Cognitive Dissonance

Title: Cognitive Dissonance
Category: Cartoons » Invader Zim
Author: LejindaryBunny
Language: English, Rating: Rated: T
Genre: Adventure/Romance
Published: 12-16-02, Updated: 04-22-03
Chapters: 12, Words: 49,886


Chapter 1: Time After Time


Cognitive Dissonance
An action packed romantic Invader Zim epic
By LejindaryBunny

Author’s note: Hiya all you readerish beings, hello Invaders, Tallests,
humans and just plain creepy creatures. I am here with the express
purpose to introduce myself, the writer, and the fic which you are
probably about to read. If you want to, go ahead and skip to the story,
I don’t blame you. As for the rest of you, here goes.

About the title:
Cognitive Dissonance is the depression, confusion and anger that can
occur when a person attempts to hold two conflicting ideas or beliefs
at the same time. I’m sure you’ll see how it applies to the story.

About chapters:
It’s my first Invader Zim fanfic unless you count that poem I wrote
which I encourage you to read and review. It’s probably going to be
a very long fic. Like around thirty chapters or so. Maybe more.
Chapters are no definite length, being anywhere between two and a
squidillion pages. When I’m on an obsessive kick (like now)I tend to
post every one or two days but otherwise I’ll have at least one chapter
up every two weeks. Unfortunately I am completely unable to update on
weekends. The reason for this is my father, who you’ll hear me rant
about. He used to be a communist, then an anarchist, then a socialist.
He is deathly paranoid of the FBI, CIA, and Hackers. So I don’t get
to use the net at home. Sadly, he does not believe in aliens nor does
he wear a tin foil hat, but I digress.

About the story:
It focuses on Zim and Dib, obviously, as you read in the summery. It
also contains an outlaw Irken babe. Said babe is indeed a character
integral to the plot, but be not disheartened because I am a seasoned
writer and know how to make an original female character with out her
being a Mary-Sue. Neither of my two favorite boys will be getting
together with her because this is a nice cute/angsty slash fic. BUT
that romance is accompanied by another plot, a sinister, terrible
world threatening plot. Aliens the like of which not even Zim has ever
seen have come to Earth with the intention not to conquer but to
destroy it. All will have to put aside their differences and band
together in order to defeat this really scary menace.

About me:
My name is LejindaryBunny, shortened to LejBun, or just Bun. Whateva.
It’s not my real name, my real name is Greer. Rhymes with Fear. I will
be your writer so please leave your seat belts unbuckled, do NOT fasten
your tray in the upright position and hold on to your squeedly-spooch
because I am CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZY. I only am able to check my e-mail
once a week but I do reply to all, and I mean ALL letters sent to me.
I love talking to people so write to me if you feel so inclined.

About Other Stuff:
Three stars *** denotes change in scene or in point of view. Any words
that are blatantly not English are Irken and most like swear words.
Lastly I urge you to picture all this in anime stytle, becuase
otherwise it’s just a little odd. Now the story.

Disclaimer: I don’t any of Jhonen Vasquez’s characters. I do own Kiir
however, and, and not even the Almighty Tallest will be able to save
you should you in your infinite human patheticness attempt to steal her!

Chapter I… In which Dib is depressed, Zim watches TV and several
unexpected things occur.

Dib lay on his bed, looking up at the ceiling in the dim but somehow
violent light which buzzed unpleasantly from his idle computer monitor,
the only source of illumination in the room. Yesterday he’d been in a
whirl of Zim-related frenzy, saving the world from genetically altered
spiders that sucked people’s brains and left them mindless zombies.
He’d only been able to save about half of his class from them, but
there really wasn’t much of a difference. Dib shuddered. He hated
spiders, though that hadn’t seemed to matter yesterday when he’d done
battle with them. Dib was depressed. He was always depressed the day
after fighting with Zim, when the world returned to being perfectly
safe and normal all because of him. One-hundred-fifty-six times to
date he had rescued them all and not once was uttered one word of
thanks or congratulation. They were only free to bully him and mock him
because he said so. The day he lost to Zim was the day that they would
all realize how right Dib had been, that he wasn’t crazy and had saved
their miserable lives one stinking time after another. Maybe one day he
just wouldn’t bother. He’d just watch the alien’s plan unfold, dooming
the human race to extra-terrestrial subjugation.

But in his heart Dib realized that he would never do this, he’s
always climb out of the pit of despair just in time to save the world
again and be cast back down into darkness. It was what always happened,
year after year, since he was thirteen, and now he was sixteen. He even
had a name for it, ‘post-near-apocalyptic-letdown’. In layman’s terms
it simply meant that he felt depressed because everyone on earth owned
Dib his or her life and they were shoving dirt up his nose and his head
down the toilet instead of worshiping at his feet and basking in his
glory and greatness.

Glory and greatness? Dib chuckled morbidly to himself. What glory and
greatness? He was the skinny, too-smart, gothy nerd kid that nobody
even noticed existed. He shook his head, snorted.

“Glory and greatness,” he muttered. “I sound like Zim, arrogant.”
Maybe he’d been spending a little too much time near the alien, maybe
his personality dysfunctions were contagious.

But in the end were he and Zim really that different? Ah, now there
was a questioned he’d been pondering to death recently. Maybe the only
discrepancy was that Zim was trying to conquer the human race and Dib,
out of some bizarre and more than likely misplaced sense of racial
loyalty was saving it. A thousand stupid, clichéd sayings flashed
through Dib’s mind. ‘Know thy enemy’, ‘keep your enemies closer’.

Closer than what? He had no friends. No one outside his family ever
spoke to him, and even his father and sister seemed to avoid him. The
one being that cared whether he lived or died was Zim, and Zim wanted
him dead.

Under other circumstances he and Zim might have been good friends. It
seem they shared a lot of the same general views of humanity, that it
basically completely sucked. Maybe he should just let the Irken have
what he wanted. Earth was such a stupid planet anyway, what had the
world ever done for Dib? Maybe, he thought darkly, he should even join
Zim, it would, after all be no problem to conquer the world with the
both of them working together. It wasn’t even that the thought of
untold teeming masses shouting ‘Hail Lord Dib’ was particularly
alluring. But maybe after the conquering was all over and done with he
could convince Zim to take him off the planet, because really, he was
very, very tired of the Earth.

Dib’s train of thought always seemed to wander onto this general
track whenever he was in one of his sullen moods, but then it would be
swiftly and humiliatingly derailed as he remembered that were he to
knock on Zim’s door and suggest such a course of action the alien would
most likely just shoot him out of spite. And then laugh.

‘Pathetic human worm-baby’. Those were the words that Zim most often
said to him, and everything else had the same demeaning gist. ‘You are
scum, you are inferior, I hate you, go die in a hole’. That was how the
only person who responded to him at all felt.

Wasn’t it just so great to be alive and Dib. Maybe he should just
march up to Zim and ask to be shot. He was sure to be happily obliged.
Life was like a black hole. It sucked. He ran a hand angrily through
his untidy black hair. It seemed that no matter what he did he would
always be unhappy, as though it were simply the natural order of things.
Like he was the punch line of the universal joke.

He couldn’t stand being in his room any longer, it made him feel like
a caged animal. He stood up suddenly and violently, nearly tripping
over his own feet. He shook himself, yanked on his boots and jacket
and threw open the door. He skulked downstairs, through the living room
past Gaz who was oblivious to all but her Game Slave, and out the door.
He didn’t bother telling anyone where he was going, no one cared and he
didn’t even know anyway.

Outside it was just past sunset, when the world was cast in purple
blue shadows and you’d only be able to see alright for the next few
minutes. It was windy and late autumn, the air teased at hints of snow.
Dib sighed and trudged down the sidewalk.

He was walking in a vaguely northward direction, toward the skool. He
supposed he might sit in the park for a while if he didn’t decide to
change directions before he got there. He felt so strange. It was like
right before lightening struck, as though there were needles inside him
just below his skin, and they were trying to escape. It was a feeling
like something was coming, just waiting for the right moment to spring.

***

Zim was not quite so depressed as his rival. He had thrown his
traditional post-defeat tantrum yesterday upon returning to his base.
He had thrown things, kicked them, berated Gir, screamed Irken
obscenities at the top of his voice, as well as a few Earth curses he
had inadvertently picked up. He had stormed to his lab where he hit and
kicked equipment and generally made a complete mess of the place until
he had passed out from exhaustion. He felt much better upon waking up
that morning. His violent outbursts always gave him an outlet for his
anger and tension, and tended to help put things into better
perspective.

So today he had skipped skool and just relaxed on the couch watching
television while his computer and repair bots patched up the lab. He
was watching the Sci-fi channel, partly hoping for some world conquering
inspiration, but mainly because he liked to mock the pitiful human
suppositions about space, and aliens and advanced technology. He rarely
even bothered to mock Star Trek however. That show was just to boring,
lame, a yawn, so peace loving and optimistic and all that quazdoodle.
Not even the Klingons or the Romulans were really that interesting. But
Zim had been in luck; today they weren’t showing any of the squidillion
iterations of Star Trek, or Quantum Leap, or Mysterious Mysteries, or
Crossing Over with John Edwards, or even X-Files. No today they had been
showing a six hour marathon of the Twilight Zone, which was Zim’s
favorite of all the pitiful earth shows. It was dark and twisted and
messed with one’s head.

The Irken Invader chuckled to himself. “To Serve Man, a cookbook.” The
episode that was ending had been about aliens who came to Earth and
convinced the humans that they were friendly. Then they shipped them
back to their home planet to eat them. Zim snorted. Funny, but definitely
disgusting. Who would even want to eat nasty worm-baby flesh?

He lifted the remote and muted the commercials. Unlike Gir he didn’t
want the pathetic humans’ pitiful attempts at brainwashing passing
through his antennae. His mind wandered as sprawled on the couch his
ruby eyes ignored the irritating light flashes of stupid ads.
Unsurprisingly his thoughts fell on the previous day’s defeat, and
more specifically it’s orchestrator.

The human called ‘Dib’ had been a constant thorn in his side since
the beginning. If it weren’t for that one single boy he’d have
conquered this miserable planet at least a hundred times over. Granted,
one or two of his insidious plots had fallen apart due to Zim’s own
miscalculation or oversight, but more often then not it was Dib. It
should have been horribly humiliating to continually lose to one of the
filthy inhabitants of this planet, but then, Dib never seemed to quite
be the average human stink-bag. He was almost, a worthy opponent.

Zim’s show came back on, ending his errant train of thought before it
had gotten a chance to run over any maidens in distress tied to the
tracks. He turned the volume back up a moment late, missing most of the
introduction.

“…but things are rarely what they seem in, The Twilight Zone,” said
the black and white figure on the screen, the human thing they called
Rod Serling.

Doo dee doo doo, doo dee doo doo.

His view of the television was suddenly and violently blocked by Gir,
flying into the room at a million miles per hour and landing on Zim’s
face.

“Maaaaaaaaaaaster!” the robot chirruped, “the computer wants to taaalk
to yoooooooooooou.”

Zim pushed him away. “Get off me Gir!” he snapped, sitting up. “What
does the computer want?”

“Ummmmmmm…” he thought seriously about it for a moment, trying to
recall what had been so urgent. Then he got distracted. “OOO! The Scary
Monkey Show is on!” He grabbed the remote from his master, switched the
channel and collapsed on the floor, his attention irreclaimable.

Zim grumbled, getting up and walking through the kitchen to his lab
to see for himself what was going on. Probably nothing. Probably a
stupid skragging false alarm.

His lab was nearly rebuilt, which made him happy. The lab was a bit
of familiarity so far away from anything resembling normal.

“What is it computer?” he demanded, fully expecting nothing important.

“The scanners have detected a spacecraft,” the droning voice said.

He grinned. Perhaps the Tallest were sending him some new equipment.
“Is it Irken?” he asked excitedly.

“Negative.”

he frowned. “Well then what is it?” he asked impatiently.

“Origin unknown, craft is not in database.”

Zim sat heavily down in his command chair. Not in the database. How
could it not be in the database? The system had catalogued the entirety of
all know craft types, in and outside of the Empire as well as
prototypes and theoretical craft. Zim immediately dismissed the theory
that humans had suddenly discovered how to build interstellar craft, the
monkey men were just too stupid. That would mean that this was
something so far outside the empire that no one had even heard of it
before, probably from the other end of the quadrant. Oh how the Tallest
would exalt him if he discovered and conquered an entirely new race.

He was grinning again, manically. “Can you get the thing on screen
computer?”

“Confirmed.”

The large monitor in front of him switched on, displaying a picture
of Earth’s orbit, wherein a strange ship was approaching. It was the
weirdest thing Zim had ever seen. It was white and shiny and disk
shaped, with small, multicolored lights around the circumference.

“ITS A PAPER PLATE AT CHRISTMAS!” Gir shrieked at his elbow.

Zim shot out of his chair with a yelp, landing back in it with a thud,
his lithe body tensed, panting. He glared furiously down at Gir who
he hadn’t known was in the room. “Never… do… that…AGAIN!”

The SIR unit blinked, then wrapped its arms around his neck. “Eye
loave yew!” he squeaked and then ran around the room singing the word
‘cheese’ repeatedly at the top of his voice.

Zim gritted his teeth. Sometimes he suspected that the Tallest had
given him a defective unit, before realizing that it was blaspheme and
that they wouldn’t do it anyway. He turned his scowl back at the
monitor. Sadly, Gir was right, it did look astoundingly like the
resource wasting things humans called ‘paper plates’. The thing it
looked most like however was a human science fiction stereotype of a
UFO. He watched it for a moment. It seemed to be coming out of orbit
to land on the planet.

“Computer, can you determine the craft’s course?”

“Analyzing… course determined. Heading for city park. Touchdown,
ten minutes.”

“The city park? By skool?”

“Affirmative.”

Zim smirked. “Computer, prepare to secure perimeter, I’m going out.”

***

Dib was sitting on the bench in the dark. It was a perfectly clear
night and all the stars were out, little points of light where, far
away billions upon billions of other creatures were living. He sighed
and panned his gaze across the sky. It occurred to him as he looked,
that Zim’s star was not visible to the naked eye. Something about that
struck Dib as rather sad, that the Zim was so far away from his home
he couldn’t even see where it was. Dib wondered if Zim was so busy
trying to conquer this planet that he didn’t get homesick or lonely.
Then he wondered why he was feeling sorry for the Invader.

Dib noticed something bright streaking across the sky, a comet. Make
a wish, he thought to himself sarcastically. Yeah, I wish my life didn’t
suck quite so badly. He watched it fall, getting larger and larger,
which was strange as it should be burning up entering Earth’s
atmosphere. Was it going to fall near where he was? Should he be
afraid of getting squished.

And then he saw it was slowing down.

His eyes grew wide at this impossibility, and wider still as he began
to be able to discern the shape. It was no comet. It was a flying
saucer.

His first thought was that it was really odd for Zim to be doing
anything the day after one of his plans failed. But the closer it came
the more he was able to discern that it looked absolutely nothing like
the Irken technology he’d seen Zim use. If anything it looked like a
cheap prop out of a cheesy fifties B-movie.

Craning his neck up like a the gawking teenage UFO enthusiast he was
Dib realized one more thing. It really WAS going to land on him.

He scampered back nearly tripping over himself and dove into the
bushes.

The saucer landed slowly and gently, with a humming, whooshing sound,
coming to rest seemingly on a cushion of about six feet of open air.
It was about a hundred and fifty feet in circumference and twenty feet
tall.

Dib watch through the shrub branches a hatch opened in the craft.
He was about to run over, to greet or denounce the occupants, but
something stopped him. Maybe it was the little common sense he possessed
bringing itself to bear as it so frequently did on any situation, maybe
it was his current cynicism, or maybe it was what he saw step out of
the ship.

The creature was over eight feet tall and sort of barely humanoid. It
was featureless and seemed to be made of thick, glowing orange ropes or
cables, intertwining to form mockeries of human limbs. It had two long
legs, and swinging whip like arms attached to a central stalk or trunk,
and a heard, inset with eerie, perfectly round, perfectly white,
glowing eyes.

It walked smoothly, almost languidly down from the craft and a few
paces across the grass. It seemed to have a strange, light absorbing
halo of darkness around its form. Something about it scarred Dib deeply,
and he wished he’d brought his camera.

The thing made an odd sort of trilling noise, sharp and uncomforting,
and a second alien creature stepped down from the saucer. This one was
smaller only slightly, and its eyes were a creepy electric blue. They
made a few incomprehensible noises to one another and the first one
made a small, slight gesture in Dib’s direction. He froze as both
creatures slowly turned, moving nothing but their heads, to look
straight at where he was hidden with their terrible, luminous eyes.

Nothing moved, no sound was made. Bead of fear sweat ran down Dib’s
face. And suddenly they winked out of existence, gone like they had
never been there. No ship, no aliens, no smoke or transporter beam.
Dib sat, speechless.

***

As the area around the park, though not the park itself was rather
heavily populated even at night Zim had to walk there to avoid
attention, or rather, to rum there as fast as his short legs could
carry him. But he was too late. He saw the craft descending while he
was still a good distance from the park. He cursed, and picked up the
pace. he reached the edge of the human tree exhibit and ran on, coming
to the clearing where he’d seen the craft come down.

But he skidded to a halt, and found that there was nothing there. No,
not quite nothing. He heard a rustling in the brush behind him and
turned to find a skinny, pale boy with dark hair and glasses peering at
him through the darkness. Dib; somehow Zim wasn’t surprised by his
presence.

“Come to meet some friends Zim?” the human asked with a sharp,
cynical edge in his voice. “You just missed them.”

Zim blinked. Just missed them? How could they have taken off without
him noticing? Then he smirked. So Dib thought the aliens were allies
of his, or something. “Ah, so where’d they go?” he asked casually.

Dib gave a sneer and a shrug, as though he didn’t believe that Zim
didn’t already know. “They just disappeared,” he said, eyebrows slightly
arched, a human gesture Zim interpreted to denote mild confusion.

The Irken frowned. “It just vanished? The whole ship?” he asked,
slightly puzzled himself.

“The ship and the aliens,” Dib nodded. “So tell me Zim, what race
were they?”

“Well what did they look like?” he asked with a confident smirk, and
hoped that Dib thought he was taunting him, rather than actually
trying to get the information.

“oh, about eight feet tall, looked like they were made out of spongy
orange tentacles, big glowing eyes.” He crossed his arms, and muttered,
“Really frigging creepy.”

Zim had never heard of any race that looked remotely like that. He
leaned against a tree. “So they just disappeared did they?”

The boy nodded again and rolled his eyes. “So you finally decided you
couldn’t conquer earth all by yourself did you?” He chuckled.

Zim scowled. “I did no such thing, Dib-human, I am more than capable
of subjugating you pathetic worm babies myself.”

“Oh yeah?” Dib snorted, “Then what are they doing here, hmmm?”

Zim favored him with the truth, just to see his reaction. He shrugged
imitating the human’s own apathetic gesture. “I don’t know, I have
never encountered such a race.”

***

Dib blinked. Not only were the aliens NOT Zim’s friends, he didn’t
even know what they were? Somehow that didn’t do anything to reassure
the human, true, they COULD be friendly, but they sure didn’t look it.
They looked anything but harmless. Of course, there was also the
possibility that Zim was lying, anyway.

“Is that so?” Dib asked, incredulous. “I thought your almighty Irken
empire knew everything.”

The alien grimaced. “This race will be subjugated as easily as your
own puny earth creatures.”

Dib snorted. “Guess it’ll be a while then.”

Zim glared at him. “You know nothing, worm-baby.”

“Oh yeah, then how come I beat your spiders single-handedly yesterday?”

“It was luck that your filthy human air fresheners destabilized
their genetic structure,” he pointed out wrathfully.

Dib dropped the subject. After all, it had been blind luck that had
helped him discover that. “Yeah, well it looks like you might have a
little competition for Earth now, if that’s why these aliens are here.”
It was meant to simply be a glib remark, but as soon as it was out of
his mouth Dib realized what a grave and true concern that it was.

“No one will conquer the earth but I, Invader Zim,” he stated
arrogantly, “For the glory of the empire I-” He was cut off suddenly
by a shrill bleeping coming from a device on his belt. He looked at it,
and then back up at Dib. “I will deal with you later.”

Zim turned around and swaggered hurriedly away. Dib considered
following him, but he was simply too drained. He turned around and
headed home. He’d come back tomorrow with his equipment and examine the
landing site.

***

As soon as Zim was out of the human’s sight he took off running at
full speed. His computer linkup had notified him, there had been a
perimeter breach at his headquarters. He needed to get there as soon
as possible to deal with the problem. It could be anything from a stray
cat to human investigators to the creatures Dib described.

The last thing Zim expected to find when he got to his base was the
thing that he found there.

There was an Irken Voot Cruiser crashed on his front lawn.

To be continued…

Well, there you have it, chapter one. Who are these strange aliens and
what is their plan? Has Gir been flying Zim’s ship or has someone from
the Empire come to visit? Will Dib find anything at that landing site?
Just how many more hypothetical questions am I going to ask? The
answers to some of those questions in the next exciting installment of
Cognitive Dissonance!

Read it? Review it!


Chapter 2: Intruder Alert


Cognitive Dissonance
An action packed romantic Invader Zim epic
By LejindaryBunny

A/N: Meet an Irken rebel! More angst, this time from Zim’s end.

Disclaimer: I own Kiir and the IU. Everything else belongs to
Jhonen Vasquez, including all of our immortal souls.

Chapter II… In which there is a flashback, we meet an Irken rebel,
good things happen to bad people, and Zim learns some really awful news.

Planet Militia, Six months ago…

“High Commander,” a nervous and hesitant underling spoke, “the scanners
are picking up something… odd.”

The rebel leader looked up sharply, her antennae bobbing, and glared
at him. “What do you mean, odd?” she snapped.

“Er, well, you see, there are these…funny…wavy, things,” he
attempted to explain.

The half Irken rose irritated from her command chair and stalked
over to the guard’s post, a little irritated by his incompetence. She
stared over his shoulder at the small scan screen.

It showed small vibrationy things around one edge of the planet’s
orbit.

“What the skragg?” she muttered. “Put it on the main display,” she
charged.

“Yes Commander,” he pushed the button.

A large, full color image of the blackness of space filled the front
wall of the command base, the very edge of the puce planet Militia
visible in one corner.

“Orbital view established,” the monitor guard told her, out of some
deep primal urge to state the obvious.

High Commander Kiir watched the screen, non-plused. There was
absolutely nothing there.

Until an entire armada of Irken warships decloaked.

The whole of the command center stood still, staring at the
spectacle. One timid Irken fainted.

Kiir, amethyst eyes several sizes larger than even they usually were,
turned to her inferiors and shouted, “Well, don’t just stand there! Go
to red alert! Prepare the defenses!”

Someone pressed a button. An alarm began to scream, and red lights
flashed on and off. Beings scrambled around, giving and carrying out
hurried orders. The Irken Underground was under attack.

Perhaps a little explanation is necessary at this point. The Irken
Underground, or IU, was a radical political movement, or rather a
subversive revolt against the Empire, started around thirty years
before. Its long term mission was the deposition of the Tallests and
usurpment of power for itself, for the good of the people, of course.
Its short term goals however were more modest, subvert the disaffected
youth, break stuff, blow up buildings and generally cause the Empire
a big headache. They were actually very successful at this. The
organization was headed by its founder, High Commander Kiir, a job that
mostly entailed eating large meals, shouting at people she disliked,
and picking which major cities to blow up. But it wasn’t all fun and
games, bombs and alcohol, oh no. There was a serious side to her
revolution, a reason behind her loathing for the empire.

Kiir was a half-breed in an Empire that ‘encouraged’ racial purity.
Her father was an esteemed Irken Invader, but her mother had been a
Horling, one of the short lived, not quite bright, but highly
attractive races in the galaxy. Their daughter Kiir, was thus a mixture
of traits, looking mostly Irken with her green skin, large eyes and
black antennae. She however did not have an ID pak and did have wiry
violet hair on her head. So she was at a disadvantage her entire life.
Sneered at, looked down upon, not eligible to become Tallest despite
her greater than average height. She’d been intentionally flunked out
of Invader academy. So she was a little bitter. Now disgusted with the
established authority she turned her ambition in a new direction. She
vowed to overthrow the Empire’s tyrannical dictatorship and install her
own, more pleasant and appealing one. She’d then proceeded to quickly
and effectively weed out the other troubled members of society and
turned them to her cause with promises of justice for the downtrodden
and high governmental positions.

And it had all been going so well for a while. They had their secret
base on Militia, they were a pain in the Tallests asses, they had a
decent amount of subtle public sympathy and support. But now it was all
over. Commander Kiir was intelligent enough to know that they were so
severely out-numbered and out-teched that anybody who stuck around to
defend the place was going to get either captured or more likely,
frakked outright. She knew even if she was to be taken alive the trial
would be a scam, she’d be publicly denounced and executed.

She wasn’t going to wait around for that to happen. Let her
underlings fight and die for The Cause, minions were replaceable, she
was not. And so while everyone was busy she slipped out and down to the
docking bay. If the entire Imperial police was going to be out for her
blood, which they were, she wanted a head start, the bigger the better.

She came to the nearly empty bay and stopped, there was exactly one
ship left, as the rest were being flown in what was sure to be the IU’s
last stand. She briefly wondered how the Empire had found the base, but
pushed it out of her mind as momentarily irrelevant. The ship was a
modified Voot Cruiser that looked like it had recently undergone major
repairs. Well, she hoped they were done because she did not have time
to skragg around.

Planet Earth, Now…

For a moment Zim could just stare at the crashed vehicle in his yard.
Then he quickly ran over to see if there were any survivors and what
someone from home was doing all the way out here. He forced the door
panel open, it had come loose on impact and stepped in cautiously. He
looked around the cockpit, there was one occupant, slumped over the
control panel.

“KIIR?” Zim demanded incredulously.

The violet haired Irken looked up with a pained grin across her
bloodied face. “Hey Zim, would you like to get this crossbeam off of
me?” She passed out.

Zim, still not sure if this was really happening rushed over to her
side, heaved the girder off of her and picking up the limp body carried
her out of the wreck. He hurried across the yard and to the door,
greeted by the parent bots which he hastily shoved away.

“Master!” Gir shouted as Zim headed towards the lab, “whatcha got
theeeeeeeeeeeere?”

“Didn’t you see that ship crash outside?” he growled tensely.

He blinked. “No.”

Zim sighed and shook his head. In the medi-bay he set Kiir down.

“Computer, run diagnostic for serious injuries.”

“Analyzing…no serious injuries detected. “

“Can you wake her up?”

“Affirmative.” The machine administered a rather larger than
strictly necessary shock to her body.

She flew up into a sitting position, eyes wide. “Holy foon!”

Zim took a step back. After her initial shock she seemed to deflate a
little, her eyes grew tired and she put a hand to her forehead. “OOoh
skragg that hurts,” she laid back down uneasily.

Zim looked down at her. He hadn’t seen another Irken in almost four
years and he hadn’t seen this particular half-breed in a lot longer than
that; not since their mutual days in the Academy. He hadn’t expected to
ever see her again at all in fact, not in person anyway, though she and
her organization had been big on the news before he left. She and Zim
hadn’t parted on particularly good terms.

“What on Irk are you doing here?” he demanded.

“Zim? S’at really you? Hn, so I ended up on Earth have I?” She
chuckled blearily. “Kind of ironic, that.”

He rolled his eyes. The Tallest damned space pirate was being her
typical cryptic self. He tapped his foot, crossing his spindly arms.
“So what, did they finally catch you? Are you running?”

She struggled to sit up, propping herself against the wall. “No!…
yes,” she admitted grudgingly. “Nn, they found my base, somehow, sent
an armada to deal with my bad self.” She grinned, and shrugged. “So I
got the frakk outta there.”

Zim snorted. That was just like her, she hadn’t changed at all. Still
no responsibility, not to the Empire, not to any one but herself.

Kiir smirked. “So. It’s been years, what have you been doing out on
this forsaken little rock?”

Zim grinned. He just knew his special mission would make the Invader
reject insanely jealous. “”Conquering.”

She burst out in gales of laughter.

Of all the reactions he had been expecting, that was not one of them.
“I’ll have you know I have this planet right where I want it,” he said
huffily.

She was still laughing, struggling to speak. “No, ha-ha, it’s not, heh,
not that!” she was giggling so hard there were tears in her purple eyes.
“You actually! You don’t mean?”

