Sunday, January 30, 2011

Isaiah's Love Sample #3

  It was what he had feared, he had done what he had been thinking about and the worst possible outcome had happened, Isaiah was clearly freaked out about the whole situation.  Caleb wished he could take back everything, Isaiah had enough troubles with people at their school and Caleb felt horrible for adding to them.  He had to explain himself to him and hoped that Isaiah would forgive him, the last thing he wanted him to think was that he was playing with him.  Caleb stood up and walked to the door but then heard more footsteps thinking it was probably Jonathan he decided to wait for Isaiah to come back up.  He flicked the light off to try and avoid drawing Jonathan’s attention to the room.

A few minutes earlier Jonathan had just woken up from a deep sleep, already feeling the effects of the hang over he was going to have tomorrow.  He was extremely thirsty for a glass of water his mouth feeling like he had been eating feathers since he went to sleep, as a result of the alcohol.  He sat up slowly dizzy at first, he sat his feet on the ground and looked back at Casey who was fast asleep.  They had been sleeping in a spooning position.  Cuddling wasn’t something Jonathan did very often, he didn’t like to really to get to close to anyone, particularly the girls he slept with.  He didn’t feel as though he made a qualified boyfriend and this was why he was single, he didn’t have the time or the care to put in any effort toward a relationship, being tied down wasn’t something he ever thought would be him.  Casey for some reason he couldn’t figure out, was different.  He stood up and put on his boxers that sat on the floor by the bed and adjusted himself, he walked out of the guest room just in time to see Caleb’s light shut off. 

            Isaiah started down the stairs slowly, the large house was dark and quiet, it was a little creepy at night.  As he walked down the stairs it seemed like every other step made a bit of a creaking noise, he didn’t know why but it made him nervous he didn’t want to wake anyone up even though he knew the only other people in the house were Casey and Jonathan.  He made it to the bottom of the staircase and looked around, the moon shone in from all the windows it was bright enough for him to see most of the room.  The silhouettes of the large television and stereo was prominent, the few tables that were in the living room the moonlight illuminated and twinkled off of several of the left behind bottles from the nights events.  He started to walk through the living room careful not to bump into anything and made his way into the kitchen.  He stepped through and the kitchen was equally illuminated by the moonlight, the counters were littered with bottles that were reflecting the moonlight in different directions leaving patterns on the walls.  It would almost be an interesting sight if Isaiah hadn’t been so tense.  He walked in farther and over to the cupboard, opening it up he reached in and pulled out a glass.  He looked out through the kitchen window at the pool, the water moving gently in the wind with the moonlight bouncing off of it was somewhat calming to stare at.  Isaiah looked down at the glass in his hand and suddenly remembered what he was there for.  Still looking at the glass he turned and took a step toward the fridge he looked up to see where he was going, to see Jonathan standing in the doorway.  Startled, Isaiah dropped the glass on the floor shattering it.  The noise of the shattered glass seemed to echo through the quiet house.  Isaiah let out a quiet breath in fright but quickly regained his composure trying not to show anything Jonathan could use against him. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Matrix Fanfiction Chapter 20: The Final Phase

Chapter 20: The Final Phase

Colin woke up in his cot to Parker standing over him apparently starring at him. 

“Ah!” he jumped startled.  “What the hell are you doing?”  Colin sat up and looked at Parker. 

“Did you sleep well?” asked Parker. 

“Well yeah, did you?” 

“I slept just great thanks.  Now get the hell up and let’s get your upload finished, so the Captain doesn’t freak out at me today ok.”  Parker threw Colin’s clothing at him and left the room.  Colin got up out of bed and quickly got dressed, he finished and left the room.  He headed to the broadcast zone where he assumed Parker would be waiting for him.  He walked in and sure enough Parker was sitting at his station waiting to hook him in. 

“I assume I just take a seat, huh?” said Colin. 

“Yeah.”  Parker got up and walked over to one of the terminals.  Colin followed him and he hooked him in.  Parker sat back down at his computer and picked up another disk.  “Ok so, since yesterday we did all the combat stuff, now I’m gonna give you your operations protocols.”  He stuck the disk in the computer and began to type. 

Colin felt the information begin to flow into him through the jack.  He knew so much now, it was really strange how the learning process worked here in the real world.  Knowledge was just a click of a button away, it was a lot better than sitting in school for hours on end that’s for sure. 

I had just woke up and gone to the navigation deck Colin’s training had been started again for the day and I was sitting in the navigation center with Isaiah. 

“How did you sleep?” he asked. 

“I slept well, how about you?”  Isaiah shrugged his shoulders. 

“I can’t complain.” 

I looked at Isaiah and half began, for some reason, to wonder if he would have been happier in the real world or if I should have just left him in the matrix.  Isaiah looked at me and smiled. 

“I’m glad you freed me, you know that right?” he said. 

“Now that was timing. . . I was just starting to think about that actually.” 

“I know, I heard you somehow.” 

Isaiah looked at me for a second and Tarra walked in. 

“Good morning you two.” 

“Morning,” we both replied. 

“Dan is on his way up I assume, his pilot shift is about to start.  That and there is a group of sentinels heading toward us, I don’t think they have spotted us yet,” said Isaiah. 

“He’s on his way up, he is just getting dressed.”  Tarra took a seat at one of signal terminals where we monitored the matrix net activity. 

