Story ©2007 by The Angst Guy

Daria and associated characters are ©2007 MTV Networks




Feedback: Feedback (good, bad, indifferent, just want to bother me, whatever) is always appreciated. Please write to: The Angst Guy.

Synopsis: Daria makes a surprising discovery while looking through her parents’ bedroom drawers, but the real surprise is yet to come.

Author’s Notes: This tale began with an Iron Chef on PPMB, but see the end of the story for all the notes, which would give away too much here.

Acknowledgements: Profuse and heartfelt thanks go out to Prince Charon, for his excellent Iron Chef; Martin Kuzeja, Liliane Grenier, and Rick “RedlegRick” Hennigan for their superb artwork in the cause of Daria fandom; Quiverwing for her invaluable assistance, and the other wonderful folk named in “Author’s Notes II.”




Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.

—Henry David Thoreau, journal entry for January 5, 1856



The conscious purpose of science is control of Nature; its unconscious effect is disruption and chaos.

—William Irwin Thompson, “Nine Theses for a Gaia Politique,” 1986




From “The Daria Diaries”


Saturday, October 25, 1997

Lawndale (suburb near Baltimore), Maryland


Just after eight in the morning on a cool autumn weekend, auburn-haired Daria Morgendorffer awoke to the sound of the garage door opening as her parents left the house in her mother’s red Chevy Blazer. Her mother had talked her father into going downtown to the Lawndale 10-K Fun Run to get some much needed exercise, which in practical terms meant her mother would steadily power walk from beginning to end while her father ran macho-hard for half a kilometer until he was winded and staggering aimlessly about, to be picked up by the Vulture Bus. The two would be gone until noon, at the very least—more than enough time to activate the plan Daria had hatched a few days earlier.

Daria found her round-lens glasses, threw back her covers, and got out of bed two hours early. The usual shower and change of clothes could wait. Her sister Quinn would sleep soundly until ten, recovering from a Friday night dinner-and-movie date. Today was the last day of the Carnivorous Plant Expo downtown, but that would not start until one o’clock. No moment like the present to be a spy.

Minutes later she was in her parents’ bedroom, rummaging through the dresser drawers in search of anything of interest, especially something that could be used for cash-only blackmail or as a “get out of jail free” card should the need arise. Her father’s drawers yielded a worn deck of playing cards with topless women on the backs (so tacky, so lame, so like Dad), a racy letter dated Valentine’s Day, 1972 (from her mother, while both she and Daria’s father were in college), and a brochure from a resort called the Sweethearts’ Getaway that specialized in role-playing encounters for lovers, with a note from her mother penned on the front (“Want to ravish an innocent maiden this weekend, Captain Cutlass?”). Daria grimaced as she tried to wipe the resulting images from her mind, but she knew she was cursed to feel dirty to the end of her life—the bad kind of dirty, too, as her best friend Jane Lane would say.

A subsequent search of her mother’s drawers turned up a stack of X-rated lingerie (hot-pink crotchless panties—Daria’s mind reeled in shock), a penciled note from her father (“The weather man said you’re going to get six inches tonight, lucky lady!”), three tubes of K-Y Jelly (all partially used) . . . and a small, bulging manila envelope. Unable to handle any further delving into her parents’ private lives, Daria took the packet to her room and carefully opened it, scanning the folded contents. She gasped after reading only two of the enclosed documents, then continued after she got a pen and began making notes. Forty minutes later, she put the pages together again, resealed the manila envelope, and hid it in her mother’s drawer exactly as she found it, under the crotchless panties. She then washed her hands with soap and hot water for ten minutes. Her tired parents came home at fifteen past noon, none the wiser, and Daria left for the Carnivorous Plant Expo to clear her mind of the staggering discoveries she had made that day. She was only partially successful and was haunted for years afterward by nightmares of being chased through a Frederick’s of Hollywood store by grinning pirates (“ARRR!”).

“So you were a test-tube baby,” Jane remarked that evening at Pizza Place. “You know, I always suspected there was something artificial about you.”

