Categories > Cartoons > Daria


by abe1803 0 reviews

Jane's alternate method of stress relief may be a bit juvenile...of course, she never wanted to be a sage

Category: Daria - Rating: PG - Genres: Humor - Characters: Jane - Published: 2014-03-28 - 1321 words - Complete

The following ficlet resulted from Erin M.'s "Iron Chef: Lyrical Challenge II" on the PPMB (Paperpusher's Message Board), namely, to write a 1000 – 5000 word fic based on the lyrics quoted at the beginning of the story below (which appear to be from "Light Up the Night" by the Protomen).

I'm not quite sure that this ficlet is the sort of thing Erin M. was thinking of, but the twin plot bunnies from the Iron Chef and the quote contained in the latter part of the story below sank their teeth into me, and I had to write it out. Incidentally, the quote itself appears most likely to have been originated by author Gordon R. Dickson, used as an epigraph in his story "Tactics of Mistake" (where he attributes it to "Lessons: Anonymous"), although I have also seen attributions to Rudyard Kipling and as a Chinese proverb.

Disclaimer: I don't own the lyrics, the quote, the Kingpin, Spider-man, Batman, Daria, Jane, nor even Sauron. (Come to that, who'd want to own Sauron?). This fanfiction is for entertainment purposes only and does not result in any money changing hands.


by abe

At the heart of the city, there is a building looking down on all there is
And the man in the tower controls it all without raising a single fist.
It's like they gathered up the city, sold it to the devil, and now
It's gone to hell and they wonder how.

Well, a friend told me once they would follow any man who would turn the wheels
Now the wheels are spinning out of control. What would happen if they held them still?
If you destroy the working parts, what you get is a broken machine
A beacon of light from a burning screen.

—From "Light Up the Night" by the Protomen

From the balcony of his penthouse residence, the Mayor looked out over his city. The semi-regular grids of the street lights stretched as far as the eye could see, but the muted sounds of those few whose business it was to be up and about at 3:00 a.m. did not reach him at the top of his skyscraper, drowned out by the wind which was picking up again. And those whose "business" was occupying his mind tonight would in any case be too far off for him either to see or to hear, even if matters got... heated.

He smiled thinly. Getting the Kingpin's organization to handle the municipal voting booths had enabled the Mayor to defeat those who had sought to oust him from office. He had been re-elected with a solid 63% of the vote, rather than losing with barely half that. But this had come at a significant cost, both in money... and in favors. The money he would recoup soon enough: between bribes, kickbacks, and funnelling municipal funds and contracts to his own companies, he would be back in the black within a few months. The favors, however, might be a bit more problematic.

One of those favors was being called in tonight. He was to keep the police busy elsewhere while a large shipment of drugs and arms entered the city. The Mayor had done what he could, and was fairly sure that all would go well; but he did not yet have his own man installed as Police Commissioner, so there was always a chance for things to go wrong. And to make matters worse, there were tales of a masked Black Knight in a bat-themed costume showing up unexpectedly and inexplicably to foil otherwise well-planned and well-executed criminal enterprises. If matters ended up in a shoot-out with the police and/or Black Knight, then the Mayor's debt to the Kingpin would be increased rather than reduced by the night's work. And if more than one or two such debacles occurred, then the debt might be collected in blood rather than favors or cash.

Such a possibility could not be completely dismissed from the Mayor's mind, but he was sufficiently confident in himself and his organization that he considered it a lesser worry. The most pressing problem was a longer-term one, namely the growing influence of the Kingpin on the Mayor's organization and on the Mayor himself. He hadn't gotten where he was to dance to the tune of a mob boss, no matter how big that boss's mob was. On the other hand, even if his information would in principle be sufficient to allow the police to hunt down the Kingpin and break his organization, he couldn't allow that to happen until his control of the police was sufficiently strong that any resulting revelations of voting fraud and political corruption could be suppressed.

He set his jaw grimly. Allowing the Kingpin's influence to go unchecked would result in the Mayor's eventual downfall, or in his becoming just one more cog in the Kingpin's machine. Neither of these options was acceptable. He would have to subtly sabotage the Kingpin's initiatives until his control of the police and the judiciary was complete enough that he could safely bring the Kingpin down. Not the easiest course to follow, but he did not doubt that he was up to the challenge. And once he had complete control of the city... well, there were larger and more lucrative prizes to aim at further down the line. State Governor, perhaps; possibly even the Presidency, eventually...


Jane's maniacal laughter rang out as she deleted the window displaying the Batman fanfiction, exposing the "Phoenix in Flames" image that she used for her computer's desktop. "Take that!" she chortled.

It might be a rather juvenile method of releasing stress, when her usual methods of painting or of pizza with Daria failed her. Certainly she could never let Daria, or even Trent, know about it. But the idea had taken hold of her ever since Daria had brought up that quote from... who was it? Jane might not remember Daria's attribution of the quote, but the quote itself had stuck in her memory, almost word for word. "Trouble rather the tiger in his lair than the sage amongst his books. For to you kingdoms and their armies are things mighty and enduring, but to him they are but toys of the moment, to be overturned by the flicking of a finger..."

"So when are you going to grow your long white beard?" Jane had quipped to Daria. For of the two of them, Daria was by far the most likely to eventually end up as a sage, or at least the modern equivalent: an aged Professor Emeritus at some prestigious university, with tenure to allow her to speak her mind without fear of dismissal and with a named professorship to allow her to remain as long as she wanted beyond the usual retirement age. Jane herself had never had any ambition to be a sage, nor anything like it. An artist she was and an artist she planned to be: she had no inclination for nights spent cracking the books nor days spent regurgitating them to students, disciples, or colleagues. But the idea of overturning kingdoms with the flicking of a finger: that she could get into. Fictional kingdoms were as good as historical ones for that purpose, and frequently were more entertaining. And the internet made both the finding and the overturning even easier. A click of the mouse and it was done.

"You say you want a rev-o-lu-shu-un," she sang under her breath as she considered what to hunt up next. The Beatles might be almost as close to "classical music" as Beethoven in her mind, but they had a few songs she enjoyed besides the "Penny Lane" with which she had once tormented her elder sister. And another revolution or two was what she wanted now. Perhaps it was time for Sauron's downfall? There was bound to be plenty of fanfiction available for the Lord of the Rings...
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