(written from a Production point of view)
En route to Risa, Geordi La Forge is taken prisoner on a Romulan ship and mentally conditioned to assassinate a Klingon governor in order to implicate the Federation as enemies of the Empire and unbalance relations between the two governments.
- 1 Summary
- 2 Memorable quotes
- 3 Background information
- 4 Links and references
While on his three hour journey to the planet Risa in the shuttlepod Onizuka for a cybernetics symposium and shore leave, Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge's shuttlecraft is captured by a Romulan warbird.
- "Captain's log, stardate 44891.6. The Enterprise has been ordered to accompany a special emissary from the Klingon High Council to the Kriosian system, where one of their colonies is fighting for independence."
The USS Enterprise-D escorts Klingon Ambassador Kell to the Kriosian system, where a Klingon colony is fighting for its independence. The governor of Krios, Vagh, has accused the Federation of providing aid and weapons to the Kriosian rebels. Kell has been sent to examine the governor's evidence, and Kell personally requested Captain Picard's help as his name is respected with the High Council. The captain assures the ambassador that the Federation would never interfere with the internal affairs of the Klingon Empire, which Kell hopes he is correct. Picard assigns Lieutenant Worf to assist in the investigation, but Kell requests another security officer due to Worf's discommendation, but Picard rebuffs his requests citing that as Chief of Security and his Tactical Officer, this clearly falls in Worf's jurisdiction.
Aboard the warbird, La Forge is subjected to intense mental conditioning. While an impostor is sent to Risa in his place, La Forge is fed several horrific images directly into his visual cortex, via his VISOR implants. Taibak, the Romulan officer controlling the conditioning explains to his Commander (Sela, whose face is not seen but whose voice is heard from the darkness) that La Forge's pre-existing implants will make their tampering untraceable. He also says they will have La Forge perform several test acts both on the warbird and the Enterprise to make sure the programming is working.
Both Kell and Worf are examining a pair of attacks that occurred on neutral freighters, Ferengi and Cardassian. Both attacks occurred near the Ikalian asteroid belt, a likely area where the rebel fighters are hiding. Kell speculates that the actinides within the asteroids are shielding the rebels from their sensors. Worf points out that while the freighters are easy targets for the rebels, they would be foolish to challenge a Federation starship. Kell retorts that they wouldn't, since they are supplying the rebels with weapons, but Worf quickly rejects that, suggesting he is challenging Picard's word with him, due to the fact he has no honor and is viewed as disloyal. Kell quickly withdraws his statement and tells Worf that many on the High Council would personally thank him for killing Duras, as many stated that he would have headed the council, a prospect they were not looking forward to. Worf points out his actions were not of a political nature, but a personal one; Kell said that while Humans care for motives, he acted as a true Klingon that day.
In a holographic simulation, La Forge is told to kill Chief Miles O'Brien. La Forge hesitates at first, but eventually kills the holographic image of O'Brien, and sits down with two other simulated crewman for a drink. Unimpressed, Taibak says another round of conditioning will be required.
When La Forge returns, he has no memory of the Romulan abduction. After his return, however, Data notices that the ship's sensors are detecting sporadic E-band emissions. Data tries to pinpoint the source of the emissions, and also works with La Forge to analyze the weapons seized from the Klingon rebels.
On Krios, Picard steadfastly defies Governor Vagh's accusations, but he and Riker acknowledge that they made no efforts to restrict their medical supplies, unlike their weapons; then Vagh produces a phaser rifle taken from a rebel stronghold that appears to be Federation issue. When asked where he got it, he says it was from the rebels, and he has many more like it. Unconvinced, Picard would like to study the rifle further, and reminds Vagh that the Federation has no interest in supplying arms to the rebels. The governor points out that this colony is the only colony on the border of Federation space, and accuses Starfleet of wanting Krios to achieve independence to reduce their vulnerability to an attack. When Picard questions whether Vagh is speaking to them as an ally or not, they both exchange insults to one another, forcing Kell to intervene.
