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Project; Tau Breeding
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Old 20 Jul 2007, 10:02   #1 (permalink)
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Default Project; Tau Breeding

Because someone had to. :


Jumping on our little "background bandwagon", I think it'd be interesting to try and cover the parts that GW pretends doesn't ever actually happen; mating and offspring.

In summary, I'd like to bounce around ideas for the following:
  • Can Tau from different Castes actually interbreed?
  • When Tau are "paired", do they have to be of the same rank?
  • Are the Aun paired as other Castes are?
  • How are Tau babies / children raised?
  • Is a parent-child relationship allowed / encouraged? If so, for how long and to what extent?
  • Are there variations within the Castes?

Please do give your thoughts; I'll throw some of mine in later.
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Old 20 Jul 2007, 10:30   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: More Tau Background musings; Tau Breeding

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wargamer
In summary, I'd like to bounce around ideas for the following:
  • Can Tau from different Castes actually interbreed?
  • When Tau are "paired", do they have to be of the same rank?
  • Are the Aun paired as other Castes are?
  • How are Tau babies / children raised?
  • Is a parent-child relationship allowed / encouraged? If so, for how long and to what extent?
  • Are there variations within the Castes?
(1) No. the tau castes originated as separate breeding populations- they're all different subspecies (ergo, there are 5 species of tau, rather than 1 race of tau). that said, tau can be attracted to tau of other castes. there is a bit in Fire Warrior of a Kor who has a crush on one of the Por. But the concept of doing anything with her doesnt even enter into his head.

(2) apparently they must be. Fire Warrior has a piece of text where that same Kor thinks of the lucky Por'el that'll get to mate with the Por'el that he has a crush on. its caste/caste and rank/rank. 'sides, i think having a dirty old shas'o male trying to mate with a pre-pubescent shas'saal is too disturbing a thought to bring to my mind...

(3) Presumably. best auns mate to have the best aun babies.

(4) By the state. presumably they have a tau maternity care division, but in the case of the shas, again, going by Fire Warrior, All Kais knows is the battle academy.

(5) Its limited and very very distant. Kais saw his pops twice. And that seems to be the norm with the fire castes. id assume its the same with the other castes, but there is nothing to go on to make a case for or against, really.

(6) ranks, only. there is no sub fire warrior castes, or sub water castes. Specialisations maybe. the Shas get to train as line troopers, pathfinders, or vehicle crews. they can be cadre mounted, policeman, defense crew, ship boarding specialists, but thats really it. job differences, and thats it, from all the fluff ive read.
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Old 20 Jul 2007, 11:08   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: More Tau Background musings; Tau Breeding

By "variations", I meant that do the above rules vary from Caste to Caste.

For example, using Kais as an example, he sees very little of his father. However, that may be because he's a soldier. Would a Por or Fio be kept so distant from their biological family?

Anyways, here's a few musings of my own:

1: I do agree that interbreeding is probably not possible successfully. However, given we have evidence of "attraction", they may result in infertile crossbreeds (ie: Mules, Ligers, etc). The first Tau Codex did emphasise that cross-breeding is forbidden, but why would that need to be if it were impossible?


2: I personally think that keeping to rank is unlikely on this one. Given we have just one line to go on, it seems silly to put everything on that. Younger females (and possibly younger males... not sure though) generally have less chance of experiencing problems with pregnancy.

And Deadnight, why would a "pre-pubescent" be mated in the first place? Tau mate to produce genetically superior offspring, this is not "rape by government".

The other reason I think that cross-rank breeding is likely is to do with pregnancy itself. Once fertilised, you've effectively lost that female's contribution to the Empire until the child is born. Now, if we're talking about a Fio or a Por with a desk job that's not too bad, but a Shas or Kor can't continue whilst pregnant.

Who would you rather lose for six months in order to get a child of someone like Farsight; a Shas'la, or a Shas'O?
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Old 20 Jul 2007, 11:32   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: More Tau Background musings; Tau Breeding

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wargamer
By "variations", I meant that do the above rules vary from Caste to Caste.

