"Good morning, class. Welcome to another day in which you will all come slightly closer to realizing the futility of your respective existences."

Zim shifted in his seat. His contacts were unusually painful today. Damn this Earthen humidity.

"Because the school has not yet allowed a system which would allow you to identify each other through the scent of unique pheromones sprayed across your child-like, and thus especially porous, hides, I'll introduce you to your newest classmates." Mrs. Bitters swept her hand in an arch across her body and towards the doorway, where two shadowy figures stood.

"We get a lot of new students in this class," Dib commented. Tensely, he rolled a pencil across his desk.

Somewhere in the distance, the faint music of some equally faint Bach concerto could be heard. There was the tap of a bootheel against the linoleum floor. "Pleased to meet you, my illustrious classmates."

The pencil plummeted off of Dib's desk and onto the ground.

"I hardly know how to introduce myself. How can I say it? My name is..."

There was a rustle of nylon, and a different voice whispered, "Psssttt, your name...your name is OPHELIA! Yuhmmp. Yump is it. I mean it is. Nerrh."

A sudden ray of sunlight illuminated the previously shadowed figures. A girl with dark hair and wide eyes stepped forward. "Leave it to my sister to spoil the surprise," she grumbled.

The sister in question waved from within a casing of several nylon snowjackets, oversized and piled on top of each other. "Helllooohmph," she said.

"Yes, my name is Ophelia. My parents were very dramatic people. Before they died." Ophelia paused dramatically. "Actually they're not dead, but this morning my mom drank a mug of chicken fat instead of coffee."

"She did, toomph," Ophelia's sister added. "Rermph."

"At any rate, let me tell you something about myself. I'm not one to say whether or not we may become friends, but...I can only hope. Actually I don't really want to become friends that much, but it sounded nice. Yes, at any rate, my name is OPHELIA! Bow to me. Later." Ophelia glanced about the room, waiting for a reaction.

Dib stared at her. Zim seemed to be poking his eye.

"I like..." Ophelia continued, "...stuffed unicorns. The horrible mysteries of the occult. Hot cocoa. Uncovering mammoth government conspiracies." In a clandestine tone, she added, "And I have before, too. Oh, by the way, did I mention that my main interest is extraterrestrial life? No, I guess I didn't."

Dib clenched his teeth and continued staring. He shot a few glances over at Zim, but he appeared otherwise occupied.

"Lastly, I'm allergic to mustard, so please...don't attempt to give me mustard as a gift or other such pleasantry." Ophelia looked toward the class. "Oh yeah, and that's my sister, Missy." Missy waved again.

"Thank you for wasting precious class time, Ophelia," said Mrs. Bitters. "Now let's devote the next six hours to staring at the blackboard."

Ophelia and Missy took their seats, which, conveniently enough, were beside Dib and Zim, respectively.


Recess. Blazing sunlight beat down upon the youthful heads of Dib and his classmates.

"I'll bet you don't know what to make of me," Ophelia said.

Dib started and recoiled back against the wall of the Skool. He said nothing.

Ophelia continued, "But perhaps you've realized that I'm interested in everything you are. As such, I am your perfect match."

Dib continued to say nothing. He somehow felt that a weapon was in order here, but, inexplicably, had nothing on him.

"So, where to begin our long friendship?" Ophelia grinned. "I'm not sure. It's so hard to find a beginning for a life-altering event. Trust me, I know." She scratched her chin.

"L-listen, I have"

"Dib! Of course. Why don't you come to my house this afternoon? Hm..I'll email you the directions. We'll talk more this afternoon then." Ophelia's smile grew impossibly wide. "Although because of our incredible compatibility, I doubt we'll have much to talk about. Perhaps we can find a way of communicating without actually speaking." Walking by Dib, Ophelia brushed his arm with the tips of her fingers. "I'm sure the aliens have already learned as much."

Watching her leave, Dib shuddered. He quickly shed his trenchcoat and heaved it over the fence.


Zim was suddenly aware of the sound of heavy breathing. He began to turn around.


Zim shrieked and jumped back and towards a nearby picnic table. He scrutinized the attacker. "Who be you, lumpybeast?"

"Hiiiiimph!" Missy waved again. She walked toward Zim, who proceeded to climb higher atop the picnic table and menace her with his claw-like hands.

"AWAY with you, hideous creature!"

Missy shambled up onto the picnic table and, to Zim's dismay, circled the powerless Irken in an all-encompassing bearhug. He began to scream and frantically attempted to kick the nylon-encased Missy away from him.

