The Merovingian sat in his chair, typing on his wireless keyboard, his gaze fixated on the left computer screen. He relaxed into his chair, reading the data he had pulled from the Matrix’s Mainframe earlier. The files were written in binary, the pages filled with ones and zeroes. The file photo showed a clean-cut man in a brown long coat.
“The Trainman… a Program designed to ferry other Programs to and from the Matrix when facing either upgrade or deletion. He was highly active during the peak efficiency of the previous version of the Matrix.” The Merovingian said to himself. He swiveled in his chair, looking to the door of his Control Hub. “The Twins will mostly likely have a lead by now.” He got up from his desk and walked to the door. His hand connected with the doorknob, and he could see green ones and zeroes move from his hand to the knob and he twisted it open, exiting the lobby of an office building and entered the city.
The Merovingian sighed in content, feeling an empowering sense of control at the sight of everyone under his thumb without even realizing it. He watched for a moment, noticing the pale white-haired Twins approaching him through a passing crowd. The Merovingian took a more stoic expression on his face as they got within earshot. “Did you find him?”
“The old subway tunnel went on for a while.” One Twin answered. They looked to each other smiling. “We were going to phase through the walls to get back up to the street, then we found something…”
“Unexpected.” The second Twin answered.
“What was unexpected?” asked the Merovingian.
The Twins smiled again. The first Twin looked to the Merovingian. “We can show you.” The Twins turned around and walked, the Merovingian walking close behind. They walked down the familiar staircase to the old subway station.
“This is where we met the Program.” The second Twin said.
The first Twin pointed to the Tunnel. “We pursued him down this tunnel. It was only by phasing we discovered where the Program had gone.”
“Where?” The Merovingian asked, folding his arms.
The Twins smiled and each put a hand on the Merovingian’s shoulders. All three became transparent and the Twins moved with the Merovingian between them down into the tunnel. The Twins moved through the darkness for a few minutes and stopped. The darkness brightened into a white light and all three Programs were in a solitary, more modern train station. Light gray tiles lined the floor into a grid, and white tiles climbed up the walls to a fluorescently-lit ceiling and three black words were painted onto the white tile: Mobil Ave Station.
The Merovingian scoffed with a smile. “Incredible. Where are we?”
“An I/O channel between the Matrix and the outside.” The second Twin answered.
“We found him here.” The first Twin replied, turning to the bench behind them, with the Trainman sitting right in the middle. “And we left him here.”
“Only after you stole my train to get back to the Matrix” The Trainman snarled at them.
“You are a very unique Program, my friend. I was appalled to see what’s become of you after the deletion.” The Merovingian said as he walked over to the Trainman, looking down at him. The Trainman did not return his gaze. Merovingian smiled and put his hands in his pocket. “I am the Merovingian… the Operating System for this version of the Matrix.” That got the Trainman’s attention. “And I believe I have use of a Program like you.”
Trainman looked at him in confusion. “What?”
Merovingian took one hand out of his pocket and held it out for the Trainman. “Work with me… and we can do great things.” He smiled. The Trainman took his hand, and green ones and zeroes moved from the Merovingian to the Trainman, causing their eyes to glow green. The Merovingian let go of the Trainman’s hand, and he sprang up from the bench. “Welcome back to the Matrix.” The Trainman nodded. “Shall we head back?”
The Trainman looked to the tunnel entrance and two small beams of light shined through the dark, eventually revealing a sleek shiny metal subway train. “Where would you like me to drop you off?”
“I’m thinking a restaurant. I’m intrigued to try the food of this version. I have yet to partake.” The Merovingian replied.
“I know a great French place in the city. I can drop you off at the train station near the restaurant.” The Trainman answered.
“French? What’s it called?” asked the Merovingian.
“Le Vrai. The food is great. I was happy to see the Programmers brought it back from the previous Matrix.” Trainman answered.
“I suppose it’s worth a try.” The Merovingian answered.
══ Back in the Matrix ══
The Merovingian and the Twins stood at the door to Le Vrai, and they walked inside. The host stood at the podium in a black tie suit and white gloves over his hand. His hair was gelled to the side and he smiled at the men who approached him. Merovingian could see from his point of view that the host was a common human.
“Bienvenue messieurs à Le Vrai. Parti de trois?” the host asked. (Welcome gentlemen to Le Vrai. Party of three?)
“Yes, that will be suitable. Thank you.” The Merovingian answered with a smile. The benefits of the Operating System—he understood every language available in the Matrix. He folded the host with the Twins behind him to a round table. The host set down their menus and smiled.
“Votre serveur sera aisni prochainement.” The host said. (Your server will be along shortly.)
“Thank you.” Merovingian answered. He looked to the Twins, who sat next to each other. He smiled. “I like his accent. In the previous version, I had only had the voice you hear now.” His smile got bigger. “Being the OS, I may be able to…” His eyes turned green and when the green vanished… “télécharger la langue française de l’ordinateur central.” (download the French language from the mainframe.) He scoffed. “The words seem to roll off the tongue.” He looked back and forth to the Twins. “What do you think?”
“Keep it.” The first Twin said.
“Keep it.” Said the second Twin.
“Hmm. Peut-être que je le ferai.” The Merovingian answered. (Perhaps I shall.)
══ After Dinner ══
“Well, I suppose I must return to the Office.” The Merovingian said at the door to the restaurant. “I have a Matrix to run, after all.” He nodded to the Twins, who said nothing and walked away. “I suppose I’ll show myself home.” He grabbed the handle of the glass door and pushed it open, arriving at the Control Hub. Merovingian sat down at his desk and began typing on the keyboard.
“Hello.” A female voice said from the corner of the Hub.
The Merovingian looked up from his computer screens to see a woman just standing with her arms folded across her chest. “Bonjour.”
“You speak French now?” asked the woman.
“I also know the rules of the Control Hub. Only the Operating System can move in and out freely.” The Merovingian answered.
“High level Programs can access with permission.”
“And you got access?” Merovingian asked, surprised.
“I’m the only Program outside the Operating System who would be allowed in here.” The woman answered.
“Ah.” Merovingian nodded, realizing. “You are the Oracle of the Matrix.”
She nodded. “I wanted to see the new Operating System in action.” She smirked. “Can’t say I’m impressed.”
“We’ve only been online, what? A few days? A week? It’s hard to keep track in this little cubicle at times.” Merovingian answered.
“Which is why you spend so much time in the Matrix” Oracle said, nodding her head. “You feel connected to the people you control. Seeing their obscurity through clearer eyes?”
“I suppose you could say that.” Merovingian replied.
“Do yourself a favor and run this version better than your predecessor did.” Oracle answered. “Although it wasn’t exactly his fault the One reinserted his programming into the Source.”
“Yes, I had heard of a Human with Program abilities. Shame I was unable to meet him in person in the last version.” Merovingian answered.
“Watch out if you do. The One is not a Human to easily stand against.” Oracle said as she walked to the door.
“Why come in here to warn me of my predecessor’s fate?” Merovingian asked, curious. “Worried the same fate will befall me?”
The Oracle turned her gaze back to Merovingian. “One of the many things I’ve learned about the human race in my time here… is that they are unpredictable to us. The only ones that truly know them… are themselves.” She opened the door and closed it behind her.