- I've been avoiding you. It's... your background. The assassin training and all that. It's just... my childhood's so normal. I mean, Batman and Nightwing had some rough stuff to deal with growing, but... but you -- you were raised to be that guy there, and you turned yourself into one of us. That's... pretty intimidating.
Cassandra Cain is the fourth Batgirl. Born with the assassins David Cain and Lady Shiva as her parents, she was trained to become the perfect warrior. Her father deprived her of speech so she would learn movement and physicality as her first language. Batman adopted her into the Batman Family during No Man's Land, to replace Helena Bertinelli as Batgirl. Cassandra would eventually turn her Batgirl costume over to Stephanie Brown, and become a member of Batman Incorporated as Black Bat.
- 1 History
- 2 Powers and Abilities
- 3 Paraphernalia
- 4 Notes
- 5 Trivia
- 6 Recommended Reading
- 7 Related
- 8 External Links
The daughter of David Cain and Sandra Wu-San (Lady Shiva), Cassandra Cain was conceived and trained from birth with the intention of creating the perfect bodyguard for Ra's al Ghul. After many unsuccessful attempts to train children from birth in martial arts to make them inculcate it like a native language (the most successful being the Mad Dog), David Cain, then a member of Ra's League of Assassins, decided the right genes were necessary to create this "Who Is All". With Ra's go ahead, Cain searched for the perfect mother for this child, finding her in the Wu-San sisters of Detroit, who practiced martial arts with each other nearly every moment of their childhood in a type of sister's language. Cain sympathized with the younger sister, Sandra, when he noticed that she held back out of love for Carolyn. To "help" Sandra reach her full potential, Cain murdered Carolyn, then lured Sandra into an ambush by the League of Assassins, where he defeated her. Cain spared Sandra from death on the condition that she bear his child, and leave her for him to raise. Awed by the potential heights she could reach in her physical talents now that Carolyn was gone, Sandra agreed to Cain's bargain in order that she might go on to become the unstoppable force of nature known as Lady Shiva: creator and destroyer. Shiva's hope for her child was that she might one day grow to be the force that could stop her reign of destruction.
Trained by her father to be the ultimate weapon, Cassandra was not taught to speak. Instead, he relied mostly on actions to communicate with her. Also, he cut her off from the outside world, only exposing her to anything or anyone other than him when absolutely necessary. As a result, the parts of her brain normally used for speech and language processing were trained so she could read other people's movements and body language to recognize their thoughts without verbal communication and predict, with uncanny accuracy, their next move in a fight. This also caused her brain to develop learning functions different from most, a form of dyslexia that hampers her ability to talk, read, and write.
When she was 8 years old, Cain decided his experiment had progressed far enough for him to test Cassandra's abilities in the real world and took her to a hit; the target being Faizul, a 'bookman' in Macau. At the time Cassandra had no idea what she was doing and believed it was only a game (an interpretation in keeping with her own reaction to what happened and matching the interpretation of Alfred Pennyworth, an expert on children who saw a tape of events). After striking a deathblow, she "read" the target as he died, and saw death as he saw it.
In addition to scarring her emotionally, she realized murder, like her father's profession, was wrong, and she ran away.
No Man's Land
Cassandra spent the next nine years homeless, guilt- and fear-ridden as she traveled the world. Entering Gotham City at 17, Cassandra came to be of Oracle's agents in the No Man's Land of Gotham City. After saving Commissioner Gordon's life from her assassin father, she was given the Batgirl costume with the approval of both Batman and Oracle. She became Barbara's ward and in a sense, the Batman's adoptive daughter. As the No Man's Land wore on, the new Batgirl was introduced to the rest of the Bat-Family with varying levels of acceptance. Usually acting as the Batman's watchful eye, she was finally allowed to go on a solo mission when a petrol station needed guarding against a local gang. Near the end of No Man's Land, Batman noticed her death wish and forced her to make a decision between suicidal actions and self-preservation. She opted for self-preservation.
