So, there hasn't been an update on House of Mirrors for several months. Sorry about that, but I've hit some serious writer's block with that story. However, I am not completely without stories. This is a little pet project of mine that's been bouncing around in my head for a while, but I've only recently actually started to work on. Yes, it's a continuation fic for Tron Uprising. I am well aware that this is something of a trend for fic at the moment, but I've got quite a few ideas that I think would lend themselves well to a second season. Of course, if a second season does come out (very unlikely), then all of this will be wrong, but, whatever. I'll also try to stick to the format of the show as much as possible. So, without further ado, I present to you, the season première of Tron Uprising Season 2.
Disclaimer: Tron and all things associated to it belong to the Mouse. I'm just playing around with it.
Accessing archived data...
Tron recovers from his injuries...
"Shouldn't you be taking it easy?" asked Beck as he attacked another Black Guard.
"This is me taking it easy!" Tron replied, smacking a Guard with his staff as he did so.
...Beck loses a friend...
"Clu repurposed you," Beck whispered as Cutler's circuit lines changed from white to orange.
"Clu showed me the light," Cutler said in reply...
...Beck's face fell as Cutler began laughing at him. With the bomb ticking down, Beck had no choice but to drop Cutler. The bomb exploded, killing Cutler and badly damaging the super-recognizer.
...The programs at the garage decide to make a stand...
Mara stood at the centre of a line of programs facing Pavel and his guards.
"From now on, we protect each other," she said as the sound of discs being activated broke the silence after the crash. "Tell your boss we're done letting one program fight our battles."
"Welcome to the house of pain," said Zed with a smirk...
..."The Uprising has begun," said Tron, watching the scene from atop the wreckage.
...And Tesler prepares to receive a special guest.
Tesler snatched the tablet away from Paige, and a look of sheer terror crossed his face once the image on the tablet came into focus.
Beck surveyed the scene below. Pavel was retreating to the Recognizer he'd landed in Able's Garage, with his guards following close behind him. Standing front of the wreckage, all the programs that worked at the garage were standing with their discs ready for combat. Beck glanced over his shoulder at Tron.
"Tesler's not going to take this lying down," said Beck.
"Neither will Clu," said Tron. "He's never liked it when things don't go his way."
"We have to get these programs out of here, before more guards arrive to investigate."
"That's a good idea, but my hideout in the Outlands isn't big enough to accommodate all of them," said Tron.
"Able built that base, right?" asked Beck. After Tron nodded slowly, Beck smiled. "If one mechanic can build that base, a whole bunch of us ought to be able to expand it, right?"
"Good point," said Tron. "With their help, we can convert it from a simple hideout into a proper secret base."
"Exactly," said Beck. "All we have to do is make sure they get there in one piece."
Beck started to climb off the wreckage, but Tron placed a hand on his shoulder to stop him.
"I should be the one to talk to them," said Tron. "Tron Lives, after all. But perhaps more importantly, your friends are probably worried about you."
"Good point," said Beck. Beck removed his disc, and twisted off the bottom half. As he did so, his white suit changed into a black one, and the insignia on his chest disappeared. Tron accepted the half-disc and reattached it to his own disc. Beck then headed slightly deeper into the wreckage, in order to loop around and join his friends. Tron rezzed his helmet, and made his way towards the programs that had gathered below.
The Resistance, Part I
"Hey, look! The Renegade's coming over here!" said one of the programs, pointing at Tron.
"Greetings, programs," said Tron as the mechanics all turned to face him. He collapsed his helmet, and a very small but very smug smile caused his lips to twitch as whispers of shock and awe spread through the crowd. "I'm sorry we couldn't meet in better circumstances, but we don't have time to stand around."
"What do you mean by that?" asked Mara.
"Pavel will probably be back with reinforcements to arrest all of you for treason," said Tron. "And there will most likely be guards headed this way to investigate the crash."
"What was that thing, anyway?" asked Zed. "And what was it doing here in Argon?"
"I'll explain everything once we get someplace safe," said Tron. "For now, everyone needs to gather their things and grab a light-cycle."
"Where are we going?" asked Mara.
"I have a hideout, deep in the Outlands," said Tron. "It's small, but we can expand it later. We need to get there before Occupation forces arrive."
Mara swallowed. "A-all right," she said, her voice trembling slightly as she began to realize that by siding against Clu, all the programs at Able's Garage had become outlaws. She took a few breaths to steady herself, then turned to face the other mechanics. "Well, you heard Tron!" she yelled. "Get your stuff and a light-cycle. Come on, move!"
Her words shook the others out of their shock. They all started running back into the garage. Mara stayed for a second, looking around frantically. "Where's Beck run off to now?" she muttered.
"I'm right here," said a voice behind her.
