The explosion had certainly been enough to get the former security officer’s attention.
Dyson was only vaguely aware of what he was doing as he walked toward the point of origin. He was no longer connected to the world around him; the feeling of the ground beneath his feet seemed distant, and he couldn’t tell how much time had passed since he started moving. Static and meaningless data cut through his mind, an interruption to any clear thoughts he might have been able to form for a moment– his own directives, his purpose, had become lost and unreal to him. His only redemption was that the burning will to destroy which had been forced on him wasn’t quite real either.
His memories of what had happened the cycle that everything went wrong were fragmented, and like everything else he was detached from them, but he had enough left for a rudimentary understanding. The events that took his function had come into play after the raid on Argon. The city which had hosted the uprising had been leveled; Dyson and his team had gone through and systematically rounded up every program, those who couldn’t be cleared of involvement with the Renegade were derezzed. Eventually he’d captured the culprit who’d started it all, only to find that they were not Tron– merely some nobody mechanic.
So Dyson had returned to the wreckage of what had once been Argon City and organized a search for any sign of the system monitor, any indication as to where he might be hiding…
He hadn’t known that there were still infected programs - remnants of the Abraxas virus - wandering the Grid. They’d never been reported, by military or civilian– nevertheless, they existed, and had swarmed on the ruins of Argon to search for energy.
The leader of the Grid’s military forces hadn’t been prepared to handle a viral attack. In spite of that, he and his team had managed to derezz every last infected program– at least, they’d thought so, until Dyson realized that he hadn’t gotten away unharmed. He himself had become infected.
Out of revulsion, out of desperation, he’d attempted to cut out the corrupted code; he’d tried to modify his disc, to erase it, to quarantine it. What he’d done, he wasn’t entirely certain of, but it left him in this state– trapped between his directives as a security program and the viral code that had torn through them, not fully connected to either. He’d become just as useless as the ISOs.
When he never returned to the admin tower, CLU had come looking for him, he knew– he wasn’t sure whether the Administrator would have tried to repair him or simply derezzed him (and he might not have minded either option), but he did have enough awareness left to discern that his presence posed an intolerable threat to his commander… So he ran. He’d wandered through the Outlands, subsisting, making his way from one energy pool to the next– he’d tried to destroy himself, of course, but found that whatever remained of his directives prevented it. Security programs like him - like who he used to be - served as the last line of defense against any threat to the system, no matter how dire. He was hard-wired with the will to go on.
This cycle, the admin tower was in just as bad a state as Argon had been back then. Less than half of it still stood, and that had been reduced to a skeletal steel frame. Dyson walked toward it at a steady, unwavering pace. Voxels covered the streets around him– remains of both structures and programs. Like everything else, it was distant to him, and not quite real– though on some level of subconsciousness, the sight still disturbed him.
He was charged with the duty of protecting the Grid– it had been his responsibility to prevent a scenario exactly like this one…
That thought nagged at him for a fraction of a nano before it was replaced by nothingness once again, cut through with meaningless static.
He climbed through the rubble that remained of the admin tower. The power supply to the Grid had been cut off from the outside; he could feel it– the former officer wasn’t sure why, but that sense - that life was being drained from him and from the system as a whole - was painfully familiar. There was a cycle - maybe two - left before all of the residual energy faded, and the Grid simply… shut down.
It hurt, but he wasn’t afraid of it. Dyson had already lived - useless, without purpose - for far longer than any program had a right to. He had failed to protect the system, and he deserved this.
He stood still and silent with his back to one of the structural columns that remained of the admin tower, and waited patiently for the end to come.