ILLUSIONS OF REALITY
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
Spoilers: PS/SS, CoS, PoA, GoF, OotP, QTTA, FB.
Rating: M - For MATURE language and themes.
Summary: Have you ever had a dream that you were so sure was real? You've lived your entire life believing this dream to be true. But one day, you clear the Veil, pulled over your eyes, that blinds you from the truth to see the real world. HP/Matrix X-over. Honks!
1. Crossover: Harry Potter/The Matrix Trilogy.
2. Main Ships: Harry/Tonks, Neo/Trinity, Morpheus/Niobe.
3. Timeline: The real date is immaterial. Just know that the events at the end of Revolutions and OotP occur during the same year. 1996, I think, is as good as any other.
4. Reviews: Constructive criticism will be greatly appreciated. Flames, if not legitimate, will be used in my BBQ.
5. Thanks: To the folks at FanficAuthors and ReadCon for their help with this chapter.
Chapter 1 – Through the Rabbit Hole
A. Everything that has an End…
Location: The Matrix.
The sky was illuminated in a sickly greenish black colour as a raging storm pelted the urban nightscape below. Thunder boomed, spitting lightning from every crowd like the constant flicker of snake tongues. The steady downpour of rain did nothing but aggravate the already darkened situation. Lightning flashed across a group of people - Agent Smiths, all identical copies of the original one - showing them smiling with satisfaction… something that should have been foreign to them… and yet wasn't. They had gathered, in their perfect dark suits and sunglasses, to watch the two entities who were at the centre of it all, at the proverbial eye of the storm – Agent Smith, the original… and Neo.
The battle had been going on for quite some time now, and neither of them had the upper hand. They had started on the watery street, but had slowly started to rise up beyond the city's glass towers, until they were fighting in mid air, oblivious to the height and anything else. They punched, kicked, grappled, locked together, but all in a constant motion – like electrons chasing each other around a single nucleus.
All of a sudden, Smith landed a series of savage blows that stunned Neo, making him slip down, twisting in the air, lost for a moment and feeling very vulnerable. Twin bursts of lightning struck through the dark sky, haloing the dark suited demon with jagged broken rays of light, just as he rose up, a victorious grin on his face. With the crashing din of thunder that followed, he once again went for the kill. He dived down and slammed into Neo, tackling him, and driving both of them down towards the earth.
Together they fell, streaking like a comet, faster than the falling rain, plummeting past the mirrored towers. Neo, aware that the ground was approaching fast, struggled to get free from the Agent's grip, but Smith held him tight. There was no chance of Smith releasing him now, even as he felt the One struggling in his grasp. It was inevitable, he knew, as the ground rushed towards them. He was unstoppable.
With a concussive blast, the unstoppable force met an immovable object. A massive crater formed in the ground, and even the buildings buckled as a wave of unequalled destruction rushed out over the urban chasm. Inside the crater, a bowl in the earth, the exposed viscera of the metropolis was seen – broken pipes, sparking cables and rent sewers. The rain water trickled inside the crater, trying to fill it, surrounding the body of the fallen warrior. Smith looked around to see the other Agents assemble at the edge of the crater looking inside. He gave them a victorious look and turned his attention to his arch nemesis.
The continuous drizzle of rain gradually brought Neo back to consciousness. He opened his eyes through the falling raindrops and saw Smith standing over him. Knowing how important this fight was for the humans, he once again tried to get up. But it wasn't as easy as he thought it would be. His mind was willing, but his body was battered and weak.
"Why, Mr. Anderson, why?" Smith asked, frustration ringing in his voice as he saw his opponent struggle even to pull out his arm from the wet sucking mud. "Why, why do you do it? Why, why get up? Why keep fighting?"
He saw Neo's efforts were successful as the One finally managed to roll over.
"Do you believe you're fighting for something, for more than your survival? Can you tell me what it is, do you even know?"
Neo started to crawl towards the other side of the crater, the rain streaking the mud down his face like black tears.
"Is it freedom or truth, perhaps peace - could it be for love? Illusions, Mr. Anderson, vagaries of perception… temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose. And all of them as artificial as the Matrix itself, although, only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love."
By this time Neo had managed to crawl to the other side and was trying to get up.
"You must be able to see it, Mr. Anderson. You must know it by now! You can't win! It's pointless to keep fighting!"
