In Short Supply

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"In Short Supply" is an Invader Zim fanfiction by Ckret2. In fact it is a Zim/Purple mpreg epic.

The plot in a nutshell: Purple discovers that the gap between the tall and short Irkens is widening, with almost no Irkens of medium height born in hundreds of years. He fears the species will soon split in two, but when Red and the Control Brains determine nothing is wrong he decides he has to resolve the problem himself by creating more average Irkens. Unfortunately, his solution involves having smeets with the shortest Irken alive...Zim.

The story manages to find ways that this all makes some sort of sense (or at least Invader Zim world sense) while Averting or Justifying almost all the usual tropes you would expect. It is probably the most popular Invader Zim story on and has a large following, even among those who don't usually like slash or mpreg. It now updates only sporadically.

Tropes used in In Short Supply include:

  • A Day in the Limelight: Many characters from the show get their own small subplot, including relatively minor ones. Perhaps the best example is Bob, the flat-headed serving drone seen only in "Hobo 13," who becomes a major secondary character.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Control Brains, though what exactly is wrong with them is still unknown.
  • Anyone Can Die: Played with. Since Dib tends to come and go out of the plot, Word of God confirmed he would keep making appearances "until either the fic ends or he dies, whichever comes first." She then admitted she phrased it this way just to mess with people, but didn't rule out the idea of killing anyone off.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: As per canon, Irkens have no genitals, though apparently they did in the past. Zim and Purple have them surgically added in order to reproduce.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Virtuous Slarkism, one of the Irkens' religions, holds that good always leads to suffering, which they apparently take to mean that suffering itself is moral, with suicide considered a religious commandment. Zimist Slarkism started as a counter-movement, dedicated to being evil as a way to avoid such suffering. (Bizarrely, in modern times, the Virtuous and the Zimists get along better with each other than with members of other Irken religions.)
  • Crack Ship: Zim and Purple, of course.
  • Crossover: Word of God confirms that Agent Toadstool/"Uncle Denny" and Agent Gourdy are from other fandoms (though this does little to affect the plot). The former is probably Denzel Crocker from The Fairly OddParents.
  • Dead Fic: We hope not.
  • Death by Childbirth: Narrowly averted the first time Zim laid his eggs.
  • Deconstruction: Of the Irkens' imperial actions, the height system and other aspects never explored in-depth in the series.
    • Reconstruction: Ckret2 has commented that she decided to write a male-pregnancy story specifically because she'd never seen one done well before and wanted to see if she could pull it off.
  • Double Meaning Title
  • Everyone Is Bi: Irkens, to the extent that they deem either homo- or heterosexuality to be ridiculously limiting. Nevertheless they may have a certain preference---Purple, for example, likes females more than males, despite "dancing" with both Zim and Red. Which makes sense, considering male and female Irkens have only minor physical differences anyway.
  • Evil Feels Good: The justification for the Irkens' Religion of Evil (see below).
  • Fail O'Suckyname: No wonder Vermin has self-esteem problems.
  • For the Evulz: Zim and Purple go out to throw rocks at puppies in their spare time.
  • Fridge Logic: Wait, doesn't GIR once get Zim to "dance" with him on the show without any apparent confusion?
    • And if Irkens are so freaked out about suicide, why does Zim almost self-destruct in the first episode?
      • The suicide thing might not have anything to do with the self-destruct mechanism. I imagine the self-destruct is more for emergencies. After all, not pressing it could very well end in a painful, messy death anyway (possibly leading to the death of several other Irkens, depending), so why not take your possible killers out with you?
      • Self-destructing is probably looked on as more favorable and honorable than not botching a mission.
  • Happiness in Slavery: Vermin, sort of. He honestly was overjoyed when his home planet was taken over, as he's become completely loyal to the Irken Empire rather than Vort. However, he's still considered an alien slave rather than an Irken citizen, earning him second-class status.
  • Interspecies Romance: Considered creepy by most Irkens, nevertheless Red indulges in this with a hired Vortian "dancer."
  • Meaningful Name: In the story the Control Brains named Zim after a major religious figure just to satisfy his ego, though Bob thinks that it may mean something else. A few other characters have this as well, like Vermin (to represent his class) and some of the smeets.
  • Mister Seahorse: At least partially Justified: Zim has to have a sex-change operation in order to become pregnant, making him technically female. Of course human transsexuals can't conceive, but whatever.
  • OC: Many, most notably Zim and Purple's children, as well as Count Gwaednerth, Ms. Airy and Miss Fhtagn.
  • OC Stand-In: Bob and others.
  • One Sided Shipping: Keef==>Zim, the latter of whom is Oblivious to Love.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Specifically, they're parodies of angsty teenagers and the usual vampire cliches.
  • Religion of Evil: Literally: some Irkens practice Zimist Slarkism, which is dedicated to the idea that one should be evil in order to avoid the pain inherent in goodness.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Purple, who risks humiliation and other consequences because he thinks mating with Zim really is for the good of the Empire.
  • Schedule Slip: For twenty-something chapters the author was very good at updating every Friday. Then she missed a week but was up the next. Then there was a three-month hiatus, a six-month one, and that was eight months more than a year ago. Not that we're counting.
  • Super Loser: Vampires, it seems, are universally dorks.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Ms. Airy seems to exist just because Zim and Dib logically shouldn't have Ms. Bitters anymore.
  • Unequal Pairing: Purple/Zim, of course.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Dance" is the Irken term for sex, while a "hired dancer" means a prostitute.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Zim and Purple, frequently.

This story averts or subverts:[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Draco in Leather Pants: Subverted; the fic seems to make it a point to show that the Irkens really are doing horrible things to the rest of the universe, such as in the chapter set on the Conveyer Belt Planet.
  • Out of Character: Shockingly averted to a large degree, though many have their characters expanded from the canon. Purple seems more competent than one usually sees in fanfictions, but this seems to be the author responding to his usual Flanderization into a helpless moron.
  • Sex Equals Love: Either averted or just taking place really slowly, depending on how you look at it.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Averted. Thirty chapters in Purple and Zim are considerably closer, but still acting like their usual, non-love-sick selves. Likewise there are so many side-plots that you can love this story even if you don't like the Zim/Purple romance.
  • You Fail Biology Forever: Mostly averted, as Zim's pregnancies seem to make as much sense as a Mister Seahorse slash situation can. For example, because Zim and Purple both have XY chromosomes and at least one X is necessary for life, about a quarter of their eggs are stillborn.
  • You Fail Statistics Forever: Purple mentally lampshades how he and Zim could never make a real difference in the demographic problem but goes ahead with his plan anyway.