NacDiggity > The Wisdom of Elders

The Wisdom of Elders


It tumbled so slowly.

The Agent watched as it rolled through the air, the "sunlight" occasionally glinting off like a moving, deadly strobelight. The bullet was no longer cylindrical, as a result of its glancing impact with the dumpster, and the artificial air caused disturbed its spiral flight. The bullet knuckled slightly, wavering this way and that, seemingly at random. The Agent knew it was not random, and that if he were to devote the effort to computing the physics, he could predict its flight. Instead he merely observed as it sailed past him, at ear level, several feet to his left. He watched it pass, and marveled at the precision of the Matrix, and at himself, at the elegance of it all. The flight of the bullet was being observed by two entities capable of comprehending it, and as the other was human, the Agent was the only one who could appreciate it for what it was; a remarkable, artificial dance.

It slammed into the brick wall, and there was an explosion of red. The Agent was reminded of a rose blooming, only more quickly and intricately. The fragments flew out, up, against each other, and then began their float towards the ground. The Agent would have returned his attention to the rebel-human but it had emptied its gun, and so was incapable of offensive action for a sizable amount of time. Because of this, the Agent allowed himself the luxury of watching the red snowstorm fall to the ground, the flakes hard but fluttering nonetheless. The flakes hit the ground, and began to jump around crazily, reacting to the artificial gravity and their own geometry, cockroaches scattering when somebody turned the light on.

The Agent relished moments such as these, when the world around him approached his own speed. They were few and far between, and the opportunity to observe with impunity was not a chance the Agent was willing to waste. The chunks of wall slowly settled to a rest, and with an expression that on a human might have been described as disappointed turned to face the rebel-human.

The human was a male, 18 years of age, and gravely wounded. Its name was Simon Chevalier, but was known to the other rebels by its hacker alias: Mephisto. The human was leaned against the back wall of the alley, trapped in a dead end, bleeding, and was realizing that it was not going to escape. It had been shot in the left shoulder and its left arm hung lifeless at his side and the Agent was also relatively certain its right leg was cracked below the knee. The human looked at the Agent, and a look halfway between anger and sadness flashed across its face. It pulled the trigger twice, listened to the clicks, and then pointed the gun at its own head and pulled the trigger. Actions like this always mystified the Agent, as the human was not firing a revolver and knew it, there was nowhere for more bullets to come from.

The human lowered its gun, and looked at the Agent, awaiting its fate.

The Agent raised his gun, and sighted the human's upper chest, between the nipples, and just below the hollow of the throat. He spoke "Mr. Chevalier". The Agent always adopted the same tone of voice in these situations; calm, slowly cadenced, with perfect enunciation. The rebel said nothing, merely taking a breath and releasing it. The Agent furrowed his forehead slightly, as he found humans interpreted it as a sympathetic emotion, and although they knew better, it effected them still. "You are trapped, Mr. Chevalier, and likely, you will soon die". The Agent was preparing to give the human the choice of betraying his ship, as this was much more efficient than hunting them down one by one. It rarely worked, but statistically it was still more energy efficient than simply killing them. "We are prepared to offer you a choice, Mr. Chevalier, and a chance to begin a new life."

"Fuck you, Mario."

It was a joke among the rebels to refer to Agents as video game characters, but the fact that the human was willing to talk exponentially raised the likelihood it could be turned, so the Agent made a small laugh. "I like that, Mr. Chevalier, lately all I've been getting is "Tron". Mr. Chevalier, we have been watching you for quite some time now, and your profile shows you to be quite reasonable." The Agent paused, and for effect lowered his gun, holstered it, and slowly removed his sunglasses. He slowly strode towards the human, heel to toe, because it had been shown that walking in that manner had a calming effect. He approached the injured rebel and came to a stop a stride away. "Mr. Chevalier, you can be anyone you want, you can forget all this, we can make your life a dream, all we ask is the location of your ship. Your body will be spared. Where are your friends now? Where is their loyalty?"

The human looked at him and the useless gun fell from its right hand. The human looked at the agent for a pulse.

A second passed.

Then the human breathed out in resignation and closed its eyes.

"You disappoint me, Mr. Chevalier."

Afterward, the Agent adjusted his suit as he walked out of the alley. He turned the corner, and the world crawled by. He remembered when he first entered the Matrix, how he had been surprised that beings that thought and moved as sluggishly as humans were capable of anything, much less having come to dominate the entire planet. He watched them. He watched them waste their lives, watched them eat their food, watched them pick up their dry cleaning, watched them live. and die at a snail's pace. Every action of their lives took place in slow motion, and except for those few, precious moments when the Agent was in pursuit of or in combat with a well trained rebel, he was forced to wait as that world inched its way by him. He knew why there were stories of Agents wanting to leave the Matrix, it was because they were afraid of going crazy.

The Agent had been online for just over 7 months and he was ancient in a way that no human could possibly understand. Every day that passed for a human was a lifetime for the Agent, he had time to think about the Matrix, about the nature of existence, about himself. And then he had time to think about it again, and again, and again. He had requisitioned all of the classic human philosophers from the Central Database and found them all wanting. Aristotle, Nietzsche, Kant, Socrates, Descartes, Foucault, Plato, Spinoza, nothing satisfied him. Within 2 weeks of coming online, he had come to the conclusion that every Agent reaches, the conclusion that drove them to action, that never allowed them to rest, that haunted their thoughts every instant. The Agent spoke it aloud.

"The rebellion must be crushed. If I'm ever going to get out of here this rebellion must end."

Outside the Matrix he could function at his own speed, he could exist in a manner apropos of an entity of his capabilities. He could pursue any thought he pleased, instead of being forced to monitor the movements of livestock. He could move about the planet, potentially about the universe by having his software loaded onto a sentinel, instead of roaming the same city blocks for eons. The Agent thought to himself that he must have his freedom, he would have his freedom, and even if it meant killing the human Thomas Anderson with his bare hands, he would do it.

As he passed an overweight woman arguing with her overweight son, the Central Database contacted him. There had been suspicious phone activity to and from a Jesse Swain, who utilized the hacker Alias "Ferox". The agent was to initiate a surveillance, and if necessary interrogate and trace. The Agent turned left, and where a human would have sighed, he merely repeated himself.

"This rebellion must end."

End of Transmission

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