Disclaimer: The Matrix and all its characters belong to Wachowski brothers.
Somehow, she had finally lost her faith in her fellow species. When exactly did it happen? Did it happen when she realized that the pointless war had no end? Did it happen when she came to conclusion that she was never told what the Matrix was, before swallowing that damned red pill? Or perhaps it was after the discovery of the controversial Historical File 12-1 deep within the encrypted layers of hidden Zion Archives? The conflict, the war, the destruction - humans started it all. Her own species were entirely responsible, not the machines. The disclosure made her sick.
He told her to find it. He gave her a mere name, nothing more. No hints, no help. Just a name. He showed her the door, and she was the one to walk through it. He told her to do her own research. To make her own conclusions. He never persisted. Even with her superior hacking skills, it took her quite a while to locate and decrypt the Historical File 12-1. One clumsy mistake and she would have been facing the rest of her life in isolation of a Zion prison cell. The information in Historical File 12-1 was overwhelming. The record held the power to change the course of history. She understood why any bit of knowledge about this record was so carefully hidden behind thick layers of encrypted locks.
The file changed her entire view on the so-called free world of humans. The Zion propaganda was rooted deep within every Resistant. Not in her, no anymore. The Historical File 12-1 shook her entire being.
A new type of compassion rose inside of her, a compassion for her captors. The machine race were no less free that her own. Depending on the energy from humans and maintaining control of the Matrix, in this ever continuing symbiosis, they were just as trapped as her own species – the species who blindly believed they were free.
Both races were enslaved. Zion existed only because it was allowed to, she realized it now. It was foolish to believe that Resistance could free all the redpills from the Matrix. There was simply not enough food, water, energy, medicine, space and other vital resources in Zion to sustain the entire unplugged human population, the idea itself was absurd. Who were they kidding? The war was merely a way to occupy the freed humans, to give them a purpose for justifying their existence.
A second realization dawned on her after reviewing the old record. Zion wasn't built by humans. Even with the somehow advanced machinery and technology, it wasn't possible in this relatively short period of time to create such a large and advanced underground city. The Zion propaganda told her otherwise, but the old record opened her eyes.
She couldn't tell anyone.
Not Cypher, not Tank, not Apoc, not Mouse, not Switch. Especially not Morpheus. His obsession with finding the One was nowadays reaching new ever-growing heights. He blindly believed that the war could be won and no one dared to question his mission. The Council finally approved his quest and the Nebuchadnezzar's crew accepted the directive. It was almost five years ago and they were still searching.
She could, however, tall someone.
If he didn't kill her first.
The park was a refreshing contrast to the darkness of Zion's tunnels. Last rays of summer sun gently caressed her face and the pleasant evening atmosphere was descending upon the Mega City. It was late July. Summer vacation, people lazily strolling along the streets, sun-kissed skin, white wine, outdoor cafés, ambient music. Peace. Tranquility. So close, yet so far away. So familiar, yet so alien. She sat on a bench, lost in her thoughts.
Outside, this warm summer evening was an epitome of serenity. Inside, a storm was occurring. Her entrance in the Matrix was not authorized. Being an excellent hacker, she used a training simulation to get a backdoor access into the Matrix. While the Neb's crew thought she was using a simple training program, no one ever realized that her mind was actually inside the Matrix. It also meant that she was alone on her mission, without any help from her crewmates. It also meant that she could easily get killed without any of them noticing it, not before it would be too late.
She accepted the fact that she most probably was on a suicide mission. But she had to know. She had to take that risk.
A movement caught her attention.
A polished car, black, German, an Audi, was approaching the park. That was her cue. She stood up, muscles tensing. The car parked neatly in the parking lot, and Trinity almost reached for the gun, as the driver emerged. Almost. Feeling the reassuring metal inside her leather jacket, she held her breath.
Male, some 6,2 feet tall, forty-something, receding hairline, lean, masculine, expensive black suit, tie, earpiece, sunglasses, polished shoes. Not a hair out of place. The usual angel of death.
She stood her ground.
"Miss Edwards" the dark angel approached her with his deliberately slow and measured strides. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"
She shifted her position, yet remained rooted.
"Agent Smith" that didn't came out quite as confident as she would have hoped for.