Mara spun around to face him. "Beck! You're okay!" She gave him a quick hug, then let him go and glared at him angrily. "Where were you?!"
"I was just out for a walk, and that thing nearly landed on me," said Beck, pointing over his shoulder at the wreckage. "I got here just in time to see you guys standing up to Pavel, and I heard everything Tron said."
Mara narrowed her eyes. "You don't sound too surprised that the Renegade is actually Tron," she said thoughtfully. "And you've used that 'taking a walk' excuse a lot recently to explain why you haven't shown up for your shifts... very long walks, and while you're gone, the Renegade shows up..." Mara's eyes widened as the puzzle pieces began to fall into place. "You're the Renegade, aren't you?"
Beck sighed. "Okay, fine. I admit it, I'm the Renegade." After he said that, there was a brief pause. Then Mara slapped him.
"Ow!" he moaned as he rubbed his sore cheek. "What was that for?"
"Why didn't you tell us you were the Renegade?" Mara asked.
"Look, I..." Beck stopped, and sighed again. "Can we have this conversation once we get somewhere safe?"
"Yeah, that's probably a good idea," said Mara, turning towards the Garage. "But we will be having that conversation!" she shouted over her shoulder.
"Yeah, I'm looking forward to it," Beck muttered, before running after her to grab a cycle.
The air shimmered from the heat emitted from the jets of thousands of recognizers as a massive fleet hovered above the ocean, flying in perfect formation towards Argon City. Aboard the observation room of the flagship, Dyson approached Clu to deliver his report.
"We're entering Argon now, sir," he said.
"Good," said Clu. "How soon until we reach our destination?"
"One hundred microcycles, sir," said Dyson. "I also have news regarding the Mobile Repurposing Unit."
"Let me guess-something went horribly wrong?" asked Clu.
Dyson nodded. "The last report I received indicated that the Renegade arrived to rescue Tron, and interrupted the repurposing process after Tron's code had been cleansed, but before the new code could be installed. I've also received reports that the Mobile Repurposing Unit was badly damaged by an explosion, and crashed in Argon."
Clu growled in frustration. "So not only do I have a Renegade who was trained by Tron and has managed to evade Tesler since he first appeared, Tron himself is now back at full strength, and the best repurposing unit I have has been destroyed?!"
"I'm afraid there's more, sir," said Dyson.
Clu snarled angrily. "Let's hear it."
"I intercepted a transmission between Tesler and Pavel, one of Tesler's lieutenants," said Dyson. At Clu's nod, Dyson continued, "He was reporting from a mechanic workshop near the crash site of the Mobile Repurposing Unit. He claims that all the programs there sided with the Renegade and tried to attack him. While I doubt he was actually attacked, the fact that other programs are openly siding with the Renegade is disturbing."
Clu was silent for a moment, and during that silence, Dyson wisely decided to take a few steps back.
"Incompetent idiot!" yelled Clu. "I gave that bit-brain all this time, and he still can't catch a single son of a glitch! Now I've got a full-scale rebellion on my hands!" Clu drew and activated his disc, and slammed it into the transparent forcefield that served as a window. The door hissed open quietly, but Clu was too caught up in his anger to notice. Dyson, however, did notice. He glanced over his shoulder, and saw that the Sentry stationed outside was looking in. The Sentry turned away and the door shut. Dyson turned back to Clu as the ruler of the Grid returned his disc to its rightful place.
"Dyson," said Clu.
"You're dismissed until we arrive at Argon," Clu said.
Dyson bowed. "Understood, sir." Dyson turned on his heel and left Clu's observation room. Once the door shut, he turned to face the Sentry.
"Sentry, was there a reason you looked in Clu's observation deck without permission?" Dyson asked.
"Sir, an impact was detected on the viewscreen, consistent with a disc impact," said the Sentry. "Suspecting it was an assassin attempting to kill Clu, I opened the door to observe the scene and take action if necessary. When I realized it was Clu himself, I left immediately."
"I see," said Dyson. The Sentry was one of the repurposed programs, which explained why there was no sweat visible on his exposed chin. "And did you, uh... hear any of our conversation before then?"
"No, sir, I did not," said the Sentry.
"Very good, Sentry," said Dyson. The repurposing made programs completely loyal to Clu, with the added side effect of leaving repurposed programs completely incapable of lying to the superiors. Still, it would be better to make sure no sensitive information was observed by anyone who should not see it.
"I'd like to see you in my office in ten microcycles," said Dyson. "Speak to no one until then."
"Understood, sir," said the Sentry, completely unaware of his impending deresolution.
Tron derezzed his cycle, and slowly poked his head around the corner. Behind him, Beck and the other programs from the Garage also pulled to a stop.
"What's wrong?" asked Beck.
"Security checkpoint," said Tron. "We'll need to somehow get past them."
