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The Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy
The Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. Thought many of the concepts are slightly abstract and obscure, the book itself is a truly great work. The basic idea is that the day we meet our adventurous crew is the single worst Thursday of Arthur Dent’s life.
Sadly, it is not just Arthur who will be having a bad day. You see, it is this Thursday when the earth gets destroyed. Of all the billions of people on the planet, there was only one who knew what was to take place, and he himself was not even from earth. Ford Prefect, best friend of Arthur is a smooth talking quick thinking person for the remote planet of Betelgeuse five. As you were probably able to infer, Ford Prefect was not the name given to him by his parents, but instead the name of a car that was never popular, which he chose as his moniker, as to better fit in with the humans of earth.
Our story begins with Arthur waking up early at his London ’flat’ (it was a British book). This was just like any other Thursday, except that outside, a demolition crew was beginning to destroy his house so that they will be able to create a highway bypass. This was news to Arthur. He did not know how they could do this without even warning him first. Upon questioning the foreman of the job, he was informed that the plans had been on record in the planning office for months.
Sadly, the plans had been kept in the cellar where there is no nights, or stairs for that matter, in a disused lavatory, in the bottom of a locked file cabinet, with a sign that says “Beware of the leopard.” Arthur’s decision at this point was to lie in front of the bulldozer, so that, without killing him, it would be impossible to destroy the house. Just at this point, Ford Prefect enters the scene. He tells Arthur that it is imperative that he goes to the bar with him, because after he tells him the news, he will need a stiff drink.
Arthur explains the situation, and quickly Ford comes up with a plan. He makes a deal with the foreman that, since with Arthur there, they would not be able to do anything all day, they have resolved to just stand around and do nothing all day. So, it was not important weather or not Arthur was actually present. So they agreed that they would not knock down his house until he got back. Arthur could not decide whether or not to trust him. Ford assured him he could trust him to the end of the earth… which was about ten minutes.
Unknown to Arthur, ford was a writer for the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a type of encyclopedia chronicling the high and low points of every planet, and how to get about them for free. He had been doing research on earth for the last several years. Recently he had received a transmission over his ‘sub-ether radio,’ which told him what was to take place in just a few short minutes.
Arthur and Ford hurried off to the bar, and Ford explained what was about to happen. Ironically, the planet was set to be destroyed in order to build an interstellar bypass. And who better to destroy the planet, than a fleet of Vogons. The Vogons were a race from the outer edges of the spiral arm. They had virtually no conscience, worked for cheep, had hugs ships of mass destruction, and had perfected a type of poetry which was so horrific, when read, the writer's small intestine has been known to crawl out of their throat and strangle them.
Well, the Vogons came, and made short work of our blue/green planet, but before that happened, Arthur and Ford were able to hitch a ride and stow away on one of the Vogon vessels.
As you would assume, Arthur is fairly confused at the whole situation. Ford explains to him that he is from the planet of Betelgeuse, which, as anyone would suspect continued to surprise and confuse Arthur. Nothing, however, confused him as much as when Ford asked him to place something called a ‘babbelfish’ in his ear. Everything that the babbelfish heard, it translates for the person whose head it occupies. So, nearly instantly, Arthur was able to understand all of the grunts that had been coming over the intercom, and then knew that they were being searched for.
Once again, Vogon efficiency prevailed, and they quickly located the two hitchhikers. The hitchhikers were subjected to hear the captain of the vessel read his latest sonnet, and were then forced into the blackness of space, despite Ford’s best efforts to sway the guards to letting the live.
We learned that when ejected into the vacuum of space, one could only survive 26 seconds. Well, our adventurers were out there for a good 25 before suddenly sucked onto a strange ship, with yet another intercom, uttering more and more strange things. This time the subject of the babbling was mathematic improbability.
They made their way to the bridge of the vessel, and found, with more surprise, Zaphod Beeblebrox, the president of the galaxy, and a life long friend of Ford Prefect. The mathematic garble that had been broadcasting was, in fact, why Arthur
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