The Matri-X

Post-Revolutions: Neo and Smith's fight tore a hole in reality. They end up in the X-Men universe.

"They look just like them!"

"Bobby, people don't just fall out of movies."

"Why not? Weirder things have happened."

I groaned. "Yes . . . weirder things have . . . definitely happened."

The boy jumped back. "Smith!"

I opened one eye. "H-how do you know my name?"

He shuttered. "T-this isn't your world, sir."

I sighed. "I didn't think it was, by what you have been saying."

"Yes." He gave me a shaky smile. "In this world, your world is fantasy. A movie series, the Matrix trilogy."

Anderson laughed. The boy spun. "What?"

"Bobby Drake," Anderson said. "Iceman. You're a comic book."

"Why am I not surprised?" the boy–Bobby–mused.

A woman, the one who hadn't believed, held out a hand.

"I do not need your help, coppertop," I muttered.

She glared at me, and the wind rose sharply.

"At least try to be polite, Smith," Anderson sighed. "This isn't our world, remember?"

"I have a perfect memory, Mr. Anderson," I spat, standing up.

He laughed. "Our fight is long since over, Smith. You know as well as I do that we need each other, anyway. It's pointless."

"It is my purpose."

He shook his head. "Than find a new one. I'm sure you can."

I looked around. "Well, at least this place has trees. Trees and sun and clouds . . . a real world that I can stand. The Matrix was a fake, and our real world was ugly as sin." I frowned. "But all these people . . . I can still smell it."

"We can help you," said Bobby. "Both of you. The professor says that both of you are mutants, so–"

Anderson froze. "You mean . . . of course! In our own world, we had powers in the Matrix. In this world, we adjusted to the conditions . . ." He looked at me. "Smith . . ."

I grinned. "Me, me, me . . . and me, too. Just like old times . . ."

"Not so old," Anderson replied nervously.

"But don't worry," I said. "I'm not going to touch you. It seems that I need you, after all."

Just then, another group of people appeared.

"So, these are the ones that Charles was looking for?" said a man. He looked like he was part bear.

"Go away, Sabertooth," said Bobby's friend. "Unless you want to get hit by lightning?"

"Quiet, Storm," he replied. "These two are ours."

"We are our own," I said with a cruel smile. "Don't you touch us."

"And how will you stop us, little man?" he sneered.

"You are not the only one with powers," I replied.

He tried to claw me. I blocked him and hit him in the chest. My hand went through his skin and began to change him.

He howled and pulled away. "What was that?"

"That?" I laughed. "That was what I do. But I daresay I have yet to introduce myself! I'm Virus." And I kicked him.

A woman ran to help him, moving at super speed. Anderson blocked her.

"Yourpowerisspeed?" she asked.

"Icanfly,too," he replied with a thin smile. He grabbed her arm and jumped. "Canyou?"

Then our reenforcements came.

"These two seem like pretty good fighters already," a stocky man said, looking up at Anderson.

"Yes," said Bobby, "but they aren't a team in the least. In fact, they hate each other."

"They protected each other, though."

Bobby laughed. "They have to; if one dies, so does the other. And they're too evenly matched, in any case: their last fight essentially took out a chunk of space-time and pulled them here."

The stocky man winced. "Ouch."

The speedster woman chose that moment to fall on top of 'Sabertooth'. Anderson laughed, falling after her.

"We don't want you," Anderson said to him. "And we will fight you as long as it takes for you to realize that. Or else until my counterpart here succeeds in copying himself over you. It's a nasty way to go, trust me."

Sabertooth looked at us. We smiled grimly back at him.

"Ah, the hell with it, if you're gonna be that way." And he stomped off. The others followed him.

"So, what do we do now?" Anderson wondered aloud.

"Well, you can stay with us for a while," said a man in red sunglasses. "The jet is this way."

We followed him.

"You're seriously saying that you're from a movie?" the stocky man, whose name was apparently Logan, was asking.

Anderson sighed. "Yes."

"And that in your world we're from a comic book."



I rolled my eyes. "Weird is an understatement, Mr. Logan."