Beck dismounted from his cycle and joined Tron in his observations. A recognizer had been landed to one side of the road, and the guards were checking the identity discs of the few programs using this particular exit.
"More guards than usual," said Beck. "I see at least six of them."
"And the pilot might still be in the recognizer, so there's at least seven," said Tron.
"Add in a copilot for a total of eight," said Beck.
"Ten," said Mara from behind them. Tron and Beck glanced at her over their shoulders. "There's two more guards on lookout standing on that rooftop," she said, blushing slightly as she pointed to the roof in question.
Tron glanced up and saw that Mara was right. "Good catch," he said.
Mara's blush intensified. "Th-thanks," she stammered.
"They seem to be more attentive than usual," said Beck.
"They're certainly more enthusiastic than normal," said Tron, watching as one of the guards roughly grabbed a male program and yanked his disc of his back. Once the Guard seemed satisfied with what he saw, he shoved the disc back into the program's hands and released him.
"How are we going to handle this?" asked Mara.
"We'll have to take out that recognizer," said Tron. "If that thing is left intact, it'll be hard to shake off. We'll also need to take out the two guards on lookout, and distract the rest."
"I can handle the distraction," said Beck. "But I'll need a grenade and the disc."
"You sure it's a good idea for you to wear the suit?" Tron asked.
"Well, the Renegade is a wanted program," said Beck. "Clu wants you alive, Tron. Who knows what could happen if you're caught?"
"And if you're caught, Clu would extract all the information he could from your disc, then kill you," said Tron.
"To Clu, I'm just some worthless nobody using the look of an apparently derezzed program," said Beck. "He'll probably just have me derezzed without even bothering to check my disc."
"Do you really believe that?" asked Tron. "Clu might be insane with power, but he's not stupid, and neither is Dyson. If they can't get the information from your disc, they'll try to torture it out of you, and then derez you once you're no longer useful."
"And if you're caught, Clu will repurpose you into one of his soldiers," said Beck. "He'll use you to crush the hope of any other programs who are thinking of rebellion. I can't let you be caught."
Tron opened his mouth to continue the argument, then stopped. "You're going to keep arguing until I give you the suit, aren't you?"
"If I say yes, will you give me the disc?" Beck asked cheekily.
"Heh. All right, have it your way," said Tron. Tron pulled out his disc and separated the two halves. Beck took the bottom half and attached it to his own disc. As his suit switched from black to white, Beck rezzed in his helmet.
"I need you to take out the lookouts," said Beck. "I'll handle the guards inside the recognizer and the recognizer itself. Once I've got the attention of the other guards, get everyone to the hideout. I'll find my own way back."
Tron nodded, and passed Beck a grenade. "Good luck."
"I think I'm gonna need it," said Beck as he accepted the grenade. He ran down the street, taking the back alleys to move closer to the Recognizer without being seen. The entry hatch was still open, so Beck bolted inside. Two guard programs were standing at the controls of the Recognizer.
"Have you heard the rumors?" asked one of the guards.
"I've heard quite a few," said the other. "You'll have to be more specific."
"The ones about that massive Recognizer that crashed near the garage," said the first.
"Yeah, I know all about that," said the second. "They say it was some sort of secret weapon."
"Why would it be in Argon, though?" asked the first.
"Dunno," said the second. "But it probably has something to do with the Renegade."
Beck used that as his cue, leaping out of hiding and slamming his fists into the guard's helmeted head. The guard grunted and collapsed.
"Hey!" yelled the second.
Beck drew his disc, but didn't activate the cutting edge. He smacked the guard with it, and he collapsed as well. Beck glanced out the windscreen at the rooftop where the lookouts were stationed. Tron looked back down at him and nodded. Beck nodded back. He planted the grenade on the Recognizer's controls and set the timer.
Beck ran out, making sure the guards could see him. As the grenade went off, he pulled out his baton and rezzed his light-cycle.
"It's the Renegade! After him!" yelled one of the guards. Four of the guards rezzed their cycles and gave chase.
"You stand guard here," one of the remaining guards, before he rezzed his cycle and chased after his fellows.
"Hey, wait!" said the remaining Guard, but his companions were already out of earshot. The last guard sighed. "How come nothing exciting ever happens to me?" His grumbling was soon silenced when Tron snuck up behind him and knocked him out.
Tron turned to the programs from Able's Garage. All of them had watched the display with silent awe.
"Come on!" Tron yelled, snapping them out of their stupor. Tron rezzed his light-cycle and raced off into the Outlands, followed closely by the other programs.
Beck glanced over his shoulder at his pursuers, checking to see how many of the guards he'd distracted.
Well, five out of six isn't so bad, Beck thought. Now all I've got to do is lose them.
