This story is The Matrix fan fiction. If you are unfamiliar with the movies, comics, and/or games, I recommend checking them out before reading this, but I’ll try not to make it too dependent on them.
This chapter takes place about 2 years before the first movie. Wraith is the protagonist of a short series I plan to write. The format of this story will be meant to fit a single season for a TV series, but it isn’t written like a screenplay for the purposes of being entertaining in its current form. Enjoy.
“Have you ever suddenly become aware that you were dreaming?” he asked the beautiful brunette sitting next to him at the bar. “You’re sleeping soundly, completely into this dream you’re having, but then suddenly something makes you look around and realize that you’re dreaming. Usually this causes you to wake up, but sometimes…” He paused to take a sip of his beer, doing his best to stall for suspense while she stared at him. She hadn’t taken a sip of what she told him was her favorite drink for several minutes, and her eyes were fixed on him the entire time he spoke.
“Sometimes you can keep the dream going. You can accept your dream world and move around within it freely. It’s hard to keep it going for long,” he looked up from the slowly descending foam of his beer glass and gazed into her eyes dramatically as he continued, “but some dreams are worth the effort.”
She tried to contain her flattered smile, but it shone through. She still did her best to play coy, “What kind of dreams are those?”
“Only the very best ones,” Wraith smiled devilishly, “like this one.”
As the words sprang from his lips, she suddenly realized how quiet this bar was. There were hundreds of people crowding the dance floor, high-topped tables and bar stools of the high-end club, but none of them spoke beyond an unintelligible murmur. As crowded as the place was, neither her nor her handsome stranger were ever bumped or interrupted. Her mind began to shape the idea that this was in fact a dream, but she fought it. She closed her eyes and breathed a deep sigh, feeling tiny tingles of electricity radiate over the surface of her skin from the tips of her toes and fingers into her chest and between her legs.
Full of incandescent hope, she opened her eyes again and her handsome stranger was still staring back at her. Her magnificent legs slowly uncrossed and he heard one of her high-heeled shoes hit the floor. Clearly pleased by what she saw, she practically purred “Then we don’t have much time, do we?”
She leapt onto Wraith and pushed her tongue between his lips, nearly knocking him off of his bar stool. He was eager to reciprocate, but her aggression took him off guard for a moment. They didn’t make it back to either of their rooms that night, instead choosing the fine polished cherry wood bar as their venue. The crowd around them continued to dance and socialize as if nothing was going on, while the rhythmic music perfectly aligned with their lovemaking.
He chuckled to himself as he held onto the rail to steady himself. The train from downtown to the suburbs was practically empty this early in the morning, but he preferred standing. His legs and glutes were sore from the activities of the evening.
Sometimes Wraith didn’t know which turned him on more, the sex itself or how well he had come to master his ability to make these “dreams” come true. He had learned how to mask the field of vision for entire crowds of people. He learned how to design his “presentations” to guide his audience’s senses to focus on exactly what he wanted them to. In only a few months, he had learned how to create a virus to mill out only the details of the previous night, leaving behind just enough memory that they think it was all a dream.
And Wraith wasn’t even a programmer. He could just feel the software of the world around him and manipulate it with his will. He couldn’t explain how he did it. He just focused his mind on imagining exactly how he wanted things to appear to others around him and did his best impression of the role he played in that illusion. It was as if an actor could simultaneously control and change all of the make-up, special effects, and direction of a movie he was starring in. Except Wraith’s movie was the entire virtual world.
Wraith always had a vivid and powerful imagination. It allowed him to play the pretend game very well. He was never male model material, being average height and slightly overweight, but his charisma got him places his appearance couldn’t. He never dated the 10’s of the world, but he snagged a few 8’s when he was on his game. At least that was before he learned how to stay asleep.
Morpheus had contacted him several times since he took the Blue Pill. They had made the mistake of telling him everything before he committed to their insane revolution. At the time, he refused out of fear. He didn’t want to be a hero just so he could live in some post-apocalyptic shithole — or, more likely, be buried in one. It wasn’t until after he woke the next day that he realized just how wise a decision he’d made.
His neural link into The Matrix was direct. The super-cool awake kids decided to only use the brain stem connection, while he had all of the original ports that he was born with working at full potential for all of his data transfer, stabilization, and survival needs. He was also fully confident that if his digital body died in The Matrix, his mind would survive. He was completely dissociative from that digital body already. The world he lived in now was nothing more than one of the online games he used to play with his friends. Therefore, if he died in The Matrix, the machines would simply reboot him to keep his flesh and blood body productive.
He’d wake up the next day as if it was all a dream, just like his latest lovers.
A Fresh Start
Wraith’s phone rang, as it regularly did every hour or so. If it wasn’t his parents trying to find where he went, it was Morpheus begging him to reconsider. Sometimes he picked up the calls just out of curiosity or boredom, but he never gave them much heed. This one happened to be from the latter, and he decided he was bored enough to hit the “Answer” button this time.
“Hello Morpheus” he replied, mocking the condescending and absurdly mystical tone that characterized his aspirant mentor.
After a short pause, “You know why I called. What made you decide to pick up the phone this time?”
“I wanted to remind you how awesome make-up, Brazilian bikini waxes, and plastic surgery are. How’s Niobe doing? Her furry thighs keeping you nice and warm at night?”
Morpheus seethed. “Perhaps you would like to feel what a real woman is like.”
“Don’t worry. Most of her was real. Just some spectacular breasts that made the exception.” Wraith reveled in Morpheus’s frustration. That high and mighty preacher attitude was one of the many things that turned Wraith off to the real world. It felt good to take the prophet down a peg.
“I prefer flesh to zeros and ones, but to each their own.” Morpheus conceded that topic. “I just thought you might want to reconsider. Your recent exploits at the banks downtown have garnered you some unsavory attention. I’m sure you know that Agents don’t need to chase you when you’re plugged in.”
Wraith was ready for this. Morpheus only called when he had a new angle. “They also don’t want to catch me. I’m not interfering with their operation. I’m just stealing some Monopoly money.”
“I hope, for your sake, that you are right. Keep in mind, that we are willing to wake you at any time, should you change your mind.”
“That’s it? You’re not going to tell me I’m The One again? What about how the whole human race is counting on me to save them? Or how selfish I am to abandon them for the sake of a little hedonism?”
“Apparently,” Morpheus spoke quietly “I don’t need to.” and the call ended.
Wraith, slightly saddened by how easily Morpheus gave up that time, put his phone back into his pocket. The train had finally left the underground portion of his route and came out into the industrial areas on the outskirts of the city.
He looked up to the grey sky of early spring, then down past the pale white smoke stacks and silos of unmarked factories and warehouses. Down past the tall, yellow grass that bordered the train tracks, he watched the cracked black soil race by beneath him. Everywhere he looked he saw the extreme contrast of garbage and sterility.
Maybe the machines did us and the Earth a favor.
Considering how long this train ride was going to be, and how heavy his duffle bag was, he decided to sit down. Wraith was heading out to the country and ready to be a nomad. His phone was top of the line, able to act as a mini computer for most of his needs. His laptop did everything his phone didn’t. Both linked up to the private satellite internet connection he quietly purchased from the Russian mafia. He was connected, untraceable by digital human law enforcement, and carrying just over a million in funny money. He was going to make the most of his time and power. He had been pushing the limits of his abilities for months, and had yet to hear The Matrix tell him “No, you can’t.” Not bad for a 16 year old kid.