The Lab Mouse, the Geek and the Convention Part 3
Quinn, Cindy and Kristen came to a makeshift booth. “Tatiana?” Quinn asked.
“Hi, Quinn, Kristen, Cindy. Would you like copies of my fan fiction?” Tatiana Olivova asked, holding out a stapled printout of fanfic.
“Of what is the fanfic?” Quinn asked.
“This is a Ranma
fic in which the Saotomes never go to Jusenko, but the Tendos do,” Tatiana said excitedly.
, no way!” Kristen said, slightly creeped out.
“Let me guess, Akane is hit with the reverse of Ranma's curse?” Quinn asked, wariness and scepticism showing in her voice.
Tatiana glared at Kristen before answering Quinn. “Yes! How did you guess?”
“I've started to read fics like that before. It's hardly original,” Quinn snarked.
“Oh, then this,” Tatiana said, putting the AU Ranma fic down. She picked another, smaller, fanfic paper up. “A one shot One Piece fic set shortly after the Alabaster arc.”
Quinn took it. “It had better be well written,” she said.
“I have a beta reader,” Tatiana said in response.
“Good,” Quinn said.
“You have other One Piece
fics?” Cindy asked.
“Yes,” Tatiana said, she handed Cindy another fic. “An AU from the Alabaster arc, in which Chopper doesn't join the Straw Hats.”
“I'm not that familiar with One Piece.
I wouldn't appreciate it,” Cindy said.
“Oh,” Tatiana said. “Good point.” She accepted the One Piece
fic back from Cindy and soon handed her another fic. “A one shot Sailor Moon
fic set in the first season,” she said.
“That will do,” Cindy said with a smile.
“And you Kristen?” Tatiana asked eagerly.
“I'm only familiar with Pokemon
,” she said sheepishly. She glanced at Quinn. “And half the first season of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
“Oh,” Tatiana said. “I'm afraid I don't write fic for the former. And I haven't printed out my Ghost in the Shell
“That's ok,” Kristen said, relieved.
“By the way, Quinn. Your Mew Ichigo cosplay is quite convincing.”
Mack, Daria, Jennifer and Jane approached the Taylor Mansion, after Mack had parked in the street. “What if Brittany isn't home?” Mack asked.
“Then we'll find out where she has gone,” Daria said.
“Sure,” Mack said.
Daria rang the doorbell...
There was no response. She rang it again.
After about a minute, Daria rang it again. No response. “It looks like no one's home,” Jane said.
“I agree,” Jennifer said quietly.
Daria thought. “She may be at a friend's house. One of the other cheerleaders, for instance.”
“Do you know where the other cheerleaders live?” Jane asked Jennifer.
“Why would I know?” Jennifer responded.
“I do,” Mack said.
“Of course you do,” Jane said.
“OK, pick one at random and take us there,” Daria said.
“At random?” Jane asked.
“Equal chance,” Daria said.
“Sure,” Jane said.
“We'll go to Angie Zammit's first,” Mack decided.
“OK,” Daria said.
Quinn, Cindy and Kristen took their leave from Tatiana's booth. “She's actually rather good,” Cindy said as she glanced over the fanfic that she had been given.
“Really?” Quinn asked.
“Well,” Cindy said slightly uncertainly. “Her writing's good at least, and her characterisation of Usagi.”
Kristen pondered “Then again, it's not that hard to characterise Usagi correctly.”
“Not true,” Quinn said. “There's more to her than her tendency to burst into tears.”
“Quinn's right,” Cindy said as they turned a corner and came to a Ghost in the Shell
“Cool,” Quinn said as she noticed that booth...
Daria, Jane, Jennifer and Mack arrived at their destination, an art deco house of similar size to Daria's, ten minutes after leaving the Taylor's mansion. Jennifer rang the doorbell.
Angie answered the door. “Hi, Mack, what brings you here?” she asked.
“We're looking for Brittany, is she here?” Mack asked.
“Brittany isn't here,” Angie said. “Why are you looking for her?”
“You may be aware of Ms. Barch's reinforcement project?” Daria asked.
“Yes,” Angie said.
“Brittany has sabotaged Kevin and myself.”
“She took the mouse,” Jane explained.
“I can see why, but I still don't know where she is,” Angie said. She thought. She could be at Nikki's though,” she continued.
“Oh,” Jennifer said.
“We'll go there,” Daria said.
“If she comes here, I'll tell her that you came looking for her,” Angie said.
