We Apologize for the Inconvenience

We Apologize for the Inconvenience

Almost anyone worth sharing a cup of tea with knows of Douglas Adams and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. And while it might be difficult to give a name to the hilarious, blisteringly inventive and insightful brand of sci-fi he wrote, when one considers the practioners of this genre, there's the genius Adams--bringing world into being from a mountaintop while Thus Sprach Zarasthustra thunders from unimaginably expensive, hidden Bose speakers--and then there's everyone else, pulling themselves from the primordial ooze, hoping that legs will eventually replace these silly flippers.

One of Adams' great gifts is the five-book Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. Adams left fans wanting more, of course, after his sudden passing at age 49, and so a sixth book was commissioned. Eoin Colfer, of Artemis Fowl fame, penned Mostly Harmless to tie up loose ends regarding the series, and in the process, create even more loose ends. But it tied up most of them, and so that was that.

Except, of course, it wasn't.

Because except for some vague references to Megadodo Publications and some stories about their wild parties, abused expense accounts, and unreliable roving reporters who may have been promised encounters with Eccentrica Gallumbits (the triple-breasted whore of Eroticon 5) in exchange for NOT reporting some unseemly detals about certain planets or galactic celebrities, little is known about the actual origin of the Guide.

This fan site aims to change that. It may not be precisely what Adams would have written. It may not be precisely how Adams would have written it. It will most certainly lack the humorous genius that Adams would have brought to it.

But it's free.

Chapter One

The bridge of the spaceship Pyxis shook with alarming force, and because Rein Pronk was strapped into the padded captain’s chair, he shook with alarming force as well.

Rein Pronk was humanoid, early twenties if his existence were measured in earth years, and devilishly handsome when his brow was not furrowed in concern over encounters with the potentially lethal hazards of space travel. At the moment, his brow was furrowed so deeply as to render him almost unrecognizable.

“Sir,” said the disembodied and slightly metallic voice of the onboard computer, “I must report that we have been rammed by what appears to be a pirate vessel.”

“Must you?” responded Pronk. He had not been feeling well before the tiny blip had appeared on the sensor screens. Had felt incrementally worse as the blip had rapidly closed on the ship. And now he felt really quite awful at hearing this latest news. “Couldn’t you report that we had been rammed by something else?”

The computer paused a beat before responding. “Such as?”

“A basket full of puppies?”

The computer made a sound like it was clearing its throat. “Sir, the seriousness of our situation precludes me from humor.”

Alarm bells began clanging throughout the ship.

Pronk grimaced, clutched his stomach. “That’s probably not puppies either?”

“No sir,” confirmed the computer. “So as to put it out of your mind and allow you to focus on more clear and present threats, let me add that there are no puppies within scanning range of our sensors, which is considerable.”

“Ah,” said Pronk, nodding, feeling like he might throw up. “How about cute, furry kittens?”

The computer ignored this and continued. “The claxons indicate that the pirates are attempting to breach the hull in corridor three.”

“Pity. I’ve always liked the wallpaper in corridor three.”

“Sir, there is no wallpaper in corridor three,” said the computer with an exasperated sigh.

“Just trying to lighten the mood,” said Pronk, clenching as a spasm passed through his gut. “What defenses do we have at our disposal?”

“Well,” said the computer, “we have Omni-burst torpedoes that could easily blow the pirate vessel to loose atoms. Except for the fact that it’s now attached to our vessel and so they would blow us to loose atoms as well.”

“Then we’ll wait on that,” said Pronk judiciously. “Any guns?”

“You left them behind, remember?” noted the computer. “You said that we’d have more room for cargo and that the chances of us needing guns was one in a million. That might be an impressive ratio back on our home planet, but in the vastness of space, a million is just a little number that the really big numbers make fun of. And, let me remind you, you said that even if we stopped occasionally to take in some of the spectacular local cosmic sights, our chances of being detected and boarded were maybe once in a blue moon.”

Pronk suffered another spasm and assessed his options. Stort and Twillnickel, the other two crew were sicker than he and had earlier checked themselves in to the ship’s automated sick bay where—at last inspection—they seemed to be comatose. The three of them had collected massive quantities of cargo along the way but had no weapons with which to defend it or themselves. As it turned out, a rather significant oversight. And then there was the ship’s Wish Upon a Star propulsion system, an absolute miracle of engineering that reduced interstellar distances to virtually zero and which, in the wrong hands, tentacles, or tactile psychokinetic digital manipulations, could place the entire galaxy in danger.

Rein Pronk had invented the Wish Upon a Star propulsion system.

And he had no intention of letting it fall into the wrong hands, tentacles, or tactile psychokinetic digital manipulations. Pronk gazed out the large front viewing port at the beautiful twin blue moons of Azulus VII and knew what he had to do.

Covered now in cold sweat, he rotated himself with some difficulty until he could see the red button on the blinking console in front of him. At least he thought it was blinking, though it occurred to him that his vision might have been affected by the disease. A paper note had been taped beneath the button. On it, bold, red letters warned, DO NOT PUSH THIS BUTTON!! Below this note, another note had been added: EVER!!!!

Any moment, the ship’s automated system would kick in again and send them hurtling across the galaxy. Now was the time.

“Er,” said the ship’s computer, “you’re not thinking of pushing the red button, are you?”

“What?” asked Pronk. “The red button? Are you kidding? No one in their right mind would push the red button. Not in a million years.”

The computer seemed to exhale a metallic sigh. Then, remembering its earlier comments regarding a million and its insignificance with respect to the vastness of space, it emitted an involuntary electronic noise that might almost have been mistaken for a gasp had it not been a computer.

Pronk pushed the red button.

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Latest comments

15.05 | 12:54


24.08 | 10:42

I can soooooo relate to this, Rod. It's my writing day, too. I am laughing at my computer screen! You are so kind and patient with your fam & interruptions.

07.06 | 21:36

This is my first twitter sign up. I am sure I will be wowed by your intellect. Twitter away.

04.08 | 17:44

Hi mr rod vick,
Thanks so much for the books and the free book i finished them all, and they were all so good. THANK YOU

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