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Booming
Sat, Jul 31, 2021, 9:24am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

He certainly comes on pretty strong. When he takes that step towards her, standing really close and says something about wanting to taste some of her culinary delights... I always cringe a little when he utters "Parthas a la Yuta". Keep it in your pants, Riker.

I wouldn't call it creepy, though but I would have taken a step back if he had closed in like that. Maybe it is different for the average ancient mass murdering assassin gal... maybe she was waiting for some bearded hunk to melt her little genocidal heart.
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Tidd
Sat, Jul 31, 2021, 7:12am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

@Trish

I agree, but it's even more directly personal for me than Peter G's hypothetical example: my reaction when I watched the episode was "If some guy hit on me like that, I would be repelled and I would turn away". Of course, that's just a first reaction and it's open to change (or not!) once I got to know the guy better.

In Riker's case, he was quick to adjust his own personal desires once he'd got a grasp on the background to the situation, and the ethics involved. So he gets a thumbs down from me followed by a thumbs up. I think - in terms of the story's flow, and the tensions within the plot - it could have been equally served by Riker having an obvious initial attraction to Yuta without hitting on her quite so blatantly.
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Tomalak
Sat, Jul 31, 2021, 7:08am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

Trish, I agree with your post earlier but not your most recent one. What is "rude" is similarly subjective - and certainly not consistent across cultures - but that does not stop reasonable people pointing to rude behaviour or non-rude behaviour even if people wont always agree. If I said it isn't rude to tell some old lady to fuck off if she politely asked for directions, I am sure you would have a sensible explanation for why I was wrong. No sensible person would be convinced if I then said "Oh, Trish, don't you realise rudeness is subjective?". Similarly with Riker
As you say, he wanted a normal romance built on mutual attraction and was put off by any sense of obligation on Yuta's part. Calling this creepy is just very weak, and pointing to subjectivity doesn't change that.
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Tidd
Sat, Jul 31, 2021, 2:25am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Hunted

“There was a referendum…”
“It was the will of the people…”

With the Brexit tragedy still fresh in my mind, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at that point.

However, the episode itself was a mix of the great and the routine. The latter involved the chase scenes around the Enterprise with Worf and a strangely inadequate security team (considering what had gone before) charging around the ship, with Data monitoring from the Bridge. Those scenes were a yawn-fest frankly.

But the first half of the episode was superb, especially the scenes involving Troi and Deinar (great use of Troi at last - she really shines in this), and between Data and Deinar. The dawning realisation of what had been done to Deinar, and the deep ethical questions that raised, were not only good sci-fi, but asked questions relevant to our own culture: how far should the ‘military mind’ go? what care should be given to retired soldiers? I’m not sure why Jammer thought these to be ‘obvious’ questions.

The ending was also good - Picard leading an away team who knew that passive resistance was the only effective answer to the soldiers’ programming. And leaving the two Angosian sides to resolve their differences without knowing how it would end.

The episode raises the usual problem of ‘alien humans’: the Angosians are a centuries-old society, therefore they cannot be settlers from Earth… yet they are fully human without even the pretence of an alien prosthetic. Really? We are supposed to believe in an exact parallel evolution? This is a problem I have whenever Trek trots out human beings that are ‘alien’ societies. However, it’s a general complaint that I have, not confined just to this episode.

I’d have been tempted to give 2.5 stars but the scenes where Deinar is in the holding cell are so good, I’ll bump it up to 3 stars.
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Zee
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 10:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Whom Gods Destroy

This episode is very disturbing to me, I think because of the cruelty displayed. I'm kind of desensitized now because of multiple viewings over the years, but upon initial viewing it seemed very dark for a Trek episode.

Garth and his girl steal the show as others have said. Plot holes abound but that's typical for Trek.

I'd give it a 60% rating.
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Sigh2000
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 9:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Displaced

"Displaced" has several interesting elements...so I will forgive two frozen people for not picking up the cold metallic ray guns!!

Here's what I think was interesting:

(1)The often frustrating crew disappearances reminded me of what happens on the ship Demeter in Stoker's novel Dracula, as a mysterious force overtakes the crew one at a time. However, here supernatural suspense is replaced by a rather fast-paced, almost chaotic descent into absurdity as 40 then 14 then 2 crew remain....

