Disclaimer: Daria and associated characters are owned by MTV. Eureka and associated characters are owned by Universal Studios. This is fan fiction written for entertainment only. No money or other negotiable currency or goods have been exchanged.
An It's Eureka, Daria story.
"Damn strategic weapons limitation treaties," the rumpled scientist grumbled as he hunched over something on his laboratory bench. He looked through a magnifier as he worked on a dull silver ring. After a final adjustment, he put the ring on his finger and held it under a lamp that gave off a purple glow under a label that read, "Danger: Ultraviolet Radiation Hazard."
After several seconds, he brought his hand back and inspected it. "Perfect. Frumsworth, you're a genius, if I say so myself. They can't take that away from me, just like that stupid treaty couldn't stop me from putting my theories to use. After all, that's such a strange combination of optics, nobody will wear them."
Jake Morgendorffer drove his Lexus down the scenic, suburban street toward his two daughters' new school. The elder, Daria, sat to his right and stared out the side window, feigning disinterest while the younger sat in the backseat, showing apprehension. He said, "Girls, I just want you to know your mother and I realize it's not easy moving to a whole new town -- especially for you, Quinn, right?"
The redhead sighed and said, "Why did we have to move?"
Jake said, "Your mother couldn't pass up the opportunity. You make friends easily; you'll be okay."
Quinn said, "We could've gone to that other place Mom interviewed. What was it called again? Lawndale?"
"Where I'm sure you would've fit in just fine," Daria said.
Jake said, "I know, Quinn, but there was something creepy about the guys in that law firm. I think your mother will be a lot happier working on the legal team for Global Dynamics."
Quinn sunk lower into the seat. "Whatever."
Jake said as he pulled to a stop in front of the school, "Daria, please try to help your sister through this transition."
"I'll try." Daria glanced at the "Tesla High School" sign before saying, "I'll see you later, Dad."
When she got out of the car, a blonde girl standing near the entrance said, "Thank goodness, another new student."
Feeling self-conscious, Quinn got out of the car.
The girl said, "Two new students. Even better. Hi, I'm Zoe Carter."
Daria said, "I'm Daria Morgendorffer and this is my sister, Quinn."
Quinn nodded. "Hi."
Zoe said, "What kind of geniuses are your parents?"
"Geniuses?" Daria said. "My parents?"
Helen Morgendorffer entered the Director's office to find a handsome man standing behind a desk. He rose and offered his hand. "I'm Nathan Stark. So glad to meet you, Helen."
Helen looked around at the very modern-styled and roomy office that overlooked the entrance lobby. "I'm glad to be here, Dr. Stark. Actually, from what I've heard about Global Dynamics, I'm honored."
"Mrs. Morgendorffer. Despite your previous, humble employment in Highland, the review committee was impressed with your corporate tax work. Just the thing we need here at Global Dynamics."
"Thank you, Dr. Stark."
"And very importantly, we couldn't find any felony convictions or Bar Association actions against you."
"Um, yes, I see."
Nathan gave her a smirk and said, "And you came highly recommended."
"Yes, Dr. Stark."
A young man entered the room and Nathan said, "My assistant, Douglas Fargo, will show you to your office. Fargo?"
"Right away, Dr. Stark," Fargo said. "Please follow me, Mrs. Morgendorffer."
Helen followed the young man to an office on the ground floor of Global Dynamics. Fargo said, "Here you go. Your computer account has already been set up and you can just log in with the username you were given. You will have to change your password right away."
"Not that unusual," Helen said.
"They're sticklers for security around here. Don't use an easy password."
"Don't worry, I won't use my birthday."
"Actually, they want you to use a password at least 14 characters long, upper and lower case with at least one number and one non-alphanumeric character."
Helen sighed. "I'm sure I can think of something."
"And you're not allowed to write it down. That's a termination offense."
"If you have any problems, the password help desk is open 24 hours a day."
"Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!" Jake screamed as he pounded the steering wheel of his car. "A ticket on my first day?"
Behind Jake's car, Sheriff Jack Carter parked his SUV and spoke on the radio. "Thanks, Jo. Since we're both new in town, I'll probably just give him a warning."
A woman's voice said, "His driving record from Texas is as long as my arm."
"If I'm getting a new start, I'll let him have one."
"You're the boss."
Jack walked to the parked car and said, "May I see your license, please?"
Jake hurriedly produced the item and nervously said, "I haven't had a chance to get a new license, officer. It's not like I'm trying to avoid it, but between moving here and trying to get my daughters to school and trying to find anything in this town, I haven't had time!"
