Sharing such a small, enclosed space with a near-stranger and member of another species can be very awkward. Or at least it was to Skoodge. But Dib was eerily comfortable, sitting and staring out the escape pod's front window.
"… so …" began Skoodge, breaking the silence. "… what's it like on this, 'Earth'?"
Dib didn't answer; he was lost in his own thoughts.
"… I said, what's it like on this planet we're going to?"
There was still no response from Dib.
Skoodge growled, growing impatient. "Look! I just want to know something about it! You know, important stuff … like my rank in regards to height or—"
"Earth is imminent."
"Finally, you answer!" He paused. "Wait. That wasn't your voice."
"You're right," said Dib. "It was the escape pod's computer. Apparently we're close to Earth now. Which is strange, because it hasn't been nearly enough time."
"That wormhole we went through probably sped things up a lot."
Dib rolled his eyes. "Wormhole? More like plot hole."
Skoodge was staring out the window, at Earth fast approaching. "Um, you don't know how to land this thing, do you?"
"Are you kidding? I'm eleven."
"CRASH IMMINENT," blared the pod's voice. Red lights flashed from the ceiling.
"Holy Irk, we're gonna die!" said Skoodge in a panic, flailing in the canon.
"Relax, no we're not."
"I don't believe you! You're crazy!" Skoodge ducked farther into the canon and whimpered.
Zim sat atop one of his lawn gnomes, watching MiniMoose finish up building the wall for the front yard. "Yes, yes …" he said with an evil grin. "Do my work for me, pitiful Dib-zombie …"
MiniMoose was doing all the work by himself. Zim was just sitting around and looking evil like usual, and GIR was carrying out his normal antics. For instance, he stuck out his tongue and scooped up a bunch of screws and nails into his mouth like a frog catching a fly.
"GIR!" said Zim. "Now is not the time to get nailed or screwed in the mouth!"
GIR threw up the metal pieces on Zim's shoes. "BLARGH!" he said as he did so.
Zim closed one eye in disgust. "Clean this filth up before … uh … before I make Dib do it!"
Just then, a small aircraft crashed into the cul-de-sac in front of Zim's house. The sound of the forceful impact echoed down the block, causing car alarms to go off. Smoke rose from the damaged pod, which was now lodged into the street.
"WOW!" exclaimed Zim, ecstatic. "Someone sent me a present!" He gleefully marched over to the crash and ripped off the flimsy door. After tossing it aside, he peered in. Inside was the patchy, poorly disguised Dib. "Ugh! You're the most hideous Irken I've ever seen!" He was actually talking about Skoodge. "… and DIB?! Is that you?!"
"In the painfully scarred flesh."
"But …" Zim looked behind him at the disguised MiniMoose. "… you're over there … YES OF COURSE! I knew I'd solve this mystery! You have both a zombie and a ghost when you die!" Zim nodded. "Yep."
"Is it safe to come out?" Skoodge poked his head out a little from the canon.
"AHA!" Zim thrust an accusing finger in Skoodge's direction. "I knew zombie-Skoodge was coming to destroy me!"
"What? No, I'm just here to escape my canon doom—"
"Your cannon doom?"
Dib widened his eyes. This time Zim's ability to hear homophones was rather jarring. Technically, it would be cannon doom, considering he was in an actual cannon. But, strangely, both terms seemed to fit. Dib wondered why the physical one had been eerily missing an n.
"DO NOT IGNORE ZIM!" he screeched, jumping up. After Zim landed back on his feet, he crouched slightly and said in a lower voice, "Prepare to be destroyed, filthy zombies! You shall never penetrate my four-sided fortress of … SIDES! NEVERRRR!" The Irken dashed over to, and hopped right over the short end of the unfinished wall. He nearly tripped himself upon the realization. "Ignore this part!" he called, cuffing his mouth with one hand and pointing down with the other.
"I could finish faster with some help," said MiniMoose.
"You can finish faster with my DEMAND that you do! OBEY ZIM!" he screeched.
Back in the street, Dib was watching a certain robot very intently. GIR was carrying the device in his mouth. You know, the incredibly stupid one. "GIR! GIR!" called Dib, feigning excitement. "Come're boy! Come on, that's it!" He was acting like GIR was a real dog, remembering it had worked in the past.
"Baaaaaah!" GIR bleated like a sheep and scampered over on all fours.
"Good dog … sheep thing." Dib bent down to pet GIR, who purred for some reason. "Gimme the device, boy." GIR growled defensively. "Come on, DROP IT. Drop it! Bad dog!" Realizing this was pointless, Dib simply kicked GIR in the head, forcing him to drop the device.
"YIPE YIPE YIPE!" squealed GIR, running off. The little robot ran smack into the wall, which was now complete, as of three seconds ago. Dazed, he stood up shakily, and then raised his arms. "I WANT TRIPE!"
Dib ran his hands over the device. 'Oh, how perfectly ironic. I'll finally destroy Zim using his own idiotic device. Huh. This seems familiar. Oh well.'
But there was still the little matter of the barriers.
Putting his arm up to block the sun from his eyes, Dib looked up the wall: way too high to climb. Instead he eyed the Irken behind him. "Say, Skoodge … how would you like a new mission?"
"Boy, would I!" he said excitedly.
"Okay then." Dib gripped the cannon and swiveled it into place. "Oh, now it has two n's," he muttered.
"What's going on?" asked Skoodge.