(2) Chakotay's last ditch efforts in the face of overwhelming odds had a noble quality which I enjoyed watching.

(3) The Nyrians come in at first looking bewildered and helpless and are treated with kindness by our Good Samaritan Voyager crew. Chakotay later entering the cargo bay where the Nyrians had been cared for and finding it empty was priceless. It was all a ruse. The discarded pillows and blankets were a nice touch.

(4) It was easy to see the wasted attempt at kindness shown toward the Nyrians as a take on the suspicions many people have regarding foreign aid, or succour to refugees coming in...the show actually adopts negative positions on pity, and on unquestioning trust overall, so is actually far from meaningless. There's a lot one can discuss here.

It held my interest and was often rather fun; it had many good situations (e.g., Paris and B'Elanna evolving) and I liked the Atavachron world menu with a thoughtful reference to Tano-Tuva, the 'center of Asia', a country which physicist Richard Feinman became obsessed with) and succeeds, I think, despite a few throw away Trek devices like the reptilian dude who stumbles in from next door, and the embarrassed 'would be geniuses' caught in the snow, so 3 stars overall seems fair.
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MidshipmanNorris
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 8:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Silicon Avatar

I think 2.5 stars is slightly too kind. Dr. Marr comes off as a very cardboard cutout version of a grieving family member driven to rage and revenge. This is another case in which TNG overreached its time slot. 40 minutes isn't long enough to do all of this stuff justice.

This story could have been done better, stretched out over a longer timespan, like so many TNG ideas. That's why I feel it deserves 2 stars; it is, at its heart, a very dramatic story.

But so much about it leaves me at the fridge later asking myself too many questions. Picard told Counselor Troi that he was interested in whether or not Dr Marr was emotionally compromised RIGHT near the beginning of the episode. So, when she gets called into his Ready Room ("Walk with me, please," always a precursor to a verbal slagging in Star Trek), I am utterly shocked that she was not simply removed from the investigation. Nobody at Starfleet Command was notified? What the hell??

Riker coming to Picard and saying "She might be right, you know" is a way of bolstering an otherwise flimsy teleplay. For this story to really work, you would need a lot more time to show Dr Marr slowly descending into a blood-eyed rage. You'd also need Data trying to question Counselor Troi about her perceived unhinged behavior, and not communicating it effectively enough for Troi to report it to the Captain.

That brings up another really powerful point; what was this, Counselor Troi's day off? She can sense the emotions of people who are even on planets the Enterprise is in orbit of. She couldn't sense the M U R D E R until Dr Marr locked out the controls on a constant graviton pulse setting?

That brings up another hefty failure of this teleplay; Data was shown to be fast, well-versed and capable enough to lock THE ENTIRE ENTERPRISE CREW out of the computer last season in "Brothers." He can't crack an encryption code on a Bridge Console fast enough to deactivate a Graviton Pulse?

Picard can't just use his Command Authorization to cut all power to main systems? This feels WAY too quick and easy, and part of me suspects that the special effects crew just asked the writing staff "can we please blow up this Crystalline Entity Model? It keeps stabbing us whenever we move it from storage garage to storage garage. We hate it" and the writing staff said "OK sure! Let's get to work on blowing up the Crystalline Entity, people!!"

All in all, I feel it's a two-star episode. More could have been done with this if not for 90s TV standards. Gotta hawk those products in the 20 minutes of commercials, baby!!!
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Trish
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 8:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

@Peter G.

It sounds as if you are treating "creep" and "creepy" almost as pronouncements of legal liability that should not be used without presenting proof beyond a reasonable doubt. I know you didn't go so far as to suggest it should be before a jury of the man's peers, but still, saying people have to "be careful" about using them suggests that they are some kind of official pronouncement that one needs authority to make, and is violating a man's rights if they make without such authority. That's not what these words are. They are colloquial descriptions of a perception that is necessarily subjective. Yeah, subjective perceptions have an effect on people's lives. That's just life.

