Chapter 11: Magretha.
Many people throughout the galaxy have heard of Magretha. Which may explain why nobody knows what it is anymore. The Guide has this to say about knowledge: "The more people who know about something, the less people there are who know that something well. This is becase that all the famous news or reports that everyone hears and remembers are one of three things, and quite often a combination of both. The first is that the news might be very very old, and although everyone has heard of the legend, people don't remember the story. For instance, take Magretha, a legend told to all school children. But because most young people in school, especially in galactic history class, this story is often forgotten or even never learned in the first place. This iis because the young people care much more about trying to have sex with the young person in the next cubicle than they are about ancient galactic history. And frankly, who can blame them?
The second reason is that any bit of information important enough to be reported across the galaxy is usually such a mind-bogglingly difficuult concept to grasp and takes a lot of thought, othewise someone would have done it a long time ago and it woldn't be big news now. And since most people most of the time thing mostly of sex and not of anything else, they fail to understand what they are hearing. Not that they would understand had they heard, because it is very likely that in educationary periods of their lives they were busy trying to have sex with the person in the next cubicle.
The third and final reason is that most tri-D newscastors don't like long words, so in their stories they will edit out all of the long words. While making the news much less informative, this saves them much effort, and it saves everyone a lot of time that they can use to try to have sex.
It has often been noted that the Guide tends to ramble at times, and obsesses on certain subjects.
The Guide then has this to say about the planet Magretha, "Far back in the mists of ancient time, in the great and glorious days of the former Galactic Empire, life was wild rich and largely tax free. Mighty starships pliied their way between exotic sns, seeking adventure and reward among the farthest reaches of Galactic space. In those days spirtis were brave, the stakes high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatres from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatres from Alpha Centauri. And all dared to brave unknown terrors, to do might deeds, to boldly split infinitiives that no man had split before--and thus was the Empire forged.
Many men of course became extremely rich, but this was perfectly natural and nothing to be ashamed of because no one was really poor--at least no one worth speaking of. And for all the richest and most successfl merchants life inevtiably became rather dull and niggly, and they began to imagine that this was therefore the fault of the worlds they'd settled on. None of them was entirely satisfactory: either the climate wasn't quite right in the later part of the afternoon, or the day was half an hour too long, or the sea was exactly the wrong shade of pink.
And thus were created the confitions for a staggering new form of specialist induustry: coustom-made luxary planet building. The home of this inidustry was the planet Magrathea, where hyperspatial engineers sucked matterthrough white holes in space to form it into dream planets--gold planets, platinum planets, soft rbber planets with lots of earthqakes--all lovingly made to meet the exacting standards that the Galaxy's richest men naturally came to expect.
But so successful was this ventre that Magrathea itself soon became the richest planet of all time and the rest of the Galaxy was redced to abject poverty. And so the system broke down, the Empire collabsed, and a long sllen silence settled over a billion hungry worlds, disturbed only by the pen scratchings of scholards as they labored into the night over smug little treatises on the value of a planned political economy.
Magrathea itself disappeared and its memory soon passed into the obscurity of legend.
In these enlightened days, of course, no one beleives a word of it.
A recent add-on to the Guide considered saying that Magrethea really did exist, and that it was proven that it did so when a fantastically equiped Magarethean ship (unseen since) carried Ford Prefect (since deceased), Arthur Dent (since deceased), Trillian McMillian (since deceased), and a Magarethean citizen (status unkown) in a voyage which saved the universe from an ancient (now destroyed) computer and a genocidal (but recently converted species), but seeing as how none of it exisits any more, who cares? So nothing was added and nobody cared.
Because no one believed Magrethea existed, virtually everyone was astonished when deep space monitors indicated that a brand new planet was suddenly appearing in sector that had recently been demolished for the construction of an interstellar expressway.
Chapter 12: Las Vegas!
When one is immersed in daily life, or when one is merely immersed in anything for that matter, it is quite simple to forget that there is anything outside of that which you are immersed in. So the fish does not know anything outside of the water, the inhabitants of Skellam IV knew only the sticky fluid that kept the Ravenous BugBlatter Beasts away, and the politicians knew only lies.