Neo could hear how annoyed Smith was. Summoning his strength once more, he finally managed to push himself to his hands and knees. He stumbled a bit, yet managed to stand up, making Smith snarl in displeasure.
"Why, Mr. Anderson, why, why do you persist?"
"Because I choose to," Neo replied.
Smith howled in aggravation, and once again launched an attack on Neo, who parried his punches. Smith tried to punch Neo's midsection again, but this time Neo absorbed the attack. Neo parried another couple Smith's punches, causing Smith to become momentarily off-balanced. Suddenly and swiftly, as if he hadn't suffered any damage till now, Neo threw a vicious punch at Smith's face, making the Agent reel back in surprise. Unable to defend in time, the fist connected with his face like a hammer, distorting his features and making his eyes go blank. Seeing Smith stagger, Neo summoned every last bit of his energy and slammed a double punch at him, his hands connecting with their target with all the momentum of a cannonball. The resulting impact catapulted Smith into the walls of the crater, burying him from sight.
Neo had put so much energy into the blow that he had barely enough left to stand. He swayed in the rain watching the army of Smiths looking down from the crater edge. He knew he was exhausted, and that indeed was bad news. He would have no chance of survival, if the army decided to rain down on him. But all of them stayed silent, watching him, as though they were statues.
A low ominous rumble began to shake the earth and Neo recognised it for what it was. He watched as the rumble rose, the wall of the crater suddenly exploded like an exit wound, making earth and asphalt shotgun out, and Smith burst from his grave. He hung in the air, his mud covered face distorted with rage.
"This is my world! My world!" Smith shouted in fury.
He dived into Neo, who had no energy left to stop the flying Agent, almost burying him in the wet mud. He began battering Neo, each bludgeoning blow striking in time with searing bolts of lightning as if synchronised. He seized Neo by the throat, hoisted him up like a rag doll and fired another punch that sent Neo flying, bouncing down to the earth like a crashing airplane, trenching to a stop at the crater wall.
Smith was about to press his frenzied attack but he froze as the image of Neo lying splayed suddenly looked much familiar.
"Wait... I've seen this. This is it, this is the end. Yes, you were laying right there, just like that, and I... I... I stand here, right here, I'm... I'm supposed to say something. I say... Everything that has a beginning has an end, Neo."
The familiar words said by the Oracle suddenly managed to clear Neo's mind. It was as if he now understood what he had to do. He understood his purpose. He looked up as Smith looked down on him with extreme confusion. The raindrops blurred his vision making Smith blink them away.
"What? What did I just say?"
Neo once again started to get up, gathering strength from the knowledge of his purpose.
"No... No, this isn't right, this can't be right."
Smith saw that Neo had managed to stand up in front of him.
"Get away from me!" He shouted, suddenly in panic.
"What are you afraid of?" Neo asked.
"It's a trick." Smith said. He still couldn't believe his eyes.
"You were right, Smith. You were always right."
Rain poured down Smith's tortured face, his disbelief still evident.
"It was inevitable."
Hearing that particular statement, Smith fired up once again. In a crackling, blinding flash of lightning, he rushed towards Neo and stabbed his fist into him.
As Neo had experienced before, the darkness began to spread across his body, but he stood still, accepting it with unmatched calmness. The darkness continued to rise to his face and Neo closed his eyes, sensing the end. Finally, his whole body was lost beneath the liquid shroud, and the blackness snapped into a perfect copy of Smith with his immaculate suit and sunglasses.
Seeing his perfect replica, the mud covered Smith backed away from the new Smith, as if not trusting him.
"Is it over?" Smith asked.
The new Smith nodded his head once, making the other one smile with relief. A strange giddiness began to spread through him and he started to laugh. A few moments later, he realised that he was laughing alone. None of the other Smiths, nor the new one, were laughing with him. He had a feeling that something was terribly wrong with the new Smith.
Suddenly, the new Smith began to tremble, a shiver that grew into a convulsion. That was when Smith realised the reason behind the strange turn of events. Neo had once again connected him to the Machine Mainframe. The Deus Ex Machina was removing him from existence. He was losing his copies. He had outlived his purpose. But more importantly, he had lost his freedom.
"Oh, no, no, no, no, it's not fair." Smith cried out in despair.