As they returned to his car, Daria asked. “I'm sure you know where Nikki lives too?”
“She's also a cheerleader,” Jane answered.
“Of course,” Daria said.
“Her house isn't that far. It won't take longer than five minutes,” Mack said.
At the convention, there was trouble! “What do you mean it's bad. It's well written!” Tatiana objected.
“Look here,” a Yu-Gi-Oh! Fan, (or fanatic) said, pointing at a place in one of Tatiana's Yu-Gi-Oh! fics. “This is completely out of character!”
Tatiana grabbed the paper out of the fan's hand. “How is it out of character. How is it out of character?” she asked.
“Kaiba would never act altruistically towards Yugi in that manner!”
“Oh, that! It's been established in this series that his parents didn't die when he and his brother were children,” Tatiana explained.
“It's part of a series!? I thought it was a oneshot,” the fan said. He looked the beginning of the story over again.
“No, it's in a series.”
“It doesn't say it's in a series.”
“Well, it is. The rest of it is on fanfiction.net if you want to have a look.”
“I don't want to have a look!”
“If you don't like it, give it back,” Tatiana demanded. She made a move for the paper in the fan's hand.
“NO! I'M NOT!” The fan's shouting brought the attention of nearby convention goers, including Jenna and Koichi.
“That won't end well,” Jenna said in embarrassment. Koichi nodded.
The fan grabbed the fic papers on both side and started ripping it up. “HEY!” Tatiana exclaimed. She placed her hands on her hips. “Do you know how much printer ink costs!” she objected. The fan continued ripping it up.
“I know, its a complete waste of ink, and
paper!” the fan said, as he scattered the pieces about. “Let's see what else you have here...”
“Oh no you don't!” Tatiana growled as she stared the other person in the eye.
“I will!” the fan said as he grabbed another fic...
Mack's Valiant pulled up outside a mid-sized brown brick house with a green roof. “Here we are, Nikki Dowling's,” Mack said.
“Let's do this then,” Jane said.
Jennifer smiled. 'Absolutely. I hope, Brittany's here,' she thought.
Nikki paused the playback on a video when she heard the doorbell. “Anyone going to answer that?” she called. She listened, then merely heard the doorbell ring again. 'Of course, they're too busy,' she thought. She sighed and went to the door. “Hi, Mack,” she said, when she saw Mack and the others with him.
“Hi, Nikki. We're wondering if Brittany is here,” Mack said.
'Brittany?' “I have no idea. She could be hiding from Upchuck somewhere where he wouldn't think she would go,” Nikki said. She remembered Brittany complaining to her about Upchuck on Wednesday. “If you ask me. It's Upchuck that you need to be looking for!”
“Upchuck may have something to do with it, but it's Brittany I have the problem with!” Daria said.
Nikki looked at the misanthrope sister of the popular geek (She still wondered how Quinn managed it in less than a month. Still; anyone who could knock Sandi down to size was appreciated.) “What is this problem?”
“She took the lab mouse that I have been training for Ms. Barch's project.”
'Of course, Kevin would be completely useless in such a project! And it's not uncharacteristic of Brittany to assume that others would want to take Kevin from her.' “I can see why,” Nikki said.
“So you have absolutely no idea?” Jane asked.
“No clue, although you could try Angie's house.”
“We've already been there,” Jane said.
“She suggested here,” Jennifer said.
“Maybe Lisa's house,” Nikki said to Mack.
“We'll go there, then,” Mack said.
“You don't want to stay for morning tea?” Nikki asked. 'I could find out more about this situation, and Daria,' she thought.
“Um, no thanks,” Daria said. “I'd like to keep looking.”
“Come, on, Daria. We can take a break,” Jane said.
“Sure,” Mack said to Nikki. Daria sighed. Nikki smiled.
“What?” Cindy said, confused.
“What?” Quinn asked, turning from a fan artist's booth.
“Look!” Cindy said pointing.
Quinn looked in the direction where Cindy was pointing, and saw Tatiana struggling against a security guard whom was escorting her out of the convention. “Oh dear! Looks like someone didn't like her fanfics,” she said.
“Most likely, but why is she the one who's being thrown out?” Kristen asked.
“She overreacted?” Cindy wondered.
'That's likely,' Quinn thought.
Tatiana was pushed out of the doors of the convention center. “You can't ban me from Lawndale Anime Conventions for life!” she exclaimed.
