[Narrator] 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 life-forms 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.
[MOANING AND SCREAMING]
Now the jurpling slayjid agrocrustles
Are slurping hagrilly up the axlegruts ...
[Narrator] Vogon poetry is, of course, the third worst in the Universe.
[POETRY (WORST IN UNIVERSE)
(WORST IN UNIVERSE) Thy micturations are to me as plurdled gabbleblotchits on a lurgid bee. Groop I implore thee my foonting turling dromes, and hooptiously dra --]
The second worst is that of the Azgoths of Kria.
During a recitation by their poetmaster Grunthos the Flatulent of his poem:
[PUTTY PUTTY PUTTY
GREEN PUTTY GRUTTY PEEN.]
Ode to a Small Lump of Green Putty I found in my Armpit One Midsummer Morning ...
[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 ...
[GRARMPITUTTY – MORNING!
PRIDSUMMER – GRORNING UTTY!
PUTTY? … ARMPIT?
ARMPIT … PUTTY
NOT EVEN A PARTICULARLY
NICE SHADE OF GREEN]
and was about to embark on a reading of his 12-book epic entitled "Zen and the Art of Going to the Lavatory" ...
[ZEN AND THE ART OF GOING TO THE LAVATORY
when his own major intestine, in a desperate attempt to save life-kind, leapt straight up through his neck and throttled his brain.
[DO NOT FALL OVER
YOU ARE A CLOUD
YOU ARE RAINING
DO NOT RAIN
IS STANDING AT A STATION
MOVE WITH THE WIND]
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.
[THE DEAD SWANS LAY IN THE STAGNANT POOL
THEY LAY, THEY ROTTED. THEY TURNED
BITS OF FLESH DROPPED OFF THEM FROM
TIME TO TIME.
AND SANK INTO THE POOL’S MIRE.
THEY ALSO SMELT A GREAT DEAL]
[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 spac,e 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] Vogonity ...
[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 dichotomies 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] [To Arthur] Shh! [To Vogon Guard] 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 ...
[SPACE (SURVIVAL IN)
IF ONE HAPPENS TO BE THROWN OUT OF
A SPACE SHIP ONE WILL DEFINITELY DIE
OF ASPHYXIATION THIRTY SECONDS LATER
BECAUSE SPACE IS SO HUGELY, VASTLY,
MIND-BOGGLINGLY BIG THE CHANCES OF
BEING PICKED UP BY ANOTHER SPACE CRAFT
WITHIN THOSE SECONDS ARE TWO TO THE
POWER OF TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY
THOUSAND, ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY NINE
TO ONE AGAINST
2260199 : 1-0]
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 finally 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?
[Zaphod 2] Hey, what?
[Zaphod] The ship picked them up by itself.
[Zaphod 2] So what?
[Zaphod] The ship ... Oh, forget it and go back to sleep!
[Zaphod 2] 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.
[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?
[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.
[Robstown, city, Nueces County, in the Coastal Bend area, just west of Corpus Christi, south Texas, U.S. It developed around a store opened c. 1909 by Robert Driscoll (whence Robstown) at the intersection of the … small pieces of furniture and household articles, especially in such personal items as snuff boxes and hand mirrors; these items were often made of gilded bronze. In wall decorations of wood or plastic, rocaille features not only shells, pebbles, and scrolls but also flowers …]
The Marketing Division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation defines a robot as: your plastic pal who's fun to be with!
[SIRIUS CYBERNETICS CORP.]
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy ...
[YOUR PLASTIC PAL WHO'S FUN TO BE WITH!]
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.
SIRIUS CYBERNETICS CORP.
ADVERTISING EXEC. TEA LADY GPP. SALES REP
A BUNCH OF MINDLESS JERKS WHO’LL
BE THE FIRST AGAINST THE WALL
WHEN THE REVOLUTION COMES.]
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 computer,s 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 government owns this ...?
[Marvin] No government owns it. It's been stolen.
[Arthur Dent] Stolen?
[Marvin] [Mocking him] "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 Reporter] 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 life-forms 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 Eroticon 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 Reporter] Beeblebrox stole the Improbability Drive Ship ...
when he was in fact meant to be launching it.
[Trillian] [Turns off TV]
[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.
[Trillian] Does that mean anything to you?
[Zaphod] Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha!
[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?
[INFINITY MINUS 1
2260199 : 1.0]
[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?
[Ford Prefect] [To Arthur] 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?
[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] [To Trillian] What are you doing here?
[Trillian] Same as you. I hitched a lift. After all, with a degree in math 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 Improbability Drive?
[Trillian] Very probably, I'm afraid.
[Zaphod] [Talking to himself] Zaphod Beeblebrox, this is a very large drink. Hi.