As soon as Dib was far enough from the base, he realized that he was going blind. He had no idea where he was going. All he knew was that Gaz wanted to attack the heart of the Yulom's power, but after that, she wouldn't give him anything else to go on. He looked at the GPS that was build into the control panel for the speedy hover craft. There were no coordinates set, but he did have one place that he wanted to try. It was his father talking to Gaz, and there was only one place his father ever seemed to be. The labs.
It was the only place that he knew the Yolum were for sure. He punched in the coordinates for his father's lab and the hover car roared to life, and burst towards its destination. Dib was there in seconds. Knowing that he needed a bit of time, Dib recorded his distress message into the dashboard and set a timer for when it was going to be sent. In five or ten minutes the cavalry should arrive. He landed on the roof, and made his way in. This wasn't a mission for stealth. He walked down the stairs that led to the roof.
As he walked passed, he noticed there were still some marks from the last time he was in this stair well, of course, things were going in the opposite direction then. It was Zim saving him, and they were leaving rather than coming. As Dib thought about it, he realized how often lately that Zim had been saving his life. Zim was the one coming to the rescue, even if some of the problems were Zim's to begin with.
Everything was so quiet. Dib half expected alarms to go off the second he stepped foot in the labs, or soldiers to corner him, or something, but things were so still. Dib walked down the several flights of stairs. By the time he reached the bottom, he realized why nothing was going off. It wasn't that they didn't know he was there, but because they knew they had something to keep Dib in line.
Dib's father waiting at the bottom of the stairs with two of his stooges standing on either side. In his hand, Zim hung limply. He looked even worse than the last time they were stuck here. Dib was ready to leap at his father, or anything that came near him and beat them up for hurting Zim, but right now they had Zim, and could make things worse in a second. Dib's hands clenched into tight fists to hold himself back.
"Son, it's so good to see you," His father said with a cheerfulness that didn't suit the situation.
"You have Zim," Dib said coldly, he was in no mood for games.
"Oh, this fellow? I thought that you would never come without the proper incentive." His father said, lifting Zim off the ground like he was some doll. Zim almost looked dead, but there was still a slight movement in Zim's chest.
"Let him go," Dib said through his teeth, "I'll do whatever you want if you let him go and never harm him again."
"You'll be a good boy?"
"I'll be a good boy, scientist, soldier, whatever you say. Just don't hurt him." Dib could feel the joints in his hands groaning against the effort of keeping himself in line. He didn't like it, but Dib knew that they had all the power, and that they would not be above using that power if they felt like it.
A grin made its way onto Membrane's face. "Excellent. Then we have a deal then. Zim will be free and unharmed, and you'll stay here and join us."
"Yes," Dib forced the words from his mouth. He knew what was coming up, or it might be something worse, but when he looked at Zim's battered body, he knew there was no choice for now. "Can I at least say goodbye?"
Membrane checked his schedule through the computer on his arm. "Well, alright. But be quick. We have a lot of work to do."
Dib hurried over to his father and took Zim from Membrane's arms. Dib cradled Zim in his arms, taking in every inch of Zim's face as possible: the color, the shape, the faint peace, and the cuts and bruises that covered it.
"I'm sorry, Zim," Dib said, tears running down his face, "I don't know what else to do. This is just for now, right?"
A tears dripped off Dib's cheeks and chin and onto Zim's face, causing the skin to burn where they landed. Zim's eyes flew open and he gasped in shock before locking onto Dib's eyes. Zim's expression softened despite the continued burning of his skin.
Zim grabbed onto Dib's shirt and whispered, "I have a plan. Pretend to be under their influence and I'll bring you back."
Seeing Zim talking to Dib worried Membrane's lackeys until one of them walked up and tore Zim from Dib's arms. The lackey tore them apart so quickly that a part of Dib's shirt came along with Zim. Dib watched Zim be carried away.
Zim was barely strong enough to lift up an arm, but he had enough air in him to yell, "Just hold on."
Membrane walked up beside Dib and set a hand on his son's shoulder. "Are we ready to begin?"
Dib nodded, "Yes."
"Excellent. Follow me."
Membrane led Dib down the hall to an elevator. It looked like an old service elevator, nothing fancy or technical. There looked like there used to be a carpet in there, but it had been worn down to patches of threads and glue. There were only two buttons on the panel. The faded labels above each button still read, "top" and "bottom." As the elevator began its decent, Membrane gave a sigh of nostalgia.
"This takes me back to my boyhood." Membrane's hold on Dib's shoulder tightened, "Don't be scared, son, at the very worst you won't even remember a thing."
After a minute of riding the elevator, they reached the bottom.
That's it. I'd like to thank everyone who's read this story. I'd like to extent a special thanks to all those who have been following this story anytime during the year and eight months I've been working on it. Thank you for all your comments. I'm starting the next in the series right away, although I probably won't be posting any chapters for a while. I've also got another Invader Zim fan fiction started, although that one is not a romance, I'll start posting it first when I have enough done.
Thank you again for putting up with me and my often less than consistent posting.