Chapter 7: Once more, the Grebulons.
The Grebulons were getting anxious. Random had given them no instructions for almost two weeks, which, given how long it takes Rupert to orbit the sun, was quite a long time. Each morning they would knock quitely on the door to her room, peak in the tiny window at the top to see if she was sleeping, and then charge in SWAT-team style as they had seen on TV. And each day she would roll over, moan at them, and then kick the nearest one in the crotch, just like on that other of the Grebulon's favorite shows, America's Funniest Home Videos.
Eventuually though, Random and the Grebulons got tired of this. They tried tapping their heels togeather and seeing if they could wish their way inside, or pretending Random was a rabbit and then spinning around really really fast and trying to chew through the wall to get her, but nothing was very interesting, or, needless to say, very successful. After several more weeks ofthis, Random got tired of hearing how everyone had broken teeth and how they would never get rabbit stew or even any toto soup, and she gave them directions: go jump off a Perfectly Normal Beast!
Of course, since the point of all of the Grebulon's boredom was their complete and total inability to find a perfectly normal beast, this didn't solve matters. So Random closed here eyes, had the Grebulons put a map down in front of her, and plunged her finger down. The first time she hit a small stuffed Walrus, and the second she nearly shattered one of the fourteen remaining Elvis albuums in existance, but then she put her entire palm down on a small sector. This small sector still contained approximately 1400 habitably star systems, but at least they knew where they were going.
If only they had a way to get there.
Chapter 8: the reinstation of Debt.
Earlier, pages had been taken from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as to the history of the abolish of debt. Here is what the Guide says to as the restoration of Debt, "In the 4400 years that have passed since President Dinky Rod abolished debt, very little debt was aqcuired, because everyone had so much money there was no need to borrow any. Until an undisclosed, and recently deceased, employee of Infinidum Enterprises ran up quite a tab while visiting the "Domain of the King Bar." So much of a tab, in fact, that only one backers from the future stepped forward to lend a hand, or a bushel full of Laughable Rods (the renamed version of the Big Rod). In addition, Infinidum was given a limited time to make the first payment. Infinidum Enterprises then had to sell their primary asset, the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and that didn't even begin to cover the loss. Then they went back in time, and cancelled the multimillion dollar consumer research program that had been in place. Now, instead of being Infidum Enterprises, they were I Inc. Final, to get the last of the money required for the first installment, they cut back greatly on staff and research. Eventually, enough money was raised to satisfy their first repayment.
At about the same time as all this was happening
another time-traveler from the future decided to visit "The King's Domain."
Chapter 9: the insult.
Meanwhile, back on Rupert, construction on a new starship had begun. All of the habitat domes belonging to the Grebuluons were being torn up, and were rapidly reassembled into a gigantic sphere. At first there had been much debate over this, seeing as how the artificial gravity generators would be unable to function over such a large volume, but nobody seemed to care. Fortunately, Random, space-walking outside, accidentally bumped into the sphere and sent it bouncing and rolling across the dunes of Rupert. This provided a sort of artificial gravity, although generally everyone stuck to the ceiling. However, seeing how this stopped the rash of space sickness that had rapidly coated the inside of the space station with vomit, everyone was greatly pleased.
This, of course, allowed the artificial gravity generators to be used as a form of propulsion. The plan was to tow the generators about one kilometer behind the sphere, then activate it. The artificial gravity created by the generators then would pull the station towards it, and, seeing as how the front of the station was more massive than the rear, the station would also whip the generator to the opposite side of the station.. The generator would then pull the station in that direction, which would then....and so on. The overall point is that, given a proper launch, the system should look like a two headed bolo flying it's way towards the sector Random had fingered. Of course, with this form of propulsion it would take approximately 894,000 years to reach the fiirst planet of the sector, and another 234,000 years to make it to the farthest, but no one cared because hey, it beat the hell out of kicking around on Rupert.
Just before they were to take off, a spaceship landed beside the sphere. It settled down next to them, extended a ramp, and a tall thin being climbed out. Wearing a space suit, he knocked on the outer hall. After some minutes, Random climbed into a space suit and got into the airlock. She opened the hatch, turned on her radio, set her channel to his, and nodded for him to begin.
"Random McMillian?" Wowbagger the Infinitely Proglonged, one of the universes few immortal beings, asked?
"Is that your space ship?" Random replied?