After a few useless air-kicks, Zim's foot hit its mark. Missy's hood fell down, and, for the first time that day, one of the students of Mrs. Bitter's class was able to see Missy's face.

"Tallest, what manner of Earthen lunacy is THIS?" Zim exclaimed, and stopped attempting to brutalize the girl in front of him.

Her skin was smooth and green, with few blemishes, her scarlet eyes ringed in long, dark lashes. Shining black antennae swirled into curving spirals from the back of her skull. "Hellooornmmph," she drawled. Her teeth were purple, like shining zippers. She had no nose.

"But surely it can't be..." Zim began, as Missy hugged him tighter. "As I was..."


"...the only Irken assigned to the planet Earth." Zim drew back. "What does this mean?"


"Whoa, you look...really bad." Gaz stared at her brother, who limped away from the school building as if he had been run over by a large vehicle.

"You have absolutely no idea," Dib answered, staring straight ahead.

From the curb, Ophelia waved at Dib. "Five o'clock, remember Dib!" She gestured towards her watch. "We have much to discuss!" She dashed across the street, dark hair streaming behind her.

Gaz slowly turned toward Dib and regarded him with one open eye. She then reached into her backpack and brought out her Gameslave. The screen lit up and Gaz began to walk away.

Dib shuddered.


As it turned out, Ophelia was not very good at waiting. At four o'clock, the doorbell began to ring.

"Helloooo!" called Ophelia. She peered in through the glass peephole in the middle of the door. "Dib! Come and answer your door! Can you not see that I am waiting for you?"

During all of this, Dib was safely hidden in the cabinets beneath the kitchen sink. "It's not even five yet..." he whimpered.

"Dib! I've come to share my darkest secrets with youu!" There was a pause. "And I brought Missy."

"Im have coomkiess!!"

"Surely a being such as Dib could not be swayed by mere coomkies! I mean cookies!"

"Bummtph..theym is chomco chips!"

"Blast you! Your masculine voice is dissatisfactory to the Dib within! Dib! Listen to me! My voice is infinitely more feminine than that of my sister!"

"Youm maken me sniff sniff cry momomomo."

"Quiet, Missy! Dib! Listen!"

"I talling mom-o who."

Dib waited fifteen minutes, until the noise subsided and he felt that things were safe. The cabinet door creaked open.

"Ah ha! I knew that you would emerge from your cabinet prison!" Ophelia swooped down and grabbed Dib by the shoulders. Her smile was grim.

"How did you get inside?" Dib looked frantically around him, and noticed Gaz standing in the doorway. She smiled.

"First we will start our meeting with a glass of soda and a blood ceremony," Ophelia told Dib, still holding onto his shoulders. She said cheerfully, "It's really cool. You take a knife and..."

Dib broke away and ran for the door.

"Missy! Follow him!" Ophelia yelled, and her snowjacket-clad sister barrelled after Dib.


The door slammed open, and Dib charged down the sidewalk, followed in close pursuit by Missy. Luckily, she was slow and seemed slightly disoriented.

Lacking anything better-resembling a prayer for his life, Dib screamed.


Zim walked along the sidewalk, head bent towards the ground. "Surely the Tallest felt that I was capable of handling this mission on my own...who better to incapacitate a race so horribly unprepared for a mass invasion as the hyuuumans?"

He paused. "But what...what would cause a female Irken to surface on this planet, a planet already assigned to me? An accident? Some twist of fate?" Zim bit his lip. "Fate, perhaps...ooh, these contacts are killling me!" He rubbed at his eyes.

Suddenly, a rush of air and a trembling of the earth indicated the arrival of a fleeing Dib and a pursuing Missy. Dib hardly noticed Zim as he passed.

Zim hardly noticed Dib. "Her...!" he exclaimed, watching Missy go by. He prepared to follow Dib and Missy.

He was summarily knocked over by Ophelia. "Make way, little boy! Destiny awaits me! The dark hand of the dark pit of DESTINY I SAY!" She rushed past.

Getting to his feet, Zim commented, "Weird girl."


He followed Dib and the two girls to the deserted playground of the Skool, where twilight was rapidly making long shadows of the trees and benches. A kickball rolled one way and then the other, lazily, in the warm breeze.

"It ends here, Dib," Ophelia said, her eyes half-closed. Missy stood, out-of-breath, beside her.

Dib backed up against the wall of the Skool.

