Disclaimer: I don't own Tron or its affiliates, and User forbid that I get any money for it. This is written purely for fun.
A/N: That said, be also warned that there are the slightest hints of SLASH in this piece, so if that is not your cup of tea, please move on. Or maybe you'll read it and like it. It's up to you. If you do read it, please enjoy.
Flynn prided himself as being able to handle almost everything life threw at him. Mediocre family? Check. Sudden sexual orientation crisis (more like crises, actually) at age 17? No problem. Having his work hijacked by a money-hungry bastard? A-OK. But being transferred into a computer by an overgrown chess program? Not so much.
Despite this, he was working on it. Or, would be working on it, were it not for the fact that in the digital world time is measured in microcycles, nanoseconds, and other miniscule increments. Result? He was stuck in a data block, being harassed by the Hard Drive Gestapo and chatting with an insurance actuarial program. What is an actuarial program, Flynn thought, and then killed time by translating "actuarial" into binary.
"Do you think Tron is all right?"
Flynn stopped halfway through the "u". "What do you mean?"
"I mean, what is his probability of returning after his current match against the MCP's supporters?" Ram explained.
Flynn blinked twice. "You mean his odds?"
"That is one phrase, yes," Ram got the look in his eyes that he always did whenever Flynn said something unusual. Which seemed to be all of the time.
"Well, he's a smart program – he'll be fine. He'll come back and it'll be the same old same old 'My User wants me to destroy the MCP so I must devote all of my power to being an insufferable übermensh ideal of a superprogram, end of line,' as it always is." Flynn's voice had changed into a surprisingly accurate imitation of Tron's speech patterns about halfway through "MCP".
Ram let out a surprised little laugh, his eyes crinkling in a small way that Flynn couldn't help noticing. Which was unsettling. "What is an 'übermensh ideal of a superprogram'?" he asked, in just the same way that Flynn has always imagined search queries sounding like.
Well. Flynn was honestly stumped as to how to explain philosophy to a program. Hell, he'd had trouble understanding it himself, and he was programmed (so to speak) to comprehend it. It was worth a shot, at least. "Umm, an 'übermensh ideal' is the perfect form of something, like the ultimate program or something. The first guy to really get into this was Nietzsche, and boy was he a riot. I tell you, Thus Spoke Zarathustra is one book I really ha- " He curt off mid-syllable at Ram's look of utter confusion. "But you don't know what I'm talking about," he sighed, and inexplicably missed debating eternal recurrence with Lora.
"I do regret that I cannot understand some of your words," Ram tried, and he really did look upset and contrite simultaneously, "but your User and mine must be very different."
Flynn snorted. "You have no idea."
Ram continued, bravely. "Maybe you could try remembering your old functions? It always makes me feel more operational."
Flynn briefly thought, What the hell, and began to tell RAM his life story. As a metaphor, obviously, in which he was the adaptable program that first thought it was only used for normal processor functions, but then realized that he could do those as well as different functions of an unspecified origin. Ram turned out to be a very good listener, nodding at all the right spots and seeming genuinely interested. "And then the next thing I know the MCP has commandeered my data stream and I'm here," he gestured expansively around the cell. "So, what's your story?"
With no further urging, Ram launched into his tale of intrigue, terror, and small lump sums that paid off in the long run. Flynn was surprised to find that the adventures of an actuarial program really were interesting. Faulty data, viruses, fraud – it was a regular program's nightmare.
"And that's how I managed to save account number 7927445 from the PERSIMMON virus," Ram concluded.
"That's actually really interest…ing…" Flynn trailed off when he looked from the neon blue ceiling to see Ram sleeping across from him. The first time this had happened, Flynn had freaked out and woken him, only to have Ram say, rather grumpily, "I'm in stand-by mode, obviously, I'll be fully operational shortly," and fell back asleep. Flynn had since realized that either Ram was a narcoleptic insurance actuarial program or he really was on stand-by.
But it's just as well he went on stand-by, Flynn thought carelessly, because actually I'm a little tired too. Before he followed Ram into what passed as sleep, his last thoughts were of the animation in Ram's face when talking about derivatives and how they related to payments, and then he slipped into neon blue dreams.