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Screenplay by Douglas Adams

(Transcribed from the movie by Tara Carreon)


TIME: 06:30



This is the story of the Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy, perhaps the most remarkable, certainly the most successful book ever to come out of the great publishing corporations of Ursa Minor. More popular than The Celestial Home Care Omnibus, better selling than Fifty-three More Things To Do in Zero Gravity, and more controversial than Oolon Colluphid's trilogy of philosophical blockbusters, Where God Went Wrong, Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes, and Who is This God Person Anyway? And in many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitchhiker's Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopaedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least warrantly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects. First, it is slightly cheaper and, secondly, it has the words: DON'T PANIC inscribed in large, friendly letters on the cover.

To tell the story of the book, it is best to tell the story of some of those whose lives it affected. A human from the planet Earth was one of them, though, as our story opens, he know more knows his destiny than a tea leaf knows the history of the East India Company. His name is Arthur Dent, he is a six-foot-tall ape descendant, and someone is trying to drive a bypass through his home.



[Construction Supervisor] Come off it, Mr. Dent -- you can't win, you know. You can't lie in front of the bulldozers indefinitely.

[Arthur Dent] I'm game. We'll see who rusts first!

[Construction Supervisor] You're going to have to accept it. This bypass has got to be built and it's going to be built. Nothing you can say ...

[Arthur Dent] Why's it got to be built?

[Construction Supervisor] What do you man -- why's it got to be built? It's a bypass! You've got to build bypasses. You were quite entitled to make any suggestions or protests at the appropriate time.

[Arthur Dent] Appropriate time?! The first I heard about it was when a workman arrived at the door yesterday. I thought he'd come to clean the windows. And he told me he'd come to demolish the house! Oh, he didn't tell me straightaway, of course. No, first he wiped a couple of windows and charged me a fiver! Then he told me!

[Construction Supervisor] But, Mr. Dent, the plans have been available in the planning office for the last nine months!

[Arthur Dent] Oh, yes, of course. As soon as I heard, I went straight round to see them. You hadn't exactly gone out of your way to call much attention to them, have you? Like telling anybody, or anything?

[Construction Supervisor] But the plans were on display!

[Arthur Dent] On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar!

[Construction Supervisor] That's the display department!

[Arthur Dent] With a torch!

[Construction Supervisor] The lights are probably out.

[Arthur Dent] So had the stairs!

[Construction Supervisor] But you did see the notice, didn't you?

[Arthur Dent] Oh, yes. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet, stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign outside the door saying, "Beware of the leopard!" Ever thought of going into advertising?


[Arthur Dent] And you don't get me like that either!

[Construction Supervisor] Mr. Dent, have you any idea how much damage this bulldozer would suffer if I were to let it run straight over you?

[Arthur Dent] How much?

[Construction Supervisor] None at all!

[Narrator] By a strange coincidence, "None at all" is exactly how much suspicion the ape descendant Arthur Dent had that one of his closest friends was not descended from an ape, but was in fact from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse. Arthur Dent's failure to suspect this reflects the care with which his friend blended himself into human society, after a fairly shaky start. When he first arrived 15 years ago, the minimal research he had done suggested to him that the name Ford Prefect would be nicely inconspicuous. He will enter our story in 30 seconds and say, "Hello, Arthur."

The ape descendant will greet him in return but, in deference to a million years of human evolution, he will not attempt to pick fleas off him. Earthmen are not proud of their ancestors and never invite them round to dinner.

[Ford Prefect] Hello, Arthur.

[Arthur Dent] Ford, hi. How are you?

[Ford Prefect] Fine. Look, are you busy?

[Arthur Dent] Busy?! Well, I've just got this bulldozer to lie in front of, or it'll knock my house down, but otherwise ... no, not especially. Why?

[Ford Prefect] Good. Anywhere we can talk?

[Arthur Dent] What?

[Ford Prefect] We've got to talk.

[Arthur Dent] Fine! Talk.

[Ford Prefect] And drink. It's vitally important that we talk and drink. Now! We'll go to the pub in the village.

[Arthur Dent] Ford, you don't understand. That man wants to knock my house down.

[Ford Prefect] Well, he can do that whilst you're away, can't he?

[Arthur Dent] I don't want him to!

[Ford Prefect] Ach!

[Arthur Dent] Ford? What's the matter?

[Ford Prefect] Nothing ... nothing's the matter. Listen tome. I've got to tell you the most important thing you've ever heard. I've got to tell you NOW, and I've got to tell you in the saloon bar of the Red Lion.

[Arthur Dent] Why?

[Ford Prefect] Because you're going to need a very stiff drink!

[Arthur Dent] No! No! What about my house?

[Ford Prefect] He wants to knock your house down?

[Arthur Dent] Yes.

[Ford Prefect] And he can't because you're lying in the way of his bulldozer?

[Arthur Dent] Exactly!

[Ford Prefect] I think we can come to some arrangement. Excuse me!

[Construction Supervisor] Hello? Yes? Has Mr. Dent come to his senses yet?

[Ford Prefect] Can we, for the moment, assume he hasn't?

[Construction Supervisor] Well?

[Ford Prefect] Can we also assume that he's going to be staying there all day?

[Construction Supervisor] So?

[Ford Prefect] So all your men are going to be standing around here all day, doing nothing.

[Construction Supervisor] Could be, could be ...

[Ford Prefect] Well, if you're resigned to that, you don't actually need him to lie there all the time, do you?

[Construction Supervisor] Not as such, no. Not exactly "need" ...

[Ford Prefect] Well, if you'd just like to take it that he's actually there, then he and I could slip off down the pub for half an hour. How does that sound?

[Construction Supervisor] Sounds perfectly reasonable ... I suppose.

[Ford Prefect] And if you'd like to pop off for a quick one yourself later on, we can always cover for you in return.

[Construction Supervisor] Thanks. That you very much. That's very kind.

[Ford Prefect] So, if you'd just like to come here and lie down.

[Construction Supervisor] What?

[Ford Prefect] It's very simple. My client, Mr. Dent, says he will stop lying here in the mud on the sole condition that you take over for him.

[Construction Supervisor] What? Sorry? You want me ... to come and lie down there?

[Ford Prefect] Yes.

[Construction Supervisor] In front of the bulldozer?

[Ford Prefect] Yes.

[Construction Supervisor] Instead of Mr. Dent?

[Ford Prefect] Yes.

