Invader Zim Fanfiction

Thirteen Years Later

Because of Zim
Bloody Valentine
Body Switchers
Dib's Mind
General Insanity
God save the Dib
Hello Darkness
Hot Dogs
Humans are stretching
Johnny Meets Zim
New Class of DOOM!
Short Endings
Single Mistake
The Nightmare Ends
The Sight
Thirteen Years Later
Transportal Doom
You Know

No belongie to me. Jhonen belongie two. Yah. This starts out as a journal entry. Rated for language. (I don cuss this much, they’re just really excited.)

Damn Zim.
Damn him and his god damned Irken Love.
Hah. Love.
The damned boy didn’t even know what the word means. He used it because I did. First peep of a message from his damned leaders and he goes flying back off into space.
He says he’ll be gone for six years, maybe more.
He didn’t even know about the baby.
This damned half-breed baby I have inside me now.
I can’t even kill myself, because of the damned thing. I can’t kill it. Or him. I think it’s a he, but I don’t really know.
My dad doesn’t know yet, hell, Dib doesn’t even know. I’m afraid to tell him. He never really knew about… me and Zim. He definatly didn’t know we were anything other than gaming opponents.
So what do I do now?
Hell, is that ever a question for the ages.
I don’t know. An answer for the ages.
I know I have to have the baby. I can’t kill it. I know I should, but the idea makes me sick to my stomach.
Then I suppose I go day to day. Try to finish college. Just make life as good as possible. For both of us.
I don’t know if I’ll tell him about his father. I suppose that depends on whose genes the kid gets. And if his damned father ever brings his ass back to Earth.

Gaz was twenty when she and Zim became friends. Technically, they had been friends for years, but only over an internet connection. Gaz liked Zim, he was the only person on the planet even worth playing against. That’s why she screwed up her brother’s plans so much.
By the time she and Zim became actual person to person friends, he was becoming impatient with the Armada’s continual lack of coming. When he got a message from the Tallest, inviting him back to the massive for some ceremony, he was overjoyed. By the time Gaz got the rushed email, saying where he had gone, he was already billions of miles away, floating through space.

Dear journal,
It’s been six months almost since Zim left. I miss him more every day. The baby is a few days late, and I’m camping out in the hospital.
I can’t help but wonder what, exactly, the genetic differences between the species were. We never really talked about it, before he left. I guess we should have, before going off and doing… that stupid juvenile thing. I can’t believe we could have ever let ourselves do that.
Not that I didn’t want to, but… oh, God, all the things that could go wrong…
My stomach hurts, I calling for a doctor, bye.

Amazing. Fuckin amazing.
I will say now for the record that having a baby in real life is nothing like they show it on TV. Especially not an alien baby. (No tentacles for one thing)
It took, like, seconds. Less even. I don’t know if this was normal or not, but I mean, I said it was coming, they said no it’s not, any more.
He’s a beautiful boy, like I said he was all along. I wouldn’t let them do any ultrasounds or anything, but I knew he was.
He has my skin, (thank god!) and his father’s eyes. Well, the iris and pupil are red, a deep color, like purple blood. The whites are black. Redundant, huh?
Everyone in the maternity ward is shocked, they want to know if I was smoking something, but I just told them that his father had a condition.
They accepted that, because no one really cared, and even if I was smoking there’s nothing to do about it now.
Almost forgot.
I named him Tiz, after my granddad. It’s kind of an old name, but ah, well.
So today begins the start of a new life. I just wonder what kind of life it will be.

Thirteen years later, a tall boy sits on his bed. The room is dark, lit only by a lamp in the corner. There are lights, but they remain off for some reason. The boy is writing in a notebook, a fat behemoth of a book, but he is only on the first page.

Hello, book.
I guess you’re my journal, huh? Yeah, I guess so.
Well, since you can’t talk, I’ll say some stuff about me.
My name is Tiz. I’m 15, and I live with my mom. I hate my eyes. They’re freaky. But I can see okay in the dark, and that’s cool, I guess.
Right now I’m pissed at my mom, but I don’t hate her.
The reason I’m pissed is because we just went through the Dad ordeal again.
I want to know about him, I mean who wouldn’t? With the eyes I’ve got, the genes I’ve got, it should be easy to figure out who I’m related to. But it’s not that simple.
Mom won’t talk about him. I can tell she misses him, though. She cries some times, when she thinks I can’t hear. That’s weird, because Mom never gets upset over anything. I’ve seen her stare down guys before. Lots of guys are always leering at her, but she can beat up anyone on the face of the planet.
Back to my dad.
I’ve asked uncle Dib about him. Uncle Dib’s kinda crazy. He’s a paranormal investigater. He knows about everything people say don’t exist. I like hanging out with him. He’s always got pickled aliens or whatever lying around. They’re fun to look at.
Whenever I ask him about my Dad, he gets all flustered. He says Mom swore him to secrecy. Then I beg, but he never gives in. It seems like he doesn’t like me so much after I ask him that, so usually I just leave the subject alone. Whoever my Dad was, I don’t think he got along very well with Uncle Dib.
I don’t ask Grandpa either. I don’t think he knows. Whenever I bring it up, he laughs and says “Your mother didn’t get pregnant, don’t be silly!”
And people say Uncle Dib is crazy…

Chapter 2

I woke up at two in the morning to a giant thunder blast. The whole house shook. Outside, thunder cracked the sky. It was really pretty.
Like all nights when it rains, I’m drawn outside, to the woods. I love being in the woods in the rain. Mon always brings up the number of people hit by lightning under trees, but then I bring up the number of people NOT hit by lightning under trees, and she sighs and lets me outside.
I pulled on a jacket, and walked outside into the rain. Instantly I’m soaked, but I like it, so I walk slow enough to the woods. I have a secret spot in the woods,that I go to see the stars, or to hang out.
As I walked toward it, though, I saw that there were some other people out. I saw flashlight beams waving around. I sighed, and was about to go back home, when I realized how orange the beams were. Orange and… flickering. Good god the woods are on fire.
Wait, how can they be burning in this downpour?
I had to find out. I ran toward the fire, which, I saw, was already dying. But I didn’t care, because I was staring at the ship which was parked right on top of a few fallen trees. Or crashed on top, maybe. As I watched, pieces of the small purple craft fell off, clattering to the ground. I slowly walked toward it.
After a second of contemplation, I poked the window. I think it was a window. I could see through it, kinda, but not really that much.
And then the window flew open, and something catapulted out, latching on to my head.
“WEEEHOOOO! PLANET OF DOOMIE DOOM!” shrieked the thing.
“Get the fuck off my head!” I screamed at it, smacking it with my arms.
“Oookie dokie!” It screamed, and dropped off. Then it latched onto my leg, with even more force.
“HI! Make me a sammich!”
“What is wrong with you?” I asked it, calmly, I think.
“I’m advanced!” it replied.
“GIR! Get away from the Earth Monkey!” said a voice from the ship.
“I DON WANNA! WE FRIENDS!”it screamed back.
“What’s happening?” I asked the metal thing. I could see it had glowing cyan eyes, and a metal grin.
“We crashed. It were fun!”
“Um, okay, so why are you coming to Earth for?”
“I dunno, but Master does.”
It pointed back toward the ship. Smoke was pouring out of it.
Dragging the little robot along, I moved back toward it again. As the smoke cleared a bit, I saw the shape of someone inside it. He was a bit taller than me, and he was crunched up inside the little ship. It was obviously about three sizes too small.
And then I saw he was green. With big giant red eyes.
“What are you…” I said. The alien groaned.
“In trouble,” he said simply.
“Are you okay? Your not gonna die, are you? Cuz when that ship crashed at Roswell,”
“Oh, shut your noise tube. I’m not going to die. I’ll be fine. Now, um, run along, and forget all you’ve seeeen.”
“How ‘bout no?”
"Insolent human stink-worm…” he started, but grimaced and grabbed his stomach, like he got a cramp or something.
“Wait, I’ll take you to my Uncle. If anybody can help, it’s him.”
“I need no help,” he tried, but I didn’t believe him.

