Agent Z strode into Almighty Z’s throne room early in the morning, as promised. The Almighty Z was up and reading, sat diagonally in her throne with one leg over an armrest and her back in the corner of the chair. ZOK was at her side, still and quiet, waiting to be needed. When the doors swung open to reveal her friend and a boy walking towards her, she situated herself so she was sitting normally and placed her book on top of ZOK’s head, which he swiveled to look at her before facing forward again.
The guy was about an inch and a half taller than the Almighty Z, and had short, blondish brown hair. His face was long, but not in an unattractive way, and his eyes were almost rectangular, yet soft, and framed by heavy, yet defined, eyebrows.
“Almighty Z, this is Jake,” Agent Z introduced, “Jake, Almighty Z.” Jake gave her a shallow bow, but for some reason, it seemed almost as if he were mocking her. Almighty Z silently and coolly sized him up.
She had procured information about him from Agent Z the day before. Apparently he was recently kicked out of the Galactic Intelligence Agency after being a security officer with a background in strategy analysis. He was fired for insubordination, but Agent Z told her that it wasn't anything "seriously serious". Since Z generally thought of the Agency as a bunch of bureaucratic idiots, she decided she didn’t care much.
“Jake,” the Almighty Z said, like she was tasting the name.
“Almighty Z,” he responded in the same tone, looking right into her attractively made up eyes, which she narrowed.
“So you want to be my head security officer?”
“Obviously,” he said. Z wasn’t sure if she liked his attitude or not. “As far as forces to work for go, the ZORG are excellent.” The Almighty Z decided she did indeed like this guy, but she didn’t show it. He needed to be tested first.
“One question,” she said. He raised his eyebrows. “What’s the most painful way to die?”
“Burning. Maybe drowning,” he said instantly. The Almighty Z smiled. Correct.
“I’ll take him,” she said to Agent Z, who cheered. She’d been watching the show amusedly. To him, she said, “You start now.”
Jake smiled, taking his spot on her left, opposite ZOK. “Cool,” he said, and the Almighty Z smiled a little too. Informality like this would usually bug her but his didn’t.
"No watching sports on duty, got it?" She smiled as she said it. Jake gave Agent Z a playful glare, then saluted the Queen.
“Almighty Z,” ZOK said from beside her throne, beeping. Her book was still on his head, red cover sporting a patch of light from the windows behind her. “An uninvited life form has been detected in the castle coming our way.” The Almighty Z suddenly sat up very straight. Someone sneaking around in her castle naturally worried her, with the Great Alliance and all. But then, a realization hit her: it was Valentine’s day. She hadn’t even noticed, as the ZORG did not celebrate it, but it made sense.
“Identify,” she commanded. “Is it Creep?”
Jake’s eyebrows furrowed. “Creep?” He questioned. Agent Z laughed from where she stood on the sidelines of the room. She’d heard all about Creep and his annual visits, as she'd once been a victim of his as well.
“Affirmative,” ZOK reported, displaying a three-dimensional, holographic video of a shortish, stocky boy swaggering his way through the high-ceilinged, stone corridor. “Location fifty feet from entrance to current room. Estimated arrival two minutes.”
“He shows up every year on Valentine’s Day,” Z explained to Jake.
“Ah. So he’s called ‘Creep’ because-”
“-that’s what he is,” the Almighty Z cut him off. She continued, glaring at thin air, “And then he always creeps off before he can be killed. Go get him,” she commanded, venom in her voice.
“What do you want me to do with him? Kill him?” Jake asked with a slight air of hope.
“Bring him to me.”
“Alright,” he said, leaving the room. He returned quickly with the floppy-haired boy in tow.
“You work fast,” the Almighty Z commented. He bowed again, and the Almighty Z got the same feeling of being mocked as she had before.
As soon as Jake let go, the guy called ‘Creep’ (who was staring at the suddenly very cold Queen with an awed expression on his young looking face) started walking towards her. She snapped her fingers with her left hand (for some reason she was incapable of snapping with her right hand, which annoyed her to no end) and two ZORG guards each took an arm, forced him to his knees on the black strip of carpet between the base of the throne and the door, and calibrated their lasers to his biometric signature.
“Back again?” She said, appraising him coldly. Her voice dripped with contempt.
“I always come back, my Queen,” he said. Almighty Z rolled her eyes. He continued, “I just need a chance. I can be whatever you need me to be.” She sighed.
“I’m going to kill you, you know,” she said conversationally, leaning back in her throne.
“Beautiful, if you really wanted to kill me you would have years ago,” the boy said with a light smirk. With a flick of his head, he swished his brown hair out of his eyes. Z glared a glare so cold that Agent Z shivered from across the room.
“You’re pathetic,” Z said, gut twisting in disgust. “I bet the Universe regrets your existence.” Jake snickered at this and Z smiled at him appreciatively.
“If that were true I’d be dead already,” Creep said, like he was triumphant.
“Well, you will be soon.”
“Nah,” he smiled widely at her, white teeth flashing. “You love me.”
“You’re right” she said, and his face lit up. “I’d love for you to be dead.”
To Z's annoyance, his expression did not fall. “We should hang out sometime when you’re in a less murderous mood.” He winked. “C’mon, Z, you know you want to.” At the mention of the name she stiffened and straightened her back.
“Lock him in the dungeons,” she said dismissively, yet aggressively, to the two guards.
The captive boy didn’t even try to protest, just sauntered along with a ZORG on each arm. As he left, he looked at the Almighty Z over his shoulder.
“Don’t worry, Almighty Z,” he called out to her. “We’ll meet again!”
“Doubt it," she muttered under her breath.
When he was out of earshot, Jake asked, "You have dungeons?"
"Of course," Z rolled her eyes at him. "Secret passages too. What kind of castle do you think I have here?"
He laughed. “If the passages are secret why’d you tell me about them?”
“Because you’re going to need to know all of them soon anyway in order to monitor for intruders,” The Almighty Z told him like it was obvious.
He nodded with a small smile. "What're you gonna do with him?"
Z shrugged. "Malice would probably make me a shark with laser beams coming off it's head..." she said thoughtfully.
"Not death-y enough," Agent Z said.
“I think the word you’re looking for is ‘deathly’,” Jake said to her. She glared. “but I agree. Not nearly deathly enough.” The glaring stopped.
“I could use him for weapons testing,” Jake suggested, but he was shot down. The weapons the ZORG used would vaporize him instantly. “Torture testing, truth serum testing, whatever testing?”
Both of the Zs looked at him. “Not bad,” Agent Z said, impressed even though it wasn’t that sophisticated or original of an idea. They both looked to the Almighty Z, who nodded.
“Okay,” she said. “ZOK, use the telepath circuits to tell those two guards to stay there and not to take their eyes off him. Also, send down an analyst drone to look for any weaknesses in his cell and report back as soon as possible.” He complied.
“Fancy system you got there,” Jake commented. “You aren’t telepathic?”
“Correct,” Z said, cringing a little. She’d wished she was telepathic since she was a small child on Earth.
“Huh,” Jacob said, and Zee got a twinge of annoyance that made her want to hit something.
“ZOK, call for an usher drone.” Z smiled at Jake. “You’ll be shown to the informal wing where your quarters and relaxing places will be.”
“Don’t bother, I’ll show him,” Agent Z said, and the Almighty Z nodded a nod that meant “Yes, leave”, so they did.
The Queen of the ZORG was left in peace and quiet with ZOK, and slouched back into the corner her chair, again moving one leg over its arm. Picking her book back up, she continued to read. It wasn’t even lunchtime yet and she was already drained.