The first time Flynn returned to the Encom server system after MCP’s defeat, several cycles had passed – but only weeks for the User, who explained the state of affairs on the other side of the screen as being “hectic” and “completely crazy, man.” As far as Tron understood him, Flynn’s defeat of the MCP had also provided him the means to take down the User who had been in charge of the Encom system and who had written Master Control. Flynn had only just been able to convince Yori’s User, Lora, to re-digitize him back into the computer grid, and the other Users were still sceptical of the truth behind Flynn’s outrageous stories.
“That’s what this thing is for,” Flynn said with a grin, holding up a strange, red, box-shaped device. He pressed a button and the box unfolded into a bulky, awkward-looking thing with a lens in the centre and a white square in the upper corner. “Bradley said to bring back proof, so I got him to loan me his camera.”
“Camera?” Tron tested out the unfamiliar word, staring in curiosity and awe at the User-world technology; Alan-One’s property.
“Yeah; it, uh, it captures a photo – a still image of something and preserves it on a bit of instant film paper. Uh…” Flynn scratched his head. “It’s like a .gif, only hard-copy.”
Tron nodded enthusiastically, relieved to have finally understood something the User had said. “How does it work?”
“Well, here, man, I’ll show you.” Flynn grinned and fiddled with the device, then held the viewport up to his eye and aimed it at Tron. “Smile.”
Tron did so, feeling very awkward. The little white square lit up in a blinding flash and he flinched in surprise, rubbing spots out of his eyes. Flynn chuckled and plucked the white square that the camera had ejected out of the device’s mouth, shaking it vigorously. He handed it to the still-blinking program.
When Tron’s vision returned to normal, he marvelled at the image that had appeared in the little box of white, though he grimaced at the copy of himself captured within it. The miniature Tron looked stiff and startled, baring his teeth in a rigid grimace. Not at all like a competent system security monitor.
Flynn looked over his shoulder and chuckled, clapping a hand to his shoulder. “Ye-aah. Hey, don’t sweat it; no one takes a good first photo.”
He made no move to take the image from Tron; instead, he strode off towards the I/O tower, calling for Dumont, with a grin on his face. Tron tucked the photo discreetly under his armoured security uniform and followed.
Flynn, meanwhile, had found both Dumont and Yori and was gesturing enthusiastically to the camera. As Tron approached, the User took a step back and snapped a photo of the Tower Guardian and Designer-Coordinator. Yori looked quite amused at the tiny representation of herself, and she waved the photo at Tron with a smile.
“Tron, look! Did Flynn show you his camera device yet?”
“Yes,” he replied truthfully, taking a look at the new photo. “Hm…”
Yori obviously had been given more warning than him. Her tiny counterpart was smiling in the warm, tender way her real self always did. Next to her, Dumont’s copy looked a bit disgruntled, but still solemn and wise, as every Tower Guardian was.
“A perfect replica,” Tron declared, and smiled warmly at her. “You’re as beautiful as ever, Yori.”
She returned his smile with a sly one and tickled the circuits that rested on his lower left side. “Flatterer.”
Flynn watched this with the sort of longing Tron had come to expect from the User where Yori was concerned – at least he had stopped trying to actively court her like his first time in the system, for which Tron was thankful. He suddenly smiled, snapping his fingers. “Hey, that’s a perfect idea. Lemme get a picture of the two of you; that’ll really blow Bradley and Lora’s minds.”
“May I try?” Tron asked, dreading another photo from Flynn’s hand. Flynn blinked and chuckled, handing the camera over and showing him where to press to initiate the image capture sequence. Tron studied it intently for a moment, then smiled at Yori and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. Her arms circled his waist, and he used his free hand to lift the camera, smiling at the lens.
He pressed the button twice; once for Flynn, and once for himself. Flynn smiled knowingly as Tron tucked one of the photos into his uniform, and handed the other to the User, along with the camera.
To Tron’s surprise, Flynn took the picture, but not the device.
“Keep it, man.”
Tron gaped and sputtered in protest, “But – I can’t take this, it belongs to Alan-One–”
Flynn waved his protests off with a hand and a mischievous smile. “Eh, Bradley won’t miss it. He hardly uses the thing anyways. Take a few pics while I’m gone; get the program’s-eye view of things around here. There are about…15 more photo-sheets, I think; I’ll bring another pack or two next time.”
Struck speechless, Tron could only clutch the device reverently to his chest and nod. Flynn glanced at the external chronometer attached to his wrist. “I’m sorry I couldn’t stay longer, but I promised I’d only be in and out within an hour.”
“I’ll escort you to the portal, Flynn; it’s my sector anyways, and I should be getting back.” Yori smiled politely at the User and turned to kiss Tron in farewell. The taller program bent to oblige her so that she didn’t have to stand on her toes, murring happily as their lips parted.
“I’ll see you next micro-hex,” he promised her, and watched them depart. Then he fished the photo out of his uniform. Yori’s face smiled up at him, slightly distorted from the angle the camera had been held at, but her eyes were turned up to the miniature Tron beside her, and full of love. The security monitor’s image still grinned awkwardly, but looked far more natural and relaxed with his mate at his side.
Tron smiled; carefully, he tucked the photo back under his armour, closed the camera back into its protective box-form, and rezzed his lightcycle, speeding off through the sector on patrol.