Saving Zim by Dib07
"Zim! Listen to me! I'm not here to hurt you! Or cut you open! Please understand! I'm trying to save you!"
Zim Angst. Violence, language and distressing scenes.
I do not own the IZ characters. However this story and this idea is mine.
Hi all. This is my latest Invader Zim novel. Yes. Novel. Because it's pretty big. Not as big as some, but still quite substantial.
A part of me doesn't want to upload this, and a part of me does. So here's what I'll do:
It's been a long time since I've submitted anything on here, and writing does take up a lot of my time. I do enjoy it, but it does help if there are other people enjoying it too. There's little use uploading this if no one reads it. So I shall continue this story on a 'reviews per chapter basis.' This is going to hold true for all of my new IZ novels; you must leave a review if you want it continued. I do reply to all reviews, even the guest reviews in the forthcoming chapters. And I listen to every voice. So I hate to leave this story dead in the water if there is no interest. Or I may just delete it entirely because I'll just assume no one likes it. So please leave feedback and let me know.
Anyway, this novel is really mature. There is blood. There is swearing. It's for the adults who love Invader Zim. My stories aren't for children. So here goes. And don't be surprised if this whole story gets deleted. Because I'm still not sure I even want it uploaded on here. So enjoy it while you can.
'Don't kid yourself
And don't fool yourself
This love's too good to last
And I'm too old to dream.'
Blackout – Muse
'There's part of me you'll never know
The only thing I'll never show.'
Endlessly – Muse
CHAPTER 1: The Call
Dib was out on the balcony, filling his time with his usual habitual reveries. The stars never failed to fascinate him, or make him feel woefully insignificant. To Zim, the stars did not endow him with the same sense of mystic awe. To him, they were as mundane as traffic was to Dib. But that never sullied the human's allure. Whenever he could, and if it was a clear, cloudless night with the moon being particularly bright, he'd go and stand on his balcony, smoking a cigarette or drinking a can of beer. Zim had once laughed, saying that human pollution blotted out the full orchestra of the planets and stars. And Dib believed him. Only once had he ridden in Zim's voot, and he had seen the stars for what they truly were, unhindered and unmolested by Earth's pollution. His eyes had ached from looking at so many celestial balls of light.
Now he was quite happy to admire them from his home as his glass lenses reflected their fiery white light.
His home was situated on a quiet rural town where not much happened. The traffic was light, and his neighbours couldn't even be seen over the brow of the hill. On one side of him was a great forest. And opposite him was a cornfield. He liked it here. And he liked the serenity the place possessed. No more city life for him. Of course, the main town was only five miles away, and he went there regularly for business and pleasure. Zim's culdersack was exactly three miles behind him, so in a way they were now living closer.
In the parlour the TV was comfortably playing away, its blue light enveloping the empty sofa in front of it. The room was in a bit of a mess. Countless UFO magazines were haphazardly strewn all over the coffee table – a table littered with old liquid stains. Old popcorn kernels had been distributed over the rug, and his hanging shelves were dusty and cluttered with memorabilia, with the occasional cobweb making its debut in the parlour room corners.
Living as a fulltime bachelor had made him indolent and lazy with his own housekeeping. Yes, he was astute and proper when it came to his job. He carried professionalism around with him as if he had coined the term, but when it came to private living, he stopped caring as soon as he entered the threshold to his own domain. Perhaps it was a man thing. Perhaps it was a symptom of loneliness.
Either way, he didn't have a measure of care.
As he was inching a fresh cigarette out of its packaging, the TV screen suddenly flickered violently, and the voices became a distorted mess of noise. Dib spun round; sure it was on the fritz. Yet how could it be? He'd just bought the wide-screen TV a year ago! It wasn't even past its warranty!
As he was still bemusing this, the lights flickered simultaneously and then died, filling the whole house with an ill blackness. The TV keeled over as well, leaving Dib in darkness. Hastily he rummaged for the lighter he usually kept in his left jacket pocket. With nervous fingers, he found it and pulled it out. He flipped open the lid and the small orange flame bloomed upwards like a flower. It doused his face in a lambent glow.
His eyes tried to scan the dark for foul play. The house seemed to glare silently back at him, as hushed as a tomb.
It was not unusual for rural areas to suffer blackouts. But, being Dib, he always had reservations when suspicious things started happening to him.