Dan walked in and stood next to Tarra waiting for Isaiah to move from the chair.  Isaiah stood up and moved to the holographic scanner.  Dan sat down and got the ship airborne. 

“Dan I’ve laid a course into the computer for you to follow, make variations if you think you need to,” I said. 

“Aye Captain.”   I got up from my seat, while Colin was in training, Parker would be busy so I went to monitor the operators station. 

I walked into the downstairs and Colin and Parker were just getting done. 

“Man I need to go lay down, I feel really dizzy all of a sudden,” said Colin as he sat up. 

“Yeah that’s a good idea you have taken in a lot of information in the last two days, you need to rest your mind,” explained Parker.  Colin got up and nodded to Parker and walked out of the room. 

“Good morning Captain.”  I nodded to him as I sat in the operator’s chair. 

“I think its time we check in on the media, see if anyone has made any big appearances lately.” 

The code screen activated and I was looking through the green at the local newspapers and news broadcasts.  Parker stood beside me with his arms crossed and gazed into the code. 

“Looks like the usual paper stars eh?” he said. 

“Yup, Morpheus, Niobe, Soren, the best of the best.  I say we need to make an appearance soon.”  I glanced through the missing column at the different people, both Colin and Isaiah were mentioned.  There was soon to be some action.  Just then the proximity alarm sounded.  I put on my headset and talked to the navigation room.

 “How many is there Isaiah?” I asked. 

“There is one loner and another group closing in.  You better come up here Captain.”  Isaiah spoke through the headset.  I headed back up to the navigation deck, I walked in and we were already landed Colin had met me on the way. 

“Brandan what’s going on?” 

“Shh,” Tarra shushed him. 

“That’s what is called a sentinel.  They are the machines hunters and they only have one purpose,” I paused and looked at him, “Search and destroy.  They are nothing but brutal killing machines.  Isaiah charge the E.M.P.”  Colin looked at me strangely. 

“What’s an E.M.P.”  The lights on the ship went out and all was silent.  Tarra leaned over to Colin and started to whisper to him. 

“Electro magnetic pulse, it’s our only weapon against the machines that is guaranteed to knock’em out in one hit.  It knocks out there power supply, damaging electrical systems, that’s why we have to kill the power in the ship every time we use it,” she explained. 

“Shh,” I shushed the both of them and walked closer to the window out of the ship looking for more of them. 

“We have to wait for all of them to get in range, when will they all be in range Isaiah.”  Isaiah looked at the small holographic scanner in his lap. 

“Maybe a minute, tops.”  Just then we heard as the sentinels began to cling to the hull of the ship. 

“Oh shit!” yelled Colin, startled. 

“Its ok,” said Dan, “Just try to stay quiet.”  We heard several more of them cling to the hull of the ship and use their lasers to cut through the hull. 

“Hang on, steady, steady as she goes guys. . . Isaiah is that all of them.”  Isaiah shook his head no. 

“There is still two more coming.”  We heard another cling to the hull and the light on the E.M.P. switch was fully lit. 

“One more, come on baby.”  

“We’ve got a breach Captain,” said Parker through my headset.  One more clung to the hall and I flicked the switch releasing the E.M.P. and shorting out the sentinels.  As the E.M.P. cleared the sentinels one by one fell from the ship and the lights began to come back on. 

“Parker where was the breach at?” 

“It was in the weaponry compartment.” 

“Ok, I’ll send Dan to help you meet him there and get rid of that thing and fix the hull.  I’m going to take care of the last phase of Colin’s training.” 

“Confirmed.”  Dan got up and went to meet Parker and Tarra took his place. 

“Isaiah, Colin come with me please.  Tarra you keep watch ok.” 

“Alright Captain.” 

Isaiah and Colin followed me downstairs to the broadcast zone. 

“Isaiah I want you to take the operators station,” I ordered.  Isaiah sat down and put on the headset. 

“Ok Brandan lets get going.”  Colin got into one of the chairs and I loaded him in.  I sat in one of the chairs and Isaiah came over and started to hook me up. 

“Load the jumping program then we will do the agent program, ok?”  Isaiah nodded and hit the load button. 

I opened my eyes and we were standing in the construct program, our surroundings quickly changed to that of the building tops. 

“Ok Colin as I had told you before, the matrix is a system built on another system.  This system is not unlike a computer program, thus the rules can be bent, or even broken.”  I walked to the edge of the building and looked over, Colin did the same. 

“Pretty high up huh?” 

“Damn straight.”  Colin looked to the next building over. 

“Being inside the matrix and being able to bend the rules does that mean we can do a lot of crazy shit.”  I looked at him with my eyebrows perked. 

“I don’t know you tell me.” 

“Hmm.”  Colin had a thinkers look on his face as he glared across the sky at the next building.  “I bet you I can jump to that building over there.”  I shrugged my shoulders.  Colin suddenly leaped into the air and seemingly flew across the sky, landing on the next building.  “HAHA I’m unstoppable in this place,” yelled Colin excitedly from the next building.  I quickly and easily joined him on the building. 

“Congratulations, not everyone makes that first jump.  But now here we go.”  The surroundings change back to the construct program and then to a crowded city street near a fountain. 

I began to walk. 

“There is some small things I wish to go over with you.”  He followed me. 

