I know who I am

(c) Trin Chardin

Disclaimer: I don't own the Matrix concept or anyone - yes, even the Agents - in it. I don't own the Oracle, but the idea of making her an advisor for the Agents belongs to whoever thought it up. I just named her Mentor here. Nemo IS mine. Oh, and Fleming and Alex are mine too.

Author's Note: This was supposed to be entitled Destiny III, but somewhere along the way, the plot diverted a little and I gave it its own title. I know this is long overdue. Hope you people like it. Pleassseee review!

Prologue - Without You

I Know Who I Am

Nemo absently stirred more sugar into her coffee as she scanned the daily report on rebel activities. Daily in human terms, that is. There really was no day or night for Agents. Each day seamlessly led to another without pause.

"Why must you drink coffee when you have no need for it?"

"Habit," she said in the same absent manner to answer Jones' puzzled query.

"I think it's a waste of code," Smith snapped from his position at the window.

"And I don't give a bloody damn what the hell you think," she said with equal emphasis to the pronoun 'I'.

Jones gave a realistic human sigh, his lightning speed typing never ceasing. Although his colleagues had accepted each other's presence, there was still the occassional exchange of hostility. At least, it never went beyond verbal sparring. Of that, Jones was extremely thankful.

Nemo had thawed a little since her recent suicide attempt. She'd even recovered some of her former human mannerisms. The System did not see the change as detrimental to their cause - as a matter of fact, it seemed to have improved their success-failure ratio - so they did nothing.

Then, her hand suddenly stopped in midstir and Smith's head turned to look back at his colleagues. Nemo reached for the office phone that sat between her and Jones on the table even before it began to ring. Its shrill, high-pitched tone was abruptly cut off at the first ring as Nemo answered the phone.

"Moore," she answered in her crisp, business tone.

"Agent Moore, this is Lieutenant Johnson of the NYPD."

"Yes, what is it Lieutenant?"

"You asked us to report any suspicious missing persons cases."


"Well, I just received a case and...I don't know if it's what you're looking for..."

"Spit it out, Lieutenant," she cut in sharply. She didn't have time for this nonsense.

"Uh well...my gut instinct tells me that there's something funny about this case..." The lieutenant's voice faded uneasily.

"Your gut instinct..." She repeated coldly.

"Uh yes, ma'am."

Nemo could hear him gulp nervously at the other end of the line. After a tense pause, she spoke once more.

"I see. Fax it to me."

"Yes, ma'am."

Seconds after she'd hung up on him, the fax machine began to buzz as a long roll of fax paper came out of it.

She quickly went over it before handing it to Smith, who'd joined them at the desk.

"Alexandra Munro..."

"You recognize the name."

"She is someone we reinserted."

"They always seem to cause trouble, don't they?" She remarked nonchalantly.

"Humans are always trouble." He snapped back at her.

She rolled her eyes, while Jones sighed again.

"Pull up her file, won't you, Jones? ...When did you reinsert her, Smith?"

"A few years ago. Before Neo came."

"Why was she reinserted?"

"There was some complications during her interrogation." Jones spoke up, having pulled up the file. "She was only good as an energy source afterwards."

"Get anything out of her?"


"So, she's like Fleming."

"No," Smith cut in, slightly annoyed. "Fleming created an anti-code, while Munro's program simply rejected the code.."

"I see... Original name, Sandra Monroe...Reinsertion name, Alexandra Munro... Fighter...little programmer skills though an excellent hacker... Fascinating."

"She disappeared a week ago while on her way to work. Could the rebels have taken her?" Jones asked.

"No. That is highly improbable. She is in a secure locale outside the Matrix."

"Even then the rebels may have made contact with her..." Nemo commented dryly.

"Not without us knowing first. A code has been inserted in her to inform us of any contact with foreign programs."

"So, you think she caused her own disappearance?"

"I KNOW she caused it," Smith replied coldly.

"Then, she must have learnt about her past..."

"Yes." Smith's displeasure was apparent by the dark look on his face. "There has been an increasing number of such occurences. That is why the System has begun to deliberate on whether or not to terminate reinsertion operations."

"Yes... So, what were the circumstances that surrounded her failed interrogation?" Nemo asked, turning to Jones.

"Her program had an adverse reaction to the interrogation code and she went into a seizure. Her memory bank was scrambled and unsalvageable. So, she was reinserted for energy purposes..."

"Without her memory bank being wiped out?"

"Without her memory bank being wiped out," Smith repeated through gritted teeth. He grimaced at his obvious mistake. If he had taken percautions, they would not have this problem. "We simply overlayed her old memory bank with a new one."

She raised an eyebrow at his reply, causing him to retort defensively.

"It was procedure then."

"Well, we'll just have to fix that mistake. ...Can we track her using her reinsertion code?"

"We can." Jones nodded in affirmation.

"Good. Get a lock on her, then we can find out where this stray human has gone off to."

She shoved her way through the crowd. Dashed up the stairs. Dodged into a room. Missed the bullet. Leapt out the window. Crashed onto the awning below. Slid off. Ran into the alley. Saw the telephone booth...saw him.

"Escape is futile, Ms. Monroe."

Dark suit. Dark shades. Blank face. The business end of a Desert Eagle.


She jerked up to find herself in an unfamiliar place. Bare white walls...plain yet immaculately clean room scantily filled with second-hand furniture...like a cell.

Curled up with knees tucked under her chin, she took a deep breath and tried to regain control.

"It's all right, Alex," she reassured herself aloud in a shaky voice. "You're safe."

'...from what?'

She shook her head to try and clear it as she cautiously placed her feet on the cold wooden floor. She winced slightly at the unexpected chill and quickly put on her slippers. Slipping into a worn woolen robe, she headed for the fogged up window. After she'd wiped a spot clean, she peered out through the faint early morning mist of downtown New York. A few cars...a whistling policeman on his beat...a stray cat...no mysterious men in black suits...

"It's just a crazy dream, Alex."

She turned away and headed for the mini-kitchen. Wrinkling her nose at the funny smell that filled the fridge, she quickly shut it close. But, not before she'd snatched up a small container of yoghurt. She took a spoon from the dish drainer and cautiously tasted the expired yoghurt. Grimacing at the sour taste, she threw it into the trash can and the spoon into the sink before heading back to her bed.

Curling her legs under her, she sat and sank into a deep reverie.

The dreams had started a month ago. In them, she was always running. But, she'd never known until now who she was running from. Men in black...

'Maybe I'm an alien abduction case...'

Her lips quirked up in a wry smile at the thought.

She unconciously bit at her long, manicured nails. An old habit... Wait... She frowned as she examined her nails...she'd never done that as a kid or even later on...

