A/N: I wrote this story to tell what happened when Dib moved to Kaua'i in Alohilani's Take On Me. But I tried to make Policy of Truth a stand-alone story, so you don't have to read Alohilani's crossover fanfiction before you read mine. It's an excellent series, but it takes forever to get through. You do have to be familiar with both TV series, however.
Alohilani was also my beta reader for this story, which I really appreciate.
Note that the kids' proportions are more realistic in this story than in the cartoons, just so you don't think Dib and Gaz are super short compared to the Hawaiians. :P
All right, enough rambling.
Policy of Truth
A Both Syllables fan fiction
-because I have plenty of time to say both syllables-
Now you're standing there tongue tied
You better learn your lesson well
Hide what you have to hide
And tell what you have to tell
-Depeche Mode, "Policy of Truth"
About 8:00 am
"Good luck on your interview with Professor Membrane today," said Nani as she picked up her backpack, getting ready to walk to work.
Jumba shrugged. "Is a formality." He stuck his meaty hand into the box of donuts. "Professor told me on the phone that I have the most impressive résumé he's seen besides his own. And I left out half my PhDs," he added with a touch of smugness.
Nani hitched up her backpack. "It's a good thing you took my advice, or else your résumé would be 20 pages long. No one would believe you earned ten PhDs anyway, and you don't want to show up your boss." Nani had also found the article about Membrane relocating his laboratory to Kaua'i and urged Jumba to apply for a job, but she didn't think it was necessary to remind him of that.
Instead she said, "It'll be so nice for our family to have another income."
"What am I, yesterday's chopped liver?" said Pleakley, setting down his mug with more force than necessary. "What about my job? I work hard, you know."
"I know you're trying, Pleakley." Nani's tone was patronizing, although not mean-spirited.
Jumba snorted. "Pleakley, you don't have job, you have expensive hobby."
"You have to spend money to make money!" Pleakley shot back, rising to his three feet.
"That is ridiculous." Jumba waved his donut. "Look at Nani - all she needs is canoe and paddle and she can make hundred bucks a day."
"Well, I guess it's easy to earn a living a living if you have upper body strength!"
Nani took this as her cue to leave for work.
Just after 9:00 am
It took a long time to check on over 600 experiments spread across an island, but Lilo visited each of them at least once a week. As she and Stitch began their weekend rounds, they were sidetracked by the moving truck in the driveway next door.
This piece of land had been a curiosity to Lilo for the past week. Just seven days earlier, there was nothing but bushes and weeds growing on the site. Then some workers broke ground with their backhoes and bulldozers. She'd never seen construction workers finish a building that quickly - except on TV, but there were no cameras that she could see.
The house was made of metal, with a curved roof and round windows like portals on the second story. Lilo thought it was kind of cool, even if the yard was bare and crossed with tire tracks.
And people were moving in already! A boy and a girl stood in the driveway, watching the movers try to squeeze a couch through the doorway. Lilo grinned from ear to ear.
"Look, Stitch! They have kids our age."
Stitch cocked his head, giving her a quizzical glance. Lilo was 13, while Stitch was only seven.
"You know what I mean. Come on, let's go say aloha."
Outside Membrane's house
Dib set his box on the ground as the movers turned the couch upside down to make it fit through the door. "This could take awhile." He checked his watch. "It's only 9:05. This is gonna be the longest day of our lives."
Gaz crossed her arms. "It's gonna be even longer if you don't stop talking."
Dib shut up as he tried to figure out if Gaz was making a weird threat or just a comment.
"Aloha!" A clear voice rang out behind them. Dib jumped and spun around. Standing in the driveway was a Hawaiian girl with long, straight hair. And there was a blue thing next to her. It was furry with four stocky legs and large, spade-shaped ears that stood out from its big head (not that Dib was one to talk). It had a wide koala nose and its mouth stretched halfway around its head. Its solid black eyes stared at Dib with unnerving intensity.
"I'm Lilo and this is Stitch," said the girl. "We're your neighbors. Our house is behind those trees." She pointed.
Dib stared for a few stunned seconds. "What is that thing!?"
Lilo frowned. "He's my dog," she said, putting her arm around Stitch, who wagged his stubby tail.
"Woof," said Stitch.
"Hey, what a funny looking dog," said one of the movers. "Cute, though." He left the couch to walk toward Stitch. "Is he friendly?"
Dib planted his forehead in his palm. "You gotta be kidding me."
Normally Dib would shout to the movers that dogs weren't blue, and that this creature wouldn't look anything like a dog even if it were a different color. But he'd decided before he moved that he would take a more subtle approach to his paranormal investigations, so people wouldn't say he was crazy.
He took a deep breath to steady himself. "Lilo, is it?"
Lilo nodded. "What's your name?"
"Hey. You," Gaz interrupted, glaring at the mover. "My dad isn't paying you to play with animals."
The man raised his eyebrows and looked through the doorway at the other mover, who shrugged one shoulder. "Come on, brudda."
Lilo smiled bravely at Gaz. "Um, where is your dad?" she asked.
"Inside." Gaz's glare softened to her usual squint.
