Chapter 11: Enter The Drivers
It had been several months since our battle with Neo and our training as a captain and as pilots for the ships was now completed, I had been assigned an operator and I decided I would not waste anytime freeing the others from the matrix. The operator was a good friend of Captain Bailen's and was more than willing to help the remainder of his crew, his name was Anthony Parker, we just called him Parker and he was one of the more refined operators in the fleet. We would start with freeing Tarra, my cousin, and Dan, her husband. I needed someone to be my driver within the matrix and I knew that Tarra would make the perfect hacker.
We were on board the Navras, flying through the tunnels of the real.
"Have you got a place for us to set down yet Isaiah?" Isaiah was sitting across from me at a holographic scanning device it showed a small group of sentinels then changed to depict a small cubbyhole in the architectures of the tunnels.
"I'm still looking its so hard to find a place where there isn't gonna be a patrol of sentinels within the next few hours, the tunnels are crawling with them Captain. Just keep us away from them for a few more minutes I should have a place for you by then."
I looked back to the front of the ship and kept flying. I could see the baron wasteland that was once called civilization through the front glass of the ship. Nothing but the remainder of the sewer system and lots of old metal from god knows what. We flew in silence for several moments when I saw a place come up on Isaiah's screen.
"I found the perfect place I am sending you the location."
"Good work Isaiah."
I got the location in my navigation computer and took us there it was a very short distance away, we came to the spot which was somewhat lodged in the ceiling of the tunnels. We hovered up into the hole and engaged the magnetic locks that would lock us to the ceiling of the hole we were in. Parked, we went down to the broadcasting zone and started to get ready to enter the matrix.
"How close do you think you will be able to get us Parker?" I asked looking into the code monitor.
Parker was watching our candidates in the screen they were doing deliveries in there old Acura Integra, once we got in their view I knew how to get there attention.
"I can put you right where you want to be, just say the word," he answered.
"Put us at the parking garage at King St. I think that should be good enough."
Isaiah was getting the seats ready to load us in and sat down in his.
"Whenever your ready captain," he said as he laid back. Both Parker and I walked over to the seating complex I sat down and he proceeded to hook both of us in.
"I'll be on watch here call me if you need anything." Parker finished hooking us into the chairs and sat back down in his chair.
"Captain I'm gonna warn you now I am detecting heavy police activity in the area don't draw too much attention to yourselves ok."
"Thanks for the warning but just hit the damn switch already," I said getting rather impatient with him, having the large needle in my neck was not something I was fond of.
"You're the captain." Parker typed in the code and hit the final switch sending us to the Matrix and inside the construct program.
We were inside the construct program in front of the weapons table. I picked up my 96 Maxi Beretta, checked the clip and holstered it. Isaiah picked up his 92 edition Maxi Beretta and holstered it.
"I don't know why you check the clip it loads exactly the same every time," said Isaiah, smirking at me.
"All I can say is you never know. Parker upload the car when we enter the parking garage."
"Will do Captain here we go."
As we entered the Matrix everything pieced together from scratch around us. The car I had chosen, the 2002 Roush Mustang GT Premium Convertible black, pieced together between Isaiah and I. We each opened a door and got in with me in the drivers side I started up and we pulled out of the garage.
"Isaiah get Parker on the phone we need to know where they are?" Isaiah took out his phone and put it to his ear.
"Yeah, Parker where are they now?" asked Isaiah.
"They're parked up on Prospect St. at the Inn get there quick though they won't be there too long. The quickest way there is up York St."
"Ok." Isaiah put his phone back in his jacket.
"Head up York St. to the Inn on the hill."
"Ok." I turned up York and we were calmly driving among the traffic a cop car pulled up passed us. We sat back in the car and tried to look natural, they shortly pulled ahead of us. I took out my phone and called Parker.
"You know what I want to know are they on to us?"
