Title: Firewall [Part Two] Pairing: Tron/Other
Series: Tron; Legacy Type: Fanfiction
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Tron characters or anything from the universe of Tron. I am just taking the characters and playing with them a while – promising to restore them whole and unblemished! Thanks to the makers of Tron for creating these toys for me to enjoy. Please don't take any of my playing as having any bearing on the actual franchise. Enjoy.
Sarah had prepared a balanced diet from items she ordered off the grid. "All part of the service," she smiled, passing Tron a plate.
He quietly accepted, placing it down and watching his companion closely.
"It's nice to have someone to dinner," she mused, serving her own plate from the central display and taking a particularly large portion with a squeak of delight. "Thought I would put together something special…"
He watched her begin to eat and was content to fill his own plate.
Tron had to admit that he liked this place. Sat, as it was, on a naturally occurring power source outside the main grid, he soaked in the energy from the hot spring beneath the apartment. It was so… peaceful… and he was relaxed, sitting in a comfort-gown while his uniform recharged, he stretched his muscles and enjoyed his food.
Sara had also changed from her off-grid uniform into a more familiar white suit. It confirmed the existence of a diagnostic algorithm to her codex.
"Enjoying your meal?" She asked through a mouthful of her own.
Tron nodded in confirmation and Sara rolled her eyes, "Right," she nodded, "sorry. Still can't talk."
A moment passed as she went back to her food.
"It's a shame, really…" Sara continued, passing him a glass of blue liquid energy, "I was looking forward to hearing your voice."
Tron just smiled, tightly, and accepted the glass. Thus far, Sara had proved a great assistance and an honest program. But these were not honest times and there was no need to tip his hand too early.
If she knew he could talk, there would be endless questions. And she had been too kind for him to dismiss… silence, for now was the easiest and best option.
Tron pressed the glass to his lips.
"You might want to take it easy with that stuff," she warned, cutting into her dinner and nodding toward his glass, "it's concentrate from out here… not processed or grid spring." Sara tipped her glass, "Packs quite a punch."
He nodded and took in just a little, surprised and coughing back the strength.
"Warned you," Sarah said, taking another bite of her meal.
She did, Tron agreed and resolved to only have small sips of the strange, yet appealing refreshment.
"Just think," Sara smiled, winking to him, "I could have had let you drink all that quickly and I would have had a vigorous, perennial program at my mercy…"
A little shocked, Tron just blinked as Sara reached for her own glass and winked at him.
"Still… I suppose you would never have forgiven me."
Tron couldn't help a small smile as he shook his head in response.
"No," Sara pouted, "would have been fun though."
He laughed a little at that and was happy to hear Sara laughing as well.
"So," she smiled, moving toward him, "I guess that you're going to be heading back to the main grid after you're done recuperating."
Tron nodded, taking a bite of his meal.
He shook his head.
"Right," she said, "well… just give me an idea of where abouts you need to go and I'll get you there."
A wave of gratitude overtook Tron and he reached out to touch Saras hand.
She looked a little surprised at the contact, but soon flashed a grin. "Might be hope for me after all…" then she reached for the bottle of liquid, "top up?"
A few hours later, Tron was stood beside Sara's buggy, wearily eying the machine with an element of doubt.
"It's not pretty," Sara admitted, climbing into the front seat of the vehicle, "and the ride's as bumpy as hell… but it'll get you there. Just like me." She grinned again, accentuating her dimples and making her eyes sparkle.
Tron repressed a chuckle and clambered in beside her. He was starting to enjoy the one-way flirting Sara was determined to keep-up. In truth, he quite enjoyed being desired. He hoped he would be forgiven as easily.
The time had gone quite quickly and, while it was surprising, he found he had enjoyed Sara's chatter. She treated him much as she would any other program. Not with the awe he received from others in the past or with the fear his Rinzler persona had inspired.
They began their journey with a jerky misfire…
Sara blushed, "That almost never happens…" she looked up through her lashes at him… "Honest."
