Hitchhikers Guide- an experiment in adaptation.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue May 28, 2019 3:20 pm

Episode Three

Mice, Brains and Numbers





Scene 1


The Heart of Gold, now cruising in normal space. Directly ahead and in its path lies the mass of dark cloud suspended in the bright net of stars that is the Horse-Head Nebula.

In a cabin in the ship Ford has set up his camp. His towel is neatly laid out. His Guide sits beside him as he sits cross-legged on the floor, four separate screens in front of him and a variety of keyboards and out of harm of the keyboards a bottle of alcohol and a large bag of crisps. On some screens are reams of text, on others multiple old news clips of major galactic events of the past fifteen years play, many feature Zaphod and his bid for Presidency as well as his wilder antics such as is infamous broadcast from the hot-tub.




Scene 2


In the large and comfortable Captain's quarters which Trillian shares with Zaphod, Trillian is lying on her bed, she is also staring at a screen covered in improbability factors. Her copy of the Guide lies beside her. She frowns and rubs her forehead and gets up from the bed and goes over and stares at her mice in their cage sitting on a well lit shelf. She sits down on the end of the bed opposite them. Benji is running in his wheel and Frankie is hidden from sight in the small wooden house full of straw.


Trillian: Hi Benji. On your own? Where's Frankie got to then?

Frankie poke his nose out.

Trillian (smiling) :There you are Frankie.

Frankie emerges from the house and Benji stops running on the wheel, both mice come towards the front of the cage, staring right at and into Trillian. For a moment she stares back mesmerised then the moment is broken by a chiming at the door. She pulls herself together and stands up.


Trillian: Come in. It's open.

The door swishes open with a happy hum and Arthur enters to its satisfied sigh.


Arthur: I'm not interrupting..

Trillian: No, I was just going over some numbers. (She glances back at the mice,who are back to acting like normal mice). I think I could do with a break.

Arthur: Your white mice. I forgot you brought those with you, that at least makes some kind of sense now.

Trillian: Frankie and Benji meet Arthur Dent. And of course I took them, all the more glad I did now, given what happened to the Earth

Arthur: About that Tricia.

Trillian: Trillian. And I can't think about it. I mean I've tried. And there's just nothing.

Arthur: I know what you mean. It's so massive, all gone, everything we ever knew. I can't take it all in one go either, I've been trying to break it down, see if I feel anything if I think smaller. Like no more London, or no more digestive biscuits, that one hurts quite a bit actually.

Trillian: No, it's not like that. When I left with Zaphod that night I knew I wasn't planning on coming back. Ever. I knew it was a one-way trip. Do you understand?

Arthur: No, not really.

Trillian: I knew that the only way I could go, that I could do something so mad and rash as to go running off with an unknown two headed three-armed man from space, was to let everything else in my life go. All of it. Friends, career, home, plans, the whole lot. The whole planet in fact. Really let it go, inside. So you see, it's not that I don't get it Arthur, it's just that I don't feel it. Earth was already gone for me before the Vogons ever demolished it.

Arthur: Oh, I see.

Trillian: And what probably makes me an even worse person, I don't mind that I don't feel anything about it being gone. There's still that whole galaxy out there to see Arthur, the galaxy I've dreamed of since I first peered through a telescope at the stars. It's all just waiting out there! If being with Zaphod and on this ship has taught me anything it's that anything is possible. I wanted to maybe one day break American news, now my ambition can be so much greater. You've seen the Tri-D stations haven't you? Never mind America, I could go Galactic now.

Arthur: I hadn't really considered the possibility that the destruction of our home planet was also a career opportunity.  I miss my house, and my morning paper, and my table in the pub by the window overlooking the cricket on the Green.

Trillian: Is that why you are still wearing that dressing gown over the top of your new clothes?

Arthur: Yes, it's all I have left of my old life and I'm damned well going to keep hold of it in this new one.

Trillian: I'm not sure that explains why you haven't had it laundered.


Scene 3


The Bridge of the Heart of Gold which is dimly lit and in night cycle. Zaphod is lounging in a seat watching the screen on which news reports play, he is channel hopping. Marvin sits slumped in a dark corner. Ford enters.

Ford: Hey Zaphod. What you doing?

Zaphod (Head 2) : Hi.
(Head 1): Hey Ix. Watching news reports.
(Head 2): Ford.
(Head 1): Sorry, yeah, Ford.

Ford: Anything interesting?

Zaphod (Head 2): Yeah. They are all about me.

Ford: Well you did steal the most valuable ship in existence right in front of all the galaxies gathered press. Zaphod, where are we going? Oh and why would be nice to know too while you're at it. I've been doing some catching up on the last fifteen years. A lot of it seems to have been about you.

Zaphod (Head 2): Yeah, I know, great isn't it?

Ford: More odd I'd say. And very suspicious. So where are we going?

Zaphod (Head 2): It's a surprise.

Ford: For who?

Zaphod (Head 1): You.

Ford: Why?

Zaphod (Head 1): Because you wouldn't believe me if I told you anyway. So wait till you see it, then believe me. (Both heads laugh)

Ford: OK. Want a drink?

Zaphod (Both heads): Yeah.

Zaphod channels hops a few news channels and stops on one wrapping up an interview. The interviewee is Halfgrunt.

Halfgrunt: Well, Zaphod is just this guy, you know?

Zaphod (Head 1) : Hey that was my brain care specialist Hal Hafgrunt, he's the greatest psychiatrist in the galaxy.

Ford: If he's your psychiatrist I'd not be too so sure about that.

Zaphod (Head 2): Hey for the amount I pay him he has to be.

Newscaster (a reptilian race with a feathered neck): Coming to you across all the Tri-D bands, and saying a big hello to all sentient life forms, and to everyone else out there, the trick is, to bang the rocks together guys, here is your daily update. We return to the only story in the Galaxy, the spectacular theft of the Heart of Gold, the most powerful and expensive ship ever built, stolen by non-other than Ex-Galactic President Zaphod Beeblebrox himself.

Zaphod (Head 1): Ex-President? Hey, not cool!

Newscaster: Although it has not dented his popularity which has soared to new record highs.

Zaphod (Head 2) : Oh yeah! The Big Zee.

Newscaster: In response the Galactic government has sent what one spokes-being said was,  'half the police force of the Galaxy' in hot pursuit to recover the Heart of Gold in what is expected to be a Tri-D news spectacular.

Ford: Ah, that might be a problem.

Zaphod( Head 2): Nah, they'll never catch this ship.


Scene 4


Captains quarters.

Arthur: Um, Trillian, there is also the matter of, well, the more delicate matter of us being the last two of our species.

Trillian: Arthur!

Arthur: No, no! I mean I'm not suggesting anything right now, but maybe some thought should be made in some fashion to preserving the necessary, bits and bobs?

Trillian: I am not even going to begin to think about that right now Arthur. Besides, I left with Zaphod and for the foreseeable future I plan on staying with Zaphod and it's only fair I'd talk with him first about anything, like that, and now would not be a good time for a chat about the future prospects of the human race. He is a little preoccupied at the moment for one thing and I can't say its very high up my list of priorities right now either.

Arthur: Right. Good. Well in that case do you know where this ship is going?

Trillian: Yes, a planet called Magrathea.

Arthur: And that would be?

Trillian: From what I can tell a myth. Bit like Atlantis back on Earth according to Zaphod and what it says in the Guide.

Arthur: The Guide?

Trillian: The Hitchhikers Guide. You really should have a copy Arthur if your going to travel the galaxy. Here (she goes to a drawer) you can have this one. Anyway, according to the Guide Magrathea was this legendary planet back in the first Galactic Empire, fabulous technology, super advanced culture, all the usual mythic lost civilisation stuff. Thing is, they say Magrathea manufactured other planets, custom planets.

Arthur: Custom planets?

Trillian: For the super wealthy. Of course as it cost ridiculous sums of money to make a custom designed planet Magrathea eventually became the richest planet ever, until finally it had hoarded up all the rest of the Galaxy's wealth and so the entire system collapsed and an aeons long Galactic dark age followed.

Arthur: I see.

Trillian: Magrathea disappeared and slipped into legend. And of course these days no one believes a word of it.

Arthur: And that's where we are going is it?

Trillian: So Zaphod claims.

Arthur: Fine. Is there any tea on this ship?

Trillian (grinning evilly): In the Galley, ask the Nutramatic machine.

Arthur nods and exits the room to the satisfaction of the waiting door.


Trillian: Oh, and Arthur.

Arthur: Yes?

Trillian: Good luck. (She laughs at Arthur's puzzled expression as the door closes contentedly).


Scene 5



Arthur enters the Galley. And approaches the large wall mounted apparatus with 'Nutramatic' written on it in plain lettering, and under that in jolly large bright lettering the slogan 'Share and Enjoy!' with the Sirius Cybernetics logo emblazoned below it

Arthur: Hello?

Nutramatic: Hi there.

Arthur: I'd like a cup of tea please..

Nutramatic: Scanning.

A host of hair thin lights suddenly spring from the machine and scan Arthur's head all over then stop as suddenly.

Arthur: What was that? And why is my tongue tingling?

Nutramatic: Just maximizing your taste potential with a spectroscoptical analysis of the taste centres of your brain to find out what will be best suited to your likes and desires, then sending a few experimental signals down to your taste buds for fine tuning. Producing a drink especially tailored to meet your drinking needs and tastes.

Arthur: So that would be a cup of tea then.

The Nutramatic dispenses a drink. It looks teaish.

Nutramatic: Share and Enjoy!

Arthur takes it hesitantly, sniffs it and tastes it. He spits it back out.


Scene 6


The Bridge where Zaphod and Ford are still watching news reports about Zaphod.

Trillian enters and switches off the broadcast.

Zaphod (Head 1): Hey! What did you do that for?

Trillian: Because I have something important to say and I want you to actually listen for once.

Zaphod (Head 1): Important enough to interrupt a news bulletin about me?

Trillian: Zaphod! Listen to me. I was looking over all the improbability figures since you stole this ship.

Zaphod (Head 2): And what did you find? That you went cross-eyed.

Trillian: Too much improbability, the numbers don't add up. Eddie display all the improbability factors from my screen to the main view screen.

Eddie: Sure thing, gang! This is getting real sociable isn't it?

Trillian: See? There are weird patterns where the numbers don't match. Like you and Arthur being rescued, we know the odds of that and they happen to be exactly the same as the phone number of my new flat, ex-new flat, in what once was Islington, (The relevant numbers highlights and enlarges on the screen) the one you and Arthur just happened to come to a party at. And I didn't even invite you.
And then you turned up Zaphod, at the same party and out of everyone in the room picked me. And out of everyone on Earth seconds before it gets demolished it happens to be you Ford and only you and Arthur who make it off. Then when you get thrown out an airlock you get rescued, by us.

Zaphod (Head 1): So what? Improbability Drive baby, it was just really improbable.
Head 2):We know that.

Trillian: That's just it. We know how improbable it was that we would pick them up. But that's only how improbable it is someone asphyxiating in space will get picked up by a passing spaceship in the thirty seconds they have before they die. It's in the Guide.

Trillian taps at her copy of the Guide.

Guide:  What to do in the thirty seconds you have available to you whilst asphyxiating in space, see belief systems.'

Trillian: But the sums are in there too. And its those same odds right there on the screen, my old phone number, and the odds  of picking someone up, the exact same. But nowhere in our numbers is there the added improbability factor of it being these two specific people, that we both happen to know that would get rescued. And that all four of us would be connected by that one improbability number. That should be off the charts, and its just not there in our numbers. It's like a huge chunk of improbability is missing, it just doesn't show up on the balance sheet.

Ford: Like there is a second bigger improbability field?

Trillian: Exactly what I was thinking. And if so then we are all caught up in it, in fact I am sure we are. That's why we're all connected. He just happens to be your old long lost best friend and semi-nephew..

Ford: Cousin.

Trillian:  OK, whatever it is, and Arthur just happens to be my old producer and who was quite possibly trying to chat me up the night you and I met, it wasn't entirely clear.

