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RoboCop script

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"Detroit. The Future. New Technologies have left Detroit behind. In the wake of this changing economy has come poverty, social decay and crime. This is a story about a cop named Murphy."
- the script's simple introductory page.

The first film, like most productions, differs from Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner's original script in several minor ways, and one or two more noticable ways. The script also fills in a few blanks and provides some great background material into the story.

This is a comparison between the final fourth draft of the script, and the events we see on screen.

General DifferencesEdit

Firstly, there are some fundemental differences to the world of Old Detroit. The police cruisers (termed "turbocruisers" in the script) are twin-engined, ultra quick machines packed with electronics and electronic countermeasures and utilising some form of dual jet engine technology and not a reciprocating piston engine. The same is true of the 6000 SUX.

Technology is perhaps more advanced than that which is seen in the film, with an inhabited Lunar Colony built on the moon (obviously).

Security is also more space-age, with key-card doors in every secure location and secure areas being generally better protected. The system for dealing with criminals at the police station is portrayed as more of a breadline, a fast-track justice system which is clearly frought with all manner of logistical problems.

There's more adverts too. Of note is a really corny sounding advert sponsored by the Committee for Corporate Concern. A song sung by a cosmopolitan mixture of unbelievably bouncy residents goes: "I love Detroit, it's the place to be / Business and pleasure! / The sights and the weather! / Detroit's the place for me!". It's almost as superficial as real life travel adverts.

Clarence and his gang take drugs a lot more habitually than any of them are shown to do on screen, especially Clarence himself: in just about every scene involving action Clarence is reported to be cramming chewing gum in his mouth and snorting coke.

Also Steve Minh is called Steve Chan for some reason.

PrologueEdit

"How'ya feelin'? Give your cop friends a message: Stay out of Old Detroit."
- Clarence after shooting Frederickson in the face.

The first difference is both obvious and pretty cool. The script details the murder of Frank Frederickson and his colleagues, Alcott, Duffy and Connors, who are ambushed by Clarence and his gang.

It's late at night and the four officers are riding in two seperate "turbocruisers", with Alcott and Duffy up front. They are racing to some sort of disturbance in Old Detroit, spaced a few blocks apart, trading jokes and light hearted insults over the radio. However, as one cruiser rounds a corner, the radio suddenly explodes into static. Frederickson speeds up and Connors readies a combat shotgun as they round the corner... to see the first turbocruiser a fiery casket of a wreck. Alcott and Duffy spill bonelessly out onto the street. Medivac and backup are not available, so Connors and Frederickson take a deep breath each and close in to rescue them themselves.

Frederickson tends to the wounded officers as Connors covers them, turning in slow circles, shotgun at the ready, straining to see into the dark and shadows at either side of the street. Duffy is already dead and Alcott convulsing and badly wounded - from a shot to the chest.

Suddenly it all kicks off. Connors levels his shotgun, but the gang have the drop on him and a five-shotgun barrage cuts him down. Frederickson comes up fighting, pumping rounds from his pistol towards the shadows moving on the sidewalks and moving doube-time back to the turbocruiser. He catches a burst of buckshot in the leg, but staggers to the cruiser and pulls himself inside, hurrying to activate the engine controls. As it burst into life, he glances up... just as the windscreen explodes into fragments and a vicious wound opens up on his face.

As the gang calmly closes in on the crippled cop, Leon finishes off Alcott with a shot to the head and Emil is noted spray painting numbers the corpses: a sick tally of the number of cops they've killed so far: 31. As this is going on, Clarence sidles up to Frederickson, tells him to deliver a warning to the other cops to stay away, then shifts the car into drive with his shotgun.

Slowly dying at the wheel, Frederickson struggles to control the car whilst pleading over the radio for assistance.

Act OneEdit

This act includes the introduction of Murphy and Sergeant Reed, the confirmation of Frederickson's death in hospital and the teaming of Lewis with Murphy.

These scenes are pretty much word-for-word how they occur in the film.

Act TwoEdit

The scene where we are introduced to Bob Morton and the other OCP employees for ED-209's unveiling.

It's made more explicit that ED-209 has always been plagued with problems: financial issues, hardware and software problems... you name it, the Enforcement Droid program is probably beleugered with it. It is for this reason that the Old Man greenlighted Morton's RoboCop program.

