Well, I was suddenly hit with the need to continue this story, and so I whipped up another chapter in about three hours. As always, I appreciate your support, and look forward to hearing from you.
As a bonus, I've finally posted some concept art for this story. You can find it here art/Invader-Zim-The-Little-Doll-of-Doom-Concept-Art-432322934
I hope you'll enjoy it.
Zim seemingly dragged himself into the living room, a haggard look of complete and utter exhaustion seemed to permeate his face as he panted out, "That's the last time I will ever let you of all people do that to me… ever." The lilting voice of Tak preceded her as she, too, made her way into the bizarre living quarters, "Quit complaining, Zim – I never guaranteed that it would be painless." Skoodge, who was sitting between Minimoose (who was more hovering, than actually sitting) and GIR on the couch, turned his head away from the television monitor long enough to say, "Oh, hey Zim, what've you and Tak been up too?" The withering glare that Zim sent his way was completely missed as he turned back to the eerily captivating program that he and the two little robots had been staring at for the past six or seven hours (there was something strangely hypnotic about that monkey.) With an agitated huff, Zim flopped himself down right next to GIR, thinking to himself, 'I really hate that monkey.'
His moment of quiet contemplation was soon shattered by 'that horrible female', as he had begun referring to her more often, as she casually threw herself onto the couch beside him, propping her legs across his lap in an infuriatingly nonchalant manner that he knew was meant to annoy him and only him. With a seemingly congenial voice (which only enraged him further) she chirped, "Oh, nothing much – Zim and I merely came to an understanding over how our partnership will operate." Giving a knowing glance towards Zim, she innocently asked, "Isn't that right, Zim?" In an attempt to deny her the satisfaction of a real acknowledgement to their agreement, the deranged invader nonchalantly replied, "Yeah, sure, whatever." not even deigning to look at her, he failed to see the slight narrowing of her eyes.
Deciding to let his infraction against her slide, Tak turned her attention to the rest of her new associates, noticing at once the vapid looks upon their faces as they stared into the soul-sapping screen situated straight in front of them. Scoodge, for his part, held an empty stare as a line of drool clung to his face – his shirt was even messier than usual and if the slew of Snack-e-Cake wrappers and Irken Soda bottles that seemed to surround his person were any indication, he hadn't moved from that spot for some time. GIR, the little moron, was likewise slaved to the machine, his eyes dimmed and posture lax as he seemed to sink further into the couch. Minimoose, too, seemed to have lost all higher cognitive function – eyes dilated, mouth open in a slack-jawed manner; his hovering form, usually so vivacious, seemed too still to be natural. Even Zim seemed to succumb to the mind-numbing properties of Earth Television, as he became transfixed to the colorful imagery flashing across the monitor.
Focusing further on Zim, she took the rare opportunity presented to her to study him. Naturally, the first thing that always registered to her when she gazed upon him was how incredibly short he was. Never had she seen an Irken so short who wasn't some sort of service drone. It boggled the mind to consider how he managed to make it into the academy in the first place, let alone how he managed to become an Invader for Operation Impending Doom 1! She'd not personally been on Irk when his now infamous rampage took place, but she had seen enough of the footage to see how he had single handedly brought their home planet to its knees – the only being in the entire history of the universe to do so! He was the bane of their civilization, but in a warped sense, he was also their civilization's greatest weapon; a being capable of annihilating entire star systems by accident!
What a strange dichotomy, Zim was. He was clearly a defect, and yet he could do things that no one else could conceivably dream of. He was obviously a talented engineer – his base was testament enough to that. Just hours earlier she had been touring the bowels of his lair, and had been shocked by some of the machines and devices he'd apparently designed. Grant it, many of them were broken (he'd claimed something or other about it being The Dib's fault, but she had a sneaking suspicion that more often than not, it was less Dib's fault and more likely Zim's own incompetence) and a few of them didn't even seem to have a purpose in mind, but the fact that he could create such magnificent things with nothing but surplus and scrap was incredible!
A further testament to his innate mechanical acumen would undoubted be his two mechanical lackeys, GIR and Minimoose. While she had no idea to what extent Zim's 'advanced' SIR unit could actually be considered a SIR unit, she was observant enough to notice the extensive work that had undoubtedly gone into producing some semblance of functionality to the deranged little robot. Minimoose was all together an entirely different matter. She wasn't even sure what to classify the little… thing… as. It was undoubtedly a robot, but as to what kind he was, she had no inkling. Her PAK's scanners had nearly had an aneurysm over how much raw power was spilling out of him. When she had asked Zim about him earlier, he had said something along the lines of 'Oh, he's my other sidekick' and 'He's been with me the whole time', which was strange because never once did she recall ever coming across the little robo-moose during her botched attempt at taking Earth from Zim.
