All truth is simple… is that not doubly a lie?, -Friedrich Nietzche
Computers are bad for your eyes. Someone had once told her that it had something to do with the way the pixels interlaced on the screen, and that if you stared for too long it would cause vision problems. You could tell when your eyes started to hurt. She was starting to believe them.
After all, the person who had originally told her was Wade.
But Kim did not care if her incessant searching on the internet caused her to need glasses someday. After all, Wade had been doing it for years and his vision was still perfect. Then again, the boy was out of his room so seldom that Kim had begun to wonder if his eyes had evolved somehow to offset the highly detrimental effect of staring at a computer screen. Hers, unfortunately, had not.
Leaning back in her chair, Kim raised her fingers to her eyes in an attempt to rub out the soreness. She had been at this for months, and she was still no closer to her goal than when she started.
The Matrix. The man in the suit had said something about The Matrix. She had decided to look up “matrix” in the dictionary that day when she got home. There were several definitions, having to do with various subjects such as mathematics, anatomy, biology, mining, metallurgy, and even printing. There was only one that made even a remote amount of sense:
1. Something that constitutes the place or point from which something else originates, takes form, or develops.
That had been confusing to her at first, but now, months later, she was starting to see what it meant. The Matrix had to be the origin of something: the source of all her problems; the one place where she would find the answer she sought. The problem was that her searches returned nothing but more confusion. Wade had reported similar results, though Kim was beginning to think that the boy genius wasn’t even trying. The only option was to sit down and do it herself until she found the answer she was looking for.
In Kim’s freshman year, Middleton High had been briefly overtaken by the animology craze, a lame cross between astrology and a personality quiz. The premise was quite simple: answer a series of questions, and at the end you were assigned a color and an animal. Kim had turned out to be a Blue Fox. One of the Blue Fox’s defining traits was the inability to resist a challenge. Kim had lived up to that trait. She would do whatever it took to master a challenge. Even if it meant searching blindly for months.
She was still contemplating the futility of her search when a chime indicated that someone had sent her an IM. She opened the chat window.
Green Badger: How’s it hangin’?
Kim wrinkled her nose at the odds of someone else having an animology-related username, but decided to go with it. She typed a reply.
Blue Fox: Who are you?
Green Badger: Someone who’s been watching over you.
Kim raised her eyebrow. That was definitely weird.
Blue Fox: What the hell is that supposed to mean?
Green Badger: I know what you’ve been doing. I know what you’re looking for. I was looking for the same thing once.
Blue Fox: The Matrix?
Green Badger: Yup.
Kim’s eyes brightened. Just moments ago she had been considering giving up her search. Now, out of pure blind luck, she was in contact with someone who had the answer she was looking for. She eagerly typed a reply.
Blue Fox: Can you tell me what it is?
Green Badger: Nope.
Blue Fox: Why not?
Green Badger: Because no one can be told what The Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. LOL
Blue Fox: What’s so funny?
Green Badger: Nothing. It’s an inside joke. You wouldn’t get it.
Blue Fox: Oh.
Green Badger: Look, I can’t really say that much over IM. Your connection is being monitored. We’ll have to meet in private. Then I can help answer your question. Or at least refer you to the man who can.
Kim’s eyes opened even further in delight.
Blue Fox: Morpheus?
Green Badger: Yeah.
Blue Fox: You know him?
Green Badger: Like I said, I can’t exactly say a lot over your connection. Meet me tonight.
Blue Fox: How will I know where to meet you?
The screen was inactive for a few moments as Kim awaited Green Badger’s reply. Finally, she got a cryptic message:
Green Badger: Follow the white rabbit.
Kim was about to ask what the hell that meant when she got the message: “Green Badger has logged off.” Damn.
Seconds later, she heard a knock at the door. Her heart jumped. What if that was the person who had just been talking with her? What if it was a trap? Suspicious, she closed her laptop and moved over to her door. “Who is it?” she asked cautiously.
Kim breathed a sigh of relief. Tara was safe. A bit flighty, but at least she posed no threat. The redhead strode over calmly and opened her door. “Hey, Tara, how’s it—” She stopped short when she saw that the cheerleader was dressed head-to-toe in a white playboy bunny costume. She stared in shock. “Uh, Tara, what’s with the—”
“It’s Halloween, silly!” Tara giggled. “Have you forgotten?”
Kim chuckled. “Yeah, I guess I did. I haven’t been outside much lately.”
“I'll say,” the blonde agreed. “Everyone’s been worried about you. They sent me to come get you out of your cave.”
Kim closed her eyes and sighed. “I’m fine, really.”
“You don’t look fine. You have circles under your eyes. Come out for one night.”
“Really, Tara I—” She stopped when she remembered the last cryptic message from her chat buddy. ‘Follow the white rabbit…. Of course!’
“So are you coming or not?” Tara tapped her foot nervously, a sign that she didn’t really want to be here. The others had probably put her up to this. No one wanted to face Kim when she was obsessed.
Fortunately for Tara, this just happened to serve Kim’s obsession with finding the answers. The redhead smiled. “Sure, Tara. I'll go.”
Kim had not been to many parties in her life. Between school, missions, cheer squad and hanging out with Ron, she didn’t really have much time for a social life. Hell, if Ron hadn’t broken up with her for seemingly no reason several months ago, she would have just gone trick-or-treating with him tonight. But that was definitely out.
