Jimmy sighed, but for once the sigh was mixed with a little bit of pleasure and contentment. Clark and Lois may not have been…completely okay, considering they were apparently trapped inside his brain. But they were alive, and conscious, and well…they were here.
"Well, y'see, Professor Hamilton…he had created this special device that was supposed to transfer thoughts, and as a demonstration, he tried to get you two to transfer a thought to me using it. Well, it worked…but you guys kinda wound up unconscious, as least as far as anyone could tell."
Though honestly, Jimmy wasn't really convinced that Professor Hamilton couldn't tell.
"Really?" Clark said. He adjusted his glasses. "Um…can't say I remember any of that, really."
"I guess I can't really, either," Lois said with a sigh. "Though if something went wrong with the machine, I guess it's not that surprising that it could've made our memory foggy or something." There was a short lull in the conversation; no one really knew where to go from there.
To break the silence, Clark added, "Out of curiosity, what thought were we supposed to send?"
"Well, you were both supposed to send the same one…and it was actually just one word. 'Science'," Jimmy explained.
Clark's and Lois' eyes suddenly widened almost simultaneously. For a brief moment, it was like they were deeply entranced by something, but not anything that was going on around them - like they were both going through some sort of flashback. Then they looked at each other.
"…Science," Clark said, his voice barely above a whisper and strangely intense. "That…word…" He placed his fingers on his forehead. His emotion seemed to be some sort of combination of confusion, realization and…well, something like reverent awe, as strange as that might sound.
"Science, that word…" Lois said, seeming to be going through similarly intense emotions. "I..I remember something. It's like…that word, 'science'…it…it started this whole thing."
Clark and Lois looked at each other again. Then they looked at Jimmy.
In that moment, Jimmy somehow knew that…they understood. They remembered – or at least, were in the process of remembering. They knew something that not even Jimmy really knew: they were remembering the very process of being transferred into Jimmy's mind by that machine.
It was pretty crazy to think about, really. To think about the fact that, apparently, while trying to transfer just one thought – one single word – Clark and Lois had transferred…themselves. All of themselves. Into Jimmy's head.
No wonder I've been having headaches…Jimmy thought.
Clark took a breath. He seemed to be gathering his thoughts. "I think…I'm beginning to remember, Jimmy. Remember…what happened to us." He sighed slightly and leaned his forehead on his hand.
"Y-yeah. Me too, Clark." Lois placed her hand on Clark's back for a minute. Slowly, she realized what she had done and drew it away, just a tiny bit awkwardly.
"W-well…that's good," Jimmy said. "Um…"
It was so weird, Jimmy thought. Despite the weird things they were talking about, this all felt so normal, so real. Despite the fact that it was the very thing they were discussing, it was somehow kind of easy to forget what the circumstances actually were.
But nonetheless, he had to soldier ahead, even if it meant acknowledging that things weren't as they seemed. That they weren't the way he wished they were.
"Well, guys…" He sighed and took a bite of his pizza. "I guess I know for sure what's going on, now."
"Yeah," Clark said. "I guess we do, too."
Lois sighed. Slowly, she took a piece of pepperoni pizza and put it on her plate.
"If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, huh, Lois?" Clark said.
Lois rolled her eyes. "Look, I'm hungry, okay?"
"Can a being of pure thought really be hungry?" Clark asked.
"For a pizza of pure thought? Sure," Jimmy said.
"I guess you could call that…" - Clark snapped his fingers and pointed at Jimmy - "…food for thought."
"Ayyyyyy! Good one, CK!" Jimmy said.
Lois rolled her eyes again and groaned loudly. Clark grinned and started munching on his pizza more intentionally. Jimmy followed suit.
After taking a few more bites, Lois placed her elbows on the table, folded her hands together, and set her chin on them. "I guess it is kind of nice to just…sit here, eating. And try not to think about the fact that two of our minds have been displaced from their bodies and placed into the brain of the other person, causing him to have serious migraines."
Clark started. "Wait – what's this about migraines?"
Lois blinked. "Um…wait…did I just say that us being in Jimmy's brain is causing him to have migraines?"
"Um…yeah," Clark said.
"I…I guess I did, didn't I? I…don't know how I knew that," Lois said.
"Is it true?" Clark asked Jimmy.
"Um…well…" Jimmy scratched the back of his head. "Yeah. I've…I've had some…kind-of bad pains in my head ever since the demonstration."
"Oh…I'm…I'm very sorry, Jimmy," Clark said meekly.
