This Just In
ISSUE #22 MAY 24, 2002

Conference Examines "Five-Minute" Temporal Phenomena
by Marc Richard

LOS ANGELES, CA - History was made -- and re-made -- last weekend as experts from every corner of the Alpha Quadrant gathered for the First Interstellar Conference on Weird Temporal Anomalies. Hosted by the radically innovative Chronowerx Corporation, this inaugural symposium had for its theme the intriguing question "Are Fiver Publication Rates Indicative of Alternate Time-Flow Phenomena?"

Cosmologist IJD GAF, famed for his detailed knowledge of the early universe, delivered the conference's keynote address on Friday evening. In his speech, he postulated that the uneven publication frequency of fivers provided the strongest evidence yet in support of the Big Bang theory. "Look at these graphs," he argued, indicating the overhead projections being displayed for the hushed audience. "Nothing happens for months and months...and then POW! Dozens of fivers appear all at once, out of nowhere! And then the whole boom-and-bust cycle starts all over again! If that doesn't prove that we live in a universe which alternately expands and collapses at intervals of about 47 billion years, I don't know what else does."

Saturday saw the presentation of two major studies. The first, by visiting 29th-century Temporal Enforcement Officer Braxton, featured a dramatic computer simulation of what would happen if the approximately 700 fivers projected to be written over the next few years were held back until such time as they could be published all at once. "We calculate that the shockwave produced would be massive enough to devastate Earth's entire solar system!" he warned, his tone bordering on hysteria. The question-and-answer period planned for the end of this session was abruptly cut short when two unidentified individuals materialized next to the podium and summarily took Braxton into custody.

The second paper, delivered by the award-winning multidisciplinary scientist Thinkey, speculated that the lengthy gaps between the appearance of new fivers were actually manifestations of the periodic intrusion into our dimensional plane of an alternate bubble universe where time stood virtually still. This session was, regrettably, only sparsely attended, with many audience members grumbling that it dragged on for far too long.

The conference concluded with a lively round-table discussion of the relative benefits and drawbacks of the current fiver publication schedule. Advocating that fivers are like single-malt whiskeys, which only get better as they are left to mature, veteran groundskeeper Boothby held up a dust-covered manuscript and proclaimed it to be "the good stuff -- aged one hundred years!" Speaking on the other side of the debate was prolific author and part-time journalist Kira, a well-known contributor to this newspaper. Her complaints that she had been waiting for months to see her fivers appear online were, however, dismissed as "trivial" by one of the conference's co-chairs, the Guardian of Forever. The Guardian claimed that his own two fivers had been sitting unpublished "since before your sun burned hot in space, and before your race was born." Asked by Kira how this was possible, given that the timeframe in question would have pre-dated the creation of the Five-Minute Voyager parody website by at least six billion years, the Guardian refused to explain, stating that her scientific knowledge was "obviously primitive."

Parallel to the official conference, a small "counter-symposium" took place in which various offbeat conspiracy theories were touted. Organizer (and sole participant) Joe Black waved copies of issues #9 and #16 of this newspaper -- which featured detailed investigative reports on 5MV founder Colin "Zeke" Hayman -- then voiced his own opinion on the matter. "All this talk of temporal anomalies is nonsense," he scoffed. "What we're really dealing with here is a temporizing phenomenon. I say that Zeke's been replaced by a Soon-type android which precisely duplicates his physical appearance. That's how he was able to fool all of you." Mr. Black went on to explain that Soon-type androids -- which are not to be confused with the Soong-type androids made famous by Starfleet officer Data -- are equiped with special "temporizing circuits" which run nothing but a variety of infinite-loop algorithms.

Reached on his cellphone by this reporter and invited to respond to these allegations, Mr. Zeke at first declined to comment, then stated that he would issue a detailed rebuttal "soon." 

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Copyright 2002, Marc Richard. A product of This Just Inc. All rights reserved. This notice void in regions of soonspace where it would require longer than the estimated lifetime of the universe to read in its entirety.