The Bounty (A Space Western W/ DarkStarLove90)

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by nyther, Dec 31, 2014.

  1. OOC:

    Character Sheet:
    Name: James Hammond

    Age: 26

    Physical: [​IMG]

    Bio: Raised in a typical middle-class neighborhood. James was always getting into trouble as a kid (fighting, stealing, etc) His parents were fed up and sent him to military school. Where he was enlisted in the space marines upon graduation. He served for four years and went AWOL at the age of 22. Upon returning to earth his parents turned him away saying they wanted nothing to do with a criminal.
    Knowing that the marines would always be on the lookout for him, he turned to life a crime. He was a horrible criminal and was captured during a botched store robbery by a bounty hunter. The bounty hunter took pity on James and offered to train him to become a bounty hunter in exchange for James' freedom. James worked with the man for a little over a year before he went off on his own.

    Personality: James is a very gruff quiet man. He tries to think things through, but usually ends up acting before he thinks. He hates most people. He expects the worst in them and acts accordingly. He does have a soft spot for most animals though.

    Equipment: James carries with him a single Colt revolver on his right hip, a Winchester Repeater rifle on his back and a short coil of rope and handcuffs on his left hip. Under his duster he usually wears a light Marine issue flack jacket.

  2. Name:
    Stacey Everett



    Bio: Stacey is an experienced thief, she has been the master mind behind several space hijinks since she was not much more than a babe. She is wanted in a couple of different galaxies, but she has always managed to keep ahead of the bounty hunters. She has never harmed anyone during these hijinks but she is also wanted for the murder of President Likmen of Galaxy 10. She wants to set the record straight on that, but doesnt want to get caught in the process.

    Stacey is lovable, fun, outgoing and very hard not to love. She oozes sex appeal, and the way she dresses on a daily basis doesnt help that.

    She has her stuff that she uses to break in to multiple locations, but other than that she carries no weapons. ​
  3. James sat at the back of the bar. The steel of the table was dingy from years of neglect. He took a sip from his glass and winced slightly. He asked for a cheap, strong drink, but this tasted like fuel. He looked around the run down bar. Other than the bartender, he was the only one there. It was still early afternoon, though.

    He grimaced as he took another sip of the brackish liquid and pulled a small tablet from his duster pocket. He punched a series of on screen button and frowned to himself. He was down to his last few credits. He swiped through a few keystrokes and sighed. There weren't many bounties out. At least not at a good price. The cost of trying to find half of them would cost more than they were worth. He finished off his drink and leaned back in his chair.

    As James contemplated what his next move was going to be, the door to the bar flew open. James shielded his eyes from the sudden brightness. As the door slowly closed and James' eyes readjusted, James shook his head in disbelief. What stood at the bar was a gangly looking guy in a neon blue and white jumpsuit. He had greasy black hair that was spiked up wildly. James had seen plenty of people that dressed in this fashion, but it made him smile each time.

    The man gestured wildly as he spoke to the bartender, and old heavily bearded man.

    "Listen here Jack! This is a robbery. Transfer over all your credits. Don't try nothing 'cause I'm a dangerous criminal."

    The man pulled put a small laser pistol and waved it wildly at the bartender.

    James stood up and slowly walked to the bar. The man looked at James confused. As James approached, the man went to point his gun at James. As the gun swung in front of him, James caught the man's hand and pulled the man towards him. The man's gun arm flew over Jame's shoulder as James clocked him with an uppercut. The man crumpled to the floor.

    Before the man could recover James pulled him up and punched him in the gut. The man doubled over in pain as James swiftly handcuffed him and dragged him out of the bar.

    "Where are you taking me?" The man demanded.

    "Outside." James grunted.

    As the got outside, James threw the man down and pulled out his tablet. He typed a few things and held the tablet up to the man to identify him. After a few seconds his information popped up.

    "300 credits?" James sighed. "You're barley worth the trouble."

    The man's eyes went wide. He stood up and put his hands out.

    "Wait! You're a bounty hunter? We can work something out."

    James eyed the man incredulously.

    "There's this chick. Stacey. Uh, Stacey Everett." The man stammered. "Huge bounty. I can give you her coordinates."

    James typed in her names and his eyes widened as he saw her bounty.

    The man smiled. "Yea. See? What do you say?"

