The Matrix Revelations
Chapter 2: Awakening
The man addressed as Neo stepped backward, looking confused.
"Morpheus?" he asked.
Morpheus nodded, looking equally confused.
Neo looked away from him to gaze at his surroundings once more before looking toward the ground.
"So, I'm really here?" he asked, looking back at Morpheus.
"Yeah," Morpheus nodded, giving a small laugh of disbelief and joy.
"How?" he asked, a smile beginning to form on his face.
"I…I don't know."
Morpheus gave another small laugh and turned to Niobe.
But Niobe was two steps ahead of him. Morpheus had been going to ask Niobe to call Link but the amazing woman already had her cell phone pressed against her ear.
"Operator," Link said on the other end.
"Link, it's Niobe. Can you see what we see?"
"I don't know, what do you see?"
"I…I think it's Neo."
"What!? Neo!? Are you serious? I can see something with you guys but I couldn't tell it was NEO!!!"
Niobe grimaced and held the phone away from her ear.
"Alright," she said once Link had calmed down, "Well, we met with the Machine ambassador and are on our way back now."
"Alright, I've got an exit ready for you back in the building you guys entered the Matrix."
Niobe hung up her phone and slid it back in her pocket.
"Link has an exit ready for us, back where we entered the Matrix."
Morpheus nodded his agreement.
"I don't suppose you can come with us?" Morpheus asked Neo.
"I don't know," he replied, "I don't know much of anything right now. Even if I could, I don't think I would. I've still got to figure out how I'm here."
Morpheus nodded his understanding and turned to Niobe and Ghost who nodded back at him. They all knew that it was time for them to go. As they turned to leave, the sound of running footsteps came through the air once again and three people with spiky brown hair appeared on the sidewalk, wearing black pants, coats, and gray shirts.
"Aw shit," the lead one said when he saw Neo.
"Fuck, he's already here!" the second said, already backing away.
The third looked around desperately for a way out and soon found one. He ducked behind Niobe and whipped a handgun out of his coat before pressing it to her temple and trapping her in a tight headlock. His cohorts immediately followed his example and did the same to Morpheus and Ghost. Neo almost immediately dropped into an aggressive fighting stance but the brown haired goon who grabbed Morpheus spoke before Neo could do anything.
"Don't even think about trying anything!" Goon 1 barked, "The minute you do, and we'll put bullets in their heads."
"What do you want?" Neo demanded.
"You're coming with us," Goon 1 said back, a smile on his face, "There's a very powerful person who wants to speak with you."
As Goon 1's smile widened, Neo could see that his canines were actually fangs. It didn't take Neo long to put two and two together.
"Let me guess," he said, somewhat sarcastically, "The Merovingian?"
The Goons looked surprised that Neo had figured out who had sent them.
"Well tell him that I'm busy. I've got other people I need to talk to."
'I hope I still have my powers,' Neo thought as he threw his right hand into the air.
Almost at once, the guns the Goons had pointed at the heads of Morpheus, Niobe, and Ghost flew into Neo's hands. The Goons released their hostages in surprise and then Neo made his move. Releasing the guns and launching himself forward, Neo found himself immediately hovering between Goons 1 (who had Morpheus) and 2(who had Ghost) with 1 on his left and 2 on his right. Before they could react, Neo thrust his legs out to the sides and slammed his feet into the sides of Goon 1 and 2's heads. Neo then flipped over in the air and slammed the front of his foot into Goon 1's face, sending the Goon into concrete with so much force that it caved in. Immediately after that, Neo grabbed the top of Goon 3's head and flipped over the Goon to land on the ground. In the same motion, Neo used his momentum and hurled Goon 3 thirty feet through the air, sending him crashing through the brick corner of a nearby building. Neo heard a soft groan from behind him and turned to see Goon 2 getting back to his feet, albeit very slowly. Giving a soft "tch" of annoyance, Neo held out his left hand and one of the Goon's guns flew into his hand. Leveling the weapon at the recovering Goon, Neo centered it on his forehead and pulled the trigger. The Goon was dead before the sound of the bang had stopped echoing.
