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Old June 15 2013, 07:53 AM   #31
USS Fardell
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Re: Non Trek Fic: Quinn's Code (A Daria AU)

The Lab Mouse, the Geek and the Convention Part 3

Convention
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.

“Ranma, 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 fics.”

“That's ok,” Kristen said, relieved.

“By the way, Quinn. Your Mew Ichigo cosplay is quite convincing.”

“Thanks.”


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.

They waited.

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 booth.

“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.

Last edited by USS Fardell; June 15 2013 at 08:16 AM.
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Old August 16 2014, 06:39 AM   #32
USS Fardell
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Location: Australia
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Re: Non Trek Fic: Quinn's Code (A Daria AU)

The Lab Mouse, the Geek and the Convention (Part 4)

A minute later, Donna entered the living room. “Hi, what brings you here, Lisa, Mack?”

“Actually it was Daria,” Mack said.

“I was wondering if you knew where Brittany is?” Daria asked.

Donna looked uncomfortable. “Brittany? Actually, she's in my room,” she admitted.

“She is?” Daria got up and headed to the stairs where Donna had come down.

“Wait, Daria,” Jane said. She and Jennifer also got up.

Daria waited at the foot of the stairs for her two friends to catch up. “Wait, which room is yours?” Daria said when she realized that she wouldn't know which room Brittany would be in.

“I'm not telling you,” Donna said with her hands on her hips. “I'll go get her.”

“I'll wait,” Daria said as she went back to her seat.


Donna returned to her room, where Brittany was gazing out the window. “Brittany? What did you do to annoy that Daria girl?”

“Annoy her!” Brittany squeaked. “She was stealing my Kevvy!” She paused. “Why?”

Donna gave her a look. “You may have been worried about Upchuck, but she's here.”

Brittany sat down. “Tell her I'm not here!”

“She's already knows that you're here,” Donna said.

“You told her, didn't you?”

“Yes.”


Donna came down. “Brittany doesn't want to see you,” she said to Daria.

“She doesn't? Then I'll stay here until she changes her mind.”

“If Brittany doesn't want to see you, she doesn't want to see you.”

“I'm still staying here. Go and tell her that.”

Jennifer placed her hand on Daria's shoulder. “I think that is not a good idea.”

Daria was stubborn. “Maybe not, but she entered my house and took something that wasn't hers. I would rather talk to her, than involve the police.” She turned back to Donna. “Tell her that too.”

Donna sighed. “Would you really do that?”

“Only if I had no other choice,” Daria replied.

Donna thought for a moment. “I will tell Brittany that.”

“Good,” Daria said.


Brittany saw Donna come back into the room. “Is she gone?”

Donna gave a sympathetic look. “She won't leave until she talks to you. She also said that you took something from her house and that she would go to the police about it if you don't talk to her.”

Brittany's eyes opened wide. “The Police? Eep!”

“What did you take from the Morgendorffer's house?”

“A mouse. But it was so that Daria would stay away from Kevin.”
“I see,” Donna said. 'Brittany, Brittany, Brittany, he's not worth it,' she thought.

Brittany looked down. “Kevvy ignored me!” she said forgetting to say that the pigskin channel was responsible, not Daria.

“Still, talk to Daria.”

Brittany sighed, and got up. “I'm ready.”


Brittany came down the stairs after Donna. “I'm here, Daria. I'm not sorry that I took that stupid little animal!”

Daria's voice was low. “I know why you would take it, but I'm not after Kevin.”

“You are!”

“I am not. You can have him. He's only over at my house because Ms. Barch put us together on the science project. The same reason why you're working with Upchuck.”

Brittany twirled her hair in thought. “That's true. I would still have the problems with Upchuck though,.”

Daria, Jane and Jennifer exchanged a look. Why would Brittany still have a problem with Upchuck if they weren't working together? “Right,” Jane said with an eyebrow raised.

Daria turned the conversation back to her intent. “I would like that mouse back!”

“I don't have it here!” Brittany projected.

“Of course not,” Jennifer murmured.

“I know you wouldn't have it here. I hope you didn't let it go,” Daria said, her face in Brittany's.

Brittany glared back. “What do you think I am? Stupid? I gave it to my brother!”

Jane stepped next to Daria and looked at Brittany. “How do you know that he didn't let it go?”

Brittany twirled her hair again. “He had better not, the little creep!”

“Now. I'll give you a deal...” Daria began.

Brittany interrupted. “What sort of deal?”

Daria shot back. “...You give me the mouse back, and you can have Kevin back.” She paused. “If we go to your house now.”

“Upchuck might be there!”

“That would be the least of your worries,” Daria said as she gave a disconcerting smile.