Ford: Oh, I think he was.

Trillian: But the point is the numbers aren't there because we aren't generating them.

Ford: Then who or what is?

Trillian stares at Zaphod.


Zaphod (both heads): Hey! Don't look at me.

Trillian: Zaphod, these coordinates we are flying to. Where did you get them?

Zaphod (Head 2): I told you, I just get these really wild ideas, and I go for them.
(Head 1) :Yeah.

Trillian: Yes, but where or from whom exactly did you get them?

Zaphod (Head 2): Um.
(Head 1): Myself.

Ford: What? Have you gone mad?

Zaphod (Head 1): It's a possibility I haven't ruled out yet. It's kind of been happening a lot lately. Like I get this wild idea, hey why not run for President of the Galaxy? There isn't an Acturian slugs chance in a vapour storm I'm getting in yeah? But it sounds like a fun thing to do. And then it just happens. It's easy. I win.
(Head 2): Not only do I win I win big, and then I'm not only the most popular guy in the Galaxy but the most popular President there ever was or ever will be. No ones ever got numbers like me!
(Both Heads): I'm Zaphod Beeblebrox!

Trillian: Zaphod!

Zaphod (Head 1): See, even talking about it is hard. I distract myself. Sure I work out how best it all can be done, right, but it always works out.
(Head 2): It's like having a Galacticredit card which keeps on working even though you never send off the cheques.
(Head 1): But whenever I stop and think – why did I want to do something?- how did I work out how to do it?- I get a very strong desire just to stop thinking about it.
(Head 2): Like I have now.
(Head 1): Yeah, it's a big effort to talk about it.

Ford: Talk about what exactly?

Zaphod (Head 1): The thing I find it hard to think about.

Ford: Zaphod, I am going to throttle both your necks if you don't just tell us what you mean.

Zaphod (Head 2): Ok, ok. It's like there's this bit of my heads that I can't get into, like part of my brains have been shut off to me, except...

Trillian: Except?

Zaphod (head 1): Sometimes that part just pops up, like ...
(Head 2): 'Hi there guys, you might find these coordinates interesting to go check out.'
(Head 1): And then the rest of me, the real me, I'm all,
(Both Heads): 'yeah, sounds wild, so let's do it!'
(Head 1): And I do it, and everything just works out somehow.

Ford: Zaphod.

Zaphod (Head 2): Yeah, Ford.

Ford: I think we need to get you down to the med-bay.  It's about time someone took a look inside your skulls.


Scene 5


Arthur is increasingly enraged with the Nutramatic machine and ten cups of identical teaish liquid sit beside him.

A new cup emerges on the platform and Arthur tries it, it is as fouls as all the rest.

Arthur: I just want a cup of tea. Look, if you are scanning my brain to find out what I like don't bother. It is tea I like. Do you understand? That's eleven cups in a row of a liquid which is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea. And its foul.

Nutramatic: Want to try a twelfth time?

Arthur: I mean,what is the point?

Nutramatic: Nutrition and pleasurable sense data. Share and Enjoy.

Arthur: Listen you stupid machine it tastes filthy. Take this cup back. (He angrily throws it at the Nutramatic machine).

Nutramatic: If you've enjoyed this experience of your drink, why not share it with your friends.

Arthur: Because I want to keep them. Will you try and comprehend what I am telling you, that drink...

Nutramatic: That drink was individually tailored to meet your personal requirements for nutrition and pleasure.

Arthur: Ah, so I'm a masochist on a diet am I?

Nutramatic: Share and Enjoy!

Arthur: Oh shut up.

Nutramatic: Will that be all?

Arthur: Yes! Actually no! Look it is very, very simple. All I want, are you listening?

Nutramatic: Yes?

Arthur: Is a cup of tea. Got that?

Nutramatic: I hear.

Arthur: Good. And do you know why I want a cup of tea?

Nutramatic: Please wait....computing....

Arthur: What? What are you doing now?

Nutramatic: Attempting to calculate answer to your question. Why you want dried leaves in boiling water.

Arthur: Because I happen to like it, that's why.

Nutramatic: Still computing....

A jet of scent is suddenly injected into the room causing Arthur to choke.

Arthur: Stop that.

Ventilation system: Sensors indicate you are in need of calming. Scented fragrance helps make you feel calm.

Arthur: I do not need to be calmed down!

A slow steady vibration runs through the floor.

Arthur: Why is the floor shaking now?!

Floor: Tired muscles are gently soothed by floor vibrations. Feel your troubles float away.

The ventilation system sprays more scent.

Arthur: I do not need soothed! Or calmed! Would you all just please stop it! That's an order!

The floor stops, the vent falls silent.

Nutramatic: Still computing...

Arthur: Look if I need to relax, if I need to feel calm or to feel soothed it is very simple. I just have a cup of tea.

Vent: Then why did you build us?

Arthur: I didn't.

Floor: Your species did.

Nutramatic: Your an organic life form, you created us to improve your lifestyles.

Arthur: Ok, look. Maybe if I try to explain to you about tea. Maybe that will help you to compute it or whatever. Now, are you paying attention? Good.  So, it really all began with India and China and really got going with the East India Company...


Scene 6


The med bay. Zaphod lies upright on a med table, a scanner is overhead and both his heads are encased in machinery. Behind him Ford and Trillian stare at displays showing various scans of both of his brains.

Ford: There's nothing here Zaphod.

Zaphod (Head 1): There must be something.
(Head 2): Look harder.

Ford: There's nothing, all med tests are clean, psychic profile - you're clever, imaginative, irresponsible, untrustworthy, an extrovert, there's nothing here someone couldn't guess five minutes after meeting you. And no other anomalies. Your brains are in fact in remarkably good condition for the being who invented the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.

Zaphod (Head 1): Yeah but all the tests you've run, that's just all the stuff they did when I became President, to make sure I didn't have any tricksy ideas stashed away, you know?

Ford: What like stealing their ship you mean?

Zaphod (Head 2): Um, yeah.
(Head 1): But that's it exactly, where in those scans of my brains does it show where that idea came from?
(Head 2): We need to do something, different. Out the box, yeah?
(Head 1) : Yeah.

Ford: Well, I don't see what other tests we can run. That's every test I can think of.

Trillian: Zaphod, is there something personal to you? Something you've always liked, or been scared of, something, anything that means something to you and only you in particular? Just let your minds wander.

Ford: What are you digging at Trillian?

Trillian: Clever and imaginative. Think Zaphod. Anything?

Zaphod (Head 2): I don't know.
(Head 1): No wait!
(Head 2): No, maybe.
(Head 1): Ford, you remember when I was a kid, I always wanted to be a pilot in one of the trading scouts?

Ford: Yeah?

Zaphod (Head 2): And it made me really superstitious about the colour green?

Ford (to Trillian): The scout ship's livery was green.

Zaphod (Head 1): Try putting a green filter on all the scans.

Trillian hurries to adjust the overhead scanner as Ford taps numbers into a keyboard.


A moment passes. Ford and Trillian stare at the screen then each other in horror.


Zaphod (Head 1): Well? What is it?
(Head 2): Do you see anything?

Ford: I don't really know how to tell you this Zaphod old mate, but someone's been performing surgery on  your heads, a lot of surgery. Holy Zarquon! I don't believe it.

Zaphod: What, what is it?

Trillian gasps.

Ford: The person who did this to you. They, they've...

Zaphod (Head 1): Come on Ford, don't hold out on me, what?

Ford: Zaphod, ole buddy, I think you might have to see this one for yourself. Because the person who did this to you, they've only gone and signed their name with a laser scalpel right onto your brains.

Zaphod: What?! Belgium man. Belgium! Show me! I want to know what slime-leech did this to me!

He swivels the dual screens round to in front of Zaphod where displayed on them are each of his brains, overlaid with a green filter.
And clear and crisp written on the left hand brain the words
'love and kisses' and on the right brain 'Zaphod Beeblebrox xxx'

Ford: You did it to yourself.

Zaphod (Head 1 looking at Head 2): Why would I do that?
(Head 2): Hey, don't look at me, I don't know either.


Scene 7


Arthur is still explaining tea to the Nutramatic machine.

Arthur: ...and then you put in the water, remember it has to be boiling water or the tea leaves will not infuse probably, and you pour it through the strainer into the teapot. Which should be warmed beforehand, not hot and not cold, just warm to the touch. And when you pour it, if you have milk it must go in the cup before the tea, to prevent it being scalded. And ideally I suppose it should be a silver teapot and a china cup. Oh dear, I am going to have to explain china tea cups to you now too amn't I?


Scene 8


The medbay.


Zaphod (Head 1): OK, so let me get this straight. I had a plan to steal this ship and come to these coordinates.
(Head 2): But in order to be President so I could steal the ship I had to pass the psyche tests so I hide all that stuff from the Galactic Authorities and myself, by performing surgery on my own brains to conceal it?

Ford: That would seem to be about the sum of it.

Trillian: Yes, but why did you do all this?

Zaphod (Head 1): I don't know.
(Head 2): And I don't care. This other me, the one who did this, he had the plan not me. And he's not here now, he choose to cut himself out the deal. Literally. Right?
(Head 1) : I know why I am here - adventure, excitement, wealth, fame and really wild things.
(Head 2) : Yeah.

Ford: And where exactly is here?

Eddie: Hi guys, thought you might like to know that we are just about to arrive at our co-ordinates Golly!

Zaphod (Head 1): Come on, I'll show you.


Scene 9


The Bridge which comes into full day cycle and light as  Zaphod, Ford, and Trillian enter. Marvin is sitting slumped in his usual corner still.


Zaphod (Head 1): Computer, lets see what is directly ahead.

Eddie: It would be my pleasure guys.

The main screen shows what appears to be nothing at all.

Zaphod (Head 1): Recognize that?

Ford: No.

Zaphod(Head 2): What do you see?

Ford: Nothing.

Zaphod (Head 2): Recognize it?

Ford: What are you talking about?

Zaphod(Head 2): We're in the Horsehead Nebula.
(Head 1): One whole vast dark cloud.

Ford: And I was meant to recognize that from a blank screen?

Zaphod (Head1): Inside a dark nebula is the only place in the Galaxy you'd see a blank screen.
(Head 2): This is just far too much? (laughs excitedly)

Ford: What's so great about being stuck in a dust cloud?

Zaphod (Head 1): What would you reckon to find there?

Ford: Nothing.

Zaphod(Head 1): No stars?
(Head 2): No planets?

Ford: No.

Zaphod (Head 1): Computer. Lower the Bridge lights and rotate angle of vision through one-eighty degrees...
(Head 2) :..and don't talk about it!

As the view screen pans round revealing a binary star system breaking in a glorious awe inspiring light show rising over a single large barren planet very close to them, the Bridge is filled with stirring music,  somewhat reminiscent of 2001, but somehow sarcastic. It is coming from Marvin in his corner.


Zaphod (Head 1): Can It Marvin.

Marvin (the music stops): Well excuse me for trying to add a sense of occasion. I may as well switch myself off.

Zaphod (Head 2) (thumping the console): You see?! I've found it!

Ford: What is it?

Zaphod (Head 2): That Ford, is the most improbable planet that ever existed.
(Head 1): That is Magrathea.

Ford: I don't believe you.

Zaphod: (Head 2): See? I knew you wouldn't. But its right there.

Ford: Magrathea is a myth, a fairy story, it's what parents tell their kids about at night if they want them to grow up to become economists, it's...

Zaphod (Head 1): It's what we are currently in orbit around.
(Head 2): Computer.

Ford: Oh no.

Eddie: Hi there! I'm feeling just great guys. Ready to get a kick out of whatever program you care to run through me.

Zaphod (Head 1): Computer tell us again what our present trajectory is?

Eddie: A real pleasure, feller. We are currently in orbit at an altitude of three hundred miles around the legendary planet of Magrathea. Wowee!

Ford: I wouldn't trust that computer to speak my weight. And even supposing it is Magrathea...

