The Machines destroyed the General's base on the Earth's surface (as seen in the chapter 7.3 cinematic), driving him into hiding in the Matrix. With Sati rescued from the General's grasp, the weather in the simulation returned to its standard green-tinged overcast skies.
Zion and E Pluribus Neo pursued the simulacrum who had been appearing recently in the city, impersonating Morpheus. They found data appearing to suggest a link between the simulacrum and the General. The Machines, concerned that the simulacrum might try to threaten the System's stability as Morpheus himself did, questioned it, but decided that it was confused and non-violent, and only bore further monitoring.
Meanwhile, the Merovingian had begun using the Trainman to shuttle the General's commandos out of the Matrix, and back into the real world. The General himself delayed, leaving the train platform to confront his Morpheus simulacrum. He ordered the simulacrum to deactivate itself, but it refused, and successfully defended itself against the General, who was forced to leave. Returning late to the Trainman's station, the General was confronted there by Machine forces. The Trainman managed to shove the General onto the departing train, but suffered severe injury at the hands of the Machines.
Undeterred, the Merovingian put his plan to kill the Oracle into full execution, attempting to get his kill-code into the hands of an assassin planted in Zion's security teams. Zion found the assassin in time, forcing the Merovingian to resort to a new plan, using a stealth commando and a very special key to attempt to surprise the Oracle. She, however, was saved at the last moment by the Kid and E Pluribus Neo. The frustrated Frenchman consoled himself by activating on override code on the General and his Sentinels.
The Cypherites continued searching for information on the mysterious exodus of men and material from Zion. Cryptos, gradually recovered from Seraph's attack, took command of the organization back from the stubborn Veil, to the relief of Agent Gray and the Machines. Veil, however, continued her ruthless quest for information, executing the crew of the Zionite hovercraft Pelageus when they refused to cooperate. In response, the Oracle could offer only dire-sounding predictions, saying that you can't save someone who doesn't want to be saved.
Cryptos wandered for some time in the Matrix, asking those he met about purpose, right, and wrong. He appeared to settle some question in his mind, however, and reasserted his control over the Cypherite organization during an operation in which he led Cypherites to capture a redpill whose attempts to awaken bluepills freed by Seraph from Machine overwriting, like Cryptos, had led to the deaths of some of those civilians. The vindictive Cypherite controller, Veil, grudgingly agreed to recognize Cryptos as leader.
Veil continued leading operations designed to discover the mystery behind unregistered workers and machinery slipping out of Zion, a topic of particular interest to the Machines. She staged an attack on a E Pluribus Neo base as a distraction, while other Cypherite operatives successfully infiltrated a Zionite computer system, recovering data.
Her zealous pursuit of her task led her to hijack, and eventually execute, the crew of a Zionite hovercraft, the Pelageus. Agent Gray, who had supported Cryptos over the Veil's volatile leadership, questioned her methods, but Veil refused to curb her activities, responding derisively when told that her actions threatened the truce between the Machines and Zion.
E Pluribus Neo
E Pluribus Neo, searching for information on the Morpheus simulacrum, discovered a hidden network of old followers of Morpheus, still carrying on the rebel activities that led to Morpheus' death, including the distribution of seditious posters. One of these individuals, Joshua Maston, told the EPN members who found him that they had been distracted by Cypherites and super-villains from what was truly important, and that he fully expected to be killed by the Machines for his activities, but carried on because he believed that what he was doing was right. The Kid said that belief is important, but so is hope.
Recognizing the kill-code threat to the Oracle posed by the Merovingian, EPN asked Zion for permission to assist in guarding her; when the Oracle herself insisted, Zion agreed to share guard duties.
When the Frenchman finally launched his Elite Commando assassin at the Oracle, the Kid, on guard duty at the time, responded to her cry of alarm in time to intercept the fatal bullet with his body. Nearby EPN operatives pursued and eliminated the commando, while the Oracle watched over the stunned Kid. She said he would be all right, but would need rest. Once he reluctantly jacked out to his ship, the Oracle went outside to enjoy the fresh air for the first time in weeks, and moved back to her old home in Mara.
The Machines tracked the fleeing General through the Matrix, rooting him out of the temporary safety of the Merovingian's chateau with the assistance of the Cypherites, and then from the Trainman's tunnel system. They caught up to the General at the train station as he was about to exit the simulation, but the Trainman sacrificed his own chance to escape in order to make sure that his appointed passenger made it aboard the departing train.