"That's okay, Mr. Morgendorffer. You have thirty days to get a new license."
"Whew," Jake said. "Does that mean I can go, now?"
"Not yet. There is the reason I pulled you over."
"Oh," Jake said, dejected.
"I'm new around here myself and not familiar with the roads."
"So I can understand if you missed a speed limit sign."
"That's right. I didn't mean to go 55 in a 35 zone."
Jack covered his face for a moment. "Sir, I'm going to give you a warning this time."
"Just...drive careful in the future."
Walking along, Zoe told Quinn, "This top? I got it back when I lived in LA."
"LA? I'm so jealous," Quinn said.
"It's not all it's cracked up to be."
"You've never been to Highland. I wonder where you can shop around here."
Zoe said, "Downtown, but I haven't had a chance to look around much, yet."
Daria watched them walk by and slowed. "Sure thing, Dad. I'll help her fit in."
"Always talk to yourself?" a girl standing behind her said.
Daria turned to see a girl with black hair, wearing red. "Only when I want an interesting conversation."
"I know the feeling. Jane Lane."
"Daria Morgendorffer. Since it seems to be the standard introduction, what kind of geniuses are your parents?"
Jane laughed out loud. "I wouldn't call them geniuses."
"Dad does photography for Global Dynamics."
"I'm surprised that he doesn't have a doctorate in optics or something."
"That was the last guy," Jane said. "He knew everything about optics, but he had a lousy eye for pictures. He sucked."
"So your dad has a good eye for pictures?"
"And doesn't have a clue about optics. What about you?"
"Mom's a new lawyer for Global Dynamics. Dad is going to, um, consult for the downtown businesses."
"You haven't heard about how fast GD chews through lawyers?"
After school, Jane said, "Come on; let's get a bite to eat."
Daria asked, "Is there a pizza place in town?"
"One, but I'd rather go to Café Diem."
"Hokey name, but great food. Vincent claims that he can make anything you ask for and, so far, I haven't heard of him not delivering."
Daria shrugged. "Sounds good to me. The only other thing I have to do is go back to the boarding house."
"That's it. I don't know what it is, but I really don't want to stay in a place run by the local shrink."
"Don't blame you."
"We're supposed to be given housing soon. At least, I hope it's soon."
"I have to admit that Eureka has nice houses," Jane said. "Even we Lanes landed a nicer place than we had back in Lawndale."
"Wait a minute. Is that Lawndale, Maryland?"
"You've heard of it?"
"We almost moved there. My mom turned down a job offer from a law firm."
Daria looked down the road. "Yeah, small world."
Jane shrugged. "Eh, you get used to weird stuff in this town."
"A woman showing up after the funeral of her clone."
"Okay, that's weird. I bet people were talking about that for years."
"It was last week."
"Come on. You mentioned pizza and now I want some. Café Diem is right over there."
Seated at the counter and holding a slice, Daria said, "Damn, this is the best pizza I've ever tasted."
Vincent, the cheerful proprietor of Café Diem, said, "I aim to please. You won't believe how long it took me to calibrate the fusion core to match the thermodynamics of a New York brick oven."
Daria said, "Fusion core?"
Vincent waved. "They're going to be all the rage on the foodie shows in ten years."
"Well, however you make it, the pizza's good."
Jane knocked back an espresso like it was a shot of whiskey. "And good coffee."
Vincent lifted an eyebrow. "Jane Lane. How many times have I told you that you're supposed to savor it?"
"Oh, yeah," she said. "Give me another one so that I can."
Vincent took a couple of steps to the coffee machine. "Just a moment."
A woman wearing a sheriff deputy's uniform entered the restaurant. While finishing the espresso, Vincent looked up and said, "Good afternoon, Jo. What will you have today?"
The woman stopped next to the teens and said, "Daria Morgendorffer?"
Jane cautiously looked at the woman. "Deputy Lupo."
Jo Lupo said, "Jane Lane. I hope you're not getting into any trouble."
Jo sighed and shifted her attention back to Daria. "Daria, your parents are looking for you. GD has assigned your family their new home."
"A real place to live," Daria said. "Do I have time to finish my pizza?"
"I don't see where it will hurt." Jo said over the counter, "Vincent, a blueberry muffin, please."
Vincent placed the coffee in front of Jane and said, "Coming right up!"
Daria said, "I know my mom's a new lawyer in town and such, but how did trying to find me rate the services of a sheriff's deputy?"