But she digressed – Zim had more talents than she had originally given him credit for. From reviewing the Computer's surveillance logs, she had beheld a number of… interesting genetic experiments, such as that Demon Squid he'd developed. Yes, she liked that one – particularly how it had attacked Zim and pummeled him mercilessly. She was particularly interested in the genetically engineered brain-eating parasite he had developed a few months back. That had had promise, but as per usual, Zim had somehow screwed it all up without even trying. 'Nothing a little direction can't fix.' She thought as she continued to examine her 'ally'. 'What a joke,' she reflected, 'if he didn't have so much potential for me to use, I would dispose of him here and now.' Unwanted flashbacks of what went on during that ride down the lift were quickly suppressed as she next switched her attention to Zim's PAK.
Potential is exactly what she had just given him. 'So much potential.' she purred. Unlike Zim, Tak was not beholden to the Tallest to such an extent. They were taller than her, and thus they were superior to her in every aspect – that was unquestionable. However, she did not worship the ground beneath their feet as Zim did, and it is for that reason she did what she had done. She had committed borderline treason for enabling Zim in such a way. Oh, she knew what could conceivably occur because of her actions, but, with her guidance and oversight, she had no doubts that the results would be nothing short of magnificent – well worth the risks. Even now, the final installments of Zim's recent upgrade were taking effect. Just to insure that what she had done truly took place, she bid her PAK to recall the events that took place not more than an hour ago.
A devious smile played out on her lips as the memory played back before her eyes.
…Quickly catching up to her and casting a sidelong glare at her, he retorted, "And what makes you think that Zim would even listen to the Tak-beast?" Turning promptly towards him, she proclaimed, "Because, I have something that will make you unstoppable." At this, she produced something from her PAK, at which Zim's eyes grew to the size of dinner plates, such was his surprise! Quickly straightening himself, he looked Tak in the eye and casually replied, "Zim is listening." And indeed, he was all ears (in a figurative sense), because if what she was holding was what he thought it was, then he was very much prepared to do whatever she said, just to be capable of harnessing it! "You know what this is, don't you?" She condescendingly asked, before continuing, "Of course you do – just look at you." His eyes had become transfixed on the device in her hands, following its every move with the attention of a Plookesian Nort Garbbler. Yes, he was fully aware that he was gawking at a Brainchip, the very same type used by the Control Brains of Irk and Judgementia – absolutely illegal to possess, but oh so tempting to exploit!
"Where did you get that!?" he asked in unmitigated awe; what he saw before him could land him in Deprogramming Row, where he would be offlined without due process – such was the severity of the matter at hand! With a knowing smirk, Tak replied, "You'd be surprised at what all sorts of things are just thrown away without any thought." Her smile instantly vanished and in its place a thin line of resentment and anger as she went on, "I found it on one of my shifts while I was stationed on Dirt," the subtle twitch of her eye was the only indication of the anger she managed to contain at the memory, "– under a pile of Groobuxian Sneakers." The slight wince that Zim gave almost made her feel better – apparently he was well acquainted with that particular species' penchant for foot odor. The memory of what she had had to endure in order to acquire her prize was best left repressed.
Deciding to change the subject (a rare act of tact on his part), Zim broached the matter at hand. "You said that this would make me unstoppable," his brow lowered in a pensive expression as he finally asked the two million monies question, "How?" Withdrawing the brainchip back into her PAK (much to Zim's displeasure), the vexatious female straightened her posture and curtly riposted with a question of her own. "You understand, of course, that what we're doing here is considered a crime of the highest order – that we would be terminated immediately if anyone ever found out about this, correct?" The momentary look of panic that flashed across the shorter Irken's face was proof enough for her, be she needed to know that she could rely on him should things come to a head. If he agreed to what she was about to propose, then there just may be hope for their partnership, however detestable the two of them found it to be. With a slight catch in his voice he squeaked out, "Of course I do!" A look of resolve momentarily crossed both of their countenances, as Tak resolutely said, "Good – walk with me."
