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Fate on the Grid

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Ada was three when she met her new family. She didn't remember much from before, only that living with her adoptive parents and brother were brighter and warmer memories. She felt loved and happy but something felt out of place. Maybe because she looked slightly different from the rest of them. Her dark hair and eyes contrasted with her pale skin while the rest of her family had blonde hair and were tanned from living in California. Over time her paleness evened out as she spent her days in the sun, but something still felt different to her.

Her father, Kevin Flynn, always took her and Sam to his old arcade and played games with them every weekend. At first Sam took it easy on her and let her win most of the time like a good older brother, but as they got older, they both grew competitive. And when they didn't go to the arcade, Flynn would tuck his kids into bed and tell them stories of the Grid, the world inside of computers where programs were people and they raced on light cycles. Action packed stories of how he and Tron battled the evil MCP, how he was building a new Grid with Tron and C.L.U. One time he even mentioned the Miracle of Grid, promising to take them there one day and show them. It would like nothing they could imagine. At night Ada would fall asleep trying to think of what the Grid looked like. She pictured dark, glossy panels and bright blue lights edging everything. They sky was always dark but not somber.

Unfortunately, Sam and Ada’s mother died from cancer when they were 7 and 6. Flynn didn't spend as much time with his kids. He threw himself into his work, coming home in the early hours of the morning. Sam and Ada continued to go to school and continued to live their normal lives. One day when they came back from school, their grandparents were waiting for them at their house. The house felt so big and empty to Ada and she didn't understand why Grandma was crying into the phone. In the background the TV was on the news. She didn’t pay much attention to it until she heard her father’s name. Quickly her head turned and she saw a picture of her father with caption Kevin Flynn missing. Her whole world stopped. In a short span of time she had lost her parents. What was she supposed to do, where was she going to go. She turned to look at Sam who was leaning on the windowsill staring out at the storm. Ada couldn't imagine how this must feel for him. As much as they were her parents, they were Sam’s blood parents. Ada started crying quietly to myself and grandpa walked over to her. He pulled her into a tight hug and cried on his shoulder.

“Don't worry Ada girl, everything’s gonna be all right.” She cried and cried. Sam just left the house entirely.

Later that night, Alan Bradley, one of Flynn’s friends from work came over with Sam. He had a long talk with the grandparents about what they were to do next. Grandpa kept his word and told Alan that they would raise both Sam and Ada; they could not send her back to the orphanage. Alan said he would have the paperwork drawn up and look into the will. The three of them took care of Sam and Ada and they tried to continue with their lives as normally as they could. After a few months, the media stopped crowding around their house and following them to school. Sam still spent time with Ada, but they didn't go the arcade any more. Most nights when there was as storm, Ada would go sit by the windows in the living room watching the lightning light up the sky, the thunder shaking her very being. If Sam was awake or woke up when storms started, he would join her and they would just sit in silence. Few times they talked.

As they got older, Sam began to lash out, dropping out of college, disappearing from life as they knew. Ada and Alan knew where Sam was. He lived in an old shipping container of the river. Ada visited him every now and then. He would be working on his bike and she would tell him how working at Encom was, how she hated the place, specifically Richard Mackey, the new CEO. Edward Dillinger was her boss; he wasn't so bad most days considering he was always closed up in his office working on codes. She tried to get him back into life a few times, told him the prank on the company wasn't enough and he needed to grow up. She wanted him back there, taking their father’s company from the men who had changed it so much. To her, the company was all she had left to connect her to her father and Sam felt the same way. Which is why he would never go back.

Twenty years after Flynn’s disappearance, Ada sits at her apartment, alone with her computer. The TV is on in the background, but she’s not paying attention to it. She’s working on her latest projects for Encom. She looked up at the clock on her laptop. 11:59. She turns to the TV watching the news for that familiar face to grace the screen. A few minutes later she’s not disappointed. Tonight was the night of Sam’s annual prank on Encom. And there he is parachuting off of the top of Encom tower.

On her Internet browser, she searches Encom OS to find the latest operating system online. She picks up her phone of the coffee table and sends a text to Sam.

[Ur fucking crazy. Say hi to Carl for me ] As soon as she hits send, her phone begins to vibrate. A picture of Alan appears on the screen.
'What could he want this late?' she thinks to herself, answering the phone. “Alan?”

“Hey, Ada.”

“Why are you calling so late?” He sighs on the other end of the line.

“It’s a long story.”

“Is it something to do with Sam?” Ada questions worriedly.

“Yes and no. It has to do with your father.” Ada breath catches.

“Dad? What about him?” She questions with concern in her voice.

“I got a page from the Arcade last night.”

“A page Alan, really?”

“I know, I know. But Ada, that line has been disconnected for years.” She can hear in his voice how he wants her to connect the dots but it all seems so unrealistic.

