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Rated: 13+ · Chapter · Drama · #2202846
Having survived Zim's Florpus hole, the Almighty Tallest are stuck in a backwards reality.
         Why are you so negative?

         Somehow, a stray thought pierced through the wretched panic coursing through the Almighty Tallest Purple’s mind, and he couldn’t quite tell if he was more pained by his own mediocrity or the flames around him engulfing his now entirely felt body. To add to his misery was the Massive’s still somehow functioning long-distance communication allowing for that terrible Irken monster to patch a transmission through to the crumbling Armada. Had he the ability to do so, he would have given that idiot the rightful telling off he deserved—in fact, he would have flown the entire Armada to the miserable planet Earth and blown it up, or even just simply Zim himself.

         But such a thing was now impossible.

         “Does this please youuu?”

         The only response to be mustered was the ceaseless screams of pain and latent fear beheld by the Tallest as their reality was steadily ripped apart before their very button eyes. And somehow, watching the both of his leaders—and perhaps the Irken Empire itself—succumb to destruction left Zim with pricked antennae and a wide grin plastered across his stupid face. And as the feed was corrupted by static, such an image of the spiteful little Irken left them drowning in an onset of despair.

         This was it—truly the end for the Almighty Tallest, like the two that had come before them—snuffed out too soon by the incompetence and defective nature of Zim. Doom had been spelled out before them, and there was nothing that could be done to rectify it; the Florpus was merciless in careening them through an endless realm of alternate realities, and suddenly, the Massive itself was beginning to wear from such an erratic and tumultuous journey, shrapnel of the flagship beginning to break away and hurtle into the expanse of seemingly nothingness, causing only for a horrible situation to become worse—what a way for Operation Impending Doom 2 to end.

         As the void of space became ever more visible, even the Massive’s crew began to be vacuumed from its safety, shrieking and grasping at each other and even parts of the deteriorating vessel before being swiftly exhumed into the treacherous maw of the Florpus. It surely wouldn’t be long, now, before the Tallest met such an uncertain fate themselves, and Tallest Purple suddenly found himself reaching out to his revered co-ruler, daunted by the idea of perishing horribly without him—and while he tried to cry out for him, his vision clouded from the heat of the flames around them and the sheer amount of pain wracking his body, he doubted that Tallest Red would be able to hear him over his own cries of pain.

         In a blurry world, he continued to reach, grabbing, looking, forcing his tired, tattered body forward, grasping at nothing, searching for someone that should have been there—

         And it was dark.

         A hand grasped gently at the firm ground, cluttered with debris and ash now, still warm, yet absent of the striking fires that had once engulfed his form entirely. The wounds were still fresh, making the prospect of fully stirring and coming to quite overwhelming, however, the clock ticking within the back of his mind served as a good motivator.

         I’ve got three and a half minutes to wish that stupid Florpus had killed me itself.

         Almighty Tallest Red furrowed his tired eyes, struggling to bring himself to his feet, however, he was incredibly pained and exhausted, and settled with a sluggish crawl, hoping pitifully that his PAK would soon come into view, yet the lack of a light source gave him little hope in finding success in the matter. And his time was already so near; was there anything left, truly, for him to try for? The Massive was all but destroyed, and as far as he could tell, he was the only one who had survived the ordeal—without the Massive, or the Armada itself, how could the Irken Empire hope to continue? Tension had already begun to rise with the appearance of that dumb resistance force, the Resisty, as well as Invader Tenn’s failure on Meekrob. Without him, the Empire would surely collapse and become a humorous footnote in the history books of the universe.

         Every so often, a figure would come into view, though Tallest Red avoided much investigation—a charred and unmoving form left perhaps a handful of possible explanations, and he was more concerned with preserving his own life than fretting over the condition of what remained of the Massive’s crew. Even addressing figures that did appear to stir was avoided—what had he to say to them in their fading moments?

         Sorry you’re not dead yet?

         Don’t worry, it’ll be over soon?


         A smile wavered onto his face, amused by such morbid thoughts. It distracted Tallest Red from some of the darker feelings lurking in the back of his mind, such as the ever-present awareness that he was, in fact, in the process of dying, and each pull forward felt much more burdensome than the one previous, and that… he was the singular Tallest. It appeared to be so, anyway; there was no sign of Tallest Purple anywhere—all that he saw around him were Irken soldiers scorched with black, their glazed ruby eyes gazing upward in endless misery. The only hope presented through the carnage appeared to be just that, however; purple was an uncommon color amongst their kind, and as of yet, there had not been an encounter with a purple-eyed carcass.