Many people, however, are immersed in many different things. Mostly, it is their own lives, regardless of how lacking those lives are. This of course led to the extraordinary developement of the SEP field, and, following that, the bizarre discovery of Bistromatics by a young mathematician who had nothing better to do than argue about his bill after the quite shapely young woman he was with left him. This being said, it is quite easy to see how easy it is for somethings to go unnoticed.
A planet is not one of those somethings.
In the olden days of Gods and Gentiles, it was not uncommon for planets to be magically produced in a breathtaking display of magical hocus pocus which, through the extremely common use of such magic, didn't seem like magic at all. Oh, sure, the stars seemed to boil and a haze fell over the light and a million rainbows spread from them the lowest microwaves to the highest gamma rays were produced by the coalescing of the cosmic strings necessary to produce matter from energy, but everyone had, of couurse, seen it before.
This was not the olden days.
No one had seen a planet formed in years. Millions of years. And only one planet formation had ever been cauught on Tri-D video, that being when a planet misteriously formed on top of the Antaerean Civil Service building, killing all those within in the middle of the biyearly, "Daily State of the Union Update." And seeing as how that film was badly torn, tattered, and consiisted solely of a gigantic dark mass approaching a camera at terrifiic speeds, no one knew quite what to expect.
Some expected to see a great show of cosmic fireworks. Some expected to see a transdimensional spacecraft appear behinid the cosmic coalescence, and take them to the afterlife. Some expected to see a gigantic pool stick appear behind the planet and attempt to pot it into the nearest black hole. What no one expected to see happen was what did happen. Slowly little tiny bits of matter appeared and were gently, carefully laid on top of the previously layer. There were no fireworks, no apocoleptic spacecraft, and no gigantic chalk-coated cues. Only a faint dim glow in the innards of the planet and a miniature hyperspace tether reading, "Welcome to the Strip."
When the planet was done forming nearly a month later, the first brave explorers to the planet happened to be small white mice.
The second explorers, unfortunately, were small white robots, which quickly captured and killed the small white mice.
These robots were then rapidly deactivated by the third intrepid explorers, who happily could fiinally look into the stars as never before.
The fourth explorers were not really explorers in the traditional sense, as they were merely returning home.
The fifth group of people to land consisted of a group of hand-picked specialiists and the man who commisioned the planet.
The sixth and next to last group to set foot on the planet consisted of approximately 6 billion tourists.
The seventh and final group to come to the planet stayed there. This was the phenomonal amount of money that the tourists brought with them, which found a comfortable home in the Great EP's volumous pockets.
Chapter 13: The Strip
The Strip was magnificant. It began about 120 miles from the western coast of the second largest land mass on the mostly watery world. It then continued until it ended approximately 120 miles from the Eastern coast of said land mass. At almost 3000 miles long and approximately 500 miles wide, it was the sort of thing one would expect to be built by an advanced society over the course of many eons and countless millenia, with each acre being laid down through the blood, sweat, and saline solution of a new generation, generation after dedicated generation. It was the sort of thing that could best be described as the life work of one hundred billion people's one hundred billion children's one hundred billion children. It took that much effort, that much time, the much planning. It was not the sort of wing-ding operation to be expected of a new planet, it was not the sort of piecemeal mishmash that one could throw togeather in one week. It was the sort of thing that an infinite number of civilizations struggle for throughout their entire existance.
The Magreathea IntraPlanetary Corporation finished the project in one week.
The monumental monument had everything. It had libraries, it had museums, it had research facilities, it had corporate centers, government offices, schools, universities, armies, rockets, spaceports, shipport, trainstations, and even antiquuated Aluminum Ultra Transport Odiouomers, or Autos as they are frequently called. But most importantly, it had bars. And drinks. Lots of them. And very inexpensively.
It had thousands of varieties of the drink universally known (and loved) as "jinnan tonix." it had one variety of the drink universally known (and feared) as "The Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster." And it had a wonderful snack to munch on to fill the stomach before a round of beer, whiskey, or alcohol type drink: a peaunut butter and banana sandwich.
And oh yes, it also had magicians in tights, females in scanty clothing, excellent singers, and just a touch of gambling.