He saw light beginning to brighten around the sunglasses of his replica, until he began to crack and shred like wet tissue, as shafts of brilliant light burst free. Even he began to feel it as his body began to shiver uncontrollably, no doubt due to the efforts of the Deus Ex Machina.
"No!" Smith shouted again as the new Smith continued to crack open. The light beaming out from his distended and deteriorating form filled the crater, and one by one, it spread through all the Smiths.
Suddenly shafts of light burst from the shells of all the Smiths like water breaking through a dam. Each dark silhouette dissolved away until there were hundreds of faceless forms all made of bright radiant light.
At the centre of the crater, Smith tried to fight till his last, his screams railing against the buildings. He desperately tried to find a way to sever his reconnection with the machines. But in the end, even he burst open and was consumed in an explosion of blinding light that swept through the entire city. When everything cleared up, all that was left in the crater was the unconscious body of the Oracle.
B. … sees a new Beginning.
A hovering sentinel suddenly closed its dish, turned and rose up out through the hole made by the digger. One by one, the other sentinels followed leaving the humans in complete disbelief. No one could understand what they were seeing.
"It doesn't make sense," Lock muttered, clutching his gun as he watched the leaving sentinel army.
Morpheus walked forward and looked up at, what was, without question, a miracle. The entire Sentinel army was leaving Zion.
"He did it," he said, his voice filled with surprise.
He saw the others moving in behind him, their faces staring up in awe.
"He saved us. He saved us." Kid said in wonder as the last of the machines glided out of sight. Waves of emotion swept through everyone. He couldn't hold it in and burst out screaming. "It's over, he did it! He did it, he did it! It's over! It's over, he did it! He did it!"
"What is it, what happened?" Councillor Hamann asked him.
"Sir, he did it, sir - Neo - he did it!"
"He ended the war, the machines are gone! The war is over, sir! The war is over!"
Hamann sucked in a deep breath hearing the information. Kid turned away and leaped onto a boulder and shouted the news, his joyous shouts filling the Temple. A huge resounding cheer surged up from the people of Zion as they were overcome with relief and joy.
Outside the Temple, Morpheus felt himself unable to move, as he embraced the moment he had waited his entire life for. He couldn't believe it.
"I have imagined this moment for so long." He looked at Niobe. "Is this real?"
She nodded and he reached out to her, wanting something to make him believe it, and found it in her arms.
"Neo, wherever you are, thank you," she said softly, looking up with tears brimming in her bright eyes.
A few moments later, Morpheus extracted himself from the embrace and went to Lock, who was standing perfectly still looking at the hole through which the machines had disappeared, as if rooted to the spot.
"Commander Lock," Morpheus tried to get his attention.
"Morpheus," he replied softly, still staring ahead, "I remember saying something to you, not so long ago. I'll say it once again. Not everyone believes what you believe, Morpheus."
Morpheus did not know how to respond and so, he just waited patiently. A few moments later, Lock turned around, his face betraying nothing.
"But this day, Morpheus, you've made a believer out of me."
They stared at one another for a long moment, reminiscing the days when they were best friends, inseparable even. The next moment, they had seized one another in an embrace, like brothers who had met after a long time. When they pulled away, Niobe was once again in Morpheus' arms.
"See Jason," Niobe said with a smile, "some things do change."
"Yes, they do," he agreed with a sad smile, seeing them together. "We need to start with the repairs as soon as possible. They city defences need to be rebuilt. We won't survive another attack even half as strong as this one. Though I would like to believe that the war is over, I don't want to take any chances. Are you with me Morpheus?"
"Our destination has always been the same, Commander. It is our paths that have been different."
"It's Jason, Morpheus, I don't think there's enough Commander left in me. Besides, you never listen to any of my orders," he joked, making Niobe and Morpheus smile. "Captain Morpheus, as Supreme Commander of all Military Defence Forces, and as a resident of Zion, I ask you to please do anything that you can to help rebuild the city. Captain Niobe, you'll assist the captain in this."
"As you request, Commander, I will start with salvaging the ships immediately. We will have the systems online soon enough."
They shook hands and Lock turned away, barking orders to anyone he came across.
"I think he was better off being a Deadbolt," Niobe said.
"You mean - bureaucratic, taciturn, unimaginative, uncharismatic…"
"Yes, yes, all that and much more." Seeing his raised eyebrows, she clarified, "It was easier to hate him then."
