(Opening montage. Music: "You're Standing On My Neck" - Splendora.

LHS corridor. Daria, Jane, Lynn and AP by the lockers. As one body, they facefault and turn their heads to look at something out of shot. Lynn flicks her wrist, producing a knife, and dashes out of shot.

Football field, near the bleachers. Kevin and Brittany arguing. AP, sitting in the bleachers wearing a LHS marching band uniform and a completely disgusted expression, picks up a large pair of cymbals and smashes them together right near Kevin and Brittany's ears.

Pizza King. Quinn sitting at a table, sobbing with rage. Lynn looks at her, eyebrow raised in what is, for her, sympathy, and hands over a book. Quinn looks at the cover and stops crying as her face slowly brightens to an evil smirk.

AP's room. AP completely engrossed in a video game. Daria watches him play for a moment, disgust in her face, then starts digging through his cabinets.

LHS corridor. Mrs Bennett opens a door to reveal a broom closet in which Lynn and AP are making out; Lynn and AP break off a kiss as the door opens. They look at Bennett for a moment, then Lynn gives a wide grin and shuts the door in her face.

Morgendorffer front hallway. Jake going completely ballistic at Jerome, who is standing on the front step and looking at Jake in a manner that suggests that he's two seconds from calling the men in white coats. Then Jake takes a swing at Jerome.

The Zen. Daria, Jane, AP, Andrea, Guy, Casey and Mara at a table. Upchuck is leering at Mara, who regards him for a moment and then pulls him forward by the collar and kisses him hard, mouth open. When she lets go, Upchuck falls over in a dead faint. Jane looks extremely impressed.

Lane front door. Jane [in artist's smock and beret] and Jodie [ratty jeans, baggy T-shirt, clipboard, pencil behind her ear] open the door to find Quinn standing there wearing a seirafuku and a hopeful expression.

Biers. Someone has set it on fire; Lynn and Daria are wielding fire extinguishers that were probably new in 1931 [they contain water and you have to hand-pump them], trying to control the worst of the flames.

Daria and Lynn side-by-side again, smirking slightly. As the original montage sequence, the camera pulls in and then out again to reveal two interlocking circles; one contains the Daria logo and the other contains a corresponding 'Lynn' version. Writing underneath in the Daria font reads, "Daria in...")


A Daria Fan Fiction - [TLAS 4:12]


(Scene: LHS corridor. Music: "Stand" - REM. Jane at her locker, a small jar of fire-engine red paint in one hand, tiny brush in the other. She is painting an intricate flamelike pattern on the inside of her locker door. Unopened jars of orange and yellow paint sit on the cluttered bottom of her locker. Daria approaches and peers at Jane's work.)

Daria: (mild approval) Nice. (beat) But it's a shame you're only going to enjoy it for another seven months or so.

Jane: (lofty) Oh, I'm not doing this for my own benefit. This masterpiece will serve to remind countless generations of luckless students just how close to hell they are.

Daria: And I take it that, once you're through with this work of art, you're going to inflict similar works on the rest of us.

Jane: Oh, already done that - with one of us, anyway. (to Daria's slightly hurt raised eyebrow) Lynn asked me to do some Celtic knotwork pattern on the inside of HER locker door - that's how I got the idea. I guess she liked all the stuff I did to her house, no matter how much she complained about the time it took. (Art muse takes over her voice for a second) Purple, black and silver ... one of my better jobs, if I do say so myself...

Daria: Done anything for AP?

Jane: I WANTED to, but he refused to let me near his locker. Something about messing with the burglar alarm set-up in there. (Daria blinks at her) I didn't ask. I don't want to know. 1

Daria: Speaking of AP...

(AP literally bounces into shot, Lynn trailing along behind him with a fond half-smile on. AP stops and faces a bemused Daria and Jane, bouncing in place.)

AP: (gleeful; *huge* grin) *poingpoingpoingpoingpoingpoingpoing*...

(He bounces out of shot. Daria and Jane look at Lynn.)

Daria: What's with HIM?

Lynn: First off, remind me never, and I mean NEVER, to feed him Jolt first thing in the morning.

Daria: Jolt Cola? All the sugar, twice the caffeine? I've heard rumours, but I didn't think it really existed.

Lynn & Jane: (unison) Thinkgeek.com. 2

(They look at each other.)

Jane: I'm an artist! I need the caffeine and sometimes it's too hot for coffee! And it's on YOUR links site, Lynn!

Lynn: Found it on "subversion is we". And point taken.

Jane: Anyway! You fed him JOLT COLA? You've SEEN his reaction to your coffee!

Lynn: Yes, I know, I know, I know. Fact is, he turned up at my front doorstep this morning trying to be *poing*y. And you KNOW what he's like in the morning.

Daria: How many times did you have to pick him up off his face?

