Accessing archived data...
The Uprising is moved by Beck's sacrifice...
..."Tron Lives!" Beck yelled, striking a Black Guard with his shock rods... A disc slammed into Beck's face, smashing a hole in his face-plate... Another Black Guard approached from behind and tackled Beck, slamming him into the ground. Black Guards piled on top of Beck once he was down, trapping his arms and legs...
...So Dyson decides to send them a message.
...The image panned over to a pair of Black Guards, each holding a staff pointed at the program standing between them. Beck glared silently at the camera, still wearing the white suit bearing Tron's emblem...
..."For his crimes against the Occupation, and against the citizens of Argon, Beck has been sentenced to death," said Dyson. "His public deresolution will be carried out in Argon Square at the end of this cycle, and I expect to see everyone there for this momentous occasion."...
...Paige, standing next to Tron and Yori, felt her hands tightening into fists as energy pulsed through her prosthetics, causing the circuit-lines on her arms to glow brightly...
However, the Uprising has a message of their own...
..."Tron Lives!" Mara yelled, catching the attention of Dyson and the Guards. Mara raised her hand, and threw a spherical object at Dyson... When it hit the ground, the free code bomb went off... Beck's Identity Disc flew through the air, and Beck raised a hand and grabbed it. Once he had it, he returned it to the dock on his back, and his eyes flashed as his disc re-synced with him...
..."You've failed!" Beck yelled over the roar of the crowd. "We're taking Argon back!"
"TRON LIVES! RENEGADE! TRON LIVES! RENEGADE!"...
...But Dyson has one last move left.
...A sadistic smirk appeared on Dyson's face. "Begin preparations for orbital bombardment. We're going to wipe Argon off the face of the Grid."
Ada brought her recognizer around Argon Square, watching the fighting below. Even from up here, she could hear the sounds of combat, as the Occupation desperately tried to bring the programs of Argon in line. But the Occupation was being overwhelmed, outnumbered by angry programs who wanted their city to be free. Ada hadn't seen anything like this since the ISO wars, over two hundred cycles ago.
The Uprising had cleared part of the Square, and Ada brought her recognizer down next to the Uprising's stolen light-copter. As she touched down, she saw the Uprising's second recognizer coming in for a landing as well. Ada finished powering down the recognizer, and pressed a button to open the boarding hatch. The hatch folded open, and Ada took the elevator down to the lower level, then ran down the stairs that had rezzed in. Looking around Argon Square, she saw Beck, Tron and Paige fighting against the Guards that were still present. Mara had gathered a few members of the Uprising near her, and they were fighting against Sentries that had emerged from an Occupation recognizer.
"Look!" yelled a program. Ada turned, and saw Aurora, the leader of the Sirens she had helped rescue from the Coliseum. Aurora was pointing up, and Ada saw recognizers taking off and flying away from Argon Square, flanked by light-copters and light-jets.
"They're falling back!" yelled another program, and Ada saw Sentries and Guards running for the light-copters and recognizers that hadn't been destroyed, and were hastily getting them into the air, while Black Guards grabbed the batons attached to their elbows and formed their light-jets, flying into the sky.
"We did it!" A third program yelled, and the sounds of combat faded, replaced by programs cheering in victory. However, Ada didn't cheer. Instead, she watched as the light-jets, light-copters and recognizers filled the skies, and started taking up an attack formation alongside the flagship.
"No..." Ada whispered as her eyes went wide in fear. She sprinted through the crowd, pushing programs out of her way as she ran towards Beck, Tron and Paige.
"We need to evacuate! Now!" she yelled as she got close.
"Ada?" Paige asked. "What are you talking about?"
"I saw this," Ada said, gasping for breath as she came to a stop and rested her hands on her knees. "During the Purge, in Arjia. Clu's forces started retreating, right before the bombing runs started."
"Bombing runs?" said Beck. He gasped as he realised what Ada was implying, then turned and looked up at Dyson's flagship, which was looming overhead.
"All preparations are complete, sir," said Pavel as he walked up to Dyson. "However, there are still some Occupation forces on the ground."
"Our troops that are still in Argon," said Dyson, standing with his hands folded behind his back. "Are they repurposed?"
"No, sir," said Pavel. "All repurposed programs have returned to the flagship. The only programs still on the ground are Tesler's forces, and he preferred programs with free will."
"I'm aware of Tesler's preferences," said Dyson. "I kept them because they were loyal to Clu, so I thought repurposing them wouldn't be necessary."
"Your orders, sir?" said Pavel.
"The longer we wait, the more likely it is for the Uprising to escape, and spread their chaos to other cities," said Dyson. "Any Occupation forces that are still on the ground are now expendable. I trust you don't have a problem with that?"
"Not at all, sir," said Pavel with a sadistic grin.
"Good," said Dyson. "Then commence the bombardment."
"With pleasure," Pavel said. He turned around to the Sentries gathered on the bridge, and pointed at Argon City. "Open fire!"
A Sentry nodded, and began to tap buttons on the holographic display in front of him.
