The Trip of a Life (Death) Time
- AUTHOR: Quin Firefrorefiddle
- TITLE: The Trip of a Life (Death) Time
- CATEGORY: Drama
- RATING: PG-13 for dark thoughts.
- SUMMARY: Three Neb crewmembers grieve for themselves, their friends, and their enemies.
- AUTHOR’S OPENING NOTES: Very very dark, not happy shiny fluffy fun stuff. Enter at your own risk. (Fairly depressing.)
- DISCLAIMER: I don’t own the characters or the movie, just borrowing them.
The Trip of a Life (Death) Time
Sometimes I have to wonder, what would it be like to just let go? Just drift away, and not look back?
Other people have died, I will someday, why not now? Why not choose to instead of having it forced upon me? The when and why and how are all I can control, the if is not debatable. What does living gain me?
I’ve lost my brother, the only person who ever bothered to understand me. Trin’s a good friend and Morpheus more than makes up for my father, but with mom dead and Dozer gone, I’ve got no real family. Isn’t that what mom always said, “Family’s the most important thing you’ve got, son, keep tight hold on it or you’ll get lost.”
What, should I stay alive? Just so tomorrow morning I can look in the mirror and see my face? Me, who couldn’t stop Cypher in time to save Switch and Apoc, let alone Mouse? How many close calls have there been when I’m so tired I barely find an exit for them in time?
Trin is so caught up in Neo that she can’t see anybody else’s soul right now, but that’s how it should be. Morpheus is so busy trying to talk to Zion and directing the rest of us that he barely sleeps. Well, less than usual, anyway. And Neo, Neo’s just getting used to being alive.
Nobody has time for me. Nobody asked what it did to me to watch my big brother die, to kill his murderer.
To kill. I’d never done that before. Is it right that my first time was something I enjoyed? I got a thrill out of it, I enjoyed it, it was FUN!
Do I deserve to live when so many others died?
Back in training, they told us about survivor’s guilt. They told us to watch for it in our shipmates and ourselves. They said it’s the worst kind of guilt trip you can send yourself on, and that it can lead to horrible consequences.
They never told us what to do with it.
Isn’t it my choice if I can live or die? I’m just another soldier, the Oracle told me that.
“Son, you’re going to have problems, you’re going to have tragedy, you’re going to have hard decisions. And they’re going to be your problems and tragedies and decisions, nobody else can do them for you. I hate to be blunt with a sweet kid like you, but life isn’t a cakewalk. You’re another soldier, one of many, but also one of very, very few. Important people will trust you, and you’re going to listen to things you don’t want to hear. But you’ve got to, kid, because it’s who you are.”
All I’ve ever been is somebody to help somebody else. I’ve never been special, never been important, just know some pretty influential people. I’ve never used that to be important, I don’t need that kind of thing.
Or do I? The Oracle can’t tell us everything. She certainly didn’t tell me everything. She just made it sound like she did. She never told me who I am.
No one ever has.
Mama? I’m lost.
I’ve always been in control. I’ve lost crew members, sure, it happens to every captain. But then it’s either the victim’s fault, the Agent’s fault, or pure blind bad luck in a few cases.
Treachery has never taken a ship crew member before. Utter betrayal has never been an option for crew members. It just doesn’t happen. That’s why we have the Oracle, to tell us if that kind of thing would happen.
Yeah, so she doesn’t give the answers, but surely she didn’t tell Cypher to become a traitor? She couldn’t have. Why didn’t she WARN us for heaven’s sake?!
Sure, there are anarchists and fifth columnists and even the occasional monarchist in Zion, but we watch the newbies for a reason. Sometimes a screwball freeborn might sneak in, but we watch the newbies for months. Standard procedure. So what happened? Yeah, Cypher was a loner, and a little weird, but we all were. Some of us still are, or still were. Look at Switch, she barely talked to anybody but Apoc and sometimes Trinity. And she’d join the rest in trying to shut Mouse up. But that was hard to resist sometimes. And Apoc wasn’t much better.
I TRUSTED Cypher. He was a crew mate, he had been with us for years. I knew he would have preferred to be a bit more comfortable, but that’s why he always spent half of his wages in Zion to find stuff for his room.
Come to think of it, he usually referred to it as his cell. Wonder why I didn’t pick up on that.
Of course the other half of his wages went to the poorer and more desperate women of Zion who condescended to spend the night with him.
But Cypher, well, I don’t know when he turned. That’s what’s bugging me, I know why, but not when. What was the moment that made him decide that his so called “happiness” in the Matrix was worth our lives?
When did he decide to trust the Agents over us?
When did he begin to hate me? Why didn’t he talk to me about it? We could have sent him to Zion if that’s what he needed, at least he’d be safer there. There’d be more girls.