“All the people you see inside the matrix, doctors, teachers, lawyers, fast food workers, these are the minds of the very people we are trying to save.  But one thing you must remember is that the human mind will have such a hard time letting go of this false reality that it will do anything to keep it.  The fact is that all these people are our enemies as long as they are connected to the matrix.”  A young blonde women walks by in a provocative dress and Colin whips his head around at her, I stopped walking. 

“Colin were you listening to me or were you looking at the blonde women?” 

“Oh a sorry Brandan, what was that last part again.  I kinda drifted off there. . .” 

“Look again.”  Colin turned his head around and was starring down the barrel of an agents gun, he ducked and the program froze. 

“I thought we were in the matrix.”  I shook my head. 

“No. This is an agent they are sentinel programs that can move in and out of any software still connected to the matrix.  They are everything they are everywhere and they can be anyone.  Inside the matrix they are the keepers of the gate, almost every rebel that has met an agent and fought has died. This is one of our most important training sessions.  It’s purpose is to teach you one thing.  If you are not one of us then you are one of them, do not be fooled.”  Colin nodded his head in acknowledgment.  We loaded back into the construct program. 

“Hey can I ask you something before we go back out.”  I turned to look at him. 

“Of course.” 

“How do you look so damn cool?  Where did you get those cloths?”  I smiled at him and pushed a button on the remote for the construct program.  Suddenly we’re standing in a clothing aisle that stretched for miles. 

“Welcome to the rebel clothing store.  Pick out whatever you want whatever you need.” 

“Cool!”  Colin ran down the aisle and looked at almost every article of clothing on the way down.  He picked out his clothing. “Hey so how do I avoid doing this all the time.” 

“When you load up picture yourself exactly as you want to look in the matrix and the computer will save it for you if you want it to.”  Colin nodded.  “Ok Isaiah pull us out he is done.” 

Matrix Fanfiction Chapter 19: Departure

Chapter 19: Departure

I opened my eyes the next day and looked at the clock, it was almost 10:30 am.  I arose out of bed and Isaiah had already gotten up to go work on the ship.  I got dressed, walked out of my room and went to the dock to help them finish getting the last things ready on the ship.  I stepped on board and seen Parker walking with a checklist in and around the other technicians. 

“All those extra ammo crates,” he called out. 

“Check!” called out a Technician. 

“Ten extra power cells!”  One of the other technicians was rooting through boxes. 

“Check, we got all ten.” 

“Six months supply of food!” 

“You got it right here.”  One of them held up a bag of the mix we used to make food. 

“Spare water supply!” 

“Good to go sir.” 

“Extra E.M.P. coils just in case we blow one?” 

“We got it!” 

“Extra medical supplies including muscle restructuring tools and equipment.” 

“You’ve got it all sir, the ship is ready for launch.”  Parker checked his list one last time and lowered it to his side. 

“Good work guys we’re good to go.”  The technicians began to file out of the ship in small groups taking all their equipment with them. 

I walked up next to Parker and took the list from him, I looked the list over. 

“Everything’s done already?”  I said surprised. 

“Yeah we’ve been here since 7:30 this morning,” said Parker, he turned to look at me. 

“Great work Parker, that’s what you’re known for.  Where are the others?” 

“They’re through out the ship checking on the computers.” 

“Ok thanks.”  I passed him back the checklist and walked into the ship, I made my way to the ships Navigation Center, Dan was there looking over the navigation computer and Colin was just sitting in one of the back chairs he appeared to be in deep thought.  “How’s everything going Dan?” I asked. 

“I’m just doing the last of the system checks and then we will be ready to go.  Should take me about twenty minutes.” 

“Good work Dan.  So Colin, how did you sleep?”  I asked.  Colin snapped out of his state of deep thought and looked at me strangely. 

“Not really, sleep isn’t the same in the real world, the dreams are so unpredictable,” he explained. 

“Yeah that’s something you’ll get used to though don’t worry about it.  You’ll sleep well tonight, Parker is going to train you once we’re one our way.”  Colin nodded his head. 

“Sounds cool.”  I walked to the holographic panel and looked it over making sure it was in decent shape.  Realizing that was in order I went to the broadcasting zone. 

I walked down the steps to the broadcasting zone and Tarra and Isaiah were checking on each broadcasting terminal. 

“Hey Brandan, did you sleep well?” asked Tarra. 

“Yes great thanks for asking.  How are things here coming along?”  Isaiah stood up and looked at me with a small amount of oil on his face. 

“We’re just about done checking the terminals for bugs captain, maybe another hour or so,” said Isaiah. 
“Wow an hour, Dan said he will be done in twenty minutes or so, anyway you guys can be done quicker?” 

“Maybe if you and Parker helped us we might be able to get it done quicker,” said Tarra. 

“Ok we can help then.”  I put on a headset and talked to Parker. 

“Hey Parker, you wanna come give us a hand with broadcast equipment.  I’d like to get this show on the road as soon as possible.” 

“OK Captain I’ll be right up,” Parker answered me through the headset.  The three of us started to work while we waited for Parker to join us. 

“How many have you guys got done Tarra?”  I asked as I got down beside one of the machines. 

“Well, out of the eight that we have here, Isaiah and I have worked on five since this morning.” 

“You guys are doing well then.” 

Tarra, Isaiah, Parker and I worked on the last three terminals then Parker checked the operator’s terminal and we were ready to go. 

