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Minutemen, Part 4


by Sa'ar Chasm

A four-year mission of Five-Minute Star Trek: The Conclusion

Scooter: I don't know. Do you have any ideas?

Sa'ar: Actually, I do. Let's treat this like an RPG, and do what you always do in moments of indecision.

Derek: What?

Sa'ar: Sit down and wait for the plot to catch up.

(time passes)

Scooter: Uh, Sa'ar?

Sa'ar: Shhhh. Patience, young Jedi.

IJD: Sa'ar...

Sa'ar: I said shhh!

Derek: Sa'ar!

Sa'ar: Less talk, more shush!

Zeke: Sa'ar, there's a sign on that building over there that says "Discount Plot Hooks."

Sa'ar: ...oh.

(Our Heroes cross to the building and enter)

Derek: This looks like the studio canteen.

IJD: Great, maybe there's some food here.

Zeke: Maybe there's some info here.

Scooter: Huh?

Zeke: The best way to find out plot-advancing secrets is to talk to random people in taverns.

Derek: Yeah, but we barely even know what we're looking for.

Scooter: Let's ask the man tending the salad bar.

(The bartender, on hearing himself referenced, stops his pacing behind the salad bar and turns to face the Minutemen, waiting for them to approach).

Bartender: Hello, travellers. Fancy a salad?

  1. Yes, please, I'm famished.
  2. Not right now, we're just looking.
  3. Actually, we'd like to ask you a few questions.

Zeke: I guess we'll take C.

IJD: No, A! A! Dammit, I'm hungry.

Bartender: What would you like to know?

  1. What's the soup of the day?
  2. Where do I find the Third Minute?
  3. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Derek: B. Hey, this is easy.

IJD: But it's still not getting us any food.

Bartender: (leans closer) Your Minute is being held by the one they call... Khan.

Derek: Khan?

IJD: Khan?

Zeke: Khan!



Sa'ar: Sorry, got caught up in the moment.

Zeke: Progress. Excellent.

IJD: What confuses me is that he seemed to know who we were, and he didn't even blink at divulging sensitive information.

Sa'ar: It's an RPG. Perfect strangers will walk up to you on the street and entrust vital missions to you.

Derek: I see. Interesting as that may be, it still doesn't tell us how to find Khan.


Scooter: Ow, my ears!

Zeke: Are you going to do that every time?

Sa'ar: Probably.

IJD: If this is an RPG, I think random passersby is the best way to find-- hang on. Zeke?

Zeke: Yes?

IJD: Chloroform. Thank you. As I was saying, the best way to find Khan.

Sa'ar: KHAAAAA*murglemrph* (THUD!)

Derek: Silence is golden. OK, let's ask that random extra having lunch.

IJD: Good plan. You ask the extra, and I'll have lunch.

Random Extra: Khan? Yes, he's over there having lunch with Abe Lincoln.

(The extra points to a man of indeterminate ethnic background wearing a fur cap, wispy moustaches and boiled leather armour.)

Zeke: That's Genghis Khan, and I can see the duct tape holding his armour together.

Random Extra: Yeah, NBC didn't like that crazy Wagon Train show, so they redirected the funding to a series of biographies of historical leaders -- Genghis, Lincoln... I'm not sure who Colonel Green was, but I imagine he was important.

IJD: That's not who we're looking for.

Random Extra: Oh, sorry... how about her, then? (he points to a young girl, not yet 25, eating lunch by herself)

Scooter: Ye gods, it's Madeleine Kahn before she was famous.

Random Extra: You know her?

Scooter: Yeah, she's --

Zeke: No. No we don't. We know absolutely nothing of that girl's future movie career here in 1966, do we?

Scooter: No. Not a thing.

Derek: Nope.

IJD: Uh-uh.

Sa'ar: Bubbles...

(much later)

Zeke: No, no, no, no! Look, we've had Genghis Khan, Madeleine Khan, the Aga Khan, Chaka Khan, James Caan, ComiCon, an ex-con... we're running out of patience, and Sa'ar's building up an immunity to chloroform.


IJD: And I'm still hungry.

Random Extra: Fine, why don't you go ask the Boss? His flight is touching down at the airport now. It won't be long before he deplanes.