Panels on the underside of Dyson's flagship began to open, and turrets began to drop out of the openings and extend their barrels. Once they were in position, the turrets slowly turned until they were pointing downwards. Energy gathered in their barrels, then the turrets fired, sending a wave of energy bombs down towards Argon City.
The Battle of Argon
The first energy bomb hit in Argon Square. The bomb tore through the screens that surrounded the Square, then hit the floor and exploded, leaving a gaping hole in the ground. Cheers of victory became screams of terror as dozens of programs died in the blast. The energy from the explosion was so great that programs weren't just derezzed, they were deleted. When the smoke and haze thrown up by the explosion had cleared, there was no sign of any of the programs that had been standing there, not even voxels or Identity Discs. They were just... gone...
Ada froze as her processor locked up. She was trapped in a memory loop of the Purge, remembering when she had watched in horror as Clu's flagship, the Regulator, had rained fire down on Arjia. Hundreds of thousands of programs had died that cycle, ISO and Basic alike. In fact, Ada herself would've died if a System Monitor that was still loyal to Flynn hadn't saved her.
A helmeted male program wearing a black grid-suit slammed into her, knocking her aside as another energy bomb came down near her. For a brief microcycle, Ada thought she was still trapped in her memory loop, but she quickly realised that the program that had saved her life wasn't the System Monitor from her memories.
"Are you alright?" Tron asked as he helped Ada to her feet.
"Y-yes," said Ada, feeling herself shiver as a cold spike of fear shot through her.
"Come on, stay with me," said Tron, gripping Ada's shoulder tightly. "We can stop this from turning into another Arjia, but I need your help."
Ada nodded. "Wh... what do you need me to do?"
Tron reached down to Ada's leg and grabbed her baton, holding it out to Ada.
"Rez your light-jet and get in the air," ordered Tron. "We need to take out as many Occupation aircraft as possible."
"But what about the flagship?" Ada asked, flinching as another energy bomb came down. "If we don't take it out—"
"We need to thin the Occupation's numbers so we can get to the flagship without being derezzed," said Tron. "Now, go!"
"Yes sir!" said Ada, taking her baton from Tron. She pulled it apart, rezzing her light-jet and taking off. As she shot into the sky, she saw other members of the Uprising also taking flight in their light-jets, but they were sorely outnumbered by Occupation forces.
Ada pulled up behind a trio of Occupation light-jets and pressed her thumb down on the trigger of her light-jet's blasters. Energy blasts shot out, and Ada swept her light-jet from left to right, cutting through the three light-jets. Explosions ripped through the sky as voxels rained down over Argon, but Ada didn't waste time celebrating. While the dogfights between the light-jets of the Uprising and the Occupation may save a few lives, the recognizers and Dyson's flagship would do the most damage unless they could be stopped.
Aurora ducked under one of the signs in Argon Square as another energy bomb came down. The explosion was deafening, but still not as deafening as the screams of fear and terror from the programs that were still in Argon Square. Programs were trying to force their way out of the exits, trampling each other in an effort to escape faster. She'd thought the cheering of the crowds at the Coliseum had been loud, but the roar of spectators celebrating the deaths of innocent programs was nothing compared to the shrieks that filled the air now.
Aurora looked around wildly for something, anything, she could do to help in this hopeless situation. She spotted a light tank a short distance away, and ran towards it. She climbed up onto one of the treads, and pulled herself onto the turret. She grabbed the hatch and yanked it open, exposing the Sentries inside the tank.
"Hey!" one of the Sentries yelled as she pulled the hatch open. Aurora ignored him and grabbed her disc. With her disc drawn, she dropped into the tank through the hatch and rammed her disc into the Sentry's head. The Sentry in the gunner seat was derezzed, and Aurora quickly derezzed the Sentry sitting in the pilot's seat as well. Once the two Sentries were dead, Aurora brushed the voxels off the gunner seat and sat down at the controls. She began moving the turret, taking aim at the recognizers that were beginning their bombing runs. She depressed the firing stud, and a blast of energy shot out and hit a recognizer, blowing it out of the sky.
Aurora saw another recognizer explode, and she spotted Yori and Ram's light tank, moving through Argon Square. Yori was moving her tank to avoid the falling energy bombs, while Ram aimed the turret and fired at the incoming recognizers. Aurora took aim at another recognizer and fired, hitting one of the recognizer's engine pylons. The damaged recognizer spiralled out of control, and slammed into another recognizer. The two recognizers exploded, sending debris flying in every direction. Aurora aimed at another recognizer and fired again and again, destroying as many recognizers as she could.
As Aurora blasted recognizers out of the sky, one of the recognizers flying above broke off from it's flight path, and began flying over Argon Square, dropping energy bombs as it flew overhead. Yori was able to keep her tank out of the path of the energy bombs, but the tank Aurora was sitting in had no driver, making it an easy target.
An energy bomb slammed into the ground in front of Aurora's tank, blowing a hole in the ground and knocking off the front treads of the tank. The tank started to tip forward into the hole, and Aurora quickly climbed out of the falling tank. As the tank started falling into the hole, Aurora climbed up the falling tank and jumped, reaching out for the edge of the bomb crater. Her hand passed through empty air just short of the edge of the crater, but a program that had managed to escape the blast ran forward and reached out, grabbing her hand just in time.
