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HHGTTG - The Lost Chapters

Douglas Adams

  HHGTTG - The Lost Chapters

  Douglas Adams

  Douglas Adams

  HHGTTG - The Lost Chapters


  "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.


  "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 enou
gh 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.