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smiley_anon: Quorra v. Rinzlersmiley_anon on May 4th, 2011 02:44 pm (UTC)
Letting Go [2a]
Yaaay, chapter two. -_- Oh gods, I need sleep. And shorter chapters.

“The laser’s out.”

Sam stared at his phone. It wasn’t working. It couldn’t be working. Nevermind the long and mostly-cheerful conversation he’d just had with Quorra. Her first time using a phone, just like her first user-world breakfast, and her first toothbrushing. She’d told him all about it.

“What?” His voice was a croak. A quiet croak. He was out back, closer to the water than his ‘house’, but he still didn’t want the sound to carry.

“The digitizer. It’s disabled,” her voice came back. Friendly-like. Sam closed his eyes. “Flynn and Alan went over earlier this morning. They came back very distressed. What’s a ‘fucking shit’, Sam? Apparently the laser comprises a portion of it.”


“Yes, that.”

Sam was hallucinating. He had to be. This was a bad dream; soon he’d wake up and call Quorra or Alan or his dad and get rid of the defective murder machine sleeping against his garage door. Can we skip to the waking up part?


Nope. “…Sorry. Uh. What happened?” It couldn’t be broken, just… shut down. Or something.

“I can’t really tell you.” Her words came quieter now, worried. “Apparently it overloaded somehow? Flynn said he had never used it on more than one person at a time before.”

Sam breathed. Slowly. “Quorra. What. About. Rinzler?”

“Has he done anything?!”

He blinked at the alarm and anger in her tone, replied quickly, “No. Nothing… problematic.” The broken lamp flashed in Sam’s mind, but he really didn’t want Quorra to get her first user-world murder charge over his crappy furniture. “I just… I thought Dad and Alan were coming soon.” He could hear the barely-restrained panic in his voice. “To take him back. On the Grid, where they could fix him, or… whatever.”

Silence. “Quorra?”

“I nodded.” She was puzzled for a moment. “Oh! Audio interface only. Sorry. They’ll be there in… seven minutes.”

Sam stared at the phone. Right. “Goodbye, Quorra.”

“Sam.” Her voice was intent. ‘Audio’ or not, he could easily imagine her piercing gaze as she spoke. “Be careful. Rinzler is not… safe.” The last phrase came out cold with fury. Quorra hadn’t wanted to bring him here either, Sam remembered.

“I’m not the one you need to persuade. Talk later.” He ended the call.

There was a crashing noise behind Sam. He closed his eyes. Seven minutes.

Rinzler was in the kitchen. Or the sink-fridge corner of Sam’s home. Which now had… one less plate. Rinzler hadn’t dropped it. No, clumsiness was definitely not the program’s issue. The opposite, really.

Rinzler had fucking frisbeed Sam’s dishware.

Sam was in time to see the second one. It was almost impressive, really. He wouldn’t have thought you could angle a plate like that—it rotated in the air, spinning without the faintest wobble to slot neatly between Sam’s tool cabinet and the bathroom wall. Then, of course, it hit the far wall dead on and shattered.

The ticking rumble sounded irritated.

Sam sighed. “Rinzler.” He stared at the space behind the cabinet, wondering how much shit he’d have to move to clean it out. Even without looking, he could sense the program’s attention, hear the hitch in the unending sound. “Dishes are not projectiles. They’re…” He brought a hand to his face (why did he have to explain this?). “They’re not weapons at all. Most… round things aren’t, in this world.”

He figured it was a bad sign when he was assigning moods to the pitch and frequency of Rinzler’s growl. This one seemed contemplative.

Something metal flashed through the air.

Sam’s hand came down, head jerking sideways to stare at the program. Fuck. He’d found the knives.
smiley_anon: Panicked Samsmiley_anon on May 4th, 2011 02:48 pm (UTC)
Letting Go [2b]
The dark helmet tilted to face Sam. He swallowed. The sight of Rinzler, in his home, a sharp blade in either hand, was honestly never something he’d thought to worry about at any point in the last day’s madness. Staring at the reality, he wondered why. The program examined the implements curiously, flipping his grip, seeming to test the weight and balance. This was… bad.

“Rinzler.” His voice was steady, of course it was steady; it hadn’t just cracked like a teenager… “No.” The program tilted its… helmet. Sam would’ve taken that as a good sign, but Rinzler still hadn’t put the blades down. All sorts of wonderful deaths by blood loss ran through Sam’s mind as he cautiously stepped closer, hands raised in a way he really hoped was calming.

“Knives. No. Bad.” Okay, now you’re just babbling. “Really bad.” Yep. But it had got him within arm’s reach without any violent response. Rinzler seemed… curious. The (armed) hands lowered slightly, head tipped almost completely to the side as the rumbling noise stuttered slightly and changed pitch.