Zaphod(Head 2): It is.

Ford: Which it isn't. What do you want with it anyway? What are you after?

Trillian: And is it safe?

Zaphod (Head 2): Magrathea's been dead for five million years of course it's safe.
(Head 1): Computer, take us down.

Eddie: Whatever you say.

There is a distant fanfare then a holographic figure appears on the Bridge standing before the viewscreen.

Zaphod (head 1): Computer what is this?

Eddie: Oh, juts some five-million year old hologram that's being broadcast at us.

Hologram: Greetings to you. This is a recorded announcement as I'm afraid we are all out at the moment. The commercial council of Magrathea thanks you for your esteemed visit.

Zaphod(Head 1): A voice from ancient Magrathea.

Ford: OK. OK.

Hologram: But we regret that the entire planet is temporarily closed for business. If you would care to leave your name and the address of a planet where you can be contacted, kindly speak when you hear the tone.

Trillian: They want to get rid of us. What do we do?

There is a tone and a click and the hologram disappears.


Zaphod(Head 1): It's just a recording, we keep going.
(Head 2):Got that computer?

Eddie: I got it.

A few seconds pass as the ship moves down into the upper atmosphere. Then the fanfare comes again and the hologram reappears.

Hologram: We would like to assure you that as soon as our business is resumed announcements will be made in all fashionable outlets, when once again our clients will be able to select from all that is best in contemporary geography. Meanwhile we thank our clients for their kind interest and would ask them to leave. NOW.

The hologram vanishes again.

Ford: Zaphod, that sounded very much like a warning couched in a threat.

Zaphod (Head 2): There is absolutely nothing to be worried about.

Trillian: Then why is everyone suddenly so tense?

Zaphod (Head 1): Computer, start a descent into the atmosphere and prepare for landing.

The fanfare comes a third time and the hologram appears once more.

Hologram: It is most gratifying that your enthusiasm for our planet continues unabated, and so we would like to assure you that the guided missiles currently converging with your ship are part of a special service we extend to all of our most enthusiastic clients, and the fully armed nuclear warheads are of course merely a courtesy detail. We look forward to your custom in future lives. Thank you.

Trillian: What do we do?

Ford: Well?

Zaphod (Head 1): Look will you get it into your heads? That's just a recorded message. It's millions of years old.
(Head 2): Computer, we keep going.

Eddie: You got it.

Trillian: What about the missiles?

Zaphod (Head 1): What missiles?
(Head 2): It doesn't apply to us, get it.

Ford taps the panel before him where two red blips have appeared. On the main-screen two tiny silver dots are firing upwards from the desolate planet surface. The view zooms closer revealing two huge and powerful rockets.

Ford: I think they are going to have a very good try at applying to us.


Scene 10


Arthur is finishing his tea epic with the Nutramatic machine.


Arthur: ...and ideally of course it should be served at a white garden table with a freshly laundered table cloth, with that freshly laundered smell, sat upon a newly mown lawn surrounding by beds of summer flowers on a warm, bu not too hot, English summer afternoon with a gentle soothing breeze, ideally coming from the south-west. And that is how you get a proper cup of tea. Got it?

Nutramatic: So that's it, is it?

Arthur: Yes, that is what I want.

Nutramatic: I'm going to need some help with this one.

Eddie: Hi there, Eddie your ship board computer here.. The Nutramatic machine has just called me in to help answer the question of why the earth-man prefers dried leaves boiled in water with milk squirted from a quadruped bovine over everything we have to offer him. And zowee its a biggy! This is going to take some thinking about. Is this a priority item?

Arthur: Look you benighted computer, I have had my planet demolished - while I was still on it, hitch-hiked aboard a ship full of very unpleasant Vogons, got thrown off said ship into the deep dark of space, without I should add the customary spacesuit one might expect in such circumstances, and been rescued by this ship upon which I have spent the last twenty minutes trying to get this idiotic piece of equipment to make a simple cup of tea! So yes, I think for any proud Englishman at this point in events and under these conditions, a cup of tea would indeed be a priority. I would in fact go as far as to say a top priority.

Eddie: Sure thing. Beginning calculations.

All the lights go out and the emergency lights come on red and dull to replace them. A low hum comes from the now otherwise sullen and dark Nutramatic.

Arthur: What? Hello?

Arthur thumps the Nutramatic. There is no response.


Arthur: Oh, I give up.

Arthur leaves the galley and enters the bridge.

Arthur: Does anyone have a kettle?

There is chaos in front of Arthur. All the computer panels are dead. Zaphod is shouting at the computer with both heads and all three hands are thumping lifeless panels to no avail. Ford is jabbing at side panels and buttons whilst Trillian checks the wall panels. All are dead.. The only things still working are Eddies personality circuits, glinting green and the main screen, on which two missiles are shown soaring upwards through the atmosphere from the far side of the planet.

Arthur: Something up?

Zaphod (Head 2): Didja hear that the monkey spoke!

Ford: We're under attack. There are two missiles closing in on us and the entire computers jammed.

Arthur: Jammed?

Ford: It says all its circuits are occupied with some top priority program. There's no power anywhere on the ship.

Trillian: We're a sitting duck.

Arthur (very guiltily and going red): Er, tell me, did the computer happen to mention what was occupying it?

Everyone turns to stare at him.

Arthur: I ask merely out of interest..

Zaphod (Head 1): What have you done monkeyman?

Arthur: Well nothing in fact. Its just the computer was trying to work out how to make me some tea.

Suddenly Eddie sparks back into full bright life.

Eddie: That's right guys just coping with that problem right now, and wow, it's a biggy. Be with you in a while.

Eddie snaps back in darkness bar his personality bank glinting green.


Zaphod: (Head 1): I'd kill you myself monkeyman..
(Head 2): ..if it wasn't for the fact we are all going to die anyway in less than two minutes.

Trillian: What are we going to do?

Zaphod (Head 2): Just keep cool.

Arthur: Is that all?

Zaphod (head 1): No, we are going to take evasive action.
(Head 2): What evasive action can we take?

Ford: None.

Zaphod (head 1): Right.

Eddie: Impact one minute and forty-five seconds. Please call me Eddie if it will help you to relax, my personality circuits are still on line for your pleasure and comfort.

Zaphod( Head 2): OK. I've got manual control.

Ford: Can you fly her?

Zaphod( Head 1): No.
(Head 2): Can you?

Ford: No.

Zaphod( Head 2): Trillian?

Trillian: No.

Zaphod (Head 1): Fine We'll do it together.

Arthur: I can't either.

Zaphod (Head 2): I'd guessed that. OK here we go.
(Head 1): Ford, full retro thrust and ten degrees starboard.

The Heart of Gold swings into reverse and spins round 10 degreees before Zaphod fires the engines sending her soaring away from the missiles. But the missiles swing round with them ever closer.


Eddie: Impact in 49 seconds guys. (Singing) When you walk through the storm hold your head up high and don't be afraid of the dark!

Eddie continues to sing the song throughout the following exchange.


Arthur: This is it! We are most definitely going to die!

Ford: I wish you'd stop saying that.

Arthur: Well we are, aren't we?

Ford: Yes.

Arthur: Why doesn't anyone turn on this improbability thing?

Zaphod (Head 1): Are you crazy without proper programming anything could happen.

Arthur: Where as right now we just definitely die. Does it mater at this stage?

Eddie: Ten seconds to impact. It's been nice knowing you guys! (continues singing) You'll never walk alone!
[/i]
Trillian: Does anyone know a reason why Arthur shouldn't use the improbability drive?

Arthur slams the Improbability Drive control and there is a mind-mangling explosion of noise and light.


Scene 11


The two missiles hurtling towards the Heart of Gold when suddenly there is a blinding flash and the first missile twists through various random shapes before settling on a small bowl of petunias hanging in the air.

Petunias thoughts: Oh no, not again!

The Bowl plummets groundwards as beside it the second missiles goes through similar random changes before settling on a large sperm whale, which likewise begins plummeting downwards.


Whale thoughts: What's happening? Excuse me, who am I? Hello? Why am I here? What's the purpose in life? What do I mean by who am I? Calm down, get a grip now. Oh this is an interesting sensation, what is it? This whistling roaring sound going past. I can call that wind! Is that a good name? Perhaps I'll find a better name for it when I work out what it's for. It must be very important because there certainly seems to be a hell of a lot of it. Wow! This is incredible! So much to look forward to! Hey what's this thing? Coming towards me very fast. So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like, ow ound...round...ground! That's it! I wonder if it will be friends with me?

The whale hits the ground sending up a spray of red and chunks of whale meat and leaving a messy crater.


Scene 12


The Bridge of the Heart of Gold. It is sill shrouded in emergency lighting.

Zaphod (Head 2): What happened?
(Head 1): Where are the missiles?

Ford: They would appear to have turned into a bowl of petunias and a very surprised sperm whale.

Trillian: At an improbability factor of eight million seven hundred and sixty-seven thousand one hundred and twenty-eight to one against.

Zaphod (Head 1): Did you think of that Earthman?

Arthur: Well, all I did was..

Zaphod (Head 1): That's very good thinking, you know. Turn on the Improbability Drive for a second without first activating the proofing screens.
(Head 2): Hey kid, you just saved our lives.

Arthur: Well, it was nothing really...

Zaphod (Head  2): Was it? Oh well, forget it, then.
(Head 1): OK, I'm taking us in to land.

Arthur: But...

Zaphod (Head 2): I said forget it.


Scene 13


The Heart of Gold descended through the clouds and extends its landing legs as it gently settles on the planet surface amid a billowing cloud of grey dust blown up from its desolate surface.

On the Bridge of the Heart of Gold Ford is pulling on a thick warm jacket. Zaphod has already changed. Arthur has likewise pulled a jacket over the top of his dressing gown. Trillian is not there, having gone to her cabin for a change of clothes.


Ford:  Are we taking this robot with us?

Zaphod (Head 2): Oh, the Paranoid Android.
(Head 1):Yeah, we'll take him

Ford: What are you supposed to do with a manically depressed robot?

Marvin: What are you supposed to do if you are a manically depressed robot? No, don't bother to answer that, I'm fifty thousand times more intelligent than you and even I don't know the answer. It gives me a headache just trying to think down to your level.

Trillian (entering in a panic): My white mice have escaped!

Zaphod (Head 2): Nuts to your white mice.
(Head 1): Come on, let's go. Magrathea awaits!


Scene 14


The surface of Magrathea. The Heart of Gold is parked on a flat lava plane. Mountains ring them round and the twin suns hang low in the horizon, filling the sky with an orangey red glow.

The five crew members of the Heart of Gold disembark. Zaphod immediately hurries excitedly ahead to the top of a nearby ridge. Trillian stares around herself looking worried and frowning.
Arthur is staring around himself at the ragged scenery and the twin suns, his jaw wide open.


Arthur: It's fantastic.

Ford: Desolate hole, if you ask me. I could have more fun in a cat litter. There's not even a hot-dog stand.

Arthur: No, don't you understand? This is the first time I've actually stood on the surface of another planet, a whole alien world.

Ford: Yeah, just a shame it's a dump.

Zaphod shouts and waves at them and they hurry over.
Back at the Heart of Gold the main doors swish open and then close again and two white mice run down the ramp and scamper off between the rocks.
The ridge Zaphod is standing on is the edge of the newly formed whale crater, bloody and full of exploded whale.


Zaphod (Head 1): Come on.

Trillian: What down there? It's disgusting!

Zaphod (Head 1) : Yeah. Look, this crater has blasted an opening, down there, see.
(Head 2) : It's our way in.

Arthur: In?

Zaphod (Head 2) : Into the interior of the planet! An underground passage and that's where we have to go.
(Head 1): Where no man has trod these five million years (Marvin begins ironic humming stirring music again) into the very depths of time itself... (he hits Marvin who stops humming).

Zaphod scrambles down the slope and the others follow.

Zaphod (Head 1): According to the legends the Magratheans lived underground.

Arthur: Why's that? Did the surface become too polluted or over populated?

