Do Agents dream about vacation?


   (c) Tatiana Matveeva aka Inity Intel Inside (Agent Inity)
   based on "The Matrix" concept by Larry and Andy Wachowski
   translated into English by /shattered dream/
   [read in russian]

                                  Factus de materia, 
                                  Cinis elementi
                                  similis sum folio, 
                                  De quo ludunt venti.

                                  Feror ego veluti 
                                  Sine nauta navis,
                                  Ut per vias aeris 
                                  Vaga fertur avis...

                                     Carmina Burana "Estuans interius"   

                                  Created from matter,
                                  Of the ashes of the elements,
                                  I am like a leaf
                                  Played with by the winds.

                                  I am carried along
                                  Like a ship without a steersman,
                                  And in the paths of the air
                                  Like a light, hovering bird...

     To all my friends: Jack, Shahfil, Martin, Nazgul, Killer, Scraps,
                      Black, Azimer, Madwolf, Mak, Kali, Unity, Truds...

                                      you know what we have in common ;)

Matrix is the subject of many fanfics...
I am writing one, too.

I  wrote one yesterday, actually... well, started writing, to be fair.
Still  fearing  it's somewhat unfinished yet. I have to add the second
part, but I don't have a clue about what should happen next.

The  story  is  being  told  by  a Matrix Agent... I like writing from
Agents' point of view...

It's  like I understand them better. I felt that way the day I've seen
the  movie  for  the  first  time,  and  every  time  I've replayed it
afterwards  --  because  I felt something in it that echoed back in me
--, or when discussed it with my friends, in USENET and chatrooms...

At  first  I  felt myself a little uneasy with all these fans of Keanu
Reeves'   and   Carrie-Anne   Moss'  characters,  Neo  and  Trinity...
Eventually,  I  got  used to it. And I saw that I'm not alone -- there
were  others  who  shared my views... and were writing fanfics, too. I
enjoyed  these  writings,  because  they  were  quite  close to my own
thoughts...

I  should  ask  one  of  them  help me to complete this story... Maybe
later.

I'm opening a message that just arrived...

It's  from her. I glance thoughtlessly at the watch -- there's half an
hour  till  we meet. Hmm... We know each other for a short time, but I
feel  like  we  knew one another for long and must have met earlier...
Somewhere not here, and not in this life time.

"Shall we meet as agreed?" -- and a winking smiley.

It's  always slightly frightening to meet net friends in real life for
the  first  time.  But  now, I have had almost no doubts, when meeting
idea popped itself up from nowhere.

"See  the  two stories attached -- Jack's and mine. A piece of mine...
unfinished still."

I  have  read  Jack's story already -- on his site. Just skimmed it at
first,  and yesterday started reading for the second time, but stopped
in  the middle to organize my thoughts. Something was wrong. Perhaps I
just  a bit too much wanted to try image of Agent Jack cut from Matrix
-- like author jokingly said, "sent on vacation". ("Do Agents dream of
vacation?" -- I said to myself and opened the second file.)

It's  very  short and badly formatted. White text on black background,
small  Lucida  Console  font... painful to read, I squinted my eyes...
Now I see.

=====

       A  girl  clad  in  black is staring at the screen, reading data
       tables  and  data columns displayed. Then she stops reading and
       raises her eyes; hands touch the keyboard.

       - Perhaps we're asking the wrong questions, - she says, turning
       to another Agent.
       - Congratulations. Today you managed to say that almost like in
       the movie.
       He  smiles  briefly, touching the frame of his dark sunglasses.
       She wears same glasses, too.
       - Your compliments are hardly tolerable, Jack.

       She glances at the screen again.

       - He has no codes to access Zion. Exactly as one could expect.
       - So we don't need him anymore...
       -  Too  bad  that  he  could not be converted... she sighs with
       noticeable regret.
       - You just pathologically can't admit defeat.
       - People... they are hopeless. I'd better go preach to birds...
       - All birds are programmed. No one survived.
       -  Jack,  it's  dangerous  to  speak  about  dreams when you're
       nearby.
=====

Me?  Reading a novel?.. No. I know that I'm standing in that room with
them,  away  at  the  wall...  I hear everything they say. I listen to
Matrix  --  a constantly murmuring stream of new data. I see the world
like Agents see it. I feel vast streams of code around me, I recognize
the slightest changes in programming...

A  lonely  bird,  its  silhouette in the sky -- light blue sky rippled
with constantly changing plumose clouds... I know how randomizers work
restlessly,  determining  eternally  unique  shapes, I know how Matrix
distributes  operational  resources, rationally and carefully, so that
the  Sun,  although  missing  long ago, still shines for humans -- and
their world continues to live...

