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Матрица I/ Matrix I

FADE IN ON:

COMPUTER SCREEN

So close it has no boundaries.

A blinking cursor pulses in the electric darkness like a heart coursing with phosphorous light, burning beneath the derma of black-neon glass.

A PHONE begins to RING, we hear it as though we were making the call. The cursor continues to throb, relentlessly patient, until --

MAN (V.O.) Hello?

Data now slashes across the screen, information flashing faster than we read.

SCREEN Call trans opt: received. 2-19-96 13:24:18 REC:Log>

WOMAN (V.O.) I'm inside. Anything to report?

We listen to the phone conversation as though we were on a third line. The man's name is CYPHER. The woman, TRINITY.

CYPHER (V.O.) Let's see. Target left work at 5:01 PM.

SCREEN Trace program: running.

The entire screen fills with racing columns of numbers. Shimmering like green-electric rivets, they rush at a 10- digit phone number in the top corner.

CYPHER (V.O.) He caught the northbound Howard line. Got off at Sheridan. Stopped at 7-11. Purchased six- pack of beer and a box of Captain Crunch. Returned home.

The area code is identified. The first three numbers suddenly fixed, leaving only seven flowing columns.

We begin MOVING TOWARD the screen, CLOSING IN as each digit is matched, one by one, snapping into place like the wheels of a slot machine.

TRINITY (V.O.) All right, you're relieved. Use the usual exit.

CYPHER (V.O.) Do you know when we're going to make contact?

TRINITY Soon.

Only two thin digits left.

CYPHER (V.O.) Just between you and me, you don't believe it, do you? You don't believe this guy is the one?

TRINITY (V.O.) I think Morpheus believes he is.

CYPHER (V.O.) I know. But what about you?

TRINITY (V.O.) I think Morpheus knows things that I don't.

CYPHER (V.O.) Yeah, but if he's wrong --

The final number pops into place --

TRINITY (V.O.) Did you hear that?

CYPHER (V.O.) Hear what?

SCREEN Trace complete. Call origin: #312-555-0690

TRINITY (V.O.) Are you sure this line is clean?

CYPHER (V.O.) Yeah, course I'm sure.

We MOVE STILL CLOSER, the ELECTRIC HUM of the green numbers GROWING INTO an OMINOUS ROAR.

TRINITY (V.O.) I better go.

CYPHER (V.O.) Yeah. Right. See you on the other side.

She hangs up as we PASS THROUGH the numbers, entering the netherworld of the computer screen.

Where gradually the sound of a police radio grows around us.

RADIO (V.O.) Attention all units. Attention all units.

Suddenly, a flashlight cuts open the darkness and we find ourselves in --

INT. CHASE HOTEL - NIGHT

The hotel was abandoned after a fire licked its way across the polyester carpeting, destroying several rooms as it spooled soot up the walls and ceiling leaving patterns of permanent shadow.

We FOLLOW four armed POLICE officers using flashlights as they creep down the blackened hall and ready themselves on either side of room 303.

The biggest of them violently kicks in the door --

The other cops pour in behind him, guns thrust before them.

BIG COP Police! Freeze!

The room is almost devoid of furniture. There is a fold- up table and chair with a phone, a modern, and a powerbook computer. The only light in the room is the glow of the computer.

Sitting there, her hands still on the keyboard, is TRINITY; a woman in black leather.

BIG COP Get your hands behind your head!

Trinity rises.

BIG COP Hands behind your head! Now! Do it!

She slowly puts her hands behind her head.

EXT. CHASE HOTEL - NIGHT

A black sedan with tinted windows glides in through the police cruisers.

AGENT SMITH and AGENT BROWN get out of the car.

They wear dark suits and sunglasses even at night. They are also always hardwired; small Secret Service earphones in one ear, its cord coiling back into their shirt collars.

AGENT SMITH Lieutenant?

LIEUTENANT Oh shit.

AGENT SMITH Lieutenant, you were given specific orders --

LIEUTENANT I'm just doing my job. You gimme that Juris-my dick-tion and you can cran it up your ass.

AGENT SMITH The orders were for your protection.

The Lieutenant laughs.

LIEUTENANT I think we can handle one little girl.

Agent Smith nods to Agent Brown as they start toward the hotel.

LIEUTENANT I sent two units. They're bringing her down now.

AGENT SMITH No, Lieutenant, your men are dead.

INT. CHASE HOTEL

The Big Cop flicks out his cuffs, the other cops holding a bead. They've done this a hundred times, they know they've got her, until the Big Cop reaches with the cuff and Trinity moves --

It almost doesn't register, so smooth and fast, inhumanly fast.

The eye blinks and Trinity's palm. snaps up and the nose explodes, blood erupting. The cop is dead before he begins to fall.

And Trinity is moving again --

Seizing a wrist, misdirecting a gun, as a startled cop FIRES --

A head explodes.

In blind panic, another airs his gun, the barrel, a fixed black hole --

And FIRES --

Trinity twists out of the way, the bullet missing as she reverses into a roundhouse kick, knocking the gun away.

The cop begins to scream when a jump kick crushes his windpipe, killing the scream as he falls to the ground.

She looks at the four bodies.

TRINITY Shit.

EXT. CHASE HOTEL

Agent Brown enters the hotel, while Agent Smith heads for the alley.

INT. CHASE HOTEL

Trinity is on the phone, pacing. The other end is answered.

MAN (V.O.) Operator.

TRINITY Morpheus! The link was traced! I don't know how.

MORPHEUS (V.O.) I know. Stay calm.

TRINITY Are there any agents?

MORPHEUS (V.O.) Yes.

TRINITY Goddamnit!

MORPHEUS (V.O.) You have to focus. There is a phone. Wells and Laxe. You can make it.

She takes a deep breath, centering herself.

TRINITY All right --

MORPHEUS (V.O.) Go.

She drops the phone.

INT. HALL

She bursts out of the room as Agent Brown enters the hall, leading another unit of police. Trinity races to the opposite end, exiting through a broken window onto the fire escape.

EXT. FIRE E5CAPE

In the alley below, Trinity sees Agent Smith staring at her. She can only go up.

EXT. ROOF

On the roof, Trinity is running as Agent Brown rises over the parapet, leading the cops in pursuit.

Trinity begins to jump from one roof to the next, her moverents so clean, gliding in and out of each jump, contrasted to the wild jumps of the cops.

Agent Brown, however, has the same unnatural grace.

The METAL SCREAM of an EL TRAIN is heard and Trinity turns to it, racing for the back of the building.

The edge falls away into a wide back alley. The next building is over 40 feet away, but Trinity's face is perfectly calm, staring at some point beyond the other roof.

The cops slow, realizing they are about to see something ugly as Trinity drives at the edge, launching herself into the air.

From above, the ground seems to flow beneath her as she hangs in flight

Then hitting, somersaulting up, still running hard.

COP Motherfucker -- that's impossible!

They stare, slack-jawed, as Agent Brown duplicates the move exactly, landing, rolling over a shoulder, up onto one knee.

Just below the building are the runbling tracks of riveted steel. The TRAIN SCREECHES beneath her, a rattling blur of gray metal. Trinity junps, landing easily.

She looks back just as Agent Brown hurls through the air barely reaching the last car

Agent Brown stands, yanking out a gun.

Trinity is running hard as BULLETS WHISTLE past her head.

Ahead she sees her only chance, 50 feet beyond the point where the train has begun to turn, there is --

A window; a yellow glow in the midst of a dark brick building.