"Um…well…haha, i-it's not your fault, of course," Jimmy said.
"I know. I…I just feel bad. Knowing that – well – I'm causing you pain. Even if it's not on purpose." Clark looked down.
Lois took a deep breath. "Well, that's all the more reason to figure out how to get out of Jimmy's subconscious and back into our own heads. Which brings me to the most pressing question we have to ask: Why? Why did a machine supposedly designed to transfer thoughts end up transferring entire minds?"
"Um…I kinda assumed it was just an accident," Clark said. "Just a machine not doing what it was supposed to do?"
Lois rolled her eyes. "So much for 'reporter's instinct', Smallville. Transferring consciousness is infinitely harder than just transferring thoughts. You're telling me that a machine could perform what some people would call a literal miracle on accident?"
"Err, s-sorry! It was just my first assumption," Clark clarified. "Weird stuff like that does happen sometimes, you know. I heard a rumor that the Flash got his powers through some random thunderstorm and a mixture of chemicals."
"Really? I heard it was from him inhaling…hard water vapors or something," Jimmy said, scratching his head.
"Look, Clark, I'm willing to accept that nothing's impossible now that we know we live in a world in which Superman exists, but that doesn't mean our first impulse should be leaping to the least likely option," Lois said.
Clark frowned. "I guess you're right."
Jimmy was quiet for a minute. "Honestly…I…I don't really trust Professor Hamilton. I mean – well – I know he's an ally of Superman and all that. But…well, I've been examined by him multiple times since I first started getting these headaches, and…I don't know, something about the things he says and does and just his…general behavior makes me feel kind of, well, suspicious." He sighed. "I know that's not very specific, but…I don't know! I just can't shake the feeling."
Clark rubbed his hands, looking kind of dejected. "Well…I guess it would make sense if something was afoot," he admitted. "But even if the machine can transfer consciousness, that doesn't mean that's what the Professor was intending to do when he used it on us. I mean…maybe it can do both or something. I mean, unless you can think of a reason Professor Hamilton would want to transfer our minds into Jimmy's brain, maybe we can assume that the machine transferring minds in the first place was intentional, but doing it in that instance wasn't."
"Well…mayyyyybe," Lois said. "Seems like a horrifically sloppy mistake for an extremely knowledgeable scientist to make, but at least it's more likely than your first proposal."
"Well, I can tell you one thing: If Professor Hamilton knows what happened to you guys, he doesn't want me or anyone else to know," Jimmy said.
"Well, that would certainly make sense, if Clark's theory is right," Lois said. "He wouldn't want anyone to know the real capabilities of his 'thought transfer device'."
Clark seemed a bit agitated. Finally, he spoke up. "Well, I guess this all makes sense, guys, but…do you really think Professor Hamilton would do something like this? Lie to us and everybody about this project? I-I mean, well…it's not like I know him very well myself, but like Jimmy said…he is an ally of Superman, and I guess…I guess I just don't want to think he's not trustworthy."
"Look, Clark, none of us want to assume anything but the best about one of Superman's friends," Lois said. "But I mean – don't you think it's possible that even Superman doesn't know everything about him? I mean, he gives Superman a hand with technology every once in a while – that doesn't necessarily mean Superman knows him well enough to know that…well…he isn't hiding anything."
Clark became downcast.
"Don't get me wrong - it's not like I don't trust Superman, of course. But I mean, it's not like he can run a thorough background check on everyone he gets assistance from. And even if he could…sometimes there are just things you don't realize about a person, no matter how smart or perceptive you are."
Clark looked at Lois, then looked down again. "Well, you…you have a point." He sighed and rested his head on his hand.
Jimmy felt kind of bad for Clark. He knew that Clark always liked to assume the best of people as much as he reasonably could, and while he didn't always express it that emphatically, he had a very deep trust of and admiration for Superman – perhaps, Jimmy couldn't help but sometimes think, one that ran even deeper than his or Lois'.
"Well, I definitely don't know a lot about Professor Hamilton myself, or why he's acting this way, or what his motives really are, but…I do know one thing. We'll get to the bottom of this, and we'll do it together," Jimmy said confidently. He smiled.
Clark and Lois smiled back at him.
Beebeebeebeep! Beebeebeebeep! Beebeebeebeep!
Jimmy's heavy eyes slowly blinked open. He rolled over onto his other side until he was face to face with the alarm clock.
"Great…" he groaned groggily.
Clark, Lois, the pizza place, the conversation...it was gone.