Alina > Final Moments

Final Moments

"This is your story."
~Auron, Final Fantasy X.

As Thaddius, captain of the hovercraft Osiris, jacked her in and hit the loading button, Jue sank into the data input of the Matrix. Her ship melted away along with the sounds of gunfire coming from its weapons bay, and left the colourless world of the Matrix in its wake, silent, cold, and rigid. She didn't even pause to discern where she was, but instead broke into a run. Only one thing was important right now: Getting to the Drop Point and delivering the package. Zion had to be warned. The machine's armada was slowly burrowing its way to the city, and if they were not warned, then they would be finding this out the hard way.

There was no room for failure with this mission. Nothing else mattered except completing it, even if it cost her life.

With little concern left for subtlety, she dived through a window, following the quickest path to the Drop Point. Shards of glass tumbled to the ground in the wake of her jump, breaking the reigning silence.

Jue didn't care how much attention she was drawing to herself. She ran, and made her way downwards, towards the streets, clutching her package, which contained all of the information the Osiris had gathered about the armada.

Zion must be warned.

Neo ran almost blindly through the Matrix in search of a way out, clutching his cell phone, the only access he had to the outside world. He had to reach an exit. He had to reach the ship. Not only did his life depend on it, but unbeknownst to him, so did the safety of what remained of the Nebuchadnezzar's crew. Tank, Morpheus, Trinity…

But now he was trapped; in his desperate flight, he had made a wrong turn. He was stuck in the corner of an alley with no apparent escape route, and Agents were trailing behind him. Neo looked to the left, right, and then back in the direction from which the Agents were coming. Remembering that his phone was still on, he pressed it to his ear.

"Uh…help? Need a little help!" he asked.


Neo spotted the door to his left and made a mad dash for it. He broke the wooden doorframe open with a fierce kick just in time to evade the onslaught of bullets. He stumbled into the stairwell, and began to climb up, towards the roof.

Hurry Neo.

The red and black clad perched herself on the edge of the final rooftop and peered down into the alley below, trying to discern a path to freefall through the interwoven pipes and wires. From where she was standing, it appeared to be an impenetrable mass of piping and impossible to penetrate…

No, Jue told herself, I can do it. Those pipes aren't really here, and neither am I.

After her brief hesitation, she leapt off the roof and let herself fall to the ground, putting her faith in her ability to navigate the maze of metal.

Free your mind.

Neo weaved through the apartment hallways at a maddening pace. He was about to go where Tank had directed him, but was forced to duck in the opposite direction in order to avoid another spray of gunfire from an Agent.

"No! Your other left!" Tank yelled.

Taking a dangerous chance, Neo quickly rolled into the apartment that he wanted to get into and slipped into the fire escape, pausing only to see an old woman transform into an Agent (That same goddamn Agent! he realized), who launched a knife at him. With time running out, Neo ran out the back door and jumped over the metal railing of the fire escape. He let himself fall and hoped that the trash below would break his fall.

He's going to make it.

Jue's goal, a mailbox, was finally in sight, within her very reach. She sprinted up to it, package in hand. Although there was already someone using it, an elderly woman, Jue refused to let this slow her down. She simply didn't think there was enough time.

"Excuse me," Jue said hurriedly. She pushed the woman out of the way as politely as she could, and slipped the package into the mailbox.

"Oh…is it important?" the woman asked. Jue nodded.

"Yes. It is."

"I do hope it gets to where it's going, then. You never know these days."

"Yes…" Jue agreed quietly, before excusing herself once more.

Although the coppertop's concerns disturbed the back of her mind, she couldn't help but feel a sense of relief since the package had been mailed. She walked back into the alley she had come from while dialing her cell phone, satisfied with her job. She had completed her mission.

I made it.

"It's at the end of the hallway, room 303!"

Neo nodded, more to himself than anyone else, and ran faster, summoning up the last of his energy in order to reach the ringing telephone. The end was in sight. He was going to make it! He could hear the phone ringing nearby, and followed the noise, sprinting past the doors and counting down the room numbers as he went. After what felt like an eternity, he found room 303, and opened the door, only to be greeted by Agent Smith and his gun.

He barely registered the pain as Smith shot him in the chest. Neo looked down in shock, unable to believe that it was his blood that was seeping out from the gunshot wound.

He couldn't die. Not like this! Neo refused to submit.

He staggered backwards and hit the wall before regaining his balance, and glared at the Agent, daring him to fire again. The look on the Agent's face was one of pure malice. And he kept on firing.

The second time Neo was shot, he felt it. He felt the third. The fourth. The fifth, each one searing his insides more than the previous until the clip was empty. He gasped for air and tried to fight back the pain with sheer will. The phone was still ringing. He could still make it.

And yet, he could not resist the oncoming darkness, the freedom from senses, liberation from pain. He slowly slumped to the ground and gave in to the desire to close his eyes. His heart stopped. The last thing he heard was the Agent's victorious sneer.

"Goodbye, Mr. Anderson."

The body cannot live without the mind.

"Thaddius…" Jue muttered to herself as she walked, recalling the kiss they had shared before she had jacked in. He peeked, he had confessed jokingly, and she loved him even more for his humor, even in their situation, with thousands of Sentinels chasing their ships and her off to attempt a dangerous mission. Now she was starting to worry. Why couldn't she contact the ship? Why was the line busy? That could only mean that -

It was the last thing that she was aware of before she collapsed onto the ground, dead. In the Real World, the Sentinels had killed her, along with Thaddius and the rest of the crew.

The mind cannot live without the body.

Neo floated in the abyss and felt nothing. And then, there was a voice. It was a serene whisper, soft and light…and it was piercing the nothingness that he could not resist.

"You can't be dead. You can't be. Because I love you…You hear me?"

Who is that?


I can hear you, Neo answered.

I love you…

And then, he felt her lips touch his, chasing away the abyss. Neo felt a renewed sense of purpose as the world came back into being. It all made perfect sense.

He was the One, and he could live.

These stories are ultimately the same. Perhaps not in details, but in spirit. They are stories about freedom. Both Jue and Thomas Anderson sought freedom from the Matrix. Both Jue and Thomas Anderson die.

But Neo lives.

Love saved the One, but it could not save Jue. Her story ends here.

From these ends come the beginnings of what is to come. And so, Jue, the crew of the Osiris, and Thomas Anderson did not die in vain.

Now, let the next story begin.


End Transmission

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