It had come out of nowhere. One day everything was fine, the next Ron had dumped her, saying, “I don’t know who you are anymore.” It had hurt. Bad. That was what had launched Kim so fully into her search. And now that search had brought her here. She was finally going to meet the one who could give her the answers she sought.
Since she had not thought to buy a costume, Kim picked out the one thing in her wardrobe that looked remotely like something one might wear on Halloween: a green and black catsuit that she had worn several years earlier when she had been under mind control and forced to wear one of Shego’s jumpsuits. It was oddly fitting, she told herself, and wearing it would be her way of honoring the green woman.
Shego had been on Kim’s mind a lot lately. She had disappeared several months ago, and despite their best efforts, the authorities had been unable to locate her remains. Kim took that as a sign that Shego could still be alive, but denied herself the joy that came with that realization. After all, the woman may have been wrongly killed, but she had still tried to kill Kim a few times. That wasn’t exactly easy to forget.
Still, she respected Shego. The green woman had not deserved what happened to her. Kim had always believed that she would be the one to finally put Shego away, and that when Shego’s time did finally come, that she would die with honor. Despite trying to kill her in the past, Shego had saved Kim’s life twice, displaying a sense of honor that made Kim regret declaring her hatred for the woman before kicking her into an electric tower.
They had even been friends for awhile, hanging out while Shego was under the influence of a modified Attitudinator. Shego had been turned back to evil in the end of course, but Kim had discovered that they had a lot more in common than she had previously thought. But that wasn’t Shego. Shego was evil. And Kim was sworn to fight evil.
These thoughts were pushed to the side as Kim trekked across the dance floor, looking for anyone who could have been “Green Badger.” No luck. After engaging in a few half-interesting conversations, Kim moved to a dark corner of the room and leaned against a wall. She was contemplating leaving when she heard a voice.
“I always knew you had good fashion sense, Princess.”
Kim gasped and whipped her body around, an automatic response after years of hearing that voice. Once she saw who it was, she relaxed. Odd; it was usually the other way around.
They stared at each other for several seconds. Kim’s mind was reeling; she was unsure of whether to be happy, upset, or just plain confused. She settled for irate. “Where the hell have you been?”
Shego smirked. “Since when do you care?”
“Since I thought you died. Where’d you disappear to?”
“A place where you would never find me,” the green woman replied smugly.
Kim scowled, any feelings of relief having been pushed to the side and replaced by indignation at the remark. “I guess I should have suspected as much. You always did like hiding from me.”
Shego just grinned. “Yeah, well, I’m hiding from a lot of people, Princess. Not just you.”
“Well it’s good to see you’re alright,” Kim said in a forced tone, as though she didn’t really want to sound as angry as she came off. She crossed her arms and looked to the side. “Why are you here, anyway?”
The amused expression left Shego’s face. “You’re in danger, Kimmie.”
Kim just leveled a sardonic gaze at Shego. “Yeah, no shit.”
“I didn’t say from me. I’m here to help you.”
“Yeah, since when have you been interested in helping me?”
“I seem to recall saving your life twice.”
“True, but you didn’t have to,” Kim protested, for no other reason than disagreeing with Shego. “I could have handled myself.”
Shego just smirked. “I’ve saved your life a lot more than twice, Kimmie.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” the redhead asked indignantly.
The green woman smiled and moved closer to Kim, causing her to gasp as she pressed up against the wall. She was trapped. Shego then leaned forward, next to Kim’s ear. “We may have fought for years, Princess, but I’ve always been on your side. I’ve been your little guardian angel, making sure you didn’t get into too much trouble. Why do you think those deathtraps were so easy to escape from? Why do you think Drakken never managed to kill you? I’ve been watching over you since day one, Kimmie.”
The feeling of warm air against Kim’s ear caused the younger woman to take in a shuddered gasp. Shego’s body was inches from hers. She had been close to the green woman before, but never like this. There was something almost… sensual about it.
“We’ve been fighting the same battle, Princess. I know what you’re looking for. I was looking for the same thing once.” The words spoke to Kim’s heart, causing it to flutter. Her breaths became short and irregular. “But I didn’t find him; he found me. And when he found me, he told me that I’d known all along. It’s the question that drives us, Kimmie. You know the question.”
Kim couldn’t help but feel she’d been in this situation before, though she had no idea why. She said the only four words on her mind. “What is The Matrix?”
Shego smiled and exhaled softly on Kim’s cheek, which sent a shudder down the younger girl’s spine. But it wasn’t a bad shudder. It felt kind of… good. “I can bring you to the man who can tell you the answers, Kimmie. But you have to be careful. They’re coming for you.”
“Agents. But I don’t think you have anything to worry about. Trust me; I know you better than anyone.” Shego’s face was now in front of Kim’s, her viridian orbs staring into the redhead’s own. There was something so soft in those eyes; so passionate. A thin layer of sweat formed on Kim’s body as her heart beat faster and her breaths became highly erratic. Shego moved closer, tilting her head to the side.
Kim didn’t think: she reacted. Craning her neck forward, she moved closer to the older woman. Everything else faded into the background as their lips moved mere inches apart, drawn together like the opposing poles of two magnets. She was lost in the moment, in the rush. Her heart began to pound in her chest. Her eyes closed. Her breaths became shorter. All she wanted in that moment was to meet Shego’s full lips with her own. She was mere millimeters from her goal when suddenly she heard….
…A series of beeps. It was her alarm clock. Sitting up in a cold sweat, Kim slammed her hand down on the infernal device and panted as she tried to regain her bearings. What the hell kind of dream was that?