He rolled his eyes and smiled.
"Come on then princess…" she said, manoeuvring the buggy out onto the wilderness, "you shall go to the ball."
Princess? He thought, but Sara was busy negotiating the rough terrain of non-space. It was bleak and jagged, but she managed to manoeuvre the bumbling vehicle onto a flatter, more direct route toward the grid.
"I've spent so many years out here," she admitted with a proud tilt of her head, "I'm like a homing pigeon. You want energy, civilisation, or room to expand your little corner of the grid… I can get you there!"
Tron listened, wondering how long Sara had been out in the wilderness.
"I remember when all of this was ready to be programmed," Sara continued with a sad shake of her head, "now look at it."
Tron gazed out to the horizon, witnessing the neglect the area had weathered.
"I was created as a watchman program, though I was never supposed to guard this much undesignated cyber-space. But here I am. Thanks to the fall of the users."
At least that answered Tron's question; she was created before the rebellion. She watched the system become small and conquered by those who would think themselves higher.
The question threw Tron and he looked to her, but Sara's eyes were focused on her mirror.
Five black, hawk-like air vessels were slicing through the air toward them.
Tron felt each nerve ending fire in his body.
"Looks like a patrol…" Sara mused, "but they shouldn't be this far out…"
Growing alarmed, Tron turned to face the vehicles… could they be reinforcements for the battle he had been part of?
"Pull over." A voice commanded from above.
To Tron's alarm, Sara did just that.
He immediately reached for the wheel of their buggy, only to have it slapped away, "I know what I'm doing."
His anxiety shot up several notches as Sara climbed out of the vehicle.
She has got to be kidding! He thought, but found himself in motion to stand by her.
"Can I help you?" Sara asked as the five programs as they landed and reformed themselves into black-clad, red-energy units.
"You are not on authorised grid premises. Identify yourselves, programs."
Sarah waved a dismissive hand, "This must be a misunderstanding. I'm search and rescue and I'm bringing in a stray." She unclasped her disc and waved it toward them, "You can check my codex if you like. I have full permission to cross zones."
There was something about the situation that unnerved Tron to the extreme and while Sara moved easily forward to ask why they had been halted, there was something in the other programs gait that caused all of Trons security systems to move to high alert.
He watched one approach Sara while the other four split away and moved to circle them.
"Sara," Tron called, eyes on the advancing programs, "get behind me."
"Look, this could all just be a simple misunderstanding…" she began, before turning to him with bright eyes and the widest smile he had seen her produce. "You spoke! You can talk!"
She moved toward him in a fluster of motion, "Say something else… say anything else."
He didn't have time for this now and shifted her behind him with a firm grip.
"Identify yourselves," the unknown figures demanded again.
Sara held up her hands and shouted, "We're just trying to get back to the grid. We don't want any trouble…"
But Tron knew now; the foes they faced were not anti-virus software on grid-border control duties, but something much more threatening. He withdrew his disc, splitting away the outer sheath and brandishing them as weapons.
"Wow… wow," Sarah cried, desperately, "Ok… he's feeling just a little bit threatened here, programs. Why don't you guys back off and Tron will put away the bad Frisbees… yeah?"
One of the aggressors cocked his head, "Tron?"
They shared a look as Sara turned back to him. "Are you famous, or something?"
Tron growled the low and intimidating sound of Rinzler and watched the advancing programs falter for the slightest moment.
"Look," Sara pleaded, "there's still a chance to fix this…"
"CLU has been deleted," the leader of the aggressors informed them, "his last order was that this system would be purged."
"CLU tried to kill the User Kevin Flynn. Any order of his is not valid. You will discontinue this course of action," Tron informed them, "any attempt to deactivate myself, or any other accompanying program will be met with resistance."
"Can someone please tell me what is going on?!" Sara cried out, confused.
"I am Tron," he said to her, watching her eyes widen, "and I fight for the Users."
