Welcome to my first Tron fanfiction, and actually the first fanfiction I ever published! Please bear in mind that I am not a native English speaker, nor have I published something before, so there may be some mistakes I overlooked. The story is based most on the Legacy timeline, with references to other Tron media out there, and I have a good part of it already written. Next chapters are going to be up real soon.
Disclaimer: I own nothing but my OCs and my ideas, everything else belongs to the awesome guys who created it.
Please enjoy and review!
Chapter One: A girl with dangerous hobbies
"Mom, I'm home!"
"How was your day, sweetheart?"
I tossed my bag on the kitchen floor and hopped on my favorite place on the countertop, watching my mother cook dinner.
"As usual, school, boring classes, exam preparation, you know the drill," I said, stretching. "Boring stuff."
"I hope you didn't get another detention," mom warned, making me stifle a laugh.
"What makes you think that, mom? You know I'm a nice kid, and I promised that I won't get into trouble anymore."
"You said that the last time, too," she replied, "and you pulled the same innocent face. What did you do this time?"
I sighed; she seemed to have a sixth sense, always sniffing out my lies.
"Okay, I got another detention," I admitted. "But I swear I didn't hack the school network again. It was during the PE class, and we were playing Ultimate Frisbee; I kind of hit Jean between the eyes, but I didn't mean it, I swear!"
Mom lifted her gaze from what she was doing, and I shrank.
"You said that you were staying out of trouble with that girl," she deadpanned.
"She called me 'freak' and said that I should have stayed behind my stupid computer screen. She thinks that I broke into her Facebook account and wrote all those nasty things about her."
"And did you do that?"
I had showed her ex-boyfriend how to do it, but I didn't actually think that he would really mean it.
"Of course I didn't," I retorted, earning a glare from my mom. "But she assumed that I was the only one who could do it."
"And that was the reason you hit her?"
"Well, she also broke into my locker and messed up my things."
"I thought that you would be clever enough to let this grudge go, Emily," mom sighed. "But it's too late now. Come on, dinner's ready."
I ate quickly the chicken grill and fries on my plate, washed the dishes and went to my basement under the pretext of doing an assignment from class. I closed the door and locked it, stopping in front of the huge mirror on the wall on the way to my computer. My reflection glared back at me, sapphire blue eyes mocking and hard. I looked like one of the popular girls, tall, lithe and graceful, but not skinny, with a long mane of black hair hanging to the half of my back. The reflection had smooth features and porcelain skin, which had earned me the nickname of "Snow white" sometime during my sophomore year. An ironical grin painted itself on my lips: I couldn't have been one of them. I was the computer geek. I pulled some faces in the mirror, pouting and posing like the cheerleaders did when the guys approached them on the hallways; it felt awkward and unnatural, and I went to my laptop.
Everyone knew me as Emily Grant, an 18 year old student from Lincoln High, New York, but when I wasn't at school or doing chores I passed my time in the virtual world under the hacker name of Enyo. I had taken it from a goddess of war in Greek mythology, and it meant "warlike". It had become known in the virtual world after I hacked my way into some of the most secure networks existing, and now I was on my way to adding another hit on my list: ENCOM.
I had learned that the company had ditched their famous firewall program, TRON that had protected their data since before the first CEO, Kevin Flynn, went missing 20 years ago. I cracked my knuckles and started my work. I had already run a trace program, so all I had to do now was to break their defenses. The time flew by as I typed on the keyboard furiously: run a quick diagnostic - "aww, what a cute firewall you have"- it's a decoy, find the true one, and erase the traces. A little past midnight I reached the final one, which has resisted all my attempts to breach it.
"You won't budge, will you?," I muttered. "Time to get the 'big baby', then."
I inserted a disk to the unit; it had my ultimate weapon, a special virus with a learning algorithm that adapted to the task I gave it. A message appeared on the screen:
I hit the 'y' key, watching the 'big baby' work. It was a matter of time until...
"Yesss, it worked!," I cheered. "My grandma has better firewalls on her computer!"
All the ENCOM data scrolled on the screen obediently, but I wasn't interested in stealing any of it. I prepared to leave them the usual "Owned you, punks" message, when some files caught my attention. There was a copy of TRON, and I looked into the data log.
Number of copies: 2
Mention: Moved to Grid
What the hell was this 'Grid'? My curiosity was stronger than my caution, so I continued searching. I found the project of a 'digitizing laser', and some more references to this 'Grid', all pointing me to Flynn's personal computer.
I paused for a moment; entering the ENCOM network was something, but a personal computer? That was a whole another problem. Again, my curiosity won, and I began the same process of diagnostics, until I was stopped dead in my tracks by the strongest firewall I had ever seen. Not even the 'big baby' could breach it, so I began helping it. Everything I did was countered by the program, halting my progress.