"I got you!" he yelled as he caught Aurora's hand. The program was lying on the ground, holding her hand as she dangled over the gap. There was a loud bang as the tank hit the lower level and exploded, sending smoke and heat up through the hole in the ground. Thankfully, none of the shrapnel or fire from the explosion reached Aurora. Aurora reached up her other hand, and the program holding her took it, and pulled her up out of the blast crater.
"Thank you," Aurora said once she had been pulled to safety, causing the program to look at her in confusion. "For saving my life."
"Oh!" said the male program, scratching the back of his neck nervously. "Um, you're welcome."
"You're with the Uprising, right?" Aurora asked.
"Yeah," said the program. "My name's Link. What's your name?"
"Aurora," Aurora said. "That was really brave of you."
"Not as brave as what you did," said Link. "Taking over a tank like that..."
Link was interrupted as another energy bomb hit the ground nearby, deafening them both with the explosion and causing them to flinch.
"We need to stop those recognizers!" Aurora yelled, trying to be heard over the screams of panicked programs and the bombs going off nearby. "Have you ever driven a tank before?!"
"A few times!" said Link. "But I'm not very good at it!"
"Doesn't matter!" Aurora said. "The fastest way to stop those recognizers is by shooting them down with a tank! If you can drive one, I'll do the shooting!"
"Okay!" said Link. "There's one on the other side of the Square!"
The two programs looked across Argon Square, and saw a light tank sitting unoccupied, having been abandoned when the Occupation had retreated. However, the ground between Aurora, Link and the tank was torn up by explosions, with craters and holes throughout Argon Square.
"Come on!" Aurora yelled, and began running towards the tank. She stuck to solid ground where she could, and jumped over the smaller craters when she couldn't. Link followed her closely, sticking close to the path she took to avoid falling down to the lower levels. After a few microcycles, the two programs made it to the tank, and Link climbed up and opened the hatch. He dropped into the driver's seat, and Aurora entered the tank and took the gunner's seat.
"Get us moving!" said Aurora as she started aiming at the recognizers that swarmed in the sky. "I don't want us to be a target for those energy bombs!"
"Right!" said Link as he got the tank moving. The tank's orange circuit-lines flickered briefly, before flaring bright white, and the tank began rolling as Aurora opened fire again, shooting down another recognizer.
Dyson stood with his hands folded behind his back. He was on the bridge of his flagship, and was watching as energy bombs rained down from the recognizers and the flagship itself.
"Status report?" Dyson asked as Pavel walked up to him.
"The Uprising's light-jets are keeping our light-jets and light-copters from performing strafing runs," said Pavel. "And the Uprising has two tanks in Argon Square now, and they're shooting down our recognizers in the area."
"Even with a second tank, they can't protect the whole city," said Dyson. "Tell the recognizers to continue their bombing runs, and launch another squadron of light-jets, but keep them near the flagship in a defensive formation."
"Yes, sir," said Pavel, nodding.
"Supreme Commander!" said a Sentry as she ran up to Dyson and Pavel. "We have reports of light tanks shooting down recognizers near the residential district."
"Commandeered by the Uprising?" Dyson asked.
"Negative, sir," said the Sentry, shaking her head. "They appear to be commanded by surviving members of Tesler's forces."
"Sir! Some of our light-jets are firing upon each other!" said another Sentry.
"Sir, I'm receiving reports that at least three flights of recognizers have stopped their bombing runs, and are attempting to evacuate civilians," said a third Sentry.
Dyson growled in frustration. "It seems Tesler's forces weren't as loyal to Clu as I thought they were."
"Your orders, sir?" asked the first Sentry as she straightened to attention.
"Continue the bombardment, and give the order to derez any defective programs from Tesler's forces you encounter," said Dyson as he began to walk towards the exit. "Pavel, the bridge is yours."
"Where are you going, sir?" Pavel asked.
"I'm taking personal command of field operations," said Dyson. "This battle must be won at all costs."
Tron sent his light-jet into a spin as he fired, spraying the air with energy blasts. Occupation light-jets exploded into voxels, raining cubes over the fires burning below. Tron righted his light-jet, and took aim at another flight of three light-jets. As he brought his light-jet around, the light-jets on the left and right accelerated as their circuit-lines switched from orange to white. The two light-jets with white circuit-lines activated their light-walls and cut in front of the centre light-jet. The light-jet with orange circuit-lines smashed into the white light-walls, and the other two light-jets circled around and began firing upon an Occupation recognizer. The recognizer's engine pylon exploded under sustained fire, causing the burning vehicle to fall towards Argon.
Tron's eyes scanned the skies around him as he weaved his way through the fighting. Occupation forces had begun changing sides in droves, bolstering the stretched forces of the Uprising, and though Tron didn't trust the new defectors, he knew that without them, the Uprising would've been wiped out by now. But even with the defectors fighting against their former allies, the Uprising was losing. More and more recognizers and light-jets kept emerging from the flagship, and even though the Uprising was shooting down as many recognizers as possible, the flagship was still raining fire down on Argon. As long as that ship remained in the air, the bombs would continue to fall, until Argon City was burnt to ash.