The fact that something is subjective doesn't necessarily mean it is to be ignored. In your hypothetical scenario of a friend telling me a guy is a "creep" or was being "creepy," there are not just the two choices you suggest of 1) "I need to be wary of this guy" or 2) "This is 'just' someone's subjective opinion so it doesn't matter. At all. Because 'subjective' means 'insignificant.' "

The third, and far, FAR more reasonable answer is, "This is my friend's subjective opinion. What do I know about her opinions and her judgment that would tell me whether I would be likely to agree with her if I had experienced what she did in this situation, and do I have any experiences of my own with this guy to add to the equation?" Then, her opinion is given whatever weight that (in my opinion, of course) it deserves. Maybe a little (or none) or maybe a lot. It depends on the friend, and what I know about her. It also depends on the guy, and what, if anything, I already know about him. That, too, is a subjective judgment on my part, but it is based on whatever objective facts I know, not just about the guy in question, but about my friend's prior opinions and judgments.

I think you also misunderstood what I meant by "not to my personal taste." I'm not talking about whether I consider the guy physically attractive or not. I would never say a guy is creepy just because he's not my "type" in appearance. Creepiness has nothing to do with that. I'm talking about his manner of flirtation.

Some women are flattered by a come-on, and some are not. That doesn't mean that every come-on is creepy. A guy can walk up to a woman he doesn't know in a bar and ask for her phone number without automatically being considered a creep by most women I know, as long as he promptly takes no for an answer. Sometimes, he will get yes (or at least a phone number) for an answer. Just not from someone (like me) for whom that's simply not to her taste. It doesn't mean I would find it creepy. But it would make me less interested, not more. If, on the other hand, the man then tried to badger me into giving up the information or asked around the bar to see if anyone there knew where I lived or worked so he could park outside my door, that would be creepy. Not just persistent, but creepy.

To bring it back to a discussion of Trek, it sounds as if you're saying that because you don't like what the writers chose to portray about Riker in "A Matter of Perspective," that episode doesn't count. You say we "know" that Riker would never cross the line. Actually, Matter of Perspective calls that into legitimate question. Nothing in the series has given us any reason to question Troi's truthfulness or accuracy when she reports her empathic impressions, and in that case, she reports unequivocally that both Riker and the woman on the station believed what they were saying. Their "perspective" on the events was different. I would say, then, that what we "know" is that Riker is at least capable of behaving in a way that some women would perceive and remember as what we might call creepy, while sincerely thinking his attraction is reciprocated or even that the woman is the one coming on to him. You may wish that the writers had not portrayed Riker that way, but they did. That's what defines reality, in-universe.

That's why I think it would have made much more sense if this episode had been after that one, rather than vice versa. In this episode, he shows a respectable level of insight about his own behavior, and seems to make a good faith effort to avoid the "creep factor." It would have made sense if he had gained that insight from the events we see in Matter of Perspective. The way things are, he seems to regress rather than to grow. But that too is the reality the writers have given us.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 7:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

@ Jason R.,

I do think the male fantasy free-love vibe (if such a thing exists) goes away sometime maybe during S3, so you could be right that some female characters turn the tide eventually. Certainly we get a very strong woman in Shelby, albeit not on the sexual front. Vash is strange, though, because she's a D&D rogue class, meaning her behavior is not exactly meant to look upstanding. Also I think she uses sex at least partially for manipulation rather for its own sake. Ro also doesn't seem portrayed as seeking sex for the most part, other than in Conundrum, where she's not exactly her usual restrained self. K'ehleyr might qualify, if I was really looking for other examples.
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Jason R.
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 6:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

Well in the show's defence there is also Vosh, and Ro in at least one episode.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 5:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Q Who

I'm watching this one right now. An interesting thought occurred to me: one of the issues Q Who brings up is human (Federation) arrogance, at assuming they're ready to encounter what's out there. At first glance this is Q's point, to which Picard relents and finally agrees he needs help. Except there's an interesting moment after the initial death of the 18 crew members, during the senior staff meeting, when Riker announces that the only tactical choice that makes sense is to board the Borg ship rather than flee. Guinan's "What?!" is very telling: most experienced commanders would have taken her advice and tried to return as quickly as possible and get away from the Borg. Which of course, would have been useless anyhow. But Riker is always thinking of how to win, rather than how to cut his losses. This occurs in a big way in Peak Performance, and culminates in BoBW when he goes against even Picard's logic (as Locutus) and conducts an extremely brash and arrogant plan to do the unexpected.