[Construction Supervisor] In the mud?

[Ford Prefect] In, as you say, the mud.

[Construction Supervisor] In return for which, you will take Mr. Dent with you down to the pub?

[Ford Prefect] Yes.

[Construction Supervisor] Promise?

[Ford Prefect] Promise. Get up and let the man lie down.

[Construction Supervisor] Thank you.

[Ford Prefect] And no sneaky knocking Mr. Dent's house down while he's away, alright?

[Construction Supervisor] The slightest thought hadn't even begun to speculate about the merest possibility of crossing my mind.

[Arthur Dent] But can we trust him?

[Ford Prefect] Myself, I'd trust him to the end of the Earth.

[Arthur Dent] Yes, but how far's that?

[Ford Prefect] About 12 minutes away. Come on. We've got to go get some alcohol.

[Narrator] Here's what the Encyclopaedia Galactica has to say about alcohol. It says that alcohol is a colourless volatile liquid formed by the fermentation of sugars, and also notes its intoxicating effect on certain carbon-based lifeforms. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy also mentions alcohol. It says that the best drink in existence is the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, the effect of which is like having your brain smashed out with a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick.

The Guide also tells you on which planets the best Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters are mixed, how much you can expect to pay for one, and what voluntary organizations exist to help you rehabilitate.

The man who invented this mind-pummelling drink also invented the wisest remark ever made, which was this: "Never drink more than two pan galactic gargle blasters unless you are a thirty ton mega elephant with bronchial pneumonia." His name is Zaphod Beeblebrox and we shall learn more of his wisdom later.

[Ford Prefect] Six pints of bitter. And quickly, please because the world's about to end.

[Bartender] Oh, yes, sir? Nice weather for it. Going to the match today, sir?

[Ford Prefect] No. No point.

[Bartender] Foregone conclusion then eh? Arsenal no chance?

[Ford Prefect] No, the world's about to end.

[Bartender] Oh, yes, sir. So you said. Lucky escape for Arsenal if it did.

[Ford Prefect] No, not really.

[Bartender] There you are, sir. Six pints.

[Ford Prefect] Keep the change.

[Bartender] What? From a fiver, sir? Oh thank you, sir!

[Ford Prefect] You've got ten minutes left to spend it!

[Arthur Dent] Ford, will you please tell me what the hell's going on? I think I'm beginning to lose my grip on the day.

[Ford Prefect] Drink up. You've got three pints to get through!

[Arthur Dent] Three pints? At lunchtime?

[Ford Prefect] Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so.

[Arthur Dent] Very deep. You should send that in to the Reader's Digest. They've got a page for people like you!

[Ford Prefect] Drink up.

[Arthur Dent] Why three pints?

[Ford Prefect] Muscle relaxant. You're going to need it.

[Arthur Dent] Did I do something wrong this morning or has the world always been like this, and I've been too wrapped up in myself to notice?

[Ford Prefect] I'll try to explain. How long have we known each other?

[Arthur Dent] Five years, maybe six. Most of it seemed to make some kind of sense at the time.

[Ford Prefect] Alright. How would you react if I told you I'm not from Guildford after all, but from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse?

[Arthur Dent] I don't know. Why -- do you think it's the sort of think you're likely to say?

[Ford Prefect] Drink up. The world is about to end.

[Arthur Dent] This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays.

[Narrator] On this particular Thursday, things were moving through the ionosphere many miles above the surface of the planet. Several huge yellow slab-like somethings, huge as office blocks, silent as birds, they hung in the air exactly the same way that bricks don't. The planet was almost totally oblivious of their presence. They went unnoticed at Goonhilly, they passed over Cape Canaveral without a blip, and Woomera and Jodrell Bank looked straight through them; which was a pity, because it was exactly the sort of thing they'd been looking for all these years. Arthur Dent, too, had other things on his mind.


[Arthur Dent] What's that?

[Ford Prefect] They haven't started yet.

[Arthur Dent] Good.

[Ford Prefect] It's probably just your house being torn down.

[Arthur Dent] What?

[Ford Prefect] Five minutes to go.

[Arthur Dent] Damn you and your fairy stories, they're smashing up my home! Stop, you vandals! You home wreckers! You half-crazed Visigoths, stop!

[Ford Prefect] Arthur! Come back! It's pointless! Barman, quickly, can you just give me four packets of peanuts?

[Bartender] Just a minute, sir. I'm just serving this gentleman.

[Ford Prefect] Well, what's the point. He's going to be dead in a few minutes! Come on!

[Bartender] Yeah, just a minute, sir. Do you mind, sir?

[Ford Prefect] Pork scratchings. Peanuts! How much?

[Bartender] What?

[Ford Prefect] Have it. Have it. Keep it!

[Bartender] You serious sir? Do you really think the world is going to end this afternoon?

[Ford Prefect] Uh, yes, in just over 3 minutes and 5 seconds.

[Bartender] Well, isn't there anything we can do?

[Ford Prefect] No, nothing.

[Bartender] I always thought we were supposed to lie down or put a paper bag over your head or something.

[Ford Prefect] Yes, if you like.

[Bartender] Will that help?

[Ford Prefect] No. Excuse me. I've got to go.

[Bartender] Oh, well, then ... Last orders, please!

[Arthur Dent] You pin-striped barbarians! I'll sue the council for every penny you've got! I'll have you hung, drawn, quartered, and whipped and boiled ... until ... until you've had enough!

[Ford Prefect] Arthur, don't. There's no point. There's only a minute or so left.

[Arthur Dent] And then I'll do it some more! And then I'll take all the little bits and jump on them and I'll carry on until I get blisters, or I think of something worse to do.


[Arthur Dent] What the hell's that?

[Ford Prefect] Arthur, quick! Over here!

[Arthur Dent] What the hell is it?

[Ford Prefect] It's a fleet of flying saucers -- what do you think it is? Take hold of this.

[Arthur Dent] What do you mean, a fleet of flying saucers?

[Ford Prefect] A Vogon constructor fleet.

[Arthur Dent] A what?

[Ford Prefect] A Vogon constructor fleet. I picked up news of their arrival a few hours ago on my sub-etha radio.

[Arthur Dent] Ford, I don't think I can cope with much more of this. I think I'm going to have a little lie-down somewhere.

[Ford Prefect] No, stay here. Stay calm. And take hold of this.