A group of five light-jets, piloted by Occupation defectors, formed up alongside Tron's light-jet as he accelerated towards the flagship. Tron flew under the flagship and fired, aiming at the weapons located on the underside of the flagship. The defectors also fired, sending a hail of energy blasts into the flagship. However, the energy blasts weren't powerful enough to damage the flagship, and simply bounced off the armoured hull.
"The armour's too strong!" one of the defectors yelled.
Tron grimaced, and broke off his attack run. The defectors that had formed up with him broke off as well, staying with him as he circled around and looked for an opening in the defensive screen. However, there was still too many light-jets guarding the flagship's hangar. Until their numbers could be thinned, it would be impossible to board the flagship and take it down from the inside.
Energy blasts flew over Tron's head, and he instinctively pulled his light-jet into a steep climb. As he looked over his shoulder, he saw the light-jets that had been piloted by the defectors were being destroyed by an Occupation light-jet. However, this light-jet was different from the other light-jets currently in the battle. The new light-jet lacked a nose, and the wings pointed straight to the sides, rather than sweeping forward. A pair of fins jutted up from the back of the engine turbine, which were all that were holding the wings onto the light-jet. The pilot sat on the turbine, and gripped onto the controls, located in the open space at the front of the light-jet, between the wings. The new light-jet was fast, and rocketed past Tron's light-jet. As it did so, Tron was able to get a good look at the pilot, and immediately recognised the unique pattern of circuit-lines on his Black Guard uniform.
"Dyson," Tron snarled.
Tron aimed at Dyson's light-jet and fired, filling the air with energy blasts. Dyson spun his light-jet and activated his light-wall. The orange light-wall emerged from a vertical emitter, rather than the horizontal emitter used by Tron's light-jet. As Dyson's light-jet twisted in the air, the light-wall trailed out behind him, blocking the blasts from Tron's light-jet. Dyson then flipped his light-jet around, and flew straight at Tron, his guns blazing. Tron fired as well, and the two light-jets accelerated towards each other as the two pilots silently dared the other to flinch.
In the end, Dyson was the first to flinch, as he pulled up slightly and spun his light-jet. He passed directly over Tron, with his light-jet inverted so that he could look at Tron as he passed overhead. Dyson and Tron glared at each other through their helmets as they passed each other. Tron pulled his light-jet to one side to avoid Dyson's light-wall, and activated his own light-wall as Dyson pulled up behind him, forcing Dyson to dodge out of the way.
Zed kicked the door of the cargo truck open and jumped out. He stumbled a few steps as he landed, but quickly regained his footing and started running. He dove forward and covered his head with his arms as another energy bomb came down, hitting the truck he'd been driving. The truck was incinerated as the bomb exploded, spewing heat and debris into the air. Shards of metal began raining down around Zed as he got back to his feet and looked around. Argon Square was no longer recognisable, having been turned into a bombed out wasteland of craters and debris. Voxels and identity discs littered the ground, the orange and white lines on them growing dimmer as the residual energy of the derezzed programs faded away.
Another explosion shook Zed from his shock, and he grabbed his baton and pulled it apart, rezzing his custom light-cycle. Zed shot forward as he raced out of the ruins of Argon Square and into the city itself. Recognizers continued to fly overhead, dropping bombs all over the city as the flagship's guns continued to fire. Zed could see blue flames blazing across the city as energy fires burned out of control. As the recognizers' bombs fell, light tanks fired up in response, forcing the recognizers to break off from their bombing runs as the lead recognizers were destroyed.
Over near the residential district, three recognizers with white circuit-lines slowly took off, burdened with civilian programs that had boarded the friendly recognizers in an attempt to evacuate. Zed watched as the flagship fired at the recognizers, destroying the three ships and killing dozens of programs, if not hundreds.
An Occupation light-copter loomed overhead, and began shooting at Zed. He pushed the controls of his light-cycle forward, activating the speed boost. Zed raced forward, outracing the energy blasts from the light-copter. Once he had gained some distance from the light-copter, he shut down his light-cycle and rolled to a stop. Zed quickly got back to his feet as he changed his baton's subroutine. He jumped into the air and rezzed his light-jet, taking off. Zed shot into the air, and once he was higher than the light-copter, he flipped his light-jet over and rocketed down towards the light-copter. Zed opened fire, and energy blasts tore through the light-copter, blowing it up. Zed flew through the cloud of smoke and voxels as an Occupation light-jet shot past, followed by an Uprising light-jet.
Zed watched the two light-jets dogfight through the skies in awe, but was shocked out of his stunned state when the wing of his light-jet was hit by a stray energy blast and started trailing smoke. Keeping one hand on the joystick, he used his other hand to grab his multi-tool and attach it to his light-jet. He quickly repaired the damage, causing the smoking hole in his wing to close up. With his repairs finished, Zed turned his attention back to the fighting around him, and activated his light-wall and cut in front of a flight of Occupation recognizers, blocking their flight path and causing the ships to slam into each other and fall out of the sky.