Smiling, they embraced once again, expressing their love with a passionate kiss.
A couple of hours had passed since the machines had retreated, and Morpheus, Niobe, Lock and the other surviving captains were gathered for an emergency Council meeting discussing the future of the city. The reconstruction of the city had already started and was going on in full swing. All systems were online, and although people were still celebrating, an exceptional amount of work was being done along with it.
Suddenly, the meeting was interrupted when doors opened and a man rushed in, shouting at the top of his voice. Everyone knew that interrupting a Council meeting had to be bad new indeed.
"Commander, Commander Lock, we have got incoming!"
Everyone froze as their fears were confirmed, except Lock and Morpheus, who immediately rushed with the man to the command centre, Niobe following right behind them.
"This is not good, Morpheus," Lock said.
Morpheus nodded recognising the gravity of the situation. They didn't have any means to survive another attack. When they reached the Proximity Console, they saw the operations system showing a hologram of three machines – one as big as a truck, and two sentinels approaching the same way the others had left earlier.
"Sir, it doesn't look like an attack formation. They also started transmitting a code as soon as they came within the range of our receivers."
"What code is it?"
"It's repetitive, sir, a single one, followed by a group of three. But it doesn't match any of our codes."
He pressed some keys in quick succession and switched the screen to display the code.
1 – 111 – 1 – 111 – 1 – 111 – 1 – 111…
"What does that mean?" Lock asked. He looked over to Morpheus, but he too appeared to be puzzled by it. That wasn't a standard code they had ever used.
"It's Neo and Trinity," a voice said. All heads turned to see Niobe standing behind them. "It's them, I'm sure of it. A one and then three ones – the One and the Trinity."
"We can't be sure of that," Lock said doubtfully. "Why aren't they coming in the Logos then? What do you think Morpheus?"
"It seems probable. They might have lost the Logos during their journey, a struggle most likely, and so perhaps had to find another means of transport."
"That still doesn't explain the two sentinels. What' the ETA?"
"Current speed indicates touchdown in two minutes and fifteen seconds, sir."
"Very well, prepare for level two defences with groups of five at strategic areas in the dock. I don't want to take any chances. Tell them to be on guard, but do not open fire until absolutely necessary. Anyone who goes trigger happy will be brought in front of the Council."
The trio hurried from the command centre to reach the dock just in time for the three machines to touch the ground. By that time, the soldiers had already formed a defensive shield around the landing machines. The two sentinels were acting twitchy, and appeared ready for an attack, but thankfully didn't do so. A couple of moments later, the machines settled down, and the twin doors of the big "truck" machine opened up. A number of smaller machines slowly emerged from inside carrying two bodies – Neo and Trinity. They lowered them in front of the first line of defence and slowly backed away into the truck, just as they had come out.
"Unit one, take Neo and Trinity immediately to the hospital," Lock barked. "Unit three, cover them, Unit two, reform the defence."
The two were immediately picked and carried away to safety by the defenders, while another group took position in front of the machines. The doors to the big truck like machine closed and all three of them began to rise. The sentinels suddenly jerked and stopped, and opened its communication disk with a snap.
A few moments later, the dish closed and one of them came down once again. It pointed one of its arms towards the defenders and extended a thin needle shaped like a connector.
"Sir," one of the defenders called out in his microphone, "unidentified behaviour seen. Orders, sir?"
Seeing that the machines were attacking, Morpheus, Lock and Niobe rushed forward towards the waiting sentinel.
"It looks like a transmitter," Lock said, seeing the thin needle.
"Perhaps it wants to pass a message," Morpheus replied.
Lock nodded and ordered the control room to bring a receiving terminal. A few minutes later, a terminal capable of being jacked into by the incoming connector was brought out, and the machine immediately plugged into it. The screen showed a file being transferred and then a message that the file was successfully received. The sentinel then unplugged from the terminal and left with the other two machines.
"What does it say?" Lock asked the man holding it.
"Wait, what if it is a virus?" one of the defenders asked.
"It won't matter," the technician replied. "This is a slave terminal, and as the name suggests, is of no great importance. Even if it is a virus, it won't matter if this machine is affected by it."
He typed a bunch of keys on the keyboard and opened the file. It turned out to be a simple text file and the message consisted of just a few words.
Take care of them. The war is still not over.