“Do you really think Dad’s been at the arcade this whole time?” She gets up off the couch and begins to pace around her room. “Wouldn't someone have found him if he was?” The authorities searches the place years ago and came out empty handed. Eventually, the arcade had to be closed down because of bills and poor business.

“I don't know, I was going to go check it out myself, but I wanted you and Sam to get their first.”

She huff into the receiver. “Good luck getting Sam on board, you know how he feels about Dad.”

“I know, I’m going over there right now. I have the keys with me, but could you go on over?”

“Alan, what do you expect to find. Someone probably just broke in or something,” she reasoned.

“Aren't you the least bit curious?” Hell ya she was, but to her the solution didn't involve going to her dad's abandoned arcade in the early hours of the morning. However, Alan bringing it up did peak her interest just enough. Ada sighs again, shaking her head. Oh the things she let herself get dragged into.

“I’ll be over there in 10. See you soon,” she smiles and hangs up the phone. Something fills her chest, something like hope but she quickly waves it away. She's just going because Alan sounded so determined and she owed the guy this one thing for all the surrogate fathering he had done. But wouldn't it be something if they did find him.

Alan is smiling on the other end of the line as he pulls up to Sam’s “house.” There are no lights are on. “Probably still at the impound lot,” he says to himself. Getting out of the car he pull out his key ring and unlocks Sam’s door. He sits on the couch and Marv soon joins him. 'Now to convince the skeptic' he thinks.

Chapter Text

Ada finds herself waiting in her car by the arcade. No one is there but she doesn’t want to risk running into shady figures. At one point in time, this part of town was the place to go. Flynn’s was the most popular arcade around and now it’s practically a ghost town. She glances at the clock on her dash, 12:26. Sam and Alan should be getting here soon she thinks. A familiar roar fills the streets, Sam’s Ducati. He pulls up next to her car and taps on the glass. She rolls down the window.

“You gonna park or just ride off?” It’s too loud for her to hear his answer, but he pulls to the curb in front of her car. Ada rolls the window back up and takes the keys out of the ignition. She steps out of her car and walks to the arcade door to join Sam.

“No Alan?” Ada asks.

“Said he'd be over later. Wanted us to check it out first.” He shoves the door open. A flood of memories washes over them. Dad taking them to play games on the weekend, the furious battles they’d have over various single player games. It saddened Ada to see the place look so dumpy. Most of the games were covered in tarps, but dust piled on everything. Ada began looking around for signs of any break and couldn’t find anything. Sam found the breaker and turned the power on. The games chirped to life and retro hits began playing on the speakers. The dust doesn’t show any sign of disturbance. Sam begins walking back to the Tron game on the back wall.

“I’m going to check the office,” Ada says. She begins walking up the stairs and tried to prepare herself for what might lie behind the door. When she reaches the top of the stair, the door is already cracked open. She takes a deep breath and walks into the room. She reaches for the light switch, but nothing happens. Looking around the room, there is noting. Everything is covered in dust and illuminated from the lights below. She almost expects to see her Dad sitting at the desk or on the couch, but he’s not there.

“Hey Ada!” Sam calls from down stairs.

“Ya?” she yells back.

“You might wanna come see this.” She rushes down the stairs to see Sam standing under the Tron sign. The whole game console swung away from the wall to reveal a hidden door.

“What the hell?” Sam swings the door open to reveal a dark hall. As they walk down the underground passageways and stairs, the beat from the music upstairs thuds through the walls. Finally they come to a old, wooden door. As they near it, they see keys still in it.


“Ya?” He turns to Ada; she has a worried look on her face.

“What if we don’t like what’s on the other side of this door?” Sam takes a deep breath, mouth set in grim line. He doesn’t answer; instead he opens the door and steps in, blocking Ada from seeing what’s inside. He flashes the light around and to his relief, there’s no dead body in sight. He steps in, opening the door wider for Ada. Inside the room are various pieces of equipment, shelves of books, a couch, even a cork board with pictures of Sam and Ada with Flynn.

“You son of a gun,” Sam says. There is a hum coming from one side of the room.

“Sam, something’s still on,” Ada says walking over to the wall where the desk it. Sam flashes a light on the paper on the wall. In Flynn’s handwriting is “the

“Do you think?”

“I dunno,” Sam answers. He swipes the dust of the desk and a touch screen turns on. He sits in the chair and beings to type away.

“Woah,” Ada gasps. “Dad had this in the 80s, why am I not surprised.”

“Dad was the last one online,” he says. “Let’s try the backdoor. What were you working on?” Ada leans over his shoulder, looking at the screen. “Laser control.”

“Why would he need that?” Ada asks.

“Who knows.” Sam continues to type, suddenly, machinery turns on and the screen window blinks “Aperture clear?”

“Sam I got a bad feeling about this.” She leans closer to him. A hum starts up from behind them. Everything goes dark.