Jo said, "Well, your sister and Sheriff Carter's daughter caught a ride with him to the boarding house. Your mother asked if you were with them and, since you weren't, Carter asked me to do a quick check around town."
"Oh, and here I thought they were worried about Daria associating with me," Jane said.
"They should," Jo said, taking a muffin from Vincent. "But I know you can't get in too much trouble here. Vincent won't let you."
"That's right," Vincent said. "Or I will cut off your espresso."
Jane said, "That is a man who knows how to wield power."
Daria finished her slice and said, "Okay, I'm ready. Guess I'll see you tomorrow, Jane."
"I'll be around," Jane said. "Someone has to be creative around here."
Riding with Deputy Lupo, Daria said, "This isn't the way to the boarding house."
Jo said, "I'm taking you straight to your new place. GD sent staff to move your things."
Daria frowned. "I'm not thrilled about some stranger packing my underwear."
"Don't worry. Protocol requires them to wear disposable gloves."
Daria shook her head. "That makes me feel so much better, thinking about some perv with latex gloves pawing through my underwear."
"They're professionals, Daria. It'll be okay."
Slightly annoyed, Daria said, "But what about my porn stash?"
It was Jo's turn to shake her head. "No wonder you hit it off with Jane so well."
"Is there a problem with her?"
"Jane is, well, Jane."
"That was informative."
"Let's just say that some people don't appreciate her creativity."
"More like that I don't appreciate cleaning up the messes it can cause."
Fargo led the Morgendorffers through an airlock that led into a dome that was covered with clear panels. Inside the dome was what looked like a fairly normal house situated amid planted crops, trees and a couple of ponds. He said, "Welcome to the Bio-Home."
"Bio-Home?" Helen said.
"That's right," Fargo replied. "A biologically self-contained and self-sufficient house. Air, food, and water are continuously recycling within the dome with no need for outside inputs beyond electricity not covered by the solar panels."
"Recycled?" Quinn said, "Does that mean that our...ewww."
Jake said, "All of this is for us?"
"That's right, Mr. Morgendorffer," Fargo said. "Compliments of Global Dynamics."
Daria said, "Um, Dr. Fargo, how experimental is this place?"
He said, "It's a prototype."
"In other words, we're guinea pigs."
"Oh, no, no, no," Fargo said. "We're well past the guinea pig stage. You're...um," Fargo caught himself and said, "going to be pioneers."
Helen said, "Who's going to handle maintenance?"
"There's a 24-hour hotline for you to call."
Daria said, "Please, don't tell me that there's a talking computer in the house."
Fargo answered, "Sorry, but I've only been able to install a SARAH in Sheriff Carter's house."
Daria held up her hand. "Just show us to our rooms."
Daria followed Fargo and he pointed out her room. When she opened the door, she said, "Ms. Barlowe?"
"Please, I've told you to call me Beverly," replied the attractive redhead within. "I had a feeling you wouldn't want regular staff packing your things, so I took care of it. Don't worry, I was very circumspect."
"Oh, um, thank you."
Beverly patted a suitcase and moved to the door. "I need to get back to a client. I hope you enjoy your new home."
"I hope so, too," Daria said, watching her leave.
Fargo continued watching Beverly until she was out of sight.
Daria shook her head at his blatant stare and went inside her room, closing the door. The room was painted a pleasing two-tone green and when she sat on the bed, it was just the right firmness. Situated on a corner of the house, the room had two windows that looked out over the miniature ecosystems around the house that sustained it. "Nice."
Opening the suitcases and boxes, she was pleasantly surprised to find things neatly packed and easy to find. Much easier to find than when she'd packed to move out of Highland.
From Quinn's room, Daria could hear her sister say, "Eww! What kind of monkey packed my clothes? They're a mess!"
Daria raised an eyebrow, shrugged, and got on with unpacking her clothes.
At a stop sign, Jake pulled around the jeep and stopped next to the sheriff's jeep. "Sheriff Carter!" he said, calling across the car and through the open passenger window.
"Morning, Mr. Morgendorffer. What can I do for you?"
"Don't tell anyone, but I'm a little lost. Um, where's Copernicus Circle?"
Jack took a couple seconds to remember the town layout before saying, "Go straight three more blocks and then turn right. Go two blocks and it'll be on your left."
"You're welcome, and Mr. Morgendorffer?"
"This isn't a one-way road. You're in the wrong lane."
It was lunch the next day before Daria and Jane had much of a chance to talk. Daria said, "So they moved us into this place called the Bio-Home..."
