The Dawn of Terror


I am in love with this fan fic! It is my absolute FAVORITE! THE AUTHOR IS EXCELLENT!

I tried to find out her email address to ask permission to post this fan fic on my site, but I couldn't find it anywhere. Invader Nak, please email me if you do not want me to have your fan fic up.

A young boy stepped onto his front driveway, wobbly making his way to the door. The black trenchcoat covering his back was ripped and shredded, his glasses were scratched and broken, and his mop of spikey black hair was frayed to and fro. Dib soon reached up his hand and grabbed the doorknob, slowly swinging it open, and stepped into the house. Quietly, he closed the door behind him, so as not to alert Gaz of his prescence. He didn't want to have to explain his failure to her yet again.
But just as he'd made his way into the hallway and had thought he was home-free, she popped her head in from the living room, GameSlave in hands. She took a quick glance at his condition, and then turned her gaze back to the screen before her.
"What happened to you?"
Dib ran his hand over the back of his neck while he tried thinking up an excuse.
"I was--uh--out. Jogging!"
He instantly grimaced at his lame attempt at an excuse, but didn't want to admit he had been defeated by his rival Zim again. Gaz raised an eyebrow at him, but then turned back to the living room. The sounds of beeping and clicks slowly faded as she went into her room. Dib sighed, and too exited to his room, shutting the door behind him. He collapsed onto the bed, arms outstretched, and stared at the ceiling.
Every bone in his body ached and pained, reminding him of his defeat. When the entire population of earth was enslaved by Zim's power, would they know the pain and suffering he had to go through? Would they? Slowly, he moved over to his pillow, not even bothering to change out of his torn clothing, and shut off his light. He soon fell asleep, that one thought still lingering in his head.
The next morning, the sunlight slowly filtered the dark bedroom, the rays falling upon the figure lying in his bed. As the light hit his closed eyelids, he sat up, rubbing his eyes, and stretched the sore muscles in his shoulders. He groaned and let his head fall back onto the pillow, not wanting to do anything today. But as soon as he made contact with the bed, he shot back up, rubbing his head. Looking down, he realized this was not his bed. He looked up and his eyes widened in shock. This was not his room, not his house. He was in a cell! Trapped like an animal! He looked up to realize that sun was no sun at all, but a blinding white lamp. His gaze moved to his attire, a bright yellow shirt with matching pants.
What was going on?! Where was he?! He quickly stood, hitting his head against the top bunk.
"Hey, watch it down there!"
The occupant of the bunk cried out.
"Oh, uh, sorry about that."
Wait a minute, who was that?! He looked into the bunk to see a large muscled man resting on his back. He gasped and backed up a few steps.
"Who are you? Where am I?!"
"You're in jail, ya punk. Where'd you think you were, Buckingham Palace? No, wait, forgot. That place was destroyed years ago."
"Jail?! But I'm a kid! Why am I in jail?!"
"A kid? Have you looked in the mirror lately? Freak.."
The mirror. He looked over at the grey wall, which held a small mirror and rusty, dirt-riddled sink. Slowly he walked up to the shining peice of glass, and looked inside. What he saw nearly sent him flying out of his very skin. This wasn't him! It couldn't be!
A young man looked back at him, maybe in his mid-twenties or early thirties. The lenses of his glasses were cracked and useless, the spike of his hair hung forward, dangling between his eyes. He lifted his hand to his chin, which was covered in small spikes of hair, forming the beginning of a beard. What was going on?! He had gone to bed last in his own room, with his clothes, and his blankets. But now he woke up as a thirty year old man, stuck in jail?!
"I--I don't understand! What's going on?! Why am I here?!"
"Why are you here? That shouldn't be too hard to answer. You were the leader of the rebellion, after all."
"The rebellion? What rebellion?"
"Those guards must have hit you harder than it looked last night."
The man occupying the top bunk chuckled to himself, and another, leaner cellmate laughed along with him. Dib simply stared at the two, eyes wide in fear. What was going on? What rebellion had he run? And most importantly, why was he thirty years old and in jail? Bewildered, he fell onto the bottom bunk, jaw draping open, as he stared into space and tried to figure this out.
His thinking time fell short however when three guards came to stand in front of his cell, led by a single female. Her hair was a dark purple in color, and was held in a tight ponytail. She wore a dark black suit and tie, and around her neck was an amulet, a skull to be precise.
"That's the one," she said, pointing to Dib.
Instantly the three guards opened the cell and harshly grabbed Dib by his arms, dragging him away from the cell. He fought and struggled to free himself from their grip, but it was no use. As he was dragged away, he stared into the eyes of that female. There was something very familiar about her, but he couldn't quite place just what it was. She closed and locked the cell door behind the guards, and soon followed.
He was brought away from the dark jail, and into a large room. The walls were lined with almost identical guards, all wearing the same dark uniforms, and all clasping their hands in front of them. He was thrown violently onto the ground in front of a tall throne.
"Here's the one you asked for, sir. Prisoner #666A."
The female spoke to the occupant of the thrown, and Dib's eyes slowly followed her gaze until they fell upon who it was she spoke to. No, it couldn't be. This--this was impossible! The two wide crimson eyes soon fell upon his own, and narrowed upon the contact.
"Zim?! You--you--this..this can't be!
The green alien scoffed at Dib's babbling and allowed a devious grin to spread across his face.
"Oh, but it is idiotic huuman. I would have though you'd accepted that fact by now."
He turned his gaze to the group of guards that had brought Dib in.
"Guards! Bring this filthy to his feet!"
They quickly obeyed and roughly threw Dib up, until he stood before Zim, who hadn't grown an inch. Despite what was happening, Dib snickered at this fact. But his grin soon faded as Zim glared at him.
"You and your little clan have been causing me annoyances, Dib. You have been opening the minds of the followers, and forcing me to imprison them until they can remember who their real leader is. While normally this I wouldn't mind, it's causing me valuable time."
He paused for a moment to gaze into Dib's beaten face once more.
"While usually I simply dispose of the rebellions, I thought maybe you'd come in handy, with your superior knowledge of science. How would you like to take board under my lead? Join the comrades, gain power?"
Dib looked up at him this entire time, his eyes burning with hatred. He looked at Zim's cocky expression, and how he seemed to enjoy the suffering he put humanity through. He wondered what Zim was thinking at this very moment, what was going on in that brain of his, or whatever the alien's equivalent was. He thought about what Zim said. He and his clan? Causing annoyances? He was proud of himself. For whatever it was he had done, he was proud.