Hawkeye groaned as she sat up and clutched at her pounding head. She'd passed out after she'd tried to kill Dyson with her new arm cannon, due to the arm cannon using up so much of her internal energy store. The smoke from burning energy filled her nose and mouth, and the sounds of screams and explosions in the distance reached her ears, triggering her emergency response programming. Backup energy reserves were activated, reinvigorating her system and instantly snapping her out of her dazed state. Hawkeye quickly got to her feet and looked around for threats. However, her processor was almost immediately overwhelmed by the sheer number of threats that were present all around her. Occupation light-copters escorted recognizers as they descended for bombing runs, while Occupation light-jets swarmed around the flagship in defensive formation, as energy bombs rained down from the flagship's many guns.
Hawkeye formed her helmet, then jumped off the ruined screen she was standing on and activated her wing-chute. She angled her body, and dropped down next to a light-copter that was still resting in the ruins of Argon Square. Tron and Paige had abandoned the light-copter when the bombardment had begun, preferring to use their light-jets instead, thanks to their greater speed and manoeuvrability. Hawkeye, on the other hand, wanted the heavier guns offered by the light-copter, even if it made her an easy target.
Hawkeye hit the ground and rolled as her wing-chute collapsed back into its pack, and she quickly climbed into the light-copter. With the press of a few buttons, the rotors began to spin, lifting the light-copter into the air. As the light-copter began to rise, a beeping sound filled the cockpit as someone pinged the light-copter.
Hawkeye pressed a button, causing a small hologram to appear on the light-copter's dash as she answered the ping.
"—Anyone read? Repeat, this is Melissa, of the Uprising! I'm taking heavy fire! Is there anyone on this frequency?!"
"This is Hawkeye, of Squad Six," Hawkeye said as she began flying the light-copter out of the ruins of Argon Square. "Where are you?"
"I'm making a run towards the docks!" said Melissa. "I'm carrying civilian programs who are going to use the boats to escape, but I can't set down with all these light-jets harassing me!"
"Copy that," said Hawkeye, pushing forward on the throttle. "I'm on my way."
Hawkeye spun the light-copter around and started flying towards the docks. She could see an Uprising recognizer rocketing through the sky, with Occupation light-jets flying towards the recognizer and firing their guns. One of the Occupation light-jets broke off from the swarm and flew towards Hawkeye. Hawkeye pressed her thumb down on the trigger, firing her own weapons. The heavy blasters of the light-copter ripped through the light-jet, instantly derezzing the pilot. Hawkeye closed the distance to the swarm of light-jets, and began firing at them. Three more light-jets with white circuit-lines appeared and engaged the Occupation light-jets.
Now that the light-jets were off her back, Melissa was free to escape, and she flew her recognizer away from the dogfight and over towards the docks, with Hawkeye following her. Explosions rang out behind her, and Hawkeye looked over her shoulder. She saw that the three Uprising light-jets had managed to defeat the Occupation light-jets. The Uprising light-jets pulled up alongside Hawkeye's light-copter, and Hawkeye was able to identify the pilots as Ada, Mara and Zed.
Melissa's recognizer, escorted by Hawkeye's light-copter and Ada, Mara and Zed on their light-jets, made it safely to the docks, and set down. The body of the recognizer dropped down the engine pylons, and the boarding hatch opened. Civilian programs ran down the stairs as soon as they rezzed in and ran towards the boats that were still moored in the harbour. Ada, Mara and Zed landed near the recognizer and shut off their light-jets to assist Melissa with the evacuation, while Hawkeye looked around for a good place to land her light-copter.
Energy blasts shot through the air around Hawkeye, and ripped through the tail of her light-copter, blasting it off. Hawkeye's light-copter went into a fatal spin as she began to fall, so Hawkeye quickly drew her disc and threw it forward, smashing through the glass in front of her. She climbed out of her seat and through the broken windshield onto the nose of the light-copter. Hawkeye caught her disc as it returned to her, then jumped off the nose of the spinning light-copter. Her wing-chute opened, and Hawkeye glided safely to the ground as her light-copter exploded. An Occupation light-jet flew through the explosion, and Hawkeye realised that it was Dyson's personal light-jet.
With the light-copter destroyed, Dyson flew down low, and began firing at the boats in the harbour. Dyson systematically destroyed every boat in the harbour, causing the programs that had boarded the boats to jump out into the Sea of Simulation, if they survived the barrage of energy fire or the explosions caused by the destruction of the boats. One of the boats had made it out of the docks, and was making attempting to flee, so Dyson turned towards the boat and fired, blasting it out of the water, spilling voxels into the Sea and causing the debris from the boat to sink to the seafloor.
Dyson pulled his light-jet to one side as more energy blasts flew through the skies around him. Tron was still on Dyson's tail, even after a chase across Argon. Dyson's light-jet was much faster than Tron's, but that obviously hadn't deterred the old security program. Dyson rolled his light-jet to one side as he activated his light-wall, dodging the incoming fire from Tron's light-jet. However, Tron was able to avoid Dyson's light-wall, and opened fire again. This time, his aim was true.
