Summary: Impatience led to Alice's doom. What killed the white rabbit? / An alternate take on what would have happened if Sam hadn't made it in time to save Quorra.

Rating: PG-13

Genre: Angst/Tragedy

Pairing: Quorra/Clu… In a really weird way I suppose, lol.

Chapter 1: Chasing the White Rabbit

"You are a very rare bird, aren't you?" he says as he turns away from the black guards and walks over to the figure radiating piercing hatred scorn in all directions with a triumphant grin. She diverts her eyes to the ground as he covers up the glowing mark of the ISOs on her shoulder.

"Where's your disc? Where is he?" He's obviously enjoying himself. No wonder; he has finally captured the last flaw in the otherwise perfect system that he's created. The last danger threatening the unshakeable order and hierarchy he has established. There is no feeling quite as exhilarating as taking your worst fears by surprise and crushing them limb by limb.

"You must have been so lonely out there. How tragic – to be the only one." He's mocking her with no shame. The cause of all of this turmoil and suffering, spineless and pathetic, drowning in his majestic excellence without even realizing it. The one who lives on the blame of others. The one who thinks it a charming compliment.

She looks up at him, her face stone cold. "I've seen what users are capable of, Clu. You don't belong with them." For a brief moment, there is almost a hint of pitying sympathy hidden somewhere in those words.

He pays no attention to it and caresses a lock of her hair, taking in the image. Hundreds, maybe thousands of cycles have passed since the first symptom of this disease, the first free-willed who chose her own name, Ophelia, emerged from the geat Sea of Simulation. The war ended a long time ago; the Triumvirate has already been broken. But since then, there have still been rumors and legends of The Last ISO. The key to obliterating the lone remnants of those stories is finally in his grasp. He inhales the scent of victory. "I have something very special in mind for you." She shies away from his touch.

Clu directs his attention toward Rinzler. "Take her upstairs, and find them. You'll have to excuse me, you arrived just as I was preparing for a little toast." Without saying another word, he leaves to attend to his growing army, and doesn't even take a second look at the ISO being dragged to the elevator. There will be time enough later, after his initiative has commenced.

So this is where all his orders come from. She has to admit, for a murderer's lair, it looks quite cozy. Orange strips of light encircling the room give it an eerie feel. One wall of the ship is completely see-through, giving everyone inside the option to witness everything that's happening on the Grid. And there, in the front, sitting on a pedastal, is the most important piece of code ever written – her mentor's identity disc. She curses herself in her mind for being so close to retrieving it, but having no chance to. She looks outside and sees Clu's legions marching, hears the muffled but nonetheless terrifying echo of his speech.

"Out there is a new world! Out there is our victory! Out there is our destiny!"

The words resonate in her head and she shivers from head to toe. She only hopes that she got them enough time, that her sacrifice wasn't in vain. That the users will live on and show us a new, better way.

And so Alice fell down the rabbit hole.