WALKING IN THE ZOO

(c) Julia Haas (Agent Unity)
unity@matrixagents.net

 

" ‘So I will call you Winter Heart,’
Spruce Woman said, ‘For you love nothing.’ “

--Bill Bridges, ‘Wendigo’

Early Frost.

“There are very few reasons left for me to laugh.”

--Stan Sakai, “Usagi Yojimbo”

I suppose we all know the feeling of going to the super market and being absolutely sure that we’ve forgotten to write down the most important item on our list, and only realize what we’re missing as we’re standing at the counter, when it is too late. I believe that I am presently walking along in the market and still don’t remember what I should be missing.

When I first became what I am today, an Agent, I remember wondering at the behaviour of my initiator, Smith, asking myself what could be so horrible, so dark and ever heavy, that it could make this place appear as a zoo, a prison, a hateable realm beyond any possibility of recovery. Now I understand. Now I see it, too.

I have everything. I am everything. And yet, I am nothing. I have no need to breathe, I have all knowledge that has ever been, the wisdom of forever rides the data stream behind my eyes, ever-flowing and changing, showing me everything, everything. I am immortal, I am forever, I possess a near unending power, I move with speed that goes beyond thought itself... And still... there is an emptiness that flows within so coldly that it makes me think the coding is beginning to freeze. I grow weary of this world.

And then, this city, this assigned territory, and the rebels – it is a bitterness that creeps up slowly and simply refused to back down. Everything is cold and empty. I see now what a stranger I am, a stranger among strangers, in a world that will never be mine. I have no need or want to own this world, mind you. No one should own a world. The humans are a prime example of why trying to own a planet only ends in disaster. I only want to find a place where I belong. Is this it? Much like my initiator, I doubt it.

 

 

By the Furnace.

“Right Mindfulness – ‘To teach someone is to be responsible for them.’ ”

--Rod Humble, “The Eight Paths Of Wisdom”

Aboard the Eryina.

“I’m sorry, my friends.” Hemera sighs, looking upon the three newcomers. “We never awaken so many at once, but recent incidents leave us no choice, and--”

“Incidents my ass!” Alecto snarls. “You let that Agent go like that!”

Hemera glares at Alecto, and silence creeps across the room. For once, the loving smile vanishes off Hemera’s face, as she narrows her eyes.

“You are right to anger. You are wrong to interrupt.” She simply states, and Alecto is silent, looking a bit embarassed. “Now, you three. Mercury, Blitzer and Rustler?”

On cue, one after the other, three young men stand up. The first is of small build, a lanky young man with sparkling, navy blue eyes; the second is more powerfully build, with dim green eyes that seem just plain black in the ship’s inside, and the third is a medium-build, particularly handsome man with brown eyes.

“Blitzer and Rustler, I only heard of you through Mercury.” Hemera goes on. “But I like what I have heard. Trix?”

A young woman with long red hair and green eyes is sitting by the operating controls, and turns around as she is called.

“Yes?”

“You know what to do. Sit down, please.” Hemera offers the three young men their seats in the center of the bridge. “I’ll introduce you to some basic concepts.”

“These guys don’t seem as tough as that Neo fella.” Trix points out. “Hemera, do you really think we should –“

“Know that I am not my brother, and neither do I use the same methods in teaching as he does.” Hemera answers sharply. “Log us in.”

===___----__----____----___----____-----____-----____-----____---===

The three newcomers open their eyes, and find themselves back in the city they had just left – Toronto. They all look the same as before, except that instead of the rags they were wearing, they are wearing normal everyday clothes and have their hair back. Mercury appears as a strange yet handsome individual, with bright white, propably bleached hair with blue streaks. Blitzer has black hair, and Rustler’s is a half-brown, half-red headed handsome kind of mess. Before them stands Hemera, in the wide, impressive-looking red coat-like vest and otherwise crimson clothing. Humans walk by them, around them, not disturbing anything.

“This is the world as you know it.” Hemera begins. “You call it Earth, of course, but we like to call it The Matrix.”

“Matrix? But, a matrix is—“ Mercury starts.

“Yes, a complex programming, of course, very good, Mercury.” Hemera smiles, and pulls a tablet with three glasses of water from behind her back. “Now, each of you, take one.”

Shrugging at one another, they do as they are told.

“Take a sip.”

Again, they do so.

“What does it taste like?” she asks them meaningfully.

