A Tale of the Tallest: The Red & Purple Dynasty Begins

By Sam & Shaun

Part I –

The Passing On

A long time ago…well…you know the story…and I guess it's lame to steal from Star Wars, so anyway…

It was a long time ago. Over a hundred Earth years, in fact. And the Tallest of the Irken race was dying. It hadn't been officially announced yet, but fearful rumors hung over the planet like darkness hangs over Gotham City (just finished watching Batman…^_^). The Irkens were keeping watch over the VidScreens that were attached to every skyscraper in the capitol city, hoping for some good news. So far, the authorities were keeping silent.

In the Palace Medical Ward, the surgeons hurried about their business, scurrying around in the panicked way doctors always do. A few kept watch over their leader, Tallest Blu with ever growing concern. The monitors above his bed were showing signs of decreased Sqeegily Spooch activity – definitely not a good sign. They were doing all they could, but it seemed in vain. He was fading fast, and it wasn't surprising – he was nearly 300 years old!

Blu coughed violently and the doctors watched helplessly as he coughed up a bit of purple blood. Their antennae drooped slightly. He turned to them with bleary eyes and said softly, "The soldiers that the guards are holding in the waiting room…bring them here…"

The doctors rushed to do as he asked, scurrying around again. It wasn't long until they returned, followed by armed guards, who were escorting a pair of nervous looking, rather tall Irkens. Their names were Red and Purple, after their eye colors, and were just barley 50 years old (that's like a teenager in Irken terms). Neither of them could have guessed why they had been summoned.

Blu saw them come in and smiled weakly. "Just the Irkens I wanted to see…"

Red and Purple glanced at each other, and then lowered their heads in salute to their Tallest.

"If you haven't heard…I'm afraid I don't have much more time in this world…" Blu said. He coughed again.

"But…my Tallest…" Red stammered, "You-you can't mean that!"

Purple nodded vigorously. "Yeah! Shouldn't the doctors be healing you?"

The doctors in the room all scuffed their feet on the tile floor dejectedly.

Blu sighed. "They've done all they can…Now listen carefully, you two," he said. Red and Purple's antennae perked up, straining to hear him. "You've been working as soldiers in my service for many years now…I'll admit you haven't been the best examples of fighters…but you've always looked out for each other. And you've gotten our planet out of more than a few tight spots…"

Red and Purple just watched him with revered silence, not sure where he was going with this.

"Also…" Blu continued, "I've had you measured in your sleep recently. And since you are both equal in height…you will both take the place as my successors…"

Red and Purple blinked for a few seconds in shocked silence. Then Purple said, "I told you I felt something the other night!"

Red elbowed his best friend in the ribs. "Shut up," he muttered. Then he looked back towards Blu, taking a few steps forward. "My Tallest…are you sure? I mean…this is a huge responsibility…Perhaps a soldier with a bit more experience…" He stared at the ground, his voice trailing off. He had dreamed of being a Tallest all his young life – why was he getting cold feet now??

Purple gaped at Red, not believing what he was saying. How could he be giving up a chance like this? Purple knew he was never meant to be a soldier, and this was his way out of battle forever! He shot Red a pleading look, begging him to reconsider.

Blu looked from one young Irk to the other and smiled contently. "I have faith…that you two…will do me proud…" he said, "I've been watching you for quite some time now…and I think you're ready…"

Purple and Red caught each other's gaze, held it, then nodded solemnly. "Yes, sir," they said together, "It would be an honor."

Blu sighed peacefully and shut his eyes. The monitors above him all flat-lined. The doctors flinched, ready to go into action, but they glanced around and bowed their heads. Red and Purple stared in heartbroken disbelief, their antennae drooping sadly.

The lead doctor wrote down the date and time and went to broadcast the news to the public. Minutes later a long, planet-wide howl of sadness was heard as the news of their beloved leaders passing spread over the cities. It seemed each Irken was feeling the exact same emotion at exactly the same time. It was always like this when a Tallest passed away, and they all new what was to happen in the days to come. First a funeral for the former Tallest and then an anointing ceremony for the Tallest who was to take his place. This procedure had been programmed into their memory even before they were hatched, but none of them had ever considered the possibility of having two successors to the throne.

Back in the Medical Ward, the doctors set to work preparing Blu's body for burial, while Red and Purple watched, feeling very out of place. Just then, one of Blu's assistants, an Irken (about half their height) named Mol hurried over to them. "You two – which one of you has Blu chosen to be his successor?" he asked.

Red and Purple looked at each other, not sure what to say.

"Um…" Purple said, "He…chose both of us…"

Mol cocked a would-be eyebrow. "Both of you, eh?" He looked over at the doctors who all nodded simultaneously. "Well, it's a bit unorthodox, but very well. Come on, move it." He began pushing them towards the door.

"Where are we going?" Purple asked.

"To the fitting rooms of course," Mol said as he ushered them out the door.

* * *

"Ow!" Red cried, "I can't breathe in this thing!"

The Soon-to-be-new-Tallests were now in the Palace Fitting Rooms. Each was bent over slightly, holding onto a metal bar on the wall, clad only in their underwear, while two Fitters tightened corsets around their stomachs.

Mol stood off to one side, watching. He tried to hide his smile. This part of the process always amused him.

Purple yelped as his Fitter pulled his corset even tighter. "Do we have to wear these things?" he moaned.

