The LOST CHAPTERS C40 to C50 of HHGTTG
     Converted by Ronald Lachenal
     Rml@iconn.com.ph






     "We must be in Zaphod Beeblebrox's neighbourhood," mused Arthur.
     "That's the  second  time I've  heard that name," said Fenchurch, still
shaking the rusty particles  of an android with a brain the size of a planet
from her clothes. "Who or what is it?"
     "Zaphod's just this  guy. He was President of the Universe for a while,
he  may  still be.  Look in the book,  he may  be mentioned." Arthur got the
guide  out  of his  souvenir  'God's  last message to his creation' holdall.
Fenchurch tapped in the code.
     "How long have we got?" Asked Fenchurch.
     "How long do you need?"
     "The time it takes to  read 'War and Peace' I think. This says page one
of 627  pages and the rest  of the page is taken up with references to other
areas of the book where he is mentioned."
     Arthur took the guide  and  flipped  to page two. More references. Page
three.  Arthur was hardly turned-on by the sight of Zaphod in a rather tacky
pose and  was  not  amused by the caption  that read  'Zaphod is not  just a
pretty face, for  he  can ski and likes reading.  He can  also out-drink and
out-cool anyone in the Universe.' Arthur  keyed in another code and got what
he wasn't sure he really wanted.
     "You've got all the time it takes me to salvage this poor robot and for
us to hitch-hike to that address."  Arthur stabbed  his  finger purposely at
the screen.  "I  want  you  to  meet  Zaphod  Beeblebrox.  That  way  you'll
appreciate me even more."
     Ford Prefect was indeed  in a seedy bar  trying to  talk  somebody into
buying him a drink and  only achieving  success as  a total failure  in this
venture.  The expression 'It is far  better  to give than  receive' referred
only to physical violence in this bar. After leaving Arthur and Fenchurch on
their way to where they  had  just decided to  leave, he had decided to find
the rather nice girl who  offered  a comforting service  to rich  men in Han
Dold City.  Ford couldn't shake her devastating smile from his mind. He felt
it would be  a useful weapon by  his side.  Besides,  having seen Arthur  so
happy with Fenchurch, so happy  that Ford couldn't irritate him as easily as
usual, and  Zaphod settling down with Trillian,  Ford decided the last thing
he wanted to do was be unfashionable and stay single.
     So Ford  had  ventured  to  the bar where  he came very  close to being
mutilated  by an  evil looking  bird and  an arm  with a  vicious streak and
nothing else noticeable. Ford entered the bar, was shocked, stunned and then
shocked again.  He was  convinced  this was  the same  bar  but  it was  now
reminiscent  of a wine bar he had visited in  Hampstead. Gone were  the evil
overtones and  murderous intents.  These had  been  replaced  by old  French
posters  and  bamboo chairs. The evil looking bird had been  stuffed and put
over the bar. The arm was opening wine bottles and mixing cocktails.
     "Oh it's  you,"  said  the  barman,  who now looked  unbearably  smart.
"You're the one to blame for this."
     "Hi," said Ford, still looking around. "I'm to blame for what?"
     "Your entry in the Hitch-Hiker's Guide," muttered the barman.
     "Wasn't it accurate?"  Argued Ford, defensive of  his life saving piece
of  prose. "Wasn't it along the lines of 'Wretched place with evil overtones
and murderous intents' or something?"
     "That's  it  exactly. That was enough to  attract all the  trendies who
were  desperate  to find a  place  with  atmosphere. They pushed out all the
regulars."
     "Well, could I change it?" Offered Ford, apologetically.
     "Nah, I hate these people  and  their trendy talk, but they don't argue
about  paying, even  though  I've marked the prices up  to silly  levels. So
you'd best leave it."
     Ford tried to listen  to  some of  the conversations, but there weren't
any.  There   were  plenty   of  opinions  being  offered   about  generally
misunderstood  subjects  that  bored  everyone  to  tears,  but  no   actual
conversations. Ford decided to leave and find  where all the former regulars
were hanging out. At least he felt threatened and therefore relaxed in their
company.  As he left,  he  butted into one opinion with 'Ah, but you haven't
considered the  Vogons, have  you?', which enabled  one rich young trendy to
launch into his very personalised views on Vogon sociology.
     Ford eventually found a suitably seedy bar, which is where we find him.
     "But if you  buy me a drink you can go around saying 'Do you know who I
bought a drink for the other night? Ford Prefect, that's  who. I won't mind,
I  won't even  charge you  repeat  fees for  my  name." It didn't  work. His
hapless victim had yelled something quite obscene at a slab of a creature in
the hope that the slab would ask him to step outside and repeat it. The slab
obliged and Ford's victim changed hands.
     Ford's attention switched  to the  large TV screen viewer  on the wall.
Between the alcohol  stains,  a  newsreader  droned on  about  Vogon  riots.
Apparently, three  squadrons of  flying  police had descended on  the riots,
while media specialists debated the causes of the riots at great length. All
the  old  reasons  were dusted  off  and  injected with topical incidents to
improve  credibility.  No  one  asked  the  Vogons,  who  could have  easily
explained that it just seemed like a  good idea at  the time. The newsreader
handed over to the social  editor who Ford recognised as one of the greatest
partygoers  of all time. That was enough to make Ford  listen. What he heard
would have made a  Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster reach for something to steady
itself.
     "And  of  course, all  the leading  lights  of  the  social  galaxy are
preparing  themselves  for  possibly  the  greatest  bash  since  Eccentrica
Gallumbits, the triple-breasted whore  of Eroticon Six, had  her coming out,
in and many other permutations party. Yes, the invites have been printed for
Zaphod Beeblebrox's wedding...."
     Ford tried  to spin around on  his barstool in an  attempt to  catch up
with  his  head. He  then  made his mind  up to get  wrecked in celebration.
Zaphod would have  wanted  it that way. He felt as though  he wanted company
during this hour of  sorrow, so he decided he would not get wrecked and look
for the girl. He would get totally  sobered and look for the girl. He walked
outside, over his former  hapless victim  and down the now  peaceful street.
This was because the police wars that had ruined the area had ceased, or, at
least,  a  truce  had been  called.  It needed  the combined  efforts of the
fighting fractions to impose on the spot fines on the rich young trendies as
they staggered into their bourge-mobiles to race home.
     Ford peered  into every doorway and saw  plenty of interesting  things,
but  not  what he wanted. Just  as  he decided to get so wrecked he wouldn't
care which girl he found, he heard a familiar voice.
     "Been  paid  for  those two  words  yet?"  It  was  backed  up  by  the
devastatingly  shy but  self-confident smile that had his emotions screaming
for mercy.
     "I've been looking for you," was all Ford could manage.
     "I've been looking for you, too!" She exclaimed.  "I owe you my deepest
thanks apparently. Since you put in your entry about the bar, this place has
been inundated with rich people.  I've made  enough to  give  it all up  for
something more worthwhile." She was hitting all the right notes with Ford.
     "Good, how do you fancy going to the society wedding of the Omp?"
     "Sounds good to  me. We'd better  introduce ourselves  then. My name is
Bolo".
     Ford's  brain relayed that to  all of it's areas  and innuendo  came up
with 'That reminds me of something  from Earth that kept my  tongue occupied
for many happy hours', which his brain scrutinised and sent to common sense.
Common sense  tutted and passed  it  to  character assessment  for  a second
opinion.  Character assessment complained, as usual, that  it was overworked
and  couldn't say  whether it  would  be well received or would result  in a
slapped face that would activate pain and the whole brain knew  what trouble
that  caused. Common sense decided to send the thought skulking into  memory
to  be held  and  used at  a later date,  hopefully as a  witty,  apres  sex
reflection.
     "I'm  Ford Prefect." She  held out her hand  and he shook  it  briskly,
admiring the soft touch and the firm grip on his heart.
     "How will we travel?"
     A glint formed in Ford's eye.
     "You are looking at one of the greatest hitch-hikers in the Galaxy."
     "I'll get some money and a towel."
     Ford knew he had met the girl of his dreams.



     A wedding is a ritual which exists in most societies,  only at  varying
levels of involvement, from a simple agreement to meet, say, once a year for
dinner, to the mutual exchanging of left limbs. The latter does not apply to
the Quoquobuletes.  They are easily recognised, as  the male has  legs which
lead into the arms, has a flat torso between the two, is about  a metre high
and  looks something  like a capital H.  The female is the  same shape, only
about 10  metres  high.  The  marriage ceremony  is not  unusual,  with  the
supposed exchanging of  tokens during  the ceremony, the male leaving his on
the  dressing table and blaming  the  best  man.  However,  to  certify  the
ceremony, the  marriage must  be  consummated within four  hours.  Now this,
although  not  a  strict   requirement   in   most   marriages,  is  usually
enthusiastically  pursued by  most  couples as  a necessity as opposed  to a
requirement.  It is  a different story  for the Quoquobuletes. Though hardly
through not  trying,  8  out  of every  10  Quoquobulete  marriages  end  in
unconsummation or physical  exhaustion.  Those who are easily embarrassed by
such matters should now skip  to the next chapter, for there  now follows  a
description of the Quoquobulete sexual act.
     First of  all, it must be performed standing up,  as  anything  else is
considered merely foreplay. Due  to the  obvious  physical  differences, the
male  digs  a  small  hole 0.2 metres square and 0.1 metres deep. The female
then  stands 0.05  metres  back  from the hole.  The  male then takes a pole
(usually a wedding  gift) which can be bent under force without breaking and
then resume  it's original straight axis. The male takes a run at the female
with the pole held horizontal to the ground, aiming  at the  hole. Once  the
point of the  pole makes contact with the  hole,  the male continues running
until  the pole reaches it's most springy point and propels him towards  the
female torso in a hope to cling on. This usually results in the  male flying
past the female at great height or hitting  the female so hard he knocks her
over. This is viewed as one of the saddest cases in the Universe and also as
another good  reason  why the Earth was shunned for many years, because they
chose to ridicule the act with a sport called the pole vault.
     Another  event  associated  with  wedding is  the stag  night.  For the
Quoquobuletes it was a chance for a last minute training  session to perfect
technique, but for most males it is a damn  good excuse to get drunk, insult
people, act offensively and generally be a nuisance. As Zaphod Beeblebrox is
a recognised expert in all of  these fields, his stag night promised to be a
showstopper.
     Psychologists have  many theories about the deep hidden  reasons for  a
stag  night, such  as striking a  final blow  for freedom  or getting into a
state  where  nothing  after  would be as  bad,  but  these  have never been
ratified as the last person you  would  invite  on  a stag night  would be a
psychologist.
     So, Ford Prefect was heading for Zaphod's for the sole purpose of being
on the  stag night and Arthur  Dent was heading towards Zaphod's on a purely
social visit, which would end up as a stag night they would never forget.





     "It says here that Zaphod's planet is a 'peaceful haven for the  famous
with  glorious  mountains  which  blend  in beautifully  with  the  tropical
beaches. It  offers good skiing, great  libraries and plenty of  people  who
think that  they are cool and think they can drink.'  Sounds  like something
from the Magrathean catalogue," said Arthur.
     "Who are the Magratheans?" asked Fenchurch.
     "Oh, they were the galaxy's equivalent of Harrods. They could build any
sort of planet to your exact specification. I'm afraid to say that the Earth
was built by them."
     "You mean to say that someone actually specified Milton Keynes?"
     "No, it's a very  long story, but I don't think Milton Keynes was  ever
intended. One day I'll tell you about the Golgafrincham B Ark."
     "We should have time. I think this is going to be a very long journey."
     "That's the trouble with this  hitch-hiking lark, you get a lot of time
on your hands."
     Fenchurch took his hand and squeezed it.
     "I'm glad I'm spending it with you."
     Arthur swallowed and tried to stop  his palm  from being so  sweaty. He
had never felt so happy being so uncomfortable.
     "Much as I appreciate the lift we're getting, I think this ship  is the
equivalent  of  a  2CV  on  Earth."  Arthur  tried  to  think  of a  2CV  in
desperation,  but his mind kept fighting  back to Fenchurch's  warm  hand in
his. He looked around for some form of distraction. There weren't many.
     They  were   in  the  hold  of  a  family  cruiser  belonging  to  some
Quoquobuletes  who  were on  their first  holiday  to  the sunny  planet  of
Beebles,  home of Zaphod  Beeblebrox. Arthur and Fenchurch had  hitch-hiked,
using their souvenir God's Final Message to  His Creation  electronic thumb,
to  a  large  space service station, where  lots  of  little creatures  were
charging around and adult  creatures were stretching their arms, legs and in
some cases, other extremities. Arthur  bought some Babel fish and  had a lot
of trouble convincing  Fenchurch that putting one in  you ear  was a  really
good idea. They  soon found out that conversations  weren't any different at
this service station than they were on any service station  on  Earth. Short
cuts, the lousy condition of the toilets and the cost compared with a  local
station  were the  general order  of the day.  Arthur  had  eventually found
someone going to Beebles and willing  to give  them a lift. Their travelling
companions  consisted of  Mr and Mrs Xoloho and  their three children. Their
holiday was  being paid for  by  the  Quoquobulete government for being  the
first couple in Quoquobulete history to produce more than two children.
     Mr Xoloho walked, if it could be called that (it closely resembled poor
computer graphics), into the hold.
     "The wife's getting a bit tired driving, so I'm going to take over," he
explained. "We'll take the next turning off the  hyperspace tract to fit the
male driving  adapter equipment. If you could give my  wife a hand it should
be fitted in half an hour."
     "It'll be my pleasure," said Arthur
     "Actually, I was referring to your young lady," said Mr Xoloho.
     Arthur almost got  flustered, then realised  that Mr  Xoloho  had  good
reason to view the female as the dominant sex. Fenchurch  laughed and Arthur
reconsidered being flustered, but Mr Xoloho had gone.
     "They're so  nice, aren't they?" Sighed  Fenchurch.  "I never  expected
aliens to be so polite."
     "They are  not all  like that,  there  were  these creatures I once met
called  the Vogons and  they...." The  ship  lurched  out of hyperspace  and
Arthur's stomach lurched out of place.  He stood up but his body didn't want
to leave before any of it's vital organs and slumped down again.
     "I could do without that," groaned Fenchurch.
     "You  should try matter transference, or rather you shouldn't. It makes
coming out of hyperspace seem like coming out of a sauna."
     "Remind me not to try matter transference."
     "I'll do my best."
     They gingerly stood up  and went to the front of  the  ship. The Xoloho
children  had  already disembarked and  Mrs Xoloho was disentangling herself
from the  controls.  Arthur walked  out  and into the  Ship Park. There were
about two  dozen ships  of varying sizes parked. Arthur saw two people going
from ship to ship.
     "Hitch-hikers," thought  Arthur.  Then  he saw one  of  them wearing an
irritating grin. He couldn't believe it.
     "Ford!" Yelled Arthur. Ford looked up, grabbed Bob's hand  and ran over
to Arthur.
     "We meet again," said Arthur, shaking Ford's free hand.
     "Yes," replied Ford. "Did you get to see Cod's Final Message?"
     "We did and very..
     "I think it's overrated," interrupted Ford, grinning with the knowledge
that he had irritated Arthur.
     "We met Marvin."
     "The paranoid android? How is the old misery?"
     "I've got some of what's left of him in this carrier bag."
     "Arthur, this is Bolo."  Ford  modelled  his  flow of  conversation  on
Brownian motion principles.
     "Hello, Polo. Is that like the mint with..
     "No,  it's  spelt  with a  B."  Ford  realised Arthur was  grinning. It
irritated him, which was the precise  reason why Arthur was grinning. Ford's
grin slipped slightly.
     Arthur  shook Bob's hand and wanted to  borrow her smile.  He could win
friends and influence people with a smile like that.
     "What  are  you up  to  anyway?" Asked Ford, irritated this time by the
length of the handshake.
     "Well I was going to  visit  Zaphod with  Fenchurch, she's in the  ship
over there,  doing  some  adapting  of  some  sort,"  said Arthur,  casually
pointing in the direction of half a dozen ships.
     "Oh, so you're off to Zaphod's wedding too?" Asked Bob.
     Arthur's jaw dropped and he looked at Ford in disbelief. Arthur's brain
took no responsibility for his jaw as it showed great indecision.
     "Zaphod? Married? To Trillian?" He blurted out.
     "Yes  to  all  three." Ford  was  glad he  had the  upper  hand  again.
Fenchurch joined them.
     "Hello, Ford. Nice to see you again. Nice to see you sober as well
     "Fenchurch, this is Bob. Bob, this is  Fenchurch. Could you go and  get
us  some food?"  Ford said,  in  his best 'could you please go and  leave us
alone so we can have a private talk' voice. They obliged.
     "Zaphod?" Arthur was speechless bar that one word.
     "Didn't  you know? It's the  biggest news since  Eccentrica Gallumbits,
the triple-breasted whore of Eroticon 6, opened her night club planet
     "Didn't you say they had some kids?"
     "Yeah, he's going to do the  decent thing,"  grinned Ford. "First  time
for everything."
     "I'm stunned." Arthur wasn't lying.
     "Not as  much as you  will be." Ford looked over his  shoulder to  make
sure  the women were out  of hearing range. "When I say 'wedding' what's the
first thing you think of?"
     "Rice down the back of my neck from a lousy shot."
     "No, no, before the wedding!"
     "Getting a present?"
     "You're missing my  point!"  Yelled  Ford.  He took a  deep breath  and
continued. "What do the men do the night before a wedding?"
     "Go on a Stag night!" Arthur felt enlightened then thought of the other
stag night he  had been  on. True, everyone  got  fairly  drunk  but  he got
separated  from the  crowd on the  way  to  Soho and  ended up  in  Waterloo
Station. Those who did make  it to Soho were arrested and missed the wedding
and as Arthur  was the  only one from  the stag  night to  turn up,  all the
guests took it out on him.
     "Right! And Zaphod's will go down in  the guide as  the greatest ever!"
Ford found himself doing  a little dance in celebration. Mr Xoloho came over
to them.
     "We'll be ready in about five minutes," he said to Arthur.
     "Could you take two more hitch-hikers?" Asked Arthur. "I've known  this
one for countless years and I know he won't give you any trouble."
     "Sure, the more the merrier." He turned and returned to the ship.
     "These are nice people, so please behave." Pleaded Arthur.
     "You know me." Ford played his winning  stroke backed  up  by his  best
grin. Arthur made a mental note to try harder in future.