“Well, water.” Shrugs Blitzer.

“Take another sip.”

Rustler does first, then spits it out in disgust; “This tastes like milk past the expiration date!”

Blitzer sips, too; “Hey, no, mine tastes like lemonade.”

Mercury does as last; “Still water.” He shrugs. “What’s the meaning of this?”

“This world, which you think you lived in, is a computer program stimulating your senses in several different ways. Like here, taste. With one small reprogramming, the effect is altered. Impressive, is it not? Are you three familiar with the story of King Arthur.” She states.

“Uh, sure.” Blitzer shrugs, and the other three nod.

“A world of order where everything runs smoothly.” Hemera begins walking backwards and beckoning them to follow. “A world where everybody, in the end, was the same, and everybody, in the end, returns to the same cause.”

They end their walk at the CN Tower before them.

“I am warning you right now that everything you have seen, everything you have believed to be true, has been a vision, and illusion, you have, in a way, been living in a movie, but you weren’t the heroes, no one is a hero here. I am also warning you that what you are about to see is horrible, surpassing the worst installment of ‘Hellraiser’ if you will. I leave you a choice. If you go up, you stay with us and see everything. If you stay down here with me, I allow you to take another path, but you must understand that in that case, I cannot allow you to know everything.”

The three look at one another, then at the top of the tower, then nod.

Hemera watches them walk in and waits.

Up the tower they ride, in the running lift, looking at one another with the ‘Do you think we did the right thing’ kind of expressions on their faces. After uncounted minutes, there is a bing, and the lift doors open. And an eternity of blackness hits their eyes. Blackness only disrupted by glowing red of humans lying within strange pods and being tended by robots. They turn, and next to them stands Hemera, operating the lift.

“That, is the true reality. In a twisted sense, the ideals of Camelot. Fairly much all humans lie dormant like this. Everyone is equal. Everyone governed by a grand order.”

“Why?” Mercury asks, swallowing hard.

Hemera sighs bitterly. She reaches out and presses a previously non-existant button at the side, reading – “past”, while their level, labelled “future” is a glowing button above it. The doors slide shut.

“What you are about to see is a visual program Trix wrote, it hasn’t been shared with the other ships yet.”

The doors slide open again. Before them is the sight of robots working in a mining shaft.

“These are AI. Artificial Intelligence. They were created, we believe, somewhere after the year 2000, but no one remembers when.” Hemera explains. “We used them to do hard physical work, work unfitted for humans...”

The three young men watch the “eyes” of the robots begin to glow a hating red.

“Of course, we forgot that in their intelligence, they would soon understand that they were just slaves.” Hemera goes on.

She presses the “Present” button again, and the lift goes up to the dark scenery again. She looks out at the sky.

“Do you know the teachings of Karl Marx?”

There was an embarassed silence.

“Sort of.” Blitzer says solemnly.

“At one point, he wrote: ‘The workers have nothing to lose in this but their chains. They have a world to gain.’.” she quotes. “How true.The machines gained the entire world. We are uncertain how the war begun, of course. Some claim the machines revolted, others claim the machines merely asked for equal rights and were met with destruction by the humans.”

“And no one knows for sure?” Mercury swallows.

“No, no one.” Hemera sighs. “However, it was humans who darkened the sky. We admit to this openly. We tried to shut out the light and turn off the solar-powered AIs. We haven’t achieved this. All we achieved was the death of the life on Earth except us. Without the sun – nothing can grow. It’s simply like this.”

She pushes a third button, a simple arrow pointing down, and the doors slide shut. As the elevator moves down, she continues:

“The machines are now using the humans as life stock. Humans possess a biological energy, an electricity that helps the machines to continue going. We don’t know why they did it, but—“

The doors open, and they walk into the open.

“They created a virtual reality system so complex that it is beyond comprehension. This world – ah, this world, the Matrix, is nothing but a dream, a dream they force you to dream. It’s an illusion. And we’re trying to break out. However – there is one last problem.” Hemera raised an index finger.

“The Earth can’t support so many humans?” Mercury asks, puzzled. “The humans are not ready for such a world?”

“You are a rational thinker, Mercury, and this is good, but no, they must be ready for such a world, for it is their own Earth. The problem... Now, I spoke of a comparison to Camelot, didn’t I?” she asks.

“Yeah.” They answer in unison.