Jane had to put her hand over her mouth to prevent a messy spit-take. She swallowed her milk and said, "The Bio-Home?"
"What should I know about the place?"
"If you're asking, that means that they must've cleaned out the smell."
"From what I understand, the bugs in the waste recycling system went on a rampage."
Confused, Daria said, "How do bacteria go on a rampage?"
"When they gang up to protest what they were being fed."
"But they're being fed..."
"Well, the previous residents were vegetarians and the bugs wanted meat in their diet."
"So they ganged up and went on a rampage? Like charging through the house?"
"More like a big flush."
"Eww," Daria said, looking at her lunch and no longer feeling hungry.
"That's what the previous residents said."
Daria lifted her eyes and faintly smiled. "You know, now I'm glad my sister got the room closest to the bathroom."
"I remember having siblings around the house."
"You remember? What happened?"
Jane said, "I was the only one underage when Dad got the job and moved here with Mom last year. My brother Trent likes to think he's a musician and stayed because he couldn't break up his band. So now, he lives in a room behind a piercing parlor and calls occasionally when he needs money."
"Just the one brother?"
"Nah, I have one more brother and two sisters, but I don't think they've figured out where we moved, yet. I kind of feel sorry for whoever bought our old house, because I'm sure at least one of them has tried to stumble in at some oh-dark-thirty hour of the night."
Jane caught up with Daria after school. "Hey there, you're looking a little shell-shocked. Calculus?"
Daria shook her head to clear it. "I'm not in Highland any more."
"I'm glad ol' Janey's an artist. Stuff like that makes my head hurt."
"We were working with ultraviolet pigments in art class today."
"I know. Ain't it cool?"
"I hate to say it, but I think I'm going to like it here."
"It's sure a step up from Lawndale."
"It's a giant leap from Highland."
Jane nodded. "Pizza?"
"Welcome home, Zoe," SARAH said as she and Quinn entered the Smart House. "Who is your guest?"
Zoe said, "SARAH, this is Quinn. She's new in town, too. Quinn, SARAH is the house computer."
"Welcome to Eureka, Quinn."
Uncertain, Quinn said, "Thanks, SARAH."
"Would you like some refreshments?" SARAH asked. "I have fresh pineapple juice and carrot sticks."
Zoe said, "Sounds good, SARAH."
"Do you have any diet pineapple juice?" Quinn asked.
"I'm afraid not," SARAH said. "Why would you need it? The caloric value of fresh pineapple juice is completely appropriate for a young woman of your height and weight, not to mention the nutritional advantages of fresh juice compared to artificially prepared diet drinks."
"You know my weight?" Quinn said, horrified.
Trying to be soothing, SARAH said, "Don't worry, Quinn. Zoe has informed me of the need for confidentiality about weight. Nobody will ever hear it from me."
Zoe said, "She blabbed my weight to my dad."
"Zoe," SARAH said. "I am still learning the complexities of father/daughter interactions. I promise that it won't happen again."
In his office, the principal of Tesla High watched split surveillance footage of Daria and Jane walking away from school, as well as Quinn and Zoe. "They seem to be getting along. Are you sure about this? Jane isn't the best influence around here and, from what I've seen, Zoe has a few issues of her own. New students often take a little time to adapt to the academic climate and I worry about them being distracted."
Beverly stood beside him and placed a hand on his shoulder as she watched. "I think that they complement each other. Complement each other very well."
Nervous, the principal said, "Was that a professional opinion?"
"Of course. I want all of them to have a good friend."
The principal nodded again. "I see."
"I thought you would."
Late in the morning, Jake parked his car in a driveway and double-checked the address. Then, he saw the name on the mailbox and knew he was in the right place. "Dr. Frumsworth. Jake Morgendorffer is going to put your invention on the map!"
Holding her lunch tray, Quinn said, "There they are."
"After you," Zoe said, also holding a tray. The girls crossed the cafeteria and stopped next to Daria and Jane.
Quinn said, "Can we sit here?"
Daria shrugged. "Can't stop you."
Quinn sat next to Daria and Zoe sat next to Jane.
Jane asked, "Feeling a little alienated?"
Zoe said, "This school is full of brains."
"Not a bad thing," Daria said.
Quinn said, "And they're brains that know how to dress and to be popular. It's overwhelming."
Daria shrugged while Jane looked down with a grin.
Zoe said, "Daria, Quinn says that you're smart. Can...can you help us?"
"Help?" Daria said.
