Welcome to a brand new story written by Lil-Banshee and myself. She plays Zim and I, Dib. I hope you enjoy. We don't own IZ. She also made the beautiful cover art which you can find on her dA under the same name.
He felt like a child, hands pressed against the glass. Face almost doing the same as he stared with morbid curiosity as his father and several other scientists talked around a body. It was cut open, blood dripping into a contained container around the table. A clean white sheet, all but soaked. One of the scientists said something behind his mask and they all laughed. Dib couldn't remove his eyes from the glistening organs, the limp limbs that poked from the sheet.
That had haunted him in his dreams ever since and today was the same. Except for the fact that Dib was 19 now and the subject wasn't under a sheet with scientists laughing around his dead body. Yet. Instead it was locked in a giant clear cube. It had a bed and a toilet but little else.
And the subject wasn't human. That was clear right away. Dib felt his eyes widen and his curiosity pique immediately. He was following his father who was talking to another fellow scientist. He'd tuned out over ten minutes ago, as they'd walked down the hallway towards the restricted wing.
And now it was hardly even a buzz in his ear. The creature on the other side of the indestructible glass had every single bit of his attention. It was green. And too skinny to be real. With giant, red bug eyes and two black antenna poking from its skull.
Dib was already walking towards the cube, eyes narrowing behind his glasses as he yearned to get a better look at i—His father's hand smacked down on his shoulder. "An alien, son. Captured trying to infiltrate our lab. The big guys want us to do a full study on it. Get all the information we can out of it."
Two more firm pats. "And you're going to help us. Aren't you excited?" Dib tore his gaze away from the creature who seemed to be doing his best to ignore them and looked at his father who was taller than him and whose face was covered by his lab coat.
It was a simple enough mission; get in and get out with as much information as one could without getting caught. Simple. But, of course, Zim tended to get a bit over zealous; carried away with the excitement of having a mission of his very own. He should have just left while he was still ahead—he had gathered plenty of information on the planet. But he heard of about Membrane labs, and of course it was his duty to find out about them as much as possible, as they supplied most if not all of the Earth's defenses and research. It seemed opportune.
But of course, Zim had to take it a step too far, and his carelessness put him in this situation. He folded himself into the corner as much as he could go, arms and legs bruised from exerting himself against the walls in a futile effort of escape. He could feel those tiny eyes on him as his huddled against the cold wall. His antennae twitching gently at the small murmurs coming from behind the glass, though he pretended to be disinterested.
He just needed to wait for the right moment to make his escape.
He peeked over his shoulder at the aliens that surrounded him like a caged animal, making eye contact, briefly, with odd amber eyes before turning away once more.
They're eyes met and Dib was backing away from the cage. One step, two step before turning to his father. "So uh, how are you going to do this?"
Membrane held up a holoclip board. "First we test its intellect. See if it can speak. Then we delve into the physical. How much it can lift, what it eats. Observe its habits. Then finally when the government gives us the go-ahead we can learn everything else from its insides."
The boy bit his bottom lip and nodded along. Images of all those years ago watching as they cut open…something. He dared glance back at the creature inside the cube. It was curled into the furthest corner from them, eyes cast down and expression…its expression was angry, determined and…was there fear? Understandable.
"Is it a male or a female?" Dib wondered, pushing up his glasses a bit as they always seemed to be falling down his nose.
"We don't know yet. Perhaps we shall find out soon." Membrane was pleased to see his son's curiosity, and led the boy over to the control panel. Here they could do anything; limit the air inside the prison, change the lighting, inject toxins and other chemicals, control its heart beat and allow full audio.
He pushed a few buttons and the sound barrier lessened. The creature could now hear everything outside its cage and they could hear everything inside. All the scientists hushed themselves as the microphones beeped to signal the recording sequence.
Membrane cleared his throat. "Hello. My name is Membrane. Do you have a name?" Dib bit his lip and watched intensively, waiting…wondering.
The booming voice that flooded Zim's containment suddenly caused the small Irken to jerk and shoot up from his corner. He whirled around, his magenta eyes sharp in the sudden activity around him, and met eyes with the taller male. He had to fight his instinct to wilt under the eyes of such a taller creature, and he puffed out his chest dramatically to do so.
On his short time on Earth, Zim was able to listen and decipher most of the language through his PAK. Though it took him a moment to decide whether or not it would be a good idea to answer the Earthling's or not, he decided it was best to humor it until he could make his brilliant escape.
"Of course," Zim answered, trying to fit as much confidence as he could muster into his voice. He crossed his arms and looked the human up and down. "I am Zim; an Elite soldier for my planet." His eyes narrowed as he added the last part, trying to make his message clear. I am a soldier, and I won't go down with a fight, so be careful what you try.