    "How do you know where she is?" James asked flatly.

    "We did a few jobs together. The coordinates are to a fence she always sells her stuff to." The man smiled.

    "Ship." James said holding his hand out.

    "What?" The man asked.

    James whipped out his gun and pointed it at the man.

    "Ok. Ok." The man said pulling out a small metal device from his pocket and handed it to James.

    James holster his gun and pressed a recessed button on the device. Within seconds a small silver cruiser descended from the sky and hovered a few feet from him. As James sauntered over to the ship, the man called after him.

    "What about me?"

    James walked back over to the man and pistol whipped him unconscious. As he laid there James too off his handcuffs and put them back on his hip. He walked back to the ship and hoisted himself into the cockpit. James looks through the flight computer and sees a set of coordinates that doesn't seem to fit in with the others. James smiles to himself as the ship takes off.
  4. Stacey Everett was a master thief, she had a set of skills unmatched by many, she stole to keep herself alive. The galaxies were not a nice place to a woman her age, hell hardly any woman at all now a days. Stacey hoisted her small pack onto her shoulder as she began to pick the lock on the door to President Kijia's mansion. She had been casing the place for a week now, trying to make sure that she had everything mapped out just right. She already had the codes to every alarm system this paranoid mofo had, he had right to be paranoid, but it wouldnt keep her out when she was determined to get in. President Kijia of Galaxy 7 had a ton of jewels and antique shit from the now destroyed Planet Earth, that would keep Stacey rolling around in its riches for a couple years or so. Not to say that she would stop stealing, because well frankly she probably wouldnt. Once she was in the house, she shut off every alarm and stood in the middle of the huge foyer looking around.
    She pulled out a map that she had written down the whereabouts of every vault in the place, she had had inside help. She had promised the man a good 15% of whatever she got for the Presidents stuff. She would give him that, and maybe a little more if this heist was half as good as he put it out to be. By Stacey's estimates, the President wouldnt be home for two hours, more than enough time for her to break into each vault, and take what she wanted and get out of here. Her ship was waiting for her to summon it just above the mountain ridge that rested up against the Presidents home. That was another good thing about this job, there was absolutely no way for her to get seen, unless someone happened to be working at the house today. She was pretty sure there wasnt anyone today, but she was still going to hurry through here.
    She located the first of the vaults, being five of them in the house, and swiftly broke into it. She was good at this, and also fast. She would have all 5 vaults broken into and emptied within 30 minutes. She filled her sack with all the gold and diamonds and over precious jewels, and tightly shut the vault again. She wore a set of black gloves that allowed her to work uninhibited but also leave no fingerprints. She quickly hit the other four vaults, and dragging a couple of bigger items out the door after her, she summoned her ship.
    She loaded it swiftly and jumped in the seat, typing in the coordinates of her drop off she set the ship on auto pilot and went into the back to pick through the stuff she had to see if there was anything that she wanted to keep for herself. It didnt take long to get to Galaxy 8 and to her drop off. When he saw her he waved and broke away from an employee that he was giving a hard time about not mopping his show room floor right. Meeting her he stuck out his greasy hand and shook hers like he always did. "Miss Stacey! What have you got for me today dear? More highly expensive black market deals?" His greedy eyes lit up at the prospect of what he would make off of her today.
  5. James set back as the ship quickly took off and reached space. He punched a few buttons on the dashboard and a small blue map popped up on the windshield. It showed that he was headed to a tiny planet labeled "uninhabitable", far out away from any other systems. It would take him a little less than an hour to arrive at the small planet. He wasn't sure what he would find there, but he figured he could get some good information. Worst case, he got a nice ship out of the deal.

    James spun around in his chair and walked back to the only other room in the ship. It was a small cargo hold/living area. There was a small cot in the corner and crates strewn throughout. He opened the lid on one of the crates and examined its contents. It was full of laser pistols and rifles. Not much use to him. While he knew how to use current technology, James usually stuck to low-tech when it came to bounty hunting. Sure a laser weapon was light and accurate, but it was something about the heft and sound that a good old fashioned gun made. It had saved his life on a few occasions as well. Most people aren't used to a gun with any real kickback anymore. So when someone else tried to fire his weapons, they usually ended up with a pistol smacking them in the face. usually breaking a nose.

