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Harboring a Soldier
by Mitch

DARIA is owned by MTV Networks. Used without permission.

Created by Glenn Eichler.

CAPTAIN AMERICA is owned by Marvel Characters Inc. Used without permission.
Created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.

Losely based on a storyline by Mark Gruenwald.

Dedicated to the memories of Mark Gruenwald and Jack Kirby.

Happy Fourth of July! :)

(The scene is a few years ago in Highland. A young Daria is sitting at home alone,
watching "Sick, Sad World").

SSW ANNOUNCER: Is the Commission pulling Captain America's strings? "Blue and
White Chessmen" next when "Sick, Sad World" returns.

DARIA: -sigh-Sometimes I think the world has just become paranoid these past few years.

(Daria goes outside and breathes in the night air. She sees a figure in the distance.)

DARIA: Hmmm...That guy's coming from the direction of the high school.

(the figure comes closer. He's staggering, like he's injured, possibly in more than one
place.)

DARIA: He's coming closer...wait a minute...

(She can make him out now. He's wearing a black uniform with red gloves and boots. He
has a red belt and red and white stripes on his chest. He carries a discus-like shield. The
top half of his face is covered with a black cowl but his ears are exposed. There are little
wings on the sides of his cowl. He's grasping his shoulder, as if its injured. He's limping, as
if one of his legs is hurt.)

CAPTAIN: Excuse me, little girl. Don't be afraid. Where's the nearest hospital, please?

DARIA: A few blocks from here. I don't think you'll make there, though.

CAPTAIN: Why is that?

DARIA: Well, you look like you'll pass out along the way. Here, I'll let you inside.

(She offers him into her house. Cap reluctantly accepts. Inside, Cap is a chair, sitting like a
soldier. Daria shows up with a first aid kit.)

CAPTAIN: I'm afraid that my condition is a little too much for that kit.

(Daria opens it up. It's full of surgery tools. Cap is a little stunned.)

DARIA: It's amazing what you find at a train yard. Now, hold still...

CAPTAIN: You know what you're doing?

DARIA: I self-taught myself surgery a while back because I was bored. My teachers give me
too much free time.(Starts to pull a bullet from Cap's shoulder) Ahhh! There it is. So, what
happened?

CAPTAIN: I was passing through this little town of your's when I noticed a gang fight at the
high school. I drew their fire, but I was concentrating more on shielding the participants than
myself. I tried to find a hospital on foot when you found me, miss...?

DARIA: It's...'Daria'.

CAPTAIN: Nice to meet you, Daria.

DARIA: Likewise, Captain America.

CAPTAIN: It's simply "the Captain" these days. Something happened months ago...

DARIA: Let me guess. It has to do with the Commission, right? They're that sub-committee
on superhuman activities in America, aren't they?

CAPTAIN: How did you know, little girl?

DARIA: I watch the news sometimes. Plus, there's a reason for these glasses. There's been
this new guy acting as Captain America lately, doing what the government wants and not
getting involved with the people enough. (pulls out the bullet in his foot) I don't know if
enough people know that it -is- a new guy and not you, the Cap people have known for
years.

CAPTAIN: Yes. Long ago, I volunteered for a then top secret project, "Operation: Rebirth",
to become a physically perfect Super-Soldier to help America during a war. When the war
was over, I decided to use my time and abilities to protect the American people. However,
the Commission figured that since it was the government that created the name, costume,
and shield of Captain America, they basically "owned" me and figured I should still serve
the government directly. I didn't what to become a chessman serving the ideas of a single
administration. I serve the -ideals- of the -country-. So, I turned in my shield...

DARIA: And the Commission found some other pumped up, blue eyed guy who could lift
your shield and said "Okay. He can use the shield. He's Captain America."

CAPTAIN: (snickers a little)I don't know if that's quite what happened. I -hope- their man has
better qualifications than -that-. I just hope the new Cap has an idea of what they might
make him do.

DARIA: You mean like the tracking of unregistered mutants? "Forget social problems.
We've got the superhuman answer to draft invaders to worry about."

CAPTAIN: (surprised)They've been making him do -that-? Doesn't he realize how
unconstitutional that Mutant Registration Law is? Ouch. Sounds like they found the right
man for their job all right.

DARIA: (a little surprised)God. I'm...sorry, Cap. I thought you might have been keeping track
on this new guy. Y'know, to see what could've happened to you.

CAPTAIN: It wouldn't. This man sounds like he's let the American dream blind him to reality.

DARIA: Some people said that about you...

CAPTAIN: They were wrong. No, a few years earlier, they would be right but things change.

DARIA: So what's with the "Captain" get up? Trying a comeback?

CAPTAIN: Sort of. I'm serving the people again. I just not allowed to use my old costume
and name anymore. My only problems are that I'm not always recognized and it's tough
getting a replacement shield.

DARIA: Well, with your Super-Soldier serum, you're wounds will be gone in the morning.

CAPTAIN: Well, I'm afraid I have to get going already. Thanks Daria.

DARIA: No problem. (a young Quinn shows up.)

QUINN: Say, Daria, do I need new clothes or somethin'? That Stewart kid you hooked me
up with hardly paid any attention to me at(sees Cap) all...

(Quinn looks at Cap in...admiration. Cap looks at Quinn in puzzlement.)

DARIA: Don't worry. We keep her sedated. She's relatively harmless...for now.

CAPTAIN: (still wondering about Quinn) I guess. Thanks Daria. I'll remember this.

(Cap walks out into the night. Quinn is stair---...-watching- Cap leave)

QUINN: Daria, who was that guy?

DARIA: An almost forgotten soldier.

QUINN: Uh, what was he doing here?

DARIA: Letting me nurse his wounds. So, how'd your date with Steward go?

QUINN: Ugh! First, he takes me to Weenie Burger. Second, he gets me a -peach- shake
instead of chocolate. Then, when I give him that "look" that always worked before...

(Daria's not listening. She's thinking about a determined, lost soldier)

THE END