The grand mall is unusually crowded for this day and time. I hardly notice.
I’m too anxious to see my date and too worn out from work, where we launched the first zettaflop complex in Brazil, the final link in worldwide artificial intelligence. It was nothing but work for eight months. Now it’s playtime.
I meet her inside the Rocket Club as arranged. I’m at our table for two when she arrives. Indeed, she is my physical type.
The music is hot so the first thing we do even before speaking is dance.
It’s a lot of fun. This could be a superior algorithmic encounter.
“ADVI says we had a great conversation,” I open when we go to our table, smiling and extending my hand.
“That’s what I heard,” she beams, enthusiastically reaching out with a firm grip. We sit across from each other, grinning expectantly.
“This is the highest match I’ve ever had!” she says happily. I’m put off by the statement and it shows. “Oh,” she tones down, “too aggressive. But honestly, you are the highest match I’ve ever had. So, I’m a little excited.”
I tap my fingertip on the tabletop. “ADVI, will this be a satisfying encounter?”
“No. You should leave immediately.”
I stand and turn to go.
“What?” she protests, standing. “Is yours malfunctioning?”
“Uh…” I stall, looking at my fingertip. The button looks functional. “Nope. It’s been working really, really well, in fact. That’s why I‘d better go now.”
“But, but,” she stammers, uncomprehending, “You chose to meet me!”
“I’ve never seen probabilities change that fast before!” she protests, approaching me. She’s getting pretty upset.
“Maybe it’s yours that’s malfunctioning,” I say, walking away.
“Mine is consistent,” she insists. “My advice was to meet you and…” she checks her fingertip, “…it still is.” I keep walking. “Hey!” she yells. I stop. “We talked for twenty minutes. Did you check any of the transcripts?”
“Didn’t have time,” I admit, turning to her. “It was such a long VC that I expected everything to be fantastic.”
“Maybe you just asked the wrong question,” she suggests, coming to stand before me. She smiles slyly. “ADVI, will this be a fantastic encounter?”
“Absolutely. You’ll remember it fondly for months.”
“See?” she gloats. “Yours is burnt out. Your place or mine?”
Another couple suddenly sits at our table. I look around and see that the club is jammed. The din of conversation makes hearing fuzzy.
“Let’s go, let’s get out of here,” she suggests loudly, observing my discomfort.
“Don’t leave!” insists a young lady overhearing us. “There’s a 67% chance that this is the only structure that will be left standing!”
“What’s happening?” I yell.
“Tornadoes!” answers the young lady, since ADVI is glitching. “Tornadoes are forming everywhere but this is the safest place!”
“Yeah!” agrees her boyfriend, who has checked the latest probability stream. “We’re in the safest structure in the area! By 82% now!”
“By 91%!” a bystander gleefully updates.
WTF is compromising my data? Why didn’t I get warned about the tornadoes? And looking out the pyramid’s massive stained windows from this wide vantage point, there’s no sign of storms on the horizon.
Another bystander sees my puzzlement and understands my concern. “You know what I think?” he poses. “You and I aren’t the ones being misinformed. They are.”
The entire pyramid is bulging with alarmed families, coworkers and makeshift mobs fleeing phantom wind storms.
“Leave immediately. Go now. Get away from the pyramid.”
“Come with me,” I tell her, taking her arm and urging her to follow. She resists.
“I’m not going out there!” she cries, pulling away. I turn to see a flood of people still rolling into the pyramid. Will it even be possible to get out?
I try. The closer I get to an exit the denser the mass of humanity flowing opposite my direction. They push me back as a river might but with less sympathy. I am the only one, far as I can tell, who’s trying to get out instead of in.
Then a rumble under the din quakes everything. A low pitched hum approaches, heralding something gigantic on its way.
Behind me, on the other side of the pyramid, a surreal swirl towers above leaning over us.
It whips walls, trees, houses away from foundations like toys from a playground. The far side of the pyramid, a structure four times the size of anything built in ancient Egypt, begins to crack.
With skill and speed I was unaware I could muster I scamper over all people in my path and make it to a flight harness abandoned outside in the rush. I strap it on and head for the blue.
As I climb I look back to see the greatest tornado ever formed shredding the city of one million like lettuce in a blender.
There are no other tornadoes. There is no other damage. When the humongous killer dissipates only one structure has been destroyed: the pyramid, with all its refugees inside.
Escaping into the veil of clouds I realize that somehow millions of ADVI users were lied to.
Millions are herded by imaginary tornadoes into the path of the real one.
Hell of an end for a date.