[Vogon Captain] People of Earth, attention, please! People of Earth, your attention please! This is Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council. As you are probably aware, the plans for the development of the outlying regions of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy require the building of a hyperspace express route through your star system, and, regrettably, your planet is one of those scheduled for demolition. The process will take slightly less than two of your Earth minutes. Thank you very much.


[Man] Get out of it!

[Woman] No! No! No! Go away! Go away!

[Vogon Captain] All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display in your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for 50 of your Earth years, and so you've had plenty of time to lodge any complaints and it's far too late to make a fuss about it now!


[Vogon Captain] What do you mean you've never been to Alpha Centauri? Oh, for heaven's sake, mankind! It's only four light years away, you know! I'm sorry, but if you can't be bothered to take an interest in local affairs, that's your own lookout! Energize the demolition beam! God, I don't know! Apathetic bloody planet, I've no sympathy at all!

[Ford Prefect] I bought some peanuts.

[Arthur Dent] Uh?

[Ford Prefect] We've just been through a matter-transference beam. You've probably lost some salt and protein. The beer should have cushioned your system a bit. How are you feeling?

[Arthur Dent] Like a military academy. Bits of me keep passing out! Ford, if I asked you where the hell we were, would I regret it?

[Ford Prefect] We're safe.

[Arthur Dent] Ah, good.

[Ford Prefect] We're in a cabin of one of the ships of the Vogon constructor fleet.

[Arthur Dent] Ah, this is obviously some strange usage of the word "safe" that I hadn't previously been aware of. What are you doing?

[Ford Prefect] Looking for the light.

[Arthur Dent] How did we get here?

[Ford Prefect] We hitched a lift.

[Arthur Dent] Excuse me! Are you telling me we just stuck our thumbs out and some green bug-eyed monster popped his head out and said, "Hi fellows. Hop right in! I can take you as far as the Basingstoke roundabout"?

[Ford Prefect] Well, the thumb's an electronic sub-etha device, and the roundabout's at Barnard's Star, but otherwise that's more or less right.

[Arthur Dent] And the bug-eyed monster?

[Ford Prefect] Is green, yes!

[Arthur Dent] Fine. When can I go home?

[Ford Prefect] You can't. Ah!

[Arthur Dent] Good grief! Is this really the interior of a flying saucer?

[Ford Prefect] Yes. What do you think?

[Arthur Dent] Well, it's a big squalid, isn't it?


[Arthur Dent] What's that, Ford? What the hell is it?

[Ford Prefect] Oh come on! Let's get out of here!

[Arthur Dent] But Ford, it's going to attack us!

[Ford Prefect] No, no, no, it just wants us to turn the lights out. Come on. Shh! Sleeping quarters. We woke them up.


[Arthur Dent] Ford, they were ...

[Ford Prefect] What?

[Arthur Dent] Aliens?

[Ford Prefect] Dentrassi.

[Arthur Dent] But, Ford. What's going on?

[Ford Prefect] Here, have a look at this.

[Arthur Dent] What is it?

[Ford Prefect] The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a sort of electronic book. It'll tell you everything you've got to know.

[Arthur Dent] I like the cover. "Don't panic"! That's the first helpful or intelligent thing anyone's said to me all day!

[Ford Prefect] Yes, that's why it sells so well. Shh!

[Arthur Dent] What?

[Ford Prefect] "Don't panic"! Look. Fast wind index ... V. Vogon Constructor Fleets. Enter that code and see what it says. I'll keep watch.


[HG] Vogon Constructor Fleets: Here is what to do if you want to get a lift from a Vogon ... Forget it. They are one of the most unpleasant races in the galaxy -- not actually evil, but bad tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous. They wouldn't even lift a finger to save their own grandmothers from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal without orders signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public enquiry, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as fire lighters.

The best way to get a drink out of a Vogon is to stick your finger down his throat ... and the best way to annoy him is to feed his grandmother to the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal.

[Arthur Dent] What an extraordinary book! How did we get on board, then?

[Ford Prefect] The Dentrassi let us on board.

[Arthur Dent] I thought you said they were called Bogons.

[Ford Prefect] Vogons.

[Arthur Dent] Not Dentrassi?

[Ford Prefect] No. Dentrassi are the in-flight caterers. Hey, Hagra biscuit! The greatest! You'll love these guys! They cook the hoopiest frood food in the whole of the West Galaxy! Go on. Have a bite. Go on, go on, go on, try it. Your mouth will love you for the rest of your life.

[Arthur Dent] Oh, it's revolting!

[Ford Prefect] Oh, come on! This stuff is the greatest. Mmm! I think those guys must really hate the Vogons. Now, remember this -- Dentrassi hate Vogons. That's why they let us on board. Let's go!

[Arthur Dent] But if the Dentrassi let us on board, why doesn't the Guide mention them?

[Ford Prefect] It's not very accurate.

[Arthur Dent] Oh?

[Ford Prefect] I'm researching the new edition. Ah, storeroom.

[Arthur Dent] Where are we going?

[Ford Prefect] Who knows? Off this ship, that's for sure!

[Arthur Dent] But we've only just arrived. Aren't we going to say hello and thank you and things?

[Ford Prefect] Listen, this is a Vogon spaceship. We just pick up what we need and get off it! Right?

[Arthur Dent] Right.

[Ford Prefect] Stun guns.

[Arthur Dent] Any good?

[Ford Prefect] No.

[Arthur Dent] Ford, who are you?

[Ford Prefect] I told you -- I'm a field researcher for the Guide. Telecom systems.


[Ford Prefect] I got stuck on the Earth longer than I meant. Went for a week, got stuck for 15 years. Telepsychic helmets. Huh-huh!

[Arthur Dent] But how did you get here in the first place?

[Ford Prefect] Easy. I got a lift with a teaser ... Hypno rays?

[Arthur Dent] Teasers?

[FP} Yeah, teasers are rich kids with nothing to do. They cruise around the Galaxy looking for planets that no one's made contact with yet and buzz them.

[Arthur Dent] Buzz them?

[FP} Yeah. They find some isolated spot, and land right by some unsuspecting soul that no one's ever going to believe, and strut up and down in front of them, making beep-beep noises. Rather childish, really. Ah! A towel! Keep this and guard it with your life.

[Arthur Dent] Huh?

[Ford Prefect] Listen, it's a tough universe There's all sorts of people trying to do you, kill you, rip you off, everything. If you're going to survive out there, you've really got to know where your towel is. Now, fish.

