[AnneACK's
 

That's What Fathers Do

by




ONE

"Chris, Ezra and I are taking an emergency temporary leave of absence. Ezra, come on. You're coming with me to Cascade, Washington."

Denver's ATF team 7, often called the Magnificent 7, looked up from the lunches they were eating in the break room to stare in dumb found amazement at Josiah Sanchez. A normal reasonable man and often the voice of calm in the teams storm. He had finally totally and completely lost it. He rarely barged in places and never ordered his friends around. IN fact most people considered him and Nathan to be the only real adults in the group.

"Why are you two going to Cascade?"

"What would ever incite me to leave my repast and accompany you to the particular locality?"

The Chris and Ezra simultaneously.

"Because Blair needs help and you're the only person I know who would know how to deal with this Sid Graham guy." Josiah half growled.

"Who pray tell is Blair, who is Sid Graham, and what do I have to do with any difficulties that may have gotten themselves into?" Ezra was getting more confused by the minute.

JD jumped in. "Are you talking about that Blair Sandburg guy and his friend the superhero cop?"

"Sentinel, JD. Jim Ellison is a sentinel, not a super hero. And yes I am referring to Blair Sandburg." Josiah answered almost shouting.

"I read the excerpt from his book. That's quite a story he wrote. I'm really looking forward to being able to read the whole thing." Nathan tried calming his friend down.

"Blair never gave permission for that to be published! Sid printed that excerpt after Blair had specifically told him no. Which is why Ezra has to come with me and help find a way to keep Sid from doing any more damage, and if possible to help fix the damage he's already done!"

"While this is all very fascinating, why do you care what happens to a poor anthropology graduate student in Cascade?" Ezra's question still hadn't been answered.

"Because Blair is my son. His mother while trying to help sent his doctoral dissertation about Sentinels to her friend Sid, a publisher. Sid then made Blair an offer to publish the book; Blair said no. He never meant for the dissertation to be published at all. He was basically writing for himself and his friend Jim. Sid went ahead and printed the excerpt from the book without Blair's permission. Now Blair and Jim are trying to do their police work while a mob of reporters follow them around. Except with the reporters they can't do their jobs and now they're at odds with each other. Now Ezra, lets go! You're the only one I know who could beat Sid at his own game, because that's your game too."

"I will of course, be more than happy to aid in the assistance of your son in any way possible."

"You never mentioned a son before, Josiah." Nathan stated in shock.

"I've never actually met him before. But I've got a scrape book full of his accomplishments. Told my friend from college, Eli Stoddard about him, so he had some help getting accepted into Rainier. Try to go and see the big events in his life. Just never actually met him, or talked to him."

"Of course, the two of you can go. Call in and let us know if there is anything we can do to help." Chris called to the backs of the two leaving agents.
 



TWO

"So what exactly pray tell is required of me?" Ezra turned to face his companion now that the seat belt light was out. Josiah was seated by the window and looking out at the Rockies as they flew over.

"The media needs to forget that they ever heard of sentinels and Jim Ellison, Blair needs to be able to finish his doctoral thesis, and Sid Graham needs to leave both of them alone and forget that he ever heard of either of them."

"Is that all? Tell me again exactly how all of this happened."

"Blair was writing his doctoral thesis on Sentinels. His main research subject was one Jim Ellison, a cop he lives with. Jim and Blair kept his abilities a secret. Blair had finished writing his first draft and was still trying to figure out how he was going to hide Jim's identity. Blair's mother, Naomi, came for a visit, Blair told her not to read the dissertation. She didn't read it; instead she sent it to her friend Sid Graham. He happens to be a publisher. He saw a best seller and called Blair with an offer; Blair refused the offer. He published an excerpt from the book anyway. Now Jim and Blair are being hounded by the media, and have had a falling out in their friendship because of the dissertation. Now Rainer University, where Blair is a teaching assistant and grad student, has gotten involved. They're seeing the book as a huge form of publicity." Josiah stopped his monolog as the beverages were passed.

"Sid and the university should be easily dealt with. I shall endeavor to think up a plan to resolve the other two issues. Now as to the matter of my payment for services rendered..." Ezra smiled at his companion.

"Ezra, whatever you want, my son is worth it"

"Excellent. Before we depart of this locality, you will have informed your son of your paternal state towards him." Ezra looked at Josiah seriously.