Trinity zeroes in on it, running as hard as she can, her speed compounded by the train. The SCREAM of the STEEL rises as she nears the edge where the train rocks into the turn.

Trinity hurtles into the empty night space, her body leveling into a dive. She falls, arms covering her head as --

The whole world seems to spin on its axis --

And she crashes with an EXPLOSION of GLASS and WOOD, then falls onto a back stairwell, tumbling, bouncing down stairs bleeding, broken --

But still alive.

Through the smashed window, she glimpses Agent Brown, still on the train, his tie and coat whipping in the wind; stone-faced, he touches his ear piece as the train slides him past the window.

Trinity tries to move. Everything hurts.

TRINITY Get up, Trinity. You're fine. Get up -- just get up!

She stands and limps down the rest of the stairs.

EXT. STREET

Trinity emerges from the shadows of an alley and, at the end of the block, in a pool of white street light, she sees it.

The telephone booth.

Obviously hurt, she starts down the concrete walk, focusing in completely, her pace quickening, as the PHONE begins to RING.

Across the street, a garbage truck suddenly u-turns, its TIRES SCREAMING as it accelerates.

Trinity sees the headlights on the truck arcing at the telephone booth as if taking aim.

Gritting through the pain, she races the truck --

Slamming into the booth, the headlights blindingly bright, bearing down on the box of Plexiglas just as --

She answers the phone.

There is a frozen instant of silence before the hulking mass of dark metal lurches up onto the sidewalk --

Barreling through the booth, bulldozing it into a brick wall, smashing it to Plexiglas pulp.

After a moment, a black loafer steps down from the cab of the garbage truck. Agent Smith inspects the wreckage. There is no body. Trinity is gone.

His jaw sets as he grinds his molars in frustration. AGENT JONES walks up behind him.

AGENT SMITH Did you get anything from the room?

AGENT JONES Their next target. The name is Neo.

The handset of the pay phone lays on the ground, separated in the crash like a severed limb.

AGENT SMITH We'll need a search running.

AGENT JONES It's already begun.

We are SUCKED TOWARDS the mouthpiece of the phone, CLOSER and CLOSER, UNTIL the smooth gray plastic spreads out like a horizon and the small HOLES WIDEN until we fall through one --

Swallowed by the darkness that becomes --

A computer screen.

We are on-line, inside a chat room called "The Matrix." It is an exklusive web-site where hackers hang out.

SCREEN JACKON: I heard Morpheus has been on this board. SUPERASTIC: Morpheus doesn't even exist and the Matrix is nothing but an advertising gimmick 4 a new game. TIMAXE: All I want to know is Trinity really a girl? LODIII: 87% of all women on line are really men. QUARK: The Matrix is a euphemism for the government. SUPERASTIC: No, The Matrix is the system controlling our lives. TIMAXE: You mean MTV. SUPERASTIC: I mean Sega. FOS4: ALL HAIL SEGA!!!

We drift back from the electric conversation entering --

INT. NEO'S APARTMENT

It is a studio apartirent that seems overgrown with technology.

Weed-like cables coil everywhere, duct-taped into thickets that wind up and around the legs of several desks.

Tabletops are filled with cannibalized equipment that lay open like an autopsied corpse.

We turn towards the center of this rat-nest of technology, following the slurping and crunching of cereal. We pass an open box of Capln Crunch as we find --

NEO, a younger man who knows more about living inside a computer than living outside one.

NEO Fuckin' idiots don't know shit.

He finishes his cereal and is about to disconnect when an anonynous message slices onto the screen.

SCREEN Do you want to know what the Matrix is, Neo?

Neo is frozen when he reads his name.

SCREEN SUPERASTIC: Who said that? JACKON: Who's Neo? GIBSON: This is a private board.

If you want to know, follow the white rabbit.

NEO What the hell...

SCREEN TIMAXE: Someone is hacking the hackers! FOS4: It's Morpheus!!!!! JACKON: Identify yourself.

Knock, knock, Neo.

A chill runs down his spine and when someone KNOCKS on his door he almost jumps out of his chair.

He looks at the door, then back at the computer but the message is gone.

He shakes his head, not completely sure what happened. Again, someone knocks.

Cautiously, Neo approaches the door.

VOICE (O.S.) Hey, Tommy-boy! You in there?

Recognizing the voice, he relaxes and opens it. ANTHONY, who lives down the hall, is standing outside with a group of friends.

NEO What do you want, Anthony?

ANTHONY I need your help, man. Desperate. They got me, man. The shackles of fascism.

He holds up the red notice that accompanies the Denver boot.

NEO You got the money this time?

He holds up two hundred dollars and Neo opens the door. Anthony's girlfriend, DUJOUR, stops in front of Neo.

DUJOUR You can really get that thing off, right now?

ANTHONY I told you, honey, he may look like just another geek but this here is all we got left standing between Big Brother and the New World Order.

EXT. STREET

A police officer unlocks a yellow metal boot from the wheel of an enormous oldsmobile.

INT. NEO'S APARTMENT

They watch from the window as the cops, silently, robotically, climb into their van.

ANTHONY Look at 'em. Automatons. Don't think about what they're- doing or why. Computer tells 'em what to do and they do it.

FRIEND #l Thc banality of evil.

He slaps the money in Neo's hand.

ANTHONY Thanks, neighbor.

DUJOUR Why don't you come to the party with us?

NEO I don't know. I have to work tomorrow.

DUJOUR Come on. It'll be fun.

He looks up at her and suddenly notices on her black leather motorcycle jacket dozens of pins: bands, symbols, slogans, military medals and --

A small white rabbit.

The ROOM TILTS.

NEO Yeah, yeah. Sure, I'll go.

INT. APARTMENT

An older Chicago apartment; a series of halls connects a chain of small high-ceilinged rooms lined with heavy casements.

Smoke hangs like a veil, blurring the few lights there are.

Dressed predominantly in black, people are everywhere, gathered in cliques around pieces of furniture like jungle cats around a tree.

Neo stands against a wall, alone, sipping from a bottle of beer, feeling completely out of place, he is about to leave when he notices a woman staring at him.

The woman is Trinity. She walks straight up to him.

In the nearest room, shadow-like figures grind against each other to the pneumatic beat of INDUSTRIAL MUSIC.

TRINITY Hello, Neo.

NEO How did you know that --

TRINITY I know a lot about you. I've been wanting to meet you for some time.

NEO Who are you?

TRINITY My name is Trinity.

NEO Trinity? The Trinity? The Trinity that cracked the I.R.S. Kansas City D-Base?

TRINITY That was a long time ago.

NEO Gee-zus.

TRINITY What?

NEO I just thought... you were a guy.

TRINITY Most guys do.

Neo is a little embarrassed.

NEO Do you want to go sorewhere and talk?

TRINITY No. It's safe here and I don't have much time.

The MUSIC is so loud they must stand very close, talking directly into each other's ear.

NEO That was you on the board tonight. That was your note, wasn't it?

TRINITY I had to gamble that you would see and they wouldn't.

NEO Who wouldn't?

TRINITY I can't explain everything to you. I'm sure that it's all going to seem very strange, but I brought you here to warn you, Neo. You are in a lot of danger.

NEO What? Why?

TRINITY They're watching you. Something happened and they found out about you. Normally, if our target is exposed we let it go. But this time, we can't do that.

NEO I don't understand --

TRINITY You came here because you wanted to know the answer to a hacker's question.

NEO The Matrix. What is the Matrix?

TRINITY Twelve years ago I met a man, a great man, who said that no one could be told the answer to that question. That they had to see it, to believe it.

Her body is against his; her lips very close to his ear.