"Study," Zoe said. "This place is nothing like my old school in LA."
"I just try to survive and concentrate on art," Jane said. "Unlike the tin pot dictator that ran my old school, they really try to find out where you fit around here. Give them a chance."
Daria said, "I hope so. The teachers here are pushing me more than I've ever experienced before. Must be about to kill you, Quinn."
"Not funny, Daria. Please?"
"What's my motivation?"
Zoe said, "You're trying to bribe your sister?"
"Compensation," Daria said. "Thirty."
"What about in kind donations?" Jane said.
"Like what?" Daria asked.
"Zoe's dad is the sheriff. How about a get out of jail free card?"
Zoe laughed. "Forget it. He threw me in jail when we first got here."
"Remind me not to get caught by him," Jane said.
Quinn said, "Twenty-five."
Jane and Zoe looked at each other with eyes that said, "And I thought my family was screwed up."
At the end of Calculus, Daria sat for a moment looking at her notes. Behind her, someone said, "Dr. Wilkes is pretty intense. Especially if you're new in town."
Daria turned to see one of the other sophomores, a boy with curly, blond hair and gold-framed glasses. He said, "I'm Patrick."
"If you need a hand until you get up to speed, just say something. I'd like to help you."
"I'm good," Daria curtly replied.
Patrick stepped back. "Okay, then. See you tomorrow."
"Tomorrow." Daria finished putting her stuff together. She was glad the boy was gone by the time she rose. I'll get this on my own, she thought. I've always had to.
Waiting next to the Lexus, Jake waved and said, "Over here, girls. Want a ride home?"
Daria said, "Sure, Dad. It's better than walking."
"Dad, can I bring my friend along?" Quinn said.
"Of course you can, Quinn! Daria, what about your little friend."
Standing four inches taller than Daria, Jane raised an eyebrow, but said, "I don't have anyplace I need to be. Sure, I'll take a whiff of the Bio-Home."
"Great!" Jake said. "Get in, girls."
While introductions were exchanged, Daria and Jane squeezed into the front seat, leaving Zoe and Quinn in the back. As soon as the girls were buckled in, Jake started the car and pulled away. "Zoe, Jane. Did you grow up in Eureka?"
Jane said, "Nah, I'm a transplant that's learned to adapt."
Zoe said, "I've only been here a little while."
"Hey, another new kid," Jake said. "What brought you here?"
Not wanting to explain that she had run away from her mother and that her parents had agreed to let her stay in Eureka, Zoe simply said, "My father's the new sheriff."
"Oh, um. I met him. Nice guy."
"I guess - when he's not being a cop."
Jake said, "Oh. Daria, Quinn, how do you like your new school?"
"It's challenging," Daria said. "I could get used to it." Only someone who knew her very well could've caught the doubt in her voice.
"It's okay," Quinn said, very unconvincingly.
Seeing Café Diem ahead, Jake said, "Hey, kids, do you want to stop for soda or something?"
Daria said, "Why not?"
Jane said, "Sure."
"Okay, daddy," Quinn said.
Finally, Zoe said, "Okay, Mr. Morgendorffer."
Jake parked the car near the café. Then, he said, "Daria, hand me that bag on the floor."
"Okay." Daria picked up a metal foil bag and gave it to her father.
Grinning, Jake opened it and passed a ring to each girl. "I almost forgot. I saw my first client today and he gave me these to hand out."
"What are they?" Quinn said. "They're not exactly fashionable."
"Sunscreen!" Jake eagerly said.
Dubious, Daria held up her ring. "I don't think you can spread this over your skin."
"You don't have to; that's the whole point. All you have to do is wear it and you don't have to worry about messy, smelly sunscreens."
"Now that's an invention we can use," Quinn said, putting hers on.
Daria said, "How does it work?"
"It generates some kind of a thing-a-ma-field that bends the bad rays around you."
Daria shrugged. "Can't hurt."
Zoe also put hers on. "Sounds good to me."
As everyone got out of the car, Jane pocketed her ring. "I like messy, smelly sunscreens, but I'm sure I can use it in some sculpture or something."
Returning to the table with the girls' sodas, Vincent said, "Daria, what's with the eyes?"
"What do you mean?" she said.
"Whoa," Zoe said. "Your eyes are glowing."
"It's really creepy looking," Quinn said, looking worried.
Jane sighed and rubbed her eyes. "I bet it's the ring."
Daria asked, "Why do you think that?"
"If something weird happens to you in this town, the first thing you suspect is the latest GD technology you've encountered."