In Ten Forward, La Forge orders a glass of Red Torian and proceeds to drink it, but receives a signal through his VISOR that is Romulan in origin. Carrying his drink, he slowly approaches O'Brien who was sitting down, and "accidentally" spills the contents on the chief. La Forge immediately apologizes at how clumsy he was; O'Brien says nothing of it and decides to change into a dryer uniform, while La Forge simply shakes his head.
Through a careful examination of the captured phaser rifle, La Forge and Data detect subtle differences between it and a Federation-issue weapon. The main difference was the efficiency of the phaser's discharge crystal, which was well above Starfleet specifications. Upon further inspection, they determine that the weapon had been charged with a power source calibrated in the terahertz range, which concludes that the phaser rifle is not Starfleet issue. Data comments that 327 known species use that range, and it will take several hours to make an exact match. La Forge says they can narrow down their search just by asking themselves one question: who stands to benefit from driving a wedge between the Federation and the Klingons?
In Governor Vagh's office, La Forge presents the rifle as a Romulan decoy; physically, it is a perfect replica, but since they had to charge it with their own power sources, the energy signature is identical to a Romulan disruptor. Governor Vagh remains skeptical, since Krios holds no strategic interest for the Romulans, but Picard points out that they certainly have an interest in sowing distrust between the Federation and the Klingons. Vagh still wants his own people to verify the findings. While in the office, La Forge's VISOR receives another distinctive E-band transmission.
On the bridge, Riker and Data detect the new E-band emission, although this one is much larger than the first indicating that it could not have originated in the same location. Riker observes that if it has changed intensity, than it cannot possibly be a protostar, which they had previously thought to be a possibility. He then asks Data if there is any known instances of the Romulans using E-band for communications. Data is not aware of any. They decide to try to track the signal by reconfiguring the primary sensor array to narrow its focus to E-band emissions to possibly calculate a directional vector should there be any further emissions.
Acting under mind control again, La Forge configures the transporter using a new batch of isolinear chips and reroutes power through the auxiliary replicator systems. Next, he reroutes the transporter mode to the planetary sensor array. With the modifications complete, he then beams a crate of weapons from the Enterprise to the surface, and erases all records of the modifications. The situation escalates when the weapons crate is intercepted by the Klingons. Furiously, Vagh contacts Picard and tells him to maintain his orbit until further notice. To back up the threat, a Vor'cha-class attack cruiser and two Birds-of-Prey decloak and take flanking positions around the Enterprise.
With the situation escalating, Kell warns Picard that Vagh is fully prepared to open fire on the Enterprise, but that he convinced him not to do so without first consulting the High Council, which gives him a few hours.
An investigation ensues, and Data and La Forge determine that an unauthorized transport was sent from cargo bay 4, but the memory chips in the computer were erased to hide the offender's identity and the power was routed through the replicator pathways to attempt to conceal its origin. The only ones who could be able to preform this feat were La Forge, O'Brien, Data, and Lt. Costa. Worf sounds off protocol asking each of them where they were at the time. O'Brien was with Keiko in the arboretum, Data was at the ops station on the bridge, La Forge was in his quarters alone, and Costa was on duty in engineering with over twenty witnesses. Worf becomes frustrated as someone is not who he appears to be.
Debriefing Picard and Ambassador Kell on their investigations, another E-band emission occurs, which Data explains to both Picard and Kell on the tracking. As the commander leaves, Kell tells Picard that Vagh isn't known for his patience and time is running out. Picard asks the ambassador to tell the governor that they're doing everything possible, and adds a warning that if necessary, he is prepared to fight in defense of his ship. Realizing that a fight is on the horizon between the Enterprise and the three Klingon ships, Kell quickly offers to beam down to Krios to force Vagh to come aboard the Enterprise to witness the ongoing investigation, in an attempt to convince him of the Federation's innocence.
Before leaving, Kell is enjoying a traditional Klingon feast, when La Forge visits him in his quarters where it is revealed that Kell is conspiring with the Romulans, and that Kell has been implanting commands within La Forge's mind, including the command to transport the weapons to the Klingon rebels. Kell personally instructs La Forge to murder Governor Vagh when he arrives on the Enterprise from Krios and claim he acted on behalf of Starfleet in support of the colony's independence.
