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42

"Well... it's an improvement," the glass of soma and adrenalin burbled finally. "On excitement, danger and imminent death, I mean."

"It is?" The heavily-studded, leatherlook kairopan spider at the controls of their stolen starship - called, for some unknown reason, the Heart of Gold - snapped, his fourteen brown eyes glittering and his mandibles waving in the nearest thing to a sneer. It was worrying that the nearest thing they had to a competent pilot was a fake spider, but that was probably the least of their less-than-probable worries.

"Well yes. No one's shooting at us, are they?"

"They're more likely to try and drink you."

The soma and adrenalin fizzed nervously.

"No they won't." The FSA recruitment poster said wearily as it rolled and unrolled across the flight controls, getting very much in the way of the spider's infinite number of left feet. "That would be more probable than can be managed at the minute. So as long as we keep the drive at this level..." It tried to shrug and smile toothily, and simply managed to tear itself before rolling up again. "We're probably going to survive."

"And the Federation is gone," the spider said, "if not for good, at least gone in all the universes we have any intention of visiting. So Blake has won..."

"As long as we can keep the drive at this level," the recruitment poster repeated. "No more, no less. Isn't that why Orac found us this particular ship? "

"Because," the dark brown offworld sandbuggy tootling cheerily around the flight desk said, "he -"

"It," the spider glowered back at where Orac sat silently, and snarled as well as it could with too many mouthparts and no teeth.

"No, definitely a he, Avon - he insisted that the chances of stealing it from that other universe were marginally less improbable than resurrecting us all from Gauda Prime. And even you couldn't argue with that, especially when it turned out that the Infinite Improbabilities we could drive included Blake."

"And a lot of good it's doing," the soma and adrenalin said drippily. "How were we to know that it was more improbable that Blake would survive his own revolution than that Servalan would turn into a Supreme Sugarmouse and get eaten?"

The sandbuggy beeped in aggravation. "And I didn't get to do the eating -"

"Nor I," the spider hissed.

"Dayna, it was all too probable that you or Avon would be the one to kill her, Orac calculated it as only marginally impossible."

"So to keep Blake - well, the forty-two-thousand-and-forty-two-at-last-count Blakes alive, and the Rebellion successful, we have to stay like this...?"

"Forever?" The soma and adrenalin quivered, and sploshed a little over the side of the glass. "Oh great, now look what you made me do. That might have been a finger or two..."

"More probably a foot," the kairopan spider snarled. "In fact, I could calculate the probability of that to..."

"Please don't," the blonde giant-killer-space-penguin said flatly, if slightly quackily. "The probability that I'll flipper you to death is infinitely greater."

"And I don't know about all of you," the poster went on, getting annoyed because it kept rolling up before it could try and glare at Orac, "but as miserable as this existence might be, it's got to be better than all those even more improbable ones..."

"Like Vila being Og's dinner in disguise?"

"And Dayna falling in love with Egrorian's stockings."

"And Soolin reverting to a two-year-old... warg-trainer."

"That," the space-penguin quacked (the probability that penguins of any type quacking being about the same as them being giant, killer or in space), "I'd prefer to this."

"No you wouldn't," the soma and adrenalin spluttered and splattered, "you were terrified of the wargs."

The space-penguin huffed. "They were vampire wargs."

"Sparkly pink vampire wargs," the space-buggy added.

"And after all, Orac..." The soma and adrenalin sloshed shudderingly. "Let's be fair. You've got to be sorry for what happened to Orac."

They all turned their eyes (well, those with eyes) to look at the sole and all-too-human figure sitting at the back, who stared back at them glassily and muttered something about twin-bladed knife with serrated edges, too much fanfiction and the need for something called a gin and tonic, or forty-two of them.

What, after all, could be infinitely more improbable than turning into some strange, thespic fictional character with the impossible name of... Darrow?

- the end -