TRINITY He told me that no one should look for the answer unless they have to because once you see it, everything changes. Your life and the world you live in will never be the same. It's as if you wake up one morning and the sky is falling.

There is a hypnotic quality to her voice and Neo feels the words like a drug, seeping into him.

TRINITY The truth is out there, Neo. It's looking for you and it will find you, if you want it to.

She takes hold of him with her eyes.

TRINITY That's all I can tell you right now. Good-bye, Neo. And good luck.

NEO Wait. Who was it? Who was the man?

She leans close, her lips alrost touching his ear as she whispers.

TRINITY You know who.

She turns and he watches her melt into the shifting wall of bodies.

A SOUND RISES steadily, growing out of the music, pressing in on Neo until it is all he can hear as we --

CUT TO:

INT. NEO'S APARTMENT

The sound is an ALARM CLOCK, slowly dragging Neo to consciousness. He strains to read the clock face: 9:15 A.M.

NEO Shitshitshit.

EXT. SKYSCRAPER

The downtown office of CorTechs, a software development company.

INT. CORTECHS OFFICE

The main offices are along each wall, the windows overlooking downtown Chicago.

RHINEHEART, the ultimate company man, lectures Neo without looking at him, typing at his computer continuously.

Neo stares at two window cleaners on a scaffolding outside, dragging their rubber squeegees down across the surface of the glass.

RHINEHEART You have a problem, Mr. Anderson. You think that you're special. You believe that somehow the rules do not apply to you.

He stops, glancing over his glasses at Neo, who turns in time.

RHINEHEART Obviously, you are mistaken.

His long, bony fingers resume clicking the keyboard.

RHINEHEART This company is one of the top software companies in the world because every single employee understands that they are a part of a whole. Thus, if an employee has a problem, the company has a problem.

He turns again.

RHINEHEART The time has come to make a choice, Mr. Anderson. Either you choose to be at your desk on time from this day forth, or you choose to find yourself another job. Do I make myself clear?

NEO Yes, Mr. Rhineheart. Perfectly clear.

INT. NEO'S CUBICLE

The entire floor looks like a human honeycomb, with a labyrinth of cubicles structured around a core of elevators.

Neo slumps down into his chair. A TALL EMPLOYEE stands up in the adjacent cubicle, leaning over the partition.

TALL EMPLOYEE What did he say?

NEO If I was late again, I'm going to be fired.

He smirks.

TALL EMPLOYEE Well, it was nice working with you.

Neo glares at him, as he sinks down.

VOICE (O.S.) Thomas Anderson?

Neo turns and finds a FEDERAL EXPRESS MAN at his cubicle door.

NEO Yeah. That's me.

Neo signs the electronic pad and the Fedex guy hands him the softpak.

FEDEX Have a nice day.

He opens the bag. Inside is a CELLULAR PHONE. It seems the instant it is in his hand, it RINGS. Unnerved, he flips it open.

NEO Hello?

MORPHEUS (V.O.) Hello, Neo. This is Morpheus.

Neo's knees give and he falls into his chair.

MORPHEUS (V.O.) I had hoped for this conversation to take place under less adverse conditions, but you can never count on hope, can you, Neo?

NEO ... no.

MORPHEUS (V.O.) I've been watching you, Neo, and I want to meet you. I don't know if you're ready to see what I want to show you, but unfortunately, we have run out of time. They're coming for you, Neo. And I'm not sure what they're going to do.

NEO Who's coming for me?

MORPHEUS (V.O.) Stand up and see for yourself.

NEO Right now?

MORPHEUS (V.O.) Yes. Now.

Neo starts to stand.

MORPHEUS (V.O.) Do it slowly. Slowly. The elevator.

His head slowly peeks up over the partition.

At the elevator, he sees Agent Brown and Agent Jones leading a group of cops. A female employee turns and points out Neo's cubicle.

Neo ducks.

NEO Holy fuckin' shit!

MORPHEUS (V.O.) Yes.

One cop stays at the elevator, the others follow the agents.

NEO What the fuck do they want with me?!

MORPHEUS (V.O.) I'm not sure. But, if you don't want to find out, you better get out of there.

NEO How?!

MORPHEUS (V.O.) I can guide you out, but you have to do exactly what I say.

The agents are moving quickly towards the cubicle.

MORPHEUS (V.O.) The cubicle across from you is empty.

NEO But what if...?

MORPHEUS (V.O.) Go! Now!

Neo lunges across the hall, diving into the other cubicle just as the agents turn into his row.

Neo crams himself into a dark corner, clutching the phone tightly to him.

MORPHEUS (V.O.) Stay here for a moment.

The agents enter Neo's empty cubicle. A cop is sent to search the bathroom.

Morpheus' voice is a whisper in Neo's ear.

MORPHEUS (V.O.) A little longer...

Brown is talking to the tall employee.

MORPHEUS (V.O.) When I tell you, go to the end of the row to the first office on the left, stay.as low as you can.

Sweat trickles down his forehead.

MORPHEUS (V.O.) Now.

Neo rolls out of the cubicle, his eyes popping as he freezes right behind a cop who has just turned around.

Staying crouched, he sneaks away, down the row, SHOOTING across the opening to the first office on the left.

The room is empty.

MORPHEUS (V.O.) Good. Now there is a window. Open it.

NEO How do you know all this?

Morpheus laughs quietly.

MORPHEUS (V.O.) The answer is coming, Neo.

He opens the window. The window howls into the room.

MORPHEUS (V.O.) Outside, there's a scaffold. You can use it to get to the roof.

Leaning out the window, he sees that the scaffold is several offices away.

NEO No! It's too far away.

MORPHEUS (V.O.) There's a small ledge. It's a short climb. You can make it.

Neo looks down; the building's glass wall vertigos into a concrete chasm.

NEO No way, no way, this is crazy.

MORPHEUS (V.O.) Don't be controlled by your fear, Neo. There are only two ways out of this building. One is that scaffold. The other is in their custody. You take a chance either way. I leave it to you.

CLICK. He hangs up. Neo looks at the door, then back at the scaffold.

NEO This is insane! Why is this happening to me? What did I do? I'm nobody. I didn't do anything. Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!

He climbs up onto the window ledge. Hanging onto the frame, he steps onto the small ledge.

The scaffold seems even farther away.

NEO I'm going to die.

The WIND suddenly BLASTS up the face of the building, knocking Neo off balance. Recoiling, he clings harder to the frame, and the phone falls out of his hand.

He watches as it is swallowed by the distance beneath him.

NEO This is insane. I can't do this! Forget it!

He climbs back into the office just as a cop opens the door.

NEO I didn't do anything!

EXT. SKYSCRAPER

The agents lead a handcuffed Neo out of the revolving doors, forcing his head down as they push him into the dark sedan.

Trinity watches in the rear view mirror of her motorcycle.

TRINITY Shit.

INT. INTERROGATION ROOM - CLOSE ON CAMERA MONITOR

A wide angle view of a white roon, where Neo is sitting at a table alone.

We MOVE INTO the monitor, ENTERING the room as if the monitor were a window.

At the same moment, the door opens and the agents enter.

Smith sits down across from Neo. A thick manila envelope slaps down on the table between them.

Neo glances at the name on the file: "Anderson, Thomas A."

AGENT SMITH As you can see, we've had our eye on you for some time now, Mr. Anderson.

He opens the file. Paper rattle marks the silence as he flips several pages. Neo cannot tell if he is looking at the file or at him.

AGENT SMITH It seems that you have been living two lives. In one life, you are Thomas A. Anderson, program writer for a respectable software company. You have a social security number, you pay your taxes and you help your land lady carry out her garbage.