“Yeah. That’s right. Now just…” Sam reached out, slowly gripping the program’s left wrist as he tried to tug the sharp implement free without damage. Rinzler stiffened slightly at the contact, but didn’t pull back, and Sam was able to remove the weapon with surprising ease. When he reached for the other, though, Rinzler drew back against the counter.

Sam hesitated… then advanced, crowding the program. “You don’t… need a weapon.” The dark helmet, beginning to swivel toward the half-full dish rack, paused. “Seriously.” Sam kept one arm against the counter to discourage Rinzler bolting (though why this was working, he had no clue), and gently grasped at the knife-holding fist. “We’re not… no one’s going to attack you.”

Rinzler stilled, head angled slightly, growling sound soft. Then he released the knife—and Sam winced as it dropped blade-down, sticking in the floor a few inches from his foot. …Still.

“Goo—” he stopped himself as the helmet tilted again, feeling somewhat embarrassed. He’s not a dog. Rinzler was a person, however messed up and however not Sam’s friend. “Uh.” He cleared his throat. “Thanks.”

The noise surged as Rinzler leaned forward, and Sam tensed with surprise as he realized just how close he’d been. With the program no longer pulling away… he was half-hugging Rinzler, outstretched arm reaching around the dark-suited shoulder as the helmet pressed against his chest. He could feel the vibrations of the broken rumble through the surface, reverberating softly but insistently.

Sam blinked. It’s a purr.

“Sam?” Behind him. Outside.

He froze. “Ohthankgod…” He retreated quickly, turned and strode toward the entrance. Opened it.

“Alan.” He paused, looked behind him. “Dad?” The older Flynn had… cleaned up. He looked incongruous—the same aged face, calm expression, in a shirt and slacks that he might’ve worn in ’89. He probably had. Sam wondered where they’d gotten the clothes.

Alan looked stressed. “Sam.”

He raised an eyebrow, stepped to the side to wave the pair into his home. They stepped in, Alan confident, distracted, Flynn almost curious as he looked around. Not much to see.

Rinzler had stayed against the counter, and he seemed to draw back further as the others entered. Sam continued to be perplexed at how drastically the program’s posture changed his size—and how he could be so much more threatening when he got smaller. The noise was a ticking growl, the program’s limbs rigid, one hand clenched around the counter’s edge. Sam eyed the dropped knife and casually stepped closer to block it from the others’ view.

“So you’re taking him back, right?” He kept his voice even, trying to restrain the desperate edge. “To the Grid?” Quorra had to be wrong.
smiley_anonsmiley_anon on May 4th, 2011 02:52 pm (UTC)
Letting Go [2c]
A corner of Alan’s mouth twitched in an unhappy frown. “Not…” He shook his head. “We can’t right now.” Sam’s heart sank, but he forced himself to focus through the rising panic to Alan’s words.

“The charge from the group transfer shorted the laser’s power supply, and… we think there’s other damage as well.” He gave a huffing sigh. “Hopefully Lora can come down and give it a look, but…” Sam winced a little. That must have been a fun talk between Alan and his ex. “Well, we can’t do anything now.”

“So… what?” It couldn’t be what it sounded like, it really couldn’t. “He’s not staying here. Right?” If that last word came out high pitched and frantic… well no, Sam wasn’t above admitting it. He wanted Rinzler gone.

“No, no.” Sam could melt with relief. “We’ll have to figure something out longer term. For now, we were just going to take…”

“Tron.” Sam’s father broke his uncharacteristic silence. He was staring at the program, face a mask of… sorrow? Compassion? Faith? Whatever it was, Rinzler didn’t seem to like it.

Alan blinked almost helplessly before shaking his head and continuing. “…Yes. Tron. We were going to run some tests.”

Sam’s eyebrow came back up. “Tests?”

Flynn took a step towards the program, and Rinzler’s growl surged. The program’s limbs were stiff, hands tight, head snapped up as he crouched, back pressed against Sam’s counter. The older man stopped, grief battling determination across his expression. I’d add fear, but… Sam shifted slightly between the two. His dad really didn’t seem to get this ‘threat’ thing.

Alan looked at the pair of them, then back to Sam. “According to your father, this isn’t… he’s been… changed.”

“Repurposed,” his dad spoke, voice hoarse. “It’s not his fault.”

Alan sighed. “No one’s saying that, Kevin.” He shook his head again, staring at the program. He looked like he was still grappling with the program-as-human issue. Even with Quorra there? Then again, Sam supposed Alan hadn’t written the ISO.

“He’s been repurposed,” Alan rallied, face resolute. “Assuming the laser translates with any degree of accuracy, there should be… mental effects that reflect that.” Sam nodded fervently. “Which means his base code should also be represented.”

