Some human minds have a terrible power, and Quinn has made herself a target of one such mind. Can she save herself? Can Daria save her? A Daria/Scanners crossover... not.
Actually, this is a what-if story. What if Daria hadn’t been quite so patient with Quinn about the cousin thing?
Jane set her tray down across from Daria’s at the brainy-outcast table. "So, how’s the new scanner working out? Done anything interesting with it yet?"
"Just fooling around." Daria handed her a sheet of paper. Jane looked it over and raised an eyebrow. Looking more carefully, she raised the other eyebrow. "Very good! I always thought this country needed a six hundred sixty-six dollar bill. But I don’t believe that’s Hillary’s good side."
"You’re right. It’s not."
"Oh. Why Hillary?"
"Couldn’t find a photo of Ms. Li the right size."
Jane smirked. "I see. Um, you forgot to print the back."
"I’ll get right on it." Daria rejoined sarcastically. "I’ve been itching to match wits with the Treasury Department and the Secret Service."
"Yeah, that’s my evil... uh-oh. Red alert! Fashion Federation vessels approaching!"
Daria checked the reflection of the lunchroom behind her in the aluminized wrapper of her double-fudgy cookie. "Activate geeky cloaking device and hold position. All systems to silent mode. Passive sensors only."
As the fashion club settled at the next table, Sandi said, "Don’t look now, Quinn, but that strange girl who lives with you is at the next table. Didn’t you say your parents were looking for some relative to send her to?"
Quinn felt her stomach knot up the way it always did when Sandi started grilling her about Daria. She tried not to let it show on her face. "Well, they said something about a grandfather or great uncle or something, but he’s like in Bolivia hiding from the Sad Moss guys."
"You know, the Nasty hunters. So it’s, like, really hard to get in touch with him.
Back at the brainy-outcast table, Jane grinned. "Zo, mein freund, your life story gets a new plot twist. Now you’re descended from Nazi war criminals!" Then, seeing the flicker of hurt and anger just before Daria’s poker face slammed down, she changed the subject. "So, whaddya wanna do after school? Fool around some more with your scanner?"
Daria’s eyes lit up. Her poker face dissolved into a Mona Lisa smile. "Brilliant, Watson! You’ve done it again!"
"Watson? Weren’t we Romulans a minute ago?"
"Try to keep up, Jane. Actually, I think I’ll be Professor Moriarty for a while, in keeping with the evilitude of my brilliant plan."
"Just shave your head and be Lex Luthor. Your gutter Irish accent is as phony as ‘evilitude’."
"Have a care how ye address the great Moriarty, ya spalpeen, or I’ll no let ye watch."
That afternoon, Quinn entered the Morgendorffer residence with the fashion club in tow. Daria, descending the stairs, called out, "Hi, sis!"
Quinn put on her lemon sucking face. "Ha, ha, Daria! I’ve asked you nicely not to call me that! It’s not funny any more, not that it ever was."
Daria looked surprised and hurt. "But, sis... "
Quinn snapped, "We are not sisters, cousin! Now go away and leave us alone!" Sadly, Daria turned and went back upstairs, missing a brief sympathetic look from Stacy. The fashion club moved on in and claimed the sofa and love seats.
A few minutes later, Daria quietly descended the stairs carrying an old brown fiberboard accordion file, followed by Jane. The fashion club were listening to Quinn. Daria and Jane approached from behind her.
"So, after the father was arrested, she tried to get by on welfare and charity for a while. But then she started robbing Slurpy Marts and liquor stores. When they caught her, Mom and Dad took the poor baby in so it wouldn’t have to grow up in prison."
Sandi said, "That was so-o-o unselfish of them, Quinn."
"Yeeaahhh... " from Tiffany.
Quinn continued, "Yeah, and like, we all try to make her feel welcome, of course, but sometimes she can be so..." she noticed Daria. "Daria, get lost!"
Sandi turned to Daria. "So, Quinn’s cousin, is that the truth?"
"No. Actually we’re not related at all. My birth certificate." Daria replied matter-of-factly, pulling a half-sheet size official-looking document from the accordion file and handing it to Sandi. Quinn looked startled.