The moment the words hit air, the attack began from in front and the side of them.
Sara, too shocked to be an opponent, fell back as Tron leapt high into the air and delivered a crippling and fatal blow to the leader of the unit.
While the program pixelated and dissolved before him, he was acutely aware of the four closing at his periphery.
A data disc whizzed by him and his eyes followed it as it circled back on Sara.
To Trons surprise, she flipped backward, the disc narrowly missing her frame as it circled high in the air and returned to its owner.
Sara crouched in defence, eyes wide in shock as she pointed past him and yelled the warning; "Tron!"
It was almost a dance as Tron moved around, under and above the attackers, directing harmful blows their way and feeling some deliver with a deathly thud and spatter as the programs lessened in number.
Two down, he thought, three left.
"User!" He heard Sara's startled gasp as she moved to defend herself from her attacker. Tron watched her bend away from the blows, gripping the unknown programs arm and pulling him to his end.
But as he turned to the final two aggressors, Tron failed to react quickly enough.
One program vaulted over the other and span in the air, up and over Tron, toward Sara. There was no time, as Tron shifted to deflect the charge of his attacker.
He heard a sharp squeal, but couldn't move to check Sara as the black-clad program twisted and thrashed out to him with his data disc.
"Sara?" He yelled, trading blows and kicks while desperately listening for her.
There was a deathly thud from somewhere behind him, followed by the sound of pixilation as he avoided another slice of his enemies disc.
There was no answer and Tron found the anger within him spill over, making his movements more crisp and aggressive; the opposing program didn't stand a chance.
He brought his fight to a quick end, stepping through the pixilated remains of the last program to look for Sara.
To Tron's alarm, Sara lay on her side a few meters away.
He crossed the space in a heartbeat.
"Sara?" Tron asked, turning her toward him, becoming immediately concerned at her rapid breathing.
"So…" she breathed through juddering teeth, "guess those guys aren't a fan of you?"
Tron shook his head, she was still flippant even now. "Can you move?"
"That depends," she replied, pressing her hands back to her stomach. "I could get back to the buggy… but I doubt I can go further than that."
Tron felt his shoulders sag.
He couldn't help but smile, "No need to apologise."
Gently taking her hand, he peeled her arm away from her abdomen and took in the jagged tear that tattered her cobalt uniform and split the skin beneath.
"See…" she joked, "it's not that bad."
Tron just gaped at the damage.
"Why don't you go on to the grid and I'll wait here." She suggested, replacing her arm and squeezing it into the damaged area. "Seems like you have unfinished business there."
Tron felt the sting of her words as he realised he had involved her in a deadly chain of events.
He tried to meet her eyes, but she was doing her best to avoid them. There was no chance Sara would survive without immediate attention and she knew it.
"I'm not leaving you." He told her and there was no room for argument.
She smiled a little and laughed, "I'm only going to be a burden."
"Not if we can find a source of energy around here," he countered, kneeling to slip his arms beneath her, "And you're the one that's been living out here for years. Are you telling me there are energy sources you can't find?"
"There are plenty I know of, thanks," she told him, gritting her teeth as he jostled her into a tighter hold; "I just don't know how far can you carry me?"
Pushing up with his legs, Tron looked down at her in his arms, "As far as you like."
Sara closed her eyes and sighed, with sarcasm, "My hero."
"Looks like the Search and Rescue Application is in need of rescuing herself," Tron said smugly. "Which way?"
Pointing off into the distance, Sara narrowed her eyes, "You know… I think I preferred it when you didn't talk."
Tron laughed and started walking, "You saved me. Now let me do the same for you."
"It's a long walk," she warned.
"Then I'll have to keep you entertained."
"Are you going to tell me a story?" She asked, voice wavering as she closed her eyes and turned her face into his chest.
He was too concerned to argue and headed up the incline of the rough grid. "I can. I suppose."
"Will there be a dashing hero?"