Despite her notable handicap of being unable to talk, read, or write, Cassandra did remarkably well. Capable of understanding others' intentions due to her ability to read body language she was a more than a capable listener, despite the fact she couldn't process their words or reply to them. It was this trait that made her one of the Batman's most loyal and trusted followers and helped her to survive when the Bat-clan became hunted by the Bloodhawks. Although the fact that she couldn't talk frustrated Barbara Gordon, she proved herself useful in other ways during a team with the spectral vigilante Ghost in tracking disappearing corpses. The running successes and final understanding of her mission as Batgirl allowed Batman to give her the privilege of running solo in Gotham City on the condition that she faced no 'costumed criminals' (Joker, Bane, Two-Face, Penguin, etc)
From going undercover in Madras with Batman to saving local heroes from the mob, Cassandra continued to impress as the new Batgirl. Especially when, despite Batman's warnings, she went face to face with a meta-human and won. She even managed to, despite her restriction to Gotham City, make it on the reserve member list of Young Justice.
But Cassandra's career was not the only thing that was growing. In the background a rift between Oracle and Batman was slowly emerging, as was the growing image of Batman as a father figure in Cassandra's eyes but the major development was David Cain's intentions to get his daughter back.
Batman learned about Cassandra's past when Cain sent a tape depicting Faizul's death to the Batcave. Nevertheless, Batman continued to accept Cassandra. Things became more strained when a run-away psychic altered Cassandra's mind so that she could understand words. As a side effect, she lost her ability to read body language and thus, her ability to fight properly. After she almost died while trying to protect the psychic from assassins, Batman took away her costume and began retraining her. The training remained ineffective, however, in part due to Cassandra dwelling on her lost ability instead of focusing on learning all over again, and Cassandra wanted to roam the streets, with or without the costume.
It was during of these 'unauthorized' vigilante outings that she encountered her mother. After Shiva attempted to kill a wealthy young girl, Cassandra intervened but was swiftly knocked out. After waking up, she immediately tracked Shiva down, despite having a dead arm, to find out why she spared. Shiva explained that she came to Gotham to lure her out and fight her, and left when she felt Cassandra was no longer a challenge.When she explained why her skills were lacking, Shiva recognized her Cassandra's missing skills and offered to train in a way that will allow her to possess them again. In exchange, they would fight to the death in a year. Knowing she had no chance of winning, but wanting her skills back, Cassandra accepted.
Duel to the Death
Cassandra began training immediately; going after every talented fighter she came across in order to gain more skills. After hearing how notorious the Joker was with the Bat-clan, she freed him in order to apprehend him again in order to gauge just how good he was. Batman and Oracle deduced that Cassandra had not given up her death wish and that it was due to guilt over her murdering Faizul. They began looking into what had brought the death wish back. Her reckless training was interrupted when an officer down was called over the frequencies. Batman's longtime ally and friend, Commissioner Gordon had been shot in cold blood.
It wasn't long until Batman gave her a cave of her own to operate from. Her training continued as she found even more powerful opponents like Bizarro, Supergirl and Shadow Thief during the Joker's Last Laugh, as well as numerous villains during the aftermath of Our Worlds at War. These activities had not gone unnoticed by Batman and Oracle. Knowing about Cassandra's match with Shiva but impressed by her progress, Batman allowed Cassandra to continue -- despite Oracle's protests. When the fateful night arrived that Cassandra had to face Shiva on the rooftops of Gotham City Barbara Gordon tried to talk her out of it. In response, she used a nerve strike to paralyze her, apologized and left to face her fate. Despite her best efforts, Shiva won the battle fairly easily, killing Cassandra with a shot to a nerve cluster near the heart. After the battle, within a temple devoted to her, Shiva brought Cassandra back to life. Shiva's price: A rematch. This time, with her death wish satisfied, Cassandra won and became the first to defeat Lady Shiva in martial combat. However, she spared Shiva's life, who vowed to return to kill Cassandra.
Unfortunately, the victory would be short-lived. Bruce Wayne was in jail on suspicion of murder. Cassandra arrived back at the cave in time to see Batman leave. Cassandra's resulting investigation revealed that Batman and Bruce Wayne were, in fact, the same person. Later she, along with Spoiler and Nightwing, discovered critical clues that pointed to Bruce Wayne's innocence and, eventually, incriminating evidence to the real culprit: David Cain. Her father safely behind bars and no battle-to-the-death with Shiva to train for, Cassandra focused on her crime-fighting career.
