Minutemen, Part 1
A four-year mission of Five-Minute Star Trek: The Conclusion
Zeke: This feels wrong somehow.
IJD: No it doesn't.
Zeke: But the readers are expecting a panel discussion. All we're doing is watching the original series DVDs.
IJD: Think of it this way. A discussion is all about communication. Communication takes place through the media. And what's television if not a medium?
Scooter: I'm convinced.
IJD: Anyway, this business of you not having seen every episode of TOS has to stop. You run a major Star Trek site.
Sa'ar: I don't know about major. Minor seems more accurate.
Zeke: (glare) You shooting for diminished? By, say, a B5 section head?
Scooter: Now now, let's not augment this discord any further.
IJD: Yeah, let's try to stay harmonious.
Derek: (at the DVD player) Okay, folks, it's ready to go.
Zeke: Not going to make a musical pun, Derek?
Derek: They're not really my forte.
Zeke: Here we go, then. Scooter, pass me the remote.
(Scooter looks down at the remote, then at Zeke, warily)
Zeke: What? No it's not. This isn't even your house, it's Derek's.
Zeke: Come on. Look, I run the site, I should run the TOS marathon.
Scooter: Can you be trusted with this kind of power?
Zeke: Yes. Just ask Derek.
Scooter: Can he be trusted, Derek?
Derek: I don't know. Can't he?
Scooter: But can he?
Derek: Can't he?
Scooter: All right. This time. (hands Zeke the remote)
Zeke: Thanks. Okay, let's go!
(Zeke presses several buttons with no effect.)
Derek: It's the round one. Here, let me --
(Zeke finally finds the button and pushes it. The DVD begins.)
Kirk: Space... the final frontier. These are the voyages of --
(The playback abruptly stops, with only a blank screen shown.)
Derek: Probably just a glitch. Try pressing play again.
Zeke: Okay, here goes.
Kirk: Space... the final --
(The DVD stops, ejects itself, and catches fire.)
IJD: What the...? Oh, come on! That cost a hundred bucks thanks to Paramount's price-gouging ways! And I paid it gladly!
Zeke: Spoken like a Grammaton cleric.
Scooter: How does a Grammaton cleric speak?
IJD: This isn't funny!
Sa'ar: Whoa, calm down. I'm sure you'll get a refund when you tell them about this unexpected feature. For now, let's just put in one of the other discs.
Derek: That may be hard.
(Derek shows the others the DVD set... which is now completely blank as well. For good measure, it catches fire.)
Zeke: This isn't good. It stinks of reality-altering events. We should totally do a Top 10 list about it.
Sa'ar: The Top 10 Signs That Your Girlfriend Just Caught Fire?
Zeke: Exactly. It writes itself!
Derek: Well, my computer's over there. I'm just going to go tend to this burn.
Scooter: Careful, the water might catch fire.
Zeke: And the number one sign: She's hot, baby. Done!
Scooter: What? You just started typing thirty seconds ago!
Zeke: I know the secret of writing Top 10 lists effortlessly. Perhaps one day I'll teach it to you, as I've taught it to IJD.
IJD: (He doesn't include any jokes.)
Zeke: And now to post it on -- HEY!
(The others look. Where FiveMinute.net should be, the browser displays only a black screen and a funky temporal-paradox noise.)
Zeke: My site! My beautiful site!
Sa'ar: Beautiful is a stretch. You did make the graphics yourself.
Zeke: It's so nice to see that despite the recent changes in our staff roster, everybody dissing me is still in.
IJD: Uh oh. I think I know what's going on here. Try StarTrek.com.
(The page displays as usual.)
Scooter: I see what you're getting at, IJD! Someone or something -- or someone -- has wiped Star Trek from the timeline, leaving only the five of us unaffected!
Derek: Wait, what does the BSG page have to do with that?
IJD: Nothing. I'm just glad it's okay.
Zeke: (sighing) All right, so now we have some idea what happened. What do we do about it?
Sa'ar: I think we all know there's only one thing we can do....
(Stonehenge, the next day)
Sa'ar: You know, I was actually talking about holding a luau with the university cheerleading squad.
Derek: Well, you should have been more specific. Found it, Zeke?
Zeke: (prodding one of the monoliths) This is the one. I'm sure of it.
IJD: Then let's do it. Klaatu barada nikto!
