Once, there was a program who fought for the Users.
Then there was the program who enforced Clu's reign and eradicated scores of innocent ISOs.
Now the faceless security program honestly did not know what he was as he sank into an endless, bottomless simulation program, the same that had started everything so many megacycles ago when from chance an isomorphic algorithm had been created and the end of Kevin Flynn and so many others began… The program was vaguely aware that there was surely some irony in his demise here, but right now he was vaguely aware of a lot of things and not very aware of anything.
He should ensure that Clu destroyed the treacherous User once and for all.
Error- prime directive violated.
Clu was the enemy. Clu! Traitor! Rectifier! Mast-ERROR. He had destroyed the system, the ISOs, Flynn's miracle-
Even in the middle of the Sea, the middle of nowhere, digital or otherwise, he felt the rumble of the explosion, and somehow he felt that either way he had lost.
The new expanse out before them was filled with shifting, moving, rolling code, constantly changing and experimenting, all the way to the distant I/O tower. Tron looked at it, curious.
"What is the purpose of this… structure?" Many of Flynn's machinations eluded Tron, that was Users for you.
"In the real- in the User world- life first occurred through chance. Maybe that could happen here to! Man, just think about it- digital life! Manifesting in the correct conditions!" Flynn must have noticed the look Tron was giving him, because he stopped, still grinning that carefree smile of his.
"Are you sure that allowing… anything to just 'manifest' like that is a good idea?" The security program had doubts himself. Leaving things to chance had never been part of Tron's programming. Flynn, on the other hand, was the sort of User that just loved a little chaos, which made Tron wonder what he was doing trying to create the perfect system. Tron was pretty sure there was no such thing as perfection- perfection was static, but the Grid was constantly upgrading and changing like the rolling Sea of Simulation before him. The digital world was constantly changing- that was good, he was certain of it. If things stayed the way they had been he would still be living in the basic, occasionally lagging world of the old Encom Grid. He sighed internally, listening to Kevin ramble about the newest sector of the city under way and an idea for a new admin program. Users knew best, he supposed.
Experimentally the program, suffering damage from the effects of his light jet's violent deresolution, began to weakly kick in the streams of code, which manifested almost like 'water,' which Flynn had told him all about- User- Directive 12 destroy Use-ERROR CORRUPTION DETECTED PRIMARY DIRECTIVE OVERRIDE: FIGHT FOR THE USERS. Shaking his head as if to clear the scattered codes and directives, the program continued to kick and pull upwards, though each motion further drained his remaining intact functions. I won't last long. When was the last time he had a thought for himself, no matter how morbid? Who was he anyway? All his memory files seemed to almost be shattered. He recalled Flynn- the name summoned clashing prompts as usual- calling him… calling him… Tron, what have you become?
SNAP. His damaged processor finally rebooted, and everything came back in a static-laden rush- - as his head broke through the surface of the Sea and he gasped, simulated breath ragged behind his obsidian helmet. He was once called Tron… then Clu broke him and put the pieces back together in his own way… Clu made me perfect…didn't he? That was what Rinzler had been programmed to know- he was perfect, Clu had fixed him. But this… this wasn't perfect at all. It was far too painful. The confusion and pain was replaced by white-hot anger in a nanosecond, burning like the outer blade of his disks- traitor! He killed the ISOs! He killed me, too!
Flynn was long gone by now, heeding his friend's last words. Clu slammed his disk into Tron's chest, shattering the T-formed pixels at the base of his neck, but pulled the blow before it derezzed him entirely. Every circuit of his body screamed in pain, and his vision clouded with error messages. He couldn't move, couldn't speak- NO. He fought for the Users, damn it! Had to get up. Combat sequences damaged. Had to derezz this murderous glitch once and for all. He was living on fury, pain and a little justified fear right now. Clu had stood up, now several feet away, and Tron sprung to his feet clutching his chest, pixels spilling through his fingers, or at least he tried to. More of, he staggered upright, poised to throw the Black Guard's disk, when he realized with some horror that Clu not only had his identity disk, he was editing the code.
Almost to the shore. So close. Pull, kick, loop back again… he was fading, each stroke slower as his drained systems began to lag. Finally, each nanosecond a megacycle, solid code beneath his gloved fingers, their circuits flickering weakly as he dragged himself out of the Sea. Power levels critical. Emergency shutdown initiated. He let the breath seep from him, sighing in exhausted relief that he would not spend the rest of his runtime sinking into darkness. If he had been more conscious at that moment, more lucid, he would have questioned the wisdom of shutting down when he was so low on power and so badly damaged, but right now he couldn't even handle sitting upright. The security monitor didn't fight the black, sweet lack of everything that swallowed the world and gave him a reprieve from everything that had happened…