The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Wraeththu
by Angelo Ventura
Date Posted: April 2004
Author Contact: email@example.com
Description: A crazy crossover…
Scene: the lawn before Forever. Seel talks to Swift about two strangers laying panting on the grass.
“And just who are those two? They don’t seem hara”
“What am I to know? I was in the Otherlanes when, all of a sudden, I find those two clinging to my sedu’s tail. Guess it’s been a transdimentional vortex.”
“Hmmm. This could be Thiede’s doing.”
“Thiede’s Aghama, now. Let him be”
“I wonder, Swift. Look at the redhead. He’s really peculiar. He never blinks!”
“The other is quite ordinary, but he’s got an haunted look. Go see if they feel better. I’ll call Cobweb and get Bryony to prepare a room for them”.
“Ooh, I hate seeing my planet explode! I’ll never get used to it!”
“I’ll admit it has been happening a bit too often for my liking.”
“Ford, what’s happened? I think we were really to die this time!”
“Hmmm, well,something disturbed the space-time fabric and created…”
“Eddies in the space-time continuum! First his sofa, then his horse! God bless Eddie!”
“Arthur, you’re really being silly! Get up, the owner of this mansion wants to talk to us”
“Feeling better?” asked Seel.
“Oh, yes, if only trandsdimensional crossing didn’t give me those hangovers. You’re so kind, sir..er..lady?”
“Let ME talk, Arthur. We’ve jut had our, I mean his planet destroyed for the umpteenth time. There is no apocalypse scheduled here soon, I hope.”
At this moment Tyson arrived,having heard Ford’s remark.
“Oh, the Apocalypse’s been and gone now. Now we are Parasiel, and we are veerrry good hara. Are you humans who want to be incepted?”
Seel snorted in irritation.
“Now don’t start, TY!”
“You know, I’ve never seen an inception? Sounds funny, now that you think of it.”
“Tyson, shut up!”
“Ford, what are they talking about?”
“Will YOU shut up and let me think?”
Cobweb arrived and witnessed an utter confusion. Everyone seemed to yell at everyone.
“So you think you can tell me to shut up? Sure, like they tried to shut up my hostling for good! Well, let me tell you, Seel…”
“Ford, why can’t I ask nothing without you shutting me up angrily? You can at least be kind to one who’s seen his planet continuously destroyed!”
“Why can’t you think by yourself for a few minutes, Arthur?? But no, that would be asking too much!”
“Tyson, I’m trying to uderstand what those two are doing here, and you’re not helping at all!”
“Well, well, it seems that we need some refreshing and a bit of cool air,” said Cobweb. Then said to Ford and Arthur, “Here’s Byrony, she’ll escort you to your room. Tea shall be served on the patio at five.”
And to Tyson: “You know we don’t incept humans any more unless they ask for it, and are the right age. We’ll explain them later. Meanwhile, you two can help me whit the arrangements”.
“Hey Arthur, something familiar!” said Ford as they walked to their room “They have tea, here! Aren’t you happy? Arthur?”
But Arthur just stared at Bryony “Fenchurch?”
Bryony turned “What have you said? I don’t undertand.”
“Fenchurch, at least I’ve found you! How did you end here?”
“I’m Bryony, I was born on this world. What are you talking about?”
Ford intervened gallantly “Excuse my friend, lady, you remembered him of his lost girlfriend.”
“He’s lost his girlfriend?” Bryony was puzzled ” But aren’t you here to be incepted?”
“Incepted to what? The Rotary Club? The Freemasons?” asked Arthur, trying to make some bit of sense, and failing.
“Well, the Wraeththu obviously. They are almost all Wraeththu, by now.”
“Are you Wraeththu?”
“Unfortunately,women can’t be incepted”
Arthur felt affronted in his liberal feelings “These all-male clubs are a disgrace! Why can’t they allow women? This is the absurdest form of sexism…”
“All-male? But they’re half female, half male.”
“Half-female? But didn’t you just say women can’t be incepted?”
