Chapter 30: Training Session
Tabatha and Saba loaded into the construct program in residual self-image. Saba was dressed in white leather, with a blue tank under a shining white jacket, she had no glasses on and her hair was held back in a blue headband, she smiled at Tabatha. Tabatha had taken the quick and slim routine, dressed all in a black vinyl suit that fit tightly to every curve on her body, wearing silver frame glasses with black lenses.
"Alright girls I'm sending you in," said Tarra from the outside, "I'm gonna start you off in the third difficulty level so we can get you going, and hopefully you will be ready for the mission tonight." The area around them loaded, and they were suddenly standing in an open arena. Around them they could see several different fighters approaching them, a security guard, a police officer, a swat member, an agent and one of the Merovingian's vampire exiles.
"All right Saba, are you ready?" asked Tabatha. Saba nodded her head.
"As ready as I'll ever be."
"Ok take out the weaker guys first we will handle the agent after words." The both of them took up a fighting stance and each ran at an opponent.
Tabatha ran at the police officer who had just put up his hands and was ready to fight. He took a swing at her and she ducked to avoid the attack then hit him in the stomach with her fist and as he bent over kneed him in the face. He stumbled back and Tabatha focused jumping into the air and delivered a kick in his chest breaking his chest. Saba ran at the swat member who was ready when she got to him she took a quick hit to the face but recovered quickly countering with a quick kick combo, ending it with a quick fist to the face and knocking him down. Tabatha looked to her next target who would be the vampire exile. She ran at him and delivered a quick combo and round housing him in the face. She saw a stake appear on the ground as he began to stumble. She flipped toward it and grabbed it off the ground and hitting him in the chest as she got back on her feet. Saba took into her next target the security guard which barely seemed like a test of her skill after practicing with Colin. She ran at him quickly and swiped him off his feet knocking him into the air then kicked him sending him a distance away and sliding a crossed the floor.
"Good job guys just one more to go," said Tarra from outside. Tabatha and Saba looked at each other as the agent put up his fists, Tabatha nodded at Saba and they took off at him.
"Let's get'em!" yelled Saba. Tabatha and Saba initiated a twin element attack with Saba attacking high and Tabatha attacking low, much like Brandan and Isaiah. They attacked with speed and ease landing several blows on both counts. The agent got his grounds and attacked them both at once with his fist sending each of them a distance away. They regained there focus in mid air and landed on there feet.
"Where the hell did that come from?" asked Tabatha surprised at the attack.
"He's an agent you remember the training program. Every rebel that has met with an agent and fought died, with few exceptions," said Saba. Tabatha's look on her face changed.
"Oh my god that's it." Just then there surroundings changed to that of the rooftops and the agent drew his gun.
"GO!" yelled Tabatha as she turned to run. Saba quickly followed her and they took to running with the agent behind them and firing his gun. They could see the bullets denting the walls as they ran passed.
Meanwhile Brandan was in the medical bay with Isaiah who's recovery was underway. Brandan walked over to Isaiah's bed, he had fallen asleep because of the anesthetic he had been given. He put his hand on his sleeping friends face and he was warm to the touch.
"You're gonna make it," he whispered to him. Brandan checked his life signs, the anesthetic would be wearing off soon and he would be able to fight again just fine. Brandan had to make several decisions regarding this new threat, he was sending in the entire crew but would he be able to do that as well as be able to contact Zion for the information regarding the major mission that they had spoke of in one of his last debriefings. What Parker said was right though, this creature must be dealt with before it manifests itself inside the matrix and becomes more of a threat than it already is. Brandan dropped his hand to his side and Isaiah turned his head to face him, his eyes still closed kind of like he knew he was there. Brandan heard a noise in the doorway behind him and turned to see Colin standing there.
"What's up?" he asked.
"Not much just making sure he stays stable is all." Colin walked in and walked over to one of the panels.
"Everything seems good to me," he said. Colin took a seat in one of the waiting chairs next to Isaiah's bed and looked at Brandan strangely.
