Perhaps the single most guarded secret of the Irken Empire was the fact that Irkens could still reproduce naturally. As far as any other society was concerned, there was no Irken left that could conceive a smeet and bring it to term without artificial means. However, that wasn't entirely true. For the most part, it was. To further the species and erase any birth defects, Irken scientists had perfected a method of removing the genitalia of the species. Without the ability to reproduce, the birthing facility was left to produce the offspring of the society. As such, any gene pool issues were erased, leaving a stronger, smarter race within just decades of the initiation of the project. Yet, every now and then, an Irken would slip through the removal process while still a young fetus. This Irken would be born with the ability to conceive naturally, regardless of actual gender. As both genders had a cavity now, it was physically possible for a uterus to form in either of the sexes. When the removal process was left incomplete, an Irken would form that uterus as the cavity would technically indicate a female. Regardless of gender, then, the Irken would be born with the unheard of ability to conceive smeets naturally.
The majority of these Irkens never discovered that they were Conceivers. Despite the ability, most never actually had sex in the manner in which Irkens could become pregnant. The act of giving oral sex had long been considered a demeaning act. Thus, few self respecting Irkens would give their partner the satisfaction of dominating them to the point of having them get down on the floor to pleasure them and solely them. Every now and then, though, a Conceiver would manage the feat of receiving oral sex from a fertile partner. In these rare cases, the Conceiver would become pregnant by natural means. The consequences of this were often fatal.
As per the Irken cultural laws, a Conceiver was forbidden from refusing the advances of a willing partner wishing to sire a smeet. The law went back to ancient times when miscarriages, birth defects, and stillborns were especially common. During those days, a Conceiver was a female Irken who could bare healthy and intelligent smeets. Conceivers were a rarity then as well. To further the species at the time, then, the Tallest and Super Computer had created a law that enabled able bodied males to couple with females with ripe wombs. Back in the day, the law had served it's purpose and kept the species from falling into ruin due to rapidly mutating defects. When the Irken Empire had erased the ability to reproduce naturally, the Tallest had overlooked the seemingly useless law. The law thus remained on the books for generations to come, until it was so deeply ingrained into Irken society that even erasing the law wouldn't change it's effect on the population. As such, any Conceivers of the modern era were in grave danger.
Despite having rid the Empire of the ability to reproduce naturally, the scientists had failed to rid the society of the need to procreate. That lustful need was often fed in the way of brutal destruction or fitful bouts of sex with confidantes. When a Conceiver was revealed to the whole of Irken society, however, there were some that couldn't resist the urge to create their own offspring. To that end, most Conceivers were abducted and turned into virtual sex slaves for overzealous Irken who longed to have their own empire of smeets. Those that weren't were almost always raped anyways. Their wombs were treasured above anything. Considering that the law and their own culture stated that they couldn't refuse a request if it were made correctly, they had no choice but to accept the fate that befell them should they be outed. The majority of them perished in childbirth when their overwrought uteruses tore or their exhausted bodies merely gave out. Some had their bodies dissected so that their rare wombs could be removed and illegally implanted into another more willing partner. Some just went insane in captivity before they ended their own lives. Others died in the act of conceiving when their partner became too aggressive. Either way, the resulting end of all Conceivers were awful. Their fates were worse then death, banishment, or even prolonged torture.
In order to prevent this terrible thing from happening, Tallest of recent years had been secretly relocating Conceivers so that no one would ever know what they were. In some cases, the Conceivers were easy to uproot and move. If they worked in menial positions, they could be moved to an isolated location where they could birth their smeet and then be placed back into their original positions with a story of a special assignment. Another common excuse was a freak illness from fornicating with aliens. Although being a xenophile was frowned upon, it was a better label then a Conceiver. To escape that label, the pregnant Irken would feign illness and head out to a medical lab for treatment. Instead, they would be transported to a safe location where they could bare their smeet. Once 'cured', they returned to their positions and dealt with the ridicule of their sexual fetishes. However, when the Conceiver was of a higher station or more noticeable career, uprooting them often took clever and elaborate plans. Some required the Conceiver to resign from their position to take up a false interest in another planet. Others had the Irken force their commanders to fire them in order to be discharged from a tricky military career. Then there were those where the plan seemed almost unnecessary, as the consequences were almost too great to perceive as worthy of one Irken. They were put into motion, though, to guard the secret of the Empire as much as the Conceiver themselves.
