The Matrix: Reassignment
By Radioactive Loner
A bit flipped somewhere in a plan, a place, a mathematical certainty (as
opposed to physical existence) that human minds couldn't perceive even if
they tried. And it wasn't really a bit, per se. Binary systems ... well
this machine had evolved past that. Its entire race had evolved past that.
They may have even evolved past the concept of the word 'machine'. Perhaps
past words altogether. But postulating about machine consciousness
millions of generations above one's own is a bit hard ... it's like an ant
attempting to comprehend the architectural design of the Empire State
Building -- a bit too hard to grasp.
But, let us return to our story. Bits flipped, one after the other, and, in
short, the machines thought. Were the essence of what they thought to be
boiled down to human consciousness, one would hear of the place from which
they fed, from which their life energy was given, and that was from the vast
storehouses of humanity hooked up to life support pods and placed into a
virtual reality scenario called "The Matrix" that was, in short, a simulated
normal everyday human life ... but under the control of the machines.
Reality, able to be altered at the machines' will.
And it was indeed altered, and altered often ... fine-tuned much as one of
these power sources might have fine-tuned his car years upon years ago.
And, just as a mechanic might have experimented with various things to make
his car run more powerfully, so these machines tinkered with the humans and
their artificial universe, seeing what effect their tinkering had on the
fleshy power sources.
This is the story of one of those tinkerings. Your story.
As is their wont, the machines grew babies. Simple enough ... the human
species needed to continue, to ensure the machines' continuing power source.
The manner of growth was quite hideous, a parody of reproduction, artificial
uteral sacs hanging in huge masses off of machines supplying nutrients to
the embryos, the fetuses, and eventually the newborns.
The machines wished to experiment as to whether a human produced higher
energy when various conflicts were introduced between the human's real self
and their Matrix avatar. And so, one newborn girl was red-flagged as her
Matrix avatar was constructed by the machines. The machines carefully
crafted a male avatar and plugged the young infant into the Matrix.
And the experiment began.
* * * * *
A life, lived: a man named Tony Walker, now 24. You.
A strange e-mail received one evening.
A man ... a series of strange events.
A red pill and a blue pill.
And the rescue began.
* * * * *
The pill is swallowed, and in its own unique way, the Matrix begins to
disconnect itself from you. Or, you begin to disconnect yourself from the
Matrix. The experience always manifests itself as an extremely frightening
pseudoreality, and with a gasp, your world dissipates around you in the
blink of an eye, a blink of an eye that seems to stretch out into a
timelessness that lasts an eternity.
Yet when your eyes finish that blink, they reopen to a frightening world, a
world of dimly lit shapes floating in a warm, odd, red goop. Everything
feels odd, and more frighteningly, you feel as if all your movements are
muffled, as if supreme effort is required to do anything.
Nevertheless, panic drives you hard enough that you begin to pound on the
top of this gelatinous coffin, and it promptly opens. You're able to exert
enough muscle control to sit yourself upright, leaning your back against the
open lid. A deeply indrawn breath of dirty, carbonized, oily air is your
next reaction, as you see what greets your gaze: vast farms, mammoth
mechanical beanstalks of pods such as yours, stretching as far as you can
see up, down, and all around you. It is that indrawn breath that makes you
look down, for the breath didn't feel as normal as it had in the Matrix ...
and it is that indrawn breath that then causes your lungs to have their
first real workout, as you issue a scream in a startlingly contralto voice.
For what you see are breasts, as well as the rest of a female body. And yet
you don't have too much time to deal with that, as a huge mechanical beast
drops down beside you, grasps your head, and brutally unscrews a cord from a
socket you never knew existed. The fluids promptly begin to drain from your
pod, drawing you with it, flushing you quickly down a chute into a vast
reservoir of water. The shock nearly knocks you unconscious, and it is only
when a giant clamp gently grabs you and begins drawing you up into a bright
light, that consciousness finally leaves you.
* * * * *
A slight fade into consciousness. In the peripheries, bouncing around your
head without even being comprehended, you hear a conversation.
"This can't be him."
"Come on, Morph, this is him. I double-checked the tracing signal's carrier
route five times."
"Check it again."
"It's him, Morpheus."
"It's obviously not a *him*."
A new voice interjects herself into the conversation. "What both of you
seem to be forgetting is that she's a person. Let's stop arguing, fix her
up, and *then* we can worry about what the hell happened."
Darkness claiming you once again.
* * * * *
A brief surge back into the light.
You hear the words "... regaining consciousness" being spoken by someone as
you glance down and see hundreds of needles inserted all over ... a female
A dark-skinned man gazing down at you. "Stay calm," he says, and ventures a
"Why can't I ... " ... a brief surge of panic at the voice you hear speaking
"Her heart rate's up way too high," another voice says, low but urgent.
A stronger surge of panic envelops you at the word "her" ...
"I'm channeling in some sedation."
Darkness, blessed darkness, once more.
* * * * *
And consciousness once more. This time, permanent, not shaky, and there is
a person there. She is a study in contrast: elegant patrician features in
scrounged, 'peasant' garb. She grabs your arm as you begin to look down,
and whips a mirror out from beneath her, holding it to you.
You see a woman's face. You see soft lips, and a short, pageboy haircut.