The scientist nodded, while the others began taking frantic notes. "I see. And you speak English. How is it that you manage this?" Dib was biting his lip so hard that he nearly drew blood. This was a real life alien. The kind of thing he'd been thinking about since he was a kid. When he'd sat on his roof and dreamed about flying through the stars and meeting new life forms and making peace with them. When he still believed in that sort of stuff. Before science and 'reality' had swooped in and forced him to conform.
Now it was here. And he'd been right all along. There was a buzzing in his ears, as he stared, taking in the fighting stance, the alien's proud antenna and its skin and those eyes were huge like a bugs but so much brighter. They reminded him of pictures he'd seen of gaseous nebulas, swirling forever in bright, dust clouds of magenta and maroon.
Zim shifted his pose a bit, the Earthling's voice causing him to feel on edge. He hated the authority the large male put off, and Zim did his best to counter it with his own confidence.
"Zim is very adaptive," was all he said, hesitant to give out anymore information that he needed. His eyes narrowed a bit as his gaze shifted over to the smaller Earthling. Granted he was still taller than Zim, but the other creature still towered over him.
He seemed nervous, as he worried his bottom lip excessively. His amber eyes were the ones he had met before; they weren't hard to recognize. They burned with purpose behind those round lenses as they fixated on Zim. He turned his head to stare at the strange human fully, sizing him up. He was tall, sure, but he was still scrawny. Zim could take him if need be.
It was a few seconds before Dib realized that the alien…Zim, was staring right back at him. He fought the really stupid urge to shriek and hide behind his father. Instead, he blinked and lifted his chin, straightening his back under the stare.
Membrane glanced between them both, raising an eyebrow. "This is my son, Dib. The future of the Membrane Empire." The human fought the cringe that rose up upon hearing that. It wasn't new. He'd heard it a thousand times before and just a few years ago he'd given in and realized that's what he was. The future heir to an Empire of science. Nothing more. No hero. Nothing more than average.
"He will be helping me study you. And just so you know, Zim." Membrane used the alien's name, probably in an attempt to get it to trust him. "We do not wish to hurt you. You broke into our facility…which is a crime. But, you are a new species. A chance to learn something new. We wish to discover everything about you. Then when the time comes you will be released."
Dib's head shot to the side, finally ripping his own eyes away from Zim's to stare at his father. That was…a lie. They planned to rip open the 'irken' once they it had exhausted its usefulness.
Zim stiffened a bit at the motion the Dib-creature gave his taller counter-part. There was something more to this, but at the moment he couldn't care less. Zim just needed to focus on getting out of here alive. The Human seemed to be willing to cooperate, as long as Zim humored him.
"So be it," Zim waved a gloved hand through the air. "Ask your questions so Zim can go home!"
Membrane nodded and looked down at his holoclip-board. "We have a full list of questions for you. Just the usual. What is your gender? Or does your species have one?" Dib decided to freak out later, since that was the question he'd been wondering from the beginning.
Zim rolled his eyes and set his hands on his hips. This was going to be a long night. How was he supposed to cooperate when they weren't even going to ask about how amazing he was? He huffed and gave a small shrug.
"Zim's people do not rely on gender, but if you must label me as something, then I am a male. Can Zim come out of the box, now?" The sheen on his magenta orbs danced as he gave to two an expectant stare. The Dib-creature seemed to have relaxed a bit, and this gave Zim some hope; the human's earlier stance was setting Zim on edge.
Still, he supposed he should be glad for anything, at this point. He was still captured, after all.
A male. Finally, Dib could stop calling the alien 'it' in his head. Membrane nodded while all the scientists frantically made notes in their selective notebooks. "I'm afraid not quite yet. We have a few more questions."The teenager rolled his eyes and found a chair to sit on in his oversized lab coat. It was going to be a long night.
And it was. They asked question after question. And Dib was fascinated but, not exactly by the questions though he listened to them with one ear. But, by the alien who responded to each one like it was their privilege to hear his answers. Dib drew the conclusion that Zim was a jerk. An arrogant one at that. He didn't need science to tell him that.
But, still, he was the real thing. And when many of the scientists decided to call it a night, Dib nearly popped up in his seat. Thank god. Membrane's fingers danced over the controls, setting things up for the night. "We're finished for now, irken Zim. We will continue this in the morning." Before waiting for a response, the microphones shut off, cutting all the sound away.
His father turned to him. "Dib. I need to go finalize some things before we can leave. Can you keep out of trouble?" The boy nodded, trying to look as serious and responsible as possible.
"Of course, dad. I'm not a kid anymore." Membrane chuckled, and ruffled his hair.
"Of course not, Son." And with that he walked out, leaving the lab empty but for Dib and the alien. A second later, he was walking towards the giant prison, biting his bottom lip and cautiously stepping up to the glass.
