This… kind of came out of nowhere. Also, one thing that sometimes seldom gets mentioned in discussions of Flynn’s subsequent harebrained decisions: of the trio who broke out of the Game Grid, he was the least mentally prepared, and who’d go and tell a counselor you have PTSD from being trapped in a video game?
Genre: G, gen, random scene
Summary: On the other side of the screen, it all looked so different…..
one minute I held the key
“How far who got?”
“Hmm?” Flynn blinked, looking up from the black desktop and fighting an urge to wipe it blank. It wasn’t as if he was doing anything he wasn’t supposed to be doing (this time) — ENCOM’s new senior exec had plenty of reasons to investigate how far a hacker had gotten into the company’s mainframe last month, even if he’d actually been that hacker.
(It didn’t feel like a month. Strange, still, to see Roy leaning in at the door, tousle-haired and eager for a chance to help out, as though the actuarial program who’d worn his face had never lived or died.)
“I’d just come up to ask about getting someone else in on that project,” said Roy, tilting his head curiously, “and you were saying ‘so that’s how far you got’. Still going through the old data from the MCP?”
“Yeah.” Flynn flopped back in his seat, working his neck back and forth, suddenly glad to have a real person to look at. It’d been all too easy to let the silent figures scrolling across the desktop translate back into forcefields, tanks, and endless broken terrain. “Trying to map out what his defenses were like. I got an information retrieval program in there right before everything blew up, but the MCP just… pfft.” He tossed a hand to one side to cover uneasy memories of people dissolving at his feet.
Roy rounded the desk to see, apparently taking the explanation as an invitation. He tended to do that; it was always amusing to watch Bradley’s stoic act fall on its face when the little guy was around. Funny, that the two had turned out to be sharing adjacent cubicles. There really was no such thing as coincidence.
The young programmer narrowed his eyes, picking up on the convergence almost immediately. “Wow, they just sailed right in after it, didn’t they? What are those even supposed to be?”
“Recognizers.” Flynn stared at the screen, his own voice sounding distant even to him. After the tanks, it wasn’t a huge surprise, but the familiar lines of script no longer conjured up the same prideful excitement he’d written them with. “He used my own programs to keep me out.”
Roy kept quiet for a moment, solemnly studying the way the jacked game code had gone after the intruder. Most of ENCOM’s programmers would have simply run the logic through their heads with no inkling that it could exist in any different form. Roy had as little inkling as the rest, but he let himself care all the same. Good philosophy, Flynn thought, to care about everything.
“Yeah,” murmured Roy, “that’s where they stopped it. Got through a couple, but there were too many of them. Must’ve been a tough little program to get that far, huh?”
“Clu,” said Flynn, feeling something draw tight in his throat. “His name was Clu.”
Oh, man, I love this so much. My creys, though. Let me show you them. ;_;