"So, about your pet," Dib cut in, determined not to lose his topic. "What breed is it?"
"He's an Australian poodle," recited Lilo.
"Woof," added Stitch
"Oh come on! A poodle?" Then Dib clapped his hands over his mouth. He hadn't meant to say that out loud. So much for subtlety. "Never mind. Um, I'm gonna go check out my room." He darted toward the doorway, saw it was still blocked by the couch, and ran around the house to find the back door.
Lilo blinked and turned her head from Stitch to Gaz. "Is your brother okay?"
"For him, yeah."
There was a pause. "So, what's your name?" asked Lilo.
"Gaz. That was Dib." She jerked her thumb at the house. "I should warn you, you'll probably see a lot more of him," she added in an indifferent tone.
"Oh." Lilo's eyes caught Dib staring out the front window at Stitch. She waved at him, and he pulled away with a guilty expression. "You mean like that?"
"Yeah," said Gaz, without glancing at the house.
Quarter after nine
Outside the Pelekai household
"He knows," said Stitch, as soon as they were out of Gaz's earshot.
"You're right, Stitch. Or at least he suspects." Lilo picked up her pace. "We have to talk to Jumba about this. But don't say anything if Pleakley's around. We don't want him to freak out and call Cobra."
"Ih," Stitch agreed.
Jumba, in spite of his assertion that the interview was a formality, had notes spread out over the kitchen table. When Lilo and Stitch strode into the room, Jumba asked without glancing up, "Do you think I should tell Professor Membrane about experiments? I would tell him they are genetically modified rats or guinea pigs."
"Rats?" asked Stitch with an injured expression.
"I don't know, Jumba," said Lilo. "We have something more important to worry about. We think one of our new neighbors knows Stitch is an alien."
Jumba lifted his head from the papers, blinking his four eyes at Lilo. "What new neighbors?"
"They're moving into the house they built next door."
"They finished that thing already?"
Lilo put her hands on her hips. "Yeah. Listen, Jumba, you need to check on your machine. There may be something wrong with it."
"I take it you mean the anti-detection device." Jumba scooted his chair back to stand. "I will go look at it."
The anti-detection device influenced people's minds so they wouldn't notice anything unusual about the extraterrestrials that inhabited Kaua'i. Jumba got the idea from the Irkens, who have an innate ability to bend the minds of non-Irkens if they make eye contact and speak firmly. This power, which the Irkens call the Suggestion, allows them to blend in with other species. Originally it was used as a defense against larger creatures, but as their society became more structured, the Invaders began using the Suggestion to infiltrate and conquer planets.
Jumba had worked with and studied Irkens for much of his adult life, since the Jukanis have a historic connection with the Irkens. After landing on Earth, he built a machine that would transmit a signal to the humans' minds that would tell them nothing was wrong with him, Pleakley or the 626 experiments.
"Machine is working fine," said Jumba, after running a diagnostic. "But Jumba will test it to make sure." He held a photo in front of Lilo's face. "What is this?"
"Um…" Lilo always recognized Stitch's cousins because she knew them well, but this picture looked like an ugly green kid. "A very sick person?"
"Wrong. Excellent." He put the photo in a file. "Lilo, are you sure neighbor knows Stitch is alien?"
"No, but he's definitely suspicious. He kept staring at Stitch, and he asked what breed Stitch was, and he didn't believe me when I said he was an Australian poodle."
"You should have said Stitch was blue furred ectoplasmic detector dog," said Jumba with a wry smile.
"I forgot I called him that." Lilo smiled back. "How old was I, like six?"
"Yes, you were little dickens," said Jumba. He rubbed his chins. "But seriously, I am thinking that neighbor might be immune to Suggestion."
Lilo lifted her eyebrows. "You mean it doesn't work on everyone?"
"It works on almost everyone, but there are rare exceptions - one in 1.3 million, to be exact - who are resistant to Suggestion. No one knows how or why that is, since no one even understands exactly how Suggestion works."
"You built machine," Stitch said haltingly. "Why don't you understand?"
"I understand enough to imitate some results, but is crude compared to real Suggestion, and it does not work the same way. Irkens say aloud what they want people to think or do, and their neurons fire just so - they call it flexing. Is very complicated."
"So do you have any idea what to do if the machine doesn't work on him?" asked Lilo.
Jumba nodded. "If my machine doesn't work, it will be up to you to do what you do best."
Lilo shared a questioning glance with Stitch. "I don't see how hula will help the situation."
Jumba chuckled, jiggling his substantial gut. "No, Lilo, think about it. You must make neighbor ohana."
"Oh." It did make sense when she thought about it. After all, Mertle had eventually accepted Lilo's weirdness and become her friend. Maybe Dib would too.
"But first I want to see for myself if he is immune." Jumba put on a big floppy fishing hat and sunglasses. "Want to come with?"
Lilo creased her brow. "I don't think it's a good idea for you to go over there. What if he realizes you're an alien?"
"We are neighbors." Jumba shrugged. "We're going to meet sooner or later. Might as well get it out of the way. And if something goes wrong, I'm sure Cobra will handle it."
Lilo looked askance at him, but she followed him out the door.