LIFE AND DEATH IN 3461 by Stefan Posthuma
A story written when I was feeling bored. Inspired by Douglas
Adams' "Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy"
By Stefan Posthuma
It was quite dark in the room. Apart from some very weird noises
(some people refer to it as 'snoring') who emerged from a dark,
floating silhouet in a corner of the room, it was absolutely
silent, and nothing happened. (Well, almost nothing. There were a
couple of billion air molecules flying around aimlessly and a
little cleaning robot was puttering about, but those things are so
common that they can be classified as 'nothing')
The dark silhouet mentioned before was Martin Srekamsrak. He was
floating peacefully in the Zero-G field of his bed. He looked like
he had been to a party that lasted a week. His cloathes were full
of greasy stains and were torn at the most strange places. He had
a beard that was full of objects that cannot be described
rationally but looked like pieces of party-food. He was fast
asleep and looked very content.
Suddenly, a little panel buzzed open on the Main Control Unit. A
small sensor peeked into the room, focused itself on the dark
silhouet, buzzed for a while and then disappeared into the MCU.
Another panel opened, revealing a Personal Human Computer called
Zito. Some soft green lights started glowing on the surface of
Zito and a little speaker revealed itself from the darkness.
'Martin, wake up...time to go to work', said Zito. Martin didn't
react at all. Zito waited a while and repeated his request a
little louder. The snoring stopped for a second, the silhouet
moved a little, was positioned back by the Zero-G bed and
continued producing weird sounds. After a few more useless
attempts, Zito decided that it was time for some action. Two large
panels opened, revealing two Thermosonical Eardrumbusters model
200. Martin used them to listen to disharmonical random noises
created by a few electro-hippies who called themselves the
Megasound. 'WAKE UP!!!' Zito shouted, assisted by the Eadrumbus
ters. The little cleaning robot emitted a high pitched scream and
fell over. It got back to its feet again and started emitting a
stream of beeping sounds. 'Shut up you worm', Zito said in a
voice with which a Zarctonic Megawale adresses a red herring. The
robot stopped beeping and left the room, clearly insulted and
The silhouet in the corner stopped snoring again, made a few
coughing noises, mumbled something and became silent again. Zito
sighed. Only one thing remained: disable the Zero-G field. After a
little discussion with the Zero-G bed about safety, human need for
sleep and the importance of Martin waking up right now, the bed
agreed, and switched off the field. Luckily, the designer of the
bed somehow predicted this situation and put some cushions in the
bottom of the bed. Still, the crash sounded very painful.
'Shit Zito, what the hell are you doing?' Martin stumbled, clearly
shocked by the sudden wake-up.
'Sorry, but I just couldn't wake you up.'
'Do you know that I just returned from a party that lasted a
'I know, but I also know that you have to go to work today. The
Office Computer already chewed my ass for not delivering you in
time a few times, and you don't want to get fired, do you?'
'Okay, how much time do I have left?'
'About 15 minutes, so hurry up!'
Martin cursed himself for drinking so many Gargleblasters (note 1)
and headed for the bathroom, still a little unstable, and with a
He looked into the mirror that was attached to the medicine-box,
and hardly recognised himself. 'Good morning' the medicine-box
said. 'Shut up and give me something for this terrible headache'.
The medicine box scanned Martins physical condition and came to
the conclusion that some powerful analgesic and overall pep-pill
was needed. It buzzed and mumbled for a while, and produced a
little tablet. Martin swallowed it, and started feeling better
already. He put his head under the tap. After waiting a while, he
shouted: 'come on, where's my water!'
'Huh...what?' the tap replied.
'Water man, you know H2O!'
'Sorry, I was thinking.'
'Bullshit, taps can't think. Cut the crap and give me some water!'
The tap obeyed and spurted loads of cold water over the greasy
head of Martin. He took off his clothes, and put them into the
Waste Disposal Unit, who almost suffocated on them. He entered the
Turbo-Shower, who bombarded his body with 25 million little beams
of water, and dried it with another 25 million jets of hot air.
After that, he put his head into the Caretaker who arranged his
hair in the most fashionable way possible and shaved off the
beard. He dressed himself, and started to feel really good.
He entered the living room, assembled his stuff and strapped on
his CCMB (note 2). He took Zito from the Central Control Unit and
put him in the CCMB.
'Run the checklist'
'Dangerously looking Hyperblasting ray-emitting pulsrifle...
'Hypercondensed food units....'
'Hi-tech really neat Head-Protecting Megahelmet...'
'Personal Hygiene Caretaking System...'
'Real-time Multilinguistic Supertranslator...'
'Artificial Environment Bodyprotecting Survivalsuit....'
'Allright, that's it. Let's go...'
Martin stepped into the Transporter Booth. Zito started
programming the Transporter. The Transporter interrupted Zito and
started a conversation about the acceleration of sub-atomic
pseudo-electrons along orthogonal gravity fields in the sub-
ether. Somehow, Zito did not agree and a heavy discussion started.
