Written by Zelda

Author's note: My first IZ fic, so don't hit me, just enjoy! Zim, Dib, robot bees, and all related items are property of Jhonen Vasquez. The story itself is mine and may not be used for dooming without permission. Nickelodeon sucks. Jhonen does not. This story is powered with the all-powerful continuity provided by long hours of listening to commentary from the first DVD. Whee!

Part One

                Zim winced as he tore off a pock of still-corroding skin from the back of his head. Someone had noticed his allergy to meat enough to shoot him a strawful of baloney spitballs during the last hour of class. The burning had begun to grow unbearable during the last five minutes or so, and he had run out the door screeching with the bell. Surprisingly enough, it wasn't Dib who was the culprit. In fact, the trenchcoated little human had spent most of the day idle, paying attention like a normal schoolchild, or doodling absently in his notebook. Zim's eyes narrowed as he flicked a final chunk of skin into someone's open mailbox, on his stoic march back to his cul-de-sac home. Yessss, it was unusual indeed that the Dib-worm had not even taunted him today. No sudden threats, not even piercing shrieks of  "Bigfoot!" or "Laser mosquitoes!" or somesuch nonsense. Zim would have to make sure to scan his desk tomorrow for some kind of spying device, just in case. How he HATED the burning-meaty feeling now slowly receding from his scalp! Zim was quickly developing a rather intense hatred towards his classmates. And since he was supposed to be conquering these humans anyway, a seething rage for their progeny probably wasn't a bad thing.

                The Irken turned a corner bounded by a fence, and his eyes flicked across the street to a black van parked by the sidewalk. He continued walking, and noticed another van, this time on his side. They both appeared unoccupied. Whistling absently, Zim continued on marching, until he noticed a third black van beside a telephone pole. And this one had a very familiar face in the passenger window.

                "THERE!" Dib screeched, jabbing a finger at Zim through the open frame. "That's him! Get him!!"

                Instantly, the side panels and back doors to all three vans swung open, revealing men clad in black plastic body armor, glinting in the sun. They all seemed to have weapons of various kinds. Zim's head spun as he was quickly surrounded, there had to have been at least ten of them! He could easily use his PAK legs to jump over them, but should he risk losing his disguise? Zim decided against that, putting his arms out defensively and giving the men the best puppy-eyed look he could manage. That sort of thing usually worked on TV.

                "Who are you?!" he demanded. "Why do you surround the likes of ZIM?!"

                Dib shoved his way into the circle, nearly drooling with the opportunity he had at hand. "See, see?! That's the alien! Get him!"

                "Errrmm…. are you sure, little boy?" One of the men squinted an eye at Dib.

                "HELLO?! Green skin, only three fingers? Take a look under that wig and those contacts!"

                "Well, headquarters said he wasn't crazy." the man addressed his coworkers, gesturing to Dib. "So I guess he's right. SICK 'EM!"

                Gasping, Zim realized that his disguise wasn't going to do him much good in a situation like this anymore. Triggering his PAK, Zim felt himself thrust upwards as his spindly spider-legs shot out and pushed against the pavement. But then there was something else, something over his head, snapping taut down on him. A net! Of black rope! One of the men had fired it from a large gun he was carrying, and the weights on the edges of the square net shoved him earthward again. Growling, Zim shoved the net up with his claws, pushing up with his legs again. They were long enough, he'd simply walk away on them, net and all! But another net followed suit, and then another! Zim squealed as his PAK legs suddenly refused to work. He lurched back to the ground with a thud, to find that a bola had tied them tightly together. Wriggling like a worm in the nets, he hissed and clawed at the men closing in around him. They grabbed the ropes and picked him up, lifting him towards one of the vans. He would not be taken so easily! Zim triggered his PAK again, this time to bring out a host of lasers. If he could just sear through some of these ropes--- But out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a man reaching towards him with a short device, almost like the remote control for the TV. But a bright blue electrical current raced between two prongs on one end, and in seconds that current was running through his body, his mind going blank and knowing nothing but the burning surge of electricity. When it was gone, he found his limbs to be like wet noodles, his PAK refusing to respond. Before the man reached in with the taser again, Zim managed to catch sight of something on the door of the van: a logo. A logo he recognized. The logo of the Swollen Eyeball.