“All right Dan, fire up the engines and lets get this show on the road,” I said into my headset.  Isaiah, Tarra and I went to the main deck as the ships engines activated and the ship began to rumble.  I sat in the navigation chair next to Dan, Isaiah took his station at Holographic and Tarra sat next to Colin behind Dan. 

“Say goodbye to Zion everyone, it’s gonna be awhile before we see her again,” I said as I watched the dock through the window of the ship.  The ship turned to face the exit to the dock and the gate slowly opened. 

“Captain what are our orders anyway?” asked Tarra. 

“When we get a full crew compliment, we are to contact the Logos and talk to Captain Niobe, she will deliver our orders from there.  As for right now. . .”  I was interrupted by a com signal. 

“Who could that be?” asked Isaiah.  I opened the communication button and Captain Thadeus’ voice came over the headsets. 

“Good luck Captain Brandan to you and your crew, the crew of the Osiris and I wish you luck on your journey and we will see you again in a few months,” he said. 

“Thank you Thadeus, good luck. . .  Anyhow as I was saying, as for now we have to get Colin trained,” Colin lifted his head at the mention of his name, “and we have to figure out how we are going to free Tabatha.” 

“She’ll be fun to have around,” said Isaiah.

The ship had just cleared the gates and we were well on our way again.  I looked at Colin. 

“Report to the broadcast deck Parker is going to start the first phase of your training.” 

“Ok Captain.”  Colin walked down to the broadcast deck and Parker was sitting in his chair, he smiled at him. 

“Ah,” he said, “how is my latest student?” 

“I’m doing good,” said Colin, “So where’s the arena anyway, how are you going to train me with such limited space?”  Parker turned to face his computer screen. 

“Simple have a seat.”  Parker pointed at one of the broadcast terminals and Colin walked toward it.  Parker got up and walked to the terminal as Colin sat down. 

“This might hurt a bit, but you know that already right.”  Parker quickly pushed the jack into Colin’s connecter point and sat back down.  Colin wiggled a bit from the slight uncomfortable feeling of the jack but then was still and waited. 

“So what now?” he asked.  Parker sifted through some disks and then chose one and placed it inside the computer. 

“Ah combat training this’ll be fun.  Hold still now!”  Parker pushed a button and the information from the disk had began to upload into Colin’s mind. 

It had been almost a full day since we had left the dock and Colin and Parker had been in the broadcast room since the morning. 

“Captain don’t you think it’s been awful quiet?” asked Tarra, “You would think that we would at least have got something on the holographic scanner by now.”  I looked out the window silently she was right it was quiet, too quiet. 

“I don’t know, you’re right though it is definitely strange, the machines seem to have gone into hiding or something.  I am going to go check on Colin.  Isaiah keep running scans consecutively, when one is done run another until I say not to ok?”  Isaiah nodded his head and I got up and went to the broadcast zone.  I walked up behind Parker and put my hand on his shoulder.  “How is he doing?”  I asked.  Parker looked at the computer screen and then back at me. 

“He’s been going for almost thirteen hours straight . . . unbelievable, only Neo went longer than this.  We’ve gone over 92% of the information already.” 

“Alright stop him.”  Parker hit the button and Colin opened his eyes and looked at me. 

“Dude I’m a black belt in Judo.”  Colin gave me the thumbs up and smiled foolishly. 

“Ok,” I said, “Show me then.”  Parker hooked me into the terminal and I was inside the training program with Colin. 

“Welcome to the training program, it was created similar to the matrix, with rules and parameters that are almost the same.  They can be broken.”  I took up a fighting stance and beckoned to Colin.  He took up his own fighting stance with both his hands in front of him, clenched in a fist. 

“Let’s go,” said Colin.  Colin ran at me and attacked me with his fists swinging as fast as he thought he could.  I easily dodged his attacks for a few minutes and then knocked him against the wall. 

“Man,” he got to his feet, “How are you moving so fast, you could have never beaten me a year ago?”  I stepped over to Colin and looked him in the eye. 

“Like I said this world is not the real one, several rules can be broken.  Such as the rules of gravity,” I explained, “You can move faster than you are moving all you have to do is believe you can do it and you will succeed.”  I took a few steps back.  “Now let’s do this again.”  I retook my stance and Colin readied himself once again.

Colin jumped directly ahead of me and once again started his onslaught of attacks.  He began by punching and kicking me top then bottom and back again, I still dodged and blocked easily. 

“Come on Colin, I know you gotta be better than this,” I nagged him on.  I swung at him and he grabbed my arm and caught me in a Satomakikomi judo throw and I quickly countered him with a Kataguruma landing him on his back.  He quickly got to his feet and jumped high into the air, I watched him go through the air and waited for him to land.  Just as his feet hit the ground I took to the air myself and time seemed to slow down.  With both arms spread out I kicked Colin against the wall again.  Colin quickly got to his feet I could tell he was pissed. 

“Damn it!  What the fuck was that man?” 

“Colin calm down, you have to focus.  The second you loose that focus you loose the fight.” 

“Alright Colin, focus. . .” he said to himself jumping and swinging at the air to get himself together. 

“Alright now you better get it this time.”  I said getting ready.  Colin came at me again, this was it I knew it.  He swung at me several times this time landing a few small blows to the side.   I swung back not connecting, but just ending up with a knee to the side.   He quickly followed up on his attack with a series of punches and kicks and then swiftly uppercut me into a wall.  This was it he finally got it.  I got to my feet and Parker took us out of the training program. 

