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Tron: Beta Cycle

on Tuesday, December, 14, 2004 6:25 PM

Chapter 1: "Resurrection"

Across the vast Sea Of Simulation, a lone tank sped hurriedly toward its destination. Inside, its operator was growing increasingly nervous.
Vax sat in front of the console in the slowly rotating cockpit of the tank. He stared at the glowing screen in front of him and sighed. It wasn’t so much that he felt nervous, he reasoned. Nervousness implied doubt, which was an emotion not afforded to Programs. He had his instructions and he was following them. It’s just that he was starting to get “concerned”.
When the final instructions had come down he was surprised, to say the least. Vax was a security Program, in charge of checking passwords and allowing access to his part of the Grid. His extended divisions of time were spent, for the most part, checking the ID’s and security clearances of programs arriving from other sectors. They would have to wait in line in the entry terminal while he processed their identity discs. Once one was cleared, he processed the next. Monotonous, yes, but he did what he was programmed to do and did it well.
Then, out of the blue, he a call to go to the I/O tower and receive instructions from his User. Instructions that included procuring this tank and setting out, alone, across the Sea Of Simulation.
Alone, of course, except for Bit.
“Are we within the scheduled arrival time at the destination, Bit?”
“Yes.” came the answer.
Good ‘ol bit, Vax thought. He could always be relied upon to be an anchor of sanity in this trip. Always “Yes” or “No”. Nothing else. If only he could think like Bit then his uneasiness might lessen somewhat.
Vax chuckled. I really have nothing to be worried about, he reasoned. There was a time, not too long ago, where he would have been spotted as an intruder by now, and a whole team of Recognizers would have descended upon him. That was before Tron, the savior of the system, liberated them from the Master Control Program and restored order and sanity to the whole domain. Vax likened himself to Tron in a way, both being security programs, after a fashion. Or at least he liked to think so.
Within the monitor something loomed in the distance. Sheer walls rose at steep angles from the floor of the Sea Of Simulation. Nestled within the wall, and visible on the monitor even at this distance was a gigantic tear reaching from the floor to top of the wall, dividing it in half. A Canyon. This was his destination.
“Bit, can you open a clear channel once we are in the canyon?”, Vax asked.
“No”, came the reply.
“OK fine,” Vax said. He stood up and punched a series of codes into the keyboard behind him. “Once we reach the entrance to the canyon, stop the tank and open up a channel to my User.”
Eventually the tank came to a halt before the entrance to the canyon. Vax, still standing at the console, rapidly typed in his communication codes, which would bring him in direct contact with his User, something that always filled him with awe and reverence.


The cursor skipped down a line and sat blinking. Vax held his breath hoping against hope he wasn’t going to be left out here, on the brink of nothingness waiting for a communication that would never come. After what seemed like ages, the screen scrolled a message.


This was his signal to upload the secret password that had been given to him at the beginning of this trip. He waited until the allotted time and typed, in perfect synchronization to the screen in front of him:


The screen flashed in front of him and lit up with a new purpose. This time the message was a much less formal.


Vax spoke directly to


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Re: Tron: Beta Cycle

on Thursday, January, 06, 2005 5:41 PM
The tank slowly worked its way along the canyon. Every now and again a piece of a canyon wall would jut out into the tank’s line of travel, and Vax would be forced to back up and work his way around the obstruction. The canyon walls also seemed to be getting narrower, giving the impression that he and his tank were being swallowed up. Here the walls seemed to glow eerily, the outlines growing dim and then bright as if pulsing to some hidden heartbeat.

He had no idea where he was within the Sea Of Simulation. He passed long ago any features he could recognize. He had a feeling that he was deep within old data, long forgotten.

It was puzzling exactly as to why he was here. It really made no logical sense. He wished his User was still online so he could question his motives about the mission he had been sent on. Of course, who was he kidding? He would never do that. His purpose was to see his User’s requests went answered. Thinking on his own was not the way things were done.

However, he thought, there is that new breed of program: The Ayeye. The Ayeye were said to be thinking, independent programs, driven solely by their own internal instructions, then relating their information to the User on a Peer to Peer level. The thought made him uneasy. The way order was maintained on the system was that programs were told what to do. They adhered to the laws set down by the Users and those sets of rules were enough to maintain order. Look what happened when the Master Control Program became capable of independent thought. Having rouge programs wandering all over the system driven purely by their own internal motives was cause for trouble.

They were small group now, but gaining numbers. They were shunned by other programs, but seemed to be getting created in greater numbers each macrocycle. It’s almost as if the User’s don’t want to think for themselves, Vax thought angrily. He felt immediately ashamed. To doubt the Users was to doubt the very existence of his being, and he was instantly contrite.

To take his mind off matters he watched the visual representation of the canyon scroll by on the monitor in front of him. The canyon was ragged, and did not run in a straight line. It was if some angry beast had ripped a scar in the very fabric of the Sea Of Simulation itself. He had been through canyons before, mostly on business trips on the solar sailor from one grid to the next. Those were uniform conduits in which data could be streamlined and pushed through with greater efficiency. But this one was different. It had a feeling to it of age, as if it were somehow decaying causing it’s shape to morph into something completely unnatural. He would be happy when the mission was over and he could go back to checking passwords.

For what seemed like ages the tank continued to crawl across the tortured landscape. The only view afforded were the looming glowing walls that seemed to leer down upon the tank. At last the canyon began to open and Vax noticed this on his monitor.

“Bit, do a survey of the terrain ahead. Will it be passable all the way to the final destination?”

“No”, Bit intoned.

That was bad news indeed. That meant that he would have to leave the relative safety of the tank and walk the rest of the way. That was definitely not something that he was looking forward to but his mission was clear.

“Oh My USER!”, Vax suddenly yelled. He ground the tank to a halt, skidding sideways. He had come to the end of the canyon, which was now a vast precipice overlooking a giant crater in the Sea Of Simulation. He caught his breath and managed to regain some composure. He quickly checked his long range surveying scans.

Even from this distance Vax could tell that there were ruins below. What they held, or what they were remnants of he could not tell. But that it was inhabited at one time was clear. Uniform streets strewn with rubble criss-crossed themselves like so many circuit

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