Brittany flinched. “Oooh! We don't have to go now!” she said as she brandished a fist. Daria responded by grabbing the cheerleader by her shoulders.

“Um, Daria, you don't want to do that!” Lisa warned.

“We are going now,” Daria said.

“No!” Brittany said, and promptly twisted Daria onto her back in a martial arts move. Daria leapt up and was promptly restrained by Jane and Jennifer.

“You're good,” Daria said stubbornly.

“Brittany, I think it would be wise to accept Daria's request,” Donna said. She didn't want the stand off happening in her living room to go on for much longer.

Brittany then began to twirl her hair more intently than before.


{Convention events?}


Mack's Valiant and Donna's Hyundai Elantra pulled up outside the Taylor mansion. Mack, Jane, Jennifer and Daria emerged from the Valiant. Brittany, Donna and Lisa from the Elantra. Brittany looked around nervously. 'He's not here,' she thought.

“It looks as if no one's home,” Jane said.

“I agree,” Jennifer said.

“Time to go in,” Daria said.

“Follow me,” Brittany said.


Brittany opened Brian's door to find the creepy room deserted. “Here's not here,” She said after a moment.

“Is your father or step-mother home?” Daria asked.

“You're not going to tell them!” Brittany said.

“I might,” Daria said in response.

“O-ooh! I'm not going to say if they are or not!”

“Are they or not?”

Brittany remained unwilling to tell Daria if her father or Ashley-Amber were home. “Daria, I think it's best not to bring her parents into this,” Jane said.

“Why not?”
“Brittany might accuse you of slander or something. Not in so many words of course,” Jane replied.

“Of course.” Daria turned to Brittany. “I'm not going to tell them, but they may know where your brother is.”

“I think they're here,” Brittany said.


They found Steve in his home office. “Dad?”

“Yes, sweetie?” Steve asked.

“Do you know where Brian has gone today?”

“Haven't a clue. Did you ask Ashley-Amber?”

“I'll ask her.”


Ashley-Amber was relaxing in one of the upstairs rec-rooms watching a 'Chick Flick'. “Ashley-Amber?”

“Yes, Brittany?”

“Do you know where Brian has gone today?”

Ashley-Amber thought, not taking notice of the other people with Brittany. “I think he mentioned seeing one or two of his friends,” she finally said.

“Which friends?” Brittany asked.

“He didn't say.”


“That's disappointing,” Jane said as she reached the bottom of the stairs.

“We're not going to try to go around Brian's friend's places are we?” Donna asked.

“The places he hangs out at; creepy,” Lisa said with a shudder.

“Some are creepier than Andrea's,” Donna said.

“And you would know this, how?” Jane asked with a raised eyebrow.

“I had to accompany Brittany there to pick him up once,” Donna said.

“And she had a sleepover at Andrea's in middle school,” Lisa said.

“Never again,” Donna murmured.

“Right,” Daria said.
“Brittany, there would be an address book somewhere?” Jennifer asked quietly.

“Yes,” Brittany responded.

“You know where it is?” Daria asked.

“Yes,” Brittany replied.


After Brittany had copied the details for Brian's friends as described in the address book (which they had borrowed from Steve), they left the Taylor residence heading towards the closest of those addresses.


First, they arrived at a large house on Grandstaff Drive...

“No, he hasn't been here for months,” Chris Griffin said.

“Our sister was angry with him for mistreating her cat,” his older brother, Sam, said.

“Hey, whose friend are we talking about!” Chris said.

“So you don't know which of his other friends he has gone to?” Jane asked.

“No!” Chris said with a shake of his head.

“He didn't tell you at school?” Daria asked.

“No!” Chris said again.

Daria thought fore a moment. “In that case, we'll be off,” she said.

“Thanks for your time, Mrs. Griffin,” Donna said.

“I hope you find this Brian kid,” Chris's mom, Linda, said.

“So do I,” Mack said.

None of them saw Chris's sister glaring at them from the stairs as they left...


They visited three more of the addresses on the list, going further into downscale areas of Lawndale as they went. The ten year olds at the first two addresses had as much of a lack of a clue as Chris did. However it was a different story at the third. Brian's friend who lived there had been told by him that he would be visiting another of their friends.
“So you know where this place is?” Jennifer asked quietly.

“Of course,” the boy said.

“So, you can tell us the address?” Jane asked patiently.

“Yes,” he said. He then told the group the address. Jennifer blanched.

“What's wrong?” Daria asked.

“That's in the middle of Lawndale Flats,” Donna said,

“So?” Daria asked, not sure what part of Lawndale that was.

“It's a public housing estate, on the far eastern side of town,” Mack said.

“However bad it is, it'll still be an improvement on Highland,” Daria replied.

“Of course, we're chasing the mouse into Lawndale Flats!” Lisa lamented.