    He examined the other crates. Some instant meals that he pocketed and varying types of ammo for the weapons. The only one he took interest in was the tracer rounds. Small cartridges that coated the target in a homing beacon. He grabbed a clip, a laser pistol and a side holster. He put the clip in the laser pistol and holstered it to his left side under his duster. He went back up into the cockpit and flopped down into the chair. He had no idea what he was flying into, so he readied himself for anything. As he drew closer to the planet he pulled out his tablet and looked through Stacey's bounty information again. "Pretty little thing." James muttered as he read. He couldn't understand how the bounty on her was so high. Theft never seemed to warrant a decent bounty. Suddenly his brow furrowed in confusion. "Assassination?" He thought, very confused. He could believe the many counts of theft, but her picture and basic info didn't seem to fit the model of a murderer. He wasn't going to take any chances though.

    Soon the planet loomed up ahead. It was a small yellowish planet. Suddenly James' heart quickened. How was he going to land? Surely, if this was a hub to sell stolen goods they would have some type of security. What if they blew his ship out of the sky? "Dammit!" He swore under his breath. Before he could decide what to do, a voice came over the speakers.

    "Ty. Glad you could make it. I suppose you have that...order you promised?"

    James froze. He didn't know if he should respond or not. Clearly they thought he was the kid this ship belonged to.

    "Oh, dammit Ty, are you wasted again?" The voice crackled through. James silently thanked the kid for not having a video screen. "Oh, for the love of, I'll just put you down in docking bay four and come wake your lazy self up. You better be glad you're a good customer." The voice chastised him. James sighed. He would land, take this guy hostage, and go from there.

    As he flew towards the planet, he saw a small opening appear int he ground. He was going underground. Slowly the ship descended into the planet into a small docking bay. There was just enough room for maybe five or six ships at a time. As the hatch above him closed, the entire bay was illuminated by overhead lighting. He took a quick look around. He saw only one other ship. "Ok. Grab the guy. Walk into the place. Take whoever is in there into custody. Question the owner. Collect the bounty. Then head after Stacey." James thought to himself. "Simple."

    The ship landed gently and James saw a door on the other end of the bay open. A small, angry looking man with a mop plodded towards the ship. James unholstered the laser pistol and waited. Once the man was within a few feet James popped open the cockpit and lept out. The man's eyes went wide as he dropped the mop and went to grab something, probably a gun, from his pocket. Before the man could do anything James shot him with the tracer round. It hit the man in the chest with a loud THUNK, and sent him flying backwards.

    James sprinted to the man as he fired a tracer round into the other ship that was docked. James reached the man just as he was sitting up. He grabbed the man by the collar, hoisted him up and put the gun directly under his chin.

    "How many are in there?" James growled.

    "'t know." The man gulped.

    James dug the barrel of the gun deeper into the man's flabby chin. "This goes two ways." James growled again. "You tell me. We go in there. You and your boss stay alive and I leave." James then turned the man so he could look into his eyes. "The other way is that everyone dies and the bandits come in here to pick everything clean." James smiled evilly.

    The man whimpered softly. "Alright." He said defeated. "Just two."

    With that James hoisted the man up by his collar and spun him around to face the door. James pushed the gun into the back of his neck and urged him forward, keeping a tight grip on his collar. As they walked deliberately towards to door, James though about switching to his gun, but decided against it. He wasn't ready to kill anyone, he just wanted information. They approached the door and James slung the man forward. "Open it." James grunted.

