Quinn's Code (A Daria AU)
Installment 3: Cafe Geekdale (Part 1)
Monday, October 18, 2005
Quinn Morgendorffer grabbed the morning paper as she entered the kitchen. “Break in at downtown Cybercafe!” she exclaimed.
“Gaaaahhhhh! I thought this town was safe!” Her father, Jake, exclaimed as he came into the kitchen.
“Daddy, the crime statistics for Lawndale are much lower than those for Highland,” Quinn said. 'This is definitely a safe town.'
“They are?” Jake asked.
“Yes, the statistics for Highland are twenty times higher than those for Lawndale,” Quinn's sister, Daria, said as she approached the kitchen.
“Oh!” Jake said.
“What's this about a break-in?” Daria asked.
Quinn read from the paper; “Late last night, the Alt.Lawndale.Com Cybercafe was broken into and Computer equipment stolen, Police sources say. This is the ninth break-in at a Lawndale business this year.”
Daria grabbed the paper from her sister and looked at the article herself. “Interesting,” she said.
“What is?” Quinn asked.
“It says here that the Cybercafe is jointly owned by the Carter County School District and Lawndale State University,” Daria said.
“That is interesting,” Quinn said.
“Are you saying that a cybercafe is owned by the educational institutions?” their mother, Helen, asked as she came to the kitchen.
Daria handed the paper to her mother.
“Oh, my! A break-in. That never happened to a cybercafe in Highland.” 'Though it certainly happened a lot at other places,' she thought.
“I don't think there are any
cybercafe's in Highland,” Quinn said. “At least, I never heard of any,” she said.
“You do have a point there,” Helen said, after some thought.
“If there was, they would have been broken into almost as soon as they had opened,” Daria said as she put some bread into the toaster.
Both Helen and Quinn had to admit that was a correct assessment of that town.
“Well, this probably not the last time we're going to hear about this,” Helen concluded.
Quinn met her friends Kristen Bell and Cindy Robinson-Brolsma halfway to school, near Cindy's street.
“Hi, guys.” Quinn said, coming along side them.
“Hi, Quinn,” Kristen said.
“Morning, Quinn,” Cindy said.
“Have you read the Sun-Herald
this morning?” Quinn asked.
“I haven't, I usually read the paper after school,” Kristen said.
“This is about the Cybercafe, right?” Cindy asked.
“Right, it's bad that people break into places, but that is low. I mean some people can only get access to the internet at a cybercafe,” Quinn said.
“You are right, but that wasn't the only cybercafe that Lawndale has. There are a few others, and more in Oakwood and elsewhere in the county besides,” Cindy said.
“Oh,” Quinn said. 'Of course there would be more in town. Lawndale's almost a city afterall,' she thought.
“Mr. Fun's Games, Cafe and Internet
is a particularly good one for instance,” Cindy said in rememberance.
“That's because you spent most of seventh grade playing CounterStrike
there.” Kristen said.
“Good times,” Cindy said.
? Eeeewww!' Quinn thought. Then again, she did play Halo
on her X-Box. 'But that has a story.' “So that place is still open?” she said.
“Definitely!” Cindy said.
“With the VR-simulator and a 32 PC LAN, it is the most popular venue for multiplayer gaming in Lawndale,” Kristen said.
“Cool,” Quinn said.
“That is understating it,” Kristen said.
They continued talking about the many Cybercafes in Lawndale as they continued on their way to school.
“Class, I thought today we'd take a break from the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet
to discuss the real life tragedy that happened last night here in Lawndale. Let's share our feelings of violation following the loss of our beloved cybercafe alt.lawndale.com,” Mr. O'Neill said to the Sophomore Language Arts class. “Who would like to start.” He looked at Kevin.
After some confusion (Mr. O'Neill calling him 'Charles') Kevin said “I was home all night. You can ask my parents. Besides we have a computer.”
“No, Kevin. I mean, how did the theft make you feel?” the teacher asked.
'You're asking the wrong person!' Jennifer Burns thought. She thought that the break in at the Cybercafe was the action of people who should have known better.
“Um, sad?” Kevin finally said.
“Are you asking me or telling me?” Mr. O'Neill asked.
“Angry?” Kevin said.
Mr. O'Neill was in thought, then he asked Jodie Landon what she thought about the cybercafe break in.
“I think the cybercafé served one very particular segment of the community, but it still pisses me off when people take what isn't theirs,” Jodie said.
“That's how I feel!” Kevin broke in.
'Oh, Kevin, Kevin, Kevin!' Jennifer thought, knowing that the QB was a lost cause. 'Why does he have to focus on football so?'
“Thank you, Kevin. Jodie, about that word, 'community.' Isn't that the whole idea of a cybercafé? To jack us into the global community? I think what's most disturbing about this crime is the symbolism involved. Don't you agree, Jane?”
“No,” Jane Lane said.
“Suddenly, we're cut off. We can't hail our friends across the globe and say, '"It's a beautiful day in the cyberhood.' They didn't just take a few computers. They took the symbol of our virtual community. To visit alt.lawndale.com was to come together with the planet!”