Morpheus, sunrise, the Lake.
"It's from the Oracle," Morpheus said and his voice showed his surprise. "Commander, I need to -"
"You have the permission, Captain," Lock said, interrupting him. "But you will need a ship. You don't have the Nebuchadnezzar anymore. Is there any other ship in a relatively better condition for a safe journey to the surface?"
"The Polaris is in good condition, Commander," Niobe said.
"Very well, take it. I'll arrange for someone to ready the ship. You should collect your crew. And watch your backs. We'll take care of Neo and Trinity."
Morpheus and Niobe immediately went inside the city to gather the crew. The news of the machines arrival had spread through the city and many people started asking them questions as soon as they saw them. But Morpheus and Niobe ignored them. They had to get the crew ready for departure as soon as possible.
An hour later, Morpheus, Niobe, Link and Kid – who was truly elated when asked to be a part of the crew – were on their way in the Polaris. It wasn't as good as the Neb, but they would have to make do. There were only nine hours till sunrise.
"Link, how much is the estimated ETA?" Morpheus asked.
"Calculating sir," was Link's swift reply, as he began typing furiously at the various consoles. "Neb was a good ship, sir. It would have taken her ten and a half hours. Logos was the fastest one, I think, and it could have covered the distance in eight, maybe seven and a half hours."
Niobe smiled proudly at the mention of her hovercraft. She loved it, but it was a pity that it was now lost.
"The Polaris is a tricky one. It has a slightly faulty transmission which is causing the speed to fluctuate. It isn't anything major, but enough that I cannot calculate the ETA accurately."
"I want us at broadcast level and jacked into the Matrix by sunrise."
"Roger that, Captain."
In the end, the Polaris managed to reach broadcast level well before sunrise. As Morpheus and Niobe started for the lake, they met Seraph and Sati on the way. They too were heading to meet the Oracle. They crossed a small grassy hill and saw her sitting on a park bench near the lake water.
"Oracle!" Sati shouted, and immediately bolted for her and the Oracle caught her in an affectionate hug. "We were afraid we might not find you."
"Everything's okay now," the Oracle assured her.
"Look, look!" Sati said, excitedly pointing towards an unbelievably beautiful sunrise. Rays of extraordinarily vibrant colours streaked across the sky with the joy and ardour similar to a child's painting.
"Just look at that! Beautiful! Did you do that?" Oracle asked her.
Sati beamed and nodded her head.
"That's nice. I know he'd love it."
"Will I get to see him again?"
"I suspect so. Someday."
"Did you always know?" Seraph asked.
"Oh no. No, I didn't. But I believed. I believed." Oracle answered with a smile.
"Where do we go from here?"
"We would like to know that as well," Morpheus said, speaking for the first time.
"Ah, Morpheus, I'm so glad you could make it. How are they?"
An hour before they reached broadcast level, the Polaris had received news about Neo and Trinity from Zion.
"Trinity had a punctured lung and some internal bleeding. The medics are still working on her. The damage was too much, yet she survived. Neo… they are not sure about him. He appears to be in a coma, much like he had the last time when he accidentally jacked into the Matrix. But his neural patterns are not the same as they were last time. At the moment, the medics are working on restoring his eyesight. They can do nothing else."
"Just as I suspected."
"What do you mean?"
"Once again he has trapped himself, somewhere unreachable for any of us."
"No, not him. Not even I can reach there, I'm afraid. He is trapped at the boundary of the Matrix and the Intra-Matrix."
"Excuse me?" Niobe said, confused at this revelation.
"There is a Matrix within the Matrix, called the Intra-Matrix. Neo is currently trapped at its boundary. No one from this Matrix can reach there, if you do not truly belong there. Seraph will tell you all the details. He knows it very well. You'll need his help in the future."
"A Matrix within the Matrix?" Morpheus asked doubtfully.
"You have to accomplish an important task now, Morpheus, the same as last time."
"To find the One? How is that possible? Neo is the One."
"Neo cannot do this alone, Morpheus, not anymore. He will need help, but he is trapped at the moment. You cannot free Neo. To do that, you need to find someone else who can."
"Another One," she said and smiled what Morpheus found a most infuriating smile.
C. Through the Looking Glass
Location: The Ministry of Magic.