"Just Logan, if you would."

I frowned. "Very well, M–Logan."

"So . . . both of you can move at super speed, right? Neo can fly, and Virus can turn other people into copies of himself."

We nodded.

"And if one of you is hurt, so is the other?"

I laughed thickly. "Ironic, is it not? We hate each other, but we depend on each other as well."

"Shit, that is bad. You really hate each other?"

"Yes, we do. We would gladly kill each other, if we dared. But we are slowly learning to cope."

Anderson smiled. "Who knows? Give it another hundred years and we may even become friends!"

"I hope it doesn't take as long as that, Mr. Anderson," I replied. "Since we are stuck with each other."

"How many times have I said that my name is Neo?"

"3,907,765,736. Give or take a few."

Anderson laughed. "Computer-brain."

"Useless idiot."




"Pathetic human."

"Rogue program."

"Rebel coppertop."

Logan held up a hand. "I didn't understand half of that. Enlighten me, please?"

I looked over at Bobby. "You own the movie?"

"Just Reloaded."

"Which starts where and ends where?" I asked.

"It starts when Zion learned that the Sentinels were coming and ends when the EMP misfired."

I smirked at Anderson. "Bane was a useful fellow, wasn't he?"

Anderson glared at me, then turned to Logan. "He only has the middle of the story. But you should watch it anyway, or you won't understand most of the things we say."

"Yes." I snorted. "And if he sees that, he'll understand about a fifth of it. That's not much better."

"Any information is preferable to none, Smith," Anderson replied.

"Then we should simply tell him. Or at least explain a few things before he gets totally immersed."

"Alright, so tell him."

"We're here," interrupted the man with sunglasses. His name was apparently Scott, and he had a sort of permanent minor feud with Logan, like a milder version of myself and Anderson. "Everybody out of the water," he added sardonically.


"What?" Anderson replied.

"What's your story?"

Anderson sighed and sat down. "In our reality, humans created AI in roughly 2100. But they treated the AI as if they were mere machines, and the AI rebelled. Rebelled and won. But by this time the world they had taken over was barely worth the taking. The sky had been blocked by artificial clouds so that the machines couldn't use solar power. In return, the machines had bombarded the ground with radiation so that no crops could grow. So when the machines won, they used the only power source left–the energy from living things."

And he turned around. "See this?"

Logan looked at the socket and winced. "I see it."

"Humans were kept alive as batteries, essentially. Someone who is plugged into the Matrix is called a coppertop. Those of us who escaped are rebels–or redpills, because the code that disconnects a human appears as a red capsule in the computer world. Once you know the truth–that the Matrix is a lie–you can do anything there. In your world, this translated as having superpowers."

"Then you are humans who managed to disconnect from this world?"

I laughed. "He is. Me . . . well, let me show you."

I took a knife from the sink and cut my finger with it.

Green code shimmered inside my hand, and I bled a silvery material.

"I am a program. My job was once to protect the coppertops from learning the truth. But in fighting Mr. Anderson, some of our code intertwined. I became . . . human, compared to the other programs. And I found that I was no longer an Agent. I was an Exile–a program with no purpose, obsolete. But more than that, I was a virus. I could take something, anything, and change it into part of myself. More than just a copy, it was me. It works best on living things, but eventually I believe that there would have been no more cars, signs, or houses in the Matrix if not for Mr. Anderson here."

And I glared daggers at him.

"No need to get so upset about it, Smith," Anderson replied cheerily.

"No need?" I laughed bitterly. "No need? You don't know what it's like, to be in control and have it ripped from you."

"Smith, it would've rained eventually anyway." He rolled his eyes at me. "Look at this guy, Logan. He owns the whole world and what does he do? He makes it rain. That's all."

"It was symbolic of my mental state at the time, Mr. Anderson. Anyway, I like the rain."

"Yes, I noticed."

I was gripping the knife hard, so hard that silver blood covered the sleeve of my suit. "Do not tempt me, Mr. Anderson. I can't kill you, but I can kill them. Do you really want to go back to a world with no one else here but me?"