With a flick of his thumb, Beck activated his cycle's light-wall. The leader of the pursuit team was directly behind Beck. As the white light-wall flashed into existence, the leader braked hard, but it wasn't enough. His cycle slammed into the light-wall, throwing him off. The leader hit the ground with a loud thud, and the other four guards raced around him, two on either side of Beck's light-wall. The remaining guards activated their light-walls, and the deadly game began.
Tesler was pacing angrily on the hangar deck of his flagship. He knew that the only reason Clu would come to Argon was to deal with the Renegade personally. And if Clu was coming to do that, it meant that Tesler was no longer of any use to Clu. Tesler was now expendable... and that thought made him angry. He hadn't clawed his way up to the position of general just to be disposed of when he failed to catch a single program.
"General!" said a guard's voice from behind him.
Tesler whirled around to face the guard. "What?!" he snarled.
To his credit, the guard barely flinched. "Sir, the Renegade has been sighted in the northwest areas of Argon."
"What's he doing and where's he headed?" Tesler asked.
"He's heading deeper into the city, sir, towards Able's Garage," said the guard. "But we're not sure what he's trying to do. He destroyed a recognizer stationed near the northwest exit point, but we don't know why."
"Maybe he's trying to give someone a way out of Argon," said Paige, walking up behind Tesler.
Tesler nodded. "Get recognizers and light-jets in the air and sweeping the area. If the Renegade has allies, I want them rounded up."
"Yes, sir," said the guard. "What about the Renegade?"
Tesler began to walk towards a light-copter. "Paige, you're in charge of preparing for Clu's arrival. I'm going after the Renegade personally."
"General, are you sure that's a good idea? What if Clu arrives early?" Paige asked.
"He won't," said Tesler. "He will arrive exactly when he says he arrived, and not a nanocycle sooner. And if I don't catch the Renegade, well... let's just say that Clu will be very displeased with me."
Beck swerved to his right, cutting down into another street and hugging the right wall. The two guards on his left swerved around his light-wall easily. The guards on his right had some trouble. The one closest to him couldn't make the turn fast enough, and slammed into his light-wall, causing his cycle to derez. The other easily made the turn, but his cycle skidded on the cube-like voxels of the derezzed light-cycle, and he slammed into Beck's light-wall as well.
Three down, two to go, thought Beck.
Beck continued to drive through the streets of Argon, swerving through corners to try and cause the remaining two pursuers to crash. The two surviving guards matched him move for move, not once coming close to smashing into Beck's light-wall. Beck drew his disc, and threw it at a nearby overhead pipe. The disc cleaved through the left end of the pipe, and the pipe began to fall. Beck stayed close to the right wall, and made it through the gap between the fallen pipe and the wall. One of Beck's pursuers also made it through the gap. The other was forced to come to a stop, trapped between his companion's light-wall and the dead end formed by the pipe.
The last of the guards accelerated until he was level with Beck, then rammed his cycle into Beck's. Beck grunted as the guard's shoulder dug into his side, and his cycle wobbled from the force of the impact. Beck passed his disc from his right hand to his left, and slammed it into the front wheel of the guard's cycle. The cycle derezzed, sending orange-lined black cubes skittering across the street and dumping the guard with a thud. Beck swung down another street and skidded to a stop, just barely avoiding the wreckage from the super recognizer. Beck blinked a few times in surprise. Surely that race across Argon hadn't led him back here, had it?
Beck dismounted, and the cycle collapsed back into his baton. He clipped the baton to his leg, and walked around the wreckage. Sure enough, Able's Garage was right there, completely empty of programs, possibly for the first time since its construction.
Beck swallowed the lump that had risen in his throat, and entered the garage. It was rather obvious that everyone had left in a hurry; multitools were scattered near workstations, vehicles were standing with their codes still being accessed, the lights were still on...
"Able wouldn't like to see this," Beck muttered with a sad smile. He knelt next to a light-cycle, and deactivated the multitool, closing the open window of code. He placed the multitool on a nearby bench, derezzed the cycle and attached the baton to his leg, before moving over to the next light-cycle. As he reached down to pick up the second multitool, he saw something, no, someone, moving on the other side of the Garage. Beck down behind the light-cycle and reached behind his back, ready to draw his disc.
"I know you're in here, Renegade!" Tesler yelled as he walked in, scanning the room. "Show yourself!"
Beck gritted his teeth and growled in frustration. He stood up, keeping the cycle between him and Tesler as he drew his disc.
"All right, you found me," said Beck. "Now what are you gonna do?"
"That was a good race with those light-cycles earlier," said Tesler. "It's almost a shame I have to derez you; you'd make an excellent participant in the Games."
"And slaughter innocent programs for your amusement? No thanks," Beck said, tightening his grip on his disc.
