The Social Network
Since coming online Aya's interest in consuming data had grown, and the AI's curiosity to learn more than what was available in the Guardian's extensive databases had become challenging for the occupants of the Interceptor. Aya routinely peppered Green Lanterns Hal Jordan and Kilowog with inquiries about sectors of Oan space she'd not yet encountered, the new and interesting cultures they explored in the Forgotten Zone, and sometimes complicated questions about socialization and etiquette customs of various species.
After a particularly circular round of questions that made Hal pinch the bridge of his nose in the universal gesture for "give me strength" he suggested Aya start a primary data search.
"Aya, get a Space Book account. You can meet all sorts of beings through there, then you won't have to rely only on me to…er…supply data for your queries."
"Excellent idea, Green Lantern Hal Jordan. I will begin my Space Book research immediately."
Upon completion of her account setup, Aya immediately input search parameters for beings residing in the Interceptor's current quadrant.
Aya initiated a request for acquaintance with the first name on the list, as the being's location was closest to her current spatial proximity. She received confirmation and acceptance of her request shortly and immediately stood up from her station, heading to the back of the Interceptor.
"According to the social network platform we are now friends."
Razer jumped in surprise at her sudden appearance behind him at his station near the ultra-warp coils. He turned around to regard the glowing green figure looking up at him with curiosity. Razer had assumed Jordan was playing a joke when the notification appeared on his monitor and he clicked "accept" just to make vanish from his monitor. Apparently not.
"Hn. This Space Book of Jordan's seems to think so."
"Your vocal engram indicates skepticism. You disagree with the Space Book assessment?"
"...No, the assessment is accurate enough."
"Then we are friends." Aya held out her upper right extremity in the standard Earth greeting Green Lantern Hal Jordan taught her. "You are my first friend."
Razer stared at her outstretched limb for a moment before recalling this was the "shake hands" gesture.
"Very well," he muttered as he extended his own hand to reciprocate.
Aya shook his hand in five measured and precise up-down movements then released her grip.
"What do friends of the Space Book do? I have no data for this protocol."
Razer paused. "Nor do I. I simply joined to make Jordan shut up." Razer paused then turned back to his terminal, opening a Space Book access screen and tapped an icon.
"!" Aya jumped minutely, clearly startled. "I have received digital notification of a 'poke' through my interface with the network."
Razer felt an unfamiliar tugging at the corner of his mouth at her words. The AI could be unexpectedly amusing at times.
"I will reciprocate."
Razer's panel flashed bright green, not its usual red, when his account received Aya's poke. "Hn, intriguing."
"Friends of the Space Book poke each other through this interface."Aya confirmed, as though backing up this new data in her memory. "To what purpose?"
Razer thought she had the potential to be annoying if her voice was not always so polite and modulated to produce a soft and pleasant tone. He shrugged and leaned again his work station. "I do not think there is one. It is seems rather pointless."
"A point is required for the Space Book interactions?" Aya queried.
The Red Lantern could not believe he was engaged in such an inane conversation, but couldn't help responding, "I would think everything has a point, some meaning."
Aya processed this information with a nod. "Then there is a point to the poke. I will learn the meaning of it in time with additional data." She poked Razer again, his panel flashing luminous green.
"…" Razer clicked the poke option again and definitely struggled to maintain a neutral expression when Aya jumped once.
"This is an interesting phenomenon." Her voice simulated wonder near perfectly, the Red Lantern noted.
"It is…strangely addictive," he conceded and his work panel continued to flash green as he and Aya traded poke notifications for a few more moments.
"Affirmative." Aya tilted her head to the left in the manner Razer had come to associate with puzzlement. She extended her right arm. "I require a poke to this physical extremity to acquire more data."
Razer paused from tapping the panel intermittently. "What?"
"I am an artificial intelligence that exists in both digital and corporeal space. I require additional input from both interfaces to assess the meaning of poking."
"…you want me to poke you." Razer said flatly. "In your arm."
"Correct." Aya held her arm perfectly stationary at a 45 degree angle from the floor.
Razer sighed. She was an odd computer. "Very well." He extended one fingertip and prodded her forearm paneling gently.
Aya looked down, assessing. "I have acquired no significant data in determining the meaning of the poke from physical contact." She then poked Razer in the identical spot on his own arm.
"!" His eyes widened and Aya watched him in her serene and unblinking way.
"Have you received significant data?"
"Thank you for contributing to the expansion of my database, Razer."
"It is no matter." He turned back to his work station
"I disagree. Proving a negative is valuable part of scientific inquiry and exploration."
That was a rather philosophical response from a computer, Razer though as he attempted to return his focus to his work. He caught Aya's reflection in the panel and saw a slight, bright motion before he felt another touch to his arm.
He looked down at the glowing green finger resting on his arm. "Do you require additional data, Aya?"
"No, but you did state this is an addictive behavior." She poked him again.
Razer's brow lifted in surprise and no small amusement. "Don't tell me you are capable of addiction."
"Negative." Poke, poke, poke. "I am emulating addictive behavior found in many humanoid life forms."
Razer was knew Aya was completely serious, but the studious way in which she focused all her attention on poking his arm repeatedly, varying the time her finger made contact with his arm, the pressure applied, the intermission between each physical contact, was almost laughable. She was the strangest computer he had ever met.
He couldn't help but watch her experiment with her new data set for another few moments until one particular poke hit a nerve in his arm that made it tingle unpleasantly.
"…Aya." He wrapped his hand around hers, pulling it back.
"You can stop that now."
Aya nodded again and dropped her hand to her side. "Thank you for allowing me to practice the poke. I will continue to refine my poking technique with Green Lantern Kilowog. I may gather significant data from another species."
Razer smirked at idea of the green figure prodding the surly Bolovaxian repeatedly. "Make sure I am there when you do. To observe, of course."
"Of course. Will you poke Green Lantern Hal Jordan, so I may observe and gather data?"
Razer blinked, defensive. "I will not poke Jordan."
"You will not assist me in gathering data to determine the point of the poke?"
Razer crossed his arm over his chest. "I do not want to poke him."
"Then you will not assist me in gathering data to determine the point of the poke." Aya nodded. All she'd done was modulate her tone to turn her question into a statement, but something about the way she did it sounded…disappointed.
Razer sighed. "…I will assist you, if you need it." He had no idea why he just said that.
"My programming requires additional data to resolve this query."
The Red Lantern held up his index finger. "Very well, I will poke him. Once."
Aya's clear blue eyes looked up at him, and if he had to ascribe a word to her expression it would be earnest. "Thank you, Razer. When I am presented with a query I am compelled to resolve it efficiently so I may devote my processing power to other matters."
"You're welcome." Razer knew he sounded surly, he couldn't help it. He was going to have to poke Jordan now. But Aya looked so…pleased he couldn't flat out refuse her, not without seeming unreasonably rude over such a, truly, harmless request. "That's what friends are for," he grumbled.