Reality Bytes

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Ever wondered what would happen to 5 die-hard h2g2ers if they were taken offline and locked inside a house with... no net access?

Well here is a totally fictitious idea of what might happen. I have which taken the liberty of stealing 5 people's online personalities and putting them into such a situation... it's time for Reality Bytes

The Contestants

Day 1

All the new housemates enter the house at the same time to avoid people complaining about others looking around first. After some initial confusion as people try to fit through the small opening a helpful member of the staff running the experiment suggests that the contestants try to get in through the door rather than the window. The experiment psychologist says that this shows how little these people have experienced real life, as they obviously don't know the difference between a door and a window.

Once everyone is inside the doors and windows are locked and the new roommates get to know one another. There is some surprise as people find others are not quite how they imagined - the biggest shock probably comes when Skenvoy realises that Anthea isn't a two-headed dragon. The second biggest shock comes when everyone realises Skenvoy is as attractive as he said he was online (what? I speak only the truth smiley - angel). With their real life social skills totally exhausted the contestants walk around the house. The program's psychologist says that they are not walking around to explore but to try and find net access. No one is really impressed with this deduction as all the contestants are quietly muttering, 'I'm not looking for net access, I'm just trying to get my bearings' and anyone could have worked out what they were doing.

As 8pm approaches the contestants are already getting especially twitchy as they usually go online at about this time. Feuille suggests turning on the TV as something to do. And something to do it is - the contestants spend a good hour trying to work out how to turn it on, again their lack of knowledge of anything not to do with h2g2 proves their downfall. It was only when Craxus realised that the TV looked like a monitor that they tried pressing the power button. Unfortunately disaster is not far away as the TV switches on to a re-run of The Teletubbies. All of the contestants run screaming before it can destroy their minds, apart from Craxus who wanders off as he has seen this one before and is bored of it; he's more of a Bob the Builder bloke1.

After this shock all the contestants retreat to their beds to wait for the next day and the horrors to come.

Day 2

As the contestants wake up they are informed that they will be given a challenge today, which will test their abilities to see how they are being affected by the lack of h2g2. Upon being reminded that they are not allowed h2g2 access most of the contestants start crying. The psychologist says that Anthea is coping the best with h2g2 withdrawal as she is not crying... the fact that she is sitting in a chair with her legs held up against her chest rocking backwards and forwards slowly is obviously Anthea's normal behaviour.

After breakfast the housemates all assemble in the living room where they are informed that their challenge is to play a game of charades in which they will each be a random character from the h2g2 books. Each housemate randomly
picks a name from a hat and then has to spend the rest of the day isolated from each other (so they can't cheat) working out how they are going to show their character. The day passes slowly for most of the contestants, especially Anthea and Khamsin who find being separated from each other especially hard. Only Craxus manages to pull through ok as he spends the whole day watching a Bob the Builder marathon.

As the time of the challenge approaches nerves are fraying - Feuille has not gone this long without hugging one of the other contestants, Anthea and Khamsin have never gone this long without so much as seeing each other, Craxus has never watched this much TV in a row and Skenvoy... well Skenvoy is just this guy y'know? Also having to read the Hitchhikers books to learn about their characters without being able to go onto the site is really taking it out of them. At 7pm the contestants assemble for the challenge.

Anthea and Khamsin find it even harder to be in the same room without talking to each other than it was to be in separate rooms, so they offer to go first so they can finally communicate with each other again. Anthea goes first and jumps from the top of the stairs onto a mattress at the bottom. As she is falling she looks around in amazement. Unfortunately Anthea misses the mattress. Everyone is shocked and runs to make sure Anthea is fine, apart from Skenvoy who cracks up laughing, causing both Khamsin and Feuille to give Skenvoy the evils for the rest of the day2. The resident psychologist says that this shows Skenvoy is doing the best as he can laugh at a joke, whereas the others are using their concern for Anthea to cover for their wish to be back online.

Having confirmed that Anthea is fine the contestants make a group decision that Anthea was attempting to be the Sperm Whale who crashes into the ground on the first book. Anthea tells them they are wrong and that she was actually Zem - the mattress from Squornshellous Zeta - and that by jumping onto the mattress she was trying to show the mattress folloping around. Everyone stares at Anthea wondering why she just didn't pick up the mattress and point to it. Anthea breaks down into tears.

Khamsin is next up. He walks over to a corner and picks up a cage and puts it on his head. Anthea instantly guesses that he is Zaphod Beeblebrox and this raises everyone's opinion of her which had fallen after her charade. As they are now allowed to talk, communicate and generally be in each others presence Anthea and Khamsin start trying to make up for lost time. Unfortunately disaster strikes as Khamsin realises that he can't get the cage off his head. Once again Skenvoy laughs and Feuille gives him the evils even harder.