This was really freaking her out. First, there were those crazy dreams. Then, there were those weird people who seemed to be stalking her. At every turn and corner, they were there. Dressed in black leather and eyes hidden by dark shades... She shuddered at the close call she had a week ago.

She'd been on her way to work when a strange feeling came to her. Looking back for a second, she saw one of them...not THEM...but one of those leather clad people. A bald dark-skinned man with dark shades clipped on his nose and a long leather coat buttoned to the top. He was staring at her like he knew her. But, she definitely did not know him.

She got onto the subway with one last look behind her. He was still looking at her. She didn't know what came over her after that. She just had the sudden urge to get off at the wrong stop and then started walking. To where, she hadn't the slightest idea. Finally, she stopped at an old building downtown. She approached the person at the lobby counter - an old man with a scruffy beard and a beer belly - but before she could open her mouth, he spoke.

"Oh, it's you...haven't seen you for some time now. What's it been? Few years or so?"

She looked unblinkingly back at him, uncertain of what to say. He didn't seem to notice though as he turned back to take a key of a hook.

"Here you go...same room as always..."

"Uh...how much is it again?"

He gave her a strange look before replying.

"You people deposit it to my account, don't you? Always have. Even through all these years... Not that I'm complaining."

"Oh...yes, I remember now."

He looked her over from across the counter, studying her slightly wrinkled designer pantsuit.

"You sure have changed a lot... Your friends coming too?"

"Uh, no...only me this time..."


With that, he turned back to the newspaper he'd been reading when she walked in. She glanced uncertainly at the rickety antique elevator and opted for the stairs instead.

It wasn't a very long climb and somehow she found herself stopping at the door of this very apartment. There was a bedroom with a small window that had a narrow cot, a chair and a table in it. Right beside it was a mini-kitchen and a dining room that doubled as a living room. There were two doors leading from the bedroom. One led to a small bathroom with a shower, a sink, and a toilet. The other, however, was locked. Seeing as there wasn't another key on the ring that had been given to her, she basically ignored it.

So, here she was probably jobless now and in need of, not only decent food, but psychiatric help as well.

'Now, isn't that just great?'

"We've found her."

"Where is she?" Nemo asked Jones as his fingers dashed across the keyboard.

"An old rebel hideout...her team's as a matter of fact."

"The old hunting ground..." Smith muttered next to Nemo.

"Well then, let's pay Ms. Munro a visit. Shall we?"

The trio got into one of their standard Corona Victorias and drove off for downtown. The ride there was silent, but then again, they never really had much to say to each other aside from work. As they passed Mentor's building, Nemo unconciously looked away to avoid it. She hadn't seen Mentor after her second visit and she didn't relish the idea of third. The slight movement was not lost on Smith and he filed it away for possible future use.

"We're here," Jones said, breaking the silence as the car came to a stop in front of an old apartment building.

"We noticed," Smith snapped as he took the lead. Jones didn't respond to the slight as he followed, Nemo next to him.

"What can I do for you people?" The old man at the desk asked in a gruff voice.

"We're looking for a woman by the name of Alexandra Munro. We have reason to believe that she's here," Smith said.

"Look I don't want any trouble or anything..."

"Then, tell us if she's here."

"I don't know any woman by that name."

"Show him a picture of her," Nemo spoke up from behind.

Jones took out a newly uploaded picture of her and handed it to Smith, who proceeded to show it to the old man.

"Oh...her... She in trouble?"

"No...we're just looking for her," Nemo said. Her calm, soothing voice in sharp contrast to Smith's blunt, insensitive one. "She was reported missing a few days ago."

"Oh well, she came in a few days ago. She's staying in an old apartment that she and some other people are renting."

"The number of the apartment?"


"I see. Thank you for you're cooperation."

"Are you the FBI or something?"

"Yes," was all Nemo said as she walked towards the stairs, Smith and Jones behind her.

They stopped at the door of aparment 353 and Smith knocked sharply at the door.

Alex jumped up in surprise at the sound of loud knocking on her door.

"Uh, yes..." She asked hesitantly.

"Ms. Munro?"

Slowly rising from her seat at the bed, she looked out the door peephole to see a familiar face. A pale and expressionless face with dark shades concealing his eyes. Eyes which she was sure were a brilliant shade of ice blue.

"Who is it?"

"We're Agents with the FBI."

An FBI badge appeared in her line of her view, but her thoughts were elsewhere.


"I see..."

"We want to talk to you. ...May we come in."

"Uh, of course."

She fumbled with the bolt of the door and turned the knob, stepping aside to let the trio in.

'Bad things come in threes...'

"I am Agent Smith. This is Agent Jones..." The well-built man behind him. "...and this is Agent Moore." A woman?

'Wasn't it supposed to be...'

She frowned unconciously, puzzled by the apparent change in the trio. Smith noted the frown and exchanged looks with Jones.

*She knows something's different.* Jones remarked.

*That gives us more of a reason to terminate her.

*Not until we know how much she remembers. She could be of use to us.* Nemo cut in.

*What do you mean?* Smith's annoyance was obvious even though they weren't speaking verbally.

Nemo did not answer. Instead, she turned to talk to the uneasy woman.

"Ms. Munro, you were reported by friends and co-workers to be missing a week or so ago. We were fortunate to trace you here."

'And how exactly did you do that? Even I didn't know how I ended up here...'

"Yes...well, I just decided to take a few days off."

"An unscheduled leave without notifying your boss?" The female Agent raised an eyebrow in obvious disbelief.

"Well...I just needed to get away you know..." Alex offered the other woman a weak smile.

"I see...well, would you mind coming with us. We'd like to ask you some questions."

"Am I under arrest?"


"Then, I don't need to go with you." Trying to look confident, Alex crossed her arms across her chest.

"No...but it would be in your best interests if you did." Alex studied the woman before her uneasily, eyes darting for a moment to study the men next to them.

'Why is she the one in control? It's supposed to be...'

This woman was dangerous. That much Alex knew. Her unexpected presence alone made her dangerous, but her apparent contol of the situation added to Alex's unease.

"Ms. Munro...are you coming with us?" The woman's voice had become soft with a slight edge to it.

"Do I have a choice?"

"Do you think you have a choice?" The woman asked, head tilted to one side as she paused at the doorway.

Alex choose not to answer, looking away instead.

"Why don't you get dressed? We'll be right outside."

'And don't even THINK of trying anything funny,' the woman's big smile said.

Alex quickly pulled on her pantsuit, which she'd fortunately washed at the laundromat a few blocks away. Tying her dark jet-black hair up in a bun and taking a deep breath, she stepped out of the room to meet the woman and the man with ice blue eyes.

