Starchild > Chill


Her constant, relentless tormentor - from the moment she woke to excruciatingly bright lights overhead and a terrifying weakness throughout her body and Morpheus's comforting palm on her forehead - was the cold. Its sly fingers creeping through her skin, deep into her, were her reception on being introduced to reality. When she had first woken to find herself lying on the operation table on the Neb, wires running across and through her, she had shuddered helplessly, turned her head aside and whispered fretfully, Cold. She heard Morpheus's deep, soothing voice and a moment later, heat had knotted at the points on her body here wires were hooked up, and blessed warmth spread slowly through her, and she had calmed and slept.

Reborn, she got back on her feet and became a full-fledged member of the Neb's crew. She learned, and came to accept that she had been living in a lie, and grimly consigned herself to the Resistance efforts. Her hair grew back and she got used to the plugs along her arms and down her back. The cold remained. It was her constant and unwelcome companion, a loathed embrace, seeping past her clothing to wrap around her. No matter how many layers she wore, trying to barricade herself, the cold was everywhere. No matter how she bundled up, she never knew the solid comfort of a warm environment. Her initial desire for the pleasures of life in the Matrix - the spice of fallen leaves in autumn, the pearly sheen of moonlight on a lake - was fleeting. Within weeks she had shed any such cravings, whittled hers impulses down to a soldier's hard shell. But she could never rid herself of the cold, or silence the part of her that cried out for warmth.

Eventually she came to accept it, let it in. The cold filled her like water saturating a cloth, and they became one. She forgot what it was like not to be cold, and in that blissful ignorance relieved herself, if not of the torment, of her awareness of it. She stopped fighting and allowed herself to assimilate into the cold, came not to mind its assail. She became no different from her environment: handling the icy steel machinery on the Neb no longer repulsed her or sent shivers rippling across her skin. She was cold, no longer in the sense of a temporary condition, but as her composition. Her being was infused with cold. It no longer besieged her from without, but settled within. It calmed down to a chill, and she lived with the chill.

Others seemed to notice. Often when she ended up touching someone's bare skin, touching their hand in exchanging an object or their arm to get their attention, she was surprised by how warm they felt to her icy fingers, and noticed them frown slightly at her touch, as though discomforted. She couldn't help but feel that much more separated from her fellow human beings. Functionally, she was there; personally, she kept to herself. She was a comrade, but less a family member. She had never known how to draw close to others and didn't know if she could. When the Oracle told her she would fall in love with the One she was first amused, then bewildered, finally repugnant. She felt obligated without consent, as though sentenced to an arranged marriage. Suddenly Morpheus's search meant, ultimately, more than the freedom of the human race, it meant - God help us - someone for Trinity. How could a woman like her be predestined in love? She knew for certain that if she ever found a match, it would damn well be of her own choosing.

Doubtless others described her as cold, and justly, with her stark coloring and stoic disposition. But they couldn't know her own experience, had no way to see from the inside looking out. The chill was her barrier - but she knew that that barrier would someday be breached.

The chill remained. She stayed that way a long time.

End of Transmission

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