Placing her hands on the sides of her head and squinting her eyes shut, Kim took a series of deep, cleansing breaths. Why had she dreamed about kissing Shego? The woman who had tried to kill her? And who was probably now dead? It made no sense.
‘It was just a dream,’ she reminded herself Shego was still missing. There was little doubt in Kim’s mind that if they were reunited, it certainly wouldn’t go like that. She had to have imagined the whole thing.
But if she had dreamed it, then why did it seem so… real?
After rubbing her temples for a bit more, Kim finally calmed down and moved to stand up.
It was then that she became aware of a peculiar situation in her nether regions. A quick inspection with her hand confirmed that she had indeed been doing more than just tossing and turning last night. She needed to get ready for school. But first… she needed to change her undies.
Kim had woken up a little late, but thankfully she lived on campus. Go City University wasn’t exactly what she’d had in mind when she filled out college applications, but she had done it to be closer to Ron. Now that seemed like more of a curse than a blessing.
Still, they had remained friends. The slight discomfort that came with the break up had dissipated after the summer had come to an end. Now it was just like old times. She still wished that he would tell her exactly why he had broken up with her, but she had learned not to push the issue. Ron deserved his space. And she had to admit, it was much less stressful. Only in retrospect did Kim realize how much of a strain the relationship had been. Now she had more time to figure out what the hell was going on with her.
Why had those agents come to kill her all those months ago? How was Ron able to fight them off so easily? What the hell had gotten into her? What was up with that green code? All questions that she had been trying to find answers to for the past several months.
These thoughts were pushed to the side when she entered her Philosophy class and took her usual seat next to Ron. The blonde smiled and greeted her but said little else. There was still a bit of tension after all these months.
“So what’d I miss?” Kim whispered.
“Nothing. The teacher’s not even here yet.”
“You think he’s out sick?”
“Probably. And here I thought college food would be better than high school food.”
Their whispering was cut off by the sound of the door opening. Half the jaws in the classroom dropped when they saw a set of pale legs walk through the door.
The legs disappeared under a mid-length brown skirt, while the woman’s upper torso was covered with a grey jacket and aquamarine turtleneck. She wore a blue headband in her raven black hair. All the men in the classroom were suddenly rendered incapable of intelligent speech.
Like she had the first time she’d seen the woman in that outfit, Kim gasped and said one word: “Shego?”
Unlike that initial encounter, however, the pale woman looked at Kim and gave her a wink. Kim found that highly odd, but she brushed it off. She watched Shego with great interest as the pale woman set her supplies down on the podium and wrote her name on the board.
“Good morning, class,” she said cheerfully.
All the students that were not currently drooling replied: “Good morning, Miss Go.”
Kim was silent. Shego was alive! But what did that mean? Why was she here, of all places? Did she need her help like that time she had been hit with the Attitudinator? She pushed the thoughts to the back of her head for the moment and focused on what Shego was saying.
“Sorry your usual professor couldn’t make it, but I assure you he’s given me all the notes I need to teach today’s lesson.” She paused and looked directly at Kim. “Today we’re going to be learning about Rene Descartes. How many of you have heard of him? Raise your hands.”
A number of hands went up around the room, including Kim’s. Even Ron raised his hand. Shego smiled and continued with her lecture.
“Well, for those of you who didn’t raise your hands, Descartes was a famous philosopher as well as a mathematician. The basic premise behind his philosophy was that anything that can be doubted in the slightest can be doubted completely. His goal was to find one absolute, self-evident truth and work from there. You see, Descartes lived during the Scientific Revolution, where things that had been taught for hundreds of years were disproven and replaced. Everything was being doubted. Descartes felt that the only way to arrive at a reliable system of knowledge was to tear everything down and start from scratch. He wanted to make it so that the laws of epistemology worked the same as the laws of mathematics. Simple and self-evident, or as he put it, ‘Clearly and distinctly perceived.’ Some say he succeeded in his goal.” She paused for effect.
“Now, to arrive at this essential truth, Descartes first had to tear down everything that he had come to accept as the truth. If something could be reasonably doubted in the slightest, then it could not be absolutely true. He started with the first and most obvious of these: sensory perception. Descartes argued that his senses can sometimes mislead him, and therefore it could be the case that they always misled him. Therefore, his senses cannot be trusted.”
Kim took a slight objection to that. She raised her hand.
Shego smiled when she saw the redhead’s hand in the air. “Yes, Miss Possible?”
“Senses aren’t always misleading. I mean, sure, I’ve waved at somebody I thought I knew and it turned out it wasn’t them, but it doesn’t happen all the time.”
The green woman just grinned. “Descartes would agree with you. But he would also say that it could be the case that your senses are deceiving you all the time. How do you know they aren’t?”
Kim thought about that for a second. “Just because there’s no evidence that they aren’t doesn’t mean they are. Just because something happens once doesn’t mean it happens all the time.”
“True, but Descartes operated under the assumption that if something can be doubted even slightly, then it’s no good. He wanted to find a truth that couldn’t be doubted no matter what. He couldn’t trust his senses, because he never knew when they were misleading him.”
Kim crossed her arms and scowled. “Fine,” she grumbled.
“Any more questions?” Shego asked, looking around the room. Satisfied that Kim was the only one with an objection, she went right back into her lecture. “There was another argument that Descartes used to doubt his sensory beliefs, called the Dream Argument. He argued that when he’s dreaming, then that means nothing is real. And if nothing is real, that means everything he sees in his dream can be doubted.”