The flicking lighter flame could not reach very far. He trod on ahead carefully in his little light bubble, step by step, trying to remember where all the furniture was situated so that he wouldn't stumble and fall into anything.
Was there an intruder? Or a simple fault in his electricity? The fuse box was down in his basement. He never liked going down there. It was the last place left to renovate, and it would be the most expensive. For it was damp, and quite big for what it was. He only ever stored alcohol down there, and useless cardboard boxes for storing away old CDs and other junk from when he was a kid.
As usual however, when something untoward happened, his first culprit was always THAT alien.
"Zim?" He called impatiently. "Zim, are you in here? If you are, this is NOT funny!"
He tried to get angry. Truth was, he was shivering in his pants and it was hard to convey one's voice when he was pretty shook up. He hated being blinded, and hated feeling vulnerable, especially in his own house. Zim didn't usually strike this close to home, but he did know where Dib lived, and not everything the alien did was coherent or plausible in any way.
"Zim!" He yelled it this time, growing more impatient and frightened. "Come out this second or I'm calling the cops!"
Suddenly, as if by magic, the lights blared back to life, filling Dib's vision in white. He had to throw a hand up in front of his face to allay the torturously bright intensity. As if in unison, the TV sprung back to life too, and a female reporter was back on Channel 5, highlighting the recent rise in food prices. All was well again, just as before, as if nothing foreboding had ever transpired.
Dib peered around his own parlour nervously, the lighter still flickering away. Awkwardly, anxiously, Dib jabbed a cigarette between his lips and lit the tip before putting the lighter away. "Zim?" He called again, this time with far less anger. "Zim? You there?"
There was not a sound.
He inhaled on his cigarette, and the intoxicating fumes helped his nerves relax.
Outside, he could distinctly hear car alarms going off, and not just one or two either, but at least half a dozen.
Still, he roamed forwards, thinking about grabbing a knife from the kitchen drawer.
He floated from place to place, tense and ready for a fight. Each time he came to a room and swung the door open, ready to take a swing, he'd confront an empty room. All the windows were shut, and his back and front doors were still locked. Of course, windows and doors had never posed much of a problem to the alien invader, but still.
He was about to decide that the whole thing had been nothing but a simple, innocent blackout, when, in the parlour, the phone began to ring. He inwardly groaned.
Probably sales people ringing up, wanting my details for something I don't need.
He checked his wristwatch. It was late. No one he knew would ring at this time. Sometimes his dad rang late, on occasion, when he was excited about some new invention that he couldn't hold in any longer.
He ignored the first few rings, relying on the answering machine to follow through and have the recipient leave a recorded message. But the recipient left no message. And in the space of ten seconds it started ringing again. Dib hardly ignored someone who was trying to get through to him twice. So, with a hard sigh, he walked on over with the limp cigarette dangling from his lips and picked it up.
"Yeah? Hello? Membrane residence."
"Urm... yes, hello?" The voice sounded tinny, and very familiar. "Urm... is this Dib?" The caller sounded like he was struggling with his words.
Dib frowned. Was this a prank caller? "Yes. It is he. Who is this?"
"Gir? Zim's robot dog thingy?" Now Dib was surprised. It was rare, doubly rare for Gir to have anything to do with him, let alone coherently make a phone call to his house. He still had his doubts, and suspected a trap.
"Urm... you need to come over. My Master spilled all his sauce everywhere. I'm worried. Someone could slip on it."
"Sauce? Jesus Gir! Is that all?" Sauce? This was ridiculous! Why would he care? "Just clean it up!"
"I... I CAN'T!" Now Gir was beginning to sound frustrated, if robots could even get frustrated. "It keeps coming out!"
"Look, is Zim there? Can I talk to him?" What Gir had to say was usually drivel anyway. Talking to him was like trying to reason with a mad man. It just gave Dib a headache.
"Yes..." Then: "No..."
"Gir, just clean it up. I have better things to do."
And Dib hung up. Jesus! Talk about wasting his time!
He walked back out through his open door to the balcony, enjoying his cigarette until it had turned into a stub. Then he flicked it over the balcony.
What a load of baloney.
But Gir's tone did worry him. It had a hue of panic to it.
I can't keep going over there EVERY time Gir rings me up about something stupid.
His mind toyed with the idea of going over, just to see if one of Zim's plans had combusted, perhaps showering sauce or ignition fuel all over the place. It would come as no surprise. Zim rushed through his plans as if his biological clock was on the brink, and his final products would end up as mighty big failures.