He considered Zim's offer. Join the ranks, gain power? It sounded good, even for just the one moment. But he knew he couldn't. He didn't know what was going on, he didn't know how he got here, or how long he'd have to stay, he didn't even know just how much of an impact he'd made on Zim's kingdom, but he knew one thing; he would never stoopd to that level. He would never give in and assist Zim in destroying all humanity. He lowered his eyebrows and looked back up to the green alien.
He watched Zim's expression, looking for the reaction to his refusal, but found none. The Irken kept a cold hard stare, not showing his feelings toward the human for a moment. But his eyes suddenly narrowed in anger.
"You had the chance to be free. You had the chance to rid yourself of your imprisonment. You will regret this decision, Prisoner #666A."
He turned to the guards who still stood behind Dib.
"Guards, take him away!"
With that, they again grabbed him and began to drag him back to the underground jail. He struggled to get free, but knew it was hopeless. Just before the two large doors swung closed after him, he looked again to the female, who was now talking to Zim. Then the doors closed, and he was dragged back to his cell.
She stood in the hot shower and raked her fingers through her violet hair as the water hit her body in rapid motion, soothing her soul. Soon she turned the knobs and the water shut off, dripping to the floor. Grabbing a large towel, she wrapped it around her body, and stepped out, ringing her hair in a bun to let it dry. She stood in front of the mirror, staring into its depths, and at the lady who stared back at her. Quickly she lifted a brush and began pulling it through the wet strands on her head as she stepped out of the bathroom and into her large suite.
Setting down the brush, she stepped over to the large window that rested in the side of her room, and gazed out into the night sky. She remembered when her house was here, in this very spot. In its place now stood a tall skyscraper, where many of Zim's most powerful followers dwelled. Everywhere she looked there were identical buildings, home to other followers, and other humans of importance. Off in the distance, where the school used to be, she could just barely make out the forms of smaller buildings; the homes of the commonfolk, those who were not a part of the rebellion, and yet were not in the ranks of Zim's empire. They were allowed a normal life--as normal as one could get nowadays. She sighed as the memories flowed through her head, and moved away from the window. Things were so much better now, no need dwelling over the past.
She made her way over to the metal bed that sat in the middle of the room, and laid across it, thinking back to earlier today, back to Dib. Yes, it had been quite a while since she'd last seen her brother, but he hadn't changed much. Still the struggler, still the fighter. She didn't know why he tried. Maybe she'd call him in tomorrow, and have a little--brother sister reunion, so to speak. With that thought in mind, she laid her head on the hard pillow below and turned off her light.
He sat in his cell, head in hands as he thought over the day before, back to that woman. Who was she? Why did she seem so familiar to him, yet so distant? He quickly looked up as more guards came in and grabbed him by the arm.
"Come with us. The Second-Captain has called for you."
At that, they clasped his hands behind his back with a pair of handcuffs, and carried him away from the cell. They placed him in a large office room, and he looked at a large chair faced away from him.
She sat in her chair, fidgeting with a pencil as she waited for the guards to bring in Prisoner #666A. She heard the doors close behind them and sat staring at the wall for a few moments, before slowly turning around and glaring into her brother's eyes. All was silent as the two stared at each other, but she quickly spoke up.
"So, we finally meet again. I thought you would have died years ago, Dib."
She watched as he looked to her, bewildered, and a small but devious grin spread across her face.
"Who are you and what do you want from me?"
"Oh, come now. Do tell me you recognize your only sister."
She grinned as she watched Dib look on, confused, and then as his eyes slowly widened and his jaw dropped in the realization.
"Gaz?! But you--me--!"
He was speechless, and she enjoyed his suffering tremensouly. Yes, it had been years since she'd last seen her brother, almost twenty in fact. She remembered back to when they were children, and Zim had just taken over, humanity was just beginning to be enslaved. They were captured, and thrown into a jail together, agreed to be set free once they accepted loyalty to the Highest Zim. Dib never gave in, and she had had to go along with him, for once in her life. But months later, he escaped his hell-hole, and left her to fend for herself, left her at the mercy of Zim.
Shortly after she gave all her loyalty to the quickly growing Earthen Empire, as it was now called, and just as they had promised, they set her free. But, due to the relations she'd had with Zim before, she gained his trust early on, and with every passing year, moved up the ranks one by one. She watched as the neighborhood was destroyed, and replaced with skyscrapers and factories. She remembered standing in front of her house, now sixteen years old, and gave the signal to abolish it. That was a glorious day indeed. Meanwhile Dib had been out grouping together a rebellion, trying his hardest to defy every aspect of the Earthen Empire. It sickened her, but she moved on. And now she was here, as Second-Captain, only one below Captain, and second most powerful of all the Empire.
Holding a pencil in her fingers, she looked on at her brother, eyes filled with hate and the need for revenge.
"Gaz, you've gotta help me! You've gotta get Zim to set me free!"
She slowly stood from her table, eyes narrowed.
"I don't gotta do anything, Prisoner. You brought this all on yourself, you know. You were the one who started that pathetic rebellion, and led yourself to land right in this jail. You did it. It was all you."
She stepped over to her brother and looked at his quivering face. Quickly she whipped out the gun she always carried and hit her brother with the butt, right in the head, causing him to fall to the floor in agony. He breathed heavily and laid on the floor as a nasty gash surfaced next to his lips where she hit him, the blood slowly dripping to her otherwise clean carpet.
"Get up."
He looked to her, his expression one of anger, sadness, and confusion, all fused together. But he remained on the floor. She gave him a harsh kick in the stomach when he defied her, and he doubled over in pain.
"Get up!"
He wheezed and shakily pulled himself to his knees, and then to his feet, trying to keep his balance. He then looked to her in anger and betrayal.
"Why are you doing this Gaz? Why are you following along with that--that--tyrant?!"
She chuckled as he yelled at her, the cocky expression not failing to leave her face.
"Why? I'll tell you why, my dear brother. Let me show you something."
She quickly whipped out a key and unlocked Dib's handcuffs, removing them from his sore wrists, before leaving her office and making her way out onto a large balcony. The two stood side by side and looked out into the horizon, at the many skyscrapers, the hovercrafts, and everything else that made the world what it was today.
Down below were lines of slaveworkers, all chained to each other, and directed by various power-holders and guards. In other buildings you could make out the forms of people walking back and forth within their offices, carrying papers and every once in a while being struck by someone more powerful, to put the workers back in their place. Yes, this was very much how the world should be.