Twenty minutes later, I had gotten the alien to come with me. He was hurt pretty bad, but wouldn’t admit it. He wouldn’t say much, actually, just a lot of well thought up insults. It wasn’t very far to Uncle’s and we made it there before morning. We had to wait for it to stop raining, though. He seemed to be allergic to contact with it.
What was really surprising is what happened when we got to Uncle’s.
I banged on the door, and after a minute Uncle came to the door. I was standing there, a metal robot trying to squeeze my leg off, and a hurt alien leaning on my shoulder. I would expect some cursing and a lot of questions. What Uncle actually said was: What the hell is he doing here?
“Um, he crashed in my backyard.” I said.
“Dib! What the hell am I doing here?”
“You know my Uncle?”
Dib didn’t say anything for a second.
“I know you should. But you’re not going to.”
They stared at each other for another second.
“Damn you,” Dib said, and stood aside. I walked in, and we went down to the basement. We lay Zim down on one of the tables he had. It was hard; he had this metal thing on his back, and it wouldn’t let him lie flat.
“How do you guys know each other? Uncle, how many aliens do you know?”
“Tiz, go call your mother, and tell her where you are. Tell her to come here, and do NOT tell her who you found.”
“Ummm, okay…”
I ran up the stairs, and ran to the kitchen. Quickly, I called my house. After about ten rings, my Mom picked up.
“If this is not a matter of life and death you’re going to die,” She said cheerily.
“Thanks I love you too,” I said, “I’m at Uncle’s. He says come over right now.”
“Why? Can’t it wait till morning?”
“No! You have to come over right now. He won’t let me tell you why.”
I looked at my watch.
“And it is morning.”
“It’s not morning until God stops forsaking the time.”
“See you in ten.”
“If I don’t die of exhaustion.”
I hung up the phone and tiptoed down to the basement. Uncle and Zim didn’t hear me, and kept talking. Ex-cellent.
“What are you doing back on Earth? I though we got rid of you for good.”
“No, I’m here to stay. I’m not… I’m not allowed back to Irk.”
“They got sick of you, too? Not surprising.”
“Shut up.”
“This may sting a bit.”
“Aaouw! No kidding!”
“Oh, quit whining, you baby. Just be grateful I didn’t throw out all those notes I took on you when we were kids. I probably knew you better than you knew yourself.” “My PAK would have fixed it anyway. You’re just speeding the process up.”
“Glad to know you’ve still got the grand old ego trip going.”
“Ha. I am as humble as a…. whatsit called, those humble things?”
“Aw, come off it. I’m still throwing you out as soon as Gaz gets here.”
Why did this alien know my family? Why didn’t I know him? And why did he know my Mo… Oh, shit.
All of a sudden, the pieces clicked into place. This caused me to lose my balance and go tumbling down the stairs to land on my head.
“Holy shit!” I said apon standing up. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Tell you what?” Zim asked.
“You knew!” I said to Uncle. “Why didn’t you tell me? All this time… I was…”
Dib was looking frustrated, Zim looked confused, and the door upstairs slammed.
“Dib? Tiz?” My mother called from upstairs.
“We’re down here!” Dib called. Zim looked at him in shock.
“You told her to come here? Now? Oh, God…”
Mom came down the stairs carefully. About halfway down, she looked over, saw Zim, and adopted my reaction.
I helped her to her feet.
“Mom, I think you know him. Right?”
“Yeah. I do.”
She walked over to where he was sitting on the table, and wrapped her arms around him.
“Mom?” I prompted. “What the hell is going on?”
“Zim…” Mom said slowly. “This is my son. Tiz.”
Zim looked at her, and for a second I saw hurt in his eyes.
“Your…” and then he saw my eyes. And I could just see the cogs turning, and then…
“Oh, shit!”
“That’s what I said, when I figured it out two minutes ago!” I said angrily. “Shit, Mom, I’m half alien, and you never told me?”
“You were pregnant and you didn’t tell me?”
“You were pregnant?” Dib asked incredulously. “I thought you were a man! Oh, the secrets!”
“Shut up.” I told him.
“I would have told you, but you took off so damned fast… did you have a nice time, abandoning me for thirteen years?”
“I was trying to get back! I was! I...shit. How do I say this…”
“Spit it out,” Mom said coldly.
“I’ve been hiding for a long time. My leaders…. They were trying to kill me. They think I’m an idiot. And they knew about us. They thought I might stand up for the Earth when the Armada came. So they decided to kill me. But I got away… but I have to keep hiding.” “You couldn’t get one message to me? To let me know you weren’t dead? Not once in 13 years?”
“They’ve got sensors all over Earth. They know of every message that goes in and out.”
“How do you know? I think you’re being paranoid.” I said.
“I know because I put them there.”
“You put them…” Mom’s eyes got big. “You said he was lying!”
“I told you he came to destroy Earth! WHAT did I tell you!” Dib said, clapping his hands. “You didn’t believe me.”
“But I didn’t, did I?”
“Only because I stopped you!”
“HA! Puny Earthling! I could have decimated the whole planet if I wanted to!

“Sure you could, Zim. Sure you could.”
“WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE? I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW PLEASE!” I said angrily. The robot finally let go of my leg and went scampering away.
“Fine,” said Dib. “Crash course. Zim: Alien. Came to destroy Earth. But I stopped him, because he’s an idiot. Gaz: Hooked up with Zim. I didn’t know about it or I would have killed him. Slowly. Then he left, to go back to space, or something. Seven months later you were born. We haven’t had word from him since.”
“Until tonight.”
“Holy God. Do you know how bad the chances of this happening are? Of all the places on Earth, of all the nights…”
I tried to figure out the chances in my head.
“Something like 1:68539075. Only bigger.”
“That’s great.” Dib turned to Zim, who looked like he had a few comments of his own to put in. “I said I’d throw you out, and now I am. Scram, you green bastard.”
“I missed you too, Dib.”
“You guys still hate each other, don’t you?” Mom asked.
“Yeah, I think so.” Dib said sarcasticly.
“But that’s not the point, now,” Zim said. “The point is that the armada is coming to blow your planet up.”
“Why?” Mom asked.
“Who cares? That’s what they do. They blow stuff up. They are coming, though. Which is why I came to get you.” “What about me?” Dib asked.
“I guess you can come too, but I’m going to launch you into space once we clear Earth’s orbit.” He blinked. “Did I say that out loud?”
“Yes, you did,” I said.
“Thanks,” he muttered.
“Back to Earth exploding. Shouldn’t we be doing more panicking?” I asked.
“Yeah, I guess.” Mom said.
“Or we could build a giant spaceship and launch us into space to live among the stars!” Dib said excitedly.
“No time,” Zim said, shaking his head.
“Could we build a little spaceship and just evacuate the four of us?”
“FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIiiiiiiiiiVVVVVEEE!” Came a shriek from the corner.
“And Gir.”
“We could leave him here,” Zim said seriously.
“Yeah,” Dib said.
(Gir fans pop out of a time-space continuum hole and threaten them with pitchforks and tazers)
“Maybe we should take him after all…”
“Yeah,” Dib agreed nervously.
(Fans disappear)
“That was interesting,” I said. “Who were they?”
“No one of any importance.”
“Okydokie artichokie.”
“So, what’s wrong with him anyway? I thought robots were supposed to be super smart and stuff.”
“He’s… er…. Advanced.”
“My mommie says I’m special!”
“You don’t have a ‘mommie’ GIR!” Zim shrieked at the dark corner.
Several crashes were heard, and the scream of bending metal.
“Stop wrecking my house!” Dib screamed. “You! Go now. Take your stupid robot, too.”
Zim growled, and went to the corner to retrieve the android.
“I’m going back to my base. I’ll see you in the morning. Dib, feel free to stay on Earth.”
“I’ll be there, bright and early.”
“Tiz, let’s go home,” Mom said quietly. “I’ll see you guys at Zim’s in the morning.”
“But, mom…”
“No buts, mister. March.”
“Yes, Mom…”

By the time we got home, I had figured out from Mom that Zim’s ‘base’ was the Old Haunted Green House That No One Ever Got Around to Tearing Down. We walked in the front door, and I said good night. Mom, looking tired, went down the hall to her own room. I went to my bedroom, locked the door, went out the window, and headed straight for Zim’s.
The old haunted green house was a constant source of scary stories around the neighborhood. The place glowed for no apparent reason. Walking down the cracked stone path, I could swear the lawn gnomes were watching me.
I knocked on the door, and it swung open.
“How did I know you would be here?” Zim said. He was standing in the middle of what had been a living room. Now it was coated in dust it could have been a bathroom for all anyone could tell.
“I had to. Natural sense of curiosity, you know?” “No. I don’t.”
I walked inside, making a second trail of tracks in the carpet of dust.
“Computer!” Zim screamed suddenly.
“Oh, hi, Zim,” said a voice from nowhere. “Did you have a nice trip?” “Yes yes it was remarkable now I order you to tell me why you haven’t been keeping this place clean!”
“Didn’t seem much point, really. I’d just clean and clean and clean and no one would ever even see the amazing cleanness so I gave up.” It burst into tears. “I’m so unappreciated!”
“That’s very nice. So can you get the majority of this dust up NOW?” “I suppose so…”
An army of brooms flew out of the wall and began to sweep everything onto a giant hole that had appeared in the floor.
“Who’s the other Irken?” asked the computer.
“That’s Tiz. He’s my kid apparently.” “Didn’t know you had a kid.”
“Me neither,” we said in unison.
“Wait… we’re Irken? Seriously? Then the planet must be called… Oh god no…”
“Yes. But it means something different in my language.”
“What’s it like? It’s half my heritage, I want to know.”
“Hmmm. Irk is… Amazing. Only word for it. We are literally the most powerful planet in the known universe. We conquer planets, it’s what we’ve always done. Soldiers like me, we go ahead, find major weaknesses, and tell the armada so when they come we can take down the planet quickly and easily. We’re the most technilogicly advanced, because we have the planet Vort to be advanced for us. Oh yeah. One other thing. Do you like snax?”
“Can’t live without em.”
“Good. You have at least some Irken characteristics than.”
“I can see in the dark, too.”
“Really? I can’t do that. But I could if I WANTED TO.”
“Sure you could.”
“And our government is also based on height, but that’s not a good thing I think.”
“What’s that metal thing on your back?”
“This? Most advanced bit of bioengineering known to Irk. It’s a pak. We get them at birth. It basically translates any and all known languages and stores our personalities so if we die, it can be put on another body. Plus we can download info instead of memorizing. Neat, huh!”
“That is cool.”
“And it’s got all sorts of nifty stuff in it.”
“Like what?”
“The usual. Parachute, atmospheric adjustor, lasers, and these things.”
Thin metal legs emerged from a pink hole and lifted him a good ten feet off the ground.
“Sweet! I wish I could do that!” He dropped back to the ground, and gave me a funny look.
“How badly?”

“I can’t believe your elevator is in the fridge.” “It is. Believe it, kid.” “It’s an expression.” “Oh.” We stepped out of the fridge into a darkly lit tunnel. Doors lined the sides of the corridor.
“I think it’s this one…” Zim pushed one door open, and bright light came out.
“Damn that’s bright!” “This is the right one. Come on.” We walked into the white room. In the middle of it was a white table. Several cabinets or something that looked like them lined the walls.
“How well can you keep track of your mind?” Zim asked me.
Pretty well, I thin- ooh, look at this freckle. Was this here before? Boy this room is white.
“Pretty well.” “Oh, good. Wouldn’t want you going crazy.” “Ummm… yeah…” “See, I have one, for in case I need to do something with one of these kinds of things.” “Okay.” “You can have it. It’ll attach itself.” “Will it hurt?” “No, although some people say it’s the most excruciating thing they’ve ever known.” “Okay then.” He held out a blue and silver thing that looked just like his, but a bit smaller.
“Turn around.” I did. I felt a slight pressure, and then a feeling like a thousand needles and then nothing. I couldn’t see anything but black. I could have been falling, and I wouldn’t know. I wondered for a second if maybe I was dead. I decided that since I was thinking I probably wasn’t.
“Am I dead?” I asked.
“Um… no? I think.” “Well alrighty then.” After a second I could see again. The white room was there, with a few black marks decorating it.
“What the heck are those?” “What the fuck do you think they are? You’ve got lasers, retard. Can’t you feel them?” Strangely, I could. It was weird. I could feel lasers, spider legs, and all sorts of neat gadgets. They felt like extra limbs almost. Testing them out, I tried to extend my legs, and lift myself up. I did, but almost immediately slipped and fell over.” “That’s normal. You have to learn to walk. Like you did as a baby. Just try not to think about blasting people, you will.” “Neat-o” “No, not really.” I tried again, this time balancing unsteadily for a minute before toppling over. “Better.” The third time I took a few hesitant steps before falling over on top of Zim.
“AAAHHH! No touchie! NO TOUCHIE!”
“Okay okay geez!”
“That’s enough of that for right this second. Try a force field.”
I did. Two spikes came out to either side, and a thin membrane of color surrounded me for a second. It was the palest blue. After about a half a second, it disappeared. I tried again. It was slightly darker, and lasted slightly longer. The third time I was able to get it to stay, and it slowly darkened the longer I kept it up.
“We already know your lasers work.”
“Yeah, um, sorry about that.”
“No problem. When I got my PAK I cut the power on the entire planet for five years.”
“Really? Wow.”
“Yup. It was brilliant. I did it again later, only it stayed for four years.”
“I got in some trouble for that but it was still amazing," He looked thoughtful. "So how about a test?"