Morton's also a bit more of a bastard, swearing more and being more vindictive to the unfortunate Mr. Kinney.

In the script, it's more clear that ED-209 malfunctions because the deep-pile OCP carpet is so lovely and lush and thick that the gun makes no noise when it thumps into floor and ED-209 therefore assumes that Kinney is still holding it. On film it's shown to be more of a software fault rendering ED-209 unable to detect the sound, rather than a matter of ED-209's hearing, since the gun does make a hefty thump when it hits the ground.

Kinney's original death was less brutal and more symbolic too - ED-209 doesn't riddle him with rounds for an extended time, just giving him a lethal few shots. As he lies dead upon the model of Delta City, his blood flows along its tiny streets and miniature pavements. It's tough dying as a metaphor.

Amusingly, the other execs don't call for a "goddamn paramedic" as they do in the film; they call "Medical Concepts" instead, a further nod to the image of a massive corporate takeover of the country.

Act ThreeEdit

"Damn, this was a great hideout."
- Leon after the murder of Murphy.

Where Murphy and Lewis tangle with the Boddicker Gang for the first time.

Not many changes here and not much else is revealed that we don't already know. The main change is that it happens at night, and also, they do not end up at the steel mill, but at a hideout in a huge warehouse complex full of crates, cargo containers and similar paraphernalia.

What happens in the hideout is slightly different. Lewis is not punched off a balcony by Joe P. Cox, but clocked in the face by a blackjack and falls down a greasy freight elevator shaft and gets quite badly smashed up on machinery therein (this way round, it's a bit more believable that Joe doesn't finish her off, as he couldn't see her in the dark elevator shaft). Trapped in this shaft, cables covered in grease, Lewis is unable to climb out in time to get to Murphy, and can only listen as his torture progresses. To make matters worse, when she finally claws her way out, hands bleeding, she gets lost amongst a maze of stacked pallets of beer.

It's graphically mentioned how Murphy is trying to stand on broken limbs and is basically having a god awful time. When Lewis arrives by his pulped body she gets much more angry and upset, shouting at the dispatcher and being a lot more proactive than she was in the film.

On his way to the operating room, Murphy has many more flashbacks, from early childhood swimming lessons, to being in school, to meeting his wife, to his son being born, on top of the ones you see in the film.

Act FourEdit

Where Murphy is reformatted into Robocop.

Nothing of particular note is changed here. Some more technobabble, but otherwise how it appears on screen.

Act FiveEdit

Where Robocop is delivered to Metro West Precinct for final testing and calibration.

Again, nothing of note is changed. Some very minor changes, such as Bob Morton trying the "rudimentary paste" instead of Donald Johnson.

Act SixEdit

"Open the safe, pops, or I'm gonna blow junior here all over the candy rack."
- The Hop Head robbing the grocery store.

Robocop's first night out.

The attempted rape and hostage-taking proceed as per the film.

At the grocery store, a thieving kid has been added, who's shoplifting candy bars. The robber, called Hop Head in the script, threatens to shoot him rather than the grocery store owner's wife. There's lots more bullets richocheting about the place and lots more blood too. Like Bobby it's unclear if the Hop Head is dead, but he's certainly severely injured by the time Robocop is done with him. Robocop also takes the time to inform us that "prisoner transport will arrive shortly", rather than seemingly walking off like he does on film.

After he's gone, the kid goes up to the counter and pays for his candy bars.

It's also clear that the other cops are unnerved by Robocop, as detailed when he passes a few of them at a burger stand.

Act SevenEdit

In which Morton crosses the line and Jones gets plenty pissed.

Nothing to report, except the "executive lounge" is much nicer, with bevelled glass and posh tiles, a sauna, a gym and "everything else you need to combat stress and fatigue here at the top". Much more luxurious than the glorified public toilet we see on film.

Act EightEdit

Where Robocop has a bad dream, gets up and walks out of the precinct and tangles with Emil.

Pretty much the same, except Emil doesn't deliver his "I know you. We killed you. We killed you!" line, instead just saying "you...". He's panicking more too, dropping his cigarette by mistake and almost losing control of his bike, instead of the smooth getaway he executes in the film.

