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Blue Pill

 

It is night in the city.  The rain pounds on the window, rattling the glass in its cracked casement.  In the room within, a man sits, leather-clad shoulders hunched, fingers steepled over his mouth.  He is staring at a coffee table, the lenses of his sunglasses reflecting the glass of water sitting there.

The door to the room opens, and two women step through.  The first is a close-cropped blonde in a white suit; the second, a slim brunette, dressed head to toe in black leather.  The seated man does not notice their intrusion; with an anxious exchange of looks, they cross the floor to him.

“Morpheus,” the brunette says, laying a hand on his shoulder.  The man named Morpheus stirs, looking up at the woman though his mirrored gaze.

“Trinity, Switch,” he sighs, rubbing his bald head.  “Forgive me, my mind was elsewhere.  Is it done?”

“Yeah,” the woman called Switch replies, the disgust plain in her husky voice.  “Little Coppertop’s tucked up nice and cosy in his bed.  Back to his comfy little delusion.”

“Good, good,” Morpheus says, hauling himself out of his chair.  “Come, we should go and help the others.”

The three cross to another door, pushing through to a room in disarray.  Cables festoon the walls and snake along the floor, connecting various boxes and monitors.  In the midst of the electronic jungle, three men are standing, arms folded.

“So,” one of the men says – a short one, barely more than a boy, wearing a pair of black jeans and a faded Metallica t-shirt.  “What do we do now?”

“First, we take this place apart,” Trinity says, waving at the assembled gear.  “Mouse, Apoc, cover our tracks.  You know the drill.”

The boy and another man, one with shoulder-length black dreds, settle in front of two laptops and begin typing.

“What about me?” the third man asks.

“Wait until these two are finished, then you and Switch help them pack it up.” Morpheus says.  “I need to make the call.”

Morpheus turns and exits the room, with Trinity in tow.

 

Morpheus closes the door to room 1313, and slumps against the wall.

“Are you okay?” Trinity asks, putting a hand on his arm.  Morpheus waves her away.

“I am fine,” he says, pulling the glasses from his face.  The eyes beneath are brown, and heavy with sorrow.  “Well, as fine as can be expected, in the circumstances.”

“Listen, I know what he meant to you – what he meant to all of us.  But surely the fact that he did what he did proves that he wasn’t who you thought he was.”

Morpheus shakes his head.  “No, Trinity, it doesn’t.  I came here tonight fully believing that he was the One.  I don’t know what went wrong.”

“You saw him, Morpheus.  He was scared.  Most of them are.  He was just a little too scared.  Agents can do that to you.”

“Yes, I know.  But...”

“But you were sure, weren’t you?  You were so sure.”

Morpheus nods slowly.

“Well, you want to know a secret?” Trinity says, leaning in to Morpheus’ ear.

“I was sure, too.”

Morpheus looks at Trinity, who smiles.  “Make the call, Morpheus.  We need to get out of here as soon as possible.”

With that, she opens the door and heads back into the apartment.  Morpheus stands, stunned for a second, before regaining his focus.  He reaches into his coat, pulling out a phone.  He hits a button, and puts the phone to his ear.

“Operator,”

“Tank, we’re done here.”

“Done?  But I don’t have the retrieval info, sir.”

“That’s because he isn’t coming.”

There’s a moment of silence on the other end of the line.

“Sir, what do you mean, he’s not coming?”

“I mean what I mean, Tank.  We’re packing up the tracer, and then we’re heading home.  Is our exit secure?”

“Yes, sir.  You’ve managed to fly under the radar this time.”

“At least something has gone right tonight, then.  We’ll be out in about twenty minutes.”

“See you then, sir.”

 

“That’s it,” Apoc says, hitting one last key.  “The trace program’s been wiped.  Let’s get the hell out of here.”

“Hey, listen,” the third man says, “D’you guys mind if I get some air?  All the mildew in this place is playin’ hell with my allergies.”

“You do know that it’s all in your head, right, Cypher?” Mouse says.

“Sure I do, kid, but that doesn’t stop me from needin’ to sneeze.  I’ll be two minutes, I promise.”

“Alright,” Switch says, pulling a bundle of cable from the wall.  “Two minutes, no more.  Go on.”

Cypher nods his thanks, and heads towards the balcony door.

Outside, the rain has eased to a light drizzle.  Cypher hunches in against the cold, pulls a phone from his coat, and dials.

“Mr Reagan,” the voice on the other end says.  “I wasn’t expecting to hear from you for a while yet.”

“Yeah, well, I’ve got some news.  Your boy isn’t coming to the party.”

“What do you mean, Mr Reagan?”

“I mean he took the blue pill.  Tomorrow morning, he won’t know anything.”

“This is a most unexpected pleasure, Mr Reagan.”

“Yeah, yeah.  So, what about the deal?”

“The deal still stands, Mr Reagan.  If you obtain the access codes for the Zion mainframe, we will gladly welcome you back into the fold.”

“Good.  Listen, I gotta go.  We’ll do dinner sometime, huh?”

 

It’s loud and smoky in the Basement.  A mass of bodies writhe and sweat on the dance-floor, while others sit and attempt conversation over drinks in the booths around the walls.  One man stands alone, nursing a warm beer, staring at the video displays projected on the walls.  After a while, another man emerges from the mob, and jogs over.

“Hey, Tom,” he says, slapping the stoic man on the arm.  “Come have a dance.  I’ve just met the hottest set of twins.”

“I don’t dance, Troy.” Tom says.

“Come on, man, loosen up.  It’ll be fun, I promise.”

“That’s what Dujour said about that other night, remember?  And then I wake up this morning with three days missing.  I’m sorry, Troy, but I don’t call that fun.”

Troy waves a hand.  “Come on, man.  It’s not like it’s a school day tomorrow.”

“No.”

Troy throws his hands up.  “Honestly, man, I don’t know why you come, if you’re not going to have any fun.”

“You know, you’re right,” Tom says, slugging back the last mouthful of his beer.  “I’m leaving.  I’ll see what I can do about those programs.”

“Sure, man, whatever.  See you round, yeah?”

Troy bounds back into the crowd, and Tom puts his empty bottle down on a nearby table.  As he makes his way towards the exit, a body backs out from a booth, knocking him to one side.

“Hey, watch it,” Tom says.  The body, a woman dressed in black leather, looks up.

“Sorry,” she says, brushing her short brunette hair from her eyes.  “Didn’t see you there.”

Tom says nothing, staring at her, frowning.

“Have we met before?” he says.  The woman shakes her head.

“I don’t think so.” she says, her lips quirked in a half-smile.

“Well, I’m Tom.  Thomas.” Tom says.

“People call me Trinity.” The woman replies.

“Trinity,” Tom repeats.  Then, his eyes light up.  “You’re not the Trinity, are you?”

Trinity shrugs.  “I don’t know.  Probably not.”

“Yeah, probably not,” Tom echoes, face falling.  Trinity nods towards the dance floor.

“I was about to go and dance,” she says.  “You wanna come?”

Tom looks at the door, and then at Trinity.

“I’d like to,” he says, “but I was just headed home.”

“Come on,” she says, taking his hand.  “I promise, this’ll be one decision you won’t regret.”

Tom laughs.  “I might hold you to that,” he says, as they head towards the floor.

 

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