The man walked ahead while the woman followed with Alex at her side. When they got outside, they stopped at a black car. The well-built man was already in it, seated at the driver's seat. The man with blue eyes got into the passenger seat next to him, while the woman let Alex get into the backseat first before following her.

She shifted uneasily in her seat, trying to calm herself.

'Nothing is wrong, Alex. They just want to talk. That's all...'

"Ms. Munro..."

Alex almost fell off the car seat at the sudden sound of the woman's voice. Almost automatically, she replied.

"You can call me Alex...everyone does."

'Did I just say that to an AGENT!'

"Very well, Alex..."

'Shit, she actually called me Alex...well, why not?...Agents don't call you by your first name! That's why not!...'

The woman shook her out of her inner turmoil as she laid a hand on Alex's arm.

"Is something wrong, Alex?"

'No shit something's wrong! I am going crazy!'

"No...I'm fine..."

"Well...as I was saying...what exactly made you leave life as you know it?"

'Well, let's see...the crazy dreams...the weird stalkers...that creepy bald guy who somehow knows me...hell, I don't know...'

"Well, I just got tired of routine, you know..."

'No, you don't know! You're a freakin' machine!...she's not a machine! This isn't some scifi flick! She's a person just like you...she's nothing like me!'

"...and I was tired of my job..."

"You worked for Metacortex, didn't you?"


"I used to work there too...before I joined the FBI."

"Oh, you did... Funny, I never saw you around."

"We were probably in different sections. What section were you in?"

"Code breaking."

*Surprise, surprise.* Nemo mentally smirked.

"Well then, no wonder we never met. I was in Programming."

*What are you doing? She could know some people there!* Smith snapped at her. Even electronically, he was a pain.

*Take a chill pill, Smith. I should think that I can handle human interaction much better than you can.*

*You better know what you're doing...*

*Believe me, I know. It's called 'being only human'.*

*I suppose that's supposed to be funny.*

*Then, why aren't you laughing?*

"Oh, really...what made you quit?" Alex asked with a weak smile.

"A better job offer."

"Why how much does the FBI pay?"

"I wasn't talking about it money-wise," the woman said rather coldly.


"That's alright. ...We're here."

Nemo watched her turn pale as she looked up at the 'FBI building'.

*She remembers.*

*What did I tell you?* Smith snapped as he stepped into the lobby. *I say we terminate her.*

*And I say we wait.* She said coolly as she followed him with Alex at her side.

*And I say you two stop blathering and let's get to work.* Jones piped up from behind them. He ignored their fuming and stepped in front of them to push the up button of the elevator. *Shall we?*

Jones took Smith's place as lead while Smith trailed behind, the two women still in the middle. Upon reaching their office, Jones opened the door and held it open for the others to enter. Smith walked to the window, turning his back on them, while Jones took his usual seat at the desk. Nemo took one of the seats in front of the desk and offered the other one to Alex.

"So, let's get down to business, Ms. Munro. ...Now, I have to speak to you in my official capacity."

'She sounds almost apologetic...almost,' Alex mused.

*Give me pictures of some rebels, among them her former teammates.* She asked Jones.

He reached into a drawer and pulled out some uploaded pictures. She took them from him and handed them to Alex.

"Do you recognize any of these people?" She asked.

Alex's forehead wrinkled in a concentration as she went through the pictures. She barely looked at pictures that should have been familiar to her with the exception of two. They'd been a former lover and her captain, so obviously they'd left a lasting impact on her. Apparently not enough, however, for she paused merely for a second before going onto the next picture. Finally, she returned the pictures to Nemo, tapping the one at the top with a finger.

"I recognize him."

Nemo refrained from raising an eyebrow when she saw who was on the top of the stack. She simply handed the pictures to Smith who now stood next to Jones. He took a look before dropping them on the desk in front of Jones.

"Morpheus," he hissed.

The glare he sent Alex's way was enough to turn her a deathly pale. If that wasn't enough, she could barely keep her seat with the intense look Jones was giving her. She quickly turned away and looked back at Nemo, who's expression hadn't changed.

"Is that his name?" She finally managed to ask.

"You recognize him, yet you don't know his name?" Smith asked in disbelief. Hands clenched, he leaned on the table to move his face closer to hers.

"Well, Agent..."


"Oh yes, Smith... He was actually the reason I skipped out. I saw him on my way to work. He looked at me like he knew me, but I don't think I've ever met him."

"So, you don't know him."

"Never met him."

Nemo looked over at Smith.

*We need to talk.*

*Then, talk.*


She got up and left the room with Smith behind her.

*Don't let her out of your sight.* He told Jones before shutting the door behind him.

"Well, what is it?" He asked, slightly annoyed.

"I think we can use her to our advantage."

"And what if she turns out like Fleming? Then, what?"

"The only reason Fleming turned was because you prodded her into it." She ignored his glare and continued, "I say we purge her memory - all the information she has left is probably outdated anyway - and then brainwash her. The Resistance must still want her if they're keeping an eye on her."

"They'd be suspicious if she suddenly turned to them. She could tell them what she knows about us."

"Which isn't much. Besides, I'm not proposing on making her an Agent. Only the System can make that decision and after Fleming it would be foolish to make it. I'm merely suggesting that we can use her as a tool against the Resistance."


"We turn her into an FBI agent."

"I don't see how that will help us."

"She used to be one of them, Smith. She might subconsciously still know how they operate. We simply have to keep her in a low-profile position and ask her to scan rebel activity - which is technically considered by humans as terrorist activity. She tells us what she thinks, we decide whether we should act on it, and everyone's happy. She gets to keep her life and we get more information as well as an energy source."

"I suppose you're right," he admitted grudgingly.

"You KNOW I'm right," she said with a smirk.

Alex shifted uneasily in the uncomfortable metal chair. She tried to look out at the stunning view of the glass window, but Jones' piercing gaze distracted her. She studied him out of the corner of her eye. She knew that she'd seen him somewhere before she'd even met him today. Where was it?

He ignored her as he continued typing on his computer. Still, she knew that he was keeping a sharp watch on her, observing her every move. He was an imposing figure, big and well-built. He looked like one of those brawny, brainless types, but she knew that looks could be deceiving. By the way he handled the computer, he was obviously not one to fool with using brawn or brains. He might not be as intimidating as Smith or as composed as Moore, but there was definitely something about him that suggested - 'don't mess with me'.

Trying to ignore him, she went over the events that had gotten her into this mess. Her mother wouldn't have been so foolish. A full-blooded American Indian, it was from her that Alex had inherited her light cooper complexion, sharp features, and dark hair. The only thing she'd inherited from her American father was his piercing emerald green eyes. She suddenly snapped out of her musings as Smith and Moore walked back into the room, their expressions unreadable.

