Disclaimer: I do not own the Matrix or any of its characters.

To better understand the story, read my first story, PSX.


By Archangel

Chapter One: Recruits

Pyro ran up the wall and backflipped. The program pursuing him nearly ran into the wall, but stopped just in time. Pyro landed behind him and kicked him into the wall, then jumped up and planted a two-footed kick, breaking the program's spine against the wall. It fell in a heap.

Shadow bent backwards and avoided a punch, then bent his upper body to the left and right to avoid the program's punches. It swung a low kick and Shadow jumped, but the program quickly shot out a higher kick. Shadow smacked the foot down and flipped over it in the air. When he landed, he was in spot to grab the program's head and bash it into his knee, killing it.

X performed a spinning kick, but the program ducked and pulled back to avoid the second swipe. The program jumped to him, swinging three kicks. X jumped back and dodged each one. The program swung a punch and X grabbed the fist, then knocked the other arm away and struck him with a rectangular syringe that he had pulled from his coat. The program was deleted on the spot.

Riley put crossed his arms across his body and effectively blocked every punch and kick the program threw at him. Riley finally grabbed the program by the throat and threw it in the air. As it came back down, Riley punched it, sending it right into a brick wall.

Same old, same old.

Pyro backflipped, kicking a program backwards. Shadow was right under him and flipped him over his head and into the air. X jumped up and kicked him further back. Riley swung an uppercut, launching the program into the air. Pyro put a foot in Riley's waiting hands and he was tossed upward. He performed a backflip kick again, shooting the program across the sky. X ran up a wall when the program was near enough and shot out his arm, clotheslining it. Shadow finished the move by kicking the program into a wall just before he hit the ground. The program broke a few bricks upon the impact and fell to the ground dead.

Pyro cracked his knuckles. "Is that the last of them?" He asked, standing amongst the dead bodies.

"I should think so." Riley said.

"No enemies in sight." X said, peering through Neovision.

"That was fun." Shadow said with a smile. "Let's do this again sometime."

They chuckled. Riley's cell phone rang.

"Captain Riley." He said.

"I got you guys an exit." Hero said on the other end. "C'mon back." He gave them the location. They all exited the Matrix.

Shadow stood and stretched his muscles. "It's kinda weird thinking that this is the last time it's just gonna be us guys."

Pyro smiled. "I think I can get used to the change."

"I'm looking forward to the new arrivals." X said with a shrug.

Shadow rolled his eyes, but didn't get into it.

Riley cracked his neck and stood. "Let's get going then. We don't want to keep them waiting." Riley headed to the cockpit and set a course for Zion.

Six months had passed since Abyss was destroyed by the teamwork of the Genesis. Things had been much more peaceful these days. Machines and humans were working together to defeat the rogue machines and their programs inside the Matrix. Humans were already working on clearing out the sky. Once the sun was shining again, the humans could all be freed from the Matrix.

The crew of the Genesis hoped that they would all be able to see the sun again in their lifetime.

Pyro had only grown in his fighting skill. It was a theory that he could take out an entire airport with only a pistol and Pyro was itching for an opportunity to prove it. He got to expend much of his energy upon the programs that popped up here and there.

Shadow was as sneaky as usual, in both the Matrix and the real world. More than once, he camouflaged himself upon the ship and scared the pants of whoever walked past. In the Matrix, he could use that skill to get the drop on his foes.

Even after his ordeal with Abyss, X still kept his technical expertise. He had kept the X-Virus and its vaccine for future use. Who knew when one would need them? X was always looking for more creative and effective ways to eliminate the program menaces.

Captain Riley had enjoyed these past six months. He was entering the Matrix regularly again and proved to be an impressive fighter. He was a thick muscleman and no one wanted to be in the way of his iron fist. Riley's strength was stunning; he was a valuable asset to the team and led most of the missions in the Matrix.

Hero was still Hero. He kept everyone alive by playing the role of Operator. He often wondered what it would be like to enter the Matrix, though he knew it was impossible. Hero had been born in Zion and didn't have the sockets in his body like those who were freed, but he felt that being an Operator was his true calling anyway.

The Genesis was returning to Zion for all the usual reasons, i.e. refueling and restocking. However, this journey back was special. Upon returning to Zion, the Genesis would acquire two new recruits.

