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

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Old February 5 2013, 01:22 AM   #1816
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Chimera was very welcome return to form. It's an excellent look at how Odo perceives himself amongst solids, and the love story between him and Kira transcends any of their material from His Way onwards.

The moment at the end where Odo meets Kira halfway with the amazing smoke and light is pretty much perfect.
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Old February 5 2013, 02:43 AM   #1817
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Paper Moon wrote: View Post
It's interesting, I think the episode does indeed say this, but I think it also presents a strong case for Laas being unreasonable in his conclusions and the Starfleeters (somewhat less so the Klingons) behaving appropriately.
Well, on the whole, I think Laas is one of those (relatively rare) characters who only appears for an episode but really makes an impact, and it's partly because his behavior and ideas can't really be dismissed, and can even be seen as courageous in a sense, but, as you say, he can also be seen as a bit of a bigot himself, depending on how you look at it.

I think I recall reading at one point that the writers wanted to bring him back, but never got around to it, and it doesn't really surprise me. He provides a unique point of view on the changelings, whereas before we only had Odo and the Founders, basically.
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Old February 5 2013, 08:39 AM   #1818
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

flemm wrote: View Post
Paper Moon wrote: View Post
It's interesting, I think the episode does indeed say this, but I think it also presents a strong case for Laas being unreasonable in his conclusions and the Starfleeters (somewhat less so the Klingons) behaving appropriately.
Well, on the whole, I think Laas is one of those (relatively rare) characters who only appears for an episode but really makes an impact, and it's partly because his behavior and ideas can't really be dismissed, and can even be seen as courageous in a sense, but, as you say, he can also be seen as a bit of a bigot himself, depending on how you look at it.

I think I recall reading at one point that the writers wanted to bring him back, but never got around to it, and it doesn't really surprise me. He provides a unique point of view on the changelings, whereas before we only had Odo and the Founders, basically.
Indeed. Laas complicates the dynamic, and that helps flesh the changelings out further ready for their final arc, in which their progressing disease separates our sense of their biology and their experience of life from their politics, at least as I see it. Being a communal lifeform as they are, with a history of (supposed) total non-aggression within their species, it does make some degree of sense that the changelings are easily wrapped up in the same package, and so in the past we've had "Odo Vs Founders", with Odo's relationship to his people being at least partly defined by monocultural politics. As The Dead Fish said back in season three, "The Changelings are the Dominion", and they're so insistent on the point that evaluating them at a remove from their political platform has been difficult. Now, though, Laas lets us finally see the changeling species in terms of an individual experience, not a political one. Odo's attempts to work out where he stands in relation to Laas' viewpoints and wishes has nothing to do with the Dominion and so forces a bit of a reconsideration of his position. Which I believe was the writers' intent with this one, wasn't it? "What if Odo meets a changeling who isn't of the Dominion? How does that force him to re-justify his decision to remain a Bajoran?" It's easy to overlook the racial identity problems and other identity issues when the only alternative for Odo was "the Dominion", because we know he objects morally to Dominion politics. This episode neatly returns his arc to being about a lost individual who longs for the companionship of his own kind, but is torn between them and his adopted home, rather than "the hero refuses to join the villains despite temptation". It reaffirms what was so intriguing about this character arc in the first place.
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Old February 5 2013, 05:44 PM   #1819
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

DonIago wrote: View Post
I love the tone you adopted for this review.
Thanks, I'm pretty happy with how it ended up.

Paper Moon wrote: View Post
It's interesting, I think the episode does indeed say this, but I think it also presents a strong case for Laas being unreasonable in his conclusions and the Starfleeters (somewhat less so the Klingons) behaving appropriately.
I agree with that. Laas makes some valid observations, but comes to some invalid conclusions. For example, Laas not being allowed to lounge around the promenade as a cloud of fog isn't a sign of oppression. If O'Brien decided to put a bean-bag in the middle of the walkway and sat there reading a book then he'd be told to move along too. There is some discrimination of Changelings on DS9, but Laas is actively looking for discrimination and finds some even where there isn't any.

Worf'sParmach wrote: View Post
See, Kira loves Odo so much that she decides to let him go. That's not really my style of love, I come from the clingy if-you-leave-me-I'll-make-your-life-a-living-hell school of romance, but I appreciate the sentiment.
I'm with you on that one.
Yeah, it's all fun and games until you take it too far and drive your ex toward self-harm, and then live with that on your conscience for the rest of your life.

