TRON returns; to himself and to others.
Turning in the water, he clawed for the surface. Pain tugged at the left side of his face, but he ignored it. The Sea of Simulation was wide and he had no idea how far he’d have to swim. Finding his glider rod seemed like too much to hope for.
Alan... Flynn... he thought, Help me...
As if in answer, the earth and sky shook, a massive shockwave of light and power throwing him against one of the many rocky spires. Turning, he clung to it until the wall of energy had passed. When he finally dared to look, a glowing shape caught his gaze. Clu’s glider rod lay lodged in a crevice in the stones.
“Thank you,” he told the sky.
Climbing up, he fished the rod from between the rocks. He had to grapple halfway up the formation before he was high enough. Praying the rod was still energized enough to function, he closed his eyes and jumped.
The shockwave had hit the city already. Instead of Clu’s gold and orange the lights shone white and clear blue. Good thing, too. The glider was almost out of power and so was he. Flying with monocular visuals had proved difficult and Tron wasn’t sure he really wanted to try to land in such close quarters. The decision was made for him as the wireframe began to flicker and a wave of dizziness washed over him. He fell into the descent, the glider blinking out a few clicks from the ground. It wasn’t a high fall, but the momentum carried him forward. Tucking into a ball, he felt his feet and then his shoulder connect with the street, sending him tumbling until he rolled to a stop. Traffic, it seemed, had come to a stand still. There was no screech of brakes, no horns or bells scolding him to get out of the way. For a moment he simply laid there, feeling the pain radiate down from his head to the rest of his body.
“Rinzler?” someone asked, approaching him cautiously.
“It’s Rinzler!” The phrase rippled back through the crowd like rings in a data stream. The helmet felt stuffy and hot, filled as it was with his pained breaths. Undoing the catch, he stiffly sat up and pulled it off. A communal gasp went up. No one had ever seen Rinzler’s face, but one or two programs might remember Tron’s, disfigured though it might be.
“My name is Tron,” he told the crowd, getting to his feet. The world swam for a moment and he let the helmet clatter to the street. “I fight for the User.”
“The User?” echoed one of the onlookers. “What about Clu?”
“Clu was reintegrated,” he held out his arms to show off the blue-white light running up and down his uniform. “Flynn took him back. He gave himself to save us. Flynn saved us. A User saved us.” The ground pitched and he staggered where he stood.
“You are free.”
Cheers exploded around him, several programs surged forward and he collapsed into their arms.
“Gem... Yori...” he murmured. “Where are they?”
He heard the question echo back, passing like a wave through the crowd. Many arms held him up, keeping him on his feet.
“Central Tower,” the cry went up. Tron lifted his head to see the spire of Central Tower piercing the atmosphere. His vision swam.
“Can you walk?” someone asked.
“I think so,” he answered, not at all convinced he could. Hoping it was true, he took a step but his knee buckled beneath him. The ground pitched and he fell, hands reaching out to catch him.
The word was a title, a benediction, more than just a name. The hands lifted him and he felt himself being carried on the crowd’s shoulders. On either side, a hand held his. The spire blurred, solidified, and blurred again as he drifted toward it, born on the wave of hands that carried him.
“Tron!” The shout was sharp and shrill, jerking him from the blessed oblivion of unconsciousness and back into the waking world. Opening his eye, he saw her. It had been ages. They both were older, but he would have recognized her regardless.
“Yori!” He fell, quite literally, into her arms. A cheer went up, barely noticed, as he kissed her.
“I missed you,” she murmured into his shoulder once they’d broken apart.
“Where’s Gem?” he asked.
Her face fell. “I don’t know. When Clu...” She paused and her eyes flicked down to study the pavement. Aware now that her own memories had been tampered with, she could only guess how much he knew. Looking up, she eyed the crowd briefly before meeting his gaze again; a look that said ‘Not in front of all these people.’
Tron nodded, he could wait. Taking his hands, she squeezed them and gave him a sad smile. He returned it, but the focus in his remaining eye was fading. Reaching, she caught him as he fell.
“Yori...” he murmured, trying to muster the strength and the memory to stand on his own.
“Shh...” she whispered, petting his hair. “You’re home.”
The lights dimmed and he knew no more.