“You know, Camelot had... ah, well, ‘knights of the round table’? Guardians? Elite?”

“Yes.” Again, alltogether.

“Gentlemen, turn around.”

They do so, and turn straight into the face of a tall man with dark shades, in a dark business suit, holding a gun towards them.

“Pause.” Hemera orders. The entire scene freezes. “As you might have guessed, this is not the Matrix. This is a program designed by us. Gentlemen –“she walks next to the man and pats the shoulder, resting her hand on it. “Meet the modern-day Lancelot.”

“Who is he?” Blitzer blinks confused.

“Wrong question. It should be, who are ‘they’.” Hemera smirks. The three look about themselves and suddenly notice that all of the people around them have changed into the same basic look, wearing business suits, shades, and a communicator-cable device at their ears. “They are everywhere, and they are quite, quite many.” She looks at the one next to her. “They are sentinent programs. Some claim they only search and destroy errors in the Matrix. I believe this is not true, but no matter what others may say, these are the enemies. We call them Agents. They call themselves that. They are capable of the impossible and will do everything to keep the Matrix going.”

Mercury bends closer to take a better look at the Agent in front of him. He mouthes a silent ‘wow’ and then straightens up.

“You are now part of my crew, and once our goals are met, the human race will be free. Free of this prison.” She concludes.

===___----__----____----___----____-----____-----____-----____---===

 

The three wake up in the seats again, and Hemera gets up.

“You three, stay put.” She orders. “Trix?”

“Yes?”

“Give them the programming. And this time, please DO input the ship controls first.”

“Sure.” Trix answers , blushing a bit.

===___----__----____----___----____-----____-----____-----____---===

Much later. Hemera looks at the three newcomers, done with their complete training and sits down in one chair as well.

“Trix? Jump Program.” She orders.

===___----__----____----___----____-----____-----____-----____---===

“Where are we?” Mercury asks, looking about himself. Over the course of their training, their appearance within the computer has changed. Blitzer and Rustler now sport a red outfit like Alecto, and Mercury a blue one that seems to be more consisting of blue plastic than anything else.

“This is the Jump Program.” Hemera explains. “My brother, as well as several others, believe that everyone should do this before their training, but I think this is utter foolishness. Only after the teaching and understanding can this be expected to be mastered.”

She pauses for a moment.

“What I want you to do is to jump on the building across.” She explains, nodding her head at the skyscraper. “If you manage, I will know you are ready to take first steps in the Matrix. If not – don’t worry, we’ll try again later.” She takes a huge leap, and the next second, she lands on the other building, stone shattering under her feet.

Mercury goes first, and manages to jump over in a marvelous flip, perhaps even more graceful than Hemera had moved. Rustler follows, also managing, not quite as elaborate, but he lands on the other side. Blitzer takes a deep breath, runs, jumps off the ledge – and plunges downwards in a fading yelp. Shortly before he would hit the ground, however, he is caught by a large black rubber stunt cushion, breaking his fall.

===___----__----____----___----____-----____-----____-----____---===

They collectivley wake up on the bridge.

“I’m... I’m sorry.” Blitzer chokes.

“Not to worry, m’man, you’ll make it.” Smiles Trix as they get up.

“Now, I show you the Matrix.” Hemera tells the other two with a smile.

=====================================
Alert.
<Hemera> and two unidentified users have logged in.
--Identify.
Searching... Search Failed.
=====================================

Amazing. She was very unpredictable this time, the targets we surveilled were obviously the wrong ones. They enter on top of one of the twin towers. In one second, I morph into a security guard nearest the roof. I am beginning to enjoy morphing.

Blizzard.

“Let no hand be without a sword. We will all fight, for if we fail – we will certainly all die.”

--Oracle En-Vec (Wizards Of The Coast, “Youthful Knight” flavour text)

I step out into the open and find three of them on the roof. I remember Hemera, but I don’t know the others.

“Is that—“ the boy with the red cloak begins.

“An Agent.” I interrupt him, but speak no more, for the next moment, Alecto logs in next to them.

Hemera looks everything but pleased.

“I told you –“

“I have a score to settle.” Alecto replies stubbornly.

I don’t have the time for this. Nor the will. I pull out my gun and take aim.

“Don’t you want to chat?” she sneers at me.

The response is a shot, which hits her in the shoulder and sends her tumbling backwards. That should answer her question.