Sam stared. Dubious. “So…”

“He saved us, Sam.” His father’s voice was still pained, but grew stronger with conviction. “He’s still Tron. We just—we need to help him. Fix him. Bring him back.”

The ticking rumble sounded loudly in the resulting silence.

“So you’re going to…”

“Just run some tests for now.” Alan spoke calmly, though his eyes were unsettled as they lingered on the helmet. “There are a number of treatments for potentially similar… conditions. But we need to assess the damage first, figure out exactly how he… came out. Here.”

Sam looked at them. At the dark-suited figure rigid behind him. “…Right. Have fun with that.” He pushed away the surge of uneasiness as he stepped aside. It’s not my problem.

Rinzler’s helmet followed Sam, then snapped back to the front as the older Flynn approached, hand outstretched. The program froze, grip on the counter tightening furiously. The growl deepened, rose, almost… hateful in intensity.

“Uh, Dad—”

“Kevin, maybe you—”

Rinzler moved, a dark blur. For a moment, Sam thought he was attacking, but the program flinched back, darted sideways at the last moment. Sam swore aloud—he was headed for the open front entrance.

But Rinzler froze. Alan stood between him and the exit, blocking his path. Seeming to think better of it, the older man took a step back, but the program stayed, fixed in place. Fists clenched and unclenched, the rattling sound stuttered erratically, and the program stared up at the human, immobile.

Alan stared back. Sam bit his lip as the man cautiously reached out a hand—Rinzler stiffened, but the helmet didn’t turn away. Alan’s expression twitched, uncertainty battling resolve as he opened his mouth.

smiley_anon: Rinzlersmiley_anon on May 4th, 2011 02:58 pm (UTC)
Letting Go [2d]
The black mask jerked sideways, and a snarl erupted from the program. Sam froze—everyone did. The sound was broken and rough and edged with more violence than anything he’d heard in either world. Rinzler leapt back from Alan, easily clearing the couches. He spun, stepping as he did so—and Sam yelped as the black helmet collided with his shoulder.

Shit! Sam’s eyes widened, hands coming up in urgent defense. Rinzler stopped. Looked at him.

“Kiddo, it’s—”

Sam, get—”

Then the surging rumble cut through the voices as Rinzler’s mask tilted up, twitched back, and lowered. Sam blinked. Rinzler moved. Behind him.

Sam spun around. But Rinzler just stood there, shoulders hunched, ticking rattle soft. His head was bent, a rigid angle, but it rose slowly, reflective mask facing Sam’s stare. He looked at the program. At Alan and his dad… on the exact opposite side of him. Sam opened his mouth. Stared back at the program. Closed his mouth.

What. The…

…Fuck.” If Sam had any surprise left in him, he would’ve spared some for the quiet but heartfelt curse coming from Alan’s mouth, of all people. “Sam, are you…”

“Fine.” Disbelieving, maybe. Incredulous, a little. Possessing a faintly growing voice of dread in the back of his mind… yeah, that too.

“He likes you.” His father sounded hesitant. “That’s…” His voice brightened. “Sam, that’s great! Man, I must’ve… I must have told him about you a hundred times when you were little. He’s… he’s remembering. At least on some level.”

…Right. Sam watched the black figure tense, growl deepening as Flynn spoke. He met Alan’s wary gaze across the room, glanced at his father again. He tried to keep his tone neutral. “It’s possible.”

Alan sounded much more believable. “Seems likely, Kevin. Now, if you remember, we’re on somewhat of a schedule here. Sam, if you could…”

He jerked his head to the side, and Sam’s eyes narrowed. Alan was giving him the look. The one that said ‘play it safe’, ‘don’t take risks’, ‘let the responsible adults handle things’. Maybe that was unfair of Sam. But Alan was trying to get him clear. To protect him, despite the fact that as far as Sam could tell, he was the least at-risk human present.

But it’s not my problem. Rinzler was Alan’s program, his dad’s old friend. Sam hadn’t the slightest idea how to ‘bring Tron back’—he’d never even met him. This wasn’t something Sam could deal with; it wasn’t something Sam wanted to deal with. Alan was offering him an out, and for once, Sam wasn’t inclined to argue. He nodded. Turned to move aside.

The black helmet fixed on him, growl building as he made to step away. Sam paused, glanced at the program. Rinzler stared back, soft rattle even. Then the program’s head lowered. The helmet twitched sideways. Sam followed the invisible gaze in a straight path. To… the sink. …No. The dishrack.

Sam’s mouth opened slightly. He glared at the program, glanced at the stacked dishware and cutlery. He isn’t… The black-shelled head tipped slightly, and Sam’s focus caught on the sharp blade still protruding from the floor. Rinzler looked up at him, helmet tilting in question. Challenge.

