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Ford leaped to his rescue, hazarding “counterpoint the surrealism of the underlying metaphor of the… er…” He floundered too, but Arthur was ready again. “… humanity of the…” “Vogonity,” Ford hissed at him. “Ah yes, Vogonity (sorry) of the poet's compassionate soul,” Arthur felt he was on a home stretch now, “which contrives through the medium of the verse structure to sublimate this, transcend that, and come to terms with the fundamental dichotomies of the other,” (he was reaching a triumphant crescendo…) “and one is left with a profound and vivid insight into… into… er…” (… which suddenly gave out on him.) Ford leaped in with the coup de grace: “Into whatever it was the poem was about!” he yelled. Out of the corner of his mouth: “Well done, Arthur, that was very good.” The Vogon perused them. For a moment his embittered racial soul had been touched, but he thought no - too little too late. His voice took on the quality of a cat snagging brushed nylon. “So what you're saying is that I write poetry because underneath my mean callous heartless exterior I really just want to be loved,” he said. He paused. “Is that right?” Ford laughed a nervous laugh. “Well I mean yes,” he said, “don't we all, deep down, you know… er…” The Vogon stood up. “No, well you're completely wrong,” he said, “I just write poetry to throw my mean callous heartless exterior into sharp relief. I'm going to throw you off the ship anyway. Guard! Take the prisoners to number three airlock and throw them out!” “What?” shouted Ford. A huge young Vogon guard stepped forward and yanked them out of their straps with his huge blubbery arms. “You can't throw us into space,” yelled Ford, “we're trying to write a book.” “Resistance is useless!” shouted the Vogon guard back at him. It was the first phrase he'd learnt when he joined the Vogon Guard Corps. The captain watched with detached amusement and then turned away. Arthur stared round him wildly.

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