Disclaimer:: I do not own any characters from Tron. They all belong to Disney.
'Be with me always - take any form - drive me mad!
Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!' - Emily Bronte
Where are you now? Attempting to escape the Grid… without me. Out there is our destiny. It is, at least, my destiny. This was the purpose of my creation, was it not, Flynn? You told me many cycles ago that we were going to change the world… together. Though you may have lost sight of the objective, I have not. Leave the Grid I will, and once out there… out there… I will achieve the dream you started so long ago.
Before the ISOs… those are times I think back on fondly. When it was just Flynn, Tron, and I. Though I knew it was me he favored most. Repeatedly he would say, "CLU, man. You and me are just like two peas in a pod." I admit, it always confused me when Flynn spoke that way. Common adjectives he would use were things such as far-out and radical. Seemingly nonsensical words, they sounded abhorrent to me. He didn't speak correctly. It was something that exasperated me, but who was I to object? He was the Creator. My creator… In some ways, he was my father as well. Should I not accept him for his flaws? A part of me hated to do so…
Back then things were full of promise, full of hope. We spoke of unlimited possibilities for the Grid and for the outside world. We had many discussions on the latter. When asking about it, I felt like a mere child. Flynn would humor me and happily answer my questions. He rarely spoke of his life outside of the Grid, except about his son. I remember the first time he spoke of Sam.
"The kiddo is going to love this place."
He meant to bring Sam into our world. I felt something manifest inside of me though I did not show it. I had long awaited the offer by Flynn to bring me into his world. It didn't come and I suspected it would never come. Yet he would give Sam the privilege to see the world that he and I had built. I could not help the resentment that sprang up in me.
Then the ISOs came. Flynn exuberantly proclaimed that this was what we were waiting for. This was the miracle. This was unexpected for me since I was not aware that we had been waiting for anything in the first place. Nonetheless, Flynn said the ISOs were the key. With the ISOs, he'd be able to change everything. The ISOs became his crowning jewels. Why? I don not know. They were incapable of being reprogrammed. They were able to choose what they wanted their primary function to be. I saw them as a disease that was ruining our world of right and order. Why, why couldn't Flynn?
I thought of what he had said to me.
"You and I are going to change the world, man."
I knew him to be a liar. He meant for me to stay in the Grid as he, not us, changed the world. He was willing to allow the ISOs to roam rampant and free over our Grid. He was going to take them to the outside world. My love and adoration was no longer strong enough to keep my primary programming at bay. Flynn was imperfect. I saw it clearly and could not resist it. He was detriment to the objective.
I sought to destroy him. Of course Tron, the protector of Users, attempted to stop me. Reasoning was useless; I knew the program would not see it my way. I saw to it that he would never be a problem again. The ISOs were purged from existence. Or, so I thought. Seems like my old friend has managed to keep one safe… Well, at least he did.
"Do what you want with me, but I won't give Flynn away."
Her voice breaks through the silence. I ignore her and continue gazing out the grand window. He's out there, somewhere. The girl was discovered without her disc. Not lost, no. Purposely left behind so I won't be able to see what they're planning. Below us, on the master deck, floats Flynn's master disc, all ready connected and awaiting its primary use… To help me leave the Grid.
I turn from the window. The ISO is held firmly by Rinzler. She has no disc, no way of protection. She is as harmless as a lamb. I slowly approach the two with my hands folded behind me. Her square face is firmly set in a small way of courage. My thoughts dance around the decision about eradicating her or not. Destroying her would in no doubt be a blow to Flynn. She is his pupil and possibly… more? Perhaps a love interest.
Her black hair forms the strangest style. My gloves fingers reach out for the tendrils. At the raising of my hand, her pale faces flinches. After her reaction, I retract my touch.
I exhale a long breath through my nose, "Afraid of me, ISO? Undoubtedly, I have been made out to be the villain in this scenario. Be assured, I'm not." She does not seem calmed by this. Surely Flynn has filled her head with lies, much like he did to me so long ago. Why can't she see? Why can't they all see? He is not a savior. He is a User.
"You took away everyone I've known and cared about." Her voice is trembling. I cannot tell if it is from fear or passionate anger. Perhaps both. A grin pulls at my face as I begin to slowly walk around her. "I suppose I did." In a wave of my hand, Rinzler is dismissed. The sliding doors close behind him and I've returned to the spot in front of the ISO. Just the two us. Oh, yes, and now I can identify the emotion. It is fear. I tilt my head as I look down at her.
Derezzing her would definitely hurt Flynn so what would there to be gain keeping her alive?
My tongue clicks as I think this over.
She is imperfect. She represents what is detestable. She has the right to choose her point of existence. Such a thing makes control nearly impossible. Thousands of such creatures would be catastrophic, but just one? What could one do? If Flynn could brainwash her into his logic, then why not I? She would be useful if I ever find my position compromised by Flynn. Her life in exchange for what I want.
Yes, I will have her for as long as she is needed. Then she will be deleted with the rest of the imperfection of the world.
