:WARNING: Contains graphic violence, adult themes, possible character death, and boy-on-boy action. Will be rated a high T for now, but will change to M in later chapters. If you are of the faint of heart, I'd turn back now. Here there be monsters

The room was white, austere, and bare. There were no windows, or furniture, and only one door that slid open and closed with a metallic hiss. Monitors covered the far wall, talking quietly to themselves in their whirring way, and they filled the room with static. Standing in the middle of the floor was an operating table.


Dib Membrane was dragged into this room kicking and roaring his lungs out. The six Irkens holding him were tossed like little dolls, but they hung on grimly with their sharp mechanical legs. They were pulling him towards the table, and upon seeing it, Dib's heart gave an awful little jump. There were horrors that had happened here. He could feel them as strongly as if he were seeing blood drip from the walls, and it filled him with a dread that froze him solid. He dug his heels in, but those detestable little insects were tenacious, and they hauled him inevitably forward and threw him bodily down.

He lashed out, snarling like a beast, and that's when the table came alive beneath him. Steel hands shot out and gripped his wrists with punishing force and wrenched him down hard, so that he was on his back with his arms splayed out on either side. More steel clamped down on his hips, and his ankles, while he spat every obscenity he could think of. And then he screamed as the surgical knives ripped open his back.

Something, hard and invasive and excruciating, drilled down and pinched at the nerves in his spine just at the base of his neck. Dib threw back his head as a volt of sheer energy grabbed a hold and shook him to the core, his mouth open in a silent scream because the pressure and the pain of it pushing at his throat were so powerful it overthrew him, that even his voice was lost under such force. His every muscle seized, and every nerve burned, and the world blazed an intense, intolerable white. His vision, distorted and blurred because they'd broken his glasses, flicked on and off as the neurons in his brain began to fire back and forth so hard he nearly forgot where he was. If he wasn't held down, he would have thrashed himself to pieces.

It seemed like eternity before they let him go, and he fell against the table, panting and gasping and shaking. Dib had bitten through his own tongue. Blood welled up quickly, and he choked on the copper taste of it. There was a flurry of motion out of the corner of his eye, and something was shoved into his mouth, and he gagged. It made a wet, hollow sucking noise that reminded him of the dentist, but it got rid of the blood before it excreted something foul-tasting and numbing. The drip in his wrist kept him alive, and awake, and aware of everything.

The drill came again, punching twice into his back on both sides of his ribcage, and for a horrifying moment he felt something close around his heart. A second later, and he realized it was a hand.

"Such fascinating creatures you are," murmured a voice, composed and decorous, through the haze and jump that was Dib's mind. "Completely autonomous, from the day you are born. You haven't the need for a PAK, or any such external devices. All you require is fuel and rest…Extraordinary. So unlike us."

"…Wh-who…?" Dib asked, his voice ragged, and he tried to summon up the energy to turn his head, wanting to see. But the Irken still had his hand in Dib's chest, and when those fingers gave a gentle squeeze—not supposed to—dear God—wrongthe room tipped and Dib reeled within himself, struggling to breathe. He passed out once, twice, but they always jerked him out of the burgeoning black that writhed like something alive just at periphery's edge.

Dib groaned as the Irken, with an awful squelching noise, removed his arm. It was replaced by metal and wires screwing themselves into his flesh and twining around his insides. He could feel them, things that were plugging into his lungs and his heart, and then those things wriggled up and scraped against the bones in his neck before they pushed into the base of his skull…

Dib howled and kicked out, fighting his restraints as hard as he could. "What are you doing to me?" His voice was pitched and frantic, and it cracked from having screamed so much. A body stepped into his line of sight and he looked up with wide, panicked eyes.

This wasn't Zim. There was none of his enemy's gusto or spark, no bark of laughter, or giddy triumph. There was a kind of meticulous order about this particular Irken, from the scrupulous starch and press of his lab coat, to the patrician perk of his antennae. He was tall for his kind, though still a few inches shy of Dib, but he held himself with all the self-important propriety of an Emperor...or Almighty Tallest. His eyes were a deep shade of ruby red, and they stared down at Dib with smug detachment.

"My name is Mar," he said, his voice slick and oiled. "I am in the Chairman of the newly instated Irken Reformation Company, and System Administrator the Neurological Institute of Mental Habilitation."

"What...what the hell does that mean?" Dib gasped, fighting to pass out against the forced alertness in his brain.

The surgical knives retreated, and Mar stepped aside to reveal the mirror that stood by the wall. Despite his nebulous eyesight, Dib could make out the thing they'd attached to his back, and suddenly he felt as if his stomach had been pumped full of lead. A PAK. They'd outfitted him with a PAK.

"It means..." Mar murmured, his tone soft-spoken and evenly clipped. "That I will make you better."

[...Please Wait While the File Loads...]


Disclaimer: All rights reserved by Jhonen Vasques and Nickolodeon. I just write fanfiction.

Well, guess who's back? You thought I died, didn't you? Didn't you? Well, I didn't. And look! A new story. My apologies for going away for so long, but a lot of stuff happened, which I'll probably get into later. Mostly just moving around, school, new jobs, and life in general getting in the way.

But anyway, welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the first installment of The Rats of NIMH. Formerly, Bootleg Bebop, but I kinda like this better-So I ripped it. Please take this time to leave any comments; your reviews are most appreciated. I know it starts out a little dark, and right in the middle of things, but that's how I do stuff. I promise, all will be explained in the next chappie or so. The title and NIMH are of course taken from the book of the same name. The original stands for the National Institute of Mental Health, but the name, NIMH, just sounds so...ominous. I had to use it somewhere. And! And! Did you notice that the first letters of the Irken Reformation company spell IRC? Irk. Yeah, I put a lot of thought into that. That's me being smart.

Also, as you know, this is a ZADR story, but I probably won't get to that for a while, and I promise just mild snogging. You know the drill—don't like, don't read. I know Dib's last name isn't technically Membrane, but I don't care. One other thing, my keyboard is seriously screwy, so if you notice any spelling errors, please let me know. I'm a huge spelling nerd.

Over and out,


EDIT: Tying out a new Title Block. Let me know what you think.