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lewismistreated

The Story of Braid

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Guest Carnaby Crimson
Apologies if this has already been posted, but I thought Tim's castle at the end of the game (built from the square icons of each level) looked remarkably like a colour-banded periodic table. No idea which elements were being implied though...

Genius ^^

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Amazing thread guys

Just thought I'd add my bit about world six as the others have gone into considerable detail and good viewpoints about all the other worlds, much better than I could think up.

World 6: Hesitance

* Perhaps in a perfect world, the ring would be a symbol of happiness. It's a sign of ceaseless devotion: even if he will never find the Princess, he will always be trying. He still will wear the ring.

* But the ring makes its presence known. It shines out to others like a beacon of warning. It makes people slow to approach. Suspicion, distrust. Interactions are torpedoed before Tim can open his mouth.

* In time he learns to deal with others carefully. He matches their hesitant pace, tracing a soft path through their defenses. But this exhausts him, and it only works to a limited degree. It doesn't get him what he needs.

* Tim begins to hide the ring in his pocket. But he can hardly bear it - too long tucked away, that part of him might suffocate.

I think there is an obvious nod to what marriage and a wedding ring represents- I don't think it's giving details about Tim becoming too engrossed in his work and losing a wife- although that could be a strong possibility on the surface, but rather that marriage represents an eternal bond, for better or worse. Our society wears a symbol of not the fact that we are in a serious relationship, but rather than we have accepted the ideals of marriage- loyalty, everlasting bond and a message to never leave who you promised these things too, and especially to never leave them for anyone else. T

They are not a symbol that the person is happy- as someone can be in a very unhappy marriage, a destructive ones- but the ceaseless devotion keeps the ring on the finger, not happiness. The same way Tim and science- it isn't about the goodness of the result of whatever the princess may be, but rather that Tim is endlessly seeking the princess from devotion regardless of the consequences. The consequence being the atom bomb.

People hide their wedding rings so as to not put off other people by this promise of devotion- to show that they are free and not tied to another's fate

Obsession is a very strong theme in the game, whether it be about a boy obsessed with a girl, a man obsessed with reaching the end of his journey, finding forgiveness. Even the player becoming obsessed with finding the intricate details of the game as mentioned in the great 4th wall point earlier.

When a person becomes obsessed by something, they can see it with a clarity and understanding that a normal person cannot. In the game the ring allows you to slow down time in a certain radius to allow Tim to do actions that would otherwise not be possible. Tim is a man obsessed and if it is science, then he has become engulfed with it, married to it. The same way a wedding ring is seen as society as a way to ward off other potential partners, Tim's obsession took that toll on his life. He became engulfed with his science, it made him different an outcast but it allowed him to view his part of the world in a different way to others (perhaps the north and south thing? Him being mentioned as living away from the other residents makes him sound like more of an outcast- chasing the princess makes him lose his bond with humanity. He tries to balance both, but it doesn't work).

He tries to conceal his obsession eventually, he can't leave it for good, he knows that as it's a part of him and it's just a fate that he is tied to and he might have to fully accept. The princess he wants will always be in another castle.

And bla bla bla and so forth :)

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i think thats been covered to be fair mate, basically the books, the story, the pictures..all of it..all convey a boy growing to a man who was an obsessive over everything he desired. it 1st manifested itself with the candy in the window, he considered any means to get it...then he found his calling in science and fitted right in, never giving himself a break from it. he studied everything and couldnt watch a film at the cinema without examining the processes going on infront of him..

he'd obviously left a string of failed relationships behind him, including one poor woman who'd actually agreed to marry him. she left him though because of it, her being one half of the "princesses" referred to depending on the world. he wore the ring still because he was obsessed with getting her back, and he knew it warned off others (literally in the game, anything approaching the ring slows to a virtual stop). you can see him lamenting the ring in the alleyway picture.

anyway we all know the ending and im presuming the incarnation of the princess was actually meant to be tims wife escaping his obsessive contact with her new man, leaving him resigned, giving him clarity on his nature, and eventually almost optimistic towards his ability to change it. the entire game being in reverse (see: last level doors in reverse order etc, that world 1 is the start of the timeline, that he walks back out onto the streets of manhattan)...with the castle a literal representation all of the lessons he's learned.

lastly i dont know if anyones mentioned this, but i dont think the name tim is a play on "time", its "mit" backwards, the US research university involved in the 2nd world war and other military science stuff.