Should an enemy race learn that Irkens could still reproduce naturally, Invaders would be raped and there was a chance the Irken bloodline could be infected all over again. As birth defects multiplied so quickly in their blood and genetic makeup, one defective birth could create a strain of illness that could be reproduced and entered into the entire birthing facility. That was the fear of the Empire. Thus, the Tallest went to extreme lengths to guard this secret. If the enemy thought they couldn't create a strain of illness that could survive in the Irken body, then they wouldn't try. The Conceivers that existed were then the Empire's greatest secret. Their identities were kept such a tight lipped secret that they weren't even admitted to the Super Computers. The plans that were created to protect them were kept in the heads of those participating; the Conceiver, the father, and the Tallest. No enemy would ever learn that the Irkens could still reproduce naturally, no matter what had to be done.
Such were the circumstances revolving around the only Conceiver the current Tallest Red and Purple had ever come across. This Conceiver was of one of the most imperial stations in their Empire. He was an Irken Invader. His story was familiar to the Tallest, both of whom had been warned by previous leaders of this situation. Not realizing that Irkens could still conceive naturally, Irken Elite Invader Zim had started fooling around with his partner at the time. The two had reportedly become intimate during one of their training exercises. Eventually, they had gotten to the point of giving and receiving oral sex. This was when Zim had learned that he was pregnant. He had immediately contacted his Tallest, begging them for assistance. Unfortunately, they were all faced with the difficult question of how to proceed from there. Zim was one of the leading operatives in the upcoming Impending Doom One Operation. The father of the smeet was another one. There was no easy explanation as to why Zim couldn't continue with his expectant leadership of the first strike on Blorch. Nothing could explain why he had to disappear for the length of a pregnancy, only to return healthy and happy and ready to proceed with the Operation. Not to mention that none of them knew whether Zim would be healthy and happy after the birth. Taking that all into account, the three of them had worked out one of the most elaborate schemes in Irken history. Had it not played out so flawlessly, it could have been looked back on as reckless abandonment of rational thought. As it stood, it did work out flawlessly.
Playing off his numerous complaints of excessive force, irrationality, basic insanity, and the like, Zim took to the controls of his massive Megadoomer and destroyed half his home planet in 'maniac hysteria'. The Tallest stood by and idly watched as he went about blowing up the majority of their hometown. By the end of it, Zim was one of the most hated Irken alive. He was also banished for his actions. The Tallest had no choice but to banish him. Of course, they had already decided where they were going to be sending him. They had arranged for him to go to Foodcourtia to an old pal of theirs, Frylord Sizz-Lorr, to serve as a cashier. There, Zim could pass his pregnancy off as weight gain from the various snacks. Once the smeet was born, he could live out life on the snack planet in quiet solitude. He would have to give up his military career, but he would save himself from the fate of the Conceiver. Although disappointed, he had readily accepted the solution to his problem. He was thus banished out to Foodcourtia, where Sizz-Lorr was waiting for his new recruit. Zim's bulging middle had fit right in with all the other heavyweights of the planet, no matter how large he became in the passing weeks. Once he bore his daughter, he had nursed her and sent her out to the military training center to live out the dreams he had given up.
Everything had gone off without a hitch. They would have stayed that way had a certain someone not gone back on their end of the bargain. To that end, someone had turned rogue. The next thing the Tallest knew, they were in the middle of the assigning of the Invaders of Impending Doom Two when Zim showed up out of nowhere. Whereas he put on a great show of having just crashed the party, he had a desperate plead for his leaders. They put on the role of mocking and uncaring rulers, before they took him to the side to hear this plight. Zim had confessed a horror story of his time on Foodcourtia. Having been discovered, he had been forced into Conceiver enslavement. He had escaped with only his life, having had to leave everything else on Foodcourtia, including his new children. He had pleaded with his Tallest to hide him, to save him from his tormentor. They gave him what he wished. They gave him a false mission on a planet far off in the distance. Whereas they intended him to just land on some random planet and establish himself a new life, Zim intended to use the excuse to return to his old life before any of this had ever happened. The three had never reached an agreement on which was the best course of action. As it was, Zim was safe and his secret was still that, a secret.