"You see, Dib? The world has order now. No more chaos, no more of those petty little fights and squabbles humanity had. Everyone has their place, everyone their role in society, and they follow this role because they know it's for the good of the Empire. Some must suffer, some must die, but it's all for the better of the majority."
She turned to Dib to gaze at his expression, and continued on.
"The world wasn't like this when you were a child, was it? The world wasn't so orderly and peaceful, but now that Zim has taken over, the world is a better place. You can see that, can't you? Or, maybe you can't. You see, when you were young, the world was a happy place. You had your aliens and ghosts and what-not, and you could go free, live your life without fear, in peace. But the world wasn't like that for me. For me, the world was rain, clouds, pain. The world was loneliness, and darkness."
She paused again and looked out at the city, happiness flowing within her.
"But now the roles have changed, haven't they? Now I'm the one on top, the one with all the power, the brains. And now you're the one who has to live with the darkness and despair. Feels good, doesn't it?"
Oh how she enjoyed playing with his mind, striking his nerves, breaking him down. She could see it in his eyes, in his stance. She had won. But then he looked away from the pain he saw, and turned to her.
"This isn't freedom, Gaz. You aren't free, you don't hold power. All you're doing is--is, putting people in jail!"
He knew that sounded dumb, and she knew he knew. She chuckled to herself and then looked to the doors leading back into the office building, and then to the watch on her wrist.
"Well, if you would excuse me, I have important Second-Captain business to deal with. You can just go on back down to your rebel buddies and wallow in self-pity."
She hooked the handcuffs back onto him and led him back inside, handing him over to the guards, before turning back to her office.
"Oh, and one more thing, never call me Gaz."
Dib watched as she closed the glass doors behind her and sat at her desk. She then pulled out a familiar crimson machine, the GameSlave. It was a wonder that thing still worked, but he guessed some things just never changed.
He folded his hands behind his head and propped his black-booted feet onto the desk in front of him, a pleased grin spread across his face. He let his eyelids drop and sighed. This was the life..
He opened his eyes and sat up upon hearing approaching footsteps and looked to see his robot companion Gir skipping down the hallway. Narrowing his eyes he watched as Gir goofily stood at attention and saluted, his normally blue lights now their bright red. But as he placed his small arm back to his side, they faded back into their aqua color and he slumped over in his usual fashion.
"Gir! What is the status on the prisoners?"
"You mean those humans in the cages? Ooh, they're fine."
He leaned forward stupidly and looked up to Zim, before bouncing back up.
"Can I have my cupcake now?"
He slowly shook his head in shame at Gir's antics, and then motioned to one of his many bodyguards who, though hesitantly, handed the robot a chocolate cupcake. The small bundle of metal squealed with joy before grabbing his treat and bouncing out of the room, singing the doom song as he normally did. Zim watched as his companion exited, and sat back in his throne, slightly disturbed.
He kept Gir around merely for comedic relief, realizing he was good for little more. He gave the robot menial tasks not even he could mess up just so he would have something to do to leave the alien to his business. Taking his mind off Gir, he again rested, dreaming back to days gone by. Back to before he had first come to Earth. Life was not much simpler then. His small stature did little for his respect, and he had always dreamed of overtaking a planet and proving himself worthy.
He always had high respect for the Tallest, as did all Irkens, and he envisioned the day he would be looked up to as they were, with gratification and jealousy. He wanted his race to look at him and dream of the day they could be in his place. He would show them all! He would succeed, he would dominate! And then he was sent to Earth, given Gir as an 'advanced' model of the Sirs. He often times doubted his leaders' judgement with this, but always trusted them in the end. They were, after all, the leaders of the Irken Empire. He remained on this disgusting planet, learning all he could, dealing with the pressures of his society, as well as Dib's constant attempts to reveal his secret. Everything seemed to be against him.
After yet another huge failure, he transmitted to the Tallest, telling them all was going smoothly. His mask, however, was failing, and they delighted in his misery. But they let something slip in that contact, showing Zim the light to their scheme. They tried to cover it up so as to prevent Zim from coming back, but eventually had to confess, without much guilt of course.
"To put things simply--We..don'"
The awful scene played back in his head, and he stifled the anger that threatened to come forth whenever he remembered back to that moment. Once he had found out that this entire mission was a fraud, that they had merely sent him here to rid of him forever, not expecting him to find a planet, he had thought about giving up. Thought about just leaving to some far away unimportant planet so that the Irken empire would no longer have to hear from him. He had packed and had almost left, too. But then he thought again; no, he couldn't leave, he couldn't just give up. He was going to take this planet and prove to the Tallest that he was Irken material, that he was worthy enough to be called an invader!
Only a few short months later he succeeded. He had learned enough about the ways of the human, and overthrew some of the most powerful political leaders of the day, the others soon surrendering to his fury. Things only went up from there. He continued to gain power, continued to strike fear into the hearts of all, until the final day when, after two years of trying, he was finally deemed leader of all humans! Ruler of the planet! He then remembered back to the look on the faces of the Tallest when he reported his victory, and snickered at the thought.
His first task was to break up Dib's family, destroy the threat. He had the father sent off to some faraway, and terribly underfunded jail, but kept Dib and Gaz near in order to keep an eye on them. He threw them in the nearby jail, being sure to keep them seperated so they may not commerce with each other and manage to escape. It worked, for a while, but months later Dib did succeed in thwarting the high security, and made to his freedom. Zim sent out a search party, but in reality Dib's escape was for the better. His weakling sister would not give in as long as Dib had been there, but now that he was gone, he easily broke her spirit, brainwashed her with the promises of power and glory. She gave in, and successfully gained the ranks.
Meanwhile Dib was still on the loose, gathering a rebellion, which would soon be known around the state, and Zim's constant attempts at capturing him failed. He did not worry, however, because the child was only fourteen at the time, and was no threat. But as Dib grew, so did his army, and it was soon apparent this earth monkey would have to be stopped. They began entrapping his most loyal rebels, executing them to break Dib's spirit. When that too failed, they tried harder, until finally they captured Dib himself, now a thirty year old man. Oh, sure, there were still plenty of rebels left out there, but they were lost without their leader.
Yes, things were going well. He had proved to his race that he was worthy of their respect, he had gained his own planet, and now had true power. He again sighed in pleasure, and stretched his muscles. When he was done with his reminescing, he looked back upon the sight before him, at the many humans just waiting for his every command, and out the window at the society he had built. Quickly he motioned to the body guard standing just below his throne.