Batgirl makes a mistake due to stress, and Oracle insists that they vacation on a cruise liner. Superboy happened to attend the same cruise, and together they stop a terrorist named Black Wind. Superboy gives Batgirl his number, and Batgirl kisses him. Batgirl goes on date with Superboy in Smallville, but they end up deciding to just be friends. Batgirl and Batman work together when Doctor Death tries to auction his chemical weapons in Gotham. They pursue him to Tarakstan, where they're forced to ally with Black Wind. Doctor Death is shot, and Black Wind sacrifices his life to contain the chemical weapons released. Before leaving the country, Cassandra, imitating a local custom, professes her feelings for him and vows to keep it a secret.
Barbara Gordon lends her old costume to Cassandra, who briefly uses it on patrol, but decides she prefers her own costume. Later, Batgirl investigates a new drug called Soul. This leads her to the Lost Girls street gang, whom Cassandra fights, unaware that the leaders are all metahumans. Midway through the fight, she accidentally swallows a Soul pill. Because Soul's effects are determined by whether a person has a good or evil heart, she briefly hallucinates as her inner good and evil wrestle for control. When her evil side wins out, defeats the Girls under the Soul's influence. Later, Batgirl hunts and stops a serial killer named Doll Man. When she tries to stop a white slavery ring, but Batman shows up, angry because she ruined his sting operation. Batman tells Cassandra that she has been making too many mistakes recently, and forces her to suspend her activities as Batgirl. When Barbara tries to console her, Cassandra steals her Batgirl costume and takes to the streets. Investigating Soul again, she leads her to the scientist supplying the Lost Girls, who is revealed to be Doctor Death. Doctor Death doses Batgirl and Batman with concentrated Soul, and they fight to the death. When the effects wear off, Batgirl has a tender moment with Batman, and she explains that her father never let her display affection. Batman asks who she is loyal to, and Batgirl responds that she is loyal not to him but to their symbol. Robin takes Doctor Death into custody. Cassandra begins enjoying her new freedom, and Oracle takes her to a public garden. This garden is revealed to be a plot by Poison Ivy to recreate the Garden of Eden. Batgirl burns down Ivy's Tree of Knowledge, from which the entire garden grew from, stopping her.
Stephanie Brown became the new Robin when Tim Drake quit, and Batgirl teamed with her to take down the Penguin. Batman had Batgirl stage a public fight with Onyx in the Iceberg Lounge to improve Onyx's street credibility. Batgirl was later sent to protect Tim Drake when Scarab is looking to kill Robin. Later, Batgirl stopped a robot called Project Mars who was trying to destroy the public library. This revealed that her illiteracy was still a problem when she had trouble determining its self-destruct code. When Stephanie Brown was fired as Robin and told to give up crime-fighting, she approached Batgirl to thank her for their friendship.
Gotham became a war zone when the leaders of several crime syndicates were killed, leaving a massive vacuum. Batgirl was sent to deal with the Lucky Hand Triad in Chinatown when Kwan Lin was killed and later she helped Onyx and Orpheus put out a battle between the Hill Gang and the Latino Unified. Batgirl then pursued Alexandra Kosov of the Odessa Mob into an explosive firefight, but lost her. Tarantula fought Batgirl and rejected her offer to bring the Latino Unified under the protection of Orpheus. Batgirl confronted Spoiler and told her to get off the streets, but Spoiler did not listen. Soon after, Batgirl joined Batman and Nightwing to stop a shootout at Louis Grieve High School. This incident was the first time Batman was caught on film, which also revealed Batgirl's existence to the public.
Batman told Batgirl and the Bat-Family to push on when Commissioner Akins declared a curfew, and later he revealed to them that he has discovered that the gang war is one of his own contingency plans. Batgirl protected Leslie Thompkins against an attack by Lynx and the Ghost Dragons. Accidentally, Lynx was deadly injured by her own henchmen aiming at Batgirl.
Batgirl was placed on the perimeter at Robinson Park when Black Mask started a riot while posing as Orpheus. They're forced to fight every criminal in the city until the riot dispersed. Batman sent Batgirl to deal with Killer Croc and Suicide King and before leaving, she told Batman that Spoiler was responsible for the war games, but Batman already knew. Batgirl rescued Onyx, who was being tortured by Croc's henchmen. The final confrontation with Black Mask was at Gotham Clock Tower, where police were told to shoot vigilantes on sight. Batgirl helped put away Scarebeast and then escaped the law.