Kim was suddenly jerked to alertness. That was exactly what was happening. That dream she’d had last night… none of it was true. She still didn’t know Shego’s motive in all this, but it couldn’t have been what she’d dreamed about….
“In order to tell that he was awake and not dreaming, Descartes needed something to tell him he wasn’t dreaming. Something that was different in the real world than it was in the dream world. He never found it. So he argued that because he couldn’t tell whether he was dreaming or awake, that everything he knew based on sensory perception was unreliable.”
Kim was stunned. How did she know she wasn’t dreaming right now? It wouldn’t surprise her if she was, given that Shego was teaching her class, but…. It had been real before, hadn’t it? She didn’t know how exactly how to explain it, but somehow, Shego’s words struck a chord in her. Was this all a dream? She raised her hand. “Miss Go?”
“How did Descartes ever manage to find the truth if everything around him could be doubted? I mean, he had to have found something that was real.”
Shego smiled. “That, Kimmie, has to do with his final argument. Now that Descartes had cast doubt on all his sensory beliefs, it was time to tackle his non-sensory ones; the stuff he knew already. You can’t doubt that two plus two equals four, can you? It’s a simple mathematical fact. But Descartes wasn’t so willing to believe it. His final argument was called the Malicious Demon Argument. Descartes argued that there could be a malicious demon out there, clouding his mind and feeding him lies. He could be a brain in a jar somewhere, his body having been destroyed. He had no way of knowing. So everything he believed, everything, no matter what it was, was utterly unreliable. But there was one thing the malicious demon couldn’t convince him of.”
Kim raised her hand and spoke. “And what was that?”
Shego grinned. “For all his tricks, the demon could not convince Descartes that he didn’t exist. By the very act of doubting, Descartes confirmed that somewhere, whether his body existed or not, he existed as a thinking subject. This was the simple, self-evident truth that he had been searching for all along, the truth that would lay the foundation for his entire system of knowledge. Descartes called this truth the cogito. He summed it up in five words: ‘I think; therefore I am.’”
Kim was dumbstruck. She never knew Shego was this smart. All her attempts to speak resulted in flapping her mouth up and down uselessly. Just when she worked out what she was going to say, a bell rang, signaling the end of class.
Shego waved to the quickly departing mass of students. Unsure of what to do, Kim exited the classroom, expecting Ron to fall in line behind her. Seeing that this was not the case, however, she turned and walked back into the classroom. Peeking through the door, she saw Ron and Shego conversing.
“That was good,” Ron said in a complimentary tone, which utterly shocked Kim. “Seems like you and Morpheus have something in common.”
“Meh,” Shego dismissed with a shrug. “I always had a thing for philosophy. Did you see how Kimmie reacted?”
“Yeah, she’s really confused right now. Especially since she thinks last night was a dream.”
‘How does he know about that?’ Kim thought to herself. ‘Something isn’t right.’
Shego chuckled. “Yeah, well, I took advantage of that. Probably why she was late. Poor girl’s probably confused as hell.”
‘Probably? What the hell are they talking about?’
“Are we gonna take her to see him soon?”
“The agents are getting closer to her. We’ve been able to hold ‘em off this long, but it won’t last forever. I wouldn’t be surprised if….”
The rest of the sentence was lost to the redhead as she heard a loud throat-clearing noise behind her. Sheepishly, she turned around to see the Dean staring down at her.
“Official business, Miss Possible?” he asked in a suspicious tone.
“Uh….” Kim rubbed the back of her neck and focused intently on the man’s shoes. ‘Shit!’
“I’m waiting for an explanation,” the Dean said, tapping his foot expectantly.
Suddenly, the shoes changed. Trickles of green ran over the Dean as the rather scrawny man grew several inches in height. His thick rimmed glasses were replaced with shades, and an earpiece now hung from the side of his head.
“Hello, Miss Possible,” the agent greeted briefly before drawing back his fist.
Kim didn’t have any time to react. The heavy wooden door splintered as she was knocked through it, dislocating it from its hinges. Lying on her side, Kim spat up blood. That hurt.
Ron and Shego were already on the defensive, the former having summoned the Lotus Blade and the latter with her hands ignited. They stared down the intruder, forming a protective barrier between Kim and the agent.
Kim was confused. What the hell was going on with Ron and Shego? Why were they working together? She pushed those thoughts to the side as two more agents came in and she stood to her feet.
“What the hell is going on?” she demanded.
“Explain later, Princess,” Shego replied, not even turning to look at Kim. “Right now we’ve got trouble.”
Reflexively, Kim dropped into her fighting stance. She tried to remember what it was last time that had triggered what she had come to call “Code Vision.” If she could somehow summon it…. No. She remembered what had happened last time. But from what she had seen of the agents, it was likely their only chance for survival.
“Give up The One and no one gets hurt,” the center agent promised with a hollow voice. “We’ll even let you go.”
Ron scowled and morphed the Lotus Blade into a bo staff. Holding it defensively, he glared daggers at the agents and replied: “The only way you’re getting her is over my dead body.”
“As you wish,” the agent said emptily, going for his gun. It was knocked out of his hand by a well placed plasma blast. Scowling, he turned to the other two agents. “Get the distractions. I'll handle The One.” The agents on the left and right moved towards Ron and Shego, circling them. The center agent headed for Kim.
