A Grebulon spaceship, travelling through space for thousands of years on its way to fight a war, was hit by an asteroid and loses nearly all memories and records of what it is and what it is supposed to be doing. It lands on the tenth planet from the Sun, called Rupert, and starts to monitor Earth.
A year after he lost Fenchurch on an ordinary hyperspace jump, Arthur Dent returns to the place where Earth was when he left. However, instead of Earth, he finds a planet called NowWhat, which is named for the first words the colonists spoke when they arrived there. It is an unpleasant place. Almost as soon as he arrives, he is bitten by a boghog, one of the few animals that survive there.
The being at the information desk, who, rather irritatingly, can read minds, tells him that beings originating from Plural zones are at risk of slipping dimensions during hyperspace jumps, and directs him to Hawalius, the planet of oracles and prophets.
The episode flashes back to the first meeting of Trillian and Zaphod Beeblebrox. It also explains that immediately before Zaphod met Trillian, he met Tricia McMillan on an alternate version of Earth, but he was too drunk to notice that he chatted up two near-identical girls and ate the same food twice. Tricia McMillan, unlike Trillian, wanted to pick up her bag before leaving, which led Zaphod to leave without her and move on to the party where he met Trillian.
Present-day Tricia is interviewing Gail Andrews about her recent book, "You and Your Planets," the follow up to "You and Your Black Holes," and the effect that the recently discovered planet, Rupert, will have on astrology. The Grebulons, monitoring them, have an idea.
Later, Tricia and Gail talk because Gail can tell that Tricia is unhappy about actual stars and planets, not just astrology. Tricia tells her about meeting Zaphod, and not going with him because she went to get her bag. She also tells Gail that she just missed out on a new job in New York because she didn't go back to get her bag.
Meanwhile, Zaphod is in the Guide offices, trying again to find Zarniwoop because he is convinced that the events of the Secondary Phase were not just his imagination. He gets into the buildings, and then Zarniwoop's office, by pretending to deliver a pizza. He meets Zarniwoop Vann Harl, who is waiting for him and promises to explain.
Arthur has arrived at Hawalius. An oracle tells him that the prophecy business is going bust because anyone can see the future just by travelling there now. Arthur is sent on to a nearby cave.
Ford Prefect is also sneaking into the Guide buildings, through the ventilation system. He hijacks a security robot, whom he names Colin, and alters its programming to make it happy all the time. He finds out from Colin that the Guide is no longer owned by Megadodo Publications. He gets into Vann Harl's office by breaking down the door, only to find that Vann Harl was waiting for him.
Cast and characters
- The Book and narrator - William Franklyn
- Arthur Dent - Simon Jones
- Ford Prefect - Geoffrey McGivern
- Zaphod Beeblebrox - Mark Wing-Davey
- Trillian - Susan Sheridan
- Tricia McMillan - Sandra Dickinson
- Zarniwoop - Jonathan Pryce
- Colin the Security Robot - Andrew Secombe
- Guide Mk. II Construct - Rula Lenska
- Grebulons - Andy Taylor and Michael Fenton Stevens
- Eddie the Computer - Roger Gregg
- Prophet - John Chalis
- Gail Andrews - Lorelei King
- Information creature - Mitch Benn
- Announcer - John Marsh