I Know Who I Am II

"Ms. Munro," Nemo spoke first in a soft, friendly tone.


"How would you like to work with us?"

"As an Agent?"

Her green eyes widened in surprise. She obviously hadn't expected this turn of events.

"Well, of course. Working as an FBI agent, isn't a bad thing you know." Nemo offered her a reassuring smile. "You're out of work and we need talent like yours on our team. You'll report to Agent Jones here."

Gesturing to Jones, she smiled again and waited for Alex to reply.


'Bloody hell, Alex. It's a decent offer. Take it.'

"...why not?"

"Then, it's done. You're one of us now."

Staring at Nemo's big smile, Alex half-wondered if she'd just made a deal with the devil.

"Why don't you follow Agent Jones. He'll give you the papers to sign in another room."

"Yes...uh, thank you."

"My pleasure."

Alex hesitated for a moment at the door that Jones held open. Then with one last look at Nemo, she walked out.

Alex followed him done the hall and into the elevator. She watched uneasily as he punched the button for the much lower levels of the building. It was a short ride on the super-speed elevator and they quickly reached their floor. She followed him down the dim hallway and stopped behind him at a plain white door. There was no label on any of the identical doors in the hall, making her even more nervous.

"Are you sure this is the right door?" She asked, eyes darting up and down the empty hall.

"I'm sure."

She took one last look at the hall as she stepped into the room. When she did look inside it, she stifled a scream as she saw the strange machinery that filled it. She tried to run, but her feet seemed frozen in place. Suddenly, there was an iron grip on her arm and Jones was beside her.

"Escape is futile, Ms. Munro."

Her eyes widened in surprise as she suddenly remembered. Those words. That voice. He'd been the man in her dream. Damnit. What the hell had she gotten herself into?

*Is it finished, Jones?*

*Almost, Nemo. I'm at the last stages of the process. I gave her the original memory we gave her the first time. Is that fine?*

*That's fine. Did she struggle much?*

*Yes. But, I subdued her soon enough.*

*Good. When it is finished, place her in the new apartment we set up for her.*

*As you say.*

"I hope it works out as you planned," Smith said coldly from across the table they sat at.

"It will work."

"How do you think Morpheus knows her? It would be hardly a surprise for her to know him, seeing he is an important member of the Resistance. But, for him to know her?"

"You found no connections between them in her past life?"

"None. But then, things are different outside the Matrix. They could have known each other in Zion."

"True. And if they were close to each other..."

"We could use it to finally catch Morpheus."

The two exchanged sharklike smiles, for once in agreement.

Alex hummed softly to herself as she made her way to her boss's office. She stopped at a door with a fogged glass window. The title Special Agent Jones was etched on the glass. At her knock, a loud voice was heard from the other side of the door.

"Come in."

She entered and stopped before his desk. He was hard at work on his computer - as always - and did not acknowledge her presence.


"What is it, Munro?"

"I have the analysis you wanted on the latest terrorist update as well as the transcript of the code you wanted me to break."

"Hmmm...place it on the desk."

"Yes, sir."

She did so and waited to be dismissed. He looked up for a moment and glanced at her. A slight look of what appeared to be frustration flashed across his face for a second then it was gone. Though she caught his look, she did not hear his soft sigh.

"You're dismissed."

"Thank you, sir."

She left, shutting the door behind her with a shake of her head. Her boss could be so out of it at times.

"Went to see your boss again, huh?" A husky voice said from next to her.

Looking to her side, Alex wasn't surprised to see her brunette officemate, Heather Williams. The office gossip and flirt, she had no problem sharing with Alex her theory that Jones had a crush on her. Alex had never heard of a more preposterous idea. Her boss had anything BUT a romantic interest in her. He might be a whiz at work but he was as dense as a block when it came to romance.

Alex just rolled her eyes and continued on her way to her cubicle. Undaunted, Heather trailed behind her still chattering away.

"Oh, come on! It's obvious he's got a thing for you! He's always calling you to his office..."

"To receive my reports."

"...and giving you those intense looks."

"To make sure I'm not loafing around."

This time, it was Heather who rolled her eyes.

"Whatever. It is SO obvious he has a crush on you. I don't see why you don't see it."

"Maybe because I'm not delusional and don't see things that aren't there."

Heather sniffed in that I-know-better way as she left, hips swaying for the benifit of their male colleagues as well as the few present male Special Agents. Alex smiled wryly and sat down at her desk. Just as she was about to start on her next assignment, the elevator doors opened and she looked up out of habit to see who it was. Her eyes widened as she recognized her boss's colleague and superior, Special Agents Smith and Moore. Agent Moore nodded at her as they passed, while Agent Smith ignored her as usual. Alex knew the two vaguely from working with her boss and she wondered what they were here about.

"So, how is it going?" Nemo asked as she took one of the seats in front of Jones' desk.

Smith sat across her on the other chair and they waited for Jones to stop his typing and answer.

"Fine...I suppose."

"I suppose?" Nemo asked with a raised eyebrow.

"She is driving me crazy with her yes-sirs and no-sirs. She even refuses to leave until I dismiss her."

"I should think you would be glad at how polite and cooperative she is."

"Too much for her own good, if you ask me," Jones grumbled. "And I also have to put up with that hussy, Williams."

Nemo's lips twitched slightly as she repressed a smile, and even Smith smirked at Jones' remark.

"Well, you'll just have to bear with it. This was the only possible opening available for Alex's insertion without adjusting too many people's memories," Nemo said as she went over the reports Alex had left. "Hmmm...not bad. We have a lead on Neo's latest plans as well as a key to the Resistance's transmission code."

"Then, shall we get to work?" Smith cut in sharply. Nemo nodded and got to her feet, as did Smith.

"Oh Jones, you're not coming with us," she said, upon noticing him following her and Smith.

He frowned in confusion but refrained from commenting.

"Instead, you're suppose to go with Munro and check this hacker out." Nemo handed him the thick file she'd been holding.

"Aren't you worried about leaving me in constant contact with Munro?"

"The System isn't, so I don't see why I should. But, you do understand that if anything happens and I have to terminate you...it's nothing personal. Just work."

"I understand."

Nemo smiled and headed for the elevator. Smith started to follow her but stopped for a moment.

"Watch your back, Jones."

"I will."

Smith nodded slowly then turned to follow Nemo.

