Trax put his hand on the chair where he had been plugged in and thought about what had been revealed to him and a feeling of longing for his old life grasped his heart as Ming walked up to him.
”When you think about it it’s quite incredible isn’t it. You insert a needle in your neck and just like that, you are in a world that is just as real as this one”.
”Yeah, I still can’t believe that for 25 years I have been sleeping, not really living at all. All my experiences and the memories of them don’t matter anymore, they never happened and that’s a hard thing to know”.
”There is something else I haven’t told you”.
”What”? Trax asked thinking that he didn’t need to hear anymore crazy things.
”When the agent was about to kill you did something no one else has ever done. You broke out on your own, I have no idea how you did that but the fact is you did and that is truly amazing”.
”But if you know that it is an illusion isn’t that enough, I didn’t even know that it was an illusion and I got out, but I have no idea how, all I know is that when I was about to be shot I told my self that it wasn’t real but I said that because I didn’t want to die”. Trax did not tell Ming about the strange feeling that came over him when he was about to be killed.
”When a mind is freed it has to be transported out through a phoneline, it’s a rather complex procedure, but you proved that it is possible to free yourself, you must have a very strong mind, and that will be very useful for when you begin your training”.
”What training and I still don’t understand how you could see what I was doing in the Matrix”?.
”I will show you what I mean by training shortly”.
They walked over to Cabal and Ming pointed to the computer screens and the green code looked like dripping rain.
Trax: ”Is that the Matrix”?.
Cabal: ”Yep, it takes a while to learn how to read it but once you get used to it you hardly think about it anymore, like when I see a car or whatever I don’t see it as code I see it as a car, it’s like you become one with the code”.
Trax: ”So that’s how you did it”. His eyes were still focused on the dripping code.
Ming: ”It’s time we went back in, that is if you are ready”.
”Yeah I think so”, he answered but the sound of hesitation in his voice revealed his uncertianty. He sat down while Ming walked over to Jade who just made her presence known, ”You know what to do now plug us in”.
”Yes sir will do” she answered as Ming made himself comfortable in the chair beside Trax.
She put the needle behind Trax head, leaned over him and said, ”Have fun”.
This time he knew what was going to happen so he relaxed and closed his eyes as Jade inserted the needle.
He opened his eyes and huge skyscrapers towered over him while the bright sunlight hit his eyes and made him blink. Then Ming appeared beside him all dressed in black and they started walking while Trax just looked at his surroundings while touching everything he walked by astonished by the fact that it felt completely real.
Ming: ”It’s unbelivable isn’t it”.
Trax: ”You know, it’s no wonder I never realised anything was wrong, it all seems so real, eventhough I know it’s not”, he answered while following Ming into a diner.
Ming: ”I know, I felt exactly the same way you do and it takes some time before you completely accept it. Will you excuse me for a minute”? he gave Trax some money, ”get yourself a cup of coffee or something”.
Trax: ”Yeah sure”. He looked as Ming walked away and dissapeared behind a corner.
He bought some coffe and then remembered he hadn’t smoked for a while so he bought a pack and some matches, sat down at a table, flicked out a cigarette and lit it. He inhaled the smoke slowly and enjoyed it very much while he thought he had never really smoked at all and how something that is not real can feel so good.
Then suddenly a very attractive woman approached him.
”Excuse me but do you know what time it is”?.
”Yes I do” he answered pointing at the clock on the wall behind her while smiling.
She looked over her shoulder ”Oops” she said then they started laughing.
”Can I sit down I’m waiting for a friend, she will be here any minute”.
”Yeah sure” he answered unable to resist such a beautiful woman.
She sat down in front of him and gracefully stretched out her arm, ”I’m Zesja”.
He reached for her hand when he remembered he hadn’t been called Mike in a while but he decided to introduce himself by that name, although he did like Trax better.
”Hope I’m not bothering you”.
”No it’s ok. Do you smoke”? he asked trying to engage in a conversation with her.
”No, I used to but I quit”.