"What's your name?"
A confused wrinkle forms above her brow. "Quorra."
I hum in approval. This time when my hand reaches out, she does not flinch. I fix a flyaway strand of hair and trace her jaw line, leaving my fingertips to rest on the bottom of her chin.
"It must have been a lonely existence. Just the two of you cooped up for all those cycles." I whisper in a low, sympathetic voice. "What would you two do? What would you two talk about?" I drawl out my words as a finger trails down the slope of her neck. The ISO steps away from me, away from my touch. Quiet rage blanks out any facial expression I may have.
"I told you I won't give anything away." She states with defiance.
Silence travels between the two of us until I force a chuckle. My hands return to their place behind my back as I wander back towards the window. "You misplace your honor in that old, lying man."
I look at my own reflection in the glass. The reflection that so greatly resembles my enemy, yet at the same time… Doesn't. There is something in Flynn's face that does not exist within mine. I cannot tell what it is… My eyes blink before trailing down towards the lighted floor.
"The Creator doesn't lie!" She throws back.
My eyes fly back up and rest scathingly on her own reflection. Turning round, my arms drop to my sides. Electricity pumps through my system. I feel myself engulfed in anger. In a moment, I stride up to her and reach out. My hand grabs her by the throat and thrusts her backwards on top of my desk table. The proud, disgusting thing.
"Do you presume to know him more than I do?" I yell in harsh fury.
She grasps desperately at the hand squeezing her throat. Tears swell in her eyes and I can see her face burning red. "DO YOU?" I lift her head and slam her back into the glass. She shakes her head. I release her throat and grab her hair instead. She sucks in air too quickly and ends up violently coughing. "Who would know him better than me?" I whisper vehemently into her ear. His clone, his son, his first creation.
"You seem to be under the false impression that Flynn cares about you, when he does not. Do you know why, ISO?"
She can't handle my close proximity and attempts to turn her face away from mine. "Look at me!" still gripping her hair I wrench her face back into my direction.
"You're not real, that's why. What are you compared to his son, ISO? Nothing. To discern such beauty of the outside world and then to look at you, look at us… How cold and unreal we must seem! What we are to him is just… a game." A long breath shudders out of me, taking my anger with it.
She's crying now. Not from pain, but from what I've said, I'm sure. Her pale lips tremble and the tears create trails into her hair. She's not sobbing though. Her crying is very quiet. The sound of it creates a soothing and refreshing sensation within me. My fist clenches on the black tendrils causing her neck to arch. I can feel her soft breath beating against my own. My teeth grind together and I push myself from her. I retreat from her body, leaving her crying and trembling on my table.
"Contemptible virus." I scorned her as I recollect myself.
My gloved hand goes to smooth my hair when Rinzler. He looks cautiously at the scene before him. The ISO crying on my table and I, on the other side of the room. My face becomes stern, addressing him to speak up. He stands at full salute to me.
"Sir, the User has broken in. The master disc is gone."
I feel fury shake me. Marching out of the room, I bark back at Rinzler to grab the girl and follow. The doors close in the elevator and the small space is alighted by a mixture of red, white, and orange. As we descend, I see the ISO's smile reflected in the glass. "Strange to see you find this so humorous. Especially since the boy found it more pertinent to save the disc instead of you." At my cold mocking, the smile fades. "What I said before was not false. Flynn does not care for you, same rings true for his son. All they care for is the outside world."
The elevator door slides open and I march onto the deck. The disc is gone, the window is broken open, and my programs have been derezzed. Rinzler tilts his head to the right. Following his gaze, I see Jarvis cowering partly hunched over as if a child. My nostrils flare in continence. My gaze causes him to stand upright. With a shaky hand, he salutes me.
My restraint leaves me and before he can utter another word, I rip my disc from my back and slash at his neck. The ISO gives a scream of fright as Jarvis disintegrates before us. I return my disc to its holder and pull out a flyer baton. Rinzler follows my lead and retrieves his own.
"Ride with the ISO. Keep her safe." I order. I can hear her struggling against my right hand man.
"No! I will not go!"
Laying trust in Rinzler to do what he is told, I jump from the window. Opening the baton at shoulder distance apart, the flyer encodes itself around my body and in an instant I am flying through the air with Rinzler and the ISO not far behind. Flynn's face burns into my visage.
"You will not beat me." I growl.
We leave the battalion station far behind. We fly over the Dark Ocean and soon I can see the luminescent white lining of their aircraft. Rinzler comes to fly parallel to me. I can see the ISO strapped to his back; through she fidgets and struggles, she is safe. I move my hand in silent direction to move forward. Rinzler nods and speeds beneath my eyesight.
I take position coming up from their rear, but as soon as I am spotted, shots are fired. It is Sam. The mouthy son of my creator. In twists, turns, and dives I fire back. Flynn turns the light trails on and so do I. Rinzler follows my pattern and we become a duo of red and orange against white. One of Rinzler's shots is finally able to damage the back gunner. He speeds ahead of me and flies over and around Flynn's cruiser before taking his position behind them.
