Blake > Fists Rise to Defend

Fists Rise to Defend

Every night's the same. You unlock the door, flick on the light, and dump your jacket and briefcase on the floor. You may or may not remember to hang up your suit before the morning, but scuffed is a word that fits you more and more these days. Scuffed shoes, scuffed case, scuffed bruised and aching body.

Choi's idiot connections. Pirates who don't take kindly to you not being on time with their gold. Men who don't hesitate to voice their opinion of those who aren't ready with their half of the deal.

Speaking of which, you have work to do.

So take the time only to change into jeans and pour a bowl of cereal before you sit down at your desk. Flick switches and power up, allow a smile at the sound of the modem dialling. It's plaintive and small, like a furby crying. Except you'd hurl a furby out the window, wouldn't you? That'd give it something to cry about, as the alley cats begin to rip apart its polyester fur.

But you've been given something to cry about before, haven't you?

Don't lean on the desk like that; you'll jar your ribs again. They're bruised enough as it is.

You type, scattering letters. Commands and instructions, abstracts that reveal answers to you, in small glimpses of machine logic. Searching, overturning every virtual stone, every cyber nook and cranny.

What are you looking for?

There's that 'ware Choi wants, a framework of coding you're not sure you even want to write, let alone let loose.

But that's not why you're online.

You realise you've automatically logged in to your usual chat. Like almost all the other members here, you know how to keep your presence unannounced. Absently you watch the others talking, casual banter and not quite playful insults exchanging as you chew and swallow your Captain Crunch.

It's a sign of how little the physical means to you these days, that you haven't cooked food in weeks, living instead on sugar and takeaway. It shows, and you know it. There's nothing of you, not a trace of muscle to shield your bones.

Flick screens, from chat to code. And back to chat again. You're not focusing tonight. This is odd, for you. Usually your addiction to reasoning keeps you coding like it's a drug.

You shift in your chair, pulling your knees up and perching your heels on the edge of material stretched over plastic. Not exactly ergonomic but you can rest the bowl on your lap this way.

A name. Pause, spoon halfway to mouth, lips open as you read. Finn is boasting about someone he met, a run in with the hacker Trinity. He speaks to the room as a whole; including the lurkers he knows are there in his words, describing what happened.

He'd been caught, is the long and the short of it, but the one who caught him was not one to turn him in. You read in the blankness of screen between his lines, beyond the cocky tone of voice you imagine Finn to have. Trinity had given him a warning, explaining that the boundaries he was attempting were too high for him to climb. Yet, Finn adds. Yet.

Finish your dinner before it goes soggy. Wet processed sugar is worse than dry, something you've learnt the hard way. And you can't afford to throw it out.

Flick screens again, back to Choi's latest commission. Sure, your mind isn't on it, but you know it has to be done soon. And you can work easier now, because at least one question has been answered.

That's why you went online. You wanted an affirmation, an assertion of that name. And what it stands for.

You wonder what it is that name means to you. Morpheus is an easy answer. You know more about him. You seek him, because on some level you understand that he knows what you need to know.

This other, however. Trinity.

The sheets are rumpled under you, tangled with differing textures of cotton. Rough, under your left elbow, smoother down at your feet. Rest your hands on hip bones, too sharp under your skin, and trace the knots of wood panelling with your eyes. All the same, this room. Nothing ever new, only another layer of dust over the first, until all the colour in here fades to grey. Grey, with the faint tinge of green through the filthy windows.

Trinity. You shape the syllables in your mouth, liking the almost delicate feel of the t's. Yet it sounds like a step forward, like a fluid move of a martial art, fists rising to defend.

Powerful. The name is powerful.

As you relax into the mattress, you feel muscles ache in your back and small pains tighten inside. Ribs twinge, it hurts to breathe. But you can't stop.

Let your eyes close. What would it be like, to have another here with you? A warmth beside you, arms around you and a smooth chest to lean against. Hands that ease the knives in your flesh, hands that form fists and rise to defend . . . you.

Imagine that. Being defended. Being protected. Feeling safe here, secure in the knowing that he will fight your battles for you. That you're not alone, not abandoned in this world. That you could come home to a voice, perhaps. The low timbre of a soft laugh, refined strength in the sound. Or contact and wordlessness, shared breath the only music. A soundtrack to blend with the rain outside your window and the constant hum of electronics in this room.


Fingertips move, sketch lines along your stomach, catching in wrinkles of t-shirt. Your jeans are old, the denim worn as soft as a second skin. A skin you shed.

Breathe, despite the hurt. There's a rhythm in this, like bass that thrums the air in your lungs, like moving. Like dancing, head rocking feet spinning, close and smooth and real. Like rain and electricity, like skin and strength and safety.

And you keep your eyes closed, the whole time.

"Hello Neo."

Turn. A glimpse of the figure there, light glancing off PVC and pale skin.

"How do you know that name?"

"I know a lot about you."

Something in her voice beckons memory. You've never seen her before, that's certain. But that stance, the sheer presence of her, it's too familiar. You have to look again, have to be sure of what you see.

"Who are you?"

"My name is Trinity."

"Trinity." You speak the name aloud, the sound losing itself in the thundering music and curving bodies. You try and reconcile this slight form with the protector you know you need. "The Trinity? That cracked the IRS dbase?" Maybe she's not the hacker you've followed for so long. Maybe she's just a woman who bears the same name. Maybe

"That was a long time ago."

"Jesus." There is no champion for you then, no strength to rely on, no one to guard your back. So much for hope.


"I just thought that," don't lie to her, "you were a guy."

She smirks. And that quirk of mouth throws you, as she raises her eyebrows and angles herself a little differently. Muscle casts shadow, taut as a panther's hunt. There is, in her motion, an echo of your dreams.

"Most guys do."

. . so maybe you were wrong.


End Transmission

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