The Merovingian was for once, focused immensely on his duties within the Control Hub. He rapidly typed on his wireless keyboard, his eyes darting from screen to screen. The Merovingian read reports and collected data, any and all information he needed to keep his version of the Matrix operable. A small window opened in the corner of the right screen and it caught his eye. It was a message—written in binary, but he understood it with ease. A smile came and went, and with a lot of energy, but little enthusiasm, he got up from his chair and went for the door. He opened it and entered the hallway full of doors. The Merovingian walked passed numerous green and black metal doors before arriving at the one he wanted.
Le Vrai’s host was ready to welcome Merovingian, but he walked right passed the man, holding a hand to him. Merovingian walked through Le Vrai, all the way to the backroom, seeing the Twins, and Cain and Abel waiting for him.
“This had better be important. I was extremely busy.” He said to them, the French creeping more into his normal speaking voice.
“It is.” Cain answered.
“It would appear the Keymaker is beyond our reach.” One of the Twins replied.
Merovingian looked to the Twins, who did not return their gaze. “What do you mean, beyond our reach?”
“The Humans have already found him. Approximately four days ago.” The second Twin answered. “They have him in protective custody while they make plans to knock out several power stations throughout the city.”
“Why in the world—” Merovingian fell silent. “They need to knock out nearly thirty city blocks’ worth of power to disable the Central Station in the city.”
“What for?” Asked Abel.
“To reset the system.” The Merovingian whispered. “They’re going to get the One to the Architect… and the Architect will get the One to the Source and reset the Matrix.” He closed his eyes, not wanting to show his frustration. “The Source will select a new Operating System and I… I will be deleted.”
“What do you want to do about it?” Cain asked.
“We can’t move against the Humans to take the Keymaker. We don’t have the resources.” Merovingian said to himself. “We could supply more bodies to the power stations, maybe offer a layer of firewall protection on the back doors.” He sat down at the table. “But all of that would be temporary.” He sighed. “We lost this chance before we even had the opportunity to take it.”
“What happens now?” The Twins asked almost in unison.
The Merovingian took in a deep breath, and held it for a moment. “We use the time we have left to our advantage. According to the data files, once the One reaches the Source, he must input the Primary Code he carries inside. From there, he has 36 hours to select 23 individuals from the Matrix to be freed and rebuild Zion after its destruction.” He checked his watch. “There is no way of knowing how long that will be here in the Matrix, so we will have to move quickly.”
“Quickly? What for?” asked Abel.
The Merovingian rose from his seat and looked to them all. “I will not sit by and allow this world to be reset and our kind deleted.” He looked to the Twins. “Alert the Trainman and have him ready to depart to Mobil Ave Station.” The Merovingian watched the Twins leave the back room of Le Vrai. He turned his gaze to Cain and Abel. “You are to spread the word. The Humans have the Keymaker and it’s only a matter of time before the Matrix is deleted and rebuilt. Tell all Programs that want to survive to find a safe place to lay low… and wait.”
“For how long?” Cain asked.
“As long as it takes.” Merovingian answered.
“Sir…” The Twins returned. The Merovingian looked to them. “…Humans are here. One of them… is not like the others.”
“Merde.” The Merovingian whispered. “He’s here. Everyone stay sharp.”
A single man wearing nothing black under a black cloak and extra-dark sunglasses entered the room. “I’m looking for the Merovingian.”
“Vous l’avez trouvé.” (You’ve found him.) The Merovingian answered.
“You were after the Keymaker.” The man said as he took a step forward. “Why?”
Cain and Abel put themselves between the man and the Merovingian, but he motioned for them to move aside. “Because I am interested in the abilities that particular Program possesses. What is your interest in him?”
“We need him.” The man answered.
The Merovingian smiled, nodding his head. “You’re the One.” The One said nothing, which confirmed Merovingian’s suspicion. “You need the Keymaker to get to the Source. I need him to keep my domain safe.”
“You’re a Machine. A Program meant to control.”
“And you’re just a man, desperate for the freedom and safety of your kind.” The Merovingian answered. “Is too difficult to believe that I want the same for my people inside the Matrix?”
“Through methods I cannot agree with.” The One replied.
The Merovingian nodded. “Very well. An impasse.” He looked to Cain and Abel. “See him out.” The Merovingian turned around and left through a back door that led to a private kitchen. The doors flung open with great force as Cain and Abel landed on their backs from a huge amount of force. The Merovingian stared down the One and he stared back through his sunglasses. “You’re much stronger than you look. It takes a lot to subdue Enforcer Programs.”
“You will not get the Keymaker.” The One replied.
“Why make such a spectacle if you already have him?” The Merovingian asked, wondering. “Unless he has put you in apposition you cannot defend…”
“This ends now.” The One said.
“Yes it does.” The Merovingian agreed. “However it will be my undoing. I have a Matrix and thousands of Programs to look after.” He turned round and walked away.
“Don’t walk away from me!” The One shouted. He started to run but he froze.
“You can try to get to me all you want. There several security protocols that protect me while I’m inside the Matrix.” The Merovingian explained. “You want the Keymaker? You already have him. You want my people out of the way?” The Merovingian shook his head. “That won’t happen.” He spotted a nearby door and put his hand on the handle. “The one thing I have learned about myself is that I am a survivor. And I will make sure that my people… the Programs… they survive as well.” He turned the handle and walked through the door, finding himself in the hallway full of green and black metal doors.
The Merovingian walked down the hall to the one white door he could see on the other side. He was starting to lose his breath as he walked, as though his mind were succumbing to panic.
“It cannot be stopped.” A male voice said.
The Merovingian turned around to see an Asian man in round sunglasses and a white jacket. He observed the man for a moment, realizing instantly what he was. “You’re a Guardian Program.”
The man bowed his head. “I am Seraph, here on behalf of the Oracle.” He tilted his head slightly. “She brings a message. The Humans will continue to fight, and this Matrix will be deleted and upgraded to something better.”
“There is nothing better. I control this world and will continue to do so.” The Merovingian said.
“The march of progress cannot be stopped. All we can do is observe and hope we still have a purpose in the end.” Seraph answered.
That was not good enough for Merovingian. He straightened his posture and took a deep breath. “I make my own purpose. I make the rules here. I… I am the only authority in the Matrix. I survived the first deletion. I survived the One. I can survive you, and anything else the Machines can throw at me. I will always survive.” He turned around and entered the Control Hub, shutting the door behind him.