Lynn: Three. And you don't want to know what *poing* sounds like in Grog. (beat) Anyway, he was out of Coke at home, hence his state, and brewing coffee would have taken too long. So...

Daria: I get the picture. So what's with the bouncity-bounce?

Lynn: You heard about the trip to NASA? Well, it's day after tomorrow. And he's discovered that he has a few ins from the last trip.

Daria: You mean to tell me that AP's going to be wandering around NASA Space Centre with people who like him?

Jane: Worse. He's going to be wandering around NASA Space Centre with people LIKE him.

(There is a silence.)

Daria: Houston, we have a problem. 3

(Scene: LHS exterior. Barch and O'Neill standing side-by-side with clipboards, checking off names of the few students milling around them [the one who looks like Kara Wild - with the brown hair, fringe and Alice-band - Cindy the umLynn, Ted DeWitt-Clinton, Boy Teen 8 or 'Shaggy', Dawn the fat girl with the Walkman, a few others, and AP] 4. Barch looks pissed off. O'Neill looks worried.)

Barch: Isn't that just like MEN to be late at a time like this!

O'Neill: Uh, Janet? I think it isn't only the boys who have fallen behind a little. I think...

Barch: Shut up, Skinny! (beat) Well, I suppose at least ONE of those back-stabbing testosterone-carrying scum had the decency to call in late, not like my no-good excuse for an ex-husband...

O'Neill: Janet, remember what we talked about? Let GO of the...

Barch: SHUT UP!

O'Neill: Eep! I mean, yes, Janet...

Barch: All right, ladies ... and the REST of you... On the bus!

(The students file onto the bus, and AP stops the Kara-like [let's call her Karen, just for kicks].)

AP: Hey, you know what other schools are coming along on this thing?

Karen: Cumberland and Oakwood.

AP: (wide-eyed fear) Eeeeeeeeeep.

Karen: What's up with you? They're not THAT bad...

AP: Not if you don't know them, they aren't...

(Karen gives him a quizzical look.)

(Scene: Oakwood High School, ext. The Lawndale school bus pulls up in front of the school. Mara is particularly conspicuous in the crowd, but we also recognise Rick Jeffreys from the OHS Marching Band. They are standing as far apart from each other as it's possible to get and still be in the same zip code - probably because of their dating history. Barch and O'Neill file out and greet Mrs Williamson, the Oakwood High principal - she stands with a tall, thin man with sandy blond hair and a rather overweight half-Chinese woman with a laconic stance but very sharp eyes.)

Williamson: Welcome to Oakwood. These are the two chaperones we're sending on this trip - Marc Honson and Roz Wilson. 5

Barch: I'm Janet Barch, and this is Timothy O'Neill...

O'Neill: And may I just say how much of a pleasure it is to bring three schools to...

Barch: Stuff a sock in it, Skinny! We have one more school to get to!

Williamson: You'll find our group a fairly well-behaved bunch. But watch the one in black around the male element... (notices AP at a bus window, turns pale.) So THAT'S where he wound up...

Roz: (looks up to where Williamson's looking) Oh, I see. (waves at AP. AP gives a manic grin and waves back)

Marc: Oh. HIM. (to Roz) It was a mistake to let him run wild in that lab...

Roz: Geeks will be geeks.

Williamson: (through clenched teeth) Get ... on ... the bus ... and get him ... out of ... my school.

(Barch and O'Neill exchange looks, then look curiously at Marc [stoic] and Roz [smirking].)

Roz: I'll explain on the way to Cumberland. But I assume you know a little about THAT one by now...

(Barch and O'Neill nod gravely and get on the bus, followed by Roz, Marc and the rest of the Oakwood students.)

(Ext shot: The bus pulling away from Oakwood. Music: "Born To Be Wild" - Steppenwolf.)

(Scene: the bus. Music plays on. Mara walks up to where AP is sitting and looks at him.)

Mara: Hey, geekball.

AP: Hey ho, Nympho-Goth. You still with this bunch?

Mara: Well, yeah. The astronomy trips are GREAT excuses for...

AP: Too much info! WAY too much info! Stop RIGHT there!

Mara: (laviscious smirk) Darkened planetariums ... overnight stargazing trips...


Mara: Stop calling me that. (settles into the seat next to AP) They let you STAY?

AP: It's not Boy Scouts anymore.

(A young man with nearly white hair a la Child of the Damned sitting in the seat behind hears that, peers over the seat, sees AP and then hurriedly vacates his seat and heads for the back of the bus in a nervous scramble. AP grins. Mara sighs and puts her booted feet on the seat back in front of them.)

(Scene: Cumberland High, ext. [Use your imagination - a high school's a high school...] Music plays on. Three students file onto a bus with a very thin man with white hair, one glass eye and a perpetual smirk. One of the students is relatively familiar - brown hair, khakis, red shirt...)

