Quinn sat in her bedroom. She was glad not to be in Utah anymore. Here, she was surrounded by her stuffed animals sent by her admirers, in the four poster bed she had had since she was 13, in familiar and comfortable surroundings.
"…great! And he ordered…bourbon!! That is just, like, soooo cool! 'Cause I've been trying to find my Dad for years! I'm sorry to have bothered you! It's just that…well…(choke)…I never really knew him that well!...I'll let you know! Thanks! Bye-eee!!"
Quinn smiled. Perfect! She thought that this was the one!
Immediately the phone rang again. "Hello-oo?"
"Quinn? It's Sandi!"
"Gee, Quinn, you must be having a lot of calls! I've been trying to call you for over two hours now!!"
Quinn could hear the fretting in Sandi's voice, as if somehow Sandi was desperate to speak to her.
"Uh…sorry! Just…uh…it was Brad! Brad was trying to date me again!!"
"Loser!" The two chuckled.
"Quinn! (sound of throat clearing) After much consideration…I have decided that the Legion is indeed a worthy organization. However, as President of the Fashion Club, I had to consider the situation carefully before I could speak authoritatively. Therefore…I have tentatively decided to make the Legion a Fashion Club priority!"
Quinn couldn't quite decipher what Sandi was saying. "Uh…go on…."
Silence on the other end of the phone. "Right! Well…as President of the Fashion Club, it would be hard for me to decide if the by-laws against Fashion Club members belonging to service organizations – or vice versa – could be waived unless I was on-site there to oversee matters personally…."
"You mean…you want…to…uh…join the Legion?"
More silence. "Well…I would have to consider the matter carefully. However, since your two fellow Legion members are unschooled in matters of fashion and good appearance, I don't know if the Vice-President should be the one left in charge…!"
"Will you join…?!" Quinn was getting excited! Daria and Jane had gotten on her last nerve. She needed a friend in the Legion, any friend, and desperately!
"I'll see…! So…when shall I come to observe!"
"Tomorrow! We'll cut school at 11 o'clock! There's some business I have to do, and…I need your help! We need your Mom's car though, or any car if you can get it!" Quinn had an idea, but she would need Sandi to provide some help. "It's reall-ly going to be boring, I'm sorry it can't be exciting…!"
"No problem. Anything to get out of Ms. Barch's study hall! I'll get a car. I'll park two blocks away from the school!"
"You're the best!"
"I try! Bye!"
"So," said Linda Griffin looking over Sandi's shoulder. "How did it go?"
Sandi put the phone back in the crade. "I…am…in!"
Linda embraced Sandi. "Beautiful! Beautiful, Sandi! When the camera gets a look at you, you're going to blow the others out of the room!"
Sandi was glad to be permitted in her mother's study. Linda was already compiling a file with notes in it.
"Now…about Quinn…I suggest that you tell Quinn about your powers!"
Finally! Sandi had wanted to tell Quinn since day one, but Linda forbade it. Sam and Chris had been threatened with near death. "Uh…why now?"
"There's always…an intimidation factor. The threat that you could use your powers in public and get all of the attention from Quinn and the other girls! Quinn will defer to you, naturally! She'd be too scared not to, which is the way it should be! The way you tell it, Sandi, Quinn's always been threatened by your status. Then, you bring me in as an advisor and we begin building your career as a celebrity-cum-spokesperson up from ground level and the money…just…ro-ollllls in!!"
"So when do I tell her?"
"Tomorrow. At the earliest!"
(la la LA la la)
"So…where are we going?" Sandi was driving her mother's yellow Mitsubishi convertible down the freeway.
"We're going to the airport! I guess we'll be giving it until about three o'clock. I tell you, it's going to be like really dull!"
"No problem. Better than school. So, anyway, my first concept," said Sandi, "is to get rid of those dumpy uniforms you're wearing!"
"Tell me about it," said Quinn. "Jane picked them out…!" The two girls chattered away, Quinn almost ecstatic about the possibilities the next few days had to offer.
(la la LA la la)
Jane and Daria looked at the canvas. The question marks were still there. Work from 'TM' had yielded absolutely nothing.
"I thought this hacker guy was supposed to be good," said Daria.
"Well, I guess he's not good enough. The information has been wiped clean. We're out of the system completely. And if we're out of the system…."
"—then the bad guys are out of the system, too. Dammit. I really wanted this to happen."
"I guess it would have been nice to do Stark a favor," said Jane. "You know…he might call us again, someday."
"Doubtful. I think I'd give up that call, Jane, if I could have just one name…."
The door outside opened. It was a triumphant Quinn.
