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Agent Smith/Neo, PG

It was strange for Smith to be wrong about something.

He had thought humans would be hardly lukewarm, like tepid water, clammy to the touch. That their skin would stretch and yield easily, tearing from a careless pull and preserving indentations from the slightest pressure. He had imagined his fist staying too long after a hit to the solar plexus, and pulling it quickly away with a shudder and a careful brush of his knuckles across the sleeve of his black suit.

He was surprised by the warmth, primarily. It was as though thousands of tiny machines were churning away under the surface of the skin, gears turning and clicking in a perfect, unending rhythm. He felt it radiate through his hands, the hairs on his arms straining to rise against the starched cotton of his sleeves. It was firm, too; almost like his own, but with more definition and contours, like a strange topical map without snowcapped mountains or algae-covered lakes. He slowly ran his hand down the narrow bumps of the spine, and felt the slight shock of cold as he reached each vacant plug. He derived an odd pleasure from the small circles of metal; humans were not completely warm and firm. The body under him flinched as his finger crossed one of the boundaries between metal and skin, and he lingered there, tracing it. He moved his other palm against the short and soft bristles of hair, partially obscuring the largest plug. All of the plugs were empty, leaving small black holes that extended down to the lengths he had not yet ascertained, and wasn't entirely sure he wanted to at any point.

He thought of emptiness, of floating without direction, of escape and freedom.

Then he saw the small white earpiece, held loosely in the hand of the body below him.

He carefully removed his sunglasses.

"Perhaps we are connected, Mister Anderson."

He unbuttoned the top button of his suit.

"Or perhaps we will be."

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