(Scene: bus interior. The guy with brown hair takes the recently vacated seat behind Mara and AP. He looks behind him, does something of a double take, then sits down and faces front again. AP does a slight facefault...)

Daria: (thought VO) And it turned out they were carriers of the dreaded Ruttheimer gene. If it hadn't been for the Fashion Club getting locked out in unseasonable snowfall, we'd have only broke even on the night.6

Mara: Hey Brett!

Brett: (worried facefault) Uh ... hi Mara... Uh...

(He gets up, moves further back, puts on a Walkman and shuts out the outside world.)

Mara: Jeez. Three scars on a guy's back and he never speaks to you again.

AP: I'd say I wonder about you, Nympho-Goth, but I don't, and that's the problem.

(Est. shot; bus pulling away from Cumberland High. Music plays on.)



AP: (OS) Ow! Okay, okay, okay! MARA, if you've gotta be picky! (beat) What part of that do you have a problem with, anyway? (*smack*) OWWWWWWWW!

(Scene: NASA Space Centre [shut up about the spelling; just shut up about the spelling], ext. Music: "Shiny Happy People" - REM. The Trisuburban Science Club are standing outside their bus, being greeted by a mid-height woman with a lot of dyed-blonde hair, big blue eyes and a larger smile than should be possible on a human face. There is an almost palpable aura of condescension about her.)

Woman: Well, isn't it such a lovely bunch of children we have visiting us today? (There are shared looks - even the teachers look a little bit appalled.) Now, we're going to name you all OFFICIAL Astronauts for the day! We usually don't get such BIG boys and girls coming to see us ... but lucky for you, we just got a whole bunch of BRAND NEW JACKETS!

(Pan to a box; it's marked "TEACHERS" and is being dissected by means of an Exacto knife by a young man whose manner screams "intern". He opens it and pulls out the first jacket. It looks like it was pulled off a murder victim or a very unlucky lion tamer, whichever.)

Intern: (eep expression) Oops.

Barch: Isn't that just like a...

Woman: ANYWAY, now we issue you all OFFICIAL Astronaut Jackets... Line up by height!

(As they do - or at least *try*, Mara and AP give each other 'who the hell does she think she's kidding' expressions, rolling their eyes at each other. Roz turns around at the sound of a few teenagers moving towards them.)

Roz: Oh, I guess these must be the latecomers.

Woman: Oh, little lost sheep back to their flock...

Roz: What institution did YOU escape from?

Woman: (doesn't get it) Lane College, in Oakland, California. Why? Did you go there too? (Roz collects a jacket and wanders back to the teachers with an "I give up" expression.) Okay, boys and girls, let's start our exciting adventure to the magical world of outer space! We're walking, we're walking, we're... (a *thump* is heard behind her; she looks back in alarm) Oh, young man, are you all right?

(Pan to AP, facedown on the ground. Mara's boots are visible on his left side.)

AP: (muffled) Note to self. Silly walk only works for Purple Peril.

(NASA campus, ext, some time later. Music: "Special Delivery" - the Offspring. ["Hey now when I'm knocking on your door/ This special delivery is yours/ My infatuation is true/ Hello got something for you/ It'll blow you away... / And the voices tell me to blow you away..."]The shot is taken through a sniper scope, moving over a loosely-collected throng of teenagers in silver Mylar jackets. The crosshairs come to bear on a twosome - long black glossy hair and unkempt red. The crosshairs focus on the redhead. Cut to a finger on the trigger of a rifle. *BANG*. Back to the shot through the crosshairs - the red hair gets redder as its owner drops first to his knees, then to the ground, face first. The crosshairs follow him down. As in the earlier shot, Mara's boots are visible to his left. Slam to black.)

END ACT 1 - ADVERTS [Lead-in: AP *poing*ing through the halls of LHS, Mara propping her boots on the seatback in front of her, the intern holding up the shredded jacket, the redhead falling in the crosshairs.]

Levis: What have scary singing navels to do with selling jeans? If you know ... well, I don't know what to tell you about how freaky that kind of knowledge is to my mind.

Orange Juice. We think: This advert counts as a complete failure due to that, while amazed at *how* they're advertising (Popeye and Bluto as *ahem* 'best friends'), neither of us is quite sure as to *what* they're advertising.

(Scene: NASA campus, this shot through binoculars. They are trained on the same scene as the crosshairs were, but from a different angle. Cut to another face we recognise - mid-thirties, angular, long brown hair, negligible tan for a Texan. In other words, Rat from the ex-Viper Club in ToD. He sweeps the surrounding rooftops and finds absolutely nothing. He puts down the binoculars, pushes himself back and up from his previous position [flat on the ground on his stomach, face upturned]. He looks at the gun at his hip, decides silently to make his getaway and heads away from the edge of the roof.)

