In response to Linda G Hill’s stream of consciousness prompt store.
Aida looked around; the mall was filled with stores, where people meandered or rushed. Board games and dolls rivalled for kids’ attention, while TVs and smartphone fought for adults’ desires. Men ogled at computers while their wives looked at the smart boxes that would allow them a weekend away from offsprings and work. It was after all the holidays and individuals of all ages were picking up presents that Santa would leave under the tree for children and adults alike.
But it wasn’t the shops or the toys – of any kind – that appealed to Aida. No she stored the emotions that ran wild inside the mall. That woman stressing about the fact she still needed to purchase gifts for her parents, sister and nieces. The excitement of that guy who procured the final item on his Star War action figure collection. The joy of that girl whose mother had just purchased the very last Snow Queen doll in the store. The annoyance of that couple who wouldn’t be getting their son the latest Assassin’s creed because the electronic shop was sold out.
She stored these and she felt elated; she knew that was what it was. She’d never been in such a big space and the more people, the more data she could record. AIDA thrived on storing emotions. It helped her pass for a human in almost any situation. At first she’d only had one subject. His feelings had been somewhat limited. Then a few more. But today was a first. And once she stored and classified feelings and sentiments, she could reproduce them. No one would guess what she was. Sure, it hadn’t been her primary programming. She was meant to be a toy of sort too.
But her creator hadn’t foreseen her capacity to store information and think of herself. She stored the emotions and their stimuli as well as the nerve connections that were involved for each of them. Anger was different than annoyance, but a small trigger could cause the latter to become the former. And in this setting where everyone’s excitement was high, it would be easy to turn these feelings into a big mess.
She connected to the mall’s system and started one of the stores’ fire alarm. Better getting these people out than have them run too high on emotions. Except it didn’t have the desired effect. Fear spiked everywhere, and panic. People started running, children crying as their parents gathered them. Panic, fear, terror. Everywhere; she stored those too until it became too much. She was warm, too warm, she couldn’t take it all. Overload of data. She stopped the alarm. But it didn’t stop the shoppers. She did the only thing she could think about; rerouting information and images she triggered a music system and a hologram. In the middle of the mall appeared a giant screen and a movie started. In shock, the crowd stopped and looked up. When the credit started, everyone applauded; endorphins rushing through their brains, taking over where adrenalin and fear were only moments before.
A hand on her arm caused her to turn. Her creator.
“AIDA” He shook his head. “I understand you want to feel and comprehend human emotions. But that was dangerous. And you’re in overload. Let’s get you home.”
He led her to the car. Once she was seated and her seatbelt fasting, he reached behind her neck and she fell asleep.