The Invader stood there, an expression of deep irritation ingrained
on his features. “You dare laugh at Zim?”

She took a few deep breaths. “Eeee, whooo. It’s just…you actually
took…them seriously?”

He had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. “Explain
yourself, outlaw!” he commanded.

She snickered again, then looked almost…concerned? “Do you really
think this is a mission Zim? The Tallest lied to you, you’re in exile,
considered as much of a public enemy as I am.”

For a second Zim just stood there, dumbfounded. Then he realized how
impossible that was. The Tallest, lie? Never. “You lie, rebel scum! You
seek to trick me and turn me against my leaders!”

Kiir shook her head. “Poor Zim, always the adamant loyalist. It was
all over the news when they finally got rid of you.”

If possible, his gaze darkened even further. “I will listen to no
more of your deceptions! I will contact my Tallest and they will send
troops to arrest you.”

She leapt up, and then winced in obvious pain, her antennae hanging
low over her face like her hair. “No! Don’t do that! They’ll have me
executed, Zim. I know we didn’t part on very good terms but you
wouldn’t really want me DEAD would you?”

He pondered this. She was an outlaw, a traitor, and she was lying to
him. True, they’d been friends in the academy, until Kiir had gone all
anti-establishment, but wasn’t it his duty to turn her over to the
Tallest?

Ah, said a small voice in the back of his mind. But what if she’s
telling you the truth?

Seemingly sensing his confusion she spoke before he could give an
answer. “Look, Zim, old friend,” she said, obviously trying calm,
rational and caring, “why don’t you go ahead and contact the Tallest.
Ask them about your mission. If I’m lying to you then you can go ahead
and turn me in. But if I’m not, well, I don’t think you’ll want to
anyway.”

He thought about it. It seemed the perfect solution. He could turn her
in without feeling terrible about it. But would the Tallest be angry at
him for doubting their sincerity. And Kiir sounded so, sure of herself.
What if what she said was true?

“Done,” he said sharply, eyes narrowed. He turned to the screen and
tapped a few buttons, opening a transmission to the Massive. He drummed
his three gloved fingers on the control panel, waiting. What would he
say?

After a moment the Irken Insignia was replaced by Tallests Red and
Purple.

“What is it Zim?” Red sounded vaguely exasperated.

“Err…” he began uncertainly.

“This had better be important,” Purple told him.

“My Tallests, I uh, heard a rumor. I mean no offense,” he said feebly,
not at all his usual self. “My mission, is it…was it just to get me
out of the Empire?”

The two Irken leaders gave twin glances of astonishment.

“Huh,” said Red, “And I thought he’d never figure it out. Guess I owe
you that… thing.”

Purple smirked at him and then turned back Zim. “Yes, yes it is. So
don’t contact us again and don’t come back to the Empire, or we’ll
shoot you.”

“With lasers,” Red added, just before the transmission screen went
dark.

Again , he stood there, stunned and blissfully unable to form a
coherent thought. Ruby eyes wide, mouth hanging open, he collapsed into
his chair. His mission, his entire life had been nothing but a lie. He
wasn’t on a glorious secret mission, he was in exile. How could they do
that to him? He wasn’t some criminal, he was an Invader! He lived his
life for the Tallest, every moment waking or sleeping spent for the
Empire, which had now rejected him.

Zim doubled over, slumped with his chin on his arms on his knees. He
would not cry, he would not show weakness. His mind futily made a last
ditch attempt or two to rationalize what he’d just heard. His leaders
must be testing him, testing his loyalty. That had to be it. Yet now
that the words had been spoken, the doubt that for years he’d refused
to realize lurked in the corners of his mind had been freed. It
explained a lot. It explained everything, in fact. The remoteness of
the planet, Gir, his lack of new equipment, the planet jackers, the
Tallests’ reluctance to hear his reports, the reason the Armada never
came. They hadn’t wanted the Earth, they had wanted him out of their
antennae. And for years he had been duped, blinded by his own arrogance
and fanatism.

He felt a hand on his shoulder. “I’m sorry.”

The simple, comfort-meaning gesture made him insanely, irrationally
angry. It made him want to scream. How could she be sorry?! How could
she even begin to imagine what he was feeling?! He stood up, suddenly
and sharply. “Get out,” he hissed. “Get OUT!”

She took a step back. “But-“

“I said leave!” he took his laser pistol from his side and pointed it
at her, finger on the trigger. He didn’t care that he was turning her
out on to the strange, isolated planet with no help and no supplies.
She would just have to deal, because somehow this was all her fault.

“But, I don’t… have any place to go…”

He scowled, then sneered struck but a nasty, terrible vindictive
thought. A thought that could be cruel or merciful depending on how she
played the card he would deal her. He punched up a map and address on
the view screen, and printed it out. He handed her the paper. “Go here.
Tell him Zim sent you.”

***

Dib sat at his computer, typing away at a description of the strange
new aliens and their craft. The encounter had washed away all but the
dregs of his depression. True, they were some really scary things, and
true as well that he had no idea who they were, what they wanted or how
they’d managed to simply disappeared like that. However it was the fact
that he didn’t know these answers that buoyed his spirits, that and
the verbal sparring with Zim. It all gave him a goal, and left him with
no time or extra energy for angst. It could probably be truthfully told
that when he wasn’t obsessing over something he was depressed. A
psychologist probably wouldn’t be far off the mark labeling him manic-
depressive and obsessive compulsive. But that wasn’t the point. The
point was there was paranormal activity afoot, and that was what Dib
was equipped to deal with.

One of those people who can concentrate on more that one thing at
once, he, while typing his report, sat wondering what the beeping thing
Zim had was. Why had it made him run off in such a hurry? Under normal
circumstances the taunts, threats and insults should have gone on for
almost another half hour. Could it be that Zim was lying and he had
gone to meet the orange things? But the little green alien had seemed
pretty surprised and worried when the thing had gone off.

Which brought Dib to another, random, point. Was it just him or had
Zim gotten, well, taller? Not over night, but gradually. He realized it
must have been going on since the alien had reached Earth, but it had
been so slow he never really noticed before. That was odd since he had
been under the impression that Zim was fully grown, and yet, now when
he thought about it, Zim was nearly his height, not a great
accomplishment of course, since a lot of people wee taller than Dib, but
still… Maybe it had something to do with Earth air, or sunlight.

He finished putting in the details about the oranges’ ship and called
up a different file. This one was Zim’s, his longest one, to which he
added his new observation.

He heard somebody knock on the door. Was he in a sufficiently good
enough mood to answer it yet? Hmmmmm, no. Who’d be coming over so
late at night anyway? They pounded on the door a few more times, but
after a moment it stopped. he supposed they must have given up and left.

Then he heard Gaz call up the stairs, irritated.

“DIB! One of you freak friends is here to see you!”

Dib blinked. he could think of only one person who it could be, but
why on Earth would Zim be at his house?

To be continued…

Well, whadaya think, hmm? Is it okay? Poor Zim, what’s he going to do
now? They crushed his little squeedly-spooch, nasty mean Tallests.
Just kidding, I love Red and Purple. But what’s Dib going to do when
he finds yet ANOTHER alien, this one at his door step, asking to spend
the night? What’s up with Kiir, anyway? And what do you think of her
by the way? I’d love to know!

Read it? Review it!


Chapter 3: Revelation to Dib


Cognitive Dissonance
An action packed romantic Invader Zim epic
By LejindaryBunny

A/N: Woo, hello. I’m afraid this is the last chapter you’re likely to
get until after x-mas break because I can’t use my FF net account at
home. BUT I’ll have all that time to work on it so expect a really
long post at 11:45 am sharp on Jan 2nd. Until then, Go read Invader
Ari’s work, it’s so cool! It’s not slash but it’s awesome!

Also, feel free to e-mail me over the long holiday, cuz I can check
my yahoo account. (nn, stupid psycho hacker fearing dad) If you write
me I just might drop a few future plot hints in my reply. (*Sniff* I’m
so lonely, I’ll practically do anything for attention!)

Thanks for all the wonderful reviews. You can’t see where it’s going?
That’s good, I hate being predictable. And you really like Kiir? It
seems I have made another tiumph! Bow to me!(Just kidding, well, you
can if you want.) Everyone liked my X-Men Evoluion character except
me! I thought she was an awful mary-sue. But I like Kiir!

On a persoal note I get to see LOTR Two Towers tonight! My mom bought
tickets for me two weeks in advance so we cold definately see it the
first day. But enough about me, it’s the story you want to read!

Disclaimer: I don’t own Zim yet, but I plan on buying him from middle
eastern slave traders so he can dance on my table.

Chapter III…In which there is much astonishment and confusion, many
questions and there’s even one small answer!

Kiir walked through the door, ushered in by the strange, brooding,
distracted creature who had opened it. She was pretty sure the thing was
female, and wondered what she was doing with the small, computer like
device.

A moment later another earth creature came down the stairs, probably
male, although she wasn’t quite as sure with her guess this time. He
had pale skin, that Kiir didn’t get the impression was very healthy,
and large optic enhancers, much more simplistic than her own. He stopped
half way down the steps looking quite shocked.

Kiir could understand this she supposed, as she must look as out of
place as she felt. She wondered briefly if Zim had set her up, as this,
human were they called, didn’t look very friendly.

***

Dib had hurried down the stairs fully expecting to see Zim lurking in
his living room. The creature he found however, while definitely not
Zim was just as obviously not human. It looked vaguely Irken, as he
understood the species, which was too say it had green skin, antennae and
very large eyes. It also, however, had violet hair that fell stiffly
around its chin.

He got the impression that the creature was a female, something about
the face, he thought. She, if a she it was, wore a blue tank top, elbow
length, black gloves over three-fingered hands, canvasy brown pants,
knee-high black boots and a pair of oval glasses like eyewear that had
a few buttons set in the frames. She had a bag or a pack of some sort
slung over her shoulder.

He didn’t know what to say or to do. Had she been sent by Zim to kill
him? When had she gotten to Earth? Was she with the Oranges? Most
importantly, WHY was she at his house?!

The alien did him the favor of starting the conversation. “Ah, are
you Dib, then?” she asked, sounding as tense and reluctant as he felt.

He nodded and came down the rest of the stairs. He frowned, deciding
to make one point very clear from the outset. “You’re an alien,” he
stated, to let her know that he knew this.

“Er, well, yes. I ah, thought that was a little bit obvious.”

Oh. So she hadn’t thought she was in a clever disguise. He felt a bit
dumb, now, and couldn’t think of anything to say.

“Zim sent me,” she told him after a moment.

This immediately set Dib on the defensive. He bristled into as vaguely
aggressive posture as he could manage. She didn’t look very armed or
dangerous but if she had been sent by Zim who knew what tricks she had
up her sleeve, er, glove… whatever. “Oh did he? Why?” he snapped.

The alien became at once very uncomfortable. “I well, crashed on this
planet about an hour ago and Zim, well, he isn’t um, really up to
entertaining guests at the moment. He uh, implied I might be able to
stay here for a while.”

Dib blinked, utterly astonished. Why the hell would he do something
like that? He looked her over once more. She really didn’t seem to mean
any harm, and to have the chance to interview a live alien was not
something he wanted to pass up. He made up his mind just to watch her
like a paranoid hawk, in case this was another one of Zim’s heinous
plots.

“What’s your name?” he asked.

“Ah, Kiir,” she replied.

“Come with me,” he nodded and headed back up the stairs to his room.

“So I can stay?” he heard her ask as footsteps followed him.

“…I think so. We have a guest room. I don’t think my father will
mind. Or notice,” he grumped. Privately he was slightly worried as he
didn’t know much about accommodating aliens, just fighting them.

“That’s fine,” she said.

He opened the door to his room, stepped in and turned around watching
her. She seemed both amazed and confused by the place, and once again
Dib wondered what it must be like to be thousands of light years from
home. “Have a seat,” he offered, gesturing to his computer chair, the
only one in the room.

“Thanks,” she promptly sat down cross-legged on the floor. Well, he
thought, that was fine too. He sat down across from her, leaning against
the bed.

After a moment of silence he decided he might as well start asking
her a few questions. “So, um, you’re Irken I suppose?”

“Yeah… yeah. Well, I’m,” she frowned, “mostly, Irken. Half,
technically. My mother was a Horling.”

“Oh.” So that was why she looked different. He wondered what a Horling
was. “So how come you’re on Earth?”

A momentary anger seemed to flicker through her eyes. She rubbed the
back of her head. “Crashed,” she stated in a tone that bespoke that
there was to be no elaboration.

He decided it was a touchy topic and moved on. “So, how do you know
Zim?”

“Old friends,” she frowned, “what about you?”

He wondered what he should tell her. “I stop him from conquering
Earth,” he said, deciding truth was best.

Dib couldn’t quite read the expression she made now, something
between confusion, amusement, sadness maybe?

“Ah, about that…” she began.

He grimaced. “Wonderful, let me guess, you want to take over Earth
too,” he said, voice dripping with cynicism.

She snorted. “Are you kidding? Why the frakk would I want Earth, I
mean, no offence, but it ain’t that great in the scheme of things.”

He blinked. Well, that was good. Not very flattering, but good. “Well
then what is it?”

She sighed. “Are you sure you want to know?”

***

Zim had gone into a state something like mental shock. He had been
sitting there for the better part of an hour, doing saying nothing,
only thinking.

A few minutes ago Gir had come in offering him hugs and muffins in
his usual shrill, spastic voice. Zim’s complete and utter lack of
response seemed to deter him, because after a few moments the defective
SIR unit had gone away looking uncharacteristically sad and dejected.

Zim was numb, or rather he wished he could be numb. In truth he was
filled with an all consuming sorrow, he had never felt so alone. Alone
on this tiny, isolated sphere where no one wanted him and no one cared.
He wished he hadn’t sent Kiir away, she at least had been a familiar
face. He wondered what had become of her. Had he sent her to her death
in sending her to Dib? Would aliens be the topic of the morning Earth
news, Dib telling the world how he had known it all along? Or maybe
Kiir had shot him. He knew she carried her laser with her wherever she
went. This thought inexplicably sent a new pang of guilt and sadness
through out him. But why should he be caring what happened to either of
them when he didn’t even care about himself?

Zim wasn’t the type to actively seek his death, but in this state he
didn’t have the will to fend it off with such methods as eating,
sleeping or moving.

But the nagging worry of what might be going on at Dib’s house began
to chew on his brain, slowly and surely. Maybe he should go and see
what was happening. He didn’t know why it mattered, it was probably
just his subconscious’ way of keeping him from going completely mad
sitting there feeling sorry for himself. If there was one thing Zim
had always hated it was inactivity and indecisiveness. Anyway, maybe
a walk would help him to figure out just what was going on.

***

“Just to get rid of him?” Dib repeated, not really believing his ears.

“Yep, that’s right,” she nodded.

“…but that’s, that’s horrible.”

She raised a purple eyebrow. “Oh? I thought you said you two were
enemies. Why should you care?”

“Well, we are, I guess, but,” he tried to find the words to explain
it. “I well, I know how it is to be rejected…”

“Do you human? Hnnn, Zim was the most loyal of Irkens, and yet his
government repudiated him, merely because he was nuisance.”

Dib sighed. He wondered what Zim would do now, knowing his mission
to conquer Earth was a fraud. Would he keep trying, out of spite, or
vengeance, or the desire to prove himself? Would he leave and try to
go home, or somewhere else? What would Dib do if he left? He could
barely remember life without their rivalry.

“You look really sad,” Kiir remarked in a murmur. “Why is that? Does
the potential loss of your enemy trouble you so much?”

He thought about this. Was it simply that he needed an enemy, an
antithesis, to feel complete and useful? Someone to match wits with,
or was it something…more? He avoided the question.

“It was wrong,” he said, turning it into a moral issue. “Even if they
wanted to get rid of him they shouldn’t have lied.”

She cocked her head to one side. “You’re probably right. Perhaps it
would have been kinder to execute the poor fool, outright.”

Dib winced. Execute him? “What did he do, anyway, to merit all this?”

“Oh, accidentally killed two of our ‘great’ leaders, caused countless
other deaths and countless amounts of property damage and general
social havoc.” She grinned.

He raised an eyebrow. “You don’t sound too upset about this,” he
observed.

“Well, no, oh! I forgot to tell you. I’m an outlaw, a rebel leader,
as they say, High Commander Kiir of the Irken Underground. My
organization can only dream of causing as great a discord as Zim has
by accident, but of course I suppose that’s the nature of chaos.”

Dib blinked. It hadn’t occurred to him that she might not be a loyal
supporter of her race. But, as not all humans were very gung-ho about
their governments he supposed there was no reason for all aliens to be
perfectly harmonious. In fact, that wouldn’t have made much sense.

But he returned to the previous topic. “So, why exactly DIDN’T they
have him executed?” he wondered, it certainly all seemed serious enough.

She shrugged. “He was obedient and unquestioning, if overly exuberant
about it. Would you kill something that worshipped you like a god, even
if it did destroy your things?”

It was a good point. “I suppose not.”

“I didn’t think so.”

He sat there for a moment, just thinking. Would everything be
different tomorrow? So many things had happened in one evening, he’d
nearly forgotten about the Orange aliens. He wondered if Kiir knew
anything about them. He figured it was worth a shot.

He was just about to ask when once more someone knocked on the door
downstairs. This time he leapt up to get it. There was really only one
person it could be, but he was learning not to count on anything this
evening.

“I’ll be right back,” he told Kiir and dashed out of the room and
back down the stairs. He unlocked and yanked open the door, to be
presented with a slight and glaring figure.

Under most circumstances he’d have immediately told Zim to go away,
and probably thrown a few insults and nearby objects at him. Or just
slammed the door outright. But as it was he pursed his lips, a private
gesture of concern. The alien didn’t look particularly well.

“Ah, Zim?” he greeted uncertainly.

Zim narrowed his eyes.

***

“Is Kiir here?” he demanded, glaring slightly up at the human. Dib
seemed distracted and worried had he called the Earth media? Was he
waiting for an interview?

The Dib-human frowned. “Yes.”

“Have you harmed her?” he asked suspiciously.

“Of course not!” he sounded affronted. “In don’t hurt people who don’t
attack me first, Zim.”

So Kiir had refrained from being her usual impulsive self, and so, it
seemed had the human, as Zim could recall once or twice being attacked
without direct provocation.

“Why did you send here to me, Zim,” he asked, sounding impatient.

He paused. What to say? “I was curious to see what would happen. Did
you not call your Earth news?”

***

Dib blinked. The news? He realized that it had never even crossed his
mind that he could have easily have jumped Kiir, tied her up and had
all the evidence he would ever need that aliens existed. He could still
do that now, he supposed, but it seemed to him that it would be deeply
wrong now that he had offered her his hospitality. Besides, speaking
with her had made her a lot more of a person rather than a creature to
be dissected. He suddenly realized that the same applied to Zim.

“Um, no, I haven’t,” he replied finally.

This seemed to surprise Zim. Neither of them said anything for a
moment.

“Would you…like to come in?” Dib asked slowly. He watched the
Irken’s expression go from mild surprise to absolute shock, to deep
suspicion.

“What is this trick?” he demanded.

“No trick,” Dib said, not quite sure why he was doing this. Zim was
still probably very dangerous, well, at least as dangerous as he always
was. Dib didn’t suppose Zim’s revelation had instantly dissolved their
enmity. But the night had been full of surprises already. He let the
invitation stand.

“Then why do you invite me in your home? Are we not enemies?” Zim
demanded, giving voice to their seemingly twin thoughts.

“I just thought…you might want to talk to Kiir. And it’s cold out
and well,” he hesitated. “And she told me about…about you mission.”

Zim’s gaze became cold and sharp as iced razorblades. “Zim does not
need your pity, Dib-human,” he growled bitterly. He turned around and
started to leave.

“Wait, Zim,” he said, “It’s not pity. I’m just, sorry.”

Zim looked back over his shoulder. “Why?” he demanded.

Dib couldn’t answer.

The Irken walked away.

***

“You can sleep here,” Dib said, showing her the room that had once
belonged to his mother. The ten years she’d been dead however, it had
come to be the ever infrequently used guest room. “I don’t know what
sleeping arrangements you’re used to, or how long you sleep but…” he
trailed off.

Kiir gave him a wry grin. “Personally I sleep as long as I can get
away with. These quarters are suitable.”

Dib smiled nervously back. “Well, good night then.”

She closed the door gently and Dib walked distractedly back to his
own room. He closed and locked the door, disrobing down to his frowny-
face patterned boxers and tossed the discarded garments into a heap in
the corner. He collapsed back onto the dark covers of his bed and
yanked off his glasses, setting them on the bedside table. His vision
instantly degraded into near nothingness, things becoming unintelligibly
blurry only about five inches from his nose. He pulled the covers up
over his slender, pale form.

He was confused. He didn’t know what he felt towards Zim but it
clearly was not the loathing it had begun as, that much was obvious.
Hate didn’t entail caring about what the person thought, or worrying
about them. But if not hate, what? He just couldn’t tell. Perhaps he
should address the matter scientifically, or at least in a reasonably
ordered approach. Alright, first. Subject: Zim, alien Invader. Or at
least he had been, Dib had no idea if he was going to continue that
occupation now. But anyway, that wasn’t on topic. For three years they
had gone to school together, been arch-rivals. For three years Zim had
been for all practical purposes the only person Dib spoke to or thought
about, the focus of his entire life. But was that only because he was
continually saving the world from him? Hypothetically, if Zim were to
renounce his bid for world domination would Dib still watch him during
class? If he were to fly away in his space ship tomorrow, never to
return, would Dib be upset? He didn’t even need to really think about
the answer. It was yes, to both of them. But why, why? THAT was the
question! He knew he cared but the question was the reason, and the
extent! Was it simply because he felt some bond of kinship, that they
were somehow the same or similar in outlook and experience? That was
part of it, oh definitely. But if it were the whole of the answer would
thoughts of the alien stalk him waking or sleeping?
Dib’s thoughts seemed to be winding themselves into some frenzied
crescendo, and he wished he could slow them down, sort them out and
catalogue them. He was terrible at analyzing his own emotions. But who
did he have to talk to? Not Zim himself certainly! His father wouldn’t
bother to listen and he didn’t even know Kiir. He didn’t know anyone.
Evidently he didn’t even know himself. He’d ask his sister, Gaz, but
she’d only make some smart remark about how he must be in lo-

Oh.

Damn.

To be continued…

Woooo. Interesting place to leave it, ne? Well, feedback is
appreciated, I’m afraid it’s gonna be two weeks until the next chapter
but fear not! That means it’ll be super good and super long!

Read it? Review it!


Chapter 4: Foes and Friends


Cognitive Dissonance
An action packed romantic Invader Zim epic
By LejindaryBunny

A/N: Sorry this is a day late, FFNET wouldn’t let me into my account
yesterday. I nearly blew up the computer.!. First off, chapters from
here on will come with titles. I also went back and titled the first
three, sorry if thatannoys anyone.

Woo, I finally got my scanner for Christmas so so some of my artwork
is now up! Anybody have a nice website where I can put it up? It’s at
. ?id=61483 (most of it’s for
this fic, there’s one of the Oranges, and one of a scene form this
chapter and more!) but I think somewhere Zim related to put it might be
pretty nice. Speaking of pretty, glad everybody liked the ending for l
ast chapter. I was rather partial to itm’self.

So we’re getting into the more slashy stuff here like I
promised, at least in concept. I like mushy romance but I always have
to build up to and explain it and give it time, otherwise it feels
really fake and forced. Not that fluff isn’t nice and won’t be here at
all, but well, you can probably tell I like plot and theme etcetera.
Skragg, I called it an epic, didn’t I? And that’s what it will be.
Enough blabber, read the chapter!

Disclaimer: Maybe we fan writers could all donate five dollars and
buy the rights to Invader Zim from Nickelodeon together!

Chapter IV…In which there is yet more angst, Kiir goes to school,
the Orange aliens make there nasty reappearance and Zim does several
somethings which are unexpected.

Zim was standing on the bridge over the canal. He had meant to head
back to the base, but he had lingered walking so slowly as to barely be
moving at all, until he had just stopped, leaning over and watching the
water as it flowed away. It was water that might flow out into some
Earth sea, or simply out of a human tap to be imbibed or just poured
down the drain, and he’d would never know. He remembered the oceans of
Irk, vast expanses of a silvery liquid that humans called mercury,
which was poisonous to them. But he’d never see those oceans again,
unless he had a death wish.

He glared down at the dark substance, reft of it’s blue color by the
lack of sunlight, and he was suddenly filled with an irrational anger
towards the Earth itself. For a moment he entertained the idea of
destroying it all with one great explosion, the vision of fire and
death briefly bringing a twisted grin to his lips. But it was just a
fantasy, infeasible and more likely to create problems than actually
solve any of his current ones. Much as he hated the pathetic human
stink monkeys Earth was the only place he knew at all besides his
home world. No, if there was anyone the wanted to wreak slow and
terrible vengeance against, it was the Tallest.

Zim’s eyes narrowed and his fists clenched as the treasonous thoughts
permeated his mind. Yes, bringing screaming agonic doom to those two
would be sweet, he could envision it, the two of them cowering before
him, begging for their lives, begging for the end to be quick. But Zim
would have no mercy. He saw himself laughing as the Massive’s self
destruct mechanism counted down. Certainly he could come up with a
masterful plan that he could bring to such a crescendo, the question was
only in the carrying out. Kiir, with similar goals in mind had had a
thousand or more at her back and look where it had gotten her. Of
course Kiir was no where near as brilliant as he was.

He grimaced, suddenly hearing Dib’s voice in his mind, taunting as
always.

‘Oh yeah, Zim?’ the Dib-thought sneered. ‘If you’re so smart and
powerful why did they get rid of you? How come I beat you every time?’

He glared back down at the water. Why was it always that one’s face
that haunted him, the pitiful human, the only thing that ever stood
between Zim and his goals. He should have killed him long ago, it would
have been easy to make it look like an accident, or Dib’s own stupidity.
It had crossed his mind a thousand times, that course of action, and
yet it was always only idle speculation, never a truly considered
action. Something always stayed his hand.

He could have done it done it a few minutes ago, at the human’s door
step, with the searing pain of loss still fresh within his veins.

‘Would you…like to come in?’

Oh, he could have throttled him then. What did the human think he was
playing at? How dare he? He didn’t know what he was saying, he couldn’t.
Because Zim had never said anything, never done anything…Not when it
would endanger, maybe even destroy his mission. And not when Dib hated
him, anyway.

He sighed. There was what always kept him from killing the human, no
matter how much easier it might have been to conquer the Earth. Despite
the fact that he could never admit it, despite the fact that there was
absolutely no sane reason for it to be so, for the longest time he had
been in love with the human creature called Dib.

Zim rolled his eyes, crossing his arms on the bridge rail and resting
his chin on them. How stupid was that? He, Zim, the great and terrible
had fallen for a human. Oh, how the Tallest would laugh if they new
that. That alone would justify his banishment. Not that it mattered
what the they thought anymore. But what was he supposed to do about it?
Even supposing that, since his mission was a skragging FRAUD and he
could confess his true feelings, what would he say?

‘Oh, yes, hi Dib, I know you’re out to kill me and everything, but
did you know I’m madly in love with you?’

Feh, to Dib he was some sort of bug eyed monster to be dissected on
an autopsy table and make him famous. Wasn’t he? Now he didn’t know.

“Do you want to come in?” he mimed in a mocking imitation of Dib’s
voice. “I’m just, sorry.” He shook his head and muttered. “Dear Tal-“
he stopped grimacing and glared now, at the stars. “Dear GOD,” he
snarled vengefully upward, “Do you hear that? I’m using human curses!
HUMAN! Do you hear that?! DO YOU!?” he yelled and shook his fist. “HA!
Hahaha! HA!”

He snapped his gaze around and shook his hand in a quick, dismissive
gesture, turning to face the street and lean on the rail. It didn’t
matter whether they could hear him or not, he’d made up his mind right
then. He didn’t know quite what he would do but there was no point in
trying to go back for either redemption or vengeance. He turned his back
on the Tallest as they had turned on him. For better or for worse the
Earth was his home now.

He snorted, and with one last glance at the canal that had begun his
flow of thoughts he pushed off the guard rail and started back towards
his house, letting his ties to the Empire slip away like water down an
Earth drain.

