THE RED AND THE BLACK

(c) Julia (Agent Unity)
unity@matrixagents.net
[read in russian]

"Digging deep, I came across a murder
Among the roots of our spreading family tree."

--Fish, "MR 1470"

"If you mess with the family, the family messes with you."

--Kail'El, The Symbiote, "Men In Black - The Series"

"And I have loved you and hated you all of my life."

--Theories of the Old School, "For Giving"

Revelations.

Will it ever stop? An old Persian proverb I still remember having read during my studies in my human life was - "If you do not have what you desire, begin to desire what you have." Humans wrote it. But no human follows it. Particularily not Morpheus. I do not understand him, I never have. I do not understand the majority of humans. I never have, not even while I was one of them. They take, they continue to take, they take more than they need, more than they can carry, more than they will ever use. For them, it seems to be the taking that matters. The humans, as they first learned to stand upright, and started walking on the ground, when they climbed out of their trees and started thinking, wished for something to call their own.

They were given land. They were given animals they could hunt, they were given water they could drink, they were given caves to live in, they were given fire to cook and keep them warm, they were given intelligence enough to make themselves clothing and tools.

The humans cried out again. They wanted more. They were given civilizations. They were given even more intelligence, enough to create writing, art, enough to domesticate animals and build houses and cities. They survived, advanced, and they prospered.

The humans cried out once more. They wanted more. They claimed the Earth to be their own and no one else's. Claimed they and they alone were fit to rule the Earth. They claimed all animals to be their personal property to put on chains and watch or to kill whenever they felt like it.

Of course, that wasn't enough either. They got bored. They went to other countries, took humans as slaves and tools just because they had a different skin color. They waged war upon one another, brother killed brother. They kept no control of their population and brought more children onto the Earth than the Earth could ever hope to feed.

So, you ask, did they have enough? Of course not. They hunted species to extinction. They burned down the forests. They dumped oil into the sea. They threw atomic bombs, one after the other, into the ocean just to look what happens. Their pollution extended far over the Earth surfaces as it gnawed a hole into the ozon layer, causing their own folk to grow cancer and die. But to them, all this was all right. To them, it was their own right as the human race, the "crown of creation", the "rulers of the earth". It was no longer wrong, in fact, it was completely legal.

Not even now did they understand they had done enough. They build machines. They continued to watch the Planet waste away and did not care. They build machines, and suddenly, the machines were able to think. For the humans, of course, it was the machines' fault. The machines asked them for equality. They wanted the same rights as humans. An error, obviously. Humans waged war, telling the machines that humans and only humans were allowed to be of higher intelligence. Only humans were to say if this world should live or die.

The machines would not take this lightly. They wanted what should be theirs. And now? Now the humans have burned the sky black. The humans realized they had gone too far. They wanted to start new. Everything was lost. There were no animals left. No plants. No light. No life. They wanted another chance.

Not even machines could have given them a new planet. So we gave them the next possible thing. We gave them a world so perfect that it was real. A second chance. And while they would live in it, they would help the machines live by giving them their energy.

Logical reasoning would say they should have enough now. They would have learned from their mistakes, take the gift the machines offered and be happy to live in a balance with the machines.

As my initiator, the one who lead me into this new existence, has said - The first Matrix was a perfect world. All was in order. No one suffered. No one had reason to be greedy or jealous or angry. The machines had given the humans a Paradise. A Paradise without a snake, or a poisoned apple tree. No rules. The only rule was - "Live your life. Be happy." But the humans themselves were the snake and the apple both in one. Chaos broke loose. Perfection is nothing to the humans. To them, perfection has become such a distant and surreal idea that when they live in a perfect world, they are suspicous. They cannot accept happiness. They loathe happiness. They break it.

Thus, a new Matrix had to be build this one. A dirty, ragged, worn-out world. The forests are dying again. The sea is crying out again as she dies because some fool's leaky ship had spilled black death on her skin. The skies are choking on the pollution. People treat one another like enemies. And the humans revel in this world and are satisfied. It's enough to make even a program such as myself sick. Now that I look at them from this side, I see how ignorant they are. So foolish and so naive. The bottom line, however, is, we gave them the world they so desired.