Feuille is next up and throws a brick through the room. The brick
accidentally ends up hitting Skenvoy in the head and knocking him unconscious. Everyone apart from Skenvoy laughs; Skenvoy probably would have done but is in no condition to do much apart from lie on the floor. Feuille then just stands around looking depressed.

Everyone assumes that the whole brick thing was just to get Skenvoy
back for laughing at Anthea and Khamsin and guess that Feuille is Marvin as she is so depressed. Feuille is shocked to find they all think she is depressed and says that the brick was meant to represent the Vogon Constructor fleet hanging in the air in exactly the same way bricks don't. She also says that they probably didn't get it as her mind is 'infinitely more superior to yours' confirming everyone's suspicion that she is becoming exactly like Marvin as depression from lack of h2g2 kicks in.

Craxus is next up, but no one can see him. Suddenly Anthea says she
thinks she can hear something in the kitchen and the contestants find Craxus is there making some tea. Everyone guesses that he is Arthur Dent. Craxus asks them what they mean - he is just making some tea. Upon being told that he was meant to be playing charades he breaks down into tears, admitting he didn't even read which character he was meant to be as it would have been far too much of a reminder of the lack of h2g2.

Skenvoy would do his charade last but due to his being unconscious
he can't. The resident psychologist says that this shows that Skenvoy is really suffering from lack of h2g2 in that he must fake being knocked out to get away from having to relate to a character from the books. The rest of the show's staff start wondering how authentic the psychologists CV really is.

During the night there are some disturbances as many of the contestants are seen to sleep walk to a chair in the house, sit down and start typing on invisible keyboards then go back to bed.

Across the country bookies start taking bets on how long it will be
till the contestants start killing each other.

Day 3

The contestants wake up late today, all looking slightly the worse for wear. Skenvoy and Khamsin are suffering slightly more than the others - Skenvoy as he got hit in the head with a brick, Khamsin as he still hasn't managed to get the cage off his head. To solve both problems Anthea starts demolishing the kitchen, sorry, cooking in the kitchen (though it looks like demolishing) making cakes. The first one she makes is acidic enough to dissolve the cage around Khamsin freeing him. The second one she gives to Skenvoy and it acts as an effective painkiller... which is why he refuses to eat it - while he does have a headache he would prefer to keep it rather than to lose all feeling for the next week.

The rest of the day passes without too much incident. Feuille spends the whole day hugging everyone and acting like Marvin, she also apologises to Skenvoy for throwing a brick at him. Unfortunately Skenvoy then tells Feuille to stop being so depressed and so she gives him the evils again and starts trying to find the brick from the previous day.

Craxus had been planning on watching Bob the Builder again, that was until Skenvoy introduced him to the wonder that is The Angry Beavers. Craxus and Skenvoy spend the whole day watching the same few episodes again and again. The resident psychologist says that this shows how badly these two are being affected by the lack of h2g2; they have to hide behind the same episodes so as to not have to come to terms with not having access to h2g2. As nothing else exciting happens during the day the evenings edited highlights show replays of Anthea hitting the floor, Khamsin getting stuck in the cage and Skenvoy getting hit by the brick again and again and again.

Day 4

The contestants realise today that one of them will be leaving tomorrow. They instantly start saying how badly they are doing due to a lack of h2g2 in the hope that they will be allowed to go home. The resident psychologist, in a total contradiction of all his previous statements, says that this is actually reverse psychology and they all really want to stay really. The production crew just stare at him and wonder why he reads into some things far too much and misses the obvious points. This coincidentally coincides with a national newspapers readers poll on the psychologist in which 99% of the voters feel he should shut up and let them watch the show without him. The other 1% came from the same e-mail address [email protected] which leads some people to wonder about the authenticity of that one percent.

During the day the housemates set up their own mini 'forums' in which they all write their messages to one another on a piece of paper and then pass it to the next person. Feuille, however, has retreated to her room and is acting depressed and holding her brick. When Anthea tries to ask her what is wrong Feuille only throws the brick at her. As the day ends the psychologist says that he thinks the public vote should be between Craxus and Khamsin as the others are still acting normally, apart from Skenvoy, but he wants to leave him there and see how long it takes for the others to kill him. When questioned about whether Feuille's behaviour is normal he remains silent... something everyone else is happy about.

As the day ends the two nominees for eviction are announced. Both of them look happy at the prospect of escaping, though Khamsin suddenly realises that if he leaves he will have to spend at least another 4 days without Anthea. The 5 housemates go to bed waiting with baited breath to see who the public will let loose on the outside world.


10.06.04 Front Page

Back Issue Page

1Bob the Builder is a children's TV program featuring a builder called Bob! Whether Craxus is or is not actually a fan of the program is a mute point.2The evils being an evil look. Many girls finally master this when in the presence of Skenvoy and what passes for humour with him.

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