That night, La Forge has a fitful nights sleep and wakes up with a start. He communicates with Chief O'Brien but then instantly forgets why. La Forge then visits Dr. Crusher in sickbay, explaining that he has not been able to sleep since his visit to Risa. She examines him and detects a slight abnormality in his visual cortex and recommends a complete examination at Starbase 36 when they visit there next month. In the meantime, she hands him a PADD with a somnetic inducer that will help him sleep.
Ensign Jae beams Vagh and Kell onto the Enterprise. Vagh says he has only come because of Kell's insistence that he review the Federation investigation in person. Kell suggests they begin in Cargo Bay 4. Picard agrees.
Kell's E-band emissions continue to occur which causes Riker to nearly lose his patience. Data narrows down the pattern as one that sends it to a receiver in an electromagnetic spectrum through a Human brain. Data reacts to this discovery and investigates further.
La Forge meanwhile picks up a phaser and adjusts the setting from stun to kill. He slips it in his pocket and leaves his quarters.
Data begins to investigate La Forge's shuttle and realizes the craft was subject to a tractor beam due to the submicron deformations to the shuttle's nose and aft thrusters.
La Forge reaches for his phaser but O'Brien stops him and asks him to take a look at the pattern buffers as he's not sure they are right.
Data scans the memory chips of the shuttle and discovers anomalous variations in the molecular structure, consistent with replication. When he compares them with Romulan replications patterns, the computer identifies them as identical. Data realizes that La Forge is compromised.
Finishing his conversation with O'Brien, La Forge resumes his task to kill Governor Vash, ignoring repeated hails from Data. When Data asks where La Forge is and the computer reports he is in Cargo Bay 4, he orders Worf to take La Forge into custody immediately.
Seeing La Forge slowly approaching Picard and Vagh in the cargo bay, Worf jumps down, an action taken as threatening by Vagh's bodyguards. They seize him, and Worf struggles to get free, while the commotion draws everyone's attention away from La Forge. Worf shouts a warning, Picard spins around and pulls up on La Forge's hand just as he fires a hand phaser at Vagh. The phaser fires into the air. Picard disarms La Forge, and Vagh's bodyguards release Worf, allowing him to escort an unresisting La Forge out of the cargo bay.
Vagh accuses the Federation of a murder plot. Picard is temporarily at a loss, at which point Data arrives and reveals that La Forge has been acting under Romulan control, explaining the E-band transmissions that have preceded each suspicious act aboard the Enterprise, which were transmitted directly to La Forge's brain through his VISOR. Kell, anxious to divert suspicion away from himself, asks whether a cloaked Romulan ship could be the source of the signals. Data says no; the signals would have to have been transmitted in close proximity to La Forge by a Romulan agent. As to who that agent is, Data reveals that only two people were close to La Forge at all three times when a signal was recorded: Picard and Kell.
All eyes turn to Kell (Vagh doesn't even glance at Picard), as Data continues ominously that the Romulan agent must be hiding an E-band transmitter on his person. He suggests both Picard and Kell consent to a search. Kell blusters that, as a representative of the High Council, he will not consent to be body-searched, but Vagh has his bodyguards place the ambassador under arrest, saying they will take him back to the planet and search him there. Kell formally requests asylum aboard the Enterprise. Picard coolly rejoins that he will be happy to grant asylum – after Kell is absolved of any crime. Vagh signals the planet, and the Klingons are beamed away.
La Forge later undergoes counseling with ship's counselor Deanna Troi, where he begins to realize that his memories of his trip to Risa are false. Troi promises to work with him to restore his memory, and she begins by asking La Forge what happened after he saw the Romulan ship – a question that leaves La Forge stumped, and worried as the full horror of the violation against him begins to sink in.
"List the resonances of the sub-quantum states associated with transitional relativity…"
"… in alphabetical order."
- - The shuttlecraft computer and La Forge, while playing word games to pass the time
"Sequence 0-1-0. Maximum power to the shields. Kill the music."
- - La Forge, upon seeing the Romulan Warbird
"You are preparing to grant them independence?"
"Well, perhaps. Conquer them again later, if we wish."
- - Captain Picard and Ambassador Kell
"Your modesty is very Human, captain. I will excuse it."