I swore, one harsh obscenity, and looked better at the way the firewall had behaved. It had a learning quality that allowed it to push back my virus, but after some time I found a way to get in: I had to mimic it and make it believe that I was a part of it. More hours passed as I painstakingly avoided the obstacles, and by the time I got in my eyes burned and my head throbbed. I winced when I glanced at the clock: it was 6:54 AM. I had stayed up all night. Despite being tired and stiff, I felt the warm satisfaction of victory, and made sure to leave a back door in the system for me to get in again before getting up with a groan and getting ready for school.
It took me 3 sleepless months, all my economies - also some mobster's economies (teeheee, he had stolen it anyway) - and a dozen of "scrap it all, start again" moments to build the digitizing laser from scratch in the basement of an old industrial building three blocks away where I had set my headquarters under the motorcycle repair shop my best friend ran. I still didn't know what to do with it, and I searched through the data for a clue until I found some note about a "failsafe" and about a portal that could only be opened from the outside. I modified the launch sequence to go both ways, but I didn't have the courage to try it.
It had been on the back of my mind for some time, curiosity gnawing at me like a bug, before I finally mustered the will to do it.
"Mum, I'm going to work on the new bike I got," I told her after dinner, two weeks after finishing the laser.
"Okay, sweetie, be careful," she chimed, smoothing my hair.
I hopped on my motorcycle, an old-school piece I salvaged from a scrapyard and reconditioned myself, heading to Mike's Bikes. I left the bike in front of the shop, and went in.
"Heya, Mike," I greeted
"To the basement again, girl?," he laughed from underneath a red Ducati. "You need to see the sun, or everyone will believe you're a vampire. What's so fun about those computer screens?"
"What's so fun about the outside world?," I retorted, continuing to the basement door.
I paused for a second in front of the keyboard. What was going to happen? From what I found in Flynn's logs, that laser sent you somewhere. Where would it send me? And, more important, will I be able to come back?
"Come on girl, man up," I muttered, as I entered the starting sequence.
I took a deep breath and pressed 'y'. The world turned bright blue, then black, then nothing.
I woke up flat on my back, looking at the dark, cloudy sky above, surrounded by the sound of waves. Wait, waves? I scrambled to my legs and my jaw dropped as I took in my surroundings.
"Oh. My. God," I gasped, struggling for air.
I was on the edge of a rocky cliff above a large body of water that looked like it was made from pixels, moving up and down like the waves of a sea. Behind me, the tall buildings of a city rocketed to the dark sky, and I could see brightly lit vehicles, some red, and some bright blue rolling on the streets. Flying... things -they looked more like alien ships than planes- soared above the cityscape.
It was true what Flynn left in the logs, the laser did send you somewhere. I thought about returning and a bright writing appeared in front of me:
Oh, so I could go back. I touched the floating 'n', and the message disappeared. Only then I had noticed what I was wearing. I had been wearing a leather jacket, tank top, jeans motorbike boots, all black. What I had on was similar, but instead of the zipper of the jacket was a white glowing band, just like the patch on my boots and the stripes on the outside of my legs. Also, I had something on my back, and when I reached between my shoulders I felt something quite large and round. It was some sort of disk, lit with white too. It was attached to some kind of dock between my shoulder blades, and I put it back with a feeling that it was more than just a decoration. I bent over to pick a rock, and as I touched it I could see the code embedded in it.
Only then it hit me: I was on the Grid. Kevin Flynn had created an entire world inside a computer, and by activating the laser you got sent inside. I felt a huge grin split my face.
"If the others knew where I am..."
The sound of thrusters pulled me from my daydreaming, and I looked up to one of those ships hover above me, red circuit lines glowing. I shook myself from the shock of seeing it and tried to run, but the ground sank around me leaving a hexagonal island. A platform lowered and two guys wearing black, skin-tight suits and helmets grabbed me.
"Another stray," one of them growled, pulling me to the platform. His voice had a weird digital tone like it was synthetized.
They sat me between two men and restraints appeared on my feet, binding them to the floor so I couldn't run away; the guards resumed their position on the platform and we took off, flying over the city to some kind of arena. The other guys on the ship were silent, and I looked at the city below my feet. It had a strange beauty to its dimly lit streets, circuit-like lights and shapes. The inhabitants looked like ants because of the altitude of the ship.
After some time - I couldn't tell if it had been minutes or hours since I arrived- the ship landed in front of an arena, with another guard coming to check us. It looked like he scanned us - or that's what his code told me. I had forgotten about this, but I supposed that I could maybe manipulate what surrounded me so I tried to find the opening sequence to the foot cuffs pinning me to the floor. Too late though: it was my turn to be scanned.
"Games," the guard announced, signaling other two to remove me from the ship and strap me to another hexagonal platform that sank to an underground facility. From there, everything kind of bled together: four women moving in strange unison, stripping me of my clothes and giving me a skin-tight suit of armor, stepping off the platform and heading to an opened gate, darkness, then light and the cheers of a crowd as a huge ship with yellow circuitry landed and docked above the arena.
It was unbelievable.
I shrugged the shock and awe away, looking at my opponent, a blue-circuited guy, and snapped out my Disk mirroring his battle stance. The Disk's edge lit up, and a helmet appeared to cover my face.