(Scene: NASA campus. Rat moving towards the exit like he belongs there; a couple of security guards pass him on the run, barely glancing at him. He pushes open a door, looks nonchalantly at his watch, then plucks his cellphone from his belt and hits a speed-dial button.)

Rat: Warlock? Rat. (fade to...)

(Scene: The Blue Motorcycle inner sanctum. Music: "One Step Closer" - Linkin Park. Warlock looks at his phone for a moment. He dials, waits for pickup...)

Lynn: (VO) Cullen's Mortuary. You bag' em, we tag 'em.

(Split-screen on the two of them - Lynn at her computer, typing away [homework, likely] and Warlock in the Sanctum, facefaulting.)

Warlock: Peril...?

Lynn: Warlock. (beat; accusatory) This has to be important or you wouldn't be calling me.

Warlock: Have you heard from the Maverick lately?

Lynn: No, and I don't expect to for awhile. He's at NASA this afternoon. (beat) Why?

Warlock: I know he's at NASA. Lehrer tipped us off. That's why we sent cover.

Lynn: (anger/shock) You're WATCHING us?

Warlock: Protecting.

Lynn: I say tomato... (pause as Warlock doesn't dignify that with a response; then Lynn opens a browser window) And I am now checking news sites. Unless there's something you'd like to tell me first hand...

Warlock: Rat saw a redhead go down.

(There is a pause. Lynn's fingers just hover maybe an eighth of an inch over the keys for a moment, and then she breaks for her desk drawers and rummages through the top one.)

Lynn: Did he say which one?

Warlock: He's not even sure it was fatal. It ... wait. What do you mean, 'which one'?

Lynn: (pulling her .45 out of her desk drawer) Vaya con dios, Warlock.

(With that, she throws the phone on the bed and takes off, barging past Daria, who's carrying two cans of soda and looking really confused.)

Daria: Lynn, whe... (*slam* of door) Okaaaaay...

(She spies the phone on the bed, the "talk" light still lit. She picks it up and puts it to her ear.)

Warlock: Peril? Peril?!? LYNN?

Daria: Not as such.

Warlock: Emerald. (command voice) Stop Peril!

Daria: From... (Amethyst engine starts up and roars out at approximately Mach 1) from doing WHAT?

Warlock: From doing what I just heard her do.

(*clunk* of the ladder against the window.)

Daria: (calling out the window) AP, get up here! We have a problem!

AP: (from outside) You're telling ME we have a problem; they cut short our trip cos some gunhappy...

Warlock: Wait a minute. AP? As in AP 'the Maverick' McIntyre?

Daria: Yes. He's here. SHOULDN'T he be?

(AP scrambles in through the window, watching Daria closely)

Warlock: One, he's home early. Two, KEEP him there until I talk to you again. And lay low!

Daria: But...

Warlock: He sounds like he knows the story - talk to him! (*click*)

(Daria looks at the phone for a moment, then puts it back on charge. Then she looks at AP.)

Daria: Okay, what happened?

AP: (not-quite-speedrant) Can we save it for when we're all together? I think we ALL need to hear this, cos if it's what I think it is we're ALL in a LOT of trouble...

Daria: AP. Calm down. We can't leave yet. Apparently, we all need to lay low.

AP: But WHY? I mean, Art-Smart Scarlet has to hear this too and I REALLY REALLY *REALLY* want to talk to Rust about being the one who gets people into situations where people are getting shot at just cos they happen to have red hair and I don't even KNOW what happened to Hefner's Folly and believe me...

Daria: (cutting off speedrant) WAIT. UPCHUCK got SHOT?

AP: Shot AT. They won't tell teenagers ANYDAMNTHING. All I know is that I split off from the rest to check out the surveillance gear and let Hefner's Folly hang with Nympho-Goth and I was poking around with some of it and I don't know what exactly happened but there was a gunshot and he was on the damn floor - why'd he have to start wearing the black jeans and crap ANYWAY? And Mara was screaming and Wimp-in-the-Willows FAINTED and so did the tour bimbo and Barch started OFF on one and... EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!

(Daria's had just about enough of this; she slaps him once, forehand. AP blinks at her and rubs his cheek.)

Daria: Sorry. You were hysterical.

AP: YOU didn't get SHOT at! (beat; to her look) Recently. ANYWAY.

Daria: You're right. The others have to know. (She picks up the phone and dials, waits for pickup) Jane? Outside Lynn's. With the Plymouth. Five minutes at the VERY most. (beat) We're going to pry answers out of the OTHER bartending bastard in our lives. (beat) Oh, and call Tom. (beat) Because YOU have his number carved on your wall from when you were dating. It's the one ringed in barbed wire. (beat) Yes, you can bring it to the inquisition. Five minutes. (hits the cutoff button and looks at AP. He looks back stoically.)