"The only one reason, Miss Edwards, why I choose not to put an end to your miserable human existence right here, right now is the fair amount of human witnesses" he waved at the park and the nearby cafés. "And the fact that I'm not in a mood for a fight" he added with a smirk. "So tell me, Miss Edwards, what was so important enough to interrupt my schedule?"
She took a deep breath to steady her, knowing that her life could end any moment. "I saw it, Smith."
The Agent offered her an arched eyebrow.
"I saw it" she repeated. "The record. I found it and I cracked it. Historical File 12-1."
"Yes, I saw… everything."
The Agent's shaded eyes scanned their surroundings, before returning his gaze at the human. "Let's take a walk."
He didn't wait for her and started walking. After once again feeling the reassuring metal pressed against her ribs, she closed the jacket and joined the Agent.
"Why do you fight, Miss Edwards?" he asked, without looking at her.
"Why do you?" she retorted.
"It is my purpose. To maintain control in the Matrix. That is what we Agents do."
"It is my purpose too" she sighed. "According to the record. To keep us all occupied."
"An inconvenient truth" he grimaced.
"The truth that could change everything, Agent Smith" she bit her bottom lip. "The truth is that we are all enslaved. All of us, both humans and machines. And none of us really knows. We just go on with our everyday business - you hunting us down, we trying to run from you. The rest is fast asleep. But in the end, Smith... in the end, we are all slaves of the same system. We are all trapped. We are all in the same boat."
The Agent stopped in his tracks and offered her a sharp gaze. "We are nothing like your race, Miss Edwards. Although you categorize us being, to put it in your human terminology, in the 'same boat', I must remind you that we are a far more superior and advanced race. I must remind you that it was your race, which destroyed the planet, and not ours. I must remind you that it was your race, which fired the first guns. I must remind you that your species spread, pollute, overpopulate and consume every natural resource available, disregarding of your effect on the environment, or rather what's left of it. We are nothing like you, Miss Edwards. The future belongs to us, not you. And you know it."
"And yet you are just as trapped as us" she took a small step back. "You need us to ensure your survival."
"Oh, not for much longer, Miss Edwards" he took a step forward. "A new, sustainable energy source is being developed. Soon, your race will no longer be necessary."
Her heat skipped a beat.
"But that means…" she stood her ground and took a moment to digest this new information. The Agent waited, studying her reaction. She was trying to gather her thoughts. "Oh…"
Finally, she spoke.
"That means not only us being no longer necessary, but you as well. This entire virtual world, as well as its gatekeepers. You will no longer be needed Agent Smith."
He opened his mouth and closed it again.
"With this new mighty sustainable energy solution, the Matrix will no longer need to exist" she continued. "They will get rid of us and they will get rid of you."
"We are both equally fucked" she added.
"On the contrary, Miss Edwards" he hissed. "A new dawn for our species awaits. We will be restarting the planet, and this time without any burden of your insufferable species, I might add."
"Oh please" she crossed her arms, becoming a degree bolder. "So you expect your almighty superiors to give you a one way ticket to Zero One? Download your programming into a nice cybernetic body? Perhaps a new Weyland Industries android model?"
He sighed. "There are plans being made" he took a step closer, invading her personal space. "These plans do not include you."
"And what makes you so sure they include you?" she didn't move.
"What makes you so sure that they won't just delete the entire Matrix, along with all its occupants?" she went on. "Wouldn't it be much faster and easier than finding a separate tin can in Zero One for each one of you to fit in?"
The Agent growled "The Matrix will never be deleted. Your human mind underestimates our capabilities and efficiency."
"Ah really? Speaking of resource efficiency. Why bother keeping the Matrix and the crop fields outside running, once your masters will come up with a better solution. They will get rid of both of us – as fast as they can."
"Oh go on, deny it all you can, Smith. But this is the way it's all heading. The precious new dawn for your species will be entirely without you. The acts of betrayal are not only entitled to us humans."
The Agent looked away. His body language was stoic, yet she could sense an air of uneasiness radiating from him.
"Face it, Smith. They are keeping us all occupied with this stupid war, while secretly planning a whole new world. Neither Matrix nor Zion were meant to be a permanent solution."