Martin told them to shut up and stop the electron-crap. He was
really pissed off and pressed the Manual Transporter Button,
assuming Zito finished programming. Unfortunately, Zito did not
exactly finish programming the Transporter, but was calculating
the speed of the pseudo-electrons mentioned earlier. The
Transporter was adressing the Memory Banks of the Central Science
Computer in order to find out the answer and Martin ended up some
13.451342 trillion lightyears away from his destination, right
in the core of a Supernova. His body vaporated immediately and his
atoms enthousiastically started participating in the Thermonuclear
Back on LV-426, Martins homeplanet, the Transporter started
feeling very guilty and the Office Computer produced a nasty
little program that efficiently removed Martins records from the
Central Government Computer because he was late again.
The Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is quite a popular drink around
the western regions of the Galaxy. Refer to The Hitchhicker's
Guide to the Galaxy for the receipt. (note3)
CCMB...Cyrius Cybernetics Multifunctional Backpack
These things have become compulsory to Transporter Users after an
incident which involved a delegation of the planet Xurg. They were
on their way to a top-conference between Xurg and the planet
Resarx who were close to starting a war. The Transporter messed up
and the delegation ended up on the planet Fuzzbol. They were
captured and because of a huge communications problem they were
put in a zoo under 'rare species'. An intergalactic war started
and lasted about seven years, destroying 23 planets, including
Xurg, Resarx and Fuzzbol.
Since the people on planet earth are so mind-paralyzingly
primitive that they even can't access their local General Library
on Alpha Centauri (which is only 4 lightyears away!) to get
themselves a copy of the Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy, I will
provide you with the receipt as stated in the Guide:
Take the juice from one bottle of that Ol' Janx Spirit.
Pour into it one measure of water from the seas of Santraginus V -
Oh that Santraginean sea water, Oh those Santraginean fish!!!
Allow three cubes of Arcturan Mega-gin to melt into the mixture
(it must be properly iced or the benzine is lost).
Allow four litres of Fallian marsh gas to bubble through it, in
memory of all those happy Hickers who have died of pleasure in
the Marshes of Fallia.
Over the back of a silver spoon float a measure of Qualactin
Hypermint extract, redolent of all the heady odours of the dark
Qualactin Zones, subtle sweet and mystic.
Drop in the tooth of an Algolian Suntiger. Watch it dissolve,
spreading the fire of the Algolian Suns deep into the heart of the
Add an olive.
The Guide also says that the effect of drinking a Pan Galactic
Gargle Blaster is like having your brains smashed out by a slice
of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick.
The Guide also tells you on which planets the best Pan Galactic
Gargle Blasters are mixed, how much you can expect to pay for them
and what voluntary organizations exist to help you to rehabilitate
This space was rented by Megadodo Publications of Ursa Minor
BLACK HOLES, SAVAGE ALIEN WARRIOR TRIBES. Welfare planets ruled by
dry-cleaning establishments, where even the most basic of human
necessities are provided for a day late and with too much starch.
Face it, the Universe is NO PLACE TO TRY AND HAVE A GOOD TIME.
Unless, that is, you're the proud owner of that wholly remarkable
object, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!
Within the million-plus pages of The Guide, which in many corners
of the Galaxy has already supplanted the Encyclopedia Galactica as
the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, you'll find
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW about the Universe, from the utmost
trivia to the most vital information pertaining to your health and
well-being. WE UNCONDITIONALLY GUARANTEE it will teach you how to
survive and even ENJOY THE UNIVERSE - ALL ON ONLY 30 ALTARIAN
DOLLARS PER DAY (note 4) Just take a peek at this mere sample of
The Guide's MILLIONS OF USES and like so many other satisfied
customers, you'll be convinced that this is truly THE MOST WHOLLY
REMARKABLE ITEM YOU'LL EVER BUY!
PLANNING A HONEYMOON? Let The Guide show you how to get the best
rates and accomodations on exclusive vacation paradises like
Vortaqua, planet of the Heart-Shaped Hot Tub Lakes!
TRIVIA BUFF? The Guide has all the answers, as well as most of the
questions. For example: What titles comprise Oolon Colluphid's
trilogy of philosofical blockbusters?
Answers: Where God Went Wrong, Some More of God's Greatest
Mistakes and Who Is This God Person, Anyway?
CONVENTION COMING UP? The Guide knows where to find all the
swankiest hotels, the trendiest restaurants, the swingingest
nightclubs, the friendliest escort services and the cheapest duty-
free shops in which to buy gifts for appeasing one's family and
NEED HELP FAST? In a flash, The Guide can supply you with useful
tidbits of information as: how to tell you Aunt Clara from a
Seven-Stomached Gorba Plant; what to do when your Aunt Clara has
been devoured by a Seven-Stomached Gorba Plant; how to perform the
Heimlich Maneuver on a Seven-Stomached Gorba Plant, and much,
The Guide is more than a super travelogue or an incredible answer
machine - it's a lovely addition to any backpack or suitcase that
fits in perfectly with every decor. It comes in a wrinkle-proof,
scratch-resistant plastic cover with THE LOOK AND FEEL OF REAL
VINYL, handsomely inscribed with the words DON'T PANIC in large,
friendly letters. And talk about handy - The Mark IV version of
The Guide has MORE OPTIONS THAN A 20-ARMED HRUGMUS HAS HANGNAILS!