Daria made to leave. “Let's go.”


Back at the Convention Quinn came back to Cindy and Kristen with a signed Manga. “Yes!” Quinn shouted. Kristen put her hands over her ears. “Cool,” she said sardonically.

“What is it? Cindy asked excitedly.

Quinn pointed to the katakana phrase on the cover of the manga. “Saibakanada no toraburu,” she said.

“Huh?” Cindy asked.

“Loosely translated: Cyber-Canadian Troubles,” Quinn said. “It's cyberpunk.”

“Oh, so it's like Ghost in the Shell, except in Canada?” Kristen asked.

“Wait, how can you read it if it's in Japanese?” Cindy asked. 'She would have mentioned it if she knew the language,' she thought.

“I understand some symbols. Besides, Koichi knows it,” Quinn replied.

“Cool,” Kristen said.


The Valiant and the Elantra pulled up in front of a rundown townhouse on the north-eastern edge of Lawndale. “Still think that place in Texas is worse?” Mack asked.

“Yes,” Daria replied. She opened the door.


The young lady warily opened the door a crack, ensuring that the chain lock was in the correct position. She saw a large group of teens just outside. A girl with long auburn hair was glaring at her. “Hello, how can I help you?”

“Is this the Mankin residence,” the auburn haired girl asked in a monotone.

“Yes, it is,” the young lady said timidly.

“Is someone named Brian Taylor here?”

“No comment. Who's asking?”

“I'm his sister!” a very perky blonde said in a high pitched voice.

“Oh, but not everyone can come in, only about four of you at most. There isn't much room.”


Brittany, Daria, Jane and Lisa entered the Mankin's rather spartan (and tiny) lounge/dining room behind the young mother. They could see that there wasn't much in the way of chairs.

“Cal, Brian's sister is here,” Ms. Mankin called.

“Coming, Mom,” was the reply. The sounds of a ruckus in the bedroom came through the wall.

“Would you like anything?”

“Soda would be nice,” Jane said. Lisa and Brittany nodded.

“Water would be fine,” Daria said.


Brian and his friend Cal emerged from the bedroom. “What are you doing here, Brit?” he asked.

“I would like the mouse back,” Brittany said.

“She took it from me,” Daria explained.

“It's not here!” Brian said with a disturbing smile.

“What's going on?” Ms. Mankin asked, wanting to know what exactly was going on.

Jane turned to Daria, who then explained, with some commentary by Lisa...


“Let's see if I have this straight, Ms. Barch assigned Brian's sister's boyfriend to Daria, which caused Brian's sister to get jelous? And she then tries to stop her boyfriend from spending time with Daria by stealing the mouse from Daria's house? Is that right?” Ms. Mankin asked after some thought.

“Yes,” Daria replied.

“Pretty much,” Jane added.

“It's rather stupid,” Ms. Mankin said.

“I agree with that,” Daria said.

“If only...” Ms. Mankin said briefly before stopping.

“I realize that now,” Brittany said, with a slight shake of her head.

“So, Brian, where is the mouse?” Ms. Mankin asked, wanting to get to the point. 'I hope he hasn't done something to it...' she thought.

“Not here!”

“Clearly!” Ms. Mankin said with her arms over her chest, and glaring at Brian. He smiled. 'He's creepier than ever!'

“It's at home!” Brian said.

“It's not in your room!” Brittany said.

Brian smiled again. “It's in the basement.”

'There's something strange about the way he's smiling,' Daria thought. “We definitely didn't look there. Let's go,” she said.

“I agree,” Jane said.

“Sure,” Brittany said.

“You want to take Brian with you?” Ms. Mankin asked.

“Yes,” Brittany said.

“Bye, Cal.”

“Bye, Brian,” Cal said quietly.


The group left the townhouse. “So, we have Brian?” Mack asked.

“Yes, the mouse is apparently in their basement,” Lisa said.

“Let's go,” Mack said.

“Sure,” Donna said.


The two cars then arrived back at the Taylor's mansion, after driving across Lawndale, 20 minutes later.

Brian and Brittany went down to the basement. Shortly afterwards, Brittany emerged from the basement carrying a box, the same box that she had taken from the Morgendorffer's garage. “It's in here, Daria,” Brittany said.

“I wonder why,” Jane said.
“Good,” Daria said as she snatched the box away. She opened the box and looked at the mouse. “Of course.”

“What?” Jane asked. Jennifer repeated her question with an enquiring look. Daria showed them the mouse. “Oh! That creep!”

“He obviously did something,” Jennifer said quietly.

Daria closed the box.”Thanks for your help,” she said to Mack and the cheerleaders.

“You're welcome,” Mack said.

“Time to go,” Daria directed.

“Sure,” Jane said.
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