Following War Games, the Gotham City Police Department declared all costumed heroes illegal. Because of this and Nightwing being injured during the War Games, Batman suggested that he and Batgirl move to Blüdhaven, as well as financially supporting them. There, she quickly made a name for herself by defeating the Society of Evil. Deathstroke later took on a contract from the Penguin to kill Batgirl and decided to let his daughter Rose Wilson (the current Ravager) do the job instead. Cassandra beat Rose by critically wounding her and giving Deathstroke no choice but to get her medical attention. It was during fathers' day that Cassandra became infatuated with knowing who her mother was. Interrogating all the contacts she had (including Batman and her father, David Cain) she eventually found her mother to be Lady Shiva.
Justice League Elite
Cassandra joined the Justice League Elite, masquerading as an assassin named Kasumi to monitor the team for Batman and participated in several missions with them. Ultimately she helped them save the world from the Worlogog and a psychic impression of Manchester Black that had taken over the team's leader, Vera Black. She revealed herself to her teammate Coldcast to tell him that he was not a bad guy before he was accused of murder. She personally stood by him in clearing his name.
League of Assassins
Returning to Gotham City Cassandra discovered that not only had her adoptive family left on a year-long training trip without her but that Batman had left a recently cured Harvey Dent to protect Gotham in his stead. Despite this Cassandra still retained the Batgirl persona and patrolled Gotham while staying at Wayne Manor under Alfred's care. Due to Alfred's influence, Cassandra would gradually learn to read and write due to her attending ESL classes between her nightly activities. It was during one of these patrols, however, that Deathstroke managed to not only inject her with a controlled dose of his serum but influenced her enough to join him in a plan to form an army involving David Cain's 'daughters'. Slade's influence Cassandra gained control of a part of the League of Assassins, assassinating Nyssa al Ghul in the process, and became a member of his Titan's East. As leader of the League of Assassins she also -- again under Slade's control -- attempted to kill Kara Zor-el and masterminded the escape of David Cain from prison. She was cured when Timothy Drake injected her with an antiserum during a confrontation between the Teen East and the Teen Titans. However, suffering residual effects of the drug, she briefly worked for David Cain in attaining the drug Pheno before fully coming to her senses and returning to the Bat Family.
Feeling partially responsible for what happened to her, Batman allowed her to return after a strict detoxification program and gave her a strict curfew. Nightwing, however, was not so accepting, regarding her with open hostility and suspicion. When Cassandra began seeking vengeance upon her father and Slade, she had to do it secretly due to their mistrust. Unfortunately, her activities eventually were found out, resulting in her clashing with Nightwing and stealing a Batwing from the Batcave. Teaming up with her half-sister Marque (New Earth), she fought Deathstroke and David Cain once again, culminating on taking on Cain one on one and almost killing him, before staying true to her Bat training and pulling back, which Batman witnesses. At the end of the ordeal, Cassandra is officially adopted as Bruce Wayne's daughter.
With Batman's invitation Cassandra began working in the Outsiders team and, despite some mistrust from some members due to her recent activities, was accepted as part of the team. When Batman suddenly disappeared without word or warning, the Outsiders went looking for him all across Gotham. Cassandra went to the Iceberg Lounge to question Penguin about Batman's whereabouts, but learned nothing from him and instead she was forced to deal with Johnny Stitches. Back at their headquarters, the Outsiders received a message from Batman, but Batgirl noticed that he wasn't the real man. However, she decided to play along with the impostor's plan, allowing REMAC to be injected with a virus that caused him to die in an explosion that left Thunder in a coma. Batgirl was blamed for the disaster and the Outsiders disbanded. Afterward, Batgirl went to the Batcave, where she learned that the attack was part of the Black Glove's plan and she decided to reform the Outsiders.
Batgirl began recruiting heroes across Gotham that matched Batman's unique abilities in order to create a team that could replace the missing Batman and the disbanded Outsiders at the same time, but Batgirl didn't expect that Nightwing would not agree with her plan. Nightwing was having trouble coming to grips with his adoptive father's possible death, but this would eventually sort out their conflict after Alfred intervened in a fight between the two. Cassandra handed over further creation of the Network to Nightwing.
