Getting There is Half the Fun, pt.2
See the Prologue Getting There is Half the Fun, pt.2
“So, Dawn, what do you want to do tonight?”
“The same thing we do every night, Xander—try to save the world.”
Xander snorted at the misquote, and Dawn smiled, happy to have been able to make him laugh. “Seriously, though,” she continued, “I don’t think I could stand another four hours of ‘ooh, the game of life.’” The last said with just the slightest hint of sarcasm.
“Well,” Xander drawled, “I do have an Xbox.”
“Yes! I totally rock at Halo
. I’m so gonna poon you.” Dawn skipped ahead a little to open the lobby door of Xander’s apartment building.
Xander nearly choked at this pronouncement. “You’re gonna what who
“I’m gonna poon you. Or is that pronounced ‘pone’?” She frowned slightly as she pondered the question.
Face red with equal parts embarrassment and trying to keep from laughing out loud, Xander silently counted to ten, then corrected Dawn, “Um, Dawn, I think you mean ‘own’.” Xander also thought that he’d have to be careful and monitor Dawn’s usage of Xbox Live
tonight. And he’d have to suggest that the Buffster and Mrs. S pay a little more attention to Dawn’s internet activities.
“Whatever. That’s what’s gonna happen, though.”
Dawn looked around the lobby as Xander walked over to the mailboxes and fished in his pocket for his key ring. She’d been here before, but had always just gone straight up to the apartment. There was a rug on the tile floor directly below a chandelier lighting up the lobby, and on the rug was a small round table, with a basket of plastic flowers on it. There was a cork board on the wall opposite the mailboxes, with various notices pinned to it—blah, blah, blah;
equal opportunity housing; blah, blah
… book club … blah
… third Tuesday … blah
… room 222; blah, blah
… cat … blah
… kittens. Wait, kittens? Maybe she could talk Mom into letting her get one. She tore off one of the paper tabs with the phone number on it, wrote “cat” on the back, and tucked it into her book bag.
Dawn turned around and noticed Xander staring at the small package he was holding. He nearly bumped into the table in the center of the room as he walked vaguely in the direction of the stairs.
Skipping up to Xander’s side, Dawn wrapped her hands around his arm and looked at what he was holding. “Whatcha got?” she asked.
“Dunno.” Xander turned it over, looking at the back for some clue, then turned it back to look at the front again. “It’s from some place in LA called ‘CIG, Inc’. Never heard of ‘em.”
Xander pulled the strip to open up the package as he absently headed up the stairs. “Huh. Looks like a DVD case or something. Maybe Ahn ordered a movie or something.” Pulling the case out of the package, his puzzled expression quickly changed to one of glee.
“Oh. My. God.” He smiled ecstatically at Dawn. “It’s the new Star Wars
game—Knights of the Old Republic
.” Xander held it out so that Dawn could see the front cover. “I’ve been psyched about this since I saw an ad for it in the back of one of my … er, magazines.” Xander didn’t want Dawn to know that he still read comic books. Of course, she knew that he had
comic books. Some part of his newfound maturity, however, wanted to project a slightly more … sophisticated image–even if it was just a projection, for now.
Xander handed the game to Dawn as he unlocked the door to his apartment.
“What does ‘480p’ mean?” she asked.
“I haven’t heard that one. Maybe it’s one of the droids in the game. Where do you see that?”
Dawn pointed at the bottom of the back cover: HDTV 480p. “Oh, I think that’s for Hi-Def TVs or something. Sorry, we’ll just have to make do with my regular old TV for now.” Xander grinned. “Of course, with my new position, I might be able to get a decent TV in a few months. Maybe not HDTV, but still. Anyway, the one I’ve got’s not so bad, just small … ish.”
Anya showed up just as Dawn, seated at the dining table, was finishing her homework. She had wanted to dive straight into the wonderful world of “Twi’leks, droids, and Wookies”, but Xander pointed out that if she didn’t get her homework done, her mom might not let her come over to hang out with him again. Not that Dawn minded homework—actually, she liked learning and school and stuff a lot. But it was Star Wars
! And Xander! Squee
“Hello, little girl,” Anya greeted her. “How was school today? Did you learn anything useful? Like how to balance your checkbook, or how to start your own home-based business?”
Dawn cocked an eyebrow at Anya. “I’m in junior high. I don’t think we learn how to start our own business until tenth grade.”