The pages continue to turn.

AGENT SMITH The other life is lived in computers where you go by the hacker alias Neo, and are guilty of virtually every computer crime we have a law for, including the unauthorized use of the D.M.V. system for the removal of automobile boots.

Neo feels himself sinking into a pit of shit.

AGENT SMITH One of these,lives has a future. One of them does not.

He closes the file.

AGENT SMITH I'm going to be as forthcoming as I can be, Mr. Anderson. You are here because we need your help.

He removes his sunglasses; his eyes are an unnatural ice- blue.

AGENT SMITH We know that you have been contacted by a certain individual. A man who calls himself Morpheus. Whatever you think you know about this man is irrelevant to the fact that he is wanted for acts of terrorism in more countries than any other man in the world. He is considered by many authorities to be the most dangerous man alive.

He leans closer.

AGENT SMITH My colleagues believe that I am wasting my time with you, but I believe you want to do the right thing. It is obvious that you are an intelligent man, Mr. Anderson, and that you are interested in the future. That is why I believe you are ready to put your past mistakes behind you and get on with your life.

Neo tries to match his stare.

AGENT SMITH We are willing to wipe the slate clean, to give you a fresh start and all we are asking in return is your cooperation in bringing a known terrorist to justice.

Neo nods to himself.

NEO Yeah. Wow. That sounds like a real good deal. But I think I have a better one. How about I give you the finger --

He does.

NEO And you can cram that file up your Secret Service sphincter.

Agent Smith puts his glasses back on.

AGENT SMITH You disappoint me, Mr. Anderson.

NEO You ain't seen nothing yet.

AGENT SMITH The irony of your situation is that you have no choice.

NEO You can't scare me with this gestapo crap. I know my rights. I want my phone call.

Agent Smith smiles.

AGENT SMITH And tell me, Mr. Anderson, what good is a phone call iy you are unable to speak?

The question unnerves Neo and strangely, he begins to feel the muscles in his jaw tighten.

The standing agents snicker, watching Neo's confusion grow into panic.

Neo feels his lips grow soft and sticky as they slowly seal shut, melding into each other until all trace of his mouth is gone.

Wild with fear, he lunges for the door but the agents restrain him holding him in the chair.

AGENT SMITH You are going to help us, Mr. Anderson, whether you want to or not.

Smith nods and the other two rip open his shirt.

From a case taken out of his suit coat, Smith removes a long, fiber-optic wire tap.

Neo struggles helplessly as Smith dangles the wire over his exposed abdomen. Horrified, he watches as the electronic device animates, become an organic creature that resembles a hybrid of an insect and a fluke worm.

Thin, whisker-like tendrils reach out and probe into Neo's navel. He bucks wildly as Smith drops the creature which looks for a moment like an uncut umbilical cord --

Before it begins to burrow its, tail thrashing as it worms its way inside.

INT. NEO'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Screaming, Neo bolts upright in bed.

He realizes that he is home. Was it a dream? His mouth is normal. His stomach looks fine. He starts to take a deep, everything-is-okay breath, when --

The PHONE RINGS.

It almost stops his heart. It CONTINUES RINGING, building pressure in the room, forcing him up out of bed, sucking him in with an almost gravitational force.

He answers it, saying nothing.

MORPHEUS (V.O.). This line is tapped, so I must be brief.

NEO The agents --

MORPHEUS (V.O.) They got to you first, but they've underestimated how important you are. If they knew what I know, you would probably be dead.

Neo feels sick.

MORPHEUS (V.O.) I don't know what you are thinking right now but I want you to understand that I will not give up on you until you give up on me.

Neo's throat cracks, dry as the Sahara.

MORPHEUS (V.O.) Do you still want to meet?

NEO ... Yes.

MORPHEUS (V.O.) Take the Howard line south.

CLICK. He closes his eyes, unsure of what he has done.

EXT. EL TRAIN

An EL TRAIN RAGES against its metal rails.

INT. TRAIN

It is three a.m., and the train carries the usual urban night crawlers. Neo sits alone, eyes shifting, watching everything nervously.

There is a METAL BANG and TRAIN CLATTER fills the car as the door is opened.

Neo turns and sees a large man enter. He is wearing sunglasses and a black leather jacket. His name is APOC and he walks straight at Neo.

APOC Come with me.

Neo stands just as the door at the opposite end opens and two police officers rush in, drawing their guns.

Apoc grabs Neo, muscling him to the nearest exit. There is no upcoming station.

Apoc yanks the emergency brake and the train buckles against its own speed. The cops are thrown back. Neo slams against the metal rail.

The doors open onto nothing and just when Neo regains his balance, Apoc shoves him backwards --

He flies out from the train, arms windrilling as he falls from, the raised tracks --

Hurtling towards a busy city street when, out of nowhere, a truck races under him and --

He crashes into a large dumpster-bed filled with empty boxes.

INT. TRUCK BED

Still shaking his head, Neo realizes he is not alone. A man named Cabie is aiming a big gun at him. Trinity is next to him, talking into a cellular phone.

TRINITY We got him. Call the chop-shop.

She hangs up.

TRINITY Listen to me, Neo. You have to, trust us.

She tears off a long strip of black duct-tape and reaches for his face.

NEO What are you doing?

TRINITY This has to be done for your protection and ours.

She seals his eyes shut with the tape.

TRINITY You can't understand right now, but if you're not one of us, you're one of them.

EXT. LOWER WACKER

A featureless black van glides up to a staircase that curls down from the city's surface.

trinity guides the blind Neo down the steps. The back of the van slaps open, revealing a young, skinny man who looks to be still in his teens, wearing an outfit that is a cross between a surgeon and a telephone repair man.

His name is GIZMO and he smiles lewdly at Trinity, exposing his teeth that are wired with weird-looking braces.

GIZMO Va va va voom. Still the hottest software around.

TRINITY Hello, Gizmo.

Neo hears the voices around him.

GIZMO This is really the guy? The guy that Morpheus thinks --

TRINITY Yeah.

GIZMO But he's so old.

TRINITY Are you going to help us or aren't you?

GIZMO Hacksaw. Load up the copper-top and let's get the hell outta here.

Hacksaw is a huge man in a leather welder's apron. He shoulders Neo and hauls him into the van.

A moment later the green lights of Lower Wacker curve over the tinted windshield as the van rushes through the underworld.

INT. VAN

The chop-shop is filled with electronic gadgets, wired to meters and monitors. There are shelves lined with medical supplies and rows of hanging tools, knives, cleavers, and stainless steel clamps.

Neo is strapped down to an ambulance cart, listening nervously as Gizmo gets to work.

GIZMO Okay, first we take a little look under the hood.

He pulls up the goggles hanging at his neck and they blink to life with tiny halogen lights and lenses irising to varying levels of magnification.

GIZMO You're going to feel a little prick.

He inserts acupuncture-like needles into Neo's lower abdomen. The needles are wired to video monitors. Hacksaw pilots the fiber-optic lens.

NEO What are you doing?

TRINITY We think you're bugged. We can't take you to Morpheus until you're clean.

GIZMO There it is.

On a monitor, we see the bug nestled in among Neols large intestines.

GIZMO Hit him with 10 ccs of local.

Hacksaw loads a hypodermic needle and pumps an anesthetic around Neols navel.

Using a device that looks like a miniature speculum, Gizmo inserts a knuckled dental pick. Typing into a calculator keypad wired to the pick, he automates the tip.

On the monitor, we watch it telescope out and the end separate into a tiny hooked, metal claw.