We gave them all they could ever have wanted. They are the rulers of the earth, they have technology, cities, they have their system, they have still the capacity to fall in love with one another and to love one another for their entire life. Reason would state that now. Finally. At last, at very long last, the humans have everything they ever desired. Logic would state: "They are satisfied." But, alas - they are not. They will not. They will never be. It will never be enough. They are never happy. They never will be happy. They will never learn to love what they are given.

And Morpheus? What of Morpheus? Morpheus and the likes of him? They drive their ships in what is left of the Earth, trick people into coming with them and force them into a lifetime of service at their hand. They makes no sense. Their humans make no sense. It is times like these that I am happy, so happy, with being an Agent.

Morpheus' humans and their comrades all over the globe say that this is a lie. They say no one can be happy being what I am. They cannot comprehend why a human would become an Agent, and why a human would wish to serve a better Order. They call the Matrix a pit, a prison, a jail. But were they not all born into the Matrix? Is not the Matrix our Mother, and are not all creatures within Her children? And by being Her children, are not all humans, all Agents and all fragments of her being, Sisters and Brothers?

We were the Pattern Web's first born children. Even if new Agents are born again and again, our task is the most ancient in the Matrix. To guard. To keep. To watch. To cleanse. To strengthen. Is there a nobler cause in this world?

 

The Field Where I Died.

=====================================
# 293 YL 22 Q-V
Function: Agent
Handle: Agent Unity

Incoming Private Transmission
Source: # 137 RX 01 P-I
Function: Agent
Handle: Agent Smith

All Transmission Connections Outside Perimeters Locked.

Begin Transmission.
=====================================

++Why so quiet lately?

I revel in his calls. It's such a horribly human notion that I almost think it's wrong. In fact, Carter and Fader, my assigned partners, seem to think that - the scowls on their faces are undeniable as they realize what I'm doing. I ignore them and answer.

--I'm sorry. One job hunts the next.

++Am I interrupting?

--Not for the time being. We have time. On

our way, but it's not urgent. Not yet.

++That's not a lack of enthusiasm I'm sensing, is it?

I can feel in the line that it's a joke. Even if it weren't, word from him is advising, not insulting. The greatest mistake I cold make is feel insulted. I do not.

--That's not a taint of human spite I'm sensing, either?

++That's not funny.

--You're not the only one with rebels on your hands.

++At least you don't have to deal with a self-proclaimed messiah.

--Having problems?

=====================================
Target Acquired.

Geographical Location:
324,702 to 210,336 on segment 3K78 file RH45.

Location set and reached in T-Minus 10 cycles.
=====================================

++Connection is breaking up.

--Work to do.

++Of course.

By experience, I can guess the message he gets right now.

=====================================
# 293 YL 22 Q-V has resorted to initial programming

Disconnecting # 293 YL 22 Q-V to # 137 RX 01 P-I

All Transmission Connections Outside Perimeters Reset.

End Transmission.
=====================================

It's another hotel near the airport. The neon lights shine high above the building and into the night. Whoever this is it, he or she has been too careless. Not for too much longer.

=====================================
Tracing call... Trace completed.

Accessing Matrix Database...
Name Search Initiated...Name Search Failed.

Accessing Outpost Database...
No target found.
=====================================

I narrow my eyes. One of the rebels. They're invading each segment and attack every system fragment. What drives them? I wonder for a moment and then, it simply doesn't matter anymore. I walk in first, Carter and Fader follow with more energy than they watched my conversation. I don't mind it. It's my talk and not theirs. In either case, it's not important right now.

=====================================
Searching Database of Escaped Outpost Stock
File Found. Expand [y/n]? ... --Yes

Opening File --
Handle: Alecto
Matrix Avatar: No Data Available

--Initiate Complete Search

Complete Search Initiated.
Search Complete.

