Tuesday, May 24, 2005


      "Time is big," 1 said finally.
      He laughed a little.
      "You know, people go on and on about the ends of Space and Time, but I have the hardest time just knowing where to begin."
      Josef coughed politely.
      "The Question."
      1 looked at him with surprise, and sighed.
      "The Question," he nodded. "When we learned of the mice plan, to construct Earth and discover the Question, the Galactic Wards held a special meeting. The day was rainy. We argued fiercely. Very difficult. Very sad. Was the last time I would be there. 3 and I left the Wards forever.
      "We came up with two plans to save the Universe. I was supposed to destroy the Earth as quickly as I could. Luckily, the Vogons took too long, didn't understand anything, and required anything they didn't understand in triplicate. What with the mice, the dolphins, and 3 working against them, they didn't stand a chance."
      "I thought 3 was on your side."
      "3 was supposed to... well... replicate the Universe. Sort of make a back-up copy, in case the mice succeeded in destroying the whole of existence."
      "That was not our intention!" objected Josef.
      "Only because it wouldn't make you any money!"
      "Some of us don't pay for things with rocks!"
      "Stink... face!"
      "Hey!" scolded Douglas.
      "Sorry," said Josef and 1.
      "How was 3 going to copy the Universe?"
      "He was developing a computer program to -"
      "That's absurd!" interrupted Josef, "It would be quite impossible to duplicate that much matter and energy!"
      "Oh, the program works," replied 1, and he watched Josef closely. "It just steals stars and planets from existing galaxies."
      "Are you trying to suggest that a computer program has been dissecting the Universe into the Whole Sort of General Mish Mash as we know it?"
      "It was a destructive solution, but it seemed necessary."
      "Simply preposterous! There is no computer powerful enough to... to... oh my..."
      1 nodded.
      "3 installed the program on Earth. Earth is a kind of focal point that exists in every copy of the universe."
      "Because mice built one in every universe!"
      "And do you also have an explanation for how mice became pandimensional in the first place?"
      Josef's mouth dropped.
      "We are better because we deserve it!"
      1 took a deep breath.
      "The first time the program was run it created one new universe, but 3 didn't stop. By the second run, you mice had moved to Earth, and you became inextricably bound to it. The program created many more universes and spread your presence to every Earth."
      "Ah well, it seems you are mistaken. One Earth was successfully destroyed by the Vogons before we even arrived."
      1 sank.
      "Guilt. So much guilt." The herculean man sat against the central rock and began to sob. Douglas walked over to him.
      "You wanted to save the Universe."
      "Many people want something," replied 1, "Few think about who they have to become in order to get it."
      "Fancy talk from a caveman," jeered Josef.
      "That's quite enough!" Douglas defended.
      "He started it."
      "And if you follow a lemming, you've no right to complain."
      "By Zaphod, what is it - Cheap Proverb Day at the Mega-Market?"
      Douglas turned back to 1.
      "Because if it is," muttered Josef, "please, just drop me at the nearest black hole."
      1 slowly brought his crying to a halt, much as one might a massive locomotive.
      "Josef is right," he sniffled.
      "What?!" gaped Douglas and Josef.
      "We don't have time for this. Last I heard from 3, he was preparing for a final, infinite replication of the Universe." 1 rested his elbow on his hand and tapped the side of his forehead. "Think, think, think..."
      Douglas turned round quickly and pointed at Josef.
      "No!" he said. Josef closed his mouth. Douglas stared at him.
      "It's... endearing," the mouse tried, struggling to subdue himself, "really."
      "Josef," asked 1, "Do you know if any of the Earths are odd in any way?"
      Josef fell over backward, rolling with laughter.
      "What... No... That's..." he tried to respond, "That's rather like asking if any cheeses smell funny."
      Douglas and 1 stared at him.
      "Relativists," he scorned, "Aside from the usual hypocrisies and bureaucracies, they're all perfectly 'normal'. Except for the one the Vogons blew up, of course."
      1 sighed a deep, despondent sigh.
      "But..." began Douglas, in the desperate hope he'd find a reason for saying it. Surprisingly, he did. "That was before mice moved in, right?"
      "Indeed," replied Josef, "Yet another senseless tragedy that was entirely not our fault."
      "But," questioned Douglas, who had decided to begin all his sentences with the word but, "if you weren't there yet, how do you know the Vogons destroyed it?"
      "Well, you see, it wasn't there anymore, was it?"
      "But -"
      "Thank you, Douglas," interrupted 1, "Let's get going!" He smiled and charged off through the tunnel. "Adventure!"
      "There's nothing there," insisted Josef, "This 'adventure' is completely pointless."
      "But..." grinned Douglas, "still an adventure."
      "Oh, do be quiet."


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