"Can I help you?" Brandan asked suspiciously.
"I'm good, I'm good. I was just thinking about a few things."
"Like what?" Colin sat up straight to stretch then slouched over again to get comfortable.
"Did you ever picture this when you were inside the matrix, when we both worked at Subway and everything was normal?"
"Can't say I ever did, but I somehow new everything wasn't as it seemed." Colin shook his head.
"I know what you mean dude, just always felt like something wasn't right, did you ever wake up before you were pulled from the matrix?"
"Maybe once or twice but the images are kind of faint. How about yourself?"
"I can remember waking up a few times, it happened when I was in judo practice and I was really pushing myself to deal with one of the bigger guys that was in the group with me." Brandan leaned against the wall.
"You mean Caleb, don't you, I remember you used to tell me at work all the time he was your biggest challenge." Colin nodded his head.
"Yeah and now I know why, he's not even human, he was a program that eventually went exile."
"I wonder what his purpose was?" Colin shrugged his shoulders.
Isaiah opened his eyes and looked at Colin then Brandan.
"Hey, how you feelin?" asked Colin. Isaiah sat up slowly and put his hand on his stomach.
"I feel . . . good," he spoke slowly, still groggy from the anesthetic. "Wow that stuff Tarra gave me really knocked me on my ass."
"Yeah she had to get you still for a bit so it had to be pretty strong. Do you think you'll be ready for tonight?" Brandan asked taking a step over to the bed.
"I feel good, I'll be great I think once I am inside."
"Good," Brandan nodded, "I've got to go talk to Parker about the exile I will be back to see how you are doing later."
"Ok I will see you later then." Isaiah smiled and laid back down on the bed.
"Colin are you busy for the next little while, I don't really feel like sitting down here alone all night."
"Sure bud whatever." Colin sat back and put his feet up on the other chair in front of him.
"So where is Saba?"
"Tarra is training her and Tabatha in the training program."
"How do you think they are gonna do tonight?"
"I don't know but all of us will be there to cover them if we have to."
"I don't think we are going to need to lets just hope they can hold their own . . . just a little faith I guess."
The two of them were quiet for a few short moments.
"You did really good in there tonight, if it weren't for you I wouldn't be here," said Isaiah breaking the silence.
"You're welcome as always buddy," said Colin.
"I wish I knew how you got so strong so quick? I've been free longer than you and you're still the better fighter."
"I don't know, even when I wasn't free I was still a pretty good fighter, I've always had a strong sense of belief in myself, and as we both know, inside the matrix . . . believing is what makes you strong. And don't be so hard on yourself, not one of us can match your speed on the inside."
"You are right about the whole believing in one self. I believe in myself, maybe not as much as I should, but there is a reason for everything though right." Colin nodded to Isaiah and stood up.
"I suppose I should go talk to the captain, and you should get some more rest we've got quite a mission ahead of us."
"You're right just wake me when they are ready I guess."
"You know we will." Colin walked through the door and headed for the broadcast zone of the ship. Isaiah closed his eyes and drifted back to sleep.
Brandan had been speaking with Parker about the mission that was ahead of them.
"So do you think we should take extra weaponry?" asked Brandan.
"I don't really know, I can't actually give you the answer you want to hear. You can take bigger weapons but again, it may not even do you any good," explained Parker. Brandan was silent for several longs seconds in thought.
"Hmm, what I think we need to do is try to find out what the machines were planning on using to get rid of this thing."
"It was probably some kind of command that they would send to disconnect the hardware that they would use to power it thus, shutting it off." Brandan was quiet again.
"A command huh?" Brandan looked over at Tarra and then back to Parker. "You mean like a hack, maybe?" Parker looked at Brandan and smiled.
"I think you might be on the right track. I'll try to develop some different hacks and just load them into Tarra's database when she jacks in."
"I doubt the hacks would work right away on it though, we'd probably have to knock it out like I did the last time before they will have any effect." Parker shook his head agreeing with him.
"Alright then I will get started on trying to develop a hack for her then, I should be able to make a couple before you guys are ready to go."