Energy blasts struck Dyson's light-jet, blasting a wing off. Dyson struggled to control his light-jet, fighting against the controls as the light-jet spun wildly. Dyson managed to level out, and aimed his light-jet towards the Coliseum, which had yet to be touched by the bombardment. Dyson pulled on the ejection lever, and was flung into the air as his light-jet continued forward and slammed into the Coliseum, blowing a hole in the wall. Dyson opened his wing-chute, and aimed his body for the hole in the Coliseum. He glided into the hole and passed through the damaged walls of the Coliseum, and landed in the main Disc Arena. Once Dyson hit the ground, his wing-chute returned to his pack, and he looked up. Tron's light-jet flew towards the hole in the Coliseum's wall, and Tron collapsed the light-jet back into his baton as he reached the Coliseum. Tron drew his disc as he fell through the hole, and slashed at Dyson as he landed. Dyson dodged the disc strike, and Tron continued forward into a roll as he landed. Tron quickly got back to his feet, then threw his disc at Dyson. Dyson drew his own disc and blocked Tron's disc, causing the disc to bounce back to Tron's hand. Tron charged at Dyson, and Dyson charged as well. The two programs met in combat, causing sparks to fly as their discs struck.
"No," said Melissa quietly, watching as the ruined boats began sinking into the Sea of Simulation, pulling down the voxels and identity discs of the programs that had been derezzed in the blasts. The burning energy flames triggered a memory loop, trapping Melissa in her memories of the destruction of her home, Bostrum, during the Purge. First, the Abraxas virus had attacked, then Clu's forces had arrived to finish the job. Melissa had been saved from the Abraxas virus by a System Monitor, which had given her the time she needed to escape before the bombardment had begun. She'd been outside the Bostrum colony when the bombing had begun, and watched in horror as the Kernel had been destroyed from orbit.
"Melissa!" a voice yelled out, jolting her out of her memory loop. Melissa turned to see Ada, Mara, Zed and Hawkeye making their way towards her.
"Melissa, are you alright?" Ada asked as she reached her.
Melissa nodded slowly. "Y-Yeah," she said haltingly. "Just... bad memories."
"I know," said Ada, taking one of Melissa's clawed hands and squeezing it reassuringly. "But we have to keep fighting. We need to try and save as many programs as we can."
"The easiest way to do that would be to take control of the flagship," said Hawkeye, opening and closing her prosthetic right hand nervously. "But Dyson's forces are protecting the hangar, so we can't board."
"Who says we have to go in through hangar?" said Melissa.
"Do you have something in mind?" Mara asked.
"I do," said Melissa. "I have an idea, but I'll need you to cover me while I get my recognizer into position."
"Your recognizer?" said Hawkeye slowly, before a look of understanding passed over her face, and she nodded.
"I understand," said Hawkeye. She grabbed her baton and rezzed her light-jet, flying up and into the sky, and she was followed by Zed and Mara.
"Well, I don't," said Ada. "Melissa, what are going to do?"
"What needs to be done," Melissa said. "Trust me."
"I do, it's just..." Ada said, trailing off. "I... You're a friend. I don't want to lose you."
"I'll be fine," said Melissa. "I promise."
Ada sighed. "Okay," she said, then grabbed her baton and rezzed her light-jet. Melissa walked up the boarding stairs as Ada took off. She hated lying to Ada like that, but she needed to do this. If the Uprising couldn't get in through the hangar, then there was only other way to reach the bridge.
Melissa made her way to the recognizer's controls and began the takeoff sequence. The recognizer's body rose up on the pylons, and the engines at the base of the pylons fired up, lifting the massive vehicle into the sky. Four light-jets with white circuit-lines flew around her as Ada, Hawkeye, Mara and Zed escorted her. Melissa could see Occupation light-jets and light-copters flying through the sky, engaging the Uprising and the defectors from Tesler's forces. Meanwhile, Occupation recognizers continued their bombing runs as recognizers piloted by Tesler's forces tried to evacuate civilian programs.
Melissa then turned her attention to Dyson's flagship, which hovered above Argon and rained energy bombs down on the city. Flames burned across Argon now, with only a few small areas untouched by the bombs or the fire. She pushed forward on the controls, making the recognizer accelerate. A few Occupation light-jets began flying towards her, but Ada, Hawkeye, Mara and Zed shot them down, clearing a path to the flagship's bridge.
Pavel looked out the bridge, to the burning fires of Argon below. Most of Argon was in flames, so he had ordered the recognizers to continue bombing Argon while he moved the flagship to destroy Purgos as well. Pavel had grown to hate Argon over his time stationed here, especially in the last few cycles as this Uprising had grown in strength. He was very pleased that Dyson had decided that orbital bombardment was the best solution to the problems here.
Something in the corner of his eye caused Pavel to look up, and he saw a recognizer with white circuit-lines in the distance. The recognizer quickly gained altitude, then began flying towards the flagship.
"Where is that recognizer going?" Pavel asked.
"Sir?" asked a Sentry standing at one of the bridge's control panels.
"The one with the white circuit-lines, bit brain!" Pavel snapped, pointing at the recognizer in question.
The Sentry glanced up at the recognizer, then turned her attention back to her console as she tried to calculate the recognizer's projected path.
"Sir, I... I think that recognizer is heading for the bridge," the Sentry said.
