Back Then

I would stare at her from a distance, behind my table where she did not notice me. I did not know why, back then, but she intrigued me greatly. How her red eyes furrowed and concentrated on her work. How her fingers danced across the keyboard, under lighting each digit to give her answers. She would stay after to study, for she did not take being an Irken lightly. One time I made myself stay too.

Back when we were smeets.

"Pardon me, am I in your way?" she asked with her slight accent, her fiery personality that I knew she had being subdued with respect for my height.

I found that my tongue was as lead. I did not understand the feelings that would overcome me, but it seemed that when she spoke to me it was much worse. She stared up at me, lightly confused and probably wanting to get back to her work.

"No, you're not," I managed to say smoothly. "I just wanted to say I admire the passion you have for your work."

She smiled and I am surprised that I did not keel over.

"Thank you."

I graduated at the top of my class. My insides flipped when her name came up third. Released, I sped to find her to congratulate her. I had forgotten my own score, so enthralled with hers.

"Irken Tenn," I called as I spotted her retreating back down the hall. She wheeled around, her face already flush with joy. She seemed thoughtful as she contemplated my presence.

She bowed slightly, as most shorter Irkens were bound to do for a taller, "You received the highest score, congratulations!"

"You got third! Just as honorable, in a number of thousands!" I continued, my mouth not yet sealing itself for I had managed to put in the first word.

"Third is exciting," she agreed, her antennae bouncing as she nodded. "But apparently I need to study more... train harder. Like you must have, to come out on top."

My head was so light, and my tongue so grasping for a proper response, she left without me being able to say the right thing.

It was all smeetish, I realize. Being Tallest gives for so much more knowledge. Love is something that we Irkens do without. It drags our progress down and keeps people from giving their best to a project. That is why love was banned from the Irken society. Something as trivial as a young crush nearly made my head spin, imagine what it would do if all of the others in my class felt the same!

Still... she might have returned my feelings.

"Give me the list of Invaders..."

"My cup is empty!"

"-And him another drink."

I ignored my co-ruler as I examined the new list on screen. It was our revised list, his and mine, and nothing like the list for the first Impending Doom. We both made sure of it.

I checked over the list again, mostly because I was nervous about Zim's name being on the list for no reason again. The other reason was because Tenn had made all marks to becoming an Invader. I read her name and my heart flipped into my mouth. A silly analogy I know.

"I want to personally congratulate some of these Invaders myself," I mentioned offhandedly to him. He coughed on his drink.

"This is not about-"

"No, it's not," I resolved coolly. I have no idea how he found out about my smeetish crush, but I gave him no foundation to build on it. He didn't understand. Irk, I didn't even understand it. I think he knew I was lying however, for he let me go out alone.

I had been the Tallest for no short amount of time. My voice no longer faltered in any situation, other then when faced with my co-ruler. Not even when I came across her did my words stutter.

"Invader Tenn," I said, all of my power rung up in the words. For once, I hated the sound of it.

She looked up, surprised. "My Tallest!" Bowing clumsily, she got up and stood there, waiting for me to say what I had come for. It took years, but now she finally wanted to hear what I said, waited anxiously for it.

And only because I was Tallest.

Back when I felt powerful.

"Are you all prepared for Conventia, Invader?" I asked her. At the mention of it, she looked ecstatic.

"Yes, am I ever, my Tallest!" she could not help the grin that took over her face.

"Of all of the Invaders who measured up to standard, you are the one I'm most glad to assign a planet too," I told her, "I know how much you've worked for this."

"You are too kind, my Tallest," she commented, as if I were just another Irken, someone that she knew. Despite all of my past resolves and my ability to keep my cool in every situation, I felt as if my knees had collapsed. Thankfully we had long since worn the hover boots and I did not need the strength in my legs to hold me steady.

"I am what I need to be," I responded. "A piece in the puzzle of the Empire, just as you are."

"The center of the puzzle, sir," she piped up.

"If you think so," I smirked.

