Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK
All the free crews of Zion are in attendance, as the coffin heads towards the flames. The Priest speaks.
“Ariadne was no slave. She had never been a slave. She was a free Human. She was born free, she lived free, and she died free."
Dallas and Marduk are in the medical centre, where the doctors are looking over Azrael; the other infected crew members are lying in a row of beds nearby.
“The immunity is natural,” speaks the Doctor. “His genetic code naturally produced antibodies that defeat the disease. He was just born that way.”
“Why the hell was he feeling sick at all?” asks Dallas.
“Psychosomatic,” speaks the doctor.
“Like everything in the Matrix,” says Marduk. “It was all in his head. Azrael was exposed lime the others- but unlike the others, his real world body wasn’t affected at all.”
“But the readouts said he was!” says Dallas.
“Yes,” says the Doctor, “as they might if you break an arm in the Matrix also. The mind makes it real, Captain, you should know that.”
“And as soon as he realised that it was all in his head… it no longer had any effect on him,” says Marduk.
“So it seems,” says the Doctor.
“Can you replicate the antibodies?” asks Marduk.
“I already have."
All of you, healthy and well, are there.
“She had the freedom to choose the job she chose. No-one forced her to die for a cause. It was her cause to choose. She embodied everything that it was to be a Human.”
“The real b itch of it is,” says Dallas, later, “is that we just saved the entire human race, and we can’t even tell anyone about it. God damn secret missions…"
“It’s a whole HOST of miracles that a single one of us is alive and you are annoyed just because no-one is throwing a party for you?” says Sequel. Dallas waves his hand, dismissively.
“We were always going to be fine.”
“If you’ll excuse me,” says Finn, coming in, “I am going to drink the entire contents of this bar.”
“Our friends who go on before us will never starve, or be tortured, or chained in the dark. They are here with us in Zion, and they always will be- because they are free.”
“It’s a shame, Captain,” speaks the Commander. “But losing ships is part of this war. Difference is, we don’t normally get the crews back. I’m sad to say it, but we’re shorter now on good crews than we are on materials to build ships. The more important part survived.”
“I would have preferred to get everything back,” says Marduk.
“We can’t all be as luck as Dallas. No time for crying over what is done, Captain. I’ll need you back in action soon.”
“Like I said, we don’t have a material shortage. There’s a new ship, will be finished soon. It’s a small one, like the Persepolis. But it’s…. experimental.” With a button press, the schematics appear on the screen. “I thought we’d name it from the same source as your old ship, in honour.” The Ishtar.
“Ariadne now takes her last journey, to the same place where her journey began. The free city of Zion, the last city of the Human race. For whilst other Humans exist, they do not really live if they are not truly free. Only in Zion can this be so.”
The Fortress lies empty, apparently abandoned. Daniels has a smile on his face as he passes it, returning to the City. Melitus wears a smile too, but whereas Daniel’s is the smile of someone having a good day, Melitus’ one is that of someone who knows what the joke really is, a punchline no-one else can fathom. By his bed, masked musicians play music, and masked doctors attend to his drip. On his chart, one of the doctors marks his patient’s improvement.
The Monastery is destroyed by the Agents. Nearby, on a misty island on a lake, the Door remains. Inside the door is a corridor of many doors. On the far side is one particular cell. Inside that… Jericho waits.
“And whilst men and women, both freed and those of Zion, choose to fight for that freedom… whilst those like Ariadne are prepared to fight and die for that freedom… Zion will be forever free. And within that, we all know a simple truth. If Humanity wants to be free, the Machines can never win.”
At the entrance to the bar is a young woman, blonde, and stunningly attractive.
“Sorry, darling,” says Finn. “This is a private party.”
“I’m very sorry,” she says, “but I was told to find Captain Dallas?” Dallas has leapt to his feet. His hat is off his head and held politely to his chest.
“Good afternoon, ma’am,” he says. “Can I help?”
“Umm… yes… I was told there was a vacancy for an Operator on your ship?”
Dallas is dead silent for a few seconds.
“Why don’t you head up to my office? I’ll be there in, say, fifteen minutes?” The girl nods, and leaves, backing away awkwardly, looking apologetic all the way. Dallas sits back down with a huge grin on his face. “See?” he says. “Everything always turns out alright. Hey! Marduk! Why so glum?”
“Not glum,” says Marduk. “Just thoughtful.”
“Something that’s been bugging me. It was bugging Melkor too.”
“You guys think too much.” And then after a pause… “Ok, fine, what was it?”
“I was wondering what is in the box.”
“The box. At the Museum. Whilst people might not have been sure what the Key was, everyone knew it was extremely valuable. Yet whoever stole it from Lo Qi was willing to trade it for the box. So we can only assume that was in the box… is of equal value. And who were those maintenance guys there working for anyway?”
This time there is a long silence.
“Sequel?” says Dallas. “how long before the ship is ready to go?”
The coffin burns its final farewell.
The Matrix- a seemingly infinite mass of green code. Within the outlines of a city, translated to look like the real thing. A huge, sprawling mass of a city defying reason and sense. Within, building after building after building, in streets and avenues and pathways.
Neo wanders those streets, as if searching for something. But he cannot see it. “No,” he says, into the phone. “I guess it didn’t matter.”
Near an upturned garbage can behind him, there is a tramp making his bed for the night. He has a long straggly beard and unkempt hair. The Virus keeps a watch on Neo as he walks away.
"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"
"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"