***

Dib’s alarm clock buzzed with a terrible fury, jarring him from
peaceful repose and forcing him to swat at it blindly and indeftly
hoping one of his blows would cease it’s time keeping retribution.
After six or so tries the digital beast’s cries were silence but if he
had finally broken it or simply managed to shut the thing off for
another twenty-four hours he didn’t know. He didn’t particularly care
either. He felt around on the table for his glasses, and upon finding
them, sat up stiffly and with bleary, morning difficulty. He forced the
spectacles roughly into place on his nose, the world once more coming
into scientifically wrought focus, visually at least.

For a moment the morning was like any other, but, yawning and running
a hand through the tangled mess that he grudgingly consented to call
his hair, Dib remembered something. The events of the last evening came
flooding back like the bursting of a dam, the disappearing orange
aliens, Kiir, Zim’s bad news and his own personal revelation. He
closed his eyes and fell back into bed with a ‘flump’, his head,
thankfully hitting the pillow and not the wall. he sighed, wonderful.
He was just sooooo glad he’d remembered that.

Well, it couldn’t be helped he supposed. One couldn’t simply unthink
things, especially when they were, nng…true. It didn’t change
anything anyway, since the emotions had been there before, if nameless.
Although he wasn’t likely to ever be able to look Zim in the face again.
Zim probably wouldn’t be in school today anyway. Which reminded him,
what the heck was he going to do with Kiir while he was gone all day?
He didn’t feel quite secure leaving her in the house, just in case, but
she didn’t have any sort of disguise. Well, he shrugged, sitting up
again, no one ever noticed Zim and his disguise was minimalist at the
very best. Kiir at least had real hair, she could just put her antennae
back and if he came in and announced to everyone that she was an alien
no one would give her a second thought.

Dib rolled his eyes. Funny, how that worked. Just because he said
something it was automatically ‘wrong’. He stood up and pulled on a pair
of jeans, his t-shirt and boots. he ran a hand though his hair, it
never got much less messy than that anyway. He walked out his door and
knocked on that of the guest room a few paces later.

Kiir opened it immediately, eyes bright behind her strange glasses and
a grin on her face. “Well, it looks like I did find somebody who can
sleep longer than me.”

Oh, dear. How long had she been up? “Um, sorry. How long do you
sleep?”

She shrugged. ” Up to six or seven hours if I’m feeling really,
REALLY lazy. I only need three or so, and I can run on one if I drink
a pot of coffee.”

Dib nodded, then he stopped, blinking. “Wait, you have COFFEE in
outer space?”

She rolled her eyes, leaning on the doorway. “Kid,” she said with a
patronizing smirk. “EVERYBODY has coffee, Ugclusian stench slugs have
coffee. It’s like, one of the natural elements of the universe.”

“Oh.” He blinked and shook his head slightly. Okay then, there went
his sense of the normal order of things for the morning. “Well uh,
sorry to keep you waiting for so long then.”

“Oh, that’s alright. I took apart you clock and then put it back
together again.”

“…does it still work?”

“Aheh, define work.”

Dib just looked at her for a minute and then dropped the subject. He
could probably fix whatever she’d done to it later anyway. “Don’t worry
about it. Uh, would you mind coming to skool with me today?” He hoped
she wouldn’t object.

She squinted one eye. “Skool? Whasat?”

He forgotten that she didn’t know. “It’s a place where human children
and adolescents go TO learn things.” Or to be tormented, he thought
privately.

“Hnnnn, seeing as I’ll probably be stuck on this planet for a while
that’s probably not a bad idea. But won’t other humans be freaked out
by the way I look?” She raised an eyebrow. “I was under the impression
that your Earthers hadn’t made interstellar contact yet.”

“Ah, yeah, I thought of that already. Just pull your antennae back,
tell them you’re my cousin. I’ll take care of the rest.” He fished a
hair band from his pocket and handed it to her.

She regarded the ting incredulously for a moment, then taking it
fastened her hair back with her antennae, into a cute little poof
pony-tail with two longer black bits.

She pursed her lips. “Somehow this seems just a bit inadequate.”

“You’d be surprised how stupid most humans are,” he said darkly.

She raised her eyebrow, smirking. “You don’t think very highly of
your own race.”

“Never mind,” he shook his head. She probably wouldn’t have a very
high opinion of them either after a day of Hi Skool. “Come on, we have
to go. My car sometimes times takes a few minutes to start.”

She gave him a curious look but followed him down the hall and out
the front door.

His car, a sleek, black thing that had been a piece of junk when he’d
gotten it, was parked on the street. He’d been working on it the three
months since he’d gotten his license; it looked nice now, and had all
sorts of fancy equipment and it ran quite well…provided of course that
he could get it to start. He would have offered Gaz a ride but she had
started going to a Gurlz Skool since year before last.
Dib unlocked the door.

“This is an Earth transport?” Kiir asked interestedly.

He nodded. “It doesn’t fly I’m afraid.” He was working on it though.
“You get in that door,” he said, indicating the passenger’s side. “Just
pull the handle.”

He got into the driver’s seat as she entered opposite him. He
fastened his seatbelt, showing the alien how to do the same. He turned
the ignition key.

The car growled. Aside from that, nothing happened.

Dib’s gaze darkened and he sighed. Evidently it was going to be one
of those days.

***

When Did hadn’t shown up by the time the bell to begin class rang,
Zim wondered if there had been a point in coming today. He wasn’t
really studying the human race anymore, he had no ‘social life’ and
classes were simply torment upon torment. Granted he no longer had to
put up with the doom that was Ms. Bitters since starting Hi Skool and
that was a blessing. He drummed his gloved fingers on the desk, bored
even before the beginning of homeroom.

Mrs. Drone, the short, dumpy teacher was standing at the front of the
classroom as usual, eyes vacant. Today however there was someone beside
her, a new student, he supposed. Zim regarded the class addition. It
was male, and there would have been absolutely nothing remarkable about
him except for the fact that he was so utterly and completely normal as
to be unreal. He had to have been exactly average height, with the most
singularly uninteresting brown hair and eyes ever seen. His skin was
neither dark nor light and there were no visible birth marks. He wore
no glasses and his clothes were a nondescript grey t-shirt and jeans.
He looked like a diagram of the quintessential human. It was weird,
people like that just didn’t happen. Zim stared.

“Class, this is our new student,” Mrs. Drone said flatly. “His name
is John Doe.”

“Hello,” John said. “It’s nice to meet you.” He smiled, his eyes
however stayed completely vacant and devoid of emotion.

It was the creepiest thing Zim had ever seen. What ever that guy was
he was NOT human, there was no way. It was just, wrong.

“Take your seat please John,” she nodded to a vacant seat in the back
of the class.

He walked down through the rows of desks, smiling at Zim as he passed.
Zim shuddered, watching him sit down. The rest of the class he noticed
was completely devoid of interest. Zim shook his head, how could they
think that, that thing, whatever it was, was their own species? In a
lot of ways the thing was more obviously not human than he was!

“Alright class, remember your year book order forms are due-“

The door flew open and all attention fell to it as Dib walked into
the room.

“I’m sorry I’m late,” he said irritated, “My car wouldn’t start.”

Oh, of course, Zim thought, that car of his.

The teacher sighed. “Have a seat Mr. Membrane, and introduce us to
your guest if you please.”

Zim now caught sight of the figure lingering behind him, it was Kiir,
of course, and she didn’t look particularly disguised, except that her
antennae weren’t visible.

Dib gave a triumphant looking grin. “This is Kiir, she’s, an ALIEN.”

Zim’s eyes grew wide, he thought Dib wasn’t going to TELL anyone! So
he’d just been saving it for skool?

He saw Kiir roll her eyes, “I’m his COUSIN,” she said in practiced
tones. “You’re such a freak Dib,” she whapped him on the shoulder
lightly.

The rest of the class murmured in agreement and went back to minding
it’s own business, heedless now, of anything unusual.

Ah, now Zim understood, it was what humans called reverse psychology,
tricking people into b doing or believing what you wanted by telling
them to do the opposite. Dib must have decided that since no one ever
believed what he said about Zim no one would believe him this time. It
was solid logic actually.

But Dib’s appearance reminded him of something he’d almost completely
forgotten. The aliens from the night before, who had apparently
disappeared and quite possibly still be on the planet. What if one of
them was in the class right now? He looked over at John Doe.

***

Dib sat down, noticing, with some surprise, that Zim WAS in class. He
looked quickly away, a slight blush as he had feared, coming to his
cheeks. He looked around the rest of the class room, glad that Kiir had
remembered what he told her to do and hoping the rest of the day went
as smoothly. His eyes searching for a more Earthly and less embarrassing
target fell on someone he’d never seen before. It was the most
uninteresting person he’d ever seen, so utterly common place that his
eyes almost didn’t recognize the fact that he was there. It was like
someone was saying, I’m supposed to be here, don’t bother looking at me.
It was the strangest sensation Dib had ever felt. Despite the strange
urge to look at something else he now watched the boy, curiosity and
suspicion aroused.

He raised his hand.

“Yes Dib?” the teacher asked.

“Ah, do we have a new student Mrs. Drone?”

She nodded, and gestured to him. “John Doe, if you’d been here
earlier Dib, you’d know that.”

John smiled at him. “Hello Dib, it’s nice to meet you.” His voice was
like some perfect computer imitation of a normal, pleasant voice.

Something about it gave Dib shivers. There was something not right at
work here, he could feel it. There was something bent about the space
that ‘John Doe’ occupied, something that made Dib’s heart go ice cold
with the aura of wrongness. It was a feeling Dib could swear he’d had
before. His eyes bored metaphorical holes into the back of the ‘new
student’s’ head. And as though he knew he was being watched John slowly
turned around to look back at him.

For just a moment their eyes met, searching amber against vacant
brown, John smiled at him and Dib’s stomach turned to lead. In the
instant before it turned back around Dib knew the creature that was
sitting in the desk. The cold brown eyes were no different than the
staring spherical white orbs of the Orange aliens.

Dib looked away, looked out the window, feeling somehow tainted and
drained. That was no new student, that was definitely one of the scary
aliens he’d met the night before. He realized he’d never asked Kiir
about them. Should he do that now? It looked as though the Oranges
must be shape shifters or something, and that made them who knew how
many times more dangerous. And one thing was clearly apparent now,
these things were definitely NOT benign.

***

Kiir tapped her pencil boredly on the notebook Dib had given her.
Places of learning? Please, she’d been to more interesting funeral and
more enlightening prisons. These human things were very, not, much,
just in general, not much to look at, not much to talk to. She’d tried
to start up a conversation with the girl in the seat next to her but
the creature had only said something about ‘cheerleaders’ not talking
to ‘goths’. Apparently the Earthlings had some sort of social caste
system in effect that Dib had failed to mention. So she’d just doodled
on her paper for a while, as whenever she tried to listen to the
teacher she started to fall asleep. It had been maybe two or three
hours by the clock that somehow seemed to work twice as slowly as the
ones she’d seen in Dib’s house. She tore a page out of the spiraled
notebook and scribbled a message on it.

/Hey Zim, do we EVER get to leave? This is worse than the Academy.
How are you feeling by the way?/

She wadded up the paper and flicked it in her fellow alien’s
direction. It hit him in the back of the head. He turned around and
glared at her. She grinned and waved lazily at him, he was always so
serious all the time. She pointed at the paper on the floor. ‘Pick it
up,’ she mouthed, ‘it’s a note.’

He squinted and pursed his lips irritatedly but picked it up. She
watched the back of his head as he read it and wrote back. She looked
away, attention span depleted for the moment, and watched the human
Dib writing something. Then the ball of paper hit HER in the head. She
grabbed the note and stuck her tongue out at Zim, who smirked smugly
back. So maybe he wasn’t serious ALL the time.

She uncrinkled the note and read it.

/Lunch is in ten minutes. Whatever you do, DO NOT eat the food,
whatever you DO! I MEAN it. I’m just fine. Dib hasn’t tried to dissect
you has he?/

She blinked. Dissect her? Don’t eat the food? She chewed on the end
of her pencil.

/Why not, is their something wrong with the food? You don’t LOOK
fine. You look edgy. Dib said he didn’t think you’d be here. Is
something wrong? You can tell me. Dissect me? Why the frakk would he
do that?/

She tossed it back and this time he caught it midair. She kept her
eyes on him this time and did the same thing a moment later when he
tossed it back. Zim looked disappointed that he hadn’t hit her again.

/YES! It’s practically poison! I’m FINE! Honestly, well as fine as I
can be. Dib’s an alien fanatic, he’s tried to dissect me a few times.
Glad to hear you’re still in possession of your squeedly-spooch./

Kiir glared irritatedly at Zim and then looked back at Dib. He LOOKED
harmless enough.

/You skragging jerk! You sent me to his house thinking he might do
that?! When I get my hand on you I’m gonna

“Ms. Kiir!” a voice snapped.

She looked up to see the teacher standing over her. “Yeah?”

“I don’t know how it is in YOUR school but here we do not pass notes.
Give that to me now.”

She frowned. This human thing thought she could tell High Commander
Kiir what to do? “No,” she said firmly.

“No? That’s it missy, I don’t care if you ARE a visitor, you are
staying right here during lunch where I can keep an eye on you.”

“What?!” she clenched her fists. Then she glanced over at Dib, he
was making a jerking motion across his throat. She realized that any
violence done against this teacher worm would probably result in him
being punished for it. Which would probably result in her getting
kicked out of his house. She slumped back in the hard, fiberglass chair.
“Fine,” she snapped sullenly, “I don’t want any of your skraggy Earth
lunch anyway.”

The teacher gave her an odd look, then glanced over at Zim, shook her
head and marched back to the front of the classroom.

***

Dib sighed, dropping his head onto his notebook painfully. Of course
Kiir would have to go and back talk the teacher. It was lucky that she
hadn’t gotten him in trouble as well. He wondered what had been on the
note she and Zim were passing. But he didn’t have time to think about
that, he had only five minutes before lunch to come up with how he was
going to confront ‘John’. He figured that if it was in the middle of
the cafeteria the alien wouldn’t be able to do anything TOO scary and
evil. And those were definitely the words that Dib would use to
describe the Oranges, scary and evil.

He wondered if Zim could tell that John was an alien, he didn’t know
if the Irken would be able to pick up on the subtle inhumanities of the
thing. Even if he did notice, would he care? He didn’t think somehow
that he would be in the sort of mental place for anything except anger
or depression. Dib thought a good parallel for what Zim must be going
though would be if he suddenly found out that Zim really WAS just a
kid with a skin condition. Except that Zim didn’t look that much more
unhappy than usual.

The lunch bell rang and Dib practically shot out of his chair and
to the door. Outside he pressed himself against the wall at the left,
watching from the corner of his eye as everyone filed out. And then
there was John, padding out of the classroom with a strange stiff sort
of ease. He didn’t seem to notice Dib as he followed the other students
down the hall. Once the creature was several paces ahead Dib carefully
started after him, stifling his footsteps and staring intently at his
hopefully unsuspecting quarry. Once they were safely in the lunch room
he could spring his denouncement on the alien.

But the thing in human guise didn’t go all the way to the cafeteria
with the other students, he took a left turn down the seldom used
hallway that had once belonged to the art department, before they’d
added on the new wing. Dib stared suspiciously. Where did he think he
was going? The self proclaimed paranormal investigator looked around,
and seeing no one else did something foolish. He followed the malignant
being down the empty corridor alone.

***

Zim didn’t linger in the room as he usually did at lunch time, as
soon as he saw ‘John Doe’ rise from his seat he climbed from his own,
intent on discovering this non-human’s secrets. He followed him slowly
from the room, giving Kiir a negligent wave as he left. He’d ambush him
in the hallway, before he got to the safety of the cafeteria. But just
before he exited the room he saw someone swing into position behind the
John-thing ahead of him. It was Dib. So it seemed that he too had
recognized the ‘new student’ as well. Zim had thought he might. In his
mind Zim rearranged his plans. He would follow them both, see what Dib
did and adapt to the situation. Maybe that way he could learn something
with out announcing his own presence. He grinned, striding silently
behind them. Neither of them seemed to notice.

Zim saw the human balk as the creature turned down an empty passage.
Would Dib keep following him. If this ‘John’ was as advanced and not
good as he seemed it was a potentially very dangerous situation for Dib
to be alone with it, especially, if as he was wont to, Dib announced
his intentions to it. Honestly, sometimes the human just wasn’t that
bright. Zim shook his head.

And of course Dib did indeed follow John down the corridor. No weapon,
no back up, no knowing what he was getting into. Didn’t he realize that
the creature probably KNEW it was being followed? Zim hurried after the
two.

***

‘John’ had picked up his pace and Dib didn’t dare walk any faster for
fear of being heard, and so he’d fallen well behind when he saw the
brown haired figure disappear around a corner. Afraid he would lose him,
the goth picked up the pace just a little and swung around the same
sharp right turn. What he found there was nothing, a dead end, and no
one there. Dib looked around. Had the thing just disappeared again?
There were no classrooms to be ducked into, and he’d seen them make an
entire ship disappear the night before.

Dib was about to turn around and go back to the cafeteria when he
felt the hairs on the back of his neck prick up, and his skin trembled
with goose bumps. Something grabbed him.

He screamed.

Seven orange tentacles wrapped themselves around his body, holding
him two feet in the air as he struggled to get loose. The coils curled
all over his body, covering his mouth and slinking around his chest,
holding him, pulling him in the tightest grip he had ever felt. But
that wasn’t all they were doing. From deep inside him Dib could feel
his strength being drained from, he was growing weaker, his kicks
becoming more feeble with each second that ticked away. His vision was
dimming, it had only been maybe five seconds and he was already about
to fall unconscious.

Something whizzed past his head and the tentacle creature reeled and
gave an inhuman wail, dropping him to the floor where he landed
heavily and painfully on his side. Through dim vision he saw someone’s
booted feet.

He heard a laser fire again, and the beast’s howl.

“Eat this!” the booted shooter yelled. It was Zim’s voice. He fired
again.

Dib could see orange appendages flailing above him, and the thing
gave one last shriek of fury before winking out of existence.

***

Zim hadn’t been around the corner yet when he’d heard Dib yell, but
he’d come running. The sight he beheld was a gruesome one, a sticklike
orange monster with thick, ropy tentacles help a limply kicking Dib
in it’s grasp, and seemed to be pulsing as if sucking something from
the human it had caught.

The Irken hadn’t thought, just reacted, whipping his laser out of his
pak and firing. Though the setting had been on kill, the beast hadn’t
been felled, but it thankfully dropped Dib so that he could get a
clearer shot.

“Eat this!”

The monster shuddered, and Zim was almost on the verge of panicking.
What sort of creature was unaffected by Irken death pistols?
Desperately he shot one more time, hoping the weapon would have SOME
affect. Thankfully it seemed to at least cause the thing pain because,
whip like tentacles flailing it suddenly turned two blank white eyes at
him and vanished.

He stared a moment at the space where the creature had been. How
could it just disappear like that? It wasn’t possible!

Dib coughed. Zim hurried towards and stood over him, looking down at
the shuddering form. “Are you injured Dib-human?” He asked, unable to
keep the sharp note of concern form his voice.

The boy gave another weak cough and forced himself into a sitting
position, wincing, Zim assumed, from pain. “I’m…fine.” He rubbed the
back of his head.

Zim squinted an eye. “You do not appear fine,” he criticized.

Dib scowled. “That thing, jumped me. What are you doing here anyway
Zim?” He raised an eyebrow.

“I was attempting to discern the nature of our ‘new friend’, he was
obviously not one of you pathetic humans.” Now, what it actually WAS
was the question of the moment.

“You picked up on that too, huh?” he leaned against the wall, looking
uncomfortable. “That’s exactly what I was doing.”

Zim snorted. “And you were doing an inferior job of it as always. You
are fortunate I was here to rescue you or I doubt you would still be
living.”

Dib furrowed his brow, looking confused. It was an oddly charming
expression. “Yeah, um, WHY exactly did you do that? Wouldn’t I have
been out of your way then?”

Zim didn’t speak for a moment, on the verge of saying something
stupid. He frowned. “The Earth is Zim’s territory, I will not allow
any others to intrude on it.” That was the truth, basically.

“Oh, but um,” he seemed to be struggling with something. “Does that
mean you’re still going to take over the Earth even though-“

“The supposed goals of my former superiors no longer concern me,” he
snapped, cutting Dib off. “Your stupid Earth monkeys are safe, from me
anyway.” He glanced at the place where the orange creature had been.

“But you said-“

“The Earth is my territory,” he smirked. “Don’t think you can be rid
of me so easily.”

***

Dib was more than a little confused. Maybe he had hit his head a
little too hard, because he was pretty sure that Zim had just not only
saved his life but announced that he was going to stay on Earth without
conquering it. Was Zim deliberately trying to throw him off his guard or
something? He looked up at the human clad figure much more familiar and
reassuring with his confident smirk than the creepy, malignant ‘John Doe’.

If Zim stopped trying to take over the world what was he going to do
on Earth? What was Dib going to do with his time? “Does, this mean we
have a, truce, or something?” he ventured cautiously.

The alien regarded him, and he felt his face growing slightly hot. He
looked down at the ground.

“You would honor such a truce?” Dib heard him ask. “No more spying or
threats of autopsy?”

He thought about this. Without his campaign against Zim his would be
very, very different. But maybe if they had a truce… He looked up,
and nodded. “I promise.”

Zim smirked down at him, and he could have sworn that it was almost,
but not quite, a genuine smile. “Done then. The war is finished.” He
paused, and then spoke again. “Was that one of the aliens from the ship?”

“Yeah,” Dib nodded. “It had less arms last night though. I think it
can shape shift.”

“That will make it a difficult opponent,” Zim sat down against the
opposite wall of the corridor. “When it had you, it was doing,
something, was it not?”

“It was like it was sucking out all of my energy,” he said
uncomfortably. Recalling the sensation was not pleasant, he shivered.
He ran a hand through his hair, still feeling unusually weak. He looked
up at Zim. Was he really not going to attack Earth anymore? And was Dib
right in thinking that he had implied that he would help against the
Oranges? It certainly seemed so.

The alien looked thoughtful. “There are certain parasite species that
siphon energy from their hosts, but none that I know are more complex
or dangerous than your cockroaches. Likewise there are some
shape shifting creatures that can take small and simple forms, but I
have never seen anything that did both, or either on the scale that this
appears to.”

“These,” Dib said, remembering the night before. “There were two that
I saw, one with white eyes, this one I think, and one with blue eyes.
It was like they could see right through the bushes I was in and to me.
And then they disappeared, like just a minute ago.”

Zim frowned. “Such teleportation should not be possible without a lot
of equipment. If there were two where is the other?”

“With the ship?” Dib suggested, “Wherever that is. I was going to go
back to check out the landing sight this morning but with Kiir and all
I didn’t get around to it.”

It was so strange, sitting there with Zim exchanging information
instead of threats or insults or blows. Not wrong, just strange. Maybe
this was the way things were supposed to be. They were allies now, or
so it seemed. Could they be friends? Or even- He cut his own thought
off, looking away. Don’t spoil it! he thought furiously.

“Perhaps you should go this evening. I will come with you, I have
scanning equipment that you do not have access to. We will bring Kiir.”

Dib looked up. Zim was taking charge just like that, his strong,
arrogant personality seeming adapting to the new situation quickly and
easily. “Since when are you leader?” he demanded, though there was very
little edge in his voice.

“Since I said so,” Zim quipped with a grin. “Do you have a problem,
Dib-human?”

Dib pouted, crossing his arms. “I adamantly refuse to take any orders
from you, that I don’t like,” he said. After all, he really didn’t want
to make him decide that the truce was a bad idea. If Zim wanted to play
leader, why shouldn’t he let him, as long as it didn’t get them killed.

Zim pursed his lips. “Fine, but you will have no cause to object to
my superior leadership.”

Dib rolled his eyes. “Still the same Zim. You always think you’re
sooooo special.”

“Think? I am the great Zim! I AM special!” he sneered.

“Yeah?” he snorted.

“Yeah.” Zim crossed his arms.

Dib laughed and shook his head. Well, he was certainly SOMETHING, all
right. God, I’m such an idiot, he thought to himself. In love with
a space invader. It sounds like the plot for a bad sci-fi soap opera:
‘Attack of the Curse of the Revenge of the Return of the Brain Sucking
Soul Stealers from Irk, Part VII a Love Story’. He laughed again.

“Something funny, human?” Zim demanded curiously.

Dib shrugged, smiling. “We’re not trying to kill each other. Don’t
you think that’s a little weird, funny even?”

He watched Zim think for a moment, and then nod. “You are right. It
is rather humorous in an ironic way. Would you prefer to be plotting
each other’s respective deaths?”

“No,” he said immediately, this was much better.

Zim surprised him by agreeing right away. “Neither would I. So don’t
complain.”

“I wasn’t complaining,” Dib insisted, “just commenting.”

“Well fine then.”

“Fine.”

“Fine.” Zim stuck his tongue out. “Nyah.”

Dib returned the gesture. “Nyah nyah!”

“You think you can out ‘nyah’ Zim?!” he stood up, leering down at him.

“Yeah! Nyah!” Dib tried to stand up a little to quickly forgetting
the drain he’d suffered and he toppled back down painfully. “OW!” He
winced.

“Are you alright?” Zim asked, his expression changing from amused
disdain to, was that concern or had Dib hit his head again?

“Yeah, I’m fine,” he said, wincing again. “That thing just took more
out of me than I thought.”

Zim rolled his eyes. ” Do you require assistance, Dib-Human?”

[A/N: this is the scene with the pic!]

“No!” he insisted, trying to heave himself up under his own power
and failing, sliding back to the floor.

Zim gave him a condescending glance and, overriding Dib’s sputtered
objections, grabbed him by the wrist and hauled him to his feet. Dib
blinked. The skinny alien was a lot stronger than he looked. He turned
away, hoping to god that Zim had NOT seen him blush.

“Do you need to see the skool nurse, Dib?” he heard Zim ask behind
him.

Dib, his blush under control now turned around. “No, I’m fine really.
You know, you confuse me Zim. I think I have you all figured out and
then you go and change on me.”

Zim just stood there, looking at him, and Dib wondered what was going
on in his head. He opened his mouth to say something, but just then the
bell to end lunch rang. He shook his head. “Come on Dib, or we’ll get
detention for being late to class.”

To be continued…

Well, thanks for waiting for the chapter. *grin* Hope ya liked it. As
of right now it’s ten at night on Christmas. And since the chapter’s
over I feel free to blather all I want about my Christmas. I got a
hundred bucks total from various relatives. My friend Bridget and I are
going out to the mall Saturday to blow it all. (She got a genuine
Italian leather jacket! I’m jealous!) We’re gonna go to Hot Topic of
course. Along with the scanner I got a stylus interface thingy. It’s
basically a mouse shaped like a pen so I can do better art on the ‘puter.
My brother got a PS2 (finally!) and I plan to highjack it as soon as
possible. I spent most of the day watching him play Kingdom Hearts.
(Which, by the way is tres cute.) He got Final Fantasy 10 and Lord of
the Rings Two Towers. Heh, gee, can ya tell who told mom what games to
get for ‘him’? (For me is more like it!) I got a couple of CDs I wanted.
The Eminem show, (I love ‘Hailie’s Song’) System of a Down: ‘Steal this
Album’. (It really looks like a burnt CD, it’s funny!) and the new
3 Doors Down: ‘Away from the Sun’. (I love them, I saw a concert last
summer, don’t make fun of me!)I got sketchbooks from all my cheap ass
relatives, but that’s okay, I go through the paper faster that you could
believe. Well, maybe you could believe it if you draw too. That’s
pretty much it. I guess the scanner and stylus were pretty expensive.
Did I mention you need to go look at my art? Oh wait, no, I remember,
in my stocking my dad gave me a hand puppet of a chicken. I put a
spiked bracelet around it’s neck, an earring in it’s comb and named him
Mister Cluck-cluck. Who thinks I should take him to school and pretend
I think he’s a real person?

Well that’s all for now. More soon. Very soon.

Read it? Review it!


Chapter 5: The Contents of your Head


A/N: A big hello to all my readers and especially my reviewers. Your
support keeps me from thinking my writing must be crap. If you go and
see my fan art at . ?id=61483
please remember to leave me a review there to. I know the art’s not
very good but it’s the best I can do at the moment. I’m working on
getting on elfwood to.

If anybody here’s a fan of Harry Potter and/or thinks making fun of
Mary-Sues is really funny, go read my short humor/parody fic, Mary-
Sues Guild.