    The man slowly entered the code, his hands trembling. James moved out of the line of sight of the door as it began to open. As the door slid open the man began to wave his hands and started to scream. James quickly kicked him down and stepped into the doorway. He fired a round off quickly at the man standing in the middle of the room and sent him falling to the ground. He turned to the other person, whom he recognized as the bounty he had been looking for and fired directly at her.
    #5 nyther, Jan 2, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 2, 2015
  6. Stacey had been haggling with the owner about prices, he was wanting to pay her at least 50 credits less than everything was worth. When the door busted open, chaos ensued, someone got shot, someone shot at her. She didnt know what was going on, but she jumped back and behind the counter. "What the hell was that for buddy?" She patted hers sides and found nothing but her tools for breaking and entering. Real smart Stacey never carrying a weapon will get you killed one day. She squatted down behind the counter. "Hey come on now, Im unarmed. You can take whatever you want...well besides me...You cant have me....Just leave me alone."
    Stacey was afraid to stand up, she didnt want to get shot by this madman and end up dead after all these years of fighting to stay alive. Theft was the only thing that kept her alive and fed anymore. No family nor any friends to help her out in her time of need. She sat trembling slightly, her thigh hurt pretty badly. She put her hand to it and brought it up, blood covered her hand. She cursed silently, whoever shot the place up and nicked her with a bullet. Shit, this is going to get complicated. She needed to get to her ship, and she needed to get there fast. Forget the money, she would keep what was on her ship and find someone else to buy what she had there to get her some money.
    She started to stand and thought better of that, she didnt want the lunatic to take another crack at her and kill her this time. She started to crawl out the door to the docking bay that she had landed in, her ship was still running. If she could just get to it and get it up in the air she could get out of here and safely on her way to any other galaxy but this one.
  7. He watched as Stacey quickly lept behind the counter, avoiding the round hitting her. James stood there for a second not knowing what to do. She said she was unarmed. He had her pinned down. He had never had a bounty go so easily. As soon as he thought this he heard a sound behind him. It was the man with the mop fumbling with his gun. In the excitement James had forgotten that he wasn't using lethal ammunition.

    He dove to the side as the man fired. James rolled and knelt up to return fire when the shop owner began to get up. James quickly holstered the laser pistol and went for his pistol, when the man with the mop appeared from behind the door, gun drawn. James quickly lept over the counter and landed right beside Stacey. He looked at her as her eyes widened. "Hey hey." James said trying to calm her down. "I'm not here to hurt you." As those words left his lips and shot rang just over their heads. James yelled out: "You're shooting at your client over here!"

    "Don't care." The voice replied as another shot flew by them.

    James had to think fast. He couldn't lose this bounty, but needed to get out of here alive. He looked down at Stacey and noticed her leg was bleeding. "Look." James started, turning to Satcey. "I just came here to rob the place. I didn't mean to shoot you. So let's both get out of here alive. Sound good?" He unholstered the laser pistol and handed it to her. "Non lethal." He said, hoping she would believe his lie about why he was here.
    #7 nyther, Jan 2, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 2, 2015
  8. Stacey gasped when a large man landed on the floor beside her, he hollered at the shop owner and the custodian to stop shooting considering she was over here, but she knew these guys well enough to know that they didnt give a rats ass that she was over here, meant that they got to keep everything she brought them for free, plus whatever she had stowed on her ship. She looked scrutinizingly at the man that was standing above her and nodded her head slowly. "Okay...If I could just get to my ship over there...We could get out of here."
    She pointed out the open door that led to the back cargo area, she always landed there when she would come here. She was never seen by prying eyes, or bounty hunters coming in here. She swept a hand across her forehead leaving a streak of blood from her thigh. It wasnt bleeding heavily but it hurt like a bitch. She put her hand up on the counter top and accepted the pistol, she honestly had no idea how these things worked. She had never handled a gun before, "So do I shoot this thing?" She laughed awkwardly, feeling stupid to be asking such a silly question.
  9. Holy shit, she had believed him. She even offered to take him on her ship. Her trusting him coupled with asking him how to fire a pistol, made James wonder about this whole murder charge she had. He'd figure that out later. Right now they had to get to her ship. James looked around and saw a small box lying next to him. "I'll show you how to use that thing...". James said as he reached for the box.

    James grabbed the box and lobbed it towards the shooters. As soon as he heard the two guns go off he wrapiped his arms around Stacey, putting his hands around hers and making her grip the gun. Her skin was quite soft and her hands felt delicate inside his. He stood her up along with him and pointed the gun at the shop owner.

    He squeezed his finger causing her to pull the trigger. The shot hit the owner square in the chest. Causing him to fall back. Before the other man could aim at them, James turned Stacey and fired at him. He fell with a thud.