"I can't do that Ezra! What is he going to think? He doesn't even know who I am! He's almost thirty years old. What does he need with a father now?" Josiah paled.

"Mr. Sanchez, as another one who is thirty and in ignorance of my paternity, let me assure you he still has need of a father. That is a need that does not dissipate with the passing of time." Ezra was hissing.

"My apologies Ezra. You would know far better than I would, brother. Somehow I'll find a way to pay for your services."

"All I ask is that Blair has the same chance to know you that I have had. The loss will be to both of you if the service is not paid." Ezra laid his seat back to sleep the flight away.

"You know, don't you brother, that it's your father's loss that he doesn't know you." Josiah looked at Ezra, but he had already retreated behind his usual mask.

"I sincerely doubt that he would see it that way. But we shall never know."

The rental car pulled up in front of a three-story apartment building in a middle class area of the city. Having checked into the hotel down the road and left their few bags the two men where now in front of the apartment building whereon Blair Sandburg resided.

"Here we are Ez, 852 Prospect. Yep, right apartment number." Josiah was sweating like rain forest in monsoon.

"By all means, knock and alert them of our arrival. I did not journey all of the way from Denver to turn back in the hallway." Ezra with a look of disgust, thrust Josiah in front of the door, just as he was about to knock, it was opened.

"Listen, we aren't accepting visitor right at the moment, and if you're a reporter, the word is no comment." A tall muscular blond with a crew cut answered the door growling. He was almost as intimidating as Chris Larabee in a snit. The two ATF agents never blinked.

"I'm not a reporter. My name is Josiah Sanchez; I came to see Blair Sandburg."

"Like I said gentlemen, we aren't seeing visitors." The blond moved to close the door when a red haired woman looked out and gasped.

"Jo? Josiah Sanchez!" The large man reopened the door allowing them entrance.

"More friends of yours Naomi?" Their host quipped at the red head.

"Mom, who are these guys?" A short man with long red-brown hair appeared from the balcony.

"I don't know the other man dear, but this is Josiah Sanchez. Jo, I knew you would come and help Blair when I left a message for you." She smiled at him. Jim and Blair looked aghast, as they were rendered speechless.

"That is what I'm here for Naomi." Josiah tried to smile as Ezra attempted to perfect invisibility. Jim and Blair both looking uncertainly at the newest developments in the dissertation disaster as it was being called.
 



THREE

Blair looked at his mother in disbelief "Mom. I know you're just trying to help, but stop O.K.?"

Blair looked away from his mom and saw that they had an audience for on of the few disagreements they had ever had. "Could we step out on the balcony for just a moment mom? Make yourselves at home; I'll just be a moment." Blair was already herding Naomi towards the door.

"I'm Jim Ellison, Blair's roommate." Jim didn't offer his hand. Blair's outraged squawk could be heard as he began paving the small patio and gesticulating madly to Naomi who looked at the point of a panic attack.

"As Naomi said, I'm Josiah Sanchez, this is my friend Ezra Standish. From the sounds on the balcony, Naomi just told Blair about my being his Father." Jim stared at the other men in shocked silence

"Why now Mr. Sanchez? Wasn't Blair good enough for you before his fifteen minutes of fame? I mean, you do nothing for thirty years, and show up now, offering to help? Where have you been every other time he's needed help?" Jim stared at man coldly, outraged on his friend's behalf.

"When he as growing up, I believed that I would destroy what he and Naomi had. I wasn't even sure she would allow me near him. The times I saw him, he was happy. That was more than I ever managed as a child. When he got older, I helped out behind the scenes when I could. Like telling my school friend, Eli Stoddard, about him so that Eli could help him get into Rainer. A few of the scholarships that were found for him are actually from me. I believed that he was better off without me."

"He wasn't. Do you have any idea how long he has wondered about you, needed you in his life?"

"My friend, Ezra Standish, on the way here from Denver, pointed it out to me." Josiah gestured towards Ezra.

"Pleased to make you acquaintance." Ezra nodded to the tall detective.

"I've never come before because Blair has never need my help before. If anyone can straighten this out, it's Ezra." Josiah continued explaining at the man with the ice eyes in front of him.

"What are you planning on doing about this whole thing, Mr. Standish?" Jim glared at the undercover agent.