- - Ambassador Kell
"Welcome, Mr. La Forge. We've waited a long time to meet you."
"I can tell you've gone to a lot of trouble!"
- - Taibak and La Forge (strapped to a chair)
"Ugh, why are you doing this?"
"I am sorry, commander. It is a necessary step. I apologize for any discomfort."
- - La Forge, while Taibak subjects him to horrific imagery
"Will there be any physical evidence of what you are going to do to him?"
"None, commander. That is why we chose La Forge. The utilization of his preexisting neural implants makes our work impossible to detect."
- - Sela and Taibak, as they begin to brainwash La Forge
"Who is that man sitting over there?"
"That's Chief O'Brien."
"How long has he served with you?"
"Almost four years."
"I want you to kill him."
- - Taibak and a brainwashed Geordi La Forge
"Good, Mr. La Forge, very good. Why don't you enjoy a drink with your friends?"
- - Taibak, after La Forge kills a simulation of O'Brien
"Governor, you speak as if we were enemies, not allies."
"And you speak the lies of a taHqeq!"
"Vagh ghay'cha' baQa'!"
"You swear well, Picard. You must have Klingon blood in your veins."
- - Picard, Governor Vagh, and Kell
"One could speculate that the E-band was being used as some form of covert communication."
"We need more than speculation, Mr. Data. We need to know who, what, where, when, and why. Or we may be going to war."
- - Data and Riker - file info
"I will gladly grant you asylum… when you have been absolved of this crime."
- - Picard
"Data to Lt. Worf. Priority one."
"Take Commander La Forge into custody immediately."
"That is an order."
- - Data and Worf
"I saw no evidence of Romulans! We just witnessed him acting very much alone!"
"No, sir. You did not."
- - Kell and Data
"I have surmised that Commander La Forge was conditioned by Romulans. A process referred to historically – and somewhat inaccurately – as 'brainwashing'."
- - Data
"But to what end? Why would the Romulans want to kill me?"
"The Romulans have always wanted to destroy the alliance between the Federation and the Klingons. If Mr. La Forge killed you, governor, I think you would agree, they might have succeeded."
- - Vagh and Picard
- Final draft script: 18 March 1991 
- Filmed: 20 March 1991 – 28 March 1991
- Additional scene filmed: 9 April 1991
- Second unit and insert shots filmed: 18 April 1991
- Premiere airdate: 27 May 1991
- First UK airdate: 30 November 1994
Story and production
- "The Mind's Eye" was based upon the classic film The Manchurian Candidate. First time director David Livingston, a fan of the film and its director John Frankenheimer, unsuccessfully attempted to get an actor from the film to appear as an extra on this episode. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion) Instead, Livingston introduced an homage shot in the scene where a brain-washed La Forge kills a holodeck version of O'Brien. (Trek: The Unauthorized Behind-The-Scenes Story of The Next Generation) He also filmed the corridor scene with La Forge with wide angles and 17 mm lenses. ("Departmental Briefing Year Four – Production", TNG Season 4 DVD special feature)
- The title is derived from Hamlet Act I, Scene I: "A mote it is to trouble the mind's eye."
- Livingston recalled, "I couldn't ask for a better episode to do as my first directorial assignment, since it didn't have scenes with eleven people in the observation lounge talking for ten minutes. Every scene had something going on, some action. They were all short scenes and I could do some weird stuff and was thrilled." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
- "The Mind's Eye" was filmed between Wednesday 20 March 1991 and Thursday 28 March 1991 on Paramount Stage 8, 9, and 16. An additional scene between LeVar Burton and Gates McFadden in sickbay was filmed on Tuesday 9 April 1991 on Paramount Stage 9. Second unit and insert shots were filmed on Thursday 18 April 1991 on Paramount Stage 8 and 9.
- The final call sheet of the episode informed the cast and crew about company holiday on Friday 29 March 1991.
Cast and characters
- Larry Dobkin, who plays Klingon Ambassador Kell, directed The Original Series episode "Charlie X".
- The female Romulan commander obscured by shadows during La Forge's "conditioning" is portrayed by Debra Dilley, a photo double for Denise Crosby who only provided the voice, and went uncredited. This is the first appearance of Sela though her actual identity is obscured in this episode.