To keep it that way, the Tallest traveled to Earth without alerting the Massive as to where they were heading. Invader Zim was the only Conceiver they knew of. Any others that might have existed during their era were still the secret of the previous Tallest. For Purple to fulfill his desire, he needed to father his own smeet. Out to Earth they went. Their imperial Voot Runner traveled faster then any cruisers. They would arrive within the same day as soon as they put on the hyper drive and headed through some of the Irken guarded wormholes. Red steered, as he had some talent with mechanics and piloting. Purple sat idly in the passenger seat, chewing on a lollipop that was the same color as their lightly green skin. Not once did they signal to the gatekeepers of the wormholes to clear the way for the royal ship. They refused to give away their location in the off chance one of the gatekeepers would actually record it. As Earth was so far away from all the other planets in the Irken Empire, one recording of their current location would indicate where it was they were going. Therefore, they dealt with the traffic and sped through the twists and turns until they had arrived in the general area of that foreign planet.
Normally, the first time the Tallest visited the planet one of their Invaders was stationed on, it was with the Armada and was strictly business oriented. The Invader usually had about a week to prepare a tribute to their great leaders and ready their base for the upcoming meeting. Often times, it was a grand celebration that ended with the annihilation of some race's society. This time, they didn't even bother to send out a transmission to Zim informing him they were in the immediate area. Rather, they approached the small blue planet hesitantly. Red sent out a locating signal to identify the Irken's base. Upon picking up one, he descended onto the planet, heading straight for the base. Within moments, they had arrived at a strange looking structure they took to be the humans' take on a home. Using the universal control their Tallest equipment gave them, they opened up the hatch to Zim's hanger and set their Runner down next to his Cruiser. The hatch walls closed in over their heads as Red slipped out of the Runner. He absentmindedly helped Purple to the ground as the doors to the hanger whizzed open.
Unlike at the birthing facility, their surprise visit to Earth was not met with acclaim. Instead, a proton laser gun was aimed directly at their faces, the Invader in question taking a professional stance. A second gun was pointed at their Runner by the Dib human in which they had been introduced to, although his stance was strange to them. A moment passed where all four of them stared at one another in shock. The human scratched his head then, his gun lowering weakly. Purple hovered slightly behind Red, pushing him forward to take control of the situation. Then, Zim dropped his gun in what could only be described as horror.
" My Tallest! What're you doing here? Here? In MY base?" he demanded in a tone that would've gotten any other Irken banished to a land of eternal suffering. With Zim, though, it was to be expected. The Tallest thus just waved off his exclaim as Red moved forward with just the slightest uncertainty. Before he could say anything, however, Zim's face lit up and he saluted them at long last, " I knew you wouldn't miss my presentation! I told you, Dib! Too busy for ZIM! Nonsense!"
" Presentation? What are you talking about?" Red asked in a low voice that could barely be heard over the wild laughter of the Invader. Zim's voice cut suddenly, his antennae standing at attention. The smile that crossed Dib's face was nearly as arrogant as the voice Zim usually used, " We didn't come to see any presentation. We have transmissions for that,"
" Yes, well, you missed my presentation today. It's a good one too! I even have the Dib here," Zim grabbed the human's arm and gave him a shake that nearly whacked his head into the wall, " He's gonna give us a first hand look at how these nasty little worm babies reproduce! Isn't that cool? I worked really hard and-"
" First hand look, Zim?" Dib cut him off, jerking his arm from the alien's grip. Purple and Red exchanged a long stare where they appeared to be reassessing just as to why they were even standing there, " I'm not here to be your experiment or your presentation. I came over to play video games because you weren't at school today. Just what were you gonna have me do? Stand naked in front of your leaders?"
