Please come back in 24 hours. We apologize for the inconvenience.
“Secondly, we are about to jump into hyperspace for the journey to Barnard's Star. On arrival we will stay in dock for a seventy-two hour refit, and no one's to leave the ship during that time. I repeat, all planet leave is cancelled. I've just had an unhappy love affair, so I don't see why anybody else should have a good time. Message ends.”
The noise stopped.
Arthur discovered to his embarrassment that he was lying curled up in a small ball on the floor with his arms wrapped round his head. He smiled weakly.
“Charming man,” he said. “I wish I had a daughter so I could forbid her to marry one…”
“You wouldn't need to,” said Ford. “They've got as much sex appeal as a road accident. No, don't move,” he added as Arthur began to uncurl himself, “you'd better be prepared for the jump into hyperspace. It's unpleasantly like being drunk.”
“What's so unpleasant about being drunk?”
“You ask a glass of water.”
Arthur thought about this.
“Ford,” he said.
“What's this fish doing in my ear?”
“It's translating for you. It's a Babel fish. Look it up in the book if you like.”
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