GIZMO Here, kitty, kitty, kitty.

The claw snags hold of the bug.

GIZMO Gotcha!

But the bug reacts violently. Neo screams as it wraps itself around the soft tissue web of intestine.

GIZMO Shit.

TRINITY What's happening?

GIZMO I don't know. They've never done that before.

Neo writhes in pain.

GIZMO Hold him down.

NEO Jesus! God!

TRINITY Do something!

GIZMO I got it! Maybe we can stun it.

TRINITY Are you crazy? That will kill him.

We watch Neo, who can't see what they are talking about.

GIZMO It'll work. Come on, do it or Hacksaw will.

NEO Do what?

The instant he hears the word, he knows.

TRINITY Clear.

NEO Oh, shit --

The cry is frozen in his mouth as the paddles hit his chest. Gizmo wrestles with the bug.

GIZMO Hit him again!

Again, the electricity convulses through him as Gizmo yanks the speculum out.

GIZMO Got it!

Trinity touches Neo, who is just beginning to breathe. She eases the tape off his eyes.

TRINITY Neo, are you okay?

He nods.

TRINITY It's over. We got it.

Hanging from the claw pick is the inanimate metal wire- tap.

GIZMO Nasty little bugger, ain't it?

INT. HOTEL LAFAYETTE

The van stops in a deserted alley behind a forgotten hotel. The doors open and Trinity helps Neo get out.

TRINITY Thanks for your help, Gizmo.

GIZMO I just hope the man knows what he's doing.

She nods then climbs out of the van. Gizmo ogles the tight leather pants.

GIZMO Goddamn, what I wouldn't give for a copy of that software.

Trinity turns around.

TRINITY Gizmo, you don't have the hardware to handle this software.

He howls with adolescent laughter as the van pulls away. Trinity turns to Neo.

TRINITY Let's go. He's waiting.

INT. HOTEL LAFAYETTE

It is a place of putrefying elegance, a rotting host of urban maggotry.

Trinity leads Neo from the stairwell down the hall of the thirteenth floor. They stop outside room 1313.

TRINITY This is it.

Neo can hear his own heart pounding.

TRINITY Let me give one piece of advice. Be honest. He knows more than you can possibly imagine.

INT. ROOM 1313

Across the room, a dark figure stares out the tall windows veiled with decaying lace. He turns and his smile lights up the room.

MORPHEUS At last.

He wears a long black coat and his eyes are invisible behind circular mirrored glasses.

He strides to Neo and they shake hands.

MORPHEUS Welcome, Neo. As you no doubt have guessed, I am Morpheus.

NEO It's an honor.

MORPHEUS Please. Come. Sit.

He nods to Trinity.

MORPHEUS Thank you, Trinity.

She bows her head sharply and exits through a door to an adjacent room.

They sit across from one another in cracked, burgundy- leather chairs.

MORPHEUS I imagine, right now, you must be feeling a bit like Alice, tumbling down the rabbit hole?

NEO You could say that.

MORPHEUS I can see it in your eyes. You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up.

A smile, razor-thin, curls the corner of his lips.

MORPHEUS Ironically, this is not far from the truth. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Can you tell me, Neo, why are you here?

NEO You're Morpheus, you're a legend. Most hackers would die to meet you.

MORPHEUS Yes. Thank you. But I think we both know there's more to it than that. Do you believe in fate, Neo?

NEO No.

MORPHEUS Why not?

NEO Because I don't like the idea that I'm not in control of my life.

MORPHEUS I know exactly what you mean.

Again, that smile that could cut glass.

MORPHEUS Let me tell you why you are here. You are here because you have the gift.

NEO What gift?

MORPHEUS I've watched you, Neo. You do not use a computer like a tool. You use it like it was part of yourself. What you can do inside a computer is not normal. I know. I've seen it. What you do is magic.

Neo shrugs.

NEO It's not magic.

MORPHEUS But it is, Neo. It is. How else would you describe what has been happening to you?

He leans forward.

MORPHEUS We are trained in this world to accept only what is rational and logical. Have you ever wondered why?

Neo shakes his head.

MORPHEUS As children, we do not separate the possible from the impossible which is why the younger a mind is the easier it is to free while a mind like yours can be very difficult.

NEO Free from what?

MORPHEUS From the Matrix.

Neo locks at his eyes but only sees a reflection of himself.

MORPHEUS Do you want to know what it is, Neo?

Neo swallows and nods his head.

MORPHEUS It's that feeling you have had all your life. That feeling that something was wrong with the world. You don't know what it is but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad, driving you to me. But what is it?

The LEATHER CREAKS as he leans back.

MORPHEUS The Matrix is everywhere, it's all around us, here even in this room. You can see it out your window, or on your television. You feel it when you go to work, or go to church or pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

NEO What truth?

MORPHEUS That you are a slave, Neo. That you, like everyone else, was born into bondage... ... kept inside a prison that you cannot smell, taste, or touch. A prison for your mind.

Outside, the WIND BATTERS a loose PANE of glass.

MORPHEUS Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.

NEO How?

MORPHEUS Hold out your hands.

In Neo's right hand, Morpheus drops a red pill.

MORPHEUS This is your last chance. After this, there is no going back.

In his left, a blue pill.

MORPHEUS You take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake in your bed and you believe whatever you want to believe.

The pills in his open hands are reflected in the glasses.

MORPHEUS You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

Neo feels the smooth skin of the capsules, with the moisture growing in his palms.

MORPHEUS Remember that all I am offering is the truth. Nothing more.

Neo opens his mouth and swallows the red pill. The Cheshire smile returns.

MORPHEUS Follow me.

He leads Neo into the other room, which is cramped with high-tech equipment, glowing ash-bliie and electric green from the racks of monitors.

Trinity, Apoc and Cypher look up as they enter.

CYPHER Shit.

TRINITY I knew he would.

Cypher saddles up to Morpheus, talking in a hushed tone away from, Neo.

CYPHER Morpheus, I know what you believe but I think this is a mistake. We're rushing him. He's old. I'm afraid he might pop.

MORPHEUS Haven't I always told you, Cypher, not to let fear control your life. Apoc, are we on-line?

Neo recognizes the large man from the El train.

APOC Almost.

He and Trinity are working quickly, hardwiring a complex system of monitors, modules and drives.

NEO Apoc? You wrote the Four Horsemen Virus.

APOC That's right.

MORPHEUS Neo, time is always against us. Will you take a seat there?

In the center of the room sits a chair. Near the chair is an old oval dressing mirror that is cracked.

MORPHEUS I imagine you know sonething about virtual reality.

Neo sits and Trinity begins gently fixing white electrode disks to his head, arns, and the back of his neck.

NEO A little.

MORPHEUS Tell me about it.

NEO Essentially, it's a hardware system that uses an apparatus; headgear, gloves and whatever to make you feel that you are in a computer program.

MORPHEUS If the virtual reality apparatus, as you called it, was wired to all of your senses and controlled them completely, would you be able to tell the difference between the virtual world and the real world?

NEO You might not, no.

MORPHEUS No, you wouldn't.

Neo whispers to Trinity.

NEO You did all this?

She nods, placing a set of headphones over his ears. They are wired to an old hotel phone.

MORPHEUS The pill you took is part of a trace program. It's going to make things feel a bit strange.

Distantly, through the ear phones, he hears Apoc POUNDING on a KEYBOARD. Sweat beads his face. His eyes blink and twitch when he notices the mirror.

Wide-eyed he stares as it begins to heal itself, a webwork of cracks that slowly run together as though the mirror were becoming liquid.