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Guest Plainsman

Hello! I just registered because of this thread. I've enjoyed reading.

I was also trying to find the "Three Threads of the Braid." I'm sure that there are several sets of three within the game. One more I wanted to mention is the three women in Tim's life, his Mother, his Wife, and The Princess.

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i think its more like 2 actual specific women in his life referred to as the princess....his mother, an estranged wife, and his "work". other women are mentioned in passing, ie: kept away by his ring, other relationships that didnt even get off the ground..

for such a patchwork storyline im pretty much satisfied with it as a narrative now, it feels cohesive and a real story in a way i've never come across before. sure, blow could come along and say yes its about the bomb and and obsessive individual but we know that already (his influences being all over his previous interviews like a rash). an intelligent, ocd afflicted boy at odds with the rest of society ended up being the one responsible for developing such a weapon and couldnt deal with his life rationally along the way...and its not cheapened with any sort of corny redemption, its very specifically non-commitally vague about his rehabilitation in the end ("an acceptable start").

now lets analyse castle crashers into a critique of the healthcare system..

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Guest spinthelights

It's interesting - to me that the books in World 6 had the most clear metaphorical resonance, once I began to understand the context of the game as a pursuit of the nuclear bomb. I'm not sure how they fit into the chronology of the timeline, so this may be way off.

My grandfather worked on the Manhattan project when he was very young, and continued to teach and research in nuclear physics for the rest of his life. He was extremely proud and open about his work, would tell me anything I asked, and even patiently tried to explain concepts far too lofty for a kid like myself to possibly comprehend. But the one thing he never talked about was the Bomb, to family, to friends - I never heard him speak of it. And from what I've gleaned from other family members was that even though the work he did at Los Alamos was a huge source of pride for him before Fat Man and Little Boy were dropped, how his (and other's) work was ultimately used was a source of sadness and regret.

"It shines out to others like a beacon of warning. It makes people slow to approach. Suspicion, distrust. Interactions are torpedoed before Tim can open his mouth."

"In time he learns to deal with others carefully. He matches their hesitant pace, tracing a soft path through their defenses. But this exhausts him, and it only works to a limited degree. It doesn't get him what he needs."

The ring being the stigma he always would have to wear (or bare).

These speak to what I imagine a part of his life was like as someone who helped create such a weapon, having the stigma and preconceptions of people who only know of the final outcome of his work. I believe he was in New Mexico knowing what they were ultimately creating, but - perhaps it was wishful thinking - honestly never imagined it's true power or actual use. I spent a lot of time with him, he was a gentle soul, very kind to every one he met, loved to be around people and love his work, but other's would judge him based on those events solely, and so he never spoke of it.

I'm glad to say he rose above it though, was well respected and had a very happy family and influential career to the day he passed away. I hope the same for Tim...

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Guest soliduck

Some things which seem pretty obvious, but I don't think it can hurt to point them out:

1. There is a woman who is just out of frame in most of the solved puzzle images. She is pulling Tim to the ground in the "spilled wine" picture, her hand can be seen to the left of Tim at the "dinner" and you can see her on the right at the airport picture. I think that it is pretty clear that they are the same woman. My memory of the other puzzle images is fuzzy, and I can't find any of them online.

