The Morgendorffer Code
©2004 The Angst Guy (email@example.com)
Daria and associated characters are ©2004 MTV Networks
Feedback (good, bad, indifferent, just want to bother me, whatever) is appreciated. Please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Synopsis: Imagine a “Daria” crossover involving Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. Now imagine you’re about to read it.
Author’s Notes: Brooklyn33 posted a PPMB Iron Chef challenge at the end of May 2004, asking for the strangest, most impossible-sounding crossovers in “Daria” fanfiction. And so was born this tale, which probably should have never been written.
Acknowledgements: Thank you, Brooklyn33!
The truth serum that Daria Morgendorffer put into her mother’s coffee that morning was tasteless, odorless, and colorless, and it would be eliminated from Helen’s system in only a day’s time. Best of all, it induced amnesia in its victims after putting them to sleep for an hour or two, caffeine notwithstanding. Helen would remember nothing of what Daria had asked her, or what Daria’s reactions had been upon learning the mind-blasting secret that Helen had kept hidden all these years.
Daria imagined her mother would also appreciate that the truth serum was nonfattening, but that was a moot point next to the reality that had been brought to light. Unable to stay a moment longer in her home and listen to her mother snore, head down on the kitchen table, Daria fled outside into the pouring rain for the only source of comfort she knew.
“All right, all right!” Jane Lane shouted, opening the front door of Casa Lane. “I hear you! What the hell is—oh, hi, amiga.”
Her rain-soaked condition forgotten, Daria stepped back and eyed her best friend, who was clothed only in a bathrobe. “Sorry,” she said. “Didn’t know you were in the shower.”
“Looks like you’re still in the shower,” said Jane, pulling Daria inside and shutting the door. She continued to rub her hair with a bath towel. “Thought you were Trent. He’s supposed to get back from a tour with Mystik Spiral sometime within the next few days. Want a towel of your own? No? Okay, so what brings you over in a downpour, amiga? You look like hell. If you don’t mind my saying so.”
Daria didn’t mind. She began her tale of revelation and horror on the spot, the words spilling out in a torrent. Mesmerized, Jane forgot to finish drying her hair and finally sat on the couch in the living room, her mouth open and eyes glazed with shock.
“Well,” said Jane when Daria finished, then said nothing else for a long moment. “Well,” she repeated.
“Yeah,” said Daria, pulling at her wet clothing.
“So, let me get this straight, even though I’m sure I never will. Quinn is really your half-sister, not your full sister.”
“You drugged your mom this morning—congratulations on that, by the way, and remind me to never take an open bottle or drinking glass from you—you drugged your mother, and she confessed that, nine months before Quinn’s birth, she had an affair with a visiting French professor while at a legal seminar at a university in Austin, Texas, and Quinn was the result of that affair.”
Daria nodded violently. “Right, right, right.”
“And this professor claimed to be a descendant of the family that founded Paris, the Mero-something—”
“Right, the Mero-somethings, and your mom said he had red hair and a red beard, hence the red-haired half-sister, and lately you’ve been reading this book that revealed a lot of other things about the Mero-somethings, and suddenly a bunch of stuff fell into place in your mind, and it was so exciting that it made you dope up your mom and forget to take your antipsychotic medication this morning.”
“Jane, I swear to you that I’ve researched this as thoroughly as any human could possibly—”
“You say ‘human’ as if you were excluding Quinn from that category.”
Daria raised her hands in the air in exasperation.
“Okay, okay!” Jane shot back. “I get the point! But honestly, aren’t you really just trying out a weird alternate-history story plot to see what my reaction is? Please say yes.”
Daria jumped to her feet and began to pace the living room. “Look at the evidence!” she said, her normally deadpan expression mixed with agitation. “One: Quinn’s true paternal parentage, and thus her ancestry—”
“If any of that stuff is true,” Jane interrupted.
“It’s true! She has the same red hair as her distant maternal ancestor!”
“Assuming Leonardo da Vinci got it right when he painted The Last Supper, per your comments earlier.”
“Two,” Daria went on, “her name, Quinn, has five letters, five being the key number for the female principle, but one syllable, indicating unity, the One. And that pink tee she always wears with the yellow smiley face—pink, the basic feminine color, on which is printed a benevolent pagan sun symbol!”
“Daria,” said Jane, looking disturbed, “you need to try decaf once in a whi—”
“Three: her fixation on angels. She still thinks she has a guardian angel following her around, and she probably does! Nothing bad ever happens to her, unless it also brings her growth and maturity, so even then nothing bad has happened to her! Don’t you get it? She’s really and truly blessed!”
“Sure,” said Jane in a calming tone. “I get it. Of course I get it. Put down the letter opener.”
“Mom couldn’t possibly have known about that professor’s full ancestry, yet she gives my half-sister the name Quinn, which is similar to the Latin word for five, just like the letters in the name itself! The female principle!”
“Just like Ms. Li!” said Jane brightly. “Or did you mean some other high-school principal?”
“All right, all right! Go ahead, toss some more word salad for me.”
“And then there’s the Q document that the Vatican won’t discuss! Do you get it?”