"Suit yourself," said Tesler, derezzing his cloak and powering up his unique extendable arms. "I was going to give your cubes to Clu, anyway." Tesler thrust his right arm forward, and his arm extended, his open hand reaching for Beck. Beck threw his disc at Tesler's hand, causing Tesler's attack to shoot off course.
"Can you even afford that kind of long distance mail?" Beck asked as he caught his disc.
"I don't need to mail it," said Tesler as he retracted his arm. "Clu's on his way to Argon right now... and when I give him your disc, he won't have me executed for incompetence!"
Beck gasped in shock. "Clu's coming here?"
"Oh, didn't you know?" asked Tesler. "Apparently, you've caused so much trouble that Clu has taken a personal interest in you."
"I'm not the one he wants," said Beck. "Clu's after Tron."
"Tron's dead, you bit-brain!" Tesler snarled, charging at Beck. Tesler swung his right arm at Beck's face, but Beck ducked and fired off two quick jabs to Tesler's ribs. Tesler tried to smack Beck with the back of his hand, but Beck leaned back, and the blow passed in front of his face. Tesler used his momentum to spin around and punch Beck in the chest. Beck was knocked into the air by the force of the blow, and skidded back several feet.
"You were right about me not being Tron," said Beck, gasping for air. "But that doesn't change the fact that Tron Lives."
Tesler growled in anger, and rezzed his arm cannon, aiming at Beck.
"Uh-oh," said Beck, as the cannon fired. Beck dove forward, and the superheated energy blast shot through the garage, blasting a hole in the far wall. Tesler fired again, aiming at the ground in front of Beck. Beck jumped over the blast and the newly-formed crater, closing the distance between him and Tesler. Tesler derezzed his arm cannon and powered up his arms, throwing a powerful punch at Beck once he was in range. Beck dodged, and kicked Tesler in the chin. Beck then drew his disc and thrust it at Tesler, but Tesler blocked the attack by grabbing Beck's disc with his left hand. Beck grabbed the baton clipped to his leg and activated the staff function. Beck smacked Tesler in the chest with the staff. Tesler grunted, dropped Beck's disc and staggered back a step. Beck scooped up his disc, and returned it to his back socket.
"You've been practicing," said Tesler approvingly. "You're good, but you're still just an ordinary program. What are you, a musician? An accountant, maybe? Do some mechanic work?"
Beck launched a flurry of attacks with his staff. Tesler managed to block most of them with his arms, but a few blows managed to sneak past his defense, leaving small marks in his chest.
"Does your boss know you're here?" Tesler asked in mock-disappointment, before a vicious smile crossed his face. "Or is he too busy being a dead pile of cubes?"
Beck screamed in anger, and began swinging his staff even faster, spurred on by his anger. Too late, he noticed the look of triumph on Tesler's face. Beck realised that he'd overextended his reach, left himself vulnerable to attack... and Tesler was all too willing to take advantage of that lapse. Beck had swung his staff, and Tesler had leaned to the side. Tesler reached behind Beck and grabbed the back of his head. With a yell, Tesler pushed Beck, slamming his helmeted head into the floor. The impact left a dent in the floor and shattered Beck's faceplate. Tesler then threw Beck across the garage, and Beck slammed into a parked light-cycle, knocking it over.
"So you are one of Able's programs," said Tesler. "Where are the rest of your friends?"
Beck slowly pushed himself to his feet, noticing that half his faceplate was missing. There were several small cuts on the exposed side of his face.
"They're long gone now," said Beck. "You'll never find them."
"So you're just here as a distraction," said Tesler.
"That's right," said Beck. "And I'd say it was working pretty well."
"You fool," said Tesler mockingly. "I realised what you were trying to pull as soon as I heard what you did at the checkpoint. The recognizers would've scooped up your friends by now. This uprising of yours is doomed to end before it can even start."
"Tron! Look behind us!" Mara yelled.
"I see them," Tron replied, spotting at least four recognizers flying in a search pattern. Fortunately, a snow storm was beginning to form. Unfortunately, it would take too long for them to reach his hideout with the storm raging. Fortunately, Tron knew this stretch of the Outlands well.
"There's a cave nearby!" Tron yelled. "We can take cover there while we wait for the storm and the recognizers to pass!"
"Can we even make it in time?!" Zed asked.
"We should be able to!" Tron yelled, gunning his light-cycle. More quietly, he added, "By my User, I hope so."
Tron weaved his cycle through a rock formation, making a sharp right turn once he cleared it. The other programs following him either slowed down as they made their way through the rocks, or just went around it. That caused them to take more time, allowing the recognizers to catch up. Tron spotted the cave up ahead and drove inside. A few seconds later, Mara drove in, followed closely by Zed and Link. After half a minute, most of the programs from the garage were in the cave. The last to enter was Dash, who made it in mere seconds before a recognizer's spotlight sweeped past the cave entrance.