Parker pulled the jack from my neck and I sat up.  Colin was already sitting up looking at me. 

“Great going man, you did it, but your training isn’t over yet.  Parker is gonna finish with you and then tomorrow we will have another little encounter, as for now hit the sheets.  I’ll see you in the morning.”  I got up and went up to the navigation deck.  Colin’s training was now well under way, as for the next one I would have to think of a way to take her out of the matrix. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Matrix Fanfiction Chapter 18: What is the Matrix?

Chapter 18: What Is The Matrix?

I opened my eyes the next day and got up out of bed, I looked at the time and then at Isaiah.  He was still fast asleep; I decided not to wake him and got dressed for the meeting.  I quietly walked out of the room and into the city streets.  I made my way to the elevator and went to the dock.  I entered the main Command Center and walked to the meeting room.  I got there to discover that the meeting hadn’t started yet and there were several others waiting inside the room for Commander Locke to arrive.  I recognized a few of them, Captain Niobe of the Logos, Captain Soren of the Vigilante, Captain Thadeus of the Osiris, and Captain Mifune’ was there as well.  Several other unfamiliar faces were there; Morpheus was nowhere to be found.  I leaned against the wall and put my head down to wait for the commander. 

“How fares the newest Captain in the fleet?”  I heard in a deep voice.  I lifted my head to see Captain Thadeus standing in front of me with Niobe alongside of him.  I smiled to greet them. 

“I’m doing great I’ve almost got a full crew on the Navras,” I said in response, “We’ve had a few close ones but we made it back in one piece.”  Captain Thadeus put his hand on my shoulder. 

“Glad to hear it, we’ve all had our close calls, but we will always pull through, you can always count on that.”  I smiled at him and he dropped his arm back to his side.  Niobe smiled at me and reached out her hand. 

“I don’t believe I had a chance to welcome you to the fleet,” she said.  I shook her hand and smiled. 

“Thank you Niobe your hospitality means a great deal to me, I look forward to when the time comes for the two of us to fight side by side.” 

“As do I.”  Just then the commander walked in and stood at the head of the table. 

“Alright people let’s get this meeting started,” he said sternly.  Each of the captain’s took a seat at the table. 
“Alright Captains what are the latest reports on the machines?”  Captain Soren glanced at me then looked at Locke. 

“They have been stepping up their patrols lately, where there was only one patrol before there is now four or five,” he said. 

“Captain Soren is right, the machines are stepping up their patrols almost three and four times as much as they used to be,” said Niobe. 

“They must be trying to keep something under wraps.  The tunnels are crawling with them, it’s absolutely insane,” said one of the others.  I sat forward in my chair. 

“I can’t speak for the rest of you but in my personal experience, the machines seem to be getting smarter.  Their A.I. seems incredibly more efficient than it was when I was first freed.  They seem to be getting faster.  On our way here yesterday, my crew and I couldn’t keep the sentinels off, we wouldn’t have lasted another minute.”  Commander Locke looked at me strangely for a second. 

“You think they are getting faster?” 

The meeting dragged on for seven hours and still was not over yet.  Isaiah sat in the room and waited for Brandan to come back when there was a knock at the door.  Isaiah got up and opened the door to see Tarra standing in the doorway. 

“Hi, mind if I come in for a visit?” she asked. 

“No not at all, come on in.”  Isaiah stepped aside and Tarra walked in, he closed the door behind her.  Tarra sat down on the bed. 

“So is Brandan still in that meeting?” 

Tarra had a surprised expression on her face. 

“Wow still, how long does it run, do you know?” 

“No he never told me, but he was long gone when I woke up.” 

“Holy shit, seven hours with Deadbolt.  That would drive me crazy.”  Isaiah sat down on his side of the bed and lay down. 

“I didn’t sleep very well last night, how did you sleep?” 

“I slept better than what I thought I would but still, it wasn’t all that great.  Why didn’t you sleep well any particular reason?” 

“Actually to tell you the truth, it was something that Dan said to me that set me a little uneasy.”  Tarra looked at Isaiah seemingly confused. 

“Really, what did he say that bothered you?”  Isaiah looked at Tarra, she was waiting for his response with the look of worry in her eyes. 

“When we were in the elevator yesterday going to meet you guys he told me that if you weren’t here then he would go back to the matrix.  You’re the only thing keeping him here,” Isaiah explained. 

“Danny isn’t going anywhere because neither am I, trust me don’t worry yourself about it, it won’t affect his performance in or outside the matrix.  I won’t let it.”  Isaiah nodded and looked away. 

“If you say so, I’ll leave it up to you.”

Tarra looked at the time. 

“Do you want to go for a walk or something, maybe grab a bite to eat?” she asked.  Isaiah thought for a quick second. 

“Sure we might as well, Brandan is going to be a while anyway.”  Isaiah stood up and walked to the door.  “Let’s go.”  Tarra followed him and they walked out the door together.  “There’s a really nice place over on the fifth level to eat they have the best salad ever,” said Isaiah. 

“You know this city better than I do so lead the way.”  They made there way to the elevator and stepped in there were several other people already inside heading in the same direction. 

“Cool this shouldn’t take very long at all,” said Isaiah as the doors closed.  The elevator started to climb the levels and the wait began. 