His eyes narrowed behind the glasses as he studied the irken.
Zim huffed in protest, stomping his foot and cursing at the glass. But his protests fell short against the thick glass as the scientists sauntered away. All but one, that was.
What was this thing's problem? The Dib-thing, Zim remembered. He hadn't been able to take his eyes off Zim since he had been put in this stupid containment room.
Zim paced behind the glass, his narrowed eyes never leaving the human. Zim had to say, he was far less interested in humans than they were of him. Granted Irkens were obviously superior, but Zim only wanted to go home. He wanted to report to his leaders on a job well done so they would be proud of him. He wanted them to watch him launch the first organic sweep as they destroyed life on this filthy dirt ball. Even more so now that they had annoyed him by sticking him in this box.
But he had to admit to himself; there was something about this Dib that stuck out. His demeanor was different that the other ones. He seemed much more aware of everything.
But even then, the Irken was pretty fed up with it after a while. He walked up to the glass and tapped on it.
"What?!" He barked, even though the boy wouldn't be able to hear him.
Dib watched the irken's movements, fascinated but nearly jumped when he 'yelled' or at least tried to yell through the glass. He could easily tell what Zim was saying though. Holding up a finger, he scampered over to the control panel and flipped on the microphone, and turned off the recordings. "There. You should be able to hear me now…"
"What do you want?" Zim asked again now that he was sure the human could hear him. He followed him with wide steps to stand in front of him, his hands on his hips.
"Why are you still here? Are you going to pester Zim with more pointless questions?" His eyes narrowed as he tried the read the human's posture. He definitely tried to look defiant in Zim's presence, but Zim had INVENTED defiant, so it fell short on his end. He gave him points for trying. But not many.
"Or are you going to set Zim free?" He asked with some hope. Although he doubted it.
Dib rolled his eyes at the irken, putting his own hands on his hips in a mocking sort of gesture. "No. I'm not going to set you free. I'm not going to ask you pointless questions. I'm still here because my dad is off doing more science stuff. And I want to talk to you." The boy dropped his hands. "There. That seems to sum up all the questions you, yourself asked me."
He tapped his chin and walked back towards the glass. Dib lifted his face and stared at Zim intently. They were separated by nearly three inches of pure indestructible material. So, Dib knew he was safe. But, under that gaze he still felt kind of vulnerable.
But, he defied the voice in his head that told him to stop getting closer, just stop Dib. He walked all the way until his nose nearly touched the surface. From here he could see Zim's uniform and the tears, the stains from grease and dirt. Maybe a bit of blood too. Probably took out a guard or two when they tried to sedate him for capture.
"I'm sorry I'm gawking. I've never seen an alien before. And I've been told I'm too curious for my own good." He smirked bitterly. "However, I'm also told that's a good quality for a scientist to have."
Zim sighed and turned on his heel, marching over to the bed provided for him and plopped down, wearily. He wouldn't sleep, but he had been standing the whole time he answered their silly questions, not wanting to let his guard down. The Dib-creature didn't seem to pose any real threat, not compared to Membrane, after all. Although without the thunderous professor around, Dib did seem to look much taller. Even so, Zim could tell this Dib-thing was going to be a nuisance and that he wasn't going to like him.
"Talk is boring, but if you must," Zim sighed, crossing his legs on the hard mattress and resting his hands on his knees. He closed his eyes to give himself a rest from all the bright colors. Dib, himself radiated light like a small star; his pale skin and white lab coat reflecting the harsh florescent lights of the lab, the only relief was his dark hair. Even his eyes seemed to be burning, though more out of excitement and maybe a bit of anxiety than anything else.
Dib's head tilted to the side as Zim sat on the bed, eyes closed. It gave him a much more relaxed quality. Without the burning eyes, he seemed less threatening. "Well..I could just stare at you all night. But, that feels kind of creepy." Smirking at his own humor, since no one else ever did. Dib grabbed the chair he'd vacated earlier and dragged it over to the far side where Zim's bed was located and sat, head in hands.
"So…why did you come to earth? Was it some sort of information gather mission? I'll bet it was. You were trying to break into a science building after all. One of the biggest on this planet. You probably heard all about it and got all greedy for the knowledge. That or the deadly weapons and chemicals."
Zim cracked one eye open and looked at him with a weary expression. Why did he ask if he already knew? Did he just want some form of confession from him? Was he trying to prove something? He shifted his shoulders a bit before closing his eyes again.
"My leaders sent me here to gather information on your planet, yes." He decided to spare the details about the invasion; it might not be smart to give that away while he was still contained. He'll let that part be a little surprise. "They trusted me with this mission, which is why I need to get back as soon as possible."
He cracked his eyes open again. "And Zim is not greedy for wanting to do a job well done!" But of course, he had gotten a smidgen overzealous. He wasn't about to admit that, though.