It was then that Ford, having gleaned the situation (well, some of it) set wearily to explain it to Arthur. If he had a galactic credit for each time he’d explained the obvious to that nincompoop, he would have had money to spare to go back in time some billion year, buy the entire Vogon Planet and throw it in a black hole.
As they entered their room, and Bryony went, Arthur said “Oh, I see,” and collapsed on the bed.
Arthur was trying to grasp the situation.
“And so they’re heterotrophes”
“No, Arthur. Hermaphrodites. Both male and female.”
“But how come Fen- I mean Byrony wasnt? Why women can’t? become Wraeththu?”
“I can’t figure why. Something in their biology, I guess.”
“And they want to make US like them?” concluded Arthur, all aghast.
“At least, they think it can be our intention to become like them.”
“Well,” yelled Arthur trembling with indignation “if they think THAT, they’re absolutely on the wrong track! Do you hear me?”
“Not only I’ve heard you,I think they heard you in all the adiacent universes, also. I don’t believe they’ll force you.”
“Better from them if they don’t! Let ’em try and I’ll show…”
Arthur began to scream. Ford interrupted him, screaming louder.
“Arthur, have you planned to deafen me? Relax! Have you considered that we could have little choice? If we are to live here, well, it could be interesting.”
“Not at all. Why not try?”
“First I’m not at all interested, second I don’t think it’s a reversible change. Third,you’re not human.”
“Nice of you to remind me. Neither do you belong to this world, for that matter.”
“It doesn’t matter, for I won’t do it!”
Arthur’s remark of him not being human still piqued Ford. “You know, they may think we’re an item.”
Arthur stared at Ford.
“Yes, they could be lovers,” said Cobweb to Swift.
“Chesnari? Those two?” snorted Seel. “What a maladjusted pair!”
“Yet Flick is chesnari with Ulaume. You’d never have tought it possible.”
Seel said nothing.
Swift said, “Lovers or not, they come from another dimension. How else could two humans find themselves on the Otherlanes? I don’t think we can incept them.”
“Oh, no,” said Azriel. “The brown one is so cute and pathethic! Makes me want to embrace him.”
“It reminds me a bit of Pell… before inception,” said Seel.
Cobweb smiled. “He seemed fascinated by Byrony. He’s not gay.”
“Yeah,” said Tyson. “It’s not like when Seel and my hostling set up to became Wraeththu and…”
Seel glared at Tyson. “I’d leave this topic alone, if I were you.”
“Why? It’s interesting” said Tyson.
“Leave it alone, will you?”
“Tyson, would you kindly call the two strangers? The staff is occupied,” said Cobweb,
“Lovers?” asked Arthur.
He had never thought of this. Whole new vistas totally unexplored were opening in his mind.
“Remember when we were all alone in primitive Earth and we huddled toghether the night for warmth? Didn’t you feel anything, then?”
“Yes, I felt you reeked of bad cooked fish.”
“You loved it, Arthur! You didn’t want to admit it, so we split! I went mad for this!”
“My sanity didn’t come out unscathed either, I remember. Listen, Ford, I like girls, not bizarre aliens from Betelgeuse that happen to resemble human males.”
“After all we’ve gone through you say this to me? What if I resembled a human female?”
“You’re saying complete nonsense! I don’t want to remain here on this planet, anyway.”
“Why not? Maybe they can use your acquired skills as sandwich-maker!”
“Wish I remained there! I had a definite social role, then!”
“Or maybe then can use you as a whiner. You’d be perfect”
At this moment, Tyson appeared “Tea party is ready,” he said.
“So you don’t want to be incepted? I’m very disappointed,” asked Tyson.
“If only this har was a woman,” thought Arthur, then “Zarquon, what the hell I’m thinking?”
Who could blame him? Tyson was cuter than a baby duck, a younger version of Cal.
“Well, I’m not planning it at the moment” said Arthur politely “My friend, however, is eager to try.”
“Really?”, said Tyson whit a smile at Ford, who bared his teeth in one of the manic grin of his.