=====
       -  They  are  trying to save you, -- says she to the Rebel that
       stares  at  her  grimly. His face is grasped with hatred. Looks
       like  these  news  didn't touch him, as if he couldn't percieve
       anything anymore.

       Obviously  coming  to the very same conclusion she turns to her
       colleague again.

       - Where did they get the chopper?
       - Stole it from a military base.
       -  Well...  almost  like  in the movie. By the way, they should
       have  understood  by  now  that  Matrix is not a playground for
       role-playing Rebels...

       She  looks  out  of  the  window  and  watches  a bird fly off.
       Beautiful...  Just  some  loops  and subroutines, and a ghostly
       image  of  what  used  to  be  absolute  potentates  of the sky
       reappears in the Matrix. Real birds no longer exist in the real
       world...

       - Did you ordered evacuation from nearby buildings?
       - Positive.
       - There's a nursery hospital across the street... Too bad.
       -  If  they're going for shooting and chopper-throwing... we'll
       have to brainwash lots of people then.

       There's  too  much  pain  behind  the  rapid  exchange of short
       phrases... But... can it be explained?
      
       We stand together. Long last minutes pass.

       -  I'd  rather prefer not to die today, - she's demonstratively
       negligent, in an attempt to hide bitterness.
       -  There's a restore... Matrix always restores, - her companion
       replies. Negligency and hopelessness mixed.

       - See you again... in the next life.

   [
   A  hidden  thought suddenly becomes evident. I do not want to begin
   that  all once again! A value of my choice makes importance for me.
   And  I'm  able to take charge if mistaken. NO! Today it all will go
   other way...
   ]
   =====

I open my eyes.

The  file  ends  here... Is it just a story? But I feel like I was not
here,  but  somewhere  far  away...  and  the  world seemed unreal and
illusory...

   The world still seems unreal and illusory...

I look around... Mixed pictures from the past, like in kaleidoscope...

   "The Matrix can not tell you who you are"...

Strange  thoughts  invade  my  head  --  like that what I've seen just
before  was  real, and what I see now is fake... I never lived in this
house,  these  people  never  were  my  parents,  and  my  room looked
different -- similar, but different...

   "That happens when they change something"...

Nonsense.
No duplicating black cats on the streets though... at least.

What  I've  seen was too real still. I heard the voice, my own, saying
--  "Today  I  will fight fairly. If I've to die today, I shall die. I
refuse to be backed up."...

I understand and feel this all too well.

I  can  look out of the window and feel all the pain. "Ye-eah we wept,
when  we  remembered  Zion",  Boney  M is singing (mp3 is  of terrible
quality... turn the volume down...).

I  see  it  so clear... too clear. Sometimes I think that I feel these
green  lines  of  code -- this trembling, living, but cold fabric that
makes  the  world  around  me...  like  I  know  how  it  feels  to be
disassembled  and  rebuilt  again... I crinkle slightly, imagining (or
recalling?)  that feels of overtaking slowly creeping seconds, evading
from  bullets whistling near the temple and still being able to notice
the  beauty  as sun dyes in the golden colour facades of houses and as
fire blazes in mirrors of countless windows.............

I've  a  good reason to start bother about losing the link to reality,
when  during  a  chat  I  almost  feel  like  speaking to real Rebels,
although  that  feel disappears afterwards... And what I've been doing
this  morning  --  cleaned one more tale? (As it was named? "Life.c"?)
Awaiting  the  messengers  of the Matrix to arrive, and stopped myself
when felt a dim scare emerged, a kind of deja vu?

   Had they visited me already?..
   Then what? Could I resist them?! 
   No, you did leave with them, -- a thin voice of subconscience... --
   you did made your choice already.

I'd like to believe that I'm not talking to myself...
But this game is too dangerous.

   What happened, then?

   Just think a little.

But  I  can't.  All  that  comes  to mind is that same enormous bright
window  again,  and  again simperring imitator of Neo, his helicopter,
shards of glass splinters... Everything I read in the story, before my
eyes, now, bright and clear.

I am in the game. Do I wish to subdue to the rules of this game, where
my subconscious attempts to enslave me?

   Who was killed then? Me? Which one?

And  then...  if  that's  not  a  fantasy, but on the contrary, dimmed
memory  on  the  real  past,  almost zeroed, by a narrow margin oozing
through  that  alluvial that pretends to be a human memory of my human
life?  Thoughts fly too quickly to execute clearly... but if I dare to
believe (no, impossible), then...


   Then why don't I regret my lost abilities?
   This  required a whole lot of work. Some memories were artificially
   blocked... to avoid convulsion that would be too strong otherwise.
   But my love to the Net?..
   This is what had survived...

Is it possible to think in whisper?

   I want to go back...

   Splinters of what I litter and feel, they wounded me - can I bring 
   everything back? How long would I agonize in this human world, 
   how much tales would I write glorifying the Matrix, to...

