The story opens with a computer screen, so close it has no boundaries. A blinking cursor pulses in the electric darkness like a heart coursing with phosphorous light, burning beneath the derma of black-neon glass. A phone begins to ring, we hear it as though we were making the call. The cursor continues to throb, relentlessly patient. Data now slashes across the screen, information flashing faster than we read.
Text appears on the screen: "Call trans opt: received. 2-19-98 13:24:18 REC: Log>." We listen to the phone conversation as though we were on a third line. The man's name is Cypher. The woman, Trinity. The entire screen fills with racing columns of numbers. Shimmering like green-electric rivets, they rush at a 10-digit phone number in the top corner.
The area code is identified. The first three numbers suddenly fixed, leaving only seven flowing columns. We begin moving toward the screen, closing as each digit is matched, one by one, snapping into place like the wheels of a slot machine. Only two thin digits left. Trinity discusses some unknown person. Cypher taunts Trinity, suggesting she enjoys watching him.
Trinity counters that Morpheus says he may be 'the One.' The final number pops into place. Trace complete. We move still closer, the electric hum of the green numbers growing into an ominous roar. She hangs up as we pass through the numbers, entering the netherworld of the computer screen. Where gradually the sound of a police radio grows around us.
Suddenly, a flashlight cuts open the darkness and we find ourselves in a hotel. The hotel was abandoned after a fire licked its way across the polyester carpeting, destroying several rooms as it spooled soot up the walls and ceiling leaving patterns of permanent shadow. We follow four armed police officers using flashlights as they creep down the blackened hall and ready themselves on either side of room 303.
The biggest of them violently kicks in the door -- The other cops pour in behind him, guns thrust before them. The room is almost devoid of furniture. There is a fold-up table and chair with a phone, a modern, and a powerbook computer. The only light in the room is the glow of the computer. Sitting there, her hands still on the keyboard, is Trinity; a woman in black leather. Trinity rises, putting her hands behind her head.
Outside the hotel, a black sedan with tinted windows glides in through the police cruisers. Agent Smith, Agent Brown, and Agent Jonesget out of the car. They wear dark suits and sunglasses even at night. They are also always hardwired; small Secret Service earphones in one ear, its cord coiling back into their shirt collars. Agent Smith and the presiding police lieutenant argue.
Agent Smith admonishes the policeman that they were given specific orders to contact the agents first, for their protection. The lieutenant dismisses this and says that they can handle "one little girl" and that he has two units that are bringing her down at that very moment. Agent Smith nods to Agent Brown as they start toward the hotel. Agent Smith replies: "No, Lieutenant. Your men are already dead."
The Big Cop flicks out his cuffs, the other cops holding a bead. They've done this a hundred times, they know they've got her, until the Big Cop reaches with the cuff and Trinity moves -- It almost doesn't register, so smooth and fast, inhumanly fast. The eye blinks and Trinity's palm. snaps up and the nose explodes, blood erupting. The cop is dead before he begins to fall. And Trinity is moving again.
Seizing a wrist, misdirecting a gun, as a startled cop fires -- A head explodes. In blind panic, another airs his gun, the barrel, a fixed black hole -- And fires -- Trinity twists out of the way, the bullet missing as she reverses into a roundhouse kick, knocking the gun away. The cop begins to scream when a jump kick crushes his windpipe, killing the scream as he falls to the ground. She looks at the four bodies.
Agent Brown enters the hotel, while Agent Smith heads for the alley. Trinity is on the phone, pacing. The other end is answered by Morpheus. She lets him know that the line has been traced, though she doesn't know how. Morpheus informs her that she will have to "make it to another exit," and that Agents are heading up after her. She takes a deep breath, centering herself. Trinity drops the phone.
She bursts out of the room as Agent Brown enters the hall, leading another unit of police. Trinity races to the opposite end, exiting through a broken window onto the fire escape. In the alley below, Trinity sees Agent Smith staring at her. She can only go up. On the roof, Trinity is running as Agent Brown rises over the parapet, leading the cops in pursuit.
Trinity begins to jump from one roof to the next, her movements so clean, gliding in and out of each jump, contrasted to the wild jumps of the cops. Agent Brown, however, has the same unnatural grace. Trinity races for the back of the building. The edge falls away into a wide back alley. The next building is over 40 feet away, but Trinity's face is perfectly calm, staring at some point beyond the other roof.
The cops slow, realizing they are about to see something ugly as Trinity drives at the edge, launching herself into the air. From above, the ground seems to flow beneath her as she hangs in flight. Then hitting, somersaulting up, still running hard. They stare, slack-jawed, as Agent Brown duplicates the move exactly, landing, rolling over a shoulder, up onto one knee. Trinity jumps, landing easily.
She looks back just as Agent Brown hurls through the air. Agent Brown stands, yanking out a gun. Trinity is running hard as bullets whistle past her head. Ahead she sees her only chance, 50 feet beyond, there is -- A window; a yellow glow in the midst of a dark brick building. Trinity zeroes in on it, running as hard as she can as she nears the edge. Trinity hurtles into the empty night space, her body leveling into a dive.
She falls, arms covering her head as -- The whole world seems to spin on its axis -- And she crashes with an explosion of glass and wood, then falls onto a stairwell, tumbling, bouncing down stairs bleeding, broken -- But still alive. Through the smashed window, she glimpses Agent Brown, stone-faced. Trinity tries to move. Everything hurts. She stands and limps down the rest of the stairs.
Trinity emerges from the shadows of an alley and, at the end of the block, in a pool of white street light, she sees it. The telephone booth. Obviously hurt, she starts down the concrete walk, focusing in completely, her pace quickening, as the phone begins to ring. Across the street, a garbage truck suddenly u-turns, its tires screaming as it accelerates.
Trinity sees the headlights on the truck arcing at the telephone booth as if taking aim. Gritting through the pain, she races the truck -- Slamming into the booth, the headlights blindingly bright, bearing down on the box of Plexiglas just as -- She answers the phone. There is a frozen instant of silence before the hulking mass of dark metal lurches up onto the sidewalk.
Barreling through the booth, bulldozing it into a brick wall, smashing it to Plexiglas pulp. After a moment, a black loafer steps down from the cab of the garbage truck. Agent Smith inspects the wreckage. There is no body. Trinity is gone. His jaw sets as he grinds his molars in frustration. Agent Jones walks up behind him.
"She got out," one says. The other says, "The informant is real." "We have the name of their next target," says the other, "His name is Neo." The handset of the pay phone lays on the ground, separated in the crash like a severed limb.
Neo, a hacker with thick black hair and a sallow appearance, is asleep at his monitor. It is a studio apartment that seems overgrown with technology. Weed-like cables coil everywhere, duct-taped into thickets that wind up and around the legs of several desks.
Tabletops are filled with cannibalized equipment that lay open like an autopsied corpse. Notices about a manhunt for a man named Morpheus scroll across his screen as he sleeps. Suddenly Neo's screen goes blank and a series of text messages appear: "Wake up, Neo." "The Matrix has you." "Follow the White Rabbit." Then, the text says "Knock, knock, Neo..."
A chill runs down his spine and when someone knocks on his door he almost jumps out of his chair. He looks at the door, then back at the computer but the message is gone. He shakes his head, not completely sure what happened. Again, someone knocks. Cautiously, Neo approaches the door. Recognizing the voice, he relaxes and opens it.
It's a group of ravers and Neo gives them a contraband disc he has secreted in a copy of Simulacra and Simulation. He slaps the money in Neo's hand. The lead raver asks him to join them and Neo demurs until he sees the tattoo of a small white rabbit on the shoulder of a seductive girl in the group.