"You! Yes, you there! Go fetch the Second-Captain. I have some business I'd like to discuss with her."
He saluted the green alien before hastily making his way out the doors.
"Yes, Highest Zim. At once."
Moments later she stepped in, followed by her own set of guardspeople, and stood before Zim, holding her hands behind her back.
"I suspect you've already spoken with Prisoner #666A, correct? What is his status?"
"Negative, Highest. He is still the fighter and the 'peace-maker' brother I used to know. He hasn't changed. I can expect he will soon try to enlighten the other prisoners."
She grinned as she spoke, her mind fading back to what she had done to him just hours before.
"Yes..yes. And, might I ask, what do you think we shall do about this?"
"I suggest the best course of action would be to isolate him in his own. Or we could merely execute him and not have to worry about it longer."
Zim thought this over. He could simply execute his long-lasted foe, and never have to see his face again. But it would be so much more thrilling to lock him away alone, and watch him slowly shrivel away and die.
"Very well. The order will be sent out today. Back to your business now, and I do hope I haven't taken too much of your time."
"Oh, no problem, Zim. I quite enjoyed it in fact."
The conversation had gone on as normal. The Second-Captain reported in, they discussed what they would do to rid of certain problems, and it ended with a casual closure. She soon turned back around and walked out the doors, her cocky grin still quite present.
Agitated, he quickly paced back and forth within the dark cell, one hand behind his back, the other moving around as he spoke.
"It's obvious she's been brainwashed, just by the way she acted, but, it just doesn't make sense. This whole thing doesn't make sense!"
He threw his arms up in anger and flopped onto the bottom bunk. His muscled cellmate looked to the leaner one, a humorous grin on his face.
"Who'da thunk? The leader of the rebellion is the brother of the Second-Captain, third most powerful of the entire empire! Now how come you never told anyone about your...relations?"
The two chuckled with each other, obviously having a good time teasing Dib, but soon quieted at the nasty glare they received.
"I..don't know."
It was the truth. He didn't know. Sighing, he let his head fall into the palms of his hands, his black hair falling all around him. He was truly at the bottom. His clothes were torn, he was stuck in jail, and Zim had control of the planet. The cracked lenses of his glasses bothered his hands, and in a huff he ripped them off his face and threw them across the cell. He sighed as they hit the floor and went back to staring at the bars that kept him in. What was going on? Why was he here? Why couldn't he remember anything that had happened in the last twenty years? He had learned he'd put together a rebellion, and had worked on defying the new empire, but why couldn't he remember it?
He again stood and went to lean against the bars, scratching the itchy beard on his chin.
"I gotta get out of here. I don't know how I got here, but I gotta get out."
He raked his fingers through his hair one last time and looked back up to his cellmates.
"That might be easier than you thought."
Confused, he followed their gaze to look down the hallway at a group of guards again heading toward the cell, keys in hand. He gasped and backed up a few steps. Now what was going on? They opened the cage and yanked Dib away, giving no explanation as to what was happening. They roughly pushed him forward and away from the cell he had stayed in. His cellmates looked on as he dissappeared into the dark depths of the hallway, and quickly made another mark next to many on the wall with a peice of chalk.
"There goes the last of the rebellion."
Dib looked ahead in fear as the long hallway continued to grow darker. The sounds and clatters of the prisoners before slowly faded away, and all that was heard was the rythmic drip-drop of dirty sewer water hitting the floor. Soon he was encompassed in pitch black darkness, and one of the guards had to pull out a flashlight to see where they were going. The air around them smelled of mildew and death, and was incredibly stuffy. Suddenly, as they walked passed one cage, Dib felt a hand reach out and grab onto his yellow shirt.
"Help me! Please help me!"
He swirved around to see a scraggly old man, who obviously hadn't eaten in weeks, reaching out and pleading with his eyes, which were swollen and pussy with disease. One of the guards raked out some pepper spray and shot it straight in the prisoner's face, who instantly recoiled and screamed out in pain. Dib nearly hurled at the sight, but was quickly dragged onward. Then they stopped, and he could hear the clatter of a cell being opened. Without warning he was shoved inside and they locked the door behind him. He instantly ran up and grabbed hold of the bars, which were covered in mold, and began yelling out at the guards who were now leaving.
"You can't keep me in here forever! I'll get out someday and when I'll--you'll be sorry! You..can't..."
He slowly fell onto the dirty floor beneath him and couldn't hold back the tears any longer.
A week passed and business went on as usual. They had their share of rebel invasions, but ever since Dib had been taken in, these invasions were weak and harmless. The Second-Captain had forgotten about her brother, and Zim continued to rule in his tyrannian ways. He sat in his throne and tended to his demands, as his workers came up one by one with their various questions and problems.
"Your Highest Zim, some commonfolk have revolted again. What should we do?"
"Arrest them at once!"
"Mighty leader, I must take time off to tend to personal matters."
"One hour!"
"Zim, sir, we have captured loyal rebellion followers. Orders?"
He would continue on like this for hours, meddling in the petty affairs of his kingdom, while enjoying all the luxaries of royalty. He couldn't have it any better.
She sat at her desk scribbling something on a peice of paper. Every once in a while someone would walk in and place another sheet in her tray, and walk out again. She sighed and got up from her chair, stretching her sour muscles, before looking out the window that lined her wall. She leaned against the sill and sipped at her coffee, gazing out at the bustle below. It was true she had forgotten about her encounter with Dib. He was now just another prisoner to her, and it wasn't her duty to deal with the prisoners.
After a moment of silence, she sat back down at her desk and continued on with her paperwork. It was the same schedule day in and day out, and it got quite tedious at times, but she knew it was all for the better of the Highest Zim.
"Doom-de-doom! Doom! Doo-doo-doom doom!" The little green dog hopped down the concrete hallways, passed the rows of cells. In his hands was a small drink, and he slurped it up through a straw. On either side of him the prisoners all reached out their hands and tried to grab at Gir, and he would every once in a while stop to give them a friendly and naive "hello", his little black eyes bobbing. He happily continued on his way and walked through the dark corridors, the silver zipper on his chest bouncing with his movements. Despite him no longer needing this costume, he seemed to quite like it, and wore it often.