“No one saw you enter. No one has to see you leave.” I tell them, calmly, taking aim at Alecto again. This time, she won’t be able to move out of the way. I pull the trigger, and the same moment the other boy makes a surprising movement. There is a cracking noise, and the next instant, the bullet lies imbedded in a wall of ice that had just risen from the ground.

So, is this boy something like The One? I wonder. The wall splits the roof in two parts – the one he, his friend and Alecto is on, and the one Hemera and I are on. I don’t mind this. I am one small step away from getting the access codes to Zion. Perfect.

“Are you coming freely, or shall we do this the traditional way?” I ask her with a cold smirk.

“Agent?” she asks all of a sudden. “Tell me something.”

“What?”

“Tell me: What do you dream?”

I am caught off guard for a moment.

“Of... of guarding the Matrix, of course. And destroying your pathetic resistance.” I sneer.

“Those are your orders. What do you dream?”

“I—“ I pause. What is she getting at? What do dreams matter? Agents musn’t have them, our only dreams are those that work with our missions. “Nothing. I dream nothing.”

“Maybe you envy them?” Hemera sighs with a pained smile, looking down the roof at the humans walking below. “They dream, all of them, even if they’re not aware of it, and you—“

“I do not have to dream. I don’t have time, I don’t have reason, I don’t have need to do so.” I answer blankly.

“I pity you.” She says solemnly.

“Save your pity for the weak.” I say coldly.

She shakes her head and turns back to me.

“You truly are nothing.”

“So you finally understand.” I answer, and attack. I expect a block, an attempted doge, anything, but nothing happens. She allows herself to be knocked down, and holds still as I clench my hand around her throat. “Are you expecting me to let you go? Because you ‘saved’ me?” I sneer.

“No. This was not a bargain, and I do not expect it to become one. There’s nothing I blame you for. You’ve done your duty, nothing more.” She answers.

Her behaviour is irritating and useless. What is she expecting? She still doesn’t move. Of course, it’s more logical, but that’s different from other rebels.

“I have no dreams, maybe – but you have no will.”

“I do. I simply do not want to fight.” Hemera answers with a sad chuckle.

“Foolish.” I growl.

“Is there the teachings of the 8 Ways to Wisdom somewhere in your data?” she asks me.

“Of course. My data has file sizes far beyond your comprehension.” I answer matter-of-factly.

“ ‘In softness is always strength. Your hand may break the thickest wood and the strongest brick, but you can never break a pillow.’ “ she quotes with a victorious smirk.

“Pacifism is for the doomed.” I narrow my eyes. “And it has no place here.”

“It does.” She answers grimly. “As does compromise.”

“Compromise.” I nearly laugh. “Very well. You give me the access codes to Zion, and I’ll let you live. How is that for compromise?”

“Not what I had in mind.” She smiles again, the warm, motherly smile that seems almost eerie to me. The next moment, she has rolled out of the grip and off the roof, downwards. I look down and see the red flutter of cloth land down below. She thinks it’s impressive, it seems. Fools, all of them. I jump out of the security guard and into a person on the street below, lifting the gun to her head as the people about start to scatter.

“Pathetic.” I snarl.

“Well then. Pull the trigger.” She challenges.

I shift my head, smirking.

“Irrational.” I tell her. “You have codes...access codes, and I’ll get them.”

I reach to touch the earpiece, sending the data to Carter and Fader while not moving from the position.

“I doubt that.” Hemera smiles, sadly.

“What you doubt or believe means nothing to me.” I answer her as Carter and Fader jump into some nearby people and step closer to grab her. “What you fight for has no meaning for me, either.”

===___----__----____----___----____-----____-----____-----____---===

The interrogation falls to me. It is my privilege as the leader of the unit, and I’m enjoying special tasks like these. Carter stands, guarding the door, while Fader injects Hemera the nerve-virus that will eventually make her talk. I will succeed. This glory is mine. As soon as I have these codes, I will request for me and Smith to go into Zion mainframe and destroy the pitiful resistance at it’s roots. I owe him that much at least. Like said before, we do know codes of honor.

“Well, Hemera. Be proud. You will see me succeed where the other Agents before me have failed. You’re writing history.”

“You are, maybe. Writing it in the blood of humans.”

“History is written by the superior civilzations, Hemera. History is written by the winners with the blood of the losers. Look at your real world, then look at ours. We have won. We write our own history now. And you...Your only use are the codes in your head.”

