Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Insert Paranoid Alien Hunter Here

Rhia's communicator beeped at her hip. She looked down at the blinking, modified cell phone at her hip, and then up at the two pans in her hands and the third she needed to move on the stove. Frustration mounted as she couldn't put either pan down, or pick up the call on her communicator.

She growled, sighed in defeat and put a pan down on a pot holder where hopefully it wouldn't sear a dark brown ring into her countertop.

She wedged the communicator between her shoulder and ear. "Rhia here. What's up?" She took the third pan and moved it to a cool element to simmer down.

Alice's voice squeaked over the speakers. "Uhm, Rhia, could you come down to the monitor room? There's a fandom that's popped up and I don't recognize it."

"Erm... maybe?" She glanced between all three pans, metaphorically throwing her hands up, and just shoved all three into her stasis cabinet. "Yeah, sure, I'll be there in a minute. I just have to turn a few things off first. I wish Jess wasn't busy at the moment, I'd just call her in to finish things."

Giggles sounded through the communicator. "Yeah... she kinda somewhat kidnapped another band member from Nightwish. She's... still busy I think. Leonard's not happy."

"When is he ever happy?" Rhia rolled her eyes. "Get him a meat-lovers or stick him in front of Shirley and he should be satisfied for a little while." She clicked off the light and closed the door behind her. "I'm on my way now. Anything you can tell me to help identify the fandom?"

"A little green thing with big red eyes and antennae?"

"Uhm... Anything else?"

"Yes, but I don't think I could describe it very well. It's a cartoon, if that helps."

Rhia's eyes went wide. "Yes... that helps... I'll pick up my pace a bit."

The door to the Monitor room slammed open and bounced against the wall, nearly hitting Rhia in the face as she walked through. "Has the door always been like that, Alice?"

"I dunno." She shrugged. "It's been like that since I started my shift. I don't think it likes me."

"Ah. Sorry about that, then. What's the fandom?"

The older Brit turned a screen and keyboard towards Rhia. "Here's the first thing that showed up when the alarms went off."

Rhia took one glance at the screen and face-palmed, and then slowly dragged her hand down her face in exasperation. "You. Have got. To be kidding me."

"What? What's so bad about this fandom? For one thing, what is this fandom?"

"You've never heard of Invader Zim?"


"Be glad you haven't. Be very, very glad."

Alice blinked. "Why?" And then blinked again when she saw Rhia's face. "I don't want to know, do I?"

"No. Not really. Not unless you have a large shipment of Brain Bleach coming in. And from what I've heard from Nixie, this week's shipment is late."

"That bad?"

"Depends if you like crack or not. And gratuitous violence."

"Ah." Alice nodded in not-quite-comprehension and typed a little bit more on her keyboard. Rhia joined her.

"What level sue do we have? And how the heck would a sue manipulate Invader Zim? That world is so full of crack it would reject any changes a sue would make."

"It's a low level sue..." More typing. "Nothing higher than four, I think. She may be hiding, and waiting to gather strength."

Rhia snorted. "Well, she sure isn't going to be able to do it in that fandom."


"It's Invader Zim. There is very little in the way of logic in that fandom." The chef paused and a smirk grew on her face. "Oh, I'm looking forward to this now. I just need a few things."

Alice tilted her head to the left. "What do you need that's out of the normal?"

"Oh, well, my frying pan will be the only weapon I'll need, but I'll need to grab some Firebrand Whiskey from Ben."

"Really? Isn't that overly dosed with sugar?" Alice asked, an eyebrow quirking up.

"Yeah. 'S the only way I'll get out of that fandom sane…"

"Ooooh." Alice nodded in comprehension. "Have fun!"


The first thing that caught Rhia's attention in the Invader Zim fandom was her reflection.

"Oh, you have got to be kidding me." Besides the frying pan slung on her back, Prohibitor at her right hip and bottle of Firebrand Whiskey at her left, the agent didn't have any new additions. But it was the way she was portrayed that displeased her.

Simplistic and exaggerated, Rhia's head was the biggest thing on her. In general, she looked like a grown-up Gaz with brown hair and Dib's glasses.

It irked her.


Enough for an eye-twitch.

She turned away from her reflection in a store window and unscrewed the cap from the Firebrand Whiskey she borrowed from Ben. She was surprised by the taste. 'No wonder Ben loves this stuff so much.'