"No I don't think so they haven't sent out a signal to call in back up." I put my phone back in my coat and kept driving we got to the top of the hill shortly and turned off into the parking lot for the hotel I saw Tarra in the car waiting for Dan and listening to music like they always were.
I pulled up behind them and got out of the car.
"Stay here," I said to Isaiah looking in the window. He nodded and I walked over to the window on Tarra's side of the car.
"Hey what’s up?" I said casually. Her eyes widened in a smile obviously happy to see me.
"Hey where have you been?" she asked.
"I've been around to a few places, like my car?" I pointed to the car.
"Holy shit where'd you get that?" I smiled.
"I'll explain later when Dan comes out you guys should go off the air and follow us so we can catch up on a few things."
"Us who else is with you?" Tarra turned to get a view of the car and its occupant.
"Is that Isaiah?"
"Yeah, so you guys should follow me. Ok?" Tarra was quiet for a second.
"Yeah I'll tell him to when he comes out."
"Ok." I walked back to the car and hopped in.
"What's up?" asked Isaiah as I sat in the car.
"They're gonna follow us when he gets out," I said as I pulled up in the car next to them. I rolled down the window so I could talk to Tarra.
"I have some stuff to tell you and it's gonna be pretty out-landish but you have to trust me, I know Danny'll go along with it if you do." I spoke quietly to her as she glared at me kind of already knowing what I was talking about it I know from us monitoring her over the last few months that she was having the dreams that I had along with those came the same questions as well.
"I trust you and I think I know what your talking about," said Tarra.
"I'm going to answer the question that has been troubling you lately." Her look suddenly turned from happy to serious.
"You mean . . ."
"Yes , what is the Matrix." Dan walked out of the hotel carrying his pizza case and walked over to the car with a strange look on his face.
"What's going on?" he asked getting in the car.
"We're gonna follow Brandan he's gonna take us to a good talk spot."
"Ok, nice car where'd you get it?"
"You'll find out soon enough, just try to keep up ok." I cracked a smile and pulled away I knew he would be up for the challenge. I sped off and they shortly followed revving the engine.
We sped out of the parking lot and onto the street taking the exit to the main highway. We sped off down the highway weaving in and out of cars with them on our trail. I checked the speedometer we were flying at about 185km/h down the highway there wasn't a single cop in sight, luckily. We quickly made it to where we were going and pulled into an old hotel parking lot. I got out of my car and walked over to them Isaiah followed.
"Come on inside."
"Man where'd you learn to drive like that?" Dan asked with a big smile on his face.
"Wouldn't you like to know!" I laughed as Tarra got out of the car.
"Alright lets go." The four of us went inside the hotel and went to room 109 where our freedom equipment was located.
We walked into the room and I sat in my chair that was once Captain Bailen’s and crossed my legs and folded my hands. Isaiah stood by my chair with his hand rested on the back and Tarra and Dan sat in the two chairs infront of us.
"Let me ask you something, have you ever felt like everything around you just isn't really there? When you're asleep does it feel like your more awake when you are dreaming?" Both of them sat silently for a second.
"Yes it has always been like that for me, the last few months have been the worse than ever though. Just about a week ago I had a dream that I was having heart surgery and it felt so real I just can't explain it," explained Tarra. Isaiah jumped into the air and flipped landing infront of her taking out a strange looking gun in mid-air, placing it to her chest he pulled the trigger. There was a suction noise and a metal bug was sucked out of her chest and placed in a glass capsule. The gun he pulled out was our debugging program inside the Matrix. Tarra let out a cry in fear and pain.
"What the hell is that?!" she asked startled by Isaiah's quick action.
"They had you bugged," said Isaiah plainly, "Don't worry though everything is ok now." Isaiah smiled and walked back over to my chair.
"I have another question for you." I took out four pills two red and two blue. "I am going to ask you to take one of these two pills. Take the blue one and you will wake up in your bed and believe what ever you want to believe. Take the red pill and I show how far down the rabbit hole really goes. Which one will you choose?" Dan looked at Tarra waiting for her to decide. Isaiah walked into the adjoining room. I stood up and walked over them opening my hand with the pills exposed to each of them. Tarra looked at them and then looked at Dan.