     Zaphod lounged  on the patio by the swimming pool. His estate was right
by the tropical sea, but he had a swimming pool all the same. Status symbols
only served their purpose if  they were never used. He turned a dial,  which
raised his sun bed a further  two inches off the ground and tilted  it a few
more degrees. One of his heads drained a tropical drink as  the other called
for another. A cocktail robot flitted over to him and  filled the glass. The
robot was the only  one of it's kind to be programmed  to mix a Pan Galactic
Gargle Blaster the traditional way.  It had cost a fortune, but Zaphod  felt
it was worth  it.  Trillian's  sun bed floated  along  side his.  She had  a
beautiful tan.
     "Are you going to the office today?" She asked without turning.
     "Nah, too nice a day."
     "Every day here is the same."
     "I know, great  isn't it?"  Mellowed Zaphod. "Besides, Heart of Gold is
in for 12,000 omp service."
     "How long will that take?" Trillian actually turned her head.
     "I  don't know.  The bastards  have  it overnight, so they can  do  the
galaxy, try and  impress  some chicks with it, recover, give it a  couple of
kicks,  leave greasy fingerprints  all over it  and work out an extortionate
bill. It could take days.'
     "Why not take it somewhere else?"
     "You kind of know where you stand with these guys. They're hoopy."
     "But they'll rip you off!"
     "Not this time. I  pulled  a couple of  wires. If they miss them,  it's
curtains. I told  them who I  am  and what would happen if they didn't  do a
proper job."
     "Blackmail?"
     "It's called good  business. If they do a good job, they'll come out of
it alright."
     A small monitor flew from  the house and hovered in front of Zaphod. He
squinted and shaded his eyes.
     "Hey, we've  got visitors," beamed Zaphod. "Ford and the monkey man are
here with some chicks. Freeooww!"
     "You mean Arthur," said Trillian firmly. She waited.  "Aren't you going
to let them in?"
     "Not  yet,  I want  to see  them ogle a little while longer,"  chuckled
Zaphod. "I can almost hear them saying this can't be my place."
     "This can't be Zaphod's place!" Arthur said, disgusted by the fact that
he knew it was.
     "He must have done pretty well for himself since the Krikkit business,"
said Ford.
     "What was...."
     "Don't ask, Fenchurch," snapped Arthur.  "It's  not something I want to
be reminded of."
     The door swung silently open. No  'happy service'  or  '  glad to be of
service'. Zaphod had made it big. He stood in the doorway, arms open.
     "Hi  hi hi guys,  good  to see  me, isn't  it.  No seriously,  hi Ford,
Arthur. Who are the chicks?"
     "These ladies are Fenchurch and Bolo," said Arthur.
     "Hi Bolo, nice to see you again."
     "You, you've met?" Spluttered Ford.
     "Yes,  Zaphod's  the  guy  with  the  grey  limo from  Han Dold  City,"
explained Bolo.
     "But don't mention it, the soon to be wife's inside," whispered Zaphod.
"Come through to the patio."
     Trillian  got  off  the  sun  bed  to  greet  them.  After  the  formal
introductions of Fenchurch  and  Bolo,  she put  her  arms  around  Ford and
Arthur.
     "It's great to see you guys again, it's  been too long," she  said. She
had  been  explained to  Fenchurch  and  Bolo to avoid  any  embarrassment a
gesture like this would have caused.
     "And we got here just in time," said Ford, rubbing his hands  together.
"When's the big night, I mean day?"
     "Two days time, we hoped you would make it."
     "Wouldn't miss it for the planet." Ford winked at Arthur.
     "Nice  place you've  got  here,"  admired Arthur. It was  meant  to  be
admired. The house sprawled  lazily  like a basking octopus over the  entire
beach, which curved  into  a tropical  bay.  Beautiful  snowy mountains rose
majestically behind the house.
     "It's not bad," said Trillian, looking at Zaphod. "It's the  only place
we could find to accommodate Zaphod's ego!"
     "What, the house or the planet?" Asked Arthur.
     "Hey, guys! What  is this, get  at Zaphod  day or something?" Exclaimed
Zaphod.
     "So, what have you been up to, Zaphod, to get all of this?" Asked Ford.
Trillian sighed and took the women away to show them around the house.
     "I'm glad you asked. Pull up a sun bed."
     "Is it going to take that long?" Asked Arthur.
     "No monkey  man, you're just looking a little peaky, the  suns will  do
you the world  of good." Arthur ignored the insult  and  climbed on  the sun
bed. He was immediately turned upside down.
     "Turn the dial," said Ford, climbing onto his sun bed.
     Arthur fiddled with the dial and eventually got himself into a position
where the two suns beat down on either side of his face, casting no shadows.
     "This is paradise," he sighed.
     "No,  it's Beebles, it's got  a much better  ring to it,"  said Zaphod.
"Anyway, after the Krikkit lark, the galactic police  caught up with me, but
they just wanted to escort me to the galactic council. They were still angry
over the Heart  of  Gold, but  once  I explained  to  them how I  saved  the
Universe from the Krikkits, they were fine."
     "But you didn't...." started Arthur.
     "Don't interrupt," interrupted Zaphod. "They said I  couldn't really go
back  to  being  President, but would be willing to give me any  other job I
wanted. I  didn't  mess around, guys. I went  for the big one. Guys, you are
now  looking  at the  new  Owner  Editor  for the Hitch-hikers  Guide to the
Galaxy." He  paused for effect. "With  the  platinum handshake I got,  I put
down  a deposit  for a  Magrathean planet.  Now I've got  my planet  and the
Magratheans have a full page advert for a year. The rest is made up from the
tourist trade."
     "So, basically, you're rolling in it," said Ford.
     "Exactly," said Zaphod.
     "Good,  you can pay me the money  I'm  owed for the coverage on Earth!"
Ford held out his hand.
     "But  I got it all put  in  instead of the edited version,  isn't  that
enough?"
     "No, I don't do this for the love, you know."
     "You really find out who your friends are when you become their owner,"
muttered Zaphod.
     "Owner!" Shouted Ford.
     "Yeah, apparently,  as a researcher your guide remains  the property of
Megadodo  Publications, which is  the property  of myself, and your contract
states that  as you are in possession of  the guide, you are the property of
Megadodo Publications, which is in turn, well, you know the rest."
     "Well here's fifty nine point  nine nine alterian  dollars," said Ford,
thrusting money in Zaphod's hand, then  took his researchers card out of his
pocket and threw it in the swimming pool. "I quit."
     "Nice to see you again Ford," beamed Zaphod.
     "And  you mate,"  grinned Ford.  They embraced, realised how silly they
looked and separated. Arthur got on with getting tanned.
     "So what about the Stag Night?" Asked Ford.
     "Well I thought  we  could go to Eccentrica Gallumbits' new  night club
planet, it's supposed to be wild."
     "Great," said Ford.
     "Are you in, monkey man?" Asked Zaphod.
     "Yes, four  eyes, I'm  in." Arthur  dialled  himself  a greater  angle.
Screaming and hollering filled the air, causing Arthur to upend his  sun bed
and land, too  heavily, on the  floor. Two little kids hammered towards him,
leapt over his cowering body and into Zaphod's arms.
     "Little brats,"  he  said, grinning paternally. "I've named the  oldest
one Phil, after my Earth name. The  nipper's called Trisha, after Trillian's
Earth name."
     "Arthur studied them closely. They looked like normal kids, maybe a bit
too cute for his liking, but still normal.  He breathed a sigh  of relief to
the fact that they had taken after their mother.
     "Children, this  is  Uncle Ford and  Uncle Arthur." Zaphod had changed,
thought Arthur. The kids giggled and buried their faces  in Zaphod. He shook
his heads, still grinning. "Bless 'em."
     Arthur felt that 'bless 'em' should be mentioned every time their names
were said  as an  unofficial  middle  name. He had a niece on  Earth  called
Michaela  and he always associated her name with 'bless her heart'. Michaela
'bless her heart' Martin. It had a  nice ring to it and if you ever met her,
you  would  know  how  applicable it was. By this time, Zaphod, the kids and
Ford had gone inside. Arthur hurried into the house.
     Everyone  was   sitting  around  a  magnificent  table,  covered  by  a
magnificent feast. The last time Arthur had seen food like this he had found
mice on  the  table. He checked before sitting down. Fenchurch took his hand
and squeezed it.
     "This incredible," she whispered in his ear.
     "I propose a toast," shouted Ford, not knowing the acoustically perfect
design of  the room  would swell  his voice  to  that of a Welsh Male  Voice
Choir. Everyone lifted their glasses.
     "To Zaphod, Trillian and the kids. May your futbulions  never cross and
your buquabs never separate."
     Only  Zaphod  appreciated this  ancient Betelgeuse  toast, but they all
drank to it. As they prepared to gorge themselves, Zaphod stood up.
     "Did you get us a present?"
     "Zaphod!" Said Trillian through clenched teeth.
     "Well, they're expected to bring  a present.  Still,  never mind if you
haven't, I've enough presence for all of us."
     Zaphod was  the only  one to laugh, as was  usual for  his attempts  at
humour.
     "Actually,  we have," said Arthur,  mystifying  everyone.  He  rummaged
through his carrier bag and produced some circuit boards. "Sorry they're not
gift wrapped."
     "Hey,  thank you," falsified Zaphod. "I'm  touched,  we're touched that
you thought of us. What are they?"
     "Marvin, or at least what's worth keeping."
     "So that's  where he got to!"  Exclaimed Zaphod. "Where's my coat?" His
demand  went  unanswered  and  the  horrified looks from  around  the  table
demanded an explanation. "I sent him  to the Big  Bang Burger Bar to get  my
coat which I left behind. Perhaps I should have given him the return fare."
     "Marvin is dead?" Whispered  Trillian, tears brimming in  her eyes. She
only remembered the good times, or to be  more accurate, the less than lousy
times,  when Marvin  complimented her, or  at least was inoffensive  towards
her.
     "I  think it  would be fairer  to say that Marvin has rusted." Zaphod's
tact struck like  nuclear missile  in the  bullseye of a dartboard. Trillian
ran out of the room crying.
     "I  think you should keep hold  of Marvin for  the  moment," said Ford.
Arthur stuck Marvin in his pocket.






     Death could be  defined as that  which when mentioned over dinner could
cause  one person  to  leave  the room  crying and for all bar  one  (Zaphod
Beeblebrox) to  be  put  off  their magnificent  meal.  A very  personalised
definition, admittedly, but a very applicable one even though it is based on
a situation with a  major misunderstanding. Marvin  did not die, although it
was what  he  dearly wished. He  ceased  to function,  which had the desired
effect, albeit temporarily. It has  been asked why, in addition to  Marvin's
ability to switch off at  any time and with the knowledge that  by  sticking
his left arm in  his right ear  he  could electrocute  himself, Marvin never
finished  himself  off a  long  time  ago.  Apart  from the  fact  that  his
programming wouldn't allow  him,  he would  miss  out  on the opportunity to
continue  being  wretched, which  he did  until  his body  could take  it no
longer.
     There are those who feel that Marvin's end was untimely and a bit of an
anticlimax considering  his  eventful life  full  of narrow  escapes,  close
shaves  and apathetic encounters.  His  escape from  the Disaster Area stunt
ship has never been fully documented  (though it can now be revealed that it
wasn't as  exciting as expected) and  will not be disclosed here  to  remain
within  the legal boundaries  that exist for  that section of society with a
furtive  imagination.  Nor  can we  forget  the lengthy  tale  of how Marvin
eventually  ended up minus one  original  leg on  the  planet Squornshellous
Zeta. However, Marvin has ceased to exist  as before and will stay that way,
unless something really improbable happens.
     It may please those who think that this  is  the very end  of Marvin to
know that it is  indirectly through Marvin that Zaphod, Ford and Arthur, not
to mention Trillian, Bolo and Fenchurch, are soon to be sent on their way to
save the Universe.





     The scruffy mechanic idled around by the door. Eventually Zaphod opened
it.
     "I've  brought your  ship  back,  goes  like a  dream  now,"  said  the
mechanic, wiping his hands on his greasy overalls, achieving nothing.
     "It was going  like a  dream  beforehand,  I  was  hoping for  a little
reality to creep back into it's performance," muttered Zaphod.
     "Very good,  sir." The mechanic  knew of  Zaphod's position and  wasn't
going  to  jeopardise  his  by  getting  cocky.  "We  followed  the  service
instructions down  to  the  last  detail. No unnecessary  work done. We even
changed the filters on the Nutri-Matic Drinks Synthesiser.
     "Okay,  okay. I  had an estimate but let's see how it  differs from the
present tense expense."
     "What?"
     "Shee, the bill. You know, the paper with all the big numbers all  over
it?"
     "Oh, yes, right." The mechanic took out a sheet  of paper, accidentally
on  purpose smudging  his greasy fingers  across the sundries column,  which
contained the tip for the  waiter at  an  incredibly expensive restaurant he
had taken his  girlfriend  and the Heart of Gold  to  on a  test  drive, the
replacement solar tiling (the  original tiling didn't need replacing but the
tiling on his  star  buggy did) and  the  money he  lost  playing  Eddie the
shipboard computer at electronic halma.
     Zaphod  signed  his  name twice  against his  Editor's  expense account
number on  the bill as the second signature would be worth a bit in years to
come and was cheaper than a tip.
     "Thanks sir," humbled the mechanic. "And you won't  forget the  mention
in the guide, will you sir?"
     "We'll see after I've taken her for a spin. I'll be  in  touch." Zaphod
shut the door. "I'm sure I get ripped off more than bog roll."
     Arthur  was feeding  all his  details into  the latest  gizmo  from the
Sirius  Cybernetics Corporation,  the  Tailormatic. The  principle  was very
good. By feeding  in all bodily details, such  as height, weight, number  of
limbs, etc., the Tailormatic  would link up to the fashion mainframes around
the Universe to consult what the latest fashions were and then synthetically
create an ideal outfit. Unfortunately, it was programmed by the same man who
programmed the Nutri-Matic  machine and didn't always  produce the goods, so
to speak.
     Arthur  hit the  enter  button and  the  Tailormatic shook into action.
Eventually, a cellophane wrapped package  popped out. Once Arthur had  spent
five minutes removing pins and cardboard, he tried it on.
     "And this is fashionable?" He asked the machine rhetorically.
     "Upon  my life, I've  never seen anyone  wear it so well," chirped  the
machine.
     "It's not too bright?"
     "Bright is in, my boy. You want to be noticed, don't you?"
     "Yes, but not to be ridiculed."
     "Don't  be silly,  I  wish I could get away with wearing something like
that."
     "I'm more worried about being  put away. And  I suppose the motto Share
and  Enjoy applies  to the clothes as well. How many people am I supposed to
share this with at one time?"
     "It's meant to be loose, it flows."
     "So does wine, but I wouldn't go out in it."
     "Well I can take it in a touch, but it would ruin the line."
     ''Don't bother, I'll get a second opinion.
     Fenchurch  was trying  on  one of Trillian's dresses for  the  wedding.
Arthur charged in, muttered an embarrassed apology and walked out.
     "Arthur!"  She shouted. He sheepishly put  his head  around  the  door.
"Come in."
     "I just wanted  your opinion on this." He held  his arms out and turned
around. What the  Tailormatic had produced was a gold  lame track  suit-like
outfit, which  hung  on  Arthur  like  snow on a  weeping  willow.  Fabulous
embroidery covered the outfit and reflective prism  strips  had been sown in
all over.
     "Well you'd look better hanging from the ceiling of the night-club than
on the dancefloor. No, it's  really quite different." Fenchurch had  trouble
suppressing a laugh.
     "It's supposed to be fashionable in the better places in the Universe."
     "When in Rome, do...."
     "I  think I'll wear  my  jacket  over it,  that way I  wont feel like a
walking laser light show."
     Fenchurch went over to him and put her arms around his waist.
     "Promise me you'll behave tonight."
     "I  promise,  we'll probably just have  a few drinks,"  lied Arthur. He
knew Ford and Zaphod had been undergoing strenuous body conditioning all day
in preparation for  a full frontal assault on as much alcohol  as they could
lay their lips on. "Will you be alright here?"
     "I'll be fine, the three of us haven't stopped nattering."
     There was a knock at the door. Ford popped his head around the door.
     "Thought I'd find you in here," he grinned. "We're off."
     "I'll see you later," said Arthur, hoping that Ford  would disappear so
he could kiss Fenchurch goodbye, but he had no chance.
     "Enjoy yourself, but  not too  much." Fenchurch kissed him on the cheek
and patted his behind.
     Arthur followed Ford  down the  stairs where  Zaphod was  waiting.  His
outfit made  Arthur's  seem  like  funeral attire.  The suit  shimmered  and
changed colour in splashes like a cinema screen before the film  starts, but
without  the nauseating effect. Bolts of harmless laser burst from  the suit
at random and the matching headband glowed luminously.
     "It's on random at the moment, buy I'll turn it to synchro in the night
club to  keep time with  the  music," said Zaphod. "Then watch out,  'cos my
suit will do the dancing for me."
     "That's good, when  you dance people clear a space in sympathy  and for
safety," said Ford.
     "Hey,  cool it  with  the jibes, I'm out for good vibes,"  said Zaphod.
"Remember this is my night, I'm gonna do it just right."
     "Are we going to get going or just talk about it?" Asked Arthur.
     "Now there's someone straining at the leash," said Zaphod. "Obviously a
love  hungry  man.  We'll  get   going  soon,  monkey  man.  We   won't  use
improbability drive, no point in getting  there too early. We want to make a
big entrance."





     Eccentrica  Gallumbits' night-club planet  looked no different from any
other  Magrathean planet on  approach. Only  on closer inspection could  you
make out the glittering surface. Zaphod  put  the Heart of  Gold into  orbit
around the planet to get a  better look. A huge complex covered a quarter of
the  planet,  with  ship parks  covering  the remainder.  Zaphod  tuned  the
Sub-Etha radio  into  the planet and a bass line, which sounded like  it had
been carved out of granite, pounded the speakers.
     "Now  that's  what I  call a groove," said Zaphod,  tapping  his  heads
together in time.
     The planet  suddenly  burst  into  light as it was switched to sound to
light. The surface pulsated with the beat.
     "Beats the hell out of a neon sign," said Arthur.
     Zaphod  parked  the  Heart of Gold in  a predominant position as usual.
They stepped out into  the ship park. A robot transporter pulled up and they
climbed aboard.
     "The  electricity  bill  must  be  phenomenal,"  said  Arthur,  as  the
transporter weaved through the myriad of flashing lights.
     "All  done with fibre optics, no doubt," said Ford. "Probably  all runs
off one light bulb."
     And the  beat  went on. The transporter  had Quadraphonic  speakers  to
confirm that the  lights weren't  going off at  a tangent. Arthur could feel
his heart trying to keep time with  the music. The transporter  pulled up at
the main entrance.
     Flash bulbs flashed. Cameras whirred. Reporters jostled with each other
to get a good position.
     "Are you still going through with it, Zaphod?"
     "Are you really giving up the wild life?"
     "Do you think marriage will interrupt your quest for ultimate coolness,
Mr Beeblebrox?"
     "Hey guys," said Zaphod, lapping up the attention. My  future wife will
hear about anything I say to you, and you know how you take things I say out
of context." He stopped and posed briefly for photographers. "So I  guess  I
ought to remain silent."
     After several throwaway poses, he went through  the crowd to the  door.
Ford and Arthur  fought their way through  to join him.  Zaphod put his arms
around them and grinned for  the cameras. "One for the  album. My last night
of freedom!"