"What do you mean, it's heading for the bridge?" asked Pavel as he turned to face the Sentry.
"I think the pilot is going to... to ram us. Sir," the Sentry said.
Pavel turned to look back at the recognizer. It had reached its top speed, and it was heading straight for the flagship, growing larger by the second as the pilot flew the recognizer closer.
"Well, what are you waiting for?!" Pavel yelled. "Shoot it! Shoot it down! Now!"
Guns on the flagship started to rotate towards the incoming recognizer, and began firing energy bombs at the recognizer. However, the recognizer was going too fast for the guns to track, and the bombs overshot the recognizer, and arced back down as gravity took over and sent the bombs plummeting into the ground.
Pavel watched in horror as the recognizer started getting closer, too close for the flagship's guns to aim at the recognizer. He turned and ran for the exit.
"Out of my way!" Pavel said as he pushed a Sentry aside. Pavel ran as fast as he could away from the bridge.
Melissa pushed against the recognizer's controls, but the vehicle was already at maximum speed. The roar of the recognizer's engines filled the cockpit as the vehicle's shaking threatened to tear it apart.
"Come on," Melissa said. "Just hold together a little longer."
The flagship grew closer and closer, and Melissa could see the bridge, located at the front end of the vertical prong on the top of Dyson's flagship. With only a few micros before impact, Melissa closed her eyes as she felt a wave of peace wash over her. She'd no longer have to live with the guilt of what she had done as a virus.
The recognizer hit the bridge, destroying the glass window. The bridge was so large that the entire recognizer could fit inside, and after passing through the window, it continued onwards, until it reached the rear of the bridge. When the recognizer hit the solid wall at the end of the bridge, it exploded, sending a massive blast of flame up through the roof, and blowing a hole in the upper side of the flagship.
Pavel, who was running through the hangar, staggered when the flagship shook violently from the explosion of Melissa's recognizer. Sentries and Guards stationed in the hangar looked around, trying to figure out what the explosion was.
"Move, program!" Pavel snapped as he pushed past a Guard, and made his way to one of the few recognizers still in the hangar.
"You, Sentry!" said Pavel as he approached the recognizer.
"Sir?" said the Sentry, snapping to attention.
"Is that recognizer ready to fly?" Pavel asked.
"Yes, sir," said the Sentry.
"Good," said Pavel. He pushed the Sentry out of his way and ran up the boarding stairs. Once he reached the top of the stairs, he shut the stairs off and closed the boarding hatch behind him. He quickly walked over to the elevator to the cockpit, and rode it up in silence. Once in the cockpit, Pavel went through the takeoff sequence and launched the recognizer.
Four Uprising light-jets made a desperate flight towards the hole in the flagship. The flagship's turrets fired upon the recognizers, but they were too small and too fast for the turrets to aim properly. Mara was the first to reach the flagship, and she shut off her light-jet and activated her wing-chute. Her momentum carried her to the flagship, and she dropped into the hole that had been created when Melissa's recognizer exploded. Mara rolled as she landed and her wing-chute collapsed back into the pack on her back. The Sentries and Guards stationed on the bridge were still recovering from the explosion from Melissa's recognizer, so they were completely unprepared for Mara. She ran forward and attacked a Guard with her disc, derezzing him instantly. Hawkeye dropped in from above as well, and grabbed her baton and formed a staff, and began duelling with a Sentry that had also grabbed a staff. Zed and Ada flew their light-jets in through the shattered glass window at the front of the bridge, and collapsed their light-jets and drew their discs. Mara derezzed another Guard, then attacked a Sentry, derezzing her too. She looked around, and saw Hawkeye, Zed and Ada derezzing the last of the Occupation programs on the bridge.
"Area secure," said Hawkeye as she collapsed her helmet. "Zed, find the weapons console and shut it down."
"Right," said Zed, and he ran over to the nearest bridge console to see what it did. He moved from console to console, trying to find the weapons console as he stepped around the voxels and discs of the derezzed Sentries and Guards.
"Ada, check the wreckage of the recognizer," said Hawkeye.
Ada nodded, and ran over to the wreckage at the back of the hangar. She climbed onto the debris, and began pushing smaller pieces aside, hoping against hope that Melissa had somehow survived the explosion.
"Mara, with me," said Hawkeye. "We'll cover the other two."
"Got it," said Mara, nodding. Hawkeye began patrolling the bridge, while Mara made her way over to the bridge's main door. Mara fiddled with the door controls, shutting the door and locking it.
"There," said Mara. "That should keep the Occupation out, at least for a little while."
"Good thinking," said Hawkeye, nodding. She then turned her head to look at Zed, who was fiddling with the controls of a console. "Any luck?" she asked.
"Well, I found the weapons console," said Zed. "But it's been locked down. I can't get the weapons to stop firing."
"Son of a glitch," said Hawkeye. "I don't have the permissions to override the lock-down."
"Are there any other consoles we can use?" Mara asked.
"Well, I found the navigation console and the engine power console," said Zed. "We can still use those two."
"So we can move the ship, but we can't shut off the guns," said Hawkeye. "Any ideas?"