"I've got a meeting set up with Sid the unscrupulous for this afternoon. Would it be possible for me to get the police copy of the phone call between Mr. Sandburg and the nefarious gentleman?"

"I'll call my captain he can requisition you a copy. It will be waiting at the front desk. Just tell them you need the tape labeled Ellison."

"If you gentleman will excuse me then." Ezra nodded and left.

Blair and Naomi returned from the balcony. Both appeared uncomfortable.

"Jim, something tells me you already know about Josiah being my father." Blair stared at the graying ATF agent.

"He told me when you started to measure the balcony for carpeting while talking in sign language with Naomi." He glared over at the still not totally calm woman.

"Jo, where on earth did you're friend go to?"

"He had a meeting to attend with Mr. Graham. It seems the editor forgot to take into account, that all calls to police stations are taped. I'm certain that Ezra will be reminding him. If anyone can straighten this out, it'll be him. He sees this as a chance to pull one of the biggest cons of his life and help some people at the same time. He's in his glory"

"What exactly does he do?" Blair was looking somewhat bewildered.

"He's an undercover agent on the ATF team I work for. Dealing with people like Sid is what he does for a living. Knowing Ezra, he'll own the publishing company when the dust settles."

"You're a pig? Sorry Jim, a police officer?" Naomi all but howled.

"You're a fed?" Jim looked at the guy like he was a hardened criminal.

"I thought you were an academic of some kind?" Blair looked at him confused.

" I did finish my PhD in anthropology after I got back from 'Nam. But it all seemed pretty meaningless after two years in a war. I was asked to help the police out on a case and found that not only was I good at profiling, but I liked it and it made a difference. Now I work for the ATF as a profiler. So I would say that you're all right, but please don't refer to me as a pig Naomi."

Blair was bouncing like he hadn't since the mess began. Josiah got ten million points with Jim just for that.

"This is like so unbelievable man! I was studying Anthropology."

"I know. I told Eli, my college roommate, about my genius of a son. He said he would love to have you, so we arranged for your application to be sent there. I knew he was the best professor around."

"If you knew about me, why didn't you ever write, or call, visit, or something?" Blair asked quietly.

"Because, Blair, I wanted what was best for you and that seemed to be what you had. I've had it pointed out to me quiet sharply, twice today, that I was very wrong." Josiah looked embarrassed as everyone looked at him.

"So do you really think that your friend will be able to solve this fiasco?" Blair asked hopefully.

"I've never known him to fail. He did, however, ask me to see if you had a back plan if you couldn't submit the Sentinel piece.

"Actually, yeah, I did. The dissertation I had told Simon I was writing about to get my ride along. What about it?"

"Ezra needs to borrow it for a meeting with Chancellor Edwards. He wants it as evidence that you had never planned to turn it the sentinel paper." Blair was already at his laptop.
 



FOUR

Ezra pulled up in front of the sky raise office building, thanking God once again that he and Josiah had gotten separate cars this trip. This was undoubtedly not going to be the first time they had to split up. The elevator took him to the 27th floor and the suite he was looking for.

"Mr. Standish, what a pleasure to meet you. I'm Sid Graham, and this is the president of Barnum publishing, Mr. Callaghan. You mentioned meeting on behalf of Blair Sandburg. May I take this to mean he has accepted our offer of two million dollars?" Sid smiled his most ingratiating smile.

"Mr. Callaghan, allow me to play a tape for you. I'm not certain if Mr. Graham was aware of the fact that for variety or reasons, the police record all incoming calls, especially those involving their elite unit of Major Crimes. Mr. Sandburg happened to have been in attendance at the Cascade police station when Mr. Graham first called him. This is a recording of that conversation. Mr. Graham are you feeling quite well, you look a little pale?" Ezra's gold tooth gleamed in the light as the tape of Blair's refusal to publish and instructions to destroy the manuscript were heard.

"Mr. Standish do you think that your client, Mr. Sandburg, would be willing to accept a two hundred thousand dollars offer as an out of court settlement?" Mr. Callaghan was glaring at Sid as he spoke.

"I believe he would find that most equitable, as long as it is accompanied by the dismissal of Mr. Graham from your employ."

