|Fanfic: “Tron: Invasion” (Tron 2.0 adaptation) Chapter 1|
on Monday, December, 05, 2011 4:52 AM
Rating: Teen (language, violence, suggestive situations)
Disclaimer: the Mouse owns this universe, Mr. Lisberger created it, and Monoloith Games did much of the rest.
Summary: Twenty years after their iconic CEO vanished, Encom is a company in trouble. The mysterious head of F-Con knows its secrets all too well. When F-Con makes its move, cyberspace is threatened by the Users, and only a pair of them can stand against the onslaught. After the Betrayal and before the Legacy, there was the Invasion.
Note: This is mostly an adaptation of Tron 2.0, with a few tweaks to make it Legacy-compliant and a few more tweaks as added by author. It's part of my “Endgame” scenario.
March 3, 2010
Jethro “Jet” Bradley was twenty-seven, and several of the longest-serving employees had already remarked on how much he looked like his father. He had the same height and broad shoulders, the same high cheekbones and light brown hair (though his father's had gone gray). His jawline and nose favored his mother's genetics, along with his blue eyes.
He grew up in the shadow of Encom. His mother had taken a Department of Defense contract that kept her in Washington DC more often than not, but she was once considered “apprentice” to the company founder before Gibbs passed away from a stroke in 1983. His father had once been the CEO, taking up the mantle reluctantly for his vanished friend, only to have the sharks upstairs try to railroad him into early retirement with busywork and a token title. And of course, there was his godfather; the most famous unsolved mystery of the 1980's.
The bad news was that the economy forced him into taking a job at Encom to avoid another poverty-wage temp contract. The good news was that the game department didn't make an issue of what large shoes he didn't want to fill.
The lunch room on the lab floor wasn't the most spacious or the most quiet, but it was the one with the Tron arcade game. Jet had already eaten (if you could count a cup of noodles as “eating”) and was engrossed in the light cycle level. He jerked the stick left and right, making a spike in the trail and cutting off the first opponent. Veering down, he began to accelerate towards the second.
See the patterns, feel the patterns. The rest is all in the wrist. The advice was just as true now as it was when he was a kid begging for arcade tokens. Whether it was a classic like this one or the latest update to the Steampunk Arcanum MMO he just sent Patrick, the same logic applied. There was always a pattern to a computer game, always a way to “see” an AI's actions before they were made. Find the pattern and the game was defeated.
“Jet?” It was one of the techs, a new guy he still didn't know the name of. “Do you think your dad would mind if I had some of his popcorn?”
The mention of his father startled Jet enough that he made a turn a nanosecond too late and crashed his sprite into a wall. Game over.
“Uh, sure. Have all you want,” he said.
As if on queue, his cell phone rang. Jet glanced at it – just the number he wasn't looking forward to getting a call from. Well, might as well tie on the blindfold and prepare for the firing squad. He hit the green key. “Yeah?”
“Patrick told me. I'm a little surprised you turned down the level six programming position.”
Yep, exactly the conversation he didn't want to have on his lunch break. Jet sighed, “Look, Pop. I know you're disappointed...”
“Damn right I'm disappointed,” Alan said harshly. “I pulled a lot of strings to get you that offer.”
Strings you shouldn't have pulled without asking me first! “I'm happy making games. Life's short, Pop. I plan to enjoy it.”
An exasperated sigh over the line. “You sound like Flynn.”
Jet tried not to tense up. Was his father just trying to push his buttons? He bit back a “Which one? The one that left you holding the bag dealing with those cutthroats upstairs or the one who hides in a storage shed and only comes out to do publicity stunts?” and didn't dignify the comment with a reply.
“Hold on, son,” Alan said. Jet heard over the line. “Ma3a, results of security diagnostic?”
The mechanical, vaguely female, voice said what the terminal in the lab would have shown. “A virus has entered the system via email. Lab drives one, two, and four are infected.”
“Jet, we'll have to continue this later,” Alan said.
Before Jet could hang up, he heard the sound of a door crashing open.
“This is a restricted area,” Alan said. “You can't just come barging in here.” There was the sound of footsteps and a metallic clatter.
“Dad?” Jet asked, worried.
There was another crash and the sound of a struggle. “Get your hands off me! What do you think -”
“Dad! Can you hear me?”
The line went to dial tone. Jet looked over his shoulder at the tech who had grabbed a fist full of popcorn. “Tell Patrick up in games that something's wrong with my dad. I'm going to go check. Which lab is he using?”
“Three,” the man said.
Jet was already running.
Lab Three was a mess – papers scattered everywhere, the desk phone unplugged and on the floor, the office chair lying several feet away, wheels still spinning in the air.
“Ma3a, what happened in here? Where's my father?”
“Alan-2, I require immediate assistance,” the AI answered. Normally, the designation made him cringe – it was the sysadmin's idea of a bad joke.
He couldn't get a cell phone signal in the underground bunker of a room. Hunching over the desk, Jet tried to plug the phone back in to call 911 while checking the terminal readout. “Talk to me, Ma3a. What do you mean?” Jet was still trying to plug in the phone. One of the lines had been hacked apart with a box knife. He would need another cable.
“Contingency Protocol activated. Laser activity in five seconds.”
“Ma3a, stop what you're doing!” Frantically, he began to try and access the subroutines on the lab server, finding his father's security protocols thwarting access to anything relevant. Damn it!
“Put on goggles and clear digitizing bay.”
“What?! Ma3a, abort. You hear me?Ab -!”
Jet didn't finish the sentence. The beam struck him from above, disassembling his body one voxel at a time.
The world went to white, then blue, then to colors and patterns there were no words to describe. Finally, all went dark.
It's an entire universe in there, one we created, but it's beyond us now. Really. It's outgrown us. You know, every time you shut off your computer...do you know what you're doing? Have you ever reformatted a hard drive? Deleted old software? Destroyed an entire universe?"
-- Jet Bradley, Tron: Ghost in the Machine on why being a User isn't necessarily a good thing.