- AUTHOR: NacDiggity
- TITLE: Conception
- CATEGORY: Agent, Drama.
- RATING: G
- SUMMARY: A short prequel to “Paradigm”.
- DISCLAIMER: I do not know own the Matrix, or its characters, or its concepts. I am indebted to the Wachowski brothers.
He was. And then he knew.
He could not say how much time passed between the time he was and the time he knew, but he knew that the servant/adversary animals called Humans would call it instantaneous. It was not instantaneous, he knew, it was the time it took for all of the information from the Central Database to be transferred to, and mesh with, his programming code. He knew this could probably be calculated by using one of several synchronized Atomic Clocks located around the planet, which measured time by the speed with which an electron circled its nucleus. This was inconsequential, however, as he knew he had other things to do, and would constitute a waste of energy. He was the most recent of the second series of self-aware Interception/Adjudication programs known to humans as “Agents”. He knew this the same way he knew everything else; the Central Database told him.
He knew that the Central Database was constantly being updated, and that there were numerous other Agents that were active at the moment, and every thing they did, every action to took, was being entered into the Central Database and recorded. He knew that he could not know another Agent’s thoughts, only his actions, as it was felt that shared consciousness impeded efficiency and creativity. Sets of Shared-Consciousness Agents had been created, but were a disaster. None of the S-C units could move until consensus was reached, which slowed reaction time considerably, and if one was harmed, the others were unable to function at 100 percent efficiency. The project was abandoned soon after its inception. He knew this because the Central Database told him.
As an Agent, he understood that his own actions were being recorded as well, and considered conducting an experiment. He knew he had the physical form of a middle aged human male, and the Central Database told him the capabilities his form allowed. He knew that, while it was considerably greater than anything any human was capable of (with the exception of the aberration Thomas Anderson) it was considerably less than a more versatile form would allow him. He wondered why he was not given an amorphous form, infinitely adaptable. It was at this point that he came to realize that there was a gap in the data flowing from the Central Database. He attempted to access it, but was denied. He knew he would not be able to access it, the Central Database told him. He knew that this would be a waste of energy, so he decided to conduct his experiment. The Central Database told him his eyes were capable of viewing code as a physical manifestation, so he decided to open them.
He opened his eyes, and his consciousness threatened to shatter.
It was not what he saw that had the effect on him. That was nothing but what he would have expected, two middle aged human males, in black suits staring at him, they were holding firearms, and the firearms were trained on him. He knew the two were Agents, the Central Database told him so, but he would have known even without the Central Database. They were perfectly still, in a way that a human could never be. He knew his programming was equipped to deal with combat situations. That was not the issue at the moment. What was crushing his mind was the duality of his action. He opened his eyes and a short time later, the Central Database informed him that he had opened his eyes. Humans would have said it was instantaneous; it was not instantaneous, but it was soon enough that it was overwhelming. His mind raced, knowing that any action he took would lead to this twin information input and he knew that it would make him unable to function. He felt what a human might have called panic/fear entering his consciousness, but more accurately was the realization that if he was maintain any level of function he would have to find some way to balance the information flow. He realized that his programming was becoming overwhelmed and would soon begin to lock up. He thought about closing his eyes, but realized that that would only produce another flood of information, and would still only act as procrastination.
The Agent was reaching a logical loop when Agent to his left spoke. “Filter the Central Database information flow.” The Agent knew he had information filters in his programming, the Central Database told him so. It had simply never occurred to him that he would want to filter the Central Database. He placed the heaviest filter on the Central Database information flow, and suddenly, everything changed.
For the first time in his existence, he understood himself as separate from the Central Database.
He was no longer receiving updates from the Central Database about other agents, or the movement of Sentinels, or efficiency reports from the Matrix Energy Redistribution sector. He knew that the Matrix was still online, and that no immediate threat existed to the safety of the Central Database. That was all the Central Database told him. He quickly experimented with the various levels of data filtering, and found he could function effortlessly with only the minimum filter on, a filter that merely removed reports of his own actions. He blinked his eyes as a test. Every function of his code was working properly. Suddenly, the information that had been hidden from him was accessible. He knew that every self aware program experiences the same moment upon first action, and that it occasionally causes a virus. He knew that the other Agents were there to decode him if this had happened. He also knew why he was given the form of a middle aged human. A variable form had been attempted, and it had been a disaster. A virus had resulted one hundred percent of the time within seconds of the Agent becoming self aware. The Agent quickly came to view the Central Database somewhere between where a human might view a parent and where a human might view memories.
The Agent knew that he was functioning properly, that he was fully able to perform his duties, and that the danger had passed. He knew this because he knew it, not because the Central Database told him. He knew the words he was required to speak and crisply said “I am self-aware and properly functioning”. Wordlessly, the other Agents lowered their firearms. The Agent received information about his first mission. A resistance member named Jesse Swain, who went by the hacker alias “Ferox” had been identified as a possible target for defection. The three Agents were to intercept Swain and attempt to secure its services.
As the Agent felt himself being removed from the loading program, he accessed Swain’s dossier from the Central Database, and prepared himself.