“Captain’s Log, Stardate 46071.3. We are en route to investigate a spatial anomaly in Azure Sector, near the Romulan Space.”
There was no reason to be afraid of the space flight. Federation’s modern starships are in fact some of the safest machines ever made and one of the most capable in the unlikely event of things going wrong. As long as you don’t hear an explosion while traveling at faster-than-light speeds and there isn’t a huge hole in the Warp coil thrusters of your ship.
On the bridge of the USS Enterprise, “Damage reports coming in from all over the ship,” cold-bloodedly said Data, the only android member of the crew. “We are venting drive plasma.”
While the Enterprise was being tossed around left and right accompanied by the terrible noises of the impacts, chief engineer La Forge finally took his hands off from the computer, hold on to a place and said: “Emergency core shutdown is initiated.” There was nothing more he could do. First officer William Riker made the ship-wide announcement.
“All hands be ready to abandon the ship. All hands be ready to abandon the ship.”
“Sir, I’m getting unusual readings,” said Data suddenly to the captain.
“Where is that Romulan ship?” captain Jean-Luc Picard asked.
“They stopped their fire,” said Data while looking at the screen in front of him in a confused way.
“What? Just like that?” Riker asked.
“I don’t know where they are, sir.”
“Find them!” captain yelled.
“Sir, you need to see this. This is where the Romulan ship last has been.”
On the big screen, they saw an enormous teddy bear floating in the vastness of space. It had nearly the size of a starship. They understood nothing but an explanation was not important at that moment. Because the enormous teddy bear was floating towards them.
“Evasive maneuver” captain Picard gave as an order. “Pattern delta four.”
Teddy Bear passed by the ship’s side.
“I’m detecting a highly localized distortion of the space-time continuum… and something has just emerged,” said Data to the captain.
“On the screen!”
“What kind of a ship is that?” Riker asked.
A ship shaped like a sphere, perfectly white. The most beautiful ship they had ever seen. There was the Heart of Gold, the ship that goes to and beyond the furthest limits of physical laws, the ship that uses improbability to cross interstellar distances in a mere nothingth of a second. When they zoomed in on the ship, they noticed those words: “The Beeblebrox Salvage Communications Import-Export Construction Consumer Goods Souvenir and Really Wild Stuff Corporation”
“Hail them,” captain Picard said. “And Mr. Worf, end red alert. ”
Zaphod Beeblebrox quickly appeared on the screen with a cool sweatshirt that says “make love not an intergalactic war.”
“I’m Jean-Luc Picard of the Federation starship Enterprise.”
“Aye captain. Hello intelligent life forms.” He sounded drunk. “I’m the Zaphod Beeblebrox of the Heart of Gold.” Zaphod took the portable control panel and turned down the ambient music.
“Captain Beeblebrox, your vessel is not familiar to us.”
“I wanted to say the same thing. Is this an Earth ship? EARTH, WONDERFUL place. My old girlfriend was English. But -of course- I don’t really want to talk about her. She was… (he paused) In fact, I still have a desk from the Earth; a 19th century Victorian, walnut wood, very very high quality. It’s the aura of it, you know… Do you have any idea what has just happened? Your enemy or whatever, the other ship, green one, just turned into a teddy bear, I believe…”
“But how?” said Picard; Riker and him glanced at each other for an instance, disorientedly.
“…It was improbable. Very improbable. No need to thank me. No need. But I might need your help. Do you have some kind of engineers? The engineer kind. You see, my drive engine or its transmission network or whatever has some kind of a problem. I don’t even trust this button, the large and shiny one.”
“Don’t push it,” Ford Prefect said, appeared on the frame for an instance and went back.
“It might not be functioning properly,” said Beeblebrox. “And I really need to get on the road again. Then we can call it even. Oh. BIG TIME. Very big.”
Prefect interrupted: “Don’t mind him. He had lots of Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters. But we really need your help. Actually, we have an android for this kind of stuff. But unfortunately, he is very depressed at the moment.”
“Of course,” said captain Picard in a serious manner, “We can render assistance to you” and turned to La Forge, “What transforms a ship into a teddy bear? Make a team and go there. Learn anything you can about that ship,” and to Riker “Number one, I want you to go with them.”
< *** >
Big door of the Heart of Gold’s engineering compartment closed behind La Forge with a cheerful sigh.
“Heart of Gold is the first ship to make use of the revolutionary Infinite Improbability Drive,” said Marvin, the robot that has the brain size of planets but absolutely no hope for happiness. “Everything is probable in certain finite parameters.”
“What parameters?” asked Data.
“Impossible to tell.”
La Forge and Data pointed their tricorders to ship’s integrated circuits.
“This is amazing,” said Data. “But we require advice Marvin.”
“Where should we even start to understand this?” La Forge added.
“Don’t talk to me about advices. I was programmed to feel the full gamut of human emotions.” Marvin paused. “It’s a nightmare.”
“I am detecting a quantum flux on the master computer of the ship,” Data said to La Forge.
“What does that mean?”
“I do not know.”
< *** >
La Forge, Data and Marvin entered the main deck.
“It’s done,” said La Forge. “All thanks to Marvin. He just needed a little encouragement. It turns out a cord was bitten by a some kind of a small animal, probably a mouse.”
“Ghastly, isn’t it?” Marvin said.
“This Riker is an amazing guy,” said Beeblebrox while pointing him, went behind to the bar area,
“Well, come on,” they invited all. “I have stuff from really weird parts of the Galaxy.” He made himself an another drink. “You know. I was once a president.”
“Of what?” Riker asked.
“Of the Galaxy….”
“…Being the president of the galaxy has its quirks, for one thing; you can’t really be forced into exile. What are they going to do? So I went back to the business—a real business. The actual fame and money are in the private sector. Think different. Yeah.”
“Why haven’t we ever heard about you or your galactic government?” Riker asked.
“Space is so vast, mind bogglingly vast. I’m afraid you’ve never had the chance yet, or will ever have in millions of years. So there you have it, relax, don’t panic.” His hands were wandering over the muffin plate.
“It’s a bit ‘Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy’s fault” said Prefect, “the most popular book in the universe, more popular than the great Encyclopedia Galactica… The article about the Earth clearly states it as an astronomical computer known to harbor life.”
“What does it mean?” Riker asks.
“So…” said Prefect, “There’s nothing in the laws of physics that says your atoms couldn’t be arranged in the way that it does, in the shape of you. There’s no reason why that couldn’t happen. In fact, most of us from the other worlds were built like that. It’s just extremely unlikely. In your case, the Earth was such a complex computer whose merest operational parameters no supercomputer is worthy to calculate, created the organic life itself on its operational matrix.”
“Number one,” Picard was heard through Riker’s communication device. “We urgently recalled to Sector 001 on a priority mission. Do you think they can help us to get there?”
“That’s Earth,” La Forge said.
Prefect continued: “That’s why you can’t live with uncertainty, why you motivate your curiosity for its own sake, why you relentlessly try to make sense of the world.”
“…why you baldly go where no one has gone before,” Beeblebrox added in a low voice.
Picard was heard once again: “All we’ve been told is that they are about to get destroyed by an alien civilization called Vogon.”