Deprived of his gun, the agent made a bull rush towards Kim, leaving her little time to jump over him in a dodge. Kim flipped in midair, sticking out her feet and planting them in the agent’s upper back, turning his momentum against him and sending him crashing into a wall. She turned around and smirked.
“You should be glad your head’s so thick, or you’d be down for the count right now.”
Not one for small talk, the agent simply growled and rushed her again, swiping at her with a heavy right hook. Kim ducked under the punch, retaliating with an uppercut, which only succeeded in hurting her hand. Kim decided to abandon that strategy and use her far more powerful legs, jumping high in the air as the agent attempted to pull her into a bear hug. Good thing she hadn’t gotten out of shape from all those months of sitting in front of a computer.
Ron was faring similarly, preferring dodges to blocks. He swept the agent’s legs with his staff, following it up with an overhead strike like an axe blow. The agent saw that coming, however, and simply grabbed the staff with his hand, using it to throw Ron into the chalk board. Ron twisted in midair, planting his feet on the board and using it to push off and land on the ground unharmed. He turned back to the agent just in time to see his opponent break the Lotus Blade over his knee.
“Aw man, that is so not cool!” he complained, adopting a Kung Fu pose now that his weapon had been destroyed. The agent rushed him, just like Ron wanted him to. The blonde slipped to the floor, rolling out of the way of the agent’s attack and getting up just as quickly. His opponent swiped at him again, and Ron rolled to the side to avoid it. He kept this pattern up for several more blows, trying to tire his opponent out. The downside was that he was expending significant energy as well. He couldn’t hold out forever.
Shego, on the other hand, seemed like she could go on indefinitely, adopting a more offensive strategy that involved swipes and roundhouse kicks. She carved trails through the air with her flaming talons, attempting to slash the agent’s face off. She was actually beating him back, spurred on by the fact that she was protecting Kim. Seeing an opening, she launched her foot at the agent’s stomach. Before she could reach her goal, however, a pair of massive hands clamped around her ankle, trapping her. Not one to give up so easily, Shego pushed off her left foot and spun around, clocking the agent in the side of the face. She fell to the ground as her opponent let go and staggered back.
Standing up and igniting her hands, Shego launched herself into a flying tackle, intent on slamming the agent into a wall. Her opponent was quicker than she thought, however, and he not only sidestepped her attack but also grabbed her by the foot again, swinging her 360 degrees and hammer-throwing her right into Ron.
They collided with an “Oomph!” and rolled across the floor. Getting up, they faced the two agents, who now had them cornered. They exchanged a worried glance.
Meanwhile, Kim was surviving against her agent, but was unable to do much more than that. Dropping into a handstand, she twirled around twice and struck the agent in the face. She used his momentary distraction to her advantage, sweeping his legs and standing to her feet. She took a quick breath. This fight was harder than she’d anticipated.
Now on the offensive, Possible spun like a merry-go-round, planting her heel in the agent’s stomach and her hand on his chest. The agent grabbed her arm and twisted it, hoping to pry it off. Kim simply spun with the movement, nullifying the tension. She reached out with her other arm as she spun, clocking the agent in the face and shattering his sunglasses. As he staggered back she prepared her foot for one last strike, moving it with great speed towards his Adam’s apple….
…only to have her perfect finisher interrupted by a grab. Rather than try twisting her, the agent simply adopted the strategy of the other and hammer-threw her into the midst of Ron and Shego, toppling them like bowling pins once more.
“These guys are like the Bebes,” Kim groaned as she got up. “Using the same moves. They must have some sort of hive mind.”
“Something like that,” Shego confirmed, backing up into Kim and Ron as the three formed a defensive circle against the advancing agents.
“What’s up with them anyway?” Kim asked as they continued to move counterclockwise. “Who are they?”
“The source of your destruction,” one of them replied.
“The Alpha of your Omega,” the other added.
“The beginning of your end,” the third finished.
“You guys are lame, y’know that?” Shego growled, igniting her hands. She looked to Kim, and subconsciously the two agreed to work together. Both of them looked to Ron, who nodded as well.
“Yeah,” Kim agreed. “Black suits are so last season.” Even faced with such dangerous opponents as these, she still found time to mildly insult them.
The agents seemed to ignore the remark, advancing menacingly towards the group. Kim narrowed her eyes dangerously. “Bring it on.”
The first agent charged forward, only to be met with a boot in the face. Kim lashed out with unnatural speed, having dropped into a Zen-like state. She raised her foot in the air as the agent fell, then spun around 360 degrees before bringing her heel crashing down. The agent saw this coming, however, and simply rolled out of the way, causing her foot to meet nothing but carpet.
Ron, meanwhile, had grabbed a ruler and was using it like a sword. He swiped at the agent, who ducked and caused Ron to sweep off a whole shelf of heavy books. This broke the ruler in the process, and Ron threw the splintered end at the agent before rolling backwards out of the way of the man’s punch.
Shego slashed viciously at the third agent, incinerating his tie. She spun around and attempted a backhand move, only to have the agent grab her by the wrist and throw her towards Kim, who was having difficulty with her own agent.
Kim saw Shego coming, and without thinking, stretched out her hand. Shego unlit her hands and grabbed Possible, who swung her around towards the agent. Shego’s feet hit the man’s face with a satisfying crunch as his sunglasses broke. The two grinned at each other as Shego’s feet hit the ground.
“Nice save, Princess.”
“So not the drama.”