"What?" said Wowbagger, who had never heard anything other than incoherant blubbering in response to his initial queries.
And then Random put one of the last 14 LP albums existing against Wowbagger's space suit, making sure he saw how sharp her weapon was.
"You'll let us borrow your ship," she said.
He nodded. They climbed in.
Chapter 10: the mysterious EP
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has this to say about immortality: Most of those who are born immortal instinctively know how to cope with it, but Wowbagger was not one of them. Indeed, he had dcome to hate them, the load of serene bastards. He had had his immortaliity inadvertently thruust pon him by an unfortunate accident with an irrational particle accelerator, a liqidd lunch and a pair of rubber bands. The precise details of the accident are not imortant because no one has ever managed to duplicate the exact circumstances under which it happened, and many people have ended up looking very silly, or dead, or both, trying.
The Hitchhiker's Guide, meanwhile, has this to say about hyperspace tethers: "Hyperspace tethers are fantastically long and spectacularly beautiful. They are created by anchoring miniature hyperspace engines at precise points in time and space, then initiallizing them simultaneously. The effect created by this is best described as dozens of glittering rainbows, with colors rippling down from front to back as you travel past. The wonders of hyperspace are opened by the first tether, amplified and reopened at a second location by the second tether, and so on until at last a glorious creschendo is reached. Hyperspace tethers are, in a word, breathtaking. Unfortunately, Hyperspace tethers are, in another two words, expensive and nauseating.
Only the richest, most profitable companies are able to afford creatiing them, and when they do, it is seldom with the intent to reveal nature's beauty. Rather, of the 31 subspace tethers that have been created in the last 10,000 years, 30 of those serve as advertisements for various companies and vacation getaways. The 31st, meanwhile, was created by a mad philantropist, and was destroyed by the 30 companies supporting the other tethers in an effort to keep from being upstaged. Despite this, many people still frequent the establishments of the 30 operatiing tethers, despite the high pricetags associated with these visits.
What the Hitchhiker’s Guide does not say (largely because it assumes that everyone will already pre-assume it, which is a very foolish assumption) is that the galaxy, has been around for a long, long, long, long, long time. A stupendously long time in fact that defies the definition of the word long. If one were to attempt to define the age of the galaxy one would have to use the word long approximately, technically speaking, a lot. And of course this can't be done in this space of this book at this time because it would take longer than the universe will last to write the word "long" that many times. So therefore this conversation is completely irrelevant and the Guide was very wise to not even bother noting this in their work. Assuming, of course, they understood this simple fact, which again may be a dangerous assumption.
The reason this is being mentioned is that in all of the long history of the long universe... well, the universe isn't long, it is sort of an ovular square with coconuts in it, but in all of the long history of the universe only a few of the many organisms that have inhabited it managed to make enough money to build one of the subject at hand: Pan Hyperdronic Multiphase Optical Generator Systems (PHMOGS), or hyperspace tethers as they are referred to in the guide. And since the last one had not been built for so long, we must forgive the guide for not watching out for these creations. After all, PHMOGS are terribly expensive arrays of fantastic beauty and horrible taste. They are not visible from real space, only from ships in hyperspace. And they are not visible in that the eyes see them. Rather, the eyes are shown them with no choice as to whether or not they are seen. You can't look away, you can't blink, and you certainly can't sleep through one. Fortunately, only thirty-one of these monstrosities have ever been built, and as the guide has mentioned, only thirty are left. And seeing as how everyone already knew where they were, the guide assumed it didn’t need to mention much more about these, and they threatened to fire any freelance writers who wasted their time on these already too-well-known structures.
These structures are best described as figments of one's imagination, formed where sub space beacons are placed in hyperspace. These beacons are configured to emit light at a particular wavelength, with some of these wavelengths being visible and some not. What is odd about these beacons is that they are moving in circular orbits about each other at
slightly above the speed of light. This creates a condition known as pluripupimomentia, where all of the light collides and reaches the viewer’s brain at precisely the exact same instant, creating an extraordinarily beautiful spectrum that simultaneously causes one's guts to wrench. That these tethers are said to simulatenously produce mild orgasms helps their popularity somewhat, although no attempt to measure this factor has ever succeeded. This failure is due largely because, well, the scientific teams sent to test this theory ultimately become distracted.