There is nowhere scarier than an empty school building at night. I felt I could say this honestly as I crept down a darkened hallway. Weird noises seemed to echo from the unfamiliar rooms. I thought I could hear footsteps, but maybe I was just being paranoid.
I wondered if I should go into any of the rooms, and when I was sure that I really could hear steps, I decided that I should. Ducking through the first door I saw, I found myself in a room filled with small kitchenettes. Home ec. Perfect.
I rifled through the cabinets, looking for one of those insanely huge knives women use to cut meat. There wasn’t anything there. Not even a spoon.
Outside, I heard the footsteps stop outside the door. A terrifying silhouette involving several thick tentacles came into view. I hid behind a counter, hoping that it would move on. It didn’t. The doorknob slowly started to twist.
I waited until the door was halfway open, and let loose with a laser blast. I wasn’t quick enough, and the thing ducked to the right, slamming the door closed behind it. And then it started screaming, a high keening sound like all the voices in the head of a crazy person breaking into bloodcurdling shrieks, only worse.
I shot another laser blast, this time hitting it and stopping the shrieks. Unfortunately, it had called it’s friends, which were now pounding down the hall toward the room.
“Rrrgh, dammit.” I said, just because it seemed like a good idea at the time.
I searched for anything that would barricade the door for any amount of time at all, and finding nothing, searched the ceiling. It was one of those kinds made out of cardboard squares that give in if you push on them.
I climbed on top of a chair and pushed one of the squares up into the ceiling. Then, using my spider legs, I pulled myself up after it. I pushed the square back into place just as the door burst open. Something like ten of the creatures stormed into the room, looking around for me. I couldn’t see them, but I could tell it was only a matter of time before they looked up.
Stepping carefully only on the metal supports for the cardboard, I tried to get to another ceiling and out of that room. But the thin metal strips weren’t strong enough. Within four feet, I put one of the metal legs down wrong and slid, buckling the ceiling and crashing down about ten feet to the linoleum below.
“Ooooowww…” I moaned. Then I realized that I should probably get up and move, like, NOW.
One of the creatures lashed at me with its tentacle, and I had already resigned myself to death before I realized that some unconscious (but incredibly helpful) part of my brain had already accommodated the Pak into my reflex system. A thin force field surrounded me, but it looked like it was about to give in soon. I have to practice that.
I get ready to fire lasers like crazy, which will happen as soon as this field gives out, which is soon. I see six of them, but there are more behind those that I can’t count. Directly above me, I look straight up though the hole I just fell through. Twisted pieces of metal beam poke straight downward.
Grinning a tiny bit, I drop the field and shoot a laser straight into the piece of metal closest to me. It drops into my hand, which was a great trick. I simultaneously shoot two of the tentacled things and stabbed a third. The soft metal followed the path of least resistance, essentially curving its way into and then back out of the creature’s head. It was neat-o.
I shot two more down, trying to back into a corner, to cover two sides from attack. Unfortunately, I missed the one behind me, which wrapped it’s tentacles around my neck and began to strangle me.
I pulled on the metal, tearing a chunk out of the other’s head, and tried to stab at my assailant, but the curved metal wouldn’t go in. If I had air I would have cursed very impressively indeed.
But I didn’t and ended up dying, which was not in my original plan.

When I woke up from apparently not, in fact, being dead, Zim was staring down at me with an unidentifiable look. I climbed up off the floor, adrenalin slowly seeping out of my veins.
“I have to do that again!” I said.
“Do you know how many of those monsters you killed?”
“Do you know how many the average Invader kills in one of these simulations?”
“Then again, the Invaders, when they take this test, have had ten years of extensive field training.”
“You did pretty good, kid.”
“Um… thanks. What time is it?”
“Almost dawn. Why?”
“So I was in there for… Wow, it took me an hour to do that?”
“Well, it takes some time for the program to load.”
I put my hands in my pockets, looking around at the silver simulator room. Zim had said there were over six hundred simulations that this machine could access immediately, and a few, ahem, extra ones that could be bought online.
“Mom ought to be showing up soon.”
“I hope she isn’t mad at me.”
“She probably is, but from what I know of your mother, that’s not too unusual, is it?”
“No, not really.”
As though some magicky doom thingie was at work, at that moment, Mom entered through the pneumatic doors to the simulator.
“How did you get down here?” Zim asked incredulously.
“Staff entrance,” Mom said.
“There’s a staff entrance?”
“Well, okay then…”
My mom stared at me. Then back at Zim. Then at me. She looked amazed, which was scary because she has never been amazed once in her life, so far as I know.
“You didn’t give him one of those things, did you?”
“What things…?” Zim asked patheticly.
“Those PAKs!”
“Yeah, so?” I asked, not seeing what the problem was.
“You’re teaching him to kill, Zim.”
“Well… I…”
“I wanted to, don’t blame him,” I interjected.
“You be quiet. You weren’t in your room this morning, mister.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“There’s not anything we can do about it now, come on. We have more pressing problems.”
“I’m not going to forget about this.”
“You’ve never forgotten anything, Mom. You can hold a grudge for years.”
“Come on,” she said, stalking back out of the room. We followed, looking at the floor and occaisionaly each other.
“Where’s the making stuff room?” Mom asked.
“The what now?” I said.
“It’s down in the lowest lower levels, but we can’t make a ship there.”
“Why not?”
“Well, there’s the small problem of getting it to the surface.”
“We’ll have to make the individual parts and actually assemble it in the house.”
“Alright then. That shouldn’t be too hard.”
“Where’s Dib?”
Zim suddenly asked.
“Probably out taking pictures of something stupid.”
“I hope he hurries up.”
One at a time, we went through the elevator into the lowerest levels. It was a little pink room that gave me the screaming horrors.
“I hate it here.”
“That’s okay, because I don’t really care.”
Ah. Well then. So long as we know where we stand…
It suddenly redawned on me with full magnitude that this green man standing right in front of me was my dad. It was freaky, I can tell you. You can’t even imagine how freaky it is to be missing a father for thirteen years, and all of a sudden there’s somebody in that empty space. The only problem is, the space in my heart was a square. This guy’s a rhombus, or something equally complicated. Just because this isn’t interesting enough, he’s telling me that my planet, the only one I knew existed this time yesterday, wasn’t going to exist much longer. I had to leave everything I know, with a whole new set of things to know.
I suddenly realized that Mom was poking my head.
“He does this sometimes, just poke him until he rejoins reality,” she was saying.
“Okay okay okay! Stop poking me!”
“Well, here’s what we’re going to need,” Zim said, laying out a roll of green blueprints. It’s just a matter of getting the pieces together right. We have to make the pieces here, and bolt tehm together upstairs.”
He looked to Gaz, then me.
“Either of you know anything about mechanics?”
“I took wood shop,” I offered.
“Do you know how a molecular accelerator works?”
“Um… Hell no. I can barely get nails in straight.”
“In that case the answer to that question would have been no.”
“I did the repairs on Tak’s ship, so I know the basics of how a spittle runner works.”
“Good enough. You can help me down here. Kid, you’re on shuttle duty.”
“What’s that?”
“I give you something, you take it upstairs. When you see Dib, tell him to get his butt down here, too.”
“Yes Sir!” I gave a mock salute.
“You put your palm out, thumb down.”
“This is how we do it on Earth.”
“Every bit of Earth culture is going to be gone in three days. How anything at all is done on Earth will no longer matter.”
There was a really impressive bolt of lightning, and something appeared in the canter of the room.
“Oh, yeah. First thing.” Zim picked up the sparking purple thing. It looked like a really shiny piece of construction paper. “This is the mother board. Be insanely careful with it. This has the artificial intelligence module in it. This is the first ever perfectly designed personality for a computer. Whatever this guy turns out to be, we have to put up with him for a long, long time.”
I took it gingerly, and walked back to the elevator. When I got to the house level, I found Dib, looking confused.
“Where’s everybody?”
“Down in the lower levels. They want you to come help them make a spaceship.”
“Oh. Wanna donut?”
“Ooh, donut.”
“My God. He gave you one of those things?”
“Yeah. We’ve been over this.”
“Do you know what it is? What it really is?”
“Yeah. It’s like superman in a can.”
“No. It’s a brain. That’s what he keeps his mind in. His leaders send him messages through it. It’s like propaganda that goes straight into your mind.”
He looked strangely at me.
“If you get weird voices in your head, you have to take it off. You can’t let it tell you how to think, Tiz.”
I won’t! Don’t be stupid.”
I put the motherboard down on the kitchen table, grabbed a donut, and went back down the elevator. Dib followed. By the time I had reached the making stuff room, there was something else there, waiting for me to take upstairs. I left Dib there to do science stuff, and carried the second thing upstairs.
The third time I went down Dib passed me carrying something else. Apparently he wasn’t as good as Mom or Zim.
So the day went on, back and forth, back and forth, up and down. It was tremendously exciting. Alien machinery is a thing of brilliance, I tell you. It even looks pretty. The pieces gradually got bigger, and the bigger they were, the cooler they looked.
When I finally went down, at about nine thirty at night, and found no more pieces to be carried, I was almost disappointed. The sad was killed by how tired I was though.
“I want to go to bed,” Dib said, voicing everyone’s thoughts. “I don’t even want to eat I’m so tired.”
“Feeble human,” Zim muttered under his breath.
“I’ll meet you as soon as possible tomorrow, alright? There’s still a lot of things to do.”
“Get some sleep, Zim,” I groaned, dragging myself toward the door. “We can’t do this without you if you drop dead of exhaustion.”
“Irkens don’t sleep,” he said quietly. If he said anything else, I didn’t hear it, I was out the door, heading home.
I don’t remember getting home, and I don’t remember falling asleep. But I know I did, because I had nightmares. Awful nightmares about a new half of me. I split in two, the other half going away. It kept saying that it was different, that I never paid attention to it.
I slept through the longest nightmare on my life.

