So, the thing is. Well, really, the thing isn't really. But anyway, the thing is, Zaphod doesn't remember ever wanting to meet the dude who rules the universe. He can't for the life of him remember what that felt like, wanting that so much he did what he did. But he must have. Because he did that thing.
The thing is, Zaphod is actually pretty smart. Once you get to know him. No, not even then, really. But he knows it. He just pretends to be stupid. Or does he?
The thing is, he can't remember who he is anymore. He's got the world's most complicated case of split personality, and please, don't make any jokes about his two heads, it's tasteless. And overdone. But the thing is, he's not the same as he used to be. He can't be, because he obviously had to change something, because if he didn't need to change anything there would be no need for the surgery. So there is something that has changed. He's just not sure what. And he's not sure anything will improve if he does this brain reconstructive surgery, but he wants himself back.
Thing is, Zaphod is actually pretty happy as it is.
Zaphod wakes up in a body bind force field in the ultra expensive private hospital that had promised complete discretion. He tries to yell, tries to tell the doctor standing there looking at him, his surgeon, dammit, that he will pay for this, but of course no sound comes out. That's what the body bind does, it binds your body so you can't move a muscle. Zaphod is not pleased.
He's transported to a prison ship. It's a nice prison ship, much better than the ones he's previously been on, but that probably means it's going to be more difficult to break out of. Zaphod is put in a cell and finally they take off the body bind. He collapses to the floor while all the stuff he tried to shout at the doctor comes pouring out of his mouth. It takes two minutes before he regains control over his vocal cords.
"Hello!" he yells at what he thinks is the door.
"Good day", comes a voice from the ceiling. "I'm the specialized prison ship computer. How may I help you?"
"You can let me out," he says, rather aggressively. The computer makes a shocked sound.
"I can't do that! It's strictly against the orders. I can, however, give you food and drink or play soothing muzak for your listening pleasure," it says. "Or we can just talk. I have the feeling we're going to be the best of friends." Zaphod bangs his heads together, and then decides it's not enough, so he bangs them against the wall instead.
When Zaphod was little he'd known he was destined for greatness. Maybe as a scientist, discovering the secrets of green, or maybe as a great inventor, or a businessman, selling people important things, real things, things that they needed. You might not know it by looking at him, but Zaphod used to be an idealist. He knew he was bright, intelligent, and he wanted to use that intelligence to help people, make the galaxy better.
He tried to run away loads of times when he was a kid, he wanted to see the galaxy, meet people like him and start the revolution to change the make up of the universe. He tried to get on the green ships once, but that was only one of the times he tried. He never made it far those times, never made it off the planet. In hindsight, maybe he didn't try enough.
When they finally let him off the prison ship Zaphod is ready to cry with relief. Not that he would, but still, that computer was the worst thing he's ever experienced. He'd almost have preferred Marvin. But just almost. And the bitch of it is, he doesn't even know if the surgery worked. He has a head ache, but that could be from smashing his head against the wall. He doesn't want to have had his head shaved for nothing. That hair took time to get as awesome as it was.
He's placed in a cell, and this one he recognizes. It's one of the places where you wait for trial, what's it called? He doesn't remember where, because he's been in quite a lot of them, mostly for being criminally drunk, criminally dressed (or undressed, as the case may be), or both. He's broken so many intergalactic and planetary laws it's mostly a question of who got to him first.
The cell is white, but not the kind of aggressive white the prison ship had been. This is more normal white, and it's got a cot set up along one of the walls. No computer is talking to him, and Zaphod decides to try some sleep.
Zaphod dreams of a girl. He doesn't remember her name, or where he met her, or really anything about her, he only remembers she's important somehow. Important to him.
She looks at him with big eyes. Her body is smaller than his, and she should look fragile, but she doesn't. She looks like the kind of girl who would win in most fights, and make sure the other party had at least three broken bones if she lost. Zaphod smiles at her, and she punches him in the nose.
It's strange, having full use of both his heads again. It's not like it makes that much of a difference, but still. Strange. No impulses, not that there had been all that many since finding the loony who ruled the universe, but there had been some stuff left, residual orders or whatever, giving him strange impulses, not of the 'buy that orange shirt', or 'chat up that woman even though she clearly engaged' kind, no, more cryptic things, like 'go to this place and talk to this person even though you don't know who it is'. He hadn't done it, but it had been one of those constants.