He put out his cigarette and looked down as he put the pack in his pocket. When he looked up a chill went through him as the agent that was about to kill him before stood over him with a gun pointed at his head. He threw himself backwards falling off the chair in panic while covering up, waiting for death to embrace him. The seconds passed and nothing happened and it was very quiet around him, so he looked up and saw that no one was moving, it was like they were frozen in time. He stood up, then he heard a voice behind him.
”Don’t you know that smoking can kill you”.
He turned around, it was Ming with a big smile on his face.
”What the fuck just happened, did you do this”!?.
”Yes I did and then your next question will probably be how, because this is not the Matrix it is just a training program to make you aware of one thing”.
”Inside the Matrix, anyone who hasn’t been freed is a potential host for an agent, they can appear anywhere they like and that means that you have to be careful at all times”.
”I’ll remember that, because that scared the shit out of me”. He thought back to what Jade said before they plugged in.
Trax opened his eyes as he was unplugged and once again looked into Jades face. ”That was not my idea of fun”.
She just smiled, ”Sorry about that, lets go eat you must be hungry”
Another plate of goop, but maybe if I close my eyes it will go down , atleast I won’t have to look at it, he thought while getting out of the chair.
”Yeah sure, why not”.
”When you have eaten we are going to do something else, something I think you will enjoy a little more” the captain said while they poured the goop onto their plates.
Trax was afraid to ask, ”what”.
Razor: ”I think I know what he has in mind and I can tell you now, you are going to love it”.
After dinner Saviour and Trax walked over to the chairs and Trax sat down while Saviour inserted the needle and showed him a disc that said combat training.
”What is that”?.
”Just wait and see”. Saviour sat down beside one of the computer screens, inserted the disc and started punching the keys very fast, ”you’ll love it” he said then pressed enter. Trax body tightened up and he clenched his hands very hard.
After a few seconds he exhaled and relaxed. ”What did you do”?.
”You just learned Ving Chun kung fu, cool huh”.
”What, are you serious”?.
”Yep, and you will have learned a lot more when I am through with you so just sit back and relax, this might take a while. Of course your skills will only apply to the virtual world and believe me, they will be very useful in the Matrix”.
Trax closed his eyes while several different martial arts were being downloaded. After about four hours Jade,Razor,Cabal and Ming walked up to Saviour. Cabal had set the ship down in a dark tunnel, they were only a few hours away from Zion.
Jade: ”How is he doing”.
Saviour: ”Great, he is just about done”.
Ming: ”Good, I’ll put him to the test right away”.
Razor: ”This is going to be fun, it’s a shame we don’t have any popcorn”.
”I can’t say I’m jealous of him” Cabal said remembering his first training session with the rough captain.
A few minutes later Trax found himself standing about eight meters from Ming on a round platform two meters above a hard concrete floor, the wooden walls had what looked to Trax like japanese symbols on them.
He felt very energetic, his eyes were focused on Ming. They both wore black trainíng costumes and traditional black kung fu shoes.
Ming was very relaxed, his arms hanging by his sides.
Ming: ”Push me off the platform”.
Trax: ”Anyway I like”? he asked feeling very confident.
Ming: ”Of course”.
Trax focused then exploded towards Ming and threw countless punches and kicks but nothing connected as Ming avoided and blocked them with ease then quickly countered with a series of straight sharp punches that hit Trax in the face as he backed up, then he fell to the ground as a low sweeping kick caught him by the knees.
Ming began to walk around the platform not even looking at Trax as he got back up and launched another wild attack. High round and spinning kicks flew past Mings head and he didn’t even bother to put up his hands but instead ducked smoothly under the fast kicks or just moved his head enough for Trax attacks to go by inches from his face. They were on the edge when Ming delivered a spinning kick that smashed into Trax face, knocking him off the platform onto the rough concrete floor below.
There were scrubs all over his arms from the impact but he didn’t care. He climbed back up frustrated about not having landed a single blow. Ming was playing with him and proceeded to walk slowly around the platform not looking at him or saying anything.