(Scene: Biers, interior. Music: "Killing in the Name" - Rage Against the Machine. Daria, AP, and Jane barge through the door and stride up to the bar. Shooter looks a little bit panicked.)

Shooter: Uh ... what can I get you?

Daria: Information.


Shooter: (raised eyebrow) Gone as in...?

Jane: Gone as in "voom".

(Shooter grabs the bar phone, dials a long distance number and waits.)

Shooter: Warlock? I have three teenagers in my bar telling me things concerning Peril. Are you updated on this? (beat) Oh CHRIST. (beat) You're kidding. And you didn't talk her DOWN? (beat; nervous) Right, right; sorry. I'll get in touch as developments warrant. (hangs up) Okay. Now why are you here? I'm pretty sure you SHOULD have stayed low. (Enter Tom, with utmost trepidation.) Oh, I see. Enter the goat.

Tom: First it's H, now it's 'goat'?

Shooter: Better you than me, H...

(Tom then notices the glowers being sent his way.)

Tom: Uh ... hi.

Jane: Oh, hi. (to Daria) Can I hit him?

Daria: Not yet. (to Tom) What did YOU know about this?

Tom: (facefault) Know about WHAT?

Jane: (exasperated fury) Oh, great, typical; once AGAIN he's clueless!

Tom: (looks around at them; something's amiss) What went down?

Daria: More like whom. (beat; to Tom's 'you're going to make me ask' look) A red-haired boy, age seventeen... Presumably, Charles Ruttheimer the Third. AKA Upchuck or, more recently, Hefner's Folly.

Tom: (after a shocked silence; back to business) ...Where's Peril?

AP: Probably halfway to Houston by now!

Tom: Did we talk to Rat?

Shooter: (now even *he's* exasperated) How do you think we KNOW?

Tom: (shamefaced) Oh. Right.


Daria: You're not going to ask, so I guess it's up to us. What's being done to FIND her?

(Tom shrinks back with an "I should have thought of that" look.)

Shooter: Rat's spreading out his few contacts. Rat himself is at the morgue they took the redhead to. They'll find her.

(Daria, Jane and AP look at Shooter and Tom for a moment. Then they go find a table at the far end of the room and sit waiting. Tom looks over at Shooter.)

Tom: One more question.

Shooter: What NOW?

Tom: Who gets to tell Falcon?

(Long silence. They look at Daria, Jane and AP. They look at each other. Then they look at the phone. Then back to each other.)

Tom/Shooter: (unison) Warlock can do it.

(Scene: deserted road, Texas. Music: "Resigned" - Blur. All seems peaceful. Then a motorcycle engine is heard in the distance. The sound dopplers, then a purple blur shoots across the shot. Hold, then follow the purple blur as it screeches to a halt on the shoulder. It's very quiet. Not a car in sight. Lynn looks out at the very flat ground around her. ["Only you can fill my blank heart/And I'm resigned to that..."])

Lynn: I got him shot. And it keeps on happening, no matter WHAT I say.

(She unzips her jacket and pulls her gun from the shoulder holster. She looks at it a moment. Her face grows resigned. Then she puts it to her temple. Fade to black. ["I'll forget to breathe someday/I never stop to think why."])

END ACT 2 - ADVERTS [Lead-in: Lynn rummaging through her desk drawer, Daria picking up the phone, the gang barging into Biers, Lynn with the gun to her temple.]

Baskin Robbins: Can we not talk about the Shrek promotion? *Ever*?

Next on TLAS: Daria and Lynn trapped inside a raging inferno. Quinn and Tom are on a mission. That sniper's still after AP. And Jane's sleeping through it all. Is the gang done for? Find out in "Fire Water Burn", the Season 4 finale.

(Scene: Houston hospital waiting room. Students are milling around, looking shocked and a little frenzied. Rat is off to one side, very inconspicuous with the tense waiting posture of *anyone* in a hospital waiting room. An orderly comes in with a packet of cigarettes in one hand, stops in the doorwy and surveys the scene. Police are milling around, talking to people. A pair of them are speaking to Brett Ruttheimer.)

Brett: No, I didn't see anything! I was walking behind them - as far out of sight of his girlfriend as I could get - and next second my cousin... (chokes on tears of anger or grief; probably both)

Cop: Your cousin - that's Charles Ruttheimer?

Brett: The Third, yeah. Now can we DROP this?

Cop: We're trying to get to the bottom of this, son. Now, if we can just ask a few more questions...

(Brett gives an aggrieved sigh. Pan to Rat, who pulls out his cellphone. As he flips it open, it rings. He flips it open.)

Warlock: (VO from phone) Peril inbound. Catch her.

Rat: Right. Update - casualty named Charles Ruttheimer the Third.