The agents were now approaching them from opposite sides. Kim and Shego nodded to each other, each understanding what the other wanted to do. They held hands and leapt in the air, spinning in a circle and clocking both agents square in the face. They fell to the floor and leapt to their feet.
Ron was doing well against his opponent, drawing him in and lashing out, making use of the Drunken Monkey fighting style that was part of Tai Sheng Pek Kwar. He hooked his hands under the agent’s lapels, head-butting him viciously and dropping him to the floor… It would appear that they were winning the battle.
But not for long. As Kim, Ron and Shego closed in, two of the agents drew their guns. The trio stopped.
“This ends now,” one agent opined.
“You are more trouble than you are worth.”
“Prepare to die.”
Not giving the threesome any chance to protest, the agents fired their guns, both aiming for Kim. As before, the redhead closed her eyes in fear.
Then it happened again.
Kim opened her eyes to find that the world had once more been bathed in green. She saw the rapid runoff of code, the bullets traveling towards her as though they were stuck in molasses. She focused only on the bullets. She knew she could stop them. Raising her hand in front of her, Kim simply acted on instinct.
The bullets stopped.
“Abort,” an agent said.
“There is nothing we can do now. We have failed.”
“You bet your ass you have,” Kim sneered with psychotic glee. She placed her hands to her temples, intending to truly destroy the agents this time. A thin coat of green began to cover the agents.
“What is she doing?”
“This is not good.”
Kim closed her eyes, concentrating harder. She had no idea what she was doing, but judging by the way that the agents appeared afraid, she supposed it was working. A small line of code began to slowly drain away from each agent, and their images began to waver.
“Uh, KP?” Ron said nervously, awed at the spectacle. Shego said nothing; she only grinned.
Suddenly a wind engulfed the room, sending several books and papers flying. As the various items swirled around, The agents began to disappear, code running off rapidly and being sucked into the tempest.
“That is not a power of The One,” an agent opined.
“No. It is something else,” one of his companions agreed.
“Smith,” the three said in unison, just before their mouths disappeared.
Now the agents were purely code, caught in the massive whirlwind that engulfed the room. Each strand began to tear apart, becoming thinner and thinner until the individual symbols began to break down. Kim was smiling insanely through it all, holding her hands up and manipulating the individual strands of code like yarn. Eventually there was nothing left of the agents, and the wind died down, leaving a very stunned Ron and Shego to put together what had just happened.
Kim fell to her knees, gripping the sides of her head. Whatever presence had possessed her was now gone, and she trembled violently at what she had just done. “What the hell was that?!” she screamed before hyperventilating. “How the hell did I do that? What the hell came over me?”
Ron and Shego cast concerned glances towards each other before looking back at Kim. “I think we need to take you to see him,” Shego spoke.
“Who?!” demanded Kim.
Ron sighed and said simply: “Morpheus.”
Kim sat in the back seat of her car, too rattled to drive. Ron had taken the wheel, leaving Shego to sit in the passenger seat. Kim was a bit irate at having to sit in the back of her own car, but decided it wasn’t important right now. Shego’s brothers were following them in another car, having come at Shego’s request. Given Kim’s current state, Ron and Shego were respectfully quiet. Unable to stand it anymore, Kim broke the silence.
“What the hell just happened? What did I do to them?”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you, Princess,” Shego chimed in from the front. “But you’ll find out the answers soon enough.”
“So you two were in on this all along, huh?” Kim said indignantly. “You were never my enemy, were you?”
Shego grinned as she turned around to address Kim. “No, Princess, I wasn’t. I was sent to make sure you didn’t get into too much trouble. Stoppable here,” she jerked her thumb towards Ron, “was assigned to watch over you by being your best friend.” She turned back around.
“Assigned by who?” Kim demanded.
“Morpheus,” Ron and Shego answered in unison.
“Oh. Who is he?”
Shego turned around again. “You’ll find out soon enough. The answers are coming, I promise.”
“So my whole life has been a lie? You two were just assigned to me?”
“You don’t know the half of it,” Shego stated simply. “We’re here,” she said, signaling for Ron to stop the car.
Kim stepped out of the car to get a better look at the building. It was old and dilapidated, with a sign that read, “Condemned” hanging in one of the windows. A dark sky loomed overhead, and Kim gulped nervously as she followed Ron and Shego into the building.
How long had this been going on? Was her whole life a lie? Was nothing for real? These thoughts were pushed to the side as they arrived at a heavy wooden door.
“Oh, and one more thing, Kimmie,” Shego said as she placed her hand on the door handle.
“What?” Kim asked uncertainly.
“Be honest. He knows more than you can imagine.”
Kim rolled her eyes. “Just let me in already.”
“Whatever.” Shego turned the ancient handle, pulling open the old oak door. Kim half expected it to creak.
Walking in, she was confronted with a room that looked far more regal than the dilapidated condition of the building would have suggested. In the center of the room, there were two red leather chairs, positioned opposite each other, with a small coffee table in between. On the table was a glass of water and a chrome container. Kim wasn’t sure what was in the container, but she deduced it was probably pills due to the fact that there was a glass of water. A man sat in the chair furthest from the door. He had dark skin, and was wearing a pair of mirrored, rimless sunglasses, despite the fact that they were indoors. He stood up to greet her.
“Kim Possible,” the man spoke in a deep voice that Kim found strangely comforting. “I have waited a long time to meet you. I am Morpheus,” he greeted in a very formal tone as he bowed slightly and extended his hand, which Kim accepted and shook.
