All were silent, all were silent -- as if struck by insurmountable sadness.

No one said anything.

Then (of all things), Arthur Dent stepped forward and said, slowly and with deliberation:

"I didn't really know Douglas, but I felt like I was very close to him. Well, I'm not saying this very well. But, when you think about it. The vastness of the universe, that any of us, that any of us can know any one else -- I mean, er, ah..."

He stammered off, and then Ford Prefect said, "Go on, dear chap, you've started. Now you must finish..."

Arthur looked back and saw Zaphod standing there, the second head winked at him, as if to encourage him. Trillian, tears running gently down her face, sobbed quietly. Slarti stood near her, trying to comfort her as best he could. Even the Vogon guard, standing over to the side was silent. Painfully silent. For a moment, a small smile played about Arthur's mouth; a vogon who was silent.

Then the words found themselves to Arthur's tiny, little humanoid mind and he threw back his shoulders and his voice actually resonated out for all to hear...

"Yes, I didn't know him. But, he knew me. And he knew Ford, and Trillian, Zaphod, and even that triple-breasted whore. He knew a lot of people and he knew a lot of things.

He knew.

If maybe our generals and presidents, and kings, and emperors knew half as much .... and the CIA, if they knew half as much as he did, then perhaps all of the worlds in all of our galaxies wouldn't be in half the mess they are today.

I think that we can only say this one thing:

Time itself is a puzzle, the cover to which we lost a long time ago.
But, I think that this crinkly bit goes over next to the Fjords.

Those were the words of Denib-12's greatest philosopher-poet.

Some where in time, Douglas Adams has yet to write anything.

Somewhere in time, a thousand, hundred million years from now they will still remember me and Ford, Zaphod, and Trillian, and even the Vogon Guard who didn't quite get "da da da dum".

And they will always remember this..."

And at this point his voice openly broke, and slow tears ran down his cheeks. And his voice boomed with pride...

"Never forget your towel. And never, never feed a Vogon's grandmother to the Ravenous BugBlatter Beast of Traal."

There were a few that laughed at that, a few that openly broke into tears.

And as the sun slowly set, a parade of four dolphins flew into the air, they traced amazingly amazing perfect half-arcs, that Archimedes would have been proud of. Then flattened out to form a slowly rotating circle 30 metres up. They were then joined by 20 penguins, that flew directly up and through the center of circle of dolphins.

When the penguins reached the Zenith, they arched out in a fountain of orange, black and white, their outstretched chests glimmering in the setting sun.

Their arcs descended, cresting just before they reached the ground.

And then, the dolphins joined them and up, up, up into the air they flew and formed in perfect formation the number:

Forty Two.

Noder's note:
This has been floating around newsgroups for weeks. I tried in vain to find the original author.