THE NEXT MORNING, AT PRECISELY 8:47AM, SIMON P. SYNAPSE AND MISS SALLY SCONCE ARRIVED AT THE NUGA CITY INSTITUTE FOR ACADEMIC STUDY CONVENTION AS IF NOTHING WAS AMISS AT ALL. HIS SMART MAN COSTUME WAS CLEVERLY HIDDEN INSIDE HIS BRIEFCASE. FIVE MINUTES LATER, NICOLAS C. PATE ARRIVED SEPARATELY, AND SO BEGAN THE CHARADE.
"Nevertheless," Dr. Ludwig Pericranium was saying to Simon, "on the molecular level, the osmosis of dissolved amino acids from one brain cell to another can cause a depletion of-- Oh, hello Nicolas."
Dr. Pericranium bumped into Nicolas as he was walking over to refill his punch glass. Simon quickly averted his eyes.
"Nicolas," Dr. Pericranium continued, "as I was just saying to--"
"Nicolas? Nicolas?" Simon said, puzzled, looking in every direction except at Nicolas.
"Yes, Nicolas," Dr. Pericranium said, confused. "He's right here."
"I have not made the acquaintance of anyone named Nicolas," Simon said, still pretending to hunt through the crowd. "I've never known anyone named Nicolas, and in fact I did not arrive at this convention with anyone named Nicolas but rather quite some time before."
"What the devil are you talking about? Nicolas, what's going on?"
"I don't know anyone named Simon," Nicolas said.
"What--but-- Come off it, what's going on? I met with you two just last week."
"Who's Simon?" Nicolas persisted.
"All right, if you don't know who Simon is, how'd you know his name?"
"How'd I know whose name?"
"Simon? Pleasure to meet you, sir." Nicolas offered his hand to Simon.
"The experience is reciprocal, I'm sure," Simon said, smiling in return. "And you are?"
"Nicolas, of course."
Dr. Ludwig Pericranium choked back his disbelief with a swig of punch. "Well good, now that that's settled, let's talk about that research project."
MEANWHILE, UNBEKNOWNST TO OUR HEROES, THE DASTARDLY NEURON SHORTSTOP AND HIS EVANESCENT SERVANT NODDLE BUNGLEDRIP SNUCK INTO THE NUGA CITY INSTITUTE FOR ACADEMIC STUDY THROUGH THE AIR DUCTS.
Peering through the metal grating, Neuron surveyed the function hall with smug satisfaction.
"The moment is nearly here, Noddle," Neuron hissed in hushed tones. "Soon the rest will arrive, and we'll strike them all down with one crushing blow. But first, we must buy ourselves a little security."
"What's that?" Noddle whispered.
"Cease your sleeveless stultiloquy, you blundering insensate pod of puerility," Neuron scolded. "Do you want them all to hear us?"
"Hush!" Neuron fumed. "Now, we must obtain that security by kidnapping none other than Miss Sally Sconce. No one would try to stop us if that dear, sweet little thing's life were at stake. We'll render them all doddering dummies, and they won't dare defend themselves. Come on."
MEANWHILE, NICOLAS C. PATE HAD ALREADY MADE EXCUSES AND TORN HIMSELF FROM THE GATHERING. SEEKING THE PRIVACY OF THE MEN'S LAVATORY, HE QUICKLY CHANGED INTO HIS RED DENIM JACKET, YELLOW CHAPS, AND PURPLE SCARF AND BECAME...SIDEKICK MAN! MEANWHILE, IN THE FUNCTION HALL....
"My dear Miss Sally," Simon said, pulling her aside, "I appear to find myself in a mildly compromising predicament. If my assessment is not fallacious, I have victimized myself from inadvertence and neglected to transplace my seminar notes from Inspiration Hall to here, with myself. I'll just be a while, and I shall return presently."
"I'll go with you."
"No, no, no, no," Simon said hastily. "Your presence here is essential, to, that is, endeavor to make my excuses and ensure everyone of my imminent return."
"Ok. Don't be long."
Simon dashed away, as quickly as social protocol would permit, and exited the front door. Then, making sure no one was looking, he leapt into the bushes. Quickly, with as little rustling as he could manage, he changed into his blue sweater, orange tights, and bright green cape. Thus transformed into the bane of stupidity, Smart Man, he snuck around the building to an unattended back door and slipped inside.
"Nicolas!" he whispered as loudly as he could.
"I'm right here," hissed a hot water tank. Sidekick Man waved from behind it. "And take off that fake mustache!"
"Oh, right," Smart Man whispered. "OW!"
"Well, it HURT!"
"Get back here. You're in plain sight."
"Do you see anybody?"
"Ok, let's go back out and sneak around."
"Right. You take the west wing, and I'll take the east wing. Remember, keep your eyes open for anything out of the ordinary, such as Neuron Shortstop."
AND SO, WHILE SMART MAN AND SIDEKICK MAN SCOURED THE NUGA CITY INSTITUTE FOR ACADEMIC STUDY, NEURON AND NODDLE WERE BUSY SETTING THEIR OWN FOUL SCHEME IN MOTION! FOR JUST THEN, NEURON AND NODDLE HAD MADE THEIR WAY TO THE AIR VENT IN THE LADIES' LAVATORY. THEY LOOSENED THE BOLTS ON THE AIR VENT, AND THEN IT WAS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE MISS SALLY SCONCE PAID THEM A VISIT, AND WHEN SHE DREW NEAR, NEURON LUNGED OUT, ENVELOPED HER IN HIS ARMS AND HIS CAPE, AND PULLED HER INSIDE!
"Help!" Miss Sally squealed. "Help me!"
But Neuron clamped a gloved hand to her mouth and silenced her screams.
MEANWHILE, AS SMART MAN WAS SEARCHING UNDER THE DESKS IN EMPTY CLASSROOMS, HIS KEEN HEARING PICKED UP MISS SALLY'S CRIES FOR HELP.
"Oh no!" Smart Man moaned. "This sucks indubitably! Why, it's not politically correct at all!"
Desperate now to find his dear Miss Sally and rescue her from the clutches of evil, Smart Man hunted under the desks all the more quickly.