The trip would take me just fifteen minutes. Less if I take the shortcut.
Can I be bothered though?
He looked at the phone back in the parlour. Soft unease had started in his heart.
Then, before he knew it, his body was on the move, and he was grabbing his coat and his car keys.
~ A little earlier ~
"Stupid, stupid machinery!" He was down on his PAK, which he hated. And though his place was kept as sterile as possible from unhealthy obsession, the floor still proved to be less savoury than any other surface, and he had to lie on it. Earth presented a lot of dust, and though his base was well ventilated and sealed tight against the airborne spores of humanity and all they produced, dust still made its way down into the catacombs of his nest.
Using his receptor grapplers, he sought the problem in the dark beneath his console and set about to fixing it. The wires were sheathed in rubbery ploxum, an Irken material much like rubber, yet thicker, more resilient, and stronger. He slit some of it away to get at the coils within. One of the wires wasn't connecting properly. Must have been a fault when the machinery was installed, or some recent power surge had caused something to burn up.
He squinted one fuchsia eye at the problem, even though he had no trouble seeing in the dark in the cavernous confines below his console.
The faulty wire in question was easy to pinpoint. The silvery trim was blackened and slightly out of shape amongst the others. Zim cut away the damaged section with careful precision and let the piece fall onto his uniform before he carefully slipped in a new piece of wire after cutting it to fit. Then he carefully backed up, sliding along the floor on his PAK. It was a bad habit to practise, one that would surely cause Irken elites to frown upon.
He coasted back into the light and rolled over onto his side. Folding up his knees from under him, he tried to stand. His knees ached, and his back hurt from straining so long under the console in an awkward position.
Grabbing the edge of the console for support, he levered himself back up, feeling the pressure ease from his joints.
"Computer!" He barked, "Re-establish connection and run the drives!"
He was pretty sure the bodge-job had fixed the problem. He wasn't a qualified Irken engineer, but he was able to make and fix whatever he could, sometimes out of very limited resources. It was not wise to rely entirely on machines, machines that could break down and leave him in the dark.
Invaders had to be resourceful, after all.
"Re-establishing link." Droned the computer.
Zim stood, staring at the screen as Irken jargon rolled upwards in streams. His antennae, one crooked, the other perfectly smooth, lay across the flat of his head as he tried to relax. But his body remained stiff and rigid, a posture he had held almost all of his life without even making a conscious effort to realize he was doing it.
Gir, his deranged S.I.R robot unit, plodded into the room holding an armful of supermarket products. "I got the shampoo! Let's turn the taps on!"
Zim, who had become a reluctant expert at understanding Gir's mangled speeches, answered with bitter promptness: "Does it look like I need a bath, Gir? Now just go and watch TV or something. I have work to do!" He could have rebuked him in Irken. He hadn't spoken in his native tongue for over twelve years, and it bothered him. He did not want his own language to go rusty and forgotten. Already in his head he thought in English, and though he hated this unplanned arrangement, he couldn't help himself. Without hearing another fellow Irken speak, he was slowly losing touch with his own kind.
How did it come to this?
He jerked himself from this dangerous reverie. Irkens had never been taught or trained to reflect or daydream! It was a waste of time! "Computer! Download a diagnostic report!"
Suddenly everything went down. The computer hummed in a low drone as all power drained from its processors, and the screen reeled into a very alarming black. As Zim pondered this, panic freshly knocking on his door, the lights went out.
Everything went out.
Even Zim's PAK.
The power outage fazed Zim only a little, the lack of lights even less, for he could see and feel his way in the dark perfectly. But it was the failure in his PAK that frightened him the most. Usually brimming with pink light, the metal dome on his back also dimmed and then faded to grey. This made his heart falter.
"Gir! Help me! The power is out! I need the facility back online!"
He could not have caused such a massive blackout, surely? His repairs had been minor! He had been nowhere near the main power circuits!
"Gir!" He cried when his first shout was not reciprocated.
He could see Gir in the dark, not much further from where he had originally been standing before the power failure. But as he turned to Zim, his attention decidedly elsewhere, the Irken elite saw that Gir's eyes were red.
"Gir! Stop staring and help your master! I need you to go back to the power core and see if it's still online! We have ten minutes, Gir!" He himself, ever the hard worker, was already on the next task. Mentally employing the mechanism that held his PAK in place inside his spine, he lodged it free so that it disengaged from his body. This telekinesis was rare for Irkens, and some possessed higher abilities than others. Zim's telekinesis was weak at best, but it was just strong enough to manually manipulate his PAK to and from his body whereas some Irkens like Tak had a far higher mental capacity for psychic management.