When the third crisis hit, Cassandra was among the heroes responding to an Article X draft to combat the rise of Darkseid. Cassandra has also been seen assisting Supergirl and Wonder Woman fight an incarnation of the villainous Chang Tzu.
Cassandra was summoned along with many other heroes, to Gotham city after Batman's death. Together, they formed the Network, a team designed to maintain order in Gotham during Batman's absence. As part of this team, Batgirl teamed up with Huntress to stop Hugo Strange following Oracle's instructions. However, Batgirl was forced to fight Huntress to stop her from killing a criminal.
Following the Battle for Batman's cowl, Cassandra began to feel emotional about her adoptive father's death, becoming disillusioned and passing her costume on to Stephanie Brown who becomes the new Batgirl. Cassandra leaves via the Gotham Airport, warning Stephanie not to follow her. After Batman's return, it was revealed that Cassandra had handed over her Batgirl mantle to Stephanie, acting in accords with her mentor's order in the event of his death or disappearance and because giving over the role would help Stephanie become a stronger hero. Drake remained in contact with her, implying that she's been working as an anonymous agent in Batman's plans.
Shortly thereafter, Red Robin visited her in Hong Kong to exchange information on cases they were working with, on the crime boss and possible undercover cop Lynx and a mysterious assassin known as Cricket that Cassandra was searching for. Aside from the minor aid they offered each other, Tim had brought her a new costume with a Bat on it to replace the plain black costume she had been wearing ever since she gave her Batgirl uniform and name to Stephanie, telling her that it didn't matter if she called herself Bat-Chick, Knightbat, or Black Robin, she had a family. She thanked him but said that family is not always home as she left, giving no sign she'd use the new costume but taking it with her regardless. Drake noted that despite her not wanting to be Batgirl anymore, there was no sign she was being anything but true to herself and who she had wanted to become.
Cassandra later becomes an operative of Batman Incorporated protecting Hong Kong, using the suit given to her by Tim and calling herself Blackbat. Bruce Wayne has her take a neo-heroin smuggling operation.
Black Bat traveled to Paris following a homing signal to Red Robin to the final site in a tournament of assassins, saving him from being raped by Daughter of Acheron, Ra's al Ghul's half-sister, and defeated the vigilante Promise while freeing Drake. Cassandra then proceeded to take a sword and impale Tim in the chest, triggering confirmation that she had won the tournament, being one of the few in history to do so and activating a system that would 'immortalize' her, by killing her with a laser. Red Robin saved her from the beam, and then revealed they had faked Red Robin's death using a trick sword, blood packets, and a stopped heart to fool the temple's automated systems. They attempted to examine the base, but although Tim conversed with the assassin tournament's creator, a previously unknown centuries old immortal, the base self-destructed before they could learn any close as to his location.
Red Robin came to Hong Kong to assist Black Bat in Cassandra's hunt for Cricket, but they were defeated by the Cricket, badly injuring Tim and promising to fight Cassandra 'For real' next time.
Powers and Abilities
- Peak Human Condition: Through continuous intense training Cassandra represents the greatest fighting weapon ever conceived. She possesses peak level strength, stamina, speed and agility comparable to the finest human athlete.
- Martial Arts: Due to her lifelong training Cassandra has a master level knowledge of all fighting arts known and unknown and continues to learn with every new opponent she faces. She was trained by her father (David Cain), along with several other members of the League of Assassins, including Bronze Tiger, Merlyn and Alpha. Upon taking the mantle of Batgirl, she was trained further by Batman, Oracle, Black Canary, and Lady Shiva. She received supplementary instruction from Onyx. She has also invented her own styles and techniques.
- Hand-to-Hand Combat (Advanced): Cassandra is schooled in all known and many unknown assassin techniques such as pressure points, killing techniques and stealth to name a few.
- Body Reading Ability: Cassandra has the advanced ability to read body language enabling her to read what people are thinking and tell what they are going to do next before they do it. She has been shown able to read opponents far faster than herself, along with non-humans and even alien lifeforms once she is given a chance to learn their body language. This enables her to identify disguised and transformed people as well.
- Investigation: She was also very briefly trained in detective methods by Tim Drake during their time in Blüdhaven.
