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Deep Space Nine What We Left Behind, we will always have here.

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Old August 23 2012, 08:06 PM   #1471
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

There were a few episodes where they tried that--but thankfully they abandoned it.
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Old August 24 2012, 05:57 PM   #1472
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

A Simple Investigation (***½)

What is love? Baby, don't hurt me. Don't hurt me, no more.







This episode is probably the best example of why making Odo a Changeling again was premature, because this story would have been better if he had been humanoid. Odo having his first sexual relationship as a solid would have made it more meaningful, and it's probably an experience that he couldn't fully appreciate as a Changeling for various biological reasons. It also makes more sense from a character perspective for him to be exploring new areas of his life as a solid rather than as a Changeling. There would be time for Odo to explore romantic relationships later in the series, but not getting involved in such a situation as a solid leaves me feeling that the writers missed out on something important in their rush to return things to normal.

There are other reasons why I wish Odo had been a humanoid for this episode, because the fact that he is a Changeling caused me to think certain things that I never wanted to think. Odo presumably morphed up a reasonably accurate (if unusually smooth) nude male body. Did he spend hours on the internet researching what naked males look like, or does his knowledge come purely from those sexy crime novels he reads? Odo's clothes are a part of himself, so when Arissa inevitably attempted to lift his shirt off, what exactly happened? Did Odo just morph his clothes off? Odo doesn't have natural saliva, so when Arissa kissed him, did he just have an exceptionally dry mouth, or did he morph up some fake saliva, which then went into her mouth and returned to its gelatinous state? All these thoughts kept distracting me from the story, that wouldn't have happened if Odo was a solid.

As a love story, it's definitely one of the stronger ones Trek has done, the characters and story are more interesting than what we usually get. It would have been nice if the plot had tied into some grander narrative about the Orion Syndicate, but as an organisation they're never been particularly well thought-out, which is unfortunate. There's still the issue of Odo and Arissa falling in love over the course of two or three days, but it's less of a problem than normal. Bit of a dick move at the end to reveal that Arissa is married, it's one of the more tragic reset buttons, but it's still a reset button.

Form of... a sex machine: 30
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Old August 24 2012, 06:34 PM   #1473
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

How will this affect any feelings Odo has for Kira? I mean, it's hard enough for Odo to admit he has romantic feelings for anyone. But he finally did so with for Kira (although he still hasn't told HER). You know how first loves are; certainly Odo felt it was special, one-of-a-kind, would last forever. And all that's still probably true, but it does certainly change things when you have your second love, when you admit that there's more than one person who can get your juices flowing (or whatever the equivalent is for changelings). And boy, was Odo moved; he allowed Arissa to get away with things he would never allow Kira to get away with, no mater how much he loves her. But maybe that's because Arissa was so much more vulnerable/needy than Kira. Or maybe it was because Arissa was literally programmed to be someone he would help. Her personality was, after all, made-up and programmed by someone. Funny that a man that didn't want to play with a fake holosuite girl ended up playing with a different kind of fake girl. (I won't get into the legal ramifications of over-writing someone's memories and personality and how someone was killed in those actions.)

You think maybe this will soften Odo some. Make him realize there's probably someone else out there for him. I would think it would make his connection with and interest in Kira just a little bit less significant, less of a driver in his life. Hey, does that mean he'll be more likely to leave DS9 and return to the Great Link or something, since Kira was what was keeping him here?

What I did like about the episode was the scenes in the holosuite and the exploration of the Orion Syndicate criminals. But I just generally didn't find the story very believable. Odo seemed so out of character.
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Old August 24 2012, 07:01 PM   #1474
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

I agree that this is one of the stronger romance episodes, to the extent that I think it's dignified enough to "frown at the clown" and demand a proper introduction . Which is to say, despite demonstrating the usual implausibilities of romance-of-the-week, there's enough of a point to this one to elevate it out of the RomanceTrek box. Perhaps it's because Odo is new to sexual relationships, and a person's first such experience carries with it the sense of experimentation that lets us overlook the need for a partnership to develop at a sensible pace. It's more an "Odo gains life experience" plot than a "character suddenly falls in love" piece, which makes it more palatable. Perhaps too it's because the underworld/intelligence theme brings to mind genres in which sudden sexual liaisons seem less out of place; there's a actual backdrop to the relationship, even if it is a rather cliched one.