Soon it began to grow dark around him as he went deeper into the jail, down to the solitary confinement where Dib had been thrown only a week ago. He had been given strict orders to never go down here, but, like always, he was never very good at listening to what he was told. His pace slowed as he entered the hell, and he looked around a little worriedly. His fake black ears fell to the sides of his face, and then perked back up upon catching the vague form of a figure in his cage.
He sat in the corner of his cage, arms wrapped around his legs, and slowly rocked back and forth, staring at the emptiness. He had eaten nothing since he was placed in here, and the bones were beginning to show under his flesh. He was surrounded in dead silence and darkness, and his sanity was slowly escaping through every opening in his body. When he heard the faint sounds of movement coming down the hallway, he shakily made his way over to the bars of his cage and grabbed hold, staring wide-eyed into the black abyss. He could just barely make out the form of a familiar green suit, slowly walking in his direction. Gir! It was that robot thing he had seen Zim around sometimes before! But, what was he doing here?
He reached out his hand and began to motion to the robot with a finger.
"Hey! Hey you there! Yeah, Gir is it?"
The little dog looked over as was spoken to, and cautiously walked over. He looked to Dib for a few moments before his little black tail wagged a bit.
"I know yooouuu..."
"Yeah, sure, whatever.."
Dib then looked down to notice the drink Gir held within his stubby paws, and his eyes widened in delight.
"Hey, can I have some of that?"
Gir looked to where Dib was pointing, and quickly hugged his cup to his small chest, turning away from the human.
"No! It's mine!"
"Oh come on! Please? Just a little?!"
He rather forcefully reached for the cup, but Gir quickly pulled it away. Frantic, Dib quickly grabbed a hold of Gir's tail and pulled him closer to get the cup.
"Come on! Let me have...the food!"
They struggled for a short few moments before Dib's grip on the cup faltered, sending its contents to fall to the ground with a splatter. The two stared at the scene in disbelief and Gir's eyes watered up, while Dib just sat speechless, having lost his only chance for nourishment.
He pounded the floor in anger repeatedly, causing some blood to form, but quickly pulled away and rubbed his now sore knuckles. He looked back up to Gir who was still tearing over his loss. But then he had an idea.
"Hey, you think you could do me something? Go find the keys to this cage, and bring them to me."
The little robot pointed his gaze up to Dib, confused, while wiping away a tear. He tried again to explain upon seeing Gir's confusion.
"You know, the keys! The thing I can put in this lock to open the door!"
Gir continued to stand there in silence, not understanding what Dib was asking. He sighed in frustration and tried once more to explain, being sure to use small simple words the robot would understand.
"The small shiny things with points! Do you understand?! Go get them!"
Gir squealed, finally understanding what Dib wanted, and quickly commenced to turn around and begin skipping back down the hallway. Dib waited for what seemed like ages, twiddling his thumbs and trying to ignore the awful pain in his stomach. But soon he could hear Gir's familiar humming and the wonderful clang of metal as he made his way back to the cage.
"Okay, good, good! Now hand em over!"
Gir began to do as Dib said, but then hesitated, remembering back to something Zim had said. He stood blank for a few moments, and then perked remembering what it was he had been told.
"Oh yeah, Zim said..I'm not supposed to give these to anyone down here."
Dib's heart sank at hearing this, but knew there must be a way to trick the robot.
"If you give me the keys..I'll--I'll..."
He paused while he tried to think of what could possibly persuade Gir to give him the ring of keys.
"Aha! Here, I'll give you these shoelaces! We can trade!"
He quickly began to untie the black shoelaces from his boots, and held them up for Gir to see.
The small robot stood mystified by the laces, and stared at them in awe.
With that simple word, Gir handed Dib his silvery treasure, and Dib in turn gave Gir the laces. Gir quickly skipped away, already managing to tie his arms up with his newfound toy. As soon as the dog was out of sight, Dib jumped in glee and fumbled the keys in the lock, trying to find which key would open this cage.
He became more and more desperate as each seperate key continued to fail, until he was down to the last one. He crossed his fingers and bit his lower lip as he sunk it into the lock, turning the handle. To his surprise and delight, he soon heard the clank of the lock slowly opening, and quickly threw down the key, squeaking open his barrier. He silently rejoiced as he stepped out of his hold, but quickly remembered that a guard could come down any moment. Quietly he tip-toed forward, hugging the moldy wall, and made his way out of the solitary confinement area.
He stopped just in front of two doors and creaked one open the slightest bit. Looking inside, he noticed the guards were not at their posts at the moment, giving him all the chance of escape. He took a deep breath, knowing he'd have to make a run for it, and also knowing his chances of getting out alive were slim. Shaking violently, he crouched just behind the door, preparing to run like he never had before.
In an instant, he bursted into the room ahead and away from the jail, breathing heavily, his clothes flying out behind him. He crashed into a pair of guards who were making their way back to entrance of the jail, sending them hurling to the ground.
"Hey, you get back here!"
Quickly one whipped out his walky-talky, yelling into it about Dib's escape, and moments later a mind-splitting alarm sounded off, illuminating the rooms and hallways in a bright red light. Dib ran on, his chest already heaving, and his legs feeling like jelly, threatening to fall out beneath him. He halted to a stop and gasped as he became surrounded by guards, and quickly looked for an opening of escape. He saw the smallest gap just ahead of him, and blindly pushed through, the guards right on his tail. Without even thinking, he instantly began heading toward Gaz's office, knocking over various tables and their contents to buy him time, his instincts pulling him on. He never really realized where he was going until he was there, and flew open the glass doors leading into the room.
She quickly stood from her desk, a shocked look on her face.
"What is going on here?! Guards!"
Dib fell onto his knees, knowing he had only seconds before the guards would show up.
"Gaz, you've gotta help me! Please, I--I'm begging you!"
Just as he finished his last sentence, the guards came crashing in and yanked him up from the ground, violently pulling his arms behind his back and bashing him across the head. More guards quickly surrounded the Second-Captain and blocked her from Dib, protecting her from his wrath. As he was draggedd away, the tears streamed down his face, mixed with blood.
"No! Don't let them take me back down there! Stop! No, Gaaz!"
She watched from behind as his voice slowly faded and the guards finally knocked him unconcious, bringing him back down to his fate. After the bodyguards checked in and made sure she was okay, she slowly sat back down in her seat, not sure what to make of what had just happened. Yes, Dib was only a prisoner to her now, and she had seen things like that happen to prisoners many times, but it was obvious this time something had gotten to her, something she hadn't felt in years. She looked down at the papers before her, and all went silent.
