Disclaimer: Daria and associated characters are owned by MTV. This is fan fiction written for entertainment only. No money or other negotiable currency or goods have been exchanged.
Original characters and plot copyright Richard J. Lobinske. 2008. This is written as part of the Daylight shared universe developed by The Angst Guy. The well-developed background information can be found at http://dariaverse.com/daylight.html. This story begins during the events of "Camp Fear".
Naked under the sheet of their bed, Helen curled seductively against Jake and purred, "That was some ride, Big Jake."
Doing his John Wayne imitation, Jake said, "My pleasure, little lady."
Feeling her sense of responsibility, Helen reluctantly said, "We should finish cleaning the garage before the girls get home from the Camp Grizzly reunion."
Still using the imitation, Jake stuck out his chin, "Don't worry, I'm going to clean up this little town."
Their mood was brought to a halt by a strange buzzing that filled the room. Every electrical device and even the wiring in the walls began to hum with a growing charge of electricity. The overhead lamp blew out, followed by Jake's alarm clock and the nightstand lamps in rapid succession. The couple looked around in horror as objects around the room began popping and bursting into flame.
Pulling at the sheet as she tried to climb out of bed, Helen said, "We have to get out of here!"
A blinding light filled the room, causing Jake and Helen to cry out in surprise. They cried out again when they found themselves on the floor of a plain white room, with only the sheet covering them and saw the man holding a PDA looking down.
"Oh, dear," he said, turning away. He opened a door and added, "Pardon me, I'll be right back with something for you to wear," before stepping out.
Still on the cool, hard floor, Helen and Jake huddled together and looked around the featureless room. "Where are we?" Jake said.
"I have no idea."
"Helen, are we having acid flashbacks?"
"Jake, I've never heard of two people having the same flashback."
"Maybe we better wait for that man to return with some clothes."
After a fast knock, the couple turned to see the door crack open and an arm holding two bags appear. The voice behind the door said, "Some clothes for you, Mr. and Mrs. Morgendorffer."
Jake and Helen looked at each other. "How do you know our names?" she asked.
"I'll explain in a minute...after you put on some clothes."
"Can you toss them over here?" Helen said.
"I can," the voice said and the bags tossed to the couple with surprising accuracy. "Knock on the door when you're ready."
Helen opened one bag and found plain white undergarments, a light blue jumpsuit and a pair of light shoes. She took them under the sheet - pointedly ignoring the feeling of being watched - and proceeded to get dressed while Jake tried to do the same, albeit less successfully.
Though utilitarian, the clothes fit as if they had been tailor made. After waiting on Jake to finish dressing, Helen went to the door and knocked. "We're ready.
The man entered again. "My apologies. We didn't anticipate that you wouldn't be dressed."
Helen and Jake noticed that he was in his forties, medium build with brown hair and glasses, comfortably dressed in boots, jeans and a plaid shirt.
"Who are you and where are we?"
"My name is Richard and you're going to have some difficulty with where we are."
"What happened to our house?" Jake said. "Everything was blowing up."
In a precise, controlled voice that hid all emotion, Richard said, "A little over an hour ago, your time, the sun began a sudden period of instability, resulting in a series of high speed CMEs, or Coronal Mass Ejections. The first of those hit a few minutes before you were brought here. It caused massive charges to build in any kind of conductor. For most electronics, they would overload quickly. Wiring in houses and buildings will quickly overhead and start structural fires. In simple terms, civilization on your home Earth is about to collapse."
"What?!" Jake yelled.
Though she found Richard's statement unsettling in the same was as judge delivering an unpleasant verdict, Helen pushed it aside and assumed it was some joke done in poor taste. "I'm not very amused."
"I'm not attempting to be amusing. You were transported from your house moments before it caught on fire. If you had stayed, you would be dead."
Playing along, Helen said, "And what will we owe you for this beneficence?"
"I'm part of a multiversal agency that monitors individual universes for outside influences and take steps to stop and correct those influences."
"Like some kind of galactic special agent?" Jake asked; Helen glanced at Jake with disapproval at the sudden hopeful tone in his voice.
"Some of us, yes."
"We're not exactly what you'd call special agent material," Helen said, settling Jake down with a glare.
"No, but field agents are only a small part of our operations. Not only do we have staff and technicians that stay here on base, they need communities in which to live. With these communities come all the people needed to make things work. Business, government, you name it."
"So what do you want?" Helen said.
