Here's Chapter three! You get to find out pretty much everything that's going on - and you get a hefty dose of "A.I. propaganda' :-) Enjoy!

And, Angel...while HLM was ranting about me not posting anymore, she inadvertently had taken the disk with this story on it to her house, preventing me from re-uploading this chapter :-) I'll have a new one up in a day or so.

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The car came to an abrupt halt in front of a military styled building, deep in the heart of a busy city. What city it was, Nikki couldn't tell, but the moment the car stopped, Smith stepped swiftly out into the pouring rain.

Nikki peered up at him. Even drenched he still managed to retain that sense of deadly calm. For some odd reason, although she couldn't explain why, the very sight of him sent a cold shiver down her spine.

"Get out." It was an order, not a request.

She slowly slid out of the car, stepping into the rain, where she was quickly pulled by Smith into the building.

"Hey, watch it, will you?" She shoved his hand away and glanced down at the tear in her shirt. "Now look." She frowned, trying to stretch the fabric back over her shoulder while Smith impatiently stood watching.

"You don't need to worry about your appearance. The others have seen many in worse shape than you."

Nikki stopped. "The others?"

"Yes." Smith's tone was precise. "You have been brought here to meet the other Agents, they will pass their judgments, and your training will begin."

"Hold it hold it." Nikki held up a hand. "Agents? Training? Why do I get the feeling this wasn't just a pleasure cruise?"

Smith raised an eyebrow. "Follow me."

Nikki stood her ground. "Give me your coat."

A flick of the wrist and Smith had pocketed his glasses. "What are you saying?"

Nikki flushed. "I'm NOT going to meet these people while I'm hanging out of my shirt like this, just gimmie your coat. I promise to give it back."

Smith opened his mouth to speak again, but slowly, he removed his coat and handed it to her. "This is not necessary."

"Yes it is!" Nikki slipped into the suit jacket, which was several sizes too big. "Okay, I'm ready now."

For a moment, Smith looked vaguely amused, but the expression quickly vanished. He led her into an elevator, which took them quickly to about the fortieth floor.

As soon as the elevator stopped, Smith turned and gave her a harsh glare. "My colleagues are eager to meet you, and I expect you to live up to my expectations. If you fail to meet my requirement there will be consequences."

Nikki frowned. "So much for happy go lucky 'Uncle Smith'."

Smith pulled her out of the elevator and with one swift jerk, she was in the middle of a spotless room, It's monotony broken only by a small square table and four metal chairs.

Two of these chairs were occupied by men in suits, with their dark brown hair combed back in a way exactly like Smith. For all intents and purposes, all three of them may as well have been clones.

"Welcome, Miss Roberts." The slightly younger looking man, with more of a reddish tint to his hair greeted her in a silky smooth voice.

"Please take a seat." The other man motioned to a chair opposite them, looking ever so slightly quizzical when he saw she had on Smith's jacket. The two exchanged brief glances.

Smith took his place between the two men as Nikki sat, quite uncomfortable. There was an awkward pause while the first two poured over a brown file, and Smith slipped his glasses back on.

"Now Miss Roberts," Smith began. "I'm sure you are wondering why we've brought you here, and what exactly we expect of you."

Nikki's brows furrowed. "Not exactly wondering."

Smith continued as if she hadn't spoken. "And then there's the question of who we are, and ." his voice deepened. "Who you are."

Her eyes widened slightly.

"You see, we know everything about you, we can answer all your questions.for a price."

"What price?" She said suspiciously.

Smith leaned towards her over the table. "We need your help. We need your ability to attain our goal. We're willing to provide you the answers, if you..supply us with your services."

Nikki leaned back in her chair. "Services?"

He smiled, nearing a predatory grin. "That's what we're here to tell you." Smith sat perfectly straight and slowly removed his glasses. "My name, Miss Roberts, Is Smith, this is Brown," He motioned to the slightly taller and heavier man on his left. "And this Jones." The smaller, lighter haired man nodded slightly. "We are the Agents."

Nikki raised an eyebrow. "The Agents?"

"Yes." Agent Brown picked up the dialogue. "We are the...law enforcement in the Matrix."

"You're cops."

"Not Entirely." Smith closed the file. "We are..programs engineered into the Matrix to keep the human race inline."

Nikki chewed her lip. "You're talking about the Matrix.so it's real then?"

"Yes. The Matrix is a computer generated dream world designed to the specifications of the planet earth. It keeps humanity alive."

"Would you care to explain that?"

Smith nodded to Jones, who began. "Quite a number of years human created intelligent machines...A.I. as you call them. These machines were designed to service mankind in any way possible. Not long after the creation of these mechanical beings, mankind exhausted earth of all its natural resources, and in a failed attempt at saving their dying culture, they scorched the sky. By doing so they condemned their mechanical counterparts to die with them. But a compromise was made..and the end result was the creation of the Matrix. The machines inserted the minds of the humans into the Matrix, while keeping their bodies in capsules designed to collect electricity. In return for their service to the humans, the machines used the energy they gathered to keep themselves alive."

Nikki slumped, her head in her hands. "That's seems impossible....but somehow..." Her voice trailed off.

"Somehow you knew." Smith's tone was deep and precise. "That, Miss Roberts, is exactly what we want to talk to you about."

"May as well." She rubbed her temples.

