Human hands and arms help him up as he finds himself looking straight at Morpheus and his crew, dressed in simple knit garments. Morpheus smiles. Just before Neo passes out Morpheus says to him, "Welcome to the real world." Neo passes out. We have no sense of time. We hear voices whispering. Neo drifts in and out of consciousness. Neo's eyes flutter open. We see Trinity's face above us, angelic in the fluorescent glow of a light stick.
At one point he asks, "Am I dead?" "Far from it," replies Morpheus. He opens his eyes again, something tingling through him. He focuses and sees his body pierced with dozens of acupuncture-like needles wired to a strange device. Dozer and Morpheus are operating on Neo. Fluorescent light sticks burn unnaturally bright. "Why do my eyes hurt?" he asks. "You've never used them," Morpheus replies.
Neo wakes up from a deep sleep, feeling better. He is fully clothed, with a short shock of hair on his head. He begins to examine himself. There is a futuristic IV plugged into the jack in his forearm. He pulls it out, staring at the grafted outlet. His fingers find and explore the large outlet in the base of his skull.
Just as he starts to come unglued, Morpheus opens the door. "What is this place?" Neo asks. "The more important question is when," says Morpheus, "You believe it is the year 1999, when in fact it is closer to the year 2199." Morpheus goes on to say that they really don't know when it is. The wind is knocked from Neo's chest.
Like a sleepwalker, Neo follows Morpheus who is giving him a tour of his ship, the Nebuchadnezzar, a hovercraft (they pass a plaque stating it was built in 2069). They take stairs to the main deck, everyone is there. Neo is introduced to Morpheus's crew including Trinity; Apoc, a man with long, flowing black hair; Switch; Cypher (bald with a goatee); two brawny brothers, Tank and Dozer; and a young, thin man named Mouse.
The names and faces wash meaninglessly over Neo. Morpheus gets to the point. "You wanted to know about the Matrix," he says, ushering him to a chair. Neo sits down in it and Trinity straps him in. This is the Core, where they broadcast their pirate signal and hack into the Matrix.
It is a swamp of bizarre electronic equipment. Vines of coaxial hang and snake to and from huge monolithic battery slabs, a black portable satellite dish and banks of little systems and computer monitors. At the center of the web, there are six ectoskeleton chairs made of a poly-alloy frame and suspension harness.
Near the circle of chairs is the control console and operator's station where the network is monitored. Neo allows himself to be helped into one of the chairs. Neo feels Morpheus guiding a coaxial line into the jack at the back of his neck. The cable has the same kind of cerebellum chip we saw inside the plant.
There are several disturbing noises as he works the needle in. We move in as Neo's shoulders bunch and his face tightens into a grimace until a loud click fires and his ears pop like when you equalize them underwater. He relaxes, opening his eyes as we pull back to a feeling of weightlessness inside another place.
Neo is standing in an empty, blank-white space. Startled, Neo whips around and finds Morpheus now in the room with him. This is the Construct, a "loading platform" that Morpheus and his team use to prepare newly freed humans to deal with the Matrix world.
Gone are the sockets in Neo's arms and neck. He has hair again. Morpheus walks past Neo and when Neo turns he sees the two leather chairs from the hotel set up in front of a large-screen television. Neo stands at the back of the chair as Morpheus sits. Neo's hands run over the cracked leather.
Morpheus tells him that what he is experiencing of himself is the "residual self image, the mental projection of your digital self" and bids him to sit while he explains the truth. "This," he says, showing an image of a modern city, "is the world that you know." A thing that really exists "only as part of a neural, interactive simulation that we call the Matrix."
Morpheus picks up a remote control and clicks on the television. He shows Neo the world as it truly exists today, a scarred, desolate emptiness with charred, abandoned buildings. The sky is an endless sea of black and green bile. The earth, scorched and split like burnt flesh, spreads out beneath us as we enter the television.
In the distance, we see the ruins of a future city protruding from the wasteland like the blackened ribs of a long-dead corpse. They are, right now, miles below the earth's surface. The only place humans can survive outside the Matrix is underground.
Morpheus goes on to say that "at some point in the early 21st century all of mankind was united in celebration as we gave birth" to artificial intelligence, a "singular consciousness that birthed an entire race of machines." Someone started a war, and no one knows who. The war raged for generations and turned the face of the planet from green and blue to black and red.
It was mankind who blotted out the sky, attempting to deprive the machines of the solar power they required to function. Instead the machines turned to humans as a power source; Morpheus explains that a human's body provides "more electricity than a 120 volt battery and over 25k BTUs in body heat."
Morpheus shows Neo fields where machines grow human beings, connecting them to their outlets, ensconcing them in their pods, and feeding them with the liquefied remains of other human beings. "The Matrix," says Morpheus, "is a computer-generated dreamworld created to keep us under control, to turn us..." into a mere power source, into coppertop batteries. Neo rejects this information so feverishly that he pulls himself out of the Construct.
He is back in the chair on the hovercraft. His eyes snap open and he thrashes against the chair, trying to rip the cable from the back of his neck. Dozer holds him while Trinity unlocks it. Once it's out, he tears away from them, falling as he trips free of the harness. On his hands and knees, he reels as the world spins. Sweat pours off him as a pressure builds inside his skull as if his brian had been put into a centrifuge. Vomiting violently, Neo pitches forward and blacks out.
Neo blinks, regaining consciousness. The room is dark. Neo is stretched out on his bed. "I can't go back, can I?" Neo asks. Morpheus sitting like a shadow on a chair in the far corner. "No," says Morpheus. He apologizes to Neo for breaking a cardinal rule: after a certain age people aren't brought out of their simulacrum, but Morpheus explains he had to bring Neo out.
He stares into the darkness, confessing as much to himself as Neo. When the Matrix was created there was a man born inside it who could create his own reality inside it. It was this man who set Morpheus and the others free. When he died, the Oracle (Gloria Foster) prophesied that he would return in another form.
And that the return of the One would mean the destruction of the Matrix. As long as the Matrix exists, humanity will continue to live in complacency inside it and the world can never be free. Neo can feel his eyes on him. "I did what I did because I believe that search is over," says Morpheus. Morpheus stands up and tells Neo to get some rest. He's going to need it for his training.