“Not for life. Another four years. Until you're an adult,” the security guard said.
“This is outrageous! I wasn't at fault!”
“No, but you caused a disturbance.”
“It still wasn't my fault!” Tatiana objected with her arms crossed.
Mack, Daria, Jane and Jennifer took their leave from Nikki's house. “Bye,” Nikki said, after the others had said their farewells.
“So, you also know where Lisa lives too?” Daria asked Mack as they approached the car.
“Yes, she lives somewhere between here and Angie's. This won't take any longer,” Mack explained.
“Somewhere? Are you sure you don't need to go back in and ask Nikki?” Daria asked.
'Quite brusque isn't she,' Mack thought. “I know the address,” he said confidently, after noticing Jennifer wince.
They arrived at Lisa Fisher's house 10 minutes later. The delay was due to the fact that they had to cross one of Lawndale's main thoroughfares, and the traffic signal on their street was red for about 4 minutes.
Jennifer rang the doorbell this time. One of Lisa's many siblings opened the door. “Hi, is your sister, Lisa home?” Mack asked.
“As far as I know,” the young tomboy (or actual boy, Jennifer wasn't sure) said.
“Could you find out?” Mack asked.
“Sure,” the child turned. “Lisa! Some friends of yours at the door!”
“Who?” came the answer down the stairs.
“A guy and three girls,” the younger sibling said.
“I'll be down,” came Lisa's answer.
“She'll be down soon. Come in.”
The group sat in the large living room with Lisa's sibling, until Lisa came down. “Thanks, Lee,” she said.
'Even the name is indefinite,' Jennifer thought. Lee then went off into another room. The sound of a video game system could then be heard.
“So, why are you here?” Lisa asked.
“Brittany was indulging in taking others property yesterday, and we want to find out where she is so we can talk to her about it,” Jane said. Daria grumbled at Jane's description. “Well it's true,” Jane replied.
“What did Brittany steal?” Lisa asked, confused.
“A lab mouse that Ms. Barch had assigned Kevin and I with,” Daria said.
Lisa burst out laughing. “Sorry,” she said. “Well, there's your answer. She's jealous!” she continued with humor still in her voice.
“I'm well aware of that!” Daria deadpanned.
Lisa squirmed under Daria's glare. “I don't know where she is. If she isn't at home she could be anywhere,” she admitted.
“We've been to Angie's and Nikki's too,” Mack said.
“She hasn't been here. She said on Wednesday that she was planning on hiding from Upchuck on the weekend.”
“Did she say she was planning anything specific?” Jane asked.
Lisa then thought. “No,” she said after a significant fraction of a minute.
“We'll keep looking then,” Daria said.
“Yes, go ask Donna,” Lisa said.
“Sure,” Mack said.
“You like something before you go?” Lisa asked, trying to be hospitable.
“We already had something at Nikki's,” Jane said.
“That's fine,” Lisa said. She thought again. “Now you've got me curious. Can I come with you?”
“Fine by me,” Mack said. He turned to Daria. “Daria?”
“I guess so,” she said, although she had reservations about having a large group looking for Brittany. 'It could get out of hand.'
“Let's go,” Jane said.
“I'll just tell my Mom,” Lisa said.
Tatiana sat boredly outside the convention hall. 'This is tedious!' she thought. She wished she had a yo-yo or something. She had already re-read what remained of her print-outs many times. “I shouldn't have been thrown out,” she murmured for the umpteenth time.
The full Valiant pulled up outside a modestly sized white house with a clean yard, fifteen minutes after leaving the Fisher residence. They noticed a few other cars. “Donna's older brother seems to haven't gone back to College yet,” Lisa said.
“Thanksgiving may not have been enough,” Jane said with a shrug.
“I guess so,” Daria said.
Lisa rang the doorbell. A modestly dressed middle-aged blonde woman answered the door. “Hi, Mrs. Bolton, is Donna home?” Lisa asked.
“Yes, Lisa. She's up in her room. Come in and I'll get her,” Donna's mother said.
“Thanks,” Lisa said.
“The others can come in too,” Mrs. Bolton said.
“Cool,” Jane said. As soon as Donna's mother had turned, Jane lifted the polaroid and took a picture.
Lisa glared at Jane. “That's not a good idea,” she whispered as she stepped inside.
“For use in an artwork,” Jane explained.
“I guess so,” Lisa said, uncertainly. She had heard from various other classmates that Ms. Defoe considered Jane to be very good.