Jimmy held out a hair to his DNA scanner, and he and Cindy waited a moment as Vox processed it. The door swung open after a second, admitting the two preteens to the lab. Goddard looked up hopefully for a moment, but seemed to shrivel back when he saw Cindy.
The robot had never had a problem with Cindy before, but he did recognize that Jimmy wasn't spending as much time with him as he used to. Goddard was programmed with considerable reasoning skills, and so had correctly deduced that it was because of Cindy. However, he didn't truly have ill will towards her. Just a bit of jealousy.
"Hi, Goddard," Cindy said, giving him a quick pat on the head. Goddard whined, wishing she'd keep petting him. He was glad for the attention. But now it was Jimmy stealing the attention away from Goddard.
"All right, Cindy, this is it," he indicated what looked like a tiny metal box. Cindy looked unimpressed, but fought her instinct to start making mean hearted jokes.
"All right, then…what is it, Neutron?"
Jimmy frowned. "Well, it's not done yet - it's still kind of unstable. But it's an invention to make people tell the truth."
"Oh. But what about truth serum? Wouldn't that work better?"
"Sodium Penthotal?" Jimmy shook his head. "not as effective as the movies would have you believe. Actually, it can cause lose of inhibition, so it might be easier to get the truth out of someone, but it won't actually make them tell the truth. It will make you open to more suggestion, but like I said…it doesn't actually give the effects of what a true truth serum might, if it were developed."
"Well, what's the point? Why do you want to make people tell the truth?"
"Oh, you know…teachers…parents when they don't have any reason better to keep you from doing something other than "because I said so", …there's a lot of uses for it. There's always using it on politicians right before they develop their platforms. Get to know what kind of person we're really allowing to power."
"I dunno, Jimmy," Cindy frowned, wondering if Jimmy had any intentions of using it on her. "Some times you need to lie."
"Oh, I know," Jimmy nodded vigorously, "I don't intend to use this on any of our friends. I still remember Libby's gossip segment too well to want to learn more secrets about all of them."
Cindy nodded solemnly, as both reflected back on that time, just a little while ago. "Hey, Cindy?" Jimmy took a step closer to her, and took a deep breath. "You know, it's been a while since we tried to kiss again, and well…science states you should repeat your experiment to make sure that --"
Cindy hugged him tightly, throwing Jimmy nearly completely off balance.
They moved closer together, their lips maybe a quarter of an inch away….when suddenly the doorbell of the club house rang.
"JIMMY!!!!" The voice was grating, but also familiar. "JIMMY! Ultra Lord marathon! Canceled!"
Jimmy went over to the control panel, about to press the button that would give Sheen access to his lab, but Cindy grabbed his hand. "Maybe just this once we could go uninterrupted? Please?" She looked at him hopefully, biting her lip, positive he'd go to his friend's aid.
"I dunno…Ultra Lord means a lot to Sheen," Jimmy said softly, glancing towards the door.
"Please, Jimmy?" Cindy asked softly. "For me?"
That did it. Jimmy remained quiet, and took his hand away from the panel. Sheen could not hear them from outside. He continued to bang on the door for a while, shouting until a normal person would have been hoarse. But Sheen was not normal.
"Okay..guess he's not here," Sheen's voice was much lower now, but still loud and piercing enough to make it down to Jimmy's ears. Jimmy frowned as Sheen added "guess I'll just go to someone else for help….it's kinda weird, though…" Jimmy flipped a switch on his computer board and caught a visual of Sheen walking away. He was about ready to race after his friend and apologize when Cindy grabbed his hand. She smiled mischievously.
"Well, where were we?" Jimmy smiled in spite of himself and pulled her closer.
"I believe this is about right…"
"LIBBY! LIBBY!!!" Sheen was on his knees, pounding on her front door as he screamed. "LIBBY! DON'T TELL ME YOU'D ABANDON ULTRA LORD, TOO!"
Libby sighed and opened the door. Sheen had his eyes closed at that moment, and tried to bang against the door again, but as it wasn't there he slipped and fell forward, landing at Libby's feet. "Sheen, what are you doing?"