She shrugged and started her walk through the city to Dib's house. She figured that was the best place to start. She took another sip of Ben's overly-sugared iced tea.

"Now… how to get Dib to not shoot me on sight…."

"Gaz, get the door!" Dib's voice came from upstairs.

Gaz, lounging on the couch with a video game in hand asked wryly, "Why should I, big head?"

Dib rolled his eyes. "Because I said so!" A beat. "My head's not big!"

"Mmmm… Yes it is, and how about this?" Gaz mimed thinking, a hand on her cheek and eyes towards the ceiling. "NO!"

"Fine." Dib grumbled and stomped down the stairs, interrupted from going over what little footage he had of Zim. It was mostly static.

He opened the front door and was greeted with the sight of a teen girl. This immediately confused him.

"Agent Mothman?"

His confusion only lessened a little. "Yes?" He narrowed his eyes.

"Agent Frying Pan. Nice to meet you." She held her hand out to him. He didn't take it. "Ah."

"What are you doing here?" He gave her a small glare, most of the other agents at the Swollen Eyeball Network didn't much like him, and he doubted that they would send an agent to help him with Zim.

"Aaaah… Can we talk somewhere more…" She pointedly looked to Gaz. "More private?"

Dib huffed. "Fine. C'mon." He led her to his room and shut the door. "What are you doing here?" he hissed.

"Hey! Hey!" Frying Pan held out her hands in supplication. "Calm down! I was investigating something and a lead brought me here. I thought I would link up with another agent."

"Uh-huh. And why haven't I heard of you before?"

She looked down at her feet. "New agent."

"Oh. Welcome."


Dib hopped into the chair at his desk and spun around. "So, what are you here for?"

She leaned against the door jam. "I'm hunting down rumors of a being that can warp reality as we know it and cause complete and total mind control over time. Has anything new come in on your end?"

Dib turned to his laptop and started typing frantically. "No… not that I can tell."

"All right. Guess I'll have to hit the streets." She took a swig of something from a flask at her hip.

"I've got a question."


"Agent Frying Pan?"

She sighed and brought said object from behind her. "My signature weapon. More effective than a rubber mallet could ever be!" She grinned and held it out proudly.




"Yes, Master?" GIR scampered up to Zim, chomping on a cupcake.

He looked down at the robot. "Why are you eating a filthy cupcake?"

"I like it!" GIR finished it off and rubbed his belly. "Cupcakes are gooood!"

Zim shook his head. "Nevermind. GIR! I have another plan to destroy the Dib-thing and conquer Earth! It is my plan of DOOOOOOM!"

GIR chirped and started bouncing around the lab. "Doom doom doom! Doom-do-do-doom doom doom!"

"GIR! Sing the Doom Song later! Right now we have to get the lasers ready! And the bait! Can't forget the bait!" A human sized test-tube rose out of the floor, a young blonde inside, her arms crossed and a pout on her face. "MUWAHAHAHAHAHAAAA! Dib will not be able to get out of this trap! And then I will CONQUER THE WORLD!"

The blonde tapped on the glass. "My name is Deliha!"

Zim spun. "Be silent! I am having my villain moment. It is good for my self-esteem!" He glared at her for a moment before starting up again. "MUWAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA!"

"Doom doom do-do-doom! Dooooom!" GIR stopped for a moment, clearly deep in thought. "TACOS!"

Zim sighed. "Fine, GIR, we'll get tacos on our way out…"



"Dib! There's a dog at the door for you!"

Dib craned his head over the stair railing. "What? I don't have a dog!"

Gaz rolled her eyes. "I told you! There's a dog at the door for you. Now get down here, big head!"

"My head's not big!" Dib stomped down the stairs, Agent Frying Pan following after him. Dib opened the door and looked down, only to spazz out and point dramatically. "GIR! What are you doing here?"

Frying Pan peered over Dib's shoulder and saw a small green dog standing on its hind legs, snacking on a taco. The dog shrugged and waved with his free hand. "Hello!"

Dib glared. "What are you doing here?"

GIR shoved the rest of the taco into his mouth. "Master wanted me to come get you."

Dib blinked. "He did?"

"Uh-huh!" GIR smiled and his tail wagged.

"Um. Okay. Let me go get a couple things…" Dib dashed back up the stairs to his room.

Frying Pan knelt and met GIR's eyes. "So you're GIR. I've heard a lot about you. Can I tell you something?

GIR's head bobbled as he nodded enthusiastically.