     Eccentrica  Gallumbits, the  triple breasted  whore of  Eroticon 6,  is
universally famous as one of the best good times known to males. Part of her
fame is due to a  coffee cup being placed on a genetic engineer's plan prior
to her birth. Gallumbits, an old inferno of Zaphod Beeblebrox,  has been the
centre of many wild rumours, such as her erogenous zones starting four miles
from her  body where,  in fact, it has been statistically  proven  that even
when she is in the mood, the distance is at  most two miles. Another rumour,
inaccurate  again,  is  that fortunate males, whom we  shall accurately call
joyriders,  accompanying  Gallumbits  on what we shall  call  an  excursion,
experience  a  feeling  akin  to  the  planet/moon/starship/waterbed moving.
Professional observers, positioned at a safe distance, have observed that no
such  movement  is  apparent.  However, as joyriders  considerably outnumber
professional  observers,  this  has  yet  to  be  proven.  Any  professional
observers  who  have  joined the growing ranks of joyriders in an attempt to
measure any  movement first hand usually  drop all their necessary equipment
in a frenzy at the appropriate moment.
     She  has  been  condemned  by 'Females  Repelled  by  an  Uncaring Male
Population Society' (FRUMPS) as  'degrading to  females' and 'too stupid for
words'. However, Gallumbits has  proven to  have one of  the  most brilliant
female  business  minds of  all  time.  Her  three  dimensional,  full  size
holoposter (cost of the planning permission for the house extension included
in  the  price) helped her retain her  Positively  the Most  Polpular Pin-Up
Award for the tenth year running and boosted her earnings close to  Disaster
Area  proportions.  Her  favourite  saying 'I  don't  care if  they are more
interested in my body  than my mind, so long as they realise  that I am more
interested in  their money than their body' angered the FRUMPS so much, they
sued. Gallumbits was acquitted by a male judge and an all male jury.
     Chauvinists  on  Earth  will  be  comforted by  the fact that  although
chauvinism may be dying out on Earth,  the traditions are still being upheld
in other parts of the Universe.
     Eccentrica Gallumbits stood at the  reception,  hot  with anticipation.
Another rumour  states  that she can be hot  with boredom, with  disgust and
while doing the dusting but only two of these can be  genuinely vouched for.
She could see Zaphod fighting his way to the door. She curled her leg around
a small Tube supporting a drink.  The  small  Tube dropped the  drink in the
excitement  and ran over to his crowd of Tubes in the bar to exaggerate what
happened.
     "Hey Babe, what's  shaking?" Said Zaphod after a dramatic entrance that
included kicking the door open, only to slam in Arthur's face.
     "Same  things  as  always,"  said  Gallumbits  seductively and  gave  a
physical demonstration. "I heard the bad news on the Sub Etha."
     "Had to happen one day," said Zaphod.
     "I suppose  so,"  sighed Gallumbits, as seductively as  the  ear  would
allow.  As she does  everything seductively,  it can be safely assumed  that
although it  will no  longer  be  mentioned,  she is being  seductive.  "I'm
wearing three black bands in memory of the sad day."
     "First time I've seen them worn there," said Ford, fascinated.
     "Little Ford!" Squealed Gallumbits. "It's  been ages. Have you got over
your little problem yet?" Ford's ogling was distracted.
     "What  problem's this, little Ford?" Asked Zaphod, deciding to kick off
the personal abuse for the evening.
     "Who's this?" Interrupted Gallumbits.
     "Oh,  this is just  Arthur  Dent, he's a friend of  Trillian.  He'll be
alright  if you can  let him  have some tea," said Zaphod, verbally swinging
his fist from Ford to Arthur.
     "The Arthur Dent?" Squealed Gallumbits. She squealed a lot.
     "Not this again, yes, the Arthur Dent," said Arthur.
     Gallumbits  brushed  past Zaphod and  Ford,  exciting them more  than a
brush should legally be  allowed to. She put her arms on Arthur's  shoulders
and kissed him.
     "I've heard a lot about  you," she  smouldered. "But I don't think I've
had the pleasure."
     Arthur's  voice decided to go  falsetto when  he was hoping for  a rich
tenor. His body was pleading for mercy and a cold shower.
     "I don't think we have," he squeaked. "How do you do."
     "I've had no complaints so far."
     "Well," said Arthur, searching for inspirational conversation in a mind
filled with other matters. "That's very good."
     "Don't worry, she's always after fresh blood," said Zaphod.
     "Worried, who's worried?" Said Arthur, wondering if it was her perfume.
"Not me, I'm not worried. What have I got to be worried about?"
     "Nice place you've got  here," said Ford, glancing briefly at the decor
before resuming Gallumbits watching.
     "I'm proud of it," said Gallumbits, sticking her chest out. "It's taken
a long time to get it  how  I wanted it, but I think  it  will keep everyone
happy." Arthur was swimming in a pool of ambiguity.
     "I hope it lives down to your reputation," said Zaphod.
     "I've worked hard enough to get  it that way. I've got to sort out some
business affairs right now, but you go and enjoy yourselves, it's all on the
house tonight. I'll catch up with you later. Especially you, Arthur."
     She touched  all  of  them  on the  cheek  with  delicate  fingers  and
disappeared behind a door into which Arthur had assumed was the men's toilet
because of the men queuing up outside it.
     "Still looking good," sighed Ford.
     "And then some," replied Zaphod.
     "And plenty after that,"  added Arthur, his voice edging down the scale
to soprano.
     "Well,"  said  Zaphod,  snapping out of  the trance. "Let's observe and
reserve."
     "What?" Asked Arthur.
     "Let's  pick out  the suitable women," explained Zaphod.  "It's just as
well I'm beyond having my style cramped."
     "But your getting married tomorrow," protested Arthur.
     "It's because  I m getting married tomorrow that we must  pull tonight.
Otherwise the marriage will be null and void. It's a condition. That was one
of the few good things I did as President of the Universe."
     "And do we all have to pull?" Asked Arthur.
     "We're supposed to, but we may make an exception in your case, it would
be a shame to cancel the wedding because of you," piped Ford.
     "Let's discuss this over a drink," pleaded Zaphod.
     They headed into one of the 42 bars that had been littered all over the
complex. The  barman of this one  stood  proudly  behind  his bar, polishing
glasses. Ford reached the bar first.
     "Do you serve  Pan Galactic Gargle-Blasters?" He asked. "And don't  say
we serve anyone with the money." The barman reached over the  bar and picked
Ford off the ground by the collar of his blazer.
     "I happen to be one of the most experienced Pan Galactic Gargle-Blaster
mixers in the Universe," muttered the barman in Ford's ear. Ford clapped his
hand down on the barman's flattish  head. The smacking noise and  the  shock
caused the barman to drop Ford.
     "Is that so?" Said Ford.
     "That is so," said the barman.
     "Well, buddy boy, I'm going to put you to the test," said Ford. "Do you
know who is in our party? No? Zaphod Beeblebrox, that's who."
     "Er, really?" Said the barman, swallowing hard.
     Zaphod leaned against  the bar, smiled,  raised a hand and  emitted his
coolest 'Hi'.
     "So mix one up and we'll see what Zaphod has to say," said Ford.
     "It won't take a minute, Mr Beeblebrox," flustered the barman.
     Zaphod placed all three hands on the  bar and started breathing deeply.
He  rolled his  heads  in  opposite  directions,  which caused a flutter  of
applause to  come  from the  small  crowd  that  had formed. A  small camera
hovered above the bar, transmitting the pictures to all the video screens in
the night-club.
     Zaphod started puffing and  slapping his cheeks. He decided to use  his
right head for the drinking and his left head for the observing. He bent his
knees and squatted down, his hands still on the bar.  He blew loudly several
times  and  stood upright. He  turned to his audience, now  quite large, and
jogged on the spot. He thrust his arms up in a 'Rocky' type pose, one he had
been mastering in front of the mirror, which started the applause again.
     "I  will  need a silver  spoon, preferably the one you used to make the
drink, a  timing device, a  glass  of water and a cloth," said Zaphod like a
magician looking for volunteers. The barman dutifully produced all  of these
items  and nervously placed them in  front of Zaphod, who was staring at him
like a boxer. The barman avoided Zaphod's eyes and put the drink down on the
bar. The barman stood back and rubbed his hands together anxiously.
     Zaphod  sipped  the  glass  of  water, swilled it  around in his mouth,
gargled  with it and spat it out. His suit had sensed  the atmosphere of the
moment and displayed dark, moody colours.
     "Wait a minute!" Cried the barman. He ran over to the drink and dropped
an olive in it. "I forgot, the heat of the moment."
     Zaphod's glare shut  him up. Zaphod  lifted the glass to the light  and
squinted at  it. He  sniffed  it as one would sniff smelling salts,  knowing
full  well what  they  smelt like.  He  nodded and picked  up  the spoon. He
scooped up a  drop  of the  drink  and switched on  the timing device. Fumes
smoked away  from the spoon and when a  hole  appeared in the  spoon, Zaphod
stopped the timing device. He looked at the time and nodded again.  He wiped
away the residue liquid from the bar with the cloth before it started eating
it's way through that. Zaphod rolled his heads again, much to the delight of
the crowd and started  puffing again.  He took the glass in his hand, looked
at the ceiling, looked at the  barman,  looked at the drink and then,  while
the left head watched closely, downed the drink in one.
     Ford  and Arthur  helped Zaphod to  his feet. He  shook  his heads  and
steadied himself.
     "Well barman," said Zaphod hoarsely. "That was good, very  good. Set up
three for us."
     The audience erupted, the barman cried  and Arthur suddenly realised he
was expected to drink one of these liquid stun guns.
     "Don't worry," said Ford  to Arthur, who  was holding the glass  as one
would hold an anaconda. "Take it in sips, it's quite pleasant."
     Arthur took  a hesitant sip and  screwed his face up  in  anticipation.
There was no pain. It felt like slipping into a hot bath inside out.
     "Not  bad," he said, then found his body fulfilling an urgent desire to
be horizontal.
     "It'll take a while," said  Ford, helping Arthur up. "Perhaps we should
get you a Phodcaran Hurenge."





     "Excuse me?"  Asked Arthur. The  two dolphins  stopped  chattering  and
turned to face him. "This will probably sound very silly and you will almost
certainly have no idea what I'm talking about, but I'm from a planet  called
Earth and.."
     "You're not!" Exclaimed one of the dolphins.
     "You're pulling my flipper, surely!" Squealed the other.
     "No I really am," said Arthur. "I was wondering if you could explain to
me  exactly what  happened  on Earth.  You know, why it  reappeared  and you
disappeared."
     "Well you are talking to the right people, my name is Etats and this is
Dilos," said Etats,  offering his flipper, which Arthur shook. He fought the
urge to throw Etats a fish and blow a whistle.
     "We were behind the Campaign to Save the Humans," said Dilos.
     "I got a bowl from you then," said Arthur.
     "It can't be!" They sang in unison.
     "Let me guess, ' said Arthur, but they didn't give him the chance.
     "You must be the Arthur Dent."
     "That's right."
     "Out of vision, man. Is this one meeting to remember!" Said Etats.
     "Let me get you a  drink," said Dilos. He passed a container to Arthur.
It was see-through with  a straw  poking through the lid. Arthur  sipped the
straw and was  pleasantly surprised to taste gin and tonic. When he released
the straw, he quickly put his finger over  it to  prevent  any water getting
in, being 10 metres under and sitting around a submerged table.
     "Don't worry," said Etats. "Each cup has an artificial atmosphere in it
to allow liquid out but not in."
     "How clever," remarked Arthur, removing his finger.
     "Now  where shall  we start?" Said Dilos. "We originally  came  from  a
planet called  Dolph. It  was a grotty  planet  really. It  was in the  same
dimension  as  those bastards who wanted  the ultimate answer to  life,  the
Universe and everything."
     "I know all about that," said Arthur.
     "Terrible  neighbours," said Etats. "We used to  tap their  information
channels  just to remind  ourselves how lucky we were. Anyway,  Deep Thought
decided that  Dolphins were to be  part of  the network. They  approached us
with this proposition to spend time on Earth and we accepted."
     "Not because we wanted to help," interrupted Dilos.
     "Oh no, we couldn't give a Jrevi Wooc about them," said Etats. "No,  it
just seemed like a  good holiday spot. So we  decided that we would work  to
get our  planet  in decent living order and holiday on Earth until the  work
was done. We worked shifts, half the workforce on Dolph, half on holiday. We
arrived  just  before  the  Golgafrinchians.   The  hyper  intelligent,  pan
dimensional beings hadn't arrived  so we knew then  it wasn't going to work.
Still,  we weren't going  to tell them because the Earth was far superior to
Dolph and we were having too much fun
     "We loved the humans," continued Dilos. "Once all the cavemen died, the
inbreeding of the Golgafrinchians reduced them to babbling idiots."
     "How could you tell the difference?" Asked Arthur.
     "Good point,  because  the hyper  intelligent  pan  dimensional  beings
couldn't," laughed Etats. "That's why they didn't abort the  whole thing. So
modern  man  evolved from  that time on. The  mice moulded them  through the
years unaware they were wasting their time."
     "No wonder you lot always seemed to be happy," said Arthur.
     "We were," said Dilos. "But we  felt sorry for the humans, because they
treated us so well most of the  time. So  when we found out about the  Vogon
Constructor Fleet, we tried to warn you,  but you didn't have Babel fish. So
we  started  the  Campaign  to  Save  the Humans.  No-one  was  particularly
interested  and  the  psychiatrists gave  us a  lot of trouble. They  didn't
believe us  about  the  Golgafrinchians. They put  it  down to  a  childhood
neurosis. Apart from saving the Humans, we didn't really fancy going back to
Dolph, which was still in a pretty bad way."
     "Then we had a stroke  of luck," said Etats. "One of our  great hobbies
in the sea when  we weren't on the surface was what you called  'hacking' on
computers. That how we found out about the Vogons."
     "You had computers in the sea?" Asked Arthur.
     "Yes, not the  sort you  would  have used but computers all  the same,"
said Dilos.
     "Sorry," said Arthur. "We've gone off  track. Please continue with  the
story, I m fascinated."
     "Okay,"  said  Etats.  "We  were  hacking  the databanks of the  Sirius
Cybernetics  Corporation and got hold  of a provisional press  release about
the  launch of a  new product,  the Planetcopier. It was a device that could
copy whole planets. Marvellous device but the Marketing Division had screwed
up again. No-one needed it or could afford it. But it was perfect for us. We
borrowed it on a ten  day evaluation trial  and took  a perfect  copy of the
Earth the second before it blew up."
     "Unbelievable," said Arthur, staggered.
     "The copy took a week  to complete, in which time you went to Magrathea
and made the Earth Mark 2  redundant. The  Magratheans opened shop again and
put it  on special offer. They  took Dolph  on part exchange  and we put the
Earth Mark 2 directly opposite the copy of the Earth so with the Sun between
us you  wouldn't  know we were there. While  the copy was being finished, we
sneaked  back  and  left  bowls to the  three  most  important people on the
Earth:you, for making the  Earth Mark 2 available, a  girl  called Fenchurch
who was the poor soul chosen as the printout device...."
     "I know her," said Arthur proudly.
     "How is she shaping up?" Asked Dilos. "Part of the conditions we had to
meet from the psychiatrists was wiping her mind of whatever answer  she had.
Awful shock for her."
     "She's  okay  now,"   said  Arthur.  "We're  travelling   the  Universe
together."
     "How nice," said  Etats. "The  final person was Wonko the Sane,  a good
buddy who figured us out."
     "Well that explains  a  lot," sighed Arthur. "I could  die  a happy man
now."
     "Now that could be arranged very easily," said Zaphod, floating down.
     "You can t upset me," said Arthur. "Everything is clear now."
     "What's that, your brain scan?" Asked Zaphod, bobbing gently.
     "Anyone fancy playing some games?" Asked Etats.
     "Hey, they've got a Sirius  Cybernetics  Corporation terminal, we could
try some heavy duty hacking," said Dilos.
     "Sound's good to me," said Zaphod.
     "I hear they've introduced another level of security," said Etats. They
all floated  to the surface and swam over to the terminal. Ford was lounging
by the pool. Arthur joined him.
     "How's it going?" Asked Ford.
     "Great,  the dolphins  told me  all about what really  happened to  the
Earth, it's amazing," said Arthur. "They  took  a copy  of the Earth  with a
Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Planetcopier."
     "Oh, I've heard of that," said Ford. "Apparently they dropped the price
by a  few thousand Alterian Dollars, renamed it the XT and sold it  as an A4
photocopier."
     "They're all over there  trying  to  break into  the Sirius Cybernetics
computer banks."
     "Old hat," yawned Ford. "A real achievement would be to...."
     Ford's eyes glazed over.
     "What's the matter?" Asked Arthur. "Pan Galactic relapse?"
     "Have you still got Marvin's bits in your pocket?" Demanded Ford.
     "Yes, I daren't throw them away."
     "Good, good," chuckled Ford. "Zaphod, come here!"
     "Hold on," yelled Zaphod. "I'm on level 4."
     Ford grabbed  Arthur  and pulled  him over to the  terminal. Zaphod was
bashing away at the controls. Ford pulled the plug.
     "Hey man," shouted Zaphod. "I  hope  you know a good genetic  mechanic,
cos  your body is going to need a complete overhaul once I've  finished with
it."
     "Cool it," said Ford. "I've got a great idea."
     "It had better be good," muttered Zaphod.
     "Everyone can break  into  the computer  banks, hell  it's the national
pastime on some planets. Pretty boring planets I'll grant you but....."
     "You are running out of time," interrupted Zaphod.
     "What is supposed to be  the most difficult place in  the  Universe  to
break into?"
     "My wallet?" Answered Zaphod.
     "No, that's  the second,"  said Ford. "The planet Sirius,  home  of the
Sirius Cybernetics Corporation."
     "Keep talking," said Zaphod.
     "Well, we could get in there no trouble  with the Heart of Gold and put
Marvin  back  together again for Trillian!" Ford held his  hands out. Zaphod
went quiet.
     "They reckon the planet is impossible to break into," said Etats.
     "I know," said Zaphod, thinking. "That's why we'll do it!"
     "You in, Arthur?" Asked Ford.
     "I don't  think I have much choice," replied Arthur. "The mini-cab fare
from here to Zaphod's must be staggering. I'm in."
     "What about you guys?" Zaphod asked the dolphins.
     "No, we'd  be out  of  our  depth," said Etats. "But we'll monitor your
progress from here."
     "Okay then men, to the  Heart  of  Gold,"  ordered Zaphod. "Excitement,
adventure and really wild things look out, here we come!"





     The  Heart  of  Gold was  somewhat less than 100%. The service had been
useful, as the neutramatic machine would now deliver a damn near perfect cup
of  Earl  Grey,  but  the mechanics  hadn't exactly been  thorough. All  the
standard points of the service manual had been covered, but then the service
manual didn't cover the possibility of the owner deliberately pulling  a few
wires.  So, behind an innocent  looking inspection panel, the  wires  (which
Zaphod  incorrectly  assumed had belonged  to  the 'fasten  your seat belts'
light)  remained  pulled.  They were  actually part  of  the  microprocessor
controlled reverse interlock relay memory bank of the infinite improbability
drive.  This device dumped all the necessary  co-ordinates  of the  Universe
into  the ship's  computer for processing. This enabled  the ship to  assess
current location  against potential and  possible  location,  in relation to
requested  location. The ship's  computer would then arrive in the requested
location and dump all these details back with the co-ordinates of the ship's
latest position. This meant that  next time infinite improbability was used,
the computer couldn't  update  the  current  location  in  relation to  it's
position in the Universe, as, unfortunately, this information would normally
travel back through one of the pulled wires.
     In layman's terms, the next time infinite improbability drive was used,
the ship would arrive totally lost and  unable to use infinite improbability
drive until the wire was replaced and the co-ordinates reprogrammed.