“Well, not exactly, I’d need some information first” Ford said, glaring at Arthur “What do you do turn men into one of yours?”
Tyson explained “It’s very simple, really. A transfusion of our blood that induces a mutation.The man is put to sleep and after three days the har awakens. We’ve found the way to maintain the person asleep for the whole process. First it was three days in hell. Now is totally painless. And the inception is completed when the new har makes Aruna”
“Aruna”? asked Arthur.
“Yes, our lovemaking. A wonderful experience. Hara have seven energy pleasure centers.”
“Did you hear that, Arthur? ” said Ford whispering in an ear to his friend “They’ve more erogenous zones than Eccentrica Gallumbits, the triple Breasted Whore of Eroticon Six!”
Arthur made a face. Eccentrica was one of the most inaccurate voices in the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It wasn’t even human, and, being made mostly of jello, embracing her was like embracing Jabba the Hutt.
“Where’s the tea party?” he said.
“We’ll go there in a minute, this house is so big. A triple breasted whore? You must come from a very peculiar Universe.”
“Do you want to hear about it?”, said Ford.
“You’ll tell to us all. Past this door, and there’s the party.”
There was all of Forever’s family, and Ithiel, Leef and Chelone.
A sumptuous table was on a side of the patio, laden whit Yarrow’s quiches, cakes, pastry… and sandwiches.
“Though luck, Arthur”, sniggered Ford
“It’s not often that we have visitors from other dimensions,” said Cobweb. “Tell us your story.”
They told them of the Infinite Improbability Drive, of the Magrathean World Factory, and of the story of the Ultimate Answer.
“…and, as it turned out, the Ultimate Answer was 42.”
“42? ” said Cobweb. “What if Deep Tought was speaking Lateen?”
“What do you mean?”
“An ancient language similar to your Latin spoken in the peninsula north of Alba-Sulh. He could have been saying fortitut, force. If our universes followed similar paths, it may be that some words were repeated synchronycally in all alternate histories.”
“But why Latin?”
“To show his erudition, perhaps. “Force” is a good generic answer, by the way.”
“As in “may the Force be whit you,” said Arthur listlessly.
Ford broke in an hysterical laugh:
“So that Supercomputer had been watching Star Wars!”
Then they talked of the Restaurant at The End of the Universe. At that Seel said : “A friend of mine called Thiede told me of a place like it. He tought it was part of multiversal restaurant chain.”
“Like McDonalds?” said Arthur aghast. “They put restaurant like these at the end of all the Universes?”
“And at the beginning, apparently”, said Seel.
“The Big Bang Burger Bar!” recalled Arthur.
“Yea, Thiede couldn’t stand the showman,” recalled Seel. ” He continued to say, “You’ve seen nothing yet!”
Tyson grimaced hearing that, then said, “Have you ever seen the Library at The End of the Universe?”
Ford extracted the Guide.
After a few searches he said, “It must be the Multiversal Library. It says it’s at the center of the Multiverse Hear:”
MULTIVERSAL LIBRARY: Set on a planet at the center of a supercluster. Be sure to visit by night, as by day you’d be blinded by three gigantic suns. The Library is on a pyramid whose underground canteens contains all the informations of all the universes. Be sure to have a means of loading and reproduction, since if you take away the books in your dimension they will become ugly, useless artifacts.
“I’ve heard of this place”, said Tyson. And smiled sadly at Ford and Arthur.
And Arthur blushed.
“How do you know of the Multiversal Library?” asked Ford. “And who is this Thiede’s friend of yours?”
“He was not my friend, certainly” said Tyson.
“Maybe is time you,” Ford extended his arms to embrace metaphorically his harish audience “tell us your story. How you came to be?”
