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A Cynical Guide to the Galaxy

Fit the Second: Cyniiics iiin Spaaace!
by Jill Palmer

In space, no one can hear you asphyxiate. But there *is* finally somewhere you can get tea on first demand...

DISCLAIMER: I don’t own Daria - that’s MTV’s brainchild, kinda surprising compared to the other stuff they run. I’m not sure who officially owns the Hitchhiker stuff, seeing as it’s been in so many different forms. I think it’s property of Douglas Adams. Post this on your site if you so wish, but let me know if you do. I like keeping tabs on bits of my personality.

“What happens now?” Elsie asked quietly.
Daria sighed. “If we’re lucky,they’ll just throw us out.”
“And if we’re not lucky?”
“They subject us to cheerleading practice.”
“Such an exciting range of choices,” Jane deadpanned. “We should probably have a plan, whether we get off lucky or not.”
All four of them started thinking. The footsteps passed by, and they relaxed a little.
“I’ve got it,” Tom said after a while. “Jane, you remember that time you nearly wound up on the cheerleading squad?”
“Do you have to remind me?”
“Hey, *you’re* the one who told me about it in the first place. Besides, if they’ll be using cheers out there...”
“Maybe anti-cheers will hold them off for a bit,” Elsie finished, catching on. “Also works if we’re not lucky. I’ve got a good one. As long as there’s one besides mine, we’re all set.”
“Oh, don’t worry about that,” Jane replied, smirking in Daria’s traditional Mona Lisa style.
The footsteps were coming back up the hallway as the finishing touches were laid on their plan. The door slid open, revealing Lisa and Nikki and confirming where Lawndale High’s cheerleading squad had gotten to.
“We’re under orders to throw you off the ship,” Lisa said in an offical voice.
As the cheerleaders marched the hitchhikers down the hall, Elsie deadpanned, “I had a cheer ready and everything.”
Nikki stopped. “Really?”
“Yep.” Elsie fought to suppress a smirk - the sarcasm had been lost on the pom-pom waver, but that was the good part.
“Let’s hear it.”
_You asked for it..._ “Kill! Kill! Hate! Hate! Murder, murder, mutilate! Gooo team!”
Nikki had indeed asked for it. “Eep!” she squeaked, shortly before disappearing in a cloud of blue and yellow glitter.
Unfortunately, Lisa was still around. She opened the airlock everyone had stopped in front of, shoved the hitchhikers through,and shut it.
“Don’t expect any brilliant plans,” Daria informed them. “The best ones I had required being on the other side of the airlock at least. One of them was dependent on *both* cheerleaders disappearing in a cloud of glitter.”
“Damn,” Elsie muttered.
“My sentiments exactly,” Jane replied. “Nice anti-cheer, though.”
“Thanks. One of my friends used it as her email signature.” A pause for thought, then: “What happens now?”
“Haven’t you read your Hitchhiker trilogy? They throw us out and we suffocate, unless someone picks us up.”
“I was trying to forget that part.”
With the improbability level of being recused from open space before asphyxiation being what it is (two to the power of 267,709 to one against, to be precise), it’s no wonder Elsie was trying to forget that part of the story. It’s a depressingly high number to have on your mind when staring that fate down its throat.
Interestingly enough, this same number served as Casa Lane’s telephone number - while the planet Earth, the Lane family, and telephones still existed, one must note. Probably just one of the Universe’s many meaningless coincidences.
But it was a meaningless coincidence well commemorated by the fact that, 25 seconds after Lisa dumped them into space, they were rescued.