[Arthur Dent] Huh?

[Ford Prefect] Fish. Over here, I think.

[Arthur Dent] Fish?


[Ford Prefect] Fish.

[Arthur Dent] Very nice.

[Ford Prefect] Very, very useful.


[Arthur Dent] What do you expect me to do with that?

[Ford Prefect] Stick it in your ear.

[Arthur Dent] What?!

[Ford Prefect] It's only a little one!


Listen, it's important.

[Arthur Dent] What?

[Ford Prefect] The Vogon captain.

[Arthur Dent] But I can't speak Vogon.

[Ford Prefect] You don't have to. Just put this in your ear!

[Arthur Dent] Yecch!

[Vogon Captain] ... should have a good time. Message repeat. This is your captain speaking, so stop whatever you're doing and pay attention. First of all, I see from our instruments that we have a couple of hitchhikers on board our ship. Hello, wherever you are! I just want to make it totally clear that you are not at all welcome. I worked hard to get where I am today and I didn't become captain of a Vogon ship simply to turn it into a taxi service for a lot of degenerate freeloaders. I have sent out a search party and, as soon as they find you, I shall turn you off the ship. If you're very lucky, I might read you some of my poetry first.

Now secondly, we are about to jump into hyperspace for the journey to Barnard's Star. On arrival, we will stay in dock for 72 hours and all planet leave is cancelled. I've just had an unhappy love affair, so I don't see why anybody else should have a good time. Message ends.

[Arthur Dent] Poetry? What are you doing?

[Ford Prefect] Preparing for hyperspace. It's rather unpleasantly like being drunk.

[Arthur Dent] What's so wrong about being drunk?

[Ford Prefect] Ask a glass of water. Now lie down, on your back. Grip the towel between your ankles like this.

[Arthur Dent] What?

[Ford Prefect] Just do it!

[Arthur Dent] Like this?

[Ford Prefect] Right. Now wait.

[Arthur Dent] Excuse me, Ford, but what exactly am I doing with this fish in my ear?

[Ford Prefect] It's translating for you. Look in the book under Babel Fish.


[Arthur Dent] What's happening?

[Ford Prefect] We're going into hyperspace.

[Arthur Dent] I'll never be cruel to a gin and tonic again!

[HG] The Babel Fish is small, yellow, leechlike, and probably the oddest thing in the universe. It feeds on brain wave energy, absorbing all unconscious frequencies and then excreting telepathically a matrix formed from the conscious frequencies and nerve signals picked up from the speech centers of the brain, the practical upshot of which is that if you stick one in your ear, you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language: The speech you hear decodes the brain wave matrix.

Now it is such a bizarrely improbably coincidence that anything so mind-bogglingly useful could evolve purely by chance, that many thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the non existence of God. The argument runs something like this. "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God. "For proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing." "But," says man, "the babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It proves you exist and so therefore you don't. QED." "Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic. "Oh, that was easy," says man, and for an encore he goes on to prove that black is white and gets killed on the next zebra crossing.

Most leading theologians claim that this argument is a load of dingo's kidneys. But this didn't stop Oolon Colluphid making a small fortune when he used it as the central theme for his best selling book, "Well That About Wraps It Up for God."

Meanwhile, the poor babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communications between different cultures and races, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.

[Arthur Dent] Hey Ford, this towel has moved.

[Ford Prefect] Yes. That's a six-light-year jump. Good. That means we're near Barnard's Star. We can jump a ship there.

[Arthur Dent] Can we? Look, I hate to ask this Ford, but what exactly am I doing here?

[Ford Prefect] Simple. I rescued you from the Earth.

[Arthur Dent] Well, what happened to the Earth?

[Ford Prefect] It's been disintegrated.

[Arthur Dent] Has it?

[Ford Prefect] Yes. It just boiled away into space.

[Arthur Dent] Listen, I'm a bit upset about that.

[Ford Prefect] Oh, well.

[Arthur Dent] All gone? Nothing left? What about the book? Maybe the book's got something!


[Arthur Dent] It doesn't seem to have an entry.

[Ford Prefect] Yes, it does -- at the bottom of the screen. Under Eccentrica Cullumbits, the triple-breasted whore of Eroticon 6.

[Arthur Dent] Oh, yes. What does it say? "Harmless." Just one word? Harmless?

[Ford Prefect] Well, it's the old edition. Listen, there are 100 billion stars in the Galaxy and not much space in the book. No one knew much about Earth then, of course!

[Arthur Dent] Well I hope you managed to rectify that a bit!

[Ford Prefect] Well, yes. I transmitted a new entry off to the editor. It's not much, but it's still an improvement.

[Arthur Dent] What does it say now?

[Ford Prefect] "Mostly harmless."

[Arthur Dent] Mostly harmless?

[Ford Prefect] Oh, come. I think that's pretty good coverage for a disintegrated pile of rubble!

[Arthur Dent] I see. And that's supposed to make me feel better, is it?

[Ford Prefect] Come on! Let's get down to the teleport.


[Arthur Dent] What the hell's that?

[Ford Prefect] If we're lucky, it's a Vogon guard come to throw us into space.

[Arthur Dent] And if we're unlucky?

[Ford Prefect] The Vogon captain might want to read us some of his poetry first.



"Far out, in the uncharted backwaters at the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy, lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly 92 million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended lifeforms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea. This planet has -- or had -- a problem, which was this -- most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd, because, on the whole, it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy. And so the problem remained and lots of the people were mean, and most of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches.


Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move and that no one should ever have left the oceans. And then, one day, nearly 2,000 years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, a girl sitting on her own in a small cafe in Rickmansworth suddenly realized what it was had been going wrong all this time, and she finally knew how the world could be made a good and happy place. This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to anything. Sadly, however, before she could get to a phone to tell anyone, the Earth was demolished to make way for a hyperspace by-pass and so the idea was lost forever.

Meanwhile, Arthur Dent has escaped from the Earth in the company of a friend of his, who has unexpectedly turned out to be from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse, and not from Guildford after all. His name is Ford Prefect, for reasons which are unlikely to become clear again at the moment, and they are currently hiding in the storeroom of a Vogon spaceship.

[Arthur Dent] What the hell is that?

[Ford Prefect] If we're lucky, it's a Vogon guard come to throw us out into space.

[Arthur Dent] And if we're unlucky?