"You're adorable!" She let out a high-pitched fan-girl squeal and grabbed GIR in a hug before he knew what was happening. Not that he minded. In fact, he hugged her right back.

"GIR loves hugs!"

Frying Pan giggled. "So do I. My name's Rhia, but not that I can tell Dib that… for some dumb reason." She sighed.

Dib came halfway down the stairs and nearly face-planted into the last half when he saw Frying Pan hugging GIR. "WHAT are you DOING?"

She blinked innocently at him. "I'm hugging him. He's adorable. I can't help it."

"He's my archrival's henchman! How can you hug him?"

Frying Pan just kept giving him an innocent look.

He sighed and slumped his shoulders. "Oh, all right. Let's go."

They both cheered. "Yay!"


Zim stood at the end of a street a couple of blocks away, laser gun that was nearly as big as he was in his hand and what counted for his hip (more likely his squidely-splootch) jutted out at an angle, all attitude and cocky confidence.

"YOOOOOoooou! Dib-thing! Today is the day that you meet your doooom! And then I will take over this disgusting planet!"

Dib whipped out his own laser gun and aimed it at Zim. "In your dreams, Zim!"

Zim smirked. "Them my dreams are about to become reality! MUWAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA!"

He brought a remote control out of nowhere, and jammed the big red button on it. The pavement under them rumbled and shook and then broke apart systematically, walls coming up to surround them and runner lights lining the bottom.

Zim's voice came out of nowhere, surrounding them. "Hahahaha! Welcome to my Laser Tag Maze of Doooom! I assume you know the rules of Laser Tag, Dib-thing, so I'll skip right to the chase! Look up! If you win, you get to save this girl-thing that I kidnapped earlier!"

Above the maze, suspended in a cage was a blonde girl. Dib's eyes widened at the sight of her. "Let her go, now!"

Rhia blinked. 'Oh dear. I think I found the sue.'

Dib yelled up at the girl in the cage. "I'll get you out of there, I swear!"

She sighed. 'Yeap, that's the sue all right. Dib usually ignores everything else if Zim's around… Oh well.'

Rhia turned and smacked a copyright on the back of Dib's head. "Snap out of it! Zim's your goal here, not her!"

He shook his head hard, and nodded at her. "Right. Thanks."

"Hm. GIR?" The robot in question looked up.


"Take us to Zim? I need to talk to him… that girl isn't as helpless as she looks."

He nodded. "Okay! But only if you get me more tacos afterward."

Rhia grinned. "Sure. I'll even make'em myself. Ever had homemade tacos, GIR?"

The robot shook his head and nearly went off like a shot, excited to get homemade tacos. Dib and Rhia were hard-pressed to keep up with him.

GIR ran cheering to his master, crowing about homemade tacos. "Tacos! Master! Rhia offered to make me tacos! She's nice! Can we keep her? Pleaseeeee?"

Dib blinked. "Rhia?"

"My real name."


Zim blinked, and then peered up in annoyed confusion at the female agent. "Who are YOU?"

She grinned and pulled out her frying pan, squeezing the handle. "I am agent Rhia of the Anti-Cliché and Mary-Sue Elimination Society! And I am here to arrest…."She trailed off and looked up at the sue in the cage. "Hey, sue, what's your name?"

"Deliha Brightflower! And there's no way you'll get me! Dib won't let you! Right, Dib?" She smiled at him. Dib just shrugged it off.



Rhia coughed to get attention. "Excuse me. I am here to arrest Deliha Brightflower on charges of attempted fandom manipulation. Deliha, you really shouldn't have picked Invader Zim to hide in. The crack makes you stand out like a sore thumb."

Zim growled at the mention of his name. "This is my take-over-the-world plan! You can't have it! Gooo Awaaaaay!" He stomped his foot.

Rhia rolled her eyes. "Oh, shush. You can have the next one. I need to deal with this." She took her frying pan and bounced Zim like a paddle and ball, and then when he bounced high enough she wound up her arm and sent Zim flying over the maze and into the horizon, him screaming all the way.


She sighed. "That's dealt with."

Dib's eyes went wider than normal. Rhia giggled.

"See, I told you. Frying pans make wonderful weapons."

"Um…yeah. Okay. Thanks." He scratched his head. "I gotta go after him now. You got everything here?"

She nodded. "Yeah, I'm good."

"Right. See you!"