For example, using Kais as an example, he sees very little of his father. However, that may be because he's a soldier. Would a Por or Fio be kept so distant from their biological family?
ah, i get you.
its all academic. but family doesnt really seem that important, based on what Fire Warrior implies. they serve the state, they grow up knowing the tau'va not mammy and daddy.
maybe the other castes are less severe in the parent/offspring divide, but i suspect its still there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wargamer
1: I do agree that interbreeding is probably not possible successfully. However, given we have evidence of "attraction", they may result in infertile crossbreeds (ie: Mules, Ligers, etc). The first Tau Codex did emphasise that cross-breeding is forbidden, but why would that need to be if it were impossible?
Again, you have to remember where the tau came from. they've just come out of a war of annihalation. they need to know their place.
you. you're a soldier. you. you're a diplomat. you. you're a fighter pilot. and you. build me a chair, and get me a tequila! interbreeding underlines the whole social framework of the tau. to the tau, their place and their role is everything. thats why each caste does what it does, and thats why breaking that really is anthema to them. they're aliens, so you cant apply human logic in terms of caste systems.

And on the issue of infertile offspring, it is also possible that at this stage, no offspring may be possible at all. genetic drift and genetic shift might lead to hige differences. the physiology, mental development, physical nature etc of the castes are all totally different, remember.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wargamer
2: I personally think that keeping to rank is unlikely on this one. Given we have just one line to go on, it seems silly to put everything on that. Younger females (and possibly younger males... not sure though) generally have less chance of experiencing problems with pregnancy.
its possible. the only reference to the situation though lends credit to the theory that its rank based as well. dont forget, not every tau goes all the way up to O. take fire warriors. most will go up to shas'ui, and will hit the ceiling. only the most talented get a chance to don the suits, and only the very best of them even get a chance to go up the rungs. and they're happy with their lot. bring a shas'la and not a shas'ui is not a cause for shame.

So thinking like a tau, the guy who gets up to shas'o is a breed apart from the guy who only gets to shas'ui, and thats presumably why he'll only get to mate with others of his rank. best with best, really. Its like "oh, you two got up to shas'el. interesting. you've proved your worth. go make babies."

I feel rank based breeding programmes are fairly accurate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wargamer
And Deadnight, why would a "pre-pubescent" be mated in the first place? Tau mate to produce genetically superior offspring, this is not "rape by government".
extreme example. if its not rank based, then this is a possibility...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wargamer
The other reason I think that cross-rank breeding is likely is to do with pregnancy itself. Once fertilised, you've effectively lost that female's contribution to the Empire until the child is born. Now, if we're talking about a Fio or a Por with a desk job that's not too bad, but a Shas or Kor can't continue whilst pregnant.
who says that? they wont be on the front lines, but not every fire warrior is a front line fighter. pregnancy might not incapacitate them as much as human females, and as tau seemingly mature faster, its plausible pregnancy might be a lot shorter. she might simply be rotated out to the battle academy as a lecturer, or simply kept in the reserves. most armies dont in fact spend all their time fighting.
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Old 20 Jul 2007, 11:36   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: More Tau Background musings; Tau Breeding

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wargamer
  • Can Tau from different Castes actually interbreed?
  • When Tau are "paired", do they have to be of the same rank?
  • Are the Aun paired as other Castes are?
  • How are Tau babies / children raised?
  • Is a parent-child relationship allowed / encouraged? If so, for how long and to what extent?
  • Are there variations within the Castes?
1. As you so rightly pointed out, it most likely is possible, but would more than likely result in sterile offspring. Even though the Ethereals expressly forbid inter-caste breeding, it may happen on the odd occasion >0.001%.

