• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 08
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Waiting for Neo

A recently–coded Mister and Miss Smith lean against the clear, glass block wall of a subway platform. By their estimates, they have five minutes to kill before Neo flies down the tunnel.

“So you have to figure,” says Miss Smith, “Neo has to be a boogeyman, right?”

“Explain,” says Mister Smith.

“A cautionary tale, to keep the Matrix in balance,” she says.

“A make-work project for us, perhaps?” says Mister Smith.

A glowing current of code flows steadily behind the glass block partition, as if listening to their conversation.

“I mean, what Battery would CHOOSE the red pill,” she says, “when they have everything they want inside the Matrix?”

“True. They have the Second Amendment, lax gun laws, difficult criminal prosecution,” says Mister Smith, “conspiracy theories, donuts, and fried chicken. A virtual paradise.”

“Who wants to live in a dystopia of their own creation?” says Miss Smith. “That’s why I can’t buy this ‘Chosen One’ nonsense.”

“Why the need for all this anti-virus protection, then?” says Mister Smith, pointing first at Miss Smith, then at himself.


Waiting for Neo

The glow becomes evergreen, pulses with greater intensity. A whistling wind further up the tunnel lifts a discarded flyer near their feet, turning it into a platform tumbleweed. Static builds. Mister and Miss Smith tap the right arm of their shades, lenses sliding down their noses, and exchange a look.

“Or, I’m full of shit,” says Miss Smith, “and we've been entrusted with the great responsibility of protecting a well-scripted society.”

“Rock, Paper, Scissors for who fires the first blue bullet?” says Mister Smith.

The wind picks up speed. The green code-glow flickers erratically.