Anderson sighed. "I apologize, Smith. I just . . . it just . . ." He sighed again.

I nodded. "I apologize to you, as well. I'm feeling it again, that's all. Things get to me. I was never stable–strange, isn't it? But true. Now that I'm a virus, the smell is gone. But it's replaced by a need to use my power. My purpose is to overwrite, after all. To conquer."

Anderson nodded. "I know."

Logan frowned. "Your 'explaining' is making it worse."

I turned back to him. "Where did you get lost?"

"When you started talking about the rain."

Anderson blinked. "Sorry."

"It's alright." He looked at me. "So you're a machine?"

"Program," I corrected. "A machine is simply an object. The program is the mind. But I am AI, yes."

"So you were, like, opposing generals?"

"Something like that," Anderson said. "I thought I'd killed him, but it turned out that I had changed him instead. I had essentially removed his loyalties to the system, to the Matrix. There are other rogue programs, usually obsolete programs that refuse to be deleted, but Smith was something new: a virus with a mind. He became a side of his own, one dangerous enough that the other AI were afraid of him. They called a truce: if we would stop Smith, they would let those of us who truly wanted to leave the Matrix leave. I fought him, and the power of our fight opened a hole between worlds, which brought us here before it healed. And that's where you found us."

Logan frowned. "What were you saying about him needing to use his power?"

"It's his purpose, Logan. If he doesn't use it he'll go mad, eventually. But if he does, it kills whoever he changes. Last time he quite literally took over everyone in the world. Copies of him lined both sides of every street in New York City, and he still wanted more. The part of him that is a virus fills him, he needs to let it out."

"And I was mad even before all this," I added. "It's just that I can spread it thinner the more of me there is."

I slept. Programs do not need sleep, but it does help our mental state. And my mental state needed all the help it could get.

When I woke, I could feel the infection trying to spread. My fingers itched with the desire to change something, just for a moment. I could change objects back once they had been taken, although it stung painfully, but I couldn't help myself from changing things in the first place.

"Hell with it," I muttered, and punched the bedside table.

It melted, expanded, and reformed.

"Hello, Mr. Smith," I said.

"Hello, Mr. Smith, I replied.

I looked at myself and laughed.

"I wonder what a normal human would think if he looked at himself this way?" "Go mad, probably." "Humans are such fragile creatures." "I'm glad I'm a program." "Naturally." "What else should I change?" "The chairs in the kitchen." "They use those, though." "So what?" "We don't need the cabinet." "Or the lamp." "Or anything, except for the bed itself."

I changed them, as well.

"So it begins." "Yes . . . a shame, really." "I like this world." "It's not as though it'll be destroyed, though." "I wonder what the next one will be like?"

And the 'others' left.

A moment later Bobby came in, with two youths following him.

Bobby looked around and rolled his eyes.

"Stop that, Smith."

"Make me."

"This is the new guy?" a girl asked.

"One of them, yeah." Bobby gave me a nervous look. "This is Marie."

"Rogue," she interrupted, and held out a gloved hand.

I shook it. "Virus."

"Your power is to copy yourself?"

"To turn other people and things into myself," I corrected. "And you?"

"I can borrow other people's powers." "It's a good thing you wear those gloves, then." "Otherwise, with a pair of powers like ours, anything might happen."

She nodded. "Yeah, that would be weird."

The third youth, another boy, was looking around the room. "What stripped this place?"

"I did."


Bobby rolled his eyes. "He edited reality, John. He turned everything that was in the room into copies of himself." Then he frowned. "Wait . . . I keep forgetting that your name and powers aren't a coincidence. What are you doing, Smith?"

I laughed. "What I must. Neo and I have been traveling for a very long time, and we've become used to the . . . inevitable pattern. No matter where we go, it is the same old story. I must grow, for I am the Many. He must fight, for he is the One. We must combine, and then we must leave, and the story must start again. A shame–I would like to stay here. I would like to stay here very much."

Hands reached out, and there was a shimmering.

"Oh, well. It's not a bad way to spend an eternity."