The first was the young woman Pyro met several months ago in the Matrix. She took him in when he was knocked unconscious and Pyro helped her escape her terrible lifestyle and abusive boyfriend, Scott. Pyro pulled her from the Matrix and showed her a new life.

Her name had been Veronica, but Pyro gave her the new name "Liberty", which everyone would refer to her by. After being freed, Liberty underwent an intensive training program to that would allow her to join a ship's crew. She, of course, chose the Genesis to stick by Pyro. Liberty had decided to become a fighter in remembrance of the life she used to live.

The second recruit was a girl the crew met after returning to Zion when Abyss was defeated. Everyone who knew her thought she was an odd one. She was always trying to push herself further and further. The girl was a hacker and spent much of her time in front of the computer, fine-tuning her skills.

Her name was Spyder. Spyder became a hacker because of X. She had always looked up to him and his incredible skill and yearned to be as grand a hacker as he. X was flattered by her admiration in him and took her under his wing. For the past several months, X had been a good mentor to Spyder and now she was ready to join him in the Matrix.

"This is Zion control." The control woman said.

"Captain Riley of the Genesis." Riley answered. "Requesting clearance to gate two."

"Standby, Captain."

"Nervous?" X asked Pyro, noticing that he was wringing his hands together.

"What, me?" Pyro scoffed "…yeah, kinda…what about you?"

"Eh, not really."

"No?" Shadow asked with a raised brow.

X gave him an odd look. "What?"

"Nothing." Shadow dropped it.

The control woman came back on. "Security standing down, Genesis. You are clear to Gate Two. Welcome home."

"No place like it." Riley said out of habit.

The ship coasted through the gate and floated to its docking area.

Shadow was the first one off the ship.

"Concrete! Real concrete!" The other guys laughed at him. Shadow looked around anxiously and found one other ship in the docking area. "Is that it?" He asked, anxiously.

"Nope." Riley said. "Sorry, Shadow. It ain't the Beta Neb."

Shadow sighed. His girlfriend, Shade, was a crew member of the Beta Neb, lead by none other than Captain Morpheus.

"That ship," Riley continued, "Is the Hammer." The Hammer was the fourth of five ships. It was a repaired model of the ship that crashed into Zion during the Great Sentinel Battle and fired its EMP, saving everyone.

"And that one?" Shadow asked, pointing to another, but suspecting it wasn't the one he was looking for.

"That's the Element, isn't it?" Hero asked, having a knowledge of ships. "Yeah, it definitely is."

The Element was the name of the new ship after the Logos was destroyed when Neo and Trinity flew it into the Machine City. It was piloted by Captain Niobi, the only female pilot around.

"There's the crew now." Riley noticed. "Let's catch them." He was speaking to Hero. The younger guys were free to do what they pleased. Riley and Hero trotted over to them, still carrying their luggage. The three-man crew of Niobi, her partner Ghost, and their Operator Sparks was just about to enter their ship.

"Captain Niobi!" Riley called. She looked to them and smiled.

"Captain Riley." Niobi was a fairly short woman with dark skin and short, black hair.

"Heading back out?" Riley asked.

Niobi nodded. "Programs never sleep."

"Neither do we, apparently." Sparks said, walking past them. Sparks was famous for being a smart-alleck, but he did know when and how to be serious. Physically, he was a middle man; he was average height and weight and he had wild dirty blonde hair.

"You guys are getting new recruits, aren't you?" Ghost asked. He was a Chinese man, but had no accent. Short, smooth black hair topped his head.

"That's right." Riley nodded.

"It's gonna be weird with females around." Hero put in. "Up until now, it's just been us guys."

Sparks came out and carried in another crate. "Well, Niobi's practically a guy, so we hardly notice."

Niobi gave him a look. They all had to laugh.

"I have confidence." Riley said. "They gave us some good resumes and the boys know them."

"Gotta be careful, though." Shadow said, stepping past them. "Love makes you do dumb things sometimes." Shadow recalled how he had dawdled with Shade in the Matrix and it nearly cost him his life.

"It can also help you." Ghost pointed out.

"That is exactly the result we hope to see." Riley said.

Pyro didn't even see her coming. He'd been looking for Liberty, but she found him first.

"He-yah!" She jumped onto him from the side. Reacting on instinct, Pyro grabbed her and flipped her over her head. Liberty landed on her back with Pyro's hand on her throat and fist in the air. "Whoa, hey!!"