2. I felt it was meaningful how Tim's approach to what he could do with his ability changes, primarily between the first two worlds (in the order that they are presented). Tim wishes that he could rewind time to fix his mistakes, so it would be like he had never made them. He says that the important thing is that he learns from his mistakes so that they aren't repeated. This is mirrored in the gameplay, as all you use your rewind for is to fix something you did wrong. I like to think that the puzzle image shows us a situation where using time in this way could be applied, but that link is tenuous at best and not really repeated in any of the later ones.

However, as soon as you get into the next world you have to make "mistakes" in order to proceed. If "The Pit" was in world 1, you would rewind after falling in because there is no way out. If you play through it again, you know not to fall in and you don't. The second world (and the rest of the game) throws that notion out quite readily.

Lastly, on the whole atomic buisness, I think that the story makes more sense if the princess isn't literally the atom bomb but nuclear/atomic power generalized. Tim doesn't want nuclear power just so he can turn it into a weapon, quite the opposite really. I think it is meaningful that in most of the atomic interpretations the Princess isn't necessarily against ever being with Tim, she is just trying to keep him away from realizing her in the terrible and destructive way that he does.

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Is there a use for the room on the bottom-right of the "game map"? (I'm not looking at the game at the moment, but from memory I think it's a bathroom.) There's not a secret level down the sink or something, is there?

I have just completed the game and would like to add my voice to the many that are applauding Braid. It's a game that - genuinely - could only be produced by a genius.

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My word. This is remarkable. I loved Braid, loved it. I loved everything it did with its gameplay, and how rewarding it felt. I loved its atmosphere, with such luscious visuals and haunting music (which I really must get round to buying someday). I loved the way it made me feel and think, and what it was able to say about the world and the people living in it. I knew I was missing something - I've only got one star so far, and I haven't gone back to pursue the others in over a month, hence reading this thread - but I didn't realise I was missing so much.

First of all, I don't think that anything was wrong about how I played it, what I thought of it, or how it made me feel. But to discover this layer lurking beneath is staggering. I say 'discover', but I didn't discover anything of course, and I feel a little sad about that. I feel ignorant about our history, and like a dullard in respect to things I might have recognised. I should have seen that 'Manhattan' was more significant that simply New York. I should have thought to at least google phrases like 'now we are all sons of bitches'. How did lewis put this all together? What must it have been like to have the realisation awaken, and then build to this point? I'm dazzled by the effort that seems to have gone into the game's construction, and also at the insight that it takes to get the most out of it. I can't quite put my finger on why, but I think it's right that this side of the story is veiled, perhaps as a reward for those deserving of it - and then, when revealed as it has been here, as encouragement for others to keep their eyes and minds open in future. Have you never said something to someone, something that obviously means one thing but underneath means something quite different, because you need them to figure it out for themselves?

It's interesting to note Jonathan Blow's comments on the subject. He's quite right to suggest that his input only goes so far, that our interpretation is just as important as his intention. The problem, as we have seen, is that we can then start seeing patterns where there may be none. The ingenious gameplay, the reflection on love and loss, the unfortunate side effects of the scientific endeavour - it seems that the game has these meanings within it, but if we keep going then we risk letting the game mean anything. And when it starts to mean anything, it will end up meaning nothing. (Will my meagre effort help or hinder? The stars form Andromeda, and referencing 'The Andromeda Strain' could at least be in the spirit of the scientific pursuit gone wrong.)

It already held a high place in my esteem, but this thread has elevated Braid to even loftier heights. And likewise, as the blogger who spotted this thread when it was at its busiest noted, videogame criticism has grown at least a little thanks to this thread. I guess it helps to have something to work with.

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To coincide with the PC release...

Wow. So it was all about the atom bomb, eh? :(

Anyway, I'm amazed that this topic encouraged at least four people to sign up, post, and then never return. What happened to those posters? Where are they now?

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To coincide with the PC release...

Wow. So it was all about the atom bomb, eh? :(

Anyway, I'm amazed that this topic encouraged at least four people to sign up, post, and then never return. What happened to those posters? Where are they now?

