(Fic) ...And Shopping
5th October 2007 (16:23)
This is dedicated to elisi , for reasons she should immediately recognise.
1127 words, season 8, Buffy and Satsu, rated PG.
If Buffy was surprised to find the main boards lit up in the middle of the night, she tried not to show it. Just walked silently up to the control panel and cleared her throat.
"Wha - oh!" Satsu whirled around, dropped into a combat stance, then sheepishly relaxed it as she recognised Buffy.
"Reactions: not too shabby. Awareness of surroundings: you do know you'd already be dead if I'd wanted to kill you?"
"Yes, ma'am. Sorry, ma'am."
"I know all that 'don't turn your back on a door' stuff is over-dramatic, but you should at least keep your senses alert for people coming up behind you. Don't let yourself get distracted by - ooh! Clothes! Scroll back, let me see the menu."
Satsu smiled, righted her chair and sat back down at the panel, pressed a couple of buttons.
"I like those! Is this the Anthropologie Fall Collection?"
"No, ma'am. It's a new design house, more experimental. And they are British, so I think they would call it the Autumn Collection."
"Smartass. But you've just earned yourself several million brownie points by discovering these. You've got excellent taste, if I say so myself."
Satsu smiled and blushed, then shyly pointed out one of the outfits. "I think that one would suit you, ma'am."
"Hmm. Can you call it up, make it bigger?"
"I can do better than that." Satsu ran her fingers over the keyboard, doing something complicated that Buffy didn't try to follow. She mostly left computer stuff to the people who actually enjoyed it. But when Satsu tapped the final button, Buffy was so surprised that she took a step back. Her eyes narrowed.
"Since when do we have a lifesize hologram projector?"
"Um - we've had it a month now, ma'am. Mr Harris had it installed at the same time we got those radar stations online."
"Uh-huh. And you have a hologram of me stored in there because...?"
"M-Mr Harris thought it would be good for running combat training demonstrations. We could watch the way you move, study it, replay it again and again."
"I see. And this final question is the most important one, Satsu, so please answer carefully. Why is that hologram of me so undressed?"
"Um... it's not, ma'am. Not really. It's just designed to show the flow of your muscles, your movements, more accurately. Without clothes getting in the way. But it's not, er, anatomically correct. It's just like a training dummy, just more, er, you..." Her voice trailed off in embarrassment, her face glowing.
"I think I need to have a very long and pointed talk with Xander, very soon."
"Er- actually it was Ms Rosenberg that programmed in that sequence. She said something about it being 'easier since she didn't have to add a punning capability this time'? I didn't understand that part."
"Huh." Buffy took in Satsu's mortified expression, forced herself to calm down. It wasn't this girl's fault. She'd have to think of some... appropriate form of revenge on Willow and Xander at some point, but it wasn't fair to take it out on Satsu. "So, what were you going to show me?"
"This." Relieved at the change in subject, Satsu flicked back to the online fashion catalogue, selected the outfit Buffy had asked about, and transferred the image onto the hologram. Some quick manipulation of the trackball knocked out the background, and then she called up a 3D mesh and began warping the image around the hologram of Buffy. The flesh-and-blood version watched this procedure in amazement, impressed despite herself.
A few minutes later, the hologram was fully dressed. Buffy walked up to it, peered at herself admiringly.
"I'm afraid you can only see it from the front, ma'am. The back side is just a duplicate of the front, since I didn't have the right image..."
"That's okay. This is just amazing. It's just as good as trying it on in front of a mirror. Can you make it - me - move?"
"Of course." There were a few graphic glitches as the clothes didn't properly follow the movements of hologram-Buffy's limbs, but real-Buffy didn't care. Satsu was right - that outfit did suit her. In fact, she only had one regret.
"It's a shame I can't actually feel the clothes. You know, their texture, their smell."
"Sorry, ma'am. Our technology isn't that good yet, although Mr Wells did say something about adding some new features. Then he and Mr Harris got into an argument about Star Trek, so I stopped listening. But if you were in a real shop, how many different things could you try on in a day before you were exhausted? Ten, twelve?"
"Fifty or sixty. I am a Slayer, after all; it does have its advantages."
Satsu giggled, but then finished programming her macro and clicked 'OK', sitting back with a grin. "Beat this."
And Buffy opened her eyes wide in astonishment as her holographic twin tried on every single suit of clothing in the catalogue - in every colour variation - in quick succession.
"Woah. Did we just go forward in time a hundred years?" She blinked, recovered her equilibrium. "Can you go through them a bit more slowly, and save the ones I shout out to you for a better look?"
An hour later, Buffy's shopping urge was sated (temporarily at least) and her credit card was a fair bit lighter. It would take a couple of days for the clothes to be delivered, of course, but you couldn't have everything. She stood up, stretched and yawned.
"Right, I think I'd better get to bed now. You coming too?"
Now why should that question fluster her like that? Satsu's room was on the floor below Buffy's, but they'd have to walk together most of the way. Unless it would hurt Satsu's cred with the other Slayers to be seen hanging out with the boss? Buffy sighed. There was still a lot she had to learn about leadership.
"What? I - oh, you mean... In a moment, ma'am. I just have a few things I need to finish up here first."
As Buffy left, Satsu gripped the edge of the console, her pulse racing. She didn't suspect anything, did she? She supposed she ought to make her way up to bed too, but she was way too keyed up to sleep. She looked back at her console, made up her mind.
Checked to make sure Buffy was out of sight.
And then restarted the program she'd been using before she'd heard Buffy's approaching footsteps and called up that fashion catalogue to hide it. She hugged herself tightly, eyes shining, as she sat back to watch the hologram of Buffy move gracefully through its endless series of training katas.