         The idiot probably got—

         “…sucked out the ship…”

         Tallest Red pricked his antennae, recognizing the voice that had somehow managed to complete his thought. Scanning the area, he spied an extraordinarily short Irken fumbling over his own two feet, toting around an incredibly agitated PAK—one that Tallest Red gleefully recognized as his own, however… something about it didn’t make sense. His PAK was large and iconic, able to strike fear and illicit respect from even the most formidable of foes. This, on the other hand… it reminded him of his Elite days. Before he’d ascended to the position of Tallest—it was small.

         “Hey, soldier—” Tallest Red mustered, his voice straining with such little energy he had left, yet when the Irken before him stopped and looked down upon him, he felt his life clock diminish almost completely.

         “R-Red..?” The Irken stood rigidly, his face twisted into a look of dread, antennae drawn back as he stared down at the pitiful Tallest crawling on the ash-covered ground. “That’s not you… is it?”

         “Please—I need it…” Tallest Red strained himself up, a shaking hand reaching up for the device before the other stepped forward and hesitantly placed the PAK onto his back.

         Life began to rekindle inside of Tallest Red, and he was unable to mask a meager smile crossing his face knowing that he wouldn’t be joining the excessively long list of casualties Zim had created—that and the morphine injections had also begun to numb the blistering pain that had been agonizing his burnt form. While the dying aspect of losing one’s PAK was nothing short of awful, the feeling of having it returned was quite euphoric; nothing was more rewarding than cheating death.

         With a greater sense of consciousness, Tallest Red finally brought himself to stand, able to center himself now on the fact that the short Irken that had returned his PAK… was strikingly similar to Tallest Purple. And that somehow while standing… he was at eye level with the individual as well.

         “I’ll… Uh… Purple, is that you?” Tallest Red asked, recoiling somewhat as he looked the other over.

         “I asked you first! But… Uh, yeah. Yeah, it’s me,” Tallest Purple responded, crossing his arms with a pout.

         Tallest Red grimaced, squinting his eyes in disbelief, thoroughly disgusted by what stood before him.

         “Why are you so… short?”

         “Hey, don’t think it’s just me! You’re short, too! We’re both short–!”

         Tallest Red quickly looked down at himself, only to verify that the blasphemous claim was valid. He WAS short! His slender, corseted torso that had taken several excruciatingly invasive surgeries to achieve was gone. His long, sinewy legs were now stumpy and uncomfortably close to the ground—in fact, they were touching the ground, the filthy, disgusting ground. He even felt… compact. Everything felt too close together and remembering Tallest Purple tripping over himself… it more or less made sense now.

         “Argh! It’s that stupid Florpus!” Tallest Red declared, clenching his hands bitterly, and even those were off—somehow his thumbs were back, sheathed not in gauntlets, but generic Irken gloves. “When we get out of this, we’re dragging that little monster to Judgementia and making the Control Brains delete him once and for all!”

         “This has to be the worst reality yet!” Tallest Purple whined, pulling dramatically at his antennae and collapsing to his knees. “Why couldn’t we have landed in the one with the puppets?”

         Tallest Red squinted harshly at the other, remembering not-so-fondly of how the puppet reality had quickly ignited into flames, and quickly urged him back onto his feet.

         “Throwing a fit over our circumstances isn’t going to change them—we’re going to have to find a way back…” He pressed a hand to his chin in thought, trying to recall what had happened to lead to their current, miserable situation. “We were going straight…”

         “Yeah, we were going straight, and then the communications guy started going off about turning and steering all over the place!” Tallest Purple rolled his eyes. “Stupid Vortians! They promised us that the upgrades would make the Massive indestructible!”

         “Yes, I’m sure there’s plenty of Florpus holes for them to test their engineering on,” hissed Tallest Red, quickly silencing the other so he could think. They’d been going straight, and the Earth had appeared… And with it, the Florpus hole. What moronic thing had Zim exactly done to spawn such a nightmare? “I think our best bet is to find another one and—”

         “Find what?” Tallest Purple interjected, quirking an eye at his partner. “Another Florpus? We’ll get ourselves killed! We’re lucky we’re alive—look around, Red, it’s not like everyone’s raring for another trip—”

         “I’m… aware…” he broke off, pursing his lips together as he acknowledged the prolific number of corpses lying around them. “I don’t see you coming up with any ideas!”