So on the one hand Q (and the episode) is teaching us that the Federation is *so* not ready for what's out there. But Riker on the other hand, to Guinan's shock, seems *completely* ready to encounter it on his terms, no matter how overwhelming it is. So whereas Q is claiming the human's arrogance is a danger to them, in fact Riker's arrogance (later showing big in BoBW) is the only reason they learn as much as they do and have any chance at all against them.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 4:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

It certainly is hard to escape that conclusion since we weren't shown female characters carrying on as Riker and Okona do. The only instance of a very forward woman is Lwaxana...and we know how that is supposed to be understood. So it's the asymmetry that sells the case that it's maybe a male fantasy thing. It didn't have to be, but I don't think back then they were particularly aware of (or even interested in) how the optics of these things look if you examine them.
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Top Hat
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 3:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

While it is true that, as it was put a few posts above, early TNG seems to gesture towards a futuristic egalitarian "free-love society," I can't shake the feeling that this is to give cover to masculine sexual power fantasies, and these mainly play out through Riker. There a lot of Roddenberry in there.
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Booming
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 3:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

Finally someone brought it up. Riker's behavior is completely unprofessional. There is an ugly disciplinary hearing in that man's future...
She is a trusted servant of a foreign dignitary during very tense peace negotiations overseen by the Federation. He starts to immediately flirt with her while being on the job, in the presence of the foreign dignitary. This could blow up in so many ways. It's a diplomatic incident waiting to happen.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 2:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

Do you mean he should treat visitors with more caution? I suppose there's a cultural issue there, like acknowledging that their society may be prudish than his. I feel like the show sort of treats most everyone like part of the same cultural family (for better or worse). Only a select few episode are really concerned with teaching us about a different culture, like A Matter of Honor or Chain of Command. The human-looking people who come aboard tend to be treated according to Federation standards, whatever that is supposed to imply.
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Top Hat
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 2:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

BTW, in "Data's Day" he see Riker telling a woman a joke on the bridge, and Data comments directly on how his command of humour is related to "his success in matters of love," so I think we're supposed to take that as him hitting on junior officer on the bridge.
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Top Hat
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 2:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

It does seem to be a different situation when he's hitting on visitors to the ship, especially women from sheltered backgrounds like Yuta appears (repeat: appears) to be.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 2:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

@ Top Hat,

"Even in the optimal reading, isn't there something questionable in episodes like this one and "Up the Long Ladder" where Riker is transparently moving in on women while on the job? It seems like a different scenario than him wandering around Risa with his horgahn out,."

I suppose someone here with military experience could weigh in on whether it's acceptable for a SO to express interest in a JO or others in the service (when off-duty, I suppose). The line of whether Riker is on-duty or off-duty is sort of vague since it's a TV show and we don't get to see his work schedule. But we don't ever see him hitting on Ensigns on the bridge, so I think it's safe to assume that while 'at his post' he doesn't do that, while when he's about the ship off-duty he does. The fact that he's a Commander doesn't seem (to him) to be a conflict of interest or a power imbalance. Don't forget that this is supposed to be the enlightened future, so there is a huge level of trust in each other that we don't have in our current society. If someone like Riker shows attraction, there would be literally zero concern that he might hurt them or have nefarious motives. As TNG mentions very often, Starfleet officers are assumed to be of unimpeachable character, and this should color how we read Riker's advances on women.

As a side point, early TNG especially has this built-in premise that sex is not a very big deal to people anyone in the future, almost to the point of it being a free-love society. I sort of find this premise icky, but nevertheless I think there is an implication in S1-3 TNG that hitting on someone (or even sleeping with them) is not something to make a big deal about. It's just sex, and not some life or death crisis. We may not accept this premise, but I do think the events as shown have to be understood as existing within its boundaries.
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Top Hat
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 1:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

Even in the optimal reading, isn't there something questionable in episodes like this one and "Up the Long Ladder" where Riker is transparently moving in on women while on the job? It seems like a different scenario than him wandering around Risa with his horgahn out,.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 1:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

@ Trish,

I don't know, I think the word 'creepy' can't *just* be subjective, so that anyone can be declared a creep if one person didn't like what they did. I know it's just a word and anyone can use a word how they like, but there are implications that go beyond just one person's opinion. There is a society and an unstated standard of behavior, and using the word 'creep' introduces some commonly-held connotations that will be taken as objective fact and not just one person's opinion. Maybe you can say for yourself if this is true: if a friend of yours mentions to you that this creep was bothering them, would your first thought be (1) I need to be wary around that creep, or (2) I know nothing about him, maybe it's just her subjective opinion that I would not share?