"Well, now that that's over," Neo said, tossing the gun to the side.
"Neo?" Morpheus asked.
Neo turned to face him, a small look of curiosity on his face.
"Are you aware of what you just did?"
"Neo, when you freed us, you disappeared and then reappeared almost instantly between the two that were holding me and Ghost."
"I did?" Neo asked.
Neo looked away. That was something he had never done before, something he couldn't do before. And then there were those Goons knowing he would be where he was, when he didn't even know it himself! He needed to find out what was happening and he need to do it now.
"I'm…sorry Morpheus, but I have to go. Now!"
"But, Neo…" Morpheus said, reaching out to hold him back.
But Neo didn't listen. Instead, he crouched low to the ground, which warped outward before Neo shot himself upward at a ludicrous speed, flying off to a destination that was unknown to the shocked and amazed trio.
As Morpheus, Niobe, and Ghost walked to their exit, Neo soared through the skies above the Mega-City. He knew exactly where he was going, because when it came to matters like this, there was only one person in the Matrix who could possibly have any answers.
Neo arrived at her apartment building in next to no time and landed solidly on the roof. After a quick walk to her apartment, Neo eased the door open and the smell of fresh cookies almost instantly filled his nostrils. Walking into the kitchen, Neo saw a sight that reminded him all too well of his second to last visit to the Matrix. The Oracle was sitting in front of the oven, a tin of fresh cookies in her hand, and the littler program girl named Sati was standing next to her. Sati noticed him first.
"NEO!!!" she cried, running up to him and wrapping him in a tight hug.
"Hey Sati," Neo said, lightly returning the girl's hug.
"Well," the Oracle said upon turning to face Neo, "I actually managed to get them done this time."
Sati released Neo and stepped to his left so he could approach the Oracle.
"You were expecting me?"
"I had a hunch," she answered, smiling gently.
"The Oracle said we'd see you again," Sati piped up.
"You did?" Neo said, a slight smile on his face.
A returned smile from the Oracle as she placed the tin on the counter was his only answer.
Looking down at Sati, Neo placed a gentle hand on her shoulder.
"Hey Sati, can you go into the other room for a minute? The Oracle and I have some serious stuff to talk about."
Sati skipped off and Neo stood straight up, facing the Oracle once more.
"Do you know what's going on?"
"I have my ideas."
"Would you care to share them?"
The Oracle leaned back in her chair lit one of her cigarettes. After taking a long drag from it and exhaling, she spoke.
"When Smith was deleted, the damage he did to the Matrix could only be repaired through a massive reprogramming. That's why you can look outside and feel as though the Matrix is actually alive. However, certain individuals feel that this is the prime time to gain even more power."
The Oracle nodded.
"He and his army of Exiles have been causing all sorts of havoc in this world. That's my guess as to why you were brought back, to stop him."
A look of disgust suddenly rose onto Neo's face.
"So that's it? I was brought back by the Machines to do their dirty work? Isn't that the job of the Agents?"
"There aren't enough of them."
"Well then, couldn't the Machines just make more?" Neo shot back irritably.
"It's not that simple Neo."
The irritation in Neo's voice had now begun to blossom into full-blown anger and the Oracle found herself, for once, surprised.
"What's wrong Neo?" she asked, genuinely concerned.
"What? You mean you can't tell?"
A slightly twisted smile worked its way into Neo's expression and the Oracle responded with a questioning stare. When Neo spoke, his voice tasted of the same twisted sarcasm his smile forewarned.
"Oh, right. Program. I guess I shouldn't expect you to understand."
