The Matrix Linked: A Matrix Fanfiction Story

Chapter 20:

Presently ironic, within a grayish purple Zion mansion's lounge…

Amongst a 1990's styled half oval wall worth of grayish black television sets are three sets of reddish orange couches in a half oval shape and twelve key Zion people sitting on them. All twelve of them of varying age and gender are in light blue circuit board patterned cloaks, facing the Zion security footage and Zion intelligence reports on the hexadecimal numbered wall of television sets in front of them. Across what's left of Zion, reserve ground troops are gearing for war against the Code with emergency Zion rifles.

In the lounge, a key figure in a yellow circuit patterned cloak sighs hard, "White Hat Intelligence confirms it."

A second one with a matching cloak mutters skeptically, "well Zion Council shithead, if you had more intelligence…!"

A third Zion councilor with white circuit patterns instead of yellow expresses, "then we would have just linked the Icarus's crew and their Mad Hatter hats ourselves to their charge before it got this fricking bad. But they had the damn authority… No: The Zion military benefit of self examination rights!" The second Zion councilor is about to charge at the third Zion councilor, but harsh whispers from a fourth Zion councilor convinces the second Zion councilor to sit back down instead.

Several more harsh whispers come from other Zion council members among themselves. A fifth Zion Council member with white circuit patterns calls out, "all right! Either way, we Hacktivists and White Hats have somehow brought this Code hell upon us. That we can all agree on. But what good is any verdict…if none of us are alive to help carry it out?"

Several agreements echo across the lounge.

The third Zion Council member though presses sharply, "and only a Machine sympathizer would use survival threats as a means of negotiation."

This leads to heated arguing within the Zion Council, but the voice of a sixth Zion Council member cloaked with yellow circuit patterns rises above it all. The voice shouts, "enough! Forgive me if I goddamn us all, but since when have we let White Hats make the final decision for us Hacktivists?" Most if not all of the councilors somewhat uneasily agree, but the third Zion Council member is one of the few that doesn't.

The fourth Zion Council member voices, "here, here!"

The first Zion government figure adds, "then it's time for the Point Vote to decide." All six Hacktivist councilors in yellow circuit patterned cloaks press one of three chest plate positioned buttons on their cloaks. Their light blue circuit board patterns change to traffic light colors in electronic responses. Four of the circuit board patterns turn green, one turns red, and one turns yellow.

The sixth Zion government figure concludes, "Zion military self examination rights are won again."

The fourth Zion government figure sighs hard, "a win for Zion…or a win for the Matrix?"

The second Zion government official figures, "let's not go there: At least not yet. We should open emergency Jack channel: Get the Nebuchadnezzar on the line."

On the Nebuchadnezzar…

Neo, Trinity, Chavez, and Tara have with help from the Heaven pocket matrix network recently returned to physicality. After informing Chavez that a Zion ship called the Logos is physically rescuing Glenda and Brando from the Matrix as he speaks, Morpheus has given the directional controls to Tara. Chavez has somewhat sadly retreated to his bunker, with not much to do but mourn for Destiny and hope for Glenda and Brando to be all right. Now Morpheus is talking to Neo and Trinity at the hovercraft's center. He mutters, "a living code bomb? A living code bomb, Neo?!"

Trinity points out, "I was there too, you know."

Morpheus sighs hard, "nothing…about the Matrix is more than a shitload of programming messing with human nature. And not a damn…!"

Neo sighs hard, "will you at least let me finish before damning us again?!" Naimah, Tara, and Herold turn to them nervously before Trinity glares at them in a non-verbal sign to stay out of it. Neo lowly says, "I'm sorry. That was…"

Morpheus partially assures, "you don't have to: You're right about that. If I was a modern Odysseus trying to rescue my wife from Matrix Hell that used to be Heaven…I would've challenged the crew to respect that too."

Trinity starts to say, "sounds like…"

Naimah reports, "I'm receiving a message from emergency Jack channel: It's the Zion Council."

Morpheus mutters to himself, "about time." He in mostly held back nervousness comes to the Jack controls to get a closer look.

Trinity sighs a bit, "put it through."

The second Zion government official voices off over comlink signals temporarily interlinked with Jack controls, "Will…Bax…iam…ley." Naimah is in sync correcting the visual version of the message on the Jack controls' screen.

Naimah questions somewhat unaware, "William Baxley? Who…?"

Before Morpheus can answer, Tara announces, "three legless Sentinels! Closing in on us." Two Sentinels are coming to the left and right of the Nebuchadnezzar, while another is coming right out of a tube opening to the far left and firing at the Nebuchadnezzar.

Herold chuckles a bit, "not for long." The Nebuchadnezzar dives sharply to avoid the laser that nearly hit it, letting it instead blow up a few Sentinel tentacles that nearly grabbed the Nebuchadnezzar.

Morpheus sighs hard, "it's…complicated. Right now, you should…"

Naimah points out skeptically, "more so than a living code bomb?!" The Nebuchadnezzar fires back at the third Sentinel at a good enough angle to make it explode in half. Its Machine tentacles and head fall deeper into the water like a miscounted oil barrel, spewing oil on its way down. At the same time, the Nebuchadnezzar hovers swiftly into the Machine oil cloud to try to lose the two other Sentinels behind it.