Now for some levity!


Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang (**½)

O'Brien and Bashir get Vic Fontaine to sing a song about the Alamo, which apparently unlocked an easter egg in his program that replaces Vic's band with a burlesque show, thus improving the program 200%.

O'BRIEN: Maybe there's a pointer fault in the holosuite's parameter file.
Hey, that actually makes a vague semblance of sense! That's the first time in 7 years that a line of technobable doesn't sound like gibberish to me.

It turns out that Felix, the guy that has been providing Bashir with all his crazy holosuite programs, planted this surprise in Vic's program to add a little excitement to it. Not only that, but he somehow overrode the holosuite controls and prevented the program from stopping. Felix is a security risk that has messed with the normal operation of systems on a strategically vital space station, and the crew of DS9 shouldn't be treating the situation as lightly as they do. But being characters in a TV show, they decide to plan an audacious heist to save Vic from a programmer that widely overstepped his bounds.

BASHIR: Vic Fontaine's hotel's just been bought by gangsters.
SISKO: I see. When do you plan on to going back to work?
Sisko, there, directly tapping into the thinking of the audience. Until he says this:

SISKO: In 1962, the Civil Rights movement was still in its infancy. It wasn't an easy time for our people and I'm not going to pretend that it was.
"Our people" is the bit that sticks out the most. Up until this point, there have been no black people in the 24th century, just people who are black. The fact that Sisko openly refers to himself as a black person is jarring, but it does make some sense in light of Sisko's experiences as Benny Russell. As someone who experienced the sort of discrimination that black people faced around that time, it makes sense that Sisko would take personal offence to the fact that Vic's program ignores that ugly part of history. That being said, the way this was handled in the episode was ham-handed and failed to make that connection to Benny Russell. I like the idea of the scene, but it could have been executed way better.

As for the rest of the episode, there's not much to say. When it when it aired, it pissed me off considerably because it was yet another pointless episode while the show's main arcs were left hanging in the wind. But with the hindsight of knowing that those arcs will be the focus of the final 10 episodes of the series, and the knowledge that this was the show's final hurrah for fluff episodes, it's an okay episode. It also helps that I don't have to wait a week to get to the good stuff. Badda-Bing Badda-Bang is a light episode that allows the crew to come together for one last joint adventure. Except Worf, fuck that guy.

Form of... extendo-arms: 36
Form of... a drink-tray: 37
Form of... briefcase-hands: 38


Wow, Odo has really taken Laas's advice to heart.
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Old February 5 2013, 08:04 PM   #1820
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Yeah, I have to say Sisko drawing attention to his black heritage was quite jarring, and took the shine off the episode a bit. I understand where he's coming from after his experience in the 1960s, but it was a clumsily handled moment that wasn't very Star Trek.

Having said that, I have such a soft spot for the episode. It was a cool ensemble piece where everyone had something to do, and they were all doing it for their friend. Now I think I said pretty much the same about Take Me Out To The Holosuite, which I also liked a fair bit. As fluff episodes that get in the way of the main arc in the last couple of seasons, I would rank these two episodes towards the top.

It's also one of the few instances of a holodeck/suite program doing what it was actually programmed to do. So there.
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Old February 5 2013, 08:15 PM   #1821
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Seven of Five wrote: View Post
It's also one of the few instances of a holodeck/suite program doing what it was actually programmed to do. So there.
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Old February 5 2013, 10:13 PM   #1822
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
Wow, Odo has really taken Laas's advice to heart.
Now my counter will never win.


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Old February 5 2013, 11:04 PM   #1823
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

I agree that the reference to Sisko being "Black" instead of just being a dark skinned Human was jarring. It takes you out of universe for a moment. For that moment, I see Avery Brooks instead of Ben Sisko.

I also rememeber wondering how realistic it would be that he seems so personally affected by the Civil Rights movement. It was 400 years ago for Ben. Then again, there was the Benny Russel experience so that may make it seem much more "fresh" in his mind.
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Old February 6 2013, 01:36 AM   #1824
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Sisko was a little odd here, yeah, but I also chalked it up to his Benny Russell experience.That said, I really love this episode. Because it's finally a holodeck episode that doesn't go "AAAARGH, WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!" but just has fun with the crew doing a heist with as good as nothing at stake. I also loved the moment where they walk in costume over the promenade and the main theme plays. It's a pity Quark doesn't get involved, though.
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Old February 6 2013, 02:29 AM   #1825
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

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It's a pity Quark doesn't get involved, though.