"Gir! How could you have let the prisoner escape?!"
The small dog scurried behind his master to keep up, hopping on one leg as he was entangled in the string Dib had given him.
"I told you never to go down there!"
"Ooh, I'm sorry. I just--oof!"
He spoke in his high metallic voice before suddenly tripping over the lace to land on the ground with a small thud. Zim growled impatiently and lifted his companion as he tried to free himself. Soon the alien reached his destination and crashed through the glass doors.
"Second-Captain! I do believe we have some important business to discuss."
He dropped Gir onto the floor and watched as Gaz stood from her seat to greet Zim.
"As you well know, Prisoner #666A escaped today. If it weren't for our high quality security guards, he would still be running amuck.
"Tomorrow, Dib dies..."
Today was going to be a big day indeed. Citizens and workers alike were gathering below to witness the execution of the rebel leader, something this world had been craving for years. Meanwhile, Gaz remained in her office, making it through the last of her paperwork, and contemplating everything that had gone on lately. Slowly she pulled her chair from her desk and stood, heading out of her office. She still had a few hours before she had to show up for the execution, so she figured she might visit Dib in his cell and give him her last farewells.
She greeted some passing guards as she made her way to the jail, and pulled out her security card, slipping through the passage until the green light flashed, allowing her entrance into the long dark hallways. As she slowly moved onward, the prisoners all began yelling and screaming at her to free them, as always happened in these rare occurances when she went down here. She looked on at them in disgust, and kicked some small pebbles in their faces. After moving down many long corridors, she began to near the solitary confinement area. Taking a deep breath, she again took out her card and awaited permission to pass through.
The light flashed, and she slowly swung open the door. The awful smell instantly hit her and she had to take a few steps back before being able to move on. She raked her fingers through her bangs as she slowly moved forward, the only sound being that of her high-heels as they tapped against the concrete below. The security doors closed behind her, instantly throwing her into a world of pitch darkness. As she did not have a flashlight on hand, she had to fumble around to see which way to go, being able to see only the faint outlines of the cells. Her eyes were opened wide as she looked around her, and she moved very slowly. She reached out a hand and placed it on the bar to a cell, until she felt a sickening stickiness enwrap her palm. Instantly pulling back, she shrieked as a large spider fell to the floor and quickly scurried away, and she hurried to wipe off the spiderweb she'd brought with her.
She was breathing heavily and absolutely devestated at the condition of these cages. Obviously this was a part of the Earthen Empire she had never before seen. Shakily, she stepped forward, ignoring the fact that her heels would always land in a puddle of filthy sewer water. Her heart pounded beneath her chest in fear, until she caught glance of a beaten figure up ahead. She creeped forward, tears threatening to fall down her face simply at the smell of this place, and looked inside. Below, she could see the bedraggled form of her brother, lying on the moss filled floor, curled into a ball, and slowly moving his finger around in the same circle over and over again, humming an undistinguishable tune. He was too sickly to even acknowledge her prescence, and looked on in delight at the design his fingers had made in the filth on his cell floor.
Her heart jumped into her throat and she nearly broke down right then and there, but she had to remain strong, she must. She had intended on coming in to taunt Dib one last time, but now her mind had switched sides, and she wasn't so sure. Still, she couldn't let any prisoners know any feelings she may have had toward them, not even her own brother.
"H-hello, Dib. I see we meet again for the l-last time."
She was having a hard time speaking, and her mind was clouded and dazed. But it wasn't until he heard her voice he even looked up, and had expected to see Zim standing there, his mind too foggy to recognize Gaz's voice. He quickly shot up from the floor, and quivered against the back wall, having lost all spirit to fight back.
"Please don't hurt me.."
He pleaded with the figure, still unsure who it was who looked into his quivering face, and his entire body shook violently. Gaz managed a cocky grin, but it lasted only a few short seconds.
"Hurt you? Dib I haven't come to hurt you, only your spirit."
It was quite obvious she'd lost the true pleasure she got out of seeing Dib suffering, and her voice was weak and blank, still unable to cope with the conditions he was currently in. Once having the time to focus, he finally recognized who conversed with him, and his eyes narrowed.
"Haven't you had enough fun out of me...yet? Your going to see me killed today, do you--really need to add on to the pain, Gaz? Or should I say, Second-Captain?"
He too had trouble speaking, but out of hunger and pain more than fear, like Gaz. She shook her head, no longer able to remain here.
"I'm..sorry you feel that way. It's just too bad you couldn't have avoided all this earlier by just giving in."
She turned and headed back to the exit, leaving Dib behind. Quickly he ran over to the bars of the cage and reached out his hand.
"No, wait! Come back!"
He wanted this conversation to last forever, despite all the pain it brought, because he knew it would be his last, but she had already left, and never heard his pleas. He sighed, knowing the next time her saw her, he would probably already be dead.
She left the jail as fast as she could, the images of that horrible place still fresh in her mind. A few workers tried to give her a friendly greeting as she rushed away from the office building, but she just shoved them out of her way. She hid her face as much as possible, wanting no one to catch the tears, until she was in the safety of her suite. She quickly fell upon her bed, face-down, and just cried. Something she had never done in so many years, she just let herself go, cursing herself for ever getting wrapped up in something like this. She didn't want to see Dib killed, the conditions of his cell had told her that, but at the same time her brain told her it was all for the better of the majority, all for order and peace in society. Her mind was being pulled in two seperate directions all at once, and now, all the pain she'd felt in the last twenty years finally got to her, and she just cried, and didn't stop until she couldn't cry any longer.
He smiled in utter delight as he prepared to speak in front of his entire empire, servants waiting on his every need. Off on the sidelines, Gaz stood, having gotten over her earlier ordeal in the jail. Her eyes were still a bit red, but not enough to be very noticeable. Zim lifted up his arms as a slave slipped on the long robe he wore in these occasions. It was black, and had a picture of his face on the back, representing his Earthen Empire. When his attire was finished, he laughed in his normal maniacal way and turned to the Second-Captain.
"Today we see the end of the rebellion, the end to my long-lasted foe! Today he finally gets the revenge I've been planning for so long! Today, is the day, of Dib's final execution!"
Zim now stands on a large balcony, finishing the same speech he had started with Gaz, in front of a huge crowd of humans. He was held up on a small throne by four guards to make him appear bigger. He clapsed his small hands together as a sadistic grin spread across his face, and he looked over the cheering crowd.