In Riker's case (and this is one of the reasons I don't like A Matter of Perspective) we know that his bold and charming manner can come on strong, but that he is 100% respectful of the woman's desires and reads body language very well. He is not the type to just push himself on someone and not get the hint. And in this episode in particular he makes a specific point of saying he needs it to be mutual, so that even 'putting the moves on her' isn't enough unless she not only consents but actually wants it equally. He wants a partner dance, not a solo performance with a living prop.

So in this instance we have to be careful about whether "creep" is supposed to mean he's not taking a hint, or whether it just means he's hitting on someone. I think Jason R's point is that there is literally zero justification to call someone a creep for expressing interest in someone. The notion that offering "unwanted attention" makes you a creep is a very disturbing premise to accept. So I would say that in this sense, it is not creepy to inquire whether the other person is interested and to flirt with them. And the more subjective creepiness, of not taking hints, or of coming on in a manipulative manner, seems to me to score a zero in Riker's case as well.

Maybe there's a third kind of creepiness - the "I don't like this guy" thing, which maybe is what you meant. But this is really an unfortunate thing to call someone if you just don't like them. It may be all too common, but it's not very gracious, to call someone a creep if they're not attractive, whereas it's a "fun flirtation" if they're very good looking or charming. Obviously this kind of creepiness would be 100% subjective, to the point where it would be better to just call it something else like "people not my type hitting on me", which is not a character flaw but just a fact of life.
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Trish
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 11:30am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

@Jason R.

I agree that "creepy" is subjective, but I don't think that makes the term or the concept unworthy of discussion, any more than subjective terms like "beautiful" or "suspenseful." Subjective judgments are just the nature of the beast, when it comes to critiquing a program (or any artistic work).

I also agree with you that some people use the term to mean "any unwanted attention." That's why I specified that I was using it with a clear dividing line between it and just "not to my taste in men." Freedom is what makes all the difference in the world. If there is no real freedom not to consent, then there is no freedom to really consent, either.

The episode that really explores this issue with Riker is "Matter of Perspective," in which Troi's empathic abilities tell her that even when Riker sincerely believes he was behaving correctly, the other person can have just as sincerely thought he was harassing her in a situation she couldn't easily get out of.

Interestingly, that is just a few episodes after this one. I think it might have made more sense in his character arc and added a deeper dimension to his reactions if this one had been a few episodes after it. I don't know if it was originally planned to be.
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Top Hat
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 10:52am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Up the Long Ladder

He's bald like Bezos and has an English accent like Branson.
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Ben D.
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 8:47am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Defector

This may be the only Star Trek episode which ended with a lump in my throat. Truly magnificent.
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Jason R.
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 8:42am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

Riker backs out the instant there's even a whiff that Yuna can't consent wholeheartedly. For Riker it is matter of personal integrity rather than any concern with legalities or even morality, but either way, his behaviour is impeccable even by 2021 standards.

As for whether it's "creepy" I really dislike this word because 1) It is ridiculously subjective and 2) At least some women seem to use it as a catch all to describe *any* unwanted advance, even if consent is respected completely and the man backs off immediately upon being rejected (or realizing consent is in question).
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Tidd
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 2:04am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Defector

Love this episode! There’s a wonderful James Bond overlap towards the end:

PICARD: Really, Tomalak - do you expect me to accede to those conditions?
TOMALAK (in a sinister way): No, Captain Picard, I expect you to…
GOLDFINGER: No, Mr Bond, I expect you to DIE!

What more can I say? I’ve seen the episode at least three times and it’s so well made that I still get taken in by all the twists and turns.

4 stars for sure.
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