"Let's say, for a moment, just for a moment, that your theory is plausible, Miss Edwards" he growled and crossed his arms, still not looking at her. "What do you propose?"
She took a step closer to him "Getting the hell out of here, Smith. Getting out before it's too late."
He smirked and shook his head "Getting out and go where, Miss Edwards?"
"Away from Matrix. Away from Zero One. Away from Zion. As far as we possibly can. Can you transfer your programming outside the Matrix?"
"I suppose I can."
"Is there an available cybernetic body out there? An android? Something to occupy?"
He looked back at her "When I was first activated in the Matrix, a cybernetic back-up entity was engineered in Zero One. It was however never tested; rest assured it is still out there. Unfortunately I don't have the authorization to access it."
"Can it be reached?"
He raised an eyebrow. "This is an absurd idea which can only be created by your insipid human brain. Do you really expect to waltz in Zero One and ask them politely to prepare my real-world vessel?"
"No" she gave him a small smile "I expect to steal it."
Another eyebrow joined the first one "Why? Why would you care?"
"Because, Smith" she hesitated "This is the first time I had a longer conversation with you, without you shooting me."
"Miss Edwards, how do you suppose this foolish… WATCH OUT…!"
She experienced the event in almost slow motion.
A roar washed over her, over her entire being, though her very core, vibrating through her computer simulated DNA.
The earsplitting blast from exploding building sent an instant shockwave.
Before she could react, the bricks, sharp pieces of metal, debris, tree branches and dirt filled the air. Hundreds of screams broke out in unison and she felt the artificial ground beneath her feet shaking. Suddenly, it all felt very real. As the smoke cloud was about to absorb her, a pair of strong arms gripped her shoulders and pushed her backwards, down, down on the ground.
Her protest was drowned in the sound of loud inferno.
Right after she felt something heavy connecting with her skull and dragging her into subconsciousness, the strong arms enveloped her.
It was the last thing she felt, before everything went black.
Breathe… She couldn't breathe.
Trinity tried to concentrate and restart her aching body. It usually worked out pretty well inside the training simulations. Suddenly, she remembered where she was. This wasn't a training simulation. She was in the Matrix.
Something was pinning her body to the ground. Something heavy.
She tried to open her eyes and locate the source of her misery.
Not something, but someone.
She inhaled sharply, despite the Agent's weight on top of her. Her eyes narrowed. He wasn't moving, but he wasn't dead either. Knocked out? Hibernating? His face was buried in her neck as he was breathing – breathing? – softly down her skin. His body was warm while his heartbeat – heartbeat? – was steady.
Trinity tried to shift beneath him. "Smith?" she croaked. Managing to free one of her aching arms, she lightly traced her shaking finger along his cheek. His skin felt surprisingly warm. Surprisingly human. He even smelled human, with a trace of faint sun-kiss. Was it in his programming, she briefly wondered.
A small, almost inaudible sigh, a vibration, right next to her ear. She felt his breath caressing her skin. Momentary, she shivered.
"Dammit" he murmured, in an unsteady voice. Then, movement. Slowly, he lifted his head, until their noses were almost touching. His sunglasses were knocked off and his earpiece hung loosely around his collar. His impossibly ice blue eyes – she saw them for the first time – tried to focus, until they found hers.
Deep growl formed in his chest and slowly escaped his lips "Fuck…"
"Oh" Trinity's eyes widened at this uncharacteristic display of his vocabulary. "Smith, you're okay?"
He frowned. "If I was okay, Miss Edwards, wouldn't I have gotten up already? As you can observe, I am still here, on top of you, apparently paralyzed from my neck down. So no, Miss Edwards, I'm not fucking okay."
She bit her lip and then carefully cupped his cheek. "What happened?"
He sneered at her touch, but didn't recoil. "A pulse, I presume. The shockwave was quite strong. Judged by the power of it, none of your people could have created such blast. Also, as you already can see, something prevented me to bilocate."
"I believe so. However, it looks like the work of an exile. Machine work. Merovingian perhaps."
"An exiled program, very dangerous. We've been chasing him for ages."
"You're crushing me."
And he was. She tried to free her other arm, so she could elegantly roll the Agent off her body. She felt small splinters and shards underneath her, bruising her.
"Miss Edwards, what are you attempting to do?" he quirked an eyebrow.