Gearing up all the mucous possible in his throat, Dib hawked a huge loogie into his hands. Without a word, he started to smear it over Skoodge's sides.
"HEY HEY!" Skoodge tried to shove Dib away, but his arms were too short. "Gross! What are you doing?!"
"Well, I don't have any butter or vegetable oil, so this'll have to do."
"Wha-what?" Skoodge stammered, panicking. "You're not … you're not gonna shoot me out of this thing are you?!"
"Right into the wall."
"NOOOO!" His efforts to struggle free were once again futile.
Dib turned to GIR, who was now standing idly beside him. "You got a light?"
"I always have matches!" replied GIR, beaming and handing Dib a matchbook. Dib took it and pulled one out. He lifted up his shoe and struck the match on the bottom of it.
"No! Please! Don't do this!" begged Skoodge. "This is why I escaped!"
Ssssssssssth hissed the wick, quickly shrinking in size. Dib put his fingers in his ears and squeezed his eyes tightly.
Time was up, and Skoodge shot from the cannon like lightning. He smacked forcefully into the wall, leaving a Skoodge-shaped hole in a cartoonish way.
Dib jumped up. "Ha-HA! Take that, Zim!"
"GAHH!" said Zim upon the sight of the new hole in his precious wall. "Curse you, zombie-Dib!" He turned to MiniMoose. "Ghost-Dib! Help me think of a plan!"
"I broke the fourth wall! I broke the fourth wall!" exclaimed Dib. Suddenly he stopped. "… huh." After shaking himself of something close to a "??" moment, he approached the wall, hopped through the hole, and landed on the other side.
Zim leapt in front of him, trying to be dramatic. "HOW DARE YOU DEFY MY SIDEY FORTRESS!"
Calmly, Dib whipped out the device.
Zim's eyes widened as he put his arms up. "AHH! Where did you get that?! Don't tell me mischievous space thieves gave it to you!"
Dib put his finger on the trigger and smirked.
Zim stepped back slightly, but he was virtually cornered. "You don't realize how much POWER that thing has! SO MUCH!"
"Oh, I do, Zim." He'd thought this through. Yes, in just a couple minutes, it still counts. He remembered what happened with Nick — the device had caused a very painful, and very disgusting, death. But when he'd shot the Tallests and the control panel Irkens, nothing happened. He'd realized the reason why when he tried to shoot Zim, who made the comment about Dib — or Tak to Zim — not knowing Irken anatomy. The truth was that the device only worked on brains; it was designed to overload them with "??" moments. He had aimed for the head, but Irken brains are in their PAK's. Thus, Dib now took a step to the side and aimed for Zim's ID PAK.
"Ghost-Dib! Save me!" cried Zim.
MiniMoose emerged from the wall's shadow and into view. Dib was shocked for a moment, but then realized who this so-called ghost was. "MiniMoose?! I thought you were still back at my house?!"
Zim had a "??" moment. "MiniMoose?! Someone told me you ran off! And that someone was me, and I know I'm a reliable source!"
"No, it's me," said MiniMoose. He figured this was as close as he'd ever get to permission to drop the disguise, so he transformed back into his normal moosey self. "Squeak!" he said merrily, happy to be himself again.
Zim scratched his head as Dib shook himself again. He turned back to the Irken and gripped the trigger once more. But just as he pulled it, MiniMoose quickly floated in the way, taking the hit for his master.
And, as luck would have it, the device's beam hit MiniMoose right in the nubs. Yes, that's right. In his … Nubs of Doom.
Thus, being the incredible weapon that he is, he exploded. So much so in fact that it took out the entire neighborhood. And the 'seahorses.' And any of Dib's notes that hadn't already been destroyed, as well as the Irken book he'd gotten earlier. A giant puff of smoke and fire enveloped the land.
Finally, the dust settled enough for Dib to stagger out of the rubble. He looked around, not seeing a single other living being. All that was around was charred ruins and small flames in the background.
"Ha … ha …" he laughed weakly. "…ha ha ha ha HAHAHA!" His laughter picked up, until he was laughing ironically like Zim. "I did it! I DID IT! I destroyed Zim! And that stupid robot! And that other stupid alien! And that … moose weapon thing. WHOO!"
'I knew I would win. How could I lose? It's impossible for me to die. I've been saying that for a while now. And I knew the others could. Heh heh. Victory is so, so sweet… I could do without the smoke in my lungs, but still … so sweet.'
Zim suddenly popped up from under a piece of rubble. And then GIR, then MiniMoose, and even Skoodge.
Dib had a "??" moment. "Wha …? Huh …?! WHY ARE YOU GUYS STILL ALIVE?!"
"You were right in the previous chapter Dib," said Skoodge. "You're not the only one who, 'felt it,' as you said."
"You … you said 'chapter'!" Dib felt faint. "That means …"
Dib fell on his bottom. "I … can't believe this. I thought I was special or something."
"Well, I don't know what's going on," said Zim angrily.
"I thought I would win. That I was invincible … I can't die—"
"Yeah … same for us," said Skoodge. "We couldn't just be killed off without a character death warning ahead of time."
"… I just had another '??' moment."
WHOA, IT'S OVER. My longest fic finally complete. WHOO!
HUGE thank you to all those who reviewed. You guys rock! I also appreciate all the favorites and alerts this story got too. This is definitely my most popular fic! So thank you all!