Zaphod (Head 1): No, I think they just didn't like it very much.

Trillian: Are you sure you know what you're doing? We've been attacked once already.

Zaphod(Head 1): Look, kid, I promise you the live population of this planet is nil plus the four of us, so come on...
(Head 2): .. let's get in there.

Zaphod clambers into the exposed corridor between huge bulkheads the impacting whale has ripped apart. Trillian follows. Ford shrugs at Arthur and does likewise, but just as Arthur is about to follow Zaphod stops him.

Zaphod (Head 1): Hey, Earthman.

Arthur: Arthur.

Zaphod (Head 1): Yeah, could you just sort of keep this robot with you and guard this end of the passageway.
(Head 2): OK?

Arthur: Guard? What from? You just said there is no one here.

Zaphod (Head 1): Yeah, well, just for safety, OK?

Arthur: Whose? Yours or mine?

Zaphod(head 1): Good lad.
(Head 2): OK, here we go.

Zaphod, Ford and Trillian disappear into the gloom of the underground tunnel.


Arthur: Well I hope you all have a really miserable time.

Marvin: Don't worry they will.


Scene 15


In the dark corridors beneath Magrathea Zaphod, Ford and Trillian make their cautious way by torch light. Murals of unknown symbology adorn the walls, which Trillian takes a great interest in.


Trillian: Zaphod, do you have any idea what these symbols mean?

Zaphod (Head 2): Yeah, they're strange symbols of some sort.

Ford: What are we doing here Zaphod? I mean look at this stuff. Ancient mouldy computer banks, old offices and store rooms. Its history.

Zaphod (Head 1): Hey! It's got half the wealth of the former Galactic Empire stored in it somewhere.
(Head 2): It can afford to look frumpy.

Ford: Is that why were really here? Money.

Zaphod: Not just the money, there's fame and glory too.

Trillian: Did you see something move? Down there where that light is coming from?

At the far end of the corridor is a small flicker of yellow flight, a shadow moves across it.

Trillian: I think she's right you know, Zaphod.

Zaphod pulls out a pair of double sunglasses and puts them on.


Ford: Sunglasses? In here?

Zaphod (head 1): Not just any sunglasses Ford. These are Ju-jintu super peril sensitive sunglasses.
(Head 2): At the first hint of danger they turn completely black thus preventing you from seeing anything which might alarm you.

Trillian: There is definitely something moving down there Zaphod.

Zaphod (Head 1): I'm telling you there is nothing living down here but us.

Zaphod's sunglasses go completely black. The light starts to grow in intensity, the jumping shadows become larger more ominous.

Ford: Whatever it is its coming right at us!

There is a roaring sound and a blinding white light engulfs them as they scream.



Scene 16


The surface of Magrathea. Arthur has clambered back with Marvin to the top of the ridge where the rays of the setting twin suns are disappearing over the horizon in a fantastical sunset ablaze with colours. Clouds are gathering and in the distance lightening flickers and distant thunder grumbles.


Arthur: Night's falling. And I think a storm is coming.

Marvin: I know. Wretched isn't it.

Arthur: But the sunset! I've never seen anything like it in my wildest dreams...the two suns! Its like mountains of fire boiling into space.

Marvin: I see it, it's rubbish.

Arthur: We only ever had the one sun at home. I came from a planet called Earth, you know.

Marvin: Yes I know, you keep going on about it. It sounds awful.

Arthur: Ah no, it was a beautiful place.

Marvin: Did it have oceans?

Arthur: Oh yes.

Marvin: Huge, wide rolling oceans?

Arthur: Yes.

Marvin: Can't bear oceans.

Arthur: Tell me, do you get on well with other robots?

Marvin: Hate them.

Arthur: I think I will just take a walk, alone.

Marvin: Don't blame you.

Arthur wanders away a short distance along the ridge and back onto the level ground. The thunder rolls again closer and flashes of angry lightening stab down in the distance.
Arthur hears the sound of falling stones behind him and turns to see, standing atop the ridge, a sinister figure entirely silhouetted by the twin suns as they set. The angry now red sky behind him flecked with lightning accentuates his dark, tall figure, the robe that billows about him and the thick and heavy staff like object he carries in one hand.


Slartibartfast: Come. Come now or you will be late.

Arthur: What? Late for what?

Slartibartfast: What is your name, human?

Arthur: Dent. Arthur Dent.

Slartibartfast: Late, as in the late Dentarthurdent.

Behind the figure the thunder rolls and lightning flashes ominously.


Last edited by Pettytyrant101 on Fri May 31, 2019 4:29 am; edited 3 times in total

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed May 29, 2019 12:05 pm

{{{ On the off-chance anyone is actually reading any of this, here's the break down of my thinking for this episode.

This episode sets a bunch of changes in motion the consequences of which arent entirely clear until later episodes (in series 2 to be precise) so I wont go into them here in any detail.

In order to convey things only in prose or later added in flashbacks etc I have had to invent more dialogue for this one than I might have wished, but it seemed necessary. But I wont go into all of those additions either. Fans of the book will know which conversations never took place, which are extrapolated or added too and which are from elsewhere. And hopefully those who haven't read the books or heard the radio plays wont notice the joins too much.

Again there are structural changes for reasons of chronological story telling.
The scene where they examine Zaphods brains and find the signature is extrapolated from Zaphod recounting doing this himself and working it out, which he tells Ford in brief conversation whilst they are in the tunnels under Magrathea.
It's such a big and important revelation I felt it deserved a bigger build up and its own scene.

Arthur and the Nutramatic machine is a merging of the original radio version and the revised version from the book of Restaurant, where it takes place whilst they are attacked by Vogons not missiles.
There are two main differences, in all other version Arthur is on the Bridge for the arrival at Magrathea and to witness the hologram message and I added the bit at the end after Eddie gets involved, and Arthur makes the tea thing a top priority.

There were two reasons for these changes. The first was Eddie is fully functional during the hologram stuff, because in the original radio version Arthur doesn't go to make tea until afterwards. When Adams changed this later for the books he added the more lengthy time and the lengthy explanation of tea to the Nutramatic as a means of explaining why its such a big calculation to do. And because it makes the joke funnier.
By keeping the longer second version it meant it had to happen whilst the hologram stuff was going on elsewhere, so that when Eddie goes into computing mode and shuts down it's at the right dramatic moment.
The second reason is plot holes you dont notice when reading- if Eddie is all tied up thinking about tea, how can he still be otherwise functioning and doing stuff and responding? My fix for that was the line where he mentions that his personality circuits remain online for use. And my fix for why Eddie cant just stop thinking about tea, is Arthur making it a top priority.

The other major edition to this episode is Trillian's explanation of the extra improbability field. Its never fully explained in any other version, but it implied its been done by the white mice in order to manipulate events to get Trillain and Arthur., the last two survivors to Magrathea so they can get the Question. (Though others see it as the 2nd edition of the Guide manipulating events back in time to get Arthur and Trillian back on the 2nd Earth for its destruction and wrapping the whole planet up in all continuities!).

Oh and one fun thing- I added Zaphods lines about being the most popular President ever with the best numbers ever- its a little nod to Trump. The weird thing about Zaphod is he seems to be applicable to every US President since Adams wrote him. And in the scene I added that the President is sitting watching news broadcasts about himself, getting annoyed at bad news and cheering good, and being angered when its switched off!

I reckon two more episodes will see it to the end of series one. }}

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Post by Mrs Figg on Wed May 29, 2019 1:26 pm

Suspect That whale better not be dead.

Extremely Crabbit

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed May 29, 2019 1:37 pm

{{ Um, yeah, very dead in fact.

Adams said he had been watching American cop shows in which incidental characters would get killed almost in the background in gun fights and no one ever seemed to care. So he decided to write a completely pointless secondary character whose only purpose was to die almost immediately in a horrible and tragic manner, but to make you damn well care about them and like them first.

Glad your reading though Figg. Thanks, its really appreciated. }}

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Post by halfwise on Thu May 30, 2019 3:37 am

This mostly works, but I think the nutrimatic scene needs a slight tweak.  In the book version at least (don't remember the radio version and not as searchable) the main reason the computer has to work so hard is because Arthur goes off into a rhapsodaical description of the more poetical aspects of tea: broad leaves drying in the sun, summer afternoons on the lawn...the joke is that the computer is asked to compute what is essentially poetry.   In this version I feel the computer is being fed things that are too close to hard facts (even if useless for getting the taste of tea right), so the joke isn't as clear. Add a final line where he starts going into the more dreamy aspects and it will be right.

So yeah, we are reading it.  It may take a few days, but reading it.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu May 30, 2019 8:17 am

{{ You might be right there Halfy. The list in the book is-

'He told (It) about India, he told it about China, he told it about Ceylon. He told it about broad leaves drying in the sun. He told it about silver teapots. He told it about summer afternoons on the lawn. He told it about putting in the milk before the tea so it wouldn't get scalded. He even told it (briefly) about the history of the East India Company.'

Most of that is in there already save mention of Ceylon, leaf drying and summer  afternoons. (I commend your memeory Halfy that out of the only 3 things I left out you remembered two of them!)
So perhaps a line incorporating those would give the effect. Its where to put them is the trick!

And thanks for reading- its appreciated too. }}

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri May 31, 2019 4:32 am

{{ I changed the final bit of Arthur's tea explanation from the simple -

...and that is how you make a proper cup of tea. Got it?

to the more poetic and fanciful-

Arthur: ...and ideally of course it should be served at a white garden table with a freshly laundered table cloth, with that freshly laundered smell, sat upon a newly mown lawn surrounding by beds of summer flowers on a warm, but not too hot, English summer afternoon- say about 2pm - with a gentle soothing, cooling breeze, ideally coming from the south-west. And that is how you get a proper cup of tea. Got it?

Think that works better? }}

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Post by halfwise on Fri May 31, 2019 5:08 am

Thumbs Up

The best is the vagueness of the book, but you can't do that in a screen play.  You are conveying subtleties, not specifics. Computers have no problem with specifics.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:25 am

Episode 4

Best of Three
.
Scene 1


The surface of Magrathea.

Slartibartfast: Come. Come now or you will be late.

Arthur: What? Late for what?

Slartibartfast: What is your name, Earthman?

Arthur: Dent. Arthur Dent.

Slartibartfast: Late, as in the late Dentarthurdent.

Slartibartfast steps forward, revealing himself in the light to be not very threatening at all. Appearing instead like a slightly worried but amicable version of Moses. Complete with robe, staff and beard.

Slartibartfast: It's a sort of a threat you see. I've never been very good at them myself, but I'm told they can be terribly effective.

Arthur: What?...Wait. Who are you?

Slartibartfast: My name is not important.  But you must come with me. Is that robot yours?

Marvin: No. I'm mine.

Arthur: If you'd call it a robot. It's more a sort of electronic sulking machine.

Slartibartfast: Bring it.

Marvin: Bring it! Here I am brain the size of a planet and he says bring it.

Slartibartfast: On second thoughts leave it here. We must go. Great things are afoot! But do not be alarmed. I will not harm you.

Marvin slumps down onto a rock and deliberately stares away from them and turns his back to them. Slartibartfast stalks off across the rugged terrain towards a rocky outcrop, waving to be followed and Arthur follows. As they walk and along the way, among the debris of the planet surface is the remains, roots bare to the elements, of the bowl of petunias. Upon which Arthur will carelessly and unknowingly tread upon on his way by.

Arthur: But you shot at us! There were missiles.

Slartibartfast: An automatic system. Ancient computers ranged in the bowels of the planet tick away the dark millennia. I think they take the occasional pot shot to relieve the monotony. ( He stops pulls out a small telescope and stares at the sky distractedly) I'm a great fan of science, you know.

Arthur: Really?

Slartibartfast: Oh yes. (He puts away the telescope and continues walking) You seem ill at ease.

Arthur: Well, yes. I mean who are you? You see, we weren't expecting to find anybody about in fact. I sort of gathered you were all dead..