         Tallest Purple frowned and turned away, his indignant pout intensified at the comment. “That’s because you’re better at it than me…”

         “That’s right, so just… Shut up and let me think…” At this point, Tallest Red was used to being put on the spot—Tallest Purple was mostly useless when it came to run the Empire; if anything, he was mostly suitable for keeping their people and himself entertained and polishing out speeches. And saving his life. Though perhaps he would omit that last fact when expressing his opinion of the other. “Do you know if there’s anything left that’s operational..?”
“Well… There’s some power left, but…” Tallest Purple grimaced, hesitating to respond. “I’m pretty sure we only have access to here, in the main chamber…”

         “What about the computer?”

         “Well, it’s… there. I didn’t get a chance to look at it though, I was busy looking for you—”

         Rolling his eyes, Tallest Red toddled off toward the observation deck. While it was eerily still now with all signs of the former chaos consisting of only torn and missing paneling and wires dangling precariously overhead, there did appear to be a flicker of hope for the two Irken. It appeared that, for whatever was left of it, the Massive’s power core was still managing to send power humming meekly throughout the main chamber. Calling out to the computer did not solicit an immediate response; however, a small garbled message did manage to crack through after a moment, the computer struggling to process the request, and the duo pricked their antennae to better understand it.

[PROXIMITY WARNING: PLANET DETECTED]

         “Well, that’s… News… I guess…” Tallest Red couldn’t help but reflect on his short appearance again—it would be horrifically humiliating for anyone to see them like this. But then again… would anyone recognize them? It had taken a moment to be able to recognize each other initially, perhaps the same would be true on the nearby planet, and if they kept their distance, perhaps no one would.

         “So, what are you thinking?” Tallest Purple asked, noticing Tallest Red’s suddenly pensive demeanor.

         “I’m thinking we check it out—maybe the planet’s part of the Empire. We’ll lay low and figure out what’s happening here; I doubt we’re the only thing that got spat out in this reality.”

         As to be expected, Tallest Purple didn’t seem to appreciate this idea much, either, as he also glanced down at his shortened figure. Little could be said to reassure him, though, and there was little else for them to do aside from exploring and seeing where they had ended up; aside from the computer, there was not much left of the Massive to utilize, which also brought about the issue of travel. Until they could find a ship of some sort, or it came down to salvaging the wreck and taking the time to build their own, they were trapped on this alien world, so it ultimately would serve their best interest to become acquainted with their new surroundings.

         “Ugh… Fine…” Tallest Purple sighed and pressed a hand to the bridge between his eyes. “But I don’t like this.”

         And thus began a long, tedious rant about how much Tallest Purple absolutely and completely hated this idea. Or the whole situation. Perhaps both. He hated being short, he hated having to look at the sores and blisters scattered across their immaculate green skin—he hated walking, though, he did appear to hate tripping more, and he also seemed to hate Tallest Red’s bouts of laughter when it happened. Most of all, though, he hated Zim and the Vortians—Zim because, well… it was Zim. More so now than ever, given he was solely responsible for the rest of the items on his hate list. And the Vortians for providing them, the Almighty Tallest, with dookie.

         The Massive was supposed to be fearsome and imposing, the harbinger of intergalactic doom, able to be flown through entire planets and stars, and yet somehow it had been all but destroyed by one little Florpus hole. The absurd amount of damage sustained was appalling… Exiting the main chamber had led them to the outside and the heart-wrenching view suggested that somewhere, perhaps in a different reality, a separate half of the Massive was still undergoing a violent barrage of destruction.

         “Aww… Red, the SNACKS!” Tallest Purple could hardly contain his dismay, dropping his arms and antennae at the realization, however, Tallest Red was quick to hiss him into silence, pointing ahead to where there appeared to be a civilization of some sort off in the distance, composed of tall, metallic structures, perhaps buildings? There seemed to be a sort of commotion as well, and making use of their ocular implants, it appeared to be quite the event—why, even the raucous could be heard from such a distance, although it was mostly indiscernible to them at the moment.