Tron smiled, "That depends on your opinion…"
"And a fair maiden?"
Tron came to the top of the incline and looked about, thankful for the change of topic. "Left or right?"
Sara opened one eye, "Left until there is a fork in the path… go right and follow it around the base of a hill."
Tron did as instructed, holding her a little tighter as his footing became less certain.
"So… what was her name?" Sara asked, "Your fair maiden?"
Tron tried not to, but he couldn't help but turn to glance at Sara as she rolled her eyes.
"C'mon," she sighed, "give me a break… I'm dying over here."
"Not if I can help it," he found the words grinding out through his locked jaw.
"Sweet," she smiled, eyes half closed against the drowsiness, "but still haven't answered my question."
Tron couldn't help the smile that spread over his lips. Trust Sara to be just as awkward this close to deresolution as she was at any other time.
In truth, it had been many years since Tron had accessed those particular memory files. They were of the old system… but he answered her, all the same… "Yori. Her name was Yori."
Sara nodded as her body juddered against the pressure she was feeling, "Yori… huh?" Her eyes found his, "Was she pretty?"
Trons security programming sensed danger, "Yes."
Sara chewed her lip, "Prettier than me?"
Thinking about his answer, he shrugged, "She was not a Search and Rescue Application."
"Nice deflection," Sara smiled, "ok. What kind of program was she?"
"Basic admin," he stated, gripping her tighter as he reached the fork in the road and followed the path, "she remained in the old system…" As Tron rounded the base of the hill, he noticed the telltale glow and looked down to the shining pool of energy with a relieved smile. "I think we have found your salvation."
She huffed, "My hero."
He couldn't help but hold her closer in a quick squeeze, "Always."
Scurrying down the incline, he gently lay Sara on the embankment and ran to the pool, removing his data disc and scooping up the bright blue liquid.
Even being this close to it, he felt the energy radiate through his being… it felt so good. A flash of memory pulsed through him as he recalled the last encounter with a wild energy pool in the previous system. He was with his friends; the sports program Ram and user Kevin Flynn.
Ram had remained in the old system and now Kevin Flynn was dead.
A wave of guilt flushed over him and he shook his thoughts to the back of his mind and rushed back to Sara.
Her eyes were closed and Tron had to haul her up to touch the energy to her lips; "Drink this," he found himself saying unnecessarily as he tipped the liquid into her mouth.
Sara's eyes flickered, but remained closed and Tron found himself gripping her tighter, "Sara?"
He couldn't have brought her this far to watch her shut-down.
"Sara?!" He asked with more urgency.
"It's getting so a girl can't even catch her beauty-sleep around here." She complained, opening one eye and frowning unhappily at him.
Tron smiled, watching the neon light firing Sara's system. He did the only thing he could; brought her more energy until she was laughing and feebly pushing the disc full of liquid away from her lips.
"Ok, ok…" she griped her side through laughing, "I think I'll live."
The relief that washed through Tron was palpable as he sat himself beside his friend and shifted her head to rest on his thigh. She was shivering and he gathered her up in his arms to share warmth.
"You fought bravely, you know," he found himself saying.
"Well… clearly not as good as you." Sarah shifted and snuggled closer to him, closing her eyes against the strain of fatigue, "You'll have to teach me a few moves."
"My pleasure," Tron smiled, "though I think you can handle yourself."
He let his thought processes wander for a while, fixing his eyes on the horizon as Sara rested.
"Do you think that we'll reach the mainframe by tomorrow?" He asked.
"I should think so…" she sighed, "I just need a few hours off-line to refresh my power cells and then I'll be as fit as a PSTP."
"PSTP?" Tron questioned.
"Personal Sports Training Program," she answered with a yawn. "Talk to me some more… I like the sound of your voice."
"What do you want me to talk about?" He asked, but when he looked down, he saw that Sara was already off-line.
The questions could wait until she had powered up. So, for now, he kept watch and held Sara close.