"Billions are going to die on your Earth. We can't step in to stop natural disasters like what is occurring, but we are allowed to save those that we can that would otherwise die."
"What about our daughters?" Helen said. "Are you going to save them?"
Richard double-checked his PDA. "No need, they're going to survive this disaster."
Helen folded her arms. "Mr. Richard. This is all wonderful, but when are you going to start telling us what's really going on?"
"I'll take you on a tour. Besides, we need to clear this room for the next transport."
Jake and Helen sat with Richard at a café table with a view of twin runways off in the distance. As the Morgendorffers ate a surprisingly tasty meal, several large jets - and a number of vehicles that could only be spaceships - continued to make landings on the runways.
Around them were thousands of other new arrivals (recognizable by the outfits they wore), all learning what they had been told was true and the Earth they'd known was quickly falling into chaos.
Pushing aside - for a moment - the general sense of calm she had noticed in the area despite what had happened, Helen turned to Richard. "I still don't understand why the Agency doesn't do something more than save a handful of people," Helen said, glancing around the café, "Billions are dying."
"We only intervene to correct when an outside force has altered a universe's history," Richard replied. "We do not try to stop natural events from occurring."
Helen drew herself away from the man. "Are you really that cold?"
"I didn't say doing the right thing was easy," Richard said. "And as hard as it may be to believe, this is the right thing."
Jake asked, "How do you know?"
Richard took his portable computer - the handheld device the Morgendorffers had seen him with earlier - from his belt. After entering some commands, showed the display to Helen and Jake.
"This line shows the future course of your Earth," he said, the computer projecting a small hologram over the table. "It will fall into a second Dark Age - but what grows from that, in fifteen hundred years, will be a better society that will have learned to be frugal and sustainable with natural resources. They will have learned that they not only have to make do with the remaining resources left by the old, but that their communities must be truly interconnected and mutually supportive so that a single catastrophe can't undermine them.
Richard smiled. "They will also once again reach out to the heavens and this time, they will reach the stars."
Helen nodded and took Jake's hand. "You say that Daria and Quinn survive."
Richard entered some more commands and focused on a tiny segment of the universe line he'd just shown. He said, "Most of the buildings at Camp Grizzly don't have electrical power. Only the kitchen/dining hall, the owner's house and the counselors' cabin were destroyed by the CME. All the others, plus the storage buildings survive. The people there have preserved food, access to clean water, a functional septic system and plenty of other, unpowered tools like bows and arrows. Plus, they're isolated, which means it will be harder for marauder bands to find them."
"But our girls are so young," Jake said.
Richard's voice held a confident tone that reassured the Morgendorffers. "They will grow up fast and you will be proud of them."
After several seconds passed, Helen turned from the image in the air. "What can we do?"
"People are people no matter where they are," Richard said. "There's always a need for good lawyers and business consultants - or, if you'd like, you can try your hand at something else. Believe me, this isn't the career I envisioned in college, but I've grown to enjoy it."
"We'll take it," Helen said, without hesitation.
"One thing," Jake said. "Can you thing there show us our girls? I'd like to see them one more time."
"I can do that," Richard said.
After several seconds, the hologram shifted again to show an aerial view of Camp Grizzly that zoomed in to show Daria and Quinn, plus Trent and Jane among the other teens. Night was falling, but the sky was glowing almost as bright as daylight from a massive aurora.
Daria said, "If we're seeing an aurora like that - this has happened all over the world. We have food and other supplies right here and none of us could carry enough food to walk home."
A girl spoke up. "But our parents will be worried about us."
"They'll want us to stay alive and safe," Daria told her. "Our best choice for that is to stay here. This is our home, now."
A girl with square glasses stepped up next to Daria. "You know she's right."
"I'm staying," Quinn said, followed by Jane and Trent saying, "Me, too."
Soon, all of the teens had agreed to stay. The owner, Mr. Potts, came among them and said, "In that case, we better get organized."
"That's our Daria," Helen said.
Jake reached out; his fingers passed through the image of his eldest daughter's face. "It sure is."
Richard let them watch for a couple more minutes before he said, "We need to get you settled. I wish I could spend more time, but I have others that I need to recruit and get up to speed."
"We understand," Helen said. "Thank you."
Richard took a last look at Daria and Quinn in the holographic display. You're going to hold one of the few candles against the dark, he thought, watching as Daria began giving orders. You go, girls.
Thanks to Brother Grimace for beta reading