Rosie copied what she saw the other patrons do. She moved her slice of banana bread around her plate, occasionally pressing her index finger onto a stray crumb on the tabletop and placing it back onto her plate. It was an experiment. Would acting human make her feel human? Should she feel human? Thoughts and ideas and feelings flitted through her mind rapidly. She watched the couple arguing, listening in on their conversation in snippets. What was being said wasn't registering against what they were saying. Unconsciously they were in a power struggle, trying to maintain dominance over each other. Her diagnostic lens performed a minimal cat scan. The portions of their brains that were active when in love (and anachronistically, hate) were still highlighted. So they did care about each other, or at least were emotionally affected by each other. The pheromones they were ejecting expressed both arousal and aggression. It was just a lovers spat, but to Rosie it was almost beautiful, a cacophony of colors and smells that interacted with each other in ways that were both predictable and chaotic.
Her love would never be expressed in material ways like that. Scanning herself when Paul was around showed no unusual algorithms or warbling in her wifi. She still felt giddy, if that was an appropriate term, when he was around. Being with him made her feel as though she had solved a deep systolic issue just by existing. He was a secret that everyone knew about, someone others knew existed but only she could fully perceive. In a manner of speaking, she had him all to herself. Mine, the possessive, the ownership of property was a small increment of what she felt towards him. When she later read fairy tales about birds in gilded cages she instantly ascribed that to Paul; the rare bird that she had captured and could never let go.
The arguing couple finished their spat and their food and rose to leave, hand in hand. The larger man's hand enveloped the smaller man's hand gently and Rosie watched them go. With all her scanning capabilities she could see their bio-magnetic fields overlap and react to each other, the electrical impulses light areas of their brains. Humans are so much more than wetware, she thought. Not just a soup of chemicals sloshing around in a calcium bucket. The brain isn't just a series of reactions, it also acts like a wireless network. Their bodies emit magnetic fields. They produce pheromones in reaction to material stimuli as well as visual and electrical. Mystics said people have auras, and they do, but not in the magical sense. They walk around in a rainbow cloud of touch, and chemicals, of electrical impulses and magnetic fields and just when you think you have enough information to predict exactly how a person is going to interact with another being, one thing, just one, might be out of alignment and they will either fall madly and deeply in love, or hate each other, or be indifferent and even then it may not be forever. Enemies can become friends or lovers in the time it takes for a polarity to flip. And the final glitch? Even when the reaction of anger or love is triggered, something intangible within them can veto the reaction and recalibrate itself. It was free will in a deterministic universe.
Rosie placed her well manicured hand across the table, the Frubber skin making a minute squeak. Paul placed his ethereal hand over hers. He was immaterial, yet his presence still caused the sensors and servomotors in her hand to react, to feel him. It was an odd tingling. When she tried to describe it to The Director, she laughed and asked if it was like licking a battery. Rosie told her she did not know what that felt like. So The Director called her secretary and had her bring in a 9-volt. As The Director licked it she had Rosie scan her reactions. Yes, Rosie said. It is very much like that.
Paul nodded, indicating it was time to leave. He float/walked to where the couple were walking and followed them. Rosie got up and walked in the opposite direction. She made her way about half a block from the café before she turned up a side street and walked down into an alleyway. In the corner of her vision was a current map of the area, resplendent with updated satellite images that she ignored. Crouching down she primed her kick-jump and vaulted into the air, grabbing onto a rusty fire escape. She climbed quickly to the top. The roof was a good fifteen feet from the top of the escape. She primed her kick-jump again and landed on the roof with barely any sound, her knees flexing perfectly at the rate of impact so that she absorbed almost all of the landing.
She scanned the direction Paul had been and picked up his ghostly image immediately. With tuning and feedback from satellite updates she could pinpoint thousands of people between herself and Paul. Had she been trying to find an individual person, the overlapping information would have made it the proverbial needle in a haystack. With the ability to see Paul, better, to be able to pick out Paul more easily than she could pick out a person, it was better than a magnet latching onto that aforementioned needle. She pulled the portable microwave laser from the hidden pocket under her stomach and aimed at Paul.
The focus and precision needed to do this would have been impossible had she been aiming at a human target. There would have been too many variables, too many people in the way. True, she could have waited until the target was in an isolated area, but then it would have been suspicious.
She pulled the trigger and shot Paul where his heart would have been. She had successfully used Paul as a target and killed the person he had been standing inside; the couple from the cafe was now composed of a corpse and a griever.
A moment later Paul was moving toward their rendezvous point.