“I wonder if they made Quinn in a Petri dish, too,” muttered Daria, toying with her Ultra-Cola. “They could have gotten the fertilized egg confused with a bacterium, which would explain a lot—though if they had sewn her together from graveyard parts and run up a kite during a thunderstorm to activate her, that would have made even more sense.”

“Any idea why your parents had you made in vitro, aside from the obvious?”

Daria glared at her friend. “What does that mean?”

“I don’t know,” said Jane with a smirk. “I just liked the way it sounded. Go on.”

Daria subsided. “Mom had some kind of problem with her fallopian tubes. They were closed off, I think. I don’t know if they were fixed later, or if . . . hmmm, maybe I was the only kid they could have. Maybe they have Quinn’s adoption papers in the drawer that I didn’t get to open. Where could she have come from? Where could she have inherited her looks and her brains? I don’t think Barbie ever had any kids.”

“Well,” said Jane, counting on her sauce-stained fingers, “there’s Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, the Alien hive queen—”

“True. I wonder if she was cloned to boot, and one day all her copies will descend on me for the Final Makeover.”

“Don’t torture yourself over it, Daria. Let me have a shot at torturing you, too.”

“A multitude of clones of my sister. Tens and tens of Quinn’s thin twins . . . ow, that hurt my mouth.”

“The horror, the horror, and oh the humanity.” Jane shook her head, waving her black bangs. “We’d have to call out the army, the navy, the editorial staff of People magazine—”

“Maybe we should pitch the idea to Stephen King. It would be like that movie Misery, but on an endless loop. Quinn without end.” Daria sighed. “Though there’s always the snowflake problem. Even identical twins have their differences, like with snowflakes. No two are exactly alike. One of those Quinns might have an actual brain.”

“We’re talking about Quinn, though, and it’s my turn to torture you, so no way. One makeover from hell, coming right up.”

“The worst part, if there’s more than one of her, is knowing that Nature is her biggest fan, imitation being the sincerest form of flattery.”

“Hey, amiga,” said Jane, waving a breadstick at her friend. Her blue eyes twinkled. “Maybe you were cloned in that test tube, and your other clones are being raised right now in secret Nazi laboratories in Brazil. You've always wanted your own clone army, so maybe you got it. Ever think of that?”


“Why not?”

“First, the in vitro part was done in Los Angeles. It’s where my folks were living at the time before they moved to Texas. They got married by the sea there.”

“And second?”

“Per my earlier comment about imitation and flattery, any cloning of me would imply I was popular.”

Jane mulled this over for a few seconds. “Got me there,” she admitted. “Same could be said of me, too.” The topic moved on to which bad movie they planned to rent for the night when Daria slept over at Jane’s house. The rest of the weekend was faultless. All was right with the world.


* * *


“Daria on Rollerblades,” by Martin Kurzeja

Artwork courtesy Martin Kurzeja


Saturday, June 3, 2000

San Andrea (suburb near Los Angeles), California


Minerva Kurtis-Duncan pushed her round-lens glasses up on her nose and finished reading the thick packet of documents she had received that morning at the post office. She had little fear her mother would intercept the mailing, as Marjorie Kurtis was struggling to finish her writing. Having passed several years earlier through a career change from bit-part actress and second-shift waitress to full-time writer, Marjorie had assigned her daughter the tasks of picking up the mail and buying groceries so she could develop a series of self-help books. The series had done well, but the second half of the current volume was going nowhere, and neither was Marjorie, locked away in her study. Minerva welcomed the benign neglect and the freedom it brought, especially given the current circumstances.

When Minerva finished reading, she hid the papers away in a narrow space above her bedroom closet door, then elected to go outdoors and think. She collected her skating gear and methodically strapped it on except for her rollerblades, then went downstairs and out the front door of her mother’s two-story Victorian home. She laced up her blades on the front steps, then headed down the boulevard for the seaside park. Her long auburn hair blew in the Pacific breeze as gulls cried in the air above. Her brown-eyed gaze roamed over the palms and flowerbeds, her face betraying the strain of her discovery.

¡Hola, amiga!