Vincent said, "Yeah."
"Then I better take the ring off."
Jane stopped her. "Better get it checked out, first. Just taking it off could be worse."
"More Eureka experience?" Daria said.
Zoe opened her cell phone. "I'll call my dad."
Sitting outside the café to give the girls some space, Jake sat up when he heard the siren on Sheriff Carter's Jeep and stood in near-panic when the Sheriff stopped in front. "What's going on?" Jake yelled.
Jack jumped out of the Jeep and, a moment later, an African-American man wearing a worn shop coverall with "Henry's Garage" printed over one pocket stepped out from the other side.
Jack said, "Mr. Morgendorffer, I was hoping you could tell me. Zoe called and said something strange was happening to your daughter, Daria."
"What?" Jake said, spinning and running inside.
"Henry, I may have found a father more clueless than I am," Jack quietly said as he followed Jake.
Shaking his head in amusement, Henry followed Jack. Inside, he saw a young woman glowing purple and said, "Oh, my."
"Kiddo!" Jake cried as he rushed forward.
Jack and Henry grabbed Jake's arms. Henry said, "Hold on until we figure out what's going on."
"But that's my kid!"
"I'm okay, Dad," Daria said. "Well, other than glowing like a black light Christmas decoration."
"Hold still while I scan," Henry said after taking a pen-like device from his coverall pocket. He clicked a button on the top and pointed the other end at Daria. "Oh, by the way. I'm Henry Deacon."
"I'm not exactly sure that I need a mechanic."
"How about one that worked on the shuttle?" Henry said with a friendly smile.
Jack asked the other girls, "Okay, girls. Did Daria get into anything unusual? You know, radioactive chamber, time-space something-or-other, mutant spore cloud?"
Quinn held up her hand. "She's wearing one of these sunscreen rings that Dad got from one of his clients."
"But you're not glowing," Jack said.
Zoe held up her hand. "Neither am I."
Jane took her ring from the pocket. "I've got one."
Henry said, "Thank you, Jane," and took the ring from her. "Mr. Morgendorffer?"
"Yes?" Jake said.
"Are these from Dr. Frumsworth?"
"How did you know?"
Henry said, "He's been working on the idea for a couple years. It uses technology from banned invisibility technology the DOD abandoned. It refracts the UVA and UVB rays around the wearer, preventing sun damage."
Confused, Jake said, "What?"
"My thoughts, exactly," Jack said.
Vincent looked at his hand. "Ow. When did I get a sunburn?"
Henry quickly rechecked the scan. "We've got to get you away from everybody! You're radiating UV light as well as the visible near-UV spectrum. You're going to cause sunburn or worse to anyone directly exposed."
Vincent moved back to block the entrance to his kitchen area. "No out-of-control GD technology in the kitchen. It's in my contract. And don't even think about the bathrooms."
"She's radioactive?" Quinn said, yanking her ring off.
Jane looked at the ring on the floor and back at Quinn, who showed no ill effects. "Zoe, I think it's safe for you to take yours off."
Zoe did the same and said, "What about Daria?"
"Can't risk it. We don't know what the concentrated UV radiation might do to her if we take away the protection it's giving her," Henry said. "Daria, now."
Shading their eyes, Jack and Henry rushed Daria outside the café.
Daria said, "What about you?"
"We need to get you behind some cover while I check on some things."
"Where?" Jake said.
Daria looked up at the statue of Archimedes in his bathtub displayed in the small town square. The top of the pedestal was about a foot higher than her head and the top of the tub three feet above that. "I suppose I could crawl up there with him."
"Good idea, Daria," Henry said. "That's solid granite and will provide plenty of protection."
The glow from Daria was getting brighter as Jack and Henry helped her climb up the statue and into the tub.
From within the tub, they could hear Daria say, "Tell the sculptor, 'thank you' for not detailing it inside."
Jack touched his cheek. "Am I sunburned?"
Henry said, "Like a lobster."
Daria said, "I heard that. It can't be good for me."
"Hold on," Henry said. "We're working on it."
"Well, hurry up. I've got another problem up here."
By this time, there was a very bright glow coming from the tub. Daria said, "You know how UV light can cause fabrics to break down over time?"
"Over is coming really fast."
Holding a small display device in one hand, Henry used the other to hold his cell phone. "Dr. Frumsworth, it has to be the glasses. That's the only obvious difference between the girl affected and the others." Henry listened and then asked Jake, "What's Daria's prescription?"