Slartibartfast: Dead? Good gracious me no, we have but slept.

Arthur: Slept?

Slartibartfast: Through the economic recession. Five million years ago the Galactic economy collapsed, and seeing that custom-built planets are something of a luxury commodity, you know we build planets, do you?

Arthur: Well yes, I'd sort of gathered...

Slartibartfast: Fascinating trade, doing the coastlines was always my favourite. Used to have endless fun doing the little fiddly bits around fjords, anyway the recession came and we decided it was best to just sleep through it. So we programmed the computers to revive us once everybody else had rebuilt the economy enough to afford our rather expensive services.

Arthur: That's a pretty unethical way to act.

Slartibartfast: Is it? I'm sorry, I'm a bit out of touch.

They reach the rock and Slartibartfast approaches it, it shimmers and reveals an entrance in it which opens silently., He and Arthur enter inside. It is a super high speed lift.


Arthur: Excuse me, but what is your name?

Slartibartfast: My name? My name is.. Slartibartfast.

Arthur: I beg your pardon?

Slartibartfast: Slartibartfast.

Arthur: Slartibartfast?

Slartibartfast: I said it wasn't important.

The doors snap closed and the lift plunges as incredible speeds downwards into the planet.



Scene 2



Space near the Horse-head nebula which hangs in the sky as a dark backdrop to the ominous lumps of yellow that make up the Vogon Constructor fleet suspended before it.

In the Captain's quarters Jeltz sits at a desk in his cabin.
He is an advocate of the maxim there is no order without tidiness. As whilst there are many sheaths of electronic paper, pads, charts and bureaucratic forms, crew reviews and the like a plenty, everything's organised, neat, pigeon holed and catalogued. Jeltz its a consummate civil servant and Vogon.

He picks up the pad which has the demolition orders for Earth on it and looks with annoyance at the as yet still unticked box beneath it.

A red light flashes on the screen above his head on the wall.


Jeltz: Report.

Vogon: We have tracked the Heart of Gold, sir.

Jeltz: Beeblebrox?

Vogon: Yes sir.

Jeltz: And the humans are on his ship?

Vogon: Confirmed, sir.

Jeltz: Where?

Vogon: On a previously unknown  planet concealed within the nebula sir.

Jeltz: Send an encoded message to the Galactic Police  Force, tell them to send a squad ship to rendezvous with us. Tell them we have the location of the ex-President and all his co-conspirators.

Vogon: Yes, sir.

Jeltz switches of the screen and considered a moment.

Jeltz: Computer, get me Hal Halfgrunt.

Jeltz stamps some forms and ticks some others and neatly files them in their appropriate pile. The screen flicks on showing Halfgrunt smiling like a crocodile.

Halfgrunt: Well hello my Captain of Vogons Prostetnic, and how are you feeling today?

Jeltz: Honestly? A bit out of sorts. So I shot some of my crew.

Halfgrunt: Well I think that is perfectly normal for a Vogon, you know? The natural and healthy channelling of the aggressive instincts into acts of senseless violence.

Jeltz: That is what you always say.

Halfgrunt: Well again, I think that this is perfectly normal behaviour for a psychiatrist. Good. We are clearly both very well adjusted in our mental attitudes today. So tell me Jeltz, what news of the mission?

Jeltz: We have located the survivors, aboard a ship.

Halfgrunt: Excellent.

Jeltz: The Earthman is there, and an Earth female too.

Halfgrunt: I thought there was only one human survivor yes?

Jeltz: The ship that rescued them was the Heart of Gold.

Halfgrunt: The ship Beeblebrox stole?

Jeltz: Yes. And according to my files the Earth woman has been Beeblebrox's companion of late, she is wanted as an accomplice to the theft of the ship.  She and the male are the last two survivors of Earth.  I have arranged a rendezvous with a Galactic Police ship, their reputation for efficiency and acts of gratuitous over-the-top violence will hopefully not disappoint.

Halfgrunt: Well it is fortunate they are both gathered in one place, yes. Though we cannot risk the Earth survivors surviving too long. Who knows what information they may yet contain, you know. When the police arrive my associates will have ensured they have the relevant paperwork and that their orders will read to take no prisoners, yes. But it is a great pity about Beeblebrox, that is, regrettable. Very regrettable.

Jeltz: A personal friend?

Halfgrunt:  Ah, no. In my profession you know, we do not make personal friends.

Jeltz: Ah, personal detachment.

Halfgrunt: No we just don't have the knack. But Beeblebrox, you know, he is one of my most profitable clients. He has personality problems beyond the wildest dreams of analysts.

Jeltz: Is it a problem?

Halfgrunt (shrugging): Zaphod's just this guy, you know?
But you have already let this task get too far out of control Jeltz, my associates and I would be very disappointed indeed were you not to resolve it this time. Yes?

Jeltz: They're as good as dead already.

Halfgrunt: Very well, contact me again when it is done Prostetnic Vogon.

The call ends and Jeltz grunts then frowning he picks back up the pad with the  demolition orders and stares at the unticked box.


Scene 3



Far under Magrathea the lift doors snap open and Slartibartfast and Arthur exit into a huge corridor of immense height. Either side of them huge alien machinery towers far above them, like city blocks, they buzz and crackle with life. The aesthetic of Magrathea is reminiscent of an explosion in a 1950's scifi prop warehouse- its Forbidden Planet  and Flash Gordon, on steroids.

Arthur: This is incredible!

Slartibartfast: I'd stay in the middle if I were you, don't go too near the stacks, they can be a bit unpredictable when they are starting up again for the first time.

Arthur: What are they for?

Slartibartfast: Time rotors. It can take a millennia to roll some glaciers over a planet. With these we can set it in motion in the morning and have a fully completed contoured continent by lunch time.

Arthur: Amazing.

Slartibartfast: Is it? It's just temporal engineering. Just don't get too close or you might find yourself thrown into the middle of next week, which can be terribly embarrassing if you bump into yourself.

They reach the end of the corridor where something like a tram on a monorail awaits them.

Slartibartfast: Earthman we are now deep in the heart of Magrathea.

He boards the tram and Arthur follows.

Arthur: How did you know I was an Earthman?

Slartibartfast (setting the tram in motion using his staff) : These things will become clear to you, at least clearer than they are at the moment. I should warn you that the chamber we are about to pass into does not literally exist within our planet. We are about to pass through a gateway into a vast tract of hyperspace. It may disturb you.

The tram begins to accelerate, a small bright light in the far distance soon becomes a huge round bright light.

Slartibartfast: It scares the willies out of me. Hold tight!


Scene 4


The tram on its monorail hurtles through the light and a startling bending of space then unexpectedly it exits a hatch inside a Dyson-sphere. Behind them the wall of the sphere they exited recedes, so large it appears flat, even as they accelerate from it at incredible speeds and the hatch becomes a mere speck. Ahead of them is a vast space, mind-bogglingly vast in which the machinery of planet building sits, hangs, hovers, and spins. In all shapes and sizes.
Planets too in various sizes, hues, flavours, toppings and states of construction stagger the mind as they scale off into the vast distances. Most sit in darkness, save far ahead one planet bathed in rows of artificial lights the size of moons.


Slartibartfast: Welcome to our factory floor. This is where we make most of our planets.

Arthur: You mean you're starting it all up again?

Slartibartfast: No, no, good heavens no, the Galaxy isn't nearly rich enough to support us yet. No, we've been awakened to perform just one extraordinary commission for very, special clients from another dimension. It may interest you, there in the distance in front of us.

Arthur looks ahead where Slartibartfast is pointing to where the planet hangs bathed  in light and as it grows ever bigger as they hurtle towards it Arthur can pick out, plain to see shorn of an atmosphere, very familiar continents. A  factory horn sounds signalling the start of the shift.

Arthur: The Earth.

Slartibartfast: Well, the Earth Mark Two in fact. We're making a copy from our original blueprints..

Arthur: Are you trying to tell me that you originally made the Earth?

Slartibartfast: Oh yes. Did you ever go to a place, I think it was called Norway.

Arthur: No, no, I didn't.

Slartibartfast: Pity, that was one of mine. Won an award, you know. Lovely crinkly edges. I was most upset to hear of its destruction.

Arthur: You were upset!

Slartibartfast: Yes. Five minutes later and it wouldn't have mattered so much. It was a quite shocking cock-up.

Arthur: What?

Slartibartfast: The mice were furious.

Arthur: The mice were furious?

Slartibartfast: Oh, yes, they had paid for it, you see.

Arthur: Look, would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?

Slartibartfast: Earthman, the planet you lived on  was commissioned, paid for, and run by mice. It was destroyed five minutes before the completion of the purpose for which it was built, and we've got to build another one. Ah, we are almost there.

Whilst Arthur stares gobsmacked and confused the tram arrives at its destination, which would be a massive orbital platform were Earth in its normal space, but here is just part of the immense gantries and offices and workshops which surround the planet.
They depart the tram in what is a small subway like station and Slartibartfast leads them out towards his offices.


Arthur: Mice? Look, sorry- are we talking about the little white furry things with the cheese fixation? And frightened elephants?

Slartibartfast: Earthman it is sometimes hard to follow your mode of speech. You must remember that I have been asleep for five million years, and know little of these frightened elephants of which you speak. I design continents, not wildlife. These creatures you call mice, you see, they are not quite as they appear. They are merely the protrusion into our dimension of vast hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings. The whole business with the cheese and the squeaking is just a front. You must understand Earthman, humans were only the third most intelligent being on the Earth.

Arthur: Third?

Slartibartfast: Yes, behind the mice and the dolphins.

Arthur: Dolphins? But humans are responsible for the wheel, machinery, civilisation...

Slartibartfast: Pollution, wars, torture...

Arthur: Whereas all the dolphins have ever done is play and muck about in the water having a good time.

Slartibartfast: Yes, exactly. The dolphins of course long knew of Earth's impending destruction and made their own preparations for leaving shortly before the Vogons arrived. From what I gather their last attempt to communicate the danger to mankind was misinterpreted as a rather sophisticated attempt to do a triple backwards somersault through a hoop whilst whistling something called the 'Star Spangled Banner'.
But the mice are the real ones in charge of Earth. It was run by the mice. They've been experimenting on you, I'm afraid. In here.


Scene 5


He opens a door and they go in to his offices, the door bears the title 'Slartibartfast Head of Coastline Design.' The office is large and full of instruments, charts, maps, cartography tools, clutter and mess. Also dust.


Arthur: Ah no. I see the source of the misunderstanding now. No, look, you see, what happened was that we used to do experiments on them. They were often used in behavioural research, Pavlov and all that sort of stuff. The mice would be set all sorts of tests, in mazes, ringing bells so that the whole nature of the learning process could be examined. From our observations of their behaviour we were able to learn all sorts  of things about our own....

Slartibartfast: Such subtlety, one has to admire it. How better to disguise their real natures, and how better to guide your thinking? Suddenly running down a maze the wrong way, eating the wrong thing, unexpectedly dropping dead of myxomatosis- if it's finely calculated the culmative effect is enormous. You see Earthman, they really are particularly clever hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings. Your planet and people have formed the matrix of an organic computer running a ten-million year research program. I'll show you.

Arthur: Show me?

Slartibartfast: Yes, just give me a moment to find things. (He begins hunting about among the debris of papers and dust) Sorry about the mess. A diode blew in one of the life-support computers. When we tried to revive our cleaning staff we discovered they'd been dead for thirty thousand years. Who's going to clear away the bodies, that's what I'd like to know. Ah here it is! (he pulls a headset from a pile of boxes) Look, why don't you sit yourself down over there and let me plug you in.  ( He puts the headset  onto Arthur's head, tiny needles prick into his scalp) It would be better in the Room of Informational Illusions, but I'm afraid I can't seem to find the remote control. Fumy how you can set something down somewhere and a mere five million years later have no idea where you put it. Ready?

Arthur: What for?

Slartibarfast: This.