"You see, Miss Roberts, we've had our eye on you ever since you were a child. It was then that those around you began to notice the tendency you have to talk to yourself about things that appear to make no sense - like the Matrix. Now when we discovered this, we referred back to our files on you and discovered that, whether through mechanical error, random mutation, or simple evolution, you had, when first grown, developed a secondary brain, equal in size to the other. Both of these brains are much smaller and more complex than the average human mind, which results in your being able to literally exist in both world at once."

"So you mean.." Nikki said slowly. "That I'm not crazy?"

"Exactly. As far as mentality goes, you are far more sane than any other human being inside or out of the Matrix."

"Hold it." She held up a hand. "Outside of the Matrix? I thought you said earth was exhausted of all its resources."

"It is." Smith's tone was even. "But there are some who have abandoned their only chance for a normal life and gone to live in a world that no longer caters to them." His voice grew cold. "They are our enemies. They are not satisfied with having their bodies free, and they strive to free others - the ruin the lives of others. They offer then a choice that man should never have to make, the choice between ultimate liberty or happiness and peace. The men that exist outside of the Matrix are never happy, Miss Roberts, and they seek to make others just as unhappy as they are."

The room grew silent, all eyes were on Nikki. After a moment, she spoke. "What does all of that have to do with me? I mean, what can I do about it?"

Smith smiled ever so slightly. "You may recall out conversation in the orchard, Miss Roberts, where you told me that you could feel people 'waking up' around you, but you couldn't wake up yourself?"

She nodded slowly.

"What you were sensing were those around you who have been unplugged from the Matrix. You know in your one mind exactly what occurs around your sleeping body, and yet you still exist in this world, living out your life at the exact same moment. I have no doubt that if you were presented with several people, you could tell us instantly if any of them are no longer connected to the Matrix. That is something we cannot do so easily." He leaned forward. "We need that, Miss Roberts. With your ability we can stamp out the rebels and everything will return to normal. We've given you the answers you wanted, now pledge us your help and loyalty."

It was a life changing choice, which Nikki knew very well. "I can't just go back home now?"

"Why would you want to? Think of how you were treated all your life, taunted and tortured for something others, with their simple cerebrum couldn't comprehend. Did you have any friends, Miss Roberts?"

"No, everyone thought I was crazy."

Smith steepled his fingers. "My point exactly. No one back home appreciated you, but we value you very highly."

"But my mother loved me!" Nikki's face was beginning to pale.

Jones turned to Smith. "You didn't tell her?"

"No, I did not see it as necessary at the time. But now..." He turned back to Nikki. "Miss Roberts, you mother died of a massive heart attack early this evening." All three agents shared a grim half- smile.

Nikki slumped in her chair, a tear running slowly down her cheek. "I was in town...I wasn't there for her.."

"You could not have prevented it." Smith said. "But now we must ask you to make your choice. Do you go home, to the people who hate you, or do you stay and learn from us?"

The tears were flowing freely now, but she still managed to speak. "How do I know you're telling me the truth?"

"How do you know we are not?" Brown said. "You see, we have also observed that all your life, you've been longing to do something great, something to benefit everything, which is an opportunity you will never receive back at your home. This is your chance."

Nikki sat in silence for a few moments; they stared at each agent in turn. She felt intimidated by them, but, for a reason she could not explain, compelled to join them. It would prove to both herself and the world that she wasn't just 'some crazy kid'..she was more gifted than they had ever dreamed.

"I.." She wiped her tears on the sleeve of Smith's jacket and struggled to say the words. "I'll do it."

"Excellent." All three Agents stood. "Your training will begin tomorrow." Smith said. "I suggest you get a good night's sleep."

Jones stepped towards the door and motioned for her to follow him, but Brown interrupted.

"Just a moment, Miss Roberts. I have a question for you."

Both the other Agents and Nikki turned to him.

"Why exactly are you wearing my colleague's coat?"

"Oh!" Nikki grinned and chuckled slightly. "I got soaked in the rain and he accidentally tore my shirt."

Brown and Jones both raised eyebrows. "Really?"

"Yep." She looked down at her clothing, suddenly realizing she wasn't wet. A quick look at Smith told her the same. "But how.." She slipped off the coat and yanked on the material over her left shoulder. It was in perfect condition, show no signs of tear. "Heh heh..." She flushed, and turned to Smith's whose expression was blank. "Here's your coat back."

Smith looked down at the suit jacket draped over her outstretched arm. Not only did it reek of human, but her tears had stained the sleeve. "Keep it." He said, his upper lip curling in repulsion.

She shrugged. "Okay. Whatever."

Jones again motioned for her to follow, and a moment later the door closed behind them, leaving Smith and Brown standing in front of the table.

Brown turned to the other Agent. "Would you really have let her return home if she had refused us?"

Smith's expression bordered on a smirk. "No." He pulled out his desert eagle. "I would have shown her the less hospitable side of the Agents."

Brown's expression matched Smith's. "I assumed that. But your ways have occasionally been.....unorthodox."

"But very effective."

Brown nodded his acknowledgement. "This could be what we've been waiting for. She could lead us to the codes for Zion. My only doubt is .....she is human, will she survive?"

Smith straightened his cuffs. "We'll have to wait and see."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ There's Ch 3!!!!!!!!!!!! Hope you like it! Leave a review if you can, they make me type faster :-) Thanks to all who have reviewed already, and I'm still feeling the need to apologize for the dual apparition thing... *blushes*