- Stealth: Due to her excessive training she is also a master of stealth. This ability was furthered during her time as The Nothing and Kasumi.
- Illiteracy: Due to her training using the language centers of her brain to read body language, Cassandra has extreme dyslexia, making it very difficult for her to read and write.
- Over-Reliance on Body Reading Ability: While a definite strength in combat, Cassandra's ability to read body language can work against her when she can't properly discern the intent of the opponent's actions based on body language. Generally this can be happen when an opponent is very good at disguising their intent like Slade, who can keep Cassandra distracted with subtle body language that could hint at many possible actions (Cassandra stated that when Slade moves, his body "sings like a chorus. Too fast with too many voices to pick up accurately".) In another instance, it could be that an opponent isn't thinking or focusing on their movements as they make them like when Cassandra tried to stop a gunshot from a cybernetically enhanced assassin but couldn't because his cybernetics took over the aiming for him independently of his movements. The last way in which this weakness manifests is when Cassandra is facing an opponent who is mentally unstable or ill. Such an opponent is simply too unpredictable to anticipate. When Cassandra fought the Joker, the Joker had an edge at the beginning of the fight because she couldn't understand the Joker's body language or as Batman put it "she can read his body language too, but his body language just comes out as gibberish".
- Batgirl Suit
- Utility Belt
- Shadow Belt: (Formerly) During her time as Kasumi on the Justice League Elite, she wore a belt of Thanagarian origin that allowed her to transform into and travel intangibly as a living shadow. Kasumi mostly used this when the team was on under-cover missions as the metahuman gang member The Nothing, the shadow from covering even her Kasumi disguise.
- Cassandra Cain first appeared in Batman #567. Her first appearance as Batgirl was in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #120. Her first appearance as Black Bat was in Batman Incorporated #6.
- In 2000, Cassandra Cain became the first Batgirl to get her own ongoing self-titled comic book series (Barbara Gordon had only been featured in a couple of one-shot releases).
- Cassandra's eye color is listed as blue in Batman: No Man's Land Secret Files and Origins #1, brown in Batman Allies Secret Files and Origins 2005, but green in Batgirl Secret Files and Origins #1, DC Comics Encyclopedia and DC Comics Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded.
- Cassandra has scars across her back from bullet wounds made by her father during her childhood training.
- She tended to keep a rose around during her time as Batgirl.
- She possesses high levels of serotonin. 
- Due to her upbringing, Cassandra was unable to understand words being spoken and used body language to understand what people were saying. Eventually, she gains the ability to process and attach meaning to words.
- She possessed a death wish due to guilt over killing that resulted in nightmares and self-destructive behavior (seemingly solved after her second encounter with Lady Shiva). Batgirl #26
- Her first spoken word was "Stop".
- Her favorite flavor of ice cream is chocolate.
- It's revealed that Cassandra is 18 years old.
- Cassandra's birthday is January 26th.
- Her favorite tea is Assam. 
- Cassandra was called Who Is All by Lady Shiva.
- Cassandra's first kiss was Conner Kent.
- Cassandra was formally adopted by Bruce Wayne and now goes by Cassandra Cain-Wayne.
- Batgirl (Volume 1)
- Batgirl (Volume 2)
- Batman: No Man's Land
- Bruce Wayne: Fugitive
- Batman: War Games
- Robin: Wanted
- 267 Appearances of Cassandra Cain (New Earth)
- 177 Images featuring Cassandra Cain (New Earth)
- 32 Quotations by or about Cassandra Cain (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Cassandra Cain (New Earth)
- Detective Comics #796
- Robin (Volume 2) #127
- Batman: The 12-Cent Adventure #1
- Detective Comics #797
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #182
- Batman: Gotham Knights #56
- Batgirl #55
- Batman #631
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #183
- Batman: Gotham Knights #57
- Batgirl #56
- Detective Comics #799
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #184
- Nightwing (Volume 2) #98
- Batgirl #57
- Batman #633
- Batman and the Outsiders (Volume 2) #11
- Batman and the Outsiders (Volume 2) #12
- Batman and the Outsiders (Volume 2) #13
- Batman: Battle for the Cowl #1
- Battle for the Cowl: The Network #1
- Batgirl #49
- Batman #567
- Batgirl #39
- Batgirl #33
- Batgirl #41
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