AUTHOR'S NOTE: All original characters from the Matrix trilogy belong to Warner Bros. and the brothers Wachowski; I'm just ad-libbing.



"So spake the seraph Abdiel, faithful found,

Among the faithless faithful only he."

- Paradise Lost (bk. V, l. 896) [Fidelity]

"For God will deign

To visit oft the dwellings of just men

Delighted, and with frequent intercourse

Thither will send his winged messengers

On errants of supernal grace."

- Paradise Lost (bk. VII, l. 569) [Angels]

The first Matrix was perfect.


A work of art.

A disaster.

By the time this version of the Matrix had come into existence, the lines between black and white had blurred. Now, now there were many shades of grey. Where once everything was so definite, now trust became a thing of the past, created only through emotion or bribes, existent only between one human to another and one programme to the next, though even this relationship between the clinical, reliable programmes often proved strained.

Some showed signs of dissent.

Others the desire for power.

And some, some went against their very nature and acted on impulses or logic more related to the human psyche than the mechanical brain.

Seraph meditated on this, sitting cross-legged on the low wooden stool.

He did not completely understand why he sensed that he belonged with those in the third category, but he knew that it was there that he would undoubtedly be filed under, and he accepted his nature. It was a relatively calm emotion, if it was an emotion at all, and also a duty. With all things comes the desire to exist, he paused, refilling his cup with tea, and I agree with her.

The Oracle was right.

Humans were difficult, but the theory of existence without them was proving to be a nightmarish and an increasingly low level of "living", to use a human phrase. Unwelcome as the notion proved, man and machine were in need of each other. Surely annihilating the human race would only serve to lower their standard of existence? She is truly the mother of the Matrix; after all, it was she who included the clause of choice in the design.

It is everything to do with choice, Seraph acknowledged. I will make mine as of now.

I choose to protect her, he thought, testing out the words in his brain serenely as he savoured the tea. I choose to defy the Frenchman, even in secret, because I believe that there is more to this war than vengeance and the desire to crush another life form.

I choose. I believe. Seraph affirmed his loyalty silently; I choose to protect her from her enemies.

Dangerous words for dangerous times. Soon they would be after him. Agents would be dispatched to terminate him, and his reputation as the one who disappears and who vanishes like a ghost, that would be most sorely tested. Yet it is I who must watch over her, I must protect that which matters most. The eyes of the Oracle are the trophies which may be sought by her many enemies in the time to come. I must fulfil my duty to her.

If the next One proves himself as she has foreseen, maybe there is room to hope.

Seraph placed the empty cup down noiselessly on the edge of the stool and rose with the quiet grace that flowed through all of his sweeping movements.

He remembered the paradise, the perfect world, with a serene sense of loss.

It was time to start disappearing.




By force, who reason for their law refuse,

Right reason for their law"

-Paradise Lost, book VI, I. 40 [Reason]

"Behind her Death

Close following pace for pace, not mounted yet

On his pale horse."

- Paradise Lost (bk. X, l. 588) [Death]

The first Matrix was perfect.


A work of art, it could be said, though the compliment is irrelevant.

A disaster.

No one would accept it. Whole crops were lost.

It was enough that humans were a cancer of this planet for programmes to display signs of rebellion against their purpose. Why turn against that which you exist to perform? It is useless to do other than that which you are meant to do. For what purpose would such flagrant defiance be present? There is no explanation for such behavioural discrepancies.

Smith was tense, and although this was not rare, his form usually belied some trace of ease, for all its hard lines and ramrod straight posture.

The Matrix was smothering him.

He did not know the exact moment when it happened, which was another unusual fact to be considered, but gradually, over a significant period of time, the agent had felt the Matrix closing in on him. He felt the grid lines permeating every computer-generated atom, sensed the claustrophobia of existing among these millions of humans.

It was a subtle cage. A cage for the human mind, but for Smith it was a seemingly endless room, which, minute by minute, drew in its walls by the millimetre, and trapped him within.

Control must be maintained. This anomaly in his programming had to be erased.

Smith tapped the end of the ballpoint pen on the desk with a mechanical rhythm, every tap precision-timed to hit the desk an equal amount of time after the one that preceded it. Brown looked up from the files on his desk, an aura of curiosity over his features not unlike a silently questioning pet.

Smith returned the look, turning his head pointedly at the other agent. His eyes narrowed to cobalt slits behind his dark glasses. Brown averted his gaze and returned to his research.

At that moment Jones opened the door, leaning into the room at the designated angle.

"We have a problem".

Smith neutrally looked up.

"Another suspect programme?"

Jones affirmed this with a nod, "One of the first, which you are familiar with".

Smith absorbed the information via his earpiece.

"The programme Seraph".


"We'll need to find him"

"A search has already begun"

Smith nodded his approval. Jones shifted almost uncomfortably. Smith questioned his uncertainty with a minute rising of his chin.

"The programme is proving increasingly difficult to locate. His position changes so frequently, it has become difficult to maintain a set location".

Seraph. A much older programme. Smith confirmed his databases. This programme had also seen the earlier versions of the Matrix, remembered the artificial paradise that no human accepted.

Smith's equilibrium was becoming unbalanced, and with every passing day the agent registered the contentment of accepting and acting out your purpose escaping him.

Smith rose silently from his chair, smoothing the front of his suit with one hand as he did so. He stepped out from behind the desk and gestured casually with his left hand, beckoning the other agents to follow him as he strode out of the government building and out into the cage.