[Ford Prefect] The Vogon captain might want to read us some of his poetry first.


[Vogon Captain] Oh, freddled gruntbuggly!
Thy micturitions are to me
As plurdled gabbleblotchits on a lurgid bee
That mordiously hath bitled out its earted jurtles


Now the jurpling slayjid agrocrustles
Are slurping hagrilly up the axlegruts

[Narrator] Vogon poetry is, of course, the third worst in the Universe. The second worst is that of the Azgoths of Kria. During a recitation by their poetmaster Grunthos the Flatulent of his poem: Ode to a Small Lump of Green Putty I found in my Armpit One Midsummer Morning, four of his audience died of internal haemorrhaging, and the president of the Mid-Galactic Arts Nobbling Council only survived by gnawing one of his own legs off. Grunthos is reported to have been disappointed by the poem's reception, and was about to embark on a reading of his 12-book epic entitled Zen and the Art of Going to the Lavatory when his own major intestine, in a desperate attempt to save lifekind, leapt straight up through his neck and throttled his brain.

The very worst poetry of all, and its creator, Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings, of Greenbridge, Essex, England, perished in the destruction of the planet Earth. Vogon poetry is mild by comparison.


[Vogon Captain] Now the jurpling slayjid agrocrustles
Are slurping hagrilly up the axlegrurts
And living glupules frart and slipulate
Like jowling meated liverslime.
Groop I implore thee
My frooting turling dromes
And hooptiously drangle me with crinkly bindlewurdles
Or else I shall rend thee in the gobberwarts with my blurglecruncheon
See if I don't!
So, Earthlings ...

[Ford Prefect] I'm not an Earthling.

[Vogon Captain] Quiet! I present you with a simple choice. Think very carefully, for your very lives lie in your hands. Now choose! Either die in the vacuum of space or tell me how good you thought my poem was.

[Arthur Dent] I liked it.

[Ford Prefect] Huh?

[Arthur Dent] Oh, yes. I thought some of the metaphysical imagery was really particularly effective.

[Vogon Captain[ Yes?

[Arthur Dent] Oh, and interesting ... rhythmic devices ... which seemed to counterpoint the, er ...

[Ford Prefect] Counterpoint the surrealism of the underlying metaphor of the, er ...

[Arthur Dent] The Humanity ...

[Ford Prefect] Vognity ...

[Arthur Dent] Vogonity, sorry! Of the poet's compassionate soul, which strives through the medium of the verse structure to sublimate this, transcend that, and come to terms with the fundamental dichotimies of the other, and one is left with a profound and vivid insight into ... into ...

[Ford Prefect[ Into whatever the poem was about. That was very good.

[Vogon Captain] So, what you are saying is that I just write poetry because underneath my mean and callous, heartless exterior, I just want to be loved, is that it?

[Ford Prefect] Well, I mean, yes, don't we all, deep down, underneath, you know?

[Vogon Captain] No! You're completely wrong. I write poetry just to throw my mean, callous, heartless exterior into sharp relief. I'm going to throw you off the ship anyway. Guard! Take the prisoners to number 3 airlock and throw them out.

[Ford Prefect] This is great! This is really terrific!

[Arthur Dent] Ow! Let go of me, you brute!

[Ford Prefect] Don't worry -- I'll think of something.

[Vogon Guard] Resistance is useless!

[Arthur Dent] What is all this, Ford? I woke up this morning, thought I'd have a nice, relaxed day, do a bit of reading, brush the dog. It's just now after 4:00 in the afternoon, and I'm already being thrown out of an alien spaceship five light years from the smoking remains of the Earth.

[Ford Prefect] Alright, just stop panicking!

[Arthur Dent] Who said anything about panicking? This is just culture shock! Wait till I've settled down and found my bearings! Then I'll start panicking!

[Ford Prefect] Arthur, you're getting hysterical! Shut up!

[Vogon Guard] Resistance is useless!

[Ford Prefect] And you!

[Vogon Guard] Resistance is useless!

[Ford Prefect] Aw, give it a rest! Do you enjoy this sort of thing?

[Vogon Guard] What? What do you mean?

[Ford Prefect] I mean, does it give you a full, satisfying life?

[Vogon Guard] Full, satisfying life?

[Ford Prefect] Yeah, stomping around, shouting, pushing people off spaceships.

[Vogon Guard] Well, the hours are good!

[Ford Prefect] They'd have to be!

[Arthur Dent] Ford, what are you doing?

[Ford Prefect] Shh! So, the hours are good, are they?

[Vogon Guard] Yeah. But now you come to mention it, most of the actual minutes are pretty lousy. Except some of the shouting I quite like. RESISTANCE ... !

[Ford Prefect] Sure, yes, you're good at that, I can tell. But if the rest of it is so lousy, why do you do it? The girls? The rubber? The machismo?

[Vogon Guard] Oh, I don't know, really. I think I just sort of ... do it. You see, my aunt said that spaceship guard was a good career for a young Vogon, you know, the uniform, the low-slung stun-ray holster, mindless tedium.

[Arthur Dent] Ford; this guy's half-throttling me!

[Ford Prefect] Yeah, but try and understand his problem. Here he is, poor guy, his entire life is spent stamping around, pushing people off spaceships ...

[Vogon Guard] And shouting ...

[Ford Prefect] Yeah, and shouting! Yeah! And he doesn't even know why he's doing it.

[Arthur Dent] Oh, poignant, very poignant!

[Vogon Guard] Oh, put it like that ...

[Ford Prefect] Good lad.

[Vogon Guard] All right, but what's the alternative?

[Ford Prefect] Well, stop doing it of course! Tell them you're not going to do it any more. Stand up to them!

[Vogon Guard] Doesn't sound that great to me!

[Ford Prefect] Oh, but that's just the start. There's more to it than that, you see ...

[Vogon Guard] No, if it's all the same to you, I think I'll just get you two shoved out, and then get on with some other piece of shouting I've got to do. RESISTANCE IS USELESS!

[Ford Prefect] But come on now, look!

[Arthur Dent] Ow! Stop that!

[Ford Prefect] Hang on! There's music and art and things to tell you about yet!

[Vogon Guard] I think I better just stick to what I know, thanks, but thanks for taking an interest.

[Arthur Dent] I've got a headache! I don't want to go to heaven with a headache! I'll be all cross and I won't enjoy it.