"Yes, my Tallest, I do," she nodded. "I knew it back from when we were smeets, I could tell you were going to be great."

"Really?" I questioned, amused by the thought she could have ever thought that about me.

"Yes my Tallest, forgive me, but it was rather obvious," she smiled painfully at the statement.

"What is obvious is all in matter of point of view," I said.

"If you say so," she agreed.

"Now," I turned the subject sharply, for some reason wanting to get the conversation away from myself. It was ridiculous, but I did not want to seem selfish to her, but in being Tallest there was no possibility of being able to show myself otherwise. "I came down here to congratulate you for making the list... you deserve this."

"Thank you, my Tallest!" she practically purred with the compliment.

I nodded and walked away. That was it. I could not do any more. Anyone could come in and catch me. I expected something to happen then, but I found that I did not want to, for reasons unexplainable. It could have been the right time to find out whether anything was possible. I should have, to be fair to myself. But I realized all of those thoughts were lies to myself. I didn't do anything because I didn't know how, that was all. And I was scared to do it wrong.

Not that she would have known that it was anything but right.

The next time I saw her was at the great assigning. For once, I felt relaxed around her and not anxious. Not worried. It must have been the pride I felt at her face when she was assigned Meekrob. It was a mission able to challenge her. It was a mission that she could be proud of completing.

You hear this Tenn? You should be proud with the accomplishments you've had. There is nothing to be ashamed of.

I never thanked him for it, my co-ruler. He thought of something that I did not and let me go. He pushed me to see her before she left for her planet. He turned a deaf antennae to me questions and turned the advisors his way, leaving me alone. I didn't bother arguing that then, I went to find her.

"You are prepared to leave?" I asked her, leaning in her doorway. I had surprised her once again as she dropped part of her possessions.

"Yes, my Tallest," she smiled sheepishly.

"You should keep a sharper listen to your surroundings," I reminded her, but what could I say? I made no footsteps. But neither did other creatures.

"You are too stealthy even for an Invader my Tallest," she responded. I tried to suppress a grimace. She could have only been complimenting me to save face in the slightest of mistakes I pointed out. That was not how I wanted our last flesh and blood meeting to end.

"Is your SIR unit up to satisfaction so far?" I pressed her. It was an honest question, for although we had tested the model many a time there was never an end to tests of this mechanic servant nature.

"Every whim," she nodded. "My Tallest, may I ask why you are asking me this?"

"Need I a reason?" I questioned her. "A leader must understand his subjects and what they do not comprehend. It makes it easier to rule an Empire smoothly. Which of my actions do you not get?"

"I'm a bit confused over the robot that you gave Zim," she admitted. "And the fact that he was an Invader at all."

"Well, you are not expected to understand everything that my co-ruler and I decide." I stopped then, realizing something that I had not thought of before. She would be gone from me. She would be taken away to Meekrob for her mission. I would only see her from her reports. There would be a screen between us. A screen and thousands of lightyears.

"That is true-" she began, but she wasn't allowed to finish her sentence because I caught her up in the middle of it.

I kissed her. I kissed her because we were alone. I kissed her because I wanted too. I kissed her because she hadn't expected it. I kissed her because it was the wrong time. But most of all, I kissed her because I shouldn't have. Her eyes had gone wide, not sure what to do, but then slowly shut as she responded by allowing me free range of her completely. When she allowed me such a pleasure I backed away, afraid of what I could do to her, would do to her. She stared at me with this odd expression on her face. It was one of confusion and curiosity, but I could tell the hunger from the depths of her eyes.

Gods, I had tainted her. If anyone found out, she would be deactivated. How much good my affections did for her!

"I forbid you from telling anyone about this," I told her smoothly. If she had understood I might have been slapped, despite my authority over her, but she only nodded, tongue noticeably running around her mouth.

"As you command, my Tallest," she responded breathlessly.

"No," I spoke suddenly, wondering where I was going with it. "Tenn... while there is no one else present, I want you... not to call me that."

