread
    Jerky if we can find sum
    Ruby wants sweets

    "When are we going out?" Ruby asked, innocent eyes looking up at Danika's own. The young woman stared out towards the street in thought.

    "A week from now, maybe. We should stock up, though. Just in case." She replied. She took the notepad and stuck it into the backpack that hung over her thin shoulders. "Water is our priority, and the iodine. Although we need a new heater. Remember last year? All the water was frozen before we could drink it."

    Ruby shuddered with the memory. They had to use their own body heat to thaw the ice inside the bottles to drink it. Snow could be used as well, but Nika was convinced ash and other debris ended up inside of the fluffy white stuff, which sometimes snowed down a bit grayer than she remembered it being. So, they relied on the bottled water and the filtered through stuff they could get. When they found juices or sometimes even alcohol, they took it too, for Danika's 'just in case' storage. It was more like her post-apocalyptic apocalypse bin.

    "Come on," Danika said, wrapping her arm around Ruby's small form and bringing her inside. The interior of the bookstore felt vast, but cramped, at the same time. It had walls of books, and a maze of shelves blocked the way to the upper loft, in which they slept and lived in. Most of the books were kept neatly on the shelves, some of them showing Ruby's attempts at repair and maintenance. A small stack of books was kept on each wooden stair that left up to the loft, with little notes atop each pile in Ruby's neat handwriting. She had learnt to read and write before she was pulled from her schooling, although she had done most of her studying in this very store, educating herself with the books she found.

    In the corner of the loft was their 'beds'; two piles of assorted sheets, pillows, and clothing wrapped up to form a mat of sorts. They were comfortable enough, but you could still feel the hardness of the floor below, and the creeping chill. Next to them, they each kept a small number of personal items, and their cooking supplies were kept on an emptied bookshelf nearby to protect from rats and mice.

    It was home; or as close as Ruby was ever gonna get.
  9. It was easy to lose track of time on the pier with just the sun for a general guideline and the Thames washing complicated thoughts away like so much flotsam and jetsam. Not moving was generally a good idea in any case; excess motion wasted calories that were always in short supply. It was easy to be lethargic on a day like this, there being so many hours in the day and so little to do during them. The end of the world had its moments, but for somebody who could still remember the internet, it was mostly full of nothing at all. Gavin yawned lightly, and then grunted in mild irritation as a wisp of cloud drifted in front of the sun and blocked the stream of light he had hitherto been basking in. Convection meant that the air was always colder over running water, and he immediately began to feel the chill on his extremities.

    God damnit, he thought. I was all set to waste away the whole afternoon like this.

    He could always wait for the cloud to move of course, but the spell had already been broken. Gavin felt resentful at the heavens for their ill timing, and somewhat miffed at himself for having wasted so much time. He had intended to go scavenging across the bridge, but suddenly the idea of traipsing through the empty hallways of a prominent learning institution and listening to the ghosts of lecturers in dusty auditoriums no longer appealed to him. It would just remind him of his own educative years, when there had actually been people his own age around to chat about video games and other blissfully irrelevant subjects. No, lost innocence might never be regained, but he could at least try and forget just how innocent he had once been.

    With a grunt of effort Gavin pushed himself to his feet. His muscles were slightly stiff from sitting in one place for too long, but that was easily remedied by a few stretches. The lethargy was still there, but its grip loosened along with his muscles. Perhaps he wouldn’t head across the bridge today, but there was still plenty of time left in the day. Central London was virtually unpopulated, and there were still a number of areas that had only received cursory attention from looters and rioters. Desperate people were unlikely to be very thorough, especially if they were in the middle of a mass exodus.