I agree entirely that this episode would've been more effective if Odo were still a solid, but I'm perfectly happy with what we got. Arissa's final line is great, I must say, and I'm not sure I "got it" the first time. "I'll never forget you" sounds like the usual fare from romance-of-the-week, a somewhat hokey attempt to demonstrate that this character we'll never see again was a True Love, but considering what Arissa does for a living, it's both tragically poignant and darkly amusing. It also manages, then, to carry a (probably unintentional) barb that challenges the notion of meaningful, never-to-be-regretted-or-forgotten whirlwind romances. It's a truly DS9 sort of RomanceTrek.
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Old August 24 2012, 10:07 PM   #1475
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
There are other reasons why I wish Odo had been a humanoid for this episode, because the fact that he is a Changeling caused me to think certain things that I never wanted to think.
There are more problems to, did Odo form a penis just for Arissa, does Arissa know he has no shaft or does she want to explore regardless? This episode should be of lower score for it stoops so low just for Odo to bag some woman of his dreams for a week or so.

And I thought Odo had the crazies for Nerys... Seriously Odo spurned Lwaxana's affections and that cute Bajoran woman during the last episode of season 4 so it's obvious Kira is da ONE. This episode would have been so much more better and so much less clichéd and shallow if Odo spurned Arissa's advances or even hit himself with a painstick as he is torn between two women but picks neither...

It just feels out of character, Odo is shy around women who are interested in him so that's another reason why this episode is so naff. It seemed to me that the writers HAD to have Odo have sex with any old woman just for the sake of it, regardless of cheesiness, Odo's character or even a good story.

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Old August 25 2012, 01:49 PM   #1476
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

In a lot of ways this is Odo's equivilent of a teenage romance experiment. Sure he has it for Kira, but she's involved with another guy and he's finally just worked up the courage to make ANY kind of move, even if it's with girl #2.

As for his shapeshifter anatomy? I'd think from the female's point of view a partner who can alter at will the size, shape and texture of certain portions of his body would have some sort of appeal. Though if Odo only gets off from turning into Jello, I'm not really sure what he's getting out of it.
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Old August 25 2012, 11:17 PM   #1477
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
There are other reasons why I wish Odo had been a humanoid for this episode, because the fact that he is a Changeling caused me to think certain things that I never wanted to think. Odo presumably morphed up a reasonably accurate (if unusually smooth) nude male body. Did he spend hours on the internet researching what naked males look like, or does his knowledge come purely from those sexy crime novels he reads? Odo's clothes are a part of himself, so when Arissa inevitably attempted to lift his shirt off, what exactly happened? Did Odo just morph his clothes off? Odo doesn't have natural saliva, so when Arissa kissed him, did he just have an exceptionally dry mouth, or did he morph up some fake saliva, which then went into her mouth and returned to its gelatinous state? All these thoughts kept distracting me from the story, that wouldn't have happened if Odo was a solid.
You stopped at the saliva because you wanted to keep the review PG-13?

These are all very good questions that the show does its best to ignore. It's too bad that the show never fully explored the issues related to the nature of the Changelings, and treated them as humanoids way too often.

R. Star wrote: View Post
As for his shapeshifter anatomy? I'd think from the female's point of view a partner who can alter at will the size, shape and texture of certain portions of his body would have some sort of appeal. Though if Odo only gets off from turning into Jello, I'm not really sure what he's getting out of it.
I've wondered about this, too. How is Odo able to enjoy "solids" sex, if he is at all? And I dunno, from my point of view I'd have a problem knowing my partner can't feel any pleasure doing sex.

I'm so behind with this thread, I don't know if I'll ever get to catch up before TheGodBen finishes his rewatch, so I've just decided to tune in at this point.

BTW, since I don't want to open another thread that will die soon, I need to share with you guys this disturbing news: my best friend has finally seen all the Trek shows except ENT, and her favorite is... Voyager! She thinks it's great, and that the characters have great development (granted, she cites Torres, Paris and Seven, who do have some), she loves Janeway, and even thinks that Chakotay is wonderful with his spirituality and calmness. Her favorite character is B'Elanna Torres and she says she relates to her a lot and that she's a lot like her, which makes me feel awkward since I was always lukewarm to B'Elanna.
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Old August 26 2012, 12:51 AM   #1478
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Since changelings clearly seem to experience the sensations of touch, I'm assuming that, if they were skilled enough and chose to do so, they could morph the approrpriate sex organ that would allow them to experience the corresponding humanoid sensations of sexual pleasure.

