Challenge #01085-B353: The Cosmic Balldance

Shayde, a costume party, and hundreds of miniscule self-adhesive glow in the dark stars. -- Gallifreya

Of all the reasons that humans had found to throw a party, the autumn festival of Halloween confused him the most. Mediaeval superstition met a modern-day desire for revelry head-on in a display of both ingenuity and greed.

Case in point, the Ambassador of 1986TCE[1] Shayde F. Pitt was throwing a Halloween ball. It promised to be one of the more colourful human celebrations. And she'd sent out gold-edged invitations to all of her friends. Invitations that included instructions to bill her for whatever costume they wanted to wear, care of a theatrical disguises emporium that seemed bigger on the inside.

Theatre itself was not a new concept to the Galactic Alliance, though everyone had a different take on how to present something for entertainment or education. Only humans had taken the idea of presenting oneself as someone or something else... and turned it into personal amusement.

Rael had chosen the least ridiculous outfit in his usual size. Formal attire with a red-lined cape and an abundance of jewellery. He stood stiffly in a corner and watched the chaotic crowds assemble. And the more ordered crowds on the observation platforms, taking images.

He didn't like being in Fancy Dress. It seemed like a lie so outrageous that the very cosmos should rebel. Nobody could tell what his job was. What if he was needed for duty?

But nobody needed him. In fact, most of his district had taken great pains to ensure that his calendar was clear.

Nik was here. Glittering in a costume that included fan-driven pennants that resulted in a flapping corona. He was a sun.

Shayde was nowhere to be seen. Not yet. This was her party and... if he knew her like he thought he knew her...

His eyes went to the top of the staircase before the spotlights did. Before the fanfare. She was going to make an Entrance.

Some part of her, he was certain, had a flair for the theatrical. There was nothing more she loved than a big show. And this certainly was one.

Her hair was made up to resemble a galaxy. Her body was covered in stars. There was something of a skirt, but it was more like a train, and left her legs exposed. And she appeared to be barefoot.

On closer inspection, there was little to her costume beyond Skins that matched the tone of her own flesh. Sandals that conspired to appear invisible. The aforementioned gossamer train. And a selection of jewellery that looked like comets and assorted stellar bodies had deigned to settle on her.

"Evenin' Count Dracula," she said. "Nice use o' skin tone. Ye look really dead. Well done."

Rael tried hard to process this information. "Er. I'm guessing you're... the known universe?"

A grin. She had lined her front teeth with temporary rhinestones. Even her teeth sparkled. "Very good. You'll get in'tae the swing o' this, yet." She cackled and pointed. "That has tae be Sherlock."

He looked. A very ornate Red Death costume, where Sherlock's startling eyes glared out at all he beheld from the eye-sockets. "I think that's a more traditional outfit. Isn't it?"

"Might as well be. Ever since Gaston Leroux, every costume party scene has had a Red Death in it somewhere. Aaaawwww.... Aaawww... Bless..."

Rael followed Shayde's gaze to find both Lyr and her husband, Andrew as Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy. Their three children were, he presumed, also popular toys of yore. Shepard, the youngest, was a teddy bear with some kind of emblem on its belly. They had definitely gone for cute.

"What are we supposed to do?" he asked.

"Dance. Enjoy th' buffet. Have fun." She clapped her hands and rubbed them together. "I dunno about you, but I'm goin' tae dance wi' death while I got the chance."

Didn't she do that every day?

[1] Terran Common Era

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