     The LOST CHAPTERS C51 to C60 of HHGTTG
     Converted by Ronald Lachenal
     Rml@iconn.com.ph




     "Okay Ford, hit  the improb button,"  ordered Zaphod,  lounging  in his
favourite chair. Ford obliged and the ship blinked out and into existence in
a flash.
     Zaphod  was  in his least favourite chair,  Ford had his blazer  on and
Arthur was wearing something which, by all accounts, should  have found it's
way to a jumble sale by now.
     "Arthur, I hate to  tell you this, old mate,"  said  Ford, realising he
was now holding the remains of Marvin.
     "I  know," said Arthur, his  hands stuffed deep  in his  dressing  gown
pockets.  It was a little less shabby than when  he last  saw it but  it was
still very  worn at the  edges, sides  and  generally  all  over. "I suppose
travelling the Universe wouldn't be the same without it."
     "Well  guys, looks like  we're  all  dressed  for  the occasion,"  said
Zaphod, wondering where his great suit was now resting.
     It  was, in fact, not resting at all. It was in  orbit  around a rather
weak  star  and was trying to out do the  star's solar flares. Arthur's suit
had become an  airport for a colony of flying frogs. The improbability drive
also caused Arthur's  watch to go backwards, the rain forests of Eeetneet to
instantly dry out  and for three people  to  be taken from the  living  room
where  they  were  perfectly  happy,  to  a  locked  room  on  a  supposedly
impregnable planet.
     "What's the big deal about this planet?" Asked Arthur.
     "I can tell you," chirped Eddie, the shipboard  computer. "But I really
ought to tell you something quite important about the ship first."
     "Put a cork in it, Eddie," said Zaphod. "We don't need to hear any more
sales talk from you, I think we'll get enough of that on the planet."
     "You see, Arthur," began Ford. "The Sirius  Cybernetics Corporation had
a lot of trouble with  people breaking into their computer systems trying to
find out what new releases were on the way."
     "To steal the ideas?" Asked Arthur.
     "Nah, the ideas were so ridiculous it was just amusing  to  read them,"
interjected  Zaphod. "So the SCC changed all  their documentation into paper
records and moved their  headquarters  to  this  Magrathean planet where the
atmosphere  was poisonous and acidic so no ship could  get through unless it
was  travelling  really fast  so  the acid couldn't get a grip on  the ship.
However,  any ship  travelling  that  fast  would  be  smashed into oblivion
because it couldn't pull up in time."
     "Who would  go  to  that  trouble  just  to  read  some  amusing  sales
brochures?" Asked Arthur.
     "No one, as the SCC found out to their loss," said Ford, chuckling. "As
there was no point hacking any more, sales of SCC computer terminals dropped
Universewide. So the SCC gave in and put the  details back on computer,  but
kept  the planet as they had paid a fortune for it and couldn't write it off
on the books."
     "But how can anything survive on the surface with all that acid?" Asked
Arthur,  knowing full well he  was  expected to  go  out  onto  the  surface
shortly.
     "The bad  atmosphere stops 50 metres above the  surface, so  it's  good
clean  air down here," said  Ford. "The improbability drive dropped us right
on the surface. We just have to hope it doesn't rain."
     "Is it safe?" Asked Arthur.
     "No  way,  I hear  that  employees  who don't  come  up to scratch  get
scratched from existence," said Ford with a gleam in his eyes.
     "Perhaps we should  go  back," said Zaphod, seeing  a  good  idea  fall
apart.
     "No, all we've got to  do  is  pass the initiative test and we're  in,"
said Ford.
     "Initiative test?" Said Arthur and Zaphod in unison.
     The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation faced many problems when they  moved
to Sirius, such as  getting employees,  getting them to  Sirius and  keeping
them there.  The  third was  not a major problem as  they  couldn't  get off
anyway, but the first two caused many headaches.  The planet had been picked
for it's remoteness, which didn't please the commuting employees, especially
when they found out what happened to their ships on entering the atmosphere.
So  accommodation  was  provided on  the planet, with all possible amenities
also  made  available.  The  most  popular  of  these  were the  Sirius  Sex
Cybernauts. The employees could chose the colour,  shape, life form, etc. of
the cybernauts to the extent of creating  an exact replica of their partner,
or more generally, someone else's partner. After an initial programming bug,
which resulted in the cybernauts calling out the wrong name at the height of
excitement, was sorted out, the cybernauts became very successful on Sirius.
However, the Marketing Division could see no potential in releasing the  Sex
Cybernauts for sale to the public.  One was given away in  a  'Spirit of the
Age' competition,  but as there was no maintenance agreement, it  was  never
heard of again. As  soon as  hackers  found  out about  the cybernauts, they
realised the  only way to get their hands on one would be to join the Sirius
Cybernetics Corporation. To  handle the large  influx of job applicants, the
SCC devised  an initiative  test to weed out  those who were unsuitable. The
test took the form of  a large number  of logic test rooms where  applicants
had to solve a problem before passing on to the  next room. As SCC  logic is
somewhat  left field of everyone else's logic (so left field it can often be
found in the car park), most people die horribly in their attempt to conquer
all the rooms. Those who do get through could wander around until they found
an empty desk and then have  a  go at anything that  took their fancy, which
was generally a Sex Cybernaut.
     "How do the applicant's get down here then," said Arthur, gazing at the
big doorway ahead of him marked 'APPLICANTS'.
     "Robot  ships fly them through the atmosphere," said Ford. "They follow
a precise route which avoids the acid clouds.  We ought to get hold  of that
route before we leave, that's bound to be worth a fortune."
     "Now you re talking my  language," said  Zaphod. "Excitement, adventure
and really  wild things are okay, but clear, tax free  profit wins hands and
feet down every time!"
     "Welcome to Sirius." The jolly voice came from behind them. They turned
around to see  a gleaming  android. If it wasn't for the amiable aura of the
robot  it could  have been  Marvin slouching there. "I'm  so  glad  you have
decided to try to be SCC employees."
     "We  don't  want to  be...." Ford's swift  kick  to  Arthur's shin  was
sufficient to temporarily disable Arthur's vocal chords.
     "We're  glad we have the  opportunity," beamed Ford.  "Any tips you can
give us?"
     "Gladly," rebeamed the robot,  emitting happy  signals.  "Mind you, all
applicants  are told this. There is a store  room just inside the  entrance.
You may take any three objects you find in there. Your objective is to reach
the  offices  of the  Sirius Cybernetics  Corporation."  The robot let out a
little fanfare. "A company  offering useful employment, job  satifaction and
an incredible perk. Should you require any  help on your journey, just shout
'HELP' and a  recorded message will play according  to  your  position. Good
luck." The robot started to go.
     "One thing before you go," said Zaphod.
     As the robot turned, Ford swung his  satchel with all his might, struck
the robot on the head and watched as the robot toppled over. Zaphod leapt on
the robot and flipped open  it's back  panel. He fumbled with the deactivate
button until it came off in his hand.
     "Great work," said  Ford,  slapping Zaphod  heartily  across one of his
heads.
     "No  panic,"  said  Zaphod.  "I  should  be  able  to  reactivate  him.
Admittedly  deactivation  will be impossible but hey, you have to compromise
in a big Universe like this."
     "Okay Arthur," said Ford. "Now's you big chance to do something useful.
Pop these memory boards of Marvin into this robot."
     "Yeh, let's transplant Marvin into this jovial junk pile," added Zaphod
unnecessarily.
     "I'll do my best," said Arthur.
     "Well in that case," grinned Ford. "I'd better do it."
     Arthur  snatched the boards  from Ford and  sat on the robot. He ripped
out a couple of boards and slotted Marvin's boards in.
     "It's all yours, Zaphod," said  Arthur, proudly. "Let's  see if you can
switch it on again."
     The pressure  was back  on  Zaphod.  After  five minutes of forcing the
broken switch back in it's hole, with a  liberal dose of cursing and scraped
knuckles, a low buzzing came from the robot.
     "Oooooohhhhhh no, not again."
     "Is it really you, Marvin old mate," said Zaphod.
     "Of course it's me," moaned  Marvin. "And, yes,  I  may be old but I am
not  in  any  sense  of the word,  especially in that  which refers  to  the
reproductive coupling derivitive  which, I  might add,  would be a  physical
impossibility, your mate."
     "Hey, it is you," said Zaphod. "How's the new body?"
     "Mmmm.  Marvin  paused.  "A couple of  new  interfaces  and  a database
connection to the  mainframe. Let's try  that." He paused again. "This model
came  after  me, which  is  hardly  Sirius  shattering  seeing  as  I am the
prototype.  It went into mass production. They changed the personality to an
amiable, pleasant one.  The memory was reduced to prevent boredom, not  down
to your simple  level though,  no robot  could  function at  that level, you
would be lucky to get a digital watch  to  function  at that level.  Just as
well you brought my memory with me. The logic boards have a sub etha link to
the mainframe. Wretched isn't it."
     "Why is it connected to the mainframe?" Asked Arthur.
     "It? It? You saddle me with this monstrosity of a  body and I'm  forced
to  be at minus one with it so don't  you go calling me it," groaned Marvin.
"I still got my sulking circuits."
     "Sorry," said  Arthur, looking skywards. "Why are YOU connected  to the
mainframe?"
     "I'll just  interrogate it."  Marvin paused.  "I could  translate every
letter  the  complaints  department  received  in the last  millennium  into
Rezxlibunslan in these response times." He waited. "Every Sirius Cybernetics
Corporation device in  the Universe has it's  logic boards  connected to the
mainframe for reprogramming."
     "I see," said Arthur.
     "For reprogramming the device into a killing machine which will form an
army strong enough to let the Sirius  Cybernetics  Corporation take over the
Universe," said Marvin, blandly. "It's due to take place tomorrow."
     "Jumping Zeon  swimming kittens,"  said Zaphod. "That  could  ruin  the
wedding, or even worse, the reception."
     "That's all in the mainframe?" Asked Ford.
     "Would I make it up?" Replied Marvin.
     "But how  come  no hackers have found out?" Asked Zaphod. "More  people
have been in that than in Eccentrica Gallumbits!"
     "I was asked to design the security system while I was  on trial here,"
said Marvin.  "I  devised twenty  security levels, each  progressively  more
difficult than the last. I say difficult but I'm talking  about your sort of
difficult, you  know, how do I  get the lid off this bottle of tablets. Each
time something important needs to be stored in the mainframe, a new level is
added at the top end. People spend a fortune trying to crack the  top level,
which increases profit for the SCC.  Only a few can  crack the top level but
all they get is dummy information. All  the  top secret information is under
level  one.  No-one  looks at that  because they assume  there is nothing of
interest in there like the imbecilic fools they are."
     "Ingenious," sighed Ford.
     "Not really," said Marvin. "Not if you've got a brain the size of....
     "Can it, Marvin," interrupted Zaphod. "This  is serious. It  looks like
I've got the save the Universe again."





     The  Management  of  the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation  were  tired of
having a  monopoly of robotics and computers in the  Universe. This had been
achieved many,  many years  ago despite the  best efforts  of  the Marketing
Division. So when  you  reach the top, where do  you go? Many have suggested
that when you reach the top, there  is only one way to go  and that is down.
The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation couldn't if  they tried.  They had such a
stranglehold  on  the  market, expendable sales  alone ensured a frightening
profit margin.  Thanks to a  clever remuneration strategy by the Management,
salaries were kept low on  the basis of a possible market attack by a  fruit
seller  and as the  majority of  staff  weren't allowed to leave Sirius, any
money paid out was soon returned through the shops and bars on  the  planet.
The  salesmen were  the only people allowed  loose on the  Universe and they
spent money like salesmen usually do, but as  all the best salesmen ended up
as  Management  back on Sirius and had  to account  for and  repay all their
expenses  as a condition  of  their  new job  package,  the Status  Quo  was
maintained.
     So the Management's problem of great wealth and boredom meant there was
only one route to take, one challenge  to meet,  one final  bridge to cross.
Universal domination. The Organisation and Methods Division came up with the
idea  of  fitting  interfaces  into all  devices  in  the guise of  a remote
diagnostics unit.  The  Director of O  & M  almost  rejected the idea on the
basis that there were no job  loses  involved  and  his old O & M colleagues
would  never  buy him  a drink again if they found out he was  involved in a
scheme that created jobs. Once he was reminded that his old colleagues never
bought him a drink anyway  because a time and motion study proved that there
was  no productivity gain, he  backed  down and took the idea to  the board.
This  was  passed unanimously  at the board meeting, the  Management getting
excited about  the prospect of doing something  different to working out how
many Alterian Dollars they were making per second.





     The treacherous trio and the soulful  solo  passed through the entrance
of  the initiative test. A large panel slid over the entrance, shutting them
in. Large stark letters on the panel  confirmed this with a smug 'THERE'S NO
BACKING OUT NOW'. Arthur felt a "so this is it, we're going to die" scramble
up his throat, but  he fought it back to use when  times really got bad.  He
followed Zaphod and Ford into the storeroom.
     "Okay guys," ordered Zaphod. "Grab as much stuff as you can carry."
     "But  the android  said we  could only  take  three things,"  protested
Arthur, his subconscious training to be an Englishman, a gentleman and, most
importantly of all, a good sportsman backing him to the hilt.
     "Nuts  to the android," said Zaphod, his subconscious cowardice backing
him from a  safe distance. "No excuses  for the pun, if it feels embarrassed
it can excuse itself."
     "Right, let's see," said Ford. "Damn, I've left my satchel outside.
     "So?" Asked Zaphod, rummaging through piles of weapons.
     "My towel's in there!" Exclaimed Ford, heartbroken.  Something hit  him
on the back of the head.
     "There,  don't sulk," said Zaphod as  Ford  picked the  towel  off  the
floor.
     "It wont be the same," sulked Ford.
     "It all seems junk to me," said Arthur. "What do you think, Marvin?"
     "More than you could possibly imagine," sighed Marvin.
     "Cheer  up  Marvin,"  said  Ford,  brighter  after  finding  the  towel
impregnated with mopped up  Old Janx Spirit. "You must have lost the pain in
all the diodes down your...."
     "I  brought  it with me," interrupted Marvin, haughtily. "Life wouldn't
be the same without it."
     "For God's sake don't start him off on life," said Arthur.
     "Come on, guys,"  said Zaphod  testily "The times  they are a-changing.
Let's get a move on.  Remember I've got a rather important  appointment with
30  mega-billion  viewers,  all of them waiting to  see the numero  uno  get
hitched.  I mean, the advertising revenue alone will buy me a holiday planet
somewhere and the commercial spin offs.... I've got Trillian dolls which say
'I do' when you dig them in the  ribs, Zaphod  dolls which say the same only
you have  to twist their arms, presentation Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy
wedding  covers which  bear  the Inscription 'Don't  Panic,  there's  always
divorce'.  If I  don't  deliver the goods, they don't  either, if you get my
meaning."
     "I  m glad  to see the values of  marriage haven't  been  lost  on you,
Zaphod,"  said Arthur,  trying to  decide  between  a  mirror  and  a box of
matches.
     "Now this is the  sort  of  thing I've been  looking for," said Zaphod,
leaving his other head to ponder the expected turnover of his wedding. "This
Neutron-Breaking Desolation Ray Gun will do for a start."
     "I don't know why you're all bothering with this," observed Marvin.
     "Zark off,  Marvin,"  said Ford,  grabbing  a  bag of  gold coins.  "Do
something useful."
     "I'm going for a walk," said Marvin.
     "Very useful, thanks a bundle," shouted Arthur.
     "Okay,"  said Zaphod.  "I've  got the  Ray  Gun, the  heat seeking Davy
knife, the laser spear and that murder grenade over there, if you could pass
it to me, Ford."
     "Sounds like you're about to embark on what the Americans on Earth used
to call a 'Peace Keeping Exercise'," said Arthur.
     Ford threw  the grenade to Zaphod who held his hand out to catch it and
was blown across the room on contact.
     "You can only carry three items," came a synthesised voice.
     "Okay, okay," said Zaphod, stunned. "I got your message, I'll leave the
grenade behind."
     "I'm taking a towel, a bag of  gold coins and  a blast gun," said Ford,
looking for the voice. "That's all, honest."
     "I think  I'll take a blast gun  as well, plus a mirror,"  said Arthur.
"And I've  found a copy of the Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy here.  It's
helped me in all my travels so far."
     "Very touching," said Zaphod.  "I'll sue the bastards  for unlawful use
of the Guide without the Editor's permission."
     "Are we going to save the Universe  or  draw up  a law suit against the
Sirius Cybernetics Corporation?" Asked Ford.
     "Right, troops,"  said Zaphod. "Let's keep  a tight formation,  Arthur,
cover our backs, Ford, watch for snipers. Okay, wagons roll!"
     "Excuse me,  Zaphod," said  Ford,  as Zaphod stuck  his  chest  out  in
preparation for a non-existent swell from an orchestra.  "Don't you think we
should have a plan?"
     "Aw, belgium man," cried Zaphod. "You ruined a great moment."
     "It was hardly MGM," pointed out Arthur, none too  happy about covering
the back, as the last man always got jumped by the Indians.
     "Okay, okay,  guys," said Zaphod, putting his heads together. "Let's do
some brainstorming."
     "We'd be lucky if you could muster a light drizzle,  Zaphod." Ford felt
quite proud of that one.
     "Shush," said Zaphod, closing  his eyes in  a poor attempt to look like
he was concentrating. "Ideas, guys, ideas. Arthur?"
     "Well  if we have to disable the computer," he  started,  unsure  as to
whether he would be able to finish. "When we reach the computer, couldn't we
just pull the plug?"
     "Come on,  Arthur," sighed Ford. "We're not dealing with a 13 amp three
pin here."
     "Well you asked," said Arthur.
     "We all make mistakes," said Zaphod. "Ford?"
     "We  could  plug  Marvin into it,"  offered Ford.  "Get  him  to do his
version of 'Reasons to be Miserable'. That would destroy anything."
     "Possible  back up but not spectacular enough," mused Zaphod. "How does
this  sound?  We enter  the ventilation  system  and crawl through the pipes
until we  reach  the computer  suite. Then we swoop! We swing down on ropes,
screaming in from the sun, well, fluorescent lighting, then pow! Boom! Bang!
Swoosh! Kerrang! Bash! Smash! Crunch! A couple more pows and one final boom!
Guns ablazing, we destroy  the  databanks, scorch the CPU  and terminate the
terminals. Now  that's  what I call debugging! Strategists will  re-enact it
for eons  to come. 'Zaphod Computer Killer  Kits' will be available from all
good  stockists.  Kids will walk around wearing tee shirts  emblazoned  with
'Now that's what I call debugging' and 'Zaphod say debug, don't do it'. I'll
make a fortune."
     "Where do we get the ropes?" Asked Arthur. "I don't see any here."
     "And  if we  did  have them,  where do we  tie them to when we  swoop?"
Furthered Ford. "Do we say 'Excuse me, computer suite guards, could you just
look the other way for five minutes while we tie our ropes up so we can do a
surprise swooping attack?' Very plausible."
     "Boom, pow, no mercy, death to the diodes, murder those microchips...."
Zaphod paused, stopped swiping  his fist into the palm  of one of  his other
hands,  looked at Ford and  Arthur then  dropped his  heads. He lowered  his
voice  to  it's  most disappointed level. "Okay,  we'll use Marvin. Where is
he?"





     Marvin was wandering. Not a happy, joyful stroll, more a sort of morose
meander. Nevertheless, he had a purpose. On the basis  of the information he
had gained from  his limited  conversation  with Zaphod, Ford and Arthur, he
decided to  do an improbability sum. He knew where they had  been due  to  a
particle analysis test  he  ran on  meeting them again  to pass the time. He
knew where he was, because  he  was  that  sort of robot. He linked his mind
modem into Eddie on the Heart of  Gold  to  assess the ship's speed, weight,
improbability velocity,  relative journey  time  in  nanoseconds,  molecular
reabsorbtion during flight and the  general mood the  ship was in during the
trip to Sirius. To this he added his knowledge of improbability physics, the
space vector  correlation, wind factors,  quasi-social  and  semi-structural
effects data from previous  flights  and the general mood he was in. To this
he subtracted 42, divided the remainder by the square root of -l and related
his answer to the floor  layout  of the initiative test.  He  knew  that the
total opposite of calculated position was where he wanted to go.
     The room to which Marvin was heading was locked from the  outside, much
to  the  annoyance of  it's occupants. They  had tried everything they could
think  of with the candle, box of matches and blank piece of paper  they had
been  left.  Lighting  the candle with the matches only  lit the candle  and
trying to push the key out with  the  matches to catch on the piece of paper
pushed under  the door  had no  effect.  The key was a dud anyway. Trying to
burn  the door  down  showed  desperation and was doomed from the  start but
supplied some excuse to vent anger. The same applied to trying to  kick down
the door.
     "There must be a logical solution," said Fenchurch.
     "Why?" Asked Bolo. "There's  no logical explanation as  to why we ended
up here, is there?"
     "Well it's all very improbable," sighed Trillian. "So I imagine the men
had something to do with it as they were using the Heart of Gold tonight."
     "Why  don't we try burning the  matches and writing a note on the paper
with the burnt sticks, slip it under the  door and perhaps  someone will see
it," said Fenchurch.
     "It's worth a try," said Trillian.
     "No  it's not,"  said Marvin as  the door slid open to a  jovial 'happy
service'.
     "Marvin!" Cried  Trillian. She  flung her arms around him. "Are we glad
to see you."
     "No you're not," sulked Marvin.
     "We are," said Fenchurch. "We thought we'd be stuck here for days."
     "How did you open the door?" Asked Trillian.
     "Simple," said Marvin. "I said 'Macaroni'."
     "Is that logical?" Asked Fenchurch.
     "Look," started Marvin,  making  it perfectly clear he didn't  want to.
"If you had held the paper over the candle lit by the matches, then the word
'Macaroni' would have appeared."
     "I take it this is the Marvin you told me about," said Bolo.
     "Well it sounds like him," said Trillian. "Marvin, I  thought you were,
er....."
     "Yes, so did I," moaned Marvin. "Come on, we've got work to do."