"I have an idea," said Zed, moving over to another console. "Mara, power up the engines while I set a course."
"You got it," said Mara. "Which one's the engine power console?"
"This one here," said Zed, pointing at the console next to the one he had moved to. "It's right next to navigation."
"Right," said Mara, walking up to the console next to Zed. She adjusted the dials on the console, causing the flagship's engines to flare up as the flagship began moving. She turned the engines up to full power, then glanced over at the navigation console.
"Where are we going?" Mara asked.
"If we can't shut off the guns, then we have to destroy them," said Zed slowly. "But we don't have any weapons that can pierce the flagship's armour."
"You're going to crash the flagship into something," said Mara as understanding dawned.
Zed nodded. "We're on a crash course for the Coliseum. We won't fail our mission this time."
The flagship began turning, and wind whipped in through the shattered glass of the bridge's windows. Mara watched as the ground below began turning, and the Coliseum came into view. Once the flagship finished turning, it started moving forward and descending. Mara looked over her shoulder, and saw that Hawkeye had moved to the back of the bridge, and was looking through the wreckage with Ada. She looked back out the window, and saw the Coliseum grow closer and closer.
"Zed," Mara said slowly as she took Zed's hand. "If we don't... I just want to... no, I have to tell you... I love you."
"I love you, too," said Zed, squeezing Mara's hand gently.
As the Coliseum grew closer and closer, Mara pressed her head into Zed's chest and closed her eyes tightly, and Zed wrapped his arms around her.
Tron's disc bounced back into his hand, and he slashed at Dyson again. Dyson dodged, then attacked with his own disc. Tron blocked the attack, then raised his arm to strike again. Dyson turned and ran, stumbling as he tried to escape. Tron smirked viciously beneath his helmet, then looked over his shoulder as he heard a loud rumbling noise. Tron's eyes went wide as he saw the flagship heading straight towards the Coliseum. He docked his disc, then turned and ran, hoping to get as far away from the flagship as possible before it struck the ground.
Beck fired his light-jet's guns, blasting another Occupation light-jet out of the skies. Beside him, Paige was also flying her light-jet, and she fired her guns at a light-copter, blowing it up. Beck looked over the bay at the Sea of Simulation, and he saw the flagship heading towards the Coliseum. The massive ship hit the Coliseum with the lower two prongs of the vessel, carving massive gouges in the building. The flagship continued forward and down, and the upper prong rammed into the centre of the Disc Arena. Finally, the lower prongs hit the generators under the Coliseum. The pressurised energy was released from the tanks, and sparks created by the impact ignited the energy. A massive fireball erupted from the Coliseum, spraying debris and blue fire into the air. The explosion ruptured the energy tanks inside Dyson's flagship, and the heat ignited the energy. The flagship's engines exploded, causing the three prongs of the flagship to come apart, and the remains of the vertical prong fell into the Coliseum with a massive crash.
Beck brought his light-jet down on the opposite side of the bay to the Coliseum, and came to a stop. He shut off his light-jet and collapsed his helmet as he walked to the water's edge in a daze, watching the fires burning in the Coliseum. He was dimly aware of Paige bringing her light-jet to a stop and walking up to him, removing her helmet as she did so.
"The surviving Occupation forces are falling back," Paige said as she stood next to him and took his hand. "They're leaving Argon. We... we did it."
Beck looked up, and saw orange dots in the sky above, growing smaller and fainter as they fled across the Sea of Simulation.
A single, bitter laugh escaped Beck as tears began to form in his eyes. "We won, huh? If this is what victory is like..." Beck trailed off, feeling hollow. So many had died during the bombing and the fighting. As far as Beck knew, he and Paige were the only members of the Uprising who were still alive. If it took this much to free a single city from Clu, would defeating Clu for good even be possible?
And so, the Battle of Argon comes to a close, and the Uprising's victory comes at such a heavy cost, it's hard to even call it a victory. I've been looking forward to writing this, ever since I first started writing this story.
Beck and Paige are the main characters of this story. As a result, they have tended to be at the forefront, and are the ones who perform most of the heroics. This is actually fine in most cases, but in this chapter, I wanted to focus on other characters, and see how they handle this situation. I wanted to give some of the other characters a day in the spotlight, but in some of those cases, they received a death in the spotlight instead.
Tron: Evolution is probably the best source of information in how orbital bombardment works on the Grid, so as a result, I played through the game a few times to get a feel for how the bombardment works. I also threw in a few little references to Anon, the player character of the game, as well as a few locations.
Dyson and Tron's light-jet fight was never intended to be as spread out as it ended up being. Still, in my opinion, it worked for the better, and the battle still ended the way I wanted it; with Dyson and Tron in the Disc Arena as the flagship comes crashing down. And, just in case you were having trouble visualising Dyson's light-jet, Dyson was using a Tron: Legacy light-jet, while Tron and everyone else were using the Tron: Uprising style of light-jet.
The final scene confirmed that Beck and Paige are still alive. But what about Mara, Zed, Yori, Ram, Tron, Dyson, Pavel, Hawkeye, Ada, Melissa, Link, Aurora, and every other program from the Uprising? You'll just have to wait and see in the next episode, From the Ashes.