Franget et Fugit

Far away from any trace of civilization, a lone Light Cycle zigzagged across the mountainous terrain. Beck knew the route well; he had traveled it hundreds of times, with and without Tron.

Behind his Renegade's mask, Beck was silently berating himself.

How could I have been so stupid? he continously thought, each thought repeating and echoing through his mind with every Energy-pulse. And above all that, to expose him there and then...

Beck vowed to redeem himself, at least in Tron's eyes. He was going to save Tron from whatever CLU had planned for him. It was the only way to keep the Revolution going. Admittedly, Beck had acted cocky before, but he knew he wasn't ready to begin a full-scale uprising all by himself, especially not this soon. He still needed Tron, and that was one of the many reasons that Beck respected the old Program.

Despite possessing a fraction of Tron's Disc, Beck knew almost nothing of his mentor, other than what most young Programs knew about him. Tron had been – still was – the greatest Warrior ever to step foot on the Grid, the last of the User-Believers, unrivaled in the Games back when they were still used for fun, a virtuous leader who was an inspiration to all... but Beck had heard, from some Programs who claimed to have known Tron well, that he did not belong to the Grid, that he was a stranger from a System far away. There were even some rumors that Flynn was not his User, that his Creator was different from everyone else's. Whether these rumors were true or not, what else was Tron hiding? Putting together what he did know, Beck concluded that if Tron were to tell it, he would have had a very interesting story to tell.

Now, to make sure he would be alive to tell it.

Beck narrowed his eyes as the base's entrance came into sight. Immediately after derezzing his Light Cycle, Beck ran as fast as he could into the base, toward one of various control panels set up all around the vast chamber. Where were Tron's tracking devices when he needed them? Beck opened and closed many projection windows on many of the panels, but it seemed as though the Renegade had been too busy doing "field work" to learn the ins and outs of working behind the scenes.

Beck tapped a button, but instead of being or not being what he wanted to see on the projection, something completely unexpected happened. Beck heard a noise and turned around, only to see a part of the floor open up to reveal a passageway Beck had never seen before in all his time as Tron's apprentice.

"A secret room," Beck muttered in astonishment, before correcting himself, "Tron's secret room." Should he go down to explore? There might be some clues, he figured, but there was a similar chance it might all be a waste of time, and every nanocycle he spent stalling, Tron would become closer and closer to... Beck didn't even want to imagine. However, curiosity won over; temporarily abandoning his search, Beck approached the opening before descending into a part of the base where no one other than Tron had set foot.

The room below was like Able's office, only much bigger, filled with various artifacts that not even Beck had ever seen before. What looked like an old Disc was mounted on the wall. Two or three Bits floated contently in their protective domes. Old-fashioned Light Cycle batons filled the shelves, some of them rezzed on the ground in front of him. Beck almost kicked over a large bottle of what looked like Unflavored Pure Energy. On display in the very center of the room was an unfamiliar gray, circuit-covered armor, distinguishable only by the infamous emblem dimly glowing on the chest. Beck took several moments to gaze in awe at the old armor, before focusing his attention on the archaic Identity Disc. He reached out to touch it, and a few fingers managed to brush against it.

"Let's walk this time. I've been wanting to try something different."

"Something different? But the Solar Sailer's much faster! And when have you not wanted to pilot?"

"You should try piloting it sometime! Besides, sometimes I'd rather focus on the System around us... and on you."

Beck felt oddly relaxed as he lifted his hand from the Disc. There was something odd about it, something about it that made it carry as many secrets as Tron himself had. Even after Beck had released the Disc, the spirits of Systems past still lingered for a while longer.

"Come on, Mighty Warrior, catch me!"

"Users, you're so fast! I have a worthy adversary...!"

Figuring he had seen enough of the secret room, Beck rushed back up the stairway into the base, the Bits behind him chanting, "No... No... No..." in a minor key.

According to some Sentries, Tron ws properly restrained. He appeared to be in that same trancelike state as the other to-be-rectified Programs had been, which was a good sign. With Tron – the real Tron – out of the way, the Grid belonged to CLU. With the real Tron, the Renegade was no longer a threat, or so they had been reassured. When all was said and done, none of them would even have to lift a finger in order to dispose of the "Renegade."

Standing a safe distance away from the Repurposing Chamber, CLU contently watched the magic unfold.

"It was a brilliant idea, Dyson," CLU stated, feeling the mood was set for a quiet, reflective apostrophe, "to work that safeguard into his coding. I wouldn't have been able to think of it myself." He took a side glance at some of the machines slowly powering up. "Now our little pet will have to come home, or risk the consequences."

Unbeknownst to CLU, however... unbeknownst to the deceased Dyson, or any Sentry, Black Guard, or orange-circuited Program on the Grid, or even any and every Program... unbeknownst, even, to the caged User so far away... there was a glitch in the Rectification Chamber, the one that the User Champion happened to be inside. It was through no fault of the rectifier, for this sort of malfunction could only be attributed to one thing.

The strong will and consuming rage of its sole occupant.

Beck finally found the tracking device, and immediately imputted a search for Tron's current location, wherever on the Grid he was. Beck paled (if Program skin was capable of doing so) when he saw the distance between Argon and Tron's location: the Grid's Capital, otherwise known as Tron City.

"That's too far," Beck instinctively mumbled, before reminding himself that he wasn't supposed to lose hope. It wasn't just Beck's own life on the line, but Tron's as well. Tron's, whose life Beck was able to proudly admit was more important than his own. "But I'm going anyway."

Grabbing a portable map-screen while syncing Tron's location so than it would be easier for him to plan a quick route, Beck wasted no time in grabbing what he needed and getting out of the base.

The Grid needed Tron.

Tron needed him.

After much debate, CLU had decided to not watch the rectification of Tron, as enjoyable as that experience would have been. As much as he delighted in watching the shift in alliance his enemies made, he had a System to rule, and after all, he was going to be getting plenty of opportunities to watch his... friend... play. CLU began to daydream, as his programming made him capable of doing so, while he read through and made adjustments to various System reports. The Liberator, so absorbed in his thoughts and unaware of anyone's watching, was about to hum a small victorious ditty to himself (apparently, the fall of Tron had made him surprisingly and uncharacteristically giddy) when a Sentry suddenly addressed him.


CLU turned around to face him. "Yes?"

"Request to update Your Excellency on the rectification of Unit JA307020."

"Go on." CLU's tone and face grew more serious, losing the potential giddiness from before.

The Sentry hesitated (a bad sign) before finally replying, "An error. System overload. Cause unknown. Unit's vitals were at fever pitch, last reading before the meters exploded completely, along with the temporary glitching of the rest of the Rectifier. Not impossible to correct with specified number of utilities."

This did not sound good. "And the Unit?"

"Missing, Sir."

"He didn't derezz?" CLU tried.

"No, Sir. No remains to be found."

The Sentry quickly led CLU through the corridors of the ship. The closer they became to the Unit's Repurposing Chamber itself, the more CLU began to see traces of derezzed Sentries and Guards. This should not have fazed him, but given the circumstances, it did.

Finally, the two of them arrived at the Chamber's dock, where many Sentries were attempting to clean up the mess made by a Program who had clearly broken himself free of his bonds.