Yes, I know "directive" is a better word, but I had just seen the movie and was forgetful.
WALL-E belongs to Disney/Pixar.
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EVE looks back at a screen from the past as the world moves around her, forgotten. Her little white fingers twist and tangle together as familar music plays, soft music, sweet music, and though her programming does not tell her how to decipher the difference something else inside her understands.
On screen, she moves gracefully, a white flower bud, her lighted eyes in little blue crescents as he stands before her, shy and curious, ever-so-curious, and almost-human. She does not understand, was not programmed to understand, yet a part of her responds, almost-human, or rather, wants to be almost-human. The words themselves are alien to her but have a certain appeal, and at first she is not even aware of what she is feeling or that she is feeling anything at all, because she was not programmed to feel. But there is disapointment - disapointment that he is not her OBJECTIVE though she still does not understand what her OBJECTIVE is, only that it is not in front of her and that it is FRUSTRATING but she does not know what FRUSTRATING means except it makes her blue crescent eyes into downward slopes and her movements sharper than they were programmed to be.
He protects her from the storm and she talks to him a little, just exchanges of words, short words, OBJECTIVE and NAME and EVE. He says WALL.E and she understands what she is programmed to understand, that it is a name and it is his name, his almost-human name, and the term hits her again and hits her hard, yet she ignores it because that's what she was programmed to do.
She giggles once, and a strange sensation falls over her: high spirits. Spirits. She knows the word by it's definition, knows the hollow, empty meaning that it possesses, and she feels it, sometimes, without making the connection, without knowing that her program is faltering and the walls are crumbling little by little and his almost-human eyes are watching her the whole time, sheltering her and showing her little almost-human things that she touches and changes and then puts away, disinterested, or at least, programmed to be disinterested.
And then it changes.
The screen flickers a little, and EVE's fingers tighten. OBJECTIVE, the word flashes through her almost-human mind, OBJECTIVE, OBJECTIVE and the little green plant is presented to her as an image, OBJECTIVE, and yet he stands before her ever-so-shy and almost-human and cute, tiny and cute, harmless and cute, telling her she is almost-human too, just by a glance of his beyond-all-programming eyes, and that was when she knew that things began to change, when she looked back and saw herself giggle and saw herself open a lighter and saw herself look back on his almost-human self and wonder.
She wants to press her forehead to his metal eyes, she wants - just as she was programmed not to want - to entwine her fingers with his, sleek white against metallic gray, she wants to dance with him in the swirling colors of the universe and have her eyes flicker back into happy crescent smiles and let things change, because change is beyond all programming and beyond all that is human and beyond all that IS, and in the end there is only one OBJECTIVE, and that is him.