- John Fleck appeared as another Romulan, Koval, in the Deep Space Nine episode "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges". In addition, Fleck later appeared as Silik in Star Trek: Enterprise.
- This is the first episode of The Next Generation in which Majel Barrett received credit for voicing the computer.
- Stunt doubles John Nowak and Eric Chambers filmed a fight sequence between Captain Picard and La Forge on Tuesday 26 March 1991. This scene was not part of the aired episode.
- According to the call sheet for Wednesday 27 March 1991, Majel Barrett had a photo shooting for Star Trek on Paramount Stage 8.
- This is the first appearance of Sela, although she remains in the shadows. Denise Crosby performed the voice-over uncredited to help set up the character without giving away the surprise, and a body double was used on set. The voice over is out of sync with the on set performance.
- Although remaining unseen here, Kriosians appear in the Season Five episode "The Perfect Mate" and the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Precious Cargo".
- Ambassador Kell wears the same sash that Kamarag wore in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
- The Romulan and Klingon transporter effects of the 24th century are seen for the first time in this episode.
- This is the second appearance of the tactical laboratory after "The Emissary", though it looks completely different here.
- Krios in this episode looks different from Krios as seen in "The Perfect Mate". Here, Krios is blue; in the latter episode it is green. A reference to Krios "Prime" was included in "Precious Cargo" for the purpose of suggesting that the blue and green "Krios"es were two different planets.
- The map of the region surrounding Krios that Worf and Kell look at in the tactical lab was later slightly modified and re-used as a map of the Typhon Expanse.
- The matte painting used for the surface of Krios is a re-use of the painting originally created for "Angel One". The painting was extensively "Klingonified" for this appearance.
- The footage of the three Klingon warships was re-used footage from the Season 4 episode "Reunion".
- The large shuttlebay set doubles as shuttlebay 2 and cargo bay 4 in this episode, both filmed on Paramount Stage 9.
- The master systems display in main engineering is seen in several close-ups. All inside gags (the hamster wheel, the duck, Nomad, a Porsche 911) were removed, however.
- This episode marks the first appearance of the 24th century Type 3 phaser rifle.
- A mission report for this episode, by John Sayers, was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 17, p. 43–46.
Video and DVD releases
- Original UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 49, 8 June 1992
- As part of the UK VHS collection Star Trek: The Next Generation - 10th Anniversary Collector's Edition, under the "La Forge" section, 29 September 1997
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 4.8, 1 October 2001
- As part of the TNG Season 4 DVD collection
Links and references
- LeVar Burton as Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge
- Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Worf
- Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher
- Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi
- Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data
- Aikins as La Forge's double
- Rachen Assapiomonwait as Nelson
- Joe Bauman as Garvey
- Karen Baxter as operations division ensign
- Thomas J. Booth as civilian
- Chuck Borden as Klingon guard
- Brand as Klingon guard
- Carl David Burks as Russell
- Cameron as Kellogg
- Max Cervantes as operations division officer
- Tracee Lee Cocco as Jae
- Denise Crosby as Sela (voice)
- B.J. Davis as Klingon guard
- Denise Deuschle as science division officer
- Debra Dilley as Sela (photo double)
- Elliot Durant III as operations division ensign
- Keith Gearhart as science division officer
- Michele Gerren as civilian
- Grace Harrell as Ten Forward waitress
- Hirner as Ten Forward waiter
- Hunt as operations division officer
- Gary Hunter as Romulan guard
- Kim as operations division officer
- Mark Kosakura as operations division ensign
- Mark Lentry as science division lieutenant
- Marin as command division officer