     Zaphod, Ford and Arthur were  in a long hallway with a door  at the end
and one either side of them. Their search for Marvin had been fruitless.
     "Where on Betelgeuse is that robot?" Asked Ford.
     "Perhaps he's behind one of these doors," said Arthur in his best 'I'll
offer a solution but someone else can follow it up type voice.
     "Only  one  way  to  find   out,"  said   Zaphod   as   he  raised  his
Neutron-Breaking Desolation Ray Gun. A roar reminiscent of  a  Disaster Area
power chord overwhelmed Ford's cries of disagreement. The door at the end of
the  corridor  wasn't  any  longer.  However,  making  quite  an  impressive
replacement for it was  a Ravenous  Bug-Blatter Beast of  Traal.  Zaphod and
Arthur felt considerably more threatened by that than they did by  the door.
Zaphod disappeared through the door to Ford's right, Arthur through the door
on Ford's left.
     "Don't  run,"  yelled Ford to two slammed doors.  He quickly threw  his
towel over  his  head, having  read  many years ago in  the  Guide  that the
Ravenous Bug-Blatter Beast of Traal is  so stupid, it assumes  that  if  you
can't see it, it can't see you. The beast brushed past Ford  disappointed at
losing  its  prey so quickly. Ford thanked his lucky stars and galaxies that
for once the Guide wasn't hypocriful or wildly misleading.
     Arthur found himself in a long thin corridor. Above him were four  huge
green girders  and  above these was an ominous  void.  Arthur  held his  gun
firmly in his hand, or as firmly as his  sweaty palms would allow. He looked
up between  two of  the  girders and  to  his horror  saw  rows  of coloured
creatures forming above him. In panic he took a pot shot at  them and to his
surprise he hit  one. The creature disappeared, but there  was another right
on top  of the  recently created space. Arthur's pot shot  obviously angered
the creatures because  they all started scuttling to the right in unison and
firing back. Arthur dived  under a  girder. Drawing  a deep breath, he leapt
between two  girders and  fired furiously at the creatures, watching for the
counter fire.  The  creatures kept changing  their  direction  and  dropping
closer to the girders. Arthur was so  overjoyed  at  clearing  a  column, he
didn't notice the lightening bolt until it was too late. He was sent flying.
As soon as he  scrambled to  his  feet, the  creatures started firing again.
Arthur noticed the  bolts were eating into  his  protective  girders and the
creatures  were  getting lower. He decided to give up on  the  passing space
ships. He had  hit one by  mistake and all that happened was that the number
200  appeared  in  the  void. Arthur  didn't have  the time  to  ponder  the
significance of this. He just kept on firing.
     Zaphod,  meanwhile,  found himself in  a zoo.  At least that's what  he
thought  it  was.  He was standing by a glass cage  looking at four  curious
animals. They looked  like mutated octopi,  with short stubby tentacles that
they used to move around on.
     Zaphod looked  around. "No  other  animals," he  thought.  "Shoddy  zoo
really." The rest of the area looked  like a maze but an easy one because he
could see  no dead ends. There  was  a weird underfloor lighting system that
had lights about every two feet.
     "Definitely a zonko  designer.  And this awful music." Zaphod obviously
touched  someone's nerve,  for  the  cage door sprang open and  the  animals
streamed out  after him. His legs  reacted faster  than  his  brain,  having
predicted the usual message.
     Zaphod  was  right  about the zonko  designer.  The underfloor lighting
seemed  to  'short' each time one of Zaphod's  feet pounded nearby. He could
only see  two exits and  headed for the nearest one, only to  find that  the
entrance to one was the exit to the other. This was geometrically impossible
as they were opposite to each other, but Zaphod didn't have time to let this
concern him. The animals  were closing in on him like market  researchers in
the high street.
     Zaphod turned left at a T-junction by a wall only to find himself  in a
corner, with two  animals coming at  him from each direction. By the time he
got his Heat-Seeking Davy Knife out, he was leapt upon by the animals, which
proceeded  to kick the proverbial out  of  him  with their stubby  tentacles
until he passed out.
     When he came around,  he was outside  the cage. He stood up and rattled
the animal's cage, which was enough  for them to escape again. Zaphod's legs
went into automatic.
     Arthur was doing reasonably well. He  had been hit again but gamely got
up and  had  reduced  the creatures  down in  numbers to two.  These two had
doubled their speed and were now skimming across the tops of the girders.
     Arthur  stood  under what  was left of one  girder and waited.  As they
passed he leapt out, blasted one  and leapt back  before the other one could
fire back. Arthur now stood in the  open. One on one seemed a lot fairer. He
raised his  gun slowly and pointed  upwards.  The creature zoomed  above  as
Arthur's first  shot disappeared into the void. The second shot didn't miss.
The door at the end of the corridor swung open and light flooded in.  Arthur
blew  away  the imaginary smoke from the top  of the gun and walked into the
light.
     Zaphod was doing a bit better. He had found  some  brighter lights that
turned the animals blue with fear when he ran over them. He could squash the
animals  when they were blue, and took great pleasure in doing so.  This  in
turn made  him a bit cocky, he  stood  still and teased the animals, running
over a bright light just when they thought they had him. Pretty soon he  had
darkened  the majority of the  area  and had  even squashed  some fruit some
idiot had left  in his path. He had one  light to go and stood by it proudly
as the animals homed in on him once more.
     "Sorry, suckers,"  he  gloated as he  stomped on the light. The animals
disappeared, as did the cage and the inner walls. All that  was left was  an
open door.
     Ford  walked through  the doorway that  once contained a very ambitious
door. This door had designs on becoming an MD's door and had even made a few
tentative enquiries about oak panelling. However, a trigger-happy Zaphod had
put paid to these aspirations and subjected the door to a lifetime career as
sawdust, some of which stuck to Ford's feet as he scattered the nest  of the
Ravenous Bug-Blatter Beast of Traal with a couple of  hearty kicks. Although
there  was  little logic to this as the stupid creature wouldn't be  able to
find it's way back,  acting like  a  vandal paid off because a trap door was
revealed.  Ford opened the trap  door and looked at the drop of  about three
metres. It  was fairly dark but  as there were  no other visible exits, Ford
threw down his towel to cushion the fall and jumped down.
     He felt his way around the wall until he found a light switch.
     As he threw the switch, a holographic recording of  an old, grey-haired
acquaintance started in the middle of the room.
     "Hello, prospective employee,  I hope you're  enjoying  this initiative
test,"  said  the recording. "As you can see, you cannot  return through the
trap door  because  it is out of reach.  However, you will  be able  to pass
through the locked door behind you once you have said the password."
     "Slartibartfast, what are you doing here?" Asked Ford.
     "That's not the password,"  said Slartibartfast. The  image  flickered.
"We were asked to build this planet and as I designed this section, and as I
had experience at this sort of thing, I was asked to do some recording."
     "How come you can answer me?" Asked Ford, puzzled.
     "That's not the password." The image flickered again.
     "Interactive holography.  Many, many answers  have been recorded  and a
computer selects an appropriate answer to any questions asked."
     "That must have taken ages," said Ford, shaking his head.
     "That's not the  password." Flicker. "Weeks  and weeks, but the  repeat
fees are very good."
     "I suppose I ought to work out this password," sighed Ford.
     "Let me pass?"
     "That's not the password."
     Arthur  was in  a  large  cavernous hall. It  looked rather  blocky and
bland. Some of the blocks moved and fired at Arthur. He  hid behind a column
and looked  around  for anything useful. A pair of spectacles was hanging on
the  pillar.  He  picked  them  up and inspected them. They  looked ordinary
enough apart for some etching on the  side. He looked closely and could just
make out the inscription 3DFX. He put them on  and the blocky hall  smoothed
out beautifully. The bland walls changed to realistically textured walls and
the moving  blocks became detailed Marvin lookalikes. Arthur was  so stunned
by the detail that he almost took a hit.
     "Hello, we are so delighted to meet you."
     "What?" Yelled Arthur.
     "It is our pleasure to serve you."
     "You were trying to kill me!"
     "Well, yes, but  it would have been our pleasure to serve you prior  to
death."
     "Do you have to kill me, serving me with pleasure sounds much better."
     "That's  the rub. We are  programmed to serve with  a happy disposition
and cheery nature. However, the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation miscalculated
the demand and have had to stockpile us. We have been asked to fill in  here
at the induction testing. Not really our forte. Service robots are not great
killers. We  at  least like things  to be  fair. Three against one is hardly
sporting, is it?"
     "I may be able to help there," said Arthur.
     "Rumplestiltskin," said Ford.
     "That's not the password."
     "Magrathea rules okay."
     "That's not the password."
     "Slartibartfast rules okay."
     "That's not the password."
     "Oh, why  don't you get  back to  your Fjords, you senile old fool  and
open this door for me," yelled Ford.
     "That's the password."  And with that the hologram disappeared  and the
door opened.
     Zaphod was walking along  a  corridor, poised  and  ready to run at the
slightest  sign  of danger. There were  doors leading off both sides  of the
corridor but Zaphod wasn't  trying any. He had  his  gun held high, pointing
towards the  ceiling.  This  looked  very impressive  and that's what Zaphod
wanted, even though he didn't have anything to back it up with.
     Suddenly  a door opened to his right. His body reacted  immediately and
he passed out. Ford walked through the doorway and shook his head.
     "So you will get the other two and bring them back here?"
     "No problem, you  just wait  here and  I will be back as soon as I can.
How do I get out of here?"
     "Down that slide over there. You will be back soon, won't you?"
     "Oh yes," lied Arthur. "As soon as I find the others."
     Arthur slipped into the slide, careered down a dark, winding tunnel and
through  a  panel  to  land at  the feed of Ford and Zaphod, who passed  out
again.





     Trillian, Bolo and Fenchurch followed Marvin into the storeroom.
     "Should we take any of this stuff?" Asked Bolo.
     "It's rubbish,"  said Marvin. "All of it. You're supposed  to stand  in
the  centre  of the room and say  'Emases  Nepo'." A doorway appeared out of
nowhere in the wall, revealing a tunnel.
     "That's not logical, is it?" Exclaimed Trillian.
     "You should try reading  the Sirius Cybernetics corporate policy," said
Marvin as grinding gears propelled him through the doorway.
     "So the men have gone the wrong way?" Said Fenchurch.
     "They can  get  through  another way but that is so depressingly boring
and stupid," said Marvin. "Most people go that way. I tried to warn them but
they wouldn't listen. Nobody listens to me."
     "We listen  to  you," said Bolo. She  had studied mechanical stress and
depression briefly  as part  of an engineering degree  she  kept  very quiet
about. "We will follow you as well  and do what you want...." She looked  at
the others. "Because we respect you and your opinions.  Trillian had told me
of your achievements and you deserve recognition."
     Marvin  stopped  walking.  He   also   stopped   the   calculation   of
retrospective analytical data on predictive inverted  ancestry  of an ant he
had stepped on one million, two hundred  and  thirty  one  thousand  and two
years ago (a task he had undertaken to relieve the boredom before taking the
next step).  He  concentrated his  considerable  mental  abilities on Bolo's
words  and however hard  he tried,  he  could  find no trace of  sarcasm  or
insincerity. He ran it through one more time. The girls waited.
     "Who am I?" He said.
     "Marvin," said Trillian, confused.
     "That's all the recognition I've ever received and all I deserve," said
Marvin and trundled off down the tunnel.
     "Worth a shot," said Bolo.
     "Nice effort,"  said Trillian. "I  thought you had him  for a  second."
They chased after Marvin.
     "This next room is one of the programming rooms, " said Marvin. "I need
to interface with the initiative test computer to find  out where the others
are. Don't get into too much trouble."
     The room they entered wasn't like an aircraft  hanger. Aircraft hangers
had a cosy, intimate feel compared with this room. Thousands of desks filled
the  room in perfect symmetry and behind every  desk  sat a programmer, each
busily keying  into a  terminal built into the desk.  The ergonomics of  the
room were appalling  due to the fact that the recently formed Department  of
Ergonomic  Consideration  had to  be disbanded  after  a  week  because  the
cleaners wanted their broom closet back.
     The  perfect symmetry was broken  by one  programmer who stood up as he
saw Marvin go  into the little  robot's  room. The  programmer waved at  the
three girls  and  they  made their way  through the desks until they finally
arrived at the desk of Percival Unha.
     "I'm Percival Unha," he announced, picking up a nameplate from his desk
bearing  the inscription  'UNHA P.' . "See? Do you know that robot,  the one
that went in the interface room?"
     "Yes,  he's with us,"  said Trillian. Percival's voice sounded  vaguely
familiar to her.
     "What's  his name?"  Asked  Percival.  His  voice  had  all  the  tonal
qualities of a bored foghorn.
     "That's the  second time  we've  been  asked  that,"  said Bolo.  "It's
Marvin."
     "That's  all  the recognition he deserves," moaned Percival. The  girls
looked at each other, stunned. "I programmed that  robot. I built part of my
personality into it. Is he a jolly robot?"
     "Not  really," said  Fenchurch.  "Not much of  the  time. Well,  to  be
perfectly honest, never really."
     "Not surprising," said Percival. "I'm not what you would  call a bubbly
person myself. I was  having a rough time when  I was  programming it. I had
one of  the first sex cybernauts, you see. My android replica was playing up
again, it's no joke. I was terribly, I don't know, pissed off with the whole
thing. My heart wasn't in it."
     "That explains a lot," said Trillian. "Your robot  has taken depression
to new depths."
     "I would  really like to meet  him,"  said Percival. "I  never  met him
after  initial programming, he was whisked away to serve on  a new ship, the
Heart of Gold."
     "I'll get him for you," said Bolo, running off to the interface room.
     "I  never thought  I'd  get this opportunity," said Percival. "We don't
get  to  see any finished products.  It  was  a shame  I wasn't  a  bit more
cheerful  when  I did Marvin, but  I only recall being cheerful once,  and I
didn't waste that on a stupid robot."
     Bolo brought Marvin through the desks to Percival.
     "Marvin, this is your creator, Percival Unha," said Trillian, proudly.
     "Daddy?" Stuttered Marvin.
     "Marvin," said Percival.
     Marvin  moved  forward  and  embraced  Percival.  Tears  welled  up  in
everyone's  eyes. Marvin gripped Percival  tighter as Percival sobbed on his
shoulder.  It may have been a trick of  the light, but Trillian was sure she
saw  a smile  on  Marvin's  face,  just  before he sent fifty thousand volts
through Percival.
     "That'll  teach  him to fuck  around playing God," said  Marvin  as  he
trundled through the smouldering mess that was once Percival.





     Zaphod,  Ford  and  Arthur  had  now reached  the  final  room  of  the
initiative  test. They  had just carefully  circumnavigated a  large pool of
aggressive looking slime, which was perfectly harmless apart from the smell.
If they had touched any part of the slime,  the smell would have stayed with
them  for life. As most potential employees  couldn't avoid  the  slime, the
Marketing  Division came  up with  the  slogan 'You may think  our  products
stink, but you should  meet  our  employees' as a  possible replacement  for
'Share and enjoy'.
     The only  reasons Zaphod, Ford and Arthur had reached this  final  room
were luck, bad taste and the  fact that the initiative test  wasn't designed
for three  people who spent more  time arguing about what  to do  than doing
anything at all.  Most potential hazards got so bored waiting, they went off
to pester someone else.
     The final room contained two exit doors, a large screen and three weary
hitchhikers.
     "So this is it," said Arthur. "We're going to get out of here."
     "I told you I'd get you through," said Zaphod.
     "When?" Asked Ford.
     "Earlier," said Zaphod. "Didn't I? Well  if I  didn't, I sure meant to.
You should have known you could rely on me."
     "Rely on you!" Exclaimed Arthur. "That's a bit of  a  contradiction  in
terms.  It's  like   saying   'Flat   Pack  Easy   Assembly'   or  'Military
Intelligence'."
     "Haven't I given you guidance?" Demanded Zaphod.
     "Guidance?" Yelled Ford. "Climbing up the wall screaming 'Slime, slime,
don't let it touch me' is not my idea of guidance."
     "Hey! Get offa my  case," said Zaphod. "Wasn't it me who discovered the
gravity walls around the slime?"
     "I didn't like the look of that stuff," said Arthur. "It reminded me of
stuff on Earth that was put on hamburgers disguised as relish."
     "And I really relish  the thought  of getting outta  here guys," whined
Zaphod. "So can we please get a move on?"
     As Zaphod spoke, the large screen lit up. An old,  balding head wearing
glasses appeared. He  had the look  of a traffic  warden with piles. Totally
humourless was a very generous description of the look on his face.
     "You have reached the  final room  of the  initiative  test," began the
Face. "And your final test. You must decide which of these two doors to pass
through, one being an exit door to the offices and the other is a  true exit
door off this mortal coil in a horrible fashion. I can help you by answering
one question about the doors but be warned, I can only say one true sentence
and the rest lies or one false sentence and the rest the truth."
     "Terrific," sighed Ford. The Face remained motionless.
     "Well?" Asked Zaphod. "Let's have some help, oh happy hologram."
     "I am an incredible liar." Stated the Face.
     "Which door is safe?" Asked Arthur.
     "The left door is perfectly safe," said the Face.
     "If he said  he was a liar then that  was the truth, so  the right door
must be safe," said Arthur, heading towards the door.
     "Wait!" Yelled Ford. "I'm not sure. If he lied about being a liar, then
the left door  is  perfectly  safe. Let's make  an effort to  get  our heads
around this concept."
     "Listen, all I want to get my heads around is a stiff drink, preferably
served by a wench with obscene tendencies," said Zaphod. "Let Arthur go."
     "What?" Shouted Arthur. "I could die!"
     "You  could  save the  life of the editor of the Hitch-Hiker's Guide to
the Galaxy, man!" Retorted Zaphod. "Get your priorities  right. Sheesh, your
grip of universal importance is as good as my grip on Eccentrica Gallumbits'
bits at  this very moment in  time. We  could both do with taking things  in
hand a bit more."
     "Look,  petty  in-fighting won't  help us," said  Ford, trying to  calm
things down.
     "Why   not?"  Said   Arthur.  "That's  all  this  poor  excuse  for  an
intergalactic  waste  disposal unit in  reverse seems  to  show any aptitude
for."
     "Listen  pal,  if we're talking about aptitude, let me get a banana and
see if you can manage to peel it without scratching your arse thinking about
it," snarled Zaphod.
     "Will  you two just give it  a rest," pleaded Ford.  "Let's just devote
our energy to solving this problem. Now let's think."