"Hey, Libbalicious, I gotta say, you even look great from this angle!" Sheen smiled sweetly and got to his feet. Then he dropped back down to his knees. "THEY CANCELED THE ULTRA LORD MARATHON!" He wrapped his arms around Libby's legs and sobbed.
Libby both pitied the boy and wished he would knock it off - the door was still open and any one who happened to drive or walk by at that moment would be able to see them. "Sheen, why don't you come in?" Libby said, ushering him inside without waiting for an answer and slamming the door shut behind him. She gestured him over to the couch and took the seat behind him. "Now…isn't Ultra Lord still on?"
"Well…yeah. But now there's no Saturday marathon," Sheen said sadly. "Now what am I supposed to do on Saturdays! What's there to look forward to?"
"Huh?" Sheen looked confused.
"Hanging out with friends?"
"But I do that at school…" Sheen whined.
Libby thought for a moment. "That you don't have school on Saturdays?" she suggested.
Sheen considered it. "Hmm…good point! Thanks, Libs, guess it's true what they say 'every girly cloud of pink has a purple lining'."
Libby looked utterly confused. "Okaaaay…well, that's actually 'every cloud has a silver lining', Sheen."
"But silver is still kinda girly…besides, Ultra Lord's costume is purple," He indicated Ultra Lord on his t-shirt. Libby decided not to press it, a bit afraid of Sheen cracking up again. "Thanks, Libby. It's great that when Jimmy's away I can count on you."
"What do you mean 'away'?" Libby's eyes narrowed. "boy's got a date with Cindy today. At the lab."
"But I went to the lab," Sheen protested, "I didn't get an answer!"
Libby looked thoughtful. "Sheen, …I think you've been dissed," she glanced at the clock on top of the mantle and jumped to her feet. "Oh, no…I've been dissed, too! Cindy said she was coming over here at four, and it's five already! Oh no she didn't!"
"Well, it looks like oh yeah, she did," Sheen offered, trying to be helpful. Libby ignored him. "Well, as your boyfriend do you want me to defend your honor?"
"No, but I think those two geniuses are bein' real idiots," Libby sat back down, her arms crossed and an unbecoming glare on her face. "I can't believe this. I've been her best friend since Pre-K, and this is how she treats me! Up and leaves me to be with some stupid genius…"
"Aren't 'stupid' and 'genius' contradicting?" Sheen asked. When Libby didn't answer, he rushed on, "Because if they're actually the same word, then that makes me just as smart as Jimmy, according to the things everybody says about me…"
"Sheen, that's not…" Libby softened, "Sheen, you're not stupid. But that's not what this is about. We're their friends. Aren't you upset?"
Sheen thought for a moment. "Well, yes. This is the first time Jimmy hasn't been there for Ultra Lord. …Or for me. I don't like being 'dissed'. But maybe they have a good reason?"
"Their only reason is they want to make googly eyes at each other," Libby huffed, allowing herself to sink back into the back of the couch, her legs dangling a few inches off the floor. She started swinging them back and forth, kicking out at the coffee table.
"Well, maybe," Sheen said, his will to defend Jimmy suddenly waning. "I don't know. Maybe we should ask them about it?"
Libby considered this for a moment. "All right, then. We'll ask them tomorrow. But if they lie to us, we do something about it, okay?"
"Okay. But they wouldn't lie to us. They're our best friends." Sheen said confidently, standing up. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go write a thousand letters to the network that plays Ultra Lord."
"But Sheen, it hasn't even been cancelled!"
"This is the first step before that happens," Sheen said darkly, before exiting without another word. Libby rolled her eyes, but smiled in spite of herself. At least Sheen was fully trustworthy, at least in terms of meaning well.
Author's Note: I know what Jimmy did seems uncharacteristic for him, but people can be idiots (even geniuses) when the other sex knows exactly what to do to get them wrapped around their finger. Plus he still feels guilty over Cindy losing sleep over him, and would be all the more interested in doing what she wants to do as a way of apologizing.