And so Arthur and Ford were regaled by Swift whit a succinct, rather abridged story of How Wraeththu Happened. According to that story the Parasiel were oppressed by Ponclast, rebelled against him and succeeded whit “some” help from the Gelaming. ( Cobweb and Seel raised their eyes but said nothing). The name Varr was not mentioned. The Gelaming were cherished friend and allies. It was however true that the Parasiel didn’t yet know about the Kamagrians ( Byrony was one of them, and had the same role in Galhea of Kate-now Katarin in Immanion) at the time of Lileem’s second disappearance.
Arthur had some difficulty grasping this. Ford resumed: “Let me get this clear: women can be incepted and become parazha but they cannot conceive, nor make love to a har without being hurled out of this universe?”
“Basically that’s it, yes”, said Seel “We don’t know why the situation is as you’ve described. The Dehara work in strange and wondrous ways.”
Ford and Tyson thought synchronically that this was the multiversal equivalent of “We don’t know why it is so, and what to do about it, and we don’t give a damn.”
“But what’s in it for Kamagrians? What’s the advantage?”
“They have more magical power”
“Oh, I see”, said Ford, who didn’t. “And your friend Lileem went to the Multiversal Library and was recovered by your Tigron himself, but she managed to return there?”
“Well,” said Tyson,”We really don’t know where she went to. I only know that she was… making love to me, and then… she disappeared. I’ll never forgive myself for this!” he said, his lovely face in his hands.
“Don’t blame yourself, brother,” said Azriel “You couldn’t know.”
“There must be some explanation, Azriel! Our researchers came to very little, yet, but someday we’ll know the way to harness that energy! The answer’s on the damn genetic code!”
Arthur interjected: “Are you scientists?”
“Yes, after a fashion,” said Tyson. “I’m a Doctor in Medicine and Haematologic science and Azriel’s an Hermetechnician. Together we hope to discover the laws of Arunic Energy.”
“I want to be incepted,” said Arthur.
Ford was startled. Why did humans had to be so unpredictable?
“Are you sure, Arthur? You’re not of this world, remember?”
“What have I got to lose?”
Ford for once couldn’t give an answer.
Arthur couldn’t explain coherently to Ford what made him change view so radically. Maybe it was the fact that there weren’t women anymore, only mutated humans. There were sensations concerning Tyson he couldn’t begin to admit himself to feeling, let alone analyze. He said he was doing this for science.
It was decided that Tyson would make some sample test on Arthur and Ford’s blood (or equivalent) prior to proceed on inception. “We aren’t Uigenna,” he said.
They learned of the various tribes of that world (except the Varrs) and that the Gelaming were the Top Tribe.
“We tend toward Globalization,” explained Tyson. “They plan to make all the world after Gelaming fashion. Luckily, my hostling’s not that prone to Gelaming ways. He’s one of the Tigrons.”
“What’s an hostling?” asked Arthur, who recalled vaguely having heard that word before.
“The har that brings to the world a harling, that’s it, a Wraeththu child, like women used to do,” Tyson answered, then, whit a note of concern in his voice:
“Arthur, why are you so pale?”
“I’m afraid my friend didn’t think of that yet”, said Ford.
Ford couldn’t contain his hilarity. “That’s so froody! You didn’t think of that little technical detail, did you? Wow, this REALLY leaves the frogs standing!”
Arthur didn’t respond to that allusion to the words of a weird gnome that used to laugh at him. He continued to stare blankly at the lake, over which two flying birds were courting, chirping gently in the bliss of love. Male and female. The difference Wraeththu had forsaken.
“They alternate in giving birth, so there’s no aspect of sex and reproduction left unshared,” drawled Ford. “You’ll be privileged to experience the unknown, to boldly go where no MAN has gone before.”
“What if I say I’ve changed my mind?”
“What, again? You’ll make us inhabitants of whatever Universe we came from seem a bit fickle and inconstant.”
Ford began to whistle the air “La donna è mobile” Arthur wondered how he’d managed to know this.
“Ok, if that’s it, so be it. I believe they have something like the pill.”
Ford played outrage “And miss THAT experience? Why, you surprise me! To think you want to refuse the possibility of actually…”
Arthur interrupted Ford. “Anyway, if we prove incompatible, which it’s likely, we needn’t worry. How do you Betelgeusian reproduce, anyway?”
