Disclaimer:Buffy the Vampire Slayer
is owned by Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy Productions, 20th Century Fox Television and others.Elite
is owned by David Braben, Ian Bellowned and Acornsoft.Betas:
GregS and Allen Baker. They really helped.
“Figures,” Xander muttered to himself, as he saw a rug rat run off with the last toy rifle. “There goes that two dollar costume idea.” Of course, his father had been more of his drunken self this evening than usual, with the welfare payout, what little of it there was. The result bring more holes in the walls to patch up, and delays to endure. He had planned on being here right after school, after all, to avoid exactly this.
Looking around the store, taking stock of the other offerings, he quickly realized that all of it was well beyond his budget. So much so that he probably would have found it potentially amusing, had it only been half as bad.
Still, not one to give up easily, he started browsing around finally noticing a rack standing off to the side. Looking closer, it was obvious why, as all the items were damaged in some way. It was probably unavoidable, considering the rush of customers leading up to Halloween. That alone had potential, but sadly, there were no price tags on the items, either. Still, one costume triggered something in his memory, it looked like a Sci-Fi style flight suit he imagined pilots could have worn in the old Commodore 64 game, Elite, which he had played at Willow’s back in the day. The only thing wrong with it was a dark stain on the back of the suit.
“Can I help you?”
Xander practically achieved orbit, and turned around, glaring at the guy behind him. “Gaah! Don’t scare your customers to death, man!” he managed to stammer out. “But, sadly, I was just looking, my funds definitely aren’t enough for this, even with any discounts due to the stain on it.”
Ethan looked at the costume. “If you can afford five dollars for it, it’s yours - but only if you tell your friends about the rest of my selection. Is that a deal?”
Not wanting a golden opportunity to go to waste, Xander agreed right away, and paid the five dollars for the costume. Not exactly the two dollar costume he’d hoped for, but he was sure it would be worth all of the difference, and then some.
He had noticed Buffy and Wills entering a little earlier, while talking to Ethan, the shops owner, and headed over to them. “Hey there, guys, so what are you planning, or is this girls only?” pointing at the rack of Leia Slave Girl costumes with a huge grin on his face.
As expected, Willow went just about as red as her hair. Buffy, on the other hand had decided to play along, and feigned interest. “Why, are you coming as Han Solo then?”
“Aww, I wish I could, but I’ve already bought my costume and it wouldn’t fit the Solo character.”
“What did you get?” Willow asked.
“I’m not really sure” Xander replied, pulling his costume out of his bag. “But I think I can modify it a little and go as a pilot from Elite, that game we played at your house when we were kids.”
Willow practically lit up like a geek in a computer store. “I remember, you and Jesse loved that game!” only to instantly deflate at the mention of Jesse.
Buffy decided to step in to distract them from what was clearly still a sore wound with her friends. “What is this Elite game thing about?”
Willow looked at Xander and he started explaining. “In short, it’s a game where you’re a space merchant, or fighter flying around the galaxy trading, building up your fortunes.”
“That’s right, and I never thought you two would even get hooked on it, when I first showed it to you,” Willow added.
“Why not? Xander loves Science Fiction, doesn’t he?” Buffy asked.
“I do, but Elite is a little different. It required something neither Jesse or I were known for - Patience. But anything beat being home, so I tried it, and Jesse hung around long enough to get hooked as well.”
Buffy looked around, “Are there any more of these things?”
“But I thought you wanted that wonderful dress over there,” Willow was pointing at a very expensive looking, overly fancy old style dress.
“I was, but to be honest, my mother would kill me if I bought that. It probably cost a fortune, and besides, wouldn’t it be fun if all of us went as these ‘Elite pilots’?”
Willow looked longingly at her usual Halloween choice, the rows upon rows of ghost costumes.
“Yeah, that is not going to happen, Willow - not this year!” Xander suddenly burst out. Willow had just made his decision for him, and he had to thank Buffy for that later. “No more ghosts for you, young lady. Besides these costumes are almost modest enough for you.”
“Almost?” Willow all but shrieked. “Why ‘almost’?”
Xander pulled one of the suits similar to his own down from a rack. “Check it out. I think we can work with it.”
“I agree,” Buffy added, looking at the costume critically. “It does show a lady’s curves quite nicely,” teasing Willow and Xander at the same time. Willow needed to come out of her shell, and Xander - well, Xander was Xander and not much could be done about that. But seeing him a little flustered was nice, too. Hormones made it all too easy at times.
“Willow?” Xander asked, “Are you in?”
“I suppose. They actually do look quite nice, I guess.”
“Great! We need to make a few modifications, I think. Buffy, your place or Willow’s? I have to pick up some odds and ends at home first.”
Buffy thought about it, then asked, “Willow, is my place OK?”
They agreed on a time and Xander hurried home, ideas running through his imagination like wildfire, thinking about the technology that might fit, and what wouldn’t, and of course, looking forward to an evening of fun.