"Consider that done. Have him call my office with his decision on how he would like to receive his money." The two men shook hands and departed. Ezra left hearing Mr. Callaghan start a tirade into Sid Graham. Ezra smiled all the way to the loft.

"Ezra how did the meeting go?" Josiah inquired as his friend hung his jacket and joined the others in the living room.

"It went as well as can be expected. Mr. Sandburg, you have been offered an out of court settlement of two hundred thousand dollars and the dismissal of Sid Graham from his current position. I tentatively accepted on your behalf. Here is a number you are to call in order to arrange payments or renegotiate the deal."

Everyone but Josiah looked at the southerner is shock and amazement. Josiah just smiled and continued stirring the chili he and Blair were cooking.

"Two hundred thousand dollars? Yeah, that takes care of Sid for me. I really appreciate that, man. I mean, I was going to look into maybe suing when this was all over, but hey, this works."

Blair sat down.

"Honey, are you all right?" Naomi joined him on the couch.

"Yea mom, I just can't imagine that kind of money."

"If you will all excuse me for a moment, I believe I will partake of the evening air." Ezra exited to the balcony. Leaning on the rail enjoying the view. No one was aware of his phone call.

"Yes. Hello, Mother? Is Mr. Dubone there? He is, wonderful. Might I speak with him? Mr. Dubone, this is Ezra. Are you still on the board of directors for Rainer University? Yes, I would like to alert you to a situation involving a Ms. Edwards, a graduate student named Blair Sandburg and another student named Brad Ventriss. It involves a case of academic theft and a failure on the Chancellors part to report it according to school policy in order to placate a wealthy parent. There is also a matter of a manuscript turned in and publicized as a doctoral dissertation without the consent of the student who wrote the document. You are shocked, appalled, and incensed? I thought you would be. Tomorrow afternoon will certainly be soon enough to meet with the College Board of inquire into these instances of abuse of power. Give my best to mother." Ezra disconnected with a smile that lit the city.
 



FIVE

Josiah looked up from the eggs he as scrambling to see his son, Blair emerge from the bathroom.

"Something tells me, Blair, that you are not a morning person."

"I am so not a morning person, but college students adapt to all things." Blair smiled at his dad.

"Been there, done that, and still have the scars from it."

"Thanks, man." Blair dished up some food.

"Jim let me in when he left for the station early, so I thought I would save you some time and fix breakfast for you. How's the Zeller case going?" Josiah sat down opposite Blair as they ate the eggs and sausage.

"Everyone thinks he was in that explosion down at the hobby story, but Jim doesn't think so."

"Jim's usually right about these kinds of things, or so I've gathered."

"Yes he is, but the reporters are really screwing him up. Listen, I have something to do this morning, but in the afternoon I should be in the station if you need anything."

"Classes this morning?" Josiah raised an eyebrow.

"No something Mom and I were talking about yesterday afternoon. Blair answered as he went out.

Josiah grabbed his cell phone. "Ezra? I think Naomi was right, Blair is heading to a press conference, in order to declare him self a fraud so the media hounds will leave Jim alone. Okay, you have the address from Naomi? We'll meet you there." Ezra turned off the phone as Nomi came out of Blair's room. He grabbed her and half dragged her to the rental car he was using.

"Jo, where are we going?"

"You were right. Blair called a press conference for this morning; he's going to say everything's a lie so they will leave Jim alone. Ezra's already figured out a way to do that, without destroying Blair's reputation."

"Blair can't just throw away his degree; anthropology is his life."

"Naomi, I think for a while now, Jim has been Blair's life. When we get there, we have to make certain that Blair stays off the stage. Ezra will do the stage and the talking. Believe me, the man has a gift for this type of thing."

Naomi raced out of the car as Josiah parked. Finding Blair, Josiah grabbed him as he saw Ezra taking the podium.

"What are you doing, man? Blair whispered. "I have to go up there and set the record straight, so they'll leave Jim and his family alone and we can get back to catching Zeller." Blair futilely struggled against Josiah. Ezra could be heard as he began to speak.