They probably came just for this thread. When Braid came out on the 360 the story became quite a big discussion a lot of places, including one episode of the Games for Windows Podcast where this very thread here was mentioned on the show. So it was a bit famous for a while.

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Wow, just finished it. I'm kinda sorry I didn't pursue the stars now after reading the first page of this thread. (2 hours for a cloud!?).

The level with the fire was magical.

Now to read the rest of this thread!

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I notice the mailbox in the final level has 6980 on it. I wonder what if anything that signifies.

The most relevant thing I could find was this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/6980_Kyusakamoto

an asteroid named after Japanese singer and actor Kyu Sakamoto, who died in the JAL 123 airline tragedy in 1985.

I don't really think this has anything at all to do with the game though, but it kept me happy on Wikipedia for a while. <_<

EDIT: one of the analysis on GAMEFAQs says that ISO 6980 is a standard dealing with measurements of beta radiation (the

same type of radiation produced by nuclear fission/atomic bombs) which makes more sense. :(

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Guest Orion

The third story layer..

I believe there are three layers of story. The first, being the relationship between Tim and his wife, and him searching for some "princess". The second, being that of Tim as a scientist, discovering the a-bomb in search of world-improving technology, regretting it later.

Now going even more abstract, "Tim" is not a scientist anymore, but every scientist in human history, science in general (see all the references: the ruler and compass, fall of an apple, cutting rats, tungsten posts, etc.).

"The princess" is the shiny technology, the philosopher's stone, that will finally bring peace to the world, that motivates science to go on (think star trek stuff).

The castles Tim is visiting are different strands of technology, where scientists expect to find this ultimate piece of knowledge that will change everything. That's why the last dinosaur wonders if the princess actually exists..

The interesting part now is Tim's wife (and also who appears to be his mother!) - always referenced as "her". She is mankind, or society. And every single text describes the relationship between science and society.

The course of the story is actually the course of history (not in order!) - starting with science being very young, held back by society from discovering all the great things (in the candy store).. revisiting his childhood embarassments, a troubling youth, etc.

After making plenty of mistakes, the relationship between science and society deteriorates - chances become slim to actually find what is being searched (researched) for.

Ultimately, the castle Tim is going to build in the epilogue is that shiny possible future - which he builds of stones (the experiences that were made / lessons learned) that have already been learned. The message here is to stop chasing - what is known todate is already sufficient to start building that future.

The same castle is referenced in world 3 - Tim could already see it ahead, but instead of trying to find it, it is something that has to be built. But this is only possible of society can forgive science for the mistakes of the past.

Hope this made some sense. Read all the chapters again from this point of view, and you'll notice it makes a whole lot of sense. It talks about how society doesn't really understand science, science being too demanding and controlling on society, and going another way, etc.

Have fun ;)

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Guest UnclGhost
The course of the story is actually the course of history (not in order!) - starting with science being very young, held back by society from discovering all the great things (in the candy store).. revisiting his childhood embarassments, a troubling youth, etc.

After making plenty of mistakes, the relationship between science and society deteriorates - chances become slim to actually find what is being searched (researched) for.

I think the kid in the epilogue is society being held back by nature in an ideal world. The reason for this is that the dynamic seems more like the kid is being held back because he's not ready. Society held back science because society wasn't ready, not because science wasn't.

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Guest fallen7ang

Great thread!

I've read all of it and I wanna add a few things:

If you get all the stars they form a woman(princess) in the sky outside of Tim's house. But there's something that i think no-one realized. If you go out and press up to make Tim see those stars they disappear. Just like one of the secret texts in the epilogue says;

Epilogue - 2nd secret text:

"Ghostly, she stood in front of him and looked into his eyes. "I am here," she said. "I am here. I want to touch you." She pleaded: "Look at me!" But he would not see her; he only knew how to look at the outside of things."

Other than that in the World 6, first level is really interesting it's name is "Pit?" where you use the ring for the first time, even though you don't need it. If the point was just to show you how ring manipulates the time they could've shown it without using that pit again.

well.. that's about it..