Pyro looked at his attacker. "Liberty?!"

"Hi." She said sheepishly.

Pyro got up and helped her up. "Yeesh, sorry 'bout that. But you shouldn't jump on me like that-my reflexes are highly tuned, you know."

"Yeah, yeah, shaddap."

Pyro had to smile. "How ya been?"

"Eh," Liberty rolled her eyes. "Exhausting. All this work I had to do? Crying out loud…"

He chuckled. "Yeah, it can be a killer. But nothing prepares you for the real thing."

Liberty waved her hand at him. "I've heard it a million times. Let's get this done already."

"We'll be outta here tomorrow."

"Tomorrow?" Liberty groaned. "I wanna go NOW. I've been here too long."

"Patience is a virtue."

Liberty stuck her tongue out at him. Pyro just smiled and shook his head.

X knew exactly where to find Spyder. Whenever she wasn't officially training, she was off practicing by herself. X quickly found the computer room and sure enough, she was at the corner console, pounding away at the keyboard. X walked in behind her and watched her work.

X instantly noticed that the mock virus she was trying to use would have no effect on the mock program. There was a specific viral code that could destroy it, but she certainly wasn't using it. X just waited.

"C'mon, die already!!" Spyder hissed. Her time was running low. She kept using the wrong code and the virus kept failing. X shook his head. Now she was using the wrong code and she was frantic, which only scrambled the girl's brain even more.

Then, Spyder stopped typing and took a breath. "Quick, but not hasty." She said, remembering the exact words X had told her. She thought about what she had been doing and suddenly realized her error. "Oh, c'mon, Spyder, that's a book maneuver!" She rapidly entered the right code and launched the virus, effectively killing the program. Time froze at two seconds. Spyder fell back in her chair and gave a sigh of relief.

"Same as ever." X finally spoke. Spyder spun around in her chair.

"X!" She stood up to go to him, but she stopped her with his words.

"You're always rushing. Five seconds of planning…"

"Can prevent five minutes of error."

"Or a fatal mistake." X gave her a look.

"Good to see you again, too." Spyder gave a small smile.

X nodded. "How have you been?"

"Well," Spyder sighed. "As you can see, I've been cramming."

"As always."

"Some things never change." Spyder noted with a hint of seriousness.

X shrugged it off. "You sure you're ready?"

Spyder nodded enthusiastically. "I'll prove myself to you yet!"

X smiled. "I trust you will. C'mon, let's go somewhere."

Spyder's smile widened. "Yeah? Like where?"

He shrugged. "Let's find the guys and plan something."

"Ah, yeah, sure." She agreed, but when he turned away, her smile faded. Spyder added under her breath, "Whatever you say."

The Genesis would only get one night of rest in Zion. The next day, they would head out again.

X got tired very quickly after hanging out with everyone that night.

"I gotta go crash." He said. "See y'all tomorrow." And he headed out, just like that.

Shadow stole a glance at Spyder, who let out a heavy sigh. "Well," She said, "I guess I'll go sleep too."

"Ditto." Shadow said.

"See you guys later." Pyro said.

Shadow jogged along and caught up with Spyder. "Hiya." He said.

"Hey," She said, seeming not that interested.

"You okay?"

"Sure. Why wouldn't I be?"

"You don't seem so hot."

She shook her head. "I just gotta get to bed, alright? See you tomorrow." She jogged ahead.

"So what do you wanna do?" Pyro asked.

Liberty shrugged, and then leaned her head on his chest. "This is good."

Pyro grinned. "So how are you enjoying this new life?"

"It's quite an adjustment, I'll admit." Liberty said. "But you know what? This is great. I mean, here I am…with you." Pyro's grin increased in size. "And I don't have to deal with Scott's abusive behavior anymore." She seethed. "Man, I hate him."

"It's in the past." Pyro said. "I don't think he even remembers you."

"If I see him, though, I might sock him a few."

Pyro laughed. "C'mon, let's go find something to do." And they walked off together, completely unaware of the eyes that watched them.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Okay, this is a sequel to my first story, PSX, as mentioned. At least one person asked me for a sequel, so I, wiht the help of the real Shadow, was able to come up with a plot thick enough to fill the story. First chatpers are supposed ot suck, okay? Gimme some credit. Please review and look out for more chapters in the future!