Minerva turned and gave a relieved smile. The sound of a skateboard could be heard from behind her. Moments later, the skateboard arrived bearing a lanky teenage girl in orange cargo pants and a blue tank top with “YO!” printed across it in yellow. The raven-haired teenager was doing a hand-stand on her board, riding upside down with her tank top and peace-sign necklace around her head and her colorful bikini top showing.


“Jane the Skateboarder,” by Liliane Grenier

Artwork courtesy Liliane Grenier


“‘Sup?” asked the new girl.

“Nothin’,” said Minerva, skating along.

“Liar,” said the new girl with a strong Spanish accent. She gracefully bent at the waist and was suddenly riding the skateboard on her feet in a relaxed pose. “Decime.

Minerva rolled her eyes. “It’s nothin’ big.”

Someone gently thumped her on the butt with a black-and-white tennis shoe.

“It’ll take a while to explain,” she said with a sigh.

Tengo todo el tiempo del mundo.

“I found out where Mom and Dad had the in vitro done,” said Minerva, her face impassive. “It was at a fertility clinic in downtown L.A., February of my birth year. Something must have happened there when they did the procedure, some mix-up with someone else’s egg.” She bit her lip. “The kid my mom and dad were supposed to have had before they got divorced was probably born to some other couple. I took that kid’s place, and that kid took mine. Guess it doesn’t matter at this late date, but I do sort of wonder what went wrong.”

“Or how much you could get out of a court settlement.”

“Well, yeah, that too.”

Ai-yi-yi, that could be real money, pizza for years. I’ll stay on your good side, then. So, you gonna go lookin’ for your real mom and dad?”

“No,” said Minerva firmly. “My real mom’s here, and my real dad’s in Colorado. My genetic mother and father are . . . I don’t know. Somewhere with another kid who should have been where I am now.”

“I told you that you should have studied for that DNA test you took last year.”

“I had it done because my blood type doesn’t match anyone on either side of my family. The clinic said I’m not genetically related to anyone I know, anywhere.”

“Maybe you should just let it go—except for the money, I mean, but don’t worry about the rest.”

“Well, how would you feel if you found out that—” Minerva made a pained face “—sorry. Forget it.”

“You can say it, amiga,” said her friend, standing on one foot on her rolling skateboard, her arms out like a gliding bird. “I’ve been there, too. Mamá said my birth dad passed through here in the early eighties, some fotógrafo from the east coast, and she doesn’t know where he is now. She thinks his name was Vince. Como quieras. Hey, I don’t even know where Mamá is most days, not that it matters with all the sisters and brothers and ex-step-dads and aunts and uncles and who knows what hangin’ around la Casa Cruz. You should be so lucky—in fact, I will tell you just how lucky you should be when I come over tonight. It’s like escapin’ from the zoo. So anyway . . . what else did you learn?”

“That was it, just that I got sidetracked on the genetic family tree. I still want to know how it happened, though I don’t know so much if I want to bother my genetic parents about it. The news might be a little much.”

Sos curiosa, pero no desesperada.

“Yeah. It’s not like I’m filling in missing spaces in my life. I’ve got what I got. I’m just . . . curious.”

“Well, you need a lawyer then. Seriously.”

Minerva grimaced. “I can’t afford a lawyer. And I don’t want Mom to know I’m poking around in this stuff.”

“She won’t find out from me,” said the girl on the skateboard. “Luz Cruz knows when to keep her mouth shut.”

Minerva gave a sidelong look at her friend with a raised eyebrow.

“Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah,” said Luz, wagging a warning finger. “Do not go there. Do not dare go there, mi amiga.

“I wasn’t,” said Minerva, looking away with a toss of her hair.

“Yes you were. I learned my lesson.” Luz swept her right arm around in a theatric gesture. “All men are liars and bring nothing but heartache!” she shouted, then pointed at Minerva. “You and I, though, we are one! We are mejores amigas to the end!”

Minerva nodded agreement. She had long ago forgiven Luz for going out with Minerva’s two-timing boyfriend, who told Luz he had broken up with Minerva the day before. When confronted, Tomas had even laughed and admitted he was playing the field, though he did not laugh so much after Luz finished with him. Healing the rift between the self-proclaimed mejores amigas-for-life had been difficult—had taken an entire summer, in fact—but it had been worth it.