Scene 6


Arthur finds himself hanging in the air half a mile or so above the largest expanse of empty grass fields he has ever seen, far too large to be upon a planet as small as Earth. This is confirmed by the two moons hanging in the sky even though it is broad daylight.

Arthur: Arggh!

Voice of Slartibartfast: Do not be alarmed Earthman, everything you see is merely a recording.

Arthur: Ah yes, of course. I'm fine, I'm absolutely fine.

He is suddenly hurtled yelling in terror forward across the fields where in the far, far distance but closing rapidly there appears to be a city made up of dark shiny tower blocks of varying sizes and heights, with one immense obelisk like block in the centre.
Then it is before him, a massive structure, like a dark Skyscraper were a skyscraper three miles high surrounded by other lesser versions of itself and all connected, not by roads but by circuitry of some sort traced into the very ground below. Three quarters of the way up the main obelisk  there are a large row of windows, and at its very base a single elevator door at which two figures disembark a vehicle and enter.


Narrator: Welcome to history module 4.5. This is a classified recording. What you are witnessing is a recreation from archive footage, interviews and transcripts of the participants in the Deep Thought Research Program.
Deep Thought, the most powerful super-computer ever built in its time, and to this day remains the second most powerful in existence, was such an amazingly intelligent machine that even before its data banks had been connected up it had started from 'I think therefore I am' and got as far as deducing the existence of rice pudding and income tax before anyone managed to switch it off.

Voice of Slartibartfast: Hold on, I'll find the switch to turn the commentary off, bear with me.


Scene 7


Arthur drifts towards the high windows, which closer are vast and look into an equally vast office in which sits a single unremarkable wooden office desk with a simple keyboard and flat-screen before it.


Narrator: Deep Thought was constructed many millions of years ago by a race of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings...

Arthur drifts through the glass into the massive room just as the elevator doors within ping and open and the two figures step out, they are human in appearance one male one female, but more mousey, with larger rounded ears, more pointed rodent features and a tendency to sniff the air.

Narrator: ...who had got so fed up with the constant bickering about the meaning of life that they decided to sit down and solve the problem once for and all. And so they built themselves Deep Thooooo....

Voice of Slartibartfast: Got it!

Arthur finds himself in a standing position near to the desk as the two figures approach it.  Beneath the female one the word 'Fook' appears and under the male 'Lunkwill' and beneath both, 'Chief Designers of Deep Thought'.


Voice of Slartibartfast: I'll leave the subtitles on, they can be quiet useful.

Arthur: Yes, fine. But I don't see what this has to do with the Earth?

Voice of Slartibartfast: Watch history unfold Earthman. Great Things are afoot.

Fook and Lunkwill sit with great reference at the desk, look at each other, take a deep breath and each simultaneously press a key on the keyboard. The screen before them  flickers on, it has a rotating egg timer on it. Then that disappears after a moment and a simple dark screen has the one word, 'Online.' on it.
Then Deep Thought speaks, and when it does the tone is rich and deep and it fills the entire room and the walls light up in light patterns and rhythms in accompaniment. From the exterior, the entire building lights up as Deep Thought comes to life and the subsidiary buildings connected by the flow of circuitry begin to light up too.

Deep Thought: What is this great task for which I, Deep Thought the second greatest computer in the Universe of Time and Space, have been called into existence?

Fook: Your task, O Computer.

Lunkwill: No, wait a minute. What do you mean, second greatest? We distinctly designed this computer to be the greatest one ever. Deep Thought are you not as we designed you to be, the greatest, most powerful computer of all time?

Deep Thought: I described myself as the second greatest and such I am.

Lunkwill: But are you not a greater computer than the Milliard Gargantuabrain at Meximegalon which can count all the atoms in a star in a millisecond?

Deep Thought: The Milliard Gargantuabrain? A mere abacus. Mention it not.

Fook: And are you not a greater analyst than the Googleplex Star Thinker?

Deep Thought: You ask this of me who have contemplated the very vectors of the atoms in the Big Bang itself? Molest me not with his pocket calculator stuff.

Lunkwill: But are you not a more fiendish disputant than the Great Hyberlobic Omni-Cognate Neutron wrangler of Ciceronicus Twelve.

Deep Thought: The Great Hyperlobic Omni-Cognate Neutron Wrangler could talk all four legs of an Acturan Megadonkey - but only I could persuade it to go for a walk afterwards. I speak of none other than the computer which is to come after me.

Fook: After you?

Deep Thought: You know nothing of future time and yet in my teeming circuitry I can navigate the infinite delta streams of future probability and see that one day there will come a computer whose merest operational parameters I am not worthy to calculate, but which it will be my fate eventually to design.

Fook: Can we just get on with this?

Deep Thought: Ask what else of me you will that I may function. Speak.

Fook: O Deep Thought the task we have designed you to perform is this. We want you to tell us... the Answer.

Deep Thought: The Answer? The Answer to what?

Fook: Life.

Lunkwill: The Universe!

Fook: Everything!

Deep Thought: Tricky.

Fook: But can you do it?

Deep Thought: Yes. I can do it.

Fook: There is an answer?

Lunkwill: A simple answer?

Deep Thought: Yes. Life, the Universe and Everything. There is an answer. But, I'll have to think about it.

The elevator doors suddenly ping and everyone, including Arthur, turns to look that way as the doors snap open and two figures emerge angrily. They are dressed in faded blue robes and belts. Beneath them subtitles appear identifying one as Majikthise and the other as Vroomfondel. Those fade to be replaced by- ' Representatives of the Amalgamated Union of Philosophers, Psychiatrists, Sages, Luminaries and Other Thinking Persons.'

Majikthise: We demand this machine be switched off immediately!

Lunkwill: Who are you?

Majikthise: I am Majikthise and we are here representing your working Thinkers. And we want this machine off and we want it off now!

Lunkwill: What is the problem?

Majikthise: I'll tell you what the problem is mate, demarcation. You just let the machines get on with the adding up and we'll take care of the eternal vestiges. You want to check your legal position you do, mate. Under law the Quest for Ultimate Truth is quite clearly the inalienable prerogative of your working thinkers. Any bloody machine goes and actually finds it and we're straight out of a job, aren't we? I mean what's the use of our sitting up half the night arguing that there may or may not be a God if this machine only goes and gives you his bleeding number the next morning.

Vroomfondel: We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty.

Deep Thought: Might I make an observation at this point?

Vroomfondel: We'll go on strike.

Majikethise: That's right! You'll have a National Philosophers and Psychiatrists strike on your hands!

Deep Thought: Might I make an observation?

Vroomfondel: You stay out of this metal nose.

An increasingly loud and angry hum rises from Deep Thought and the walls turn a deep red until the sound causes everyone, Arthur included to cover their ears, then it subsides.

Deep Thought: All I wanted to say, is that my circuits are now irrevocably committed to calculating the answer to the Ultimate question of Life, the Universe and Everything. But, the program will take me a little while to run.

Fook: How long?

Deep Thought: Seven and a half million years.

Fook and Lunkwill together: Seven and a half million years?

Deep Thought: Yes. I said I'd have to think about it. And in that time everyone is going to have their own theories about what answer I'm eventually going to come up with, and who better to capitalize on that media market than you yourselves? So long as you keep disagreeing with each other violently enough and slagging each other off in the popular press, and so long as you have clever agents, you can keep yourselves on the gravy train for life.

Majikthise: Bloody hell, now that is what I call thinking. Here, Vroomfondel, why do we never think of things like that?

Vroomfondel: I think our brains must be too highly trained, Majikthise.

Suddenly the image and sound distort and flicker and there is a bubbling sound then a white flickering light.

Arthur: What's happening?

Arthur finds himself back sitting in Slatribarfast's office.


Slatribarfast: End of the tape. That's the end of part one. Hold on, just feeding the Sen-O- Tape into the machine for part two.

Arthur: Part two? Look I still don't see what this has to do with the Earth and mice and things.

Slatribarfast: Well that was only the beginning. Don't you want to know what Deep Thought said seven and a half million years later?

Arthur: Well, yes, I suppose.


Scene 8


The imagery starts back up again all around Arthur. He is once more hanging outside the monolithic building that is Deep Thought, but now its subsidiary city blocks are not alone, as they are incorporated into an actual city of futuristic skyscrapers, though none as tall as Deep Thought itself, and aircars and blimps fill the sky. Below Arthur as he swoops down to the base of  Deep Thought he can see that the city streets have been built over the ancient circuitry, save where for show its still allowed to be seen between the streets. And the streets themselves in every direction, but in particular in a huge park area immediately before Deep Thought, is thronged with hundreds of thousands of excited people. There is a carnival atmosphere, music, dancing, food stands, and everywhere banners and flags and t-shirts and hats all bearing variations of pun or comment on the Ultimate Answer.

Arthur floats down to join the spectators in the very front row before Deep Thought, where there has been erected a stage. News bots and cameras hover all around it as a figure takes to the stage and a hush slowly falls over the massive crowd.

Man: O people who wait in the shadow of Deep Thought! Honoured Descendants of Vroomfondel and Majikthise, the Greatest Pundits the Universe has ever known. The Time of Waiting is over!

The crowd explodes in massive cheers.

Man: Seven and a half million years our race has waited for this Greet and Hopefully Enlightening Day! The Day of the Answer!

More explosions of cheering.

Man: Never again will we wake up in the morning and think: Who am I? What is my purpose in life? Does it really matter if I don't get up and go to work? For today we will finally learn once and for all the plain and simple answer to all these nagging little problems of Life, the Universe and Everything!

The crowd erupt again but Arthur with a gasp finds himself rising upwards, soaring up the monolithic gleaming edifice of Deep Thought and to the large window again through which he once more passes. And as before the elevator doors ping and open and two figures, not unlike the original two figures, one male, one female, enter the room and sit nervously and excitedly before Deep Thought. The subtitles Phouchg appears for the male and Loonquawl for the female.

Loonquawl: The time is nearly upon us.

Phouchg: Seventy-five thousand generations ago, our ancestors set this program in motion and in all that time we will be the first to hear the computer speak.

Light flickers round the walls and the screen before then flicks into life with its spinning egg timer.

Loonquawl: Shh. I think Deep Thought is preparing to speak!

Deep Thought: Good morning.

The sound of Deep Thought resonates out across the city, and over the crowds as its exterior lights up in accompanying patterns.

Loonquawl: Good morning, O Deep Thought, do you have..., that is...

Deep Thought: An answer for you? Yes. I have.

Outside can be heard the sounds of cheering.

Phouchg: There really is one?

Deep Thought: There really is one.

Loonquawl: To Everything? To the Great Question of Life, the Universe and Everything?

Deep Thought: Yes.

Loonquawl: And you are ready to give it to us?

Deep Thought: I am.

Phouchg: Now?

Deep Thought: Now.

There is an expectant hush that descends, outside is utter silence as hundreds of thousands of people await the Answer.

Deep Thought: Though I don't think that you're going to like it.

Phouchg: Doesn't matter. We must know it! Now!

Deep Thought: Now?

Phouchg: Yes! Now.

Deep Thought: All right.

There is a long uncomfortable pause, that fills the room with tension, glancing out the huge windows at the crowds thronged below Arthur can feel it there too.

Deep Thought: You're really not going to like it.

Loonquawl: Tell us!

Deep Thought: The Answer to the Great Question....

Phouchg: Yes!

Deep Thought: Of Life, the Universe and Everything...

Loonquawl: Yes!

Deep Thought: Is....

Phouchg: Yes!

Deep Thought: Is...

Loonquawl: Yes!

Deep Thought: Forty-two.

There is utter silence then outside the crowds erupt in anger.

Phouchg: We're going to get lynched, aren't we?

Deep Thought: It was a tough assignment.

Loonquawl: Forty-two! Is that all you've got to show for seven and a half million years work?

Deep Thought: I think the problem is that you've never actually known what the question is.

Loonquawl: But it was the Great Question! The Question of Life, the Universe and Everything!

Deep Thought: Yes but what actually is it? When you get right down to it?

Phouchg: Well you know, its just Everything.