“Well, sometimes in our life a glob grows on our back. It becomes bigger and bigger, until with a great kick on your back, it detaches. It hurts like hell.”
“Would I kid to you on such a thing?”
“Yes,” said Arthur, “thinking of something you said to me I now remember, I believe you’re bisexual like us humans.”
Ford sighed. “Well, yes. I was trying to make you realize there are worse fates. In fact, this is how the Soufrians of Kasareenjy IV reproduce.”
“Don’t waste pity on them, they’re nasty creatures that well deserve their fate.”
“Maybe they like it.”
“As you’re going to like the new you! I can’t wait!”
At this point, Tyson and Azriel came towards them. They were all excited.
“Arthur! You’re compatible!” said Tyson
“Synchronicity again, I suppose,” said Ford. “What about me?”
“Well,” said Azriel. “Your blood and ours crystallized on mere contact. Convergent evolution, that’s all.”
Ford shrugged. Arthur said, “I’m ready. When do we begin?” He really couldn’t believe he was saying this.
“I’m afraid you’ll have to wait. An Immanion party is coming to see you!”
“Who’s coming?” asked Seel.
“Cal and Caeru, I believe,” said Swift. “Pell’s being detained – affairs of state, he says.”
“What exactly you’re implying?”
“Ashmael is worried if he’s made the right decision, so he’s advising Pell to hold the fort and never letting Cal go alone – besides, old Ash has a soft spot for our beloved Pell.”
“Really? Had you been reading the Immanion Enquirer’s gossip column again?”
“Well, it’s fun to read, Swift, my dear, and very interesting, too.”
“I don’t doubt it. Hey, we’ll be having Our Precious Tigrina here!”
“Exactly! Cobweb can’t wait!”
The sky over Forever fractured, and two pale golden haired deities appeared riding blinding white stallions. But while Cal was an adorable, covertly fierce leopard, Caeru was a glittering, fabulous peacock. Cal was power, Caeru was Pomp and Circumstance. Arthur had never seen such an extraordinary pair. Ford thought that Cal’s eyes had an hint of his cousin Zaphod’s manic obsession. But none of Zaphod’s four eyes had that stunning violet tinge.
Cobweb was radiant in his pale green and white robe. He greeted the black and silver laced Tigrina with a smile and a curtsey, then to Cal: “Cal, what a magnificent companion you have! How kind of Caeru to accompany you on behalf of Pell! You two make a stunning pair, surely!”
“I’ve come on my own volition, Tiahaar, thank you,” said Caeru stiffly. “OK, where are those two Outworlders, if I hear correctly?”
“At least, they say they are, and they may be saying the truth. They were taken up by Swift’s Sedu on the Otherlanes.”
“I’m not surprised,” said Cal smiling at Swift. “That’s a very strange place.”
“Yeah, Cal, all of a sudden I find those two on my Sedu’s tail.”
“So be it. My beloved wanted a full report,” said Cal. “Strange that two outworlders should appear right at this time. Oh, here they are,” he said, as Ford and Arthur were gently brought to his presence.
Cal watched them, then whit a sniff: “But they’re humans, or they look like it, anyway. They seem mostly harmless!”
“Well, hostling, mostly harmless they are, as we’ve gathered,” said Tyson,” but the redhead isn’t human. We made tests. The other wants to be incepted.”
“Really?”, said Cal, fixing his violet eyes on those of Arthur, who twitched nervously.
“Well, yes,” Arthur said.
Then he fainted.
“You shouldn’t be afraid of my hostling,” said Tyson later to a recovered Arthur, while the receiving party was in full bloom. “He likes to make a scene, almost as much as the Tigrina does.”
Arthur said nothing. He was seeing again those violet eyes… but those were of Tyson. How lovely he was!
“It’s only that power makes Arthur nervous,” said Ford. “As for me, I’m cousin of the President of the Galaxy, you know!”