“Good afternoon young ones, how fairs the new ship?”  They heard a female’s voice from behind them and turned to see who it was.  The woman was Asian and she looked familiar to Isaiah from the christening of the Navras, it was Cho Wei, the first officer of the Osiris. 

“It’s great never been better and yourself Cho Wei?” asked Isaiah smiling. 

“We are doing as good as ever since Neo came along, we have freed so many minds,” said Cho Wei happily.

Meanwhile back inside the meeting room. 

“That plan will never work!” said Captain Thadeus standing up.  “To go inside the core network is suicide.  There is no way two crews can destroy two of the main network points they’re too heavily protected.”  I looked at Thadeus and then looked back to Commander Locke who looked rather annoyed at Thadeus’ outburst. 

“Captain sit down please,” he said, “This mission will be difficult yes but not impossible.” 

“I think it’s possible, with the proper planning and determination,” said Niobe. 

“Do you want to be the one to do it?” asked Thadeus.  Niobe looked at Thadeus unshaken with courage in her eyes. 

“I will have no problem doing it I put complete faith in my crew.” 

“I also have another mission for you Thadeus . . .  Someone needs to patrol junctions 400 through 550 near the surface of the earth.”  I looked at Thadeus and back to Locke. 

“I’ll do that if you won’t Thadeus,” I said to him.  Thadeus looked at me for a second. 

“We can’t send a newbie Captain into the front lines of the surface.”  I shrugged my shoulders and looked away slightly annoyed at being called a newbie.  Commander Locke looked at me. 

“What do you have to say about all of this Captain Brandan?” asked Locke. 

“Being inside the core network is suicide like Thadeus said, but I think my crew and I could do it once we get a full roster,” I said confidently,  “Niobe would you mind accompanying us for the trip?” I smiled at her and she smirked back at me. 

“Anytime kid, anytime,” she said nonchalantly.  I raised an eyebrow at Locke. 

“Well what’s it gonna be?”

Isaiah and Tarra had just found the place Isaiah was talking about.  They were sitting at the table waiting for their food, they had just ordered and were expecting to wait for about twenty minutes based on the people that were in the restaurant. 

“Gosh I’m so hungry and I just realized it now,” said Isaiah. 

“It’s amazing how hungry someone can be once they actually sit and think about it, huh?” Tarra laughed. 

“Hey where’s Dan at anyway?” 

“He said he wanted to stay in the room in the training program for a bit to get his driving skills up to snuff. . . god, boys and their toys.” 

Isaiah smiled and took a drink of his water.  Suddenly the intercom of the city became active. 

“All members of a hovercraft crew please report to you respected ships in forty-five minutes,” said a female voice.

“Looks like we’ll have just enough time to scarf this down and get the hell outta here,” said Tarra.

Back inside the meeting they were beginning to come an understanding of how things were going to be gone about. 

“Great then it’s settled,” said Locke, “Thadeus you take the Osiris and gather scans of junctions 400 through 550.  Niobe, you will accompany Brandan and his crew until they have a full roster, after which you will report back to me and start the attack on the core network.  Captain Soren, I want you to take the Vigilante and keep an eye on police and agent activity inside the matrix, but be careful and stay as safe as possible.” 

As each of us were given our mission we walked out of the room together.  Niobe and I were followed by Thadeus and Soren. 

“Thadeus good luck on your mission and be careful,” said Niobe looking back at him.  Thadeus nodded. 

“Same to you Niobe.” 

“Soren stay safe, don’t let your guard down.”  Soren smiled at me as I glanced back at him. 

“Don’t worry about me kid, just look after yourself.” 

“I’ll be fine.”  Niobe smiled at me and then at Soren. 

“After all I am going with him remember,” she said. 

We walked in silence for a few short minutes and went our separate ways to our own ships to brief our crews on the situation. 

I walked on board the Navras through the lower entry port and went to the conference room.  The others were all there waiting for me in there chairs.  As I entered, the room went silent. 

“So what’s the word Captain?” asked Parker.  I sat in my chair and looked at each of them individually. 

“Captain Niobe and her crew are going to help us free Tabatha and Saba, then when we have a full roster we’re going to report to Commander Locke for further instructions on our upcoming mission inside the core network.  We’re leaving as soon as Colin becomes trainable, which should only be another day.  We’re probably looking at tomorrow afternoon as our departure time.” 

“Now have you decided to train Colin yourself, or are you going to get one of us to do it?” asked Isaiah. 

“I will do the training myself.  But for now that’s all unless you guys have any questions.”

Colin had just opened his eyes for the first time since his body had been restructured.  He was lying in a bed in a large open room with several other beds lining the walls.  There was a young woman at the side of his bed setting down a tray with some kind of food on it. 

“Excuse me miss, but where am I?” he asked.  The woman turned to face him startled by his voice. 

“Oh umm, hi,” she said in a somewhat ditsy voice.  Colin perked his eyebrow at her ditsyness and slightly shook his head. 

“I’m sorry, you startled me.  You’re in the recovery ward, you just had your body rebuilt pretty much, how do you feel?”  Colin sat up slowly. 

“I feel decent I guess.  So is someone going to explain what this is all about? The last thing I remember clearly was the escape from the police?”  The woman shrugged her shoulders slightly. 

“Your captain will be here soon to tell you the rest of the story just open your mind and be willing to listen. . . But for now just enjoy your first real meal, it’s a salad made from the freshest vegetables in Zion.”  The woman passed him the tray. 

