“Isn't it wonderful? The lights, the colors, the holiday cheer everywhere... I told you it will be a good idea to come here!” Aero looks up the giant decorated, a big smile on his face, fascinated. “There's nothing like the Cresmas gathering!”
Behind him stands OpalBot, her hands tucked in her hoodie's pockets, right beside the doll that Aero gave her, staring at the beautiful tree. She appears to be deep in thought.
“Yes… it’s very special” she mumbles. Aero turns to her, puzzled.
“Is everything okay, OB?”
“I never saw anything quite like this,” she responds, still deep in thought, “it’s a very… strange concept.”
“Well, yeah! It’s about celebrating the joy and spirit of the holidays! The happy days!” says Aero excitedly, “It’s meant to be a lot of fun!”
“Yes, I suppose…” she sighs and stares on, the tip of her hat swinging from side to side in the gentle winter wind.
“You don’t seem like you’re having a lot of fun, OB…” said Aero, disappointed. “I hoped coming here will finally get some Cresmas spirit into you…”
OpalBot remains silent, still staring. One could see the lights of the tree reflecting in her eyes as the tiny mechanism in it works to dilate her pupils, thoroughly analyzing the view before her.
“I can’t say I’m surprised,” says a voice behind them. Aero turns around to see Opalium approaching there, the red trimming on her trench coat gently twinkling. “I don’t think OpalBot understands what Cresmas spirit is.” OpalBot shakes her head.
“None of my data banks explain it very well. I understand it’s a human tradition and that it’s meant to be a celebration, but I don’t really understand the whole… ‘cheer’ part.”
Aero turns to her again. “Oh! Well, it’s about feeling… you know, happy! Like that warm and fuzzy feeling inside when you’re sitting all cozy in front of the fireplace in a cold winter day, surrounded by family and loved ones, laughing and smiling. This feeling!”
“Pretty much,” says Opalium, “it’s how we can feel warm and happy right now, even though we’re out in the freezing cold.”
OpalBot lowers her head. “I don’t understand…” she says, “your body temperature changes just by how you feel?”
“No, not quite. It’s still freezing cold on the outside. But on the inside, you feel warm and content” says Opalium and turns towards the tree again, looking at the bright Crescent moon atop of it.
“Can you reproduce this feeling even without all what you said? Without a cozy fireplace or a family?” asks OpalBot monotonously.
“Without a family?” gasps Aero, “what do you mean?” OpalBot turns to him.
“I don’t have a family. Except for… you know, her.”
“Oh, don’t be silly, OB!” he laughs and grabs her shoulder, “your family is right here, all around you” he points towards the dozens of people who gathered under the tree, members of the Crescent clan.
OpalBot looks back at him, confused, then turns to Opalium, who smiled warmly at her.
“All of us.”
OpalBot stares at her for another moment, and then turns one more time to the tree. “But we’re not-“ she starts replying, but Opalium cuts her off. “Maybe not on the outside. But on the inside…” she says and turns to the tree as well, closing her eyes.
And there they stood, surrounded by countless lights and colors among the many people beneath the majestic tree, all basking in the bright golden light of the Crescent moon atop it, and the many other lights that covered it from top to bottom. Countless tiny snowflakes float and twirl through the night air, engulfing everything and everyone in a thin layer of pure white. Warm lights and colorful Christmas bulbs twinkle through the windows of the buildings in the distance like tiny magic fairies, perfectly in sync. Inside her virtual mind, the computer vision systems struggle to analyze the blurry picture due to the constant interference of the snowflakes, and the temperature sensors across her mechanical body continuously complain about the excessive cold. But for the first time in her life, she also felt something… else. Something different than the monotonous analytic thought process she was carefully programmed to repeat forever. Something that not even her vast data banks and state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms are able to define; as if these people around her suddenly matter more than all the other humans she met.
Beside her, Opalium smiles, her eyes still closed, and crosses her arms; Aero puts his hands behind his head, staring at the beautiful lights, mesmerized.
And suddenly, it all clicks together in her mind. She slowly nods her head.
“All of us”.