Anya seemed slightly disappointed at this news. “I bet if you’re interested, though,” Dawn continued with a straight face, “you could probably find How to Build a Business Empire for Dummies
at Waldenbooks in the mall or something.”
“Really?” Anya seemed surprised by the very idea. Glancing at the wall clock, she said, “I could make it there before they close if I left now. Tell Xander I’ll be back soon.” She picked up her purse from the kitchen counter where she had set it just moments before, and left.
Dawn just rolled her eyes, then went back to her Spanish translations. Los niños se ponen las gorras, toman sus maletines y se van a la escuela. The children put on their caps, pick up their book bags and go to school.
Why all children in her text book seemed to wear caps, she didn’t know. Spanish was so
easy. She couldn’t understand why the homework was always so retarded. Dawn had begun watching Univision and Telemundo (two of the Spanish language TV networks they could get in LA and in Sunnydale) at around the age of six. At first, she just liked the singing and dancing and silly costumes on the variety shows like Sábado Gigante
, but she soon realized that she understood more and more of what was being said and sung about. When she was ten, she had discovered telenovelas
, the short soap operas that were really like super-long mini-series, showing every weekday for ten or twelve weeks. By the time she had started her eighth grade Spanish class, Dawn had become completely fluent.
Xander walked into the living room. “Was that Anya I just heard?” Dawn nodded absently as she finished putting her completed homework into her bag.
“Yeah, she said she had to run to the bookstore before it closed.”
Xander frowned thoughtfully, then noticed that Dawn had finished up and grinned. “Are you ready for some slayage, Jedi-Style?”
Xander decided to let Dawn play Knight of the Old Republic
first (or KOTOR, as he’d seen it called in a gamer magazine). It was a single-player game, and he didn’t think she’d have too much fun sitting and watching him play.
She would only be here until Buffy swung by to pick her up, but Xander would have plenty of time later on to play it, what with the new job responsibilities, and the patrols, and the occasional crises threatening world destruction and requiring hours of research—well, he’d have some
time to play it in the future. At any rate, he was getting a kick out of seeing her excitement.
Dawn was creating her character. She didn’t want to be a soldier. Ooh, shoot big guns and pound things with your fists. Lame. She read the description of a scout. Seemed okay. Kinda like a cross between a soldier and a scoundrel. But as she thought about it, she recalled hearing somewhere that a jack-of-all-trades is master of none. Moving on to the scoundrel, she read the description and smiled. Wit and guile. Intelligence, dexterity, and charisma. A scoundrel it would be. She scrolled through the pictures of the female characters.
“Hey, that one looks just like you, Dawn,” Xander pointed out. Dawn smiled at him and chose that one.
The name generator came up with the name “Orianna Organa” filled in. Cool.
Choices made, Orianna Organa (aka Dawn Summers) embarked upon her career as a former smuggler, now in the employ of the Galactic Republic. A long time ago in a galaxy far,
Cool! This was just like watching one of the movies. Dawn’s and Xander’s eyes were glued to the screen as the introductory text scrolled towards a vanishing point, quickly becoming engrossed in the story. Xander noticed little details, like blaster bolts going past windows outside the crew quarters. The music was very dramatic, and completed the mood. Actually, a lot of the music was taken directly from the soundtracks for Episodes IV, V, and VI. Neither Dawn nor Xander noticed a faint orangish light coming from the edges of the DVD tray on his Xbox, sitting on the floor by the TV.
“Hey, you want a soda or a snack or something?” Xander asked, realizing he was getting thirsty.
Dawn just nodded distractedly as she continued fighting her way through the Endar Spire
, the spaceship on which Orianna Organa awoken to find herself trapped. It was being attacked by the Sith, and she had to reach the bridge before the ship was overrun. She didn’t have time for snacks.
As Dawn continued on her quest for escape from the doomed ship, a mist crept across the floor, unseen in the dim light of the TV screen. Reaching her foot, it curled around her ankles, almost as if it were grasping her. Just as Orianna reached Carth Onasi, a pilot for the Republic who had contacted her by communicator, the mist started to thicken and glow dimly. The orange light grew swiftly in intensity.
As Orianna got into the escape shuttle with Carth to escape from the Sith, the mist flared with a green light which shot from Dawn back to the Xbox, pushing the orange back before it. The green and orange briefly struggled for dominance, then mixed together in a sickly hue. The light flashed brightly, like a strobe light, and with a soft popping sound Dawn disappeared.