Colin walked up behind them and stood listening for a few seconds.
"So did you guys come up with something?" he asked. Brandan turned to look at him and Parker turned his attention to him as well.
"We think we are on to something but we won't know for sure until we actually fight the damn thing again," explained Parker.
"I see, I see."
Meanwhile the girls were still inside the training program battling different fighters they had moved their way up to the Merovingian's Twin Exiles.
"Saba look out!" yelled Tabatha as one of the twins drew his knife. He swung at her and she stopped his arm in mid swing and hit him in the face a couple of times, when he phased out to get away from her. Tabatha and Saba both jumped back from them to regroup momentarily. "How the hell are we supposed to beat these things if every time we get a few hits they go all ghostly on us and recover any damage we do," said Tabatha getting frustrated. Tarra's voice was all around them as she spoke.
"Sometimes the key isn't always to win but to know when to give up. . ." she said.
"We obviously can't beat them," said Saba.
"So what do we do then?" Saba looked at the twins walking toward them then back to Tabatha.
"We run, now go!" Saba turned and took off away from them with Tabatha close behind. Saba broke down a door that led into an apartment building and they ran for the stairs the twins were not very far behind. "Come on hurry!" yelled Saba turning up a flight of stairs. They kept running up the stairs and turned a corner and kept climbing as fast they could. Saba came to another door that would lead them to the top.
"Hurry up open it!" Tabatha focused and pushed Saba aside hitting the door with her foot knocking it open they kept running they were suddenly outside on top of the large building. They could hear the footsteps coming up the stairs behind them.
"Where do we go now?" asked Saba almost in a panic. Tabatha looked over at the next building.
"We go over there." She could see the ringing phone on the other building. "There is our exit." Saba and Tabatha ran together and jumped at the same time toward the other building, they both landed and rolled to their feet and ran right to the phone just as the twins realized where they were on the other roof. "You first Saba." Saba quickly picked up the phone and put it to her ear, as she vanished and the phone dropped Tabatha put it back on the receiver. The phone rang again and Tabatha put it to her ear just as the twins had landed on the building.
Tabatha opened her eyes and jumped up out of her seat as the jack was pulled from her neck.
"Yes! We did it," she yelled excited, "We rock girl!" Saba smiled at her from her seat and then leaned back, still slightly worked up from the chase.
"I think you guys will do fine tonight," said Tarra standing up from the operators station. "But for now I think you guys should go rest I am gonna go talk to Dan." Tarra walked out of the broadcast zone and headed to the bridge of the ship.
Dan sitting in the pilot's chair looking at the holographic projector at a sentinel squadron, that was somewhat close by. He put his headset on and adjusted the mouthpiece.
"Captain I think we should move to another spot the patrols are getting kind of close to our position," he said.
"Ok then take us out of here sound the alarm if you need us to take the turrets," said Brandan from the other end of the headset.
"Will do." Dan powered up the engines just as Tarra walked through the doorway.
"What are you doing?" she asked.
"I've just gotta move the ship to a different location the patrols are getting pretty close. Take the holographic station would you?" Tarra sat down next to him.
"Sure." She typed a few commands into the keyboard and a scan started to run. "You must be pretty lonely up here all day huh." Dan looked at Tarra from the corner of his eye and smiled slightly.
"Its not as bad as you might like to think. I have a lot of time to think about stuff." The scan quickly finished and brought up several squadrons in the area.
"Wow there is a lot of activity around here. Think they know that we are around here somewhere?"
"No not yet." The ship flew through the tunnels easily avoiding the unaware squads of sentinels. "Wish it was this easy all the time."
"Do you think you will be ready for the mission?" Tarra spoke starring at the passing walls of the tunnels.
"Of course how hard can it be with all of us there."
"This thing isn't like anything else we have ever dealt with inside the matrix though, just prepare yourself for the worst, I'm warning you now."
"We'll be fine." Dan smiled at her leaning over to kiss her on the cheek.
"I hope you're right."