Rhia watched Dib and GIR leave the maze, going out the way they came, and then looked for a button to lower the sue out of the cage so she could Prohibit her.

"Zim is short… so his button would be low to the ground…."

Alarms blared in the Monitor room as scanners picked up an influx of Sue energy entering Invader Zim. Alice felt panic running up her spine as she spotted the read-outs.

"Oh Crap Sticks…" She reached over and smacked a big red button on a side panel, sending alarms blaring throughout the Library. She flipped open her comm. "Adrian, there's a Sovereign in the Invader Zim fandom, and Rhia's in there!"

"All right. Stay calm. I'll be there in a moment. Keep a track on Rhia so we can pull her out."

"I am, but it's getting weak. I think the Sovereign's shutting down our connection with that fandom. Crap crap crap…"

Adrian stormed through the door, Phoenixia, Tash, and Cristoph on his heels. This time the door behaved and did not bounce back to hit anyone in the face. "What's the situation, Alice?"

Alice's fingers nearly slammed into the keyboard. "I tried getting a hold of Rhia with her comm. No luck. At this point in time, we've got visual camera feed. Nothing else."

Adrian's eyes narrowed. "This Sovereign wants us to watch."

Cristoph growled at the screen, where it seemed Rhia still had no idea there was a Sovereign in the fandom with her. "Can't you do anything, Lord Adrian?" His eyes were cold, and hard as steel.

"I can sure as hell try." He turned the keyboard that Alice freely gave up. "Phoenixia?"

"Gotcha." She was already typing frantically at one keyboard, and another screen on the other side of the room looked like information was being added to it by a ghost—Phoenixia's work.

Tash put a hand on Cristoph's shoulder. "It'll be okay."

"I hope so, Lady Tash."


Rhia was watching the cage holding Deliha descend with a mechanical whine when she felt a very, very strong presence behind her. She whirled, fist flying and had a fleeting wish that she had brought her knives. She blinked and the person wasn't where her fist was aimed anymore. She jerked her head and saw a blue-eyed, brown haired late teen/twenty-something leaning against the maze wall, jean-clad legs crossed at the ankles and arms folded over his chest. His hair was a little messy and felt a bit over his eyes. His gamer T-shirt was a little wrinkled but clean, and he was smiling at Rhia.

"Hey!" He grinned and jumped off the wall, bouncing on the balls of his feet. "My name's Passion and I know who you are, Agent Rhia." He said when she opened her mouth. "Yeah, I'm a Sovereign, but I've heard some cool things about the Society. I've even heard a couple things about you!" He grinned again and moved around like he couldn't stand still. It was like watching an extra large five-year-old high on sugar. "I've heard you're a gamer. So, do you wanna play a game?" He smiled at her then, like his suggestion was the best thing in the world, and he had just offered it to her.

He frowned and then looked down, scuffing at the ground with his foot. "'Course, if you don't want to, I guess things could get a little messy." He immediately perked up. "But I'm sure that won't happen!"

Rhia nodded and forced a smile on her face. "Sure, I'll play a game." Dread was building at the pit of her stomach.

He jumped and clapped his hands. "Fantastic! Stay right there! I'll get your opponent." And he dashed off to the cage that was still holding Deliha.

It only took him a minute and then both Deliha and Rhia were standing, facing Passion with Laser pistols in their hands.

He grinned again. "You two are gonna play Laser Tag! Just like Zim wanted but didn't quite get the chance to do. Great use of a frying pan, by the way, Rhia."


"So. Winner gets to leave the fandom free and completely unharmed. Deliha, could you shoot in that corner please?"

The sue aimed and quickly squeezed and released the trigger. A bright red laser came shooting out and left a small crater in the cement. Both the sue and Rhia swallowed at the sight.

Passion nodded. "Thanks, Deliha. Your goal is to take out your opponent. Unconscious, dead, no longer have their hands because you lasered them off… doesn't matter to me. The rules. No leaping over maze walls. Pretend there's a ceiling at the top of those walls. Neither of you can go through walls so neither of you can be on top of them." Passion thought for a second. "Aaaand… that's about it for rules." He nodded. "I'll take Deliha to the other side of the maze, give you two a couple minutes to collect yourselves, get yourselves psyched, and then I'll sound the buzzer and start the game. May the best sharp-shooter win!" He grinned at them both and led Deliha to the other end of the maze.

