"The Tallest can rule the empire with only two fingers..."

But each Tallest had two hands, so all together that would be four fingers. And if there were two Tallest, that would make eight. So he had protested. But it was to no avail.

He had sat there, just moments before comforted by his counterpart before he left. He was the second one to get this done, his co-ruler had his done the week before. No complaint had passed his best friend's lips, and he had taken the cuts with his head held high. They were the Tallest, after all, there was a priority to keep one's dignity intact through the only pain they would hopefully be taking throughout their reign.

Purple on the other hand, had been terrified. He wasn't as used to pain as Red was and had tried every tactic to save his two fingers that were to be removed. The Irkens had just listened quietly and said nothing, probably afraid of being thrown out the air lock. Red would shoo them away whenever that happened and would then proceed to joke around about taking two fingers off the same hand. That did not make Purple feel any better, in fact, it made him feel worse as his squeedly spooch seemed to squirm about in his body. Purple had explained the ridiculousness of the entire thing to Red, but Red didn't seem to mind about losing any amount of fingers.

"We have all the power now, Pur," Red had waved his hand, not seeming to notice the lacking appendages. "We don't need these fingers anyway!"

Purple tried to explain that if they had all the power, that they could just change the rule and let him keep his fingers. Red just clicked his tongue at him and asked if he was scared.

"Can you tell?" Purple grasped at his antennae, using the first amount of sarcasm in his life.

In the end, Purple found himself in the room, left alone with someone with a surgical laser. He would have attempted to buy the Irken off and find a hologram projector to hide his fingers, but he had known that Red would have figured it out.

"It won't hurt a bit, my Tallest," the other had said, gabbing a hold of Purple's right hand and bringing his laser over. All Purple could do was close his eyes and wish for it to be over.


The soda hit the ground, since it was not supported by the weight on it's opposite side. Purple stared at the drink on the ground, wondering how it could of happened. The last time that he had dropped something was seventy years ago, after five years of being the clumsiest Irken alive. He had finally become used to the fingers that weren't there.

I could of sworn... Purple removed his glove to see where his third finger used to be. The scar was gone, it had been gone for twenty years. The nerve endings there had finally repaired and so should of stopped sending signals to that area of his body that no longer existed. His brain flexed the thumb and he could feel something moving. But nothing was, his hand was just lying in front of him, most likely waiting for him to put his glove back on, for it had been a very long time since he had taken it off.

"You dropped your soda?" Red turned his chair in Purple's direction. He had gotten the hang of it in a matter of days. Purple had never seen Red drop anything.

"Slipped," Purple shrugged, hiding his uncovered hand. "You! Cleaner! Clean up this mess and get me another soda!" The Cleaner did as he was told, as fast and as efficient as was possible, not wanting to be the next Irken to displease the Tallest. Not many Cleaners survived long close to the Tallest. But as most of the time it wasn't the drink that was spilled, that Cleaner was disposed of because it took longer than five minutes.

"Off to Boodie Nen!" sighed Red. "Invader Slacks has finally prepared it for our landing forces."

"After his first plan failed, it didn't seem as if he would be able to get a second chance," agreed Purple, his mind only half in the conversation.

"That was Invader Kim," corrected Red. "And no, he hasn't been successful yet."

"He is shorter," Purple slid his right hand back into his glove and took his other hand out, to see if it was the same. It freaked Purple to an extraordinary degree that he would still feel his fingers after they had been gone for seventy five years. He had had his mind so tightly wound on other things so that he wouldn't have time to think about how he moved his hands. But now that he did, he found himself clumsy again.

"Something wrong with your hand, Purple?" Red peered over the arm of the chair and at Purple's uncovered hand.

"No!" Purple put his left glove on quickly. And on backwards.

"Idiot," mumbled Red as he took Purple's hand and fixed the glove, not before checking it over himself. He leaned back in his chair afterwards and stared absentmindedly at the screen in front of them.

"Red?" Purple ventured, knowing that his question was really stupid.


"Do you ever still think that you have three finger?"

Red put on a sad smile. "So that's what this is about..."

Purple looked away, wishing he hadn't mentioned it. "I know you haven't, I mean, you never really needed them in the fir-"

"Why do you ask me questions if you think that you can answer them yourself?" Red rose an invisible eyebrow.

"Sorry," Purple muttered, drooping his head.

"I do," Red sighed.

"Huh?" Purple glanced over at his co-ruler, barely believing that he was telling him the truth. It was trying to make him feel better, just like Red always had to do.

"Unless something else is on my mind, or unless I think about it, I think that I have something else to grasp with," Red rose his hands above his face and looked at each of his four fingers. "It's hard to not make it show."

"You never drop things," Purple said quietly.

"I have a reminder," Red pulled off his left glove and shower his right finger. There was no scar there, but a large chunk was missing near the base of it. "I had a clumsy Irken on the job and he nearly sliced this on off too. You remember that numbing cream that we had all over our thumbs? Well, there wasn't any on this finger. I made sure to throw him out the airlock and postponed your amputations for a week to find someone who was good enough for the job."

"How come I never know what all you do for me, Red?" Purple blinked, continuing to look even as Red pulled his glove back on.

"Because a Tallest doesn't need to know every single name of every single person who's protected him," Red said truthfully. "That would be too many things on one's mind."

"Do you still feel as if you're moving those fingers?"

"I'm wiggling one now," Red grinned. "But it doesn't stop me from remembering that I have to be holding something physically and not just in my mind."

"Right," Purple lifted up his soda, only to drop the non-opened can. "Stupid-"

"Here," Red bent over and got the can himself, not asking another to do it, and handed it over. "Just be more careful.

Purple blinked as he grabbed it, again able to hold it as he had gotten used to over the years. His thumb felt cold, as if it were pressed up against the can, but that just reminded him it wasn't there. Purple opened the can, just to have the contents spray all over Red's face.

"Good thing I'm not allowed to throw you out the airlock," Red said, eyes narrowed irritably at Purple.

"Cleaner!" Purple called, not able to help but grinning at this Irken's fate. "Clean this soda off of your Tallest!"

And the ghost pains were then shoved back into the far corners of his mind.