"You mean," said Quinn, "a name like Alan Bellard?"
"How the hell did you get up here?" said Daria.
"Trent let me in. I told him I left my purse up here."
"And he believed it?" said Jane. Quinn nodded.
"Who the hell is Alan Bellard?" said Daria.
"He's the guy you two have been looking for."
"Okay, Quinn," said Daria, "we have some of the best technicians at Wizard, and they can't recover the missing passenger list data. How can someone who thinks that Marie Antoinette invented French bread do what Ph. Ds can't?"
"Well, duh-h!" said Quinn. "First, people have telephone numbers. So I called all the passengers who were sitting next to the empty seats. I told them some story about trying to find my deadbeat Dad! And they gave me descriptions about who they were setting next to on the airplane!"
Quinn continued, walking confidently to Jane's canvas. "This person – " Quinn pointed to a question mark – "is the guy who shot at Jane. This person, here, is the person Jane took the gun from! This person, here, is the flight security guy! And that leaves this person over here -- !"
" – the Brit. Okay," said Daria, "a blind pig finds a truffle. So how does that give you a name?"
"The person setting next to Mr. Bellard is Sandy Tattersall!" She pointed to the appropriately labeled seat. "I called Sandy Tattersall! It turns out that she had been through a divorce where the guy got all her money, and she was looking for somebody else. We talked fashion tips for a while, and she noticed his shoes, that he was blond haired, blue eyed, not married 'cause he didn't wear a ring, and went by the name of 'Alan'. Not 'Al', 'Alan'! She said he had a nice jacket and a red tie! Women notice these things! His shoes were in great condition, all polished, he had a good manicure, which makes me think he's really neat. She noticed he ordered bourbon from the little cart on the plane!
"So, when the stewardesses got everyone off the plane, he got away, too! But I know there either had to be a security camera there or someone watching! So Sandi thinks that he might have bought a paper or something – "
"—hold on, Missy," said Jane. "Sandi? As in 'Sandi Griffin'? What exactly have you been telling her?"
Quinn smiled. "More later! So the fou—I mean, Sandi started asking around at the Lawndale airport if they saw anyone with that description. And we figured out that someone looking like really nice bought a newspaper at the news kiosk!
"We knew the name was 'Alan', and then I called Quest Computer Security – "
" – with what? Jane's phone?" said Daria.
"Duh! No! My phone! I swiped your list of phone numbers. I told them I was Jane Lane!" Quinn imitated a half-breathy, half-nasal voice. "Jane Lane here! Listen, mister, I need to find out who bought anything on Ja—".
"Right," said Daria. "Every single 'Alan' who bought something. Quinn, do you know how many people named 'Alan' could have bought something? Do you even know how many 'Alan's there are in Lawndale?"
"No," growled Quinn, "but I know that the number of 'Alans' who bought anything before our very early flight totals a big 'one'. Alan Bellard. He bought breath mints and a New York Times!"
"British nationality, Quinn?"
"Do you want his passport number? I have that, too!"
Daria and Jane looked at each other, half-amazed.
"I mean…duh!" Quinn knocked on her head to make her point. "It's like, you can have all the computers in the world but if you like don't talk to people, it doesn't make any difference! I could learn more about a person just by looking at them than you could in a day! You two wouldn't even bother to pick up a phone!!"
Jane sighed. "Okay. Against my better judgment…you're in."
"Hey, wait -- !"
"Daria, not only did Quinn solve this thing already, she already knows everything. And we can use her powers if anything bad crops up."
"I'm looking forward to it already," said Daria sarcastically.
"And if we get this guy…could..uh…Sandi join the Legion?"
"You're out of your tiny little hairspray-addled mind," said Daria. "First, I wouldn't want Sandi Griffin within a hundred yards of any of us. Second, this is not going to pan out. Third, you don't even know where this guy is!"
"I'll tell you where he is, if you give Sandi a shot."
"There is nothing that Sandi Griffin could contribute," said Daria.
(la la LA la la)
"So here we are," said Jane, "sneaking out of town again, one more time."
"The house is in Philadelphia," said Daria. "That definitely means a plane flight. Private jet. We take off, I call Mom on the cellphone, we have a 'girls' night out' at your place, supposedly leave for school from Jane's tomorrow. Meanwhile, we land in Philadelphia, take a taxi, see if this guy is the guy, and we're all home by private jet in the AM. I figure that we'll have a total …one hour of sleep. Total."
"I have my overnight bag!" Quinn dumped out a ton of makeup. "I'll have to look really good for school tomorrow…and definitely if I don't get a change of clothes!"