Herold reflects with a slight chuckle, "Tank…wherever you are…I hope you're seeing this."

Neo reasons with partial assurance for Naimah and Morpheus, "war is always complicated: For all of us." Naimah solemnly nods.

She sighs hard as she gathers her Operator tools away from the Jack controls, "no shit." Morpheus heads for the cockpit. The Nebuchadnezzar briefly loses the first two Sentinels by diving further in a partially spiraling C shape path, but four more Sentinels coming up like jellyfish alert the first two to join them.

Trinity urges, "Morpheus, what is our heading?"

Morpheus figures as he sees the incoming Sentinels, "right now, any would…!" The Nebuchadnezzar barely speeds past them into a curving upward tube, but the first two Sentinels manage to hit with their lasers one of the Nebuchadnezzar's own two lasers. At the same time, the Nebuchadnezzar hits the two center Sentinels now right behind it with its rotating backward lasers to make Sentinels four through seven explode.

Herold simultaneously shouts, "Master Control Program, you're a…!" The laser overload makes some of the circuitry in front of him explode, knocking him hard against the floor coughing dark red liquid.

Tara shouts, "Herold!" The other two Sentinels have fallen back, too far away now to pick up the Nebuchadnezzar on sensors. No other Sentinels are pursing either. The Nebuchadnezzar's hover engines and lighting systems though fluctuate at the same time of the laser overload, leading it in built up momentum to slide dangerously on a N shaped part of tubing.

Morpheus urges, "given the circumstances, I'll treat him. You just do what you can to keep the Nebuchadnezzar together!" He quickly borrows Naimah's medical equipment while Neo heads for the engine room.

Trinity partially assures a shaken Tara, "you two get Herold on a medical bed! I'm saving the rest of our asses." Tara and Neo carry Herold to the medical bed. Morpheus stabilizes Herold's vital signs with help from hormone drops and a dark red vacuum tube like neural reconstructor. Trinity in the last second gets the fluctuating Nebuchadnezzar's systems to hover into a back and forth side pattern in the tubing.

Morpheus assures with a brief chuckle, "he'll be all right: Goddamn shithead. He just needs to rest for twenty."

With a brief chuckle from Neo and Tara, Tara sighs, "good…goddamn shithead." With help from Naimah in the engine room, the Nebuchadnezzar's systems stop fluctuating.

Naimah reports, "the Nebuchadnezzar's good for a half hour…but I can use all the spare circuits to get most things fully functioning again."

Morpheus reflects, "after two close calls, most is best. Get started."

Naimah adds, "yes, sir."

Neo suggests, "except for some Sentinel parts we can use."

Tara figures, "nice."

Morpheus reasons, "from the debris. Good. At the very least, we get another laser."

Trinity reports from sensor readings, "confirmed. At least six scattered Machine parts, back the way we came."

Tara wonders, "mind if I sit this one out?"

Morpheus decides, "I already had Trinity and Neo in mind for Machine salvage duty. Just don't get too comfortable."

Tara chuckles a little as she heads for her bunker, "joy killer."

As Trinity starts suiting up in scuba gear, Neo realizes lowly, "come to think of it, you're looking as if you saw a hell of a ghost. Does that message mean…?!" Morpheus motions Neo away from the medical bed before they move there.

Morpheus points out lowly, "I don't fricking know how to tell the rest of the crew myself…but you sure as hell would. Do you know what happened on September 15th 1963?"

Neo sighs hard, "the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. After breaking away from the Matrix, I thought many events were just part of Matrix made propaganda. Clearly though…"

Morpheus highlights, "you'd be surprised how much history is still intact in the Matrix: Up to a certain point. That's part of what makes it very hard to break away."

Neo pieces together, "then it's true. But if the Code's attacks stopped, then it wouldn't be on emergency..."

Morpheus summarizes, "exactly. In the steps of the attorney general William Baxley who brought justice to that bombing while stronger equal rights for race were beginning to be recognized, the Zion Council wants all General class crews including us to gather our own forces together for reinforcements against the Matrix: Both in justice and in law. But how us, Zion law, and a bombing figures into this…I can't begin to imagine."

Neo concludes lowly, "I sure don't want to imagine."

Trinity checks, "ready?"

Neo figures solemnly, "as I'll ever be." He goes to put on scuba gear.

Trinity in scuba gear wonders near the airlock, "what the hell is…?"

Morpheus partially assures, "physically or in spirit, the One will bring Heaven to our current Hell."

A few minutes later…

As Neo leaves with Trinity in scuba gear to salvage Machine parts, his senses suddenly go to hell. Rapid alternation between memory echoes of the Layer, the 2.0 Matrix, the 1.0 Matrix, what seems to be a Matrix made nursery grid for Matrix developed baby embryos from sperm and egg banks, the Code attack that led to Tank's death, and the most recent Sentinel attack make Neo scream in incomprehensible pain.

And as the out of nowhere chaos seems to slowly but surely fade away, Neo sees himself slightly getting up in a splitting opening steam surrounded Zion canister with Zion doctors around him.

Before he can react with all of the doctors' images fluctuating between Matrix code avatar make up and actually human, one of them greets in echoing resounding enhanced creepiness, "welcome back…Neo."

The End of the Intermission…Or The Intermission's Beginning?

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