Jane was starting to get positively outraged at being suppressed by her captor. She was powerless to interact with the outside world and stuck inside what was probably going to turn out to be worse prison. What could be worse than being taunted by the outside world and then watching someone else move your arms and legs in reaction to it? She was powerless and being passively dragged around inside her own head. It was demeaning. Outraged at it all she poked and prodded at the internal restraints. They seemed solid enough. While this JayUnit stamped along in the midst of the Vixens Jane spent the time pressing for a weak spot. Finally she found it, a chink in the impervious wall of anger that held everything together. Her own outrage was close in tone but not quite there – free-floating rage compared with the controlled burn of righteous outrage at specific injustices – it felt like pressing her hand into warm jello pudding but the walls began to give.
Jane found herself embedded in the substance of her captor’s awareness able to communicate freely and parse the same input that was flowing past. Jane concentrated and found herself able to view the green of the Matrix code around her. The lake glittered in moonlight, a ghostly river of code, a vast storehouse ready to pour fixes out to the wider Matrix. With a start she realized that whether they knew it or not, the gangs nearby were controlling one of the most profound resources in the whole simulated environment. Control the flow of fixes, perhaps add your own, and you controlled the deeper substrate of the reality of the Matrix itself.
Ahead of their path she spotted a golden glow. It looked like a building was burning. No, not burning, she realized … she was viewing the code and there was a golden fire sweeping through the building. Someone needed to be told!
JayUnit found herself enjoying the pace and her armed escort. There was real danger out in the dark, of that she was sure, and the vigilant nature of the women around her was reassuring. There was a familiar ache of loss – Keisha, CaraBelle, Her family – and she could almost see the tenuous connections forming between herself and her escorts. She shook her head to clear such silly schoolgirl thoughts – secret clubs, tree-houses, passwords – if there was to be any initiation with the Vixens she knew she’d need to prove herself fully first, establish a reputation and get their attention as something more than baggage to be delivered.
While her mind was wandering she didn’t notice she’d slipped into looking at the world and its green texture. Switching between normal sight and this augmented view had become second-nature now. Everything around her had the air of shabbiness, even the texture itself looking patched and worn in places.
She scanned the path ahead of them, beyond the end of the lake.
“Yes, that’s it, see it!” an internal voice whispered in a voice that ought-to but didnt belong to her.
“Bitch! Shut up!” JayUnit hissed under her breath.
As much as she wanted to dismiss it there was an insistent pressure behind her eyes, pulling her gaze back to the burning building.
“Will you shut up already?” JayUnit demanded.
“No. Warn them. The fire is in the code.” Jane said.
“What code?” JayUnit answered
“It doesnt matter, just tell them, test me on this one … if I am leading you astray you can lock me in the darkest dungeon inside here. Deal?” Jane said.
“Heh. You got yourself a deal.”
JayUnit rasied her head and hissed to Vixcin, “I think there’s a problem…” she hesitated, should she simply repeat Jane’s words?
“Yes?” Vixcin answered, turning her head slightly.
JayUnit closed her mouth and clenched her teeth. There was something just so wrong about rolling over and repeating the message but she also didnt want to look stupid now she was center of attention.
“That building ahead of us … there’s a fire raging in the code.” JayUnit spat.
Vixcin raised an eyebrow and signalled for the group to pause, “Valentine, get a reading on the buildings ahead of us.”
Valentine pulled her cellphone/PDA out and punched its controls, “We have a problem. Reads like a trap, but I dont know what’s going on.”
Internally JayUnit felt part of her leap and punch the metaphorical air. She growled as she probed the feeling further and found how deeply Jane had ingratiated herself into the mental landscape. Her gamble had paid off.