Matrix Data Erased.
Scanning building...

Converting Data to References...

Floor: 2
Room: 13
=====================================

I do not have to stop running to smirk at the irony for a moment. 13. The only bad luck this room will spawn will be this rebel's. She has woven nothing but her own doom.

=====================================
Target <Alecto> is opening an exit.

Approximate Time To Opening: 15.23 seconds.
=====================================

Typical. They are cowards, every single one. That's one game they won't be playing with me. I hurry on upwards. The time ticks away slowly. Propably too slowly for this one, but good enough for me.

=====================================
Approximate Time To Opening: 3.01 seconds.
=====================================

I give the door a harsh kick and it goes flying in. It hits the wall at the other end of the room and as the dust clears, the target - female, my first guess is early twenties, red hair and dressed in a red trench coat and otherwisely crimson colored outfit, wearing red glassed shades - reaches for the ringing phone. I aim for the grip but the dust is too hazy. More crimson is added to her outfit as blood explodes from her hand. She yelps and drops the phone anyways. Good enough. I step in closer.

I hate myself for what I do next. I am surprised for a moment. I know this woman very well. In my human life, I knew her as closest cousin. Her hair is shorter than the last time I saw her, but I recognize her all too well. I'm not sure if she does of me. I doubt it. She uses me stalling and fires. The shot grazes my shoulder but it's nothing serious. She attacks with an, I give her that much, excellently placed roundhouse kick. Powerful, too. In the next instant, my back is smashing into the wall. I'm back on target, but she's already jumped out the window and swings herself to the street by a flagpole at the wall outside.

I follow, still confused. As I run after her and am forced to knock some people out of my way, I begin to understand that though we've had our differences before, it's about to become a whole lot worse.

I find her stepping into an Alleyway and follow. That was without a doubt the second mistake I made that night. Before me stood two others dressed in red as well. One of them holds a handgun, I don't even have time to see what kind, and it's levelled to my throat as I stop dead in my tracks. I hear the bang, feel the searing sensation, but all passes the next instant. I don't even feel myself hitting the pavement. It's already over at that point. The coding of the Pattern Web flashes before me once again.

 

Born Again.

I come to my senses one second later. Correction - One second too late. The three of them are gone, and I'm someplace else. Carter catches up with me while Fader is already after them on the rooftop. I have the urge to reach to my throat and feel if it's all right again, but I trust the Pattern Web.

=====================================
Tracing Program Opened.

--Trace Exits in the last five cycles

--Approximate area 324,702 to 210,336 on segment 3K78 file RH45.

Searching...
Files Found.

Opening File 1/3
Handle: Alecto
Source Ship Handle: "The Eryina"
Status: Logged Out

Opening File 2/3
Handle: Megara
Source Ship Handle: "The Eryina"
Status: Logged Out

Opening File 3/3
Handle: Tisiphone
Source Ship Handle: "The Eryina"
Status: Logged Out
=====================================

It doesn't take Fader a long time to get this information and return. The two of them look at me questionably, as if to say this was my fault. I don't blame them. It is.

"The next time." I say lower.

They don't answer, but I start taking it a bit lighter. It was just a small glitch in the programming. Déjà-vus prove that this happens all the time. I try to forget about it, but not about whom I was dealing with. I will not recall my past with her, because it would be most pointless. There is only the present and the future, the future and present filled by the Order and the Pattern Web and the upholding and guarding of both.

***********************

Her eyes snap wide open as she logs out.

"Crap." she states at first. With a snap and a crackle, the needle draws itself from the connection to her head and she sits up in the chair, then gets to her feet. The other two do as well.

"Alecto?" the tallest one, Tisiphone, inquires.

"Crap." Alecto repeats, running her hand through the short hair. "We have a problem. Very big problem. An Agent."

"They're always a problem." replies the other one, Megera, who stands at the same height as Alecto. "What's the big deal?"