"Guards! Bring me down to the execution platform! I want to get a good look at the end to my foe."
They quickly did as he ordered, and Gaz followed after him. They soon reached a large wooden platform, and Zim stood atop his throne, filled with anticipation of what lie ahead. He looked to Gaz, then to the line of guards assigned the duty of shooting the killing blows, and then to the crowd before him.
"And now, bring out the prisoner!!"
The crowd silenced as a large door swung open, and some masked guardspeople dragged out the rebel leader, his hands clasped behind his back, and his eyes covered in a blindfold. They violently chucked him to the ground before Zim, and he struggled to get back to his feet. Gaz watched the scene, once again numb to her feelings, but that barrier was quickly breaking. On Zim's command, two guards yanked Dib upward and ripped off his blindfold so he may see what was happening. Zim chuckled to himself, relishing in this moment to finally see his true victory; the destruction of Dib.
He looked around in fear at everything that surrounded him. The cheering crowd, the guards all holding their guns, his sister. She looked away as soon as he glanced over in her direction, so she would not have to see the pain held in his face. He took in a deep breath to appear strong, accepting his fate, and knowing there was nothing more he could do. He had failed--miserably. He had let Zim seize the control of the planet, he had let him brainwash his sister, and the rest of mankind. He had lost all his hopes and dreams, and was now going to die. His life was at its end, and he had no way of fighting back. He looked around at the faces of the crowd, at all their sneering, and laughing, and wondered if they could truly see the pain in his eyes, in his heart. He knew they couldn't. They had been forced to live a life under Zim, and had accepted the rebellion and anyone to do with it to be the spawn of the devil, and so truly did not see his pain.
But no, he realized. That wasn't right. And he figured it out right then. They did see his pain. They saw the emptiness, the torture, the suffering. They saw it all, they knew it all. They just..didn't care. They didn't care that he had lost everything in the world. They didn't care about the hunger, the loneliness. They didn't care. He stood there, oblivious as the guards were given their orders, and as they pointed their guns at him. If they didn't care, neither did he.
It was finally happening. The day he had so longed for was finally here. He stood, wide-eyed and bursting with the anticipation of the gunfire, when suddenly his eyes caught Gaz's stare. She looked to her brother, and not with a look of numbness and cold-heartedness, but with a look of pain and despair. She was feeling for her brother! No! How could this be?! Her loyalty was to the Earthen Empire, not the rebellion!
"Waaait! Hold your fire!"
He quickly leaped off his throne and ran to one of the gun-holders, grabbing his weapon. He then stepped over to his Second-Captain, a sly and sadistic grin holding across his face.
"You say you'd never help your brother in the future, but I think it's time you prove your loyalty, Second-Captain."
With that said, he handed over the gun, and she hesitantly looked down at it, not quite ready to take it in her hands.
"You do realize that if you don't take this gun, you will be executed as well for having loyalty to the rebellion."
She gasped as she remembered, and took the silver weapon within her grasp, holding it in her palms. She looked down to Zim, and his sadistic expression. Must always do for the better of the society. She then looked up to Dib, who had given up all hope. But he was the only family she had left. Go with society, or stand up for her family? Where did her loyalty lie?
This was the moment of truth...
She stood there in silence, staring at the gun she held in her hands. Everyone around her was just as silent, waiting for the moment she would bring the gun up to Dib's head and shoot. Her violet hair blew in the wind as she thought over her next move. Could she, the one who had followed under Zim's command for the last twenty years, and the one that had despised everything Dib ever did before that, really shoot her own brother? She flipped the silvery death over in her hands and grasped the trigger.
With a quivering breath, she shakily moved her hands upward, to aim the barrel of the gun point-blank at Dib's forehead. He tightly shut his eyes and gritted his teeth, awaiting the sudden pain that was sure to come, and she quickly looked away. She stood there for a few moments, the gun aimed directly at Dib, and her fingers held on the trigger, pulling it back ever so slightly. Then she stopped, as if her mind had just suddenly been opened, and she had a new outlook on life. She stared into the crimson depths that were Zim's eyes, and how he stared back at her, the cold look of a murderer wrapped in his expression. She gazed over his green skin, the antenna that stuck out the top of his head, and the robe tied to his shoulders.
She looked to the gun she held, and up at her shaking brother, and it hit her. She couldn't do this. Slowly, she brought the gun down and away from Dib, and held it in front of her. She just couldn't do it.
Dib's eyes slowly opened back up when he never heard the gunshot, and realized Gaz had gone back on her loyalty to the Earthen Empire, right when she had the chance to do what she had dreamed of her entire life. Zim, and everyone else, stared at her defiance in shock, and waited for their leader's reaction.
"Excuse me? W-what did I hear you just say?"
"I said no, goddamnit!"
With that she threw the gun to the ground, shooting off a nasty explosion into the audience. She huffed in anger and yanked out the band in her hair, letting it fall all around her shoulders. Zim blinked in shock before quickly taking action.
"Guards! Seize her at once!"
They quickly ran up and grabbed her by her arms, as she struggled to get free. They pulled at her painfully, and she quickly stopped, having already known just how hopeless this whole situation really was. She stood there, held down by the guards, and awaited the fate Zim would have ready for her. But suddenly Dib kicked out, knocking one of the guards violently in the knee. He let go of Gaz and rubbed his sore leg, and she quickly took this opportunity to pummel her fist into the face of the other guard, knocking him out cold. She ran for the edge of the platform, yanking Dib away, and jumped into the crowd below, hoping to ward off Zim's sentries with the traffic.
Their plan backfired, however, when the guards took to simply shooting down any screaming civilians if they got in their way. Running as fast as they could, the siblings pushed through the crowds, Dib slowed not only because of his handcuffs, but due to the fact he hadn't eaten in over a week. As she ran, Gaz leaned down and tore off one of her high-heels, chucking it behind her and smacking one of the guards in the face. She commenced to do the same with the other, to buy them both the time they needed to make their escape. Quickly they slipped into a small alleyway, and Gaz fumbled to fit the key to Dib's handcuffs into the hole, but continued to miss in her hurry.
They could soon hear the yelling and screaming as Zim's minions began to catch up to them.
"Hurry Gaz, they're almost here!"
Finally, she managed to sink the key into its socket, and twisted it, freeing Dib from his trap, while sweat dripped from her forehead.
"Got it!"
