There are some things that can't be changed, but the most convincing lies are rooted in the truth.
Static fizzed and flickered before his eyes, eventually tracking to a flat, grainy image of a familiar face.
“Flynn?” Tron croaked, his voice thin and low-res in his own ears. Or perhaps ear. Audio input had gone mono, everything coming from his right side.
“Hardly,” said Flynn’s face. “Therein lies the problem.”
“I fight for the User.” His words were stronger this time, in both conviction and volume. Clu’s smile was rueful, his words gentle.
“I know, my friend, I know.”
Tron felt a hand brush over his hair. “You can’t help it. It’s what you were made for. I can’t ask you to go against your programming. Fortunately, I don’t have to.”
“Your Users left you. They went back through the portal and left you- all of you- in my care. I’m in charge now, Tron. Flynn told me to create a perfect system, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”
“Alan?” the word echoed hollow and desperate.
“He can’t hear you. He abandoned you, but it’s all right. I’m going to fix things, and I’m going to start with you.”
It wasn’t until the touch to his face that he realized something was wrong. Terribly wrong. What had started as a cold, abstract numbness exploded into agony. A sharp burning sensation stabbed into his left ear, lanced across his face, and gouged into his eye socket. Wounds always felt deeper than they really were, but he felt sure he must have been cut clean down to superstructure. Before he could bite it back, the scream escaped his throat.
“It hurts, doesn’t it,” Clu told him, voice distant and fuzzy through the pain and static of his own howls. “Perfection isn’t easy.”
Images flickered across his mind’s eye, only to darken and vanish. Clu threatening Alan and Flynn, himself raising a hand to stop him. Clu’s minions ambushing them, Clu standing over him with his own data disk raised above his head and then-- Darkness.
“You fought for the User, but there is no User anymore, only me. From now on, you fight for me...Rinzler.”
“Rinzler...?” he repeated.
“Rinzler,” Clu affirmed.
“Your leader, your savior. When your User is absent, you fight for me.”
“Yes, Rinzler. You will fight for me.”
“I will fight for you,” Rinzler repeated mechanically.
“Very good,” Clue leaned back, smiling.
“Yori...” The word escaped on its own.
Clu tilted his head to one side. “Who is Yori?”
“Yori? She... She is...” Rinzler rubbed at his head, trying to remember.
“Gone,” Clu supplied. “Gone like the Users. You’re a warrior. A warrior has no room in his heart for love.”
“None. You fight for me, for perfection. Together, we’ll protect the Grid and make it perfect.”
“Perfect?” he echoed.
“Yes, Rinzler, perfect. I have made you perfect; the perfect warrior. Together, none will stand in our way.”