Hey everybody. Here's Chapter 3—nobody is reviewing, but oh well.

I was working in the Core when Morpheus brought Neo in. They had their backs to me, so Neo didn't notice my presence until Morpheus pointed me out.

"The lady behind you is Angel. I believe you know her as Dark Angel." Neo whirled and his eyes met mine. I saw a spark of recognition—in answer, I nodded slightly.

By unspoken agreement, Trin and I moved to help Neo and Morpheus respectively. I heard a soft murmur of sound from behind me—steeling myself, I held up the cerebral jack and shot an inquiring look at Morpheus. His dark eyes found mine and he nodded calmly. Suppressing a cringe at the sickening squelch, I inserted the jack into his plug—behind me, I heard a similar noise and knew Trin had plugged Neo in.

We stepped back, moving to the monitors—both of us went to Neo's monitor, then smiled sheepishly as we realized what we were doing. "You worried too?" Trin murmured softly.

"Aye." I smiled over at her—we shared the same build, but I stood about an inch taller in bare feet. "I'm scared for him. He may have been too old to Unplug."

"We had no choice." She looked up at me with a smile, but it was a worried one as well.

Lowering my voice, I stepped closer to her. "Trin, if you're interested… I'll not interfere. And my promise for you… I intend to extend it to him. For his sake and yours."

Her pale, long-fingered hand came up and rested on mine. "Thank you. I promise I won't get too possessive."
"Better not." I gave her a wicked grin. "Or I'll just have to take him myself."

She punched my shoulder lightly; then we turned back to the screen.

Side-by-side, we watched as Morpheus revealed to Neo what we all knew as the truth. His anguished cry of denial tore at my heart, but I rushed to unplug Morpheus as Neo's body spasmed wildly.

My fingers flew over the plug—Morpheus virtually exploded out fo the seat, rushing over with the others as Neo fought Trin and Dozer madly.

"Neo, breathe! Just breathe!" Morpheus shouted, his voice tinged with fear. The younger man was staggering backward, away from us, his eyes dilated and frantic.

"Get away from me!" He stared from face to face with a wild gaze—when his attention was off me, I slipped behind him, ready to grab him if he fled. His body was trembling, marking how upset he was. I wanted to hug him, to stroke his hair and calm him by saying it was all unreal—but I couldn't lie to him.

He pitched forward, thin frame retching violently but bringing up nothing from his empty stomach—I lunged forward, catching him as he hit the deck. He went limp in my arms, unconscious. "Oh, Neo." I whispered sadly, cradling his still form. "I'm sorry. But we had no choice."

Standing up, I shifted his weight slightly, then carried him back to his room with the utmost care. Trin came over after I'd closed his door firmly, her blue eyes troubled. "How about a workout?"

"Sounds good." I smiled at her, before we headed back to the Core. Tank raised his eyebrow when he saw us, but I refused to give him any further information. "Load the ninja program, Tank. We're gonna do some exercise."

He shrugged and did as I said—ten minutes later, Trin and I were fighting off ninjas back-to-back. We worked till we were exhausted, then ate and headed back to our rooms. But Neo's anguished expression—the one that screamed, "Please, someone tell me this isn't true!"—was burned into my mind and floated before my eyes, even as I lay on my bunk trying to sleep.