Zim came back to consciousness with a low snort, as if he'd awoken from some terrible nightmare. He remembered walking home from skool, and the baloney… and then---  Zim's eyes shot open wide, only to be filled by a blinding white light. He hissed, recoiling, trying to bring his hands up to shade himself. But his arms wouldn't move, or rather couldn't. Zim craned his neck up to see that his arms had been secured at his sides, shackled in place at the wrist and the elbow. There was cold metal at his back. He realized that he wasn't wearing his contacts or his wig, and that his legs had been shackled down too. His PAK---his PAK was gone! Had he just awoken from a nightmare, or was he currently in one?! Zim thrashed, his chafing joints telling him that, indeed, this time it was real. "Let me GO!" he howled. "Whoever you are, RELEASE ME!"

                "Ahh, so you have awakened." A voice sounded from somewhere nearby. Zim's eyes shot in the direction of the noise, but he could see little. The bright light from overhead was growing hot on his skin, and there seemed to be little other lighting in, well, wherever he was. But a shape finally emerged from the shadows. A tall, lithe figure approached, wearing a surgeon's mask and plastic goggles, as well as a white gown. "Fascinating."

                Zim fought down a nervous gulp and glared venomously at the lone man. This was very much indeed like he had seen things in his nightmares, maybe this was just a particularly strong one. "You will RELEASE me NOW!" he demanded.

                "I'm afraid not." the man simply shook his head. "You are our property now, alien."

                "Irken!" a familiar voice chirped in the shadowed background. "He's from the planet Irk!"

                "DIB?!" Zim was furious, wrenching his neck and torso in an effort to get free from the cursed steel bands that held him fast. "You did this to me! Filthy human worm-child, you shall forever suffer the wrath of the EMPIRE!"

                "See! I told you!" Dib yelped, bouncing like a small puppy from the shadows, to the man's side. "I've seen inside his base too, he's part of an intergalactic empire trying to conquer our planet!"

                "Yes yes, very interesting. We'll be sending a separate crew to--- Wait a minute…" The man's piercing look suddenly turned on Dib. "Your head is abnormally large… Did you escape from the containment unit down the hall?!"

                "What?! No!" Dib frowned. "I'm the one who brought Zim in, remember? And my head's not big!"

                "Oh… oh yes, well very well then." the man shooed him off. "Well I'm sure you have a chupacabra or something to go track down next, better get on with it."

                "What? Are you kidding?" Dib pouted. "I brought him IN! Can't I at least stay and watch the examination?"

                The man glanced around him and sighed. "Very well then, you know you're just a junior member, I'm technically not supposed to allow anyone in here for contamination reasons. But your head is very large. So have a seat in the gallery up there, there's a vending machine down the hall if you get hungry."

                "Woohoo!" Dib bounced into the shadows again, out of Zim's sight. "Amazing! After all of these years!"

                As he continued to struggle, Zim's eyes followed the man in white as he too vanished, then reappeared, wheeling in front of him a metal cart filled with glinting tools, from bone saws to dental picks. Zim hissed, his eyes narrowing to slits. So it had come to this. After all of the bad science fiction B-movies he'd seen about how humans perceived and treated aliens, it was going to come to this. An autopsy. Couldn't they just ask him some questions and let him go?

                "Specimen number three-zero-zero-five-nine." The man started, reaching into his gown lapel to adjust a clip-on microphone. "Autopsy procedure: standard. Commencing phase one." After snapping on a pair of white rubber gloves, he reached into the cart and picked up a large scalpel.

                Zim was now fighting hard to contain a rising surge of panic inside of him. The hot lights were burning the patches of still-healing skin on the back of his head. This human was about to sedate him and slice him open like one of those stinking poultry carcasses humans liked to carve in the fall, and DIB, of all people, was lurking somewhere in the shadows, watching. He would not be defeated so easily! He was an Invader, an Irken Elite! Surely there was some way out of this situation, some way out of these shackles and off of this table and out from under this light. But the man was leaning closer, his goggled head blocking the strong light from above. As Zim's eyes struggled to adjust to the sudden darkness, he couldn't help but notice that there was no syringe of sedative, no gas mask, nothing in his hands. Just the scalpel. The Irken warrior felt his resolve shatter as the blade pressed against the fabric of his shirt, just beneath the base of his neck. He was now sure, this was no nightmare.

To be continued…