Derek: Boss?

IJD: Deplane?

Scooter: Quick, who exactly is this Boss of yours?

Random Extra: He's our Executive Producer.

Derek: And where's his office?

Random Extra: In that building over there.

IJD: Jackpot!

Derek: Success!

Scooter: Progress at last!

Zeke: ...I don't get it.

IJD: We'll explain on the way. Come on.

Zeke: What do you mean, "on the way"? The building's less than fifty paces away.

IJD: And you're using up valuable explaining time complaining about it.

Zeke: Fine, tell me.

Derek: Enough chitchat, you two. Look!

Scooter: Looks like the main entrance is guarded by... are those Klingons?

Sa'ar: No, they're people dressed as Klingons -- of the smooth-headed variety, by the looks of it.

Zeke: Feeling better now?

Sa'ar: More or less. Chloroform always gives me a headache. So does ether, actually. And benzene. And acetonitrile.

Zeke: Then why did you go into chemistry?

Sa'ar: ...Toluene smells nice?

Derek: So how do we get past those guards?

IJD: (staring thoughtfully at the sign on the building behind them, which says Wardrobe) I bet it gets lonely, being a guard.

Zeke: (following IJD's eyeline) They'd probably like some female companionship.

Derek: Pity we don't have a woman with us.

IJD: We can improvise.

Sa'ar: We need someone with a lot of experience around women.

Scooter: Someone with a wife, perhaps.

Zeke: Someone who's done this sort of thing before.

(pregnant pause)

Derek: Stop looking at me like that.

Zeke: Oh, come on, Derek.

Derek: No! Not a chance! This happens every year! I'm starting to develop a complex! Why do you guys always automatically assume...

(As Derek continues to rant, IJD sidles over to Zeke)

IJD: (whispers) Zeke?

Zeke: (whispers) Yes?

IJD: (whispers) Chloroform.

Derek: ...and another thing, why is it that*murglemrph* (THUD!)

(Derek's limp form is wrestled into the Wardrobe building. Time passes. Presently, our heroes emerge.)

Derek: I hate you all.

Sa'ar: I think you look very fetching.

Derek: We shall never speak of this again.

IJD: Of course not. (hides digital camera)

Derek: I can understand the dress, but why the wig of blonde curls and lollipop?

Zeke: It was the only thing we could find that would fit you.

Derek: Shirley Frelling Temple is the only thing that would fit me?!

Scooter: You don't want to see the film that came from. Trust me.

Derek: (sigh) All right. What's the plan?

Zeke: You go flirt with those guards, and then we'll take advantage of the distraction and jump them.

Derek: (glowering) You all owe me. Big time.

(Derek saunters over to the guards and engages them in brief conversation. They immediately look over at the other four Minutemen and charge them, faces twisted in anger.)

IJD: Crap! Oh well, it's four against two. We can take 'em!

(The unequal battle of two guards versus four Star Trek nerds proceeds according to expectations. Just as the Minutemen are about to cry Uncle, Derek's lollipop bashes the guards over the head, rendering then unconscious.)

Scooter: Whew! Thanks, Derek. What went wrong?

Derek: Nothing went wrong. Everything went according to my plan. I told them you had kidnapped me and were going to sell me on the streets of Bangkok.


Zeke: I move that Derek never has to dress up as a woman again. All in favour?

IJD, Scooter, Sa'ar: Aye.

Zeke: Motion carried unanimously.

Derek: (doffing wig) Right. Now what?

Scooter: Well, we can't stand around in the middle of the Paramount backlot with two beaten-up Klingons. Let's drag them inside the building.

IJD: (grabbing a leg) Isn't it odd that nobody's reacted to any of this?

Sa'ar: (grabbing an arm) That's another thing about RPGs: people in the street blissfully ignore public exchanges of grievous bodily harm.

Zeke: Right, now that we're inside, how do we find Kh... the Boss's office?

Scooter: If you were a power-hungry megalomaniac bent on some sort of nefarious scheme, where would you put your secret headquarters?

Derek: The top floor, obviously. Come on.

(15 fruitless minutes of searching later)

Scooter: OK, if you were a hyper-intelligent, genetically-engineered genius, where would you put your secret headquarters so that it couldn't be found?