Disclaimer: What is this ‘koppirite’ of which you speak? Lejindarybunny
knows not of your barbaric earth concepts of thought ownership.

Chapter 5…In which Kiir plays mind games and what the hell are the
Oranges doing anyway?

Kiir’s hooded eyes drooped, glazing with boredom. She drummed her
gloved fingers slowly on the desktop. She was the only person left in
the classroom while everyone else was at lunch. Well, not quite the
everyone, the dumpy teacher-human sat behind her desk eating something
out of a bowl, some sort of liquid with chunks of stuff in it. Probably
some sort of earth soup. Every once in a while the teacher would look
up at her, shake her head and go back to eating.

The alien girl figured that the woman was probably suspicious of her,
after all, these humans couldn’t possibly be as stupid as they looked,
could they? And Kiir certainly wasn’t very well disguised, even though
the sensation of having her antennae bound back was driving her nuts.
For a human it was a sensation equivalent to having a rubber band
stretched between your ears and across your nose, only worse. She would
have dearly loved to shake them loose, if only for a minute or two, but
she suspected that doing so would most likely shatter whatever thin film
of possibility that she was human existed. She tilted her head back and
looked blearily at the ceiling tiles. One…two…three, she counted.

How long did these humans have for lunch? It must have been hours by
now. She glanced over at the clock. Twenty minutes, it had only been
twenty minutes. Why did it feel like time was going so slowly? Maybe
Earth revolved more slowly on it’s axis than planets in the Irken
system did. Or maybe this ‘Skool’ thing was just boring her to death.
It felt more like organized torture than education, and she’d thought
the Academy had been bad. She was beginning to count her blessing, half
breed or no, that she hadn’t been born an Earth child.

Ten…eleven…twelve ceiling tiles. Or was she at thirteen? She’d
lost count. She yawned widely and put her head down on the desk. She
tapped the button on the side of her optic enhancers, opening the link
to her ship’s computer, but repairs weren’t done yet and all she got
was static. With a sigh she closed the link and looked up at the
teacher, who luckily hadn’t noticed. She ran a finger over the symbol
on the front of her shirt, the insignia of the Irken Underground. From
what she had seen of the human alphabet, the rebel design looked
something like a swirling letter ‘d’ intertwined on it’s right side
with a ‘c’. She sighed for the loss of her pet revolution, not exactly
for the people themselves, or even for the goals, but for the
experience. The life of a space bandit was rough and thrilling. The
life of the leader of space bandits was rough, thrilling, glorious and
profitable. Up until of course, as always seemed to happen in data files
and old stories, that fatal time when everything fell through and the
authorities caught on to you. Then it simply went back to being rough.
There was no telling how long she was going to stay on this planet, so
far out of the way that as far as she knew it didn’t even have so much
as a way station for interstellar travelers. It had precious few of the
comforts of home and fewer still those she was used to as High Commander.
Well, she supposed that was all the better for a fugitive.

And fugitive she was. Surely her absence from the dead and captured
had been noticed by now. There would be police searches, inquiries, a
reward definitely high enough to attract citizen prank calls and
wanna-be bounty hunters. Skragg, maybe even high enough to attract some
serious bounty hunters. She was after all a highly dangerous personage.
And behind it all would be her uncle. There was no doubt in her mind
that if anyone was to blame for all the trouble in her life, everything
from her being expelled, the extreme fervency of the man-hunt it was
her dear old Uncle Purple.

She gave a derisive snort, causing the teacher to glance up at her.
But a bored frown and a shrug gave the woman no reason to keep watching
and Kiir went back to her thoughts, rueful as they were. Yes, amazing
as it was for others to believe she was flesh and blood of one of the
‘almighty’ Tallest. That was the problem. She was a source of
embarrassment to her Uncle, he feared what people might think were they
to know that their leader’s bloodline had been ‘despoiled’. Or at least
this was what Kiir surmised, she didn’t technically have any proof.
Although their meeting were few and far between even when she had been
on the ‘right’ side of the law, her Uncle had never been at all hostile
or even veiledly discourteous, but then, he was a politician after all.

She looked up at the clock again and found that no more than five
minutes had passed. She shook her head irritated.

“Hey, um, teacher,” she said, breaking the thick silence.

The woman’s gaze snapped up. “My name is Mrs. Drone,” she said in a
touchy sort of way.

“Ah, right, hey, when exactly does lunch end anyway?”

The dumpy human looked up at the clock. “The bell will be ringing in
just a moment. As you are not actually my student I can’t force you to
pay attention, but I trust when we return to lessons you will not do
anything to distract the class?”

“Yeah, sure,” she waved nonchalantly.

The teacher gave a her a look, silently for a moment and then spoke
again. “So, do you have the same skin condition as Zim?” she asked
carefully.

“Ah, yeah, actually.” Kiir winced inwardly, wondering where the
question was going to lead. She KNEW she should have had a better
disguise.

The Earthling looked apprehensive. “It is contagious is it?”

Kiir snorted, biting back a laugh. “No, its, uh… hereditary.” True,
in a sense.

She frowned. “So then, you and Zim are related?”

“…distantly.”

The woman raised an eyebrow. “I thought you were Dib’s cousin.”

Skragg, she forgotten that! Um, um, think on your feet Commander!
“No, I’m an alien.” she said with a big grin.

It had the desired effect. Mrs. Drone shook her head and rolled her
eyes. “Playing games at such an age, honestly, that boy he’s so smart
but he must have more neurosis,” she muttered and then looked squarely
at Kiir, “And you, young lady, shouldn’t be feeding into his fantasies.
You’ll all end up delusional, unable to separate fact from fiction. I
have a minor in psychology you know and one of the first things I
learned was it’s never possible to believe two opposing things at once
and not come off the worse from it.”

“I am not delusional,” she snapped huffily. How come everyone always
told her she was delusional? Her father, Zim, the headmaster of the
academy…Just because they didn’t want their perfect little models of
the Universe knocked over by a swift kick of the truth. They were the
delusional ones.

All the response that prompted from the teacher was a knowing ‘hmmmm’
as she looked back down at her soup.

Kiir pursed her lips. “And if I really was an alien, what would you
do then?” she asked. Maybe it was impulsive, but if as it seemed, the
human wouldn’t see anything that didn’t fit with her world model it
was completely harmless. If not, well, Kiir was always one to test the
boundaries of what was safe and logical. (Prompting of course, the
popular theory that she was completely off her rocker.)

The woman gave her a stern look at the query. “I’m afraid you’d have
a hard time convincing me of that.”

She shrugged. “Hypothetically speaking, out of curiosity.”

“Hypothetically speaking,” she answered, “I’d want to see your ship and
your alien technology before I believed a word of it.”

“And supposing I proved it to you,” she smiled, enjoying the game.
“Supposing you had undeniable evidence that I was from another star,
what would your reactions be?”

The woman gave her a sardonic look. “It would depend on your motives.
Are you here to enslave the human race or do you bring a message of
peace, hope and enlightenment?”

Kiir snorted. “Sanctuary. If I were here to live among you because my
alien race no longer accepted me.”

The teacher furrowed her brow. “I don’t think I’d have a problem with
that.” She paused. “You don’t expect me to believe that you are from
another planet do you?”

Kiir smiled with an impish, knowing delight and ran a hand through
her hair, stopping as she came to the binding of her ponytail. “Of
course not Mrs. Drone,” she said, tugging the rubber band out and
shaking her antennae free, “I’m just a kid with a skin condition and a
weird hairdo.”

The look on the teacher’s face that was puzzled, dismissive and warily
suspicious all at once, along with the feeling of no longer having her
sensitive antennae smothered in her hair, was well worth any danger she
had bought herself in the process by way of the doubt she had placed in
the woman’s secure world view were. Delusional indeed!

She grinned again as the bell to end lunch finally rang.

***

Dib trailed exhaustedly into the classroom behind Zim’s confident
stride. It had been all the he could do to convince the Irken that he
did NOT need to go to the nurse’s office and was perfectly fit, if a
bit tired and bruised, to return to class. He had, as he pointed out,
endured worse before this as a result of Zim’s own plans.

In the last twenty minutes the alien had definitely become more of a
mystery to him than ever before. Why Zim should even deign to rescue
him, let alone accept a tentatively proffered peace overture was quite
beyond his current skill to fathom. The best guess he could come up
with was that he, upon rejection by his superiors, had decided to go
completely against them. A sort of sour grapes reaction, i.e. ‘you don’t
want to give me what I want? Fine then I don’t want it.’ Zim seemed
to have decided to take it as far as latching on to the exact opposite
of ‘it’. Of course this was only a theory, but Dib couldn’t really come
up with a better explanation for what seemed to be such out of
character actions.

One corner of his mind was deeply suspicious of this turn of events,
it was the part of him that saw Zim as a real threat, the part that
trusted the green alien about as far as he could spit a rat. That part
of him was urging the rest to recognize it as all some sort of trick to
make him drop his guard. It kept whispering all the terrible things
that Zim had ever attempted. You can’t trust him, it hissed. He’ll
double-cross you the moment you back is turned!

But another part of him, the part his cynical mind would call naive,
urged him otherwise. Why would he? What would it gain him?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, the cynic dismissed. But don’t you think it’s a
little odd, if not a bit too convenient? You decide you’re in love with
him and he suddenly decides to be all nicey nice. I bet he can read
your mind.

He was trying to think of a suitable reply to himself when something
snapped him back to reality. Kiir’s antennae were clearly visible. He
stopped, and stared at her. What was she DOING?

She must have noticed him, because she grinned and waved lazily. “Hey
Dib, like my hair? Or do you think they’re ‘alien antennae’?”

He was probably the only one in the room who could hear the second
layer of irony underneath the heavy sarcasm. “Oh, oh yeah! Hey, every
body, can’t you see? She’s an alien!”

Somebody shoved him. “You’re such a dweeb, Membrane. Get a life.”

Dib had stumbled, catching his side painfully on the edge of a desk.
He grimaced, it would almost certainly bruise. He looked up as he heard
a crash and the classes laughter. The tough guy who had shoved him was
on the floor. He must have tripped, people like that were nearly always
too stupid for simple motor functions. He took his seat.

***

Zim scowled from his chair at the stink monkey he’d tripped when no
one was watching. He’d been doing such things for a while now, and Dib
never seemed to notice. Which was good. There had been no room for
subtlety, however, a few minutes before, when that orange thing had
seemingly been sucking the life out of Dib. The human had certainly
been surprised by the rescue, hadn’t he? Zim smirked, then frowned
again. What was going on with him? A truce had been that last thing
the Irken would have expected, and yet there it was. He was surprised
that Dib didn’t think he was trying to lead him into a false sense of
security, both of which would have been in keeping with their respective
images. But the ‘paranormal investigator’ was probably more preoccupied
with his new quarry.

Now there was something that gave pause for thought. The creatures
scientifically shouldn’t be able to exist. It would just take too long
for them to evolve all those traits and be sentient and anthropomorphic.
Unless they were enhanced by technology of course. What were they doing
on Earth anyway? Well, maybe they’d find out something this afternoon.
Energy signatures could sometimes tell very long and complex tales.

***

They had no names; they were above them. But for the sake of
simplicity and the understanding of what they would call inferior
creatures they will be referred to them collectively as Dib has, as The
Oranges, an apt descriptor for something so little is known about.
Separately however to keep better track of them, the white-eyed creature
will henceforth be known as Buntch, and the blue-eyed termed as Koil.

The place, however, had many names coined by the countless races of
the Universe. On earth alone it was known as void, or as limbo,
purgatory, no where, antimatter the space between, or any of many other
words. In Irken it is called Bastitch. The place, whatever you chose to
call it was a Universal fact, no culture or race has ever failed to
recognize it. It is a place on the edge of the senses, it is Not Space,
inside and outside of the universe, beside and around it. Humanity has
wondered what would happen were one to come to the end of the Universe
and step over, and the answer is that you would come out in this place.
Completely colorless, featureless, senseless to the utmost. It simply
is not, and yet it is more real than anything that exists.

As this nothing runs through all points in the Universe certain
technologies can be used to tap in and through it for instantaneous
transport. This however is difficult and hazardous for even the most
advanced of cultures and most don’t bother with it, preferring instead
to create ever faster and more aesthetically pleasing types of space craft.
After all a sleek ‘Voot Blazrag Mark 7’ with all the extras makes a much
more appealing status symbol than a room full of ungainly machinery that
will zap you instantly to wherever you destination is and possibly
switch your limbs with those of traveling companion in the process.

Another downfall of the instant transport system is of course, the
instantaneousness of it. No one, no matter how much money they pour
into funding of crackpot scientist for the purpose, has ever been able
to discover a way to entertain guests while traveling by this method.
The problem lies in the fact that although you go through the void you
arrive at the exact millisecond that you left, leaving very little time
in between(in fact literally none at all) for expensive hors devours to
be served or for making small talk with all the other very rich beings
that you have invited. And since the only creatures in the Universe who
could afford to own instantaneous transports are the type of beings who
practically live to host expensive showy parties on their expensive
showy vehicles, the idea will most likely never catch on.

Buntch walked through the colorless nothingness toward where their
ship was parked, the hull opened as he approached and he strode in.

Koil looked up and emitted a series of twitters to her partner. You
were not expected to return after such a brief duration.

It appears the human is not so easily dealt with.

You can not dispose of one small human? There was a note of
disbelief to the blue-eyed creature’s response.

It has an ally. Not an earth creature. Buntch waved and the hull
sealed itself.

Improbable. Preliminary scans showed that this planet has not made
interstellar contact.

Irrelevant. There is at least one non-earth creature in residence.

Did you procure an energy sample of it?

No, only of the earth being, but you will discover the results most
interesting.

Show me.

Buntch placed a hand on a white panel beside a screen. On the monitor
the image of a dancing stream of red light was displayed, beside it
strange letters, an analysis of the energy structure.

Koil’s eyes grew slightly larger. Remarkable. The creature’s
bio-energy is far more complex and potent than most beings is it so
with all these human?

Negative. Regard. He placed his other palm on the panel and the
image was replaced by a far more slender and docile string of grey.
This is the average I have noted among humans.

Pitiful. What could cause such a discrepancy?

Unknown, more research is necessary.

You will return tomorrow?

Negative. Identity has been breached. Change is imperative.

I will go. This human’s wave-length intrigues me.

Beware. It is a fragile creature.

Understood.

To be continued…

Sorry the chapter’s so short. I had a lot of homework and had to be
filmed for a documentary on VH1 about immortality. It airs on March
22. Next chapter will be up very soon Tomorrow probably. Definitely day
after. That’s when they’ll go to the park and see what they can find
of the oranges. And just why is Dib’s energy so different than the
normal humans? There’s a reason alright, but I’m not telling’! Yet.
And much more of our heros, I promise!


Chapter 6: Dry Grass


A/N: The sincerest of apologies for the long wait for this chapter. I
have been rather swamped lately with about six projects to get finished
before yesterday (Friday) And after this week is mid-terms and Wednesday
the 15th was my seventeenth birthday and it SUCKED! I had meant to
write this chapter that day, but crying most of it away kind of ruled
that out. I can’t promise anything but I will attempt to post with
more frequency again. As always the support of your reviews motivates
me. Thanks.

Disclaimer: Do any of us really own anything? What is ownership?

Chapter 6…In which the landing site is thoroughly investigated and
several discoveries are made, some of them stranger than others.

Every nerve in Dib’s body was taut like stretched wire. Intense
contemplation would not bury his awareness. He must be ready for
anything. Ready for the Oranges, ready for a double cross, ready to
respond immediately to any situation thrown his way.

The final bell rang and Dib, as high strung as if he’d been playing
‘Alone in the Dark’ at midnight on six cups of coffee, shot screaming
into the air like a mad jack-in-the-box and clung to the ceiling lamp,
panting and shaking.

Most of the class left laughing as they gathered there things and Dib
managed to avoid falling on either his face or his ass as he dropped
disheveled to the floor, eyebrow twitching.

“So much for ready and alert,” he muttered to himself, brushing off
his clothes and picking up his backpack. He grunted as the upwards of
thirty pounds weighed on his shoulder.

He looked around. Zim and Kiir were the only ones left around,
conversing quietly at her desk. Probably Zim was telling her where they
were going.

Don’t make assumptions, his cynical side hissed. You can’t hear what
they’re saying. Be on guard.

“Be on guard,” he repeated quietly to himself and strode over to
where the two aliens were standing, their conversation becoming more
audible as he approached.

“-fault,” Kiir said, crossing her arms.

“MY fault? What part of this is MY fault?” Zim demanded.

“I came here to get AWAY from hostile life forms not fight them!”

“And how does that have anything to do with me?”

“Um, guys?” Dib asked, announcing his presence hesitantly.

“What?” the Irken and Half-Irken snapped, turning in unison.

He cringed. “Nothing,” he squeaked uncomfortably.

“Speak your mind, Dib-human,” Zim said, a bit less gruffly.

“Are we still going to the landing site?” he asked shifting from foot
to foot uncomfortably, half expecting Zim to have changed his mind.

“Indeed. I was just discussing this with Kiir.”

Told you so, smirked his better nature.

Oh, so now Zim never lies? Greeeeeeat. Cynical Dib rolled his eyes.

The outlaw nodded. “So you got attacked, huh?”

“Don’t remind me,” he shuddered. He could still feel the clammy
tentacles writhing all over his flesh.

“Zim tells me it stole your energy.”

Wait a minute, hadn’t he just told her NOT to remind him? He opened
his mouth to answer.

“Come,” Zim said, interrupting any response Dib might have made. “There
are only a few hours of Earth daylight left. He started out the door
and Dib hurried after him, Kiir, from the sound of her footsteps,
following grudgingly behind.

“We will take you car,” Zim informed him.

Dib blinked. “Um, okay.” He shrugged. The park was only a few minutes
walk from skool, but if Zim wanted to drive, whatever.

“Provided it will start,” Kiir snorted. resenting, he supposed, the
difficulties in getting to skool that morning.

“Hey, I got it to work,” Dib defended.

“Yeah, after a good half hour,” she muttered.

“Humph,” Dib crossed his arms.

“Will you two stop bickering,” Zim demanded irritably.

“Feh.” Kiir didn’t say anything besides that, however.

The parking lot was near empty except for a few teachers staying late
and Dib’s black car. As soon as he had unlocked it, Zim opened and
climbed into the passenger’s side, eliciting a ‘hey’ form Kiir of mild
annoyance and indignation.

“Just sit in the back,” Zim told her.

Dib hoped a fight would not break out and was thankful when Kiir with
a sigh, got in the backseat. Dib was even more pleased when the car
started right away.

“Well what do ya know,” Kiir consented.

Out of the corner of his eye, Dib saw Zim smirk. But then, Zim was
always smirking.

***

Zim got out of the car, looking around at the greenery that was still
strange and foreign to him. They could easily have walked from skool
but he’d wanted to have the car on hand, just in case. Just in case they
needed a quick get away, or found something that needed analysis in his
lab.

“Do you recall the exact place?” he asked Dib.

The raven haired human nodded. “Yeah, it’s over this way.”

To Zim he seemed nervous and high strung. It made sense though, he
was nearly always a twitchy and suspicious creature, so it was only
natural that being attacked by a vicious and unknown monster might get
to him. Still, Zim wished he could do something to make him feel better.
Smooth his hair, touch his skin. Zim shook his head. Impossible. But
maybe he should do a few tests on him, just to make sure that the thing
didn’t do any lasting damage or anything more sinister and invisible.
But would Dib let him do that? Probably not, seeing as every time the
human had been exposed to his machinery it had been, well, not for
health benefits. There just wasn’t the trust between them yet.

Dib seemed more confused than adverse at this point though. Zim
wondered how long it would last, until they both fell back into the
old, familiar patterns.

He watched the human as he followed him to the site, Kiir tromping
along beside him. Dib was very graceful, when he wasn’t tripping all
over himself, and Zim sometimes just liked to watch him move.

“It was here,” Dib said as they came into the clearing form the night
before. “In the center about a hundred and fifty feet in diameter and
twenty feet tall.”

Zim nodded. A fairly large craft. He took out his scanner and switched
it on, letting it warm up. “Dib, Kiir, scout the area for tangible clues
to what’s going on.”

“Phht, like what Zim,” Kiir demanded. Dib however was already busy.

“Anything,” Zim grunted, looking back down at the scanner, waiting
for the results.

***

Kiir walked a little ways away and leaned against a tree, completely
ignoring Zim’s demand for her to ‘look for clues’. Who was he to order
her around? She looked back and forth between her old acquaintance and
the strange human. There was definitely something fishy going on
between them, mark her words. She had no idea what it could be of
course. Zim sends her to Dib, who tells her that the two of them had
been bitter enemies for years. Then Dib invites Zim to come in, he
declines almost violently and leaves, then the next day he rescues Dib
and they drag her along to chase creepies.

She shook her head. Strange behavior indeed. And now, if she didn’t
know better, she would swear that Dib was avoiding looking at Zim. She
decided that she was definitely going to get to the bottom of this
mystery. She grinned.

***

Zim stared down at the scan screen, amazed. There was absolutely no
sign that there had been a ship here at all in the last day. There
should have been large amounts of residual energies floating around
that didn’t mesh with the existing fields. But there were no such
abnormalities. But maybe, considering what the aliens had done… He
smirked and adjusted the scanner to read shifts in the intensity of the
NORMAL energy field and was rewarded a moment later when the scanner
beeped. The display showed an aberration in the field a sphere in which
the energy level was much, much lower than the rest, a sphere about
a hundred and fifty feet in diameter. So it seemed there ship absorbed
energy as well? That, as far as he new was a first.

He heard Dib’s voice, snapping him from his pondering.

“Hey Zim, come take a look at this!”

He jogged over to where the boy was kneeling, at the edge of where
the ship had been and only a few feet from the bushes where Zim had
found him the night before. He motioned for Zim to kneel as well.

“Yes Dib?” he asked curiously, stooping down.

“Take a look at that!” he grinned, pointing at the grass.

Zim looked. Amidst the green grass were large patches, all about
a foot long and four inches wide, of dry, withered, brown grass. They
were in such a pattern that Zim would have sworn they looked like-

“Footsteps,” Dib said. “This is where they got off the ship. They made
foot prints in the grass somehow, absorbing all the,” he gulped, “all
the energy out of the grass.”

Zim looked at him, seeing the fear behind his golden eyes. Obviously
Dib was realizing what would have happened to him if he’d not been
freed from the creature’s clutches. Seeing himself, dry and withered
like the grass. Zim grew angry. Try to kill Dib would they? Well, when
they crossed paths again they’d learn exactly why Irkens were the most
feared race in the Universe. Until then…

He put a hand on Dib’s shoulder. “Take some samples. We’ll bring them
back to my lab for a better look. Possibly it will tell us some more
about them.”

Dib nodded, hesitantly. “Do you think they do it voluntarily or, or
not?” He asked.

“I am unsure, but there ship seems to act the same way. Take a look.”
He handed Dib the scanner. “That grey spot is-“

“Where the ship was,” Dib said, “Right?”

“Yes. The entire Universe is intertwined with different types and
fields of energy. Their ship seems to have absorbed energy straight
from Earth’s Bio-field field, so much so that it hasn’t fully
rebalanced itself yet.”

“It should though, balance out, right?” he asked pulling up some of
the dead grass, making sure the roots came up as well.

“Unless something is very, very wrong, Dib-human,” Zim said, “Do you
have something to put that in?”

He nodded taking a small, covered specimen dish out of his backpack
and putting the grass in it. “I try to be prepared for anything.”

Zim nodded. He wondered what other things Dib had collected of
evidence of him, if anything. He couldn’t have much or he’d have
convinced the authorities of his existence by now. Or would he have? Dib
hadn’t tried to autopsy Kiir, had invited him in, had proposed the
truce himself. Who knew anymore?

“I don’t think we’re going to find anything else Zim,” Dib said, “Do
you want to get going?”

Zim considered it. “Alright.” he stood up, waiting for Dib.

Dib stood less shakily this time, put the sample dish in his coat
packet and reached down to pick up his backpack. Zim could see, even
before the boy stumbled under it’s weight that the thing was much too
heavy for him.

“Give me that,” he said, taking hold of one of the straps.

“Huh? No. I’ve got it,” Dib insisted, looking away slightly.

“You don’t have the energy Dib-human. Don’t be stubborn.”

“I’m fine,” he clutched the pack closer to himself still not meeting
Zim’s gaze. Strange.

“It’s too heavy for you even when you’re healthy, give it to me, now
Dib,” Zim held a hand out waiting for the human to hand it over. He
didn’t. “Fine.” Zim wrenched the backpack carefully, but quickly from
the human’s grasp, slung it over his own shoulder and started walking.

“Hey! Hey!” Dib ran after him. “Give that back!”

Zim ignored him.

***

Kiir, from several feet off had had prime seats for the spectacle.
She’d seen Dib’s face as he turned away, as well as the insistent,
worried look on Zim’s face. She’d seen the human BLUSH. And so her
mystery was solved so quickly, hardly a challenge at all. But with a
highly amusing answer.

She couldn’t help laughing to herself as she followed them to the car
at her own leisurely pace. They LIKED each other! And it looked like
neither of them realized the feelings were mutual. Oh it was beautiful,
exactly the sort of thing that snot Zim deserved. She’d be sure to
tease him mercilessly the moment she had a chance.

***

Dib had no idea why Zim had taken his back pack from him, unless of
course it was specifically to embarrass him , in which case he’d done a
wonderful job. Dib could feel the heat beneath his face and new that
he was STILL blushing a little bit. God damn it. And now he followed
the cocky, commanding little alien to his own car, like Zim had some
sort or right to order him around. He sighed. This was stupid, why was
he doing this to himself, following Zim around like a puppy. Better
that he stayed away from him until the feeling went away.

But he couldn’t, and he didn’t really want to either. He liked being
around the Irken, and much as he hated to admit it he felt gratified
and rather special that Zim had been so insistent on carrying his bag.

As they approached the car he heard footsteps behind them and turned
apprehensively. It was only Kiir. He’d half forgotten that she was there
at all.

“Did you find anything?” he asked her.

“No,” she said with a wry grin that made Dib very nervous.

“O-kay,” he shrugged, unlocking the car. He looked up at Zim. “Um,
we’re going to your house, right?”

“Unless you have a qualm with that,” he answered, throwing Dib’s bag
in the back seat with Kiir.

“Ah, no that’s fine,” he said, sitting behind the wheel and closing
the door, a realization dawning on him. He’d been INVITED to Zim’s
house. He wasn’t sneaking in or taking photos with hacked satellite
equipment. He was going to see the place he’d been trying for years to
get to, and he wasn’t (he hoped) going to get chased out. A very large
smile graced his lips.

But of course as he started the car, cynical Dib had to have his say.
It’s probably a trap you idiot!

Oh shut up, the rest of Dib snapped and continued grinning happily.

“You know how to get there?” Zim asked.

“Unless you moved it,” he chuckled and pulled out of the parking lot.
“…Did you move it?” He asked a bit uncertainly.

“No, although that’s not a bad idea,” Zim mused, “But pointless since
you’re the only human who knows where it is.”

Did that mean, Zim …trusted him?

Cynical Dib tried to make a sarcastic remark but optimistic Dib had
duct-taped his mouth shut and tied his hands together.

***

Twenty minutes later when Dib parked across the street form Zim’s odd
looking house, the sun was just about finished setting. Dib got out of
the car, stretching to see the sky on fire with orange and purple. Funny
that such spectacular phenomena could be caused by pollution. Zim got
out of the car, still carrying the back pack he’d taken and Kiir yawned
boredly.

Dib followed the aliens excitedly, almost apprehensively into the
house, chuckling as Zim shoved his parent robots out of the way.

“Come in,” he said, “watch out, I’m not sure where Gir is.”

Kiir collapsed on the couch.

Dib frowned slightly, remembering some of his previous encounters
with the psychotic robot. “Consider me dually warned.”

“Do you need to let someone know where you are? This may take some
time.”

“Uh, no. It’s fine.” His father wouldn’t notice his absence and Gaz
would only be glad he wasn’t there to disturb her.

Zim squinted an eye, an expression that Dib had come to connect as the
equivalent of raising an eyebrow, but didn’t question his answer. “Do
you require food? You had no lunch.”