    Getting off the pier was an easy task, but after that things got a little more difficult. Gavin was in the shadow of Big Ben, with Westminster Abbey and the House of Commons off to his left. He was certain the latter two were still occupied, but had never dared go near enough to ascertain what force had staked a claim to the majestic structures. Certainly, they had been able to defend them against looters and other unpleasant types. That meant guns, and people who used guns to defend their turf generally weren’t amenable to friendly visits. Luckily for him, they didn’t seem to care about him using the pier. Rather than risk a confrontation, Gavin chose to head north along Whitehall, towards Trafalgar Square. There were still pigeons there, bobbing and cooing around Nelson’s Column in the same way as they had done for the past two hundred years. Humans changed, but nature rarely did. Normally Gavin would’ve considered them as a potential snack, but his traps tended to yield more appetizing fare. Pigeons tended to be on the scrawny side these days anyway.

    As was generally the case, Gavin’s wanderings drew him inexorably further north. In the north was his home, his turf. He would have stayed in the north, had it not been for the looters. The north was home, but the south was life. That seemed to be the way of the world these days. A brief westerly detour across Cockspur street and a minor southerly inclination down Pall Mall eventually lead Gavin to Regent street. The most interesting thing along this route was undoubtedly the BBC Broadcasting House, so Gavin began to trek northwards again. In addition, the All Souls Church lay close by and was still beautiful despite rioters and vandals having left graffiti sprayed on the lower pillars. A brisk walk northwards and a few minutes spent admiring the local architecture was sure to lift the clinging remnants of his lethargy. Gavin even found himself humming a tune as he set off through the deserted streets. Perhaps today wasn’t going to be so pointless after all.
  10. Not having simple technology anymore made time a little bit slower, and a lot more difficult to tell. The sun skirted across the sky, shining through cracks of rotting wood and chipped drywall of the abandoned homes around Luxburough Street as the young woman scoured for decent items to use. The light created long and depressing shadows, slightly spooking her whenever she turned around a corner or opened a new door. Elyasi was hyper-alert and mostly on the defensive as she went into these places, she would much rather run today than be in a fight for her life. Generally, she could hold her own against two or so, but other looters these days went around in more than just pairs. For a moment as she thought of her brother, envy flickered in her eyes. No more was she part of a safe and smart duo that could slip their way out of poor situations and fight through tough ones; now she was alone and fear ruled her mind just a bit too much.

    'Maybe I should start getting used to this already.' Elyasi thought with a heavy sigh, hopping over a short brick wall and making her way across Nottingham Street to Devonshire, where there were more looted cafes than homes.

    For a moment she slipped into a daze of the past as she imagined the smell of rustic coffee, sweetly fresh baked muffins and the chatter of random gossip on the street. She shook off the feeling of nostalgia, as there wasn't enough time in the day to daydream about the non-existent livelihood of the city. After scouring a few already looted houses, shops, and encountering a few gross images of torn apart skeletons, Elyasi stopped her fruitless search as she had reached Regent Street. Having already exerted unneeded energy being hyper aware of her surroundings, there was a need to take a break now that it was midday. Once again she began humming the light tune from earlier to herself; she assumed no one was around to hear the tune as she pulled down her scarf to reveal the rest of her face. Taking her thumb to the aged and torn sign on what was once the Republic of China's Embassy, grimy oil and black dust lifted off the sign, sticking to her skinny and delicate finger. However, the sign only showed a streak of white and a few burnt characters in Mandarin. The young woman attempted to read what was there from previous memory, wiping her bare thumb on the dirtied jeans she wore.