IJD: Tibet.

Scooter: Anyone have a serious answer?

IJD: That was serious!

Zeke: The basement?

Scooter: Worth a shot. We don't have much time before Khan gets here.

Sa'ar: (pointing out window) KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!

Zeke: Dammit! IJD, chloroform.

IJD: I thought you had it.

Sa'ar: No, it's really him. Look, it's KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!

(The Minutemen dash for the window. After much jostling, some of them head for the other window.)

Zeke: Crud. OK, we don't have much time. What do we have in the way of weapons?

Derek: One slightly melted FBI bazooka.

IJD: One large club made of cedar.

Scooter: Our natural wit.

Sa'ar: And bad puns.

Zeke: I asked for weapons, not clichés.

Derek: (looking in desk drawer) Hey, look at this.

Zeke: It's a prop phaser. So what?

(Derek pulls the trigger. A wobbly blue beam shoots out, accompanied by an archaic whine as everyone freezes for the five seconds it takes to stun Zeke)

Derek: Neat.

Sa'ar: I want one. Check that drawer for PPGs.

IJD: Wait a minute. If that's a real phaser, then it must have come from the future.

Scooter: Which means... ummm...

Derek: Khan is from the future.

Sa'ar: But that makes no sense!

(Footsteps sound in the hallway outside the office)

IJD: Quick, hide!

(The Minutemen scatter and secret themselves: in the closet, under the desk, inside the filing cabinet, and behind the decorative cedar bushes. The door opens, and Khan steps into the room flanked by more Klingon minions -- real Klingons.)

Khan: What the spluck? (prods Zeke's unconscious body with his toe)

Derek: Dammit! I knew we forgot something.

(Our Heroes are quickly rousted from their hiding places.)

Zeke: This has to be Sa'ar's narration. Not even I would use the word "rousted" in cold blood.

(Don't make me beat you with a pool cue.)

Derek: Get your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty, uh, Klingon. I've got a phaser and I'm not afraid to take it off stun.

Klingon: We've got disruptors, and they don't come with stun.

Derek: Oh... well, since you put it that way, here.

(The Klingon takes the phaser and stuns Derek.)

Klingon: Warriors do not wear dresses.

IJD: tiH joq' 'neth jiH!

Klingon: thl ng'oth hol taj!

IJD: (nods) qapla'.

Zeke: (stares at IJD)

IJD: What? I took a course.

Khan: Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Khan Noon-- (breaks off as IJD and Scooter reflexively cover their ears) What?

IJD: Sorry, but it's just that every time one of us has said "Khan", Sa'ar here has --

Sa'ar: KHAAA-Unh! (falls over stunned)

IJD: Done that.

Khan: As I was saying, my name is Khan Noonien Singh, and you will not be delighted to meet me. From your casual use of terminology, it is quite evident that you are not native to this time, and thus can only be interlopers from the future, come to thwart my schemes.

Scooter: I never watched much Classic Trek. Was he always this pompous? Unh! (falls over stunned)

Khan: Guards! Take them to the secret headquarters.

Klingon: But Boss, we just got back from Tibet...

IJD: Yes! Vindicated! (realises that none of his companions are awake to witness his vindication) Aw, crud.

Khan: Not that one, the one in the basement. Stun him first, though.

IJD: Now hang on a minute, can't we talk about thi-- uhn!


(More blackness. A single light flicks on, revealing the Minutemen tied to folding chairs in what appears to be a basement. One by one, they regain consciousness.)

Scooter: Ohhh, my head.

Zeke: This is where we say "To Be Continued" and wait until tomorrow, right?

Derek: That was Cliffhanger Week.

Zeke: Oh yeah.

Khan: I see you have awakened.

Sa'ar: You'll never get away with this, Khan!

Khan: You sit there, bound and helpless, and actually believe that?

Sa'ar: Well, no, but it seemed traditional.

IJD: (turning pale) Oh no... oh, noooo...

Scooter: What?

IJD: He's going to... going to...

Scooter: What? Torture us?

Derek: With Klingon painsticks?

Sa'ar: Or the Narn Bat Squad?