No, no, stop it. I'm stepping off.

Enough  of  it.  That's  role-playing,  and  nothing  else,  and  it's
addictive... I don't want to drive myself mad this way.

I just wrote down whatever happened to me... just thoughts, maybe fool
and  strange. But afterwards I leave records, and then I'm staring for
long  on  a cursor blinking in the text editor, still leaving the file
opened.  Maybe  I'll  write  more?  Enigma  beats  from  speakers,  it
irritates  me, and then makes me quiet... I need to calm down, indeed.
I feel myself tired and awkward...

Taunts  in  USENET chats and jokes of friends in the "real world"... I
should  do  something  about  it.  Looks  like  only  my  mother feels
comfortable  about  it,  I  heard  her  speaking  to a neighbour she's
pleased  that  her  son "brought to reason" -- even starting to wear a
suit  when leaving to the job. OK, but all the rest... I can be silent
for not being taken as mad...

I can silence myself, can stop talking... But I cannot stop thinking!

   Time  is  always  on  our  side. Now think. You will have plenty of
   time...  and  a real chance to think. I will wait for you. Till the
   moment when you decide to come back...

The voice inside -- my own... and my alien's... -- silence again.

=====

I have time to recover.

I  have  enough  time  to  wash  my face, calm down hairs, sceptically
examine  my exterior, deciding it's acceptable as is, then look at the
watch  and  be  terrified that I'm late, run to the computer, check my
mail,  then  run  to  the door, realize that I forgot to print out the
data  I need, run back, find the totally dry cartridge in the printer,
catch  the almost empty pen, sketch the drawing on the piece of paper,
look at the watch again, understanding that I'm hopelessly late, check
my  mail  once  again, feeling sorry that I've no time to peek whoever
might  be  on  the  chat, miss two emails and run out to the street to
catch the right trolley...

   ...and  to think vaguely that everything occurs in a wrong way. All
   that should be different... no need to address the search system to
   find an answer, no need to strike keys to enter a text, no need for
   any printer catridges to convert any data to a hardcopy...

Meeting place. Yes, I'm late.

But  she's awaiting me still, girl in black. She smiles at me, briefly
corrects her hairstyle... smiles at me through dark shades.

I'm  looking  at her; sun beats me in my eyes and everything before me
seems to vanish, deeming into a greenish fabric, entanglement of code.

   -   Greetings,  agent...  -  she  says  to  me.  Restore  procedure
   succeeded. I am glad to see you're back.

I somehow know that the curl sweeps away my temporary house right now,
and  mild wave of greenish symbol flows softens a gap in the structure
of  the  world humans are accustomed to. They whom I called my friends
yesterday, will forget my name again...

   - Restore procedure completed. - I echo.

   -  What  about your mood? Don't want to die anymore? -- I not know,
   who  speaks this, is it her, or the internal voice now returning to
   the accustomed place inside my head, a tiny sparkling dot?

   - No I don't.

   I'm  hopeless and even so... glad? They restored me. In spite of my
   frantic  request,  my  refusal,  in  spite  of  my readiness to die
   unrecoverably.

   -  The  Matrix  does not needed your readiness to die, even for the
   sake  of  it,  -  the girl says, examining and a bit emphatic. - It
   needs us to live for the sake of it...

   Desire to live. A small, almost imperceptible block of code.
   Irrevocably  built  into my program. Hack it? But I've no access...
   just  like  I've  no  access to that sparkling dot in my head. It's
   unpleasant.
   I  thought  that  I've  no  idea  how  much  experienced  the  same
   unpleasant  feel  before  me... and how much changes, modifications
   and patches are going to happen to each one of us.


  drop by drop invisibly reconstructing 
  ourselves
  to become 
  like Matrix wants us to see

  why it does not permit us
  to die
  can it be a way to cause us suffering
  a revenge that we were people once
  or can it be love 
  or it's like an impish child 
  just fascinated by us...

  - Let's go...

   People,  if  accidentally  looking after us when we disappear, will
   see  a  semicolon  and  parenthesis  appearing  momentarily  in the
   midair, a winking smiley, dissolving in nowhere.

[
  We travel in black emptiness, where notion of time vanishes.

  > Do you think the Matrix will let itself lose a good agent?

  - What was that?
  - Jack's message for you, when you left for a vacation...
]

   To  leave  --  and  to  return... if one's will is strong enough...
   we're  preprogrammed  for  that.  You  can check out... but can you
   leave forever?

- But I will invent something else, - I say to the sparkling dot.

- What's the Matrix feel about us?  is it love?

- It's just fascinated by us, - that's the response...

// 1.06.-2.06.2000
// Inity. Agent Inity... if you want...



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