"Did they see you?" Tron asked Dash as he derezzed his light-cycle.
"No, I don't think so," said Dash.
Tron kept his gaze fixed on the entrance to the cave. After a few minutes, the storm began to pick up strength, and Tron didn't see any searchlight from the recognizers sweeping the area.
Tron sighed in relief. "Okay, we should be safe for now. Once this storm lets up, we'll head the rest of the way to my hideout." Though his tone was light, Tron was still worried. He turned back to the cave mouth, keeping his eyes open... just in case.
"I wouldn't bet on that," said the Renegade. "Tron's good at getting away from Clu's forces."
"I've had enough of your babbling about a dead program!" Tesler snarled, activating his arm cannon. A high-pitched whine filled the air, as Tesler began to charge the cannon to fire a more powerful blast. Beck sprinted forward, ducking to grab his baton. He closed the distance between him and Tesler, and shoved Tesler's arm cannon up. The powerful blast of energy shot skywards, blasting a massive hole in the roof. As cubes began to rain down on them, the Renegade turned and ran, activating his baton's light-jet. He raced upwards, flying out the end of the garage and over the Sea of Simulation. Tesler ran outside, and saw a light-copter nearby, and watched as Paige walked towards him.
Tesler was taking aim at the Renegade's receding light-jet as Paige walked up.
"I thought I told you to prepare for Clu's arrival," he said.
"I did," said Paige. "I left Pavel in charge of a few last things, then came out here to help you."
Tesler fired his cannon, and the blast lanced through the Renegade's light-jet, destroying one of the wings. The light-jet swung around, smoke billowing from the damaged wing, and after a few seconds of semi-flight, crashed in the docks.
"While I appreciate the gesture, I didn't need your help," said Tesler. "But since you're here, I want you to check that crash site. I don't care if you have to pull it from his decompiling hand, I want his disc!"
"Yes, General!" said Paige. She turned and ran towards the light-copter. As she jumped into the cockpit and began to prepare to take off, she slowed down to think for a second. She'd witnessed the last few seconds of the fight, when the Renegade had pointed Tesler's cannon at the roof, then raced out the garage. As he'd raced past, Paige had noticed that the Renegade's faceplate was shattered. She'd only seen his face for a brief second, but she would swear that she recognised that face. Was Beck really the Renegade?
Beck groaned as he stood up. He'd turned the light-jet so that the bottom of the jet had been facing towards the garage when he jumped out. He'd activated his wing-chute as he fell, and the chute had barely slowed him down enough to land without injuring himself any further. He shook his head and collapsed the remains of his helmet. Beck brushed a hand against the small cuts on his face, wincing in pain as his fingers touched the exposed areas. Fortunately, his injuries were minor, and would heal with some rest.
Beck's head snapped up as he heard a light-copter on approach. He glanced around, and spotted an unloaded and unlocked cargo container and ducked inside. He closed the container once he was in, leaving the door open a crack so he could see. He spotted the light-copter he'd heard land, and watched Paige step out and survey the wreckage of his light-jet. While her attention was on the crash, Beck gently pulled the door closed. Once the door was closed there was a soft click as the lock engaged.
"Oh, son of a glitch," Beck muttered. He pressed his ear to the door and listened. He gasped softly as he heard footsteps getting closer. Beck heard the sound of container doors being moved as Paige checked a few other empty containers. When she reached the container he was hiding in, she tried the door a few times. Once she realised it was locked, Paige moved onto the next one, and Beck let out a breath he hadn't realised he'd been holding. About a minute later, Beck heard the light-copter take off. A few minutes after that, he activated his disc and sliced open the lock and pushed the door open. Beck returned his disc to its socket, then examined the second baton he'd picked up at the garage before the fight with Tesler had began. It was a single-purpose baton, rather than a multi-purpose baton like he preferred. Still, batons were easy enough to modify, so it would be easy to make a multi-purpose baton. Now all he had to do was sneak out of Argon City and make it back to Tron's hideout, something he had plenty of experience with.
"So, why weren't you out there as the Renegade?" Mara asked Tron. The storm was still raging outside the cave, so the programs gathered had decided to pass the time by pestering Tron for information. Mara had figured out that Beck had been the Renegade from the beginning, which Tron had confirmed. In the expectant silence that followed her newest question, Tron could feel the gaze of all the other programs on him.
Tron sighed. "When Clu launched his coup, I fought off Black Guards to give Flynn time to escape. Clu then attacked and overpowered me. I was injured, but I wasn't killed."
"Why not?" asked Zed.
"Clu and his right-hand man, Dyson," Tron practically spat Dyson's name, "wanted me to join them, which couldn't happen if I was dead. They showed me something they called repurposing."