Jane, noting the look on Daria’s face, asked, “Bienvenidos a la Mall of the Millennium back for an encore?”
“Not quite. I might not be sick this time.”
“I guess that about does it for my ‘Jello day’ theory.”
“Which one would that be?” Tom inquired.
“There was an alien scare at Lawndale High our junior year. I figured if there *were* any aliens with enough interest in the planet to show up, they wouldn’t bother with acting out teenage lifestyles. The logical step, then, would be neck implants and remote controls.”
“If they were smart enough to go there, they wouldn’t be stupid enough to *go* there?” Elsie put in.
Daria smirked at the exchange, remembering Jane’s diagram about the whole mess and Trent’s “hell music”, but feeling too bad to contribute. “All I want right now is a cup of tea,” she muttered.
Much to the surprise of everyone in the entry bay, a cup and saucer appeared at Daria’s feet, hot water and teabag included. There was a *click* from a speaker turning on, followed by a male voice wondering, “You want some cream with that, Daria?”
In the entry bay, three of the hitchhikers proceeded to blink *very* loudly in said speaker’s general direction. This action was followed by three voices exclaiming as one, “*Trent?!?*”
“Hey Janey. Hey Tom.” This was nearly lost in the laughter from Daria and Jane, but not entirely. When they had calmed down a bit, Trent continued. "You guys need anything else down there?”
“Access to more than one part of this thing might be nice,” Jane snarked.
“No problem. See you then.” The speaker clicked off, which was followed by Elsie asking, “What was all that about?”
“That was my brother,” Jane replied. “You’ll be meeting him soon.”
“I guess so.” Something on the floor caught Elsie’s eye. Further investigation proved it to be a pamphlet - informative-looking, but completely unintelligible. “Maybe you can make sense of this,” she remarked, handing it off to Tom.
Tom started reading the pamphlet, and raised an eyebrow at something. “Well, that explains our magically appearing cup of tea. This is on InstaGrat drive.”
“If you’re kidding, I’ll have your head,” Daria deadpanned. She grabbed the pamphlet, started reading, and gave an appreciative smirk. “So it is.” Further reading caused her facial expression to a grimace. “Aw, hell, it came with a Sirius robot.”
“Is that the same as in the Hitchhiker stuff, and what exactly does InstaGrat mean?” Jane asked.
“I thought I told you one question at a time, Lane. First answer is yes, and InstaGrat is short for instant gratification. You tell me what it does.”
The bridge of the ship all this excitement was taking place on was decked out in maroon and black - the outside may have been repainted red, but its name was still Maroon. (Names of spaceships are pretty hard to change, but the owner can do whatever they want as far as decor is concerned.)
It had taken a bit of talking on Trent’s part for Trillian to keep the inside the same. Time he’d have rather spent sleeping, true, but he could catch up on that later.
Janey, Daria, and Tom had gotten off the planet somehow - that was a good thing. Trillian had had the radio on a while back, and there was a report on about the latest Ultra-Superdome being built exactly where they’d just left. As much as he planned to deny it, he’d had a hard time sleeping after he heard that. Trillian said he’d get over it, but Trent knew such a close tie as the one he had with Jane was not to be easily forgotten.
Speak of the devil, there was Trillian now. She kept her brown hair in one long braid and had a wit to match Daria’s, which he figured she was about to use.
He was right. “Who was in the entry bay that was so interesting to talk to?” she asked, donning a carbon copy of Daria’s usual Mona Lisa smirk. Her mannerisms were such a match to Daria’s that Trent had wondered for a while if maybe she *was*, but there was proof against that now.
“Just my sister, her friend, and a couple other people,” he answered. “I was gonna send the robot down in a minute or so.”
“Trent, I think our merry band of travelers would like to get out of there sometime sooner. *Now* sounds good to me. Hey Monique! Get up, we’ve got a job for you.”
A metallic form in one corner got up, small lights that sufficed for eyes blinking on in the process. “I’ll have you two know I’m in a very dark mood.”
“Depressed dark, or death-butterflies-death dark?” This was an important factor. If Monique came back with the former, she could be very intolerable.
The robot considered. “The latter. Anyway, I belive you mentioned a job for me?”
“We have guests. They’re still in the entry bay. Bring them up here, would you?”
“No problem.” Monique clanked off the bridge in the direction of the entry bay. Trillian waited until she was gone, then looked at Trent.
“Is it me, or was that *too* easy?”
Trent shrugged. “She wasn’t in Marvin mode, as you put it earlier. we both know she’s more agreeable in those cases.”
Daria was explaining the Genuine People Personalities concept to Elsie when Monique opened the door. She looked up, saw the robot, and smirked. It figured that this would be the one modeled of Trent’s on-and-off girlfriend.
“I’m guessing you guys are the’guests’ I was sent after?” The robot’s voice was slightly metallic, for rather obvious reasons, but definitely feminine.
“That would be us,” Daria replied. “Jane, Tom, if you guys want to get out of here, I suggest you get up.”
Jane did so. “We get to meet the person who owns this thing now, right? I kinda doubt anyone in their right mind would trust the slacker-narcoleptic that is my brother with his own spaceship.”
Monique considered. She seemed to be doing a lot of that lately. “Well, I’m taking you up that way, but whether you actually meet her or not is up to you. Outcome hazy. Try again later.”
Jane smirked herself. The real Monique had sometimes gotten sarcastic like that. Helping Tom up, she turned toward the door.
Back at the bridge, Trent and Trillian were waiting for Monique to come back with the hitchhikers. Trillian was thinking. She wasn’t worried about explaining how an InstaGrat could live up to an improbablity measure - that question almost answered itself.
She was, however, wondering who they could have picked up besides Trent’s sister.
As it worked out, she didn’t have to wait long. There was a knock at the door, and she got up to let everyone in.
Four people were on the other side of the door, not counting Monique. Two of them Trillian didn’t recognize. But the other two were cause for laughter.
Daria and Tom started laughing, too. They surely hadn’t seen this coming. _If this keeps up,_ Daria thought, _all of Lawndale will have skipped the planet!_