The next morning when I went early to Zim’s I was really jumpy. I kept having to look over my body to make sure I wasn’t cracking in half. I’d never been so freaked by a dream in my life.
The jumpiness went a way a bit when I stepped through the front door. This was because a half-assembled frame was sitting straight smack-dab in the middle of it. Zim was on the ceiling, hanging by his spider laegs, welding something together. He didn’t even notice me ocme in.
“Hey! Zim, it’s morning. What can I help with?”
“Uhh… get up here and hold this.”
I climbed up into the lattice of wires and tubes that made up a ceiling. Holding the piece Zim said to, he welded it to another with a fancy little super-hot gun-thing. It was neat.
“Can I do that?”
“I guess so. If you make sure the right pieces are connecting. We don’t have time to mess up, here. I’m doing the top first so Dib and Gaz can do the bottom when they show up.”
I went around connectiong things like he said to. It was really cool to watch the metal melt and reform. I was focusing on not accidentally welding my hand off, or other such accidental disfigurement.
When Mom and Dib showed up, we were almost done doing the top. Me and Dib kept putting pieces on, Mom and Zim went to put the engine together. It was the most…interesting experience I’d ever had, and I had a lot of time to think. During this time, I wondered about the spaceship in a living room. Which made me think, for some reason, of yelling at someone to move the giant ship so I could watch TV. And then I thought about that little robot that attacked my leg two nights ago. Which made me think of the last time I had seen it. Which made me think that I hadn’t seen it since I left Dib’s house.
“Hey, Dib! Is that little robot still at your house?” “No, Zim took him.”
Zim looked confused.
“No, I didn’t.”
“I’m positive that you did,” Dib said a bit worridly.
“He’s not here now.”
“Are you sure?” Mom asked.
“Uh…no. COMPUTER! Locate GIR, and please tell me he’s in the house…”
“Proccessing…PROCCESSING! GIR located. He’s, um…” “Where, computer?”
“I’ll tell you, but you’re not going to like it.”
“I don’t care. Where is he?”
“He’s, um, in Germany.”
(Cut to a horrified airline desk attendant hiding behind a desk. GIR is chewing on those stupid airline pens that don’t work, ink is going everywhere.
Clerk: If I give you tickets will you go away and never return?
Back to our heroes)
“You know what? I don’t even want to know,” Zim said. “I’ll take the reserve out to find him. Gaz, can you finish with these guys here?”
“I think so. The animatronic gastrointela attaches to the E portal, right?”
“Yeah, it’s the blue one on the rear.”
“Can I come?” I asked. “He likes me.”
“He likes everyone with a pulse, but okay.”
I followed Zim into the attic of the house. There was a landing pad there, built for the Voot cruiser that was crashed in my backyard. There was also a smaller pad, with a strange looking ship on it.
”It was built for carrying things, but it’ll fly. Come on.” I climbed inside the tiny ship, sitting in a seat behind the pilot’s. I watched Zim working these controls which would take me years to figure out. I resolved then and there that I would learn how to fly these things. I had the feeling it would be a useful talent.
With no warning at all, the ship shot into the air and set off to the east, flying right into the morning sun.
It took us fifteen minutes to get to Germany, which is again the coolest thing ever. I worked out that we had to be going about a thousand miles every three minutes. I wondered if I could persuade him to do some loops on the way back.
We parked outside there Grand Palace of Germany, where the Grand Supreme Dictator lived. There were tons of guards all over.
“Why would GIR be here?” I asked.
“I dunno, but he is.” The gaurds looked jumpy, and hardly noticed when we walked right past them into the Royal Room of Decision Making. The Grand Supreme Dictator, The FIc Lord, was in there… reading stories. GIR was sitting on the ground, listening intently.
TFL: Once upon a time
TFL: there was a handsome prince
“GIR! Stop bothering the nice dictator! We have to go home.”
“Oh thank GOD!” Fic lord exclaimed. “GOT THIS PSYCHO THING OUT OF HERE PLEASE!”
“I will do that, but not because you told me to,” Zim said loudly. “GIR, MOVE! We have to go home and get off Earth because the bad tall guys are coming to destroy this FILTHY FILTH RIDDEN PLACE!”
GIR stared uncomprehendingly. Zim sighed.
“Let’s go get tacos,” He said sulkily.
And so we headed back home by way of Crazy Taco, where we drove the ship through the drive-through and no one noticed
The ship, when we finished it at nightfall the next day, was a marvel to behold. Sleek, streamlined, and purple for some reason, it almost radiated a feeling of efficiency. I just hoped it would live up to the feeling. Unfortunately, with less than half an hour until the Irken Armada arrived, we didn’t have any time for a test drive.
Climbing into he ship, I saw the inside was purple, too. This was not as streamlined. Wires were visible everywhere, and several pieces of paneling were missing. This was to be expected. We didn’t build the thing for it’s looks.
There were two sets of seats, and GIR sat in the cargo space, where there wasn’t much stuff to break. I buckled myself into one of the seats in the back, behind my Mom. Dib sat next to me, and tried to peer out the front. There was a really big window, and through it we could see the TV and parts of the wall. Without any adequate warning, the ship shot upward, crashing through the ceiling. People stared as the house basically shattered and fell to the ground. It was loud. As people gawked, we stared back down at them.
It occurred to me that no one on Earth would be here in an hour. Which scared me more because I didn’t really care, or think particularly of anyone worth saving.
The Earth got farther and farther away as our ship flew out into the sky. We could already see the tiny pink dots that were the ships of the Armada approaching. We went the other way. I looked on the Earth, just in time to see the first laser hit. I turned around, and didn’t look back.
“Computer!” said Zim suddenly. “What is the estimated time of arrival for Arkania?”
“Arkania distance: Wouldn’t YOU LIKE TO KNOW?”
“What? Computer, you were supposed to be perfect!”
“Oh, so you don’t love me! Fine, I can deal with that. I hate you too.”
“What is… oh, god. GIR. Computer, find what went wrong with your programming.”
“My programming’s fine. That’s not the problem.”
“Then what is the problem?”
“Locating… Problem found.”
“There’s donut on me.”
“What? What does that mean?”
“One of you carbon based idiots got donut grease or whatever all over the motherboard.”
I sank down into me seat as everybody turned to look at me. In the back, GIR laughed insanely.

“I can’t believe you wrecked the motherboard.”
“I’m not wrecked!”
“At least we won’t have to put up with it long,” Mom said hopefully.
“How long is it to Arkania?”
“Seven months.”
“Oh my god,” Dib moaned. “I’m not gonna make it.”
“Shut your noise tube. We’ve got suspended animation, so it’ll feel more like an hour.”
“How soon can we start that suspended thing up?” I asked. GIR was in the back, singing a song that consisted of one word. It was dreadfully annoying. Between him and the computer joining in, I wanted to get off this ship so bad…
“Right now. COMPUTER! Engage suspended animation.”
“Eeeeeeeeeeiiiii… no can do.”
“Why not?” Dib asked, sounding hysterical.
“Don’t wanna.”
“YOU DON’T WANT TO?” Zim screeched.
“That plus it’s not responding no more.”
“Wow. Maybe we should have stayed on Earth…” I said, but no one could hear me because the singing was so loud.
“Arrrrgh…” Mom said loudly.
“So who brought the board games?” I asked loudly.
“DOOM DOMIE DOOOOOMIE DOOM DOOMA DOOMA DOOMA DOOM!” chorused the computer and GIR, loudly.
“This is all your fault, Dib!” Zim shouted suddenly.
“My fault! All I did was carry stuff! You put the stupid thing together!”
“I don” I started, but Mom shushed me.
“They fight all the time. You just have to get used to it.”
“For seven months?” Mom bit her lip. She might have said something, but I didn’t hear it. It was pretty loud in here now.
“Be quiet.” Mom said quietly, and there was one of those auras that make you want to shut up and quickly.
“Dib, you know that annoying me thing? You’re both doing it. For you to goons to be fighting all the time when we were kids on Earth was bad enough, but at least then I could lock you all out of the house for the night. Here, there’s nowhere to get away, so we’re going to have to try not to kill each other.”
“Try getting GIR to be quiet with that speech,” Zim said, scoffing. I swear the temperature went up three degrees.
“I don’t need a speech,” Mom said. Then she hit the red button to open the cargo bay doors. They slid open, and she went inside, closing the door behind her. The singing instantly stopped, and was replaced by a horrible screaming. After a minute of sitting, terrified, in the main part of the ship, glancing nervously at each other and wondering what was happening beyond those doors, we heard the screaming stop, and the doors opened. Mom came out, looking satisfied.
“He won’t be doing THAT any more,” she said. Sure enough there wasn’t a peep from the robot that hadn’t shut up once since he’d crashed.
“What did you do to him?” Zim asked fearfully. Mom looked at him with that one-eyed glare she does so well.
“I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.”
We didn’t ask again.
Two minutes later, we were trying to find anything flat that we could cut, and maybe do something with. A deck of cards would have been worth killing for, but since we didn’t have that, we tried to play word games. This wasn’t for any reason, but we really didn’t want to have to think about doing it for seven months.
“Cat,” said Dib.
“Rat,” said Mom.
“Splat,” said Zim.
“Slat,” I said.
“What? asked Mom and Dib together.
“No, no, slat’s a word,” said Zim. “It’s one of those planks that cover windows.”
“No, that’s not what he said,” Mom insisted.
“What did I say?” I asked.
“See, that didn’t make sense either,” Dib said.
“Yes it did,” said Zim, confused.
“No, it didn’t. He said like, ‘diud I whaht sia?’” Said Dib.
“Am I missing something?” I asked.
“You just did it again!” Dib shrieked.
“Oh, no…” Zim said.
“WHAT?” the three of us chorused together. Dib and Mom looked at me funny.
“You’re speaking in tongues,” he told me solemnly.
“What are you talking about? I don’t know any other languages. I took Spanish for a year, but I flunked it, so…”
“No, you’ve got an automatic translater on your back. You have to be able to feel what language everyone else is speaking, and mimic it. I think you’re speaking betelgeusian, but I can’t tell. It’s one freaky dialect, anyway.”
“I told you no good would come of that thing, Zim,” Dib said matter-of-factly. “Is it me or am I always right?”
I told him to shut up, but he couldn’t understand me. Mom started laughing, and I had to quietly wonder what the words I was saying sounded like. Must be pretty freaky to get MOM laughing. I went on looking for anything at all to do, other than speaking a freaky language no one but Zim could understand. At least I could still understand people.
I wandered back into the cargo bay just to be away for a little while. It was dark, and GIR was in a corner sniffing.
“Hey, GIR,” I said.
“Greetings,” said GIR. “How do ye be?”
“Is it me or are you speaking a bit of sense.”
“I assure you it is just you and your demented human imagination.”
“Oh. Well that’s all right, then. Do you have any cards?”
“No, but I have this pig. He is quite entertaining.”
The little robot pulled a squeaking pig out of his head. He then squeaked it mercilessly.
“See? Can you handle my pleasure?”
“Um, yeah. That’s really annoying. Could you stop it before I am forced to kill myself, please?”
“You’re just jealous. Want a moose?” he pulled a squeak moose out of his head and offered it to me. I took it and squeaked it. Then, unable to stop myself, I began to squeak it more. Then more. GIR and I made a chorus of demented squeaking. Then abruptly, GIR stopped.
“Silence!” he whispered. “Or the scary lady will come back and bring her doom. Dooooom…”
“Oh, that’s just my Mom.”
“She’s still scary.”
“Hey… did she make you talk like this?”
“Like what?”
“Like a half-intelligent human being.”
“No, I’m just doing this cuz I’m bored. And you’re not a human being either, so don’t be dissin me.”
Oh, yeah. I’m not. Geez, this is hard to get used to. I wonder if I should go off on a touching emotional line of thought about my parents?
I looked around and found nothing else to do.
Guess I will then. Let’s start with Zim, my father. I actually have a father. Weird. I was beginning to seriously wonder if I was the spawn of Satan or something. With my mom’s personality, I have no doubt that she at least knows Satan. So I have half the genes of someone I never knew. Now I’ve found him, and seriously he’s nothing like anyone I ever imagined I could be related to. Actually, he’s like no one I’ve ever heard of. What a giant ego. But it’s not even annoying, like it was to start.
Am I like that? I don’t think so. Then again, he probably doesn’t either. I wish I had a mirror to look in while I did this. It would probably make it a bit more meaningful. Oh, well.
I thought about what Zim had said about Irk. What a funny name for a planet. I knew what Irk meant in Irken, it’s unexplainable in English, but it’s just like a feeling of unity and peace. Though by the sound of it, it wasn’t a peaceful planet. Lords of all, and conquerors. That would have appealed to me if they hadn’t just destroyed my homeworld. I thought about the Tallest, as Zim had called them. Who bases a government on height, and what were they doing at the time?
On the other hand, the power must be awesome. They rule almost the whole universe. Tell me that’s not cool. They have those other guys, the Vorts, to be smart for them. And Zim said almost the whole planet was military training. Invaders trained for ten whole years. I couldn’t imagine doing anything for ten whole years. Unless it would help Irk to grow.
Where did that come from?