Of course none would date him, but he’d be able to find prostitutes easier.
But when did I start seeing Cypher with such contempt as to think a thought like that about him? I thought that long before he died. Is that what he picked up on? But he could have changed-
He would have had to change who he was to have the crew like him, and if ever Cypher was anything, he was an individualist. He always was difficult to figure, but he liked it that way.
His name was certainly appropriate.
Don’t ask me how, don’t ask me why, but he’s alive.
Well, of course I know why, he’s the One. But that doesn’t make it easier to understand, it’s an explanation that explains everything but that you can’t understand. I can’t get my mind around it. Morpheus can’t get his mind around it. For Zion’s sake, NEO doesn’t understand it.
But now, he’s getting used to being alive, to his powers, trying to understand more and more of the Matrix. Tank’s mourning Dozer. Morpheus is, in his own and very screwed up way, mourning Cypher. Not his death, but his life.
And I’m helping Neo, who isn’t comfortable around the rest of us because we’re grieving for our friends that he never really got to know that well. But while I do that, I’m in mourning myself.
For Switch, the only person who could really understand what I was going through any day of the week. Sure, the guys, for the most part, were great, but wow do they just not get PMS. If we had more women scientists, we’d have ibuprofen pills by now. Lots of them.
But on a more serious note, she went through the stuff with Apoc that I ended up going through with Neo. Plus more crap than I would ever want to go through.
Apoc and Switch, quite simply, saved each other’s souls. Switch was with us first, she and I had just enough time to form a slight friendship before it was time for Apoc to be freed. Switch was given more shifts of watching the Matrix so that Morpheus and Dozer could work on Apoc. She almost never trained with him. It was like they were staying away from each other.
We had been having a lot of trouble with Sentinels and therefore we had to take Apoc and Switch to the Oracle at the same time. Usually that only happened on one of the rare days when she was unplugged so she could see freeborns, like when we took Dozer and Tank to see her.
Switch went in first, she had been with us longer. She came out a few minutes later, looking pale. She glanced at Apoc for moment, then stared at her shoes. She didn’t say a word, just absentmindedly ate the saltwater taffy that the Oracle had given her. Apoc went in, and came out several minutes later, thoughtful. He stared at Switch for several moments, and then we left.
Things were quiet onboard ship for several days. Too quiet. Finally, about a week later, Switch, Apoc and I were eating our daily allowance of goop in the mess. And one or the other of them made a comment, and the fight started.
“Why would you care what the Oracle told me? Why would you give a crap about me at all?”
“What, did I ask you for something you didn’t feel like saying, Switch, did I break your precious little mysterious aura or something? What, you too scared to answer?”
“You want to know what the Oracle told me, Apoc? Well, she told me exactly what I’m not. That I didn’t know who I was and that I was lost! That I needed to find someone else to find myself! When I’m the most stable person I know. I don’t need anybody, and certainly not you!”
Switch stopped in horror at what she had said. She just stood there, chair tipped over behind her from when she had shoved it back in the beginning of the fight. Her face was a mask of fear. She didn’t seem to notice I was in the room, but Apoc did. He took the few steps he needed to get close to her and took her chin in his hand. He stared at her for a moment, then wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close for a moment. She stayed stiff at first, but he whispered quietly to her and she relaxed. They left.
They had been the other’s other half ever since. They were a perfect soldiering team, knowing exactly what the other was about to do.
Lucky the Oracle had told Apoc exactly what Switch had needed to hear, exactly what it would take to get her to open up. Lucky it had worked.
Lucky I didn’t have to go through the same crap with Neo. I had problems admitting it, yes, but I did, when it mattered. He took it better than I ever could have dreamed, he lived.
I guess I’m not really mourning for Switch or Apoc, they had exactly what they needed and wanted from the other. They were happy. As happy as I am now.
And Mouse? Mouse was just a kid. Who lost his opportunity to grow up. Mouse’s death was just sad. But he died bravely, too bravely for a kid. He stood his ground. He could have been great one day.
Wonder what the Oracle told him?
I’m okay, but what about Tank, about Morpheus? What can this be doing to Neo? I guess I’ll never know, I can’t get inside their heads.
- AUTHOR’S CLOSING NOTES: No, I won’t be doing any more of these, at least not in this series. I know this one wasn’t like the other two, but I wrote what I thought needed to be written. Trinity wasn’t as introverted as Tank and Morpheus, at least she didn’t seem so to me. I didn’t do one for Neo and I won’t be doing one for him because I CAN’T get inside his head. In the movie he was more of a reaction character, we didn’t see much of his personality or his pain. Keanu Reeves was great and is an excellent actor, but I couldn’t see his soul in his eyes as much as Trinity, and certainly not as much as Morpheus or Tank. And the others? They’re dead, how could I do them? Have a wonderful day. -Quin