Janet and Jane: The Case of the Faked Test Scores: Part One
We knew this day was coming.
James' internship here at J2 was coming to an end. He stayed around much longer than he planned to. If I recalled correctly, he asked for an extension at least two times (I was honestly surprised by this fact when James first told me). He said that he really liked working with us. None of us really minded – we liked working with James, too. It was nice teaching him the ways of being a detective in Neopia.
Still, he couldn't be an intern forever.
This was the last week of him being an intern here. After that, he would graduate and be a detective out in Neopia. I didn't doubt that he could do it. Still, I was going to miss him. There was no doubt that we could keep in touch, but it wouldn't be the same.
“Do you really think he'll say yes?” Natia asked, snapping me back to reality.
“I don't see why he wouldn't,” I answered. I stood up on a chair to hang up the banner. “I think he'll be excited when we tell him.”
“Speaking of which, who's going to be the one to tell him?” Jane asked. The Korbat helped me straighten the banner. Once it was straight, she said, “We all can't just tell him at the same time. Last time we tried to do that, we all said different things.”
“Oof, yeah. That ended badly.” I hopped down from the stool.
Natia hopped up and down. “We can flip a coin.”
“There are three of us, Natia,” I told the alien Aisha. “A coin only has two sides.”
“Rock paper scissors?”
“Janet, maybe you should tell him,” Jane said. She looked at me. “It was your idea, after all.”
It was my idea, that was true. After a moment of consideration, I said. “Alright, I'll tell him.”
Jane, Natia, and I finished decorating the discussion room. There were streamers, a banner, some balloons, it almost looked like a birthday party. It wasn't often we decorated like this. For birthdays and maybe Christmas, that was about it. Still, this was an occasion worth celebrating. We wanted to send James off on a good note.
Natia decided to play around with the leftover helium once all the balloons were blown up. You know how it was – breathing in some helium and making your voice sound higher. She then went on to say random stuff and laugh at herself. Trust me, this was very annoying. As if she wasn't goofy enough.
“What are you planning on doing with the rest of the helium?” Natia asked in a high voice (then laughed at herself).
“You mean the rest you didn't waste? I don't know,” I said simply. I stood back to make sure the banner was straight. “Maybe keep it until we need it again.”
“That doesn't mean you can mess with it.”
Natia's ears drooped and frowned. “Aw.” That frown on her didn't stay for long (Natia was never sad for more than fifteen minutes at a time). She started to laugh at her voice again.
I walked over to the helium tank and rolled it away from the Aisha. She grabbed it and tried to take it back. We fought over it for a while. In an attempt to get a better grip, I accidentally grabbed the valve and opened it. This sent helium into the room. I coughed. My coughs were already sounding higher.
“See what you playing with helium did?” I asked. My voice actually sounded like Natia's when she didn't have helium in her system (yes, her voice is a little high).
Natia smiled and laughed. “I”m sorry, but I can't take you seriously with that high voice,” she responded. “And you were the one who opened the valve.” She continued to laugh. “You sound like me!”
“Yeah yeah, I know. It's not funny!”
“Oh yes it is! If I sound like that when I'm serious, even I wouldn't take myself seriously.”
“Not that you do that now.”
Jane crossed her arms. “Janet, don't be rude,” she said in a higher pitch.
That made Natia laugh even more than she already has. That helium must have gone to her head. Natia was always a cheery Neopet and had the tendency to laugh. It tended to get on my nerves, but I learned to live with it. There were some occasions where she went overboard and it bothered me. This was one of those times.
“Do I want to know what you three are doing?”
The three of us looked at the now open door. James was looking in on us. He had a mix of confusion and sadness on his face. The confusion I got – we were just talking in high voices, after all – but the sadness I didn't.
“This is for you,” I answered. I walked up to him. “This is to celebrate you becoming a real detective.”
“And the high voices?” James asked. The purple Bori tilted his head.
“Balloons, helium, Natia messing around, long story.”
James crossed his arms. “Interesting how you blew up latex balloons when all three of you know that I'm allergic to them.”
Uh oh, we forgot about that. Jane quickly said, “We're so sorry. We didn't think–”
James laughed a little. “It's okay. As long as I don't touch any of them, I don't mind.” His smile quickly faded. “All of this is isn't necessary, though.”
“Of course it is!” Natia cheered. She hopped up on her feet. “We want to celebrate you graduating from Brightvale University, the best school in Neopia! That's an accomplishment!”
“But I didn't.”
He didn't? That made no sense. James was one of the smartest Neopets I've ever met (book smarts, that is. He still has a long way to go with street smarts). I've seen him do some of his homework here. He did it with ease when I had almost no clue what some of the stuff meant. If he didn't graduate, then I had to have a serious chat with the one running that school.
“What do you mean?” I asked. “Did you not pass a class or something?”
James shook his head. He said, “No. I didn't fail. I was expelled.”
Expelled? That made even less sense. Along with being one of the smartest Neopets I've ever met, he was also one of the nicest (then again, I didn't meet a lot of nice Neopets in this business). He was polite, considerate, friendly, there was no way he would get in any sort of trouble. At least on purpose. If he did, he would apologize and try his very best to make it up to everyone (let's just say that he messed up quite a few times while he was working with us).
“You were expelled?” Jane asked. “How? You would never do anything.”
“I didn't do anything,” James said in a more angry tone. He kicked a mylar balloon that was on the floor. “They said I gave out the answer key to the final exam, which I didn't. Why would I ever do that? They never even told me how they thought it was me. Did it ever occur to them that it was out of character? I was going to the the valedictorian!”
“That does seem a bit odd,” I said to myself. “James, we know it wasn't you.”
“Thank you, but what kind of good will that do?”
I looked at Jane, then at Natia. I didn't doubt that we were sharing the same thought. I looked back at James and said, “We can figure this out.”
“You, Natia, and Jane–”
“And you. You may be an intern, but you're pretty much a detective right now. All four of us can clear your name. It shouldn't be that hard.”
James smiled a little. “But graduation's on Friday. It's Monday.”
“That's more than enough time to figure out why those Neopets said you gave out the answer key,” Jane informed. “I talk to them on a regular basis for your internship. They would talk to me. It should be pretty easy, too.”
“And we can ask around to see if the other students know anything,” I continued.
“We'll get you back into Brightvale University!” Natia cheered.
James' sadness quickly melted away and was replaced with hope that filled the entire room (along with the little bit of helium that remained). Now that we got him in a good mood, we could figure out the whole story. I knew James didn't tell us the entire story.
I cleared my throat. “Now James, could you tell us what happened?” I asked. My voice was still a little high, but it was getting lower.
“I told you already,” the Bori answered.
“I mean the whole story. How'd they tell you?”
“Oh, of course.” James pulled up a chair and sat down. “My roommate, Epsilon, and I were heading to class when the dean told us to go to his office. That's when he told me I was expelled for stealing the answer key.”
Jane thought about that for a little. I did the same thing. Natia, well, I didn't think she was paying much attention to what James said. It seemed rather strange that James wasn't given a complete explanation. Then again, the dean might have not had a complete understanding of what was going on. That happened more than once to me. If that happened, it might be a little harder (for obvious reasons), but it shouldn't be too difficult.
“I can't thank you guys enough,” James said in a bit of disbelief.
“No need for thanks,” I informed. My voice was back to normal. “Now let's get going to Brightvale University.”
To Be Continued...