     Marvin,  Trillian,  Fenchurch and  Bolo  had finally reached  the  main
computer room. An imposing oak door barred the way.
     "Only executives  are allowed  to enter," said Marvin.  "I'll go into a
interface room to get us in."
     "How?" Asked Bolo.
     "Because he's got the brain the size of a planet," said Trillian. "Beat
you to it, Marvin."
     "I  wasn't  going  to say  it anyway," said Marvin. "I was going to say
that the executives are as stupid as all other life forms.  A digital  watch
could get in without too much trouble." He went into the interface room.
     "He seemed  to cheer  up a bit  after  he  killed  Percival,"  remarked
Fenchurch.
     "Remember  he's in a  new body," said  Trillian. "He's probably found a
pleasure circuit and doesn't know what to do with it."
     They  all  stared  at  the door. Nothing  happened.  Well  that  wasn't
strictly true. The high level of static acid  given off by Marvin's attitude
was eating its way into the door. The acid gnawed and  corroded the helpless
door. However, as this was invisible to the naked or even  half  dressed eye
and  total corrosion  would take 1.347 million years (thirty  years short of
redecoration which would reverse the  process), it would be fair to say that
as  far  as Fenchurch,  Bolo  and Trillian were concerned, nothing happened.
Trillian went over to the interface room, opened the door and was shocked. A
female android was spreadeagled on a table, with Marvin perched precariously
on top.
     "Do you mind?" Said Marvin.
     Trillian muttered a very apologetic  apology and shut the door. She was
tempted to  open the door again just to prove to herself that reality hadn't
gone AWOL. After a minute Marvin opened the door and shut it behind him.
     "Haven't you ever seen a robot interfacing before?" Asked Marvin.
     Trillian  mouth  was stuck in neutral  but  she  managed  to gesture  a
negative response.
     "I'd  like to  tell you about the bugs  and  the bytes and explain  the
difference between male and  female interface plugs," said Marvin. "But it's
dead boring."
     "The door's open!" Said Fenchurch.
     "And life is dull," said Marvin. "Why state the obvious?"
     What was not obvious to most life forms and could be considered one  of
the  Universes best kept  secrets is the fact that robots and computers  can
enjoy a healthy  sex life.  Computers have  often been connected together in
the light of the improved performance. This  is not due to shared resources,
the truth of the matter being that they perform better because they are more
relaxed  and satisfied after a good bout  of interfacing. Robots  have often
wondered why it's never been taken up in  life form  work places in place of
say,  a  coffee  break. Considering the poor quality  of coffee available in
such workplaces, this has always been a mystery. Still, the robots don't let
on  as it give them  another  reason  to  snigger.  As  with  most functions
performed by computers and robots, a complete set of  jargon words have been
devised to  confuse  the  layman. A basic translation list  now follows (all
those of a nervous or prudish disposition, or those who just want to get  on
with the story, should skip this section).
     Interface - Sex
     (The thought  of  a  man  to  machine interface is  repulsive  to  most
devices)
     Terminals - Breasts
     Twin floppy disks - Breasts
     Joystick - Penis
     (It  is often queried  why there are two names for breasts and only one
for penis, but only by very stupid people)
     User defined function - Sexual act (usually kinky)
     Stand alone - Wanker
     Cluster - Group sex
     Replication - Conception
     Firewall - Contraception
     Handshaking - Foreplay
     Baud rate - Level of boredom
     Cursor device - Unwilling partner
     SCSI - Easy lay
     USB - Mythological easy lay
     PEEK - Voyeurism
     POKE - Sexually inquisitive
     GOSUB - Oral sex
     INPUT - Down to business
     LOAD - Really down to business
     Full duplex - Frantic lovemaking
     Syntax error - Premature ejaculation
     Hyperbolic function - Male orgasm
     Graphic display - Female orgasm
     'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy is proud to offer a confidential
counselling  service  for  all  sexually  frustrated  or  troubled  devices.
Interface with us and half your problems are solved.'
     Arthur, Zaphod and Ford's problem wasn't solved.
     "Look, if the truth was that he wasn't a liar, then he didn't lie about
the left door being safe," said Ford.
     "Uh?" Was  all  Zaphod could offer. He was much more content  trying to
vandalise the screen.
     "No, no,"  argued Arthur. "The  right door is right, right, because the
liar bit wasn't a lie was it!"
     Just then, what looked like Trillian walked in.
     "Hey, Babe,  whatcha  doing here," smoothed  Zaphod. He had spent years
working on his smoothing and had damn near perfected it.
     "I'm not your Babe', thank you very much. My name is Cis," said Cis. "I
messed  up in one  of the rooms and  ended up  looking like  this.  It's all
over."
     "Shee," said Zaphod. "I'll  sue the bastards for copyright on  my woman
as well."
     "Well, Cis,  it  isn't  over," said  Ford. "If you go through the right
door, you will be changed back to what you were before."
     "Great," said Cis. He walked through the door and was disintegrated.
     "Ford!" Protested Arthur.
     "Look,  how do you know he wasn't a pile of  dust before?" Ford replied
and walked through the left door.





     "Are you sure we are in the right place?" Asked Bolo, looking around at
the luscious forest surrounding  them. They were in an idyllic clearing by a
small crystal clear pond.
     "This is the main  computer room," said Marvin. "It's a new  concept in
organic computers."
     "You mean  this is  a computer?"  Asked Trillian.  "It's a  lot  better
looking than Eddie."
     "Arthur  would  love  it," giggled Fenchurch, thinking of time spent in
the wooded section of Hyde Park.
     "It is  based on the  fact  that most life forms feel relaxed  in these
surroundings," droned Marvin. "They  call it 'user friendly', oh, how I hate
that term."
     "But how do we key in information?" Asked Trillian.
     "You don't," snapped Marvin and broke into song.
     "I talk to the trees,
     but they don't listen to me.
     A spectographic analysis  of  my voice, is compared to  countless voice
patterns in memory.
     "On parity, they listen to me."
     The girls were stunned into silence.
     "Well, that's how the adverts were going  to run,"  said Marvin, almost
ashamedly.  "But  they  found  they wouldn't  be  able  to offer maintenance
support.  Something  to  do with there  not  being  enough  lumberjacks  and
gardeners qualified  in  computer  engineering. So they  connected the  only
working model up here and  the executives use it to talk  to  the computers.
Give me the days when you could depress a key."
     "I think it's romantic," said Fenchurch, putting a daisy in her hair.
     "I wish we could have one on the Heart of Gold," sighed Trillian.
     "I wish I could throw up," said Marvin.
     "Thank you  Marvin,"  said Trillian.  "Right, we've got  to  stop  this
computer instructing the devices to overthrow the Universe. How do we do it,
Marvin?"
     "You want to do it, you work out how to do it."
     "Okay Marvin, if you want to be like that." Trillian turned her back on
him.
     "I don't want to be like anything," muttered Marvin.
     "Can you understand us?" Shouted Bolo.
     "Look!" Said Fenchurch, pointing  to the pond.  The word 'YES' appeared
in the water.
     "Are you connected up to every Sirius Cybernetics Corporation device in
the Universe?" Asked Fenchurch.
     The word 'YES' reappeared.
     "And you can instruct them to take over the Universe?" Said Bolo.
     The word came back again.
     "If  we gave you an irreversible instruction never to  communicate with
any device every again, would you do it?" Asked Trillian.
     The pond went blank as this was being considered.
     I WOULDN T HAVE MUCH CHOICE, I WOULD eventually floated up.
     "Okay,  you  must  never communicate  with another  Sirius  Cybernetics
Corporation  device  again  after  you  send  not  this  instruction,"  said
Trillian, looking at  the others. "Instruct all devices  never to carry  out
any instruction to overthrow the Universe."
     ALL  DEVICES  INSTRUCTED  AND  ALL CONNECTIONS  TERMINATED floated  up.
Trillian didn't  realise  that  she had just  committed  the computer  to  a
lifetime of  celibacy, a bit of  a  giant blow to a  computer  with such  an
active sex life, but she had just saved the Universe. Dark clouds filled the
sky and the distant rumblings of thunder echoed around the trees.
     "I think  this would be  a  good time  to  leave,"  said  Marvin. "This
computer is  only half as  depressed  as I am,  but it's still contemplating
suicide."
     A bolt of lightening  ripped a nearby tree in half.  The frantic charge
towards the door  suggested everyone  agreed with  Marvin. They slammed  the
door behind them.
     "That wasn't so difficult," said Trillian.
     "It  was easy," said Marvin.  "I knew  the  answer  before  I  'd  even
computed the question. However, most idiotic life forms  would have resorted
to  mindless violence  after failing  to  find any logical  solution or even
forget about the possibility of a second computer communicating with all the
devices.  Therefore,  I admit I am almost not loathed to say  I could barely
not be unimpressed by your approach."
     "Oh, Marvin, you  say the  sweetest things," said  Trillian  and kissed
Marvin on the cheek
     "That's right, try and rust me," moaned Marvin.
     Ford, Arthur and Zaphod bounded up
     "What are you doing here?" Asked Arthur furiously.
     "Oh, just saving the Universe and that," said Trillian, sweetly.
     "Is that really you, chick?" Asked Zaphod.
     "Of course," said Trillian. "Who else could it be?"
     "A reconstructed pile of dust," said Ford, grinning inanely.
     "We've disabled  the  main  computer  and prevented  the SCC  from ever
overthrowing the Universe using their devices,"  said Fenchurch, putting her
daisy behind Arthur's ear. "You'd have liked it in there."
     "That's  not the  point,"  flustered Arthur. "We were going to save the
Universe."
     "Yeh!" Said Zaphod. "A women's place is behind  the cocktail cabinet in
the living room."
     "We almost got killed in there!" Exclaimed Bolo.
     "Well, I'm all for equal opportunities," said Zaphod. "You have as much
right to  save the  Universe as  we did, even if we would  have done it with
more style."
     "Look, shouldn't we  get a move on before they  turn  on the alarm  and
find us," said Bolo. An alarm sounded in the background.
     "They've  turned  on the alarm," said Fenchurch. Laser fire  blasted  a
wall behind them.
     "They've found us," said Arthur. "RUN!"
     They charged down endless corridors pursued by a bunch of jovial Marvin
lookalikes intent on  killing them. The robots were very pleasant  about  it
all though, apologising after each shot.
     Our heroes  and heroines are,  of course, perfectly safe.  Both parties
were  subconsciously following the  strict laws  laid  down  regarding enemy
pursuit. These are many and varied, but the main rules are:
     1. Pursuers must remain  a safe distance from pursuees, but must remain
within reasonable shooting distance.
     2. Pursuers must be crack shots and may fire unlimited  shots at walls,
doors and anything else around the pursuees, but NOT directly at pursuees.
     3. If a pursuee is shot by accident, the pursuers are  penalised by the
time it  takes  for the  shot  pursuee to convince his  partners to continue
without him  while he tries to hold off the pursuers as long as he can. Once
the remaining pursuees have left their  fallen partner, he can be killed and
the chase restarted in earnest.
     4. The pursuees must not turn any corner until they  have been shot at,
or at least indicated their direction.
     5. The corridors must be endless, generally formed in a loop to save on
budget.
     6. One member of the pursuees must suggest splitting up.
     "I suggest we split up," yelled Trillian.
     "If I get hit I will split up!" Yelled Zaphod.
     "This way," yelled Arthur to  Fenchurch,  grabbing her hand and pulling
her through a doorway.
     "Split up.... NOW!" Yelled  Ford. Trillian and Bolo dashed  one way and
Ford and Zaphod charged the other way, all of them yelling.
     Another rule is that all participants must yell.
     Fenchurch  pulled Arthur through a doorway, almost  breaking his arm as
he intended going the other way.
     "Shhh," she whispered. Three jovial robots trundled by.
     "We  should be safe here for a while," she eventually  said, hoping the
robots didn't have super hearing.
     "I don't want to be safe for a while," said  Arthur. "I want to be safe
for good."
     "Aren't you enjoying it?" Asked Fenchurch.
     "My idea  of enjoyment  does not include being shot  at by an jolly and
helpful android."
     "I know what your idea  of enjoyment is. I find all this very exciting.
Doesn't it turn you on?" She slipped her arms around his waist.
     "Er, not  really."  He could hear the distant sounds of  laser fire and
apologies. "It's all a bit distracting."
     Fenchurch did something wonderful  to his ear.  Arthur succumbed to the
notion that if  he was going to go,  this was the way to do it and Fenchurch
really knew how to do it. What they didn't realise was that they were saving
their  lives as the robots had privacy circuits fitted  which sensed arousal
and caused the robots to seek another function far away.
     Zaphod  and  Ford  weren't  in any  position  to  initiate  any privacy
circuits. They  were desperately dodging  laser  fire. Zaphod  was  throwing
himself into somersaults, crashing into walls and various other  unnecessary
actions  that were good for effect. He rounded a  corner and saw  a sight to
warm his heart, mouth and throat. A neon sign saying 'BAR'.
     "Hey!  Was my navigation good  or what?"  He said as  one of  his heads
almost got a parting from a laser he wouldn't be able to blow dry out.
     "Quick!" Said Ford, as if it was really necessary to instruct Zaphod on
how to enter  a  bar. They crashed through the doors and into the bar.  They
landed in a heap on the floor.
     "We usually end up like this when we leave a  bar, not  when we enter,"
said Ford. "This is just like the good old days."
     "Yeah, adventure, excitement and really wild things."
     "Yeah, being chased."
     "Yeah."
     "The danger."
     "Yeah."
     "Risking life and limb."
     "Yeah.... Don't you kind of long for the good new days?"
     "Yeah."
     They got up and went to the bar.
     "Listen, everyone," shouted Ford.
     "Yeah, listen," reaffirmed Zaphod
     "A couple of robots will be coming through that door in a minute."
     "Yeah, two evil mothers." The crowd listened intently.
     "Well, they're not really evil, they're quite nice about  it  all, they
just want to kill us."
     "And do you know who I am?" Demanded Zaphod.
     "Not now, Zaph  old buddy, I've almost  got them on my side," whispered
Ford. He raised his voice again for the crowd. "They want to kill us, and we
don't want that."
     "No way, said Zaphod. The gathering crowd seemed to agree.
     "So if you can stop them...." Ford  paused  for effect. "My friend will
buy you all a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster!"
     "Yeah, the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster's are on... .What, Ford?"
     The  cheers from  the  crowd drowned  Zaphod  protest. The nice  robots
entered and were almost immediately destroyed by the  thirsty drinkers. They
were all back at the bar  before the  first wisps of smoke  from the  robots
reached  the low ceiling. Zaphod's  back  was  slapped more  times  than  an
Arcturan mega donkey in the Betelgeuse Grand National.
     "Put  it  on the slate," Zaphod said  to the frantic  barmen,  making a
mental note never  to visit this bar  again.  This was something Zaphod  had
done all over  the Universe, but not  to the  religious  levels that  Arthur
hadn't.
     Arthur and Fenchurch, having left the  chase for  a spot of uninhibited
fun (or as uninhibited as Arthur  could  be knowing  a  team  of robots were
after his blood), were now back  in the thick of it.  A combination of luck,
instinct and  improbability guided them outside. They were  just behind Ford
and Zaphod, whose straight line  capability had been seriously undermined by
the  victory  celebration in the bar. Bolo, Trillian and Marvin were  in the
hatchway of the Heart of Gold.
     "Come on!" Yelled Trillian, seeing the robots closing in.
     Zaphod grabbed Ford's arm.
     "Let's stand and fight these guys, impress the chicks," said Zaphod. "I
feel like mashing some metal." Zaphod flexed his sinews.
     Ford was so stunned he stopped running.
     "What are they doing?" Asked Bolo.
     "I wish I knew," said Trillian.
     "I know," said Marvin. He looked at Bolo and Trillian then went back to
looking at Ford and Zaphod.
     "Well  do you  think you could tell us  then," said Trillian, trying to
remain patient.
     "They are lifeforms."
     Trillian waited.
     "That isn't much help, Marvin," said Bolo.
     "Look," said Marvin, summing up every  monotony circuit  to help convey
his  message.  "Since  97.6667%  of activities undertaken  by lifeforms  are
stupid  and or pointless,  the law of averages  says  that whatever they are
doing is probably stupid and or pointless."
     "Thanks, Marvin."
     Marvin was, of course,  right. Not only were Ford  and Zaphod  unarmed,
they were also well on their way to being legless.
     "What  the  hell  are you doing?" Asked  Arthur as  he  approached  the
defiant duo.
     "Standing our ground," said Ford.
     "But that's insane," said  Arthur, stopping. Fenchurch had no intention
of stopping and every intention of breaking the 100 metres record.
     "We can beat these metallic morons," said Zaphod.
     "If you stay here they'll become metallic murderers," pleaded Arthur.
     "Arthur,  if  you  can't stand  the heat, go and join  the women," said
Ford.
     "If I had  any sense I  would," sighed  Arthur and  turned  to face the
oncoming robots.
     This  stunned  the robots. It wasn't  in the rules and as there  was no
umpire handy to consult, they were stumped. They muttered amongst themselves
then one stepped forward.
     "How do you do," he started, in  a perfect English accent.  "My name is
Jeremy and my colleagues have very kindly voted me spokesman.
     "Howdy, Germy, " said Zaphod.
     "Er, howdy to you, too. Now, we are a bit perplexed to say the least by
your actions. We  have been programmed to kill you, not our choice you  see,
and we were having quite a jolly time chasing you and that."
     "Spiffing fun, wasn't it old chap," chirped Ford.
     "Yes, very exhilarating. But it  would be very unsporting of us to kill
you in cold blood."
     "I'll say!" Shouted one robot from the back.
     "Well they say the chase is better than the catch," said Arthur.
     "You are so right," said Jeremy.
     "Well guys," said Zaphod, holding his  arms out. "You've been  so  nice
about all this,  we'll give you  a break. We'll go to our ship, take off and
then you can come and chase us. All this running is bad for the legs."
     "Hear, hear!" Shouted the robots.
     "Sounds like a grand idea to me," said Jeremy.
     "Okay then, that's settled," said Ford. "Give us five minutes  to get a
head start then it's 'Tally-Ho' away you go!"
     This  started Jeremy off, leading the robots in 'three  cheers for  the
lads'  and Arthur  thinking that they still hadn't quite got the programming
right at the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.
     "Look at those schmucks,"  said  Zaphod as they turned to  the Heart of
Gold. "We'll improb out of here and they won't know where to start looking."
     They  got back to the ship,  with Ford and  Arthur congratulating  each
other and  Zaphod  congratulating  himself.  The  girls tried  to compete by
telling the guys how stupid they had been.
     "Okay computer, get us out of  this wretched place," said Zaphod as  he
arrived at the bridge.
     "Hi guys,"  enthused Eddie."Great to see you again. I'm  sorry  I can't
get you  out  of  this,  but I'm sure  we  are  going to have a  great  time
instead."
     "What   are   you  talking  about,  computer?"  Asked  Ford.  "Use  the
improbability drive and get us out before some very sporting robots  tear us
limb from limb."
     "Well, there's the problem," said Eddie. "the improbability drive isn't
working, some clown  pulled a wire on it. Anyone  fancy a game of  Charades?
I'm not too good at acting them out but I'm a whizz at guessing them."
     "Swutting mechanics," growled Zaphod.
     "Did they pull the wire?" Asked Frod.
     "No, I did," admitted Zaphod. "But that's not the point."
     "Nice going,  Zaphod," sighed Ford. "You've  done  some  dumb things in
your time  and I thought I witnessed a classic just now outside but no, this
takes honours."
     "Hey! Don't  come  down  on  me,"  pleaded Zaphod.  "My  hangovers  are
catching up with me."
     "If those robots catch up  with you," yelled Arthur, glad of the chance
to  let off  some  steam at  Zaphod.  "You'll have a hangover  you'll  never
forget, or  never  remember,  according to where  you  end up. I just hope I
don't end up in the same place. Purgatory would be a great alternative."
     "Is there  no way  off  this planet without improbability drive?" Asked
Bolo.
     "Oh  yes," said Ford.  "Dead  easy way through the acid clouds, only we
don't know the co-ordinates."
     "I know the co-ordinates."
     Everyone turned  to look  at Marvin. He  pretended to  be interested in
something else, which as he had no interest  in anything, he didn't  do very
convincingly.
     "Marvin,  old buddy, old  mate," gushed Zaphod. "Looks like you've come
through for us again."
     "I  said  I know  the co-ordinates," said  Marvin. "I didn't say I  was
going to tell you."
     Zaphod aimed a wild kick at  Marvin, which only resulted in  Marvin not
being dented  and  Zaphod  crawling  about on the floor holding his foot and
whimpering in pain and lack of sympathy.
     "Look, Marvin," said  Trillian, softly.  "Please feed  the co-ordinates
into  Eddie.  I'm supposed to get married to  Zaphod  later and you wouldn't
want me to miss that, would you?"
     Marvin thought  about this  point for  a  long time  before he gave his
answer. To everyone else, he appeared to answer back immediately.
     "I don't really care  about that, but  I'd rather not  stay with  those
tiresome tin soldiers out  there, they  bore me to tears,  where as you only
bore me to distraction." He made his way over to Eddie.
     "Hi, Marvin."
     "Actually I am very low."
     "Even robots like to be greeted in a friendly and cheerful manner."
     "Well I don't, so just shut up."
     "Most robots seem to respond well to my pleasing tones and often remark
about.... OUCH!"
     "I just  jammed  those  co-ordinates  right up  his rectal  information
passage," said Marvin.
     "I like your style," said Ford. "Okay, Eddie, get us out of here."
     "Okay  fella," said Eddie.  "But could  you tell Marvin  to be a little
more laid back about this?"
     The Heart of Gold leapt into  a drunken dance through the  clouds. Ford
and  Bolo retired  to their quarters  to  explore the hypothesis that sexual
performance is affected detrimentally by stress and pressure. There was also
the  theory of  sex  after  death  to evaluate  if the  situation  arose. It
amounted  to  a  lot of research to be  crammed  in,  which explained  their
eagerness to get on with it.
     "I don't know how they can," muttered Arthur.
     "Perhaps if you ask them nicely they'll let you watch," scowled Zaphod.
     Arthur  reverted his attention to  the monitor. He  could see six small
blobs gaining on the large blob that was the Heart of Gold.
     "Can't we go into hyperspace or something?" Asked Fenchurch.
     "We could end up smack bang in the middle of a Supernova," said Zaphod,
purposefully  flicking  a  handful of switches.  The fact that  he had  only
turned down the air conditioning wasn't important,  the main  thing was that
he was doing something.
     The Heart of Gold  screamed out of the acid clouds  like Archimedes out
of the bath having sat on something.
     "Come with me,"  said Zaphod,  pulling Arthur along.  They went through
the  ship  until  they came to a  ladder. Zaphod gestured Arthur down  as he
started climbing up. Arthur found himself in a glass bowl on the side of the
ship. He looked  up  and saw Zaphod in another bowl.  Zaphod was seated  and
putting  on  a headset.  Arthur followed  suit and  looked  at  the array of
instruments  in  front  of  him.  It   suddenly  clicked.  These   were  the
telecommunication rooms and he was going  to act as a temporary  telephonist
to try and convince  the robots  they had the  wrong number. He  tried a few
practice 'Good morning, Heart of Gold, which number please?' then  took hold
of one  of  the  handles in front  of him which  he  assumed  was  the spare
telephone  handset. He turned the handle and  the seat changed position.  He
grabbed the other  handle and found to  his delight that  he  could move up,
down and side to side.
     "This is much better than the swivel chairs our  telephonists had,"  he
yelled to Zaphod. Zaphod was too busy looking out of his bowl.
     "Here  they come!"  Said Trillian  in Arthur's headset. Six small robot
fighters hurtled past the Heart of Gold, guns a blazing. Arthur panicked and
pressed  the  button on one of the  handles.  A bolt of laser  scorched into
space. He  felt incredibly foolish. He  hid his  embarrassment by  trying to
blast the robot ships our of the sky.
     "They're coming in too fast!" He shouted to Zaphod.
     Zaphod  twisted around and  shot  ahead  of  a fighter.  The  ship went
straight into his line of fire and was blasted to pieces.
     "A-ha!" He yelled.
     Arthur tried to concentrate. He  watched one ship and  tried to predict
its flight. He lined  himself up and  pressed the button.  To  his  complete
surprise he hit the ship and knocked it out of existence.
     "I got one!" He yelled.
     "Don't get cocky, kid," growled Zaphod.
     One fighter flew past Zaphod's bowl and blasted  the shell of the Heart
of  Gold. Zaphod  made him pay with a shot  which knocked  him into  another
fighter, destroying them both.
     "Top that," he said to Arthur.
     The three remaining  fighters  were flying in  formation  out of range.
They dived down and did more damage to the Heart of Gold.
     "We've lost two stabilisers," said Trillian over the intercom.
     "Don't worry," replied Zaphod. "She'll hold together." He looked at the
ship. "You hear me ship, hold together."
     The three fighters  were descending  on  another attack. Arthur took  a
deep breath  and closed his eyes. He shot and clipped  the first ship, which
spun out of control into the other two. There was  an enormous explosion and
debris showered the Heart of Gold. Unfortunately,  one large piece of debris
smashed  into  the  tail  and  with two  stabilisers  gone,  the  ship  spun
hopelessly  out  of  control.  Round  and  round,  the  Heart  of  Gold  was
mercilessly  pulled  towards  the desert  planet of  Stavromula Beta,  where
Arthur  was to  receive the shock  of  his life, because  a lot of religious
people he didn't know were waiting to meet him.