[Ford Prefect] Look. There's a whole world you know nothing about. Now listen. How about this ...? (he hums Beethoven's Fifth) Doesn't that stir anything in you?

[Vogon Guard] No. Bye. I'll tell my aunt what you said.


[Ford Prefect] Potentially bright lad, I thought.

[Vogon Guard] (He hums Beethoven's Fifth) Nah!

[Arthur Dent] We're trapped now, aren't we?

[Ford Prefect] Yeah, we're trapped.

[Arthur Dent] Well, didn't you think of anything?

[Ford Prefect] Yeah.

[Arthur Dent] What?

[Ford Prefect] Unfortunately, it involved being on the other side of this hatchway.

[Arthur Dent] So that's it? We're going to die?

[Ford Prefect] Yeah. Except ... no! Wait a minute! What's this switch?

[Arthur Dent] What? Where?

[Ford Prefect] No, I was only fooling. We're going to die after all.

[Arthur Dent] You know, it's at times like this, when I'm stuck in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse about to die of asphyxiation in deep space, that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young.

[Ford Prefect] Why? What did she tell you?

[Arthur Dent] I don't know ... I didn't listen.

[Ford Prefect] Terrific.


[Vogon Captain] "Counterpoint the surrealism of the underlying metaphor"! Huh! Death's too good for them!

[Narrator] The Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. The introduction starts like this: Space, it says, is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space. Listen ... it's just so big that by comparison, bigness itself looks ... and so on.

After a while, the style settles down a bit, and it starts telling you things you actually need to know, like the fact that the fabulously beautiful planet of Bethselamin is now so worried about the cumulative erosion caused by over 10 billion visiting tourists a year that any net imbalance between the amount you eat and the amount you excrete whilst on the planet is surgically removed from your body weight when you leave.


So every time you go to the lavatory there, it's vitally important to get a receipt.

In the entry in which it talks about dying of asphyxiation 30 seconds after being thrown out of a spaceship, it goes on to say that space being the size it is, the chances of being picked up by another craft within those seconds are two to the power of two hundred and sixty thousand, one hundred and ninety-nine to one against which, by a staggering coincidence, was also the phone number of an Islington flat where Arthur once went to a a very good party, where he ate some very good food, had some very good drinks with some very good friends and met a very nice girl whom he totally failed to get off with.

[Zaphod] Is this guy bothering you?

[Narrator] Though the planet Earth, the Islington flat, and the telephone have all now been demolished, it's comforting to reflect that they are all in some small way commemorated by the fact that some 29 seconds later Arthur and Ford were, in fact, rescued.

[Ford Prefect] See, I told you I'd think of something.

[Arthur Dent] Oh, sure!

[Ford Prefect] Bright idea of mine to find a passing spaceship and get rescued by it.

[Arthur Dent] Oh, come on! The chances against it were astronomical.

[Ford Prefect] Don't knock it! It worked! Where the hell are we?

[Arthur Dent] Well, I hardly like to say this, but it looks like the seafront at Southend.

[Ford Prefect] God, I'm relieved to hear you say that!

[Arthur Dent] Why?

[Ford Prefect] I thought I must be going mad!

[Arthur Dent] Perhaps you are. Perhaps you only thought I said it.

[Ford Prefect] Well, did you or didn't you?

[Arthur Dent] I think so.

[Ford Prefect] Perhaps we're both going mad.

[Arthur Dent] Nice day for it -- sun ...

[Ford Prefect] Sea ...

[Arthur Dent] You know, if this is Southend, there's something very odd about it.

[Ford Prefect] What? You mean the way the sea stays steady as a rock and the buildings keep washing up and down? I thought that was odd.

[Trillian] 2 to the power of 100,000 to 1 against and falling.

[Arthur Dent] What's that?

[Ford Prefect] I don't know. It sounded like a measurement of probability.

[Arthur Dent] What does it mean?

[Ford Prefect] I don't know. But I definitely think we're on some kind of spaceship.

[Arthur Dent] Then, I can only assume we're not in the first-class compartment! Southend seems to be melting away. The stars are swirling ... a dustbowl ... snow ... My leg's drifting off into the sunset. My left arm's disappeared! How am I going to operate my digital watch now?


[Arthur Dent] Ford, you're turning into a penguin! Stop it!

[Ford Prefect] Qu -- what?

[Trillian] 2 to the power of 75,000 to 1 against and falling ...

[Ford Prefect] Hey! Who are you? Where are you? What's going on? And is there any way of stopping it?

[Trillian] Please relax. You are perfectly safe.

[Ford Prefect] That is not the point! The point is that I am now a perfectly safe penguin, and my colleague is rapidly running out of limbs. Isn't there anything you feel you ought to be telling us?

[Trillian] Welcome to the starship Heart of Gold. Please do not be alarmed by anything you see or hear around you. You are bound to feel some initial ill effects as you have been rescued from certain death at an improbability level of 2 to the power of 260,199 to 1 against, possibly much higher. We are now cruising at a level of 2 to the power of 25,000 to 1 against and falling, and we will be restoring normality as soon as we are sure what is normal anyway. Thank you. 2 to the power ...

[Ford Prefect] Arthur, this is fantastic! We've been picked up by a ship with the new infinite Improbability Drive! This is incredible, Arthur.


[Ford Prefect] Arthur? What's happening?

[Arthur Dent] Ford, there's an infinite number of monkeys out here who want to talk to us about this script for Hamlet they've worked out.

[Narrator] The Infinite Improbability Drive is a wonderful new method of crossing interstellar distances in a few seconds, without all that tedious mucking about in hyperspace. The principle of generating small amounts of finite improbability, by simply hooking the logic circuits of a Bambleweeny 57 Sub-Meson Brain to an atomic vector plotter suspended in a Brownian Motion producer -- say, a nice hot cup of tea -- had long been understood, and such generators were often used to break the ice at parties by making all the molecules in the hostess's undergarments simultaneously leap one foot to the left, in accordance with the theory of indeterminacy. Many respectable physicists said that they weren't going to stand for such a thing, partly because it was a debasement of science, but mostly because they didn't get invited to those sort of parties. Another thing they couldn't stand was the perpetual failure they encountered in trying to construct a machine which could generate the Infinite Improbability field needed to flip a spaceship between the furthest stars and, in the end, they grumpily announced that such a machine was virtually impossible.