“Thanks what’s your name by the way?” 

“I’m Anna, I’m the head nurse here in the infirmary.”  Colin nodded his head. 

“Cool so I guess I’ll be seeing a lot of you then.”

Anna smiled and walked away from him as he picked up his fork and started to eat.  It wasn’t long after he had started to eat he saw Brandan enter the infirmary and talk to one of the nurses.  They had a short exchange of words and the nurse pointed towards Colin, obviously showing Brandan where he was.  Brandan walked through the mass of beds and made his way over to Colin and sat down at the foot of the bed. 

“How are you feeling Colin?” he asked. 

“I’m feeling good man.” 

“Have you tried to walk yet?”  Colin shook his head no, he hadn’t even thought to try and walk. 

“No, I haven’t.”  Brandan looked around to find the nurse, and waved her over. 

“Nurse could you get this man a something to wear.  Just regular crewman clothing will be fine.”  The nurse walked out of the infirmary to get some clothing and returned shortly with a regular crewman outfit.  She gave them to Colin and he put them on. 

“Come on I’m gonna show you around the ship, and by the way. . .” Brandan said. 

“What’s that?”  I looked Colin directly in the eye giving him a very sincere look. 

“Welcome to the real world.”  Brandan stepped back and extended his hand to Colin, he took the offer and Brandan pulled him to his feet.  Colin was wobbly for a few seconds. 

“Whoa,” he laughed, “I feel all wiggly ‘n’ shit.”  Brandan smiled and walked away. 

“Come on you have a lot to see.”

Meanwhile back on board the ship Isaiah and Parker were working with several technicians, preparing it for the long hall and making sure it would have several back up energy packs. 

“Have all the system scans been performed yet or have you even started yet?” asked Parker seemingly impatient. 

“Sir we’re working as fast as we can but we’re having a few small problems,” said one of the technicians. 

“What kind of problems?”  asked Parker. 

“I don’t know sir it seems that you guys might have picked up a minor virus from the matrix.  The computer can’t seem to trace it.”  The technician had a puzzled look on his face. 

“Why can’t we trace it?” asked Isaiah. 

“Well right now the virus is in stealth mode because it isn’t large enough yet to do any damage.  If we find it now, I’m sure you won’t have any trouble with it, but if you can’t find it then it might attack the system when you’re inside the matrix, and that would be fatal.” 

“Well I know that,” said Parker, “So how do you suggest we find it, the ship needs to be ready for tomorrow afternoon.”  The technician thought for a second with his hand on his chin, he looked at Isaiah. 

“Well you could theoretically find it inside the construct program somewhere if we sent you into the core computer of the ship.”  Parker looked at Isaiah expectantly. 

“Do you think you can do it?” he asked. 

“I’ll do it, hell it has to be done right?  Jack me in man.”  They walked to the broadcast zone and started to hook Isaiah into the machine.

“Now once you get in there the virus could be anything, we’ll give you the antivirus as soon as you enter.  It’ll be in the form of a gun,” explained the Tech. 

“Ok, is there any chance that virus will infect me?” asked Isaiah. 

“As far as we know, no it can’t but we have installed a firewall on your jack so that it won’t let any attachments to your program into your body.”  Isaiah nodded as Parker finished strapping him in and had inserted the needle. 

“Alright Isaiah I’m gonna send you to the ships motherboard, I’ve set it up to look like the Navras inside. Remember the virus could look like anything so be careful.” 

“Ok, I’ m ready when you are.”  Parker hit the enter key and Isaiah loaded into the construct program.

The construct program loaded up slowly, it looked different then usual, he could tell there was something wrong with the computer.  The construct program was changing colors from white to blue to green and on.  His cell phone started to ring and sounded digitally distorted, he picked up. 

“Isaiah I’m sending you to the motherboard,” said Parker.  The reception on his phone was extremely highly static and it was hard to hear. 

“Ok send me there now,” said Isaiah in an echoed voice.  Isaiah looked around as he loaded into the computer core of the Navras.  Suddenly he was standing in the broadcasting room again, he looked around and decided that he would check the other rooms in the ship. 

“Alright virus, look out because the cure is here.”  Isaiah cocked his gun that he assumed was the antivirus, it had been loaded directly into his hand. 

Isaiah walked over to the computer core and typed something into the computer, a map of the ships motherboard came up on the screen he typed in a system scanning code that he had been told about some time ago.  The viral locator system began to work and one of the rooms on the map of the Navras began to flash red. 

“Ok there you are.”  Isaiah stood up and ran out of the room.  He dashed through the rooms going through the bridge, on his way by he noticed that it looked like they were in the tunnels based on the computer.  He kept running and entered the last room it was the medical bay.  There were no lights on and about 80% of the room was shrouded in an eerie darkness.  Isaiah hit the light switch and the lights came on.  There was a large crouched over dark figure in the corner, he crept closer to it and reached for his gun.  When suddenly the creature attacked him unexpectedly, its eyes were a blood red and it looked like Brandan.  Isaiah jumped out of its reach and kicked it in the face knocking it backwards. 

“Foolish human you will never beat me.”  Isaiah began to attack with his hands hitting the virus high and low. 