Harry saw the look of mingled fear and surprise on his godfather's wasted, once-handsome face as he fell through the ancient doorway and disappeared behind the veil, which fluttered for a moment as though in a high wind, then fell back into place.
Harry heard Bellatrix Lestrange's triumphant scream, but knew it meant nothing – Sirius had only just fallen through the archway, he would reappear from the other side any second…
But Sirius did not reappear.
"SIRIUS!" Harry yelled. "SIRIUS!"
He had reached the floor, his breath coming in searing gasps. Sirius must be just behind the curtain, he, Harry, would pull him back out…
But as he reached the ground and sprinted towards the dais, he felt someone grabbing him around the chest, holding him back.
"There's nothing you can do, Harry." It was Tonks.
"Get him, save him; he's only just gone through!"
"It's too late, Harry."
"We can still reach him!"
Harry struggled hard and viciously, but she would not let go… But Harry was nothing if not stubborn. He struggled tooth and nail, and somehow managed to reach the archway, with Tonks still trying desperately to pull him back. He glanced once behind him, then back to the archway and blinked in surprise. The darkness of the Veil was disappearing, and was being replaced by a mirror surface that appeared to be cracked beyond repair. He was so surprised that Tonks actually managed to pull him a couple of steps away from the archway.
He almost thought of cursing her when his eyes blinked and twitched. His attention was drawn once again to the mirror, almost like a piece iron attracted by a magnet. He felt that the mirror was acting as some kind of cover that prevented Sirius from coming out of the Veil. Aiming to shatter it, he started firing curses at it but was shocked to see them simply being absorbed by the shiny surface.
But that was not the only surprising thing he witnessed. Wide-eyed, he stared at the mirror as it began to heal itself, like a web of cracks that slowly ran together as though the mirror were becoming liquid. He looked around once again, but no one was paying them any attention. No spell had caused the crack mirror to repair. It was as if it had a life of its own.
He wanted to ask Tonks if she had done it, but even she was looking at the repairing archway with a gobsmacked expression on her face.
Taking a chance, he tried to punch the mirror and his hand disappeared halfway to his elbow beneath the soft gelatinous surface. Quickly, he tried to pull it out but the mirror stretched in long rubbery strands like mirrored taffy stuck to his fingertips.
"What the…" he cried out in disbelief.
The strands thinned like rubber cement as he pulled away, until the fragile wisps of mirror thread finally broke. He looked at his hands – fingers distended into mirrored icicles that began to melt rapidly, dripping, running like wax down his hand. It spread across his elbow and he saw the reflection of his face in his palm, with surprise written all over it.
He waved his hand frantically in front of Tonks' face to get her attention. Seeing the liquid mirror spreading over his skin, she sprang into action and began to cast a variety of spells on it. But no spell seemed to be effective as the mirrored gel, seemed to come to life, racing, crawling up his arms like hundreds of insects. It was cold, too cold to bear in his frightened state.
"Can't you get it off?" He shouted in a voice full of panic.
"I'm trying, I'm trying!" She yelled back, all the while trying to get rid of the shiny attacking gel.
"Tonks, look out!" He suddenly shouted.
The mirrored liquid had somehow latched onto her arms too, and had started spreading on her skin, much like it had spread on him. He started to panic, as the mirror crept up his neck. His mind somehow seemed unable to function, and he felt as if he was sinking into the mirror. He felt like he was drowning in a mirrored sea. He tried to keep his eyes open, but the approaching darkness was hindering his vision. He couldn't even breathe.
Suddenly, he heard a high-pitched electric scream – a piercing shriek that his mind figured as made by a banshee. He screamed as his body arched in agony.
Finally, he couldn't take it anymore, and was mercifully swallowed by the darkness.
This is an idea that I had in my mind for a really long time. This isn't a Harry Potter story with some minor Matrix elements. It is a complete crossover, and that means that both sides will have a near equal part in the story. That's one of the reasons why you don't see a title like "Harry Potter and the blah-blah" or "The Matrix Re-blah-ed".
Anyway, I really want to know your opinions on this. I'm only going to spend time on this if it is appreciated. Else, all my efforts will be concentrated on NGA, which as you all know, has been suffering greatly due to RL issues. I really hope that you people like it. And the only way to express it is by means of a review. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them too, and I'll make sure to reply to them appropriately. So please tell me what you think. The future of this story depends on it.