Instantly the pair leapt to their feet and turned to run, only to realize they were caged in by a huge concrete wall behind them, much too tall to climb. Suddenly, one guard slipped up behind them, and shot at them with his lazer gun. They quickly ducked, missing the lazer by millimeters, and covered their heads as the blast hit the wall, creating a huge explosion. As the smoke began to clear, they caught note that the lazer had made a huge hole in the wall, and their chance for freedom. They ran through onto the other side of the wall, but quickly Gaz blindly turned around and back to the guard, grabbing his lazer gun, and handcuffing him to a large pole.
"Thanks for the gun. I'll be seein' ya."
She swirved back to her brother and together they ran off. Stupidly, the other guards stopped at their trapped friend and hurried to free him.
"Fools! They're getting away!"
Zim cried out as he watched the forms of Dib and Gaz slowly fade into the distance.
The two walked down the deserted street, having lost Zim's minions for the time being. They said nothing to each other as they moved, but simply gave quick glances every once in a while. Finally Dib broke the uneasy silence.
"Gaz, why'd you save me back there? Why didn't you just kill me? It would have been better."
"Can't you ever just take something without having to question it? I still have a gun, you know."
She spoke in annoyance at Dib, not wanting to admit the feelings she'd had earlier.
"Yeah, I know."
They continued forward, knowing that stopping would let Zim find them all the easier. Gaz's skirt was ripped and torn, and she had many bruises and cuts, while Dib was just a complete mess all over. He couldn't open one eye, and he was near fainting with every new movement. She tried not to look at her brother because it always just sent her into despair, something she really didn't need any more of at the moment.
"So...what was your life like as a rebel?"
She tried to spark up a conversation to pass time, knowing they would soon be found, and no doubt killed. Dib groaned as she brought up the touchy topic, because even after all that had happened, his memory still failed him.
"It was..uh..interesting, I guess. Lots of..action."
He paused for a moment and looked back up to his sister, who was looking off into the distance.
"What about you? Were you really as happy as you played to be?"
She slowly shook her head at his question, realizing she had never been truly happy. Zim only told her she was happy, and she followed along. The only thing she'd done with her life since his take-over. Follow along. She followed along with Dib when he wouldn't give in, and then to Zim when she did. She may have been incredibly powerful, but that part of her life was over, and she was happy, now.
"It doesn't really matter, does it? We both made the same mistakes."
They fell silent again, not knowing what else to say. But after all these years, after all their fights and squabbles, after everything that had happened, they were finally happy, and not angry to have to be around each other.
"There they are!"
The two swirved around at hearing Zim's voice to see he had finally found them again, and they instantly took off running. In seconds, Zim's many minions took off after them, shooting their lazers and bullets trying to get a good shot in. They zipped around a corner, their legs like jelly as they tried to get away.
"Dib! You go that way, I'll go this way! They can't chase us both!"
They quickly split up, and the guards all chased after Gaz, realizing she was in better shape than Dib, and would be the harder one of the two to catch. Their lazers hit all around her, causing the street to explode in small billows of concrete. She looked back, realizing just how close they were to catching her.
She reached into a pocket of her jacket and attempted to pull out the gun that she had stolen from the guard, but just as soon as it was out, she felt a sharp hot blast hit the back of her head as a lazer was shot out. Screaming in pain, she fell to the hard concrete below, sending the gun out hurling in front of her, and everything around her went black.
He watched as his sister was thrown down by Zim's lazers, and quickly rushed to her side. He lifted her lifeless body from the ground and looked into her face, searching for any signs of life that may still be there. But he was too late. She was already dead.
His lip quivered as he stared at her motionless body, hanging in his grip, and he slowly set her back down, wiping the tears from his face. He then turned to face Zim, his expression becoming one of pure hatred. He was furious, and Zim would know it.
"You monster! You killed Gaz, you KILLED my sister!"
"Yes, it is quite a pity, isn't it? She was such a hard worker. It's a shame she couldn't remember who her real leader was, and I wouldn't have had to do that to her."
He grinned mockingly at the raging Dib, knowing perfectly well just what a horrible crime he had committed. Dib ran on in fury at Zim, preparing to die. But if he was going to die now, he'd die fighting. He wasn't just going to let his rival rip his sister away from him, he was going to fight to the end for the hideous deed done against her. He reached up a fist and pummeled it into the side of Zim's face, watching as the small alien looked back up to him in hatred at Dib's actions.
As soon as Dib had lashed out at Zim, the remaining guards threw him to the ground, keeping him away from their leader as he still thrashed. Zim quickly grabbed a lazer gun from his nearby soldier, and aimed it at Dib.
"Prepare to die, Dib."
And with that simple sentence, Zim pulled the trigger on the gun, and the last thing Dib saw was a huge flash of red light.
He shot up screaming, a cold sweat dripping from his forehead. His chest heaved, and he quickly looked around. Wait a minute, he was back in his own room, in his own bed! He looked down at his pillow, which was soaked with his tears and sweat. But, what about Zim, what about all those guards, the prison? He felt at his chin. The beard, it was gone. Quickly he looked down at his clothing. He was back in his old trenchcoat, and it still had the rips and tears from the events earlier that night. His gaze then moved to the clock on his desk. 3:00 AM.
He quickly leaped out of his bed and ran to the bathroom, looking in the mirror. He still had his glasses, and his hair was back the way it should have been. Then he remembered, Gaz! He bolted out and away from the bathroom and to her bedroom, throwing open the door. He could see her form lying asleep in her bed, and he quickly ran up to her and began to shake her awake.
"Gaz! Gaz, wake up! Gaz!"
She looked at him with the look of death as she was violently thrown around.
"Dib, it's 3 in the morning! What do you want?!"
"Oh, Gaz you're alive!"
He instantly embraced her, squeezing all the air out of her chest, and she roughly pushed him away.
"Yeah I'm alive! Now let me sleep or I'll be forced to destroy you!"
She clenched her hand into a fist as she spoke, showing she meant business. She still had her old spunk! He rejoiced and left her room, slowly making his way back to the bathroom, giggling insanely. It was all a dream. Everything that had happened was a dream. He turned on the faucet and began to wash his face, cleaning away all the tears and sweat that was plastered on his skin. It was all a dream. The jail, Zim as ruler, his cellmates. All a dream. But, it felt so real! He could feel the pain, the hunger, the despair. He felt the betrayal, the hopelessness, as if he had actually lived it.
And that's when he noticed the gash on his neck, right where the lazers had hit him just before he woke up...