"She's not on any medication," Jake said. "Oh god! Do you think she's on drugs?"
"Eyeglasses prescription," Henry patiently explained.
"I don't know!"
Jack said, "It's not exactly the kind of thing I'd remember, either. Can't you just scan her glasses with the sensor thingy of yours?"
Henry nodded. "Yes, I can."
Jake said, "What's going on?"
"Dr. Frumsworth explained that glasses shouldn't cause a problem unless they have a very specific combination of myopia and astigmatism correcting optics that could interact with the field to convert other electromagnetic wavelengths to UV as they pass through the system."
Jack said, "Then taking her out into the sunlight was a bad idea."
"Sounds like it," came Daria's voice from the sculpture.
Henry partially climbed up the sculpture and held the scanner over the edge of the tub. "Daria, can you look at the scanner so that I can get your prescription?"
"How about if I take off my glasses?"
"Don't. If they are the cause of the malfunction, removing them would disrupt the field and bathe you in a dangerous level of UV radiation."
They heard shuffling and then Daria's head poked above the rim. She said, "Okay. Hurry up, because things are getting rather skimpy up here."
Henry studied the results. "Damn."
Daria dropped down and said, "That sounds like I have just the right combination of myopia and astigmatism correcting optics in my glasses. Great."
While this was going on, Jack ran to his Jeep and returned with a tarp. "Can we throw this over her to block the sunlight?"
"Good idea, Jack."
Henry and Jake helped him to cover the sculpture, which led to a muffled, "Thanks," from Daria.
"What now?" Jack asked.
Henry said, "The tarp bought us some time."
"But she's in the dark," Jake said. "Shouldn't things shut off now?"
"I'm afraid not. The tarp doesn't stop all electromagnetic radiation and the diffraction field is progressively turning more and more of that spectrum to ultraviolet," Henry explained. "Eureka is filled with EM radiation from radio signals to transmission power to experimental waves of different kinds."
"I'm still glowing in here," Daria said.
Henry said, "We need to get her into full EM containment."
Jack grabbed his portable radio. "Where do I send Jo to get some?"
"Global Dynamics, but it'll be faster if they send out a response team."
Jack shook his head. "I hate it when those guys show up."
Several men wearing Tyvek coveralls and respirators ferried plates and framing material from the heavy response truck to where a dome was being built around the sculpture. They moved to the side to avoid the car that drove past and stopped in front of the crowd gathered near Café Diem. The passenger door was thrown open and Helen stormed out, saying, "Jake, where's our daughter!"
Jake pointed and said, "Up there, Helen."
"What in the hell happened?"
While Jake tried to explain, an attractive African-American woman got out of the driver's side of the car and said, "Jack, Henry. Fill me in, please."
Henry said, "Alison, do you remember Dr. Frumsworth's plan to adapt invisibility technology to sunscreen material?"
"Yes, vaguely," Alison Blake replied.
"He's adapted it to a practical device. Well, more like an almost practical device."
Irritated, Alison said, "He was supposed to get DOD approval before distributing any prototypes. What seems to be the problem?"
"The young lady up there," Henry said, pointing toward the covered sculpture, "had the misfortune of wearing the wrong glasses prescription."
"The focused inversion effect?" Alison said.
"Exactly. She's in Archimedes's bathtub and under the tarp to reduce as much EM as we can while the response crew builds full EM containment around her."
"Hurry it up." Alison directed Henry's attention to where Helen was interrogating Vincent, Zoe, Jane and Quinn. "Her mother's the new lawyer for Global and I don't want to scare her off."
Seeing Vincent shrink away from Helen, Henry said, "I think I'd be more worried about her scaring off the locals."
Alison sighed. "I've noticed that she can be rather intense."
Helen looked at the black dome and said, "Now, what?"
Henry said, "We wait a few minutes for the diffraction field to settle down and then we can send somebody in to monitor for activity. When it drops down far enough, Daria can remove the ring. Most likely she'll be all right, but there is a slim chance of a last-second burst of UV from the shield energy when it shuts down. In that case, she may need help."
"I'll go," Jake said. "That's my kiddo in there."
"And you're her father," Jack said. "But I'm the one paid to do this. It's my job."
Disappointed, Jake said, "Okay."
"And I want you standing right by the door when we come out," Jack said.
Helen said, "Sheriff Carter, I was told that the radiation from this ring has destroyed her clothes. She'll need something to wear."
Henry stepped to the response truck and came back with a folded coverall. "Not high fashion, but it'll do for the moment."