    This was a place that used to be a part of a world that acted like they wanted peace. Her face shifted into one of disgust and despair, something as simple as greed nearly destroyed them all and no one could stop it. A piece of torn red fabric flew past her hazel colored eyes and she snatched it out of the air; feeling a bit sentimental as she remembered what her father used to say when things looked bad for their family. "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." She muttered to herself while taking a good look at one of the remnants of their previous society. A golden lone star remained on this piece of the flag that used to jut out of the embassy building; it may have been part of what tore the world apart but she felt the need to keep it. So Elyasi stuck it in her back pocket, a little piece of the red flag dangling from her jeans as she kneeled over and picked through some of the rubble surrounding the building.
  11. For a building extensively plated with glass, the famous BBC Broadcasting House displayed a remarkable lack of structural damage. It had been one of the very last major businesses to collapse after it became clear to the country that its leaders had officially given up hope. Despite being a shadow of its former self by the end, the place had somehow managed to continue broadcasting radio programs almost up till the terrible winter of 2026. Gavin didn’t know what had eventually killed the company; it could’ve been anything from looters to a loss of sustainable power. Some places he’d visited had been amazingly inventive when it came to generating electricity. Gavin had seen one enterprising mechanic in the north convert a portable generator to run off alcohol. He’d had quite a good thing going with the locals until a group of thugs from further south had turned up in the neighbourhood and beaten him to death with a pipe wrench for daring to still have his lights working at night. Gavin had learned the hard way that people who had lost all the comforts modern life offered were seldom forgiving when they came across others who had managed to cling on to even a paltry few of them.

    Of course, Gavin hadn’t quite reverted back to a primitive lifestyle just yet. Oh, it was true he ate food he caught himself and was lucky to spend a night in a bed that hadn’t sired at least four generations of assorted vermin, but he still made the effort. He washed daily, used soap whenever he could, and went out of his way to keep his clothes in as presentable a state as possible. His hair was a little unruly and greasy, but it was at least not down to his neck and he didn’t sport several months’ worth of beard. Hygiene and personal grooming were, in Gavin’s mind at least, the principle things which separated the forward-thinking individual from the common survivor. He might be living a hand-to-mouth existence just at the moment, but that didn’t mean he lacked higher aspirations. They were just... on hold, for now.

    Oh well, at least the scenery was nice. The church was as nice as it always looked, if you could discount the risqué depictions of somebody who was probably supposed to be the Virgin Mary that an atheistic graffiti artist had spray-painted all over the lower pillars. At least they gave the building some much-needed colour beyond slate gray and dull bronze. The architectural contrast between the church and the gargantuan glass behemoth of the BBC Broadcasting House that stood mere tens of meters away always provided fuel for Gavin’s imagination. He always wondered how the owners of the church had felt when the plans for the broadcasting house had been made available for public viewing, or how many of the BBC’s employees had gazed out of their windows at the elegant church during their working hours. It was an easy place to lose oneself in, much like the pier and the running water.

    But Gavin wasn’t quite ready to waste another few hours of his life staring at a few buildings. The church had been merely a waypoint on his mental map, somewhere to pause and appreciate for a few minutes before he moved on to more productive matters. There were still plenty of reasonably intact buildings in this part of town, and any one of them might contain a cache of useful supplies that Gavin could use to make his life a little easier. Looters tended to obsess over valuables and day-to-day necessities, but frequently left the really useful items to moulder in obscurity. Things like household chemicals, soap, alcohol and so forth were surprisingly common if you had the tenacity and patience to seek them out in unlikely places. There was a great deal of difference between a search conducted by an angry mob of starving people and one conducted by a logical and methodical person who knew what he was looking for and could take his time. Finally dragging his eyes away from the columns before him, Gavin turned and began to stride northwards once more.

    There were a few options open to him, as far as places to begin a scavenging run went. He knew there was a tavern somewhere nearby which might have some alcohol left over. Alternatively there were also a number of clinics and small medical facilities scattered around this part of town that might still have some usable materials left in stock. It all came down to luck, really. Heading north seemed like the best option at present. He could then incline south towards Hyde Park, searching buildings as he went. It was a decent plan.

    Before the oil fires, this had been a posh part of town. The buildings that had once housed embassies and dignitaries from foreign parts loomed around Gavin as he set an easy pace towards Regent’s Park. The architecture was crumbling now, but still held elements of its former grandeur. Rioters had been especially violent here, and many buildings bore the scars of firebombs and arson attempts. There was virtually nothing here any longer, not even crows roosted under these blackened eves. It was a tremendous waste, a symbol of everything that had gone wrong with the world. Gavin sighed as he stepped around a twisted lump of heat-warped metal lying in the street, wrinkling his nose in distate at the stink of damp ashes and soot that pervaded the air. Nothing lived here that had any other choice in the matter. Nothing...


