Fanfic: “Tron: Invasion” (Tron 2.0 adaptation) Chapter 5
on Wednesday, December, 14, 2011 3:52 PM
24 hours after last verified sighting.
Flynn's parents were watching the boys, and had taken them out of the city to avoid the vultures that passed for Los Angeles press. The call had been routed to his car phone, and Alan's hands were stiff from holding the bulky receiver by the time the call was finished.
“There's been a break-in at Flynn's arcade. We've quarantined the site, but you'd better come down here. We need to know if anything's missing.”
Three squad cars were parked outside the brick building, the “Y” in the neon sign was burned out again, and the lack of patrons just made the scene more ominous. Parking the car in the laundromat across the street, one of the sergeants ushered him inside.
“Did Mr. Flynn use the apartment often? He does have a primary residence.”
“He used to live here before he got married. He would still come here if he was working late or needed the privacy.”
“Some privacy,” sniffed another policeman. “This thing overhangs the busiest arcade in town. My kids blow through their allowance at this joint every other week.”
“Well, with everyone paying attention to their games, they weren't paying attention to him.”
“You aren't protecting him by keeping your mouth shut, Mr. Bradley.”
“What do you mean?”
“People don't just keep a spare apartment unless they have something or someone to hide. C'mon, he's widowed, CEO of a major company, which means he's loaded. Not too shabby in the looks department, probably a real smooth talker...”
“He didn't have a girlfriend. I'd know.”
“Maybe not a girlfriend. We did some asking around the Encom office, and rumor has it that he was AC/DC. Did he go cruising for boyfriends, maybe?”
Alan sighed and put his palm to his forehead. “He wouldn't do anything that might endanger his little boy.”
“All the more reason to keep it under everyone's radar,” the officer said. “Well, unless you and he had...”
Alan wasn't dense, and the policeman's tone was downright rude. “No.” he said flatly. “And I'm telling you there is no way he voluntarily disappeared.”
“We're not leaking it to the press, but after what we found here, we're inclined to agree with you.”
They walked up the narrow, neck-breaking staircase to the old apartment. Inside, Alan could hear the sounds of cameras and muttering voices. The policeman opened the door and...
His heart almost stopped and his stomach nearly crashed to the basement. Everything was torn apart. He knew Flynn was never the best at cleaning, but this was clearly a case of ransacking. The kitchenette cabinets were open, fragments of coffee mugs and shards of plates broken on the floor. Sheets were torn, the mattress upended and the space under the bed exposed. The Space Paranoids and Tron posters were torn from the walls and lying on the floor with huge rips in them. The cushions and beanbags looked like someone took a knife to them.
“Oh, my God.”
“We need to know if there's anything obvious that's been stolen from this place. It looks like a robbery gone wrong. The arcade manager reported this when he noticed the petty cash had gone missing and went up to the boss's office to look for it.”
Alan took a couple of shaky steps into the room, walking over to the desk. “His computer. Someone took his computer.”
The hood came off again and Alan's eyes adjusted to the overly bright lights. The goons bound his hands again, but duct tape wasn't quite the miracle substance many thought it was. Unfortunately, by the time he got his hands free, the thugs were gone and the door was locked solid. Alan banged on the walls and the door, but there was no reply, no echo. Wherever this was, no one would be finding him any time soon.
He sat heavily on a crate and ran his hands through his hair. The Shiva laser? Flynn Lives? Why did Crown consider those important? It wasn't like he had worked out all the kinks in the process anyway, and it wasn't like he made his involvement in either project common knowledge. Resuming the laser experiment was just a way to get back at Mackey for trying to force him into retirement, little more than a symbolic gesture. He really hadn't expected Ma3a to...
He looked up to the ceiling. “Is this where it ended for you, old friend? Some storage closet and an unmarked grave?”
His only answer was the hum of the cheap florescent lights.
After a moment of wondering what Flynn would do, the answer came. You're only defeated when you give up! C'mon, man. Look around you. See if there's anything you can use to bust out of here.
Alan looked down at the crate. It was hastily sealed with clear tape, and he could see some telltale off-white plastic beneath. Looking around again, he saw an old-fashioned phone jack and a grotty-looking power plug.
“Computer parts! They locked me in a room full of computer parts!”
He knew he was going to be in big trouble if his captors saw him, but Alan decided to take the chance. He didn't have to go down without a fight. Under a thick plastic tarp, Alan uncovered an old Tron arcade game. He never understood why Flynn spoke of his old security software with the reverence one would use for a distant friend, but the irony of Tron possibly saving his rear end wasn't lost on him.
The end result was a cobbled together mess of parts that would have been better off in a recycling bin. The connection wasn't even respectable speeds for dial-up, but it was the best he would get. From around his neck, Alan pulled off his necklace. Good thing Crown and his “security staff” just thought it was an ordinary piece of jewelry. It was a gift from Lora for their last anniversary, after all. The hidden USB stick slid out and Alan plugged it in.
He typed in the IP address for Ma3a's home server and used a forged Guest access to break into the server, uploading the USB's contents through the painfully slow connection.
Upload in Progress...
Uploading to Encom Quarantine Server...
Mercury was designed to protect Ma3a. Hopefully, it would be enough. If he could get through to Ma3a, she could warn someone at Encom and get the police.
As he bent down to check the connection from his improvised modem, something caught his eye, a piece of tan paper sticking out from under the Tron game. Alan pulled it out.
It was a scrap from a manilla envelope – brittle with age, spotted with mold, and torn at the top edge. There was nothing inside of it, but the writing on the front made his blood freeze.
...ergency or death...
Alan recognized the half-print, half-cursive chicken-scratch lettering. He hadn't seen it in twenty years, but he definitely recognized it.
If he didn't think his situation was grave before, he certainly thought it now.
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.