         “It almost looks like… Do you think we’re on Conventia?” Tallest Red asked. “Look at the sky; that would be—”

         “—the docking ring. Yeah, it definitely looks like it,” Tallest Purple nodded in confirmation, somewhat unsettled by the idea of being here of all places. The last time they’d been here had been at the start of Operation Impending Doom 2. As he could recall, they hadn’t any plans to revisit Conventia until the Operation had met a successful conclusion—what purpose could it be serving now? The red streaking across the sky signified that, for whatever reason, there were other Irken here, but why?

         “We must’ve landed on the dark side of the planet—” Tallest Red commented with a frown, cutting through Tallest Purple’s befuddled thoughts. “There’s nothing over here. Well, alive, anyway.”

         “Yeah, Tallest Miyuki really liked her planets scrubbed clean,” Tallest Purple sighed, recalling how stringent the late Tallest had been about conducting her organic sweeps. After a successful invasion, the sweep could go on for a months’ time, sometimes more if she wasn’t happy with how completely barren a planet was. She took the entire extinction of a planet’s organic life incredibly seriously. “I doubt there’s anything here that’s going to get us over there faster…”

         “Really?” Tallest Red questioned, crossing his arms and nodding his head forward. “What about that?”

         Tallest Purple glanced to where the other had gestured, furrowing his eyes somewhat as he pursed his lips together. Lying ahead was an even more questionable mode of transportation than the ruin that had once been the Massive. It was certainly not of Irken or Vortian design—perhaps a primitive ship that had once been used by the native inhabitants of the planet. While it was… an option… Tallest Purple couldn’t mask his disgust at the prospect of using such an archaic thing.

         “How long do you think it’s been here?” Tallest Red asked, though he didn’t seem to be desiring an answer of any sort, as he was already popping the ship open and inspecting it meticulously. While he rarely had the chance to do so, Tallest Red did have a knack for tinkering around with things. In fact, war and machinery were perhaps his most fluent languages, though Tallest Purple didn’t much enjoy this flex of intelligence—sure it had come in handy a few times, but they were Tallest. There were other, more suitable Irken to do such things for them. It was grunt work.

         “We can play with this later, Red—besides, there’s already someone using it…” Tallest Purple grimaced, raising a hand to his mouth to stifle vomiting as a skeletal figure, perhaps the former pilot, had been revealed to be rotting inside. His presence didn’t seem to bother Tallest Red, however, as the Irken promptly grabbed the thing out and cast it aside with little issue.

         “Listen, if you want to keep walking, you can go right on ahead—”

         Unable to form a response, Tallest Purple settled with a bitter harrumph, shaking his head as he turned away. He had no intention of walking anymore if he could help it, though he had serious doubts on whether the ship would even be able to move if Tallest Red could get it operational again, which, as to be expected, he did manage after a significant amount of messing. It was just so… old… and weathered away. It was hard to say how long it had been out rusting in the elements. From what Tallest Purple could recall of the sweep, the dominant race of Conventia had only just begun to explore freely off their planet. It must have been quite a shock to their people when the first extraterrestrials they encountered had been nonother than the mighty Irken Empire. The organic sweep had occurred without much resistance—their people were composed of diplomats; the idea of an army or system of defense had never been relevant until the moment it was too late. So many offers of peace and attempts at bargaining, when the Empire could so easily just take it from them. And they did! A smile crossed Tallest Purple’s face as he remembered challenging Red, who had been an Elite at the time alongside him, to who could massacre more of the populace. Elite Red had been so enraged to lose by a mere count of three—

         “Ah! There we go!”

         The ship had now shuddered itself up, wheezing a noxious cloud and a considerable amount of debris from its exhaust as it staggered to keep itself aloft a pathetic few inches from the ground—surely Tallest Red wasn’t seriously considering using this junk? Yet the Irken had signaled for the other to join him on board, and it wasn’t as though Tallest Purple was going to refuse, so he sighed and trudged over, hoisting himself up with significant difficulty and fell inside, landing precariously onto Tallest Red’s lap, which he quickly scrambled over to get into the co-pilot’s seat. While he’d never been within a ship of this particular design, the controls were rather rudimentary and would have been easy for any Irken to figure out.

         “I can’t believe this…” Tallest Purple sighed, pressing a hand dismally to his cheek.

