As mentioned, there are certain perks that come with being President of the Universe. One was that Zaphod could go on vacation whenever he wanted to. Zaphod found that he never missed anything important because he really wasn’t responsible for anything. He never had to make decisions regarding policies or programs, events or casual dinners, or even Universal Laws. He never had to spend hours in meetings or on Council trying to convince certain races to do certain things. He found it quite peculiar that all he was expected to do was to sign papers and make appearances.
Zaphod appeared at several annual, bi-annual, monthly, weekly, daily and bi-daily events in and around the Universe. He portatraveled immensely, and found he quite often enjoyed the parties and the pizzazz involved at his appearances.
He had one such elaborate appearance coming up at the end of the week on Discworld. It was Great A’Tuin Day, and in honour of the Great A’Tuin, the President of the Universe was invited to give a speech about the wonders of Discworld; the Star Turtle itself and the Cori Celesti – the home of Discworld’s gods.
Zaphod had been to Discworld several times and still didn’t know much about its politics. But he didn’t have to worry because he never wrote his own speeches.
Now anyone who is anyone would be flying out to the annual celebration at the Unseen University. Not just to celebrate Great A’tuin Day, but word had also spread that the Monks of History would be unveiling the new and improved Darwin’s Watch at the event. The watch was still named in honour of Charles Darwin, whose theories of the evolution of species influenced the invention of the ground breaking space elevator. It was constructed to become the one and only truly accurate clock. It had the ability to stop and alter time by allowing its user to travel through a time-rip which could only be created as the user fell over the edge of Disworld. By doing this, they would get close enough to the Great A’tuin to activate the watches components to time travel while spontaneously collecting bits of time itself.
The watch itself was small and had been kept under constant surveillance in Unseen University by the Monks. Students from all over Discworld wanted to study its mechanics and to philosophize about its misuse. Though thorough testing with the device had never occurred, the Monks were anxious to unveil the new watch, to finally be recognized in their tedious efforts to collect and store time for the greater good.
Discworld was Zaphod’s chance. He had finally visualized what he needed to do to retrieve his memory and find out why he hated being President of the Universe. He knew that he could not be the one to retrieve the Darwin’s Watch to travel back in time. If his present self had any contact with his past self, he would create a paradox that would disrupt the balance between space and time in their current dimension, therefore immobilizing him in the past forever. He knew it had to be Marvin. Marvin was Zaphod’s Hail Mary.
Marvin would be the perfect partner in crime. Wasn’t he always complaining he had no responsibility? Marvin may not be able to blend in too well, but he would be the least likely suspect to pose a threat to the safety of the watch. All Zaphod had to do was get them both close enough to Darwin’s Watch and then create enough of a distraction for Marvin to grab the watch and boot it to the edge of the Discworld.
“That’s 4354 feet. What do you think I’m made of, weather resistant carbon alloy? Oh why bother, there’s a 89 percent chance I’ll be terminated before I leave the ground.”
Zaphod almost squealed to himself at his pure genius. He wasn’t quite sure what kind of distraction he would make, but it didn’t matter. The wheels had begun to turn. Marvin should be able to bypass any security measures at the Unseen University. Zaphod could install thrusters right to Marvin’s ankles that could easily bypass the brick walls that surrounded the University. His only obstacle may be the wizards, if they caught on in time.
“Just make sure you get the watch fastened to yourself somehow Marvin. Then when you find me in the past, I’ll tell you all about the future. Then you just hustle back here and fill me in on my plan.”
“I don’t really see the point of this, sir. There’s nothing wrong with hating your job. Everybody hates their job. I hate my job. The watch probably even hates its job. There’s no use trying to change things.” Marvin sighed. He was not looking forward to leaving the comforts of his home. He didn’t think Zaphod was even of average intelligence, why should he care to do as he was asked? But his coding overruled any fabricated emotion that fuelled his ruminations. Zaphod would program him to carry out his mission whether he wanted to or not.
“I’ll always be just a pawn, never adding up to much. My life equation equals a fraction below zero. I never have any fun. And why should I?”
“Oh Marvin, you’re such a hoot!” Zaphod just laughed again and shook his friend in excitement. He was beginning to see it all clearly now. It was almost if he had known what to do all along.