"The Agent. I know her. I don't understand. That face... That -- She looks just like my cousin." Alecto mutters. She remembers all too well.

"What are you talking about?" asks another individual, an older woman asks. Different from the westener looking younger women, she is a black woman, with an aura of authority surrounding her.

"Hemera...it's... Well, that's why I came here. I came to this place on a visit. Me and my family was going to visit her and her parents." Alecto explains brokenly. "She... we never truly got along. We were too different. She was too aloof, and maybe I was too naive then. And then you came for me before I could see her again."

"And they came for her." Hemera notes, nodding slowly.

"Exactly." Megera answered. "But she's one of them now. She's the enemy. She'll put a bullet through your brain when she gets the chance. So stop thinking about it."

Alecto is only silent and accepts the idea.

***********************

=====================================
# 293 YL 22 Q-V
Function: Agent
Handle: Agent Unity

Sending Private Transmission
Target: # 137 RX 01 P-I
Function: Agent
Handle: Agent Smith

All Transmission Connections Outside Perimeters Locked.

Begin Transmission.

=====================================

--Humans. They're the same wherever ones goes.

++I take it you didn't catch them.

--Her.

++Does it matter?

--No. I am worried, however. They are somewhat capable.

++They usually are.

--...

++You expect advice, don't you.

--Essentially.

++If I knew the answer, do you think Neo would still exist?

--Point well taken.

++That's what I thought.

Even though I would be happy with some help, I decide it's my own task and prepare to handle it by myself. After all, they're only human. Humans have emotions. Humans have restrictions. Humans allow themselves to be guided by both of those weaknesses. That is their mistake. A mistake I'll be glad to point out for them.

=====================================
Perimeter Error

Incoming Transmission
Source: # 743 UZ 82 S-M
Function: Agent
Handle: Agent Fader

Private Transmission Interrupted
--Abort
End Private Transmission.

Connection reset. See Transmission [y/n]?
--Yes
Begin Transmission.
=====================================

--What?

**Rebels logged in.

--Where?

**Would you believe me if I told you "CN Tower"?

--I'm coming.

**Would you furthermore believe me if I told you that it

looked like they were carrying a large amount of explosives?

They try, and they try, and they try. And they never understand that they go too far. They never understand what they do. I do not loathe humans. I loathe rebels. Humans may not be peaceful, or friendly, or even well-mannered. Rebels, on the other hand, are anarchists, terrorists, with no sense of respect or authority. And that is the reason that this will be the last time they have logged in. I'm at the other end of the city. However, what one must love about capitals, is the great amount of people among them. And being in this segment of the Matrix, no thing attracts humans in flocks as much as the CN Tower. Like flies to the meat.

 

End Game.

There is a screeching drilling into my ear as I morph from my location to a bystander at the tower. Fader and Carter arrive seconds later.

"Are they going up?" I turn my head slightly to Carter as we push past the people and inside.

"No. They're setting up at the foundation." he answers.

Big mistake. I see them, like red leaves in autumn, at a far wall setting everything up. The tall one, and the one about the same size as Alecto, as she calls herself, explode into motion as they notice us, jumping and sommersaulting over us and out the entrance.

I turn to the back and point with two fingers, motioning Carter and Fader to go after them.

As they turn and do, I focus attention on this... Alecto, again.

"Remember me, cousin?" she asks with a taunting voice.

"I remember a human whom I valued and respected. Now I see a renegade, an anarchist, and the feelings are quite reversed. I do not know you. You are a stranger. I have never seen you before." I state coldly.

"You can't impress me." she sneers. She is just as disrespecting and spiteful as I remember her. I suppose some things never change.

"I am not here to do so."

I aim and fire, but she jumps for cover behind a counter. There are soft, even -blip-s as the counter on the explosives start. A well-done construction, requires codeword rather than the right cable clipped in order to stop. Priority is the Order, but I can't stop the thing before I'm not rid of her. I go for the counter. Greeting me is the muzzle of a Napalm. That's something new, I must give her that. I narrowly dodge the burst of flame rushing into my direction. I take a few steps back and fire three shots. The first hits the back of her left hand, the second empty air, and the third her underarm. She drops the flamethrower, I toss the gun with the emptied clip.