"Thank you ladies and gently men for your presence here today. I am here on behalf of Blair Sandburg. The manuscript that you all of you received, is in fact a work of fiction that Mr. Sandburg had written for his own amusement and that of his partner and friend Jim Ellison. At no point did Mr. Sandburg declare this work to be factually. He never turned it in as a dissertation. The simple fact is, Jim Ellison is not a sentinel. Blair Sandburg simply wrote a work of fancy using Jim Ellison, his best friend, partner, and personal hero as a make believe sentinel. Thank you for your attention, I'll now answer ant questions you may have." An army were raised with question, Ezra began answering them with out ever deviating from his original statement. Josiah looked out at the group of faces, and noticed Chancellor Edwards coming over.

"Blair, you have involved this university in a media circus for the last time! I want your office cleaned out by Friday." She snarled in his face.

"Ma'am may I take it then that you are firing Mr. Sandburg?" Josiah asked quietly

"I have the right to fire any instructor not living up to the university's standards and codes."

"You may have that right, but there is a procedure that I believe must be followed." Josiah smiled

"Who are you, if I may ask?" She growled at him

"Josiah Sanchez, I believe you, Mr. Standish, and I have a meeting for this afternoon. I'll be interested to hear what the board of inquire thinks of your dismissing a TA for no reason and with out due process." He was still smiling at her.
 



SIX

"Chancellor Edwards, there have been allegations of gross abuse of power on your part, involving in every case, a graduate student named Blair Sandburg. Three months back, he brought to your attention a student whom had falsified a paper. That student was one Brad Ventriss. You ignored Mr. Sandburg's request that the student be brought before a Board of Academic Inquires for charges of plagiarism. Mr. Ventriss's father was a wealthy supporter of the college; in order to retain his continued support you allowed his son's behavior to pass. Instead, you put Mr. Sandburg on probation for absenteeism. And this morning, you dismissed Mr. Sandburg for failure to maintain the standards and codes of this college. To our knowledge, due process was not adhered to in the probation or dismissal of Mr. Sandburg, nor was proper procedure handled in the case of Brad Ventriss, once Mr. Sandburg brought it to your attention. How do you answer these allegations?"

"Blair Sandburg has more absences than any other teacher does. Mr.Ventriss was perfectly correct to be concerned about the quality of his son's education."

"Is Mr. Sandburg here?" The board chairman looked over the people in the meeting.

"No sir, he is at the hospital. Two of his friends in the police department were involved in a shooting yesterday and are still listed in critical condition. I'm here to represent Mr. Sandburg's interests." Josiah stood up acknowledging the group he would be addressing.

"I see. I do hope his friends recover. On to the proceedings then, What is your rebuttal to the number of absences Mr. Sandburg has accrued?"

"My reply is that all of his classes were covered, every one of his absences was a result of his work at the police station and unavoidable. And if I might bring it up the issue was not with his absences. The issue was that the process set up to insure that everyone's side is heard, was not adhered to. He was put on probation with no warning, or meeting of the proper boards. His dismissal was handled the same way. There was no meeting of the judiciary board, and there was no warning. His side of the issues was not heard in either case, contrary to your own rules and regulations." Josiah stepped back.

"I would say Mr. Sanchez has presented the situation clearly. There is also the issue of your accepting and publicizing a dissertation as his without his approval. How do you answer the allegations Ms. Edwards?" Ezra smiled the lack of her title not being lost on him.

"I plead guilty." Ms. Edwards glared at the two men with the large smiles, knowing that she was beat.

"Mr. Standish, as Mr. Sandburg's representative in this situation, would you be willing to forward an offer of his teaching position back if he desires it, and the cancellation of any debts owed to this institution."

Ezra stood, smiling, " I would be happy to." The two men left the meeting as the board decided what the action against Ms. Edwards should be.

"Jim, Blair how are Captain Banks and Inspector Connors doing?" Josiah joined the two men in the waiting area of the hospital.

"Megan's stabilized, but they don't know about Simon. He still might not make it."

"Ezra asked me to tell you it was nice to meet you and asked me to give this to you."

"He went home? Guess you'll need to be going then to."

"I'll stay as long as you need me, Blair. Why don't you open the letter?"

The three men sat down as Blair opened the letter from the university.

"You two fixed everything? I can go back?" Blair looked up at Josiah in shock.

"I told you Ezra would wind up owning the university when he was finished. He let them off easy and settled for them releasing all debts owed them by you and an offer for your old job." Josiah grinned.

"That's most of my student loans! Plus he got me two hundred thousand from the publishers." Blair just shook his head in stunned awe.

"I try to warn people about Ezra, but in this case they deserved every cent he took."