    Gavin paused all of a sudden. For a moment, he had thought he heard a noise disturb the graveyard stillness around him. Freezing in place, he strained his ears until he heard again the faint echo of two hard surfaces clicking and grinding together. No animal could have made that noise. Somebody was up ahead, perhaps a few dozen meters away, shifting chunks of rubble and fallen masonry about in their search for something or other.

    The intact buildings on either side of Gavin cast his portion of street into shadow, which combined with his dark clothes and the soot streaks on the nearby walls to create an effective camouflage at mid-to-long range. Only his exposed flesh contrasted aggressively with the palette of his environment, so Gavin countered this by stuffing his hands into his pockets and stepping deeper into the shadows. He hadn’t been making much noise as he walked, and so he guessed that whoever was up ahead wasn’t aware of his presence yet. This presented him with a considerable conundrum; should he risk making contact with whoever it was, or leave them to their business and try skirting around them? It was risky either way, but he needed to make a choice before he could make his next move.

    After several moments of frantic thought followed by a few more moments of slightly calmer analysis of the situation, Gavin quietly crept out of cover to crouch behind the bonnet of a burnt-out car and peek out over the top to try and see who was ahead of him. The lone figure was almost as well-camouflaged as he was, with a tangle of black hair and faded clothes that blended in well with their surroundings. Gavin might’ve never known they were there, aside from the fact they were obviously searching for something in the rubble of the Chinese embassy. That told Gavin a few things; nobody who was part of a community went out alone to a place like this without some obvious deterrent to hostilities. He was far enough away that he couldn’t identify any knives or other concealed weapons, but the figure certainly didn’t have a gun on their person as far as he could tell. They were also very short, which suggested a female.

    So, Gavin mused. A probably female survivor, scavenging in the ruins of the old embassies. Unlikely to have community affiliations, and carrying no obvious weaponry. Clothes in poor repair, but no immediate signs of disease or extensive malnourishment...

    It was time for a snap decision, and Gavin made it in a second. He was confident in his ability to fend off a single much shorter and leaner person should they prove hostile, and nothing about them suggested that they were anything more than a lone survivor down on their luck. If they ran away, then so be it, but with any luck this might be the first of a new set of contacts here in the city. Crowds were dangerous, but individuals tended to be rather more approachable. With a little trepidation, Gavin stepped out of hiding and began to cross the street that lay between him and his new target. As he walked, he put his lips together and let out a brief whistle that started low but ended on a high-note, the kind of signal a person might give to let somebody know they were coming well in advance. Taking his hands from his pockets, Gavin held them out a few inches from his waist with the palms facing upward to show he neither held weapons nor meant any harm.

    "Hello there!" He called as the woman (as he had surmised) took notice of him at last, his clear voice easily carrying through the still air. "What’re you doing sifting through that old rubble? Is there something you’re looking for?"
  12. It was only today that Elyasi decided to venture here, mostly for memories, but nonetheless to gather anything that could be of use, anything to bring back to the tiny stash that she had over at Regents Park. Her little lonely hideaway was enough to keep the young woman and the things she needed safe from the elements, safe from crazed or violent looters that ran around in the city. As much as she somewhat craved human interaction on the inside, she felt trepidation upon approaching another person. After everything that had happened, people still were so willing to kill each other for simple things. To her, humanity had lost sympathy and hope for any real future.

    'Face the facts. We're just weeding each other out until there's nothing left of humanity. Trust is scarce, and there's a reason for it.' Once again, she thought about what her brother had said to her.