Oh, and when the gas station explodes, the "S" of "SHELL" gets obliterated, leaving a big fiery illuminated "HELL" in the night sky. Robocop's also on fire, but it doesn't bother him.

Act NineEdit

During which Robocop tracks down his old house and visits his grave!

Robo's stroll around his house occurs pretty much exactly how it does on film.

The most interesting change was the removal of the scene where Robocop visits his grave. It's teeming down with rain, and Robo is walking amongst the tombstones. With every crack of thunder and flash of lightning we see the faces of Emil, Steve Chan (Minh), Joe and the others opening up with their shotguns. This soon fades to the image of Murphy's gravestone, a white cross bearing the words Alex Murphy, Beloved Husband and Father, RIP.

Act TenEdit

Bob Morton's death.

Very similar to the events seen on screen, except that Clarence is not identified as such until the end of the scene. Also of note is the fact that Bob Morton has a cat, which befriends Clarence, much to Bob's chargrin.

Neumeier and Miner couldn't bring themselves to bump off the cat though: it slips out of the front door along with Clarence before the grenade goes off.

Act ElevenEdit

During which Robocop tracks down Clarence.

This is totally different. Instead of downloading pictures into his brain and going off to pump Leon for info, Robocop prints out pictures of Steve, Joe and Clarence, then drives around the wet, dark streets looking for people to interrogate. First he presses a pimp for information, forcing him against a wall whilst showing him the pictures, but no luck. Then a few bocks down he tries a couple of hookers, but still no joy. A few hours later, the rain's stopped, and Robo's lined up a group of ten teenage gangsters against a wall, on their knees. One by one he shows them the pictures, but it's not looking good.

But the last kid hesitates, glancing at Steve Minh's picture. This doesn't go unnoticed and Robocop first steps on his leg, then pulls him out of the line by his collar. The kid talks fast.

Act TwelveEdit

"Cool it cop, or I turn this room into a meat locker! I mean it man!"
- Clarence, cornered in the drug factory, emergency grenade in hand.

Sal's last business deal.

The fight in Sal's "rock shop" is much more brutal and taxing on everyone involved. The shop itself is an old supermarket with a ramshackle assmbly line installed, described as the largest processing lab in the city. As well as Joe Cox and Steve Minh, Clarence has also brought his right hand man Leon Nash along.

It's all pretty much the same until the "come quietly or there will be... trouble" line. As everyone in the factory is wondering what to do, loads of tactical graphics are appearing on Robo's HUD, even more than we see on the film, together with an ammo counter and a "targets remaining" tally.

It's Leon who spits the rebuttle at him and fires the first shot. Clarence hits the floor as the bullets start to fly and basically tries to get the hell out of there as everyone else opens fire. Particular mention is made of Robocop using his left arm to shield his face as he advances, pumping out rounds from the Auto-9. Steve gets a burst in the chest and is thrown in to Sal's lap, then things fall apart rapidly.

Sal's bodyguard Frankie cops a round between the eyes. The other one is hit a glancing blow, but stumbles into the automatic fire of the lab workers. Meanwhile, Robocop is advancing further into the maelstrom. Joe Cox is firing a .45 pistol, but a another deadly accurate burst of Auto-9 fire catches him in the hands, blowing off two of his fingers and sending the gun spinning across the room. Leon grabs him and pulls him through a fire door. Before Sal knows what's going on, Robocop is upon him, and throws him across the room, then smoothly reloads the Auto-9. Sal smashes through a load of glassware then lands on top of a rotating sorting machine of some sort.

A few shots later and the only two left standing are Clarence and Robocop. Clarence is cornered, pulls out a grenade and pulls the pin. Clarence stands his ground, grits his teeth... and Robocop hurles him through a massive window. He drops the grenade mid-flight, but it sails away and explodes harmlessly somewhere else. Then Robocop basically works on Clarence in the same manner as the film, but he never goes to throttle him, just cuffs him and throws him in the car as Clarence is trying to barter his innocence and dropping a certain name.

Act ThirteenEdit

Where Clarence is booked.

Precisely the same, except it's not scripted that Clarence spits out a gob of blood on Sergeant Reed's desk. Kurtwood Smith ad-libbed this himself.

Act FourteenEdit

The scene in which Robocop tries to arrest Dick Jones and gets thrashed by ED-209 and the cops.