Turning around, she began marching down the main corridor, towards the most likely location of his medical facility. Scrabbling to keep up with her, Zim remained silent for a good five minutes, undoubtedly contemplating the various outcomes of this situation, and only broke the silence when they arrived outside a door marked 'Medical Wing'. "Wait, what are we doing here?" he demanded, before sharply turning towards her, "The making stuff room is on the other side of the base – Zim has no need for medical attention!" A look of exasperation contorted Tak's features as she seriously considered whether or not to just go ahead and kill him, before she carefully formed a neutral look and replied, "You honestly think I'm going to just give you this chip to put in some contraption that you'll undoubtedly destroy?" His cry of protest was cut short as she scathingly said, "No, Zim, I intend to secure this chip into the one thing you can't destroy." A painful grimace of concentration took hold of Zim's face as he tried to deduce what she meant – beads of perspiration began to form on his forehead, and his eyes began to zip back and forth, going through all of the factors.
A look of furious incredulity burned across the female's face before she snarled out, "YOU, Zim – I mean you!" With a jump of surprise at her outburst, Zim shrieked, "What?" But before he could go into a diatribe, she cut him off, saying, "More specifically, I'm going to integrate the chip into your PAK." The look of abject horror on Zim's face clearly conveyed what he thought about that. "Are you INSANE?" Oh yes, he clearly had his reservations, "This is bad – this is so very, very bad; do you have any idea how much trouble Zim could get into because of this!?" Whipping his head from side to side, undoubtedly paranoid that someone might catch them (even though no one in their right mind would come to this horrible ball of dirt just to spy on the most reviled Irken in the history of their society), before turning back to her and hissing in a low voice, "Did the Tak-beast suddenly loose her brain-meats, or is this some sort of trick?" Quickly smacking him across the face, Tak exclaimed, "Get ahold of yourself and listen to me!" The undivided look of attention he instantly gave her was slightly unnerving, to say the least, but at least now she was free to talk.
"This isn't some trick, Zim, and I most certainly know what I'm doing." The look of skepticism he gave her did not go unnoticed – "Think about it, Zim; with this chip, you could finally make some progress towards conquering Earth." Reeling back as if he'd been struck, he cried out, "Hey!" Lifting her hand up to cut his self-defense short, she continued, "Shut up and listen – You may not realize it, Zim, but you are perhaps the most powerful weapon in the entire empire," His self-assured retort of "Of course," went unnoticed as she went on, saying – "but you're also a complete moron." The less-assured cry of "Wait a minute!" also went unheeded as she finished, "What you need is something to give you focus, something that will insure that not even you can get in the way of… you…" Leaning towards him and looking him in the eye she asked, "So what do you think, Zim – do you want to be the best Invader you can be, or are you content to always fail?" Zim's entire body tensed, as his eyes frantically darted to and fro, a rare look of contemplation marring his features. He was seriously considering this! After a few tense, quiet minutes, he finally looked to her and asked, "This integration process; it's safe, yes?" The diabolical look of glee that crossed her face at his consent said otherwise…
Oh yes, the integration procedure was safe, but it was by no mean painless. In fact, it was incredibly painful for Zim. The memory of his agonized screaming brought a dark smile to her lips as she recalled how utterly vindictive it had felt and how eager she had been to see him suffer. As her vision came to her, she instantly noticed one of two things. First, she had been silently chuckling to herself during the memory review, and two, the only one in the room not staring at her as if she'd grown a third antennae was surprisingly Zim. Instead, Zim was glaring at the television; the intense look on his face was something she immediately recognized as concentration. The sudden whirring of exhaust ports activating caused all in the room to jump in surprise. The surprise was doubled when it became apparent the culprit was Zim's PAK – it was undoubtedly processing something. With a hesitant step, Skoodge gently layed a hand on Zim's shoulder, "Zim, are you alright?"
Seemingly started from his rare moment of insight, Zim replied in a surprisingly subdued fashion, "Hm? – Oh, yes; I'm fine." Taking the question further, Tak sat up straight on the couch and asked, "Zim, what is it?" Already she had a growing suspicion as to what it was, and it was only confirmed when, with an odd, almost bemused smile, the little Irken turned to her and replied, "Zim thinks… Zim thinks he might have just come up with a plan to conquer this hideous planet… and it involves…" A look of disbelief flashed across his face, as if even he found what he was about to say ridiculous, before he finished, "It involves the humans' Television."
A plot involving the media and world domination? How cliche! I know, but bear with me, because I'm pretty sure you won't see where this is going. Or maybe you do, I don't know. Anyways, I'll eventually get around to making the next chapter at some point. I don't know when, but it will eventually get there. Until then, my friends; may God keep you.