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Title: Breaking the Barrier - Chapter 3 Author: Raúl Bonilla

The character they called Needle Man took me to the old chair in the machine room. He told me it was time for me to go home and for Magik to return. “Magik needs back her body,” he explained, “and we need Magik, so she can heal Midas.” I agreed.

The one-eyed man was desperate to go ahead with the transfer, but the Needle Man warned me first: “Sometimes, the body of a healthy slave is flushed from the power plant by accident and the slave’s mind becomes part of The Matrix. We call these people Orphans. It’s important that you understand this, because once we sent you back to The Matrix, you’ll be an Orphan.”

“All right.”

“We want you to do something dangerous. You don’t have to do it, but if you don’t, Magik will die. All you have to do is distract the agent, so she can pick up the call.”

“Consider it done.”

I felt a sting in the back on my head and I was back at the geothermal station. Nothing changed during my absence, except one thing: the agent was about to shoot Magik.

This is hard to believe, but I raised a wall between Magik and the agent, with the floor’s metal plates, by just visualizing it. The agent stepped back in astonishment and he turned around to see me. “What is this?” he asked. “Another bug in the system?” In reply, I joined more metal plates with the first one and I encased the agent in a box.

The agent punched a hole through the plates and he pointed the gun at me. I visualized the gun flying off the agent’s hand and it happened. The agent jumped high in the air and he raised his fist over his head. He accelerated toward me with his face turned into a mask of hate.

“Stop,” I commanded and the agent froze in midair.

The terminal rang with the odd metallic screech that felt like a swarm of insects inside my ears. “Incoming telephone call,” Leela said. “Press return to answer.”

“That is your ticket home,” I told Magik.

“No!” exclaimed the agent.

“Thanks for everything,” she said and she gave me a kiss on the lips. This took me by surprise. Did this beautiful girl have feelings for an old bag of bones like me?

I tried to kiss her back, but Magik let me go abruptly. Her body twisted itself like it there was something inside her trying to get out. The cyborg above us went back to its original form and it fell to the ground, next to us, and Magik’s transfiguration was completed. She was the agent now!

I tore a pipe apart from a pump to pour some lava over the agent, but his face transfigured into Magik’s face. “Help me!” she screamed. Every fiber of my body told me it was a trick, but I could not bare the idea of what could happen to Magik if I were wrong and I diverted the lava.

“You have made the right decision, bug,” the agent told me and he beat me up.

“I can’t hurt him without hurting Magik,” I thought,” but I am not going to let him kill me just like that. What can I do? I can take over him the same way he took over Magik.”

For a moment, the three of us shared the same body. Magik, asleep, while the agent and I struggled for control.

“Let me go, bug!” he said to me.

“Let her go first!”

“I give the orders around here!”

“Not anymore. Let her go or I swear I will never let you go!”

“Never!”

“Let her go!”

Between electrical discharges, the agent turned into me, and I turned into Magik, and she turned into the agent, and so on. Finally, the agent gave up and he vanished. Magik fell off my body, unconscious. I tried to catch her, but she passed right through my arms. When I tried to wake her up, my hands passed right through her body.

“Focus!” I said to myself. I tried again to wake her up and I succeeded.

“Oh my head…” Magik groaned.

Neither Magik nor I noticed that the agent took over the cyborg again, until he sent me across the room with a punch in the face. I reached the maintenance control board and I returned the punch with the help of a couple of robot arms that hung from the ceiling.

Just when the robotic arms were about to hit the agent, he ran away at an incredible speed. I chased him with the robotic arms, but the agent kept running from one place to another. Suddenly, the agent stopped in front of the control board. He punched me and I fell on the edge of the lava gorge. This time, I could not stand up.

“That overlapping technique was really impressive, bug,” the agent said and he stepped on my shoulder. “I am going to try it with the rampant programs that haunt this place.” Slowly, he pushed me over the edge with his foot. I grabbed the agent’s shoe with both hands, but I could not take it off my shoulder. The heat emanating from the lava gorge became unbearable.

“Your existence was not a complete waste of time, after all,” the agent added.

Magik hit the agent in the back of the head with a pipe and the agent tripped over the edge. The agent grabbed me on his way down and we both fell into the gorge. Magik grabbed the back of my uniform with one hand and she grabbed something to hold on to with the other hand. In this awkward position, I asked Magik: “Let me go! Safe yourself!” and she replied: “They’re not going to win!”

The agent climbed over me and he tried to climb over Magik, but she bit him and the agent reached for the gun under his jacket. I took the gun first and I pulled the trigger before the agent could take the gun away from me. The agent lost balance, but he was still hanging from me. I pull the trigger with the last of my strength, until the clip was emptied. The agent bumped down the gorge’s walls and he plunged into the lava stream. I kept looking down the stream in expectation as Magik pulled me out of the gorge. The agent, however, did not rise back.

“What’s happening to you?” Magik asked me.

“My time is up.”

“You can’t die. I need you!”

“The tall man needs you.”

“Are you referring to the Captain? What happened to him?”

“He got injured in a crash. It is a long story.”

Magik left me resting on the floor and she walked to the ringing terminal. Before she pressed the return key, Magik turned around and she asked me: “Can you promise me something?”

“Anything you want.”

“Promise me you’ll hold on until I call you back.”

“I cannot promise…”

“Then promise it anyway! Promise me you’ll hold on.”

“I promise.”

Magik pressed the return key and she disappeared.

“Everything is back the way it should be,” I said to myself and I reached for my pocket computer to start this recording. I do not know if somebody is going to hear this, and if they do, what their reaction will be. To be honest, I do not care… The terminal is ringing. I have nothing else to say.

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