Now he remembers all of those people, crazy people, like he used to be. He doesn't care about who rules anymore, he has changed in some fundamental way. Like his former self has merged with his former former self to create his present self, and that self was left completely without goals. He doesn't really want anything anymore. Except maybe get out of prison. Yes, that's a goal both his heads and all of his brains can clearly agree on. His stomach even chimes in and tells the rest of his body that it too very much wants to be somewhere else. Preferably somewhere with a nice big steak, or a hamburger.
After Zaphod left his home world he went to University to study Physics and Law. Maybe not the most common combination, but he liked it. He studied some stray courses of Chemistry too, because you never quite knew when that would be needed. And he liked it, studying, learning things, finding other beings who liked the same things as he did. He had friends, not that he hadn't had before, but thinking back, that was the last time he had friends who actually liked him, not what he could do or how crazy he was or the fact that he could get them into any party in the entire galaxy. It wasn't until he was reunited with Ford that he even remembered what that felt like.
Knocking his heads together isn't exactly pleasant, but it stops him from thinking too much. Some things that had come back to haunt him were not pleasant. Not pleasant at all. In fact, so unpleasant that it made knocking his heads together seem like an exercise in soft massage techniques and sleeping on silk sheets. And Zaphod knows those things, he's even invented a new type of massage that required three masseuses, one of which didn't even have regular appendages but instead tentacles.
The thing is, Zaphod had been doing ok, for a certain definition of ok, which mostly consisted of not freaking out and going crazy. But then he'd suddenly remembered that he has claustrophobia, and then promptly freaked out. After going crazy for a while he remembered it wasn't him with claustrophobia, but one of his sisters, and then he became sane again. As sane as he had ever been, that is to say, not all that sane.
Still, there are other things that doesn't bear thinking about, things he's done, or in most cases, had done to him, and there is nothing in the cell to do except for thinking about it, or taking extreme measures to not think about it. So, banging his heads together.
He never got to finish his research on the color green. He didn't even get to finish his degree. He'd found out that several of the students at the university had cheated their way into their grades. And the kind of person Zaphod was when he was younger couldn't tolerate that. So he'd told everyone he could find, everyone who would listen. In return he'd been thrown out.
He'd floundered for two weeks before saying 'screw it all', and becoming hitch hiker, jet setter, playboy. The rest, as they say, is history. From certain points in time, at least.
Zaphod is awoken rather brutally when the door to his cell explodes. He barely has time to cover his heads with his arms before it's over. The air is filled with dust, the door has just been pulverized. Effective if you don't want people to get hurt by shrapnel, Zaphod thinks. And then he realizes that his cell door has just been taken out of existence, and that the only thing standing between him and freedom is the one who has broken it down. He debates with himself the merits of going out to see who it is and hoping they are actually looking to free him, and staying where he is in case it is someone who wants him dead but wants the pleasure of killing him themselves.
He doen't have time to decide before someone enters his cell. They have a helmet with a visor of the sort where you could see your own reflection, and a gun that was very sleek. The kind of person who uses such a gun knows there is no need for any extras to make it look more dangerous, because they wouldn't be taking any prisoners anyway. The person raises the visor and there she is, the girl Zaphod had dreamed about.
"Well," she says, and her voice is darker than he had expected. "Are you coming?"
Zaphod still can't remember why he remembered her, but he is sure the ship he is taken to is a new acquisition.
"I don't know who you are," Zaphod says when they've left whatever planet he'd been imprisoned on.
"I thought your head was supposed to be fixed," she says. "Well, as much as it can be."
"I remember you, I just don't know why," he says. "It's a bloody mess in there." He looks down at his hands.
"No news there," she says, sounding tired. "Listen, Beeblebrox, it's not important. We need you to help us."
"With what?" Zaphod asks, honestly confused, because he doesn't remember having any special skills.
"With the revolution," the woman says, and smiles, and it's brilliant and sharp and scary. It's the smile of completely mad persons, and Zaphod finds himself matching it. A life of adventure is after all something he's used too.