Arthur lay in startled stillness on the acceleration couch. He wasn’t certain whether he had just got space-sickness or religion.

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“The point is, you see,” said Ford, “that there is no point driving yourself mad trying to stop yourself from going mad. You might just as well give in and save your sanity for later.”

The robot stopped and looked at the mattress. It looked at it quizzically. It was clearly a very stupid mattress. It looked back at him with wide eyes. After what it had calculated to ten significant decimal places as being the precise length of pause most likely to convey a general contempt for all things mattressy, the robot continued to walk round in tight circles.

“Trillian?” he said. “She’s just a kid. Cute, yeah, but temperamental. You know how it is with women. Or perhaps you don’t. I assume you don’t. If you do I don’t want to hear about it. Plug us in.”

Arthur shook his head and sat down. He looked up. “I thought you must be dead …” he said simply.
“So did I for a while,” said Ford, “and then I decided I was a lemon for a couple of weeks. A kept myself amused all that time jumping in and out of a gin and tonic.”

“We would love to stay and help,” shouted Ford, picking his way over the mangled debris, “only we’re not going to.”