2. Using Shas as an example I'd say they would be paired either slightly before or slightly after their first trial by fire. Before if more Shas are required regardless, after if you desire only Shas of higher quality.
2.a As a side note, what do assume the gestation period is for Tau? 7-8 months (~0.8 Tau'cyr)

3. Aun would most likely be paired as the other castes, but might have more choice as to who with and when they are paired.

4. I think either Genmotty or Xisor suggested a long time ago that Tau children are raised in a kind of caste specific créche.

5. Parent/Child relationship would probably vary a lot between the castes. Shas, who need detachment, probably have very little contact, which is cut off/ended before their teen years. In effect they only have vague recollections of 'happy' times.
Por, on the other hand, probably maintain contact throughout their lives as it would help to hone their social and negotiation skills.
Fio, would fall somewhere in between, they have a strong sense of family with ta'lissera, etc. Contact would most probably be semi-constant until they get to their final occupation after 'college', and then would slowly be more distant/phased out.
Kor would probably see no parent/child relationship due to the vast amount of time spent apart from their home. On the other side of the coin the Kor might see the most, as all Kor serve in the fleet at some point, and most will cross paths many times.
Aun would definitely see the most, as they are likely to be schooled by their parents from an early age in the running of the empire.

6. As outlined above there would be variations in some areas in the castes. Another point that might vary is the 'pairings'. Shas would probably be assigned mates, the strongest, fastest, fittest etc with no choice.
Por would have much greater choice, possibly using their vast social networks to find ideal pairings.
Fio again fall somewhere in the middle, but most probably it's arranged with someone outside their general social circle to diversify the population. Some choice would be involved.
Kor would be between Shas and Fio, arranged as needed, but might have choices. After all, live in the same vessel as someone for long enough and you really get to know them.
Aun again get the best of the bunch. They get free choice, and capability to make the most intelligent decisions based on their "pair's" running of the empire.

I know there's no precedent for a lot of the stuff here, but it makes sense.
and nobody play the 'GW + Logic' card. :P
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Old 20 Jul 2007, 12:03   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: More Tau Background musings; Tau Breeding

The only exampley we know about Tau breeding behaviour really is the novel "Fire Warrior", as well as some stray lines from the Dex.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wargamer
  • Can Tau from different Castes actually interbreed?
  • When Tau are "paired", do they have to be of the same rank?
  • Are the Aun paired as other Castes are?
  • How are Tau babies / children raised?
  • Is a parent-child relationship allowed / encouraged? If so, for how long and to what extent?
  • Are there variations within the Castes?

Please do give your thoughts; I'll throw some of mine in later.
Alright:

1) I don`t know. How could we? Interbreeding was forbidden thousands of years ago by the Auns. Evolution could have made it impossible to interbreed now, even though it was possible back then. Remember that physical attraction to a member of another caste says nothing about reproduction abilities. Of course Por females with their fine features will look very appealing to Shas and Fios; and the strength of the Shas males might look appealing to some other Castes. But just because they might be attracted to each other doesn`t mean that they could have babies.

2) My first thought was: Yes, of course. But, as Wargamer stated, this effectively puts a female out of "business" for a period of time. Now, taking in all we know about the Tau, I do suppose that they would pair under special circumstances Tau who do NOT share the same rank, since, apparently, rank means not that much to the Tau. if someone serves his whole life as a Line Warrior, or construction worker, this might not be because he can`t do anything else - maybe it`s because he is GOOD at what he is doing, and actually ENJOYS doing it (I DO think that personal enthusiasm might be factored in when assigning jobs to the Tau). So, why should a veteran `la not be assigned to an `El or an `O?
Besides, we shouldn`t forget, either, that when a Tau finally becomes an `O or `El, he is already quite old by Tau standards - if we count in 4 Tau`Cyrs as infanft, 4 as `Saal, 4 as `La, 4 as `Ui, and 4 as `Vre, it takes a minimum amount of 20 Tau`Cyrs for a Tau to become an `El - if everything runs smoothly, and it doesn`t take more time (note that this would be a fabulous career indeed). Fertility goes down (if I might hazard this guess) over the years, and, chances are, if someone hits the `El rank, he was already paired more than one time in his life.
I wouldn`t be surprised if the "leading" ranks aren`t paired that often, considering their (relative) age and their larger responsibility to the Empire as whole.

