The time has come, the portal closes. Eckert bids final adieu to the Disneyland Grid. (tissue warning may apply.)
"My name is Eckert. And on behalf of myself and Program DJ Michael Paul, we want to wish you a good night. And for the last time…Programs…disperse."
With the throng of well-wishers and tearful fans dwindling to a few remaining clusters, Eckert ascended the staircase to the DJ dais, leaning on his cane as he watched the last of the humans trickle out through the Recogniser-shaped gateway. Soon, all but a few programs lingered, but they too, one by one, exited the backstage arena their hosts at Disney had dubbed the Grid. As the lights dimmed, he waited.
The sound of footsteps on the stairs behind him, and a warm, human hand laid itself upon his shoulder.
"It was a send-off they'll never forget," Sam, son of Flynn praised, taking a stance beside the Emcee program, arms crossed over his chest to ward off the chill of the late hour. "You did a great job here, Eckert."
"Yes, well, nothing less for a program of my coding," Eckert bragged, though only with a little of his usual flair. His core wasn't into it. "I will confess to a somewhat bittersweet feeling. The Disney Grid has been living on borrowed time for months. It was inevitable that one day, the portal between your world and mine would have to be shut down for good and yet…" he trailed off, hefting a sigh as he turned to the User. "I shall miss them all terribly, you know."
Sam gave him a sad, understanding smile. "I know. At least you have some experiences and ideas to take back. And who knows? With the work Encom and Disney are planning for the Tron franchise, maybe the Portal won't stay closed."
"Mm, that I do." Eckert smiled, then crossed a hand to his breast and gave a shallow bow. "Thank you, Sam Flynn…for uploading me to take Castor's place on the Grid. And for giving me the opportunity to see…to experience your world. It has been an honor and a true pleasure."
"You're welcome, Eckert. The pleasure was all mine." Sam clasped a hand to the program's shoulder, then jabbed a thumb over his own. The orange neon over Flynn's Arcade still glowed in the distance, a pale copy of the real place, yet containing a portal laser loaned to Disney specifically for ElecTRONica. "Come on. They're waiting for us. Time to go home."
Eckert nodded, twirling his cane between his fingers slowly. Then, with a decisive sigh, he ceased its movement and leaned it with reverent care against the DJ's booth.
With new energy, he linked his arm into Sam's and cast a hand in flourish towards the Arcade. "Lead on then, Son of Flynn. I've so many stories to tell and so many programs to illuminate and electrify! This Grid may be closing, but the portal awaits! Onward!"
Sam gave a chuckle and strode side by side with the exuberant program through the growing shadows.
Behind them, the lights of the Grid shut down, one by one, until only the name of Flynn remained.
Eventually, that too was dark.
A/N: Holy crap where did this come from? It's actually decent, and it made me cry to write it. A tribute to Eckert in all his forms and glory, and a tribute to ElecTRONica's final nights, which I attended with pride even as it ripped the heart from my chest and stomped on it mercilessly. For ExpositionFairy, Brightdreamer, and Shirozora, who I greatly enjoyed meeting and sharing the final nights with.
2A/N: Bright pointed out a couple of typos, so those have been fixed. I also changed Eckert's first line to match his heart-wrenching farewell (captured by briberry on youtube) and changed the wording of a line near the end I didn't like.