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After the recent run-ins with fanatic redpills dressed as Neo and Trinity, Zion Intel operatives began combing city records for reports of similar encounters. A surprising amount of reports were found of similarly dressed people, often involved in fights with groups matching the general description of Cypherites.

Furthermore, a number of hovercraft that left Zion recently have failed to make their scheduled status broadcasts back to Zion Control. Commander Lock believes that the new costumed redpill group is operating from these renegade hovercraft. Most of the data on these hovercraft’s crews was somehow wiped from Zion’s databases. Fortunately, a backup copy of one of the crew’s data was stored on a portable drive that they seem to have not known about. Zion uses this data to trace the crew’s RSI signals. Operatives are sent to attempt to intercept and subdue those operatives.

Arriving on site, the operatives discover the area is littered with the remains of Cypherite RSIs. Among the bodies stand the victorious redpills, wearing the Neo and Trinity look-a-like clothing.

E Pluribus Neo operative: Another one! Don’t worry, buddy; we’ve still got more of what we already gave to your traitor friends!

The Pluribus Neo operatives attack the Zion operatives. However, their luck has run out and each Pluribus Neo operative is killed one quickly followed by the next.

E Pluribus Neo operative: Neo didn’t surrender, and neither will we!

The Pluribus Neo operatives hold their own until their last operative slumps to the ground. The Zion operatives search around, and carried by one of the operatives is ‘operating orders’. Exactly what a well-trained Zion operative is not supposed to carry. The duty operator concludes that the renegades must not be too organized just yet. The operative punches up the coordinates from the document, and directs the Zion operatives there.

Tyndall believes the renegade’s aggression is due to disorganization, and believes it could allow Zion to disrupt their operations and win them back to Zion while their chain of command is still unsteady.

The second location is full of Pluribus Neo operatives. Taking them by surprise, the Zionites quickly eliminate the resistance. Inside they find a computer. After unlocking the security systems using a disk found on one of the Pluribus Neo operatives, the Zionites discover a chat log on the computer.

Dav043: You heard what she said. These Cypherites are going down.

Chang: I know, man, I know. I just don’t want us to forget about freeing bluepills.

Dav043: You gotta prioritise. Shimada knows what she’s doing.

Dav043: Hang on a sec.

Chang: ...

Chang: Still there, dude?

Chang: Well, catch you later.

[Chang has disconnected]

The name “Shimada” creates interest, as it seems she’s the one directing the Pluribus Neo operatives. The operator requests the operatives attempt to pull the data log of network connections so hopefully it can be used to track down “Chang”.

The data is extracted and uploaded at the closest hardline. The operatives submit a progress report to Tyndall, who believes the name “Shimada” sounds familiar, and informs the operatives that Shimada was probably a Zionite. Tyndall says she’ll see what she can dig up in the meantime. Chang’s terminal is tracked down using the data log, and the operatives are forwarded onwards to intercept Chang and to find out more regarding Shimada.

Entering the location, the operatives find Pluribus Neo within.

E Pluribus Neo Crusader: Hey! What are you--?

The Zionites act quick and inform them they’re after information regarding Shimada. Suspicious of the Zionites, the Pluribus Neo Crusader reluctantly reveals Chang’s location in the next room and informs the Zionites he’ll probably be able to shed more light on Shimada.

Chang: You want to meet Shimada, huh? Either you’ve got Neo in your heart, or you’re trying to spy on us for that do-nothing Commander Lock. Anyway, you’ll get what you deserve from Shimada.

Chang assigns two Pluribus Neo operatives to the Zionites, and informs them that they’ll know where to go.

Chang: Piece of advice, friend: don’t think about pulling the wool over Shimada’s eyes. She’s nobody’s fool.

Tyndall inquires around Zion regarding Shimada, and learns that it seems Shimada truly once was a Zionite and apart of one of the many Hovercraft crews that went missing. The Zionites continue with their Pluribus Neo guides with the hopes to convince Shimada to return the missing Hovercrafts to Zion. Or at least, learn the goals of her group.

Shimada’s location is heavily secured by plenty of Pluribus Neo guards. The Zionites are lead into Shimada’s room, where Shimada addresses the leader of the operative group.

Shimada: You came here seeking answers, operative, but you must find some of them for yourself. I will tell you that our group, E Pluribus Neo, is dedicated to following the teachings and ideals of Neo: most importantly, that all humans should be given the chance for freedom from the Matrix, just as every bird should have a chance to use its wings. When you understand the truth of that statement, you will be ready to know more. At present, I must ask you to leave. Do not bother trying to call operatives for backup; we will be long gone before they can arrive.

Shimada’s slow heavy accent and tendency to use flowery metaphors reflect the depth of her dedication to Neo’s ideals of self-awareness, freedom, and peace. She has been a friend of the Kid since Neo brought him back to Zion.

The Zionites leave, at the very least knowing E Pluribus Neo’s goals. Tyndall contacts the operatives for their debriefing.

Tyndall: Oh dear. I was afraid of this, Warrior; another schism within Zion. Shimada sounds like a calm, reasonable woman, but her youthful idealism needs tempering with the wisdom of experience. It’s clear from her own words that Shimada is concealing something about her “E Pluribus Neo” group from us. We need to find out what she’s hiding. It could be the key to clearing up this misunderstanding, and getting those people back into Zion. If E Pluribus Neo begins waking bluepills at an accelerated rate, the Machines might feel that their power is threatened, and accuse us of aiding a violation of the Truce. And if the Truce fails... Let us pray that it doesn’t come to that.

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