    They could only ever trust each other after what had happened when they joined a group of looters for a few days. Things had gone haywire. She shook her head violently, as to nod the memory away; there was no point in mulling it over now. Just plainly staying alive was her only plan for the time being. At this point in the day the sun created long shadows, enough to keep her somewhat camouflaged as she made quite a bit of racket moving the heavier and larger pieces of concrete to get to whatever could be useful inside the pile of rubble. Dusty fingers sifted through the rubble, shifting rocks over and searching for anything sharp to keep. As Elyasi had originally noticed when approaching the ruptured structure of the Chinese Embassy, a corner piece was torn and missing, along with broken windows. Assuming the trajectory and the height of the building,she found the large pile of rubble that could contain either just tiny pieces of glass or at least some useful sharp metal that had fallen from this desolate place. So far it had just been tiny pieces of glass that pricked her fingers and a bunch of rocks.

    Searching the rubble began to get discouraging, most of her morning and afternoon spent in waste and to only come up with a torn rag made her sigh heavily in despair. Yet Elyasi wouldn't give up, and she hoped that her diligence would result in something good coming out of all that work. From the right corner of her eye she had spotted the shadow of something, yet paid no mind as her search consumed her thoughts. It wasn’t until the brief whistle that changed so quickly in pitch that she became startled, falling back on her heels on top of the pile of rubble in shock. The young woman held her arms out in a crossed formation in front of her body, defensively holding the rocks that she still had in her hands from her search. Yet her mind seemed to let her calm down quickly, as the person who approached began to speak with a seemingly courteous voice. Her large hazel eyes took one good glance at the man that crossed the street, surmising that he meant no real harm or was any immediate threat, at least for the moment being. On the inside, Elyasi was beating herself up for letting her guard down so much that she never noticed him until he purposely let her know that he was there. She dropped the pieces of concrete in her hands and promptly stood up, dusting off her hands on her pants, attempting to clean herself up at least a bit in the presence of someone who still seemed so well maintained for the state of things in this world.

    Unable to keep much eye contact out of slight shyness, Elyasi began to speak with that tinge of Irish still in her voice.“A-ah...I’m searching for metal. Sharp tools tend to be useful nowadays,” she took a moment to pause and look Gavin in the eyes with a slight smile forming on her lips, “I’m...Elyasi. You can call me Ely if it’s easier. It’s nice to meet you.”
  13. Elyasi’s initial reaction to Gavin’s sudden appearance came as no real surprise to him. If anything, it was rather understated. Apart from the initial shock of being disturbed, the girl showed no signs of reaching for a weapon or running away screaming. Gavin wouldn’t have been unduly upset by either action; drawing a knife on somebody was practically the equivalent of a cheerful handshake these days. It was just common sense to assume that a stranger was dangerous. Gavin himself had taken a pretty major risk approaching somebody without a weapon in hand, and it had been blind luck that this person had (so far) turned out to be friendly.

    Now that Elyasi was up and facing him, Gavin was able to discern a bit more about her. She was clearly of Asian descent, if perhaps only on one side of the family. There was the hint of an Irish accent in her voice as well, which further suggested a multicultural background. Gavin also got the impression that she was quite pretty, if one could see past the grime and layers of clothing that concealed most of her body. That was dangerous. It had implications. No woman with even a hint of good looks wandered this city alone without being able to defend themselves. Still, the fact she was talking to him like this did at least suggest that she didn’t view him as a threat. Not yet, anyway.

    "I’m called Gavin... Gavin Hunter, to be precise," he said after a brief pause had elapsed between them. "It’s nice to meet you too, Elyasi."

    The smile that had formed on her lips during the interim managed to both surprise and flatter him. There was a strange relief inherent in finding somebody who was willing to talk under circumstances that didn’t involve edged weapons. Gavin tried not to think about just how long it had been since he had had a normal conversation with somebody. It had been too long; much too long. He smiled back. He couldn't have stopped himself even if he had wanted to.