Zim certainly seemed strangely concerned with his well being lately,
didn’t he? Dib realized that he was indeed, very hungry. He hadn’t had
breakfast either. Embarrassedly he decided to take the offer and not,
as Cynical was trying franticly to make him, worry about being poisoned.

“Um, yeah. I am kinda hungry,” he admitted. “Do you have anything
human friendly?”

“I believe so,” Zim nodded. “Come with me.”

Dib followed him to the kitchen, where Zim proceeded to open up
various cabinets and the refrigerator, all of which were stuffed with
food, but absolutely nothing healthy. The cabinets had bags of fun sized
candies, Twinkies and ho-hos and the like, sugar coated cereals, a dozen
or more different kinds of potato chips and boxes of fruit roll-ups.
The fridge had about six different flavors of soda pop, jello and pudding
cups and a box of pizza.

“Do you see anything?” Zim asked. “Most of this is Gir’s.”

“…Um, what’s on the pizza?”

Tentatively Zim lifted the lid a little ways and peered in, but shut
it very quickly and looked at Dib. “Trust me, you don’t want it.”

“O-kay. How about some chips then?”

“Those I can vouch for the safety of,” he grinned, leaning down to
the cabinets. “Any particular flavor?”

“Um, plain.”

He caught the bag Zim tossed, seeing that the alien had one himself,
and he also pulled two soda’s out of the fridge and handed one to Dib.

“Thanks. Um, should we bring Kiir something?”

“She can find the kitchen, she’s not quite that stupid. Come on, we
need to get that sample tested and she won’t be any help anyway.” Zim
walked over and opened what seemed to be a closet door. It wasn’t. It
was an elevator of sorts, assumably leading down to the lab.

Dib followed him into the elevator a little uncomfortably. This wasn’t
the way he’d gotten down to the labs before, but then, who knew if he’d
taken the proper route. He probably hadn’t. The space wasn’t large and
he stood shoulder to shoulder with Zim, making him even more nervous.
His cynical side was muttering incoherencies about his doom which was
surely about to ensue and he was still feeling faint from earlier. In
fact he was feeling almost as bad now as he had right after the drain.
He must have looked it because as they descended Zim turned to him.

“Are you feeling alright Dib-human?” he asked concernedly.

“I’m a little tired,” he admitted, “but I’ll be okay.”

Zim frowned. “We don’t know all the effects of the drain yet. Tell me
if you start feeling worse.”

“I will,” he nodded. “But…”

“Yes?”

The elevator stopped and opened up into the lab.

Dib shook his head. “Nothing.”

Zim shrugged and Dib followed as he walked out into the lab. Dib
stared around wishing he had a few extra sets of eyes and resisting the
urge to snap photos left and right. All the strange equipment was
entrancing. He could spend years looking at it.

“Impressed?” he heard Zim say arrogantly, leading him over to the
main computer bay.

“Definitely,” Dib breathed, “what’s it all do?”

“Oh, this and that,” he shrugged grinning. “Keeps the base running.”
He sat down in the high backed chair before the great monitor.
“Computer.”

“Yes?”

Dib had to keep himself from jumping at the disembodied voice. This
was so cool. Just like ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ or something,
only with a less annoying computer, he hoped. He couldn’t help grinning.

“Get Dib a chair,” the Irken commanded.

Dib was very surprised when a chair that matched Zim’s rose out of a
hatch beneath him, scooping him into the seat. “Um, thanks.”

“No problem,” the computer replied.

“You have the sample?” Zim asked.

Dib nodded and pulled the dish out of his pocket. He handed it to Zim.
“Here,” he smiled.

Zim nodded, and taking the top off the dish set it on a tray thing on
the computer control panel. “Analyze this sample, computer.”

“It’s dry grass,” the computer said.

Zim turned to Dib and rolling his eyes as if to say ‘he’s always like
this’ said, “We know that, computer. Give us a FULL analysis.”

“Fine. Processing.”

“It’ll probably be a few minutes,” Zim told him, tearing open his bag
of chips munching on a handful.

Dib popped the top of his cola. “So, do you think it’ll really tell
us anything useful about the Oranges?”

“The Oranges?” Zim asked confusedly.

“Oh sorry. That’s what I’ve been calling the aliens, since we don’t
know what they’re really called. I forgot I hadn’t mentioned it before,”
he exclaimed happily.

“The Oranges,” Zim said, “A rather disarming name for something so…
creepy.”

Dib smiled. The way Zim talked with an irregular mixture of very
proper, erudite speech and in the same sentence throwing in slang and
words like thingy, Dib found very endearing.

“Well,” Dib said, “I suppose we could call them the Giant Evil Stretch
Monsters of Death, if you think it would be more appropriate.”

Zim looked at him a moment. “…The Oranges it is.”

Just then the computer spoke. “Analysis complete.”

“Well, tell us,” Zim said impatiently.

To Be Continued…

So you’ll just have to be patient! Because cliff hangers make me more
inclined to fell the need to write. Next chapter, what’s up with the
grass. What’s up with Dib? What’s Kiir up to? Till then!

Read it? Review it!


Chapter 7: Curious Results


A/N: Tonight we’re having Taco’s for dinner! I like tacos! But I like
fanfiction more…Speaking of which, eye loave yew, Ari-chan!

Just so you know, I don’t think I write Gir very well so I’d really
appreciate some advice.

I learned a new word on X-files last night. It’s ‘exsanguinated’ it
means drained of blood, the sort of thing that vampires and cow
mutilators and the chupacabra do.

Why do I always get blamed when my brother does anything wrong? Just
because I’m older! I’m supposed to keep him out of trouble, but ya know
what? He is fourteen! He doesn’t need me to baby-sit him while he plays
videogames all day! I don’t CARE if he beats sephiroth or not! I have
things I want to do! Nobody understands that I have a LIFE I am NOT
my brother’s keeper!

Sorry for the rant…

Disclaimer: Me Kiir, they copyright. Tarzan king of jungle.

Chapter 7…In which Kiir plays almost no part, Dib and Zim get some
odd readings from the grass and Dib gets progressively less well.

Kiir munched on cheeze doodlez while paying rapt attention to the
strange earth broadcast. Completely inane and yet somehow innately
appealing, it seemed that John, who was married to Lisa, was sleeping
with Tina, and someone had killed Lisa, but John didn’t know it and it
was most likely either Tina or the mysterious figure. Kiir was betting
on the mysterious figure, since he was obviously John’s long lost twin
brother. He was in love with Tina too, but what neither of them knew
was that Tina was not only just sleeping with John for his money but was
also a lesbian and had been sending anonymous love letters to John’s
secretary Sarah. Which was sad since John apparently really did love
her.

Kiir sniffed.

“WHATCHA WHATCHIN’?!” somebody shrieked.

The cheeze doodlez ended up all over the couch and in the rebel’s
hair. She turned and glared at the little robot.

“You look saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad. Wannaplaywitmahpiggy?!” He
proffered the pink thing to her with a cheerful ‘squeak-ky’.

Kiir, busy brushing the orangey yellow chrunchies from her hair,
raised an eyebrow. “Um, no…thanks.” This ‘piggy’ was a bit
disturbing, so, she decided, was the robot. Was it supposed to be Zim’s
SIR unit? She’d heard that the Tallest had given him some sort of
defective piece of junk.

The robot had sat himself on the floor next to the couch and was
staring at the television. It looked up at her. “This is my faaavorite
commercial.” It giggled.

She leaned back on the couch. “What are you?” she muttered.

“I’m Gir!” it chirped.

“Ah-huh.” She picked up the remote and changed the channel.

***

Dib looked up at the screen as the status of the grass was displayed.
The output of which was mostly in Irken characters only three quarters
or so he could actually read. That didn’t matter though, because the
computer read the results for them.

“Subject, grass, common flora covering much planet Earth’s landmasses.
Specimen has been subject to a massive bio-energy drain. Traces of
unknown organic material on the outer layer of the plant suggest the
siphon was a living being.”

Well, that proved it was the oranges that had done it, but they’d
pretty much knew that already. He gave Zim a quizzical look.

“Computer, what are the properties of the organic material?” the
Irken demanded.

“Substance is semi-solid but mutable.”

“What type of bio-energy does it display?”

“Energy signature matches that of Earth’s biofield,” the computer
answered.

He watched Zim’s expression become understandably confused.

“That would mean they’re from Earth,” the Irken muttered. “But that’s
impossible.”

Dib grinned and shook his head, he understood this. “No, they aren’t
from earth, they absorbed the energy from the grass, remember? I bet
they don’t even HAVE any energy of their own.”

Zim looked impressed. “I knew that,” he said.

Dib smirked, and felt rather flattered.

“Are there any lasting ill effects from the drain?”

“Besides the fact that the sample is dead, you mean?” the computer
retorted sarcastically.

Zim frowned. “Yes, that is exactly what I mean. Extrapolate from
known data, would there have been any complications in a non-fatal
drain?” He sounded concerned and Dib thought he saw the ex-invader
glance at him out of the corner of his eye.

Was Zim worried about him? It certainly sounded that way. Why else
would he be asking that? Dib pushed his glasses up nervously.

The computer paused. “…Unknown. Data insufficient to make an accurate
extrapolatation.” It didn’t sound as sure of itself as usual.

Zim’s frown deepened. “Stupid useless piece of junk,” he muttered,
crossing his arms.

“Hey!” it sounded insulted.

Dib meanwhile had fallen into thought. Zim had said he had no idea
where the Oranges came from and the computer didn’t even know what they
were made of. That surely meant they were from pretty far away, didn’t
it? “Computer,” he asked curiously, “Is the unknown compound similar
to anything in your database, even if it doesn’t quite match it?” He saw
Zim look at him, and then at the computer monitor. Dib shrugged. “Just a
thought.”

“Running analysis…Confirmed, compound is similar to particles found
clinging to people sent through Instant Transportation machines and
also to samples found on Earth’s moon.”

Both human and Irken gazes snapped up.

“Instant Transport?” asked Dib.

At the same time Zim demanded, “The moon?”

“Confirmed.”

“Zim, what’s an Instant Transport machine?”

“It’s mode of travel that never really caught on. Partly because it’s
so expensive, but mostly because space ships are just a lot cooler,” Zim
explained. “Anyway it’s this machine that zaps you through non-space
to any point you want without any time passing in between.”

“…like that transportery thing you had everybody build when you had
that crazy Santa suit?”

The alien paused. “…yes, like that.”

Zim seemed vaguely uncomfortable at the mentioning of his previous
world conquering exploits. Dib supposed it was because he WAS
uncomfortable with it, having discovered that the whole thing was a big
joke.

Or, cynical Dib said, daring to make himself heard for the first time
since entering the house, maybe he’s afraid you’ll suddenly remember
that he’s the BAD GUY?

Dib rolled his eyes and ignored the suspicions in the back of his mind.
he had a more immediate paranormal problem to investigate at the moment.
“Okay so wouldn’t that make sense, because they keep appearing and
disappearing,” he mused.

“Indeed,” Zim nodded. “It would follow that they must have some sort
of Instant transportation technology similar to that of the Irken
Empire. But that does not explain why the same particles are on your
moon.”

“Maybe that’s where they come from?”

“Doubtful,” Zim answered, “My scans show that there has not been life
on your moon for at least a thousand years.”

“Oh. Oh well.” Then Dib did a double take, his yellow eyes getting
wide as he became exited. “Wait a minute, you mean there WAS life on the
moon?”

Zim shrugged. “It’s probable. I didn’t do any more than preliminary
tests, it didn’t seem very useful at the time.”

“I KNEW it,” he grinned, “I knew there was life on the moon.”

***

Zim smirked at the exuberant UFO buff. So enthusiastic. “Calm down
human, what ever was there is long dead.”

Dib grinned at him, rather manically. “Not necessarily. I mean, they
could have migrated off planet, er, satellite. They could even have
integrated with the human population long ago. Or, even if they didn’t,
I wonder what killed them off?”

The Irken sighed, resting his chin on his hand, watching the boy
obsess. It was cute, in a frantic, potentially self-destructive sort of
way. Of course, Zim himself was living proof that just because the
human seemed crazy at times didn’t mean he was wrong. He chuckled to
himself.

“Hey, maybe they’re the Oranges! Maybe they’re searching the galaxy
for the right type of energy to restore their decimated home world.” He
got a dreamy, star-gazy look in his eyes.

Zim snorted. “I wouldn’t hold them in very high esteem if I were you,
Dib-human. Even IF, as incredibly improbable as it is, that were what
they were trying to do, they obviously are going to kill you, your race
and a good amount of the other life on your little planet to do it.”

“Oh, yeah. Huh. Well, it’s still possible though,” his eyes became
more focused again, and he pushed up his glasses.

He rolled his eyes, glad to have brought Dib back to reality for the
moment. “If you like I will send a probe to do more tests on your moon,
I should probably get more samples of that compound to test anyway.”

He wanted to know as much as possible about these ‘Oranges’. He didn’t
like unknowns, they made him uneasy. Especially not knowing whether or
not there had been any permanent damage done to Dib. He was certainly
acting normal enough, normal for Dib anyway. But he was still worried,
humans were such a frail race. Even the healthiest ones could die
suddenly, seemingly without reason, and none of them had even ever made it
to a hundred and fifty of their short earth years.

Zim shook his head slightly to get rid of the melancholy thought.
“I’ll send the probe off right now.” He looked up, “Computer, launch
moon probe from orbital base.”

“Activating…”

Zim glanced over at Dib, who was looking a little paler than usual and
more tired than he had moments before. His excitement had probably
accentuated his lack of energy. He should have realized mentioning life
on the moon would illicit such a reaction. And he seemed restless, a bit
bored even. Zim wondered if there was anything he could do to perk him
up. Hmmmmmm. “Computer, display probe launch on screen.”

He saw Dib’s expression brighten instantly as the monitor snapped on
to show an orbital view of Earth, Zim’s crescent-shaped base, and the
Earth’s natural satellite, the grey-brown pockmarked rock, Luna.

***

Dib watched the screen with barely disguised longing. A hatch in the
orbital base, which he had been in once but really hadn’t gotten a
chance to look around, and a probe, small, sleek and bearing the
standard Irken insignia shot from it. He watched it rocket to the moon
across a field of stars, all in much sharper focus than Earth
instruments could manage. It almost looked like he was out there in
space. If only…He sighed.

He slumped back in the chair, feeling distinctly weary, his eyes still
fixed on the monitor. He didn’t feel so well, a little nauseous, a bit
dizzy too. Was he going to die like that grass? He hoped not. Here, in
the chair, with Zim beside him without, for once, a weapon of mass
destruction or even small scale terror, he felt…content. Like things
were finally looking up. Such a contrast to last night, when he lay in
bed with out any hope for the future, wondering if Zim would shoot him
as a favor. Now the only thing that he might have asked the Irken was
to hold him, tell him he wasn’t alone. That was what the dark haired
bespectacled human feared most in the world, being alone.

***

Zim saw Dib’s eyes as he stared both literally and figuratively, off
into space. He still didn’t look well, in fact he looked even worse
than before. His eyes were glassy and his face was flushed. Zim thought
the human might have a ‘fever’, a symptom, he knew, of illness.

“Dib,” he said, trying to rouse him from his waking slumber, “Dib
are you in satisfactory condition?”

“Hmmm?” the slouched, black clad form looked up.

“Are you feeling okay?”

Dib blinked blearily and Zim was becoming more concerned by the
moment.

“Nn, not… really,” he admitted, “I feel kind of dizzy and nauseous
and just, not good.”

Zim frowned. “I think you have a fever, Dib-human.”

“Maybe,” he said sleepily. “I don’t know, can you check?”

Zim blinked. Wasn’t lack of alertness a sign of fever? “You want
me to?”

Dib nodded vaguely.

Zim, unsure of himself for once pulled off one glove and reached
over to Dib, his three fingered hand hovering just above the human’s
forehead. Should he really touch him? He looked at the boy’s large
glazed ryes, and laid the back of his hand on Dib’s face.

“Dear Tallest, you’re burning up!” he exclaimed.

“I am?” he asked groggily. “That’s not good.” The boy nuzzled Zim’s
hand with his cheek. “Your hand’s nice and cool.”

Zim felt himself blush, but couldn’t bring himself to snatch his
hand away. No, Dib definitely wasn’t thinking straight.

The human looked up with large, worried, golden eyes. “Mmmmm, Zim,
what time is it?”

Zim glanced at the clock, he answered tentatively, wondering why Dib
wanted to know. “Seven-thirty.”

“Oh no, I’ve got to…to get home,” the boy immediately, shakily
tried to stand.

Zim put his hands on Dib’s shoulders and tried both to steady him and
to gently force him back down into the chair. “No, Dib, you’ve got to-“

The human wobbled and fainted into Zim’s arms.

To Be Continued…

Dun dun dun. Heheh. CLIFHANGER OF DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM. Okay,
one hint, the title of the next chapter is ‘Fever Dreams’.

Read it? Review it!


Chapter 8: Fever Dreams


A/N: Eeeep! I have MIDTERMS Monday! (Today? Maybe for you, but for me
today’s still Friday, thank the Tallest!) Not like I study anyway
though. I have my English Regents first, that’s a NY state mandated
test just in case you don’t know. (I’m take them now instead of at the
end of the year cuz I’m in Honors English.)But I also have math in the
afternoon on Monday! I got a fifty on my last test and I’m in the
REMEDIAL course! I HATE math! MAY IT SUFFER THE DOOM OF A THOUSAND
POKEMON CARD LASCERATIONS!

Disclaimer: I don’t own them because they’re REAL.

Chapter 8…In which the Oranges strike again, Dib has nightmares and
Zim worries, a lot.

Mrs. Drone was still in her classroom, sitting at her desk grading
persuasive essays. She sighed turning over Dib Membrane’s paper. It was
extremely well written, but god that boy needed therapy. The whole
thing, written a week or so ago, was taking various ‘evidence’ and
trying to convince her that Zim was an alien. She shook her head.

The woman looked up, having felt a cold draft, but there was nothing
out of place, the door closed, window too. She looked down and then
sharply up again as her mind registered the sight her subconscious had
been trying to edit out.

It was tall, gangly and decidedly, undoubtedly inhuman. The teacher
stared transfixed in horror at the orange figure’s hideous, perfectly
round, blue eyes.

For a moment there was no movement, then the terrible featureless
thing reached out it arms and grabbed her.

Now Isabella Drone screamed.

And screamed.

And screamed.

More tentacles found themselves wound around her body, writhing and
pulsating. She kicked and struggled more and more feebly as she felt
her strength leaving her as though it were rising out of her body
through her skin.

There was no one there to rescue her from the creature that had her
in its clutches. Her final thought before everything went black was

Dib was right.

Another moment and Koil dropped the withered husk of a body, all
energy drained. One moment after that and the alien began searching the
victim’s purse.

***

Zim reflexively caught the falling human.

“Dib? DIB?!” he demanded, alarmed.

But there was no response from the limp body.

“You are NOT dead, Dib!” Zim held the boy securely as he raced across
his lab. Irkens may look scrawny but they had much greater strength
than humans. “Computer! Prepare the medi-lab for an immediate patient!”

“You are going to be fine Dib, you had better be fine,” he muttered,
tears welling in his eyes. “If you die I swear I’ll kill you!”

***

Dib couldn’t quite see where he was, but it was somewhere with grass,
somewhere he knew had once been beautiful, but all the green was gone,
it was all dead and brown.

He was in the center of the field, staring up at the black, starless
sky. There was no one else there, he was alone and he was so afraid.

Then something inhuman and terrible screamed and swooped down on the
hill where he stood. It was orange and was clawed, fanged and winged.
It was coming for him, and there was no where to hide.

He cowered and covered his face, waiting for the end to come. Through
his hands he saw the things jaws open and the thing prepared to breath
fire.

Hoof beats at a gallop. Dib looked up and saw someone, a knight on a
black horse in black armor riding towards them. The dragon paused to
see this new creature, and as it did the knight raised a bow and shot
a green flaming arrow at it. The shot held true and caught the dragon
in it’s long neck.

The beast gave a fell howl as it was knocked from the air to the
ground with another shot. The knight rode forward, drawing his sword
as he passed he Dragon and swung at it, opening a great wound in the
monster’s shoulder. The beast shrieked again and lashed out with a claw
and a blast of fire knocking the dauntless warrior from his mount.

Dib tried to shout for the knight to get up, but he couldn’t get his
voice to work.

The dragon was closing in on the knight who was still down.

***

Zim set Dib’s still figure gently but quickly on the pallet and
stepped back.

“Computer, scan for vital signs,” he commanded nervously.

Transparent bands of yellow and violet appeared over Dib’s body,
obscuring alternate bits of his form and a readout display was projected
in the air beside him.

“Patient is unconscious,” the computer intoned. “Pulse slower than
human average, and has a current body temperature of a hundred and
two degrees Fahrenheit.”

Thank the Tallest, Dib had only fainted it seemed, but that fever was
awfully high. “Is there anything that you can give him for the fever
that won’t react incorrectly with his metabolism?”

“Katou Matadis is human safe.”

Zim nodded. “Give him that.”

A metal arm extended and gave Dib an injection.

“Is he in any immediate danger?” he asked nervously.

“Negative.”

Zim took a deep breath. “Run a full diagnostic. I want to know any,
no, EVERY thing that is, that could POSSIBLY be wrong as soon as
possible.”

“Running diagnostic,” the computer confirmed.

Zim sat down heavily in a chair beside the medi-slab Dib was on. How
long would it be until the human woke up? How would he react to wake
up in the lab? It couldn’t be helped, Zim NEEDED to know what was wrong
with him to help him. He hoped Dib would understand that.

Zim rubbed the fingers of his left hand together, remembering the
feeling of Dib’s fever stricken skin, and the confused, dependant look
in his eyes, as he nuzzled Zim’s hand.

Was it only the fever?

***

Dib screamed as the dragon’s jaws were about to close on the knight.
But he saw the figure lash with his sword, knocking the beast’s muzzle
away as he jumped back to his feet.

Another sword stroke and Dib saw the dragon fall and the knight raise
it’s severed orange head. The knight removed his helmet to revel a
brash grin and green countenance.

Dib was sitting in his room, on his bed. He tossed the fantasy novel
aside. He drummed his fingers on the pillow for a moment, then jumped
up and turned his computer on. He turned to look out the window while
he waited, he pushed aside his curtains, but there was only a blank bare
wall.

Dib turned around, eyes wide, to look for the door. It wasn’t there
either. In its place was a mirror.

Dib stared at his reflection at it stared at him, but as fear gripped
his heart the mirror image grinned wickedly at him. It grinned and he
could tell that it was whispering terrible things into the back of his
mind. He could hear it; he could feel the darkness emanating from it.

All the terrible things he had ever done or said to Zim played before
him, all the angry, hurt looks the Irken had ever given him flashed
in his mind, the dark hissings of the devil in the mirror, the devil
who laughed and laughed.

He fell to his knees clutching his head and sobbing, and in the mirror
his demon danced merrily. And Dib pushed himself to his feet and
grabbed the chair from beside his computer and threw it at the mirror.

***

The analysis wasn’t done yet. This worried Zim because it didn’t
usually take this long. Human biology was easy enough for the computer
to understand and it should have been finished unless the Oranges had
really done a number on the boy’s physiology.

Zim clenched his fists. He swore that he’d hurt those things as much
as they’d hurt Dib. More. If he died…Zim was trembling with rage.

He heard footsteps.

“Hey, Zim, I looked for you in the lab but the computer said you
were…here. What happened?”

Zim swung his gaze around to look at Kiir, to glare at her actually.
“Go back upstairs,” he hissed through his teeth.

“Ooooooooh, You keeeeeeeeeeled him,” said Gir, who was standing
behind Kiir’s legs, in a sad, shocked whine.

Zim turned his hard gaze on the robot. “Shut up Gir,” he snapped.
“You know nothing. The human fainted and I am attempting to discover
the cause of his loss of consciousness.”

Kiir raised an eyebrow and gave a smirk that made Zim want to hit her
with something large and heavy. “Really Zim? How come? I mean, what is
with you two anyway? Dib told me last night that you were enemies.”

“Circumstances change,” he looked away.

The computer bleeped and burbled. “Diagnostic complete.”

***

The chair crashed into the mirror, shattering it to dust as the rest
of the room fell apart and Dib fell through black space where the
stars winked and flashed glimpses of distorted images as though they
were mirrors themselves. One star in particular caught his eye and he
stared at it as he fell and the image seemed to grow larger and larger.

Dib leaned back in his chair with his feet on the control panel,
staring idly out the view-shield at the stars as they flashed past.
Five months into the journey he was finally almost home.

He smirked to himself; it had been so easy, much easier than he would
have guessed. But then, he shouldn’t have expected that such a backwater
planet would have presented any challenge. Less than a year after his
arrival the Earth had fallen to the mighty Invader Dib.

And now he was headed back to the Empire for praise from his Tallest
and admiration from all his fellow Irkens. He wondered if the Empire
had changed at all while he was gone, probably not, as he hadn’t been
gone for very long, but long enough for him to…have a hard time…
remembering what the Empire was like at all.

Dib furrowed his brow. Strange, he could hardly remember anything at
all…He shook his head. Something wasn’t right. Something was very
wrong. He stood up.

“Gir, Gir?” He looked down at the little robot who was sucking on his
own fingers.

“Yeeeeeeeeeeeesss?”

“Gir who am I?” he demanded.

The robot giggled.

Dib picked the robot up and shook it. “Tell me who I am!”

It giggled again. “You’re a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuman.”

“What? No!”

The robot giggled and turned his eyes into mirrors. Dib stared into
the twin orbs of reflection and saw his own pink flesh and hair.

He dropped Gir.

“No!” He tripped backwards, and smashed through the glass of
the view shield, and once again he was in the void of space.

But this time he remembered that he couldn’t breath.

***

Zim stared at the readouts. It was impossible. It just wasn’t
possible. This was something that completely dwarfed the fact that he’d
figured out what the Oranges had done. In fact, they hadn’t done
anything more than the energy drain, if Dib had just rested this
wouldn’t have happened. But no, the hu- Dib had had to overtax himself.
The drain had depleted his immune system and his body was reacting
very badly to an infection he’d had before but hadn’t done any harm.

Zim had him on antibiotics that the computer assured him were safe
for him to take and if Dib didn’t slip off into a coma the medicine
would do the rest and he’d be fine. This was something different. This
had nothing to do with Oranges. He stared at the readouts again. Did
Dib know?

“Zim!” Kiir shouted. “I don’t think he’s breathing.”

“What?!” Zim snapped around. “Computer?!”

“Affirmative, attempting resuscitation.” An air mask clamped itself
over Dib’s mouth and nose.

Zim stood over the pallet and looked down at him. “Breath Dib!” he
commanded, fearfully, and squeezed the boy’s hand.

***

Dib felt himself suffocating, but there was nothing for him to breath.
He struggled trying to find air. He couldn’t. He felt himself dieing,
drowning.

Someone grabbed his hand. Someone pulled him up above the water and
set him on the shore, coughing and sputtering. He felt the air flowing
back into his lungs.

***

Zim heard Dib start to cough. “Computer, he’s breathing!”

“Affirmative.” The air mask was released. “Breathing stabilized.”

Zim felt relief flood his being. For a moment he thought that Dib was
really going to die. His own breathing steadied and he loosened his
grip on Dib’s hand, but didn’t let him go entirely.

“I know why you’re so worried,” said a catty voice right by his
antenna.

Zim looked sharply up. “Worried? Zim is not worried.”

She snorted. “Really.” She was incredulous. “So you WERE’NT just
holding onto his hand for dear life?”

Zim glared at her. “What do you know, outlaw?” He gently let go of
Dib’s hand.

“A lot more than you think, Zimmy.”

“How many times have I told you not to call me that?” he snapped.

“More than I care to count, Zimmy.”

His gaze darkened further. “I thought I’d be rid of you when they
kicked you out of the academy, and I was wrong. I thought I was rid of
you when they sent me to Earth and look, I was wrong again. You’re like
the Blachstian Plague, you just keep coming back.” He crossed his arms
and looked away.

He felt her put her arms around his shoulders. “Aw, is that anyway to
treat an old sweetheart?” She chuckled, “even if you do have a new one.”

The shock of the words hit him like a blow and he forced himself out
of her embrace and swiveled around to stare stricken at her. “WHAT?”

She smirked. “Don’t even try to tell me you’re not in love with him,
it’s painfully obvious.”

“You lie!” he hissed. “He is an Earth-thing.”