Though that theory kind of falls through if I think about too much, because if they can do that, why couldn't they morph up tastes buds or even a digestive system ...

I can kind of see why the writers didn't want to try and explain it.
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Old August 26 2012, 01:29 AM   #1479
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
A Simple Investigation (***½)

What is love? Baby, don't hurt me. Don't hurt me, no more.

This episode is probably the best example of why making Odo a Changeling again was premature, because this story would have been better if he had been humanoid. Odo having his first sexual relationship as a solid would have made it more meaningful, and it's probably an experience that he couldn't fully appreciate as a Changeling for various biological reasons. It also makes more sense from a character perspective for him to be exploring new areas of his life as a solid rather than as a Changeling. There would be time for Odo to explore romantic relationships later in the series, but not getting involved in such a situation as a solid leaves me feeling that the writers missed out on something important in their rush to return things to normal.

There are other reasons why I wish Odo had been a humanoid for this episode, because the fact that he is a Changeling caused me to think certain things that I never wanted to think. Odo presumably morphed up a reasonably accurate (if unusually smooth) nude male body. Did he spend hours on the internet researching what naked males look like, or does his knowledge come purely from those sexy crime novels he reads? Odo's clothes are a part of himself, so when Arissa inevitably attempted to lift his shirt off, what exactly happened? Did Odo just morph his clothes off? Odo doesn't have natural saliva, so when Arissa kissed him, did he just have an exceptionally dry mouth, or did he morph up some fake saliva, which then went into her mouth and returned to its gelatinous state? All these thoughts kept distracting me from the story, that wouldn't have happened if Odo was a solid.

As a love story, it's definitely one of the stronger ones Trek has done, the characters and story are more interesting than what we usually get. It would have been nice if the plot had tied into some grander narrative about the Orion Syndicate, but as an organisation they're never been particularly well thought-out, which is unfortunate. There's still the issue of Odo and Arissa falling in love over the course of two or three days, but it's less of a problem than normal. Bit of a dick move at the end to reveal that Arissa is married, it's one of the more tragic reset buttons, but it's still a reset button.

Form of... a sex machine: 30
I really liked this episode. As for the "penis" issue, I always imagined that he didn't have a problem forming one because he had been human and knew what his own penis was like at that time. It would have nice to get more on the Orion Syndicate, but they seemed to be very secretive and good at what they did. Weren't they also mentioned in The Ascent? I got the impression that you didn't find them, they found you...

I think finding out that Arissa was married worked just fine when you factor in Kira and Odo happening eventually. Vedek Bareil dying was also sad, but it ended up setting Kira free for Odo as well. His death was more pertinent to different story arcs, but Arissa's marriage and the fact that the woman Odo had feelings for didn't exist worked well for their purpose to me. This is a great episode.
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Old August 26 2012, 01:31 AM   #1480
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

DS9 Gal AZ wrote: View Post
Since changelings clearly seem to experience the sensations of touch, I'm assuming that, if they were skilled enough and chose to do so, they could morph the approrpriate sex organ that would allow them to experience the corresponding humanoid sensations of sexual pleasure.

Though that theory kind of falls through if I think about too much, because if they can do that, why couldn't they morph up tastes buds or even a digestive system ...

I can kind of see why the writers didn't want to try and explain it.
Well, the big wig Changlings were able to morph up taste buds and a digestive system for Odo when they punished him with becoming locked in as human. So, anything's possible, I guess. Odo wasn't the best at shifting, either, although he was good. There were other Changelings that could take on a human form perfectly when he was still having trouble with faces.
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Old August 26 2012, 02:53 AM   #1481
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

DevilEyes wrote: View Post
I've wondered about this, too. How is Odo able to enjoy "solids" sex, if he is at all? And I dunno, from my point of view I'd have a problem knowing my partner can't feel any pleasure doing sex.
Well, I think one can "explain" this from the same point of view that one can "explain" Odo being knocked out on occasion. ("Explain" in quotes because obviously what the changelings do is not very plausible.)

But, based on what we see on DS9, what a changeling does has to be more than just altering physical form and appearance. Odo actually sees with his eyes, for example, in humanoid form, while in his natural state he must "see" with his whole body, in essence. So, that would be similar to comparing the link to humanoid sex.

