Shutdown


Shutdown

  • AUTHOR: Narsus
  • TITLE: Shutdown
  • CATEGORY: Drama, AU
  • RATING: PG
  • SUMMARY: Will victory over the machines be everything that the rebels would hope it to be? An alternative ending to the entire Matrix story…
  • AUTHOR’S NOTES: At the end of the fic.
  • DISCLAIMER: They belong to the Wachowski brothers, Time-Warner and whoever else…

Shutdown

The smell of smoke filled the air, once tall buildings now crumbling, gutted by fire. What was left of the city now resembled a war zone. Scattered human corpses could be seen if one choose to look. The few remaining Agents stood around looking like wounded soldiers, which was more or less what they were. The final battles for control of the Matrix had taken their toll on both sides. The Agents loosing the advantage of their respawn function, now that the entire code of the Matrix had been corrupted. They were much like the rebels now, those that were injured, remained injured, those that were dead, remained so.

 

Standing in the middle of the wrecked street Neo surveyed his handiwork. He regretted the loss of human life but it had been necessary to free the rest of humanity from the terror of the machines. If a few people died because of him, he could live with it because the rest would be saved from the Matrix. Behind him he heard Trinity limping as she approached. He turned, trying to smile for her but she wasn’t looking at him. Trinity didn’t look at him very much, any more. Her eyes were moving over the wreckage, resignedly looking for survivors. Of course, there weren’t any.

 

A crash from a doorway in the distance drew their attention. Agent Brown staggered out of the building, still clutching his gun. Neo heard Trinity sigh tiredly as he turned to confront the Agent. Brown, like Trinity didn’t even bother looking at Neo. He knelt beside another fallen Agent, seemingly checking for any life signs. Finding them negative, he calmly raised the gun to his temple and fired. Neo watched the body fall forwards is silent horror. Turning to Trinity he was equally stunned to find her looking unimpressed.

“They’ve been doing that a lot lately.” Was all she said before she turned and began to limp towards the nearest exit.

Of course, Neo had heard about it, as the war with the machines was obviously coming to its end the Agents had begun desperate kamikaze missions. Those these were more a case of them fighting till they were killed, rather than doing too much damage to the enemy. Trinity had acquired her limp as the result of one such encounter. The Agent had grabbed her as he had fallen through the plate-glass window of the skyscraper. She’d been lucky enough to land half on top of him, when they hit a lower level roof. The impact had shattered both the back of his cranium and most of his lower dorsal vertebra. Neo had rushed to the scene to find a semi-immobilised Trinity and the last respawn of Agent Smith looking frighteningly like a human corpse.

Turning towards the exit, Neo found that he couldn’t make himself leave just yet. Some part of him demanded that he go take a closer look at the remains of Agent Brown. Dragging his feet, Neo picked his way through the debris towards the fallen Agents. As he got closer, he could see that Brown was splattered with blood, in dispersed with a variety of burns. Neo fought the urge to wretch. These were only AI, he had to remind himself, they were the enslavers of humanity, why should he care about the horrific ways in which they died. The corpse that Brown lay beside was that of what appeared to be an Agent of a slightly larger build. Neo couldn’t see the face. Nausea warring with curiosity he rolled the corpse over, only to fall back and collapse on his side as his stomach reacted violently. He pressed his eyes shut tightly, revulsion sweeping over him; the Agent’s face had been entirely burnt off.

Managing to drag himself to his feet, Neo made his way to the exit, keeping his eyes fixed firmly in front of him, desperate to ignore the corpses that littered the streets.

Trinity was waiting for him by the phone. She picked it up when it rang and held the receiver out to him. He took it gratefully. He had to get out of the Matrix, had to get free from the horrific prison it had become; a prison now populated by the dead and the dieing.

 

Opening his eyes, back on the Neb. Neo gave a shuddering sigh, knowing that the carnage he had seen would revisit him in his dreams. Glancing over at Trinity, Neo was surprised to see that she hadn’t come back yet. Then he realised that Morpheus and their new operator were hurriedly imputing commands into the ship’s computer. Wary he came to stand beside the operator.

“What-” Neo stared at the screen, the encrypted characters were beginning to disappear.

Despite the best efforts of Morpheus and the operator, more and more characters were being erased. Neo grabbed a keyboard, trying to input the commands that were so obviously failing to initiate any response. He was peripherally aware that other crew members were now watching him, the operator and Morpheus having stopped their futile actions, seemingly waiting for ‘the One’ to make a difference.

The screen went blank. Neo stared, still clutching the keyboard. Standard characters began to spell out a message across the screen:

 

Matrix shutdown complete.

Critical error: teraforming 0.02% complete.

Matrix reboot sequence initiated.

Critical error: kernal not found.

Matrix reboot sequence initiated.

Critical error: kernal not found.

Matrix reboot sequence initiated.

Critical error: Smith 01 module not found.

Matrix reboot sequence terminated.

Teraforming 0.02% complete: Planet status uninhabitable.

 

On another screen an urgent communication from the Zion mainframe was flashing. Neo didn’t look. Quietly he put down the keyboard and went to stand next to the empty shell that had been Trinity. He reached out and touched the cheek gently, in much the same way that she had done, when she had thought him dead. Neo looked at her closely, she looked so peaceful. He was still looking at her when Morpheus relayed the information from Zion: that everything had been shutdown; the Matrix itself, the power plants, the life support systems…


  • AUTHOR’S NOTES:
    • Hmm, nasty…
    • Don’t know why Smith is a boot disk though.
    • 22:03, 24/04/02
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