“Yes,” said Arthur. “An alcoholic maniac with two harebrained heads!”
Ford thought better not to argue on behalf of his cousin Zaphod. Instead he said: “Do you know how to make a Pan-Galactic Gargle-Blaster”?
“No, but we have a cocktail called ‘Uigenna Strike,'” said Seel. “Guess who invented it?”
And he shot a wistful look at Cal.
“Arthur? Wake up!”
“Arthur? Are you well?” a voice asked.
He felt like his body had been the battlefield of all the wars ever fought in the entire Multiverse. The nightmares he had suffered (he didn’t remember them, thank God, but they had to have been nightmares) that had been originated by the inception process were the worse he’d had from the time he’d been teleported. Having your body dissolved in particles and recomposed was one thing; having your body parts rearranging themselves when you’re in it was even worse. And he’d been asleep in the process!
He opened his eyelids. The elfin face of Ford was showing amusement and relief at once.
Arthur tried to move his legs. He didn’t feel pain.
“You’re beautiful, Arthur!” said Tyson. “You’re har now. Want to see the new you?”
Arthur eased himself out of bed, helped by Tyson and Ford.
“You’ll need a bath, first, inception is a very messy process,” said Tyson. He sounded grateful being born har. Seeing that Ford was willing to help Arthur, he left.
The still dazed Arthur, having bathed and dried, looked at himself in the mirror.
“If Trillian could see me now!” he said.
“She’d have the shock of her life,” said Ford. “Anyway, Agrajag would surely fail to recognize you.”
He referred to a being who was constantly being killed by Arthur in his reincarnations, fly, fish, rabbit, bat and, in an occasion, a bowl of petunias, and who was bent on killing Arthur in return.
“Stavromula Beta was his last stand, apparently. Now I‘m free!” said an Arthur suddenly very pleased with himself. “Guess what comes now?”
Ford began to chant:””First comes Love | then comes marriage | then comes a baby | in a baby carriage! Only, they don’t need baby carriages, here. But that’ll have to wait. All will be explained to you. I understand you must make aruna first, to stabilize your harishness.”
Arthur was not sure how he felt about this. Some new part of his body, however, knew it well.
“I’m going, Arthur. You should choose your first at this point, I’ve heard”
“I’ve already chosen,” said Arthur.
Tyson was again at the door.
“Come, Byrony,” he said. “Arthur is ready.”
“Yes, I’m har now. Tyson’s experiment worked!”
Ford was puzzled. What experiment?
And Tyson said, “Our little secret. Let’s leave them alone, Ford. Arthur shall explain to you later.”
And he closed the door on Arthur’s sardonic smile.
That evening, at the conference-meeting whit Cal, Caeru and Chrysm, Tyson explained: “In Arthur’s Universe, the default sex is female, as here is male. I managed to isolate the enzyme that facilitated male organ’s growth… with some adaptation to our biology. Azriel helped me in this. It means that now women and kamagrians who are wanting to can become hara.”
“When Tyson took a sample of my blood for test, he asked me something of our biology,” said Arthur. “And Tyson came up with this idea. I had very good reasons to cooperate,” he concluded, embracing Byrony.
“I shudder to think of it. Opalexian har!” said Cal.
“She needn’t know, by now,” said Cobweb. “Tyson has to make further observations and experiments.”
“We’re on another project. Controlling harish energy. This way, the Otherlanes could be explored and mapped,” said Azriel.
“And Byrony and I shall be the explorers. Ford, will you accompany us?”
Ford sighed “It seems I’ve found a whole new hitch-hiker’s guide to write. Otherlanes, we’re coming!”
“And maybe you’ll find Lileem,” sighed Tyson.
“As for now, let’s celebrate!” said Cobweb. “Yarrow’s dinner is ready!”
“You know,” said Arthur to Byrony as they went to the dinner room “Yarrow’s sandwiches are very good, but I’ve a recipe of mine…”
Ford didn’t comment on this. He was busy typing the final chapter of The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to Wraeththu.