Rhia watched him go and waited until he was out of sight to pull out her comm. "Alice? Alice, come in!" Nothing but static. Not good. Rhia swallowed again, put her comm. away and started examining the pistol. Light, easy to hold, simple to use. And what looked like a very large battery. She wouldn't be running out of ammo any time soon.

She raised her head and took stock of her surroundings. Plenty of corners, but plenty of intersections that made those corners vulnerable too. This wasn't going to be easy.

She swallowed again and wished her mouth wasn't so dry. She reached for the flask at her hip and nearly whimpered when she shook it and found it empty.

She closed her eyes and took a breath. She could do this. She was one of the best snipers in the Society. This would be a piece of cake.

She opened her eyes again just in time for the buzzer and Passion's shout of "Game start!"

Rhia slammed her back to a wall, pistol up and scanning for her target.

She made her way slowly through the maze, taking each corner one at a time, nerves building as time passed and there was no sign of Deliha. She had to make an appearance sometime…

Rhia turned halfway around the next corner and saw Deliha. Actually, she nearly ran right into her. They both jerked back from each other and fired, Deliha's shot going slightly wide and Rhia's shot skimming her shoulder. She hissed and retreated around a corner. Rhia let her so she could catch her breath.

'Okay. There she is.' Her eyes narrowed. 'Go get her.'

Rhia jerked sharply around the corner, gun in front and already firing, aiming for Deliha's center mass. Deliha "eeeped" and dived behind another wall further back, cutting off Rhia's line of sight. Rhia almost growled.

A blast of red light shot across Rhia's vision and she jumped, and saw Deliha had crept back up and was shooting at her. She dive rolled for another wall and made it halfway there when Deliha got a lucky shot in and scored on Rhia's left shoulder.

Rhia tumbled into her temporary cover and clutched at her burned shoulder. The shirt was completely burned away and the skin was smoking. A short visit to the med ward, that was for sure. She gritted her teeth and blocked out the pain as best she could. She didn't need her left arm to shoot. She could do this.

She peeked out from the edge of the wall and scanned the area. Deliha wasn't hiding anywhere nearby. Rhia ducked and ran to another corner to her right and leaned against the wall. It was getting hard to concentrate. She couldn't hear anything but her heartbeat pounding in her ears. It jacked up her nerves even more.

She took another deep breath and turned the corner, only to see Deliha running for another hiding spot. She quickly took aim and hit her on the thigh, causing Deliha to cry out and fall forward, and scramble to cover.

Rhia leaned back against her wall and breathed. Just a couple more shots and this would be over. Yeah, she could do that. She went to look around the corner one last time when a voice came from over her head.

"Heh. Got you."

Rhia looked up and saw Deliha, balanced rather precariously with one leg useless, on top of the maze wall. Rhia swallowed.

Deliha's finger started to squeeze the trigger when a blur appeared on the wall next to Deliha and pushed her down and through three other maze walls.

It was Passion, and he was pissed. "NO CHEATING!" He growled audibly and stalked up to Deliha, who was groaning, half conscious in the rubble. "Cheaters get disqualified." He snarled again and threw her through another wall, knocking her completely unconscious.

Passion picked the sue up by her collar and dropped her at Rhia's feet. He gave her a small smile. "You win. Congrats. Your reward," He gestured to the sue. "And you can go home now. I think your friends are worrying." He gave her a smile and started to walk off. "It was nice playing with you!" He vanished into a plothole.

Rhia flopped to the ground and shivered. The adrenalin was wearing off fast, and the pain in her shoulder was making itself very well known.

She only realized she'd bowed her head when she looked up again to another plot hole opening in front of her. She stared at the swirling lights until a figure formed and exited.

Cristoph dropped to his knees at Rhia's side, already pulling out a medical wipe and some bandages. "Rhiannon, are you all right?" He started dabbing at the wound on her shoulder.

"Y-yeah, I'm okay…" She swallowed again and hissed at the sting of the disinfectant. "Just a bit shaky."

Cristoph nodded and the corners of his eyes crinkled. He was smiling. "You did well." He stroked her cheek gently.

"Yeah…" She stared at Cristoph as he wrapped her shoulder. "Cristoph?"

"Hmmm?" He finished off tying the bandage, tucking the end into the wrappings. "Yes, mil—Mmnph!"

Rhia had quickly tugged down his cowl and kissed him hard. She broke it after a long minute and leaned into him, her body shaking as it came down the sugar and adrenalin high. He wrapped an arm around her.

"Let's go home."

She nodded.

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