Sandi squinted at the document and read slowly. "Hmm... Daria.. Marie.. Morgendorffer... mother Helen Barksdale Morgendorffer... father Jacob Icabod Morgendorffer... seven pounds three.. blahblahblah." Her eyes narrowed as she looked up at a cringing Quinn, but then something occurred to her. She turned back to Daria."But, like, you said you weren’t related."
"That’s right. Quinn’s birth certificate, adoption papers, and name change papers." Daria handed Sandi several official-looking papers out of another compartment of the file. Sandi’s eyes lit up.
A look of dread crept onto Quinn’s face. "Daria! what are you trying to pull?"
"You should have known better, Quinn. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones."
Sandi squinted and read, "Gloria Steinem Barch? Mother Janet Pleasance Barch?! Father... Oh... my... GOD! Charles Vitus Ruttheimer Junior?!" Stacy began to hyperventilate and Quinn’s face paled. Jane handed Stacy a paper bag, and she began to gasp and wheeze into it.
Tiffany whispered, "That’ss.. so-o-o-o... heinousss..."
Quinn cried out, "NO! That’s not true! It’s a lie!
Daria said,"Quinn, you didn’t know? They never told you? You never looked in here?" She indicated the accordion file. "Oh, Quinn, I’m sorry! You shouldn’t have had to find out like this."
Jane smirked wickedly. "Well, this explains why your hair color is identical to Upchuck’s. It explains the eyebrows and the freckles, too."
Quinn wailed, "I do not have freckles!" She snatched the papers from Sandi and began frantically searching through them.
Sandi cocked an eyebrow. "Oh, come now, Quinn! You most certainly do! We see you apres-shower in gym class."
Stacy observed, "And you have Ms. Barch’s chin!", earning herself a death glare from Quinn. "Eep!"
Jane chipped in, "Yeah, and her voice is kinda halfway between Barch’s and Upchuck’s!" She also received a death glare from Quinn, but continued to smirk unconcernedly.
Daria said, "Look on the bright side, Quinn. When Upchuck finds out you’re his half sister, he’ll have to stop hitting on you." Quinn looked punch-drunk. Her lips formed the words ‘half sister’ but no sound came out.
Sandi was reading over Quinn’s shoulder. "What’s this ‘o-o-w’ in parensistees here?"
Daria replied, "Parentheses. It stands for out of wedlock."
Sandi gasped theatrically. "Oh, No! Quinn! You’re a bas..."
Jane laid a hand on Sandi’s shoulder. "Now, Sandi, let’s be charitable. It’s not her fault. ‘Love child’ sounds so much better."Quinn’s expression was now one of perfect misery.
Daria looked around at the other members of the fashion club. "You’re all Quinn’s friends, right? Her best friends? You’ll keep this a secret, won’t you? You wouldn’t tell anybody at school, would you? Because you know how fast a rumor like this would spread, once it got started."
Quinn returned the gazes of her friends. Her best friends in all the world. Tiffany, with the lotus petal skin, the rosebud lips, the elfin chin, the nose as tiny and cute as her own... and the black doll eyes. The cold merciless eyes of a shark. When there was blood in the water, Tiffany was always with the eaters, never the eatees.
Stacy, with easily the best figure of them all. Arguably the best face too, if she’d get rid of those stupid pigtails. And her eyes, those huge limpid doe eyes, the eyes that pleaded for acceptance, and shifted, and cringed, and couldn’t look anyone else in the eye for more than a fraction of a second. The needy eyes. The eyes of a compulsive gossip.
And Sandi. Least pretty, but most elegant. Haughty, imperious Sandi, who cared for no one, only for power. With Sandi, winning wasn’t the most important thing, it was the only thing. And now Sandi knew that if she but did nothing, Quinn was finished.
Quinn looked in despair from the ill-concealed bloodthirsty smirk on Sandi’s face to the little Mona Lisa smile on Daria’s... and the dawn came up like thunder.
