Disclaimer: I don't own Invader Zim, Jhonen Vasquez does. I only own this story and if anything I write resembles anything that already exists, it is coincidence and I don't mean to copy anything.

Hello everyone! Well, my hiatus is over. After an eternity, I have finally picked this story back up and plan on finishing it. Alrighty, enough of me talking. You have waited long enough…ENJOY!

Chapter 31

Zim was shocked. It just wasn't possible. There stood the Irken who helped create Project Z1; who betrayed the previous Tallest. There stood the Irken who was EXECUTED by the Control Brain for all to see for his crimes. Raz smiled at everyone's disbelief.

"It is not possible. We saw it. We were there when the Control Brain deactivated you. You were DEAD!" Purple protested. Raz looked at the Tallest, smile still present.

"You obviously underestimated me. Did you really think that I, one of the most brilliant computer engineers, wouldn't be able to create a simple virus that would be capable of altering the Control Brains readings? A virus that would make it believe I had been shut down, when in actuality, I had been left completely unharmed; merely child's play." His smile grew wider as he stood there proudly, amused at the Tallests' realization of their mistake. Zim tried to process all of what the Advisor said. To be able to fool the Control Brain like that was unheard of. His thoughts were interrupted when Tallest Red spoke up.

"So you're the one that has been feeding the Meekrobs information." Red glared.

"Yes, for years I have been aiding the Meekrobs, for we have similar goals; to conquer the Irken race. Though I have to say, I didn't expect it to take this long to discover the location of the Project, but I believe better late than never." He gloated.

"You Bastard!" Purple hollered. Raz snickered at the outburst and was about to speak when he was cut off.

"Wait, if you are such a brilliant computer expert and you knew where the Project was, why didn't you just take it yourself? Or better yet, why didn't you just make another?" Dib pointed out, speaking for the first time. Everyone looked at the Irken, expectantly, but Raz seemed unfazed by the accusation as he calmly answered.

"The creation of the project itself was a happy accident that I, regrettably, had trouble duplicating. I may have been able to recreate it if there was a guarantee that it would match my bio signature and not destroy me." He sneered. "As for retrieving it, believe me, it would have been a simple task if it hadn't been for one minor detail. There was a condition in place that, if not met, made it impossible to retrieve the Project."

"Zim had to be present." Gaz spoke up.

"Yes." Raz answered before turning back towards the Tallest. "A fact that I have discovered very recently. But it was of no consequence. I figured that if the Meekrobs added more pressure, you would eventually cave and attempt to retrieve it and try to use it." Raz gave them a knowing look and Red cursed at the fact that they had fallen right into their trap.

"I was planning to have gotten it before you but that mistake shall be remedied soon." The Advisor smirked.

"So you would use the Project to help the Meekrobs take over your own race? That's sick!" The Advisor turned towards Rayne, acknowledging her outburst. Zim stiffened as Raz turned to her but was relieved to see he made no motion to approach her.

"Don't speak as if you or your deplorable excuse of a race could possibly understand what I intend to do." He turned back to the Tallest before continuing. "The Irkens may be on top for now, but their brutish arrogance and shortsightedness will inevitably become their downfall. For years I tried to change that but the previous Tallest refused to heed my warnings. By taking over the Irkens, the Meekrobs will show them just how blind they really were."

"Do you really believe that if you took over, everything would have gone your way?" Red snarled. Raz just smirked.

"With Project Z1, it would have. The Tallest were fools and didn't see the power that Z1 wielded. That we made possible. They couldn't see what could have been achieved if they only were willing to use it. Those cowards didn't deserve such power. Now it is time for it to be returned to its rightful owner." His gaze shifted to Zim. "After all, you can't possibly believe that its true potential could ever be unlocked by a defect such as him; the offspring of mediocrity." Zim growled at the comment.

"Well, as you can imagine, I am quite busy and must cut this conversation short. You know our demands." Without another word the Irken turned and walked out of sight. Jax then stepped forward with Rayne in hand.

