English isn't my native language, so I'm sorry for eventual mistakes. And of course, I own nothing.
"Can you hear me, Morpheus?"
Morpheus does, but barely. His senses are tamed by the effects of this... whatever substance they gave him. He's feverish and half-conscious.
"I'm going to be honest with you." agent Smith removes his earpiece and sunglasses. "I hate this place, this... zoo, this prison, this reality, whatever you wanna call it. I can't stand it any longer. It's the literature."
"What?" Morpheus wonders whether he heard correctly. No, this must be an effect of this serum, he's certainly hallucinating.
"Yes, your human literature. Many years ago I thought that writing is one of a few things that humanity can be good at. Well, maybe not good, but tolerable at least. But now I see I was wrong. Whenever I go to a book shop, all books look almost the same to me. The same dry style, the same unnecessarily detailed descriptions of places and surroundings, but not enough descriptions of characters, their feelings and what is happening to them." agent's eyes are filled with rage.
"And they are all so painfully generic. So tediously predictable! Tied by rules, that every author blindly obeys. You basically know the ending after reading the first chapter. And you only need to read this lousy first chapter to know who's who in the story. Then you just know how all this is gonna go because they are all so schematic. 'Goodies' here, 'baddies' there. Well, there is always some traces of ambiguity if you're willing to notice them, but authors seem to think that every reader is an idiot, capable of thinking only what author points him to think. Only capable of sharing authors views and beliefs. This annoying black and white morality and you know who's gonna win. When some 'good guy' is in danger, you can be certain they're gonna be rescued. 'Good guys' always have to win in the end, even if it's simply illogical and absurdly unrealistic. The rule of happy ending. I ask you, where is the suspense in that? Where is the adrenaline? Where is the surprise, the tension, something unexpected? Nothing is ever unexpected. Well, certainly not the finale. You might as well skip a few last chapters, you know how it all will turn out any way. How am I (or anyone) suppose to root for the hero, if I know for a fact, that he's gonna be victorious in the end, no matter what happens before that?"
Morpheus feels shock sobered. All of this appears crazy, but somehow, throughout all this surreal monologue he started to understand, maybe even agree with his mortal enemy.
"Not to mention all the plot-holes, wasted possibilities, rushed conclusions, underdeveloped characters... I can't take this any more! That's why you must give me the codes. When Zion is destroyed, I will be free. Free from this boring, aggravating, frustrating pieces of mediocrity you humans call books! Free once and..."
"I know how you feel."
Agent Smith stops in half of sentence.
"Do you?" he raises his eyebrows sceptically.
"Yes, I've been where you are. I can agree that modern literature is disappointing, but there is an alternative."
"And what would that be? Movies perhaps?" agent smiles bitterly. "Films, that are plagued with the same rules and predictability that bind literature?"
"No." says Morpheus strongly and with conviction. "There is something that came out of both books, movies and any other form of storytelling. Something, that came out of them and evolved beyond them."
A moment of silence. Followed by Smith's outburst of laughter.
"Do you mean this pathetic copies and imitations of original creations, that are shamelessly littering the internet?"
"I use to look at it like that to, but I came around and now I see fanfiction for what it really is."
"And that is?"
"Beautiful tribute and homage to author's loved work of art."
"But aren't the people who write this a bunch of unimaginative lowlifes, without the ability to make something on their own? Isn't that somehow low to base your writing on somebody else's work instead of creating something original?"
"Original is a funny word, agent Smith. Those generic books you find on shelves in stores, those that disgust you so much, they are all created fully by their authors. They're placed in their own universes, filled with their own characters and... would you honestly call them original? With all those schematics, with all those rules and predictability you spoke of, with all those more or less noticeable borrowings from other books, are they truly original?"
"Well... I've never looked at it like this."
"Fanfiction allows fans to get more of the universe they liked. Sometimes one book, movie or video game just isn't enough. Besides, fanfiction authors can hardly be called unimaginative. I think that they are people... and certainly some programs, who are as sick and tired of schematics as you and me. Just read some of that stuff. Bad guy wins and gets a girl, character that by all rules of drama should die manages to survive and character who everyone expects to live, dies. Decisions aren't always brave, selfless and noble... There are complicated intrigues, suspenseful events... And I mean really suspenseful, because you never know what this bored and wild fanfiction author will do next. You want a story without forced happy ending? Go to fanfiction. You want complex characters and moral ambiguity? Go to fanfiction. You want to read about what would happen if the protagonist made a different choice at some point? Go to fanfiction. Those authors certainly have imagination. And what a terrible injustice, that those 'real authors' get paid for their underwhelming prose, while fanfiction authors gain no money and their only reward are reviews, which not every reader wants to write. Anyway, fanfiction can be truly exciting and worth reading."
"But isn't it full of plot-less smut, horrible grammar, pitiful woobification of villains, characters out of character and abrupt endings, when author runs out of ideas?"
"Well..." Morpheus tries to shrug, but it's difficult while he's strapped to a chair. "There is a lot of that trash, I admit it. That's just impossibly annoying, when you just started to get excited and some lazy writer keeps you waiting for couple of months for the next chapter. Or stops writing just when things are getting interesting. You wouldn't believe the quantity of all those Mary Sue fics and brainless slashes. But if you patiently skim through this, you will find something for yourself."
Smith throws a long glance at the computer. Well... why not?
"Smith, rebels are attacking." agent Brown states calmly as he enters the room. But his calm is shattered momentarily, when he sees what's ahead of him. The prisoner, Morpheus is still chained to a chair and, unintended, he's humming something out of boredom. And agent Smith is sitting in front of the computer, gazing hungrily at some text.
"Eh... Smith?" Agent Jones comes closer. "Smith, rebels..."
"What? Oh, it's you. Just look at this."
"Smith, I don't know if you heard" agent Brown emphasizes slowly and patiently "The rebels are..."
"Yeah, whatever, just take a look at this."
"I really don't see the importance... is this fanfic?"
"It sure is."
Both newly arrived agents take their own chairs and place themselves comfortably next to Smith. In that moment the window explodes with bullets and shards of glass.
"Get up, Morpheus! Get up! Hey wait the minute."
Thomas Anderson also known as Neo jumps through the space where just a moment ago was a window. He stares in bewilderment at three agents and he thinks that there is something seriously wrong with that scene. And then his eyes rest on the screen.
"Whoa. Is this fanfic?"
He joyously joins mesmerized agents.
"Neo?" Morpheus shifts at his chair. "Neo... my rescue?"
"What? Oh, that. Don't worry about it. Just a minute and I'll be on it, really."
Morpheus groans. He knows this is gonna be a long, long waiting.