NEO Shit...

Cypher works with Apoc checking reams of phosphorescent data. Trinity monitors Neo's electric vital signs.

Neo reaches out to touch the mirror and his fingers disappear beneath the rippling surface.

Quickly, he tries to pull his fingers out but the mirror stretches in long rubbery strands like mirrored-taffy stuck to his fingertips.

NEO What is this? Mescaline?

MORPHEUS Just relax, Neo.

The strands thin like rubber cement as he pulls away, until the fragile wisps of mirror thread break.

With the TINKLING of GLASS, shimmering snowflakes of electric-blinking mercury fall, hit the ground, and fade.

He looks at his hand; fingers distended into mirrored icicles that begin to melt rapidly, dripping, running like wax down his fingers, spreading across his palms where he sees his face reflected.

NEO Uh-oh...

TRINITY It's going into replication.

MORPHEUS Apoc?

APOC Still nothing.

Morpheus takes out a cellular phone and dials a number.

MORPHEUS Tank, we're going to need the signal soon. Stay calm, Neo.

The mirror gel seems to come to life, racing, crawling up his arns like hundreds of insects.

NEO It's cold.

The mirror creeps up his neck as Neo begins to panic, tipping his head as though he were sinking into the mirror, trying to keep his mouth up.

NEO It's all over me --

Morpheus is right next to him, with the phone.

TRINITY I got a fibrillation!

CYPHER I knew it, I knew it...

MORPHEUS Shit! Apoc?

Streams of mercury run from Neo's nose.

APOC Targeting... almost there.

An ALARM, on Trinity's monitor ERUPTS.

TRINITY He's going into arrest!

CYPHER He's gonna pop!

APOC Lock! I got him!

MORPHEUS Now, Tank now!

His eyes tear with mirror, rolling up and closing as a high-pitched ELECTRIC SCREAM ERUPTS in the headphones --

It is a piercing SHRIEK like a computer calling to another computer --

Neo's body arches in agony and we are pulled like we were pulled into the holes of the phone

Sucked into his SCREAM and swallowed by darkness.

INT. POWER PLANT - CLOSE ON MAN'S BODY

Floating in a womb-red amnion.

His body spasms, fighting against the thick gelatin.

Metal tubes, surreal versions of hospital tubes, obscure his face. Other lines like IVs are connected to limbs and cover his genitals.

He is struggling desperately now. Air bubbles into the Jell-O but does not break the surface.

Pressing up, the surface distends, stretching like a red rubber coccon.

Unable to breathe, he fights wildly to stand, clawing at the thinning elastic shroud --

Until it ruptures, a hole widening around his mouth as he sucks for air. Tearing himself free, he emerges from the cell.

It is Neo.

He is bald and naked, his body slick with gelatin. Dizzy, nauseous, he waits for his vision to focus.

He is standing in an oval capsule of clear alloy filled with red gelatin, the surface of which has solidified like curdled milk.

The IVs in his arms are plugged into outlets that appear to be grafted to his flesh.

He feels the weight of another cable and reaches to the back of his head where he finds an enormous coaxial plugged and locked into the base of his skull.

He tries to pull it out but it would be easier to pull off a finger.

To either side he sees other tube-shaped pods filled with red gelatin; beneath the wax-like surface, pale and motionless, he sees other human beings.

Fanning out in a circle, there are more. All connected to a center core, each capsule like a red, dimly glowing petal attached to a black metal stem.

Above him, level after, level, the stem rises seemingly forever. He moves to the foot of the capsule and looks out.

The image assaults his mind.

Towers of glowing petals spiral up to incomprehensible heights, disappearing down into a dim murk like an underwater abyss.

His sight is blurred and warped, exaggerating the intensity of the vision. The sound of the PLANT is like the sound of the ocean heard from inside the belly of Leviathan.

Below Neo, a petal detaches from the stem, bearing away the body of an old man like an automated barge even as a new pod rises up and plugs itself into the empty space.

Inside the new capsule, its surface more translucent and pinkish in color, Neo sees a small baby.

From above, a machine drops directly in front of Neo.

He swallows his scream as it seems to stare at him.

It is almost insect-like in its design; beautiful housings of alloyed metal covering organic-like systems of hard and soft polymers.

A black particle beam washes over Neo, he reacts in pain as the scanner seems to expose the nervous system wired to the coaxial cable at his cerebral cortex.

At the back of the neck, the cable lock spins and opens, disengaging.

The cable pulls itself free, a long clear plastic needle and cerebrum-chip slides from the anterior of Neols skull with an ooze of blood and spinal fluid. The other connective hoses snap free and snake away as --

The back of the unit opens and a tremendous vacuum, like an airplane door opening, sucks the gelatin and then Neo into a black hole.

INT. WASTE LINE

The pipe is a waste disposal system and Neo falls, sliding with the clot of gelatin.

Banking through pipe spirals and elbows, flushing up through grease traps clogged with cily clunps of cellulite.

Neo begins to drown when he is suddenly snatched from the flow of waste.

The metallic cable then lifts, pulling him up into the belly of the futuristic flying nachine, hovering inside the sewer main line.

INT. HOVERCRAFT

The metal harness opens and drops the half-conscious Neo onto the floor.

Human hands and arms help him up as he finds himself looking straight at Morpheus.

Trinity and Apoc. And others, dressed in bizarre, high- tech combat gear.

Morpheus smiles.

MORPHEUS Welcome to the real world, Neo.

Neo passes out.

FADE TO BLACK.

We have no sense of time. We hear VOICES whispering.

MAN (O.S.) Do you think Morpheus is right? Do you think he could be the One?

WOMAN (O.S.) It doesn't matter now. But if he's wrong...

FADE IN:

NEO'S POV

Neo's eyes flutter open. We see Trinity's face above us, angelic in the fluorescent glow of a light stick.

ANGLE ON NEO

NEO ... am I dead?

TRINITY Far from it.

FADE TO BLACK.

FADE IN:

ANGLE ON NEO

He opens his eyes again, something tingling through him. He focuses and sees his body pierced with dozens of acupuncture-like needles wired to a strange device.

DOZER He needs a lot of work.

MORPHEUS I know.

Dozer and Morpheus are operating on Neo.

NEO What are you doing?

MORPHEUS Your muscles have atrophied. We're rebuilding them.

Fluorescent light sticks burn unnaturally bright.

NEO Why do my eyes hurt?

MORPHEUS You've never used them before.

Morpheus takes his sunglasses off and puts them on Neo. Neo lays back.

MORPHEUS Rest, Neo. The answers are coming.

INT. NEO'S ROOM

Neo wakes up from a deep sleep, feeling better. He is wearing a black tank top and shorts.

He begins to examine himself. There is a futuristic IV plugged into the jack in his forearm. He pulls it out, staring at the grafted outlet.

He feels his bald head. His fingers find and explore the large outlet in the base of his skull.

Just as he starts to come unglued, Morpheus opens the door.

NEO Morpheus, what's happened to me? What is this place?

MORPHEUS More important than what is when?

NEO When?

MORPHEUS You believe the year is 1997 when in fact it is much closer to 2197. I can't say for certain what year it is because we honestly do not know.

The wind is knocked from Neo's chest.

NEO That's not possible.

MORPHEUS I promised you the truth, Neo, and the truth is that the world you were living in was a lie.

NEO How?

MORPHEUS I'll show you.

INT. HOVERCRAFT

Like a sleepwalker, Neo follows Morpheus through the ship.