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Much as I loved the game all the way through, and I mean really loved it - I thought it was honestly a masterpiece, playing brilliantly as well as looking and sounding unbelievably good...

I was extremely dissatisfied with the ending. Much as the whole "left up to your interpretation" thing might appeal to some, I honestly felt it was a cop-out. I'd read all those cryptic bits of the story, and started to see ideas take shape with each successive bit, and by the time I got to the end, I was expecting a piece of exposition - a twist or sting that would make all those pieces fit with an earthshattering clash.

In the end, what we got are some more vague bits and pieces, an allusion to the Manhattan project and no real closure beyond finishing off the superficial "princess" story, with a predictable conclusion.

Now I read on Wikipedia that the creator of the game himself admits there is no definitive ending?

I'm really melancholy. I REALLY wanted the game to end in a manner as spectacular for the plot as the game had played all the way through. Now I've seen that doesn't happen, I suppose I've been left a little cold.

Is there *another* ending? Like did I miss something, Castlevania style? Once you get to the last world, is that it? Because a lot of the books there were blank.

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Is there *another* ending? Like did I miss something, Castlevania style? Once you get to the last world, is that it? Because a lot of the books there were blank.

There are hidden trigger points in that last area which make an angelic "aahhhhh" sound. When you uncover one the text in those blank books appear. The text is still cryptic, mind you.

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Okay, I'm going to put this bluntly. NO, she is not a bomb. listen to yourselves, would that really make sense?

In any context, it wouldn't. She's not a god damn bomb.

You're pointing to random things and linking them to bombs, you got 'nuclear bombs' from 6980...

This game follows braid trying to reclaim his memories, shown as puzzle pieces, parts of a memory.

To start with, he is in blissful ignorance of what's just happened but you only really get what's happened near the end. technically the beginning.

(obvious) SPOILERS. massive ones. If you haven't finished the game (everything) and also have a conclusion to the story, get lost.

If you want the non-dramatic and shorter (probably more understandable) version then go to the '~~##~~'.

I'd highly recommend that because I tend to repeat myself and babble on. CTRL+F perhaps.

up until now, especially the moment, the whole game was messed up. (unless you've somehow understood the story and thought that a time-slowing ring was realistic) That wont change, it's totally screwed. This is his head, and nothing is clear. I'm going to the epilogue part, okay?

These books, to start with, tell you Braid's side of the story and it really is nonsense, but to find the truth you must go behind a bit of scenery with the text still showing. It makes more sense if you read the one about the candy store. Braid's part says that he was cruelly forced away from the said place, when he wanted those sweet sweets more than anything else. The reality was, he was obsessing over those sweets and ever since he has been very obsessive. Now, he is obsessive with the princess, so much so that he is torn from reality to find a way to be with her. there are a fair few things saying this, most are within this level in fact. There is a book that tells you he was searching for the princess, desperate to find her.

"Ghostly, she stood in front of him and looked into his eyes. "I am here," she said. "I am here. I want to touch you." She pleaded: "Look at me!" But he would not see her; he only knew how to look at the outside of things."

( fact: with 8 stars, look up at them and she fades )

she was right there besides him, calling his name, clear as crystal. the only reason he could not see her was plainly insanity, it was that insanity that drove him to kill her, once you've obtained the 7 stars of course. the 8 stars are obsession, just simply obsession. You've got to be obsessed to get the 2 hour one, obviously, and the 8th star required you to bluntly kill her. why did you kill her? you were insane. It doesn't matter that she exploded, she only exploded as opposed to some other kind of death because of three reasons.

1: gore doesn't suit this game, the hedgehogs simply falling through the floor proves that.

2: the mental strain it put on braid to remember it, imagine that you've killed a sibling or spouse yourself.