Exactly the same, except Dick Jones smokes, and they call Directive 4 Directive 3 several times. Whoops.

The only other things of note are ED-209 firing its cannons constantly when it's upside down on the stairs and a cleaning woman tutting and remarking that the office "aint gonna get cleared up tonight."

Act FifteenEdit

"Well listen chief, you wanted dead cops so you could sell your robot, now I gotta deal with the fuckin' thing? I don't have time for this bullshit."
- Clarence to Dick Jones, revealing more about the underhanded tactics of OCP.

Where Clarence and Dick Jones have a falling out, and a making up.

Very similar to the sequence on film, with the interesting line above added. What this tells us is that as well as cutting resources and manpower to the cops on the street and getting them killed to provide raw materials for the RoboCop program, Clarence has also been instructed by Dick Jones to kill cops off to make his pet project seem more viable. Remember that although Clarence is referencing Robocop at the end of his outburst, he's referring to ED-209 to begin with: as far as Clarence knows or cares, Dick Jones is in charge of both projects (which, after Act Ten, is presumerably true).

Act SixteenEdit

"I guess we're on strike."
"The law doesn't go on strike."
- Lewis and Robocop.

Robocop recuperates and Lewis bring him supplies.

Similar to the filmed scene, but they're not at the steel mill, they're holed up at a massive automobile assembly factory. Robocop is much more seriously damaged than in the film, and is conducting more comprehensive repairs, panel beating his armour back into shape, working various hinges back into functioning order and working on the interior of one of his damaged legs, even going so far as to replace one of his "bones" with a length of scrap steel, heating it up and hammering it into shape. It's suggested that his main problem was the armour plates being deformed and bent into his moving parts by the sheer strength of ED-209 and the sustained barrage of rounds from the cops, but his left hand is also badly mangled. He's at it for a long time too - about 24 hours of repairs.

Robocop's eyes are described as being flecked with tiny blue, yellow and red LEDs.

As they're setting up Robo's targetting system, a burglar alarm goes off somewhere. Then another. And another. Soon the whole city is alive with alarms. The strike has started.

Act SeventeenEdit

The gang's reunion and lots of carnage.

This scene is almost entirely different than how it occurs in the film, and it is chock full of gratuitous violence. There are riots in the streets, gangs of looters sweeping through shops and kids joyriding wild. The Cobra assault cannon is slightly different in operation too, yamming into a target then exploding a second later, a lot like the torque bow from Gears of War.

Clarence has come prepared this time, wearing a bulky flak jacket with several grenades on the chest, and Leon is injured, with his jaw wired shut from some injury at Sal's place, but apart from that, the reunion initally closely follows the film, up until the point where Joe and Emil are running around shooting at everything. In the script, the pair reach a pet shop, and a puppy in the window pants and paws and looks lovely and cute at them. Emil and Joe are about to destroy the shop when Clarence orders them to pack it in and get moving.

As they speed off down the smoking street, the van suddenly screeches to a halt outside the pet shop, and Joe fires two shells into it, reducing it to fiery rubble.

As this is going on, Robocop and Lewis are cruising around the city. Order has all but disintegrated, shop fronts explode as looters smash their way in, fires burn, mobs whoop and shout as they stagger around with TVs, armfulls of booze and fine clothes. Finally they reach a shopping district with a gun store, and an armed mob is just coming out. The ring leader, Ike Bender, shrugs off the shop owner's pleas for restraint and shoots him through the leg with a hunting rifle. Robo and Lewis have seen enough and tackle them, eventually shooting Ike in the leg and then shooting his hunting rifle to pieces as it falls to the floor.

This disbands most of the looters, but something worse is brewing. Lewis notices that a familiar looking van has pulled up a block away, but she can't place where she's seen it before. She doesn't have to consider for long, because a door opens and Joe steps out with an assault cannon and he immediately opens fire. The street comes alive with explosions, looters are sent flying and panic overtakes everyone. A shell hits a huge manhole cover and sends it flying like a coin. Ike Bender strains himself to his feet... and is flattened by the drain cover as it comes back down.

