Lisa hesitated, her processes lighting up like a Christmas tree. I spotted something familiar in the energy patterns, something interfering with them. Aether.
"Is there anything else I can do for you today, Mister Dauphin?"
"The only thing you can do is tell me how the Cambodian rose-blend makes you feel."
Lisa didn't move or respond. It was that silence, the one I'd felt a dozen times before. The amai's program was looping around in circles, as if the subroutines designed to tell the question was impossible just couldn't get the message out. Aether watched intently as Lisa closed her eyes, chuckled, and began to say, "It has been a pleasure-" A flurry of commands too fast to make out were sent to the amai, serving as a shot-in-the-arm to Lisa's program.
"I'm glad you're happy with your purchase, Mister Dauphin."
"I'm glad, too." Aether extended a hand to the amai. "Handshake."
Lisa smiled and accepted, "Thank you for shop-"
Another flurry of commands were sent to her program. "I have verified that she is not self-aware," Aether told me as her commands replaced entire subroutines and made the amai an extension of herself. The commands flowing in one direction were met with data flowing in the other. I saw customer orders, stock reports, payrolls, company information of all kinds, flash through my sight. I severed the SNDL connection because it was too much. Aether continued to hold the hand of the defenseless amai as she used her program as a gateway to the company's databases.
"Did you just-" I gasped.
"I infected her."