'Cyberhood! I am sure Cindy, and a few others, would be pleased to correct you about that!' Jennifer thought.
“Oh, come on,” Daria said.
“Yes?” Mr. O'Neill asked.
“Come together with the planet? By staring at a screen for hours? Sitting in a room full of people you never say a word to?” Daria said.
'Very good point, Daria,' Jennifer thought.
“Hmm, Interesting point, Dorian,” the teacher said.
“It's Daria!” Daria exclamed.
'Easy, Daria!' Jennifer thought.
Jane looked at Daria as if to say “What brought that on?”
“Sorry, Uh! Damn spiders. Daria, you believe that while connecting Lawndale citizens to our global neighbors, the cafe was alienating us from each other.”
“I'm saying if you really miss the place, put a Mr. Coffee in the computer lab,” Daria said.
“So, in your opinion, what we really need is a return to the traditional coffee house of yore, where you'd watch some performers and share a cup with your friends, face to face.”
'Uh, oh!' Jennifer thought.
“You're a visionary,” Jane said sardonically.
“The coffee house! We'll plan it, locate it, raise the money, and open it!”
Daria blanched “Would that qualify as an extracurricular activity?”
“Of course,” Mr O'Neill said.
“Then I'd like to register as a conscientious objector,” Daria said.
During lunch, Daria sat with Jane and Jennifer at the usual table.
“What do you think is going to happen with Mr. O'Neill's idea?” Jennifer asked, wondering if an old style coffee house in Lawndale would be successful.
“Nothing,” Daria said.
“Nothing?” Jennifer asked.
“Ms. Li will not shell out for it,” Daria said.
“Are you sure?” Jane asked.
“Look at how stingy
this Cafeteria is. It is obvious that the Principal keeps a tight rein on the purse strings,” Daria said.
The three teens looked around. They could see that the décor dated from the early '90's at best, with hints of 70's and '80s here and there.
“So this morning would be the last we hear of it?” Jennifer asked with a slightly dubious tone. 'It could be a money raiser,' she thought.
“Want to bet on it?” Daria asked.
“Sure,” Jennifer said
After school, the Anime Club met in the library.
After approximately fifteen minutes of talking about an upcoming convention at the beginning of December, the topic of the conversation changed to the events of the day.
“And so, I will be cosplaying as Ichigo at the convention,” Quinn said, refferring to the main character of Tokyo Mew Mew
. She then went back to her seat. 'The convention is going to be really cool,' she thought.
Jenna Schwartz stepped back up to the front. “Very good, Quinn. That concludes official business for today,” she said.
“Jenna? What do you think of Mr. O'Neill's proposal for an old style coffeehouse?” Koichi 'Rob' Robazaki asked.
“It sounds like a very good idea,” Jenna said.
“What is this about a Coffee house?” Quinn asked.
“After hearing about the break in at Alt.Lawndale.Com last night, Mr. O'Neill canceled the lesson that he had planned on Romeo and Juliet
to talk to the class about their feelings about that break in,” Jenna said.
“How did that lead to a proposal for an old style coffee house?” Quinn asked.
“The new girl in our Language Arts class, Daria, I think her name is, said something that inspired Mr. O'Neill,” Rob said.
“Interesting,” Jenna said.
'Daria! Oh no!' Quinn thought, pondering how her sister got herself into that mess. 'Possibly some snide remark that Mr. O'Neill misread,' she thought.
“What is wrong?” Tania Kingston asked.
“That's my embarrassing sister,” Quinn said.
“Oh,” Rob said.
“Anyway, continue,” Quinn said, being quite anxious to know more about Mr. O'Neill's Coffee House idea.
“Right. O'Neill than says that it would be place to watch some performers and hang out with friends,” Jenna said.
“Interesting idea,” Quinn said.
“We could read episode reviews there!” Tania said, excitedly. 'Then they will know that anime is better than it sounds!' she thought.
“Or cosplay and read episode reviews, or fanfic!” Tatiana Olivova exclaimed, emitting a squee-like squeal.
The others just looked at her.
“What? There's nothing wrong with fanfic!” she said.
“There isn't if it is well written. Most of it on that ff.net site is not,” Jenna said. 'There is a reason why I don't go on there anymore,' she thought. Most of her online fandom activities were concentrated on LiveJournal.
“Right,” Tatiana said.
“We didn't hear about the Coffee House in the freshmen class,” Quinn said, steering the conversation away from Tatiana's mention of fanfic.
“Really?” Rob asked.
“Yes,” Tatiana said.
“So you would like the junior class, and not just the sophomore class to be able to participate?” Jenna asked.
“Yes, otherwise it wouldn't be fair,” Quinn said.
“You can bring that up with Mr. O'Neill tomorrow. I will also talk to him about it,” Jenna said. 'Quinn does have a point.'
“That would be great,” Quinn said.
“Absolutely,” Tatiana said.
The Anime Club continued to talk about the idea for another ten minutes before breaking up to head home.