Preludes (Being the untold back story of Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent)

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(Being the untold back story of Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent)

By Apoorva Sharma


The star system of Betelgeuse was an important industrial hub prior to the great collapsing Hrung disaster. Specifically it housed the legal wing of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation. The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation (or SiriCorp for short) had, largely through inspired advertising campaigns, murderous litigation and the occasional murder, managed to corner the market for the robotics industry in the galaxy. As a result of this, the legal wing of SiriCorp occupied the entire landmass of all the planets of the stellar system.

The SiriCorp legal wing had gained a reputation among aspiring lawyers. It was where a lawyer went to sell his/her/other soul to whatever deity his/her/other particular religion defined as a “devil”. But the pay was good and Siricorp ended up employing a staggering forty percent of all practising lawyers of the galaxy. (Another thirty percent were the permanent counsel for the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy).

This influx of legal scholars and efflux of morals had a strong impact on the residents of Betelgeuse, not least on the teenager who would eventually come to be known as Ford Prefect (Ford for short) and the teenaged Zaphod Beeblebrox. To say that these two fine specimens of „the lawyered generation' dreamt of growing up to become lawyers would be akin to saying that a multiplanetary corporation was more concerned with the safety of its products over the safety of its profits.

“Zaphod, have you ever wondered about the future? I mean, beyond just the basic where am I going to get my next drink?” asked Ford, passing by yet another seedy looking attorney's office. They had just finished another day at school and had just spent a solid four hours pretending to listen to a basic astrophysics lesson. Alcohol, always in plentiful supply in areas with a high density of lawyers, was the traditional social lubricant for schoolchildren. It had become the norm for even gestating foetuses to marinate what little existed of their brains in alcohol. Age minimums had become defunct with the advent of time travel. Since it was entirely possible to exert a time field on the body until any prescribed minimum age limit was reached, the underaged simply became of age for long enough to buy alcohol.

“I don't know” replied Zaphod “but it sure as hell won't involve offices. I'm more of a rule the whole universe kind of person.”

“Yeah? You going to do that all at once or are you going for a more individual approach? Hey Mr. So and So, can I rule over you with an unrelenting iron fist, forcing you to comply with my every whim? No? Then how about you Mrs. Such and Such?” asked Ford.

“Go ahead and laugh now. You'll regret it later. I was going to offer you a position as Secretary of Defence but you just blew it.” said Zaphod.

“Yeah, sure, whatever.” said Ford “I just think that you should set your sights a bit lower and a little less crazy if that's possible. Anyway, you're buying today.”

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy notes that many Beeblebroxologists have subsequently considered the importance of this exchange, it being the sort of thing an academic grant can be wrestled out of. In fact, academic opinion became polarised, with one faction stating that this was the first glimmer of ambition which would ultimately lead to him successfully running for President of the Galaxy and his ultimately aborted attempt to take over the universe. The other faction said that this sort of thing was incredibly common among adolescents of all races and species and that the members of the first faction were just overreacting idiots. The first faction responded by saying something unprintably rude about the second faction’s grandmothers. The second faction therefore had no choice but to go ahead and kill the grandmothers of the first faction which lead to a bloody galactic war involving the armies of several planetary systems and hundreds of raving bloodthirsty academics leaving four billion dead.

When asked about this, the third interplanetary war he had started, Zaphod Beeblebrox is reported to have stated “I’m worth it baby.”

A few pan galactic gargle blasters and several million destroyed liver cells later; Zaphod and Ford stumbled out into the street and stumbled into the spaceport. They asked the arthropod at the counter to give them tickets to the first spaceship out of their lawyer infested home planet. A few hours later that same night, the great collapsing Hrung ... collapsed. Some of the galaxy's greatest legal minds were lost in the disaster. This was said to have set back the legal world by hundreds of milliseconds.

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