“And the bio energy, isn’t that right, Agent?”

I shake my head and turn towards her.

“An energy your body no longer supplies to us. You rebels are pointless nuisances. Look at these humans, Hemera. Look at them. They dream. A marvelous dream. Not merely a ‘pretty little dream’, as you may call it, but... The scale of it stretches to eternity. And they supply us with electricity. You rebels, on the other hand, attack the system... provide for no one but yourself. Hemera, do you know what one would label an organism that feeds off a system without returning something? An organism that settles on a system and drains it, sickening it? A parasite. That is all you are, all you ever will be.”

Fader continues entering codes on the computer, seemingly uncaring.

“You said there is room for compromise here? You are wrong. An easy compromise. These humans live here, and we feed them, they help us live by feeding the machines.”

“Slavery, not compromise.”

“What is your idea of a compromise? Any rule the rebellion creates?”

“No. A balance like it was before the war.”

“Where the slavery was upon the machines.” I answer, and she does not respond.

===___----__----____----___----____-----____-----____-----____---===

Rustler, Alecto and Mercury finally log out. To their dismay, Hemera does not. Rage flames through Alecto’s eyes like a flashfire.

“That Agent...” she growls, her fist knotting. “I will—“

“Do nothing!” Mercury replies with the same calm as Hemera. However, his calm was more like that of an icefield, not warm and compassing, but cold and rational. “Hemera gave us orders. If she is captured, we give her time to get out, but if she doesn’t manage to do that, we pull the plug.” He shakes his head. “I don’t like it either. But it’s the only thing to do. That Neo we learned about, has the skill to take on an Agent. We do not.”

“You wuss! You lowly bastard! You coward! You rotten jackal!” Alecto spat, grabbing him by his shirt and easily lifting him up from the ground. “She was like a mother to us! What is a mother with children who leave her to die?!”

“What is a mother without children to love?” Mercury asks her grimly.

“We are going in, and we will make it! Trix, say something! You can’t be ok with this!” Alecto rants on, not letting go of Mercury.

“Alecto, he’s right. These were Hemera’s orders. This is what we do.”

“Not what ‘we’ do, what YOU do! I don’t care about you, send me in right now!”

Rustler reaches out and holds her by her arms.

“Alecto, she has evaded the Agents before. She will escape again.”

“She won’t, and you know it!”

===___----__----____----___----____-----____-----____-----____---===

She’s still not responding. It doesn’t matter to me. She looks at me, but she’s still smiling. Why? It should be impossible by now. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter now, soon she will talk.

“Why do you do it, Hemera?” I ask her openly. “Free those humans, as you prefer to label it? What is your ultimate goal? Imagine, your desert, that wasteland of the real – Hemera, tell me, who can it possibly supply for? Be satisfied, Hemera. The sea is left. Do you remember? All life sprung from the sea. And, perhaps, some far, far day, it will again.”

“Agent, I pity you... you have not seen Zion, you have not seen the hope and the warmth.”

“Oh, but I will. Before the end of this day, I will see it. Mine for the taking, it is, rebel. And once I have it, your resistance is at an end.”

“But you will never see what Zion stands for.”

“I have no need to do that.” I answer blankly.

“No need for hope, love, freedom?”

“No.”

She smiled again then, a sly smile, as if implying I was not telling the truth. A fury nearly overtakes me, but I surpress it. I turn my head to Fader.

“How much longer?”

“She should have talked minutes ago.” He answers, not confused, simply stating. I narrow my eyes and look back at her.

“The codes, child of Zion. Now.”

“A request I cannot fulfill.” She says softly.

This is becoming irritating. Very irritating indeed. I snake my head, stretching it as I consider the situation.

=====================================
Alert.
User <Alecto> and an unknown user have logged in.
--Identify.
Searching... Search Completed.
Handle: Rustler
Human Files: -Erased-
No further data available.
=====================================

I turn my head to Fader and then to Carter, then motion at the door for them to go and get the two. Fader stares at me intently, as if questioning this order for a moment. “Two Agents for two rebels?” he seems to ask me silently, but I do not respond. This order is absolute. The two understand and leave. As the door clicks shut, I take the earpiece out and stand before Hemera again.