Zeke: Or with a certain videotape? 'cause I've actually seen it now...

IJD: Worse. He's going to... gloat.

Zeke, Derek, Sa'ar, and Scooter: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Khan: Silence!

The Minutemen: (silence)

Khan: Thank you. Now, where was I?

Scooter: You were about to tell us your nefarious plan.

Khan: Imbecile! What possible benefit to me would it be to tell you my... (reacts to prodding by Klingon) What?

Klingon: But Boss... it's traditional. You wouldn't want to go against tradition, would you?

Khan: (sigh) If there is one thing I cannot stand, it is a pouting Klingon. Very well. In 1992, I ruled a quarter of the globe...

Derek: But we lived through 1992. That didn't happen.

Khan: Exactly!

IJD: Wha...?

Khan: Because in 1966, your Star Trek program broadcast an episode called "Space Seed," detailing my rise to power and subsequent exile.

Derek: That was a good episode.

IJD: Fun to five, too.

Khan: Because of this episode, the people of Earth were warned of the consequences of genetic engineering, and so I was never born.

Zeke: But if you were never born...

Scooter: And you're here right now...

Sa'ar: I think my brain just exploded.

Khan: And therein lies the beauty of my plan: it's so convoluted that causality itself won't try to think its way though it.

IJD: So you came back to get Star Trek cancelled?

Khan: Not simply cancel it, but replace it with my own program. I've titled it Bow To The Inevitable And Kneel Before Khan.

Derek: Catchy.

Khan: With this program to precondition them, the people of Earth will willingly accept me as their overlord.

Zeke: How exactly did you go about cancelling Star Trek?

Khan: I have in my possession a single Minute from the pilot episode shown to NBC. The network was unimpressed by a pilot with no ending --

Sa'ar: Yes, yes, we heard all this already.

Khan: I grow fatigued with your insolence. Now that you know my plan, what do you intend to do about it?

Zeke: This. See you in hell, candy-boys!

(Nothing happens)

Zeke: Odd... that worked last time.

Khan: Do you have any other foolishness in mind?

Zeke: Actually, yes... could you step outside for about five minutes?

Khan: I do not see the harm in that. Very well. Five minutes... although I'm sure anticipation of your fate will make it seem like an hour.

Zeke: Don't worry, we're used to that. (Khan exits) IJD, quick, do you still have the Hammer of Smiting?

IJD: No, I never have it.

Zeke: But... but... all those times... the pain...

IJD: Every time somebody asks for it, I reach behind me and it's there. It's like Bugs Bunny's Backspace.

Scooter: I can't believe we're being saved by a cartoon.

Derek: You'd rather be not saved by a cartoon?

Zeke: Could you make it appear somewhere else? Like in the air over Khan's head?

IJD: ...Dude, that's brilliant!

Zeke: I thought so.

IJD: Who are you, and what have you done with the real Zeke?

Zeke: (sigh) When we get back, remind me to... look out, Khan's coming back.

Khan: Your time is up. Do any of you wish to waste your remaining seconds of life with pleas for mercy?

Zeke: No, actually. (clears throat) IJD, Hammer!

(The Hammer of Smiting materialises in the air above Khan's head and falls onto it, neatly knocking him out.)

Sa'ar: Beautiful.

Scooter: Perfect.

Derek: I like the way the ricochet took out the guard.

IJD: Right, now what?

Sa'ar: Typically at this point the heroes loot the bodies, plunder the building and get the hell out of Dodge.

Zeke: A plan with no drawbacks.

(The narrative will skip over the tedious details of inching the chairs over to a convenient metal shelving unit, slicing through ropes and wrists, restraining up Khan and the guard and emptying their pockets.)

IJD: You're just saying that because you don't like the sight of blood.

(Silence, unpronounceable acronym.)

Derek: Hey, look what I found!

(From a pouch around Khan's neck, Derek draws forth one of the missing Minutes)

Zeke: Great. 3 Minutes down, 2 Minutes to go.

Sa'ar: What about that pro-Khan propaganda piece?

IJD: NBC should oppose it once we bring them around to favour the restored pilot.

Scooter: So, where to now?


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This was originally published on February 19, 2006.


All material © 2006, Derek Dean.