Daria! This was Daria’s doing! It was one of her twisted, reality-warping revenge schemes! Well, Mom would put a stop to it. Quinn would say "Mo-OO-om! Daria’s ruining my life again! I was telling the fashion club how you guys took her in when her parents got sent to prison and she..." Oops. That wouldn’t work.
Well, it was still a pack of lies. Quinn would just deny everything and defy Daria to prove any of it. Oh, wait. Daria had proof. Damn good-looking proof.
She’d find her real birth certificate. ..No, Daria surely had that well hidden.
She’d send for another... No. It would arrive way too late. This would be all over school by noon tomorrow.
But still, wouldn’t her friends... Oh, hell.
So that meant... her only chance was... Daria.
"Daria, tell them it’s not true!"
Daria waved a hand at the papers. "Now, Quinn, you can’t deny the facts." She said. But Quinn saw that with her other hand, the one holding the accordion file to her chest, Daria was rubbing her thumb and first two fingers together.
"Twenty!" Quinn blurted.
Daria’s expression did not change, but her eyes glanced briefly upward and then back to Quinn.
"Thirty!" Daria glanced briefly upward again.
Quinn dumped her purse out on the coffee table. "Thirty-seven and change! That’s all I have!" Daria stared at Quinn, saying nothing.
Quinn begged. "Come on, Daria, please?! I’m your sister!"
A tiny smile appeared on Daria’s lips. She picked up the money and Quinn’s box of tic-tacs, stuffed them into her jacket pocket, then pulled another birth certificate out of the accordion file and handed it to Sandi. A knowing glance passed between them.
Sandi read: "‘Quinn Louise Morgendorffer... mother Helen... father Jake...’ yadda yadda... Aha! So you two really ARE sisters! Blood kin! You have been LYING to us! This is very serious, Quinn."
And for the third time that day in Quinn’s world, the dawn came. She had just bribed Daria to prove to her friends that they were in fact blood sisters and that she, Quinn, was a liar. It was too much. With a wail of despair, she leaped to her feet, dashed up the stairs and down the hall, slammed her room door shut behind her, and threw herself onto her bed.
Tiffany said, "Loueeezze... Eewww!"
The fashion Club, minus Quinn, was heading away down Glen Oaks Lane in Sandi’s convertible. Stacy, in back, was still agitated. "Omigosh, omigosh, omigosh! I still can’t believe that really happened!"
Sandi smirked wickedly as she drove. "Yeah, that was choice! It was a pleasure to watch another master at work and all, but now pretty soon we’ll have to come up with something else to torment Quinn about."
"I’m gonna miss those stories she made up. Some of them were really funny!"
"Closed door meeting of the senior members tomorrow, seven thirty, at my house. Nobody tells Quinn. Bring a list of suggestions."
Later that afternoon, elbows on the island counter in the Morgendorffer kitchen, Daria and Jane were devouring a small frozen pizza. Jane opined, "These three-meat ones aren’t bad. I like more cheese, though."
"Pretty decent for ninety-nine cents." Daria agreed. "You know, they should mint a ninety-nine cent coin."
"Then the price of everything would drop to ninety-eight cents. I miss the comeraderie of Pizza King, though. All our jolly pals and fellow students ignoring us..."
At the table, Jake looked up from behind the battlements of his Lawndale Sun-Herald. "What’s that pounding?"
Daria looked ceilingward. "Oh, dear, Quinn’s banging her head on the wall again."
Helen, also at the table, cocked an eyebrow at her. "Daria, what’s wrong with your sister? And, Daria, all those deliciously witty responses on the tip of your tongue? Save them."
"Oh, sure, suck all the joy out of my life."
Helen used her semi-thin-ice tone. "Daria..."
Daria carefully maintained her poker face. "I think it has something to do with the fashion club, although she did mention something about her great uncle in Bolivia being hunted by sad moss. You might want to put up padding in her room. I find mine very soothing."
In the upstairs hallway, faintly from Quinn’s room could be heard, "And she even made me bribe her to do it! And beg her! My life is over!" followed by more pounding noises.
La la LA la la.