    James took his arms from around Stacey and ran for the door. He turned his head and yelled after her to follow him to the docking bay.
    #9 nyther, Jan 2, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 2, 2015
  10. Stacey stood there for a second as she watched the custodian fall with the impact of the laser pistol, she had never shot anyone in her life. Well until now she hadnt, she looked at the gun still pressed firmly in her palm and turned and hightailed it to her ship. An alarm bell was going off in the far corner of her mind about trusting this supposed other thief but at the moment she had no other choice. She ran up the dock that led into her ship, and pressed some buttons on the side that had the door sliding shut with a hissing click.
    She sat back against the wall, breathing heavy she looked over at the man, he was standing there at the moment catching his breath also. She pushed away from the wall and headed for the front, she put in a set of coordinates that would put them out of this galaxy and in the middle of space till she could figure out where he was going and where she needed to take him. Once she did that she hit the auto pilot button and headed back to where she had left him standing. "So now tell me, who are you? I'm Stacey."
  11. Stacey quickly overtook him and headed towards the ship. James followed her inside as the door hissed closed behind them. He leaned back against the wall of the ship as Stacey made her way to the cockpit. He glanced around the hold of the ship. There were quite a few containers stored neatly around.

    He sighed heavily. "What now?". He thought to himself as he felt them take off. He could just overpower her and turn her in. No, that would be his backup plan. He'd get all the information he could from her first. Hell, she might lead him to more bounties.

    She quickly returned from the cockpit and looked him over. She introduced herself. He tipped his hat and told her his name was James. He figured a first name wouldn't give himself away.

    "Thanks for back there." He said trying to sound apologetic. "Guess I didn't plan things through." He looked down and noticed her leg was still bleeding. "If you, uh, got a medikit I can patch that up for you." He pointed to her injury. He figured he'd put his field training to sone use other than combat for once.
  12. Stacey looked down at her leg and sighed, she had actually forgotten that she had been hit during that chaos. She turned and headed for a cabinet that she had had installed that held food, and medicines. She dug through it till she found everything that he would need to patch up her leg. She never realized till handing him the stuff and sitting down in front of him, how good looking he was, and how revealing her suit was. She dressed like she did (minus the helmet of course) so that she could move more freely when breaking and entering. She tried to ignore his hands as the touched her leg, trying not to realize the fever he awoke inside her. She had never been touched, and she had not known that a mans hand could be so gentle. She closed her eyes and smiled, even through the pain of her wound. Wishing they had met under different circumstances. She opened one eye and peered at him, "So how long have you been a thief? Obviously not very long if you think rushing head long into a store firing will get you anything. That might have been the case back on Earth, but not out here. Not anymore." She ran a slender hand through her brown hair and closed her eyes again, hiding their beautiful violet/blue color.
  13. Stacey nodded to James and headed over to a cabinet. As she dug through to find a medikit, James caught himself staring at her backside. He smiled in spite of himself. He shook himself out of the gaze. "Remember how much her bounty is." He repeated to himself several times. She closed the cabinet, turned and walked back to James. She sat down on a small bench in front of him and handed him the kit.

    He knelt down in front of her and opened the kit. Fixing this girl's wound was the least he could do before turning her in. He gently grabbed her by the back of the ankle as he dug a small tube of gel that would disinfect and help heal her wound out of the kit. He squeezed a small bit of clear gel onto her wound. Luckily, the casing he fired at her earlier had just grazed her leg and was just a cut. He then pulled a small bit of self adhering gauze and place it over the wound.
    As the gauze pulled itself taught on her leg, James couldn't help but stare her up and down. Her tight outfit made his mind wander. Before he could get too lost in thought she asked him how long he had been a thief. His mind slowly returned from its journey as he closed back the kit.

    "Well," He started, trying to think what to say. "I was a bit of a thief growing up. A few years ago I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and got caught." He made sure not to include too many details so she couldn't catch him in a lie. "The guy who caught me felt sorry for me I guess. I was able to work off my bounty to him and he let me go. That back there was my re-introduction to the criminal world. Hell of an entrance." James chuckled slightly. "What about you? What's your story?"
  14. Stacey watched his hands as he worked, she could tell that they were hands that were used to rough work at times, but something was a little off about this whole thing. She couldnt quite put her finger on it, but she wasnt going to come out and say anything to this man till she knew for sure. Once her wound was wrapped, she rubbed her hand absentmindedly up and down her leg, thinking of how to answer his question. She decided for once, that the truth was a good option, it would give her insight on what this man intended.
    "Well I have been a thief my entire life, its how I was raised. I am extremely good at it, having never been caught. I only steal what I think will get me through till the next heist I can plan. I dont completely rob anyone blind. I have actually slowed down on stealing, I was accused a little over a year ago by my surrogate father that I murdered President Likmin of Galaxy 10. I was there, but I did not kill him. My surrogate father did. Now I am forced to be on the run till I can prove my innocence to everyone. Which I doubt I will ever be able to do, because I can not seem to track him down."
  15. His ears perked up at the mention of the assassination. He had a feeling that she wasn't a killer. It didn't change the bounty that was on her head though. Now James was in a little bit of a quandary. He was turning her in for the bounty regardless, but he didn't want someone going to jail for crimes they didn't commit. He knew assassination was a lot more severe a sentence than simple theft.