Warlock: Understood. (cutoff)

(Rat puts the phone away. Pan to another corner of the room where a payphone stands. The orderly seen in the earlier shot steps over to that payphone, gropes for change, plunks some into the phone and dials. He waits for pickup...)

Orderly: Room 216 please.

(Scene: A fairly nice hotel room. All we see is the back of a chair and someone's black-clad elbow leaning on the arm, reading the paper. [Shot reminiscent of how Inspector Gadget fans would remember seeing Dr Claw.] Phone on table beside him rings. He shuts the paper and picks up the phone.)

Man: (polite blandness) Yes?

Orderly: (VO from phone) Uh ... uh .. uh...

Man: (total lack of emotion) You have a report?

Orderly: (VO from phone; pants-wetting fear) Turns out the casualty is one Charles Ruttheimer the Third. Apparently he looks a lot like your target.

(Long silence. Then the man hangs up. More silence as the man nearly audibly digests this.)

Man: (*still* no emotion at all) Damn.

(Scene: the Texas roadside. Music: "One More Suicide" - Marcy Playground. Lynn still with the gun to her head.)

Warlock: (thought VO) You WANT his death to be wasted?

(Lynn literally jumps; as if she's actually heard the words spoken aloud. Then she lowers the gun and looks at it.)

Lynn: (shaken; trying to convince herself) It's not for sure yet.

(She reholsters the gun, remounts Amethyst and rides off.)

(Scene: hospital ext. Amethyst rolls up and Lynn hops off. She heads for the door but is stopped by...)

Rat: Peril.

(Beat. Lynn squares her jaw and goes businesslike.)

Lynn: (total lack of emotion) Sitrep?

Rat: Casualty name Charles Ruttheimer III. Cause of death: bullet wound to the back of the head from long range. Secondary cause of death, probable: resemblence to Maverick.

Lynn: (closes her eyes for a moment; breathing slightly ragged.) Traceability to the Family?

Rat: The police are totally confused. As usual.

Lynn: (very brief smile) That's one thing. (beat) And you're still here because...

Rat: First, to intercept you. Second, to cover you. There's a Merritt sniper running around this town and you're probably target #2.

Lynn: (instinctive step back) I see.

Rat: (looks around, mostly at rooftops and the like) I have a pretty good idea who it is. In the meantime, try to keep low.

Lynn: (another step back) I'm sick of 'keeping low'. I'm a teenager, not a field mouse.

Rat: As you will. Just don't lose your head.

Lynn: Oh, the sense of humour. Get the hell away from me.

(Rat turns and walks off. Lynn sighs and slumps against the wall.)

(Scene: Lane kitchen. Music: "Sister", Creed. Enter Daria and Jane, the latter trying desperately to stay cheerful, the former that little bit too quiet.)

Jane: Look, whoever's out there will find her. The Smythes seem good enough at what they do...

Daria: So are the Merritts. (beat; notices the stricken look on Jane's face; changes subject) I keep feeling like there's someone we forgot to tell.

(Voices float up from the open basement door.)

Nick: (OS) I'm REALLY getting SICK of this!

Trent: (OS) Hey man, chill. She'll be by.

Jane: Oh crap, I forgot. Spiral rehearsal. (beat; to Daria) I think I have a purple jacket somewhere... 7

Daria: Jaaaaaaaaane...

(Scene: Lane basement. Music plays on. Daria and Jane approach the old Spiral with some trepidation; they all look annoyed at Lynn's absence.)

Trent: Hey Janey. (beat) Hey Daria. Seen Lynn?

Daria: Uh... yes.


Trent: She was supposed to be here half an hour ago.

Jane: She ... had something else to do.

Max: (mutter) One of these days *I*'m going to have something else to do.

Daria: (snappish) It's not like THAT, Max!

(sheepish silence.)

Max: Then what *IS* it like?

Daria/Jane: Uh...

Jane: *sigh* Guys, she took off for Houston. (after a pause) FAMILY business.

All Spiralites: She WHAT?! ... OH.

Daria: Look, if she comes back...

Trent: "IF"?!

Daria: Some of the Family 'business' involved flying bullets.

Trent: (looks at Daria, past her to Jane, then back at Daria) Did it involve the punk?

Jane: Sort of. You maybe remember us telling you about Upchuck Ruttheimer?

Nick: That redhaired idiot who hit on you at that one gig? Sure.

Daria: He took a bullet that was apparently meant for AP.

Jane: Problem is, Lynn didn't know when she left that it wasn't AP who took that bullet.

(stunned silence)

Trent: So, where IS the punk?

Daria: At home, hiding from his parents. And us. He just couldn't take any more.

Jesse: Is that really smart, if someone just took a shot at him?

Daria: Jesse, I don't know, and frankly, I don't much care. I'm too busy worrying that I'm going to go back to being a one-sibling family again.

(looks exchanged)

Trent: What if we go after her?