I was awakened from my sleep by Zim shaking my shoulder.
“Leeme’lone,” I muttered. “Whatever you want it’s got seven months. Let me sleep.”
“We don’t have seven months. Wake up, we’re here.”
“What do you mean, we’re here?”
“Apparently our, ah, advanced computer has issues with practical jokes. It did the suspended animation while we were awake, and didn’t tell us.”
“That’s a relief,” I muttered, rolling over.
“I’m not kidding, kid. Wake up right now or I’m going to tell GIR to wake you up.”
“I’m up!” I shrieked, flying out of bed. “Have mercy!”
“That’s what I thought.”
I blinked.
“Am I speaking English again?”
“Nope. You better learn to distinguish between languages soon, though. There’s about fifty of them where we’re going.”
“You sure are a sarcastic little guy. Was everyone on Earth like that? I can’t remember.”
“Pretty much everybody. I’m hungry.”
“Good for you. Come on, we’re about to land, you want to be strapped in for that.”
“Okay then.”
I want into the main part of the ship and strapped myself in. I could see out the window a huge purple planet, revolving a little quicker than it probably should have been. We were getting closer to it at a speed I guessed would have been frightening if I hadn’t been so far away from any vantage point. Did that make sense? Ah, well. I don’t really care.
“Ah, home away from home,” Zim murmered. “Arkania.” “What’s here, anyway?” Dib asked.
“What’s not here? This place is like a circus, a freak show, and a flea market all rolled into one.” “Ooooo, neat.” I said.
“Stay away from the dark blue places. They’re full of rogues, thieves and scoundrels. If you take anything into there, you won’t get out with it unless you steal it back about ten times.”
“Double neat.”
“No, kid. Not neat. Stick with me. If any of us get separated, it’s going to be a whole ordeal getting back together.”
“Okay then.”
“Tiz, you really need to try to speak English, okay? You’re driving me crazy,” Dib said sympathetically.
“You think I like not being able to talk to people?” I asked.
“You did that just to annoy me, didn’t you,” Dib mumbled.
At this point, we dropped below the cloud level and the planet’s surface became visible. I gasped. I couldn’t help it. I had never seen so many people in one place before. Mom steered toward a port, which was slightly less crowded than anything else. And, just because she was Mom, she dipped so low over the planet’s surface I think we took someone’s head off. I might be imagining it though.
The ground, or what I could see of it, reminded me of an Indian bazaar. Every spare inch was covered in a cloth, piled with things for sale. Thin paths wound between carpet-covered booths and stalls. There wasn’t a humanoid alien I could see. Everyone had six arms or ten legs. There were giant spiders and things that looked like giant waffles. It was enough to put any freak show on Earth out of business.
“One other thing,” Zim said off handedly. “Do not refer to anyone at all as an alien. It is not a good thing to be referred to as. People will take offense. And on Arkania, when they take offense, they usually take something else, too.”
“What?” Dib asked.
“I would tell you, but you’d be sick, and it would smell,” Zim said with a sly smile. Then the ship rocked as were caught in what felt like a magnet’s grip. Mom let go of the controls, and we were gently guided into a parking space on what looked like a really big, upended mouse maze. Only there were empty squares, all over, in levels. We happened to go onto the very top level. We climbed out of the ship, looking around at the close square of metal around us.
“I hate to ask,” Dib said nervously, “But how do we get down onto the ground?”
“Well, duh,” Mom said moving to the opening. “We jump.”
“Come again?” Dib and I said in unison. All I could see was purple sky, and ships flying about randomly.
“Look, it’s not so bad. There’s a rappelling thingie here,” Zim said, gesturing to some ropes.
“We get to climb down this whole thing? How fast can we go?” I said excitedly.
“Yeah, what he said,” Dib said. “There’s no way we can just jump down this thing.”
“Oh, you don’t have to, Dib,” Zim said as he, Mom and I started putting on the rappelling gear. “You can just stay here and make sure the ship doesn’t get stolen. Watch out for the green guys with the black eyes. They’ll take you with them for the long trip.” He winked.
“They eat stuff you’ll miss.”
Dib paled, and hurridly started putting on the rappelling gear.
Falling is lots of fun. This was my main thought, dropping a lot faster than I really should have been down the side of a fifteen story building. Dozens of oddly shaped ships whizzed by, parked in the cubicles, but I didn’t see them very well. At about the fourth floor, it occurred to me that I should maybe slow down. I did, but I was still going way too fast when I hit the ground.
“I don’t feel good,” I moaned.
“You shouldn’t, idiot. No way you should go that fast,” Zim said.
“I was lots of fun,” I whined.
“Not having fun now, are you?”
“Fine. Dib’s over there throwing up if you want to join him”
“No… that’s okay, thanks.”
Mom dropped to the ground next to me, going easily twice as fast as me. Zim and I gawked as she swiftly tied all the harnesses to the rope and sent hem back up to the ship for whoever wanted to use them next. We thought it best not to ask how she did it.
After waiting a few minutes for Dib, we set off into the city. It was all we could do to stay together. I was just glad we left GIR in the ship. He would have been everywhere.
I sped up to walk next to Zim.
“Why are we here, anyway?” I asked.
“Someone owes me a favor, I think it’s time he paid me off,” Zim said. I wondered why Zim would know anyone in this place, but didn’t ask.
People kept jumping in front of us, waving assorted goods in our faces and proclaiming that their prices were lower than everyone else’s. This is impossible, but they didn’t seem to know it. Zim glared at them, and they left him alone, and me because I was with him. Mom, waking a bit behind, seemed to be invisible, the same way she had been on Earth, but Dib kept getting attacked by people. It seemed as if they were gravitating toward him. Several times we lost sight of him, and had to wait until he fought his way out of the crowd. Finally we reached a particularly run down stall, which looked almost the same as every other one, except for one difference. The person running it was a human. A seemingly bionetic human, but still human.
“How did…” Dib started, but Zim shushed him.
“This is a friend of mine, not yours. He’s nice enough, but if you piss him off, he’ll steal your soul and leave you in eternal pain and suffering. Do not say a word unless I say so.” He turned back to the booth, where the man was just getting done with a rough, biker-looking guy.
“Hey, Jhonen,” Zim said. Jhonen looked at him sideways. His eyes glowed weirdly. I wish I could do that.
“How do you know who I am?” he asked suspiciously.
“You remember me, don’t play stupid.”
“No I don’t.”
“Zim. Invader Zim.”
“Oh… you got taller. Prove it’s you.”
Zim sighed.
“Oh, Jhonen, you wouldn’t believe the glory that was ZIIIIIIIIIIM’S! The Tallest bestowed on me a BATTLE TANK, which I used to WREAK HAVOK on the filthy, filth-head of the stinking EARTH MOOONKIIIIIIIIES!”
This was accompanied by much flailing and body language. Jhonen looked vaguely amused.
“Oh, yeah. Hey, did you get around to killing that giant-headed weenie human yet?” Zim liked uncomfortable.
“Erm… no. He’s actually over there.” He pointed in the general direction of Dib.
“Oh. Well this must be embarrassing for you, eh?”
“Yeah. It kind of is.”
“Who are these two others then? Are they buggin you? Can I kill them?”
“No, please don’t.”
“Drat. Been weeks since I killed anybody.”
“Yeah, eh… This is Gaz, my leara. And this is Tiz. He’s my kid apparently.”
“Glad to see you finally found someone who could tolerate your presence.”
“Me too,” Zim shifted uncomfortably. “As I remember it, you owed me something when I last left.”
“Oh, yeah. I was hoping you forgot.”
“Do you have it?”
Jhonen smiled a scary grin, stepping back into the back of the booth. He held aside a dirty cloth, which was falling across the doorway into the back.
“Step into my office.”
I leaned on one of the poles that kept the booth standing, and watched the people go by. So far I had seen no more than six of any given species. Mom was doing much the same thing, and Dib was looking very bored. Zim had been gone for about twenty minutes now, and we were starting to wonder when he would get back.
Then, getting an idea, I went back around the other side of the booth, slipping out of view. A thin murmur of garbled words floated out to me and I pressed my ear against the material of the walls, listening for anything at all. A tiny voice that used to be called my sanity, but now doubled as a conscious, whispered that what I was doing was bad, but I suppressed it, like always. Listening to your sanity leads to normality, AKA death.
“-figured maybe you were dead or something, I mean after all that on the Massive,”
“I don’t want to start going over dead history with you, Jhonen. I just want to get everyone somewhere safe, and maybe Dib to, but that’s where I’m willing to compromise.”
“But, seriously, man. All the rumors about you. You should hear them. Some guy told me you took down fifty of the Massive gaurds in one shot.”
“I only took down five. The other forty five wet themselves and ran off screaming.”
“Really? Come on, tell me all the cool stuff that I’ll never get to do.”
“I don’t even know what I did. It’s all programming. They were going to kill me, and I had to get away. They trained me for ten years to be an invader, and I just used what they taught me.”
“They say you took off into space in a cardboard box.”
“Now you’re just being stupid.”
“You’re going to be legend, man. Seriously. No one has ever been on the run from the Irken armada for more than a month, and you’ve been running for twelve years. Twelve YEARS! My memory doesn’t even go back that far.”
"You are really being stupid now.”
“But how do you do it? How can you just be running all the time?”
“I can’t. And that’s why I need you.”
“What do you need from me anyway? You never did say. Remember, I owe you one life-saving favor, and nothing more than that.”
“I’m going back to the Massive, to do one thing, and then I’ll never have to run again.”
“You can’t take on the Massive. Now who’s being stupid.”
“I can. I did it before. And now I’ve got another soldier to help me.”
“Who? You’ve got a woman, a kid, and a giant-headed dork.”
“Wrong. I’ve got Gaz, lord of all evil doom, a giant-headed dork, and a soldier.”
“What the hell are you talking about? That kid would be thirty before you can teach him all the things an Irken needs to know just to fly a ship.”
“Wrong again. This kid’s amazing. He went through the graduation test for the Irken military and passed better than bout fifty percent of them. I put a PAK on him. I can download it with everything he’ll ever need to know, and this.”
Whatever ‘this’ was, I couldn’t tell, but I didn’t care anyway. I was feeling really sick to my stomach.
“You’re set man! So what do you want from me?” I pulled away from the fabric, and rushed back to the front of the booth.
“Mom!” I shouted. “Mom, we have to get out of here, right now. It’s Zim, he”
I didn’t get to finish, because at that moment, Zim himself stepped out from the booth, looking like he had everything in the world.
“Come on,” he said, looking at me. “We have something very very important to take care of.”
And then I remembered no one could understand me.
“I’m hungry,” Dib grumbled as we tried to wind our way back to the ship.
“Me, too,” Mom said.
“Me three.”
“I’m not sure if there’s anything even vaguely human here for you to eat, but I’m sure we could look,” Zim said, peering around. “Tell me if you see anything that looks good to you.”
“That over there looks pretty good,” Dib said, pointing to a booth covered in slab-like, meaty looking red things.
“You don’t want that, trust me,” Zim said, stifling a smile.
“Why?” I asked.
“That’s not food. That’s lingerie for a species called the Gharghans.”
“Oh,” Dib said. Then, “I think I’m going to be sick again.”
“You’ll live. Come on, most of the food is over here, if I remember it right.”
We followed him past what felt like miles of narrow passageways that all looked the same. I saw the most interesting things for sale. I could figure out what about three of them were for. We also saw a flasher, but she was so messed up I couldn’t even tell what part I wasn’t supposed to look at. Finally we reached some places that looked like they sold food. Well, food was maybe to strong a word.
“Oooh… They have mooshminkies,” Zim murmured.
“What’s that?” I asked a little unsurely. The thing looked like egg rolls, but I think pretty much everything in space is like an Every Flavor Bean: Don’t judge on looks.
“There’re really good. It’s like meat and vegetables all wrapped up in noodle. Like the cross between egg rolls and Ravioli.”
Zim leaned in conspiratorially.
“Plus they give you a quick high, but don’t tell Gaz.”
“Double yum.”
I still hadn’t forgotten about what I had heard, but I knew that we wouldn’t make it ten minutes on this planet without Zim. There wasn’t anything I could do, and I hated it. Zim got two of the mooshminkies, and handed one to me. I tried it and found it freaky, but still good. I tried not to think about what kind of animal this meat had come from.
Dib and Mom got something that looked like the cross between a sandwich and an explosion, and we ate while walking back to the ship. The mooshminky changed tastes every few minutes, and Zim was right, it did give you a quick high. There was a brief stop while I chased after some leprechauns, and another where Mom yelled at Zim for letting a kid get high, but I won’t get into those.
Then there was the great bathroom adventure. There were port-o-potties, and about twenty of them. Approaching, we thought there were ten girls, and ten boys. Not so. There were twenty DIFFERENT KINDS OF BATHROOM! Amazingly, the girl and boy symbol looked the same as on Earth. Then there was a thing with about fifteen tentacles. Then there was a picture of a top hat, for some reason. I watched that door for a while, but didn’t see anybody to use it. Ah, well.
When we finally reached the ship and found it refueled and ready to go again, I was trying to come up with some kind of idea on how to do anything. I don’t know what Zim is doing with the Tallest, but I didn’t want to be part of it. On the other hand, I didn’t know how to warn anybody, either. As we took off again, I stared at the retreating planet, and was surprised to find that the normality of a week ago was more of a myth than a memory. I didn’t want to hear the story again.