One good thing about the changelings are that they are an exception to the general rule of Trek forehead aliens. There are things about them that are actually alien. Unfortunately, the writers don't always do a good job of really exploiting that. Sometimes, though.

Spock/Uhura Fan wrote: View Post
Well, the big wig Changlings were able to morph up taste buds and a digestive system for Odo when they punished him with becoming locked in as human. So, anything's possible, I guess. Odo wasn't the best at shifting, either, although he was good. There were other Changelings that could take on a human form perfectly when he was still having trouble with faces.
Yeah, that whole experience suggests that a changeling can actually *become* humanoid. Though possibly this can only be accomplished with the aid of the link.
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Old August 26 2012, 03:01 AM   #1482
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

flemm wrote: View Post
DevilEyes wrote: View Post
I've wondered about this, too. How is Odo able to enjoy "solids" sex, if he is at all? And I dunno, from my point of view I'd have a problem knowing my partner can't feel any pleasure doing sex.
Well, I think one can "explain" this from the same point of view that one can "explain" Odo being knocked out on occasion. ("Explain" in quotes because obviously what the changelings do is not very plausible.)

Basically what a changeling does has to be more than just altering physical form and appearance. He actually sees with his eyes, for example, in humanoid form, while in his natural state he must "see" with his whole body, in essence. So, that would be similar to comparing the link to humanoid sex.

One good thing about the changelings are that they are an exception to the general rule of Trek forehead aliens. There are things about them that are actually alien. Unfortunately, the writers don't always do a good job of really exploiting that. Sometimes, though.
Yes, I'm glad they went outside of the box a little with the Changelings. But, forehead aliens are nice too. I love Klingons, save for the food. My attitude is if it's trying to run off of your plate, let it.

Spock/Uhura Fan wrote: View Post
Well, the big wig Changlings were able to morph up taste buds and a digestive system for Odo when they punished him with becoming locked in as human. So, anything's possible, I guess. Odo wasn't the best at shifting, either, although he was good. There were other Changelings that could take on a human form perfectly when he was still having trouble with faces.
Yeah, that whole experience suggests that a changeling can actually *become* humanoid. Though possibly this can only be accomplished with the aid of the link.
This is probably true.
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Old August 29 2012, 05:39 PM   #1483
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

DevilEyes wrote: View Post
You stopped at the saliva because you wanted to keep the review PG-13?
The first draft was more graphic, yes, and the saliva ended up in more places than Arissa's mouth.

my best friend has finally seen all the Trek shows except ENT, and her favorite is... Voyager!
Oh dear. As someone that once had a best friend that was a Voyager fan, I speak from experience when I say that your friendship just wont last. End it now, don't let the pain drag on, it will hurt more in the long run.

Spock/Uhura Fan wrote: View Post
I really liked this episode. As for the "penis" issue, I always imagined that he didn't have a problem forming one because he had been human and knew what his own penis was like at that time.
Oh yeah, I had completely forgotten that Odo had a penis there for a while. Perhaps part of the punishment was that the Founders gave him a really small one, it seems like something they'd do.


Business as Usual (***)

Being a pansy liberal from a small neutral country where guns are heavily regulated, I am, of course, an expert on the arms trade. Or not. Probably not, now that I come to think of it. As someone not in the know, I kinda imagine that the arms trade is a business like most others, where people wear suits and attend weekly department meetings where they discuss sales while staring at graphs. But in the future, the interstellar arms trade seems to work more like a camp mafia organisation. There's murder, sit-downs, business deals with sociopaths, and other such tropes. It's like watching The Sopranos, but with Tony as a flamboyant Englishman that buys Paulie jewellery as reward for a job well done.

That's a problem for this episode, it's very one-sided in how it depicts the arms trade, they're moral-less schemers out to make a quick buck out of death and destruction. And that's kinda true, but things are a bit more complex than that. Sometimes, people need weapons to fight against oppression, and the episode actually addresses this point when it's revealed that Hagath sold weapons to the Bajorans while they were fighting the Cardassians. But that complexity goes away again almost as soon as it's brought up, and the show returns to the heartless Hagath and his sinister business. The best villains are the ones that think they're the good guy, even Tony Soprano didn't think of himself as a monster. But Hagath doesn't even attempt to rationalise his actions, he likes money and he can make a lot of it by selling weapons to dictators. Steven Berkoff has some fun with the role, but there's not much under the surface to make the character really interesting.