    "I’m sorry to have startled you," he continued in a more conversational tone of voice. "You were so engrossed in your search I wasn’t sure how to approach you. If you’re looking for some metal tools, why not try a garage or somewhere like that? There’s lots of them around; I doubt all of them have been looted so far."
  14. For someone who could have easily taken advantage of the situation, Gavin hadn't come at her with any weapons or blindsided her; no one who had real devious intent would do such a thing. At least, that was what she had assumed so far. So Elyasi would reciprocate the non-violent threat that he had not posed until she felt in some sort of danger. As long as it was just him and not a whole group of looters in her mind she could take him down or escape if need be. Yet the peacful interaction made her feel just a bit more comfortable in having a somewhat normal conversation. It had been a while since she had just normally spoken to someone since her brother had died and although the entire situation was a bit awkward for her, she was enjoying the moment as it went on.

    “It’s okay. Just glad you didn't attempt anything wonky,” Elyasi took a brief pause but then continued to answer the question, “Well, it’s not like I haven’t tried. Garages tend to be difficult to get into, unless they've already been scavenged. I've actually been searching for other things today...But I've just been too focused on being I may have overlooked places that would be good to search.”

    If anything, she was still wary of the tall man who had concealed his weapons with that trench-coat of his. No one walked these streets, male or female, without any form of protection against others who could pose threats. The way Gavin had well hidden himself until he wanted to be known also made her a bit suspicious about his tactical abilities. Aside from the initial interaction that had occurred, she judged that he was a proper and well-kept English person, especially for the current state of things.

    ‘I must look horribly grungy to him right now...’ Elyasi thought to herself as she fiddled with her clothes and scraggly short hair for a few moments. It wasn't that she didn't want to look neat or presentable, ever since her brother had passed she had a hard time looking for items that he usually had taken care of. With her luck, she was happy that she was able to find some soap a few days back to clean off a bit. So of course she felt a little bit awkward at the moment comparing herself to the neat English man standing in front of her, but then a bit later changed her mind about the subject running on in her own head. ‘It’s not like I’m any less human than he is.’

    Of course, she took a brief moment to gather her wits and began to nervously ask, “D-do you mind helping me out some? Umm...We could split whatever is found, since I wouldn't want to waste your time either.”
    #14 Elyasi, Jul 29, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
  15. This was already the longest conversation Gavin had enjoyed in several months. It had even managed to go multiple sentences without involving insults, threats or excessive posturing. The whole experience was positively refreshing. Even Elyasi’s small warning not to try anything only struck him as common sense; he knew how intimidating he could look. It was just nice that she had been able to look beyond that. Of course, this could all just be some kind of elaborate set-up. She could have friends nearby that would rob him blind the moment they left the street, or she could merely be waiting until his back was turned to stick a knife in him and claim whatever possessions she might find on his corpse. It was a cynic’s world, after all.

    But Gavin wasn’t a cynic. It was true that he wouldn’t to claim to be an optimist either, but somewhere between the two extremes lay the knowledge that humans were better off helping each-other than they were fighting each-other. He rebelled against the survivalist’s mantra of trust nobody. Adopting such an attitude might help him live longer, but lurking at the end of that lifespan would be the certainty that he hadn’t contributed a single thing to the perpetuation of mankind as a whole. Societies were founded on the principles of trust and cooperation, not suspicion and paranoia. Gavin had seen for himself – indeed, he had been a valuable member of – communities that had survived well beyond their means simply through pulling together and sharing resources that they might otherwise have horded for themselves. If the townies hadn’t poured north when they did, England might be taking its first tentative steps towards recovery right now. It had been such a damn waste...

    "You don’t have to worry about me trying anything funny," Gavin heard himself say with a surprising amount of sincerity. "I’m not looking to take advantage of you; I’m just trying to make something out of these ruins before they crumble further than they already have done."

    He paused for a moment, feeling slightly embarrassed. He hadn’t intended to sound so dramatic, but his inner showman had briefly grappled the conversation away from him. Oh well, there was nothing he could do about that now.