"If you insist... Red," she said hesitantly, my name dripping off of her tongue. We both stared at each other. She wanting answers and I wanting to provide them. And both of us desiring something more as well.

'I'll miss you' was not something either of us said to each other. I for fear and her for any number of reasons. One might have been because she wouldn't miss me. She might have picked up the primal desire, but I strongly doubted then she understood my implications. She went to Meekrob and I stayed on the Massive.

We spoke during reports; it might have just been my imagination, but we connected then. We had something that allowed us to speak smoothly to each other. My fear of rejection was gone because I realized she could not reject me. It took a even longer to realize that she wanted it that way. Love may have been smeetish, but it was a feeling I would not have rid myself of for the world. Any of them. It did not make me act strangely, at least, not then. It made me feel more myself then I ever had. And although we were not anywhere near each other, those were the happiest days of my life.

It was because of my feelings that I helped her out as much as possible. It wouldn't seem strange to anyone else, it couldn't. Her planet was important, it was a difficult one to take. She would need the special weapons that I could give her. That is when I thought of that machine, one created by a past Tallest, strong and stealthy beyond measure.

I decided to give her the MegaDoomer.

How was I supposed to know that the packages were messed up? I thought for certain that I labeled it clearly with her name, hoping she would be ecstatic with the weapon. She had a certain grace with explosions one could not even think was possible. It was the perfect gift for her. But there are certain things that can not be handled.

Zim sped through his message, barely giving us an idea of which he spoke of. We stared at each other as the screen went into static.

"Incoming transmission! From planet Meekrob!"

Her face came close up to the screen, such distress shown that I never thought I would see from another again.

"It's horrible! They're everywhere!" Her scream knocked the camera off of her figure and showed what she was talking about. The SIR units everywhere, her own destroyed. It continued to show their madness until the signal was cut. He looked at me with a worried face.

"Invader Tenn is resourceful," I shrugged. "I have full confidence that she will plan her way out."

Back when I made mistakes.

Some aren't made to be forgiven.

I hear her scream still.

"They've eaten everything!"

My voice stuck in my throat for the first time in a long time.

"We're all doomed!"

It was my fault...

"Doomed!"

Missiles blew the connection to smithereens. I heard myself command the fleet to go to Meekrob. This was not something that Invaders were trained to deal with.

But she could... couldn't you Tenn?

Which leads up to the words that I have just heard while standing on the precipice of the room, leaning on the railing with him, just exchanging jokes with him.

"Invader Tenn is dead."

I have no feelings now. My eyes are not blind, but I can not see. My chest rises, but I still feel like I am suffocating. I feel him put a hand on my shoulder.

"Too bad, she was a good Invader. Right, Red?"

He hides my hesitation. I agree, knowing that there is not much else I can do. I can not act as if it were worse then any other Invader. It would be too obvious. All that comes to mind is the MegaDoomer... the MegaDoomer and the malfunctioning SIR units. I know I sent the right ones, right? Then why did I send her destruction?

Now I stand here, staring out at the planet where she had spent her last days. I imagine her voice, picture her face, feel her breath. And yet that planet continues to sit there, mocking everything that I had felt for her and what I continue to feel. It surprises me how empty I feel. I had never thought I would feel this way again. A hole in my chest where the air seems to touch my insides and chilling them with the room's temperature. This feeling is slowly consuming my numbness, making me want that detached sensation to return. I hear him ask me what we should do. I know that we are both thinking about this planet. This horrible, loathing planet. Where I destroyed her.

I only wanted to help. I thought I was sending help.

"Annihilate it," the words slip from my mouth where I can examine them. It won't help, nothing will help, but I still want it to happen. I will not make me feel better... it will not bring her back. "Nothing shall remain but fragments."

I am sorry Tenn. If only there was a next time... if only, my only.

The planet is gone now.

All I can do is watch the destruction of your destuctor.


I hope you liked this DemonSurfer! I have mixed feelings about it, personally, but I hope it lived up to your expectations.

R&R