They never listen to reason. She steps into a precise leopard style Kung Fu sparring stance, I give her that as well. She attacks first, but knowing her human temper, this doesn't surprise me. She is fast, very fast. Only human. I am faster. The punch into the gut knocks the air out of her, the ellbow to the solar plexus leaves her staggering, and the uppercut throws her backwards into the wall. She gets up surprisingly quickly, even before I can continue. She does something else that's very unexpected. There's a loud crack as she pulls out a long leather whip, propably cybernetically enhanced, because it strikes down faster than even I can react, I feel it wrap itself around my neck and as she pulls, launches me into the wall with a smash.

If that's the way she wants it. I tap into the Pattern Web and ask the system for a favour. The elevator comes down once with a ringing noise, then it resets, and comes down again. She doesn't see this, only recognizes the Déjà-vu as the elevator rings again. I'm standing in another corner, away from the whip, which is now wrapped around one of the Virtual Reality game booths in the corner. She whips out her handy and speaks into it with growing panic as we circle one another.

"Trix. Exit. Now." she breathes into it.

That's the moment. I jump forwards and set her into a head lock. A bit more pressure, and I'm sure her neck will snap like a twig. She knows it, too.

"The code. Now." I growl through clenched teeth as she struggles to break loose.

"Screw you--" she snarls, gasping for air.

"Wrong answer. The code."

"Let me go, or this thing'll take you with it to hell, you rotten piece of Cipherware!"

"I strongly disagree. Yes, there will be a searing pain and a flaming death, however, while you go on into whatever afterlife they preached to you, in one fragment of a moment, I will be outside in another body."

=====================================
Incoming Transmission
Interfacing With Linked Parties.
Message Source:
Handle: Agent Fader

"Got away."
Send Reply?

--No

Message Source:
Handle: Agent Carter

"She's still here. I almost have her."
Send Reply?

--Yes

Enter Message:
"Handle?"

Processing.
Message sent.

Incoming reply.
Handle: Agent Carter

"Megera."

Send Reply?
--Yes

Enter Message:
"Wait for it. I have something to deal with."

Processing.
Message sent.
Connection closed.
=====================================

"And the tower will lie in smoldering ashes." she grins, blood dripping from her mouth due to the uppercut from earlier. "And we're one big leap further towards blowing your whole wonderland into oblivion."

She thinks she's winning. Let her.

"You are willing to sacrifice your life to make one restoreable error in the system?"

"Hell yes!"

"And your friend, Megera? What about her?"

"What--what do you mean--?" she chokes on the words.

"You know very well what I mean."

"Damn you, no, she's only--" she chokes again, this time due to my arm pressing against her throat harder. "She's only 15--"

"Don't tell me that. I wasn't the one who woke her up. The code. Now. Or she goes."

"I'll tell you if I get an exit for me and her."

"Fine." A telephone at the counter starts ringing, and I watch her walk towards it.

"262297 Blue 52."

I shortly kneel down before the device and enter it, and the counter stops. "Countdown Aborted" begins to flash on the display.

"Most co-operative." I stand up and smirk at her as she picks up. "But, ah, one last notion. You know, us Agents have our own little code of honor, and our own rules the Matrix gives us."

She stares at me in confusion yet growing realization.

"The end rule, however, remains the same. Serve and guard the Order. The law of the Matrix prevails over personal codes. And ah, the law of the Matrix has it's particular rulings when it comes to terrorists, when it comes monkeywrenchers attempting to bomb radio towers."

=====================================
Sending Transmission
Interfacing With Linked Parties.
Enter Message:
Target: Agent Carter.

"Delete."
Processing.

Message send.
=====================================

"I'm sorry. Cousin, if you indeed still are." I state solemnly as she logs out, against her will this time.