Deep Thought: Exactly! So once you know what the question actually is, you'll know what the answer means.

Loonquawl: Look, all right, can you just please tell us the question?

Deep Thought: The Ultimate Question?

Loonquawl: Yes!

Deep Thought: Of Life, the Universe and Everything?

Phouchg: Yes!

Deep Thought: Tricky.

Loonquawl: But can you do it?

Deep Thought: No. But I'll tell you who can. I speak of none but the computer that is to come after me. A computer whose merest operational parameters I am not worthy to calculate.

Outside the crowds gasp as they listen.

Deep Thought: And yet I will design it for you. A computer which can calculate the Question to the Ultimate Answer (the crowds begin to cheer again) a computer of such infinite and subtle complexity that organic life itself shall form part of its operational matrix. (Above the crowds a blank planet spins into being) And you yourselves shall take on new forms and go down into the computer to navigate its ten million year program! (A huge white mouse appears beside the planet)

The crowds now go wild with cheering and relief fills the room.

Deep Thought: And I shall name it also unto you. (A hush falls over the crowds as the planet slows in its spinning and continents appear etched upon it, familiar ones) And it shall be called......The Earth. (this is met with a great sense of anti-climax).

Phouchg: What a dull name.


Scene 9


The image fades and flickers to white and Arthur finds himself once more in Slartibartfast's office.

Slartibartfast: So there you have it. Deep Thought designed the Earth, we built it and you lived on it.

Arthur: And the Vogons came and destroyed it five minutes before the program was completed.

Slartibartfast: Yes. Ten million years of planning and work gone just like that. Ten million years. Well, that's bureaucracy for you.

Arthur: You know all this explains a lot of things. All through my life I've had this strange unaccountable feeling that something was going on in the world, and no one would tell me what it was.

Slartibartfast: No that's just perfectly normal paranoia. Everyone in the Universe has that.

Arthur: Well, if everyone has that perhaps it means somewhere outside this universe we know...

Slartibartfast: Maybe. Who cares? Perhaps I'm old and tired but I always think that the chances of finding out what is really going on are so absurdly remote the only thing to do is say hang the sense of it and just keep yourself occupied. Come we must go.

He leads Arthur from the office and back to the tram.

Slartibartfast: Look at me: I design coastlines. I got an award for Norway. Where's the sense in that? I've been doing fjords all my life. For a fleeting moment they become fashionable and I get a major award.

They enter the tram and moves off heading deeper into the maze of buildings suspended high above the Earth now actively under construction again.

Slartibartfast: In this replacement Earth we're building they've given me Africa to do, see look (he points down to Africa whose coastline looks a little different than usual) and of course I'm doing it with all fjords again because I happen to like them, and I'm old fashioned enough to think they give a lovely baroque feel to a continent. And they tell me it's not equatorial enough. What does it matter? Science has achieved some wonderful things, of course, but I'd rather be happy than right any day.

Arthur: And are you?

They arrive at their destination which is the expensive office facilities for the top brass and disembark.

Slartibartfast: No. That's where it all falls down of course.

Arthur: Pity. It sounded like quite a good lifestyle otherwise. Where are we going?

Slartibartfast: You are to meet the mice. Your arrival on the planet has been anticipated...

Arthur: Anticipated? How?

Slartibartfast: ..and has caused considerable excitement.

Arthur: Why?

Slartibartfast: This way.


Scene 10


On the surface of Magrathea Marvin sits and awaits. He looks up at the sound of several Galactic Police ships breaking the atmosphere. They fly over the Heart of Gold, scanning it.

Marvin: This probably won't end well. For anybody. It never does.


Scene 11


Slartibartfast leads Arthur through a pleasant reception area where videos play of custom planets from their catalogue. He approaches a door and knocks upon it and it slides open revealing a large conference room with a banquet table in it centre laden with food. Zaphod, Ford and Trillian are there enjoying the meal.

Ford: Arthur! You're safe!

Arthur: Am I? Oh good. What happened to you?

Zaphod (Head 1): Well our hosts here have been gassing us and zapping our minds and being generally weird and have now given us a rather nice meal to make it up to us.
(Head 2) Here have some Vegan rhino's cutlet.

Arthur: Hosts? What hosts?

Benjy: Welcome to lunch, Earth creature.

Arthur: Urgh! There's are mice on the table!  Oh. Oh, I'm sorry, I wasn't quite prepared for...

Trillian: Let me introduce you. Arthur this Benjy mouse.

Benji: Hi.

Trillian: And this is Frankie mouse.

Frankie: Pleased to meet you.

Arthur: But aren't they...

Trillian: Yes they are the mice I brought with me from Earth, or really I should say they brought us here from Earth.

Arthur: What?

Trillian: The extra improbability I detected, it was them.

Benji: To ensure the last and only remaining survivors were brought to us. Sadly the female left the planet too early to be of much use, but you were there right up to the end. Slartibartfast, you may go.

Slartibartfast: What? Oh, very well. I'll just go get on with some fjords then.

Benji: Ah, well in fact that won't be necessary. It looks very much as if we won't be needing the new earth any longer. Not now we have found a native of the planet who was there seconds before it was destroyed.

Slartibartfast: What? You can't mean that! I've got a thousand glaciers poised and ready to roll over Africa!

Benji: That will be all Slartibartfast.

Slartibartfast (coldly): Yes sir. Thank you very much.

With a brief nod to Arthur Slartibartfast exits the room.

Benji: Now to business.

Ford (raising his glass): To business!

Benjy: I beg your pardon?

Ford: Sorry, I thought you were proposing a toast.

The two mice scuttle round the table and hop into individual transport pods, not unlike large teacups and saucers in shape. They rise up of the table to hover before the bewildered Arthur.


Frankie: Now, Earth creature the situation we have in effect is this. We have, as you know, been running your planet trying to find this wretched thing the Ultimate Question. And to be honest we're sick to the teeth of the whole thing.

Benjy: And the prospect of doing the whole thing all over again on account of those whinnet-ridden Vogons quite frankly gives me screaming heeby-jeebies.

Frankie: But we have been offered contracts back in our own dimension...

Benjy: A quite enormously fat contract in fact.

Benjy: To do the 5D chat show and lecture circuit, and we're very much inclined to take it.

Zaphod (Head 2): I would, wouldn't you Ford?

Ford: Oh yes. Jump at it, like a shot.

Frankie: But we've got to have product you see. We need the Ultimate Question in some form or other.

Benjy: And that's where you come in. You are last generation product of that computer matrix.

Ford: Your brain was was an organic part of the penultimate configuration of the compute program, if that helps.

Arthur: Well?

Ford: In other words, there's a good chance that the structure of the question is encoded in the structure of your brain- so they want to buy it off you.

Arthur: What, the question?

Ford and Trillian: Yes!

Zaphod (head 1): For lots of money.

Frankie: No, no. The brain is what we want to buy.

Arthur: What?

Benjy: Well who would miss it?

Ford: I thought you said you could just read his brain electronically.

Frankie: Oh yes but we'd have to get it out first. It has to be prepared.

Benjy: Treated.

Frankie: Diced.

Arthur: No thank you.

Benjy: It could always be replaced if you think it's important.

Zaphod (Head 2): Yeah you'd just have to program it to say 'What? And 'I don't understand' and 'where's the tea?'- who'd know the difference?

Arthur: What?

Zaphod (Head 1): See what I mean? (Trillian hits him)

Arthur: I'd notice the difference.

Frankie: No you wouldn't. You'd be programmed not to.

They all get up from the table as the mice hover menacingly around Arthur who is increasingly in a state of shock.

Ford: Look, I'm sorry, mice old lads I don't think we've got a deal.

Benjy: I rather think we have to have a deal.

From the travel pods of the mice sharp instruments of surgery suddenly spring. Ford and Zaphod leap for the door as Trillian tries to grab Arthur away who is hypnotised by the flying rodents coming at him.

Trillian: Arthur come on!

The whirring blades are almost at Arthur's neck. At that moment every alarm on the planet erupts.

Klaxon: Emergency! Emergency! Hostile ship has landed on planet. Armed intruders in section 8A. Defence stations, defence stations!

In the distraction Trillian drags Arthur away as Ford and Zaphod prise the doors open a crack, Ford stuffs the edge of his towel into the gap and forces it between the sensors and the door snaps open and they all dive through.


Frankie: All this fuss over two pounds of Earthling brain.


Scene 12



Outside Arthur, Ford, Zaphod and Trillian run down a corridor as the alarms blare and security runs through the corridors looking for intruders.


Ford: Which way you reckon, Zaphod?

Slartibartfast: Earthman! This way.

They see Slartibartfast waving to them. They hurry towards him and he leads them to a tram.

Slartibartfast: This will take you back to Magrathea and to your ship.

Arthur: Thank you.

Slartibartfast: Good luck with the lifestyle Earthman.

They shoot off in the tram, back across the vast open space to the hatch to Magrathea. On the other side they disembark, hurrying back through the corridors and offices and eventually to the stacks of the time rotors, where someone opens fire on them with bolts of Kill-o-Zap energy. They scurry for cover behind the stacks.

Cop 1 (on a loud hailer): Ok, Beeblebrox, hold it right there. We've got you covered.

Zaphod (Head 1): Cops!
(Head 2) : How did they find us?

Cop 2: We don't want to shoot you, Beeblebrox.

Zaphod (Head 1): Suits me fine!

Ford: Back the way we came?

Zaphod (Head 2): Yeah.

They try to go back between the stacks but another volley of bolts prevents them.

Arthur: We can't get back!

Trillian: We're penned in. There's no other way out.

Suddenly there is another violent volley of kill-o-zap bolts that explode into the stacks and begin to melt their outer casing in dripping molten metal and dangerous sparks.


Arthur: Hey, they're shooting at us. I thought they said they didn't want to do that.

Ford: Yeah, I thought they said that. (Ford waves his towel in parley and sticks his head out) Hey, I thought you said you didn't want to shoot us!

Cop 1: It isn't easy being a cop.

Ford: What did he say?

Zaphod (head 2): He said it isn't easy being a cop.

Ford: Well surely that's his problem, isn't it? (He waves his towel again) Hey, listen! I think we've got enough problems of our own having you shooting at us, so if you could avoid laying your personal problems on us as well, I think we'd all find it easier to cope!

Cop 1: Now see here guy, you're not dealing with dumb two-bit trigger pumping morons here. I don't go around gratuitously shooting people and bragging about it in seedy space-bars like some cops. I go around shooting people gratuitously and then I agonise about it afterwards for hours with my life partner.

Cop 2: And I write novels!

Ford: Who are these guys?

Trillian: I think I preferred it when they were shooting at us.

Cop 1: So are you going to come quietly or are you going to let us blast you out?

Ford: Which would you prefer?

There is another violent volley of bolts into the stacks which are now whining and spinning dangerously and throwing off huge sparks.

Ford: Whatever these things are they aren't going to last much longer. They are going to blow by the sounds of them. And very soon too, I'd say.

Ford turns to Zaphod solemnly and they both begin chantingin Betelguesian and engaging in a bizarre ritual of complex handshakes and head nods.

Cop 2: You still there? We didn't enjoy doing that at all.

Zaphod (Head 1 whilst 2 continues chanting): Yeah we could tell.

Trillian: What do we do?

The stacks are glowing violently now and increasingly brighter. Gouts of flame burst from them.

Arthur: What are you both doing?

Ford: It's an ancient Betelguesian death anthem for when you know the end is near. It means, 'ah well'.

Arthur: So this is it? We are most definitely going to die?

Ford: Yes.

Cop 1: Shall we shoot them again for a bit?

Cop 2: Yeah, why not?

Another final volley hammers into the stacks. The heat and noise is quite fantastic and slowly the stacks start to disintegrate and crumble then there is an ear splitting and eye-watering explosion.


Scene 13


The surface of Magrathea. There is a massive under ground explosion that rocks the ground under Marvin causing him to sway and then a massive crater is formed as a huge area of ground collapses inwards in front of Marvin.