Jim looked over at the silent Blair. "I didn't think it was possible, but you actually rendered him speechless."
 



SEVEN

Keys rattled in the lock as Blair opened the door to the loft. Dropping his backpack and keys by the door he entered the apartment he shared with his best friend. The evening sun shadowed a huge man standing out on the balcony. Grabbing water out of the refrigerator, Blair joined his father out on the deck.

"I'm sorry we didn't get to see much of each other while you were here. I mean with the Zeller case, and the dissertation stuff. I just wish we had had more time to just, talk and get to know each other."

"I can always come see you again, or you could always come to Denver and visit me."

"Man. I've dreamed about meeting you for so long; I have so many questions for you."

"I can't answer question that you don't ask Blair" Josiah looked at him. "I would guess that a lot of your questions have to do with your mother and I."

"I always wondered why the two of you never married or even stayed together." Blair looked at the boards on the deck floor.

"Blair, look at me! You have nothing to be ashamed of. The reasons your mother and I didn't stay together had nothing to do with you. We separated because of our father's and the war in Vietnam. Naomi protested it, and I went to serve as a sergeant in it."

"I didn't break you two up, but I wasn't enough to hold you together either!"

"I owe you an apology for that, Blair. By the time I came home your mother had already had you and left. I found out about you almost five years later through a mutual friend of your mother and I."

"I don't remember you rushing to see me when I was five!" Blair was looking Josiah in the face now.

"Actually, you were six the first time I saw you. I was going to talk to Naomi and demand that you be a part of my life as well. I watched you playing with some other children; you looked so happy. I was afraid that if I forced my way in your life, I would hurt you."

"And you think that by staying out of my life you spared me that! Man, do you know how many times the other kids went to games with their dad's, or went fishing, or camping, did anything, and I just watched them go knowing I would never be doing that? I use to dream about the kinds of things we might do together. Mom never told me who you were or anything about you; so I would stay up at night dreaming different things you might be or do. The pain I might have been spared is nothing compared to the pain I went through by not having you."

"I talked myself into believing that you were better off without me; that you were perfectly happy and didn't need a father. I came to see your graduations, from high school and college. Kept in touch with Eli whenever I could to find out how you were doing. I had to laugh when he said you were doing a study on sentinels. I had always wondered what happened to that old Burton book I had." Josiah was smiling at Blair again.

"That was yours? I just assumed mom had picked it up somewhere." Blair looked at the older man wide-eyed.

"You keep it, Blair. You obviously made better use of it than I did. I never did find my sentinel."

"So how did you go from being an anthropologist to being a profiler with the ATF?"

"Well, I started as an anthropology teacher while I finished my graduate work. Teaching, however, is a precious gift, and it is a gift I don't have. I have the knowledge, but I can't seem to make it make sense to students. I loved teaching, but my students would leave more confused than when they came in. A friend of mine asked me to help him out on a case he was working on. I had finally found something to do with my knowledge that I was good at and it was worth while. I taught and did profiling for a while and eventually found myself pulled more and more into the profiling. So I quite teaching and started doing it full time."

"Have you ever regretted that you left the academic world?" Blair was looking over Cascade toward the campus where he might be teaching again.

"No, not really. But then like I said Blair, I never had a talent for teaching. You do have the ability to do that. It's a wonderful gift to be able to pass on your knowledge to the next generation. Watching you and Jim, it looks like you're getting pulled more and more into the police arena. Full time police work doesn't mean that you can't teach at all. You could still do one or two night classes a semester."

"It's just this whole Zeller fiasco has the police commissioner convinced that Major Crime could use it's own profiler. I would technically have the rank of detective, and since Jim gets all the worse cases I would be assigned to him unless otherwise needed. I mean, this is like my dream job. I just can't decide what to do, I mean I love teaching, but as a profiler I would be Jim's official partner. No one could threaten to separate us ever again." Blair smiled at Josiah. " I just answered my own question."

"I think you'll be a great profiler, Blair." Josiah smiled back at his son.

"We better get going if you want to catch your flight to Denver. I still can't thank you enough for all the help."

"No thanks needed Blair, like I said that's what fathers do. I know that I haven't been here before but I am now. I'm never more than a phone call away Blair" The two men smiled at one another and headed inside.


The End



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