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Chapter Thirteen

``So you see,'' said Slartibartfast, slowly stirring his artificially constructed coffee, and thereby also stirring the whirlpool interfaces between real and unreal numbers, between the interactive perceptions of mind and Universe, and thus generating the restructured matrices of implicitly enfolded subjectivity which allowed his ship to reshape the very concept of time and space, ``how it is.''

``Yes,'' said Arthur.

``Yes,'' said Ford.

``What do I do,'' said Arthur, ``with this piece of chicken?''

Slartibartfast glanced at him gravely.

``Toy with it,'' he said, ``toy with it.''

He demonstrated with his own piece.

Arthur did so, and felt the slight tingle of a mathematical function thrilling through the chicken leg as it moved four-dimensionally through what Slartibartfast had assured him was five-dimensional space.

``Overnight,'' said Slartibartfast, ``the whole population of Krikkit was transformed from being charming, delightful, intelligent ...''

``... if whimsical ...'' interpolated Arthur.

``... ordinary people,'' said Slartibartfast, ``into charming, delightful, intelligent ...''

``... whimsical ...''

``... manic xenophobes. The idea of a Universe didn't fit into their world picture, so to speak. They simply couldn't cope with it. And so, charmingly, delightfully, intelligently, whimsically if you like, they decided to destroy it. What's the matter now?''

``I don't like the wine very much,'' said Arthur sniffing it.

``Well, send it back. It's all part of the mathematics of it.''

Arthur did so. He didn't like the topography of the waiter's smile, but he'd never liked graphs anyway.

``Where are we going?'' said Ford.

``Back to the Room of Informational Illusions,'' said Slartibartfast, rising and patting his mouth with the mathematical representation of a paper napkin, ``for the second half.''


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