"You have four hours to comply. If you don't…" He pushed Rayne in front of him and wrapped his hand around her neck, putting his head on her shoulder. "…well, I think you can use your imagination." Rayne tried her best to not show any fear for Zim's sake but Zim looked as if he was ready to murder everyone in the whole Meekrob armada.

"You touch her and I swear you will be begging Zim for death!" Jax just laughed and cut the transmission. For a moment Zim just stared at the screen. But then a loud roar ripped from his throat as he turned and punched the wall. His anger was so great that Project Z1 must have activated for a moment because he left an enormous dent in the wall. Nothing was said as Zim seethed, trying to calm himself down. Dib knew better than anyone that, when angry, the Irken's ability to think clearly was almost nonexistent and it would be best not to disturb him until he had time to cool off.

After what felt like forever the silence was broken by Red as he cleared his throat. "Zim, regarding your previous request, permission granted." Zim spun around and looked at the Tallest in utter bewilderment.

"What changed? Dib asked.

"The circumstances have changed and there are details we cannot ignore. However, the retrieval of your mate will not be your primary objective." Red clarified.

"Then what is the objective?" Zim asked, making an effort to keep a respectful tone.

"Your mission is to infiltrate the lead ship, locate Raz and take him out." Red finished.

"He is the key to the Meekrobs' intelligence and needs to be eliminated if we are to have a chance at victory. And since you would object to us sending another team, we will send you with permission to use any means necessary." Purple added. Zim stayed silent for a moment before nodding his head.

"Understood." He was about to leave when Tallest Red spoke up.

"Zim, before you leave, I want to express my concern of you taking Project Z1 with you. The Meekrobs will be expecting another infiltration and we can't allow it to fall in their hands. So we advise you to leave it with us before you leave." Zim opened his mouth, seemingly about to protest, before he thought for a moment and nodded in acknowledgment.

"Good, you are dismissed." Red stated. Zim turned and walked out, blowing passed Dib and Gaz before they quickly followed behind. The siblings didn't know what to say to the Irken, so they trailed behind in silence as they walked towards their quarters.

"Zim, wait up." The three turned to see Scoodge running down the hall towards them.

"I was just informed by the Tallest of what happened. I'm so sorry. If there is anything I can do to help…" He trailed off, waiting for a response. Zim remained quiet for a moment, collecting his thought before answering.

"Give Zim time to plan. I'll let you know soon." With that, Zim kept on walking. Scoodge, Dib and Gaz exchanged worried looks before Scoodge headed off in the direction of the Bridge. The group continued on and when they reached the quarters, Zim went into his room and shut the door behind him.

"What should we do?" Dib asked Gaz.

"Wait until Zim gets ahold of himself." As if on cue, they heard a crash of something breaking from behind the door. Dib froze as Gaz made her way back to their room.

"Be thankful that, whatever that was, wasn't you." She commented, leaving Dib alone in the hallway.

Once the transmission was cut, the Meekrob Commander pushed the human girl into the waiting arms of his soldiers.

"Put her in lockup and I want her to be heavily guarded." Jax ordered and watched as they dragged her away before turning towards his 'ally', Raz.

"I do not understand your confidence. There is no way that the Tallest are going to just hand over the Project or even allow that little Irken runt to even leave the Massive." He grumbled. Raz turned around, facing the brutish Meekrob with a smile.

"Oh do not worry. I'm not counting on the Tallest at all. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they planned to take the Project and lock it away. It's Zim that I am counting on to bring it right to me." He chuckled as if laughing at his own joke.

"But you told me that Irkens never go against the wishes of their Tallest, no matter what the cost; especially Zim."Jax was starting to get frustrated with the Irken Advisor.

"In many cases, that are true, Irken soldiers are bred to be obedient to their leaders. However, Zim is a different case. He has always acted on his own accord for his own selfish gain and has always shown insubordination towards his superiors, whether he knew it or not. He is a defect and will always be a defect." Raz turned and started to walk away.