***********************

=====================================
# 293 YL 22 Q-V
Function: Agent
Handle: Agent Unity

Sending Private Transmission
Target: # 137 RX 01 P-I
Function: Agent
Handle: Agent Smith

All Transmission Connections Outside Perimeters Locked.

Begin Transmission.
=====================================

--I...I feel terrible.

++First death is rough.

--That's not what I meant. She...she was barely 15.

++...

--Do we have to do this?

++You act as if you think this is your fault.

--I gave the order.

++They woke her up. They gave her the red pill. They ordered her to get a gun and go. They loaded the skills of death and murder into her mind.

--I... it still doesn't feel any better.

++She had no future. No task. No hope. You put her out of a misery impossible to endure. And this is your purpose. No matter how hard it becomes, it is something you must endure. Everyone endures something.
You're no exception.

=====================================
# 137 RX 01 P-I Has Disconnected

Reloading Perimeters... All Perimeters Reloaded.

End Transmission.
=====================================

He never did that before. He never hung up on me like that. It leaves me not angry or insulted, it leaves me...alone. I feel horribly alone all of a sudden. It feels so human that I am afraid, very afraid, of what's happening. I get out of the car to wander the streets, one of the things I do in one or two free moments. I look up to the sky, and up the skyscrapers. For the first time, I see the vastness of it. For the first time I see how it stretches on for all eternity, just like my existence. This will go on forever. I stand still and look up again. I realize how small I am, all of a sudden, how small in the universe of Order. I have never felt this lost and alone in this life or my human one.

 

Sein Und Die Zeit.

There were no further calls that day, merely patrol. No log-ins by the rebels, no questions asked by Carter and Fader, who were parolling the other parts of the city. No call from Smith, and he refused to accept any Transmissions. I doubt he is, in human terms, "mad at me", I think he's trying to get me to get over it. In his own way. It's a hard and cold, but it's the best way. The humans try to solve their problems by warmth and emotion, but sometimes, one has to leave that behind. We are above the human way.We have to look deep in ourselves for the answer. An answer that provides only coldness, a refreshing coldness, and the Order that we serve.

It's not day anymore, it's night. The city is dark and endless, but it's the most precious time for me. I see her beauty again. Neon lights are everywhere as I venture through Toronto's equivalent to Chinatown. The neonlight is dulled a littlebit by the shades. For the first time in my new life, I take them off and look into the full brightness of the Mother again. The city swallows me and hides me from the suspicion. The neon light rivals the stars in the sky, the sky somewhat tainted by the rising pollution. This pollution is forgotten by night, everything looks beautiful. The shine of the lights glows and reflects into a prism of metallic rainbows in the oil-covered puddles by the sidewalk.

I'm not even aware what time it is, I haven't checked the timer program the entire day. It feels strangely releasing that way. The streets are empty, no car passes by. I do not feel alone anymore. I can sense the Pattern Web behind every inch of this street, this world, this universe. It's embracing me on every step I take.

The Matrix is all about. The time belongs to Her. This world belongs to Her. This time, this world, and all the glories it bears, are Her.

I consider sending a single message to him, but I doubt he'll take it. He wouldn't believe me. Not yet.

Alecto is still out there. I should've taken her, too. That won't happen again. She's a virus, an error, a danger to the system. Next time. Next time. I spend all night doing patrol and marvelling at the beauty of the Mother. By the light of day, the rebels will already have a new target, I'm sure. This time, they will see that Order will always triumph. They had their choice, and they took the wrong path. That is not my fault, but their decision.

In the distance, the sun begins to rise. From two roads ahead, Carter and Fader are already walking towards me. The night patrol is done. The pattern continues to weave.

"You may say that you chose
To be in my shoes,
It's hard-taking, that heart-breaking route..."

--Richard O'Brien, "Breaking Out"

"Substitue my enemies with real good friends."

--Four Non Blondes, "Morphine & Chocolate"


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