“With a Q, like Quinn. Right.” Jane thought for a moment. “You told me once how unfair it was that Quinn’s name actually meant ‘wise’ in Gaelic.”
Daria exhaled heavily and took off her glasses. “Boy, that kills me. Quinn the wise. The hell of it is, she’s getting wiser. She’s not the airhead she once was. It’s like she’s evolving, changing, growing.”
“Sort of what teenagers are supposed to do, right?”
“Not like this one,” muttered Daria, pacing again.
“That’s sort of funny,” Jane went on, “because you can rearrange the letters of ‘Quinn’ to make ‘IQ nun.’ It’s sort of like she’s spiritual and smart at the same time. Funny, right?”
Stopping dead in her tracks, Daria slapped a hand over her eyes and swayed. “Oh, my God, you’re right! It does!”
“Daria, that was a joke! Heck, I could have said that Joey, Jeffy, and Jamie have been following her around since forever because her name means ‘wise’ and that makes them the Three Wi—”
“Don’t say it! Don’t you dare say it!”
“—uh, er, wasn’t going to. Wasn’t going to say a thing. Nope, not me. Although their names do begin with J and have two syllables, just like—” Jane caught Daria’s glare “—just like no one I can think of right now.”
“And there’s her first serious crush,” Daria said in a low voice, beginning to pace again. She put her glasses back on.
“That was her tutor last year, right? David—oh, crap.”
“David Sorenson. A Jewish guy finally brought her into a glimmering of romantic maturity. A Jewish guy named David! Like King David! Like her most distant—”
“Okay, I get it! Okay!”
Daria collapsed exhausted into a nearby chair. “All my life, the person who has been the biggest thorn in my side, my own sister, has also been . . . she’s the . . .”
Jane nodded, trying to be helpful. “The, uh, direct descendant of, uh . . .”
“Yeah, that one, and her, the, uh, other one.”
“The one that was supposed to be a hooker.”
“But wasn’t, according to my research.”
“What book did you get this from? And what fumes were you inhaling when you read it?”
A sour look crossed Daria’s face. “Go ahead. Play devil’s advocate.”
“Oh, you are the witty one, aren’t you?” Jane slumped back against the sofa. “What about your last name?”
“Morgendorffer? It’s German for something like ‘morning villages.’”
“That’s a sun reference—you’re aware of that, right?”
Daria groaned. “I am now. ‘Morning villages.’ That’s almost like saying, ‘the community of the sun.’ And one day she’ll lead it. She’s got the charisma part down cold. Every boy in school is wrapped around her finger, and every girl wants to be her best friend. Except Sandi Griffin. Got to have Judas in there somewhere. Quinn will lead the world, and I’ll be a footnote in the lost apocrypha for the next Bible.”
“Daria! Listen to what you’re saying! You’re talking about Quinn as if she was about to become the next messiah, and—Daria, Quinn’s your sister! She’s family! Well, sort of. I mean, think about it!”
“I could start a satanic cult,” Daria said, looking glum.
“You could, but if you really believe all this, you could also write her life history and become rich. Didn’t you once tell me that ‘Daria’ meant ‘wealthy’? And you could be canonized as a saint one day, like Saint Leibowitz in that whatever book.”
“That was science fiction. And he was martyred first.”
“Which is pretty much what you’re doing to yourself.” Jane sighed and stood. “Look, this has gone far—”
Someone else knocked at the front door. Jane tightened her bathrobe around her and went to open it. “Speak of the devil,” she said as she looked outside, then winked at Daria. “I see the rain’s finally over. Come in, Quinn.”
“No, thanks, just here for a moment,” said Quinn, wearing her usual pink tee and jeans. “Is Daria around? I wanted to let her know I’m going to the mall and she should go home and watch Mom because she seems to have tied one on this morning before she went to work, instead of having a Slimfast breakfast.”
“Wise of you to tell us,” said Jane with a grin. Daria joined her at the door.
“I’ll be home in a minute, Quinn,” said Daria. She looked past her younger sister and noticed a waiting car by the curb with three teenage boys in it, all watching Quinn with awestruck eyes.
“Great,” said Quinn, “because there’s a sale on seamless robes at Cashman’s. Jeffy, Joey, and Joshua are driving me over.” With a toss of her bright red hair, she waved good-bye and walked down the puddle-filled sidewalk to the street—
—but not once did her feet make a splash. Quinn’s shoes never sank below the surface of any puddle. She got into the waiting car and was driven away.
Daria let out her breath in a long sigh and glanced at the pale, shaken face of her best friend. “You know,” she said, her old demeanor returning, “if you paint her pictures and I write her life story, we could use the money to fund our satanic pizza cult.”
Jane recovered and licked her lips. “Why would pizza be satanic?” she asked faintly.
“Cheese is fattening.”
“Oh. Yeah.” Jane shook her head. “Can’t have a heresy without a ‘her.’”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It just sounded good. I guess I’d better go find out how icons are made.”
“And I’d better get a stack of vellum and a calligraphy pen. We’ve got work to do, Saint Jane.”
Jane nodded. “As do you, Saint Daria.” And they went back in the house to prepare for the future.
Original: 07/06/04, modified 11/19/04