Chapter Three-

A/N- Hayyy~ :D Okay, so I've noticed a lot of favorites from people, but no reviews. ;_; Please, if you like the story, review. Or, if you want it to explode into a fiery ball of oblivion, review it. Or, y'know, if you're just bored and slightly sick and want to yell, review it. With that being said, please review!

FEATURING AWESOME!KEEF AND OTHER NONSENSE. Note- the babel fish part in this chapter is taken from the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (I added the diurnal part ;) and, note, in the original text the fish was put in the ear. I used this so I wouldn't have to explain how in the world Dib was breathing on a loading dock...in outer space...XD (although the show didn't seem to concerned with that aspect)

...

A threat was uttered from her lips

and then

they crashed down.

A smile of satisfaction, a boot twirling and more death.

"So you're positive this will work," the faceless shadow asked, spider-like appendages thin and barely visible.

"I...think so," the Tallest murmured.

The base is so empty.

It's silence, Skoodge thought to himself. Silence that was so disconcerting, silence that frightened him more than the screams. Zim is gone, where is he, he whispers hoarsely but nobody hears-

nobody will ever hear, he realizes-

and so he looks to the dead computer, its AI having been transferred to something else, and he realizes he is completely and utterly alone.

There is still hope, he whispers. Zim is just a small part of his life. But then he realizes that he depends on Zim, and that Zim gave him a house and work to do. He realizes that without Zim, he has no direction. The worst part, though, was that without Zim, there was only silence.

There is still hope, though, he reminds himself. There is still hope because, under all that egotistical jargon and incredible stupidity lay a mind full of none other than engineering genius. Engineering genius that was up to par with the Vortians'. Zim was actually intelligent.

And Skoodge knew this because two days after he'd moved in, Zim began to teach him.

There is still hope because there is still a ship in the loading bay, and still at least one human who isn't a complete idiot, and there are schematics to a Vortian engine lying right beside him, and he will build this if it kills him.

"Wake up," Zim hissed.

His Pak had came to life, sparks flying from the dark wires. He was now fully recharged, and seemingly quite irritated already.

The human groaned. "I am up," he snapped, rubbing his eyes. Zim merely rolled his eyes in a rather human gesture, his gloved right hand flickering quickly over the controls. "The coordinates are set for the Resisty headquarters," he informed Dib. "We're only about ten Earth-minutes away. Oh, and here's your stupid Mothman-thing back," Zim spoke off-handedly, almost flinging the thing at Dib.

Luckily, he caught it. "So, what do you think?" he asked rather timidly.

"Think of what?" Zim asked, eyes squinting.

"Mothman's message," Dib replied, pocketing the device.

"Zim thinks it is stupid. Why would Zim consent to having his...squeedily-spooch forcibly removed?"

"...It's for science," Dib replied, as if that explained everything.

"Zim's squeedily-spooch will remain intact, thank you very much," Zim snapped back. "Maybe you hu-mans can study the effect of an Irken's organs working correctly with none of them missing. You know, for science."

Dib rolled his eyes. "Whatever," he muttered bitterly.

"Anyways, Zim needs you to eat this fish." Zim held an orange fish, white and black splotches on it.

Dib looked at Zim, quirking an eyebrow at the...raw...fish.

"What is it?" he asked.

"A Babel/Diurnal fish breed, from the planet Serphani. Eat it so you won't die in the vacuum of space too immediately. It'll allow you to filter the void as air. The Babel aspect will allow you to understand the languages other aliens speak."

"That makes no sense," Dib said.

Zim shrugged. "Zim doesn't know how it works either. Eat up."

Dib sighed, plopping the thing down his throat. He almost threw up, but kept it down. Zim nodded. "Good."

Dib grimaced at the taste, and merely looked towards the glass encasement of the ship, only to be shocked by the view.

Dib's eyes snapped completely open, and he seemed entranced. He leaned almost three feet forward from his seat staring at the image; a distinctly dark blue dock that seemed as if it were from a science fiction show. It's color stood stark in contrast to the void of space, and he could spot vaguely human-like figures walking on the flat surface close to the docking bay.

"...It's beautiful," he whispered, and he resisted the strange urge to sing from pure joy in Klingon.

The light shone from the cafeteria's ceiling lights, refracting off the steel-like encasing of the PAK legs. Dark purple eyes shone with bloodlust. The children backed into their respective corners, terror marking their faces as mortal and doomed.

The stench of a hundred sweaty, frightened schoolchildren made the smell of the cafeteria even stronger, and nausea-inducing at its worse.

Some watched the slaughter with horror. Others tried to look away from their inevitable fates. But one watched; not with horror, nor fright, but morbid fascination and curiosity. This boy, ginger-haired, did not ask "why me?" but simply "Why?" with a ridiculous knowledge-seeking urge.

The Irken noticed this as her eyes scanned, and she stared at him.

"Come here," she barked.

He obliged.

"EXPLAIN YOURSELF!"

Gaz had entered Zim's former base looking for answers and had found the short invader Skoodge, someone she'd only briefly met a few times before. Upon sighting him, she grabbed his shoulders forcibly.

Of course, it wasn't very likely that Skoodge knew anything. (He didn't.) However, Gaz was angry, and what with her brother being swiftly taken into the night by some sort of mecha, rationality wasn't exactly the most important thing to her just then.

"IDIDN'TDOITIDIDN'TBREAKITI'MSORRY!" Skoodge shrieked in an almost knee-jerk reaction, trying to pull away from Gaz's grip.

Gaz's facial expression changed to one of calm; well, calm for Gaz, anyways. "Okay. Chill out." She felt slightly sorry for the invader; while she hardly felt any sympathy for most people, she'd seen the rather short invader be bullied by Zim in a number of ways.