" Well, actually-"
" We're NOT here for that stupid presentation!" Red called over the impending argument of the two. He waved his arms in a broad scoop, which never failed to quiet down subjects. Zim stopped talking long enough for Dib to sneer out something that was apparently a swear word on his planet. The Invader immediately smacked the human in the face, his pink eyes narrowed dangerously. Almost before Red could raise his arms to silence them again, the two were screaming various swears as they grabbed each other. They collapsed to the floor in a fit of words ranging from 'faggot' to 'bitch' to 'motherfucker'. Watching the childish display made Purple snicker. All it did for Red was increase the throbbing of his headache. He cast a dark glare at his counterpart, " I do hope you know just what you're doing, Purple,"
" Let them fight, Red. . . I wanna see who wins," Purple cooed, floating over to get a better look at the two as they slammed the other into the floor or wall. From the looks of it, Zim was winning. He continually backhanded Dib until the human spat out a mouthful of red sticky blood.
" Alright, enough," Red interjected, losing patience waiting for one of them to finish the fight once and for all. Zim's hand stopped an inch from Dib's cheek, his head turning in the direction of his leaders, " Get off him, Zim. You've proven yourself or whatever. Right now, we need to talk to you,"
" About my presentation?"
" No," Red snapped as Purple motioned for Dib to punch Zim behind the other Tallest's back. As Dib pulled back his fist, though, Zim climbed off of him and stood before the other two. He saluted them once more, smiling at the compliment he had managed to get. Behind him, the human stumbled to his feet, dusting off his pants and torn shirt. Neither appeared to be concerned with the damage they had inflicted or received.
Having successfully separated the two, Red steered Zim away from his human companion and over to the Runner for some privacy. Purple followed them, glancing back repeatedly to make sure that they were far enough away from Dib that he wouldn't hear them. When they deemed the distance great enough, both the Tallest leered down at the Invader. The action was meant to coerce agreement to whatever they intended to request. Unfortunately, in order to appear normal, Zim had in recent years adjusted his height. He was now nearly the same height at his leaders. The effect of the leer was lost when he could just tilt his head up a couple of inches and smile up at them as he did at that moment. Sighing, then, Red rubbed his knuckles into his forehead, allowing Purple to take the reigns. Purple was reluctant to do so. Only after receiving a nudge from his counterpart, in fact, did he clear his throat and attempt to explain what it was they wanted from him. Picking a place to start proved the most difficult. After that, everything seemed to just fall into order.
Deciding to start with Zim's previous pregnancy, Purple carefully explained what it was he wanted from the Invader. He navigated from his previous interest and jealousy of the Invader's pregnancy and smeet to his current desire to have his own babe without interruption. He made brief mention of his search at the birthing facility, then came to the point at hand. There, he stumbled for a moment over the words he wanted to say. At first, the Tallest wasn't sure if Zim would understand exactly what he was saying. Then he wasn't sure if he ought to ask at all, considering everything that had happened after that soldier had last saluted them at Foodcourtia. Choking down that fear, however, Purple managed to make the request. He asked if he could father a smeet by Zim's womb. The look he received was curious confusion, to which he rephrased the question with some difficulty on his part.
" Can. . . we. . . make a smeet. . . together?" Purple eventually forced himself to say to Zim, of all Irken. He saw Red actually flinch at the wording. To be honest, he wasn't keen to use it. Yet, he wanted to make sure he was perfectly clear on the matter. The last thing he needed was for Zim to get the wrong idea or steer them off topic.
The pause that followed the request was heavy and pulsing with tension. The air around them grew thicker, more physical, the longer that Zim stared up at his Tallest. His antennae slicked back as though he were offended after a moment. His lips puckered while one eye narrowed until his signature stare was expressed. Still, he said nothing, neither yay or nay. Purple felt his throat drying up, his dark eyes sharing a stolen glance with Red. Zim rocked back and forth on his heels. Finally, he gave a weak, feeble shrug as his eyes looked to the ground uncertainly. The Tallest eagerly waited for his answer, Purple feeling as though a great weight was pressing down onto his back the longer this took. At long last, then, Zim nodded his head in a small motion up and down. A sigh was exhaled from both the Tallest, that weight seemingly disappearing as if it had never been there.