3) I don`t think that the Aun are paired. According to Firewarrior, the Fios are responsible for the breeding programme, and I doubt that the Fio would imposa any rules upon the Aun about who breeds with whom. I guess they are actually free to bread when/how they want.

4) I think children are separated quite early from their parents (possibly right after the birth), and are living in special education centres. This ensures a maximum of indoctrination with Tau`Va values, and little influence of the parents. It is most likely that the CHild will know who his parents are, and that they will be able to meet, but education, for the most part, is task of the government.

5) As already mentioned above, Parents will know their child and vice versa, but I doubt they will have much contact - again, with Caste variants. While Etherals might bring their kids to school, and use the evenings/afternoons to give them additional lectures (much like we humans do now), family life is nearly extinct in the Shas Caste. The other Castes are probably in between, varying between "Totally state controleld" and the Etheral "model".

Now, this whole topic has raised other questions for me:

What about casual, inter-caste sex? If we assume that the Tau have a sex drive similar to us (which is already a quite suspicious assumption), how is it controlled?

For the pairings: Are the same Tau paired every time? Or are there variations?

Another, interesting point which I stumbled upon reading a Sci-Fi book yesterday: What about evolution? In "modern" civilisations, Evolution has come almost to a grinding halt - the whole "adapting to the surroundings" was replaced with "adaption OF the surroundings", "the strongest survive" has been replaced with "the strong protect the weak", and so on - all contrary to the natural evolution.
The Tau approach., on the other hand, might still allow evolution at a faster rate than the human culture: The Tau still protect their weak, but only the strong are allowed to reproduce.
But that`s just what I stumbled about reading the first 100 pages of "The Mote in God`s Eye".
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Old 20 Jul 2007, 12:12   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: More Tau Background musings; Tau Breeding

Quote:
Originally Posted by CmdrBonesaw
Now, taking in all we know about the Tau, I do suppose that they would pair under special circumstances Tau who do NOT share the same rank, since, apparently, rank means not that much to the Tau. if someone serves his whole life as a Line Warrior, or construction worker, this might not be because he can`t do anything else - maybe it`s because he is GOOD at what he is doing, and actually ENJOYS doing it (I DO think that personal enthusiasm might be factored in when assigning jobs to the Tau). So, why should a veteran `la not be assigned to an `El or an `O?
That's actually a really good point!

Beyond "Shas'la", you generally need some sort of command ability, unless you're an XV pilot, then it's Shas'vre and beyond.

However, if you had a Shas'la who could put a Rail-rifle slug through the skull of an Ork from a mile away, wouldn't you want that kind of skill to be given to your "elite" units? The guy might not be able to give orders, and he may have failed his Battlesuit training, but he can make shots most would dismiss as impossible. That sounds like a good excuse for a cross-breed.
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Old 20 Jul 2007, 12:21   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: More Tau Background musings; Tau Breeding

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wargamer
  • Can Tau from different Castes actually interbreed?
  • When Tau are "paired", do they have to be of the same rank?
  • Are the Aun paired as other Castes are?
  • How are Tau babies / children raised?
  • Is a parent-child relationship allowed / encouraged? If so, for how long and to what extent?
  • Are there variations within the Castes?

Please do give your thoughts; I'll throw some of mine in later.

Lets see:

1: I would imagine, that physically it is possible. I would assume the required "parts" are near enough identical, at least enough for the physical act, although imagine a poor little Kor and a bulky Fio - ouch!
I would assume after millenia of seperation, there is not chance of halfbreeds, as the genes are now too dissimilar to mix right. I would assume it is seen as abhorrent by Tau - yeah, its ok to fantasise about how that sexy Kor looks in a Tau'ki'ni, but the act is wrong.