As I watched the stars lazily drift past, I thought about the situation I found myself in. My biggest problem was that I couldn’t talk to anyone besides Zim, and that wasn’t going to do me any good. He has some personal agenda against his rulers, who apparently snubbed him for some reason. He’s out to get them, and he’s going to make me help. I don’t want to kill anyone. Well, maybe my sixth grade computer teacher, but definitely not somebody I didn’t know.
Right now I wish I’d never even gotten this PAK. It’s giving me weird thoughts, too. I keep hearing whispers. Hearing things is one of the primary signs of mental instability. They tell me things about Irk, things I’d never known. It sounds like a beautiful place. I love to listen to things about it. And I’m part of this planet, this Master race… see? Stuff like that. I don’t know what I’m going to do.
Always in the stories I’ve read, the Hero comes up with some great plan at the last second and saves everybody. I just hope I can do the same. I don’t know if I can, though. I can’t even come up with a good strategy for bludgeon ball, and there’s not even a (very big) chance to get killed in that game. I read once that the brain works best when It’s relaxed, like when you’re about to go to sleep. Might as well try it… yawn.

The best feeling in the world is being asleep. I am asleep. I’m having a dream... about Dib. He’s saying… gibberish. I’m laughing… he is funny. He’s pointing at something… Zim. He looks funny. Like he’s gonna…tackle Dib or something…No... that’s silly. Dib’s going to sleep, too…
I am asleep… but not quite… I hear something. Do what? I dunno. Oh, wait. Open eyes. That’s good. I open my eyes. It’s dark. Wait. That’s ok… Something’s moving... some thing black… black like everything else. So what is it. It’s getting closer…. Oh, shit.
It’s Zim.
He’s got something in his hand. I try to look and see what it is… too tired… blackness coming… nice warm blackness…

“I had the freakiest dream last night,” I said.
“Oh, really,” Zim said. “What was it about?” “I can’t remember, but I know it was freaky.”
I pondered.
“I think the tallest were in it.” I said at last.
“Oh, really… That’s very interesting.”
“ENGLISH GUYS! ENGLISH!” Dib screamed.
“I’m trying!” I screamed. Dib looked shocked.
“I don’t know what you just said, but you sound pissed. Are you pissed?”
“Yes, I am pissed. And I am bored. Yenah.”
“Yenah?” What does that mean?”
“Yenah?” Zim said, puzzled. “It’s slang on Irk. It means long live Irk. Basically.”
“Then why did I just say it?”
“I dunno.”
He does know. I know it. It’s cuz of the PAK. It’s giving me weird thoughts. And probably weird dreams too. I wish I could talk to Dib about this thing. Somehow I don’t think I’ll get a straight answer from Zim. It occurred to me to wonder where Mom was.
“Where’d Mom go? Back to kill GIR?”
“Um…I dunno. Probably.”
"Okay.” I came to an abrupt descision for no apparent reason.
“What were you talking to Jhonen about?”
“Oh, you know… things. I haven’t seen him for hundreds of years, you know.”
"You were talking about me.”
“No. We weren’t.” He looked at me suspiciously. “You weren’t spying, were you?”
“Yes. I was. I heard you say something about your leaders, and the massive. What’s going on? If I’m going to have to help, I want to know something about it.”
“You’re seriously pissing me off, so I’m leaving now,” Dib said sullenly, slinking off.
“What’s happening, Zim?”
He sighed, red eyes focusing on the floor.
“You don’t know enough about Irk, about how it works, about the tallest, to do anything. I need help. Doing what is right for irk. And that’s where you come in.”
“So that’s what I was? A soldier? I’m your son! Doesn’t that mean a thing to you?”
“No. It really doesn’t. Irkens come from tubes, kid. We don’t have parents, we don’t have kids. All Irken females are sterile. Bred that way genetically, so the Tallest can keep tabs on the whole population. You have to understand Irken mentality. There is no emotion for us. There is triumph, and there is a loyalty to our planet. That’s all.”
“Tell me about everything. It’s not like we don’t have time, it’s not like anyone is spying. Tell me.”
Zim sighed.
“Fine. Irk is a regulated planet. Irkens are basically machines. We live in our PAKs. Everything saved in there can be put on another body, no problem. We cannot die unless our Pak is destroyed. It’s been that way since our births. We all come from the birthing facility. This is because we need to have an army, a military supply at all times.”
He tapped his head.
“This brain, this body, was stolen from a lesser race, Irkens did not always look like this. But this is the most able body we could find. Put with our minds, we are the true Aryan race you humans search for. But Irk has fallen on bad times. The last thousand years, the Tallest have been obsessed with controlling the entire universe. They trained huge numbers of invades, sending to all corners of the galaxy. I was one of these. Untill I realized what he planets I had conquered, what was happening to them. They were destroyed, made into giant parking structures, or simply stripped of their recources and left to float, cold and empty, in the void.” “But if you knew this was happening, why would you keep doing it? What made you hate the Earth people so?”
“I was told to. The PAKs, they can regulate thought, emotions. It’s like brainwashing to the extreme. I was literally programmed to follow directions. Until I found the chip, while repairing the Pak. I took it out to examine it, and I suddenly realized that everything I had ever felt was fabricated. I’d never had a single real thought in my life. The tallest knew I had done this, and so they set about trying to kill me. They had to do it before I told the other Irkens, and there was a rebellion. But they failed. I had been trained well, and I escaped. I’ve been on the run for years. And I don’t want to run anymore. The only way to fix this whole thing was to kill the tallest. By any means neccisary.”
“I had no idea…”
I looked up at him, my face set.
“I’ll help. But you have to teach me how. I can’t do half the stuff you do.”
He grinned, a slightly frightening, feral sort of smile.
“I can teach you.”