Robocop opens fire, but another shell embeds itself in a light pole, exploding a second later in a cloud of shrapnel, staggering him. As this is going on, Lewis jumps into the turbocuriser and picks Robocop up, hitting the gas as another round explodes nearby, blowing out the windscreen and cutting Lewis's face up. They can't escape quickly as the road is choked with looters and Lewis fights hard to find a way through them, but then Clarence's 6000 SUX - with Leon driving - blasts out from a side road, clipping the cruiser and putting it into a spin. Lewis fights with the wheel and shoves the car into reverse, mounting the kerb and sending sparks everywhere. Behind them, Emil and Joe slide to a halt and Joe draws a bead on them as Clarence prepares to fire, but Robo empties his Auto 9 into their cockpit and keeps them down, then Lewis manages to escape down an alley and spins the cruiser onto a side street.

This only gives them a moment's respite, however, as the van piles down the alley after them. Emil roars a war cry and Joe prepares for the shot, but he can't get the angle right. Seconds later and Leon and Clarence, blasted by 60mph winds through their nonexistant windshield, overtake them. Clarence puts on a pair of shades to combat the wind and levels the Cobra on the dash, putting a round through one of the cruiser's engines. It explodes into pieces and they immediately lose power as warning lights and tones fill the cabin. The cruiser doesn't have much life left and Lewis throttles up the remaining engine, weaving along a main road, dodging a couple more shells, then flying over a bridge and crashing through the wire fence of the OK Steel Works.

Act EighteenEdit

WHAT HE SEES: It's Emil, the incredible melting man. He staggers, mouth corroded into a gaping silent scream, arms flailing in the air.
- The script's description of what Clarence sees before running down his former comrade.

Showdown.

Again, the meaty parts of the showdown at the steel mill are totally different. Moments after lewis and Robocop plough through the fence, the gang arrives and cautiously follow them in, stalking deep inside in a very similar manner to what's seen on screen, except that Clarence stays in the SUX, with the van shadowing the whole gang, their headlights on full beam, as the showdown occurs at night in the script.

The foundry is patrolled by dogs, a beat-up Doberman and a mangey old Alsation. Joe shoots at them for no good reason, but the blast merely scares them off.

Suddenly, as they round a corner into Liquid Storage, Robocop is there, delivering his "looking for me?" line. As the gang hesitates, Lewis powers out from a pile of scrap and rams the van full tilt, using the failing cruiser's remaining afterburner to shove the van towards the vat of toxic waste. If anything the script is even more graphic than what what we see on screen, detailing Emil clutching his face and it coming away "in strings" and running wildly around.

As this is going on, Clarence is driving around the production area with the Cobra hanging out of the window, dodging support girders, ancient roller presses and piles of scrap. Robocop manages to target Clarence, but Clarence ducks at the last possible moment and hits the gas, clipping Robocop and sending him thumping to the gorund some distance away. Immediately, he's on his feet and heading for the nearest cover: the vast, cavernous, dark expanse of the next door pressing plant, firing several well-placed shots to keep the others down. The SUX enters after him with the turbocruiser close behind, and Leon and Joe take to the high ground by means of catwalks, with Leon going for an operations booth and Joe moving to flank Robocop in cover.

Lewis and Clarence trade some tit-for-tat nudges and bumps in their vehicles, with Lewis almost forcing Clarence to crash, but he evades the machinery at the last moment and sticks his Cobra through the passenger window, lining up the shot, one eye on where he's going, the other on Lewis. But, when he next looks up, Emil is there, and he runs him down, loses control, mounts a massive old rusty steel press, and rolls the SUX into a support girder, coming to rest with his head on the horn.

Lewis approaches cautiously, pistol at the ready. She opens the door... and Clarence fires at point blank range, catching her three times and sending her staggering backwards into the dirt. Robocop is closing in, but Leon has been madly throwing switches and circuit breakers in the operations booth and suddenly the huge lights in the pressing plant come on and Robocop is caught in the open. Joe Cox spots him and shouts to Leon, who smashes a window out in the control booth and takes aim.