You see eyes. You see a face startlingly like the one you remember, but
twisted just slightly through the looking glass so that it is woman, not
You look down. You are wearing the same clothes as this 'elegant peasant'
... and you pull the neck of your shirt out, hesitantly, and look down to
see two fair-sized breasts jutting from a more delicate construction of
ribcage, torso, and shoulders. You look up in panic, and feel this woman's
hand reassuringly rubbing your shoulder.
"Take a deep breath."
"What ... ?" you say, short of breath in your panic.
A deep breath brings a bit more calm.
"My name's Trinity." She smiles at you. "As for what ... we don't know.
Are you Tony Marshall?"
"Yes!" you say. You don't seem capable of reacting at all rationally.
Given the circumstances, though, you're not exactly blaming yourself for
Her eyes seem to go away from you, as if they were analyzing this little
tidbit for a moment. Then they come back. "Tony, we don't know for certain
why you're like this."
You look at her. "Did you guys do this to me?"
"Oh, gods, no," she says, drawing back, slightly. "Tony, I'll tell you what
we think happened. We think you were always this way, and they just plugged
you into the Matrix as a guy."
"Are you kidding me?" you say, trying not to think about how different ...
how FEMALE ... your voice sounds.
"Tony," she says, "We know about your stories."
"How ... how did you know?" you barely spit out, your mouth suddenly
"Once you can read the Matrix, you can pretty much learn nearly anything you
need to know about any little corner of that reality. And we were studying
you pretty closely. We just didn't know anything about your real body ...
we thought you being on those lists meant you were transgendered." She gave
a sharp chuckle. "I guess you really were 'born into the wrong body.'"
You put your hands down onto much slimmer thighs, and try not to think about
that. "But I was heterosexual, Trinity. I mean, I had nothing against
those who *were* transgendered, but ... I never wanted sexual reassignment."
She shrugs. "Maybe all that the inconsistency manifested was a simple
curiosity about the opposite sex. Or maybe you're a lesbian, and that
translated into heterosexuality when the machines plunked you down into a
male avatar. You'll have to see as you go along."
"Your residual body image. What your character was in the Matrix. Who, up
until today, you thought you really were."
You shake your head. "This ... is a lot to take in."
* * * * *
Trinity leaves you be for a while. Although you probably weren't meant to
overhear, you hear her say to Morpheus, "I think she'll be okay. She seems
to be accepting the basic reality of what happened to her."
And, indeed, this does feel more real. You never thought your world was
unreal ... you never really had anything to compare it to. But now that you
exist in this manner, you can tell this reality is 'senior' to your other
existence. Smells are deeper, sounds are sharper, colors are brighter, less
dull. It simply feels ... more real to you.
If it were not for this one, glaring oddity, this feeling of a senior
reality would be a paradise, despite the rough surroundings of the
And, tentatively, you decide to explore that oddity ...
... and, almost shyly, you take your shirt off.
Your black hair is still with you, but it is a bit thicker, and curves
downward slightly around your neck in a modified pageboy style. Your face
is still, intrinsically, the one you grew up with, but there are slight
touches and tweaks that are different, such as your eyelashes being longer,
or your nose being more tapered, or your lips being fuller, or your
cheekbones being a tad higher and more finely drawn. Beneath your face,
however, your body seems almost completely different. Your neck is ...
well, had you been trying to woo the woman in front of you, instead of
actually *being* her, you might have deigned it swan-like and not been too
full of malarkey. That neck glides down into a small set of shoulders that
leads not only to thin, less-developed arms, but to a ribcage that tapers
down into a very narrow waist. And, atop that ribcage, two breasts rest,
spherical and firm.
You very gently touch one of those breasts, and as a finger brushes a
nipple, you feel a small shudder pass through you. That leads you to
promptly put your shirt back on, with the fabric now feeling a bit scratchy
against your chest.
Very quietly, you slide down the underwear and sweats that you were dressed
in ... and you see hips much wider than you ever had before, framing a
sparse thatch of pubic hair that does not contain the one thing you've
carried around with you your entire life. The sight makes you shudder,
almost ignoring the thinner thighs that frame that and taper down to two
delicate feet enshrouded in the sweatpants and underwear you had let fall.
Quickly, you pull those up.
* * * * *
You are a woman. In fact, you have always been a woman, and the reality of
you being a man has only been an illusion generated by a vast race of
brutal, sentient, hostile computers.
And so, you realize, you have a choice.
You can let this unsettle you, and you can let this drive you mad, and you
can seek to return to the oily teat of the Matrix's spoon-fed reality ... or
you can embrace what truly is real, as much as it disturbs you now, and this
ragtag bunch of people who fight for things you've always believed in.
* * * * *
And you go out to meet the rest of the crew.
You venture a very small smile, and you say, "Hi. My name is Toni."
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Something slightly interesting happened with this story. I
was writing it in third person ("Tony looked down," etc.) and it just was
not coming out of my head. But suddenly, almost of their own accord, my
hands started typing the story in second person ("You look down," etc.) and
the rest just flowed out. Second person is a pretty rarely used
perspective, and I was surprised to find myself writing in it. For some
good essays on point of view, check out:
Copyright 2000 by Radioactive Loner. If you want to post this anywhere else, please ask the author for permission first. Thank you.
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