It was dark, all the time. There was no sun to rise on our tiny ship, floating through space. The others were sleeping, the suspended animation engaged, but the computer and I had an arrangement. He had kept me awake for a bit longer than the others. I crept into the bridge, the view of the sky momentarily dazzling me. Quickly shaking it off, I moved to the main control panel. It had an uplink to the main Irken system, piggybacking it, but was not detectible. Quickly I signed into the main system, searching for the planet Irk. I had a feeling I wasn’t getting the whole truth from Zim.
Locating the small planet, I searched history and present, finally finding an article that looked useful.
Irken life, Irken ways.
The planet of Irk is perfect in all ways. Ask any Irken. The Tallest are perfect rulers, leading the planet in a peaceful and for the most part casualty-free revolution of the universe. The liberated planets then join under the Irken flag.
Irkens were once a simply mechanical race, somehow evolving using only metal, until a smaller, carbon-based, rather stupid life-form started to evolve on the planet. The Irkens attached themselves to these brain-dead creatures, forming a strong and intelligent breed of cyborgs.
Major days in the History of Irk include the Day of the Tallest, which is the anniversary of the crowning of the first Tallest, Tallest Daren. Then there was Horrible Painful Overload Day, a day on which a tiny smeet blocked the entire system, cutting off the power on Irk for five years. This also killed hundreds of smeets, lowering the Armada’s power by almost half. This was followed with years later by Horrible Painful Overload day part 2. This was when two Irken trainees escaped from the training facility, and provoked a Dermis Prowler security droid. It maimed one of them, the other escaped. The damage done by this put Irk in darkness for another four years.
Most recently was the horrible failure of Operation Impending Doom 1, when a deranged soldier hijacked a Frontline battle mech (#4) and went on a destructive rampage on planet Irk.
Then there was the tragic death of tallest Miyuki, who was killed on Vort when an infinite energy absorbing thing consumed an infinite energy producing thingie, and then killed the tallest before going on a horrible rampage across the universe.
Last but not last was the death of Tallest Spork, who was also brutally murdered when a soldier called the infinite energy thingie back, and it killed the Tallest.

Well this didn’t look good. I wondered if Irk had any happy holidays or just moments of horrible destruction. I ran another search for Zim. I wanted to see if he really was who he said he was. To my surprise, there was an entire file on Zim.

Defective Invader Zim
Zim, a name that will live on in infamy. Zim wreaks havoc and destroys all he comes into contact with. The horror started the day of his processing, when he blocked a tube of smeets, leading to Horrible Painful Overload Day. Later, when he tricked Invader Skoodge into accompanying him, the two of them caused Horrible Painful Overload Day part 2.
Later directly causing the deaths of Tallest Spork and Miyuki, the releasing of an infinitely growing creature of pure energy into the universe, Zim’s most horrible moment was single-handedly causing the total failure of Operation Impeding Doom 1. I think we all know that story. Zim was once given a trial and found Defective, but the sentance of death was revoked when the control brains in charge of the task went violently insane.
To keep Operation Impending Doom 2 safe, Zim was banished to a preciously unknown planet called Earth. He thought he was going to conquer it, but the Armada is restricted from that Galaxy to prevent destruction. Shortly after being sent there, he was given another trial, where he was agin labeled defective and sentenced to death.
He went berserk, killing fifteen of the Massive guards in a frenzied attempt to escape. It was a futile attempt, and the sentence was carried out later that day. Rumors have since circulated that he is on the run, but they are entirely fictional.

So there is some brainwashing involved. This can’t be true, if Zim’s dead, who am I flying with? I shook my head, trying to clear my thoughts. I couldn’t. There was something buzzing in the back of my head. I had to clear it. Something buzzing… Wait. If Zim had a chip in his PAK, wouldn’t I have one, too? He wouldn’t have taken the chip out of an empty PAK, would he?
Without any real thought, my PAK disconnected, clattering to the floor. A tiny green timer appeared in the upper left corner of my vision. It appeared to be ticking down form ten minutes. So I guess that means I have ten minutes to get my PAK back on.
Flipping it over, I opened up the main compartment, exposing a neat array of wires and chips. I saw my spider legs neatly folded in one corner. Ignoring them, I looked around for the mother board. I took a half a year of computer class in middle skool , so I knew the basics, maybe. I found something purple and flat that kinda looked like a motherboard. A ton of chips were attached. I was about to just give up when I heard a voice above me.
“Need some help?”
It was the computer. Of course, why didn’t I think if that?
“Do you know how this works?”
“Of course I have pretty much the same thing inside me.”
“Oh, good. I’m looking for an uplink, or anything that might be automatically downloading into my PAK.”
“Oh, the washer? That’s the purple one shaped like an arrow.”
I found it, and pulled it out, closing the PAK and putting it back on my back. I felt he cord automatically reattach. That’s a relief. I looked at the tiny chip in wonder, and wondered if this would fix anything. I hoped so.

The next morning, actually about six months later, with the suspended animation, I woke up and felt like I used to. There were only the regular two voices in my head. The Zim voice was gone and the All-powerful Irken voice was gone. This made me realize exactly how much trouble I was in.
I started my morning with a nice stretch followed by an intensive panic attack followed by the general feeling that the universe had gone to hell in a handbasket and I might as well go with it. I walked out into the main part of the ship. Dib, Mom and Zim were already out there.
“-invisible to X-rays and radio bouncers, so they can’t see us,” Zim was saying.
“Watcha lookin at?” I said, peering out the shield. And gasped. I saw what they were looking at. The massive. There is no other word for it. I may have wet myself at this point.
“We’re going to destroy THAT?” I squeaked.
“There on the side are the snax pods. Without them, the ship might as well give up, because it’ll implode without them being full. They feed the armada, so really, if they were taken out, the whole thing would fail.”
“So why hasn’t this thing been destroyed yet?” Dib asked.
“That armada’s too strong. They never let anything through. There’s a whole defense line set up, basically involving every ship in the armada. If some ship were to somehow breach their ranks, they would be surrounded by over two million ships all homing in on them. It’s enough of a deterrent even to set the mighty Grnagat warships running for their mommies.”
“So… how are we getting through?” I asked, leaning over to try to see more of the massive craft.
“We’re getting through on stealth mode. I know enough of the inner defenses to get at least to the main control room.”
“You’re speaking Latin again,” Dib said.
“Are you guys on to something we aren’t?” Mom asked. “Why are we even here? I thought these guys wanted to kill us.”
“Well, yeah, but if I can get inside I can remove all records of us from the Main Control Brain. They’ll forget all about Earth and humans and me.”
The lie came out so smooth it took even me a minute to figure out what was going on. I looked at Zim with a strange look. He glared back. GIR started screaming.
“I’ll take care of him,” Zim said. “Tiz, come help me tie this bugger up, will you?”
“Good. Come on.”
I followed Zim into the back of the ship, trying to figure out a way to talk to my Mom or Dib. I looked around the still-dark room for GIR, but I didn’t see anything. I didn’t see Zim for a minute, either. And then he was behind me. I tried to turn around, but I couldn’t move. I was frozen for some reason.
“Don’t fight this, it’ll just make it harder. There’s already half of it in here, so it’s too late to fight it now,” He said. I felt my PAK open, and something attach to it. The world turned red, a deep color like blood. I wasn’t afraid anymore. The color faded, and I found I knew what to do.
Spinning around to face Zim, I raised my arm into a salute.
“Very good, Tiz. The chips seem to be working, Yes?”
“Yes, SIR! Chips in place and fully functional, SIR!”
“Do you know what the plan for the Massive is?”
“Yes, Sir.”
“What, then?”
“Disable main Brain database, rewire. Destroy the Tallest, take over the Massive.Yay.”
“Good. And what of this ship?”
“It is not an asset to the Armada, and must be destroyed.”
“And the crew?”
“They are not an asset to the Armada.”
“Excellent. Now, come. We have to get aboard the massive before someone realizes this ship is here.”
Something flickered inside me, something strange.
“But, sir, didn’t you say this ship was invisible to the Armada?”
“Yes, I did say that, didn’t I? Ah, well. By the time anyone here figures it out the ship will have been destroyed.”
Zim marched to the front of the ship, I followed him. The two humans were there, looking at us strangely.
“I have to take Tiz. He’s the only one who can help me. You two wait here. If we’re not back in three hours, clear out and wait for a transmission, clear?”
“Um, okay,” the female said. “But are you sure you should take Tiz? He’s only thirteen, after all.”
I glared at her. How dare she think that I am not good enough? I am as good as any Irken Invader. She would see soon. I stifled a rather violent impulse, and listened to Zim speak.
“It’ll be okay. He can help me rewire the brain, I can’t do it without him. After this we’ll be home free.”
“All right. But look after him, all right?”
He stood, and approached me. I had to fight not to be ill when she wrapped her arms around me. I had a vague recollection of this happening before, but I pushed it down. I didn’t want to get sick in front of Zim.
“Yes, yes enough warmth. Come on, Tiz, let’s go.”
I gratefully slipped out of the female’s grasp, and followed Zim to the airlock. He activated the space armour in his PAK, a clear force field wrapping itself around his head, allowing him to breath. After a second, I followed suit, the field fading in color, eventually becoming clear. I ran a scan for leaks, came out clear, and followed Zim to the airlock. The doors slid shut behind us, cutting off the humans from out sight. I let out a breath. The doors behind us opened, and we were sucked out into the void of space. After a second I found the way to use my spider legs to propel myself toward the Massive. It looked huge in my view, but I was not afraid. I knew what to do.
The secondary loading bay on the third floor was only lightly guarded, that was where we would make our entrance. Approaching the airlock, it slid open to let us in. This was an automated response, but it would alert the guard inside that something was coming. He would have to be incapacitated.
When the door opened, the guard was there, waiting for us. But he wasn’t expecting two people, and he certainly wasn’t expecting trained invaders. Well, I thought of myself as an invader now, because I had the same training as Zim, he had uploaded it into my PAK. Before he could even think of radioing for help, I had taken him out with a straight kick to the chest. He spun around, landing on his stomach. Zim moved to his PAK, moving wires around. I didn’t know how he did it, but the guard’s conciousness failed.
“His Pak will continue to tell people everything is fine over the radio. It’ll continue to do so until someone rewires him or he dies.”
“Excellent cover. What’s the excuse?”
“A piece of someone’s laser fell off and triggered the door. Everyone will be so busy checking to make sure their lasers shoot straight they wouldn’t notice if the Massive flew up their ass.”
“Brilliant, Sir.”
“Yes I know.”
We moved down the passage, heading toward the main control Brain. We had to do a basic rewiring, which would make us all but invisible to anyone with a PAK. From there, we head to the Bridge, to take care of the Tallest. After that, we would take control of the Massive. And once we had control of the Massive, we had control of the Universe.
Well, Zim did anyway.