Neo gave a small laugh as he shook his head and then the Oracle understood. Trinity had been the one supporting him in his final battle with Smith. When he was battered and broken at the bottom of that crater, it had been the image of Trinity that had given Neo the will to get back on his feet. Morpheus and the others had been there as well, but it had been Trinity, and the knowledge of what she would've wanted him to do, that had made Neo push his beaten body off the muddy ground. This was why the Oracle's words were generating such uncharacteristic bitterness; without Trinity, Neo had no real motivation to do anything.
'Death must've been infinitely preferable to this,' the Oracle mused.
Exasperated, Neo placed his face in his hands and let himself fall backward, as though into a chair. The Oracle was about to call out to him, when miraculously, green lines of Matrix-code sprouted from her floor and almost instantly materialized into a chair that Neo subsequently collapsed into.
"I'm sorry Oracle, I shouldn't have said that," Neo said, his tone shining with sincerity, "It's just that…"
Neo took a sigh and looked out the window over the Oracle's sink. A silence hung in the air and the Oracle made no effort to break it. She knew Neo would speak eventually, and he would do it when he was ready.
"It's just that it's hard for me to really care without Trinity."
The Oracle nodded her understanding. After a moment, Neo spoke again.
"So," he said, trying to sound off-hand, "What's going on with the Merovingian?"
The Oracle took another drag on the cigarette and then tapped the ashes into her small yellow tray.
"When the Matrix was reprogrammed, the part of its code that comprises you was spread throughout it. That's why the Matrix has been restored to the way it was originally intended to be, because it's what part of your subconscious wanted. Am I wrong?"
Neo thought back to the last night he remembered, when he confronted the Deus Ex Machina. He had been sick of the fighting, and wanted both worlds to have the peace he knew they deserved. After a moment, the Oracle continued.
"After the reprogramming, the Merovingian decided now would be the perfect time to make his long held dream a reality."
"And what dream is that?"
"Do you remember what I asked you before you first met him? 'What do all men with power want?'"
Neo gave a small smile as he lowered his head, eyes closed.
The Oracle nodded.
"So now I've got to stop him before he takes over the Matrix?"
The Oracle nodded once more.
"And that's why his henchmen arrived almost the minute you did. The Merovingian was expecting you. He knew that the Machines wouldn't take the risk of resurrecting Smith and he also knew that the Machines knew that you'd be the only one besides Smith who could stop him."
Neo gave a heavy sigh and hung his head. Once again, to his overwhelming dismay, it seemed that the unbearable weight of the world had fallen on his shoulders. He looked back up at the Oracle to speak, but found the words would not come as easily as he liked.
"I… I…gah, I don't know if I can do this again Oracle. Last time I had something to fight for, and I ended up loosing her anyway. Now, I…"
Once again, Neo's words were cut short. This time however, it was by the pang of emptiness he felt when he remembered Trinity once more.
"It's alright Neo," The Oracle said kindly, "I know you need your time, but I will tell you that the Merovingian will not let you off so easily. If you won't join him, he'll do his best to kill you."
"I wouldn't expect anything less."
The Oracle smiled as Neo got up to leave. But when Neo seemingly ignored the chair he had conjured, the Oracle decided that she better let him know about it.
"Neo, are you aware that you conjured that chair from the code of the Matrix?"
Neo stopped in his tracks, and looked down at the chair he had been sitting in with amazement.
The Oracle knitted her brow, pondering the possible causes of Neo's new powers, and Neo gazed at her expectantly.
"You know," Neo said, suddenly remembering something, "Morpheus said that when I freed him from some of the Merovingian's goons, I disappeared only to instantly reappear somewhere else. I couldn't do that before."
"It is possible," the Oracle said slowly, "That you spent so much time as part of the Matrix that your subconscious learned how to manipulate the code of the Matrix on the most basic of levels."
"So…" Neo said slowly, unsure as to what the Oracle meant, "I can do what? Turn anything into anything?"
The Oracle smiled a wry smile.
"If I'm right, you can do anything you want to."