    Perhaps there was a way he could help her hunt this man down and clear her name. Clear it of assassination anyways. Then he could turn them both in. By the time they cleared her name she would defiantly trust him and it would be that much easier to collect her bounty. He also figured the man who framed her for the assassination probably had a lot more criminal activities tied to him. Which would result in an even higher bounty. James was in a daze thinking about how much potential money he could get out of this girl and her surrogate father.

    "That's understandable." James said, snapping back to reality. "Theft, done right, doesn't really hurt anyone." He paused and forced a smile. "You say your surrogate father framed you for an assassination? You know, I'm a decent tracker. I could possibly hunt your father down. You could probably steal the evidence that would link him to the assassination when we did find him. I'm sure it's worth a good bit. Either to turn him in or as a bribe. It'd clear your name and make some good profit." He smirked. Studying her expression for an answer.
  16. Stacey looked at the man and gave him a hesitant smile, she still wasnt sure about him there was something about the way he held himself that she didnt quite trust. She ran a long fingered slender hand through her copper hair and scooped up the box that held the first aid kit, putting it back in order she then shut it inside the cabinet she had gotten it from. "Well his name is Arthurus Dellis." She knew that any self respecting member of society would know that name, Arthurus Dellis was an evil man. He had kidnapped Stacey when she was just a babe, and had raised her as his own. He let her know when she was 15 and just showing into her womanhood that he was not her father, and she was not his child. He then shaped her into his toy, making her do things beyond all comprehension. She shook herself, bound and determined NOT to think about Arthurus until she was face to face with him.
    "He is an evil man with evil intentions. I have no idea where he is and I really would like to keep it that way. It wouldnt do me any good to find him anyway, I would just become a murder for real then." Stacey turned from the man and walked away, crossing her arms in a hug like embrace and rubbing her arms, she tried to hide the pain that she was feeling even thinking about the man. She walked over to the bench that she had been sitting upon while he dressed her wound and sat down on it and tilted her head back till it rested firmly against the wall of the ship. This had been a successful day up until moments ago, when this man had tried to rob a black market salesman. That is what didnt set right with her, the fact that any thief would know not to try and hold up Emby. He was a notorious black market salesman who was known for making people disappear.

    She looked at him strangely once she realized why he was making her feel weird, "Why did you try to hold up Emby? Anyone who is a thief regardless of rank or expertise, knows not to try and hold him up..."
  17. Arthurus Dellis. That was the name she said. His heart dropped upon hearing that name. He had done a bounty for him before. He had promised to pay him double to return the man to him as opposed to the authorities. When payment time came Arthurus has refused and when James tried to force him to pay, Arthurus' personal army of bodyguards had beat him nearly to death. James had tried to hunt him down before, but when he got gotten close Arthurus had threatened to alert the marines to James' whereabouts. James had wrote Arthurus off as someone to never deal with again. The way Stacey described him let James know that Arthurus still was someone to not deal with.

    His name seemed to upset Stacey greatly and James felt a small twing of pain for bringing up a sesitive subject. She turned to him and the look in her eyes changed his pain to fear. She called him on his lie of trying to rob the black market salesman. She was sitting right in front of him now. She had that look that James knew too well. She caught him in a lie and she knew it. He began to panic. "I told you, I've been out of the criminal business for awhile." James said sahakily. She wasn't buying it. James stood and drew his pistol. He pointed it at her and threw his handcuffs at her. "Look, I didn't want it to go down like this, but it has. Put those on." He motined at the handcuffs at her feet with his pistol. "I'm turning you in."