As this is happening, Clarence pulls himself from the cruiser and sees that Robocop is approaching. He makes a move for the assault cannon, but Robo fires first, catching him in the chest. Clarence goes down, coughing, then staggers away, a huge dent in his flak jacket and a squashed slug falling to the floor. Before he can fire again, Joe opens up, making Robo leap for cover, returning fire, until he reaches Lewis. He drags her to relative safety behind the SUX and the machinery it crashed into, but, up on the catwalks, Joe is moving to flank him. He breaks cover as Joe uses up the rest of his magazine on him. Girders and rusted support columns shake and flex, the whole facility is taking a severe pounding, but Robo manages to line up the shot. Joe is exposed and helpless... but then Leon, who's been waiting for the right shot, fires, the shell impacting a girder inches away from Robocop's temple and exploding. The girder is sheered in half, and I-beams and pieces of metal and huge panels, pipes and girders crash down upon him.

Joe roars in triumph and Leon zooms in with the Cobra, checking the debris, waiting for the dust to settle. Clarence steps up to the debris pile, looking at Robocop buried within, ordering his boys to hold off. This is personal. With that, he takes a grenade, pulls the pin, and sneers his "sionara, Robocop!", then drops it into the debris pile, skipping quickly away.

Then Clarence's mouth falls open in amazement as Robocop rises from the wreckage, primed grenade in hand. He lobs it up towards Joe on the catwalks. Joe escapes the blast, but the weakened walkway falls to pieces, and Joe is grabbing at the empty air as he falls down landing upon a crumbling old concrete wall, impaling himself on a spike of rebar.

Seeing this, Leon takes aim... but Lewis, who has been straining over to the discarded Cobra all this time, squeezes off a shot. It's deadly accurate, slamming into Leon's chest. Leon gets about half a second to feel some intense pain and panic, then the shell explodes and rips the booth to pieces.

Meanwhile, Joe takes stock of the situation, still hanging from the wall by the spike of rebar through him. His Cobra is on the ground a few feet below and, with a superhuman effort of mind over matter, hoists his body up the spike to try and unlatch himself. Then there's the sound of growling. The doberman and the mangey alsation are back, and they're very annoyed, and very hungry. The two hounds leap up at him, the alsation tearing a chunk out of Joe's leg and the doberman leaping much higher, sinking it's rows of sharp teeth between his legs.

Clarence pulls out his final grenade and throws it at Robocop, but the cyborg shoots it in mid air and detonates, knocking Clarence off his feet. When he's back up, Robocop grabs him. Clarence tries his "okay, okay, I give up" strategy, but it has the same effect on Robocop in the script as it does in the film. Robocop grabs him, shoves him up against the roller press, and punches him so hard his head explodes and "a great fan of blood colours the wall".

A few cops show up a short time later and take care of Lewis as Robocop jumps into the beat up turbocruiser and heads to the OCP Tower.

Act NineteenEdit

Dick Jones's retirement.

Very similar to what happens on screen, with the addition of a couple of (useless) security guards, who get immediately knocked out by Robocop as soon they enter the room. It's one of the security guard's guns that Dick Jones uses for his hostage taking attempt.

EpilogueEdit

"I don't know about you, but I'll sleep a little better tonight."
"Thanks for watching Mediabreak. Next time you see a cop... smile."
- Casey Wong and Jess Perkins rounding up the news.

In the script there's a wrapping-up of a few loose ends.

Lewis is visited in hospital by Justin Ballard-Watkins and is spoken of as a true hero. She all modesty and humility and duty.

And Bixby Snyder is arrested for having underage sex with a young co-star. It's unlikely he'll be able to buy his freedom for a dollar.


Significant differences between 4th Draft and FilmEdit

The 4th draft of the script [[1]] for RoboCop was written on June 10, 1986, by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner. The script's story is similar to the finished film, with almost all of the familiar elements. Prominent differences are listed below.

  • A line of dialogue in the 4th draft implicitly places the bulk of the film in the year 2043.
  • Murphy was gunned down in a warehouse, not in the same steel mill where he would have his final confrontation with Clarence Boddicker.
  • The Detroit PD cars are identified as TurboCruisers. In the film, they were mid '80's Ford Tauruses.
  • A lunar colony exists on the moon. Ellen and Jimmy Murphy moved there to live with Ellen's sister after Alex Murphy's funeral.
  • RoboCop visits his own grave.
  • Joe Cox was killed when he was impaled on a spike and then bitten by two dogs.
  • The film begins with an attack on four cops by Clarence Boddicker.
  • Steve's last name is Chan, not Minh.

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