“Speakin’ of brothers and dating,” said Luz, now standing on the other foot with her hands behind her back, “when will your big blond step-bro be back in town? Is Tory still runnin’ ‘round with his band?”

“Dad got him a gig at the ski lodge in Winter Park,” said Minerva, rounding a curve in the sidewalk by an ocean overlook. “You’ll have to curb your lust for one more month before he comes by here.”

“Yeah, well, let him know I’m still available, okay? I’m eighteen and legal and approachin’ my prime, don’t want to waste it. What’s that word you’re supposed to be?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Yenta, you’re supposed to yenta me. You’re falling down on the job.”

“I gave you his e-mail address.”

“Oh, he blocked my e-mails months ago, and he’s blocked my phone and my letters at the post office, and I can’t even fax him a dirty picture of me. I can’t do anything. You talk to him. He listens to you when he’s awake.”

“He’s also twenty-four, Luz, for God’s sake.”

“And he’s hot. I want to be his band groupie. Not that I would ever use you to get to him, you understand.”


“Good, then. Hey, maybe he will come see us when we get to Boston this fall, eh? He could come see you write poetry at Raft, and you could take him to see me in my modern dance classes at Boston Fine Arts. Can you pull that off for me, at least?”

Minerva gave up. She could do worse for a stepsister-in-law, though she doubted Tory would be interested in Luz. A slacker in every department, he already had an off-and-on girlfriend and wasn’t inclined to trade for another. “I’ll try. He might do it.”

“Ah!” Luz grinned broadly and did another handstand on her skateboard. “You are the best, amiga. Hey, you know, you were talking about finding out more about your birth thing, right?”

“Yeah, so?”

“If you do talk to a lawyer, see if she knows a fotógrafo named Vince. I’m a little curious, too. Nothing much, just curious.”

Minerva gave her friend a twisted smile. “I’ll do that, amiga.

“Thanks.” Luz stood up on her skateboard again. “You know, don’t take this wrong, but I’m kind of glad they made the mistake, if that’s what happened. It wouldn’t have been any fun growing up around here without you.”

Reaching out for each other was automatic. They held hands for a few seconds as they rolled down the sidewalk by the sea wall. The waves thundered into the rocks below. All was right with the world.



* * *


Friday, September 1, 2000

Sunvale (suburb near Boston), Massachusetts


“This lawyer Mom recommended had better be a good one,” Daria Morgendorffer muttered from her seat in the waiting room.

“With a nickname like ‘Woodsy,’ one can expect only quality legal care,” Minerva Kurtis-Duncan grumbled in the seat next to her, eyeing the bar certificate on the wall nearby. “Hey, wait a minute. This says she passed—”

“—her exam in nineteen ninety-eight, I know,” said Daria. “Mom told me. Classmate of hers. Mom owed her a favor.”

“But her diploma says she didn’t graduate until seventy-nine, and your mom—”

“—graduated Middleton in seventy-two. Mom said she’d take the case herself but she’s freaked out enough at having two of us.” Daria shook her head and gave the carpeted floor a tired look. “There had better be a good reason for all this.”

“Dream on,” said Minerva. She eyed the diploma once more. “Quality legal care. Right.”

“Mom said she’d fly us all to L.A. to meet your mom after she and Dad get here this weekend,” said Daria. “You’ll get to meet my sister.” She raised her head. “Hey, would you mind—”

“—dressing up like you to freak out your sister? Sure, anytime.”

“Thanks. You have no idea what that would mean to me.”

“Good thing I offered to help move you into your dorm last weekend, Daria,” Jane Lane said from a seat across the waiting room. “I’d hate to have missed all this family togetherness.”

“Welcome to the zoo, mi hermana,” said Jane’s half-sister. “Are there any magazines in here that aren’t from the seventies?”

“You could let me see that picture of Minerva’s stepbrother again,” said Jane. “Maybe I can get him to pose nude for me. He’s kind of—”

“No!” snapped Luz. “He’s mine! I saw him first!”