*Are you sure he'll be fine alone with that woman?*

*'That woman' couldn't possibly do anything to hurt Jones, Smith.*

*That doesn't change the possibility that she could manipulate him to her way of thinking.*

*And what is her way of thinking but ours? I should think that Jones is proficient enough in brainwashing people...*


*...besides, I inserted a bug in her program. Any rebellious thoughts will be reported to me. I for one believe in taking percautions.*

This was a direct jab on his failure to completely purge Alex's memory bank the first time around, and Smith knew it. He scowled, scaring a few innocent bystanders as they walked towards the elevator.

*Why didn't you tell me or Jones?*

*You never asked.*

She gave him a sickeningly sweet - and equally false - smile as they got into the elevator.

"Do you think the two of them are together?"

The two Agents with their extra sharp hearing heard from the back of the elevator as it plunged downwards.

"Nah...what do you think she'd see in him?" The person's companion replied.

Smith glowered and clenched his fists, while Nemo's lips twitched suspiciously.


Alex's head snapped up at the sound of her inter-office intercom. She clicked the answer button and spoke.


"It's Agent Jones. I want to see you in my office."

"Oh. Yes, sir."

'Did I hear him sigh?' She wondered, unsure whether to be amused at the thought or nervous about being called to his office.

He'd never done so before. He always gave her assignments via typed memos left on her desk. They were always there without fail every morning when she came for work. There never had been a time when she'd come earlier than he had. It made her wonder what time he got to work.

'Maybe he lives here,' she thought in amusement.

She knocked on his door and went in as she heard his voice. She waited patiently in front of his desk and waited for him to speak. A few minutes passed and still he did not stop his typing.

"You wanted to see me, sir?"

"Yes. ...I did."

She waited again for him to speak and again he stayed silent. She barely restrained herself from rolling her eyes.

'What the hell is his freakin' problem?'

"And so, sir?"

Finally, he turned away from his computer to face her. Picking up a folder from his desk, he took out a few sheets and handed it to her.

"Sit down and read this."

"Yes, sir."

She obligingly sat down and began to read the sheets he gave her. It wasn't very long and she finished reading it in minutes. It was a report on a female hacker by the name of Pixy, short for Pixel. They suspected her of being approached by the terrorist known as Neo.

"What are we going to do about her?"

"We are advised to approach her and see if we can convince her to cooperate with us."

"I see."

She waited for him to speak again, but he just looked right back at her in that intense way of his.

"So, when are we going to do that?"



*Could you ease up, Jones?* Nemo asked.

*Sorry, it's not like I've ever dealt with one particular human on a daily basis.*

*Well, get used to it. She's only 21. She's got some more years to live. Unless she dies an early death, which is definitely NOT one of the System's options. We want to put her to as much use as possible.*

*Yes, ma'am.* He replied, sarcasm obvious.

*Have a nice day.*

"Well, let's go," he said, getting up and heading for the door.

"Yes, sir."

She silently followed him down to the basement level that served as a parking lot. They got into the standard Bureau car and drove off to the home of one, Andrea Wang, hacker extraordinaire.

Jones parked the car outside the small apartment building. It looked out of place in between two towering brand-new buildings. Alex absently noticed the sign nailed to the door that condemned the building. It would be demolished in the coming week and replaced with a parking lot for the new buildings beside it.

Jones firmly pressed on the antique looking intercom button with the name Wang underneath it. He was rewarded minutes later with the sound of static and a cranky voice.

"What da hell do ya want? It's freakin' eight in the mornin'."

"Ms. Wang?" He asked coldly.

"Who wants to know?"

"The FBI does. We'd like to speak to you."

Muffled cursing was heard for awhile before the woman on the other end spoke again.


With a loud beep, the door screeched open and the two agents walked into the decript building with its cracked walls and filthy floor. As if he did not notice the trash liberally scattered all over the floor, Jones began the trek up the stairs. Alex was right behind him. Her nose wrinkled at the strong smell of rotting refuse coming from who knew where as she followed him up the stairs and down a dimly lit hall.

They stopped at a door with no markings but a lopsided number three. The two rusting screws that flanked it suggested that there'd been other numbers to go with the one that remained. Only the identical pistachio-colored doors near it proved that the door before them was the one they searched for.

Jones knocked loudly on it and they heard a woman yell just as loudly from the other side that she was coming. They heard the sound of a bolt being undone and the door knob twisted as the door was opened. A young Chinese-American woman peered out from behind it, a dangling chain holding it back from fully opening. Seeing the badge that Jones flashed before her eyes, she shut the door with a soft curse and undid the chain before opening it again to let them in.

The apartment was not very big, sparsely furnished with what was mostly second-hand furniture. The pull-out couch was still open, the covers rumpled and the pillow thrown to the floor. The carpeted floor itself could hardly be seen for the magazines, used pieces of clothing, and empty food containers that covered it. A small kitchenette stood at one corner of the room next to a sink, toilet, and bathtub. The bathtub with its claw feet and perky duck curtain looked bizarre in the dimly lit room.

Sunlight streamed in from the tightly shut blinds at the far end of the room. That and a small lamp illumined what appeared to be the only clean area in the room. It was a wooden table that had seen better days with a well-kept computer on top and a tall stool sitting before it.

Having surveyed the room, Alex turned to look at its owner. The sulky young woman couldn't have been more than sixteen. She ignored Alex, prefering to stare defiantly back at Jones who was obviously in charge. Her delicate porecelain features were marred by an ugly, day-old bruise on one cheek.

'Probably her boyfriend,' Alex thought to herself. 'An ex-one at that from the look of the carton with guy stuff in the corner.'

"Miss Wang."

"What?" She snapped impatiently. Alex had to admit that this girl had guts. Not many had it in them to stand up to her superior.

"I'll be brief..." Jones continued in his bland voice.

"Thank God," the young woman muttered under her breath.

"...for we both know that the terrorist known as Neo has contacted you. Now, we want to catch him and to do so we need your cooperation. If you agree to cooperate, we will drop the charges against you and give you a fresh start."

"What charges?" She asked, her startling azure blue eyes narrowing.

"The charges involving your illegal computer activities...as well as a number of unpaid traffic violation tickets."

"I see. Can you prove those charges?"

"Of course. ...So, do we have your cooperation or will we arrest you for - among many things - illegal access to confidential and highly sensitive government material?"

"Do I have a choice?" It was a statement, not a question. She grabbed a black leather trenchcoat that was on the pull-out couch, pulling it over her dark blue turtleneck sweater and black pants. Then, she turned to look coldly at Jones before heading for the door and opening it. "Shall we go now?"

Jones nodded and followed her out the door. Alex knew him enough to see that he was surprised at the young woman's cooperation. She'd barely caught the quick flicker of surprise in the brown eyes hidden behind dark shades. He had obviously expected resistance from Miss Wang...as did she. The woman was a strong character - not one to give up easily - so, why had she so quickly surrendered?