“Don’t you dare…” Sam’s whisper was drowned out by rumbling noise as Rinzler’s head dipped, then came up to angle towards the others.


He glared at the reflections off the black helmet as Rinzler looked back. I will find a way to make you regret this. He cleared his throat. Looked at his dad, at Alan. “Right. I’m coming with.”

“What?” Alan’s shocked unhappiness was a sharp contrast to the (smug) purring behind Sam. He wondered if programs knew human hand gestures.

“Yep. He’s attached.” Like a parasite. “Might as well help get him going.” Away from anything weaponizable.

Alan wasn’t happy. But when it was, as the older Flynn put it, “so amazing, man”—them all here, all together, working to help Tron (Rinzler avoided Flynn and ignored the name)—well, how could the other man really protest?

Sam caught Alan’s frustrated glances in the rearview at every stoplight. He didn’t respond. He was too busy glowering at Rinzler.
something_grandsomething_grand on May 4th, 2011 03:21 pm (UTC)
Re: Letting Go [2d]
I like this so much <3
You're going to make me cry aren't you?
I think my favorite part is the fact that Sam understands Rinzler and it's only been such a short amount of time. The bargaining that he went through with Rinzler was just hilarious xD Also, weaponized plates! A thing of the future. (I can imagine that Rinzler would be very expensive to keep up with)
smiley_anon: Rinzlersmiley_anon on May 4th, 2011 08:26 pm (UTC)
Re: Letting Go [2d]
:)Sam's definitely getting used to interpreting Rinzlerisms very quickly--which isn't helping his growing "I'm going to get stuck with him" dread.

XD And yeah, Sam's vague hopes of keeping Rinzler weapon-free are kinda doomed. I'm pretty sure Rinzler can weaponize just about anything if he feels the need. Though he wasn't too happy with the plates--they broke way too easily.
grey_swgrey_sw on May 5th, 2011 02:12 am (UTC)
Re: Letting Go [2d]
XD And yeah, Sam's vague hopes of keeping Rinzler weapon-free are kinda doomed. I'm pretty sure Rinzler can weaponize just about anything if he feels the need. Though he wasn't too happy with the plates--they broke way too easily.

On the plus side, they break into plate shrapnel. Win/win!

Seriously, though, this is wonderful so far. I love the rapport Sam has (and Flynn doesn't!) with Rinzler, and Rinzler's reaction to Alan was also wonderful. I can already tell you're gonna make heart shrapnel with this one, too... :P
(Deleted comment)
smiley_anon: Rinzlersmiley_anon on May 5th, 2011 05:35 am (UTC)
Re: Letting Go [2d]
Alan... freaks Rinzler out. I may or may not go a bit into that as things progress; I plan to stick with Sam's PoV the whole way, if I can, and it's very much a complicated issue.

Short story: the guy's got his face. Long story involves a lot more mixed up jumble involving Rinzler's view on users, his own origins, and why he keeps the helmet on whenever possible.

Flynn freaks him out too, in an entirely different way. -_-
(Anonymous) on May 5th, 2011 06:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Letting Go [2d]
LOL. Rinzler reminds me of a petulant little kid here.

Older sibling: "No, I do NOT want to sit next to you in the car! You're annoying!"

Younger sibling: ~threatens to throw tantrum~

Older sibling: "FINE! ...I hate you."
(Anonymous) on May 17th, 2011 03:54 pm (UTC)
Re: Letting Go [2d]
... Smiley_anon? *poke* Don't disappear! D: That was a good "LOL," not a mocking one (just in case my previous comment was misinterpreted)! I adore your adorably child-like Rinzler!
ginger_mayaginger_maya on May 6th, 2011 12:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Letting Go [2d]
I really love how you're handling this story. I also like that you're treating Rinzler as a person. I admit that I am one of the people fans of kitty!Rinzler who tend to assign animal qualities to him, and I like to read a different take on the character. Awesome story, I hope there'll be more soon.
(Anonymous) on May 14th, 2011 04:06 am (UTC)
Re: Letting Go [2d]
smiley never stop being awesome
(Anonymous) on May 14th, 2011 05:43 am (UTC)
Re: Letting Go [2d]
seconded! I've been checking every day if this has been updated!
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seconded! I've been checking every day if this has been updated!
<_< >_> Sometimes twice a day.
Re: Letting Go [2d] - smiley_anon on May 18th, 2011 10:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Letting Go [2d] - (Anonymous) on May 19th, 2011 06:29 am (UTC) (Expand)
blackiesdungeonblackiesdungeon on June 3rd, 2011 09:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Letting Go [2d]
wow. and poor rinzler :/// i like him so much *sniff* please udpate soon, even if it breaks my heart ;)

*hugs*, bye, Blackie ^^..