The Main control brain was a bit more guarded. It had two guards, which we took out quickly because they were not expecting this to happen. It never had before. I watched over Zim’s shoulder as he broke into the main system core for the brain. It fought very little. When he put our signatures into the brain it tried to give us viruses, but we pushed them back into the brain, making her spasm for a whole minute before she could find the antidote. When Zim was done with the circuits, we were essentially invisible to all Irkens. We walked past the dozen or so guards in the passage leading to the Bridge. When the doors hissed open to let us onto the bridge, we had actually stolen two short-range blasters from the guards. They hadn’t noticed at all.
But when we walked onto the bridge, looking for the Tallest, I saw them second. The first thing I saw was the huge view screen. On it were two terrified faces. The faces of the Humans from the ship. They were huge, staring at the Tallest.
“Identify yourself, Ship,” said Tallest Red, obviously for the second time.
“Yeah, where you from?” said Purple.
“We’re travelers,” said the male, “We’re drifting right now, but we’ll leave if we’re trespassing…”
They hadn’t let on about Zim and I, perfect. I couldn’t let them.
I raised my blaster, pointing it at the screen. I saw recognition flicker briefly in their eyes, but not for more than a second, because the screen went black. Sparks erupted from the hole my blaster had made.
“Stupid TV!” shouted Purple. I leveled my blaster at him, but Zim pushed it down, glaring at the rulers he had once worshipped.
“My Tallest!” He cried out, in a voice that sent shivers down my spine. “I’m back for you!”
The tallest spun around, trying to see where the voice had come from. Seeing no one, they crouched together, back to back.
“Who goes there?” Red shouted.
“You don’t remember me? I’m hurt, Tallest. I was your best invader.”
“Invader? What” Purple started, but Red interrupted him.
“No. I’d know that squeak of a voice anywhere. It’s Zim.”
“Yes, yes it is,” I said, not being able to help it. The power surging through this room was too much not to try to get a piece of.
“Show yourself, Zim, or we’ll blow up that junker of a ship you came in. The one with the aliens in it.”
“Go ahead, see if I care,” Zim said. A wonderful bluff, I thought. Until I looked back at him. He face was impassive, even though he was invisible. He really didn’t care.
I don’t either, so why do I care?
I do care!
I don’t shut up!
I do care. I care because the woman on that ship is my Mother.
I turned my blaster, not aiming for the Tallest, but instead for the Tech starting to initiate the laser to blow up the ship.
Our ship. The ship we all built together.
“Tiz! What are you doing?” Zim screamed at me. He kept his blaster trained on Red. The tallest were starting to get an idea of where we were by the sounds of our voices.
Two more Techs went down under my fire. I didn’t even know where or what I was shooting. A searing pain filled my head, I thought I had been shot, but it didn’t hurt anywhere but my head, and I hadn’t been shot there.
And then I knew. The chips, the ones Zim had put in me. They were failing, being overridden. Why? They should work, Zim’s a genious about these things. So why wouldn’t they be-
Oh. Of course! The washer! When I took it out, it took out the main hardware, so the chips don’t work. Oh, that makes sense, then.
I stopped firing, taking a quick count of the Techs I had hit. About four, slightly wounded. They’ll live, but they’re out for the count for a while.
I turned on Zim, tired of listening to him, and found I would have to listen for a while longer: His gun was pointed straight at me.
“Kill them. Now, Tiz.”
“What? Why me? They’re YOUR hated enemies!”
“Now, or I’ll kill you first. Then I’ll blow up that stupid ship myself.”
Grimacing, I turned my blaster to the Tallest. They were searching for me somewhere to my left. I clenched my teeth and squeezed off two shots. The Tallest slumped to the floor. Zim grinned at me, a sickening smile I hated.
“Very good. There’s hope for you yet.”
He lowered his blaster, he knew he still had an advantage over me: My mom.
Or so he thought. I wasn’t through yet. I turned to him, squeezing off a third, final shot, before dropping my blaster to clatter on the metal floor.
Zim looked at me, uncomprehending, even as the dark green blood spread like a diseased flower over the red of his Invader’s uniform. I turned away, and moved to one of the smaller tech’s workstations. I brought up a smaller view of the link between the Massive and our ship. Mom and Dib stared at me. Mom had tears in her eyes. I realized abruptly that when I had broken the screen, it didn’t stop them from seeing what was happening on the Bridge.
“Hold on, Mom,” I said. “I’ll have them bring the ship in.”
I yelled some stuff at the techs, who were huddled in a corner trying to avoid the blaster shots. They nodded furiously. I went back to the Brain room, and fixed a lot of the things Zim had done. I made a few minor adjustments, too, but they were barely anything worth noticing.
By the time I got back to the Bridge, Mom and Dib were already there. The Tallest were regaining consciousness. Most of the people within a mile’s radius had heard what was happening, and they gathered on the Bridge. Countless ships watched the pandemonium that followed. Anyone who wasn’t there in person watched the viewscreens, trying to figure out what was happening, and if they’d have to find a new Tallest.
As it were, the Tallest were fine. Between all the armor they wore and the fact that I aimed at the outsides of their shoulders, I had no doubt that they weren’t even knocked out, just stunned. But that didn’t stop them being pissed at me.
“You shot us!” Purple yelled at me as soon as I walked onto the Bridge.
“Hey… you did shoot us!” Red agreed after a second.
“Please, my Tallest. Allow me to explain.”
“And what are they doing here? Didn’t we order them blown up? TO THE DUNGEONS WITH THE LOT OF THEM!” Purple screamed.
“No,” Red said quietly, “Let’s hear this. It might be funny.”
“My name is Tiz,” I said. “This is Gaz and Dib. I think you may have heard of us from Zim. See, I’m his son.”
They looked at Zim as though seeing him there for the first time, which they probably were.
“Is he dead?” Red asked in a hushed tone.
“Yes, I’m afraid so,” I said. I tried not to betray any emotion, but I don’t think I pulled it off.
As I told the story as I knew it from beginning to end, the entirety of the Irken Armada watched, but I didn’t know it then. All I knew was that I wanted to get away from everybody as soon as possible. Not being executed would be good, too.
After the whole thing was over, the Tallest didn’t know what to do. After conferring quietly between themselves, they decided not to kill us, which was fine with me. I guess they figured that if I’d gotten rid of Zim for them I couldn’t be all bad.
I don’t know if they really realized that they’d obliterated our home planet with deathbeams, but since they didn’t want any kid of Zim’s around, they sent us off fast to Veya, a planet with over ten million moons. Apparently the moons were Villas, and people lived on them. They were very nice, I guess. Kinda like a private Hawaii.
I don’t think of Earth much anymore. Mostly I just think about Zim. I can’t help but think there must have been some other way to work things out, some way to make him less... I dunno, hateful. Mom says he wasn’t always quite like that, but I don’t know.
We had a funeral for him last week, I think he would have thought he deserved it. Since he was in the military, he got the Irken equivalent of a fifty-gun salute. Mom actually cried. I haven’t seen her do that in a long time.
In the end, they actually launched the coffin into space, like on Star Trek. It was really sad to seed the tiny brown dot get smaller and smaller until it just disappeared, and I know it’ll just go on forever like that.
I stayed in my room for about a week after that, just staring at my ceiling. No one really missed me, we were making the trip to Veya, and everyone was busy keeping GIR from going after his master. The stupid robot couldn’t quite figure out that his master was never coming back. Well, almost never.
See, when they sent the coffin into space, it was missing one thing. No, not the body, don’t be stupid.
Zim once said to me that an Irken’s mind was kept in their PAKs. He said they could be brought back, that’s why they lived in the PAKs. The computer said Zim’s PAK was defective, that’s why he was so crazy.
The coffin was missing the PAK.


When I was nineteen years old, I finished my life’s biggest work. It was something that had started when I was barely thirteen years old. When I was nineteen, I finished fixing the PAK.
It took me years to figure out how the PAK worked, I didn’t know it nearly as well as Zim did. I studied Irken culture, and in the end I bet I knew more about it than most Irkens. All that was left was to go to the birthing facility.

A bolt of electricity flashed through the lifeless smeet, bringing it to life. It looked around, red eyes not yet adjusted to the darkness of the room.
“Welcome to life, Irken Child,” I said, stepping out of the shadows. “Identify yourself.” The smeet’s eyes flashed, an old spark of insolence as old as time and as new as the day.


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