MORPHEUS This is my ship, the Nebuchadnezzar. It's a hovercraft. Small like a submarine. It's dark. It's cramped and cold. But it's home.

They climb a ladder up to the main deck.

INT. MAIN DECK

Everyone is there.

MORPHEUS This is the main deck. You know most of my crew.

Trinity smiles and nods.

MORPHEUS The ones you don't know. That's Mouse and Switch. The two big guys are Tank and Dozer.

The names and faces wash meaninglessly over Neo.

MORPHEUS And this, this is the Core. This is where we broadcast our pirate signal and hack into the Matrix.

It is a swamp of bizarre electronic equipment. Vines of coaxial hang and snake to and from huge monolithic battery slabs, a black portable satellite dish and banks of little systems and computer monitors.

At the center of the web, there are six ectoskeleton chairs made of a poly-alloy frame and suspension harness.

Near the circle of chairs is the control console and operator's station where the network is monitored.

MORPHEUS Help him, Trinity.

Neo allows himself to be helped into one of the chairs.

MORPHEUS Do you remember when I asked you about an apparatus that could turn a virtual reality into reality?

Neo nods.

MORPHEUS It's right here.

He touches Neo's head.

MORPHEUS And it's accessed here.

Neo feels Morpheus guiding a coaxial line into the jack at the back of his neck. The cable has the same kind of cerebellum chip we saw inside the plant.

MORPHEUS This will feel a little weird.

There are several disturbing NOISES as he works the needle in.

We MOVE IN as Neo's shoulders bunch and his face tightens into a grimace until a loud CLICK fires and his ears pop like when you equalize them underwater.

He relaxes, opening his eyes as we pull back to a feeling of weightlessness inside another place --

INT. CONSTRUCT

Neo is standing in an empty, blank-white space.

MORPHEUS This is the Construct.

Startled, Neo whips around and finds Morpheus now in the room with him.

MORPHEUS It is our loading program. We can load anything from clothes, to weapons, to training simulations. Anything we need.

Morpheus walks past Neo and when Neo turns he sees the two leather chairs from the hotel set up in front of a large-screen television.

MORPHEUS Sit down.

Neo stands at the back of the chair as Morpheus sits.

NEO Right now, we're inside a computer program?

MORPHEUS Wild, isn't it?

Neo's hands run over the cracked leather.

NEO This isn't real?

MORPHEUS What is real? How do you define real? If you're talking about your senses, what you feel, taste, smell, or see, then all you're talking about are electrical signals interpreted by your brain.

He picks up a remote control and clicks ON the TELEVISION. We drift through the Windy City circa 1996.

MORPHEUS This is the Chicago you know. Chicago as it was at the end of the twentieth century. This Chicago exists only as part of a neural-interactive simulation that we call the Matrix.

We GLIDE AT the television as he changes the channel.

MORPHEUS You have been living inside Baulliaurd's vision, inside the map, not the territory. This is Chicago as it exists today.

The sky is an endless sea of black and green bile. The earth, scorched and split like burnt flesh, spreads out beneath us as we ENTER the television.

MORPHEUS 'The desert of the real.'

In the distance, we see the ruins of a future Chicago protruding from the wasteland like the blackened ribs of a long-dead corpse.

MORPHEUS We are, right now, miles below the earth's surface. The only place humans can survive outside the Matrix is underground.

Still MOVING, we TURN and find Neo and Morpheus; the chairs now sitting in the middle of the black desert. Dizzy, Neo holds onto the chair.

NEO What happened?

MORPHEUS It started early in the twenty- first century, with the birth of artificial intelligence, a singular consciousness that spawned an entire race of machines.

In his sunglasses, we see storm clouds gather.

MORPHEUS At first all they wanted was to be treated as equals, entitled to the same human inalienable rights. Whatever they were given, it was not enough.

In the circular window of the glasses, EXPLOSIONS light up a bloody battle field.

MORPHEUS We don't know who struck first. Us or them. But sometime at the end of the twenty-first century the battle was joined.

We MOVE INTO his glasses and the war surrounds us.

MORPHEUS The war raged for generations and turned the face of our planet from green and blue to black and red.

At last we see the Sentinels; killing machines that are at once terrifying and beautiful. They have an organic architecture like a microbiotic organism, that is perpetually in motion.

The Sentinel cracks the body armor of a soldier, splitting open the soft, stearing meat inside.

MORPHEUS It scorched and burned the sky. Without the sun, the machines sought out a new energy source to survive.

The Sentinel locks up, as heat lightning of black ink bursts against the sky, spreading into a permanent cloud of stain.

MORPHEUS They discovered a new form of fusion. All that was required to initiate the reaction was a small electric charge. Throughout human history we have been dependent on machines to survive. Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.

We return to the power plant that Neo escaped from where we see human beings looking almost blissful in their gelatin cocoons.

MORPHEUS The human body generates more bio- electricity than a 120-volt battery and over 25,000 B.T.U.'s of body heat.

Outside, spreading all around the power plant, beneath a breathing greenhouse, are the growing fields.

MORPHEUS We are, as an energy source, easily renewable and completely recyclable, the dead liquified and fed intravenously to the living.

Huge farm-like reapers are harvesting the crop.

MORPHEUS All they needed to control this new battery was something to occupy our mind.

We see inside a clear tubular husk. Floating in viscous fluid, there is a human fetus; its soft skull already growing around the brain-jack.

MORPHEUS And so they built a prison out of our past, wired it to our brains and turned us into slaves.

We PULL BACK to find the image is now on the television and we are again inside the white space of the Construct.

NEO No! I don't believe it! It's not possible!

MORPHEUS I didn't say that it would be easy, Neo. I just said that it would be the truth.

The room without walls begins to spin.

NEO Stop! Let me out! I want out!

INT. MAIN DECK

His eyes snap open and he thrashes against the chair, trying to rip the cable from the back of his neck.

NEO Get this thing out of me!

TRINITY Easy, Neo. Easy.

Dozer holds him while Trinity unlocks it. Once it's out, he tears away from them, falling as he trips free of the harness.

NEO Don't touch me! Get away from me!

On his hands and knees, he reels as the world spins. Sweat pours off him as a pressure builds inside his skull as if his brian had been put into a centrifuge.

CYPHER He's going to pop!

Vomiting violently, Neo pitches forward and blacks out.

INT. NEO'S ROOM

He blinks, regaining consciousness. The room is dark. Neo is stretched out on his bed.

NEO I can't go back, can I?

Morpheus sitting like a shadow on a chair in the far corner.

MORPHEUS No. But if you could, would you really want to?

Neo isn't sure of that answer.

MORPHEUS I feel that I owe you an apology. There is a rule that we do not free a mind once it reaches a certain age. It is dangerous. They have trouble letting go.. Their mind turns against them. I've seen it happen. I broke the rule because I had to.

He stares into the darkness, confessing as much to himself as Neo.

MORPHEUS When the Matrix was first built there was a man born inside that had the ability to change what he wanted, to remake the Matrix as he saw fit. It was this man that freed the first of us and taught us the secret of the war; control the Matrix and you control the future.

He pauses.

MORPHEUS When he died, the Oracle at the temple of Zion prophesied his return and envisioned an end to the war and freedom for our people. That is why there are those of us that have spent our entire lives searching the Matrix, looking for him.

Neo can feel his eyes on him.

MORPHEUS I did what I did, because I believe we have been brought here for a reason, Neo. You are here to serve a purpose, just as I am here to serve mine.

NEO I told you I don't believe in fate.

Morpheus smiles, leaning towards hin.

MORPHEUS But I do, Neo. I do.

He stands up.