"Combatants 6 and 4 - Disk Wars," a voice announced.
The other guy threw the Disk towards where I was standing, only to hit nothing but air;
I had already ducked and rolled out of danger, mentally praising my idea of doing parkour and all kinds of fighting techniques for fun back home. I tossed my Disk in what my classmates had named "the impossible curve toss", making it ricochet of the glass walls of the module, but the other guy avoided it. Instincts I never knew I had taken me over and I broke into a sprint, catching the Disk mid-flight, and leaped over the gap between the module halves to my opponent's. Three swift strikes of my Disk later he was disintegrating, and the voice of the Arena announced my victory and his deresolution. Oh, so that's what they call death here. You derezz.
The modules rearranged, facing me with a horribly scarred dude; this time I knew what the Disk would do: the edge was sharp, derezzing someone with a direct hit, it always returned when you tossed it and it was good for deflecting other Disks too. The scarred dude and the next dude fell under my Disk fairly easily, and I was the only one left in the Arena.
"I won!" I shouted. "Now what?"
The Arena voice answered me immediately.
"Combatant 4 versus Rinzler, final battle."
The crowds cheered even louder, as the modules rearranged into a larger arena, while two carried me and another guy, garbed in black with just some streaks of orange-red and four dots resembling a T just below his throat. The most startling was the featureless black mask he wore, and the broken purring sound he emitted. Obviously male, he carried a feline grace I usually associated to gymnasts and acrobats, but not without strength. He looked like a predator, and I was supposed to be his prey.
"Oh, shit," I muttered.
Rinzler whipped out his Disk, twisting it and revealing twin Disks that glowed orange, assuming a battle stance, always purring. I blink and the next things I see are his Disks shooting towards me, and I roll out of the way, tossing my own disk. I notice some arrows on the far wall of the arena twisting, and a quick glance at the code tells me they reversed gravity. The Rinzler had noticed it too, and we both start running to the curved walls at the end of the modules. Gravity reverses, and he leaps to an impossible height, landing in front of me, slamming his left Disk towards my chest, but I manage to deflect it in the last moment. The Rinzler's weapons whirl like chopper blades around me, and all I can do is defend myself against his onslaught. If I miss one step, if I duck a second too late, I'm dead.
The fight continues for God knows how much, looking more like a dance. Slash, duck, block, leap out of the way. Gravity reverses back to normal and I miss a step, breaking the rhythm and he kicks me to the ground, knocking my Disk out of my grasp, but not too far that I can't reach it. In the blink of an eye he's kneeling on my chest holding a Disk to my throat.
The girl is on the ground, my Disk an inch from her throat, when a grin paints itself on her lips.
"You make a move and we both derezz," she growls, and I hear a faint whir to my left.
Her Disk was inches from my midsection, and I know that she is right.
Clu won't be happy about this.
Rinzler froze when he saw the Disk I was pointing to his ribs. The crowd was silent, and for a long moment I stare at the blank mask in front of my face in mute defiance, daring him to finish me and die himself. I could swear that he was considering what to do when he did the last thing I expected: he offlined his Disks and grabbed me, setting me on my feet before raising my right arm in the air in the universal sign for victory.
Even the passengers of the ship had stood up; I could see a cloaked and masked man with yellow circuitry and a skinny one with red lights stare at us. The spectators howled and cheered as I stood dumbfounded, my hand in Rinzler's steady grip. He had spared me.
A male voice covered the roaring crowd - the skinny guy.
"Identify yourself, Program!"
I thought quickly before answering, almost feeling all the gazes on me.
"My name is Enyo."
Every man in the arena - I suppose I should call them Programs - began chanting my name. The masked man told the other something, before turning back to us.
"I require your presence here," he ordered. "We have to celebrate our new... champion, I suppose."
Rinzler grabbed me again as the platform lowered, dragging me to the entrance, and I knew somehow that they mustn't find out who I am. Two more guards flanked me, pointing to a long corridor, and I acted quickly, kicking one of them down before whipping my Disk out and derezzing the other. I evaded Rinzler's grasp and ran on the corridor as fast as my legs could carry me. I had to get out before he caught me, so I did the only thing possible: I used the code to point me to some mean of transportation. The main hangar was close, but the guards and Rinzler were closing in fast.
"What the hell am I doing?" I told myself, remembering the laser.
Immediately the message appeared, and as the Programs closed around me I pressed the 'y' key, turning the world bright blue again.
When I exited the basement, Mike got up from his work and took in my shocked face.
"How long had I been in there?" I interrupted him.
"Less than a minute, why? You look shaken..."
'If you only knew where I 've been, Mike...'
"I need all the keys from the basement. Do not let anyone get in, do not talk about it to anyone, and most important, do not go in there, you understand?"
He looked dumbfounded, but he handed me the keys and I locked the door twice.
"Emily, what happened?"
"It's better if you don't know, trust me," I told him. "Got to go, see you soon."
I left, leaving him shocked and amazed in the door as I sped home.