The Fall of the Fifth Savior
A man flies fifty feet through the air, high above the city streets below. He closes his eyes and feels the wind against his face. Loosening his arms he lets them flail behind him, letting the wind pass through his fingers as he accelerates upward. Though the world rests on his shoulders, for these few seconds he doesn’t have a care in the world.
He slows down as his velocity peeks mid-air. The weight of his burden pulls him downward; he idly lets gravity drag him back down. He lands on the rooftop of another skyscraper; his feet touch the ground for only a second however as he springs into the air again. A million miles away but in the same room two men watch him over a collage of monitors.
“Zanshien’s been going at this for about an hour now” the man in the chair says. The man standing behind him replies.
“Get ‘em out and prep the crew, we’ve got a mind to free.”
Inside, Zanshien reaches the peek of another jump. He let’s his muscles loose and enjoys the temporary weightlessness. At that moment, the phone he keeps in his back pocket begins to ring. He ignores it at first, like one who ignores his alarm clock in the morning lest he should be woken from his dream. He begins to fall backwards, not caring to right himself, he lets gravity take its course. As he’s about to hit the rooftop he spins around, slowing drastically, almost to a hover, before descending slowly to the roof. He stands up and takes out his cell phone. He opens it and listens without saying a word; from the other side Icon informs him of the plan.
“Yo Zan, Rictor says it’s time to head in.” Zanshien looks up at the sky and contemplates the words.
“Not until I touch heaven…” With that Zanshien leaps with his entire power straight up into the air. Icon, powerless to do anything, simply rolls his eyes and closes the comm. line. The rest of the crew enters through a hatch and joins Rictor and Icon on the bridge. Sever, Callisti and Eznik begin to prep their areas for plug-in, Cross waits by Zanshien’s body for him to wake up. On the other side, Zanshien is shooting straight up in the air. He breaks through a cloud and gets far enough on the other side to see a carpet of white fluff; he hangs for only a second before his phone rings again and gravity pulls him down.
“Maybe some day” he says to himself as he free falls back down to Earth.
“He’ll be out in a couple minutes” Icon informs the crew.
Sever reports “Everything’s ready for plug-in.”
“Good” Rictor starts to address the crew “As you all know, we’ve been in contact with a man named Noah in the matrix for some time. He’s provided invaluable information that has lead to the freeing of many minds in the past months.” Rictor looks over his crew “I’ve decided that Noah is ready to be shown the truth, in person.”
“Are you sure he’s ready?” Eznik asks.
“He knows what the matrix is, but knowing and experiencing are entirely different things. I think Noah is ready to be shown…” Zanshien sits up and interrupts.
“As well, we’re worried about the ever increasing appearance of agents.” The crew looks at Zanshien, Cross hugs him as he gets up. “Yes, that means there might be agents, but if you guys just focus on getting Noah out I can take care of them.” The crew nods and looks over at Rictor.
“You’ve got the plan guys, now let’s get in there!” The crew starts to lay into their chairs, Cross turns back to Zanshien.
“Is everything going to be alright?”
“It’s just that… you’ve been spending more and more time in the matrix lately.”
“I feel so heavy in the real world. Sometimes I just like to feel free.”
“I hope you see the irony in that…” Cross says silently. Zanshien tilts Cross’ head up and kisses her. As he steps back to lay into his chair he gives her a reassuring look, inside, she feels relieved.
Rictor starts plugging the crew in. When he gets to Zanshien he speaks with him, “Remember, the mind is a fragile thing, don’t push Noah into it, he has to make the choice.”
Zanshien replies. “I know, choice is what makes us free.”
Rictor reaches behind Zanshien and plugs him in. Zanshien’s eyes widen, not because of pain but purely out of habit. He did the same thing when he first plugged in and ever since he’s repeated it, out of pure habit or just to satisfy nostalgia, he can’t remember though either way, he doesn’t plan to stop. He closes his eyes for a second, when he opens them again the world around him has changed. They’re standing in a crumbling old building, Eznik is speaking into a phone and Callisti is messing with a laptop on the table. Sever lights a cigarette and sticks it in his mouth.
“One thing I do love about the matrix…” he blows out a puff of smoke. As Zanshien opens his eyes Cross greets him and hugs his arm gently.
“Hey.” Zanshien smiles down at her.
“…where to?” Eznik talks into his phone. There’s a brief pause the he folds it up and puts it in his pocket. “Alright guys, let’s move.”
Five people, all dressed in black, come walking out of an old condemned building. They walk out into the crowded city streets and start towards their destination. A few blocks away, the man they seek sits in his apartment worrying; tapping his foot impatiently as he stares at the door. Though he was waiting for it, he’s still surprised when he hears the knock at the door. He stands up and wipes his hands on his pants; nervously he goes to answer the door. He glances through the peep hole just to be on the safe side. On other side of the door stand two solemn men in black suits wearing black sun glasses and an ear piece in their right ear. Noah steps back in surprise, he runs over to the fire escape. Three stories below stands another agent look up expectantly at Noah, he touches his ear piece and mutters something. Inside Noah can hear his door being smashed in, quickly he starts to climb the fire escape. Below Noah spots the other agent jumping up the adjacent building. The other agent reaches the top and jumps over to Noah’s building just as Noah reaches the roof.
Noah runs across the roof as hard as he can, the agent quickly gaining. Just as Noah is about to run into the other side of the roof a man jumps over the edge and lands between Noah and the agent. Noah backs up as he looks at Zanshien, he stops when he feels somebody’s body behind him. He turns his head and finds himself staring into Eznik’s face, Callisti beside him.
“Ready kid?” he says.
“Sure am, what kept ya’” Noah says strongly.
Callisti and Eznik scoop Noah up and simultaneously jump to an adjacent building.
Zanshien and the agent try to stare each other down. The agent charges; Zanshien, quick as a flash, unsheathes his katana from his side and lobs off the agent’s head. He stares down at the body, the head resting next to it. The corpse flashes in a display of code and reverts back to its regular state, a middle aged man with black hair. Zanshien grimaces in disgust, suddenly he feels the comforting touch of Cross’ hand on his shoulder.
Zanshien tells her in a whispered tone “I hate to be reminded of who we’re really killing…”
Cross turns him away “Come on, we’ve gotta’ catch up with the others.”