“It’s an honor to meet you, sir.”
The man smiled as though he were remembering something rather fondly. “The honor is all mine. Please, sit.”
Kim complied, noting that Ron and Shego had walked to the other side of the room and were now disappearing behind a door, leaving her alone with Morpheus. “So why am I here?”
Morpheus chuckled. “Straight to business as always. I like that about you,” he complimented as she sat down opposite Kim. “I suppose you’re feeling a bit like Alice? Tumbling down the rabbit hole?”
“You must say that to everyone,” Kim commented.
The man laughed. “Indeed I do. But it is a most effective way of breaking the ice. Many people who come to me are confused, seeking answers. Every time they get closer to the truth, something happens to put them even further back than they were when they started. Eventually it just seems like you’re falling down a hole, grasping helplessly at half-truths and false leads, falling further and further away from the truth. It can be very frustrating. And so they come to me, the one rock in the endless tunnel, in the hopes that I may grant them the means to discover the truth. Well I have good news for you, Kim: I can. But it involves letting go, and seeing where the hole takes you. Are you willing to do this?”
Kim smirked. “I guess it couldn’t hurt.”
Morpheus smirked even bigger. “We will see.”
“Can I ask you something?” Kim inquired.
The man leaned back in his chair and smiled. “Ask me anything.”
“How can I trust you if you’re working with Shego? She’s a criminal. Even if she is no longer my enemy.”
Morpheus just grinned. “A criminal according to whom?”
Kim scoffed. “Oh, I don’t know, GJ, the eleven countries she’s wanted in, oh not to mention the FBI!”
“And according to those same people, I am a terrorist,” Morpheus replied with a smile. He leaned in closer. “Do you believe I am a terrorist, Kim?”
“I don’t know what to believe anymore,” Kim said seriously.
Morpheus laughed. “I know exactly what you mean. Very few people who come to me do. Are you still willing to trust me?”
There was a momentary pause as Kim thought carefully over Morpheus’ words. Finally, she spoke: “So why me?”
“You are no ordinary girl,” Morpheus replied. “You have done extraordinary things in your short life. You have gotten out of situations that would decimate most platoons without so much as a scratch. You say you can do anything. He leaned in closer. “Tell me, Kim: why do you believe that is?”
Kim shrugged. “Just comes naturally, I guess.”
The man grinned, as though he had been expecting that answer. “I see,” he replied cryptically. Turning serious, he continued: “You have not been so sure of yourself as of late, though. Strange things have been happening, people have been dying, and you only accept what you see because you are expecting to wake up. Ironically, this is not far from the truth.”
Kim responded with the only two words she could think of at that moment: “What truth?”
A toothy grin was Morpheus’ reply. “That you are a slave, Kim. Born into a prison that you can neither see nor taste nor touch. A prison for your mind.” He punctuated the statement by tapping his finger twice against his temple.
The redhead’s face turned serious. “Is that what The Matrix is? A prison?”
Morpheus just smiled. “The Matrix is all around you. You see it when you go to school, when you’re driving in your car.” He smiled. “When you go on a mission. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.”
Kim said nothing, staring on in awe as the man in front of her gave words to what she had been struggling to piece together over the past several months.
“Unfortunately, no one can be told what The Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.” Kim giggled internally at that statement, finally understanding what Shego had been laughing about when they had chatted earlier. Morpheus said it so seriously that it was almost comical. She kept her composure, however.
Smoothly, Morpheus’ dark hand glided down to the chrome case and picked it up. Inverting it, he produced two pills, one blue and one red. “I’m giving you a choice, Kim. After this, there is no going back. You take the blue pill, you wake up and believe… whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
Kim could see her reflection in both lenses of Morpheus’ sunglasses, each image in front of a different pill. It wasn’t a very hard decision. She wasn’t going to come all this way just to back out now. She was a Blue Fox, after all. She reached for the red pill.
Morpheus’ voice made her pause. “Remember: all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more.”
It still wasn’t enough to deter her. Kim picked up the red pill in one hand, and held the glass of water in the other. She placed the pill in her mouth and swallowed, washing it down with the water.
Morpheus smiled. “Excellent. Let’s go,” he said as he stood up and began to move towards the door that Shego had gone through earlier. Kim followed.
As soon as she crossed the threshold, Kim was confronted with an array of equipment, operated by Wade, Ron, Shego, and the green woman’s brothers. It was a mixture of phones, computers, and various hybrids of the two. Ron took Kim’s hand and guided her to a chair that lay next to a shattered mirror. She looked up to her best friend.
“You did all this?” she asked in amazement, wondering why Morpheus seemed to chuckle at the statement. Ron grinned as well.
“Yep.” He put a couple of wires on Kim, which the redhead recognized as heart monitors. What the hell was going on?
Kim did her best to keep from hyperventilating, but this was all just so disorientating. A few months ago, if someone had told her she would be in this situation, she would have laughed and told them they were crazy. Now she began to think she was the one who was insane. She watched disappointedly as Ron walked back over to the equipment and put on a set of earphones, abandoning her.
Trying to distract herself, Kim looked at the broken mirror. She laughed bitterly at how much it resembled her life, fractured and senseless, unable to ever be the same again. How perfectly fitting.
Which was why it took her by such surprise when the mirror seemed to turn to liquid, repairing itself before her very eyes. “What the…?” She trailed off. She turned to Morpheus. “Did you do that?” No response. Extending her finger out of curiosity, she discovered that the mirror had in fact turned to liquid metal, and even responded as such when she tried to pull out the digit, sticking to her skin. She stared at it in amazement, then horror when it began to expand. “What the hell?!”