She shrugged. “So? You know you care about him. Does is really matter
what planet he’s from?”

Zim sat down heavily in his chair. Was there really any use denying it
to her? She’d just keep pushing. She ALWAYS kept pushing. “You never
know when to quit, do you?” he muttered to her.

She bopped one of his antenna and he shivered. “Wasn’t that why you
dated me? I’ll wager a couple thousand monies that kid there doesn’t
know when to quit either.”

He slumped back in his chair. “No, he doesn’t.” He looked up at her,
for all his protesting it was a relief to admit it to someone. “He’s
been fighting me for five years, Kiir, since I got here. We’ve been
bitter enemies. I try to conquer the Earth, he stops me and tries to
prove I exist to the rest of the world.” He sighed.

“And you’ve always admired him from afar and known you’d never really
hurt him, right?” She grinned. “I bet you’ve had fantasies about having
him by your side when you ruled the Earth.”

He glared at her. “I hate you.”

“Only because I know you so well Zimmy. So keep talking, why the
sudden lack of enmity between you?”

He looked away. “It was… a combination of things. Finding out, last
night, about my mission, and then today when I saved him. He wanted a
truce, and I thought, why not? What’s the point anymore? And I thought
maybe, since he was the one that said it, maybe it meant that I wasn’t
just something for him to cut up on the dissection table.”

“Oh, I donno Zim, that sounds kind of fun. In a kinky sort of way.”

He stared at her, horrified. “KIIR!”

She giggled. But then became more serious, as though she were
thinking about something. “Hey Zim, maybe I should let you figure
this out on your own, but…”

Dib coughed. “Nnng, Zim?” he said hoarsely.

To be continued…

Hehehe. More cliffhangey evilness. Am I wicked or am I wicked. Next
chapter as soon as I write it. What did Zim find out about Dib? Find
out the same time I tell you how I did on my math test.

Read it? Review it!


Chapter 9: Who You Are


A/N: GAH! Midterms were soooooo loooong. I’m pretty sure I failed math
with my usual style and flair. I’m not sure how well I did in Morality.
(It’s not exactly a natural talent ya understand) English I think I did
REALLY well in, same with History and Environmental science. Just to
warn you though if I get a bad report card (which I might, considering I
never do homework except in English) I might not be able to update as
regularly as I’d like. Hopefully my mom’ll take pity on me though.

Disclaimer: … What would you do if I said it WAS mine?

Chapter 9…In which Dib is awake, Zim wonders how best to go about
revealing what he found in his tests and Koil experiments with
something undeniably human.

Dib looked blearily around. He wasn’t exactly lucid about what was
going on but he surmised that he must have passed out. He wasn’t sure
quite where he was since someone had removed his glasses effectively
reducing his vision down to slightly more than nil. He was laying on
some sort of bed or table maybe, and the purple metallic sheen to
everything led him to guess that he was still in Zim’s lab. He toyed
with the idea of sitting up, but his body protested so effectively
that he doubted he could have managed anyway.

He coughed hoarsely, which was rather painful. “Nnng, Zim?”

A fuzzy figure which to Dib resembled nothing so much was an over
large, green matchstick approached where he lay quickly. As it came
closer it resolved itself more or less into a blurry Zim. Dib coughed
again and trembled.

“How do you feel Dib?” he asked with a worried look.

He grimaced. “I think it’s safe to say that I feel about as well as,
as,” words for the moment escaped him, “as a very, very not well
feeling thing.” He buried his head further in the pillow. His head hurt
a lot, a bits of visions he guessed must have been from the terrible
nightmares he’d been having played before his eyes.

“You became unconscious,” Zim told him.

“Yeah, I kinda guessed that,” he replied with a weak smile.

“I told you that you should conserve your energy.” Zim sat down on
the edge of the bed-table-thing.

“Yeah, you did. So what’s the diagnosis, am I gonna die of not
listening to your advice?” Dib felt the need to be witty and sarcastic
to make up for the fact that he had about as much energy as a wet tissue
ah, that was the phrase he’d been looking for.

Zim didn’t seem to find it funny. He scowled. “Not this time. Count
yourself lucky.”

“Aye aye, cap’n.” He squinted to see if Zim was still scowling. It
was very difficult to make out details at a distance past three inches
with his natural eyesight. “Um, Zim, can I have my glasses?”

The alien took something off of a grey something, and proffered it to
Dib. It turned out to indeed be his glasses which he put on without to
much trouble.

Zim, as it turned out, wasn’t scowling, but he was frowning rather
deeply. “You are going to need several days of bed rest you realize.”

Now Dib frowned. He hadn’t really come to terms with that fact yet.

Zim didn’t give him the time to think up a proper response. “You
realize also that I am not about to risk moving you in your current
condition.”

Dib opened his mouth to reply, but he was cut off again.

“Therefore you are not going to be leaving here until you are in
reasonably good health.” Zim crossed his arms as if to cut off any
ensuing argument.

It didn’t stop Dib from trying. “But-“

“If you do not follow THIS advice Dib, you most likely will end up
dead.

He sighed. “I wonder if anyone will notice I’m gone?” he muttered to
himself.

“I called your house so they would not worry. I told your sister that
are having a ‘sleep-under’.”

Dib nearly choked, wondering what Gaz’s reaction had been. Then he
laughed, which turned out to be a bad idea as it was quite painful. He
cringed, still smiling weakly. “It’s sleep-OVER Zim.”

“Yes, that,” he agreed with an absent nod, standing up.

Dib thought he seemed rather distant, preoccupied. “Is something
wrong?”

The Irken turned back to look at him. “You nearly died Dib, that is
not an event I wish to occur.” Instantly almost he looked away again.
“You are thirsty,” he announced. “I will get you water.”

Dib was about to protest that is was unnecessary, but a fit of dry
coughs stopped him. Zim swaggered from the lab.

“Wait,” Dib said too late, “I don’t want to be left alone.”

***

Zim hurried up to the kitchen. He needed to be away from the raven
haired boy for a moment to gather his thoughts and make sure that he
didn’t say something stupid. The sounds of the television reassured him
that Kiir had indeed come upstairs when Dib had woken and had thankfully
taken Gir with her.

He took a glass out of the cupboard. Tentatively he turned on the
tap to see the water rush out and down the drain. Careful not to get
any on himself or the outside of the cup he filled it and shut off the
water as quickly as he could. It occurred to him again, as it had the
night before that water was very symbolic. In this instance it struck
him as a good metaphor for time, pouring away, gone almost as soon as
it was there and utterly useless unless you catch it. But once caught
did the moment quench a thirst or did it sting like a slap in the face?

Careful not to spill any he made his way back down to the lab. Right
now was not the time for complex poetic imagery. Now was the time for
thinking up a good way to ask Dib if he knew that well, that he wasn’t
human, exactly. And what if he didn’t know? How would Zim tell him?
What if he had a nervous breakdown and it worsened his condition? Maybe
now was not the time to tell him. But he had a right to know, didn’t
he?

Zim took the elevator down. Well, at least he hadn’t panicked upon
waking up in the lab. That was definitely a good thing. But why hadn’t
he?

***

Dib kept his eyes open to stop the nightmares from replaying behind
his eyelids. He knew they were all probably very symbolic and showed
loads of things about his psyche that he in all likelihood didn’t
want to know. The problem was, however, that it didn’t take a genius
to analyze these particular dreams and since he was certifiably a
genius anyway, he already knew what they all meant. It was just too
obvious.

The first segment was of course a dramatic reinterpretation of his
encounter with the Oranges that morning. Brought to you by Dib’s
gushy, romantic side. The second bit with the mirror represented the
struggle between that side and the snide, disinterested Paranormal
Investigator. After that was a melodramatic portrayal of the fact
that he had always envied Zim rather than he hated him. It was trying
to tell him that the reason he’d always been trying to thwart Zim was
because he was jealous.

And the last two clips, ah, of course. Being tossed into the void of
space definitely represented his loneliness and isolation and being
rescued from it meant that he felt he’d found someone who could
alleviate that isolation. Three guesses who.

If he’d been standing he would have shaken his head. It was nothing
new. His subconscious wasn’t very creative, was it? He sighed, wishing
his head would stop pounding.

The elevator doors slide open and Zim stepped out, holding with some
hesitation, a glass of water.

“You didn’t have to do that,” Dib said, although rather touched and
intrigued by the level of Zim’s concern.

“The computer says you are dehydrated,” Zim answered.

“You could have made Kiir get it,” he pointed out.

Zim made a face. “And listen to her complain for ten minutes about
it? It was easier just to get it. Can you sit up?”

Dib winced, attempting to do just that.

“Computer, pillows,” Zim said.

A metal claw whirred from somewhere and deposited four or five large
pillows at the foot of the bed before whirring away again.

“That’s really something,” Dib said, still impressed by all of the
technology encompassed in Zim’s lab. That fact that it did everything
from launch probes to control defenses and fetch and carry was just
cool. “Does it do laundry to?” he joked.

“Yes,” Zim replied seriously. He set down the glass of water on a
metal table-pedestal-thing. He picked up several of the pillows. “Here,”
he said, and without waiting put his arm around Dib’s shoulders, lifted
him forward into a sitting position and stuffed the pillows behind him.

Dib felt himself blush again and shifted his gaze away. “Thanks,” he
muttered embarrassedly.

“Drink,” Zim said, now pressing the glass into his hands.

Dib took it gratefully. “hey, um, what time is it anyway?”

“It is just past midnight.”

“Oh, thanks.” Wow, he’d been out for hours. Hadn’t Zim said it was
seven thirty, just before he passed out? Dib started to take a drink
of the water just as he remembered what had happened directly before
that. The whole touching thing, and Dib had said. Oh god.

He felt his face grow hot again and tried to hide it by drinking.

The alien took a seat in a chair beside the bed. “Er, Dib. There’s
something I think you should know.”

Dib froze and turned mid drink to look at him. Please god let him not
want to kill me now. Please, it’s not that much to ask, is it? It didn’t
occur to him in his adolescent panic that Zim had not only had a good
many chances to kill him after the incident, but could simply have not
done anything to help him.

“Yes Zim?” he squeaked fully expecting Zim’s next words to be, ‘Don’t
ever touch me again’, or ‘I don’t swing that way’, or something.

“I ran some tests on you while you were out, to make sure you were
going to be alright.”

Dib stared at him blankly.

“I knew you’d be angry but it was nes-“

Dib cut him off. “No, no. I’m not angry. I was just surprised. It…
wasn’t what I expected you to say.” To say he wasn’t angry was an
understatement. He was thoroughly relieved. He wanted to hug him in fact,
for not being angry at him. But that seemed like a bad idea, and anyway
he still didn’t have very good control over his motor functions.

“You’re not?” Zim blinked, it seemed to be his turn to be surprised.

“No, I’m glad actually. To know there’s nothing wrong.” He paused.
“Nothing’s wrong, is it?”

The alien grew noticeably more uncomfortable. “Well, no not, wrong as
such, exactly. You see, um…”

Dib furrowed his brow. “What is it, Zim?”

“Um, well,” he twiddled his thumbs. “Why don’t you take a look.
Computer, display the results of Dib’s tests.”

The large screen snapped on, showing several different screens at
once. “This one’s your physiology,” Zim said. “Normal human bone
structure, if a bit slight of frame. All your human organs are in the
right places, etcetera, etcetera.” He pointed to a different screen, one
with pink squiggly lines on it. “This one is your brain activity. It’s
twenty percent higher than he normal human limit.”

Dib frowned and shrugged. “Well, I am a super genius.” He said this
without a trace of arrogance.

“No, you misunderstand. Not twenty percent higher than the human
average. Twenty percent higher than the human LIMIT.”

Dib took a moment to try to figure this out. “…oh. What exactly
does that mean?”

“Just keep watching.” He pointed to a third screen. “This one’s your
genetic makeup. Humans have forty-six chromosomes, yes?”

Dib nodded, wondering exactly where all this was going. “Twenty three
from each parent.”

“Brace yourself Dib. You have fifty-eight chromosomes, from no
discernable source. Your DNA as far as I can tell is completely unique.”

Dib stared at him. “But that would mean…”

“You’re not human, Dib.”

***

The balding man who had answered the door had been easily dispatched
if not particularly nourishing. The figure that seemed to be Isabella
Drone but most certainly was not looked from the number on the side of
the door, down to the driver’s license and back up to the house. It
was the correct address. With one hand Koil picked the dead man up by
the collar and carried him into the house, shutting the door behind
herself.

Once inside she looked for a convenient place to store the body,
preferably out of sight. It was a pity she hadn’t thought to do a
memory drain on the teacher-woman as well, it would have been useful
at this point. She would just have to look.

After a few minutes of pacing around the downstairs opening doors
and shutting them again, Koil came across a door that led down into
a dark, unfinished room, the basement. She tossed the body of Joseph
Drone into a corner and went back up again.

The rooms she had found were arranged as such that one entered
through the kitchen which doubled as a dining room. Past that was a
room with large windows, the curtains of which Koil shut, a couch, two
squashy chairs a table an earth view-screen.

Between the first two rooms was a door which opened to a hallway
which had four more rooms. The first two were rather small, one full
of another view-screen, books and a chair, the other a desk and a lot
of papers. At the end of the hall was another even smaller room, with
human facilities, and a room that was larger than the rest with a large
bed and several dressers.

Koil went into the room that had the large windows, which seemed to
be the main room, and sat down in one of the chairs. Hanging from the
ceiling were odd little things that knocked together at the slightest
movement of air and made ringing sounds.

On the arm of the chair was a small remote device that looked as if
it operated the view screen. Koil picked it up boredly. This venture
was proving to be more trying than anticipated. ‘Go to Earth’ ‘lets
try Earth’, Buntch had urged her. ‘It’ll be fun’, ‘It’ll be easy’,
‘It’ll be ironic’. Why she listened to that idiot was beyond her.

Koil looked down at the hand she wore. This body displeased her sense
of aesthetics, it was much too lumpy and squashed. It was not as though
the operation would require her to wear this form either, it was merely
necessary to dispose of the teacher. Instead of posing as Isabella
Drone herself she could say the human was sick and that she was the
substitute.

Before coming to Earth Koil had at least demanded that they make a
thorough study of the planet and the inhabitants just in case. Buntch
hadn’t understood why she bothered, but it gave her a great
satisfaction to understand these hapless creatures and their inferior
technologies and customs.

She picked up the ‘remote control’ and turned on the ‘Television’.
Now she only had to decide what form and name she would choose. Perhaps
a human ‘TV show’ would help her decide.

To be continued…

That’s all for now folks. Oh, and by the way, the reason I do all these
cliffhangers is twofold. First, because if I spend too long at the
computer my dad yells at me and second because I know that if I leave
you wanting to know what happens you’ll keep reading. Duh.

So, what exactly IS Dib if he’s not human? Will Zim and Dib ever figure
out that their love ISN’T unrequited? What form will Koil choose? What
is Kiir doing, is it destructive?

Find out on the next installment of Cognitive Dissonance!

Read it? Review it!


Chapter 10: Shocking Events


A/N: Sorry for the long wait in chapter posty-ness. I had a little
trouble convincing my mom that a 55 really wasn’t THAT bad a grade in
math. Finally managed yesterday. But now I won’t be able to post this
until after vacation, February 24th to be precise. (Which for you it is
now, or after, but for me its still break.) And now I’m having
problems because I got inspiration for this other fic so I’m majorly
side-tracked by this stupid Harry Potter idea. It didn’t help that they
didn’t show IZ on Sunday! Doom on Nick! DOOM THEM!

But on a much, much, much, much, much lighter note, I finally did it. I
finally went out and bought it, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. But I
only had enough money for the first five issues! *sad* MUST… BUY…
MORE! There are only seven right? Of JtHM? And then there’s Squee and
I Feel Sick, right? I’m thinking about actually getting a job at the
supermarket to ya know, buy stuff. Is it a good idea?

I officially love Nny.

Disclaimer: …If I owned Invader Zim I’d be a dysfunctional comic book
writing young man. Last time I checked, I was female. The other labels
apply though, so I might just have missed something.

Chapter 10…In which Dib has a panic attack, Buntch and Koil converse,
Gir tries to be helpful, and Kiir takes up a career as a WHAT? Oh, and
the moment that I know you’ve all been waiting for…

“But, that’s impossible! I mean, of course I’m human! How could I not
be? My parents are human!” Dib was definitely upset. Not exactly scared
or angry, or anything like that, just shocked. Almost disbelieving,
which was a first for him. But it was ridiculous, wasn’t it? How could
he not be human?

“I don’t know how Dib, I just know what. Or more specifically, what
not. What you not. Are not,” Zim said, at last managing to construct
a coherent thought.

“But I look human! Don’t I? Don’t I?” His eyes were wide behind his
glasses. “Wait a minute, why am I asking you? You think a wig and
contacts look human. GAZ! Oh, wait, I’m not at home. Hehehe,” his
tense laughter turned into a nervous giggle.

“Just, calm down Dib, you’re having hysterics,” Zim said.

“Calm? Who’s not calm?! I’M CALM!” he said quite uncalmly, grabbing
Zim’s shirt, he did it not so much for effect as that he was becoming
quite dizzy.

***

Zim put his hand on the boy’s shoulder. He KNEW he should have waited
to tell him. Dib still probably had traces of the fever delirium.
Stupid stupid stupid stupid. “Dib, listen to me. You’re still sick. You
need to lie back down.” He spoke slowly and hoped his voice would sound
reassuring and rational.

It must have worked because Dib’s manic expression was replaced by a
very worried, scarred, almost hurt expression.

Zim felt terrible. Please don’t cry Dib, he thought desperately. That
is the last thing I need to happen. “Come on, just seat yourself back
on the medi-slab, er,” yes Zim, medi-slab sounds sooo reassuring, “Bed.
Sit on the bed.”

Gently Zim motioned for him to sit down, keeping a hand out to make
sure the boy didn’t fall. Dib wobbled a bit but managed to seat himself.

Dib leaned down and buried his face in his hands pushing his glasses
up to his forehead and scattering more of his already fly away black
hair.

Zim winced. “If you continue to expend energy this way Dib, you will
become comatose.”

“He lied to me,” he hissed, face sill concealed.

Zim furrowed his brow, “Who lied to you?”

Dib looked up. “My father. I asked him once, when I was younger, and
he told me I was human.” He sighed, fixing his glasses back on his nose
and running a hand through his hair.

“…maybe he didn’t know?” Zim attempted cautiously.

He snorted derisively and fell back on the pillows with a thump.
“Yeah. Right. Like my dad, the top scientist in the world isn’t going
to know if his own son is human or not.”

“Perhaps he kept the information from you to spare your feelings,” he
tried. Good, Dib was laying down now.

“Zim, my Dad doesn’t care one way or the other about me OR Gaz. He
just told me that because he didn’t want me to know the truth. Whatever
the truth is.”

The Irken didn’t quite know what he could say to this. Professor
Membrane had actually seemed pretty oblivious of anything resembling
reality the few times Zim had met him. It could have been an act of
course but… “…I’m sorry.”

“Phhh, it’s not your fault. As soon as you let me go home though I’m
going to find out exactly what’s going on.” The determined edge that
Zim had heard so frequently over the years had come back into Dib’s
voice.

Zim squinted an eye. “When I let you go home?”

“You said you were going to keep me here until I was well, didn’t
you?”

“Well, yes,” he agreed.

“You’re probably right about me needing to rest anyway, and it’s not
like I could get out if I tried. Besides, you had plenty of time to do
all sorts of nasty things while I was out cold, if you had wanted to,
and you didn’t,” Dib took a deep breath, “I trust you.” He paused.
“There, I said it.”

Zim stood dumbfounded, staring at Dib as though he had two heads and
one of them was a moose. “…you trust me?”

He shrugged. “Yeah, why not? I mean hey, I haven’t got anybody else
to trust. I ought to at least trust my one friend.”

“…I trust you as well Dib.”

There was a moment of silence.

“…Hey, Zim, I’m actually kind of bored, is there anything to do
around here?”

He thought a moment. “Well, if you promise that you will not over
exert yourself we could play Political Smackdown 2.”

Dib seemed surprised. “I didn’t know you had a GS3.”

Zim grinned wryly. “Do you joke? You know how expensive that would
be? I have better things to waste your earth-monies on.”

“Then how are we going to play Political Smackdown?”

“I downloaded an emulator off the internet.”

“But, that’s illegal. I want to play as Lincoln.”

Zim smirked. “And I will play Sadaam Hussein. Computer, let the
smacking, BEGIN!”

***

Koil had watched a hour of when ‘small furry creatures attack 7’, ten
minutes of a Spanish soap opera, half of a made for TV horror movie,
a game show called ‘Beat the Geeks’, and several hours of a marathon on
the ‘cartoon network’.

The cartoon in question, the one which had been marathoned, was a
strange tale in which people spoke without their lips moving at the
correct time and disproportioned human girls ran around in very brief
attire shouting something about love, justice and the moon. It was all
very entertaining. Koil had apparently tuned into the first episode
and it had so caught her interest that she was still watching, twelve
hours later. It was very…appropriate, ironic even.

You had not reported back in many hours, I was becoming agitated.

Koil jumped several feet in surprise and whirled around to glare at
Buntch. She opened her mouth to speak but no words came out. She paused.
“This body isn’t made for our language; I will have to speak in human.”

The tall, orange creature shrugged, a fluid, graceful motion that
traveled all the way down his figure.

The alien, still in guise of a dumpy older woman, sat back down.
“Count yourself lucky that it is still a commercial. Otherwise I might
have been more cross with you.”

Buntch would have raised an eyebrow, if he’d had one. You are
studying human society I see, he said with heavy tones of irony.

She pursed her lips. “Yes, and you ought to be as well. I have an
assignment for you. Go take a walk and don’t come back until-” she
picked up the TV guide and leafed through it. “ten p.m.”

Her companion seemed somewhat offended.

“And you’ll need a new form. The one you picked was neither effective
or pleasing.”

You have one to suggest I assume.

“Take my appendage.” She reached over and touched Buntch.

The orange monster melted and coalesced into something else; a tall,
slender human man with golden hair and blue eyes, wearing grey slacks,
a green button down shirt and sunglasses.

Now Buntch did raise an eyebrow. “A human from your research I
suppose,” he said coolly.

“Something like that,” she agreed. “Call yourself Jason Dite. Now go,
Sailor Moon is back on.”

The blonde smirked and faded out.

***

Kiir sat on the couch, drumming her fingers on the arm boredly. It
had been almost an entire day since Zim had chased her out of the room
when Dib woke up. It had been midnight then and now it was
mid-afternoon. She was tired of watching television. She’d watched a
little of some cartoon with energy draining aliens in human form but
the irony was a little heavier than she was comfortable with. And
besides, the show was stupid. Love and justice, Bah.

She stood up, causing Gir, who had been perched annoyingly on her lap
for the last six hours to fall down.

“Owwwww…” the robot whined, rubbing its head.

“Stow it tin can, tell Zim I’m going out if he asks.”

“Okay!”

She rolled her eyes and sauntered out, slamming the door behind her
and walked out into the yard, and into a rainstorm.

“…skragg,” she growled and yanked the door back open. She stalked
back inside. “Hey, is there an umbrella anywhere around?”

Gir looked up from playing with his pig. “Ummmmm, I donno. Wanna
borrow my piggy?” he asked ‘helpfully’. “My piggy can keep you
waaaaaaaaaaarm!”

“Ah…no thanks, I’ll pass.”

His face fell. “Oh, you made piggy sad. Give him a hug to cheer him
up!” Gir jumped to his feet waving the squeaky toy. “HUG MY PIGGY!”

“No.” Why in the name of anything remotely non-toxic had Zim not
torn that thing apart for scrap metal long ago?

“Please?” he gave her a wide eyed sad puppy face.

Kiir sighed and grabbed the piggy. She gave the thing a quick half
hearted hug. “There, happy?”

Gir grabbed his toy back. “See piggy, I told you she loved you!”

The former rebel commander twitched. “You know, maybe I’ll just go
out without an umbrella.” It wasn’t as if it would kill her. That was
one of the good things about not being fully Irken, she wasn’t allergic
to water, well, not violently. An hour of swimming in it might give her
a rash but that was it. And who in their right mind would go swimming
in water anyway?

She turned around to go and walked straight into Gir who had
apparently moved while she wasn’t looking.

“Um…” the little robot said unsurely. “Um…” He was holding
something behind his back.

She looked down and raised an eyebrow. “Yes?”

He held up an umbrella from behind his back. It was white and covered
with pictures of some hideous monkey thing. “You can borrow mine.”

Kiir furrowed her brow. “Um, thanks,” she said taking it. Was the
robot…blushing? Weird. “Thanks a lot.” she nodded.

“YOU’RE WELCOME!” the robot shrieked happily, hugging her around
the legs and then pranced off.

Kiir shook her head, that was one strange little robot. She turned
and walked out the door, popping the creepy-looking umbrella as she
went, glad that she wouldn’t be getting wet after all.

She had been feeling like she was suffocating, staying in that house
for so long; especially right after that stupid six month trip she’d
just been on. It was all her Uncle Purple’s fault. If she ever saw him
in person again she’d shoot him and skragg the consequences!

She wandered down the street lost in thought, not really paying
attention to where she was going. She didn’t have to worry about not
being able to find her way back because she had the computer in her
optic enhancers mapping her route.

She sighed. Her ship wasn’t anywhere near repaired, she’d checked
Zim’s repair bay just before she’d left. It might take as long as a
month for all of the sensitive equipment to be fixed. That was the
problem with Voot technology. It was really sophisticated and really
difficult to damage in any significant way, but if it did happen to
take any major breakage you were better off just buying a new one
instead of trying to fix it. It would be faster, cheaper, and a frakk
less of a headache.

But she couldn’t buy a new one, not on Earth, and Earth was where she
was stuck. As soon as her Cruiser was done though she was so getting
out. She had a the pieces of her rebellion to start. It probably
wouldn’t be hard now to convince Zim to come with her and help her
either, now that he knew what the Tallest had done to him. Not like he
was back in the academy the last time she’d tried to get him to join
the Underground. But not even promises of co-rulership could win him
over back then. He was too loyal to his empire. Sure he’d wanted to
rule it but for some reason he’d always insisted that he was going to
become Tallest legitimately. Like that was ever going to happen.

Funny thing was though; he seemed to have grown since she’d last
seen him, a lot. He was almost as tall as she was. She hadn’t said
anything yet, since well there was no way he couldn’t have noticed and
it wasn’t the sort of thing you mentioned in conversation anyway
without being considered rude.

She was getting off on a tangent. So, when the Cruiser was fixed
she’d skip the planet, hopefully with Zim in tow. The two of them
together would be enough to give her uncle and Red nightmares for
years. In fact they probably already HAD nightmares about it. The only
tricky part would be convincing Zim to leave his little Earth boyfriend
for some serious Empire conquering. Frakk, why did she even need to?
There was no reason they couldn’t bring the kid along. If his alien
chasing hobby was any indication he’d probably jump at the chance to
get off his planet. There was no reason Zim couldn’t bring him. It
wasn’t as if Kiir was jealous. Their relationship had been over for a
long time.

So there was no problem. Oh, no wait. She’d have to convince Dib to
leave the planet despite the fact that it seemed to be under attack
from scary orange guys. Well, that shouldn’t be too hard. Just appeal
to the kid’s sense of self preservation.

***

Buntch, or rather ‘Jason’ strolled idly down the street. He wasn’t
quite sure what Koil expected him to be doing but he supposed that it
didn’t really matter. After all, it was happening the same way that it
always did when Koil was in charge, she was getting sidetracked. She
just wasn’t cut out for what they were doing. She should have gone into
socio-archeology not-

But that wasn’t the point. The point was she had once again thrust
him into a foreign environment and expected him to get the job
done while she entertained herself. And it was precipitating! Why
couldn’t she have sent him out while it was dry instead of when liquid
droplets were falling from the sky?

He was wet! He hated being wet. He needed to go in somewhere to get
not wet. But where? Didn’t these creatures have some sort of indoor
public place? He almost wished he’d been paying attention when Koil
had been lecturing him of the planet. Almost.

But he was sure he could find some place by himself. How hard could
it be? He looked from left to right as he walk trying to find some
place that looked as if it was open to the public.

He didn’t see the human until he’d already knocked her over.