Was he that easy to read? Or maybe this Dib-creature was a bit more observant than he had given him credit for. He seemed rather eager to just sit and talk with an alien, superior or no. What was his angle?
"And I bet you are not overjoyed to be around all this knowledge?" Well two could play at this game; Zim could see by the hesitant glances to the Membrane-creature that there was something Dib wasn't exactly grateful for. It wasn't hard to pick up on.
It felt like they were playing a game or something. Dib could admire the returning move. He sat up straighter in his seat, trying to seem more confident than he actually was…which was zero. "I don't mind it, no. I admire knowledge. But, we aren't talking about me, Zim. I want to learn about you. Humans are severely primitive and we have yet to have much contact with the universe. You're the first. That we know off…and when you leave…" If you leave. Which you won't.
"That's gone. So, I just want to know…what is it like? Being out there…" His mind began to conjure images, fiery eyes dimming to grow softer. Thinking of his real passion. The thing that made his childhood. "In space. With the stars and the nebulas…seeing all the different kinds of species and places. You must be so free."
To be able to go where ever you want in all of the universe. "No rules. No gravity…"
"To imply there are no rules or that we are free to do as we care is not an entirely accurate statement." Zim corrected, turning more to face the human. He was a bit disappointed to be shot down at his advances at turning the tables against the human, but he hadn't expected much from the beginning, so he was able to let it go.
"The Irken race has one singular goal, and we work all our lives as a whole in order to accomplish it. We all have our jobs and duties to attend to—trained from hatching to fulfill our responsibilities." He moved his hands around a lot as he talked, getting excited from talking about his home. It was easy to see in how the Irken's face lit up how much he acclaimed his planet. Much how Dib's eyes glowed softly with pleasant memories of childhood adventures, chasing ghosts and alleged aliens.
"But being a soldier, Zim gets to visit other planets, yes. Though every moment away from Irk is dreadful, and honestly not very glamorous. There are a lot of disgusting creatures out there." He shrugged a bit.
"Humans must be even more primitive than I thought if you haven't even left your own planet yet. How do you expect defend yourselves?"
Dib was pretty much as thrilled as Zim was to hear about his home planet, eyes alight with curiosity as he watched the alien's excited motions. Though it soon dimmed when he heard the end statement. And many questions had arisen in the back of his mind. "Well, we've flown to the moon." He shrugged. "And there isn't really anything big to defend ourselves from. At least outside of our planet. We actually do much of our fighting internally."
The human situated himself on his chair, kind of ashamed of his own people suddenly.
"We're not like Irkens. We don't really have one goal, as you say. We kind of…find the thing we want to do as we grow. And there's not just one ruler. We have many, many different kinds and it's just…very unorganized. But, enough about humanity and its faults…" There were tons he could groan about.
"What is this…'singular goal' you were talking about?"
Of course Zim wanted to boast about his planet's goals and the accomplishments they've made towards said goal, but he had to be weary. If they knew Zim was here in preparation for the coming invasion, they would never let him out. He had to refrain from bragging about Irk's glory, for the time being. He stiffened a bit as he tried to find a way out of the situation, eyes darting back and forth frantically.
"Oh, um. We're a delivery planet. We deliver packages all over the galaxy." He nodded and chuckled nervously, stripping his lie from one of the planets they had taken over recently. It wasn't a delivery planet before, but it was NOW. "Oh, yeah. We Irkens are very passionate about mail. Love the stuff. Can't get enough of it." Zim mentally patted himself on the back; these were the moments he had been trained for. Another crisis avoided, surely.
Huh. "Mail, eh? Sounds um, righteous. So what does mail have to do with you coming to Earth and gathering informati—"
"Son!" Membrane called through the door. Dib gasped and back pedaled from the chair.
"Yeah dad?!" He called back.
"I'm ready to go!"
"Okay! Let me just…get my stuff and I'll be right out!" He turned back towards the prison and nodded. "Look, in the morning they'll come for you early. Probably 6 or 7. They're probably just ask you some questions…but, they also might sedate you and try to take some blood for a sample." Dib had no idea why he was sharing this information, only that it was pouring from his mouth and he couldn't seem to stop it.
With that finished, he quickly flipped the microphone switch and grabbed his back pack from the furthest desk, sprinting to the door. He stopped only for a second to look back over his shoulder at the dimly lit prison before making his exit.
Zim could do little else but sit and watch the boy vanish from his sight. His cherry eyes glowing eerily from his spot in his gloomy entrapment as he hunched over on the bed, staring into the darkness. He was left alone with nothing but his thoughts, and an occasional flickering light from one of the several machines that surrounded his prison.
There was no presence of time for the small alien until the lights flickered overhead, flooding the room with a harsh florescent light.