Alex pondered on that as she followed the two outside. Jones opened the back door of the car in order for the woman to get in then waited for Alex to follow. She did so still puzzling over the unexpected good behavior of the woman next to her. Her suspicions were definitely aroused and she kept a sharp lookout for trouble as Jones cut through the heavy traffic of the main streets.

When trouble did come, it caught her by surprise. They'd turned a corner - a shortcut she'd suggested to avoid more traffic - to discover an unusually quiet side street. Alex instinctively reached for her gun, well-hidden by the dark jacket she wore. She did not miss how Jones tensed up or Miss Wang's cool, unconcerned manner.

Before she knew it, gunshots were being fired from an abandoned building nearby, causing Jones to crash the car into a lamp post. She winced as her head banged against the window next to her. Jones cursed under his breath and undid his seatbelt quickly to get out of the car. He used the car as a shield from the continous gunfire as he pulled out his Desert Eagle. Not hesitating, Alex took out her own gun and pointed it at Miss Wang, who held her bleeding head.

"Out now," she said bluntly in a harsh voice.

The young woman did so, still clutching at her head. She crouched in between Alex and Jones as the two agents exchanged gunfire with their attackers. Alex was no fool. She knew an ambush when she saw one - or rather was at the receiving end of one. How the hell did they now that she and Jones would take this route? It wasn't like they'd planned it. Putting in a new clip of bullets in her gun, she shouted to Jones over the loud gunfire.

"We need backup!"

He nodded, but as he did so his head jerked back as a bullet found its mark on his forehead. She gasped in surprised, turning to face the direction the bullet had come from - right behind her. Her green eyes widened as she turned to see a dark bald figure in black attire. He was the last thing she saw before the familiar darkness enveloped her.

Nemo's hand came down from the ear that held her earpiece. She'd just recieve Jones' report that they'd been ambushed. Not only was Miss Wang now with the rebels, Moore had been caught, too. The latter piece of news was more important for they all knew how badly the Resistance wanted to get the hacker formerly known as Nova back. She ignored Smith's angry mutterings as she quickly formulated a plan to get Moore and possibly Miss Wang back.

*Jones can you track Moore? ...Jones?* She repeated when he did not respond immediately.

*I lost her signal soon after she was captured. I think Neo cut the connection.* He admitted hesitantly. He'd failed in his duty to guard Moore and he knew it.

She silently fumed as she quickly checked if her own connection to Moore was still active. It wasn't. Damnit. She had to give Neo credit from thinking that there was more than one connection to Moore.

*That changes things. We'll just have to do it the hard way then. Access her pod files and trace her from there.*

*As you say.*

*What if we can't find her?* Smith cut in.

*We will in time. She cannot leave the Matrix. She is somewhere in here and we WILL find her.*

*And if we are too late?* There was a long pause before she finally answered.

*Then, we pull the plug.*

Alex moaned as she regained conciousness. She felt like she had a major hangover, which was funny considering she hadn't gone out recently. As the realization came to her, her green eyes quickly snapped open and she examined her surroundings sharply. It was difficult to concentrate with the room spinning as it was. What was wrong with her?

She felt the presence of someone else in the room and immediately noticed when that presence approached her. She moved away, roughly jerking away the arm that the presence held. The presence, however, would not let go. It just held her tighter and helped her back to the cot she'd been laying on.

"It's alright, Nova. You're safe here with us."

"My name is Moore and I am a Federal Agent. You do realize that holding me here against my will will result in a more severe punishment for you?"

"What have they done to you, Nova?"

The voice - definitely, a man's - was tinged with what was undeniably saddness. Why was he like that? He was a terrorist, wasn't he? And he knew her to be an FBI agent. Why was he treating her like this?

"My name is Moore," she repeated in a harsher voice as she tried again to pull away from his grasp.

This time he released her with a soft, almost unheard sigh. She felt him move away and heard the door open and then shut. He was gone now, leaving her alone in the cold dark room. She could barely make out the lightbulb dangling from the high ceiling above as well as the metal chair that was the only piece of furniture in the room aside from the cot. Where was she?

She dozed off again with her head still pounding. When she woke up hours later, her sense of stability had returned. As she assessed her surroundings in an obvious scrutinizing manner, she subtly eyed the dark bald man seated on the chair across her.

"How are you feeling, Nova?"

She recognized his voice immemdiately as well as the genuine-sounding sympathy in it. This only served to confuse her further...and Alex didn't like to be confused. Her eyes flashed in anger and annoyance. Who was this lunatic and why did he insist on calling her Nova?

"My name is Moore," she began to hiss before he cut her off wearily.

"I know, I know. It is now, but it wasn't always so."

"Yes, it was. I should think I know who I am," she snapped angrily back at him.

He choose not to reply, instead he shook his head as he removed the dark shades he wore. She looked into his dark eyes when he'd finished. Surprised at the depth of unconcealed feeling in them, she looked away and forced herself to continue in a cold voice tinged with annoyance.

"Who are you and what do you want with me?"

"I am Morpheus..."

"Morpheus..." Her green eyes narrowed as she repeated the name like it was a curse. "...the same Morpheus wanted worldwide for terrorism and numerous computer crimes?"

"The same." He nodded. "As for what I want with you...well, I want my wife back."

"Well, I certainly don't have her. And I wouldn't know if the government does. If they do, do you seriously think they'd exchange an important pawn like her for me? The government doesn't deal with terrorists."

"A pawn..." A wry smile crossed his face. "It was a never a game, Nova...and they never knew I had a wife. If they did, who knows what they'd have done to you."

"Me? What do I have to do with your wife?" She asked a sudden feeling of apprehension - or was it fear? - growing within her.

"YOU are my wife, Nova."

She opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out. Shocked into silence, she stared disbelievingly at her captor. How could she be the wife of a man she didn't even know? And not just any ordinary man, but the most infamous terrorist of all, Morpheus himself. Her green eyes grew dark with confusion as she leant back on the cot to rest against the cold cement wall. Why was this happening to her?

"I told you I am NOT Nova. And I am definitely NOT your wife," she finally said in a firm, no nonsense voice as if there was no room for argument in the matter. She tried furiously to supress the strong emotions that raged inside her.

"Yes, you are," he said calmly as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

'I'm not Nova. I'm not his wife. I know who I am. I'm me.' She told herself in an attempt to regain control over both herself and the situation. Her face hardened as she strengthened her resolve. She didn't need this man to tell her who she was, she knew who she was.

I Know Who I Am III

"No, I'm NOT," Alex said coldly as she crossed her slender arms at her chest. She wasn't backing down. But, it didn't look like he was either.