" I suppose so. . ." Zim mumbled under his breath, shrugging once more. Purple didn't seem to notice the tone he used. He just clapped his hands as his mind filled up with images of what his potential smeet would look like. Red, on the other hand, gave the warrior a look that reflected his suspicious nature.
" Why aren't you more excited about this, Zim? Usually, you freak out every time we try to talk to you. Aren't you honored that you will be giving your Tallest a smeet and doing your sacred duty as a Conceiver?" he demanded, hands on his hips. The leer he used had little intimation, but it was the only one he had, so he pulled it on anyways. His question drew Purple's attention back to the forlorn expression gracing the younger's face. Zim gave a half hearted nod, shuffling his feet.
" Zim is excited. . . it's just. . ." he pushed his index fingers together, rubbing them in a small circle, as he peaked up at them. Both the Tallest exchanged a look as the Invader kicked the ground, " I've never. . . accepted such a pitiful request, is all. . . I usually require a much more elaborate show of gratitude before submitting to the will of another. . . but, you're the Almighty Tallest, so, the great Zim will. . . do as you ask,"
" What? You think that was. . . no! No!" Purple spat out, pointing off in a random direction in his horror at being thought of in such a demeaning manner. Red scoffed at the very idea, " I would never commit such treason! That wasn't my formal request, Zim! It wasn't the formal one!"
" You really are an idiot, Zim," Red sneered, rubbing his knuckles over his forehead. Purple continued to sputter about the audacity he was suspected of committing. Zim's antennae perked up as his curious eyes watched the outrage in which his Tallest stumbled through. Eventually, then, he smiled that bright, insanely happy smile as a glow overtook his pink orbs.
" Oh, well then, of course, Zim would be delighted to assist you, my Tallest!" he cheerfully declared, smacking his hands together as though that sealed the deal. Purple stopped short in his rant when he heard that. He sighed out, the reality of what he was about to do settling in over him. Zim, however, seemed to have already realized it, for he jabbed his finger into the air as he spun around on his heel, " To my quarters! Let's go make some looove!"
" Make some. . .Oh no! We're not making anything! " Purple exclaimed in a semi horrified voice. There was a small pause in which what he said ran through his head, " Okay, so we're making smeets, but that's it! No love!"
" Whatever you say, my Tallest," Zim cooed out coyly, grinning up at his leader. Purple didn't try to hide the gag when it came, although he did start to follow the smaller Irken from the Runner to the doorway where Dib continued to stand. The human exchanged a meaningful stare with the Invader, to which the human let out an exhausted sigh.
" Lemme guess? Alien things?" Dib sarcastically asked with a dramatic roll of his eyes. The eye roll was so impressive that Purple had to physically stop himself from asking the inferior creature how he managed it. Zim, though, nodded and smirked at the human. His response was another eye roll as the boy moved to the side to allow the two aliens passage.
The doors then whizzed open to admit the two of them. In silence broken only by the sounds of Zim's boots on metal, they left the hanger. They headed towards the Invader's personal quarters in order to move ahead with the Tallest's scheme. Left in the hanger, then, were Dib and Red. The two of them idly stood there, somewhat surprised at the abrupt exiting of their only companions in this particular base. A moment passed in which they merely stood in their places, watching as the doors shut and the other two vanished from sight. Then Dib licked his lips, casting a glance at the leader of his only friend's entire species. He pointed towards the door, giving half a shrug.
" Wanna go play with the weasels? We can launch them into space or something," he suggested in a bored sort of voice. Red looked at him in what could be described as shock, though what the shock alluded to, he wasn't even sure. Glancing around at the empty space of the hanger and the lack of snacks in the Runner, however, Red shrugged back.
" Sure. Why not?" he said, if only because there really wasn't anything else to say or do. Dib gave him a weak smile, then steered him out of the hanger. Down they descended into the Irken's base, to which end, they were promptly lost. While Dib walked them around in circles, Red could only cover his face and moan, " I just knew this was going to be a long day. . ."