"I'm with you," Dan whispered, "whatever you want to do."
"Ok." Tarra nodded and took the red pill and Dan did the same, I smiled at them and walked toward the door to the other room.
"Come with me." They got up and followed me into the room where Isaiah had set up the equipment, I walked over to the main console and Isaiah helped them get seated and strapped in.
"The pill you took was part of a trace program we will use to find you in the outside world." I took out my phone and placed it to my ear. "Parker have you started the trace on them."
"I've started the tracker but I haven't traced two at the same time before I don't know if we will be able to get to them both."
"Trust me we'll get to them both," I hung up my phone, "You guys I am going to prepare you for this now, when you wake up it is going to probably be the most terrifying experience of your life. Your going to be confused and scarred but hopefully we will be able to get to you in short time. Isaiah go and get the ship ready for take off for when we need to get them," I took out my phone, "Parker I've got them I am sending you the location."
"Got them!" Suddenly Dan and Tarra disappeared.
"Alright Parker, get me outta here." The hard-line phone rang and I picked up.
I opened my eyes and Parker disconnected me.
"Ok, Isaiah fly like the wind," said Parker speaking into his headset.
"Captain both of them are on opposite ends of the fields I don't know if we'll make it to both of them." I got up out of my seat and headed over to the code screen and looked at the projection of the fields. I put a headset on and set the mouthpiece so I could speak to Isaiah.
"Take us to the closest of the two I'm coming up to help you." I could feel the ship lift off and start into heavy flight. I made my way up to the flight level and took the other controls.
"Captain do you think we'll make it to them both on time?"
"I don't know just keep flying we have to try." We flew for several of the longest minutes of my life.
"Captain we're right over Dan," said Parker from my headset.
"Drop the grapple!" The ship jolted as the grapple was deployed and reeled back in.
"We got him! GO GO GO!" The ship once again was in high speed flight as we flew to the other end of the fields to try to get to Tarra before it was too late. I took the main controls and pushed the throttle as hard as I could sending the ship into its fastest speed.
"Isaiah keep us on a steady course."
"I'm trying damn it I've never flown this fast before!" We flew threw the tunnels at an incredible speed I knew we were going to be getting some unwanted attention soon and we didn't have enough people to man the 5 gun turrets of the Navras.
"Are we almost there?" It had been several minutes since we left.
"Not quite Captain it'll be a few more minutes anyway."
Just then the proximity alarm sounded and the lights began to flash red.
"Come on baby, come on!" I said hoping that we could get to her before the sentinels got to us. "Isaiah take the main turret hit what you can just bide us some time. . ."
"Ok, I'm going." Isaiah got up and went to the weapons deck and I took full control of the ship.
I could see the sentinels on the holo-imager, Isaiah started the turret and began to shoot them down as fast as he could but he couldn’t keep them all off us. Several had clung to the hall and began to cut through with their laser.
"We're over her! Drop the grapple and get us out of here, now!" I heard in my headset. I dropped the grapple and that was it we had her.
"Set down somewhere and use the E.M.P. hurry we've got a breach."
I got back into the main part of the sewers and set down. The E.M.P. was charged shortly, I cut the power to the rest of the ship and let the E.M.P. fly shorting out all the sentinels in range and leaving everything quiet.
"Is everyone ok?" I asked in the headset.
"We're fine Captain," said the crewmen.
"Tarra's got a mild case of hypothermia but other than that everyone is fine," said Parker. I sat back in my chair and closed my eyes rejoicing.
"Whew," I sighed and got up to go see the new members of my crew. I went down to the cargo bay and Tarra and Dan were both laying on the floor covered in a blanket Isaiah and Parker met me there and we took both of them to the medical bay of the ship where we would begin the muscle restructuring process.