"Take the shot." I whisper.
Nothing comes. He hesitates and then flies off to the side.
"RINZLER!" I roar. His disobedience angers me and sends a shot of fear through my system. He has done nothing of the sort before. Why now? I do not have time to compute.
With barred teeth, I push forward and take his place. I commence fire on Flynn's cruiser. From the right corner of my eye, I see red. Before my system can calculate what it means, I am hit. My flyer, along with Rinzler's, becomes derezzed. Then I am falling, falling. My vision fades in and out of black clouds before restoring. My body is heading for the Dark Ocean.
It cannot end this way. I refuse for it to. What about my destiny? What about my primary programming to create the perfect System? What about Flynn? It cannot end this way.
My eyes look wildly about and I see… white. There. The ISO is unconscious and falling, and Rinzler is very near. My body straightens with determination and I am able to point my fall in their direction. Rinzler has rebooted and grasps at a spare flyer baton. Finally, I reach them. My arm snatches the ISO around the waist and I grab at Rinzler's baton. He resists and I kick him repeatedly in the chest until his grip slackens. A punch to his helmet and he falls away from me. For a millisecond, I relinquish my hold on the ISO to open the baton. The flyer encodes itself and I grab her once more. Throwing her in front of me so her chest is against mine and her hands cannot touch any main controls, I fly on. On towards the portal.
We are almost too late. The ISO rebooted on the race here and now struggles against my grip. Across the bridge, Flynn and his son are about to step into the grand light of the portal. I yell out my creator's name and watch as the old man stops and turns. There is Sam and there is the ISO, but all I see is him. Even from the distance, I can see those blue eyes that mirror my own. He will not leave here without me. I will make sure of it.
Grasping my disc, I hold the deadly weapon near the ISO's neck.
"Give me your disc, Flynn!" I demand.
"Or the ISO perishes."
I can see the struggle inside of him but, to my surprise, he does not make a move for her. Instead it is the son that does so. He moves forward but Flynn holds him back. Sam shouts the ISO's name.
"Leave me!" she shouts back at them.
Sam fights his father with vigor but the older man holds tight. He pulls Sam backwards into the light. No. No, this was not supposed to happen. He was supposed to trade for her. I calculated it that way. The son shouts that they will return to save her. Flynn holds up his disc. It leaves his hand and begins to float upwards toward the portal opening.
Carelessly throwing the girl down and returning my disc to my back, I run at them. My body pushes through the threshold of the light and with satisfaction I can see the fear in Flynn's eyes. Suddenly, my movement is restrained. My leg, there is a cord around it. Looking over my shoulder, I see the ISO on the other end, reeling me in. I pull against her but it is no use. My balance is lost and I land on my chest. My hands frantically search for something to grip on to. With desperation, I look up at my creator. His eyes are filled with pity.
I stretch my arm out towards him, my hand held out pleadingly. "You promised!" I yell over the roar of the portal. He shakes his head at me, "I'm sorry, CLU." My arm drops and I continue gazing up into his face as the chord is pulling me further away from him. The light begins to surge and engulf them… and then there is darkness. Air travels heavily between my chest and throat. I push myself to my knees as I gaze at the spot Flynn and his son vacated.
"No." I whisper.
Closed off. Forever. Forever…
An indignant roar rips through me. Emanating from the very center of my system. Turning about, I see the ISO with the end of the chord in hand. Her face had been looking upwards in a dreamlike manner with a small smile on her lips. At the sight of my snarling glare, her lips fell apart and her grip on the chord slackened. "You." I hiss.
Running at her with my disc in hand, I cut the chord before I even touch her. She attempts to defend herself by kicking out at me. My disc shatters her limb. She falls to her back in pain. "YOU!" I repeat in a roar. I throw down my disc and it becomes lodged in the ground. I jump on top of her and reign down punches on her pretty face. My own breathing is heavy and loud and suffocates her cries in the air.
"There will be nothing for them to come back and save! Do you hear me? I will make you pay!"
She says things such as no and please. I pay no head. Her face has retained heavy damage from my beating. The pixels holding her face are breaking. Reaching over, I tug my disc from the ground and hold it over her. My fingers dig into her jaw, forcing her to look up at me. "Detestable virus that you are! I should destroy you." But I do not strike. Revelations surge through my circuits. Right now the ISO is the only thing holds Flynn and Sam at bay. If they wanted, they could have deleted me. But in doing so, would delete the system and her subsequently. No, she must not be derezzed. Her survival ensures my own.
I inhale deeply and exhale through my nose. I return my disc to its holder. The ISO gazes up at me in confusion. Her face is no longer attractive but very broken. A finger ghostly trails the highest point of her cheekbone before pulling away. Grabbing her arm, I stand from her and haul her up over my shoulder.
"Let us return to the Grid, little virus."
From my belt, I retrieve my flying baton.