And then, one evening, a student, who had been left to sweep up the lab after a particularly unsuccessful party, found himself reasoning this way: "If such a machine is a virtual impossibility, then it must, logically, be a finite improbability. So all I have to do in order to make one is to work out exactly how improbable it is, feed that figure into the finite improbability generator, give it a fresh cup of really hot tea and turn it on." The moment he did this, he was rather startled to discover that he had managed to create the long sought-after Infinite Improbability Generator out of thin air. It startled him even more when, just after he was awarded the Galactic Institute's prize for extreme cleverness, he got lynched by a rampaging mob of respectable physicists who had finallyl realized that the one thing they really couldn't stand was a smartass!

[Trillian] 5 to 1 against and falling. 4 to 1 against and falling. 3 to 1, 2 ...1. Probability factor of 1 to 1. We have normality. I repeat -- we have normality. Anything you still can't cope with is, therefore, your own problem.

[Zaphod] Who are they, Trillian?

[Trillian] Oh just a couple of guys we picked up in open space. Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha.

[Zaphod] Yeah, well that's a very sweet thought, Trillian, but do you really think it's wise right now? I mean, here we are on the run and everything, we've got the police of half the Galaxy after us, and we stop to pick up hitchhikers. Yeah, okay,, 10 out of 10 for style, but minus several million for good thinking, huh?

[Trillian] They were floating unprotected in open space. You didn't want them to die, did you?

[Zaphod] Well, no, not as such, but you know.

[Trillian] A second later and they'd have been dead.

[Zaphod] So if you'd taken the trouble to think about it a moment longer, it would've gone away, right?

[Trillian] Anyway, I didn't pick them up. The ship did -- all by itself.

[Zaphod] Hey, what?

[B2] Hey, what?

[Zaphod] The ship picked them up by itself.

[B2] So what?

[Zaphod] The ship ... Oh, forget it and go back to sleep!

[B2] Heyyyyy.


[Trillian] We picked them up while we were in Infinite Improbability Drive.

[Zaphod] But that's incredible!

[Trillian] No, just very, very improbable. Look, don't worry about the aliens. They are just a couple of guys, I expect. I'll send the robot down to check them out. Hey, Marvin?

[Marvin] I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed.

[Zaphod] Oh, God!

[Trillian] Here's something to occupy you and take your mind off things.

[Marvin] It won't work. I have an exceptionally large mind.

[Trillian] Marvin!

[Marvin] All right. What do you want me to do?

[Trillian] Go down to number 3 entry bay and bring the two aliens up here under surveillance.

[Marvin] Just that?

[Trillian] Yes.

[Marvin] I won't enjoy it.

[Zaphod] She's not asking you to enjoy it, just do it, will you?

[Marvin] All right! I'll do it.

[Zaphod] Oh, good, good, great. Thank you.

[Marvin] I'm not getting you down at all, am I?

[Trillian] No, no, Marvin, that's just fine, really.

[Marvin] I wouldn't like to think I was getting you down.

[Trillian] No, don't you worry about that. You just act as comes naturally and everything will be fine.

[Marvin] You're sure you don't mind?

[Zaphod] No, it's just all part of life.

[Marvin] Life! Don't talk to me about life!

[Trillian] I don't think I can stand that robot much longer, Zaphod.

[Narrator] The Encyclopaedia Galactica defines a robot as a mechanical apparatus designed to do the work of a man. The Marketing Division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation defines a robot as: your plastic pal who's fun to be with!

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy defines the Marketing Division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation as a bunch of mindless jerks who'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes. With a footnote to the effect that the editors would welcome applications for anyone interested in taking over the post of robotics correspondent. Curiously enough, an edition of the Encyclopaedia Galactica that fell through a time warp from 1,000 years in the future defines the Marketing Division of the Sirius Cybnernetics Corporation as "A bunch of mindless jerks who were the first against the wall when the revolution came."

[Ford Prefect] I think this ship is brand-new, Arthur.

[Arthur Dent] Why, have you got some exotic device for measuring the age of metal?

[Ford Prefect] No. I just found this sales brochure on the floor. It says, "The Universe can be yours for a mere five quilliard Altairian dollars."

[Arthur Dent] Cheap?

[Ford Prefect] A quilliard is a whole page full of noughts with a one at the beginning. Ah, listen, this is what I was after! "Sensational new breakthrough in improbability physics. As the ship's drive reaches Infinite Improbability, it passes simultaneously through every point in the Universe. Be the envy of other major governments." I mean, wow! This is really big league stuff.

[Arthur Dent] Well, it's a whole lot better than that dingy Vogon crate! This is my idea of a spaceship, all gleaming metal, flashing lights, everything. Oh! I wonder what will happen if I press this button?

[Ford Prefect] Don't!


[Arthur Dent] Oh!

[Ford Prefect] What happened?

[Arthur Dent] A sign lit up saying, "Please do not press this button again."

[Ford Prefect] They make a big thing of the ship's cybernetics. A new generation of Sirius Cybernetics Corporation computers and robots with the new GPP feature.

[Arthur Dent] GPP? What's that?

[Ford Prefect] Uh, it says, Genuine People Personalities.

[Arthur Dent] Sounds ghastly.

[Marvin] It is.

[Ford Prefect] What?

[Marvin] It all is. Absolutely ghastly. Just don't even talk about it. Look at this door. All the doors in this spacecraft have a cheerful and sunny disposition. It is their pleasure to open for you and their satisfaction to close again with the knowledge of a job well done.

[Door] Glad to be of service.

[Marvin] Hateful, isn't it? Come on. I've been ordered to take you up to the bridge. Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they tell me to take you up to the bridge. Call that job satisfaction? 'Cause I don't!

[Ford Prefect] Uh, hey, excuse me, which government owns this ship?

[Marvin] You watch this door. It's about to open again. I can tell by the intolerable air of smugness it suddenly generates.

[Door] Please enjoy your trip through this door!

[Marvin] Come on.

[Door] Thank you!

[Marvin] Thank you very much the Marketing Division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation!

[Ford Prefect] Excuse me, which government ...?

[Marvin] Let's build robots with Genuine People Personalities," they said, so they tried it out with me. I'm a personality prototype. You can tell, can't you?

[Ford Prefect] Which govern ...?

[Marvin] I hate that door. I'm not getting you down, am I?

[Ford Prefect] Which governments owns this ...?

[Marvin] No government owns it. It's been stolen.

[Arthur Dent] Stolen?