"He will come and he will bring the Project to us." With that, he left the room. Jax, however, just stood there. He was sick and tired of taking orders from the Irken. At this point, he has learned enough about the Irkens to devise a plan of attack to finish them off. He no longer needed the ex-advisors help. Jax decided that once they got their hands on the project, there would be nothing left that Irkens could use to stand in his way and that is when Raz will have out lived his usefulness. He will destroy him along with the Project. Jax smiled to himself as he too left the room.

After waiting for an hour and doing nothing but pace back and forth while Gaz played her game, Dib couldn't take it anymore.

"What the hell is taking him so long? I mean I know we needed to let him cool down but we only have a little bit of time before they kill Rayne!" Dib shouted.

"Zim said he would come get us when he had a plan." Gaz sighed, hiding the fact that she was becoming impatient herself.

"I don't care; if it takes him this long to come up with something then he should have asked us for help!" Gaz scoffed at the notion of Zim asking anyone for help, least of all Dib.

"I'm going to go talk to him." Before Gaz could protest, he was already out the door. She sighed and put her game away and followed after him to make sure he didn't get himself into more trouble. She caught up to Dib just as he barged right into the room. As they entered, Gaz saw Zim working at a bench and jump at their unexpected entry, looking like he was trying to hide something.

"Zim, what the hell is taking you so long? We need to get going if we want any chance of rescuing Rayne." Dib growled, not seeing what Zim was hiding.

"Shut your stupid head, Dib-thing. I was about to come get you." Zim grumbled back, glaring at Dib for the intrusion.

"Uh, Zim, what's that you got there?" Gaz pointed to what he was hiding.

"What do you mean? Zim is not hiding anything." Zim lied. Gaz glared and stomped over to Zim before quickly reaching behind him and grabbing what he was holding.

"Hey, give that back to Zim." He protested. Gaz looked down at the item in her hand and saw that it was Project Z1. Dib looked over Gaz's shoulder to see, and then looked back at Zim.

"What are you doing with Project Z1, Zim?" Zim just swiped it back and turned away from them.

"Zim is doing nothing." He lied again. Not believing him, Dib swiped it from Zim this time.

"Well if you're not doing anything then we should give it to your leaders and go."

"No, Zim is not fin- I mean…" Zim struggled to think.

"Tell us the truth, Zim." Gaz demanded. Zim looked between the two of them and sighed.

"It is not Project Z1, it is a replica." He explained. Dib looked down at the fake and then just shook his head.

"This is your plan? Zim, you can't possibly be stupid enough to believe that this would fool the Irken that helped create it. He'd probably be able to spot a fake a mile away." Dib lectured. Zim growled at Dib's comment.

"Zim knows this. It is not for Raz, it's for…" He trailed off but Gaz understood.

"You were going to give this to the Tallest, weren't you?" Dib stared at Zim in shock, never thinking that he would so willingly cross his leaders.

"Are you kidding, Zim. You were going to take the real one with you after the Tallest told you not to?" Dib knew Zim was stubborn but this was down-right mutinous.

"I need the Project if my plan to rescue Rayne and dispose of Raz is going to work." Zim explained.

"This is crazy! If the Tallest find out, who knows what they'll do. Not to mention you would probably be putting us at risk as well. Gaz, tell him." Dib turns towards Gaz, expecting her to agree with him. Instead she turns to him and smacks him upside the head.

"Ow… What the hell, Gaz." He whines.

"We are not Irkens, Dib, and our priorities are not the same as theirs. Rescuing Rayne is what you should be more concerned about." She then turned to Zim with a mischievous smile.

"Besides, they said that they advised Zim to leave the Project here. I didn't hear the Tallest actually order Zim to leave it here, did you?" Zim just smiled back to her in an equally mischievous grin before grabbing the replica from Dib and finishing his work. Dib frantically looked between the two of them before groaning.

"This is going to end so badly. I just hope you know what you're doing." He mumbled with his head in his hands.