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[Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy] A Brief Correspondance
The first fic I ever wrote was Hitchhiker's. It was set after Book 5 and explaining the plot would involve explaining a lot of Book 5's plot too. I got about ten handwritten pages in (I was at CTY at the time and didn't have my computr with me) and then stopped and never finished.

I've always intended to go back there someday. I've now read the radio scripts and seen the movie and have, in the grand tradition of fanficcers who care more about continuity than the AUTHOR, decided to completely change my mind as to what counts as canon: from now on, if I ever feel inspired to fic again, I will only consider the first two BOOKS canon, although I may bugger off with any nifty ideas from the other three, the movie, or the radio series, if I feel so inclined. I do this because frankly, the first two books together had a more coherent plot than the radio series, and I think they were better written, but the last three books, while clever, involve some plot twists I simply don't like.

And the line about "I think the universe is in very good hands, don't you?" is too good to give up, as is Zaphod's speech on Magrathea about why he stole the Heart of Gold, neither of which appeared in the radio series.

None of that, of course, is relevant here, because this is pre-series fic. By the way, I did not get the name Hadra out of thin air; Ford mentioned it to Hotblack Desiato when reminscing about their younger days. Everything else about the character, however, I completely made up, albeit nicking some ideas from Ford's flashbacks in Book 5.

Without further ado:


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Zaphod -

1) You owe me thirty thousand Altarian dollars. Pay up by Thursday or else.

2) The third edition of the Guide will be released Friday. You may wish to check out the revised entry on Kildvaril II. It looks like just your sort of place - weren't you complaining when I saw you last about all the good spots having sprouted tourists? You then went on about mushrooms for more than an hour. I don't know how long exactly because I left the bar.

Come to think of it, that was four years ago. Great Zarquon, how have we avoided each other so long? You're insidious.

But to answer the question you will undoubtedly ring me up while I am trying to sleep about otherwise, no, I did not write the Kildvaril II article. Hadra was responsible for that particular shining gem of the literary art. She's calmed down a lot these days, has given up the pathophone and taken up competitive religion, and had sex with me five more times, bringing the total to nineteen and putting me FIRMLY in the lead. Hah! She also said she's considering taking a long vacation on Kildvaril III, which "will have a much better view of the fun".

I asked her what fun, and she said that she anticipated that events of Kildvaril II would shortly be such that the best place to watch them from would be from the next planet over.

Wuss.

So you see why I thought you might want to have a look in before the rush. Last time she pulled something like this was that business with the squid monster, and we both made a tidy profit on it even if we missed the fun. The Kildvaril II article doesn't have anything quite so obvious, and I'm at a loss, but I'm sure whatever it is you can make it profitable.

3) Is there any sort of pressure you could bring to bear on Stagyar-zil-Doggo on my behalf? Don't you have some friends in the Revenue Service, or something? We're having a little dispute over accounting, which is why, instead of writing this note from the field writer's lounge and getting cool drinks pressed into my hands by the robot butlers, I am writing this note from a frabjulously luxious bed in a room in a hotel five miles away from the Guide offices (where I have paid for my room on expense account. Neener neener neener) and getting cool drinks pressed into my hands by room service workers in lacy outfits. Stagyar will probably try to kill me again if I show my face at the office. Not that he'll succeed, mind you, but it's so annoying to have to dodge gunfire, and he's been installing a lot more weaponry lately. Won't tell anyone why.

I have a lurking suspicion, though. I think it may be time to go on an extended fact-finding trip somewhere in the ZZ9 zones. There are a number of uncontacted planets out there that don't have nearly enough written about them.

Love and kisses,
Ix

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Ix -

What will happen to me if I don't pay up? Because in the situation I'm in now, old buddy, it might be less unpleasant than what I'd have to do to to get the money. Come on, when have I ever let you down? Dones't our shared blood mean anything, eh? What would our mothers think if they knew their own offspring were at each other's throats over a simple little niggardly matter of some trifling cash? What is cash? The riches of the universe are truly to be found in true friendship, really good alcoholic drinks, and the beds of beautiful women. Cash doesn't even make the top ten list.

Don't rush off on this fact-finding trip. I know, I know, last person in Galaxy who should be saying that, etc. It's just that last time you went off on a trip like that you didn't come back for ten years, and even if you did attain Enlightenment you missed out on some really wild stuff back here. I'm just looking out for your best interests, buddy. Was it really worth it? Even if you are revered by a small - very small! - cult, have they continued to donate large sums of money to you now that you're not there to wave your hands and have visions and demonstrate drink-mixing techniques just for them?

Thanks for the tip - I'll be sure to head over to Kildvaril II sometime soon and check things out. (I must say, this business of "editions" disturbs me, and I wish they'd stop. Sure, it may keep the style consistent, but it means if anything is wrong, it stays wrong all year. Or two years. But you were ranting at this to me last time we met, so I won't bore you by agreeing any more.)