"Don't worry, we can carry on a conversation here. But..I'm sensing a lack of cooperation on your part." Ophelia looked at Dib critically. "A relationship is a two-sided affair, Dib. Remember that."

"W-we don't belong together!" Dib blurted. What he had meant to say was, "Get away from me," but either way he felt a vague satisfaction mixed with copious amounts of pure and unadulterated fear.

"Im broughten my-mo coomkiess!" Missy looked pleased. She reached into one of her pockets and produced a large tin labeled, "TASTY BISCUITS."

"Does she have a problem?" Dib asked.

Ophelia turned away from him, allowing the breeze to blow through her long hair. "She was born with a hideous skin condition which left her with no nose, no ears, red eyes, no pupils. And, of skin." Turning toward her sister, Ophelia ripped away the girl's hood, exposing her face.

Dib turned away in disgust.

"Youm not likimph momo facings?" Missy asked tearfully. "Ladiesm at Clinique counter lyingm toom Missy."

"Don't worry Missy," Ophelia said. "Foundation and concealer may seem made to cover up every single blemish, but in reality, all they do is cover up said blemishes and lessen the grotesqueness of their appearance."

"Im...momo...Missy..was naive."

"Yes. Yes you were."

"A SKIN CONDITION?" From the shadows of the playground, Zim emerged. " are not an Irken?"

"What's an Irken?" asked Ophelia. "And who are you?"

Dib laughed. "Ha! And you call yourself an enthusiast of extraterrestrial life!" He pointed toward Zim. "Can't you even recognize an alien when you see one?"

Zim drew back and waited for Ophelia's response.

"An alien, eh?" She chuckled. "I may not be familiar with the Irken race, but perhaps you are familiar with...the Gardonian." There was a rip of cloth, and suddenly Zim and Dib were faced with a towering mountain of undulating black flesh.

Dib stared.

"You think that because you are of a race which destroyed an entire universe I will be afraid?" Zim began. "I am Invader Zim of the planet Irk! I will show you what fear is!" With a flourish, he removed his wig and contacts.

"Wooohmph, pretty mmpho!" Missy clapped her hands. She smiled and her human skin peeled back against her like a banana peel. Ophelia was joined by another Gardonian.

Zim and Dib both began to run for their lives.


"Zim!" Dib screamed, running down the street, "Do you know these things?"

"Pitiful hyuuman!" Zim jumped down over the curb and began to run in the street. "You know not of the ways of the cosmos!"

Dib looked over at him.

"Well, I know *of* them, and that's all that really counts," Zim said. They could hear the Gardonians bellowing in the background.

"How are we going to get rid of them?" Dib shouted.

"Quick, human! Allow them to feed on your flesh!" Zim looked over at Dib. "Perhaps that will give me time to escape!"

"Don't the Gardonians have some kind of alien-y weakness?"

Unfortunately, Zim was nowhere to be found. Unbeknownst to Dib, he had dived into an open sewage grate. Dib continued running, hoping blindly for a chance to save his life.


Strangely, it was quiet when Dib reached his house. No one appeared to be home. The faucet dripped. The television was static, blank and silent.

He was able to ask in a quavering voice if Gaz was home before the door shot out of its hinges and was propelled across the room. Shining black tentacles began to slither through the doorway.

Dib ran up the stairs and into his room, searching for some kind of a weapon. Anything. He frantically looked through empty boxes once bearing plasma guns, cannons, handcuffs, phasers.


He threw aside his laptop, tossed an alien model against the wall, and was about to give up hope, when, suddenly, he realized that an unopened package had been lying on his bed the whole time. Grabbing a nearby pair of scissors, Dib ripped through tape and cardboard and pulled forth the contents of the box.

Carpet was pulled from the floor and ripped into shreds and plaster fell from the ceiling and walls of Dib's room as Ophelia and Missy entered. "Back!" Dib shouted, hardly caring what he said. He felt for a trigger and found one, and with a burst of white-hot energy, everything was suddenly gone.

Black goo dripped from the ceiling. Bits of tentacle and unidentified fleshy organs wriggled on Dib's now-soaked carpet. "All right!" Dib shouted, and jumped onto his bed to do a victory dance. "Ha! All thanks to me and my..." he looked at his weapon "...rhinestone gun?"

"Why do I have a rhinestone gun?" Dib asked himself. "And...the Gardonians' weakness was...rhinestones?"

He stood in the middle of his bed, silent.


From inside the sewer, Zim wailed, "It's dark! GIR! Come in! Come in~! Where *are* you?"


"GIR! Come in! Please! It's humid!"