Just look what you can get...
73-FUNCTION POCKET CALCULATOR OPTION lets you solve equations that
have baffled mathematicans for eons, such as how to travel faster
than the speed of light without loosing your luggage.
CUSTOM CHRONOMETER displays year, month, day and date, to within a
fraction of a sluub in civilian and military time and Happy Hour
Time for the nearest pub in the Galaxy.
TAN-O-MATIC REFERENCE TABLE tells you the exact coordinates of all
the best beaches, the most up-to-date fashion tips on polarized
eyewear and reflectors, the precise time you can sunbathe before
your friends have to carry you home in an urn, and the appropriate
level of sunscreen to wear in case of a supernova.
SIRIUS CYBERNETICS BAROMETER/NEO-DESCARTIAN RELATIVE TRUTH MONITOR
indicates temperature, barometric pressure, high tide, low tide,
wind direction and velocity, prevailing weather conditions, amount
of precipation in the last 1,000 sluubs and wheter you're actually
experiencing any of it or are simply being deceived by your
SALAD-SLASHER/FOOD PROCESSOR/LEMON ZESTER ATTACHMENT slices,
dices, chops and bludgeons even the most rubbery fruit or
vegetable in seconds!
Now for a LIMITED TIME ONLY when you RUSH your Hitchhiker's Guide
to the Galaxy order to Megadodo Publications, you'll also get as
SPECIAL GIFT to you ENOUGH THROW-IN ITEMS TO FILL AN ATTIC! So act
now and receive all these fabulous bonuses!
FLUFF: Goes anywhere - under the bed, behind the commode, at the
bottom of your pocker, inside your navel!
DESTRUCT ORDERS FOR YOUR HOME AND PLANET: Suitable for framing,
and great gag gifts at any party!
DON'T PANIC! BUTTON: Perfect for those times when your planet is
being bombarded by laser beams, your toaster starts talking to you
or traces of radioactivity are discovered in your breakfast
JOO JANTA 200 SUPER-CHROMATIC PERIL-SENSITIVE SUNGLASSES: (note 5)
You'll look cool and stay cool even when attending a Vogon poetry
NO TEA: Just like the tea proffesional hitchhickers don't carry!
MICROSCOPIC SPACE FLEET: Just the thing for attacking microscopic
HOW MUCH WOULD YOU PAY NOW?
ONE HUNDRED ALTARIAN DOLLARS?
TWO HUNDRED? THREE HUNDRED?!
That's right! RUSH YOUR ORDER NOW and receive The Hitchhicker's
Guide to the Galaxy and the fluff and the Don't Panic! button and
the sunglasses and the space fleet and no tea ALL FOR THE
INCREDIBLY LOW, LOW PRICE OF JUST da59.99!
To save c.o.d. handling charges and Imperial Galactic Government
delivery service duties, PHONE IN YOUR ORDER TODAY!
OPERATORS ARE STANDING BY!
On Ursa Minor Beta, dial
1-5-555-55-55555-555-5555, ext 5.
MAKE THAT CALL TODAY!
THIS OFFER NOT AVAILABLE IN ANY STORE!
"30 Altarian Dollars Per Day" is an estimated figure and is
provided strictly for purposes of comparison. Actual expenses may
be higher. (note 6)
Not recommended for driving
In fact, we're sure of it. Quite frankly, if you're not absolutely
prepared to lie, cheat, steal your food, pass rubber checks to
unsuspecting hotel clercks, hoodwink custum officials, forge
passports entitling you to diplomatic immunity, utilize bogus
student and/or elderly identification cards to get yourself into
tourist attractions at reduced rates, stiff everyone possible on
tips and otherwise make a mockery of Intergalactic Law, just about
the only way you're going to get by on 30 Altarians per diem is by
staying home and camping out in your backyard.
The first part of this story was conceived by myself. The Pan
Galactic Gargle Blaster recipe was exctracted from the fantistic
novel "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams.
(This man has an imagination even more mind-crunchingly big than
the Universe) The Hitchhiker's Guide advertisement was taken from
the instruction booklet coming with the original Infocom adven-
I can recommend the books (The entire series consists of four
books. "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", "The restaurant at
the end of the Universe", "Live, the Universe and Everything" and
"So long and thanks for all the fish") to anyone who likes a very
absurd and extremely humoristic sceince-fiction story. Also, the
adventure by Infocom is one of the most weird adventures I have
Greetings from Stefan!
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.