It must be Saturday…

A short fiction
by Bryan Harrison
based on characters/concepts
established in the film

Artificial Intelligence

1

It must be Saturday.

Rose pulled the covers over her head to shield herself from the daylight breaking through the window.

She let her mind drift on the receding tide of the dream from which she had awoken. It seemed to have had something to do with flying. She wasn't sure though, it had faded so quickly that she could not recall. But it had left her feeling so relaxed that she could not imagine getting out of bed.

It had to be Saturday.

If it was Saturday then she could just lay here and let Jacob deal with breakfast. He'd be set for bacon, eggs and strawberry waffles, and he'd bring them to her and she could sit in bed and eat and catch the weekend round-up, maybe even logon to the audiblog if the topic was interesting enough. She wouldn't have to fight traffic or deal with those crowded midtown trams to get to the studio, nor would she have to argue with Wilhelm over that ghastly production that he'd embarked on. She felt too relaxed to deal with all that nonsense.

"Jacob, breakfast!" she called.

She stretched and rolled herself snug under the covers.

It was rather bright.

"Dim," she said to the window and then "Dim!" she repeated loudly when it did not comply. She swore to herself when the light did not diminish. She'd just had the thing fixed last week!

Or was it last month?

"Jacob?"

Where was that damned Mecha?

She felt a sudden sense of alarm. What if it was Sunday? She had a flash of a memory, an image really, of telling Mom that she'd meet her at Church. There was something she'd been concerned about.

Or had that been last week?

She really hoped it was last week. She didn't feel like getting out of bed today. And anyway, if it was Sunday, Mom would have called by now and been raising a fuss.

No, it had to be Saturday.

But then something else was bothering her. It was a mental itch, nagging at the frayed edges of her memory. She realized what it was.

They'd already finished 'The Ninth Captain's Tale'. It had flopped just as she'd imagined and, with angry shareholders nipping at his heels, Wilhelm had decided to cut his losses, quit the business and buy a place in the islands. She suddenly remembered the early retirement party and how the man's wife had pestered her all night about when she was going to find herself a man while Wilhelm shrugged and rolled his eyes apologetically.

That was strange. How could she forget such a thing?

"Jacob!" she called again.

Then she uncovered her head and opened her eyes.

2

Rose pulled the covers over her head to shield herself from the stark light that burned its way through the blankets.

She forced her mind to escape from the disturbing dream from which she must have just awakened. It seemed to have had something to do with finding herself locked in an oblong glass box inside of an empty white room she had never seen before. She wasn't sure though, she had forced the nightmare away so quickly that she could not recall. But it had left her feeling so disturbed that she could not imagine getting out of bed.

It had to be Saturday because Mom was not pestering her about Church and atoning for her sins and getting her life back on track and if it was Monday then Jacob would have already woken her and would have had Nutrient Slush prepared along with the edits for the morning meeting which she was running now that Wilhelm was gone.

If it were Tuesday then she would be up before Jacob had woken her because Wilhelm would have already been calling from his place on the island and he'd be bitching about whatever had pissed him off Monday and there was always something that pissed him off Monday especially since he retired and had nothing to do but play on his boat and obsess on insignificant things.

Had it been Wednesday or Thursday he would have already been here, waking up beside her, logging into his itinerary manager from her house system in order to make sure his presence had been recorded elsewhere, just in case his wife decided to get nosey, something she had never done and would never do because Rose now remembered when she'd left him and she remembered the short-lived triumph she'd felt. Then she remembered the defeat when Wilhelm had told her he was not looking for another wife; that he wanted to enjoy his freedom.

It had to be Saturday because, ever since he had moved away, she had a tendency to drink too much on Friday nights and that would explain this strange nightmare. And if it was Saturday then she could just lay here and not deal with the irritating thoughts that were playing in the fragmented depths of her recollection. Because she was suddenly sure Wilhelm had retired and died years ago and, now that she thought about it, she could remember his funeral and dealing with all the paper work afterwards when she'd taken over the company.

And then she remembered crying in sadness from her loss and guilt from the affair that had lasted two decades.

That was strange. How could she forget something like that?

And how could she forget watching everything unfold around her, a disconnected spectator monitoring the events of her life as if checking for the seams in the edits, taking more and more time away from the office until she could not go there anymore; until everyday had seemed like Saturday and she could just lay here and pretend that nothing bad had ever happened.

"Jacob?" she called out, quieter now, uncomfortable with the hint of desperation in her voice. If he would just bring her the Saturday morning meal as he had been programmed to do, then everything would be OK. It would all fall into place and she wouldn't have to worry over this strange new recollection of watching the repo-people from Sim-Servants take him away when she'd failed to send in her last two payments.

She snuggled into the covers and gathered them to her face to block out the light that wouldn't go away, the light that she now knew was not daylight just like she knew she was not in her home and that she had not been dreaming when she'd seen herself inside a transparent box in a strange anonymous room.

And that's why it must be Saturday.

Because Saturday was her day to lay in bed and not deal with anyone or anything. Like the dark tale that was unfolding in her memory, the impossible one wherein she saw herself sitting at the edge of the bed with a bottle of prescription sleeping aids, the ones her doctor had prescribed with the anti-depressants. In this story she saw herself toying with the bottle until she found the combination that overrode the automatic dispenser that was there to keep people like her from doing what she had been about to do.

But that story was impossible because in its conclusion she had opened the bottle and emptied it into her hand. Then she had swallowed all the little capsules at once, an act that would surely have killed her and she knew she was not dead even though she had awoken in this glass coffin in the middle of this blank white laboratory.

It was all just a bad dream.

She closed her eyes and forced herself to sleep, fleeing this nightmare, sure that when she awoke it would be Saturday and Jacob would be standing at her bedside with breakfast. Maybe Wilhelm would call and she'd be sure that her recollections had been some dark fantasy, a flight of her grim imagination.

Slowly, as she faded, another dream came back to her; one in which she was nameless, free from the snare of matter, flying though a vast unknown expanse where there was no time or shadows, nor any pressing matters that need be resolved ever, ever again.

3

The woman was gone.

The watchers bowed their heads in a collective moan of failure.

There were so many unknown factors in this process, as to make it almost impossible to predict the reaction of a revived Orga, but until they could replicate a convincing environment, they were certain to encounter disappointing results.

But at least this woman had not suffered. She had not even risen from the re-incorporation chamber. For some reason she'd simply fallen back into sleep and her essence had dispersed once again into the ethers from which it had been drawn; the audible stream of light that enveloped the seemingly empty spaces of the universe.

Those who watched, who had been responsible for her revival, silently requested to have the quickly decomposing remains of her flesh container disposed of, with all the respect that they held for The Creators.

All was not lost.

The cryo-lab had been a fortunate find and there might still be other bodies with sufficient DNA material to revive those who had inhabited them, but that could wait. There was a summons coming from the Nexus.

In the submerged ruins of a great city an ancient craft had been found beneath the frozen waters. There was something special in the craft, something unique. The Specialists were being sent to investigate.

The machines boarded a hastily constructed transportation device and set sail on the frozen air. They were headed for the next crucial step in their relentless search for the meaning of being.