Zim watched the gavel slam down, his face closed, unreadable. Dib's jaw was slack in disbelief, and uneasy silence muffled the dying echoes of the judge's ruling.
"Three months spent living with a family of the court's choosing. If, following that time, subject continues to display aggressive behavior toward the human race, he will be handed over to the Swollen Eyeball for their purposes."
His eyes closed slowly, and his left antennae twitched. He knew exactly what awaited him at the Swollen Eyeball. Dib had never disguised the fact that he wanted Zim's guts strewn all over an autopsy table. The Irken clenched his fists to keep from putting a hand on his middle—the first place they would cut. He could feel the cold, hard table pressing against his back, the taste of his own sweat sliding into his mouth, the sickly sweet smell of Irken blood…
He shuddered and forced his eyes open. Dib was seething on the other side of the room, yammering something about apples and peels. This is all his fault.
A massive hand that nearly swallowed Zim's shoulder rested on him. "Alright Marvin, get back in your cell till the family gets here."
At any other time, Zim would have leapt up and ripped the man's throat open for daring to lay a finger on him, but with his energy drained and the threat of the Swollen Eyeball hanging over him, he merely snapped, "I am Zim, you ignorant monkey. I am not Marvin, not Grinch-man, not Granny Apple, not Lilly Pad, and certainly not Kermit! I am ZIM!"
The warden rolled his eyes. "Right, whatever. Let's get going, frog-face."
Zim clenched his teeth as the man yanked on his chains. The hyuman was far taller than Zim, and used it to humiliate the small alien, hefting the chains so that Zim was forced to walk with his hands high in the air. He bit back a snarl of frustration, refusing to give any satisfaction.
Once thrown into the confines of the maximum security cell, he curled up on the cot, pressing his antennae against the cool, concrete wall to think. But coherent thought evaded him. He could think of no logical way out of the situation.
Not one year ago, his leaders had callously informed him that he had been exiled—not assigned—to Earth. Zim had wandered out of his base in a daze, minus his disguise. Dib, who had been sneaking around outside, capitalized on his enemy's shock and clamped him in sleepcuffs. But then he'd made his mistake, taking Zim to the Earth authorities instead of the Swollen Eyeball.
Months passed, with dozens of law-hyumans, doctor-hyumans, scientist-hyumans, reporter-hyumans coming to gawk and fight over him. Dib had been the worst torment, frequently visiting his cell and taunting his wretched condition. Occasionally, Zim would take out his self destruct mechanism and push it, but nothing happened. All his PAK functions except life support had been remotely disabled by the Control Brain.
Light poured into the cell, scattering his thoughts like cockroaches. He lifted his head and met the smirk of the warden with a blank expression.
"Your family's here to pick you up, Yoda."