***

“OW!” Kiir growled as she was knocked the ground and into a puddle.
She’d been so busy thinking up new recruiting ploys for the Irken
Underground (or should she change the name? Maybe the Coalition for a
Liberated Empire?) that she hadn’t seen the guy until he barreled into
her. Now she was on her ass in a puddle. Her antennae bobbed from the
force of her fall. “You skragging jerk! Why don’t you watch where
you’re going?!”

He stooped down and peered at her. “I am sorry, miss-” he reached out
a hand to help her up.

“Yeah, well you better be,” she snarled, shoving him away and
standing up by herself. “Because now I am all frakking wet and I’m
going to have to go back and change before I get skragging rash, so I
hope you’re happy!”

The man seemed taken aback. “…You’re not human.”

Now it was Kiir’s turn to be surprised. “What?”

The man frowned. “No, you’re definitely not human.”

Shit. Shit, shit, shit. She knew this was going to happen she just
knew it. What was she supposed to do now? She snorted. “Ya know what?
You’re right. I’m not human.” She reached down to her belt and pulled
a blaster lazer the size of her arm and three times as thick out of
hyperspace where she kept it stored. It was her personal weapon, her
custom Godslayer X-1000. “I’m not human,” she repeated. “What are you
going to do about it?”

The skin melted off the guy as he lunged at her revealing gangly,
orange limbs and staring white eyes.

“SKRAGG!” she shouted, rolling out of the way of his attack. It was
one of the things that Zim had been talking about. Narrowly missing
cracking her skull on a trashcan she fired two electric violet blasts
up at the thing.

They hit him and he reeled backwards. And then it paused for a split
second and ways gone.

Kiir climbed to her feet, breathing heavily, and grinning. She missed
being in action. Her eyes darted around the scene and she took two
steps backwards. Had it just left?

The hairs on the back of her neck pricked up and she whirled around,
just as the thing materialized behind her, about to grab her. She
pulled the trigger.

A heavy blast at close range sent the Orange stumbling backwards and
she shot off six more bolts before it managed to regain its balance
enough to disappear again.

Kiir whirled around aiming her lazer at anything that looked like it
might possibly move. She glared.

Then she saw him, in the guise of the blonde man again, dashing down
the street very fast. She took off after him. But why the hell was he
running when he could do that teleport thing?

She wasn’t catching up to him but she wasn’t losing ground either.
Then suddenly he stopped and grabbed a teenage girl as she and several
others emerged from a restaurant. Skragg!

The girl screamed, so did her friends as once again the blonde turned
orange. If what Zim said was true then she had only a few seconds.

“GET CLEAR!” she shouted to the humans. It was going to be tricky,
hitting the Orange and not the victim, but if she didn’t do anything
the girl was dead anyway. And Kiir was the best, frakk luckiest, most
reckless sharpshooter the academy had turned out in seven centuries.
She pulled the trigger ten times in quick succession.

All ten bolts hit the alien monster. It gave a demonic shriek and
lurched backwards dropping the girl to the pavement. It was bleeding,
or something. Yellow goo was issuing forth from a wound in its chest
and dripping to the pavement. It stood hunched over, wavering, and
dripping. The girls were huddled in a corner frozen with fear and
watching transfixed. And there were more people watching, she heard
sirens and there was somebody with a camera and a woman with a
microphone.

All this Kiir took in, in a second as she repositioned her aim and
fired again, and ag- the second time she pulled the trigger nothing
happened. Her eyes widened She’d forgotten to recharge the thing.

“Oh SKRAGG!”

The orange had regained its wind, from a crouching leap it sprang
up at her like some sort of an animal, and at the ends of it’s
appendages were now sharp, wicked looking claws. Kiir tried to leap
away, but didn’t manage, the thing was on top of her. They were on the
pavement each trying to get control. Kiir felt some of her strength
slipping from her. She struggled to get the plasma blade from her belt.

The sirens were closer now, and she heard shouting.

“NO! Don’t shoot!” one of the girls was yelling to someone, “you’ll
hit-“

But her senses were become fuzzy, tuning in and out like a bad
television. She could feel the thing on top of her. She knew she was
going to die. She was going to die without ever having ruled an empire.
It just wasn’t fair. But, SHE WAS NOT GOING TO LET IT END LIKE THIS!

Like a miracle she found the handle of her blade and pulled it
sharply upwards as she activated it with a ‘snap-hiss’ She felt it
connect with something and heard the wail of the creature.

With a tremendous amount of force she pushed the monster off of her
and stood, vision clearing. She saw the Orange sprawled on the pavement,
one of its limbs lying beside it. Kiir took a step forward. She’d
finish it off.

But then with out a noise it disappeared arm and all. Grinning she
realized that this time it wasn’t coming back.

The crowd broke out in applause, several people, most notably the
woman with the microphone rushed up and started asking questions.

“Sir, sir! I’m with channel 12 news, would you mind answering some
questions? What was that thing? Who are you? Are you a super hero? How
does it feel to have saved those girls?” she shoved the microphone in
the alien’s face.

Kiir took a step backwards. “Whoa, whoa hold on a minute.” In her
mind she was running over all the scenarios. What was she supposed to
tell these people. On the one hand she shouldn’t expose herself, on
the other hand they were hailing her as a hero, and that was really
good for her ego. Wait a sec, had that human called a SIR? “I’m, very
glad I managed to get here in time to save those girls, I’m just sorry
I couldn’t react faster. That thing was an ‘Orange,’ a race of deadly
aliens from another galaxy that go around draining life energy. They’re
very dangerous and I recommend you stay away from them.” She flashed a
winning smile. “As for me you can call me the, uh,” Cosmic Avenger? No.
The Green Comet? No. She grinned at the camera. “Starshock.”

There was much murmuring.

“Starshock, where do you come from, do you have any special
powers? Is there any way people can contact you?”

“I’m afraid I can’t answer those questions at this time, miss
reporter, security issues, you understand. But don’t worry, I’ll be
around in the event of another attack.”

“Do you expect another attack soon? What advice do you have for the
public?”

“These creatures are very dangerous, they can look like any one or
any thing, but they’re not very smart so be on guard.”

The girl who’d been attacked was now standing and launched herself
at Kiir wrapping her arms around her. “Oh, thank you for saving me
Mr. Starshock!” she squealed excitedly.

MR Starshock? The girl thought she was male. Probably the rest of
them did too. She must not look very female in human respects. Well,
she was noticeably lacking the fatty tissue that human girls had on
their chests. Oh well, why bother disillusioning them? “It was my
pleasure Miss-?”

“Melanie, Melanie Laurel. Can I have you’re autograph, please?” the
little brunette girl was practically hopping up and down. Kiir hated
to disappoint her but-

“Hey, calm down, if you over exert yourself you could wind up in a
coma. You need to take it easy for a couple of days. Stay home from
Skool.” Kiir smiled. “I’d love to give you an autograph Melanie, but I
don’t have anything to write with, or on for that matter.”

Melanie’s face fell but one of her friends rummaged in her purse and
brought out a green permanent marker and handed it to her.

“You can write on my shirt,” she said hopefully pressing the marker
into Kiir’s hands. The shirt was pink with a violet heart on it.

“Okay. Turn around,” she said indulgently. Melanie turned around and
Kiir scribbled ‘To my first fan Melanie, your hero, Starshock’. “There
we go.” She read it to her.

Melanie giggled. “Thank you.”

‘Starshock’ turned to the reporter again. “Now, if you’ll all excuse
me I must be off.” …but how was she going to get away with out anyone
following her? Besides, walking away wasn’t nearly dramatic enough for
a superhero. Which she was now. Wait, since she was a superhero she
could use her jet boots. She smirked and turned them on.

Small but powerful boosters fired from the bottoms of her boots and
the crowd ‘ooooo’ed and ‘ahhhhh’ed as she rose into the air and jetted
off.

***

Even though it was past four o’clock in the afternoon Dib was still
asleep. Partly, Zim supposed, because of the drain on his system,
partly from the revelation that he wasn’t human, and partly because he
had stayed up until three a.m. playing Political. Zim hadn’t slept at
all, since he didn’t really need to and he was busy making sure that
Dib’s life signs stayed stable. He’d also been running computer
simulations to see if maybe Dib could be the result of some sort of
human genetic mutation and at the same time running a check to see if
it was a variant of any extraterrestrial DNA. He hadn’t found a single
match, not even anything remotely close.

It seemed like he must be completely genetically unique. It was almost
as if Dib was had been created from the complex proteins up, using
humans as nothing more than a physical model. But it would take a
genius geneticist to do that, even the bio-labs of Irk might have had
trouble designing the complexities of Dib’s gene structure. The computer
had certainly taken a long time figuring it out.

Zim stared at the readouts on the screen, the only sound in the room
was Dib’s soft breathing. This was pointless, Zim thought, I’m not
going to find a match. There’s only one person who might possibly know
what exactly Dib is and that’s his ‘father’ Professor Membrane. The
Irken turned his chair and gazed at the slumbering form on the bed. Dib
looked peaceful now, much more so now that he was actually sleeping
rather than unconscious. The large glasses that usually obscured most of
his face were set on the control panel next to the cot. He looked
different without them on, somehow less aloof and more tangible.

Zim sighed. It wasn’t good for him to keep thinking along those lines.
It might lead him to do something stupid, something he’d most likely
regret. He turned his chair back around to face the monitor. “Computer,
turn on an Earth broadcast.”

The screen snapped to intercept television broadcasts and Zim
discovered to his disgust that the Scary Monkey Show was on. He was
about to tell the computer to change the channel when the ‘regularly
scheduled program’ was interrupted.

“This is Kathy Chatterfield bringing you a special news bulletin. I’m
here in the downtown area where only moments ago a very strange attack
took place. A horrible orange alien creature attacked an innocent group
of girls and attempted to drain their energy.”

Zim stared at the screen. The Oranges were on the news? How reckless
could they have been? Zim must have attempted a thousand very public
takeovers and only one or two, such as the Peepi and Santa incidents,
had ever been noticed by the human media.

“Luckily it seems that a real live superhero was on the scene to
avert disaster. We have this footage from the attack.”

A superhero? That was absolute nonsense. Humans didn’t really get
super powers, it was all comic book bull-

Zim’s jaw dropped. “KIIR?” he demanded incredulously of the monitor.
It was just that idiot’s luck to have run into the Oranges. Hadn’t Gir
said a while ago that she was going out. He watched he beat up the
monster, rather impressed, and jealous, that she had done do well.

“Afterward the unknown hero was kind enough to give us an interview.”

“You can call me, uh, Starshock,” the Kiir on the monitor said.

Zim snorted.

“Mr. Starshock, can I have your autograph, please?”

He couldn’t help it. Zim broke out into a raucous fit of laughter,
pounding the arm of the chair. It was just too funny. They thought,
they thought Kiir was MALE! Never mind what had possessed her to go
along with the superhero idea in the first place, it was just, just
so perfectly hilarious!

Through his hysterics Zim heard a yawn.

“Zim? What’s so funny?”

Still snickering and snorting Zim turned around. “Take a look,” he
gestured to the screen.

Dib put on his glasses and peered at the broadcast. “Is that, Kiir?”

He smirked. “Yes.”

“What is she doing?” he demanded.

“She ran into one of the Oranges and somebody called the news.
They think she’s a superhero. A male superhero.” He grinned again.

“And she’s going along with it?” Dib asked incredulously.

“Looks like it.” They watched Kiir sign the girl’s shirt and then
fly off. Then they had an interview with the girl.

“I just know I’d be dead if Starshock hadn’t saved me. And he was so
handsome, too! I think those antennae he had were sooo cute. I bet he’s
from another planet. I wonder if he has a girlfriend.”

Dib and Zim both snickered.

“There you have it folks, the city’s own alien crusader. When will he
be back? When will this strange new evil strike again? Now back to you,
Bob.”

“Turn it off, computer,” Zim commanded. “Now that is amusing.”

“Well, I suppose she IS a hero, for saving that girl,” Dib mused.
“And she does have superhuman powers, so I think that technically means
she can call herself a superhero if she wants. Do you think it’s a one
time incident or will she keep going with it?”

“Kiir? She’ll milk it for all it’s worth until she gets bored with
it. She never could say no to fans. She’ll probably come back full of
herself and make herself a cape.” Zim chuckled.

“She’s had fans before?” he asked.

Zim nodded. “Oh sure, as a rebel leader she had all sorts of idiots
hanging over her every word and move.”

“Huh.” Dib yawned again and looked around. “Don’t you have a clock in
here? It’s absolutely impossible to tell what time it is.”

“It’s almost five in the evening I’m afraid you sleeping schedule may
be a little thrown off.”

Dib sighed and laid back on the pillows with his arms crossed behind
his head.

***

He yawned again and looked up at the ceiling. He felt well rested,
but still weak. He could imagine what would have happened if he’d
insisted on going to school. He’d probably have fallen down the stairs
and broken his neck. He was also worried about what would happen if the
Oranges attacked him again. He’d probably die even faster if it was
before he’d fully recovered.

“Zim,” he said tentatively voicing his thoughts, “if they attacked
me again I’d die, wouldn’t I?”

“No,” the Irken said without looking up.

“No?” Dib asked, surprised. “You mean because I’m not human?”

“No, it is simply because I would not allow them to bring harm to you.
I stated yesterday that your death was not an event I wished to occur.”
Now Zim looked up at him. “You dare accuse Zim of lies?”

“No!” he replied hastily, “of course not. I wouldn’t want you to die
either. I don’t think, I ever really did either,” he admitted. “Not for
a really long time. You know what? I think we’ve really been friends
all these years without knowing it.”

“I believe you are correct.” Zim smiled.

Dib thought the alien looked as if he was about to say something more,
but there was a beep and the computer cut in.

“The lunar probe has detected a sample of the material you
requested.”

“Huh?” Dib asked confused.

“Remember, energy traces from the grass samples?” Zim told him. “They
matched traces found on your moon so you wanted me to attempt an
inspection. It was only moments before you lost consciousness.”

“Oh, right, I almost forgot.” In truth he had completely forgotten
about the incident, though he remembered it now. Life on the moon. He
grinned.

“Well,” Zim said impatiently, “what are you waiting for? Transmit the
data.”

Readouts came to life on the screen.

“It is an exact match for the residue on the grass, only this residue
seems even more, residual, older. These results are from the location
your earth astronauts found the sample. But my probe found another site
with the stuff and it’s over widespread area.” Zim told him.

“Is the probe still? Can we get a visual of where the second set of
traces were found?” Dib asked excitedly.

“I’m not sure, I will check on the site’s co-ordinance,” he tapped a
few keys on the control panel. “Odd, the probe seems to have found some
way to get below the moon’s surface, since, that’s where the readings
are coming from.”

Dib’s amber eyes lit up. “Under the surface? You’re not kidding are
you? There could be anything under there! Remnants of an ancient lunar
society…”

Zim shrugged. “Anything’s possible I suppose, although just as likely
the residue is from some sort of mineral deposit. So we find a bunch
of pillars, maybe a dead body or two. Joy, archeology 101 all over
again.”

Dib shook his head. “You don’t understand. You know there are things
out there. I know it but I mean you KNOW, you’ve actually been there.
I well, can only dream. I mean, finding evidence of real life besides
humanity, and so close too- It’s well…” Dib sighed. Zim would never
understand what he meant, that he NEEDED something beyond the ordinary,
something beyond the everyday, beyond humans and Earth. He needed it
the way he needed to breath, and when all that he found when he looked
around was housewives taking out the trash, it just seemed like he was
suffocating.

“You really hate this planet don’t you?” Zim asked quietly.

“What? No! …Yes. I mean, sometimes…A lot of the time…yes.” Dib
hung his head, ashamed to have finally admitted it. He’d spent years
denying it even to himself and now he’d gone and said it. Well, he
might as well finish the though. “It’s not really the planet that gets
to me so much as, well, the people. There are so many fascinating
things even here on Earth, so many mysteries, and none of them CARE. I
just don’t understand how they can take their lives for granted like
that never once questioning it. They can’t see it, no it’s worse than
that, they blindly ignore it, even when it throws itself in their
faces. That girl on the news, she doesn’t care that she was just
attacked and then rescued by two separate aliens. She’s not wondering
how they got here or what they want, or why the sun rises or how come
we breath oxygen and not helium or, or anything! She’s wondering how
she can get Kiir’s phone number! It makes me sick! I hate humans!
They’re pointless and uninteresting and stupid and worthless! I hate
them!” Dib was shouting now, his fists were clenched and his body was
tense. “I thought I was upset about it earlier, but you know what Zim?
I’m GLAD I’m not human!” he announced vindictively. He had the urge to
kick something.

Zim nodded. “I believe I do understand. You feel caged, unchallenged
and frustrated with your situation. I confess Dib, never really
understood what made you do all the things you did. But you’re like a
Brocaszek forced to live with Criks.”

Dib scowled at his own ignorance. “Earth analogy please.”

Zim winced, obviously realizing his mistake and looking for a
similar comparison. “Um, like a tiger living with housecats.”

Dib thought a moment. “Yeah, that’s it about right.” He nodded
tiredly, the rant had taken alot out of him. “I’m sorry I blew up like
that Zim, I didn’t mean to burden you with my stupid identity
problems. I just it’s, god damn it.” He wanted to tell Zim. Wanted to
tell him that he was the only person he’d ever felt comfortable with,
felt like an equal. More than that Dib wanted to tell Zim how much he
cared about him, how much he LOVED him.

“Is something on you mind, Dib?” he asked.

It was ridiculous! Zim had pretty much said he cared about him,
hadn’t he? He didn’t want Dib to die at least. Maybe it was a stretch
to think it might mean that the alien ‘liked’ him, by Dib had made
plenty of unsubstantiated assumptions in his life, hasn’t he? Maybe
Zim’s words were like that fuzzy picture of Bigfoot he’d taken, just
because it wasn’t irrefutable proof didn’t mean he was wrong.

“I-” he began.

But what if he was wrong? What if all he did was make a fool of
himself? Zim might even get angry and never want to talk to him again,
might throw him out, or anything. But would he really do that?

***

Zim was very concerned. He thought Dib might be having some sort of
episode, or at the very least was over taxing himself. He knew it must
be trying for Dib to live with humans. But what was the boy trying to
say that he just couldn’t seem to get out?

Maybe it was…? But no, it couldn’t be, could it? It had only been
the fever that had brought what seemed like affection from the pseudo
human, hadn’t it been? He was getting his own hopes up and they’d come
crashing down again when Dib reaffirmed that all he wanted from their
relationship was a friend.

But the alien couldn’t stop himself from hoping. After all, hadn’t
the boy spent years of his life stalking him? Wasn’t Zim the only one
to have ever acknowledged his existence in more than the most cursory
of manners? Was it complete arrogance to believe that Dib might have
been drawn in by his many charms? He stood up and took several steps
over and sat down on the bed next to Dib.

Dib seemed even more uncomfortable now, but didn’t try to move away.

He looked into the boy’s amber eyes. “Whatever you have to say you
may tell me. I would not tell anyone.”

***

Could he really? Could he tell him? Why had Zim come to sit next to
him? Did he already know? Or was he just being the friend he said he
was? Dib was trembling; he raked shaking fingers through his dark
hair. His stomach felt as though it had departed for some unknown
region, he felt sick. He had to say it. He couldn’t hold it back any
longer.

He opened his mouth, which had gone terribly dry all of a sudden.
This had to be the hardest thing he had ever done. “I-” he grimaced.
He couldn’t do it, he couldn’t! He was too afraid.

***

Zim couldn’t take it any more. He could think of very few things that
Dib would have this much trouble saying. He had to be right about what
the boy was thinking, and if he wasn’t, well, oh well. He had to try.

“Dib, look at me,” he said.

Dib averted his eyes.

But Zim wasn’t going to let him get away with it. He reached down
and gingerly lifted the boy’s chin until he was forced to peer at the
alien through his round spectacles. He seemed surprised. Well, he was
about to get a lot more surprised.

Zim took a deep breath and smiled. “I love you. Is that what you were
trying to say?” But he didn’t give the earth creature a chance to
respond. Instead he leaned in close and did something he’d wanted to do
for so long. He kissed him, pressing his lips to the soft pink of
Dib’s. The boy had frozen from surprise but it was less than a moment
before he began to kiss back, although inexpertly. It was his first
kiss, Zim knew. He wrapped his arms around Dib’s shoulders.

After a moment that seemed like an age they broke apart, though Zim
refused to release the boy from his embrace.

***

Dib stared at him, speechless. Part of his mind refused to believe
what had just happened and part of it was already replaying the event,
all in all it left very little room for coherent thought. He felt a
blush creeping through his cheeks.

Zim was smirking.

“I, do you, are you?” Dib stuttered. “Can you, I mean what… Do you
really?”

He squinted an eye. “You dare accuse Zim of lies?”

“No! It’s just, I love you, Zim.” He felt his face burn as he FINALLY
managed to say it. “And I was afraid you didn’t feel the same.”

Zim smiled tenderly, one of the first such smiles that he had seen
on him, one that was unmarred by malice of maniacal glee. Dib shivered
as the Irken brushed his cheek with his hand and nuzzled him as he did
so. He realized that this was the second time that he had done it.

“I had the same fear,” Zim admitted.

He chuckled. “Oh? And I thought the mighty Zim feared nothing,” he
teased.

Zim frowned and Dib leaned in again and kissed his pouting lips.
“Don’t worry, I won’t tell,” he said softly.

The doors to the lab slid open with a whoosh. “Hey guys you’ll never
guess what just happened to-“

Dib turned in horror to see Kiir as she stopped mid-boast. He saw
out of the corner of his eye that Zim had blushed a lovely shade of
fushia.

“Or, I can just tell you later,” Kiir said with a grin, although it
was obvious that she felt very awkward.

Zim stood up. “That will not be necessary. Dib is still in need of
rest and we would be quite entertained to hear about your little
adventure, MISTER Starshock.”

It was then Kiir’s turn to be embarrassed.

To be continued!

Hey, thanks for sitting through this extra long chapter, though I
hardly suppose that any of you objected after how long you were forced
to wait for it. And it finally happened. Just like I told you it would.
You DARE accuse Bunny of lies? Heheheh. So what do you think? I’m sorry
if the kiss was suckily written, like Dib I’ve never had the pleasure
of the experience. That’s right and I’m seventeen, go ahead and laugh.

Kiir just sort of ambushed me with the superhero idea while I was
writing it and wouldn’t take no for an answer, but in return I’m gonna
make sure she doesn’t enjoy it TOO much. HHEHEHEHE… That’s right Kiir,
be afraid.

So what exactly did the moon probe find? They never got around to
checking. (though I don’t think even Dib will complain about that) But
they will find out next chapter, and the answer is surprising! Well,
I think it is at least, and no, it doesn’t involve clown shoes.

So I’m looking for a little bit of input here, who’s up for seeing a
little more of Gaz? How far exactly should I let Kiir run with the
Starshock thing? How far should Melanie go with the whole ‘fan’ thing?
(I’m sorry, that just makes me laugh and laugh). Ideas, praise and
constructive critism welcome. Flames will be sent back to the writer
and used to light a place where the sun don’t shine.

Read it? Review it!


Chapter 11: Green


Cognitive Dissonance
By Lejindarybunny
A romantic Invader Zim epic

A/N: Hey all. Sorry about the wait, it seems these days it’s taking me
longer to get a chapter done for some reason. I’d like you to know
though, that the reason this one in particular took so long is because
midway through my muse whacked me over the head with the dead fish of
inspiration. Unfortunately, the bit I got inspired to write, while
integral to the story, won’t appear for several chapters yet.

I just wanted to take this opportunity while my mind is on the subject
to thank all of my reviewers. You make living a better option than the
alternative. You know, I don’t think I’ve every actually gotten a
negative review, much less an outright flame? I’m glad people seem to
like my writing so much, it makes me very happy to know that I’m
somewhat appreciated. I try.

OOo, and buy the Evanescence cd, ‘Fallen’. It be awesome. I’m listening
to it as I write. My favorite song is track seven, ‘Imaginary’. It’s
honestly my own personal theme song.

One more note, in order to get a better feel for Gir’s dialogue I’ve
decided to write it the way he talks, so yes, the misspellings and
stuff are there for your reading enhancement.

Okay, now that I’m done with that, on to the story.

Disclaimer: I own Kiir, I own the Oranges. I don’t own anything else.

Chapter 11…In which we learn slightly more about the Oranges,
jealousy runs amuck, and Gaz comes over.

“Useless!” she barked looking down at the torn and shuddering frame
of her partner. Her voice was cold and pitiless. “You’re absolutely
useless!” She kicked the trembling orange form that lay before her.

Buntch whimpered.

Koil had chosen the form of a tall, severe looking woman with cold
blue eyes and blood red hair bound into a bun on the back of her head.
She wore professional, but elegant looking attire, the latest human
fashions and expensive jewelry.

“How the hell do you expect to drain this planet dry if you can’t
take on ONE of this planet’s lowly inhabitants?!” she screeched.

Not a human, the beaten Orange trilled. I recognized it. The
creature attended skool yesterday. There are two of them.

“Fine!” she snapped. “The creature’s origin is of no importance. You
were seen on the Earth news! Less than two days and we’ve been exposed
because of nothing but your incompetence. I have half a mind to get
back in the ship and find a new planet. And leave you here! It’s not as
if these humans even have enough energy to be worth all the trouble
they seem to be giving you.”

Buntch made a pained sound.

Koil turned her back. “There is one reason and one reason only that
I don’t. That one human’s energy. I want to know why it isn’t like the
rest of his species. I want to know why it is that after all these
eons of searching we’ve finally found a perfect match!”

That roused her partner out of his stupor. What?!

She nodded. “If you’d bothered to do any more than preliminary tests
you’d have noticed it too.”

It is here on this planet? That human I nearly took?

She turned and looked solemnly down at him. “You nearly had it and
you lost it!”

How could I not have? With that much power I would be no match. How
can we-

“I will contrive a way. The human can’t have realized its power yet
or you would not be here. You return to the ship and heal. Tomorrow
I will pose as a substitute teacher in that skool. We’ve spent to long
living from millennia to millennia. It’s time to renew our vow of
revenge.”

***

Dib felt distinctly lightheaded sitting there listening to Kiir
recount the details of her encounter with the Orange and he found
himself only half listening to what she was saying. Mostly he was still
focused on staring fixedly at Zim and attempting to discern exactly how
probable it was that what he thought had just happened could happen in
a sane and logical universe. Not that it seemed at all likely that this
was a sane and logical universe.

But he couldn’t help grinning rather foolishly. All his worrying had
been stupid and pointless and everything was going to be okay because
Zim LOVED him.

“So then my lazer ran out of juice and it looked like I was gonna
bite it for sure for sure this time,” Kiir rambled on. “So we were on
the ground, both of us struggling for the upper hand when I get to my
plasma blade and ‘ka-snak!'” she clapped her hands together, “I cut
his arm off. I jump up, whip out my back up lazer and the skragger was
toast. And everyone,” she finished, “was applauding.”

Zim rolled his eyes. “Big deal, humans are easily impressed, right
Dib?”

The raven haired boy stifled a blush under the alien’s warm gaze. “Um,
yeah,” he nodded in agreement. “Most humans still think digital watches
are pretty impressive. Sorry.”

Kiir pouted. “Yeah, well you’re obviously pretty easily impressed
yourself, Zim,” she muttered.

Zim squinted and eye. “Excuse me? Do I detect that you are implying
something?” he demanded, standing up.

“You heard me,” she crossed her arms. “I walk in on you and dirt-boy
sucking face and you expect me not to be upset?”

“I was under the impression that we were no longer together Kiir, and
had not been for quite some time.”

Dib stared at the tow Irkens who stood locked in a glaring contest.
Zim had dated Kiir? She’d said they’d been friends at the academy. Dib
felt a surge of emotion. Was he jealous? Well, yes. Even though Zim
didn’t seem to still like her it was obvious that the apathy wasn’t
mutual. Dib suddenly liked Kiir rather less.

It was the half-breed who broke the tense, edgy silence. “Fine!” she
snapped, turning on her heel. “See if I care!” and with that she
stalked out of the lab.

Dib looked at Zim, a little hurt. “You didn’t tell me the two of you
dated.”

He sat back down on the bed. “The information was not relevant at the
time I might have brought it up.” The Irken paused. “Are you angry?”

The boy thought about it. He shook his head. “No. But she obviously
still likes you.”

“She will just have to deal because I don’t have feelings for her any
longer. I have not in many years.”

Dib smiled a little, and began to regret his jealousy though he
couldn’t banish it. “So, um, when were you two together?”

