?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Academic

Fic: 'Fire Alarm' (9/25)

Title: Fire Alarm
Fandom: The Matrix
Characters: Mouse, Apoc
Word Count: 930
Prompt: From fanfic25, 5/11: 'Woman'.
Notes: None
Summary: "Digital Pimp, hard at work."

     Fire Alarm

     Mouse strode purposefully down the hallway, Apoc following a few steps behind him. The hallway was long and confusing: while deep red carpet made it seem opulent; unmarked wooden doors stretched out along either wall, giving it a secretive and impersonal feel. Mouse seemed to prefer it that way, Apoc thought, watching him fumble at his side for an access card. No, in fact, more than that - Mouse seemed to be at home here. He was now using a thumbnail to shred the plastic edge of the card while he walked, and Apoc found himself compelled to sidestep the little curls of plastic as they bounced to the carpet. He turned his head and caught a glimpse of a woman, eyes narrowed and canny, watching him through the crack of an open door. He blinked, and when he looked again, the door had closed silently.

     "I think it's all about the experience of the thing," Mouse said, turning a full circle to deliver this consideration direct to Apoc before returning, stride unbroken, to his walk.

     "The experience of what thing?" Apoc, lured only by Mouse's insistence that he 'show Apoc something', asked blankly.

     "The experience of her," Mouse said.

     He stopped at one of the blank doors, Apoc still trying to guess how he could identify this one in particular, and inspected the access card in the dim lamplight. He'd scraped the coating off one edge already, and now as he moved it towards the door Apoc could see a magnetic strip, concealed where the plastic had been, on the opposite side of the card.

     "Nice job," he offered.

     Mouse grinned at him. "It's just the beginning," he said.

     He slid the card through the lock, and swung the door open. Over his shoulder, Apoc saw that the room was lit by a mismatched collection of table lamps, each one of them with a shade casting skewed red shapes across the ceiling. Mouse sat down in a worn armchair and gestured to the other one.

     "Have a seat," he said.

     Apoc did, although unease was starting to wash over him. "What is this stuff, Mouse? I can't imagine you going to all this trouble for just a room." He looked at the tiny glass chessboard on the table slightly to one side of the chairs. He felt like a pawn.

     "Not just a room," Mouse said, stretching and getting up. Although he tried to do this casually, Apoc easily saw how eager he was to show off... whatever it was. He practically skipped to a door in the corner (also unmarked, just like the others) and opened it a crack. He murmured some words to someone on the other side of the door, then returned to Apoc but rather then sitting down, hovered nervously for a few seconds. He eventually resorted to leaning awkwardly against the wall behind the chair.

     Apoc looked back to the door. It opened slowly, and a breathtakingly beautiful woman stood there, looking back at him. She looked at him with a casually flirtatious gaze, one which simultaneously interested and worried Apoc. There was something missing behind those eyes.

     "Like her?" Mouse asked.

     Apoc did, but he couldn't bring himself to admit it. "You... you made her?"

     "Yep. From the ground up. The conceptual drawings... well, they were great, but no match for the real thing."

     "What does... what does she do?"

     Mouse bounced a little. "Glad you like her. Whatever you want her to do, man. From companionship to arm candy. It's all yours."

     Apoc stood up and took a tentative step closer. The woman smiled at him. Apoc found himself glancing down, over her fire-engine-red dress, to the tips of her very uncomfortable-looking shoes. Everything he wanted. He suspected Mouse knew that somehow.

     "How did you make her so..."

     "Perfect?" Mouse cut in. "She's what everybody wants."

     Apoc almost touched her, but drew back at the last second. "She's not real," he said at last. He turned to Mouse, and stared at him. "She's not real."

     Mouse was taken a little aback at the combination of lust and discomfort in Apoc's eyes. It was as though someone had asked him to have sex on an altar. "No... no, she's not," he said carefully.

     "Does she talk?" Apoc demanded.

     Mouse faltered. "Not often..."

     "I talk," the woman said. Apoc's head snapped around. Even Mouse had to admit the voice didn't quite work. It still sounded a little artificial - like a person talking, and exactly what you wanted to hear, but too perfect still, still a program cycling through options.

     "Why, would you prefer I not?" the woman continued. "If you want an Eliza Doolittle, someone who speaks to you the way you want, then you can to a bar, if you like. But I'm no less a person than them."

     Mouse stifled a grin. He'd created her to say what he'd say... but probably not to Apoc's face. Apoc turned back to Mouse, clearly still torn. Finally, he made a decision. "She's not real," he said, shaking his head. "Keep working, Digital Pimp."

     Mouse closed the door behind Apoc, imagining the fire sprinklers going off as he walked under each one. "Digital Pimp," he muttered to himself. He walked back to the chair, and was pleased to find that Lucy had seated herself across from him.

     "He doesn't understand why I made you," he muttered to her.

     "Maybe he just assumed the worst," Lucy responded. "Care for a game?"

      "You know I never say no," Mouse responded, moving the first of his pieces.

Comments

I totally forgot to read this until just now. Excellent!!