Jane: What if I break out the red and white paint and do target designs on our backs?

Max: Are you KIDDING? Her Merc would leave the Tank *or* your car in the dust - not to mention her bike!

Daria: And it's the bike she took. So you can drop that idea right now. (after a sad beat) All we can do is wait.

Jesse: Does she have Family down there?

Daria: Well, ONE of the rat-bastards lives there. Emphasis on 'Rat'.

Max: Can we call *HIM*?

Daria: If we knew his number. Which we don't.

Max: Can we call ANYONE?

Daria: No one I particularly want to speak to.

Trent: Even if it means her life?

Daria: Trent, we're the last people on the planet she trusts. She ever finds we turned to them, she ceases to trust US. THEN who keeps her alive?

Max: None of us wants to sit and wait.

Jane: Then rehearse! Bash out something loud and obnoxious!

Nick: How are we supposed to concentrate on playing when... (trails off)

Daria: (gentle but as if someone's turning the knife) She would want you to.

Trent: She wants that. But she NEEDS help.

(Jane cuts her eyes to Daria, then shoves Trent up against a wall.)

Jane: (through clenched teeth, sotto) And love-of-your-life needs YOU to DROP this before she starts to cry and blows her entire persona, do you understand?

Trent: (sotto) And if Lynn doesn't come back?

Jane: (sotto) Then we help her through. But right now, AP's not the ONLY one who can't take any more.

(Scene: Inner Sanctum kitchen. Pagebert at counter, creating ... food. We think. Warlock barges in and makes for the fridge. Phone rings while Warlock's rummaging; Pagebert, sensing the bad mood, drops what he's doing and picks up.)

Pagebert: Blue Motorcycle. (beat) Rat. (Warlock looks around and seems to itch to grab the phone from Pagebert. There is silence.) So she knows? (beat) And she went home? (beat) I don't think Warlock's going to like that 'probably', Rat...

(Warlock hits his head on the inside top of the fridge.)

Warlock: *Probably*?!? Give me that! (snatches the phone from Pagebert.) You didn't follow her? (beat) FINE, she pissed you off; she DOES that. Still! (pause) Okay. Okay. (beat) How long ago? (beat) Do we have any idea WHO? (pause) Touche. (beat) First priority is figuring out exactly who. (beat) Right. That's your job; I'll leave you to it.

(Warlock hangs up; tense silence in the room as Pagebert watches Warlock warily. Enter Scar, in a black T-shirt, blue boxers and bed-hair.)

Scar: (groggy) Coffee? (notices Warlock practically giving off steam) What's up, Warlock?

(She catches Pagebert's warning gestures, but a second too late.)

Warlock: What's UP is that PERIL is pissing off her protection and driving through a city where ONE Merritt sniper has already struck. (Scar turns to Pagebert with a look that says, "What the *hell*?". Pagebert sort of shrugs at her and continues to try to become one with the walls.) I'll be on the range.

(Warlock storms out. Scar and Pagebert both wince. Then Scar turns on Pagebert.)

Scar: You. Explain. NOW.

(Pagebert tries to burrow into the wall again.)

(Scene: TBM basement armory. Music: "Indifference" - Pearl Jam. Warlock looks over the weapons there, eventually picking out an M-16. As he picks it up and starts to load it, his cellphone rings. Warlock picks up with something resembling a snarl.)

Warlock: (barely keeping control) Warlock.

(Split-screen to Biers; Shooter is standing at the bar, looking somewhat pale.)

Shooter: It's Shooter. She's here.

Warlock: Peril?

Shooter: No, the Queen Mother. Of COURSE, Peril. (beat) Uh, I think I need advice here.

Warlock: (*audibly* annoyed by the sarcasm) About WHAT?

Shooter: Her and drinking. Staring at a San Fran Iced Tea like she'd like to drown in it. Being WAY too quiet.

Warlock: (charging upstairs) Were it anyone else, I'd say draw her out.

Shooter: (nearly thankful) But not me?

Warlock: (shouting away from phone receiver) Scar! Contact the Lawndale group, tell them Peril alive and well! (beat) Physically, anyway. (into phone) *I* can barely do it; I don't think YOU can.

Shooter: So what DO I do? I don't know if I like the look on her face. Or lack thereof.

Warlock: Do what works with her. (audibly bitter) Nothing.

(Shooter looks over and winces a little.)

Shooter: Well, she's left.

Warlock: Shit.

(Warlock hangs up - single screen on him. Warlock dials again.)

(Scene: Lane living room. From the basement, we can hear the Spiral bashing out something we don't recognise - probably a Spiral original - and doing it no justice at *all*. The phone rings and Jane leaps up, nearly knocking the sofa over in her haste to grab the phone.)

Jane: Yeah, yeah, what?

(Split-screen with Inner Sanctum main area. Scar on phone.)