With the General out of the Matrix, the Machines switched targets within the simulation, now locating and questioning the Morpheus simulacrum, which showed some indication that it might take up Morpheus' old terrorist tendencies. They found that it had the capability of simulating redpill jack-out and reconstruction. The simulacrum, however, appeared to be non-violent, and the Machines determined that careful monitoring of its activities was a sufficient precaution.
Agent Pace ran an operation in which a special party was staged as a trap for the Merovingian, with the intent of punishing the Frenchman for his role in the General's escape. The Merovingian, however, sent his wife in his stead, and she escaped when loyal operatives pounced on the Agent sent to infiltrate the club. A massive Machinist onslaught cleared the club, however, and Agent Pace decided that this demonstration had served its purpose.
Ever-increasing concerns about the purpose behind materials and manpower sneaking out of Zion led the Machines to attempt gathering information through their own contacts, but this proved less efficient than employing the Cypherites, although Cypherite production, from the Machine point of view, continued to suffer under Veil's stubborn leadership. Cryptos' re-assumption of Cypherite command came as a relief to the Machines, but tensions with Zion caused by their activities remained high, particularly after Veil's hijacking and execution of the crew of the Zionite hovercraft Pelageus.
The Merovingian forced the harried General to give him control over the program used by the commandos to move between the Matrix and the real world. With this in his possession, the Frenchman employed the Trainman to transfer the General's commandos out of the simulation, saving them for the time being from extermination at the hands of the Machines, but losing the Trainman to the Machines in the process. The Trainman managed to limp away from a Machine attack into his own private construct, but it was unclear if the paranoid Exile would survive his injuries.
The Merovingian attempted to send the kill-code made to terminate the Oracle to a spy placed on the Oracle's security detail, but Zion detected the intrusion, and forced the Frenchman to extricate the kill-code from their systems.
In need of an alternate means of getting the deadly code near the Oracle, the Merovingian seized upon a key dug up by the Landlord at the Mahath Tower construction site, formerly occupied by the government building used by Neo to reach the Architect; when this building self-destructed with the body of the Keymaker inside, the key he had been making in the Merovingian's dungeon was buried in the rubble. The Frenchman had originally planned to use this key, capable of transporting the user to a portal near a specific target, to kill the Oracle's previous shell.
After several false starts, the Effectuator managed to transport a borrowed Elite Commando squad back into the city. Seraph detected and hunted the commandos, but Merovingian operatives managed to save most of them, and finally one of them, equipped with the key and the kill-code, attempted to assassinate the Oracle, but the Kid blocked the shot at the last moment.
Frustrated with this failure, which he blamed on the General's soldier, the Merovingian executed a hidden override program the Trainman had inserted into the General and his men when they were transferred out of the Matrix; the program compels the General and his Sentinels to obey the Merovingian's commands in the real world.
Zion tracked down the Morpheus simulacrum, finding evidence of some sort of connection between the unpredictable simulacrum and the General; this connection was confirmed in dramatic fashion when the General himself confronted the simulacrum, berating it for failing in its designated task of re-igniting conflict between the Machines and Zion. Cheered on by surrounding operatives, the simulacrum refused to obey the General's command to deactivate itself, and successfully defended itself when the incensed Sentinel leader attacked.
Meanwhile, Zion found indications that the Merovingian had transferred his Oracle kill-code into their own network. They managed to find the Frenchman's undercover team of operatives, and his spy within Zion, forcing the Merovingian to abort his plan, and extricate the kill-code from Zion's systems.
Although Zion's agreement to allow E Pluribus Neo to help guard the Oracle, at her own insistence, paid off when the Kid saved her from the kill-code-laced bullet fired by an Elite Commando, Zion subsequently suffered the loss of the crew of their hovercraft Pelageus at the hands of EPN's sworn enemies, the Cypherites. The Oracle tried to console Zion over the loss, but could not keep a sense of foreboding out of her message.
For the complete article with screenshots, go to WarCry.
Story Summary for Chapter 7.3.1 (5/31/07 - 6/06/07) by Rarebit
Zion tracked the "Morpheus Signal" in the city, and succeeded in locating Morpheus, or his RSI, at any rate, in Sobra Shores. This individual said little, however, and fled, managing to lose his pursuers in the Barrens.
Meanwhile, EPN had been following mysterious posters about a "Pure Mosh" event associated, in the past, with Morpheus, and, after putting together a number of clues, found that someone with the initials "J.M." may be responsible.