These colossal displays of wealth, extravagance, beauty, technology and tackiness are, for first time spacefarers, one of the most sought-after attractions in the universe. Anyone who has travelled through space more than once and seen them once, however, has seen enough. They are avoided more than anything else by most pilots, something that the Guide fails to mention, because, again, they assume that pilots don’t know this, or if they do they probably don’t because they’ve never talked to a Hitchhiker, which they should for Zarquon’s sake.
Therefore, it was very disturbing to some in the galactic order (and all those in the guide who did not take notice) when a mysterious 32nd PHMOGS appeared in the middle of a major commercial shipping route. Why it was there or what it meant and where the money necessary to build this monstrosity came from were items of knowledge possessed by only a few, including some accounting executives at I. Inc (formerly Infinidum Enterprises), a now deceased human named Ford Prefect, a planetary designer named Slartibartfast, and a very good, and suddenly very wealthy, lounge singer known only as EP.
Eventually the guide learned, through sporadic and not-to-coherent press releases, that this tether was not meant to be an add as such, but rather a celebration. The words of the tether, however, seemed to glow and sparkle even more than the rainbow they were set before, therefore weakening the intestinal fortitude of the viewer to a greater extent (and, again presumably, increasing the intensity of the moment). The words promised a place that did not exist, and beckoned people to visit. So the guide wrote about it in terms almost as glowing as the sign’s. Money began flying in, people signing on to buy whatever it was the sign promised even though they knew it wasn’t a product, people making reservations for wherever it was, even though they had heard it didn’t exist. All of them wanted to be a part of of those three magical words in the sign: Viva las Vegas!
Meanwhile, the man responsible for this adverteasement lay on his stomach on a beach in front of the newly remodeled 14 story "Domain of the King" Condominium and relaxation resort. The beach of course, had been artificially created, as had the ocean and the suntan on the mysterious EP's back. He drank something called a pina colada, also artificially created, and conversed with a man famous for building fjords.
This, of couurse, is only mentioned at this time because it was at this time that Wowbagger, Random, and the Grebulons, comfortably cramped in Wowbagger's tiny ship, passed through the area of the subspace tether own by the myserious EP. As they passed, Random and the Grebulons strained mightly to comprehend the vast 450 meter high letters that made up the sign. When at last they understood the message, Random pronouunced them near the also mysterious Perfectly Normal Beasts, and the Grebuulons wept at the thought of possibly seeing a new game show that they hadn't already seen at least 14 times before.
Wowbagger was not interested in the least. He was busy watching the ships controls, for although he couldn't die (and in fact, could not have been hurt by Random's album), he greatly feared being bored to death. He sat at his control console, performing a very monotonous routine he had come up with decades earlier. To his left was his tray of office supplies: staples, pens, pencils, dead pizza fish, miniature flying saucer paperweights, that sort of thing. To his right was his liqiud lunch, the remains of his gaseous breakfast, and a menu from which to select his dinner. In front of him was the main operations center of the ship. Inertial Dampners, gravity generator, everything was fine. Of course. Frankly, he had been a little bored lately. Having the Grebulons and, ugh! that girl along was quite interesting. They were always getting uunderfoot, pressing buttons that shouldn't be pressed, stealing pizza fish and other office supplies, drinkinig his liquid lunch, not flushing the toilet, that sort of stuff. But they kept him a little busy, a little interested.
Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged would have been more than a little amused had he seen the two Grebulons simultaneosly fire two rubber bands at Random while a fourth pored Wowbagger's recently pinched liquid lunch over her head and threw an old McDonald's wrapper on top of it.. She became so upset that she yelled at them, turned around, and walked right into a particle accellorator.
Wowbagger the infinitely amused had this to say about immortality: boring. And Random, now possibly immortal, had this to say: aiaiaiayaiayaiyaiyeeeyaiye! This was because the accident had not yet finished occuring and she still had close to 114.3 jigs of energy flowing through her and a piece of toast, but it is still interesting to note because, translated into Eureathan, aiaiaiayaiayaiyaiyeeeyaiye means wahhooyaahipyiphipyipeehoo!
Perhaps, to some, that is not interesting to note, but it is to those who understand the circumstances present when Ereathans use such a term.
Nevertheless, it soon became apparent (after Random stopped saying things that would have made her mother role over in her grave, had she been alive), she fell into a very tranquill sleep, with almost no indication of the whatever-it-was that she just went through. Even Wowbagger, who had had the same thing happen to him, did not know what to do. So he simply said, "you little putz," crossed Random off of his list, and went to bed.