"The people expect it," Mol said simply, "You don't want to disappoint them, do you?"

Red bit his bottom lip as his corset string was yanked again. "You know," he said, "I always wondered how they got so thin."

Purple nodded. "Yeah. I always thought they were anorexic or something-ack!" he cried out as his Fitter pulled the string one final time, then tied it in a knot at the bottom. Red's Fitter was doing the same, and he was gripping the metal bar very firmly.

They stood up straight and looked at each other. They both suppressed a laugh, and then turned around to see themselves in full-length mirror.

"We look ridiculous…" Purple said.

"No kidding…" Red agreed.

Mol stepped in between them. "No more time for small talk, ladies," he said, "On to Step Two!"

"What's Step Two…?" Purple asked nervously.

"Do we want to know?" Red asked sarcastically.

Mol just grinned and nudged them along to the next room.

* * *

In the next room, the boys were positioned on stools, arms out straight to their sides, while another team of Fitters took their measurements.

"I feel like a girl," Purple complained.

"We're gonna look like girls," Red muttered, "Have you seen what those robes look like?"

One of the Fitters, a young Irken female tapped Red on the shoulder. "Sir," she said, "If you would hold still, this would go much quicker." The other female Fitters giggled as only young girls can.

Purple snickered. Red's right eye twitched uncomfortably.

The girls finished their measuring and hurried off, as another group of them came bustling in, bringing in large piles of fabric, and lots of pins. They set to work right away, arranging the material loosely around the live mannequins, and using lots of pins. The pins couldn't help but make Red and Purple nervous.

"Boy," Red said to one of the girls as she pinned fabric together at his shoulder, "You girls must get pretty bored, if this is all you do. I mean, a new Tallest only comes around every couple hundred years, right?"

"Oh no, sir," the girl said, "We find that the Tallest wear their robes out more often then you'd think. We're kept pretty busy."

The girls all made eye contact and giggled again. Red gulped.

Soon enough, they were done and the dangerous pins were removed and the fabric was taken away, leaving the boys in nothing but their boxers and corsets once again.

Purple exhaled heavily. "How much longer does this go on?"

Mol checked his clipboard, hiding his smirk once again, "Oh, it shouldn't take the girls long to get the robes finished…of course, they've never had to do more than one at a time…I'd give it at least an hour."

Red and Purple's eyes bugged out.

"An hour??" Red said, "What're we supposed to do until then?? Hang around here in our underwear??"

Mol nodded from behind his clipboard, holding back laughter.

Red and Purple sat down on their stools. Red folded his arms and pouted. Purple just looked at the floor, feeling very awkward.

Mol leaned against a wall casually, still suppressing a smile.

* * *

Meanwhile, word had spread across the planet: The funeral for Tallest Blu would be held at sundown that night and the anointing of the successor would be held a sunup the next morning.

The workers in Capitol City rushed to prepare the Sacred Temple. Civilians everywhere were making themselves ready as well, as it was custom for every Irken to be present at the Burial Ceremony, or at least in the center of their city to watch the proceedings on the VidScreens.

Invaders off planet made arrangements to receive the transmission from where they were. Soldiers working at home were to watch the ceremony from their posts, while keeping an eye on their active duty.

Even the hatchlings in The Nest were going to have access to it. And the Nurses who worked there could tell that the infants had felt the loss of their leader as well, as each newborn's antennae had drooped sadly after the news had reached them.

There are some species whose minds are connected no matter what, but it took something like the loss of a great leader to bring all Irken together from their various places and positions in society. Why, even the Irken delegates were going to be watching the ceremony from Planet Democracia.

Yes, it took something like that to bring a conqueror race to come together for a purpose other that conquering. And when it happened, it was a wondrous site to behold.

* * *

Back at the Palace, an hour had passed and Red and Purple were now dressed in their newly-made Traditional Tallest Robes. They now stood staring at themselves in the full-length mirror again, the Fitters standing behind them, eagerly awaiting some form of approval.

Purple held his tongue to what he really thought and gave the girls a thumbs-up sign and a forced smile. "They look great…really," he said.

The girls giggled again, wiggled their antennae in salute, then hurried out of the room.

One they were gone, Red spoke up. "We look like girls…" he pouted again.

Purple nodded. "I know…" he looked down at his robe and sighed, "Lavender…it figures…"

"Hey, quit complaining," Red snapped, "At least yours isn't…" he made a disgusted face, "…ugh…pink…"

Purple snickered. Red glared at him.

Mol stepped in between them again. "Ok, fabulous. You look great – trust me. Now come on – we've got to get you two prepared for the Burial Ceremony," he said, "Can't have you making fools of yourselves at your first public appearance, now can we?" He started to walk off.

Red and Purple tried to follow, but couldn't, seeing as they weren't used to the hover-lifts in the hems of their robes.

"Um…how do we walk if we can't touch the ground?" Purple asked.

Mol turned around. "Hmm…how do I explain this," he mused, tapping a finger to his chin, "The hover-lifts on your robes act on your will. If you just think about following me, the lifts will take you there."

Red and Purple looked at each other.

"That sounds easy enough," Red said.

Then they both attempted to move at the same time, wobbled unsteadily, collided into each other and ended up in a small heap on the tile floor. They grinned up at Mol embarrassedly.

Mol put a hand on his forehead. "Boy, have I got my hands full with these two…" he mumbled, shaking his head.