         “Believe what?” Tallest Red asked. He’d noticed the other being somewhat of a downer and substantially whinier than usual. Perhaps it was his way of coping with such intense, traumatic happenings all at once? They’d never been through something as serious as this before, and they’d never really been alone in a situation like this; before they’d had a chance to complete their invader training, Tallest Spork had been unceremoniously murdered, and they’d quickly been chosen to usurp his position. As elites, they’d always been a part of a much larger team, and as the Tallest… having no one to oversee was just strange.

         “Any of this… Like… C’mon, tell me, is this really happening right now? Are we actually—”

         “—we’re alive,“ and Tallest Red turned, planting an intense gaze over the other. “And it could’ve been a lot worse. But we’re going to be okay; we’re going to figure this out together and we’re going to go back. We’ll be tall again, we’ll build a better Massive, and we’ll destroy Zim in every single possible way we can. And honestly, everyone probably thinks we’re just on vacation or something.”

         “On vacation?”

         “Yeah! I mean, when’s the last time we took some time off for ourselves? There’s no way they’d all think we’re… you know…”

         While Tallest Red smiled in amusement, Tallest Purple’s expression fell somewhat and he turned away, muttering quietly, “I thought you were…”

         “W-Well I’m not! I’m right here! We both are! T-They wouldn’t replace us that fast, they don’t even know what happened!” Tallest Red maintained, even going so far as to reach and press an encouraging hand against the other’s arm. While he didn’t pull or tense away, it was obvious that Tallest Purple wasn’t acknowledging the action. “Hey, c’mon, don’t give up yet. It’s just another adventure—we’ll find a way out of this, just like we always do! Just… follow my lead!”

         While he waited for a response, Tallest Purple only seemed to be capable of offering another sigh, closing his eyes briefly before taking up his position as the co-pilot, seemingly pensive and… notably tired. It settled uneasily with Tallest Red, but perhaps it would be best to focus on getting to the inhabited section of Conventia and getting things sorted out first. Talking about how weary they felt would probably just compound the feelings altogether and make their progress stall further. Thus, the journey forward was… quiet. Intermittently passing small comments to one another, however, conversation was kept to a minimum; there wasn’t much to address for the time being. Neither seemed to want to speak, so they concentrated on maneuvering the flight; as the radio on the ship appeared to be dead—even by Tallest Red’s technical standards—tapping into Conventia’s broadcast systems was currently impossible, and they were left to speculate as to what such a large event could possibly be taking place. Why, it looked as if the entirety of the Empire had decided to congregate to the planet. However upsetting it would be to walk amongst their people in such a sorry-looking shape, it appeared blending in would be appreciably easier than they’d initially presumed.

         Happening upon a border wall, it appeared the duo would have to take up some amount of walking, as flying a ship through the streets would probably not be the best idea as standing out was not an option—they were normal Irken soldiers: nothing more, nothing less. They would be attending the meeting, whatever it happened to be, if only to gain some intel on the happenings of the reality they were in. After reassuring themselves of taking on such a humiliating role, they exited the ship and took quick note of their location before proceeding through a holographic barrier into the main hub of Conventia, which, given the mass of activity occurring overhead at the docking ring, was completely packed. Irken of all backgrounds appeared present, scurrying about and conversing with much excitement; overhead, an announcer was visibly displayed on numerous hover screens, which the two quickly took to listening to.

[…IF YOU’RE HERE FOR THE GREAT ASSIGNING, PLEASE REMEMBER WHERE YOU PARKED AND PROCEED TO THE MAIN CONVENTION HALL!]

         “The Great Assigning?” Tallest Purple whispered, his eyes wide with panic. “I thought we already did that!”

         “Be quiet!” Tallest Red hissed, however he found himself equally as distressed at the news. “We… We’re not the Tallest here, so… Obviously it wouldn’t have happened at the same time as ours, right?”

         Tallest Purple shrugged, frowning and keeping his antennae low. Tallest Red, biting his lip, hurried his speed, tugging the other along as they followed and weaved through the crowd. More than a few times, however, he thought he caught the inquisitive look of others staring at them—while they were more than a little battered-looking, it wasn’t as if they were too terribly different than the other Irken around them. Perhaps he was just a bit paranoid over being so short… But it felt as though something was wrong, he just couldn’t place it, and glancing at Tallest Purple, it seemed that he, too, was picking up the uncomfortable air around them.