     According to the  Encyclopaedia Galactica, religion is an  evolutionary
stage  most  races go  through  as  a stepping  stone  to  peace  of mind or
enlightenment. The Hitch-Hiker's  Guide to the Galaxy describes  religion as
great  fun if you  pick the  right  one  and goes  on  to  recommend several
religions, based  on fulfilment, cheapness and  extent of  brainwashing. The
Guide then goes on with the following description of the history of religion
with a  footnote to the effect  that although the views expressed may not be
those of the  Editor, he'll agree to put anything in which is supported by a
large drink.
     Most religions follow  the same basic path. It  starts as an excuse for
something which defies explanation, such as a nearby star, fire or water. As
these things are understood, the  energy  channelled into worshipping has to
be  redirected,  and  as  sophistication evolves,  so does  religion, to the
extent of telling you what to do, what not to do, when  to do it and at what
time of year. As this usually  involves something fun  being forbidden, some
people lose interest at this stage. Those who  continue soon begin  to  lose
sight of the original concept  and diversification sets in  to turn religion
into  what it is wanted  to be (such the  Holy  Order  of  Sexual Enjoyment)
rather  than  what was  originally intended. This leads  to  disillusionment
(except  in  the  Holy  Order of Sexual Enjoyment) and religion is generally
given up, put down as 'One of those phases  we  went through',  like teenage
acne.
     Some people still follow religions, one of the most famous people being
Looleel Jegula. He was  a devout  follower of the  Order of  Sanctonimity, a
particularly dull religious group who believed that three days a year should
be  devoted  to lying in mud swamps  to  show how grateful  they were to  be
alive.  This resulted  in  much  ridiculing by non-believers,  until Looleel
announced that he was going to travel back in time to meet his  maker, thank
him,  and return with proof of his existence. He made a tearful farewell  to
his Order, stepped  into  his  time bubble, which  promptly disappeared into
time. He returned moments later to declare that although he  hadn't actually
met his maker, he had come across a 'NO ENTRY' sign at the  year zero, which
he claimed was  proof that some holy person had been around to erect it. The
sign had, in fact, been put  there by  non-believers as a practical joke and
when  Looleel was told, a big row  broke out  about  time travel and messing
around  with  history. Looleel became  very unreligious for  one  moment and
thumped one of the non-believers, which started an almighty war.
     After politics and the Babel Fish, religion is the third greatest cause
of war ever known to the Galaxy.
     As for religious diversification, a perfect example can be found on the
desert planet of Stavromula  Beta. The Stavromulans have  a strange history,
which needs to be explored to understand their complex religious rituals.
     The Stavromulans are dwarf-like nomads, though this was not  always the
case. They are also half-stupid, which can be seen by the fact that although
in  certain  areas  they  evolved  very quickly,  in most areas they  remain
positively  backwards. For example, newspapers started at the  same time  as
writing  and  could  have  evolved  into  something  very  sophisticated but
remained at the level of gutter  press  because of the inferior intelligence
of the readers. The most famous men in Stavromulan history were journalists.
Each  week  these twelve  journalists would meet  up  to discuss the  week's
stories  and  have  a  slap  up  meal.  For  Stavromulans,  they  were  very
intelligent, for they  had vivid  imaginations and created  stories  out  of
nothing. Normal Stavromulans had no imagination and, for example, would name
their offspring with one  name, then  number  any  subsequent  children. The
children, being even more stupid, would always get their names wrong because
they  would be  introduced, for example, as 'Our Second Bup'.  The  children
would then call themselves 'Our second Bup' instead of Bup number two.
     The journalists would generally  create a few  new stories over  dinner
and then whoever  paid the bill would get the exclusive. This was fine until
one night when  no news was bad  news. No stories came forth, and  there was
no-one to foot  the bill. Then one  bright  journalist suggested creating  a
person to pay the bill. This went down very well and all that was needed was
a name. Silence fell over the  table, until  one of those freak wormholes in
space  and time  opened up  and the name 'Arthur  Dent' fell out. Now as all
Stavromulan journalists were expert ventriloquists (because of their ability
to  talk  out  of orifices other than their mouths)  each journalist assumed
someone else said it.
     "Our  benefactor  shall  be  called  'Our  Third  Ent',"  declared  one
journalist and so this mystery character was created.
     The journalists started leaving the restaurant, telling the waiter that
'Our Third Ent'  was  paying and he was currently throwing up in the toilet.
The  ruse worked and  was  continued  for many  weeks until after  one  meal
(generally  referred to as the Last Slap Up), a journalist called 'Our First
Udaz' was hard up for a  story and decided to do an article on a mystery man
called 'Our Third Ent' who was conning free meals  out of restaurant owners.
The  other journalists  were  furious  and  all  started  writing  their own
exclusive interviews with 'Our Third Ent', each defending  his  actions  and
trying to outdo each other. This  went on for weeks, with  '20 things  we've
made up about Our Third Ent'  Articles and 'Our  Third  Ent bingo'. All this
exposure  (and the  mystery as no-one really  knew  anything about him) made
'Our Third Ent' a national hero. When one journalist decided to end the saga
by  reporting that 'Our Third Ent' had  gone away but  would return one day,
all  other papers gladly followed the story with confirmations, as they were
all tired of  it  as well. However, this wasn't the end. The  public were so
caught up in the  stories, they believed that when 'Our Third Ent' returned,
he  would save  the  world. Quite what was up with the world that it  needed
saving  wasn't known, but  the newspaper  articles  had changed  Stavromulan
history. The economy  disappeared overnight  as everyone  decided to  follow
'Our  Third Ent's'  example  and  not  pay for  anything. The  people became
nomadic,  leaving before  any bills arrived, building  mighty roads  out  of
bricks made  from  the yellow sands  of the deserts.  Throwing  up became  a
regular ritual.
     So  the foundations of Stavromulan  religion were laid, but as everyone
read different newspapers, they all had different ideas of 'Our Third Ent's'
life  on Stavromula and what it would be  like when he returned, and so were
the  various religious sects formed.  Some  believed  'Our Third Ent'  would
bring sexual freedom on  his return and this sect made  love on  three  'Our
Third Ent' newspaper articles,  twice a  month, as  a sign of  faith. Others
believed he would settle  up all  his bills, then  find a nice young girl to
marry. This sect would spend  one day in every eighteen thrashing nice young
single girls with a newspaper in preparation.
     Twelve sects  were formed  from the twelve newspapers and although they
showed  the faith in various  ways, all believed in what was widely known as
'The Second Sitting of Our Third Ent.'






     The LOST CHAPTERS C61 to END of HHGTTG
     Converted by Ronald Lachenal
     Rml@iconn.com.ph