2: I should think they are paired approaching our 18-25 years of age equivalent, but is done at any point. Maybe they are paired off young, but do not commit until they reach a certain age/rank/whatever. I don't think rank is an important factor of pairing - it might hold some semblance, but nothing concrete.

3: If the Aun are paired, I would imagine it is done on the sly. I don't see Aun children being a prevalent factor of Tau life - you wouldn't see them in the streets etc, only when they are old enough for their position. Separate creche's, kept out of the lime light, maybe.

4: I think raising them depends on caste - possibly looked after by Fio "nannies". For example, Shas might be cared for by Fio workers until old enough to enter the training academies, then the live there. I think the Fio probably raise all but the Kor until they are old enough to take a training place for their role in society. Kor I would imagine have creches in their orbiting cities where they are raised.

5: I think they would allow family contact, but it would be different for each caste. Shas might meet and treat each other like equals, rather than parent/child, and Por might be very diplomatic in their conversations. Kor, maybe no family bond is awknowledged, but simply treated like a close work friend. As for Fio, I see them being rather family orientated - even to the point where a Fio might work under his father, eventually taking over his role when the time comes. After birth, I think all the castes are seperated to Fio raising centres, and when old enough, they can, if they so want, find their parents and meet them with no problems. I do not think there is anything against it as such, but they do not have the dependancy we do on parents.

Birth - I'd like to think the tau gestation period is around 4-6 months, varying per caste, so Shas might be 4 months to return the parent to action as soon as possible. I think its a natural term, though, not some form of incubation. As for Fio, I would say longer, 6 months, and when pregnant they help in the caste creche's to raise the young.

Kor, I think after a short time, the foetus is removed and rasied in an artifical tank. I don't think the lightweight bone structure of the Kor would allow for a natural birth, so it is handled by artificial means.
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Old 20 Jul 2007, 12:55   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: More Tau Background musings; Tau Breeding

On that last point, Rafe, I see no reason why a Kor can't give birth naturally. Birds have lighter (and thus, presumably, weaker) bones than normal, yet laying eggs is no trouble.

Weaker =/= break a wrist by waving.
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Old 20 Jul 2007, 13:48   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: More Tau Background musings; Tau Breeding

First, I'll ask a few questions of my own:
1) Why does everyone assume the birth must be live? Could the Tau not give birth to egs, like reptiles? Anything contradict this?
2) Why must there be intercourse? I know WHY(genetic variation), but why must it be the same as a species which is on the otherside of the galaxy? And even on that side, there is a great deal of variation on how the "deed is done".

Now, my opinions:
I'm going to say no to inter-species breeding(even if they are the same faction)
For the mating based on rank, I don't think it would be by rank per se, but perhaps by "officer"; after a Tau has risen to the higher echelons of 'Ui or higher, I think he would "gain" the responsibility of carrying on the race. Ethereals are different, but I believe they have a minimum age as well.
For the actual birth/raising, I believe it would be something similar to frogs; no actual intercourse, and the egs are already outside the body and can be put into an incubtor(probably industrialized with Egg/Sperm Banks. No worrysome out-of-service, or complications. For the raising side of the coin, after separated from their parents with minimal contact with the parent, but plenty of contact with other Tau. "unsatisfactory" cildren may be taken care of ŕ la "The Giver."(somewhat shakier though on this footing)
The basics of reproduction pobably won't vary, but the social interaction and how they are raised probably will vary.

Now, about the view that seems to break away from most of the above-mentioned, I believe the Tau would want to keep themselves as active as possible, since there are only a few to begin with. And this way, the expeditionary fleets can have a guaranteed second generationwhen they are ready, as well as minimizing the risks of complications and miscariages.
For the "natural urges" I think they'd be largely mitigated if not completely removed, save a "need" to donate.
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