“Oh, get over it!” Jane retorted in irritation. “It’s for a life-modeling class! I wasn’t going to steal—”

The half-sisters began to argue loudly and rapidly in Spanish while making wild, threatening hand gestures. Daria and Minerva sighed at the same moment and reached in the pockets of their open jackets—green for Daria, rust red for Minerva. Each pulled out a stick of gum and handed it to the other; after a look of surprise, they each took the offered gum and mumbled their thanks.

“Ms. Woods will see you now!” cried the receptionist. She escorted the foursome out of the waiting room before serious damage was done and down a narrow hallway to a conference room with an oval table, numerous chairs, and a tall, thin brunette with a conservative skirt-suit in dark brown who identified herself as Nancy Woods. She could scarcely take her eyes off Daria and Minerva; the sight seeming to provoke great astonishment in her, and not a little anxiety as well.

“Well, here it is,” Ms. Woods began after everyone was seated—Jane and Luz on opposite ends of the oval table, Daria and Minerva together across from the lawyer. “I had an investigator look into the records of the now-defunct Maternal Marvels Fertility Assistance Center in Los Angeles right after you contacted me, and he turned up a lot of stuff. The center was under repeated investigation for questionable practices since it was founded in nineteen seventy-five, but the director was able to deflect most of the serious inquiries until he retired in nineteen ninety. The clinic destroyed most of its older records around that time, and the director and some of his staff were convicted of obstruction charges and sent to prison.”

Ms. Woods appeared more nervous as she continued. “The clinic made numerous mailings across the U.S. in the eighties, claiming to be the most advanced infertility treatment site in the country. In particular, it was able to buy the mailing list for Middleton College alumni, and this group was heavily targeted in the late seventies and early eighties. The clinic director himself had graduated from Middleton, and he hoped to use his status as a contributor to the college’s athletic program to get more business. The clinic made extravagant promises to cure infertility, but there were rumors that—” Ms. Woods cleared her throat “—that, um, unethical practices were used, particularly involving IVF, in vitro fertilization.”

“Do tell,” said Daria under her breath.

“Cloning?” said Minerva. “And who was it that was cloned?”

The attorney shuffled some papers before her on the table. “We were able to depose a nurse who worked at the clinic from seventy-nine to eight-five, and she’s agreed to testify on your behalf in exchange for immunity to prosecution. It seems, based on her testimony, that the clinic had trouble keeping alive some of the fertilized eggs being used for IVF, and began to use a crude technique to cause other fertilized eggs to spontaneously divide into multiple embryos, forming identical twins. Cloning in a sense, yes.” Ms. Woods coughed, then pointed to Daria and Minerva. “You two were almost certainly together as embryos in the Maternal Marvels laboratory, before being separated and implanted in different mothers. The original mother, so far as can be told genetically, was Helen Morgendorffer, Daria’s mother.”

“You have my sympathy,” said Daria out of the side of her mouth to Minerva.

“Trade you,” Minerva responded.

“You’re saying,” Luz interrupted, “that the clinic made lots of cloned embryos and used them instead of the embryos they were supposed to be using.”

“On an irregular basis, yes,” said Ms. Woods. “We lack the records to support this conclusion, but the nurse we deposed said no more than four or five clones of the same fertilized egg would be used at the same time. As I said, they had trouble storing eggs and embryos and keeping them alive.”

There was a pregnant pause.

“So,” said Daria with a tight face, “there could be more of us.”

Nancy Woods took a deep breath and got up from the table. She walked over to another door in the conference room and called, “Guinevere? Come in, please.”

A moment later, a diminutive young woman walked into the room wearing a dark brown jacket, an autumn red skirt, and a crisp eggshell blouse. She appeared to be the same age as Daria and Minerva. She also had the very same long auburn hair, brown eyes, owl-eye glasses, and impassive face as the two stunned girls facing her.


“Professional Daria” by Rick “RedlegRick” Hennigan

Artwork courtesy Rick “RedlegRick” Hennigan


Wide-eyed Luz gasped a phrase in Spanish that no one could translate. At the same moment, wide-eyed Jane gasped a phrase in English that no one dared repeat.

“No way,” said Daria and Minerva in unison, several seconds later.