MORPHEUS Get some rest. You're going to need it.

NEO For what?

MORPHEUS Your training.

INT. HOVERCRAFT

There is no morning; there is only darkness and then the fluorescent light sticks flicker on.

INT. NEO'S ROOM

Neo is awake in his bed, staring up at the lights. The door opens and TA.NK steps inside.

TANK Morning. Did you sleep?

NEO No.

TANK You will tonight. I guarantee it. I'm Tank. I'll be your operator.

He offers his hand and Neo shakes it. He notices that Tank doesn't have any jacks.

NEO You don't have...

TANK Any holes? Nope. Me and my brother Dozer, we are 100 percent pure, old fashioned, home-grown human. Born free. Right here in the real world. Genuine child of Zion.

NEO Zion?

TANK Zion is the place, man. You'll see it one day. Last human city. All we got left.

Tank smiles.

TANK Goddamn, I got to tell you I'm fairly excited to see what you are capable of. I mean if Morpheus is right and all. We're not supposed to talk.about any of that, but if you are, well then this is an exciting time. We got a lot to do so let's get to it.

INT. MAIN DECK

Neo is plugged in, hanging in one of the suspension chairs.

TANK We're supposed to load all these operations programs first, but this is some major boring shit. Why don't we start something a little fun?

Tank smiles as he plops into his operator's chair. He begins flipping through a tall carousel loaded with micro discs.

TANK How about sore combat training?

Neo reads the label on the disk.

NEO Jiujitsu? I'm going to learn jujitsu?

Tank slides the disk into Neo's supplement drive.

NEO No way.

Smiling, Tank punches the "load" code.

His body jumps against the harness as his eyes clamp shut. The monitors kick wildly as his heart pounds, adrenaline surges, and his brain sizzles.

An instant later his eyes snap open.

NEO Holy shit!

TANK Hey, Mikey, he likes it! Ready for more?

NEO Hell yes!

INT. MAIN DECK - CLOSE ON COMPUTER MONITOR - LATER

as grey pixels slowly fill a small, half-empty box. It is a meter displaying how much download time is left.

The title bar reads: "Combat Series 10 of 12," file categories flashing beneath it: Savate, Jujitsu, Ken Po, Drunken Boxing...

Morpheus walks in.

MORPHEUS How is he?

Tank looks at his watch, rubs his eyes.

TANK Ten hours straight. He's a machine.

Neo's body spasms and relaxes as his eyes open, breath hissing from his lips. He looks like he just orgasmed.

He locks at Morpheus.

NEO This is incredible. I know Kung Fu.

Morpheus sits in the drive chair next to hin. He nods to Tank.

MORPHEUS Show me.

INT. DOJO

They are standing in a very sparse japanese-style dojo.

MORPHEUS This is a sparring program, similar to the programmed reality of the Matrix. Consider this your first lesson.

He assumes a fighting stance.

MORPHEUS Attack me.

Neo assumes a similar stance, cautiously circling until he gives a short cry and launches a furious attack.

It is like a Jackie Chan movie at high speed, fists and feet striking from every angle as Neo presses his attack --

But each and every blow is blocked by effortless speed.

INT. MAIN DECK

While their minds battle in the programmed reality, the two bodies appear quite serene, suspended in the drive chairs.

Tank monitors their life systems noticing that Neo is wildly and chaotically lit up as opposed to the slow and steady rhythm of Morpheus.

INT. MESS HALL

Dinner is up. Everyone is eating bowls of single-cell protein. It has a cottage cheese consistency.

MOUSE bursts in the room.

MOUSE Morpheus is fighting Neo!

All at once they bolt for the door.

INT. DOJO

Neo's face is knotted, teeth clenched, as he hurls himself at Morpheus.

MORPHEUS Good. Adaption. Improvisation. But your weakness isn't your technique.

Morpheus attacks him and it is like nothing we have seen. His feet and fists are everywhere taking Neo apart. For every blow Neo blocks, five more hit their marks until --

Neo falls.

Panting, on his hands and knees, blood spits fror, his mouth speckling the white floor of the Dojo.

MORPHEUS How did I beat you?

NEO You -- You're too fast.

MORPHEUS Do you think my being faster, stronger has anything to do with my muscles in this place?

Neo is frustrated, still unable to catch his breath.

MORPHEUS Do you believe that's air you are breathing now?

Neo squints at him.

MORPHEUS If you can free your mind, the body will follow.

Neo stands, nodding.

MORPHEUS Again.

Their fists fly with pneumatic speed.

INT. MAIN DECK

Everyone is gathered behind Tank, watching the fight, like watching a game of Mortal Combat.

CABLE Jeezus Keerist! That boy is fast!

MOUSE You ever seen anyone that fast that soon, Tank?

TANK Never.

APOC Morpheus is right. He's got to be the one.

INT. DOJO

The speed of the blows rises like a drum solo that seems impossible to sustain. Neo's face sheds its mask of calm with a scream.

He wants to beat Morpheus bad.

Finally a single blow catches Morpheus on the side of the head, knocking his glasses off.

INT. MAIN DECK

There are several gasps.

MOUSE I don't believe it!

INT. DOJO

Morpheus rubs his face.

MORPHEUS You are angry with me.

Neo pants.

NEO I, uh... maybe.

MORPHEUS It's all right. It's natural.

NEO I feel better.

MORPHEUS Good, good. Anger is a gift, Neo, but it's a heavy one.

Morpheus smiles.

MORPHEUS Tank, load the jump program.

Neo straightens as the dojo DISSOLVES away like a curtain lifting, leaving the two men now standing on a building rooftop in a city skyline.

MORPHEUS You have to learn to let go of that anger. You must let go of everything.

A WIND HOWLS, whipping Morpheus' long coat to the side.

MORPHEUS You must empty yourself to free your mind.

Morpheus spins, running hard at the edge of the rooftop. And jumps. He sails through the air, his coat billowing out behind him like a cape --

Somersaults once and lands on the rooftop across the street.

NEO Shit.

Neo looks down at the street twenty floors below, then at Morpheus an impossible fifty feet away.

NEO Okie dokie.

He takes a deep breath.

NEO Yeah. Free my mind. Right. No problem.

He concentrates. Runs.

INT. MAIN DECK

They are transfixed.

CABLE He's gonna make it.

APOC No way. Not possible.

MOUSE No one's ever made their first jump.

SWITCH What if he does?

APOC He won't.

TANK It's never been done.

Trinity stares at the screen, her fists clenching as she whispers.

TRINITY Come on.

EXT. ROOFTOP

Summoning every ounce of strength in his legs, Neo launches himself into the air in a single maniacal shriek --

But comes up drastically short.

His eyes widen as he plummets. Stories fly by, the ground rushing up at him, but as he hits --

The ground gives way, stretchinp like a trapeze net.

He bounces and flips, slowly coming to a rest, flat on his back.

He laughs, a bit unsure, wiping the wind-blown tears from his face.

Morpheus exits the building and helps him to his feet.

MORPHEUS Everyone falls the first time.

Neo nods quietly.

MORPHEUS If you never know failure, how can you know success?

INT. MAIN DECK

They break up.

MOUSE What does it mean?

CABLE It doesn't mean anything.

CYPHER Everyone falls, right, Trinity?

But Trinity has left.

Neo's eyes open as Tank eases the plug out. He tries to move and groans, cradling his ribs.

While Tank helps Morpheus, Neo spits blood into his hand.

NEO I thought it wasn't real.

Neo stares at the blood.

NEO If you are killed in the Matrix, you die here?

MORPHEUS The body cannot live without the mind.

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