         Further quickening their pace, they soon had entered the main convention hall, somewhat shocked by how many Irken had actually appeared to attend the Great Assigning. While the turnout was always large… this dwarfed the turnout of their own. It was unnerving… but to Tallest Red, it was an insult. Who could possibly have made a better Tallest than himself? It… It didn’t make any sense!

         “Where are we going?” Tallest Purple asked, glancing anxiously around as they pushed their way through the mass of eager, green soldiers.

         “Right up front—I want to know exactly who this jerk is! You see this right?”

         “Y-Yeah… There’s a lot of soldiers here, Red…”

         Absolutely fuming, Tallest Red shoved his way to the front of the crowd, arms crossed with an abhorrent scowl smashed onto his face. And though Tallest Purple attempted to calm his resolve, the Irken just wasn’t having it. Why, when he found out who this hot-shot was, he was going to have them promptly executed—shot out into the void of space through the airlock!

[AND NOW WIGGLE YOUR ANTENNAE IN SOLUTE BECAUSE HERE HE IS! YOUR ALL KNOWING, ALL POWERFUL LEADER, THE ALMIGHTY TALLEST!]

         And suddenly, Tallest Red’s fury dissipated into crippling, squeedilyspooch-churning dread.

         “RED—” Tallest Purple’s voice choked quietly, but no further words managed to form, his hands instead gripping tightly into Tallest Red’s arm, which had become cold now as an all too familiar laughter filled the convention hall, drowning out the riotous cheering around them. “IT’S… IT’S—”

         “IT IS I, ZIM!

         The terror coursing through Tallest Red’s form was enough to leave him nearly trembling in his boots, unable to turn away from this… this nightmare! What kind of sick, horrible reality was this? Where were they?!

         “Thank you! Thank you! It pleases your Tallest greatly to see you all so eager for the beginning of my most brilliant plan—”


         It… It was Zim. There was no denying it—the voice, the mannerisms… It just couldn’t be replicated. But he was so tall! Not… The tallest Tallest he’d ever seen, but nonetheless, Zim was considerably more imposing, adorned in the ever-unique attire befitting of one titled as such, however it appeared smaller in size than that which Tallest Red and Purple had decided for themselves. It appeared… newer. As if he was just recently ascended to the position, perhaps, with how few alterations to the outfit there were. Unlike their own, however, Zim’s attire revealed his spindly legs from within the robes, which were adorned with pink leggings and intimidating, steel-plated black boots; the overall color scheme of the outfit complimented the ruby of his round, glaring eyes, and black accented the corset about his waist and his shoulder pads. Despite looking overall generic, there was no way to hide the disconcerting aura about him… Perhaps it was the fact that his monologue had gone silent, and that he was glowering down at the two of them.

         “What are you doing here?”

         Tallest Red couldn’t fathom a response, and from Tallest Purple he could faintly hear him restraining vomit.

         “Eh—I mean… What a surprise! My two favorite elites! Alive and well, and so… Crispy!” Zim exclaimed, an uncomfortable grin scrawling across his face. Though his voice expressed joy, his eyes conveyed a much darker impression of the two. “We’re all so glad you could make it to the Assigning—in fact, it wouldn’t be the same without you!”

         The convention hall was completely silent, all eyes focused entirely on the two trembling Irken. So much for not standing out.

         “Well, come on then! After surviving a mission like that, your Tallest has no choice but to include you in phase two of my most amazing plan—Operation Impending Doom!”

         Unable to refuse the direction, Tallest Red gently tugged Tallest Purple up with him, trying to muster a smile of his own, but it, too, seemed to tremor. It appeared that their counterparts here were very well known—in what context was hard to say, but from the way that Zim behaved toward them, it appeared not so good… However, the crowd gave off an opposite vibe, cheering and applauding as the two of them took the stage alongside their Tallest, as if they were delighted by their presence… What was this?

         “Now, as I was saying… Behind me stands the most superior soldiers of the Irken army—”

         Tallest Red could only stare at the ground, he couldn’t bear to look at that anymore. Looking at Tallest Purple didn’t help much, either—he looked just about the way Tallest Red felt, probably worse considering he was still choking down his own disgust. And the speech Zim had to give was, quite frankly, the same as the one the both of them had given, however, the planets weren’t quite right—in fact, Red couldn’t quite recall any of the planets Zim had marked for conquest. Glancing at the monitor, though, revealed that the planets they had designated… were already conquered. In fact, much of the star map had been conquered, and it forced Tallest Red to turn away in disbelief.