Yeah, I've always found that odd, especially since it works as a kind of final lighthearted group outing before the war arc. Quark was already side-lined enough at this point.

It's a fan service episode, but DS9 fans tend to not really care that much about this sort of fan service, at least not the genre fans who rewatch the show and discuss it on forums like this. But... I guess it has its place, and maybe was appreciated by dedicated fans of the show while it was on the air.
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Old February 6 2013, 08:13 AM   #1826
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TheGodBen wrote: View Post
Paper Moon wrote: View Post
It's interesting, I think the episode does indeed say this, but I think it also presents a strong case for Laas being unreasonable in his conclusions and the Starfleeters (somewhat less so the Klingons) behaving appropriately.
I agree with that. Laas makes some valid observations, but comes to some invalid conclusions. For example, Laas not being allowed to lounge around the promenade as a cloud of fog isn't a sign of oppression. If O'Brien decided to put a bean-bag in the middle of the walkway and sat there reading a book then he'd be told to move along too. There is some discrimination of Changelings on DS9, but Laas is actively looking for discrimination and finds some even where there isn't any.
Exactly. I mean, you could argue that it is a sign of minor oppression and be poetic about it, but yeah.

Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang (**½)



It turns out that Felix, the guy that has been providing Bashir with all his crazy holosuite programs, planted this surprise in Vic's program to add a little excitement to it. Not only that, but he somehow overrode the holosuite controls and prevented the program from stopping. Felix is a security risk that has messed with the normal operation of systems on a strategically vital space station, and the crew of DS9 shouldn't be treating the situation as lightly as they do. But being characters in a TV show, they decide to plan an audacious heist to save Vic from a programmer that widely overstepped his bounds.
They could shut the program down. Yeah, it would wipe Vic's memory, but there's an argument to be made that that wasn't supposed to matter, at least, in Felix's mind. So, yeah, Felix has messed with the holosuite, but that's hardly a critical system and it's easy to conceive of a way he could've done it that would keep the influence isolated to the holosuite program. And if people didn't want to play with his jack-in-the-box, they just reset the program. It's not like it's (supposed) to be a plot-based program, where you'd "save your game" regularly, it's the same thing over and over again.

SISKO: In 1962, the Civil Rights movement was still in its infancy. It wasn't an easy time for our people and I'm not going to pretend that it was.
"Our people" is the bit that sticks out the most. Up until this point, there have been no black people in the 24th century, just people who are black. The fact that Sisko openly refers to himself as a black person is jarring, but it does make some sense in light of Sisko's experiences as Benny Russell. As someone who experienced the sort of discrimination that black people faced around that time, it makes sense that Sisko would take personal offence to the fact that Vic's program ignores that ugly part of history. That being said, the way this was handled in the episode was ham-handed and failed to make that connection to Benny Russell. I like the idea of the scene, but it could have been executed way better.
I agree it was ham-handed, and there probably should've been a connection to Benny Russell. (I wonder if Avery Brooks pushed for the inclusion of this thread in the story.)

On the other hand (well, not exactly, since it doesn't invalidate the point that it's a ham-handed execution, but anyway), I believe that there is indirect evidence to support this seemingly abruptly-added aspect of Sisko's character, which I outlined here, back during the discussion of "Far Beyond The Stars."

Quoting the most relevant bit [edited slightly for clarity]:

The setting of the pagh'tem'far is significant as well, and clearly tailored specifically to Sisko: Sisko is clearly well-read on the histories of the peoples of [Africa and the] Diaspora, as well as the histories of the 20th and 21st centuries on Earth in general. Consider:
  • the Yoruba mask that he brought from Earth to DS9 when DS9 became "home," and that he then brought to Starbase 375 when he was assigned to Admiral Ross; the Yoruba are a major tribe in Nigeria, and Sisko's possession and admiration of a Yoruba mask suggest an awareness and appreciation of that culture (and perhaps even an identification with it, although that is a question for another time).
  • Sisko's attitude in "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang"; he knows the history of the American Civil Rights Movement down to the specific years, over three centuries after the fact. The topic is clearly important to him.
  • his detailed knowledge of the Bell Riots, their background and their repercussions; again, his level of knowledge suggests quite a bit more than a passing interest.
  • though this is weaker evidence, it could be argued that Sisko's familiarity with the Bell Riots resulted from a careful study of African diaspora leaders, of whom Gabriel Bell would surely qualify as.
  • lastly, and this is rather weak evidence, and is very subjective: Sisko's off-duty attire has always struck me as being influenced/inspired by traditional African fabric designs. Again, this is very circumstantial, but it fits into this overall image of a man who understands, values, respects and admires the histories and cultures of [Africa and the African] diaspora.
The pagh'tem'far is crafted to be uniquely understandable and relevant to Sisko. In a way, its effect is heightened: something that was previously presumably a solely academic endeavor (the study of Africana history) is made vividly real. Quite a contrast.
So there is precedent for Sisko's sensitivity to the romanticized history here, beyond his Benny Russell experiences alone.

It seems possible to me that Sisko is part of a particular cultural movement taking place among humans in the latter half of the 24th century, in which humans are more aware of their individual heritage among the rich diversity of backgrounds found on Earth. We only see about 14 24th-century Earth-born humans in any significant depth; it could just be that Sisko is that only adherent of this movement of those that we've seen.

But I actually think we don't even need that explanation. Kirk was born in Iowa; I could definitely see him talking about "family roots in Iowa," or values that he picked up as an Iowan. Chekov proclaimed the glories of Russia and the Russian people on a regular basis. Chakotay identifies with his Native American ancestry. And Picard, perhaps more in conception that execution, put serious value on his French heritage. Maybe none of them would go so far as to say "I'm a Frenchman, while one of my predecessors was an Iowan," but maybe they would.

And O'Brien, too. If he were shown a holo-program that took place in Belfast in the 1970s and depicted a peaceful era of independent Irish rule (or at the very least, one that made no mention of the Troubles whatsoever), don't you think he would react a bit negatively at the revisionist history? [EDIT: It occurs to me that this comparison may be faux pas. To clarify, recall that, in the Trekverse, Ireland was united in 2024. So, presumably, O'Brien's understanding of "Irish identity" incorporates republican and unionist narratives (the way today's American identity incorporates narratives from New England, the South, the Mid-West, etc). A better comparison might be to ask if O'Brien's reaction to Voyager's "Fair Haven" program would be comparable to your own, GodBen.]

My point is that it's not quite so simple as
Up until this point, there have been no black people in the 24th century, just people who are black.
The "our people" phrase is a bit further than we've seen, but it's really not that far removed from the ethnic pride we see in Picard, Kirk, Chekov, Chakotay, or O'Brien.

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Old February 6 2013, 04:37 PM   #1827
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Paper Moon wrote: View Post
The "our people" phrase is a bit further than we've seen, but it's really not that far removed from the ethnic pride we see in Picard, Kirk, Chekov, Chakotay, or O'Brien.
Very good points made in your post. And you're right, several other characters refer to their ethnic roots on Earth, so it makes sense in that regard. I'd forgotten about the mask that you mentioned.

Avery Brooks is very active in African American civil rights so I'm sure he had something to do with it as well (not that that's a bad thing).
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Old February 6 2013, 06:35 PM   #1828
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

flemm wrote: View Post
apenpaap wrote: View Post
It's a pity Quark doesn't get involved, though.

Yeah, I've always found that odd, especially since it works as a kind of final lighthearted group outing before the war arc. Quark was already side-lined enough at this point.
I find it odd that Jake was left out of the caper while Kasidy was involved. Jake was actually shown enjoying Vic's program before, but Kasidy's friendship with Vic was invented to include her in this episode. A slight adaptation to the story and she could easily (and more believably) have been replaced by Jake.

Paper Moon wrote: View Post
A better comparison might be to ask if O'Brien's reaction to Voyager's "Fair Haven" program would be comparable to your own, GodBen.
My reaction to Fairhaven is something I think about whenever the topic of Sisko and Vic comes up, and it is true that a part of the reason for my strong negative reaction to Fairhaven was due to those episodes playing fast and loose with Irish history. So it has always made sense to me that a black person in the future might have a problem with Vic's program. The difference between me and Sisko though is that I'm more vocal about my cultural identity, so it doesn't surprise people if I go on a rant about perceived slights towards Irish people. Sisko never really vocalised his connection to his cultural identity (although I do agree that it's there in the background via his clothes, art, etc.) so when he suddenly starts speaking passionately on the subject it is a little weird.


Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges (*****)

I mentioned back when reviewing Inquisition that Bashir has an interesting double standard when it comes to black operations. On the one hand, he strongly objects to Sloan and section 31, but one of his closest friends is a former spy who assassinated countless individuals in his former profession and shows no remorse for it. It's interesting then that this episode begins with a conversation between Bashir and Garak about Garak's previous assignment to Romulus, which is treated as a light-hearted discussion among friends, including jokes. Garak probably did unconscionable things on Romulus, possibly even including murder, but to Bashir that is just part of the intrigue of Garak.

Then Sloan shows up and indicates that he wants Bashir to keep his ears open while on Romulus, and suddenly Bashir thinks such acts are barely conscionable. Bear in mind that what Sloan actually says isn't so bad, he's just looking to the future beyond the Dominion war and anticipating the threats of the potential political landscape. But Bashir is so idealistic that he chases after Sloan with a gun, scaring the bejesus out of Ezri.

Inter Arma is similar to In the Pale Moonlight in that it's about the lengths that Starfleet is willing to go to in order to win the war against the Dominion, but the key difference is that the main character in this story isn't compromised. Sisko chose to be duplicitous and ended up getting in over his head, while Bashir is tempted to play spy but ends up doing the right thing in the end. That's a no less interesting way to go, and it suits the character better anyway. Bashir is idealistic, he completely believes in the ideals of the Federation, so it makes sense that he would choose to stand his moral ground when he's put on the spot. Sadly for him, that was exactly what Sloan was expecting Bashir would do and Bashir got played, by both Sloan and Admiral Ross.

Admiral Ross is another interesting part of the episode. The trope of the corrupt admiral has been used time and time again in Star Trek, but with Ross it finally has a real impact. Not just because Ross is a recurring character that we have come to trust, but also because his reasoning can't be ignored. He's trying to end a war and save lives, and the episode doesn't condemn him for his role in the conspiracy. Is Ross's practical approach the right way to do things, or is Bashir's idealism the better way? The episode doesn't choose. In the final moment of the episode, even Bashir is left doubting.

In some cases, awarding an episode five stars is a no-brainer, such as Duet and In the Pale Moonlight, but sometimes it requires some humming and hawing. Inter Arma is a case of the latter. There are some niggles with the episode; Sloan's plan may have been a bit too perfect, and the idea that the head of the Tal Shiar is working with Section 31 is almost too difficult to believe. But I am a sucker for conspiracy/spy stories, and this episode has a great tone to it and some wonderful twists to the tale. It also has an excellent final act that leaves us to ponder the necessity of a group like Section 31 before they get involved in DS9's final chapter.

Sykonee's Counter: 36

According to MA, Praetor Neral previously appeared as a Proconsul in TNG, which is something I hadn't realised before. So there you go, Sykonee, your counter is back in the lead.
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Old February 6 2013, 08:45 PM   #1829
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
I find it odd that Jake was left out of the caper while Kasidy was involved. Jake was actually shown enjoying Vic's program before, but Kasidy's friendship with Vic was invented to include her in this episode. A slight adaptation to the story and she could easily (and more believably) have been replaced by Jake.
I think this was done to remind us that Kasidy is still around, especially given what is about to happen between them.

Sykonee's Counter: 36

According to MA, Praetor Neral previously appeared as a Proconsul in TNG, which is something I hadn't realised before. So there you go, Sykonee, your counter is back in the lead.
Been following this thread since the beginning and I must have missed something because I have never known what this meant
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Old February 6 2013, 10:02 PM   #1830
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Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Worf'sParmach wrote: View Post
Sykonee's Counter: 36

According to MA, Praetor Neral previously appeared as a Proconsul in TNG, which is something I hadn't realised before. So there you go, Sykonee, your counter is back in the lead.
Been following this thread since the beginning and I must have missed something because I have never known what this meant
Title's a minor gag. GodBen usually requests suggestions for counters at the start of his watch threads, and I've managed to worm one in since the ENT thread (I hadn't returned to TrekBBS when he'd started the VOY one).
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