Morpheus placed his hands behind his back and strode over to Kim. “Have you ever had a dream, Kim, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you be able to tell the difference between the dream world and the real world?”
Kim barely registered the remark, more focused on the metal slowly making its way up her arm. “C-cold…” she stammered. “It’s so cold.”
“Hurry up!” Shego shouted to Wade, who was typing away frantically at the keyboard. “We haven’t got all day!”
“I’m trying!” the boy genius yelled back. “This is harder than it looks!”
“Well try harder!”
“Help…” Kim whispered. “Help me….” The metal was slowly making its way across her skin, already having consumed the lower regions. Now it was working its way higher, towards her head.
“Have you got a lock yet?!” Shego demanded.
“It’s going into replication.”
“Oh, God, it hurts!”
“It’s going into arrest!”
“Help me! Somebody! Stop it!”
A phone began to ring, but Kim only heard it for a moment before her ears were overtaken by the shiny substance. It moved towards the front of her face, over her eyes and nose, blinding and suffocating her. Finally, it plunged down her mouth, changing her screams into indecipherable electronic sounds, like a computer on the fritz.
Then everything went black.
Robbed of all her other senses, all Kim could feel was warmth. She could not see it, hear it, taste it, nor touch it, but she could feel it. It felt comforting, like warm sheets on a winter day. She didn’t want to wake up. The dream was beckoning her again, exhorting her to stay in the comfort, the warmth, not to venture out into the cold and the unknown. There was happiness to be found in not knowing, bliss in ignorance. But she could not go back. She could never go back. She was awake now, but not fully conscious. She was still wrapped tightly in her sheets, not daring to face the world beyond her cocoon.
But, for the first time in her life, Kim had no choice.
Emerald eyes shot open, then closed again when they were assaulted with gooey liquid. Thin, lanky arms thrust forward, punching through some sort of membrane. She willed herself to sit up, and with great effort, performed the task. She tried to breathe, only to discover that something else was doing the job.
Twin hands gripped the breathing tube, pulling it out. It felt like someone had shoved a broomstick down her throat, it was that long. Kim gasped for air as she used her lungs for what seemed to be the very first time. Wiping the goo out of her eyes, she leaned over the edge. She couldn’t believe what she saw.
Skyscrapers. They were as tall as skyscrapers. Filled with hundreds of thousands of little pods just like hers, huge arcs of electricity traveling up between them. She could see other people sleeping, unaware of her torment. She began to panic, putting her hands on her head. She gasped as her fingers made contact with cold steel, which seemed to be protruding from the soft flesh. Looking down, she saw several similar devices plugged into her arms and legs. She tried to scream, only to be silenced by the howling wind that suddenly blew over the area.
What the hell was going on?
Her panic was full-blown now, clouding her rationality and forcing her to operate purely on instinct. She sloshed around her tube like an animal, trying to break free. But it was futile. The plugs would not come out.
Then she froze.
Descending slowly, an absolutely hideous machine hovered in front of the girl, at once her savior and her doom. It could release her from her torment, but it probably didn’t want to keep her around for very long afterward. Kim held her breath.
A clamp shot out, gripping her by the neck and lifting her out of the goop. Faced with the blistering cold, Kim realized for the first time that she was completely naked. She fought against the machine, but to no avail. The thing had her in a death grip. She tried to scream, only to find that she could not.
One by one, the plugs began to come out, ripping themselves forcefully from her arms, legs, and spine, and finally, her head. She suddenly felt dizzy, and collapsed back in the tube as the water was suddenly flushed out.
And so Kim fell down the endless tunnel, the metaphorical rabbit hole now having taken form and substance. She fought the urge to grasp helplessly, remembering Morpheus’ words. ‘Let’s see where this thing goes,’ she told herself.
It turned out, it led to a big dump-off of water. Too exhausted to swim, Kim merely flailed her arms in a vain attempt to stay above the surface in the presence of the powerful currents. Soon she was being dragged under the water.
Suddenly, a light shone upon her, blinding her and beckoning her back to the surface. With the last of her strength, Kim fought her way back up, then sank once more when she could not fight any longer. Her muscles burned. She could not go on.
Fortunately, she didn’t have to.
What looked like a giant mechanical hand attached to a chain descended rapidly towards her, hoisting her out of the water. Kim lazily blinked her now sore eyes as she wondered just where the hell she was being taken. It didn’t really matter. Anything was better than a watery grave.
Once inside, Kim saw several familiar faces: Ron, Shego, Hego, Mego, the Wegos, and finally, Morpheus. He was dressed far more humbly than she remembered. He stepped forward and said simply: “Welcome to the real world.”
Dun! Dun! Dun! Well, it seems this story is destined to have longer chapters than my usual fare, which should make it quite an undertaking indeed. Don’t worry; I'll still find the time to update my other stories. I’ve been following the movie plot pretty closely so far, but after the next chapter, which deals with Kim’s training, I'll begin to deviate from it.
Shego’s lecture on Cartesian philosophy is based on my own recollection of my philosophy class, and naturally does not encompass all of his philosophy. It does, however, tie in with Morpheus’ remark when Kim touches the mirror. There will be several more references to philosophy in this fic, since it happens to be something I am somewhat knowledgeable about. I am by no means an expert, but I know enough.
Next, Kim learns the truth.