“Do you want to know the truth, Hemera? I am tired. Sick and tired. Everyday, I’m doing the impossible for the oblivious and the ungrateful. Everyday, I walk patrol, and see how the humans are destroying the Earth they live on. Oil spills, burnt forests, species dying out, war, pollution, poverty, hunger. And you. You are proud of it. Proud of these humans. Proud to be of this species!” I snarl, grabbing her by the collar of her vest and lifting her up, glaring at her. “You are trying to let this species continue this global massacre!”

“You are wrong. And always have been wrong.” She is still smiling. A smile so warm that it grates on my nerves and yet seems to soothe the anger somewhat. “I am proud of a species that knows art and beauty. Proud of a species who love one another and nurture their kind. Proud of a species that knows compassion and hope.”

“What good is all of this when the species destroys the planet they walk on? What good is art and emotions when it only leads to the misery of countless lifeforms upon the planet? What good is your hope when it is only for humans, while everything else dies on the whim of the humans? Human lifestock to the machines or animal lifestock to the humans! What difference does it make?! What makes animals lower than you?!” I nearly yell, anger flooding through me. “What gives them less life? Less rights? Less privilege to live free? Less privilege to live? Simply by being a different subspecies of mammals? This is wrong! Food chain, you say? Fine then! Something on Earth has appeared that is higher in this forsaken food chain than the species human! Machines are higher now. Now accept your place! Whatever you argue, you are wrong! You are wrong in the sense of your compassion and love, which claims only humans to rulership of this planet by their natural right, and wrong in a sense of scientific explanation of food chains. Whatever path you see, they are twisted, hideous, irrational and murderous! You are wrong, the rebellion is wrong, and humans above all are wrong!”

With another snarl, I toss her back onto the seat with a swing, causing it nearly to crash over backwards.

“If you will not give me these codes, I will kill you.” I say as calmly as possible through blossoming rage.

“You can kill me if you must, but I can not hate you.” She sighs. “Hate is for the weak.”

I glare at her through the shades, fists tightening until my knuckles turn blazing white. I grit my teeth.

“I do not live in your debt, rebel, as I said before. I will not yield at the end of this chase. I am the law. I am the Matrix. I am not to be mocked. The codes. Now.”

“I can not.”

“You will talk eventually.” I tell her, setting the earpiece back in place.

“I am sorry, but I can not do so either.” She smiles once more, a sad smile again. “The love of this world is for everyone, even for you. As long as your dream does not include the destruction of the rebellion and Zion, I hope you will achieve your goals.” She tells me.

“What?”

I do not understand. The understanding only comes as her body jerks stiff suddenly, and then drops to the ground, dead.

===___----__----____----___----____-----____-----____-----____---===

“You bastards!” Alecto screams as she logs out again, still out of breath from the chase. She glares at Trix and Mercury. “You cheap bastards!” sobbing brokenly, she hurries out of the deck and into her room, slamming the metal door shut with a bang.

“I wish I knew if she had died happily.” Mercury notes sadly.

“I believe she did.” Trix says solemnly, turning away from the monitor with tears streaking from her eyes.

===___----__----____----___----____-----____-----____-----____---===

 

Carter and Fader arrive, Fader glaring at me accusingly.

“What happened here?”

“It was not my doing, if you would care to check your files.” I reply coldly. “It appears her followers were not as compassionate as she was.”

Another Agent walks in, and I look at him a bit suspiciously.

“I was reported no messages about an addition to the unit.” I state, looking at Fader in return. He doesn’t crack one bit.

“Agent Covington is no addition, he is a replacement.” Fader answers, and a tone of superiority and victory lies in his voice. “Haven’t you heard?” his voice is almost challenging. What was going on? It seemed to be one of the days that reminded me most to the old way of bad luck – if it comes, it comes in insurpassable quantities, and has a habit of never quite giving up too easily.

“Heard what?” I ask, feeling quite uncomfortable in my skin all of a sudden. A short smile washes over Fader’s visage as I carefully reach to the earpiece. Fader raises his eyebrows in another gesture of victory.

=====================================
Saved System Order.
Target: #293 YL 22 Q-V
Function: Agent
Handle: Agent Unity
Leading Program In Segment 3K78 Section BK1
Direct Order of Replacement
Moving into Segment 2M45 Section WR2
New Leading Program In Segment 3K78 Section BK1
#243 BU 02 I-O
Function: Agent
Handle: Agent Fader
New Secondary Program In Segment 3K78
# 456 ZX 45 D-C
Function: Agent
Handle: Agent Covington
Process System Order and Execute
=====================================

I shift my head slightly.