The Machines chased the General, who took refuge in the Merovingian's system of backdoor areas. The Merovingian obtained from the General a promise to leave the Matrix under his protection, as well as the transfer program needed to move commandos between the Matrix and the Real.
The Machines, with Cypherite assistance, had nearly hacked into the Merovingian's system with an aim of rooting out the General when the General himself appeared, bolting across the International District with Machines and Cypherites close behind. Despite their efforts, he managed to reach a subway station, and has taken shelter within the Trainman's access tunnels.
Story Summary for Chapter 7.3.2 (6/07/07 - 6/13/07) by Rarebit
Zion pursued readings from Morpheus' RSI signature, finding indications that the mysterious figure may be linked to the General in some way. Eventually they located the simulacrum itself, pondering something in the Barrens. It appeared confused and hesitant when questioned. Suddenly the General himself appeared, cursing it for having failed in the mission for which he had programmed it: to sow dissent between Zion and the Machines. The General ordered the Morpheus simulacrum to deactivate, but it refused, and defended itself when the General tried to deactivate it by force. The General was forced to withdraw, and operatives crowded around the victorious simulacrum of their old leader, who thanked them for believing in him.
The Machines planted viruses in the Trainman's switch hubs, forming a map of his subway network. This enabled them to detect him when he attempted to send the General out of the Matrix on a special train. The General's reluctance to leave allowed time for disguised operatives to reach the pair; the paranoid Trainman, however, sensed that something was amiss, and kicked the General onto the train just before it left the station. He then tried to escape from the Machine operatives, and managed to make it to a white hallway door, but was critically wounded in the process. His current status is unknown, listed as "disabled."
The Merovingian sought to get the General out of the Matrix, but the General initially refused to leave, saying he had one thing left to do. After the General's fight with the Morpheus simulacrum, and his nearly disastrous departure from the Matrix, the Merovingian launched the next phase of his plot to kill the Oracle, sending Malphas and operatives to crack a Zion email system, where they then transmitted the kill-code into Zion's network.
Story Summary for Chapter 7.3.3 ( 6/14/07 - 6/20/07) by Rarebit
Zion found and captured the undercover Merovingian crew who had relayed the kill-code to a spy inside Zion --apparently someone on the Oracle's security detail. Questioning of one the captured crew, McLelland, helped Zion identify the spy himself--an operative named Zaelti--but the kill-code was not found in his possession.
The Machines, concerned about the possible threat posed by the General's simulacrum made in the form of Morpheus, tracked down the simulacrum by following traces of activity at some of Morpheus' old haunts--subversive posters still being put up by a Zion operative named Joshua Maston. The simulacrum shut itself down rather than suffer questioning at the hands of the Machines, but not before hinting that it might be following Morpheus' old agenda of trying to stress the System.
The Machines located the simulacrum again, at Azimuth Twin Monument , and it spoke to the operatives, questioning the Truce, and the validity of the current peace. In response to Agent Gray's demands about its purpose, the simulacrum asked if Machine control of the human race was justifiable. When the Agent insisted that the simulacrum abide by the rules of the System, the simulacrum self-terminated, and left by apparently reconstructing elsewhere. The operatives and Gray decided that the simulacrum did not pose a direct threat, but should be monitored.
E Pluribus Neo found Joshua Maston by examining Maston's tool case, which had been confiscated by officer Vogt and the Machines. Maston said that his purpose in continuing to post Morpheus' subversive posters was to keep Morpheus' cause alive, even though he fully expects to be killed because of his actions. The Kid said that belief is a powerful weapon, but that EPN should not abandon hope of living to see a better tomorrow.
The Cypherite leader, Cryptos, appeared in the city, discussing topics such as choice and freedom with Zionites who found him. After testing himself against aggressive enemy operatives, he departed with several Cypherites, telling them that he could not say what was right or wrong, but that those who claim to know should not be trusted.
The Merovingian had operatives steal information on the Oracle's security detail in order to assist his undercover assassin, planted to kill the Oracle. However, Zion 's discovery of this spy forced him to look to alternative means. The Landlord was approached about a key found buried at the Mahath Tower construction site, and traded it to the Merovingian operatives in exchange for revenge against the local gang, the Dog Pound.
Story Summary for Chapter 7.3.3 ( 6/21/07 - 6/27/07) by Rarebit
The Merovingian's spies managed to smuggle the Oracle kill-code back out of Zion's organization as the Zionite investigation closed in.
