Hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings built Deep Thought for the specific purpose of calculating the answer to what they thought was the ultimate question, “What’s the meaning of life, the universe, and everything?
Thousands of generations of computer techs tended to the machine until it was ready to announce its finding. It finally arrived, printed on on a simple piece of paper spit out by Deep Thought.
What did it mean? This is a great lesson. The seemingly confusing outcome seemed meaningless because the beings who instructed it never knew what the right question was.
Nevertheless, we have the answer. Simply, 42.
What would have been a better question? Ah, now that gets to the heart of the matter.
Clearer thinking got lost among Vogon constructor ships clearing the way for a hyperspace highway, a spaceship run on the Improbability Drive, maybe too many Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters, the disappearance of the second-most intelligent life on Earth just before it was destroyed (i.e., dolphins***), the restaurant at the end of the universe, and much, much more.
***Don’t get ahead of yourself. Humans were not number one in intelligence on the planet. No, that role was already occupied by mice.
Of course, while all this is very interesting academically, it could be fiction.