- Debbie Marsh as command division officer
- Lorine Mendell as Diana Giddings
- Michael Moorehead as science division ensign
- Terry Noel as operations division officer
- Randy Pflug as Jones
- Keith Rayve as command division ensign
- Denise Lynne Roberts as Patti
- Robinson as Klingon guard
- Bill E. Rogers as operations division officer
- Richard Sarstedt as command division ensign
- Georgina Shore as Van Mayter
- Leatrim Stang as Romulan guard
- Noriko Suzuki as operations division ensign
- Guy Vardaman as Darien Wallace
- Natalie Wood as Bailey
- Unknown performers as
- Brett – stand-in for LeVar Burton
- Nora Leonhardt – stand-in for Marina Sirtis
- Lou – stand-in for Colm Meaney
- Tim McCormack – stand-in for Brent Spiner and Edward Wiley
- Lorine Mendell – stand-in for Gates McFadden
- Richard Sarstedt – stand-in for Jonathan Frakes, John Fleck, Larry Dobkin, and Edward Wiley
- Dennis Tracy – stand-in for Patrick Stewart
- Guy Vardaman – hand double for Brent Spiner
- James Washington – stand-in for Michael Dorn
accomplice; actinide; aft nacelle associative; alibi; alloy; Andorians; Andorian waiter; ambassador; arboretum; artificial intelligence; asteroid; authorization code; auxiliary replicator system; backstroke; beam control assembly; bird; blip; brainwave pattern; brainwashing; blood vessel; Cardassian freighter; cargo bay; cargo transporter; chief of security (chief security officer); chess tournament; chocolate; colony; colorful metaphor; Costa; D'deridex-class; delta-compressed wavelength spectrum; diagnostic; discharge crystal; discommendation; disruptor; DNA; Duras, son of Ja'rod; E-band; E-band transmitter; Earth; Egg, The; EM emission; emissary; emission aperture; energy cell; evasive maneuvers; Federation; Ferengi freighter; forced pulse; forensic team; forward saucer associative; galvanic skin response; governor; holoprogram; humor; Ikalian asteroid belt; insomnia; irregular heartbeat; isolinear chip; isolinear storage assembly; joke; Jonek; Jones; Kanarian; Klingons; Klingon Bird-of-Prey (Vagh's Birds-of-Prey); Klingon Empire; Klingon food; Klingon High Council; Klingonese; Krios; Kriosians; Kriosian system/Krios system; Latin music; level 1 diagnostic; level 5 diagnostic; life support; meadow; medical tricorder; megajoules per second; megawatt; neural implant; O'Brien, Keiko; O'Brien, Miles; Onizuka; operator; pattern buffer; phase transition coil; phaser rifle; phaser type-1; phaser type-3; planetary sensor array; plasma; plot; political asylum; prefire chamber; primary plasma system; priority one; protostar; Qo'noS; rapid nadion pulse; rebel; recreation; Red Torian; replication pattern; Risa; Risa Control; Romulans; Romulan disruptor; safety interlock; sector; Sector 21166; Sector 22079; security chief; Sela's Warbird; sensor array; Spanish guitar; spring; somnetic inducer; spring; Starbase 36; structural integrity; subquantum state; swimming; Symphony Number Six; tactical laboratory; tactical officer; Teldarian cruiser; terahertz; thruster; tourist; tractor beam; transitional relativity; transport sensors; transporter; transporter beam; transporter log; transporter mode; Treaty of Alliance; tree; tricorder; VISOR; visual cortex; Vor'cha-class (Vagh's attack cruiser); warbird, Romulan; waiter
Library computer references
- Federation Star Chart ("The Explored Galaxy"): Aldebaran; Alfa 177; Alpha Carinae; Alpha Centauri; Alpha Majoris; Altair VI; Andor; Ariannus; Arret; Babel; Benecia; Berengaria VII; Beta Aurigae; Beta Geminorum; Beta Lyrae; Beta Niobe; Beta Portolan; Camus II; Canopus III; Capella; Daran V; Delta Vega; Deneb; Eminiar; Fabrini; First Federation; Gamma Canaris N; Gamma Trianguli; Holberg 917G; Ingraham B; Janus VI; Kling; Kzin; Lactra VII; Makus III; Marcos XII; Manark IV; Memory Alpha; Mudd; Omega IV; Omega Cygni; Organia; Orion; Pallas 14; Phylos; Pollux IV; Psi 2000; Pyris VII; Regulus; Remus; Rigel; Romulus; Sarpeid; Sirius; Talos; Tau Ceti; Theta III; Tholian Assembly; Vulcan
- "The Mind's Eye" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "The Mind's Eye" at Wikipedia
- "The Mind's Eye" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "The Mind's Eye" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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