"I'm sorry! I didn't do it! I didn't-" Skoodge began, only to be cut off rudely.

"Listen, I'm not here to blame you for something. I want to know where Zim went. And where he took my...stoopid brother." Gaz cringed at the word.

"...Why?" Skoodge asked, causing Gaz's eye to twitch.

"He owes me twenty dollars," she replied, shrugging afterward.

"Oh. Okay." Skoodge nodded at this as Gaz released him from her grasp.

"Well, then, how are we going to get there?" she asked expectantly, crossing her arms.

A smile flitted over the alien's features.

"Just give me a few days."

The boy was strange.

She'd seen him before at school, his eyes perpetually shifting, as if something were about to attack him at any moment. He was always nervous, and Tak suspected that he had a mental illness such as schizophrenia, or at the very least extreme paranoia.

As such, she took him from the disgusting lunch room and stared at him.

"What is your name?" she asked, although she already knew the answer.

"Keef." The ginger was staring back unflinchingly. "You killed them."

Tak's eyes opened at the accusation. "Who?" She was intrigued by the boy's odd mannerisms.

"Dib. Zim. You killed them, didn't you?" The calm in his eyes was replaced by madness; the light struck him, illuminating his face in the same way it had Tak's minutes ago.

"I have no clue what you're talking abou-" Tak began, not having seen the boys.

Almost instantly, the boy's hand snapped forwards and ripped off one of her multiple metal PAK legs; the sheer force of the yank pulled her forward a bit. His stance strong, he lunged forward with it, stabbing her in the chest and pulling the metal back out in such a harsh way that the pain flooded through her entire body.

She coughed a dark purple liquid; he ran, PAK leg still in hand as a makeshift weapon.

"...What in the bloody hell was that?" she sputtered out as her PAK healed her injury.

Sanctuary. Sanctuary. Sanctuary. He needed a place to hide.

Skoodge was looking at his schematics in a curious way, doodling this and that on it. Gaz was sitting nearby with a Poop-Cola in hand, playing her Gameslave. "How's it going?" she asked, finding the small Irken substantially less annoying then she'd thought. "Good," he replied. "I just made some adjustments to the blueprints, darkened the lines a little to make it clearer is all. I can modify an Irken engine for this instead of getting completely new parts..."

A loud banging came from upstairs.

Skoodge froze, and Gaz looked up from her Gameslave. "I'll get it-" he began, only for her to cut him off, stand up, and walk upstairs.

She opened the door to reveal Keef, holding a spindly metal leg and looking much calmer than usual, his frizzy hair mussed down by the rain.

"...Come in?" she asked. He nodded, and followed her downstairs.

"Zim, this dock is amazing."

Zim frowned. "Not nearly as amazing as the IRKE-"

At that, Dib kicked him. "Idiot! Remember why you're here in the first place!"

Zim's eyes opened wide in realization and he shut up, feeling a bit embarrassed. "Zim knew that," he muttered. "Zim was going to say...Irket..lian...donuts."

Dib rolled his eyes in a distinctly Earthling gesture before continuing his venture on the docking bay, their ship parked to the left. He was stopped by a Vortian; Lard Nar.

"You must be the human Zim was telling us about!" he said. He then looked Dib up and down, confused. "You don't look nearly as filthy as he said, though." He gave a smile. "Well, that's fine! You seem so much saner than the visitors we had last year..."

"Hm?" Dib asked, interested.

"...They believed in string theory! Haha! Can you believe that?"

After that statement, Dib and the Vortian Resisty leader began discussing quantum physics, universal properties, dark matter, and Life, the Universe and Everything.

Zim sighed, shaking his head before continuing into the headquarters of the Resisty.

It was indeed impressive, even by Irken standards. The architecture was astounding, the engineering was fantastic, and among all else it was non-stationary. The entire headquarters could be moved; it was, in theory, a super-ship. The Vortian engineering showed, and the entire structure held aspects of multiple species' designs. While Zim usually claimed Irk had 'the greatest everything', the ridiculous beauty of the inter-galactic collaboration was enough to make him appreciate it.

It was astounding, really. Domes and glass (actually super-enforced material mined from a distant planet), as well as a back-up system he'd heard much about; an outer metal shell that would push itself outward to protect the ship when the command was issued.

He found something that seemed like a lounge. There were different alien-species; the crystal-looking beings of one planet, Vortians (of course), even Screw-heads.

There were no Irkens.

As such, Zim strode in, getting stares from numerous people.

He felt mildly uncomfortable, a large feat for anyone to accomplish against him. He began to squirm as the curious stares merely intensified.

Irony had struck. All of Zim's life he had been one of the mocking Irken observers, surrounding a small, weak number of other alien species; species that were considered inferior and obsolete and many different things, all of them summed up as 'less than Irken'. Even if he were unreasonably short compared to the other Irkens, he could still laugh at the lesser species that the galaxy contained.

But now, by poetic justice, Zim had became the display. The hostility in the room was scarcely veiled, and only a few looked at him merely questioningly and not hatefully. He had became the inferior, the one, the singled out. No speech supporting Irken superiority would be heard in this room.

As such, he was quite relieved when Lard Nar came into the lounge, proclaiming that he'd found a quite-odd creature called an Earthling. Unlike the hostile gestures Zim had received, Dib was met with curious gazes and an enamored look from a Transtian crystal-being. Snippets of conversation from Lard Nar to Dib were heard; "Yes, we have multiple headquarters like this one! Our main one is near..." and "Oh, how interesting," little polite replies. Someone commented on his hair, and he laughed, leading to yet another discussion.

"This trip is stupid," Zim muttered bitterly.