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Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

February 15, 2007

Tertiary Phase: Episode 6
BBC Radio 4

Fit the eighteenth
Surrounded by the friendly but murderous citizens of Krikkit, Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect and Slartibartfast are astounded when Trillian reveals she knows why these people have conceived such a hatred of all other worlds in the universe. They have been manipulated by the Dust Cloud that surrounds their solitary planet with its solitary sun. The Dust Cloud is actually the particularised remains of an ancient super computer called Hactar, built by a long-extinct race, the Silastic Armorfiends of Striterax. Hactar invented a Supernova Bomb that could destroy the entire universe in a moment, but thought better of letting the reckless Silastic Armorfiends have it, and thus introduced a flaw. As a reward for this treachery the Armorfiends pulverised Hactar into dust. Now, nursing billions of years of bitterness against all life forms, Hactar has coddled the planet which evolved into Krikkit and infected the minds of its inhabitants with a form of manic xenophobia which has led them to rebuild his Supernova Bomb.
Trillian attempts to talk them out of using it, fails, but is then relieved to discover that it is a dud, she realises the truth of the situation and, with Arthur Dent, confronts Hactar. He freely admits his plan, and, as Eddie pumps out a vibration field from the Heart of Gold, seems content to accept dispersal and thus the end of his plans. He has fulfilled his function.

Meanwhile Zaphod reveals he picked up a hitchhiker on his voyage to Krikkit – a man called Prak who was accidentally overdosed with Truth Serum just as he was taking a legal oath, and thus is now condemned to tell the Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But until it kills him. However just before it kills him, Prak reveals to Arthur that although he cannot supply the Final Question to the Ultimate Answer (which is 42, for those of you arriving stupendously late to this narrative) (because they would cancel each other out, for those of you who did know the “42” part, but not its corollary and can deal with multiple subordinate clauses in parentheses without getting a migraine), (and if you haven’t read the books isn’t it about time you did?), he can reveal the location of God’s Final Message To His Creation.

This he does – just about – and then drops dead. After a brief discussion, Arthur decides he’d rather not bother with God’s Message for now, but would rather travel back in time to Earth at the moment the Krikkit Robots finished attacking Lords Cricket Ground and return the Ashes to their rightful place in the cosmos. This he does, only to discover that the cricket ball he has collected on his travels and is playfully bowling to a lone England batsman is in fact Hactar’s Supernova Bomb and Not A Dud and the batsman, is, in fact, a Krikkit Robot with a War Club who will detonate it, and that Hactar’s plan is now in fact coming to fruition and he has indeed fulfilled his function.

Unfortunately Hactar’s careful scheming has not factored in Arthur’s appalling record as a bowler. The Supernova Bomb goes wide, Ford catches it harmlessly, and Arthur relieves the robot of its bat in order to decapitate it neatly. As the sun sets on Lords, our heroes go in search of a quick cup of tea before travelling forward in time to get safely away from Earth, which is still unavoidably doomed by its inevitable and imminent encounter with the Vogon Constructor fleet.

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