“We’ll just see about that!”  Isaiah struck the virus repeatedly seemingly weakening it.  It fell to the ground and Isaiah quickly drew his gun and pointed it, he pulled the trigger hitting it several times with the weapon.  The virus began seizing on the floor and light began to shine through the holes that the bullets had made, it disappeared shortly.  Isaiah took out his phone and dialed the operator.  “Parker mission accomplished pull me out.” 

His surroundings changed to that of the construct program that was completely back to normal.  Isaiah closed his eyes and he was uploaded back to reality. 

“Problem solved,” he said as Parker pulled the needle from his neck. 

“Yeah kid it looks like you got it.” 

Meanwhile Brandan and Colin had just entered the dock and were slowly making there way to the Navras. 

“Man why am I all shaky like this?” asked Colin,  “And why the hell am I so skinny man this really sucks.” 

“Colin it sounds hard to believe but this is the first time you have actually ever used any of your muscles.  You’ve never even moved before.”  Colin walked slowly beside Brandan.  “Your going to be starting your training tomorrow as we are lifting off, we’re going to free Tabatha next and I would like you to be ready to go before that.” 

“Ok throw it at me whenever you’re ready man, you know I’m always up for a challenge right.”  I nodded my head at Colin’s enthusiasm, this was why I new he would be a great addition to the team.  His willingness to be forever better than before would be his strength.  We walked up to the Navras and enter through the cargo bay. 

“Welcome to the Navras, this is my ship, it’s a hovercraft.  This is the main tool in the war against the machines, we are all soldiers.”  Colin looked at me strangely seeming confused. 

“So what year is it anyway?” 

“No one really knows that answer for sure, but all your life you have been lead to believe that it is the 21st century when it’s probably safe to say it’s closer to the 23rd century.” 

“How can that be?  I don’t get it.” 

“That’s why I am going to show you.”  We walked into the broadcasting room where Tarra and Dan were helping monitor the equipment checks. 

“Hey Captain, how’s it goin?” said Dan smiling. 

“Just fine,” I said smiling back, “Can you guys get two of the jacks ready for me I’m going to show him something.”  Tarra looked at Colin and smiled as she started to ready two of the chairs. 

“Hey Colin, how are you coming along?” 

“I’m doing great, learning some pretty weird shit though.” 

“Yeah we all went through it though,” said Dan getting the other machine ready.  I walked over and sat in one of the chairs. 

“Tarra, get him loaded in.”  Tarra walked over to Colin, placed her hand on his shoulder and guided him over to the other chair.  Dan and her both worked on getting him jacked in I hooked myself up and waited for them to plug in the connector.  Tarra had just finished strapping him in and picked up the needle. 

“Alright now this is going to feel a little weird.”  Tarra shoved the connector into Colin and loaded him in.  She loaded me in second.

Colin opened his eyes shortly after feeling the sharp pain in his neck and he was in a massive white open space.  He did a full turn around not seeing anything or anyone, when suddenly Brandan appeared. 

“Where are we?” asked Colin. 

“This is the construct program, it is our loading program.  From here we can load anything, clothing, weapons, even vehicles.  It is from here that we jack into the matrix,” I explained. 

“The matrix,” Colin whispered, “It does exist.”  I pushed a button on the remote in my hand and a television appeared a picture of the city on the face. 

“This is the world as you know it, the world as it was at the beginning of the 21st century.” 

“Crazy man, that’s fucked.  I don’t know if I’m buying that.” 

“It is now closer to the 23rd century actually.  The world now is not quite as great a place as you are about to see.  I hit the button again and the surroundings of the construct program changed to the vast wasteland.  Welcome to the desert of the real.” 

“How did things get like this?” 

“At the turn of the 21st century all of mankind was united as one, as we marveled at our ability to play god, we gave birth to A.I.” 

“Artificial intelligence.” 

“Exactly Colin, and that artificial intelligence gave birth to an entire race of machines.  We don’t know exactly who threw the first punch but we blackened the sky.   At the time they had only one source of energy, the sun, and we believed that if we blocked out the sun they would soon die off.  But we were wrong. . .”  The scenery changed again to that of one of the power plants.  “The machines found all the energy they would need.  The human body puts out more bio-electric energy then a 120 volt battery and over 25,000 BTU’s of body heat.  There are fields that span for thousands upon thousands of miles where humans beings are no longer born . . . we are grown.”  The construct program changed as I spoke to the disturbing images of the fields.  Colin had a look of disbelief of his face.  “I know what you’re feeling right now.  I didn’t want to believe it either until I saw it with my own eyes.  I watched them as they liquefy the dead so they could be fed intravenously to the living.  Standing there I came to realize the answer to that question that until now you were never asked.  What is the matrix?”  I looked at Colin who had a believing look on his face as he stared blankly at the images of the construct program. 

“Control,” he whispered. 

“Exactly the matrix is a computer generated dream world, built for one thing to keep us under control.  In order to change a human body into this.”  I held up a coppertop battery to Colin.  Colin had an angry look on his face as he grabbed the battery. 

“How do we stop this?”  I smiled at him. 

“We are all soldiers in an ongoing war, each person plays his part, tomorrow you will learn how you are going to help us out in the training program.”  I shook Colin’s hand.  “Welcome aboard.” 

They pulled us out of the construct program and we were back on the ship. 

“Tarra tell Isaiah and Parker that I want the ship ready to go at 1200 tomorrow.”  Tarra smiled and nodded.