He just shook his head sadly as he bent to pick up the closed laptop that leant against his chair. He opened it and set it upon his lap.

"They took you away from me a long time ago. When they did, they also took away your memories..."

"Who are 'they' exactly?" She asked, becoming increasingly annoyed.

"The Agents...the System...the Matrix. They are the enemy. The enemy we fight to regain our freedom."

"What in the world are you talking about? I'm an agent..."

"No, you're NOT," he snapped, obviously angry at the mere idea. She refrained from rolling her eyes and continued in a firm voice.

"...and what exactly is 'the System'? Or 'the Matrix'? Who are you fighting?"

"You used to know...you used to believe."

She shook her head in frustration. This wasn't getting anywhere. Couldn't he see that she wasn't the woman he thought she was?

"Let me show you," he said as he switched on the laptop. He began to show her pictures and film clips of people and places she knew nothing of.

She sat silently through it as well as the similar sessions that followed as the days passed. He visited her irregularly, sometimes not coming back for days at a time. Still, each day she found a paper bag of food for the day. She also managed to stay tolerably clean, once she'd discovered the door in the room that led to a decent though small bathroom. The other door, however, - the one that led outside - was locked from the other side and she couldn't open it no matter how hard she tried.

Each time he came, he looked hopefully at her for any sign of recognition and each time, something within her ached for him. She felt that she had to know those people and places if only to make him happy. This only confused and scared her further. Why was she feeling this way for a terrorist?

So, it was in that dark, cold room that she found herself falling in love with the most unlikely man.

*Have you traced her yet, Jones?*

*No. I haven't, Nemo. Neo is interfering with my search by sending electronic trash.*

*Then, find a way to fight back.*

*I am searching for a way. But, it'll take time.*

*Is there no other way to find her?* Smith cut in. His annoyance was obvious even though they communicated electronically.

*Not that I can think of.* Jones replied.

*We could try finding her the normal way.* Nemo suggested.

*What normal way?* Smith asked.

*The human way.*

*The human way?* His electronic voice wary and slightly tinged with contempt.

*But, of course. We send out a notice for her, report her as a missing federal agent. It happens all the time.*

*Very well.* Smith agreed ungraciously.

*I'll send out the notice immediately.* Jones said before cutting communications with them.

*What could they possibly want with her?* Smith said, more to himself then to her. *They must know by now that she is ours, body and soul. They can have no use for her now.*

*True...then perhaps, she is more important to them than we assumed.*

*In what possible way?*

*Morpheus has taken an exceptional interest in her, don't you think? Even from the beginning...*

*You think she means something to him.*

*Yes...I suspect that it is so. Why else would he take part in such a minor operation as retrieving a potential? Why did he take her at all?*

*If she is truly important to him, then we should get her back so that we can use her against him.

*Yes. The sooner, the better. But first, we must find her.*

The days melted into each other. Having lost track of time, Alex no longer knew whether it was day or night. She'd also lost count of the days she'd spent locked up in her cold and confining cell.

She was scared for her resolve was weakening. She couldn't deny that she was in love with him. How was it possible? Her moments alone were restless ones as she underwent an inner turmoil. Emotions of love and loyalty were constantly at war within her and there was hardly a moment of peace for her anymore.

She shifted uneasily on the cot. He'd come again that day. This time though, the hope had left his eyes - eyes which he'd never hidden from her for he always took off his dark shades the moment he stepped into the room. He hid nothing from her and she...well, he seemed to know everything about her. She wanted to give him what he wanted, but the idea of giving up everything she had to live the life of a fugitive with him...well, it was romantic - fantastically so - and that was why it was so hard for her to accept.

That day, his eyes held resignation and silent defeat. It hurt her more than he knew to see him that way. He did not bring his laptop. He just sat and stared at her from across the room as if to memorize every little detail of her. He'd left abruptly soon after he came without speaking a word the entire time. He hadn't returned since then and she feared that she might never see him again.

She sighed softly as she shifted again on the cot and drifted off in an uneasy sleep. Yet through her sleep-fogged mind, voices pierced through and made themselves heard. It was him and another man.

"Isn't there anything you can do?" He asked.

"I'm sorry. You know that if I could do anything to bring her back I would. But, there are no memories to bring back because her old memory bank has been completely purged and I can't replace it. Even if I could...I don't think it would be commendable. Her mind might not accept it and she might become unstable. You could lose her even more."

"I understand."

For a moment, nothing more was said then the other man spoke again.

"What did Zion say?"

"They think that it's best for us to return her to the Agents seeing as nothing can be done to bring her back. ...She has outlived her usefulness to the Resistance."

"I'm sorry..."

"...Perhaps, it is better to leave the past alone. Her true self died a long time ago. Only her body is left."

After another uneasy pause, the other man spoke hesitantly, knowing that his companion wouldn't like what he had to say.

"I'm afraid we'll have to bring her back soon. I don't know how much longer I can keep the Agents from finding her."

"Tomorrow. She goes back tomorrow."

The other man said nothing more and left immediately. But, the man she loved remained and she sensed his presence near her, just watching. Then, she felt the light brush on her forehead that was a kiss and heard his whispered words of love. Only after the door shut behind him, did she let the tears fall.

*I think I know where she is.*

*Do you think or do you know, Jones?* Nemo snapped.

He hesitated before answering her. It was obvious that she wasn't pleased with his slow progress.

*I will know by tomorrow. I've narrowed it down to downtown. She never even left the city.*

*Of course, she didn't. She can't move around like they do. She's still connected to the System after all. Get back to work. It is important that we get her back.*

He cut off communications with her, after which Smith initiated conversation with her.

*This search is pointless, Nemo. It's been approximately two and a half months...*

*She's still part of the System.*

*...AND she's still with them. I think we should cut our losses and just pull the plug on her.*

*Not until we find out why she's so important to the Resistance.*

*Even if we did find out, what's the use if we don't have her?*

*We will get her back. It's just a matter of time. I thought time was of no consequence to you machines. You have no sense of mortality after all.*

*I still think that it's a waste of time and resources, but you don't care do you?*

*No, I don't care for your opinion. The System approves what I do because what I do works.*

*You've had your failures.*

*I never said I was perfect. I'm only human after all.* With that parting shot, she cut off communications with him.

The next morning, Alex woke up to find him seated on the chair, watching her as always. He looked haggard as if he'd spent a sleepless night. She knew she had. She sat up on the cot and waited for him to speak first. She was afraid to break the silence, afraid of what would come next.

"You can go back to them today," he said so softly she could barely hear him. "We will drop you off on the outskirts of town and you can find your own way back."