If you ignore those issues and approach the episode as a character story for Quark, it's pretty good. He's brought to the brink, gets involved in a business he never wanted to be involved in, gets in over his head, and struggles to find a way out. It's not an original story, but it works, and Armin Shimerman does a good job with with it. It continues his arc as a character that's being "corrupted" by the insidious Federation, and it's always nice when Quark gets a meaty part rather than being dumped with the role of comic relief.
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Old August 29 2012, 06:09 PM   #1484
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Business as Usual deserves four stars because this is not so much a serious episode of sorts but like a dark humour satirical sort. This explains the one-dimensional characters, the awesomeness of Hagath and what not...
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Old August 30 2012, 12:47 AM   #1485
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

I think another point in the episode's favour is that it draws attention (deliberately or not) to the skewed perspective viewers have on the universe these shows are set in. With the exception of Quark, our viewpoint characters are in service to a powerful, sprawling organization that essentially has the power to define the situations and the people it encounters - both in-universe and in the eyes of viewers. In TNG, and in early DS9, we see plenty of smaller or weaker powers, planets-of-the-week, but those planets are presented to us in terms of their dealings with the Federation (of course they are, it couldn't be otherwise). All things considered, we see a rather orderly galaxy. For all that the planet-of-the-week has problems (or represents problems), the rich, powerful Federation is there to police the chaos. To respond, to mediate, to set a shiny example. And even when Picard or Sisko deal with major powers like Cardassians, Romulans and Klingons, we're still seeing a world in which the Federation defines the galaxy. Those other powers are presented in terms of relations with the UFP, treaties and stalemates and careful regulation of the balance of power. It's a rather neat galaxy, all things considered. But in this episode, we're basically given a glimpse into all the minor worlds who aren't part of the Federation, aren't able or willing to call it in to solve a dispute, aren't locked into treaties with it as rivals, aren't on the Federation's radar at all. Quark represents our only real chance to access the seedy underbelly of that neat galaxy, because Quark is our insight into the little guy; he's the one character who isn't affiliated with the uniform and the higher purpose. Even Kira and Odo - who represent the more rugged home militia of the struggling nation rather than the shiny army of the rich superpower - are involved with maintaining order rather than rummaging in the chaos.

In this episode, we're introduced to minor conflicts that are apparently raging in the galaxy "right now", with no apparent mediation by the UFP or any attention at all from major powers. Nations like Palamar or the other worlds Hagath mentions have slipped through the cracks of the Trek universe. They're involved in horrific civil wars, conflicts with one another that seem devastating (at least on their more limited scale), desperate struggles that see millions of deaths...and in a universe as large as Trek's, it "doesn't matter". The Federation and other major players apparently haven't noticed, we only "notice" because we have the Quark character to dip his toes into that other galaxy - an other galaxy that no other main character could enter. It's quite a jolt, I think, to be given the impression that all the high-stakes politics we see elsewhere is obscuring all sorts of conflicts and sufferings that we ordinarily wouldn't get a glimpse at. Okay, that's an obvious truth if you think about it, but it's not about our logic, it's about what the show actually, well, shows us. This episode actually presents us, knowingly or not, with the hard fact that as Sisko and Gowron debate the Khitomer Accords, or as Winn and Legate Turrel sign a peace treaty, some world like Palamar is being made a wasteland and no-one notices...save the arms dealers making a profit from it.

Episodes like this are interesting in that they show us glimpses of the Trek universe we don't often see - because all our other viewpoint characters are representing their government, we only see those worlds that come to those governments' attention.

Gaila's speech about the stars, and whether it really matters if Quark helps him put out one of those stars, takes on another layer of meaning for me. If Palamar is made a wasteland...does it matter?, and I don't mean does it matter in-universe, or to Quark, but does it matter to me, when that world is in a Trek galaxy I don't often see? The fate of Cardassia matters because the show is, in part, about Cardassia. The fate of Palamar doesn't matter...only here, for this one episode, it does, because Quark has entered its story and so made its story relevant to us. (Yes, I'm aware Palamar doesn't really exist - I hope what I'm saying makes sense of a sort; I'm talking about how the episode insists we suddenly look at, and find meaning in, an implied chunk of the fictional universe in which the shows are set that ordinarily is of no relevance). In a sense, this episode is daring (and I think it maybe doesn't realize just how daring it is, seeing as I think it arrived at its destination in ignorance, just by following the Quark character).
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