Marvin shakes his head in depression and turns to walk back towards the Heart of Gold which promptly folds up in space in front of him and disappears with a pop and leaves behind a massive pile of small yellow rubber ducks.

Marvin: Well that is just the sort of thing that gets a person down. And also very improbable. I'd wonder what was going on except I've already calculated the answer and it is depressingly typical of life. Think I'll go sit on a rock.

The thunderstorm finally reaches overhead and there is an ear splitting crack of thunder and then it rains, torrential rain on Marvin who sighs.

Scene 14


The Bridge of the lead ship of the Vogon Constructor Fleet. Jeltz watches on the main screen as the explosion tears a new crater in Magrathea and laughs quietly in pleasure. A reading on the screen proclaims - Human lifeforms detected: 0

Jeltz: Finally. Job accomplished.

With great satisfaction he picks up his pen and the pad with checkbox upon it and finally puts a large, conclusive tick in the box.
Cut to exterior as the Vogon Constructor fleet hangs in space before the Horse Head Nebula and then leaps into hyperspace.



End of Series One.


Last edited by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:21 am; edited 8 times in total

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:28 am

{{Well turned out I was wrong, didn't take 2 more episodes, just this one to finish series 1 and complete the adaptation of the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy book.
So now it's done seems a good point if anyone has any thoughts overall on it, and on the basic experiment of trying to tell the story in  visual medium in a less traditional fashion than we have been used to before.

And to anyone who has read this far- thank you very much. Every read is appreciated.}}

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Post by halfwise on Sun Jun 09, 2019 5:14 am

Going back, one thing was unclear to me from the second episode, which was why it was important that there be no survivors. Unless this is clarified it's not clear why the box for destruction of earth can't be checked off. I mean, the physical earth was destroyed and the bypass has nothing to do with the readout from planet Earth. No reason at all why there can't be survivors.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:09 am

{{ That one you'd have to ask Adams, via seance! More seriously the check box gag is one he introduced into the later books. In the books the tick only gets made at the very end, when they finally all do get the big heave ho.
The basic gag is just he cant put a tick in the box till the job is complete and that frustrates him, and the job included no survivors and until there are no survivors the job isn't complete- and Vogons are such bureaucrats they will go to extreme lengths to be able to put a tick in the completion box.

As to why there must be no survivors that is so Halgrunt and the conspiracy of free Thinkers can stop everyone being happy, putting them out a job. }}

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Post by halfwise on Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:19 am

I think it's a hole you can fill, can't tell you how. I don't really follow that last bit about the conspiracy of three thinkers.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:29 am

{{ Halfgrunt and his co-conspirators are a group of philosophers, psychiatrists etc- just as with Majikthise (Halfgrunt and co are just the modern version of them) when Deep Thought is first turned on they are worried if the Question and Answer are known everyone will be content and understand their lot in life, and they are all out a job.
They organised for the bypass to be built and Earth demolished before read out to stop that happening and secure their livihoods and the profession for ever more.

As Arthur and Trillain are survivors of the program, and may contain the Question in their brain wave patterns they must be killed before anyone can get the Question, hence the urgency, hence why Jeltz can't put his tick in the box till they are dead. }}

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Post by halfwise on Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:52 am

Well that hasn't come out in the script so far. Is it to come out later? As it the check box gag is being overshadowed by the mystery of why there must be no survivors, so I think it needs to come out before the box is checked.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:13 am

{{ I did add several lines to clarify matters.
The way Adams did it, as it was a later edition, was just to info dump it in there.

For example you have to sort of deduce why Jeltz goes after Arthur and Trillain with such zealotry from what Halgrunt says to him- we know Halfgrunt wants no survivors. But how Jeltz could get away with chasing after them as part of the 'job' is glossed over in the following-

'In seeking so implacably the destruction of Earth and all that therein lay he was moving somewhat above and beyond the call of his professional duty.'

That's it.

And the conspiracy itself headed by Halfgrunt is given simply as information when the character is introduced in conversation with Jeltz-

'..it was in fact Halfgrunt who was employing the Vogon. He was paying him an awful lot of money to do some very dirty work. As one of the galaxy's most prominent and successful psychiatrists, he and a consortium of his colleagues were quite prepared to spend an awful lot of money when it seemed that the entire future of psychiatry might be at stake.'

And thats it for the conspiracy- you never know who else is in it, or how they manage things, thats all you get.
That conversation is from the beginning of Restraunt the book, though i moved it to the end of Hitchhikers and added what I hoped were some clarifying hints- such as Halfgrunt saying 'Though we cannot risk the Earth survivors surviving too long. Who knows what information they may yet contain, you know.' I hoped that combined with what the mice reveal about the Question being in Arthur's brain would connect the dots enough- but it perhaps needs more clarity.
Though I am somewhat reluctant to just come out and connect the dots for the viewer, as Adamsnever does for the reader.

So I actually thought I had added quite a bit to bring out that aspect already in comparison to the original. Perhaps it needs more thought if you have not picked up on the conspiracy or why Arthur and Trllian need to be killed. }}

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:45 am

{{ Giving it a bit of thought Halfy- I could invent a couple of scenes (think 2 will do it)- one where Jeltz gets called up by his civil servant superiors on why he hasn't filed the earth job given it has been destroyed- and he argues on a technicality, a civil servant point that 'therein' includes Arhur and Trilliian as they were on the planet when the order was given (bolstering Jeltz's bureaucratic tendencies and that he is stretching it).
And a second scene in which Halfgrunt is way more explicit in why they are funding Jeltz to do this.

What do you think? Do you think it would help?}}

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Post by halfwise on Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:51 am

I think it would help. It's a television script, things have to be more blatant than in a book. And I think Adams erred by not making things clearer. There's a lot of comedy to be had in psychologists trying to stifle the ultimate question to preserve the bottom line, and he just let it go.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:07 am

{{ In fairness to Adams its more a case of in the original concept of the radio show there was no other reason for the destruction of earth other than bureaucracy, that was the joke. And Halfgrunt was just a couple time jokes about psychiatrists  based around the one line "Zaphod's just this guy, you know.'

When it came to the books he decided to add not one but two separate conspiracies- Halfgrunt and co trying to stop the Deep Thought program completing by destroying earth before it finishes. And the second one about Zaphod becoming President in order to discover who really runs the universe (which in the books is what Restaurant becomes about).

But he only really fleshed out the Zaphod one. The Halgrunt/psychiatrist one he just sort of put a few lines here and there to say it was happening and that was why they were chasing down Arthur and Trillian all over space and time. But there not much meat on the bones, just the stark outline that's what's happening.

I am always in two minds abut feeding the viewer information as opposed to giving them all the bits of information and letting them piece it together for themselves (which is a very Moffat style of writing but one I find appealing as I enjoy piecing narratives together from clues myself) but I think in this case, as the main reason for it existing was to attempt to do a version which brought out the plot and character more to the forefront than previous adaptations, that making the plot crystal clear might be a good idea!}}

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:52 am

{{ Ok, Ive started on changes Halfy as I think you are right- when you get a moment pop back to the very start and read the new opening scene.
I removed the existing one, which set up the ruler of the universe plot line- as restraunt is more about it Ive decided to move it to be the opening of series 2 instead, and replaced it with a focus on the Psychiatrists conspiracy instead.

Combined with adding the extra two scene is mentioned above and a few minor line tweaks here and there to be more blatant in existing conversations I hope this will put the focus on what is happening more clearly.}}

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Jun 09, 2019 12:16 pm

{{ Made a change to ep1 scene 4- the first exchange between Halfgrunt and Jeltz to make the orders more explicit. It originally read-

Jeltz: Everything seems to be in order, approved and signed for. It's just another demolition job for my lads now.

Halfgrunt: Good. Yes, very good. And remember Jeltz, it is imperative to myself and those whom I represent that there be no survivors, not a single one, or it all will have been for nothing.

Jeltz: You did your job Halfgrunt, let me do mine.

It now goes-

Jeltz: Everything seems to be in order, approved and signed for. It's just another demolition job for my lads now.

Halfgrunt: Good. Yes, very good. And remember Jeltz, it is imperative to myself and those whom I represent that there be no survivors, not a single one, or it all will have been for nothing.

Jeltz: Why? I thought you wanted the planet demolished?

Halfgrunt: I do. As to why you do not need to know that Prostetnic Vogon to perform your orders, suffice to say that if you examine those orders you will see we have been very careful with the wording.

Jeltz: (glancing at the order PAD) 'Hereby authorize the destruction of the planet designated earth under subsection 423Z/B of the Galativ Hypersapce Planning Committee', etc etc, ah, 'the complete demolistion of the planet and all lying therein.'

Haflgrunt: So you see, there is your clause Jeltz, all that lies therein, including therefore all those inhabitants upon it. It is very, very important to my associates that there be no survivors of the demolition. Until the planet and all those who dwell upon at are no more, the job is not complete. Is that understood, yes?

Jeltz: You did your job Halfgrunt, let me do mine.

Seem clearer? }}

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Post by halfwise on Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:46 pm

The connection to why the Vogons want them dead is now perhaps clearer than necessary, but what I'm missing is why Halfgrunt wants them dead. Maybe I just scrolled past it. There is the scene about philosphers and pyschiatrists rioting but that was 7.5 million years ago, so the strong connection to Halgrunt is not firm, if that's the only connection you were going for. What I'm looking for is a scene where Halfgrunt says something along the lines of "Look, if this gets around the bottom will drop out of the psychology business forever! Who's going to spend a day's paycheck to mope about their childhood when the ultimate answer to the ultimate question is available at your local newstand for half a quid?"

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Jun 09, 2019 4:33 pm

{{ I kind of thought the new opening made that bit clear when Halgrunt says-

'We who are gathered here, the galaxies best, greatest and above all, wealthiest psychiatrists, psychologists, revered Tri-D day time pundits, philosophers, Agony Aunts and mental health care specialists from throughout the Galaxy are those who have been chosen - all of us, all whose livelihoods and purpose for being are under threat once more'

and

'And it will not be cheap. We shall have to bribe the Galactic Civil Service, entice with cold hard cash those we need to fall to our side and do our bidding. We must give generously or else we all face the end of the line, forever. We must save the gravy train!...To protect our livelihoods and bank accounts.'
.
I felt that gave an explanation for why they are motviated to do what they are doing- to protect their livelihoods.

And the end of it about having to kill all the people-

'Well, they are unfortunately part of the problem, it all has to go. And well, there just people, you know?'

explained that he needed them all dead. Not why true, but you cant reveal that. The whole earth is a computer with organic life as part of the program reveal doesn't come till the end, nor does the Answer/Question reveal as the purpose, so I cant explicitly mention any of that earlier, only make it so the two halves fit together when the reveal comes.
Ideally at the point of having all the information the viewer should be able to say for themselves- 'aha, so Halfgrunt and the psychiatrists blew up the earth to stop the ultimate question being found, and they needed to kill Arthur and Trillian because they might have it in their brains and if it gets out all the psychiatrists are out a job.'
But obviously I cant set that outright at the start or it would make the entirety of everything else that happens rather redundant. And I think its now a lot more clear than it was, and certainly much clearer than it ever was in the books where you can often miss the plot if your not looking for it. }}

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Post by halfwise on Sun Jun 09, 2019 5:48 pm

I didn't see that when I went through.  Where is it exactly?  which episode?

I think it would do the job but I need to see it in context.

EDIT: Oh, right at the very beginning! Razz Didn't even think of looking that far up. Ballsy move, that. I'm not sure I'd take it that far but it does clarify things.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:52 am

Ballsy move, that. I'm not sure I'd take it that far - Halfy

{{I think I prefer it to the other opening, as the ruler of the universe one doesn't actually connect with much in Hitchhikers anyway but in Restaurant, so its a long wait for a pay off.
This puts the focus squarely on the conspiracy addressed in Hitchhikers and I think that keeps things clearer.

But dont think it needs anything further with regards to clarifying those particular plot points- hopefully they will be obvious and clear enough now. }}

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