(The stone shimmers, then begins to glow with strange, unearthly colours)
Guardian of Forever: I AM THE GUARDIAN OF FOREVER. SINCE BEFORE YOUR SUN BURNED HOT IN SPACE AND BEFORE YOUR RACE WAS BORN, I HAVE AWAITED --
Derek: A question, right? Got this one, guys -- I've read the novel. "Why?"
Guardian: BY INTERRUPTING, YOU HAVE BLOCKED YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING.
Guardian: AHEM. SINCE BEFORE YOUR SUN BURNED HOT IN SPACE AND BEFORE YOUR RACE WAS BORN, I HAVE AWAITED THE PUBLICATION OF MY TWO FIVERS. HAVE YOU COME TO REWARD MY PATIENCE?
(Silence. The staffers give Zeke annoyed looks.)
Zeke: Uh... right. The fivers. You know, there's been a whole thing with those.
Guardian: BUT YOU WILL POST THEM SOON?
Zeke: Yes. Soon.
Guardian: ACCEPTABLE. YOUR LIFETIMES ARE AN EYEBLINK TO ME.
Scooter: Speak for yourself -- I plan to live forever.
IJD: This explains a lot. I always wondered how you knew the Guardian of Forever really existed and where it was.
Zeke: I never forget a contributor. Ever. Believe me, the guilt is like a crushing weight.
Derek: In this case, so is the contributor.
Guardian: IT IS GLANDULAR. WHAT HAS BROUGHT YOU TO ME?
Sa'ar: Well, Star Trek seems to have disappeared from the timeline....
Derek: So it was time-travellers! Who did it? Kryptonians?
Zeke: The Evil Future Guy?
Guardian: I DO NOT POSSESS THAT INFORMATION. I KNOW ONLY THAT A BEING OR BEINGS -- OR SOMEONE -- HAS ALTERED THE TIMELINE IN 1966.
Scooter: Preventing the show from ever going on the air!
Derek: How did they do it?
Guardian: THROUGH THE THEFT OF FIVE ITEMS OF GREAT POWER, KNOWN AS MIN--
Guardian: THE NETWORK WAS UNIMPRESSED BY A PILOT WITH NO ENDING. THE TEMPORAL AGENT HAD SABOTAGED IT BY REMOVING FIVE OF YOUR MINUTES.
Zeke: They're your minutes too now. You can just say "five minutes."
Guardian: AS YOU WISH, PRINCE ZEKE.
Zeke: Don't call me Prince.
Guardian: YES, PRINCE ZEKE.
IJD: (I think that was another reference to some podunk thing we've never heard of. Assume the customary baffled expressions... annnd back to normal.) So, Guardian, I take it we were insulated from the changes because we specialize in that particular time interval?
Guardian: CORRECT. YOU ARE THUS THE ONLY ONES WHO CAN CORRECT THE DIVERGENCE. TO RESTORE EACH MINUTE, YOU WILL FACE A SEPARATE CHALLENGE. THE FINAL CHALLENGE WILL BE TO RESTORE ALL FIVE TO THE PILOT TAPE.
IJD: Items of power....
Zeke and IJD: Like a video game!
Zeke: Finally all those wasted hours are going to come in handy!
IJD: (slaps Zeke) Not wasted! Never say that!
Scooter: I guess that just leaves getting there. Would you be willing to send us, Guardian?
Guardian: I WOULD.
(An image appears in the centre of the Guardian, showing the Paramount studio circa 1966.)
Guardian: FROM THIS POINT, THERE IS NO TURNING BACK. YOU MUST DECIDE. ARE YOU SUFFICIENTLY RESOURCEFUL BEINGS TO RECONSTITUTE THE INITIAL EPISODE OF STAR TREK?
Derek: (Did he just ask us if we're bad enough dudes to rescue the pilot?)
Zeke: We're ready, Guardian! Do your thing!
Guardian: VERY WELL.
Guardian: YOU HAVE TO JUMP THROUGH ME.
Zeke: Oh yeah.
(The staff jump into the image the Guardian is projecting, landing relatively smoothly on the Paramount backlot.)
Derek: Did that feel strangely familiar to you guys?
(Zeke and IJD nod; Sa'ar and Scooter shrug)
IJD: Well, here we are. Time to save the future from lack of Trek!
Zeke: Right on!
Derek: Hear, hear!
Sa'ar: How are we getting back?
IJD: Don't be a killjoy, Sa'ar.
TO BE CONTINUED....
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Got a comment on this part of "Minutemen"? Contact Zeke.
All material © 2006, Colin Hayman.