No dirt on Stagyar but I might be able to fake some incriminating photos or something.

Your adoring, beloved, but not, alas financially-solvent buddy,
Zaphod

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Zaphod:

Consider that I am a reporter for the Guide. Consider the portion of your fame and fortune - okay, not that you have much of that at the moment - you owe to the things said about you in said Guide. Consier that the new edition doesn't go out until Friday, and that last-minute changes will be made until a few minutes before it does. Do you really want the world to know just how much of a jerk you really are? Well, they won't - I'll be *inventive*. As you so helpfully pointed out, I am a minor prophet, and my talents have not left me even if, alas, my income from that area has.

Have just gotten a really disturbing call from Hadra. She's quitting. What the hell? She's been working for the Guide for almost as long as me! Half her life! Three-quarters of mine! There are some sentient populations that would have gone through seven generations in that time.

All she'd say when I asked her why was, "I want to have a nice peaceful retirement. I'm not as young as I was." Well none of us are as young as we once were, but if she felt that way she probably could have gotten promoted to senior editor. Zarquon knows she has enough dirt on the management staff. And is Kildvaril III really the most peaceful place for a retirement?

Her loss, I suppose.

I know you have a brilliant mind, Zaphod. Put it to use coming up with a quick money-making scheme. If I'm off in the Plural Zones my last-minute additions could stay there for *years*. This is not an idle threat; I got all the other writers to agree long ago that your article was mine in case of circumstances like this. And, well, I could try to get edits through, but you know what the sub-etha reception is like in the Plural Zones. I'll hardly have time to write up new material and get it through.

Either way I'm off, I think. Maybe next week.

Love and kisses for the moment,
Ix

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Ix:

Okay, I think I have a way to get you the money and get Stagyar's goat, at the same time. You'll have to help, though. It shouldn't take too long.

I think Hadra quit for the same reason Stagyar hit the Kill-O-Mart Blowout Sales. And I think i know why, too.

Call me. NOT COLLECT.

-Zaphod

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*

Zaphod:

Thanks. I never thought I'd say that to you, but I am still riding the endorphin rush. Not to mention the alcoholic rush. The stewardess is making me something she claims is as close to a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster as allowed by hyperspace regs.

In fact Ive had one already. Think they left out most of the alchol. My head is normally spinning after one.

Reminded of time I was raised to Buddhahood. It was not really worth it. Didn't even get my good discounts at bars, and I had the cosmic harmonies spinning in my head all the time. Except come to think of it, that never went away.

oookay have now had two. thats better. to business! i am indeed going on a fact-finding mission, leaving from barnards star. plan to take ten or twent years and hit about a dozen systems. none contacted yet, will have to get lifts from teasers flash bastards but they do have nice ships on teh whole. Bsides ths way stagyar cnt find me wheee. bought him statue of sirian tribal god as going awya present and left on his desk while he was out with search teams. ears startling resemblance to sirius cyberneteics complaints department vice president of public affairs. the statue that is not the desk or stagyar. desk is pretty unremarkable, stagyar still looks like lost a fight with face eating hedgehog. i met the vice president a few years ago at some sort of reception. Would have hit him but he was wearing body armour.

Sent letter and hlaf of profits to Hadra. sentimental fool. me not Hadra. Shes pretty sensible. Got out while the going was good even kept her pension for as much as itll do her.

Good idea of yours. got all money back and then some, in fact ten times some. xcpet am now on run from accounts department. no that i wasnt before so not much loss.

a little scared about teh corporate people. it'll all blow over by the time i'm back. last time we had a hostile takeover bid i lost an arm and it took me months to grow back. not an experience i want to repeat. Besides, i have to admit Stagyar does not inspire the same sort of loyalty in me. hes a nice guy but. this one might be the big one. hadra thinks its the big one and i don't blame her getting while the getting's good. but I can't do that to the Guide and besides it might all blow over, so ill just go underground for a bit.

btw am changing name to help hid emy trail. And to blend in better at first planet I am going to go research. used new speedresearch method w/bunch of their old radio broadcasts. (New feature in new edition of Guide for field reserachers only. Once in a while they giv us something nifty. Extracts relevant info and feeds it to you subliminally.) I am now Ford Prefect. s a very common name there and i like the sound muchly. better than Ix. also the accounts people are still looking for me under my old name which i cant even spell so its never on my tickets anyway ha! theyll work it out eventually ut not till im safe, they cant send in the heavy artillery to an uncontacted planet less they want a fine for lots more than i soaked them for. saved by economics. hell of a way to go.

see you in twenty years or so. have fun. don't let the bugblatter beasts bite.

lve & kisses,
Ford Prefect

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