“Way,” said the girl named Guinevere. “Thanks for warning me about this, Mom.”

“I was on the mailing list for Maternal Marvels, too,” Ms. Woods murmured with a pained expression. “Please meet my daughter and part-time legal assistant, Guinevere Grettenberger. Her father, Hugo Grettenberger, died when Guinevere was a year old.”

There was brief silence in the room.

“You wouldn’t happen to have a best fr—” Jane began.

“Stelle De Velle,” said Guinevere. “Best forgery artist in the northeast. She’s in lockup downtown at the moment.” She looked from Jane to Luz. “By any chance,” she said, “do either of you have a father named Vincent Lane?”

“Yes,” said both girls.

Guinevere nodded as if she had expected that. “I’ll let Stelle know. She’ll be in touch if she can get out this weekend on bond.”

“I’ll work it out with the judge somehow,” said Ms. Woods. “Maybe it will help to meet you all, especially you two, Jane and Luz. She hasn’t had much of a family before now.”

“She’s welcome to mine,” said Luz under her breath.

Jane turned to her best friend. “Daria, you know what this means, don’t you?” she asked.

“I finally have that secret clone army I always wanted?” said Daria with a dry throat.

“No,” said Jane. “You and I finally have proof that we are really and truly popular.”

Daria’s head thumped as it struck the tabletop a second later.

“So,” said Guinevere at last, “anyone want me to send out for pizza?”

Everyone did, and though it is hard to believe, all was soon right with the world.






There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.

—Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi, 1883



Author’s Notes: This story was based on the Iron Chef challenge made by Prince Charon on April 1, 2006: “Select a Daria FanArt, and write a story based on it. Something other than the story that the fanart itself is based on, if any. (It doesn't have to be a thousand words, that's just how the quote went. It can be more, or less, whatever you come up with.)” The author wishes to thank three people for giving me permission to write a story involving their fan art:



The story is also based on Prince Charon’s November 20, 2006 Iron Chef on fanfic clichés: “Have a look at The Revised Daria Fanfic Cliche Drinking Game. Take three or more clichés, but apply them in a manner that you haven't seen before in a Daria fanfic.” The “Revised Daria Fanfic Cliché Drinking Game” was collected by Dave Hines and appears on Outpost Daria. I used an entry under “New Characters”: “If new character is introduced which looks like a canonical character, take a drink. If the new character looks like Daria, empty the bottle.” (Contributed by Aaron Solomon “Hiergargo” Adelman.)

“Home Sweet Genome,” an essay by Daria at the MTV website, was also of value and mentions Daria’s sarcastic interest in having her own clone army. In addition, it gives Daria’s blood type (O positive) and also notes: “I recently requested that Mom and Dad submit to maternity and paternity tests, hoping to give credence to the theory that I sprang spontaneously from the head of Zeus, but they refused. I decided it was best to drop the whole subject after Mom threatened to show me a home movie of my birth. Ew.” The Greek goddess Athena (Minerva to the Romans) sprang from Zeus’s head, thus providing a name for Daria’s first-found identical twin.

Other sources for this story include a note in Daria’s spiral-bound notebook from The Daria Diaries, about the activities she planned for Saturday, October 25 (“Mom and Dad at Fun Run: explore dresser drawers?”). The unfamiliar characters herein (Lad Duncan, of Winter Park, Colorado; Marjorie Kurtis, of Los Angeles, California; and Nancy Woods of Sunvale) came from the first page of The Daria Database, in “Middleton Musings.” Thanks to Quiverwing of Argentina, who provided much needed help with Spanish phrases for Jane and Luz. Galen “Lawndale Stalker” Hardesty created Captain Cutlass in a long-ago fanfic. UU (a.k.a. Sergey) pointed out in an e-mail to me that “no one has successfuly cloned a human yet; moreover, there were no IVF centres in California until Dr Sher . . . established one in 1982.” I stand corrected, but for the story's sake we'll assume this one clinic managed to pull it off slightly ahead of schedule.

Despite appearances otherwise, this tale was not intended to have any relationship to the term, “snowflake children,” as defined on Wikipedia.


Original 02/28/07, modified 03/02/07, 03/04/07