"Well," said Jane, "there's always Starbucks. That will keep me awake."
"Fantastic. And how am I going to deal with Mr. O'Neill's riveting lectures?"
"That's your problem," said Jane, "you were the one that said we should sit in front."
"It's a good thing you brought me along!" said Quinn. "I mean, what if this British guy gets violent?"
"I think we could take care of ourselves," said Jane.
Daria frowned. It would be Jane taking care of her, most likely. "And how come you just don't fly us to Philadelphia yourself?"
"I said I could fly, Daria! I just didn't say how far!"
"And how far can you fly?"
"You know that time I levitated all three of us two feet?"
"That's my best flight."
"Well, purple Jesus, Daria, I can theoretically fly! Mr. Terra said that I could fly off earth's magnetic field. Or something involving a gigantic lead sphere. I really wasn't listening that carefully!"
"So if, say, the plane were attacked by missiles?"
"Then I hope you don't hit the ground first, or I'll have to hear your death scream of agony in my mind. Relax, Daria. This isn't going to turn out to be anything bad. Either he won't be there, in which case we can look around, or he is there, and you'll read his mind, and you'll know the answer one way or the other. Then you can call the FBI on him or something and we can go back home."
"Wonderful. Your leadership is filling me with confidence."
Quinn interrupted. "So if the guy is there, you'll give Sandi a try-out?"
"Maybe. And that's a big 'if'. We'll see." Jane really hoped he wasn't there.
(la la LA la la)
The taxi cab slowly pulled through the Chestnut Hill area of Philadelphia.
"Oh my gawd!" said Quinn. "Look at all the shops! We—have—got to come back here and shop! Wait, stop! There's a Fashion Forward Boutique! It's a sale!"
"Quinn, it's after midnight. There's not a thing open," said Jane, "give it a rest."
"Why are we wearing these?" said Daria, pointing to the Legion scrubs that the three were wearing.
"Well…if we get dirty, Quinn has our traveling clothes safe in a bag."
"Right. And if the police get suspicious, they'll know to look for three girls wearing clown suits. And in Quinn's case, clown makeup."
"Makeup couldn't rescue that face," said Quinn, "you need a paper bag!"
"Quiet!" Jane had had enough of their interminable arguing.
The taxi cab driver pulled up to a well-lit, expensive looking house. "Forty-two fifty."
Jane shoved fifty dollars into the man's hand. "How long will this keep the cab running for a return trip?"
"Good. Pull up around the corner."
(la la LA la la)
"You know, Jane," said Daria, "I think we should have figured this out ahead of time. What we're going to do if this guy's not awake? Do we ring the doorbell and leave some flaming dog doo on his front step?"
"You can read his mind."
"I've never tried to read a sleeping person's mind before. And if he's awake, and doesn't let us in, I only get a chance to read what's on his mind immediately. Which will either be confusion, or something completely unpredictable."
"Got it. Be prepared for anything."
Daria began to focus her thoughts on the inside of the house. It was the first time she ever tried to read someone's mind that she couldn't see.
…playing field…rained out...bow………………….Trescothick…………
"What is it?" said Quinn.
"Awake. And the voice inside my head," said Daria. "Definitely British. Don't know if it's the right guy though."
"So now we find out," said Jane. "Who's knocking on his door?"
The two Morgendoffer sisters looked at each other, then Jane. "We go together," said Daria. "He can't dry gulch us all at once!"
The three girls tentatively stepped forward. Quinn put the bag containing their clothes next to the front porch steps, then joined the other two.
Quinn and Jane looked at Daria. Daria closed her eyes and rang the bell.
…bloody hell who the fuck could this be at this hour of the night…
"He doesn't expect us!" said Daria. "Be cool!"
A man in an expensive robe answered the door. He was blond and had blue eyes. "Yes?"
"Mr. Bellard?" asked Daria.
…OH SWEET BLOODY HELL FUCK ACT MAN ACT!!!
(la la LA la la)
The taxi cab driver waited. Three pretty girls in costumes coming to Chestnut Hill. They must be call girls, or something. Some rich perv in Chestnut Hill. It took all kinds. He had seen it all.
He looked in the rear view mirror.
He heard gunshots, and someone screaming. It sounded like one of the girls.
There were a lot of things he could do. He could pull out the gun he kept hidden in the front seat. He could call the dispatcher and have the company call the police.
Instead, he drove off. Seven dollars and fifty cents wasn't worth dying for. And for someone to be firing gunshots in Chestnut Hill, they had to be very pissed off indeed. Let the girls fend for themselves…!