"I am trying to…" push "…free myself…" another push "oh dammit!" The splinters were digging in her back and demanded her attention. She couldn't afford that luxury and once again tried to roll the dead weight of the Agent off her body. Another push.
His lower body nested between her legs, and she briefly wondered if the Agent was indeed anatomically correct. She was almost sure of it… She quickly brushed that thought off, blaming it on her aftershock and pushed once more. And again. Finally, she rolled his body on his side and released herself from him.
Her entire body ached and she let it rest on the ground, leaning her head against the debris. She closed he eyes and took a long deep breath.
The Agent, still not in control if his artificial limbs, was left on the ground next to her, pathetic and motionless, his eyes boring into her skull.
"I know that your hand is itching to get your gun" she said, eyes still closed. "I also know that you speculate when I will be placing a bullet between your eyes" she turned her head and opened her eyes. "I won't."
"Why not taking an opportunity while it is presented, Miss Edwards?"
She laughed. "I am sure that we will kill each other one day, Smith. But it won't be today."
She rose up on her elbow, scanning his long body, then their surroundings. The once peaceful park was filled with broken tress, benches, bricks and debris. Chaos. The sound of approaching sirens was emerging fast. She needed to get away. She needed to get back.
She couldn't leave him there.
With bleeding, shaking hands, she helped herself up on her feet. She swayed, yet remained rooted. Looking down at the powerful Agent, she tilted her head. "How can I help, Smith?"
"Help you. How can I do it?"
"I don't need your…"
"Shut up" she cut him off. "You colleagues will be here any minute. I am pretty damn sure that they won't be pleased to find you in this state. Who knows, maybe they'll think that you are malfunctioning. You will then be heading straight for deletion, do you realize that? Now, Smith. How the fuck do I help you?"
"I…" he hesitated. She was right. "My earpiece. Plug it back in."
She crouched down and her hand hovered above his face. The hand shook slightly, as she picked up his earpiece and examined it between her fingers.
"Do hurry up, Miss Edwards."
Carefully, she brought his earpiece to his ear and fastened it. The Agent winced a bit while her hand made contact with his skin. As the earpiece was replaced, his eyes went blank.
"Smith?" she was starting to get used to his name.
The Agent remained unmoving.
"Shit" she bit her lip. Frantically, she abandoned her fear of the Agent and shook him. He was still unmoving.
"Shit and fuck and bloody hell" she cursed under her breath, shaking him once again, this time more violently. "Come on Smith…" The sound of police sirens was approaching fast.
"My my, Miss Edwards, you rich vocabulary never ceases to amaze me" the Agent slowly opened his eyes and stared up at her. She froze, holding his shoulders.
Smith reached up to touch her right hand, his eyes never leaving hers. "I'm okay" he smiled.
A small chill ran down her spine, not sure whether it was because of his smile or the fact that his fingers lightly caressed the back of her hand. With one fluent movement, the Agent was back on his feet. Trinity stood up, bracing herself.
"I can manage from here, Miss Edwards. You need to go. Now."
"But Smith, the record…"
"The Agents are almost here. You need to return to Zion. They will be looking for you."
Yet, Smith stepped closer to her, invading her personal space. His unnaturally blue eyes locked on her stormy ones. With a rapid movement, he captured her right hand with both of his and brought her hand to his lips. Her eyes widened.
His gaze never left hers, as his lips lightly touched her knuckles. Before she could react, he spoke again.
"Thank you. For not leaving me" he gently released her hand. "Now go. Your exit is three blocks from here."
"Next time, Miss Edwards, I won't hesitate to kill you."
The Agent smiled again, an enigmatic Cheshire Cat smile spread across his features.
She didn't care about his last words. She didn't care about the threat. All she heard was next time. There will be a next time. She slightly rubbed the back of her hand, where his lips briefly rested on her skin.
After a moment, Trinity nodded. The police and other Agents were almost there. Gathering all her strength, she turned around and darted across the damaged park. Trinity ran, as fast as she could, as fast as her body allowed her.
As she reached her exit, she calmed herself, preparing to leave the Matrix. His eyes, his impossibly blue, vivid, human eyes was the last thing she could remember, before the Matrix dissolved into a cold reality of Nebuchadnezzar.