"Repurposing?" Mara asked in confusion. "I've never heard of that before."
"Be grateful you haven't," said Tron. "It's something Clu uses to force programs to join them. He cleanses their old code and installs new code into them, converting them into mindless drones."
Zed went pale, and Mara gasped in shock. "That's horrible!"
Tron nodded. "I watched helplessly as my old team was repurposed. The only reason I wasn't repurposed was because a program's personality was practically wiped out, and Clu wanted me to join of my own free will. Dyson tortured me, gave me scars I thought would never heal, then ordered two Sentries to take me to Clu's command ship."
"What happened then?" asked Zed.
"One of the Sentries sabotaged the recognizer we were on, and dragged me out of the wreckage. He was the original Renegade... Cyrus."
"What?! Cyrus was also a Renegade?!" Mara asked.
"He was," said Tron, placing extra emphasis on the second word. "Cyrus came to believe that the only way to save the Grid was to destroy it, so I had to imprison him. Unfortunately, Beck ended up accidentally releasing him, and he made his way to Argon." Tron paused to make sure Zed and Mara were looking at him. "Cyrus killed those programs to give Beck a bad reputation, and he was the one who planted the bombs that killed Able."
"But, wait a second," said Zed. "If Beck's the Renegade, why did Able rescue us?"
"Firstly, because Able knew Beck was the Renegade," said Tron. "Secondly, Beck was busy saving me from a bomb."
"What?!" Mara asked.
"Cyrus is a master manipulator, and he wanted to make Beck suffer, no matter which option he chose," said Tron. "He could either save his friends, or he could save his mentor... but he couldn't save both."
"What happened to Cyrus?" Zed asked after a few seconds of silence.
"I... I don't know," said Tron. "When the bomb reactivated, I strapped it to Cyrus. He fell off a ledge, and when I looked, there was no sign of Cyrus, just the bomb itself."
"What if he was derezzed from the fall?" asked Link, one of the other programs from the garage.
"If he had been derezzed, there would have been voxels left behind," said Tron. "I didn't see any cubes when I checked."
"So, Cyrus is still out there?" asked Mara.
"I'd like to hope not," said Tron. "But until I'm sure he's dead, we'd better be prepared for him to show up again."
Tron looked back out the cave mouth. "I don't think this storm is going to let up any time soon," he said. "We should still be able to get to my hideout if we go slow and stick together."
Beck opened the door to the main room of Tron's hideout. Tron and the other programs from the garage weren't there. Beck ran over to the holographic display on the far wall, and began searching to see if Tesler had made any announcements to the general public that he'd missed. There were none, which wasn't necessarily a good thing. Tesler could just be waiting for Clu to arrive before he announced it...
Beck heard footsteps behind him, and spun around, activating his disc.
"You're jumpy," said Tron, looking over Beck.
"You're okay!" Beck sighed with relief. "When did you get here?"
"We arrived just after you did," said Mara from behind Tron.
"I didn't see you behind me," said Beck. He then glanced out the window. "Although, with this storm, that's not surprising." Beck began to walk forward, then he started to collapse. Tron caught him before he hit the floor.
"You look like you could use a trip to the healing chamber," said Tron.
"I haven't finished fixing it yet," said Beck. "And wasn't that only to keep you alive after what Dyson did to you?"
"I'm sure one of these guys can fix it," said Tron. "And the healing chamber could be modified to deal with other injuries."
"I don't think any of my injuries are that serious," said Beck. "I'm just exhausted."
"What happened?" Tron asked.
"I lured the guards further into the city and took them out," said Beck. "I must not have been thinking, because I ended up back at Able's Garage. That's when I ran into Tesler."
"That would explain why you look so beat up," said Tron. "Even with all your training, he's still out of your league."
"I thought I did all right," said Beck. "I managed to escape, but he shot down my light-jet. I crashed in the docks, hid for a short time while Paige examined the wreckage, then made my way back here."
"Sounds like quite an adventure," said Tron. He then took a good look at Beck's face. "How did your face get injured?"
"Tesler slammed me into the ground and broke my faceplate," said Beck. "He figured out that I was a program from Able's Garage before he broke my faceplate, though. And I don't think he actually recognised me."
"He's still seen your face," said Tron. "Admittedly, you're a fugitive now anyway, but it still isn't good that Tesler has seen your face."
"There's something else," said Beck. A look of absolute terror crossed Beck's face. "Clu's coming to Argon."
A massive fleet eclipsed the skies of Argon City. Some of the vessels flew in holding patterns, others flew in sweeps across the city, and yet others circled Tesler's flagship. Clu's personal ship flew into the hangar of Tesler's flagship. Guards and Sentries were standing at attention in parade formation, perfect blocks of programs forming an aisle. Clu's ship set down at the end of the aisle.