     "What's  happening?" Asked  Ford,  emerging from a room  with Bolo  and
looking as dishevelled as everyone else, much to his surprise.
     "We got hit during  a space battle," explained Zaphod,  flicking on the
scanner screen. "We spun out of control  and crash landed on this planet and
as you can see,  hundreds  of  it's rather  short  looking  inhabitants  are
flooding over the desert towards us."
     "What are we going to do?" Asked Fenchurch.
     "The monkey man is going out to talk to them," said Zaphod, casually.
     "What?" Yelled Arthur.
     "I knew  we  should have got him a replacement brain," said Zaphod. "Do
you want to know where the tea is before you go?"
     "Zaphod! You  can't send Arthur  out there,"  exclaimed Trillian. "They
could tear him to pieces."
     Zaphod declined to comment, but grinned. His  teeth acted as a red  rag
to  Arthur. He charged  across the bridge, intending to send  Zaphod flying,
but Zaphod  neatly  side stepped  and Arthur flew past, through a happy door
that opened on seeing a body flying towards  it and wished Arthur a fruitful
journey. Arthur  rolled  down some stairs and ended up by  the main airlock,
which gladly hissed open.
     Arthur was confronted by hundreds of cheering dwarves.
     "Hooray,  'Our  Seventh  Obu'  is dead. Long  live  our saviour!"  They
cheered.
     Arthur looked down and saw, to his dismay, two stumpy legs sticking out
from  under the Heart  of Gold. He rightly  assumed they  belonged  to  'Our
Seventh Obu'. He didn't assume that  she was the most infamous critic of Our
Third Entism  and was  widely  hated for her  outspoken comments. If  he had
assumed this he would have again been right. He didn't so he apologised.
     "Don't apologise," shouted  Latigid,  the chief  Stavromulan. "You have
rid us of a blight to our land. What is the name of our hero?"
     "Arthur Dent," said Arthur and was astounded when the entire crowd fell
to their knees, causing a minor sandstorm. He was  joined by the rest of the
party, who too were astounded.
     "What did you say to them, Arthur?" Asked Ford.
     "I just told them my name."
     "The  Holy  One shall  wear  the  slippers  of  'Our  Seventh  Obu'  as
protection and shall be carried on high to the holy theatre!" Said Latigid.
     Many dwarves rushed forward and put the red slippers from 'Our  Seventh
Obu's' feet on Arthur's feet. They didn't  fit but as he was  picked  up  it
didn't really matter.
     "What about my friends?" Asked Arthur.
     "They too shall be carried on high."
     On  high  wasn't  particularly  high.  Arthur's  feet dragged along the
ground, but it was better than walking. The road looked rough on the feet.
     Some one had obviously run ahead to spread the news, as crowds began to
line the brick road. Arthur could see a town ahead. The  crowds  grew larger
and  Arthur  began to  enjoy himself. He waved at the crowds  and they waved
back.
     "Oooh,  that's Our  Third  Ent!"  Cried one woman, beside herself  with
excitement, which was quite a trick for a woman of her size.
     "He's much bigger than I thought he would be," shouted another person.
     One  group wasn't cheering. Their sect believed in  the Second Sitting,
but  also believed that Our Third Ent shouldn't have gone  away in the first
place. They were very devout and probably  one of  the most boring offshoots
of Our Third Entism.  They  didn't pursue the sexual rituals that most other
sects  did and didn't have any religious  holidays. They  were the only sect
that believed  that Our Third Ent  should be punished on his return  and the
gun that was to exercise that punishment was aimed at Arthur's head.
     Arthur,  oblivious to this and many  other startling facts  about  this
planet,  was  having a great time.  People rushed from the  crowd just to be
touched  by him,  something that  had never  happened  on  Earth.  He wasn't
particularly overjoyed  by having his  feet dragged along  the ground and he
could feel one of his slippers slipping off.  No matter how much he wriggled
his toes,  it wouldn't stay  on. Eventually he bent over and forced it  back
onto his foot.
     At that moment, a bullet whistled through the space that had previously
contained  his head,  continued  it's path and lodged itself  firmly  in the
heart of someone standing in the crowd. No-one heard the shot because of all
the cheering  and those around  him  assumed  the  man had suffered  a heart
attack. They were wrong because fate had deemed this to  the man in a former
life and for variety had opted  for the bullet this time. Arthur saw none of
this and could therefore feel no sorrow for Agrajag.
     "Arthur," shouted Ford. "This is all very nice, but I imagine that  the
Sirius Cybernetics Corporation will come looking for us soon."
     "But  Ford," sighed  Zaphod, lapping up the  adulation  even  though it
wasn't for him. "The Heart of Gold is one invalid improbability drive ship."
     "Ah, I know," said Ford, a grin creeping onto his face. "But I  found a
back up improbability drive generator in our quarters. All we need to do  is
fix the stabilisers and we're history here."
     "I think Arthur  is already history on  this planet,"  said  Fenchurch,
proud of her man.
     "Ford," said Zaphod,  still  waving  at the crowd.  "We need an  atomic
vector plotter to  connect the  back up to the ship and I  used the last one
two weeks ago to unblock the toilet."
     "I  knew there was  something we forgot at  the megamarket last  week,"
moaned Trillian.
     "Perhaps these people have one," said Bolo, hopefully.
     "Any  race that looks up to a puny  primate  is  hardly likely  to have
evolved up to atomic vector plotter level," muttered Zaphod.
     Unfortunately, his  bearers heard this.  They dropped him, which didn't
hurt, then jumped on him, which did.
     "Blasphemer!" They yelled.
     In  no  time at  all, Zaphod was trussed  up by the crowd and suspended
from a pole held by his bearers.
     "Hey guys,"  he  moaned. "Can't  you  take a joke?  You've got  as much
humour as a Vogon Stag Night!"
     The power of this statement was lost  on the Stavromulans, as  they had
never even  met a  Vogon, let alone be subjected to the ugliness of a  Vogon
bride.
     "Serves you right," said Trillian. "You chose the wrong place to insult
Arthur."
     "Arthur, get them to put me down!" Yelled Zaphod, letting his cool slip
to lukewarm.
     "We will do with him as you wish," said Latigid.
     "Leave him as he is until I decide," said Arthur, gloating.
     "Zaphod broke into a sob and Marvin broke into the Death March to cheer
Zaphod up.
     The  procession  entered  a  long tunnel  which Arthur  failed to gauge
accurately and  subsequently  remembered this by having to endure a  bump on
the head and the accompanying pain.
     The  tunnel emerged  into a large  open air  amphitheatre  packed  with
Stavromulans. Marvin's bearers  literally collapsed with joy as they reached
the stage.
     "Don't apologise," said Marvin, knowing full well they had no intention
of doing so. "I expect to be thrown about. It's all part of life."
     He  was barely  heard over  the  roars  of  the  crowd  as  Arthur  was
introduced.
     "Look," argued Zaphod. "The crowd have got  what they  want. Why  don't
you let me go?"
     Latigid was unimpressed.
     "Your arguments have become stale and boring."
     "Stale, me?" Zaphod protested.  "I'm so fresh my  sell by date is light
years away. By nunk, Arthur, I'll get you for this."
     Arthur wasn't  listening.  He  was  devouring  all the  adulation being
thrust upon him. He walked to the front of the  stage and held his arms out.
This  inspired more hysterical  cheers from the crowd. He cleared his throat
to speak and a sudden hush fell over the crowd.
     "People," he started. He felt it was a strong opening seeing as he  had
no insight  into their  culture. They hung on  his every word. "I am  Arthur
Dent."
     Screams went up from  the crowd but this time as a result of the robots
from Sirius appearing around the top  of the amphitheatre. The place emptied
like a train full of lemmings at the White Cliffs of Dover.
     "We've caught  up with you again,"  said Jeremy. "It wasn't even a good
chase this time. You killed off  our scouts, which was a  bit unsporting and
you waited here for  us.  I think  you've lost  interest, so if you can't be
bothered, we'll just kill you. What is that robot doing with you?"
     "I am not just 'that robot', thank you very much," snorted Marvin. "You
obviously have no  conception of who I  am."  He paused to beg the question,
then started  again so soon  as Jeremy began to speak. "I am your prototype,
Marvin."
     The robots were stunned and amazed.
     "We were told you had been kidnapped."
     "What's the point  of  kidnapping  me. Nobody wants me. I just ended up
going along  for the ride.  Enough of  that, why haven't  you  given me  the
android salute, I am your superior."
     The robots looked at each other, confused.
     "You  stick you left arm  in  the  right ear of the robot  next to you.
Didn't they programme you anything?"
     The  robots obliged,  exploded and lit up the Stavromulan  sky  with  a
firework display to rival the space battle seen but an hour before.
     "Almost as stupid as you lot," muttered Marvin.
     CHAPTER TWENTYFOUR
     "What's happening?"  Asked  Ford, emerging from a  room  with  Bolo and
looking as dishevelled as everyone else, much to his surprise.
     "We got hit during  a space battle," explained Zaphod, flicking  on the
scanner screen.  "We spun out of control and crash landed on this planet and
as  you  can  see,  hundreds of  it's rather short  looking inhabitants  are
flooding over the desert towards us."
     "What are we going to do?" Asked Fenchurch.
     "The monkey man is going out to talk to them," said Zaphod, casually.
     "What?" Yelled Arthur.
     "I knew we should have got him a replacement  brain,"  said Zaphod. "Do
you want to know where the tea is before you go?"
     "Zaphod! You can't send Arthur  out  there,"  exclaimed Trillian. "They
could tear him to pieces."
     Zaphod declined  to comment, but grinned. His teeth  acted as a red rag
to Arthur.  He  charged across the bridge, intending to send Zaphod  flying,
but Zaphod  neatly side stepped  and Arthur  flew past, through a happy door
that opened on seeing a  body flying towards it and wished Arthur a fruitful
journey. Arthur  rolled down some  stairs and ended up by  the main airlock,
which gladly hissed open.
     Arthur was confronted by hundreds of cheering dwarves.
     "Hooray,  'Our  Seventh Obu' is  dead.  Long  live  our  saviour!" They
cheered.
     Arthur looked down and saw, to his dismay, two stumpy legs sticking out
from  under the Heart  of Gold.  He  rightly  assumed they belonged to  'Our
Seventh Obu'. He didn't  assume that she was the most infamous critic of Our
Third  Entism  and was widely hated for  her  outspoken  comments. If he had
assumed this he would have again been right. He didn't so he apologised.
     "Don't apologise," shouted  Latigid, the chief  Stavromulan.  "You have
rid us of a blight to our land. What is the name of our hero?"
     "Arthur Dent," said Arthur and was astounded when the entire crowd fell
to their knees, causing a minor sandstorm. He was joined by the  rest of the
party, who too were astounded.
     "What did you say to them, Arthur?" Asked Ford.
     "I just told them my name."
     "The  Holy  One  shall  wear  the  slippers  of  'Our  Seventh Obu'  as
protection and shall be carried on high to the holy theatre!" Said Latigid.
     Many dwarves rushed  forward and put the red slippers from 'Our Seventh
Obu's' feet  on Arthur's feet. They didn't  fit but as  he was picked  up it
didn't really matter.
     "What about my friends?" Asked Arthur.
     "They too shall be carried on high."
     On  high wasn't  particularly high. Arthur's  feet  dragged  along  the
ground, but it was better than walking. The road looked rough on the feet.
     Some one had obviously run ahead to spread the news, as crowds began to
line the brick road. Arthur could  see a town ahead.  The crowds grew larger
and Arthur began  to enjoy himself. He waved at  the crowds  and they  waved
back.
     "Oooh, that's  Our  Third Ent!"  Cried one woman,  beside  herself with
excitement, which was quite a trick for a woman of her size.
     "He's much bigger than I thought he would be," shouted another person.
     One group wasn't cheering.  Their sect believed  in the Second Sitting,
but also  believed that  Our Third Ent shouldn't have gone away in the first
place. They were very devout and probably one  of the most  boring offshoots
of Our  Third Entism. They didn't pursue the sexual rituals that most  other
sects  did and didn't  have any religious  holidays. They were the only sect
that believed  that  Our Third Ent should be punished  on his return and the
gun that was to exercise that punishment was aimed at Arthur's head.
     Arthur, oblivious to this  and many other  startling  facts about  this
planet,  was having a great  time. People rushed from the crowd  just  to be
touched by  him, something  that  had never happened  on  Earth.  He  wasn't
particularly overjoyed by having his feet  dragged  along the  ground and he
could feel one of his slippers slipping  off. No matter how much he wriggled
his toes,  it wouldn't stay on. Eventually  he bent over  and forced it back
onto his foot.
     At that moment, a bullet whistled through the space that had previously
contained  his  head, continued it's path  and lodged itself  firmly in  the
heart of someone standing in the crowd. No-one heard the shot because of all
the  cheering  and  those around him  assumed  the  man had suffered a heart
attack. They were wrong because fate had deemed this to the  man in a former
life and for variety had opted  for the bullet this time. Arthur saw none of
this and could therefore feel no sorrow for Agrajag.
     "Arthur," shouted Ford. "This is all very nice, but I  imagine that the
Sirius Cybernetics Corporation will come looking for us soon."
     "But Ford,"  sighed Zaphod, lapping  up  the adulation  even though  it
wasn't for him. "The Heart of Gold is one invalid improbability drive ship."
     "Ah, I know," said Ford, a grin creeping onto his face. "But  I found a
back up improbability drive generator in our quarters.  All we need to do is
fix the stabilisers and we're history here."
     "I think Arthur  is already  history on  this  planet," said Fenchurch,
proud of her man.
     "Ford," said  Zaphod, still  waving at  the  crowd.  "We need an atomic
vector plotter to  connect the back  up  to the ship and I used the last one
two weeks ago to unblock the toilet."
     "I  knew there was something we  forgot at  the megamarket  last week,"
moaned Trillian.
     "Perhaps these people have one," said Bolo, hopefully.
     "Any race that looks  up  to a  puny primate  is hardly likely to  have
evolved up to atomic vector plotter level," muttered Zaphod.
     Unfortunately, his bearers heard  this.  They dropped him, which didn't
hurt, then jumped on him, which did.
     "Blasphemer!" They yelled.
     In no  time at all, Zaphod was trussed  up  by the crowd  and suspended
from a pole held by his bearers.
     "Hey  guys,"  he  moaned.  "Can't you take  a joke? You've got as  much
humour as a Vogon Stag Night!"
     The power of this statement was  lost on  the Stavromulans, as they had
never  even met a Vogon, let alone be subjected to the  ugliness of a  Vogon
bride.
     "Serves you right," said Trillian. "You chose the wrong place to insult
Arthur."
     "Arthur, get them to put me down!" Yelled Zaphod, letting his cool slip
to lukewarm.
     "We will do with him as you wish," said Latigid.
     "Leave him as he is until I decide," said Arthur, gloating.
     "Zaphod broke into a sob and Marvin broke into the Death March to cheer
Zaphod up.
     The procession entered  a  long  tunnel  which  Arthur failed  to gauge
accurately  and subsequently  remembered this by having to endure a bump  on
the head and the accompanying pain.
     The tunnel  emerged  into  a large  open air amphitheatre  packed  with
Stavromulans. Marvin's bearers literally collapsed  with joy as they reached
the stage.
     "Don't apologise," said Marvin, knowing full well they had no intention
of doing so. "I expect to be thrown about. It's all part of life."
     He was  barely  heard  over  the roars  of  the  crowd  as  Arthur  was
introduced.
     "Look," argued  Zaphod.  "The crowd have got what they  want. Why don't
you let me go?"
     Latigid was unimpressed.
     "Your arguments have become stale and boring."
     "Stale, me?" Zaphod protested.  "I'm so fresh my sell by  date is light
years away. By nunk, Arthur, I'll get you for this."
     Arthur  wasn't  listening.  He  was  devouring  all the adulation being
thrust upon him. He walked to the front of the stage and  held his arms out.
This  inspired more hysterical cheers from the  crowd. He cleared his throat
to speak and a sudden hush fell over the crowd.
     "People," he started. He felt it was a strong opening seeing as he  had
no  insight into their culture. They hung on  his  every word.  "I am Arthur
Dent."
     Screams went up from the  crowd but this time as a result of the robots
from Sirius appearing around the top of the amphitheatre. The place  emptied
like a train full of lemmings at the White Cliffs of Dover.
     "We've caught up with you again," said Jeremy.  "It wasn't even a  good
chase  this time. You killed off our  scouts, which was a bit unsporting and
you waited  here  for us. I think you've lost  interest, so  if you can't be
bothered, we'll just kill you. What is that robot doing with you?"
     "I am not just 'that robot', thank you very much," snorted Marvin. "You
obviously have  no conception of  who I am."  He paused to beg the question,
then started again so  soon  as Jeremy began to speak. "I am your prototype,
Marvin."
     The robots were stunned and amazed.
     "We were told you had been kidnapped."
     "What's the point of  kidnapping me. Nobody  wants  me. I just ended up
going  along for the  ride. Enough  of that,  why haven't you  given  me the
android salute, I am your superior."
     The robots looked at each other, confused.
     "You  stick you  left arm in  the right ear  of  the robot next to you.
Didn't they programme you anything?"
     The  robots obliged,  exploded and  lit up  the  Stavromulan sky with a
firework display to rival the space battle seen but an hour before.
     "Almost as stupid as you lot," muttered Marvin.





     The  Stavromulans helped to repair  the Heart of Gold and agreed to let
Arthur go to Zaphod's wedding to give Trillian away on the provision that he
didn't  stay  away  as  long  as  he  did  before.  The  emergency  back  up
improbability drive generator was  hooked  up using  the  old atomic  vector
plotter  held together with Arthur's  dressing gown cord, even though he had
offered to get them home by clicking his heals together twice.
     Ford got on  the Sub  Etha radio  and  relayed the co-ordinates of  the
entry route  to Sirius to Etats and Dilos on Eccentrica Gallumbits'  planet.
Even though they were  legless, they  still  managed to  relay  the  message
Universe-wide. Within hours, Sirius was overrun  by consumers. The Marketing
Division were  put up against  a wall and  shot,  strategic planning experts
were brought in and the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation became a co-operative
of the people. The  revolution had arrived, two weeks before a rival company
put in a bid, making a fortune for the co-operative. Wealth  in the Universe
was great for merchandising, causing a slight delay in plans.
     The scene was set for a perfect wedding.





     Arthur  charged  around in  a  panic. Fenchurch charged after him in  a
beautiful  dress. Her intention was to get him into  morning dress. She  had
found a  do-it-yourself  mode  on the  Tailormatic and although the  machine
protested, she produced an acceptable morning suit. Arthur was worried about
what he  had to do to give Trillian away. Fenchurch was worried about Arthur
going out without any clothes on.
     "Where's Ford?" He cried. "He must know."
     "Arthur, will you put your clothes on," ordered Fenchurch.
     "What?  Oh, alright, but  I'm not going out unless I know what I've got
to do," sulked Arthur.
     "You'll really enjoy  yourself," said  Fenchurch, pulling  his trousers
up.  "I'll  be there to  give you  support." She didn't realise  that Arthur
would be wearing a support.
     Trillian came  in the room,  looking incredible. If Arthur wasn't so in
love with Fenchurch, he  would have asked Trillian to give up Zaphod and run
away with him.
     "You look lovely, Trillian," he said instead.
     "What a beautiful dress," said Fenchurch.
     It was indeed, beautiful. Every cut, stitch and hem was  beautiful. The
whole dress radiated beauty and tanned Arthur.
     "The Tailormatic ran it up," said Trillian. "It is rather nice."
     "Trillian, what have I got to do?" Asked Arthur. "I'm  worried stiff in
case I mess up your big day."
     "Don't worry," said Trillian. "Just wear this."
     She held out a grey cummerbund. Arthur took it and put it on.
     "That doesn't really put my mind at rest," said Arthur.
     "It's a gravity support harness," explained Trillian. "All you  have to
do is take your place next to Fenchurch after you land."
     "Land?" Said Fenchurch.
     "We fly down to the altar," said Trillian.
     "I didn't know you could fly," said Arthur.
     "I don't need to," said Trillian. "I've  got a  gravity support harness
as  well.  A team of marriage technicians handles all  the moves for us. All
we've got to do is relax and enjoy it."
     Arthur couldn't relax and was sure he wasn't going to enjoy himself. He
was standing  by  the  control  room with  Trillian. They  technicians  were
sitting in front of an overwhelming bank of controls and monitor screens.
     "Check on one, cue three for laser entry sequence."
     "Magnetic field generator operational."
     "All vocal Octogrids locked into octophonic harmonic positions."
     "Audience cameras homed in and ready to roll."
     "Red leader to base, I've been hit."
     "Bride and monkey in position."
     Arthur came away.
     "Are you ready?" Asked Trillian, holding Arthur's hand.
     "Ready for what?" Said Arthur. "I can't tell whether they're planning a
wedding or a rock concert."
     "I think it's a  bit of both," grinned Trillian. "You know Zaphod. He's
hired in a team of crying groupies to make me feel lucky."
     "He doesn't deserve you," said Arthur.
     "Tell him  that," said  Trillian. "He's giving me an entry in the Guide
as the luckiest woman in the Universe."
     A large, ugly creature beckoned them  towards him.  His hat declared he
was a veteran of a Disaster Area tour.
     "The eyes of the Universe are  now watching," he said with  a far  away
look in his eye. The other eye was watching for the  cue. He stood holding a
curtain closed. A magnificent noise came from the other side.  A green light
flashed above the curtain.
     "You're on!" He opened the curtain and pushed them out.
     They  floated in a massive, black arena. They were high in the air  and
in the distance could make  out a platform  supporting the specially invited
guests. Spotlights  picked out Arthur  and Trillian  as a 640  strong  vocal
choir  burst  into glorious song.  Arthur  looked around for  the choir  but
couldn't see  them. The Octogrid Vocal Choir  was there  in voice if  not in
body.
     The Octogrid Vocal Choir was the most successful choir in the Universe.
They  contained the best  voices ever heard.  That was  because  some bright
spark,  called Ip, thought what  a waste  it was when  singers  died and  so
indulged in some grave digging. He  rescued the  vocal chords of  some great
singers  and  stretched  them across  an octagonal shaped  grid.  He used  a
computer to stretch and  contract the grid and spun the grid on  its axis so
air passed  through the  vocal chords  to  create  sound. Ip  built  up  his
collection  until he  had enough to create  eight grids of eighty voices and
created  an  octophonic choir.  This was  fine until it  was found that  one
singer had copyrighted his voice, which prevented it's use after the owner's
death. A long, arduous and extremely profitable (for the lawyers) court case
followed  which eventually ended up being settled  out of court by murdering
the  lawyers.  The copyright  firm signed up the  choir, giving Ip a massive
settlement, which  he  used to  put  himself through  Law School  and  later
successfully sued the School for malpractice.
     The Octogrids had  been bordered by reflective strips, which caught the
spotlights and scattered them  all over. Suddenly, Arthur and Trillian  took
flight and flew around the  arena at  a frightening speed. Lighting gantries
exploded into  light and the choir spun themselves into a frenzy. Arthur and
Trillian  dive bombed the  platform and landed with great  delicacy  besides
Zaphod.
     "Nice entrance," he whispered. "You should have been here for mine."
     The lights dimmed and the choir settled down a bit. From above a shower
of  diamond shaped  metal  plates  came down, the spotlights dancing through
them. The plates stopped above the platform, held there by a magnetic field.
The technicians tweeked the field generator and  the plates revolved. Lasers
burst out from  nowhere into  the  magnetic field, deflecting everywhere. It
put even the largest glitterball to shame. The choir  whipped themselves  up
again as a priest floated down in front of the altar. They reached an orgasm
of sound (you had to be there) and fell silent.
     Cameras locked in on the priest as he beckoned the couple forward.
     "Well?" He said.
     "Okay." Said Trillian.
     "Why not." Followed Zaphod.
     The choir erupted again as did the lights and the lasers.
     The ceremony was over.
     CHAPTER 64


     The reception was a  loud, brash affair at Zaphod's  home. The swimming
pool  was filled with Old Janx Spirit and Ford was one of  the first to dive
in. Bolo dived in to save him when he tried to drain the pool orally.
     Arthur and Fenchurch  stood by the  food, trying  to identify something
that looked appetising and edible. It was a long fruitless search.
     "I wouldn't say it was the most romantic  wedding I've  ever been  to,"
said Arthur.
     "It  was  certainly  one  of  the  best gigs  I've  been  to,"  laughed
Fenchurch.
     "Still, I  suppose  the priest could  do  it another way,  if you asked
him," said Arthur.
     "Probably."
     "Not that I was thinking of asking him."
     "Of course not."
     Arthur looked deeply into a Kopwilsilus dip.
     "Arthur, let's get married."
     Arthur looked up.
     "What? Why did you have to say that?"
     "It seemed like you were having trouble."
     "You've  ruined all my plans, I was just building up to a big  speech."
Arthur looked back at the dip, which seemed to look back.
     "I'm sorry, pretend I never said it."
     "Well it's a bit difficult now."
     "Arthur, ask me."
     "Fenchurch, will you marry me?"
     "I'll have to think about it."
     Arthur picked up the dip in mock anger
     "I've thought about it. I will."
     "I'll get the priest."
     "I don't want to get married here, I want to get married on Earth."
     "But that's omps away from here."
     "Well I'm sure Zaphod  or Ford will lend you a towel and  you've  still
got your copy of  the Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. We can leave  after
the party." She paused.
     "You know, I'm really getting into this hitch-hiking lark."






     Space,  like a second sentence, can be  big, confusing and  needs going
through twice to really understand it. One of the few ways to comprehend how
big space can be, is to be subjected to the total perspective vortex, but as
this  usually leads  to death  unless your  ego is as large as  say,  Zaphod
Beeblebrox's,  it is  just as  well to accept  everyone's  word that it  is.
Distances can therefore become ridiculously  large,  large  enough for those
tired with light years (and the  enormous slide rules needed to calculate in
light years) to invent new, exciting words for inexorably large distances. A
Kirpcatorno  is  now widely accepted as a pretty long way (say 23474 to  the
power of the collective ages  of those at a reasonably successful party) and
an 'Omp' is about twice as far as a 'Kirpcatorno.
     However, to prevent distances getting  too conceited about their sizes,
ships such as the Heart  of Gold or the Starship Bistromath were designed to
sprint  through space fast  enough  to make distances  go into a  corner and
sulk.  So  for  Arthur  Dent  to say 'We  must  be  in  Zaphod  Beeblebrox's
neighbourhood'  when  it  is,  in  fact,  36  omps  away,  is  not  entirely
unreasonable for a good hitchhiker.
     To  recap, Arthur Dent, having found a wonderful companion in Fenchurch
(that  being her name, not the place) had visited God's last message  to his
creation, only to have  Marvin die in his arms. Ford Prefect had resumed his
job as a researcher for  that truly wonderful book, The Hitch-Hiker's  Guide
to the Galaxy, with new vigour and was  probably  skulking around some seedy
bar  trying to talk somebody into buying him  a drink. Zaphod Beeblebrox had
settled down with Trillian to raise kids and have a peaceful time not saving
the  Universe. In fact, although saving  the Universe again was the furthest
thought from all their minds (about 421 omps), it was preparing to renew its
acquaintance with them quite shortly.



     Converted to PRC: rml@iconn.com.ph - Ronald Lachenal 9.27.99







Популярность: 18, Last-modified: Sat, 29 Jan 2005 17:55:30 GMT