    "I’d be happy to help you out," he continued after taking a breath. "I’m sure we can get into places together that neither of us could alone. Was there anywhere in particular you were thinking of tackling? If not, I might have a few suggestions."
  16. For some reason, Elyasi had felt that she was letting her guard down more and more with each passing moment. Maybe it was the lack of human interaction that made her feel this way. In a way, she felt grateful to talk to someone before she went crazy and started talking to inanimate objects like in the movies she used to watch. The luxuries of her old life were all gone, games and televisions were obsolete and useless in a hostile world like this. The only thing she could do was write, and now she couldn't have been sure what it was that made her feel better now. Daily, she was worked up and usually more fearful of groups or threatening individuals. What kept her alive so far was that she could run away and hide decently without taking too much damage from attackers. All she had were her knives, and while that was better than nothing, she still felt like it wasn't enough.

    'Ugh,' She thought to herself briefly while tapping her foot on the ground out of habit, ‘What am I doing? My brother would have beat me if I did something like this…especially now that I’m alone.’

    “Ah...Thanks then?” For as dramatic as Gavin had made the situation, she didn't mind his statement. If anything, it made her feel a bit more at ease. Elyasi rubbed the back of her neck for a moment, thinking that it might also be a little strange to just tag along with a random stranger that she had just met. Even though they were having a pretty decent conversation without one of them pulling a weapon or threatening the other, it was pretty shady. However, his sincerity won her naivete personality that she still held in this pretty horrible world and so she decided against being pessimistic. Besides, if she was being lured into a trap, it was a trap worth taking the risk for.

    “You could give me a boost,” saying as she raised her hand up over her head and tip-toed as close as she could get to his height, “Ahem...sorry.” A light blush appeared on her cheeks from embarrassment as soon as she realized that it was an awkward and obviously strange height joke to make. “As for places to go search, I don’t really have any set ideas. I’d like to hear what you've got in mind.”
  17. There was something about the way Elyasi acted that Gavin was finding inherently amusing. Her mannerisms came off as slightly clumsy, but with a strange sincerity that was surprisingly endearing. Of course, he wasn’t blind to the effect roughly eight months living in isolation had had on his own social skills. Both of them would probably come across as totally incomprehensible to anyone who knew where their next meal was coming from and viewed toilet paper as a fact instead of a luxury. She was certainly an infinitely more desirable companion than anybody else he had so far stumbled across in this city.

    "Don’t worry, I get what you mean." It was hard to suppress a grin at her antics, so Gavin didn’t bother. The jerky pantomime was impossible for even the most stoic of souls to take seriously, and even the most jaded of survivalists would have had to work hard to not be taken in by the naive sincerity with which it was delivered. Nobody was that good at faking.

    "I was thinking of hitting a place with a lot of cars," he began to muse with a hand cupped under his chin, an affectation he had never quite managed to suppress. "Closest place I can think of is up north; an old German car centre. It’s a couple of miles walk, but if we start now we can make it back here before evening. I’ve been past the place a few times, but never lingered. Toolboxes and so forth aren’t exactly high on a looter’s list, but they’re the kind of things any decent community needs if it wants to survive for any length of time. There are a load of abandoned cars up that way too; might be something decent in their trunks."

    Gavin realised suddenly that he’d been rambling, something that he’d grown accustomed to doing while alone. His eyes had defocused slightly, and he blinked a few times before focusing on Elyasi again. "We could check the auto repair for tools to get into the cars... god only knows how many millions there are just lying around this city. Might not be instantly profitable, but it could set us up for further runs. If you think it’s a good plan, that is?"
  18. For someone who didn't know her, Gavin seemed to enjoy Elyasi's awkward and peculiar personality, even if she couldn't tell the difference between a fake or real smile. It was one of very many reasons why she didn't get along with most people before and after the world turned to shit. The only time the younger version of herself ever got away with her blunt and innocent actions was when she used to play competitive online games. How long had it been since she had even touched a mouse and keyboard? This may have not mattered then, but it was becoming harder to remember the luxuries of the world Elyasi used to know, when her time now was solely spent on surviving for as long as she could. A large part of her missed the daily routines of life; waking up and going to school, going back home to play games and do homework. It may have been a mundane cycle, but even that was an improvement compared to what the young woman struggled through to survive now.