Before the PAK could drop to the floor, he grabbed it and brought it over to his console to begin diagnostics. Luckily the laser gun had been charged this morning, or he may not have been able to use it at all.
But Gir had other things on his mind. He approached Zim, quite naturally, as if he was about to impart a line of dialogue. Zim was not paying any attention. In his left claw was a laser gun. He was busy lifting off the top lid of the PAK to get at its circuitry. "Yes, Gir? I gave you an order. THIS is important! NOW GO!"
If he could go back in time, he wished he had paid better attention.
Gir flexed his metal fingers together to form a blade and then he thrust it deep into Zim's side as quick as a bullet. The bladed fingers punctured flesh with ease and before Zim even realized, Gir had yanked his hand back out again, allowing blood to drench the floor beneath. More blood spurted down Zim's uniform, and all over his boots. The Irken just stood there, too horrified even to scream. Then the lights flickered back on, the main computer hummed into life and the PAK lit up. Even Gir's bright red eyes turned back to their charming cyan colour.
"Master? Master? What you do? You got icky sauce all over yous!"
Zim swallowed, and felt his breath run back down his throat where his little lungs started hitching out wheezes. He staggered backward, and pressed a gloved claw to his side. Hot, iridescent fluid kept glugging out with each beat of his heart.
Before pain and numbing shock could outrace him, he quickly turned round and mentally clawed for his PAK beneath the clamour of his own panic. He was rewarded by its comforting presence as it lifted upward, its flat inner disk facing his spine. Tubes extended from its base like twin tongues and once again these interconnected with the tubes from his spine that protruded outwards to greet it. Once whole again, the PAK sunk deep into his nervous system and started sending out electric signals to his body to begin biological repair. Even so, Zim, cold and hazy with blood loss, squatted where he was, both hands pressed to his wound as blood oozed out between his claws.
Gir stood by him, unmoving, and giddy with concern. "Master! Did you hurt yourself? Should I get help? I know you like pancakes. That'll make you feel better!"
Zim couldn't believe it. He was so pain-induced, and so compressed with shock, that he had hardly given Gir much thought. The S.I.R unit's act of untoward aggression had to be a mistake! A miscalculation! Gir had never done anything of the like before, except for that one day when Zim tried to keep him permanently locked to Duty Mode. But that was many, many years ago.
"Gir." His words were slurred, his brain in a haze of absolute pain. His PAK was busy filling his chemistry with plain blockers, and it was making him tired and disorientated. To a human, they would be feeling pretty drunk at this point. "Do you recall the last five minutes? Activate your memory banks."
Gir thought for a moment. This idle posturing was more suited to something with sentient qualities than robotic.
Zim watched, still squatting on the floor. It was much too painful yet to sit, and much too painful to flatten himself to the ground. He wasn't sure how deep Gir had managed to go in. Was his spooch in jeopardy? Or was it just a flesh wound? His PAK was burning with activity as it hastened to still the blood loss, arrest the pain, and secure the site from infection. But it would take longer for the actual wound to close. First it had to coagulate. And that could take a few minutes.
"Nope. Sorry. Nothing there." The robot concluded at last.
Zim took a moment to breathe out. It felt like he had a thousand stingy nettles all lodged in his bleeding side. Hot blood still caressed his fingers. He was pretty sure he'd lose consciousness. The world was starting to fade in and out, much like one of the human movies he had watched on occasion. And even Gir, once crystal clear, was now turning into a blurry outline.
"Could... c-could you just... m-maybe..." He felt his heart stagger and lurch as if the very blood it was trying to pump was now nothing but air. The whole base around him was now transforming into a dark swathe of grey. Was it another blackout? Or was it he who was blacking out?
"Master?" Gir whinnied like a puppy. "Master? Master, open your eyes! Don't be sad! I'm... I'm sorry!"
It was the last thing he heard. In order to save energy to protect its host, the PAK had put him to sleep.
A/N: Yup. That might be it. Like I said, I don't think I'll leave this story on here for long. We shall see. Anyway, for those of you who did like it, please comment and let me know. Your reviews are appreciated! Every single one! Drabble, send me a line, discuss whatever you like! Many, many thanks! :)