“It was back when we were both in the invader academy, we were in the
same squad.” he shrugged. “It was only supposed to be a temporary thing,
even back then, but she just wouldn’t quit. Then she got kicked out and
I hadn’t seen her since until two days ago. I rather thought she’d have
finally let it die after more than thirty years.”

Dib winced mentally. It was always a jolt to be reminded that Zim
wasn’t actually anywhere close to his age. Not that it really mattered.
“But she hasn’t,” he observed.

“Apparently not,” he frowned. “Do not let it trouble you however. I
will take care of it.”

***

It was on of those few times in her life that Kiir honestly wished
that Irkens used stairs rather than elevators. Granted, elevators were
generally more convenient, but it was very difficult to continue
storming from a room once one had reached an elevator. Whereas it was
quite easy to storm up or down stairs. Elevators in that sense
presented a natural threshold in which one would have to pause and
stand still for a moment. Empty elevators were nothing if not breeding
grounds for cooling off and sorting out rational thoughts from
irrational ones.

Kiir did not want a chance to find her rational thoughts, she was
angry and believed that she had every right to be; she didn’t need any
rebellious bits of her consciousness attempting to calm and soothe her.
She flung her back against the wall of the elevator with a grunt and
crossed her arms furiously. What right did that human have to get all
touchy kissy with her boyfriend?! She’d thought it was funny when it
was just idle speculation, a joke. Even in the lab when she’d asked Zim
about it she’d never thought they’d get together, thought the human was
just an object onto which Zim had cast his affections for her all the
years that they’d been separated. It wasn’t fair!

Sure she’d fooled around a lot of the years, but she’d never claimed
to love anyone else! She’d always planned after she managed to conquer
the empire she’d issue the order revoking Zim’s exile and they could be
together again. Why hadn’t she sent someone to Earth to get him long
ago? If she had, everything would be fine! Kiir choked back a sob and
clenched her fists. How DARE he?

The elevator dinged and she stormed out of the elevator at ground
level, and into the living room; flumping down on the couch. And she
was supposed to live here with the two of them? How could she?

“OOOooo! You was on TV!” Gir giggled, glomping her from out of no
where.

Kiir froze, somewhere between a scowl and a grimace. It was a little
uncomfortable being glomped by a tin can with ADHD. “Now’s not a good
time to hug me, Gir.”

“Oooooooooh,” he look dejected, detaching himself from her neck and
sliding down to sit beside her on the couch. “But you’re so cooooool!
You’re neater than cupcakes! I like cupcakes!” he giggled. “But I likes
you more!”

The half-breed was caught somewhere between her anger and her ego.
Inwardly she shook her head. What a weird little toy. “…Thanks,” she
managed after a moment.

An even wider grin threatened to consume the psuedo-SIR’s face. “I
made you a present!”

This…worried Kiir. “You, did?”

“Uh-huh.” He nodded. “LEMMEEGOGETIT!” He raced out of the room.

Sitting there she seriously considered getting up and leaving before
Gir could get back. But somehow she couldn’t bring herself to be quite
that mean to the little guy.

Gir trotted back in happily, carrying a bowl of something. “This is
for yooooou. Because you mah heroandmahfrand!” He shoved the bowl at
her, little imaginary hearts practically visible hovering over his head.

She looked down at the bowl in her lap and was nearly ill. It was
some kind of weird brown goo with…chunks of stuff…in it. “Umm,” she
forced a smile. “This looks, imaginative, Gir, what’s in it?”

“It’s got chocolate pudding,” he drawled, sticking his tongue out
thoughtfully and began to count on his fingers, “and chocolate chips,
a cuuuuupcake, andthreebrownies!” He giggled, “and some COOKIES MADE
WITH ELVES! and um, oh, I’s run outta fingers! MAH FINGERS THEY’S
GONE! DON’T LEEEEAVE ME FINGERS! AH LOVES YOU! PLEEZE COME BACK!”
He shouted hysterically.

Kiir cringed at the shrill voice and resisted the urge to clap
her hand over her antennae. Instead she grabbed Gir’s hands in a
desperate effort to stop the shrieking. “No! Look, Gir, your fingers
are right here, see?”

He stopped abruptly, looked down at his hands and glomped Kiir around
the neck yet again, sending the bowl flying. “YOU FOUNDS MAH FINGERS!
YOU’S MAH HEEEEERO! MORE!”

Kiir squinched her face up. Great, as if he hadn’t had enough of an
obsession with her already. She sighed and smiled. “You’re welcome,”
she patted the robot on the head. Wait, she was smiling. That meant she
wasn’t angry any more, or at least not for the moment, which meant she
was cheered up. Which meant the defective little robot had cheered her
up. Frakk. “Thanks a lot,” she mumbled.

“You’re welcome!” he said brightly, disengaging from around her and
standing happily on the floor. That was obviously when he realized he
had sent the pudding flying with his outburst. “Oh NO! You’re present’s
all icky!” His expression turned very sad.

The bowl had landed on a free standing lamp and the concoction it had
held was now oozing its way down to the floor. In a way Kiir was glad,
she wouldn’t have to choke down the chocolaty mess. She was sorry the
robot was sad, though, and she wasn’t sure why exactly. She rolled her
eyes. “Oh, it’s okay Gir, I’m sure Zim will clean it up later.”

He sniffed. “But your present; I broked it.” He hung his head.

She stood up; she’d practically just gotten back and already she
felt the need to get out again. She didn’t know how she was going to
manage living here, and that, she reminded herself, depended on Zim
letting her stay. Which he might not, she thought bitterly. “It’s okay,
don’t worry. It’s um, the thought that counts,” she said, hoping the
thing wouldn’t go into another fit.

“Reeeeelly?” he asked, wide eyed.

“Yes, really,” she nodded.

“YAY!” he hugged her around the legs.

Kiir sighed. If she tried to leave the stupid robot would probably
get all dejected. Well, there was one thing she could try. “Hey, Gir,
I was going to go for another walk, do you want to come?”

He looked up at her, awestruck. “Can we get BRAINFREEZIES?!” he
squealed.

“Uh, sure,” she answered, not really knowing what he was talking
about but assuming that it was some sort of food.

“YAY!” he screamed again, hugging her tighter. “Lemmegogetdressed!”
he skipped hurriedly into a corner and zipped on a, something. A green
something.

Kiir shrugged. His disguise was probably meant to resemble some Earth
animal. “Okay, c’mon.”

She pulled the front door open and was surprised to see someone
standing there about to knock.

“Is Dib here?” the human girl asked deadly.

***

Gaz was withdrawn, not unobservant. She noticed much more than most
people, it was just that she didn’t, in general, care. She knew for
instance that most people didn’t have the same level of logic skills,
reflexes, or hand-eye co-ordination that she did. She knew that most of
the things they taught in school were absolute bull shit.

She knew that the woman standing in the doorway was an alien.

“Well, is he?” she demanded in monotone.

The creature blinked. “Uh, yeah,” she scowled. “Down in the
basement.”

“Can I see him?” Gaz had a good idea what the alien was upset about.
‘Sleep-under’, hmmmm? The corner of her lip twitched for a second into
a smirk.

“Yeah, sure,” she stepped out of the way. “Knock yourself out. You’re
his sister, aren’t you?”

“Unfortunately.” She noticed the green skinned woman still watching
her. “You can go now. I know my way around.”

“Oh.”

Gaz rolled her eyes.

“YAY! I HASN’T SEEN YOU IN FUHEVA!” a green blur ran up and hugged
the human.

Her eye twitched. “Get off me.”

“Awwwwwwww.” Gir sniffed and walked back over to Kiir. “Can we get
Brainfreezies now?” he asked hopefully.

“Uh, sure,” the Irken shrugged and started toward the still open door.

Gaz turned, feeling the need to do Kiir a favor. “Hold on.”

“Huh? You lost already?” she asked.

“You weren’t planning on going out like that were you?” Gaz inspected
the alien. Green skin, antennae, three fingers. But that wasn’t what she
knew people would notice.

“Um, yeah?”

The human rolled her eyes again. “I saw you on TV you know.”

“Yeah? Am I cool or what?” she grinned.

“Are all aliens as stupid as you and Zim?” Or as self centered, she
thought. “If you go out like that you will be accosted by reporters,
fan girls, and wanna-be super villains. Believe me. I know.”

The alien seemed to consider this. “What do you want me to do about
it?”

Gaz sighed and fished her Game Slave out of her purse, and handed the
purse to Kiir. “I assume you can put on make-up.”

“Uh, yeah.”

“Good.” She nodded and started towards the elevator. “You want to buy
new cloths too. My dad’s credit card is in there.”

She stepped into the elevator.

***

Kiir stared dumbfounded at the elevator even after Gaz had gone.
She shook her head. Humans were strange, strange creatures. She looked
down at Gir, who, surprisingly was waiting patiently. “Er, hold on a
minute Gir, while I…put on some makeup. And then we can go.”

“Okay!” he chirped. “Go be pretty!” He giggled.

She slung the purse over her shoulder and headed to the bathroom.

***

“So it was you who tripped Mike yesterday? Or was it day before
yesterday?” Dib wondered. “You’re right, my time sense is all messed
up.”

Zim nodded, his antennae bobbing. He’d taken off his disguise some
time ago, proclaiming it to be ‘very skragging itchy’. Dib didn’t mind
at all.

They’d really just been talking for the last half-hour or so, about
skool, about their lives, about each other a little bit too. Dib
smiled.

“It was yesterday,” Zim nodded.

Dib turned as her heard the whirring of the elevator. The noise set
him on edge. It meant either that Kiir was coming down to yell at them
some more or Gir was coming. Either one wasn’t particularly appealing.
Well, there was always the possibility that Kiir was coming to
apologize; a nice idea, but not very likely. He sighed. He’d liked
Kiir pretty well, too.

He resignedly watched the doors slide open. Relief washed over him as
instead of Kiir or Gir, someone else walked into the lab.

“Oh, hi Gaz,” Dib greeted. Then he did a double take and nearly fell
over. “GAZ? What are you doing here?”

To be continued…

Sorry for the long wait and the short length but I’m in deep sandwiched
between two ten page projects and a schism in my circle of friends.
It’ll be a while for the next chapter, but I promise it WILL be worth
it, and I will never, ever abandon this fic!

Read it? Review it!


Chapter 12: Answers


Cognitive Dissonance
By Lejindarybunny
A romantic Invader Zim epic

A/N: Hey all. I’m going to try to get back into the swing of things as
it comes to chapter-posty on timeness. After all, if I’m not doing my
homework I ought to be doing something, ne? I’m going through a
personal social crisis at the moment (involving best friends who now
seem to hate me) and I’ve decided the best way to solve it is to sink
deep into the abyss that is fandom. I haven’t been reading or writing
much in favor of brooding but no more. HA! My reviewers on line are
much more dependable than some of my real life friends. For that
matter so are my characters.

But I’m ranting, sorry about that.

Anyway, story-wise things should be heating up. Dib’s going to have to
go back to school soon and he and Zim will find themselves faced with
a new substitute teacher. What exactly do those Oranges have in mind?
It has something to do with Dib I’d say, but that’s only an educated
guess. Meanwhile Kiir’s going to have to deal with her heart-breakyness
hopefully in a way that doesn’t involve the destruction of Dib’s spinal
cord or any major landmarks. But will she be able to? If Dib’s not
human, what is he? How much longer will I keep asking hypothetical
questions?

Disclaimer: If I owned the rights to Invader Zim everyone would hate me
because I’d be Nick.

Chapter XII… The origin of Dib; Kiir and Gir get Brainfreezies, the
return of Melanie, and the secrets of what created the Universe,
REVEALED! (HA! What other story can boast the answer to Life, the
Universe and Everything? Oh right. That one.)

“GAZ? What are you doing here?” Dib demanded, obviously shocked.

Not that Zim was any less surprised to see the normally
debilitatingly apathetic girl in his lab. After all, from what he could
gather she barely left the couch when the choice was up to her. What
could she want?

“Your skool called dad saying you weren’t there today. He wanted me
to make sure you weren’t dead. Tch. I told him you were here.” The
girl’s voice was a bland drawl like she wasn’t fond of speaking.

“Yeah, well, I’m not. Dead I mean. I am here,” Dib said.

“Obviously.”

Zim watched the two of them as silence descended and he wondered,
if Dib wasn’t human, what about his ‘sister’?

“So you can go now,” Dib told her.

Gaz continued to pause as though her brother hadn’t broken the stiff
silence. Then she spoke. “So why ARE you here? You look like shit Dib.”

Dib flushed. “I’m just, hanging out, okay? NOW can you go?”

“With Zim. You’re ‘hanging out’ with Zim.” She paused again,
evidently to consider the statement. “I thought he was an ‘alien’.”

“Yeah, so?” Dib responded sharply, “I never said there was anything
WRONG with him being an alien, did I?”

“Yes,” Gaz responded truthfully. “You said he was alien scum come to
destroy the planet.

“Alien scum hmmm, Dib?” Zim squinted an eye, smirking. It was vaguely
amusing watching the two argue like this.

“That was years ago!” he protested, although still casting a slightly
guilty look toward the alien.

“That was day before yesterday,” she deadpanned. “You didn’t answer
my question Dib. What happened to you?”

The boy stayed silent.

Privately Zim weighed the pros and cons of actually telling the truth
to the maybe-human. He was certain she could handle it, if she
believed it. But did Zim want her to know?

“Or how about I ask you a different question Dib,” Gaz said with more
than a hint of threat in her voice along with the ghost of a smirk
playing on her lips, “How about you tell me how your little
‘sleep-under’ went?”

Dib turned quite a lovely shade of pink and Zim could feel his own
cheeks heating with magenta. That clinched it.

“He was attacked,” Zim said as all eyes turned to him. He shifted
a bit uneasily under the weight of Gaz’s icy stare remembering that he
was completely undisguised. But it really didn’t matter. “A creature
attacked him in the hallway of skool and attempted to drain him of his
life energy. I brought him to my lab for medical attention.”

Gaz raised an eyebrow. “Oh?” she looked at Dib.

The boy was still rather pink around the ears. He nodded.

“Your brother’s life was nearly extinguished,” Zim continued. Which
brings us to an interesting point, he thought.

“And you saved him?” she asked a bit incredulously.

“Indeed,” Zim replied, just daring her to accuse him of lying.

Dib’s face certainly wasn’t getting a chance to return to it’s usual
pale shade.

Well now it was time for the ‘kicker’. “I ran several tests on Dib,”
he began.

Dib looked at the alien questioningly.

Zim nodded and spelled it out as simply as possible. “Your brother
is not a human.”

“Well duh,” she snorted.

Not the reaction either of them had expected.

***

Kiir looked on more time in the mirror, thinking to herself that she
hadn’t done a bad job. Not at all. She grinned. She had smeared strange
peach colored stuff all over her visible skin turning it to a normal
human tone. She had once again pulled back her antennae, which didn’t
hurt as much this time, she was getting used to it. She’d even put on
some of the odd eye and lip paints that seemed unnecessary to her.
After all, in some alien cultures walking around without the correct
face paints in place was the social equivalent to walking around naked.
Like in her mother’s culture.

She regarded herself in the mirror, now looking like nothing more
than a flat nosed human with the wrong number of fingers. She was
actually quite pretty if she judged human standards correctly, if
still a bit androgynous.

‘If Zim’s so into humans he ought to like me quite a bit now,’ she
thought resentfully as she peered at the glass.

There was a soft knocking from somewhere near the bottom of the
closed door. “Are yew ready yeeeeet?” a high pitched voice asked.

Kiir sighed and shook her head. She tuned, pulled the door open and
looked down at the little robot in the animal suit. “Well?” she asked.

Gir gasped looking up with big, blue-green eyes. “Youse all perdy
and HUUU-many lookin’!”

The rebel smiled and was privately pleased at the complement, although
well aware that he probably would have said much the same thing even
if she’d gone in and smeared herself with mud and cake sprinkles.

“You ready to go then?” she asked.

“YuP! YaY! We’se gonna get some BAINFREEZIES!” he screamed and
danced around her feet.

Kiir winced slightly as she headed towards the door with Gir behind.
“Um yeah. You’re gonna have to tell me where to get those since I have
absolutely no clue.”

“The 24/7!” he screeched and raced out the door ahead of her while
she scurried to catch up.

***

At the moment Buntch’s world consisted of the sealed tube of
bubbling liquid energy in which he was floating. It would heal him,
and restore his form. The steady pulse and tingle soothed him and
rocked him backwards into a haze of memories of the past.

The dimension from which they came was of pure energy, landscapes of
energy, creatures of energy. Pure energy. It had been in this place
that the first culture arose, the culture which he had been a part of
since the beginning In this their world, they were immortal. Nothing
disrupted the cycle of energy consumption, conversion, reconversion and
consumption.

It had been easy, taking power from that weak council which he had so
long been a part of. True, his position of consort held even less real
power than his previous one of governor. Of course there had been that
one pesky rebellion, but they’d fled the dimension and could no longer
be considered a threat. At least, that was what the her Overlordship
assured him.

For nearly seven millennia she ruled them with an iron fist as he
enjoyed a position of luxury at her side. Then the plague hit, a
mysterious virus, or so they thought, causing the entire population
to weaken and fade out. Even he and her majesty were affected. In
a world that had never known sickness or death it was terrifying.
The best minds sought the answer to the problem. And they found it.
The rebels all those years ago had somehow punched a whole in the
dimensional fabric and their world was dying, slowly but surely.
Bio-energy was being leeched out before it could be converted back
into pure energy. Their word was shrinking and they were dying. In
a few thousand years there would be nothing but a vast, empty void.
The scientists said there was no hope. If they could somehow patch
the hole AND find an infusion of pure energy the cycle should
regenerate itself. But there was less and less pure energy in their
world and there was no way to patch the rift.

The Overlord saw her people and her kingdom dying and she knew
that there was only one chance. She summoned Buntch and only
moments before the dimension died completely followed the rebels to the
other world without a thought for their doomed subjects.

What they found was strange. A dimension of solids that should have
been as barren as their own world had become, like dry, impenetrable
rock. But the energies introduced from their dimension had somehow
bonded with the materials in this world to change them, introducing
gases and liquids and strange, biologic forms of life. It was
disgusting. But as they walked across the surface of one of these
planets the energy that had once been a part of their universe flowed
back to the Overlord and her consort, renewing them. It killed the
bio-creatures of course, but by rights they shouldn’t even exist.

For many millennia they simply traveled this universe, absorbing back
the energy that had been taken, reconverting it from the many
perversions it had taken on and integrating it into themselves. But this
was not the pure energy they had once fed off . It burned itself out
after a while and was gone and they had to consume more. Even so, after
having absorbed an energy they were able to configure their own bodies
to the shape they had taken and thus walk among the creatures if they
chose. They wiped out whole planets in this manner, even as they found
more and more responsive life forms, even somewhat intelligent ones.

But as they traveled they could feel it, deep within themselves, that
there was still pure energy somewhere in this forsaken dimension.
And Koil told him she knew, it must be the rebels and the core of their
ship. If they could find them they could take the core back to the Void
and start the cycle anew. When Buntch asked her how they would stop
the leak she gave a happy trill. The pure power of the Energy core
could be used to destroy this dimension utterly, and then their would
be no hole to patch.

But nowhere they went did they find more than ancient traces of the
rebels’ passing and the pure energy seemed completely out of reach. No
where in the Universe could they find a creature that had even so much
as a trace of Pure undiluted, unconverted energy in them. Until now.

Or so Koil said.

It wasn’t that Buntch didn’t trust her exactly, it was that over the
billions of years they had been searching she had changed. Sometimes
when they were on a planet she would become fascinated with it’s
culture or even a single creature or aspect and she would refuse to
deplete the energy until she was sure she knew everything about it and
had committed it surely to memory. Then after they had destroyed it she
would be almost wistful, like she was sorry it was gone. It wasn’t
healthy. These patterns were twistings of the only true beauty, thefts
and marrings as though someone had carved their initials into the bark
of the tree of life.

He had asked her why once and she had glared coldly at him.

‘They were unique. I could not have created them. They deserve to be
remembered.’

Koil had perfected a way to absorb with their energy all they had
ever known or experienced. Her mind and the ships computers were by
now filled with memories of more than a million creatures and races. And
now she had a fascination with the Earth, or rather, it seemed from the
way she absorbed ‘television’ with the Earth’s myths. And of course
with the human who might or might not have traces of Pure Energy in
him.

Buntch gave the twittering equivalent to a sigh and let the energy
bubble and restore him. It would pass. Everything passed.

***

The 24/7 was a minimart on the corner about ten or so minutes from
Zim’s base. Regarding it, Kiir’s first reaction was one of surprise and
the feeling that anything purchased from this little center of commerce
would make her physically and violently ill. But Gir, who had a firm
grip on her hand, pulled her forward and into the looming pillar of
consumables before she had the chance to protest.

Inside the store it was a pit of potential greed and gluttony.
Brightly colored signs, each trying to be more eye-catching than the
others, proclaimed things like ‘Meetie Burger: our burgers are the
Meetiest!’ and ‘Obey the Snak Kakes!’. Kiir thought that it looked
very much like a refueling station near Vergon 6 that she’d been
forced at lazer point to stop at.

Gir too stood for a moment in childlike wonder, the word ‘ooooooh!’
practically painted on his face. Then he suddenly shot off toward one
end of the store, Kiir still attached to his hand.

He stopped in front of a blocky looking machine with a number of
levers and shades of paint in colors that practically burned the
retina. Gir stared at it reverently.

He looked slowly up at her. “Brainfreezies,” he said in an awe filled
tone.

“Riiiiiiight,” she raised an eyebrow. She read the labels above
each lever. “Frosty Peanut, Cherry Doom… what on Irk is Icy Ham?”

“I want a CHERRYDOOM!” the robot squealed.

She shrugged. “Keedoky.” She pulled two of the near bathtub-sized
cups out of the stack. She held one under the Cherry Doom. “So I just
pull this thingy, right?” she asked, tentatively laying a hand on the
lever.

“Uuuuuuhuuuuuuh,” Gir agreed.

Kiir hesitated a moment longer. Something told her this wasn’t a very
good idea. She had no clue what the earth drink might do to her alien
physiology, especially considering her hybrid constitution. But what the
hell, the worst it could do was kill her, right?

She yanked the red lever down and a frothy, semi-coagulated liquid
issued from the spigot, pooling in the cup until it was full. She stuck
a straw in it, handed the first cup to Gir and commenced to fill the
second with the same syrupy concoction, staring hypnotized at the
flow until she released the tap.

She picked up the cup and looked down at the ‘dog’, who was avidly
sucking at the drink. “So where do we pay for these?”

“Over THERE!” Gir pointed.

Kiir sauntered over to the counter and smiled at the bored looking
shop-clerk. He was gaunt and covered in ugly pustules, and was reading
some magazine with unclothed human women on it.

“Ye-ah?” he asked, voice breaking.

She rolled her eyes. “Two of the brain freeze thingies.”

“That’ll be four eight-nine ma’am.”

Kiir reached into Gaz’s purse and handed him the plastic card which
she had been told was earth monies. The clerk ran it through a scanner
and handed it back to her.

“Thank you, have a nice day,” he muttered distractedly, turning his
attention back to the magazine.

She put the card away and turned around to find Gir giggling at a
shelf of comic books. She looked down at the mushy pink liquid, peering
at it as though it would reveal some deep secret of the mystery of
time to her. It didn’t…yet. Hesitantly she put her lips to the straw
and took a pull of the pink goo. Hideously sweet and bitingly fruity it
exploded on her tongue, tasting like the fires of great suns and
freezing as the void of space. It tasted like dreams and mania and
possibilities and instant, perfect bliss. A buzzing feeling raced
through her veins, spreading through her to the tips of her fingers and
feet, her eyes lip up and a grin split her expression. She took another,
longer drink.

Gir looked up at her and asked brightly. “Kii-iir?” He cocked his
head sweetly.

Kiir giggle, her eyes twinkling and grinning manically. “I wanna go
SHOPPING!” she squealed.

***

“You KNOW?! How can KNOW? WHAT do you know?!”

Zim watched as Dib leapt up and toward his sister, frantic questions
racing behind his amber eyes. Zim knew that look, it meant Din wasn’t
in a stable state of mind. Zim stood quickly and put a hand on the
boy’s shoulder.

“Sit down, you are still not completely healed,” he said calmly.

Dib opened his mouth to protest.

“Sit,” Zim repeated. “You will not loose consciousness in my lab
again.”

The boy frowned and sat down arms crossed. “Fine,” he said, rather
sullenly. “But she has to tell me what she knows.”

The Irken to his eyes him for a moment to regard the Gaz-creature.
“Yes, I think that is something we would both like to know.”

Gaz’s lips crinkled just slightly, perhaps the specter of a smirk.
“You don’t mean to tell me Dib, you never looked through Dad’s files.
Tch.”

“What, so you went through Dad’s diary? What did it say? Did he find
me under a cabbage leaf, or, or did the stork bring me?” he demanded
sarcastically, glaring at his sister, eyes smoldering.

Zim however, watched the girl coolly for any sign of deception.

She rolled her eyes. “Hardly.” She paused and assumed a slightly
stronger posture, though her voice held no more emotion than the moment
before. “Seventeen years ago, January fifteenth, Dad was doing
experiments on some rock from meteor that had crashed in Mexico. He
discovered that they it a strange, powerful energy, and glowed red
under white light. Further testing proved that they had another strange
property, carbon atoms that touched it fused and began to show
properties like single celled organisms. Before this he had been doing
other experiments. Our mother, it turned out, couldn’t have kids, ever,
and so dear old dad was trying to find a way to fix that. He couldn’t.
Then, examining the rocks he thought that maybe he didn’t have to fix
our mom, he thought maybe using this he could make life from scratch.
He sealed the rock in a jar with all the right stuff, and only a single
strand of his DNA. And he waited.”

Zim listened with rapt attention. A meteor, a strange energy? Perhaps
things were coming together.

“And the rock started to change,” Gaz continued in her eerie
monotone, “It became living tissue and flesh and blood. In just two
months it was something that looked exactly like a human baby. It lived,
it breathed. It was the child they had always wanted. It was you, Dib.”

“But what about-” Dib began.

“I’m not finished yet!” Gaz hissed. “A little over a year later mom
contacted a weird illness. He tried but not even dad could cure her.
She died in just a couple of months. Dad was mad with grief, but he
remembered that he still had the tiny piece of the rock, the one that
he had used for tests. The original rock was the size of two fists,
this one was barely the size of a fingernail. But he did it again,
this time using some of mom’s DNA, before it had to decay. He wasn’t
sure it would work with such a small piece. It took longer, seven whole
moths until he had me, but by then he’d changed. He spared just enough
time to raise us until we were old enough for daycare and then he threw
himself completely into his work, which really didn’t make any sense
any more. I don’t think anything really made sense to him after mom
died. But now you know the whole story, how we were born, and why
you’re so completely nuts. Or maybe that’s just dad’s DNA showing up.”
She flashed another almost-smirk and seemed to have finished talking.

Dib stared. “That’s it? I’m a comet? A rock” he stared at his hands.
“Did he ever… figure out where it came from?”

Zim was about to speak when the computer cut in.

“The visuals you requested have been retrieved,” it droned.

The visuals from the moon where the energy samples had been found.
Zim gave a wry smile and drummed his fingers on the control panel.
“I believe I could make an educated guess as to the rocks origin. Bring the
moon on screen computer.”

To be continued…

Dundundun. And that is where I leave you for now. Damn I’m nasty. Sorry
the chappy took so long, halfway through I had to go on a cross country
road trip with my family. Three days in the car one way, three days at
my Gramma’s in Washington state and three days back. We slept in the
car. It sucked. But I got to see my cousin Avery in Washington, he’s
cool. He loves Zim and JTHM. He kept quoting Zim, and talking like him.
Bwa. And I picked up a Zim shirt while I was there. The long sleeved
one with Zim and Gir on the ship and Gir’s singing the doom song. And
I got a pair of ‘Alaskan black diamond’ earrings in the Badlands of
South Dakota in a tourist trap called Wall Drug. They’re black and heart
shaped. Black hearts from the badlands. Oh, and I got bored in the car
and fell in love with Boris Badenov from Rocky and Bulliwinkle. I’ll
have a fanquarter elfwood pic of him up soon, anime style. Yay strange
obsessions!

I’m watching Helen of Troy now.

Read it? Review it?

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