She tried to speak, but she didn't know what to say. Instead, she found herself nodding in reply. He walked slowly to her and held out his hand. She took it and let him help her up. When she was on her feet, he gently turned her around then tied a blindfold over her eyes. After he'd tied the knot, he rested his hands on her shoulders for a second then let them fall to his sides with a sigh. He gently took her hand and led her to the door. She heard it click open then allowed him to lead her outside.

She felt the warm sun as soon as she stepped out of whatever building she'd been kept in. She smiled as its rays warmed her chilled body. She could almost forget where she was and why. Then, his grip on her arm tightened and she shivered as he whispered close to her ear. She could feel his breath on her face. He was so near.

"There are stairs here. Four steps."

She nodded in response, her smile fading fast as his presence reminded her of what was to come. He would say goodbye and leave her. She would never see him again, except perhaps to see his bullet-ridden body at a morgue sometime in the future. His death at the hands of justice was inevitable. But, she couldn't ask him to take her with him. Somehow the words escaped her.

They got into a car and they drove around for a long time. She knew he wasn't the one driving for she sensed him seated next to her in the backseat. When the car finally stopped, he helped her out and turned her around once more so that he could remove the blindfold. She found herself in a familiar, though deserted part of town. After studying the place, she turned to look at him. The expression on his face was unreadable and after awhile, he turned away to avoid her piercing gaze. So, she went to look at who'd been driving. She immediately recognized him as the terrorist, Neo. He remained in the car with a woman seated next to him in the passenger seat. She didn't recognize her, though she was cetain that the woman was another terrorist - maybe even the one known as Trinity.

"I guess this is goodbye," he finally said, still refusing to look her in the eyes. She was about to nod when Neo's voice rang out.

"Agents!" He cried out as he quickly got out of the car.

Morpheus immediately pushed her to the ground as he and Neo shot at the man she knew as Jones, her boss. She stared as he easily dodged their bullets, moving so fast that he was but a blur of movement. Then, Neo pounced on him like a cat on a mouse, jumping right into the dark blur. The blur stopped as abruptly as it had begun and Jones fell to the ground with his neck broken. She watched in morbid fascination as green light sparkled all over his body and a a homeless man appeared in his place.

Neo dealt with Smith in the same manner, but this time it was Trinity who killed him with a shot in the back. Still, Alex watched as the same strange thing happened to his body and another homeless man appeared in his place. Who - no, what - were they? Were these the people she worked for?

"Now, you see what they really are. If only, I could take you out of here and explain everything to you. But, I can't. They have your body hidden somewhere where I can't find it," he said as he pulled her back on her feet.

She looked at him in confusion, not understanding what he meant about her body being hidden. Her body was right here, wasn't it? He kept her close, holding tightly to her arm as his eyes darted back and forth in search of any possible danger.

Trinity and Neo spoke amongst themselves for a moment, then Neo walked away on his own.

"He's looking for Nemo. She has to be around somewhere," she said in explanation.

"Go with him," he said. She hesitated for a moment. "We'll be fine."

She nodded and headed for where Neo had gone. Alex watched as the other woman walked away. Who was this Nemo they spoke of? They must have meant Agent Moore. She herself wondered where the Agent could be. Suddenly, she felt a strange tingling sensation come over her and watched in horror as a familiar green light began to sparkle and grow on her free arm.

Acting on instinct alone, she grabbed the hand in which he held his gun and pulled at the trigger. Her nerves screamed as a burning sensation coursed through her body. She looked down and saw the blood that came out from where the bullet had entered her body. It stained her white blouse a rich crimson color and she just knew that her wound was fatal. She could already taste the coppery flavor of blood in her mouth. But, the green light was gone. He was safe.

She looked up to see his stricken face as he caught her body. He gently laid her body on the sunbaked cement, his strong arms holding her tightly to him.

"Why?" He managed to choke out.

"Because I love you. I don't know why, but I do. I want so much to believe that everything you told me is true...but I can't remember any of it..."

Her face contorted as the pain cut through her again like a knife. She shut her eyes tight and bit her lip, refusing to cry out. When her eyes flickered open once more, they were bright with unshed tears and filled with conflicting emotions.

"Don't leave me now," he whispered hoarsely to her.

"You came here to say goodbye to me, didn't you?" She smiled weakly up at him.

"Not a final goodbye. Not now..."

"I wish...I wish I could remember...tell me you love me...please..."

"I love you."

"Back at you." For a moment as he heard the familiar reply, he believed that her old self was back. He leaned in to kiss her and she eagerly responded. As the kiss ended, he heard a soft sigh escape her lips and felt the life drain from her body. Still clutching her cold body, he buried his face in her dark, loose hair and let the tears fall, deaf to the words of comfort his friends had to give. They had come too late.

*So, now she's dead. I told you this entire thing was a waste.*

*Perhaps, you see it that way, Smith. I don't.*

*Please, Nemo.* His sarcasm evident. *I told you that we should have just pulled the plug on her.*

*Are you finished with your I-told-you-so's? Because this conversation is starting to bore me.*

She cut communications with him and requested to speak to the System.

*So, I was right.*

*In more ways than one, yes. But, next time please refrain from wasting so much time and resources to prove a theory.*

*As you wish. ...Still, this proves that although a memory bank is completely purged the natural instincts and emotions remain. They manage to survive the cleansing and continue to survive in the next life. They remain dormant until someone close to them from their past life meets them. Ergo, further cleansings and reinsertions are really not advisable. Such operations that are still done in other sectors must be terminated immediately.*

*The order had already been given out. ...Did you expect her to terminate herself for him?*

*No. Even I didn't expect that. I didn't realize how much they meant to each other. I deduced that they had a close relationship, but I certainly didn't know it was one based on true love.*

*We see. Human relationships has always confused us. They tend to vary in depth and can be very complex. ...That will be all, Nemo.*

Morpheus spent most of his time alone in his quarters after they came back. When he did come out, it was only to give instructions or to go back for short trips into the Matrix. He was unusually silent and moody, remaining detached from everyone else including his closest friends. The crew didn't understand the reason for his behavior because only Trinity, Neo, and Tank knew about Nova. So, Trinity said that it was because they failed to save someone in the Matrix, which was part of the truth. The others didn't need to know that that someone had been Morpheus' wife.

When they got back to Zion for supplies, the entire crew went off by themselves or in small groups to do whatever they usually did when they were there. Morpheus was the last to get off. As soon as he did, a flurry of motion ran straight for him and jumped up. He automatically caught hold of the enrgetic bundle and pulled it close for a tight hug. The bundle squirmed in his arms so that its childish, rounded face could peer up at him with its sparkling emerald green eyes.

"Did Mommy come back with you this time, Daddy?"

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