“Breakthrough,” yelled Ford in competition. “A scientific breakthrough!”
“This is the police! Clear the way!”
“Scientific equipment! Clear the way!”
“Police! Let us through!”
“Walkmen!” yelled Ford, and pulled half a dozen miniature tape players from his pockets and tossed them into the crowd. The resulting seconds of utter confusion allowed them to get the supermarket trolley to the edge of the ramp, and to haul it up on to the lip of it.
“Hold tight,” muttered Ford, and released a button on his Electronic Thumb. Beneath them, the huge ramp juddered and began slowly to heave its way upwards.
“Ok, kids,” he said as the milling crowd dropped away beneath them and they started to lurch their way along the tilting ramp into the bowels of the ship, “looks like we’re on our way.”
Arthur Dent was irritated to be continually wakened by the sound of gunfire.
Being careful not to wake Fenchurch, who was still managing to sleep fitfully, he slid his way out of the maintenance hatchway which they had fashioned into a kind of bunk for themselves, slung himself down the access ladder and prowled the corridors moodily.
They were claustrophobic and ill-lit. The lighting circuits buzzed annoyingly.
This wasn’t it, though.
He paused and leaned backwards as a flying power drill flew past him down the dim corridor with a nasty screech, occasionally clanging against the walls like a confused bee as it did so.
That wasn’t it either.
He clambered through a bulkhead door and found himself in a larger corridor. Acrid smoke was drifting up from one end so he walked towards the other.
He came to an observation monitor let into the wall behind a plate of toughened but still badly scratched perspex.
“Would you turn it down please?” he said to Ford Prefect who was crouching in front of it in the middle of a pile of bits of video equipment he’d taken from a shop window in Tottenham Court Road, having first hurled a small brick through it, and also a nasty heap of empty beer cans.
“Shhhh!” hissed Ford, and peered with manic concentration at the screen. He was watching The Magnificent Seven.
“Just a bit,” said Arthur.
“No!” shouted Ford. “We’re just getting to the good bit! Listen, I finally got it all sorted out, voltage levels, line conversion, everything, and this is the good bit!”
With a sigh and a headache, Arthur sat down beside him and watched the good bit. He listened to Ford’s whoops and yells and “yeehay!”s as placidly as he could.
“Ford,” he said eventually, when it was all over, and Ford was hunting through a stack of cassettes for the tape of Casablanca, “how come, if …”
“This is the big one,” said Ford. “This is the one I came back for. Do you realize I never saw it all through? Always I missed the end. I saw half of it again the night before the Vogons came. When they blew the place up I thought I’d never get to see it. Hey, what happened with all that anyway?”
“Just life,” said Arthur, and plucked a beer from a six-pack.
“Oh, that again,” said Ford. “I thought it might be something like that. I prefer this stuff,” he said as Rick’s Bar flickered on to the screen. “How come if what?”
“You started to say, `how come if …'”
“How come if you’re so rude about the Earth, that you … oh never mind, let’s just watch the movie.”
“Exactly,” said Ford.
There remains little still to tell.
Beyond what used to be known as the Limitless Lightfields of Flanux until the Grey Binding Fiefdoms of Saxaquine were discovered lying behind them, lie the Grey Binding Fiefdoms of Saxaquine. Within the Grey Binding Fiefdoms of Saxaquine lies the star named Zarss, around which orbits the planet Preliumtarn in which is the land of Sevorbeupstry, and it was to the land of Sevorbeupstry that Arthur and Fenchurch came at last, a little tired by the journey.
And in the land of Sevorbeupstry, they came to the Great Red Plain of Rars, which was bounded on the South side by the Quentulus Quazgar Mountains, on the further side of which, according to the dying words of Prak, they would find in thirty- foot-high letters of fire God’s Final Message to His Creation.