Trax eyes were on fire and for the third time he went after Ming with everything he had throwing blows from all angles high and low trying to find an opening, but none was found as he pressed his attack further and further, until Ming lost his calm face and launched a furious counter attack pushing Trax from one side to the other with kicks and punches connecting all over him and for every blow he blocked another two or three hit their marks until Ming had pressed him to the edge and there he released a rock hard spinning back kick that sent Trax crashing into the wall then back down to the floor once again.
”Ouch, that must have hurt like hell” Razor said while smiling. The others just watched, wondering if Trax could turn this around.
Trax was not happy to find himself down again and made his way back onto the platform not feeling so confident anymore.
Trax: ”It’s impossible, you’re to damn good”.
Ming: ”If you think it’s impossible then it’s impossible. By thinking like that you restrain yourself, remember that we are in fact in a computer program and the rules of reality don’t apply here. You have to stop thinking so much, just feel and believe that you can hit me”.
Trax: ”I’ll try”.
Ming: ”Don’t try, do”.
Once again Trax prepared himself but this time Ming attacked first whipping him in the face with his kicks and when Trax blocked high Ming struck low.
Trax was on his way to the edge again when Ming grabbed his arm and threw him over his shoulder back into the middle of the platform.
Trax was being humiliated and he was frustrated beyond belief when he picked himself up, turned around and looked at Ming, closed his eyes, relaxed, and all of a sudden the frustration dissapeared as the same serene feeling he felt when he was about to be killed by agent Jackson washed over him.
He opened his eyes, charged forward and was met by a storm of blows and at first it seemed like he was going to be beaten again but then, out of nowhere a side kick from Trax connected as both of them delivered and countered at a furious speed while sweat sprayed from Trax.
Gradually Trax forced Ming backwards as more and more of his attacks made their way through the captains defence. He pushed Ming towards the edge, then he jumped into the air and double kicked him in the chest then backflipped off him as Ming flew off the platform and smashed into the hard concrete floor.
Trax landed smoothly and was completely calm as Ming climbed back up.
Ming: ”Very good, I’m impressed”.
Trax: ”Thanks, I guess I got tired of getting my ass kicked”.
Ming laughed and seconds later they were being unplugged and everyone was laughing and cheering.
Razor: ”That was fucking awesome”.
Saviour: ”Well done, it took me a lot longer than one session to even stand a chance against our dear captain”.
Jade gave Trax a hug,”That was phenomenal”. A warm feeling rushed through him, he had not been that close to anyone in a long time and it made him feel very good, but when she let him go and he tried to get up it did not feel so good anymore. His body was numb from all the hits and Cabal helped him up.
Trax: ”Oh my god it hurts so bad, but how, I thought we weren’t really fighting”.
Ming: ”When something happens to you in our training programs or in the Matrix your body registers it as real, which means that if you die while plugged in, it’s all over. When you go back into the Matrix you have to be aware of your surroundings, that’s why I showed you the agent training program”.
Trax just looked perplexed and he was still breathing heavily from the beating he just recieved. Ming ordered them to take off.
Ming: ”How long before we reach Zion”?.
Cabal: ”About two hours if we don’t run into anymore squiddy’s”.
Ming: ”It’s our home, well, it’s the only home humans have and has been since the surface was destroyed. I think you are going to like it”.
Trax was relieved by the fact that he was going to get off the grey, depressing ship in a little while when a thought that hadn’t surfaced until now struck him.
Trax: ”I haven’t thought about this, but what year is it”.
Ming: ”The truth is we don’t actually know. The only thing we do know is that it it’s sometime in the late twenty second century”.
Trax did not react to this like he had reacted to everything else simply because he was becoming immune to all the weird things he was experiencing and he just shook his head, ”Of course it is”.
”You should get some rest, I’ll let you know when we have arrived”.
That was one proposition Trax was not about to reject and so he dragged his sore limbs back to his room.
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