Tesler was fuming as he walked towards the flagship. Not only had the Renegade slipped through Paige's grasp at the docks, the programs from the garage had managed to evade the patrols, and with the storm raging in the Outlands, it was too dangerous to send recognizers or light-jets on patrol.
Walking behind Tesler, Paige swallowed nervously. Pavel's gaze flicked between Tesler, Clu's ship and Paige as he calculated what might give him the better odds of survival.
Tesler, Paige and Pavel reached Clu's ship as the ramp began to lower. Tesler and his lieutenants knelt a short distance from the foot of the ramp. The first programs down the ramp were four helmeted Black Guards. Unlike standard Black Guards, these four had a small mark on their right shoulder, denoting they were members of Clu's personal guard. Clu's guards took their places, two on either side of the ramp. Clu himself then began to walk down the ramp, followed by Dyson, leader of the Black Guard and Clu's right-hand man.
"My lord, this is an unexpected pleasure," said Tesler. "I assure, we have been hard at work-"
"Spare me the excuses, Tesler," said Clu. "Your incompetence in dealing with this 'Renegade' has proven that you are no longer fit for command. You are being relieved of duty, effective immediately."
Tesler's eyes went wide in shock, and he stood up. "But, sir, I-"
"Dyson will be leading the Occupation forces here in your place," said Clu. A small smile touched Clu's lips. "End of Line, man."
Tesler was cut off as Dyson activated his disc and sliced through Tesler's shoulders. Paige gasped as she clapped her hands over her mouth, and Pavel's eyes went wide as he flinched and took a step back. Tesler's head pitched forwards, shattering into voxels as it hit the floor. For a sickening instant, Tesler's body remained standing, before it collapsed backwards, decompiling into cubes as it collapsed. Tesler's identity disc slowly rolled away, and came to a stop when it hit Paige's feet.
"Pavel," said Clu.
Pavel jolted in shock. "Y-Yes, my lord?"
"I'd like to make a speech to the people, let them know how things will be different now. Could you arrange that for me?"
"O-of course, my lord," stammered Pavel. Pavel turned and walked away very quickly, almost but not quite breaking into a run. Clu and Dyson followed, walking past Paige, who was frozen in horror at what she'd witnessed. The program who'd saved her from the ISOs, her mentor, he was... dead...
Hesitantly, Paige knelt down. She reached for Tesler's identity disc, and as her fingers closed around the disc, a shiver of fear ran down her spine. If Clu had derezzed Tesler, was she next?
So, it got kinda dark. But then, the actual show had death (and lots of it), racism and race riots, brainwashing and enough gore for a Quentin Tarantino film (and that's just in the Scars two-parter).
There is no way that the programs at the garage would be left alone after that display. Clu's vengeance would be harsh on all who stand against him, which is why I had them move out to Tron's hideout. It's probably big enough for them, but it would be uncomfortable, which is why renovations will be in order.
The scene where Clu loses his cool and a guard checks to make sure that his leader is not under attack was inspired by a similar scene from Star Wars: X-Wing: Solo Command, by Aaron Allston. The scene from Solo Command plays the guards behavior for laughs. In this case, Dyson is there, which means that everything goes downhill. Thing to remember with Dyson is that he's competent and ruthless. He will not take any chances that classified information could leak, hence the plan to kill the poor sentry. I was considering having Dyson just execute the Sentry then and there, but I figure he'd play it more careful than that.
One of the many things I like about Uprising is that Beck's combat skills noticeably improve as the series goes on. Even so, Tesler's Mighty Glacier fighting style is an almost perfect counter to Beck's Fragile Speedster. Beck has always been able to survive and escape, but he never actually defeats Tesler in a direct one-on-one battle. And Beck is very good at the whole stealth thing; he can sneak around in a white grid-suit in a predominantly black environment.
Cyrus was never confirmed to be killed. The scene in No Bounds does not show Cyrus, nor a pile of cubes that was Cyrus. The bomb is the only thing seen on the ground after he takes that fall. I checked. You don't have to take my word for it, though. Always remember that if there's no body, they're not dead. Except if the body is incinerated in an explosion or the dude falls into a pit of lava. Who lives through that?
Clu's arrival at the end was inspired by the Emperor's arrival aboard the Death Star in Return of the Jedi. I consider that scene a very good example of how the Bigger Bad should make an entrance. And yes, Tesler has been executed for incompetence. Clu's arrival would've shaken up the status quo that plagued the show, and since Clu values perfection, an imperfect performance record would not bode well for Tesler. And now Paige has Tesler's disc. I wonder what she'll find? ;)
Next episode is entitled 'The Resistance: Part II', and will see Beck launch a daring raid on Tesler's flagship to steal Tesler's disc for various reasons. Of course, things never go as planned, do they?