E Pluribus Neo requested that they be allowed to help guard the Oracle alongside Zion. Zion Command was against the idea, but had to back down at the Oracle's insistence that EPN be admitted.
The Machines attempted to gain more information on Zion's mysterious activities in the Real on their own, but came up empty-handed. A frustrated Agent Gray spoke to the Cypherite leaders, Cryptos and Veil, emphasizing that results are needed, and hoping to push Cryptos back into active leadership over the tempestuous Veil.
During an operation to capture and punish a redpill who was causing the deaths of others who had been overwritten, like Cryptos, by the Machines, Cryptos grew impatient with Veil's presumption of control, and reaffirmed his leadership of the organization, as a miffed Veil flounced out.
Agent Pace directed a covert operation in the guise of a party for the Merovingian's officers, designed to send a distinct message to the Frenchman that his activities counter to the System's wishes, such as his support of the General, would not be tolerated.
The Merovingian requested a squad of commandos from the General, who was not entirely happy with the arrangement, but said he'd deliver them as long as they were being used to terminate the Oracle. After a few glitches, the Effectuator transferred the commando squad from the Real into the Matrix.
Once back in the city, they were hunted by Seraph, but disguised and aggressive Merovingian operatives managed to save most of them from danger. One of them was equipped with the kill-code, and the key recovered from Mahath, which allowed him to ambush the Oracle at close range. The Oracle sensed him and cried out just before he fired, and the Kid, on guard duty with other EPN operatives, reacted by jumping in front of the Oracle, taking the bullet meant for her. The terminal code in the shot stunned and weakened him, but the Oracle promised that he would recover. The danger past, she went outside for a long-awaited breath of air, and caught a train back to her home in Mara.
Story Summary, Chapter 7.3.5 (6/28 – 7/4) by Rarebit
Cypherites seeking information on men and material disappearing from Zion used an inside man to hijack the Zionite hovercraft Pelageus; when no new information was forthcoming from the crew, Veil ordered their jacks pulled. A nearby Zionite hovercraft managed to damage the hijacking Cypherite vessel, capturing one of its crew members. When confronted by the Machines, Veil said that they had no right to question her methods.
The Merovingian set up a signal relay to contact the General, now at the head of his Sentinel group in the Real. The Frenchman berated the one-time Sentinel leader for what he called his failure to kill the Oracle with the specially designed kill-code, and then initiated an override program that the Merovingian's technicians had inserted into the General and his commando programs when they transferred them out of the Matrix. The Merovingian gleefully contemplated the possible uses to which he could put his new Sentinel squadron.
The Oracle spoke to operatives, delivering a number of somewhat ominous sounding messages; she said that she's learned you can't save someone who doesn't want to be saved.
Story Summary, Chapter 7.3 end (7/5 – 7/11) by Rarebit
Machines/EPN and Zion/Cypherite violence spread, and threatened to bring Zion and the Machines into a larger conflict.
With the help of nearby operatives, Agent Pace recovered Machine data stolen by an EPN data runner, Morze. The Agent lingered at the scene, where more EPN operatives arrived and attacked her. She and other Machine and Cypherite operatives returned fire. Zionites too became involved in the firefight before the Agent finally left with the data.
Cypherites looking for data on Zion's movements in the Real tracked the hovercraft and jack-in signal of Zion operative Vomer, finding her downtown with Zion officer Rylet, and Zion Captain Niobe. Veil announced that Cypherite ships were closing in on both Vomer and Niobe's hovercraft. Niobe defied the surrounding Cypherites, and fought free in the ensuing melee while her hovercraft escaped in the Real. Vomer and her ship were not so fortunate; Cypherites captured the ship, and the valuable data it carried. The alleged involvement of Machine operatives in the fight against Niobe raised concerns about the Machine/Zion truce.
E Pluribus Neo rescued several of their operatives from Cypherite custody, just as the Cypherite officer exivy was about to hand them over to the Machines. The Kid staged diversions with Code Pulse Devices in Richland and Westview while another EPN team rescued the Rescate crew members from exivy and Agent Johnson in Downtown.
Elsewhere, the Morpheus simulacrum was told by operatives of the Machine memorial to Neo in Gracy Heights. He visited the site, and commented on the deceased Morpheus' mad quest for the One's remains.
In Maribeau, The Exile known as Tick Tock struck up a conversation with operative SiskoUrso, discussing the nature of time in the Matrix, and how the Machines manage to keep the simulation always in the year 1999.
Next: Chapter 8: Episode 1...