         He can’t be that great of a Tallest—there’s no way he’s done that all himself…

         “Now, for our surprise guests, eugh… I have another, uh… Very secret mission—on a planet so mysterious, no one has even heard of it!”

         Tallest Red found himself huffing in amusement—were their counterparts truly so terrible that Zim had wanted them dead and exiled, too? And so stupid to fall for something such as this? Regardless, it was somewhat hopeful, in Tallest Red’s opinion—the Empire clearly wanted nothing to do with either of them, and wanted them gone, which was perfectly okay by him. This was not his Empire and he would not tie himself down to it or this horrendous version of Zim. Residing on the outskirts of the known universe honestly didn’t sound too bad of an idea—it would give the two of them all the time and space they needed to figure out how to get out of this mess.

         “I’ve got a plan,” he whispered gently to Tallest Purple, who responded only with a nod, seemingly uncomfortable with opening his mouth at the moment.

         Soon their group was ushered off to the equipment station to receive SIR units—however, the duo were omitted from receiving one on the grounds that they wouldn’t need it. They were “two of the very best” and having a SIR would simply get in the way, which was disheartening to an extent, but not something Tallest Red was willing to argue about. Given how similarly… Tallest… Zim… treated them, he wouldn’t put it past the leader to simply craft them a piece of defective junk just for the fun of it.

         “Th-Thank you, my Tallest, f-for… putting so much trust in our, uh… abilities—” it was difficult to not vomit himself saying those words to Zim.

         Tallest Zim lowered his eyes in displeasure before leaning down condescendingly to their height. His expression, like his voice, was cold.

         “Don’t come back.”

         Frozen by the harshness of the statement, Tallest Red almost couldn’t find his feet when Tallest Zim stood rigidly over them, waving a hand to dismiss them and his group of invaders to begin their missions. Tallest Purple assumed the reigns this time, though, guiding the two of them back out onto the steadily draining streets of Conventia. The steady quietness allowed for thoughts to settle about their situation as they trekked back to the border wall, where Tallest Purple finally expelled his disgust into the barren dust of the world and Tallest Red climbed back into their sad, little ship, with the other blearily following behind.

         For a moment, neither of them said anything, sitting in resigned silence. Eyeing Tallest Purple, he seemed on the brink of tears, however instead of sobbing, he broke out into a fit of laughter, which shocked Tallest Red somewhat, yet he found himself slowly catching on, chuckling and finally laughing along with his partner.

         “Did you see those boots?” Tallest Purple wheezed, wiping tears from his eyes. “Is that how he compensates for that?”

         “What? Being short?” Tallest Red giggled, rolling his eyes before pawing at the controls on the ship—while it had been suitable for the small distance on the planet, he wasn’t quite sure if it would be able to manage intergalactic travel, though it wasn’t as though they had too many options currently.

         “What a joke… Zim? Tallest? That’s hilarious! Nevermind the puppet reality, this one is a real trip!”

         “You’re telling me—geez, the sooner we get out of here the better. I mean, could you imagine? Us? Invaders? While Zim is the Tallest?”

         “Yeah? Could you imagine?” Tallest Purple’s laughter teetered somewhat, and Tallest Red’s soon did too, until they were both staring grimly at each other once again, uneasy now that they had acknowledged the situation. It was a funny joke, but… this wasn’t a joke. There wasn’t anything to be laughing at. They really weren’t the Tallest here…

[ESTIMATED FLIGHT TIME: ONE MONTH]

         “One month?! You’re going to trap both of us in here for one month?” Purple whined, dropping his antennae and forming another pout. “Where are you even going to take us? There’s nothing out there!”

         “Oh, yes there is,” Red replied, sulking slightly as a projection of the all-too-familiar planet Earth appeared on-screen.

         While Purple looked as though he were about to object, he simply yawned and crossed his arms, leaning back into his seat.

         “Well stick this thing on auto-pilot if it has it. I don’t know about you, but I’m really craving a nap right now.”

         Red smirked briefly and did as he was asked—somehow, their hunk of metal could actually fly. And somewhat decently, too, now that it was freed from the pull of gravity and was gliding gently through space toward their destination.

         After the excruciatingly long journey they’d had together… a nap didn’t sound half bad.
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