    Curious of why Gavin was actually smiling, Ely tilted her head a bit and scratched at the short black mess of hair she had at his smile. ‘Did he think it was funny? Or did he smile because it was pitiful? Bleh, no point in thinking about it now.’ Her ADD kicked in, and she was distracted by the sound of a flock of pigeons that were flying away to their left. Some part of her slipped into survival mode and she dug her heels into the ground before Gavin started to speak again.

    “Sounds like a well thought out plan, for now at least. Hopefully we’re able to get some useful things out of it.” She took a moment to take an introspective look on the situation, feeling kind of scummy for not being able to contribute to their current plan. “I just hope no one else has the same idea…I don’t care for encountering violence when we’re all just trying to survive.” A slight pout formed on her rosy lips, continuing to speak somewhat timidly and with not much confidence in her idea. “St. Pancras Hospital is on the way, I think... so if we're lucky...maybe we'll find some other useful things there? Unless it takes too much time, of course we don't have to."
    #18 Elyasi, Aug 4, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
  19. Gavin felt the urge to launch into another speech in the face of Elyasi’s observations, but managed to restrain himself. She was clearly not the type to really engage with the kind of long-winded, strategist-level debates that he enjoyed in college. It was a little disappointing, but Gavin tried not to let it get him down. There was no point taking umbrage at a minor personality quirk, especially when the relationship was barely ten minutes old. Besides, there were plenty of other things about her he could focus on. The way she pouted her lips was almost unbearably cute, while her slight stature and hesitant air seemed almost designed to make Gavin feel protective of her. Most of these feelings could probably be attributed to the fact Gavin literally hadn’t seen a woman in nearly a year, but it was still a little distracting. He took a deep breath, trying to concentrate more on her words than her actions.

    Timidly-delivered though it had been, Elyasi’s argument for searching the hospital was a valid one. Hospitals were big places with potentially valuable items scattered throughout their structures rather than all concentrated in one spot, which made them less likely to have been completely looted. The actual medication had most likely gone or expired years ago by now, but there was likely to be plenty of rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizer around the place that could be used to light fires and treat minor injuries. Plus there’d be scalpels and other sharp cutting instruments, which you could never have enough of. The proposition made sense, though it might cut their time at the auto-repair short.

    "I think we can swing by the hospital without a problem," he said at length. "Though I’d prefer it if we stashed anything we found nearby, so we can get it on the way back rather than have to lug it all over London with us. That sound good?"
  20. For a minute, it had felt as if Gavin was stifling what he wanted to say to Elyasi. The expression on his face made it subtle, but not enough for her to tell what he was feeling or what he wanted to say. So she ignored that little bit, but still wondered if he found her the least bit intelligent in the few minutes they had barely spent together. Of course she had assumed that he was either older than her or had been able spend more time than she had in school, even it if that wasn’t true. The only thing she could feel at the moment was Gavin eyeing her slightly, which made her a slightly uncomfortable for a bit, but she didn't blame him for anything. If anything, that had made Elyasi just a bit more wary of Gavin, as she would only place her trust in people who could earn it. She was just glad to be enjoying his company without feeling like she had to keep her guard up at every second of the day.

    There might have been other places she would have suggested, but she didn’t want to spend all day just scavenging around areas that may or may not end up profitable. So she was glad that Gavin didn’t find going the hospital such a bad idea in the first place. Either way, she felt herself beginning to feel antsy staying exposed on the street for so long and wanted to get moving and ahead of time, which she could never find enough of. Taking a deep breath to calm herself, she nodded her head and began to speak again. "Sounds good to me."

    “Better get moving, we don’t want to dilly dally around talking and have the day be over so quickly. We’ll discuss a stash on the way.” Elyasi turned on her heels towards the direction that they were going to head in and gave Gavin a little smile. Then she threw on her hood and pulled up her scarf over her face, which made her look slightly more boyish if it hadn't been for her slight and fragile frame, not many would notice that she was a female.
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