[Marvin] "Stolen"?

[Ford Prefect] Who by?

[Marvin] Zaphod Beeblebrox.

[Ford Prefect] Zaphod Beebelbrox?!

[Marvin] Sorry, did I say something wrong? Pardon me for breathing, which I never do anyway, so I don't know why I bother to say it. Oh, God, I'm so depressed! Here's another of those self-satisfied doors! Life! Don't talk to me about life!

[Arthur Dent] No one even mentioned it!

[Door] Glad to be of service.

[Ford Prefect] Really, Zaphod Beeblebrox!

[TV] Reports brought to you here on the sub-etha waveband, broadcasting around the Galaxy, around the clock. We'll be saying a big hello to all intelligent lifeforms everywhere. And to everyone else out there, the secret is to bang the rocks together, guys. And of course, the big news story tonight is the sensational theft of the Improbability prototype ship, by none other than Zaphod Beelbebrox. And the question everyone's asking is has the big Zee finally flipped? Beeblebrox, the man who invented the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, ex-confidence trickster, part-time Galactic President, once described by Eccentrica Gallumbits, the triple-breasted whore of Erotican 6, as "The best bang since the big one," and recently voted the worst-dressed sentient being in the Universe for the seventh time running. Has he got an answer this time? We asked his private brain care specialist Gag Halfrunt.

[Gag Halfrunt] Well, look. Zaphod's just zis guy, you know.

[TV] Beeblebrox stole the Improbability Drive Ship when he was in fact meant to be launching it.

[Zaphod] Hey, kid, what'd you do that for?

[Trillian] I just thought of something.

[Zaphod] Yeah, worth interrupting a news bulletin about me for?

[Trillian] Look, can we leave your ego out of this? This is important.

[Zaphod] If there's anything more important than my ego around here, I want it caught and shot now!

[Trillian] Listen, we picked up those couple of guys ...

[Zaphod] Hey, what couple of guys?

[Trillian] The couple of guys we picked up!

[Zaphod] Oh, yeah. Those couple of guys.

[Trillian] We picked them up in Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha.

[Zaphod] Yeah!

[Trillian] Does that mean anything to you?

[Zaphod] Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha!

[Trillian] Well?

[Zaphod] Yeah, what does the Z mean?

[Trillian] Which one?

[Zaphod] Any one.

[Trillian] Look, would you mind looking at the Galactic charts?

[Zaphod] Hey, that's wild! I mean, how did we come to be there? We should have zapped right into the middle of the Horsehead Nebula and that is nowhere!

[Trillian] The Improbability Drive. We pass through every point in the Universe! You know that!

[Zaphod] Yeah, but like actually picking those dudes up there is just too wild a coincidence. I want to work this out. Hey, Computer!

[Computer] Hi, there. Whatever your problem, I am here to help you solve it. All I want to do is make your day more and more bearable.

[Zaphod] Shut up and work something out for me, will you?

[Computer] A probability forecast based on ...

[Zaphod] Improbability data, yeah ...

[Computer] OK. Did you know that most people's lives are governed by telephone numbers?

[Trillian] Telephone numbers?

[Marvin] I've got this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side.

[Arthur Dent] Really?

[Marvin] Oh, yes. I mean, I've asked for them to be replaced, but no one ever listens.

[Arthur Dent] Uh, I can imagine.

[Ford Prefect] Well, well, well, Zaphod Beeblebrox!

[Zaphod] I don't believe it! This is just too amazing! Trillian! Trilian? Oh, this is going to be great! I'm going to be so amazingly cool it would fluster a Vegan snow lizard! What real cool! Several million points out of ten for style! Right, now which is the most nonchalant chair to be discovered in?

[Door] Glad to be of service.

[Marvin] I suppose you'll want to see the aliens now. Do you want me to sit in a corner and rust or just fall apart where I'm standing?

[Zaphod] Show them in, please, Marvin.

[Door] Thank you.

[Zaphod] Ford, hi. How are you? Glad you could drop in.

[Ford Prefect] Oh, hi, Zaphod, great to see you. You're looking well. The extra arm suits you. Hey, this is a great ship you've stolen!

[Arthur Dent] Ford, you mean you know this person ... s?

[Ford Prefect] Know him? He's my ... Oh, hey, Zaphod. I'd like you to meet a great friend of mine, Arthur Dent. I saved him when his planet blew up.

[Zaphod] Sure. Hi, Arthur. Glad you could make it.

[Ford Prefect] And Arthur, this is ...

[Arthur Dent] We've met!

[Ford Prefect] What?

[Zaphod] Oh, er, have we? Hey!

[Ford Prefect] What do you mean -- met? This is Zaphod Beeblebrox from Betelgeuse 5, you know, not bloody Martin Smith from Croydon.

[Arthur Dent] I don't care. We've met, haven't we, Zaphod? Or should I say .... Phil?

[Zaphod] What?

[Arthur Dent] At a party six months ago.

[Zaphod] Hey, I really doubt that, you know.

[Arthur Dent] On Earth, England, London, Islington.

[Zaphod] Oh, hey, yeah! That party?

[Ford Prefect] What? You mean you've been to that miserable little planet as well?

[Zaphod] I may have dropped in, you know, on my way somewhere.

[Arthur Dent] At this party was a girl I was after. Beautiful, charming, devastatingly intelligent, everything I'd been saving myself up for. Along comes your friend and says, "Hey, doll! Is this guy boring you? Why don't you come and talk to me? I'm from a different planet."

[Ford Prefect] Zaphod?

[Arthur Dent] Well, of course, he only had the two arms and one head, and called himself Phil ...

[Trillian] But you must admit, he did turn out to be from another planet!

[Arthur Dent] Good heavens! Tricia McMillan!

[Trillian] Trillian to you.

[Computer] Infinity minus 1. Improbability sum now complete. For my next trick ...

[Zaphod] Shut up!

[Arthur Dent] What are you doing here?

[Trillian] Same as you. I hitched a lift. After all, with a degree in maths and another in astrophysics, it was either that or back to the dole cue on Monday.

[Zaphod] Oh, God! Ford, this is Trillilan. Hi! Trillian, my semi-cousin, Ford, who shares three of the same mothers as me. Is this sort of thing going to happen every time we use the Infinite Improbabililty Drive?

[Trillian] Very probably, I'm afraid.

[Zaphod] Zaphod Beeblebrox, this is a very large drink. Hi.

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