End of Fit the Second

-If I get stuck on a future Fit, someone remind me to watch “The Lawndale File” again. No kidding! That ep got my muse going in this area again. (While we’re at it, that was also the source of the “Jello day” theory. If you didn’t know, now you do.)
-This Fit's title is a take on the "Pigs In Space" sketches from The Muppet Show.
-The whole “cheers and anti-cheers” business is a nod to the clones and anti-clones from the radio shows. (They’re not in the books, so if you have no idea what I’m talking about, that could be why. ^_^)
-Chosen anti-cheer was obtained from “Gym Dandy” by Canadibrit. I think she got it from Austin Loomis, but I’d have to go back and check the footnotes *there* to be sure.
-The “no spacesuit” improbability number is the same one as from the books, and it was used as a phone number there, too. Don’t try calling. I don’t know whose, if anyone’s, it is.
-InstaGrat was created (a) to be different from the book, and (b) as an excuse to use the tea line. There’s a Guide entry about it in the next Fit, if you can wait that long. ^_^
-“Sirius robot” - Sirius Cybernetics Corporation. Books and radio thingy. “Marvin mode” - nod to Marvin the Paranoid Android. Same refcrime.
-The ship is named after my current favorite CD, a Barenaked Ladies production. Might prove useful for naming stuff later, we’ll see...
-Lisa and Nikki - minor characters two and three. Monique would be number four.
-“Trillian” is a nickname borrowed from the books, but it’s not the same character as from there. *This* “Trillian” is someone from Daria. If you feel you must take guesses at it, email me.
-“Death-butterflies-death dark” has a bit of a story behind it. One morning at school, someone wrote “death death butterflies death” on the chalkboard in my mom’s classroom. Too weird to pass up a ref.
-Genuine People Personalities is the idea behind most (if not all) Sirius Cybernetics productions involved in Hitchhiker stuff. Sound ghastly? If you’re inclined to take the word of a chronically depressed robot (read: Marvin), it is. (They make perky doors! I agree with the robot! ^_^)
-Many thanks to Robert Nowall for beta-ing this Fit.