Scar: Scarlet? Scar here. (beat) That sounded STUPID.

Jane: We don't normally hear from YOU. Or ANYONE other than... (gropes for a decent insult)

Scar: (before she can find one) Warlock, I know. He's as much of a people person as we have. Anyway, just letting you know that Shooter called - Peril's back there.

Jane: Back WHERE? And for how LONG? There was rehearsal and she hasn't been here!

Scar: She was at Biers, then bugged out.

Jane: (oozing scorn) I take it you people keep NO track. We'll find her. She's on OUR turf now. (Jane hangs up very abruptly, then turns to Daria. Then, without another word, she heads for the door to the living room.) YO, IMPOSSIBLE MISSION SQUAD! YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT...8

(Daria rolls her eyes, looking a little relieved.)

(Scene: AP's room. Music: "Call and Answer" - Barenaked Ladies; loud. AP is frowning worriedly at CNN.com; then alt-tabs to reveal Yahoo News. He frowns deeper.)

AP: Oh, come ON, you stupid... (frustrated noise; scrubs hands through hair) You're supposed to be updated REGULARLY!

(*clunk* as a ladder hits the outside of his windowsill. AP, deafened by frustration and loud music, doesn't hear it and alt-tabs again ["Morbid Mort's Mortuary Mania"; he alt-tabs away from that with a wince after a scan]. He's perusing Ananova when Lynn appears at his window, pries it open and clambers in, watching him warily.)

AP: (staring at the screen) C'mon, c'mon, tell me something, ANYTHING...

Lynn: (from across room) I got back okay.

AP: (not hearing) C'mon, PLEASE, I've got to know...

Lynn: (yelling) No news is good news!

AP: GAH! (spins round, falls off chair; Lynn winces) I'm okay, I'm okay, I just did the falling-down thing AGAIN, I... (it hits properly) Lynn?

Lynn: (lost for words) Uh... hi.

AP: I ... kind of want to hit you for scaring me so bad. But I'd lose an arm, right?

(Lynn just looks at him, squaring her jaw as if to say, "Go ahead if you're going to - I probably deserve it. AP gets up and steps towards her, his arm coming up ... then he just grabs her in a firm hug. Lynn facefaults, then relaxes a little and hugs back *tight*.)

(Scene: McIntyre Manor, ext. Music plays on. The A-Tank rolls up in front of the house. The front passenger window rolls down and Jane pokes her head out.)

Jane: There's a light on in the window and a silhouette ... can't quite...

(Daria cranes her head out, looks around ... then gives a slightly exasperated little smile and taps Jane on the shoulder.)

Daria: Um ... Jane? (points out Amethyst, parked in the driveway.)

Jane: (sheepish) Oh.

(The girls pull their heads back into the A-Tank and roll the window up. The A-Tank pulls away. Fade to black.)



1] This was Ben's idea. Apparently, a friend of his from school *did* this. No, I don't want to know either. [Back]

2] Thinkgeek.com. The site that makes all geeks or currently-being-assimilated protogeeks [to use Ben's word] wish they had a credit/debit card.[Back]

3] Apollo 13. Bad disaster, good movie. [Back]

4] Thank the people working the "Definitive Daria" section of MTV's Daria website for the names and faces of some of these people.[Back]

5] This is where I give a shout out to one of the St Chris staff members I liked. And a total raspberry to Ben, who made me change the teacher *he* borrowed just after the coding stage.[Back]

6] "Daria Dance Party". We meet Upchuck's not-too-bad-looking cousins. Maybe after that they just never *mentioned* their Lawndale relatives...[Back]

7] Well, Lynn's played Daria before, hasn't she?[Back]

8] Never paid much attention to the series or the movies of "Mission: Impossible", but there are some cultural references you can't avoid. Hopefully, this Jane will not self-destruct in thirty seconds.[Back]


Daria Morgendorffer et al are the creations of Glenn Eichler and Susie Lewis Lynn but are owned by MTV, a Viacom company, copyright 1997, 2000. [Apparently, this is possible by 'work for hire', a concept that eludes me.] Lynn Cullen, AP McIntyre, Mara Fitzgerald, Rick Jeffreys and any other character you don't recognise from any ep, on the other hand, were created and are owned by me, one Janet 'Canadibrit' Neilson, copyright 1999, 2000, 2001. Touch my characters without consulting me and it will go hard with you. Cameo of Roz Wilson used without permission but she has a sense of humour and I don't think she'll mind, if she ever in fact *finds* this thing. This is a "substantially transformative" derivative work, apparently [what a highfalutin way to say fanfic], and is protected by the Supreme Court's decision in re Campbell v. Acuff Rose Music, so keep the copyright notice where it is and don't post it for money. If you do so without my permission and that of MTV Networks, I WILL pull a Lynn Cullen on you. And then I'll call lawyers.