3: he wasn't in the capable mental state to remember how she died

She wasn't a freaking bomb or wisdom, that's just dumb (unless metaphorical in braids view) , she's dead and that's all that mattered. you obsessed over these infuriating puzzles, received each and every star and puzzle piece, why? I'll tell you, It's simulated the amount of effort he spent on obsessing of that girl. day in and day out he longed for her. he put every little scrap of thought and even sanity into trying to stay with her. in the end, he just stopped thinking straight. he couldn't cope. He killed her. You're not supposed to get to her, you're not supposed to 'save' her, you're not supposed to do anything because you can't undo your mistake of killing her now. not unless you can reverse time, of course. It's that very idea that made him think he could. that's why you used time travel for the whole game, to try to undo your mistakes. you couldn't. through out the whole thing you haven't been sane for a minute, you've lost everything.

~~##~~

She is not wisdom, she's not a bomb, she's probably your wife and you've killed her at the start of the game. the rest is you trying to make sense of it, and wishing to rewind time. He killed her because he went insane from his obsessive behaviour (OCD which started when he was a child).

Reality is basically 1-6 straight forward even if game play isn't.

Also, there isn't actually an ending. that's for you to obsess over finding. Symbolism, just like that cloud that you'd think could move.

It's an astounding game, by the way.

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a/ youre completely wrong, its about weaving different story aspects together and letting the player make their own mind. also "now we're all sons of bitches" is about the bomb.

b/ the main character isnt called braid.

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Okay, I'm going to put this bluntly. NO, she is not a bomb. listen to yourselves, would that really make sense?

In any context, it wouldn't. She's not a god damn bomb.

You're pointing to random things and linking them to bombs, you got 'nuclear bombs' from 6980...

my, my. you should actually READ the forum posts before you post, yourself. there are MANY references in the game to bombs and atomic energy in general, nottheleastofwhich being the Manhattan Project DIRECT QUOTATIONS. but most prominently would be the fact that when you actually catch up to the princess (in the alternate ending), you hear a high-pitched squeal, and then an explosion as you connect with her.

"he held a piece of welder’s glass up to his eyes and waited."

welder's glass was used to safely view the atomic explosion during the Manhattan Project tests...

but that aside, when you think of the title "Braid", several things come to mind, not the least of which being the "braid" of time, and it's many twisting paths. but also, bear in mind that, during the Manhattan Project, they hoisted the bombs hundreds of yards high before their drop, using braided metal wires.

"...the twisting of the metal orbs hanging from a thread."

also, a standard hair braid usually requires 3 strands of hair...Trinity anyone:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity_(nuclear_test)

although that WOULD be stretching it a little bit.

also, for something NOT related to bomb theories, in World 4, you may have noticed the Letter blocks laying around everywhere. near the end of the last stage, before you dart past the Barney wannabe, there is a block with the symbol for "Aleph-One" on it. this may hold one of two (or both) meanings:

1) Aleph 1 refers to the cardinality of the set of all countable numbers in transfinite arithmetic.

2) Aleph One is the open source Game Engine using in the Marathon Trinity, and its name is a reference to the final game: "Marathon Infinity"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleph_number#Aleph-one

what this may be a point to is beyond me, but perhaps is used in bomb creation? sorry, i tried to keep it away from that...

alot of the Tim's story seems to coincide with that of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the main scientist from the Manhattan Project. Oppenheimer had flirted with his associates' wives (openly and brazenly), and when he got married maintained his old girlfriend (until she became a liability to his credibility, due to her being a known communist during the time of WWII). all of this while working towards completing the bomb which he thought was the "right" thing to be doing.

read about Oppenheimer's "love life" and then tell me what you think by contrast to Tim's:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Robert_Oppenheimer#Early_professional_work

when Tim takes off the Ring (his wedding ring?) it's as if time slows down, though only when he is near it, causing him to not stray too far from it, despite his "infidelity".

now if you REALLY want to be confused, watch Lost Highway...

in the immortal words of Mechanic:

"Somebody set up us the bomb."

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