"You can't be serious," Quinn said. "Even Daria doesn't deserve to be seen in something like that."
"Better than being naked," Jack said.
Quinn had to think for a moment. "Barely."
Jack said, "Henry, what do I need to look for in there?"
"If all goes well, you won't be able to see a thing except this display," Henry said, giving Jack his scanner. "It'll be completely dark."
"Good," Jack said.
"When this display drops below that line, it's safe for Daria to take off the ring. I suggest that both of you cover your eyes, just in case. If there is a release, the UV will certainly cause burns and you don't want your retinas damaged."
"Okay, say take off the ring and close eyes. Got it."
"After things are clear, toss the coverall up to Daria and help her down afterward. Finally, put the ring in this containment box," Henry said, placing a small, metal box in Jack's hand.
"I think I can handle that."
Jack went to the dome's door with Jake by his side. Helen also approached and said, "Get my daughter back."
"I will, Mrs. Morgendorffer. Don't worry."
Helen said, "If she's hurt, I'll sue the pants off of Global Dynamics – even though I work for them."
Jack said, "Henry knows what he's doing."
"I do okay," Jack said before making his escape through the door and into the dome. Standing in the dark, he said, "Daria?"
"I'm still here," she said. "It's getting cold."
Jack followed the display as it fell. "Just a minute more and you can take off the ring."
"When you do, close your eyes."
"There's a slight chance of a last-minute flash thing. Something about residual energy."
Despite the situation, Daria smiled faintly. "Something tells me that you'll get along fine with my dad."
"He's a good guy. He's waiting right outside, with your mother."
"Mom," Daria said. "How many people has she threatened to sue?"
"I lost count." Jack checked the scanner. "Okay, you're down to a safe level. Close your eyes and take off the ring on three. Ready?"
"One – two – three."
A purple flash lasting a tiny fraction of a second filled the interior of the dome. Jake said, "Daria?"
"I'm okay, I think." Daria moved a little and said, "Ouch. Okay, a little sunburned."
"This probably isn't going to be the most comfortable thing to wear, but it's what we had on hand," Jack said. He gently tossed the coverall up to the tub.
Daria fumbled to locate the coverall and put it on. "Could be worse, I guess."
"Let's get you out of here."
Jack helped Daria out of the tub and over to the door, using the scanner display as a light. When they opened the door, the crowd outside burst into applause.
Less than a second later, Daria was smothered by hugs from Jake, Helen and Quinn. She could barely say, "Ow. Ow. Ow, ow."
After she and her parents let go of her sister, Quinn noticed the rumpled, white coverall. "Daria, I know it's better than being naked, but we've got to get you into something else right away."
Her face red and sitting very carefully to avoid irritating any more of the total body sunburn she had to endure, Daria still felt overwhelmed at the end of Calculus class the next day.
She moved slowly as she picked up her books and let the other students file out of class. However, when Patrick walked by, she quietly said, "Is that offer still open?"
"To help? Yes."
"Thanks." Daria finished getting her things together.
"If you don't mind me asking," Patrick said, "what changed your mind? You seemed pretty determined yesterday."
Daria pointed to her face. "After spending half of yesterday afternoon cowering, naked, in Archimedes's bathtub and getting the worst sunburn of my life, I've had to admit that I can't do everything on my own."
Patrick stopped and tilted his head, letting a small smile form. "One time, I had my tongue frozen to the flagpole."
"Embarrassing, but not all that strange."
"It was in July."
Daria started walking and waved her head for him to follow. "Life here is not going to be dull."
Sharing a pizza with Jane after school, Daria said, "It seems like everyone in town has some kind of story. What strange thing happened to you?"
Jane nervously looked around.
Daria said, "It can't be more embarrassing than what I went through."
Jane shrugged. "Okay. I was a two-dimensional person for half a day."
"Two-dimensions. I was completely flat. No boob jokes."
Daria nodded. "No boob jokes."
"Dad was trying out some new experimental camera and I accidentally got in the frame. It removed my third dimension and it took Section Four half a day to get me back to normal."
"That must've given you a strange perspective."
Jane grinned. "Tell me about it. I've got some ideas to completely reinvent cubism."
Across the dining room of the café, Quinn watched her sister and said to Zoe, "It's good to see her with a friend."
"Yeah, it's good to have friends."
Quinn looked back and raised her glass of diet soda. "Yes, it is. I think I'm going to like it here."
At the next table, Beverly faintly smiled and nodded.
Thanks to Louise Lobinske and Kristen Bealer for beta reading.