I suppose this is the consequence for the recent failure. Without another word, I step past them, and I do not look back as I leave the building.

Moving Icestorm and Icefields Within

“We all had our reasons to be there
We all had a thing or two to learn
We all needed something to cling to
So we did.”

--Alanis Morissette, “Forgiven”

Surprisingly, there might be a positive notion about this recent re-location of my operations. Upon checking the data, it has proved that the location I was sent to was the territory of Smith, and as horribly weak this feeling may be, I look forward to seeing him again. We’ve grown a lot more alike than we would both like, maybe, but there’s nothing to be done about it. Furthermore, it seems my moving was as much ordered due to my failure as it was due to the fact that this “Neo” that’s been the talk of the private lines for quite some time has become quite the problem and back-up is needed.

Of course, being set back down to the level a secondary program isn’t particularily thrilling, but the better to serve under Smith than Fader, for example.

The world below seems very small from out of the helicopter, and it becomes more obvious that it isn’t real. Looking at it like this, it’s much easier to comprehend it is nothing but programming. Same as I. I drop the thought and continue looking outside. This boy, the one who summoned the ice wall... I still can not forget him. He could be trouble. Serious trouble. Then, a smile creeps over my face. Not trouble for me. Maybe for this section of the Matrix, and this was a problem, but in the end, not mine. Not my territory anymore. Not my protectorate he is threatening.

This will be Fader’s, all his. I revel in the imagination of the headaches this boy is going to cause, because they won’t be mine. I drop the smile, but not the thought. I feel by yards better seeing as there are good things to this degradation. But this Hemera. Why is it so hard for me to forget her? She was a rebel, nothing more.

The time flows away easily as I continue my thoughts, but the light feeling in my chest drops into dead weight as the helicopter moves to land, and I’m close to this earth again, close to the humans, close to this... this... Zoo. It is nothing more. I step out and am greeted by two Agents, both of whom I remember to be with Smith as I was looked up by them the first time, but whom I’m relatively unfamiliar with. One stretches his hand out to shake, and I do not pass it up. As much as rebels claim we Agents hate physical contact with other beings inside the Matrix, it’s far from the truth. Especially concerning our own kind. And our own level of operation. Namely, secondary.

“Brown.” He states blankly, then shortly looks up at the taller one. “And Jones.”

“Unity.” I answer politely. “Smith?” I ask a bit hopeful.

“Inside. Interrogating another possible target for the splinter crew of the resistance in this area.” Brown answers, already turned away from me and walking back towards the entrance to the building, since the helicopter had landed on the roof. Jones gives me an empty look, I suppose he’s waiting for me to get moving, so I do.

We stop at a door somewhere on the top floor, and I’m propably slowly remembering what it means to be on the second spot, because I stop at the door like the other two and wait. The door creaks open, and a young woman with wild black hair is being lead out by two guards. Smith is getting up from the chair and seems somewhat pleased.

“A pleasure doing business with you.” He calls after the young woman, who smirks as she walks past us. A success. Rare, but they do occur.

“This is—“ Brown starts as Smith walks out.

“Agent Unity, I am aware of that, we are acquainted. Thank you.” Smith answers calmly as we follow through the hallways. “No time for that. Ms Corwall here,” he looks up at the woman being lead ahead of us, “is going to lead us directly to Morpheus.” He explains briefly.

“When?” Jones asks coldly.

“We suspect next contact to be made at approximately 3:20 pm standard time.” Smith replies. “We are going to shadow her anyways, however. ” He decides. He looks at Jones and Brown for a second. “Escort her to her apartment.” Then he fastens his pace into another hallway, and facing he wasn’t addressing me about the escort, I follow.

I wonder for a moment, how long I would find myself staying here, but even if I knew, it would change very little, and thus, matter very little.

“Are you beginning to see the bars?” he states blankly as he walks in another door. As if being a polite gentleman, he holds the door open as I walk inside, but on second look, he is looking at me intently, waiting for an answer. Pain and weariness is on his face as he looks at me.

“Yes.” I reply bitterly.

"Encumbered forever by desire and ambition
There’s a hunger still unsatisfied
Our weary eyes still stray the horizon
Though down this road we’ve been so many times.“

--Pink Floyd, High Hopes


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