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Underneath that Mask

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Gibson often wonders what’s under that helmet of Anon’s. Flynn must have given him some sort of face when he sent him on his suicide mission to stabilize the Grid, even if Flynn did just send him through an auto-compiler and chucked him into existence, Anon must have some sort of face underneath that shiny black helmet, and honestly, Gibson was tired of talking to his distorted reflection every time he addressed Anon.

And Gibson’s pretty sure that Anon is at least good looking, if not handsome, based on everything else Gibson can see. Not that he stares, a lot, but it’s hard for Gibson not to, honestly. What-with-the basic’s refusal to wear anything else other than his skin tight combat suit, the one that accentuates every well-defined curve of Anon’s muscular figure. Anon’s fluid combat style and graceful movements have Gibson picturing soft features, but with a strong jaw.

The other frustrating thing that Gibson can’t figure out about Anon is his voice. What is it like? Is it deep? Medium-range? Gibson’s sure that Anon has some sort of vocal abilities, just as sure that he has some sort of face. Of course, Gibson wouldn’t have to wonder if Anon would just talk to him, or let his helmet retract, even for a second. Just for a peek.

Gibson could have taken a peek when he found Anon barely alive way out in the Outlands and was nursing him back to health, but he figured he was too much of a gentlemen to take advantage of Anon in that way, even if it was just a peek under the hood, so to say. Plus, Gibson couldn’t find any kind of manual release for Anon’s helmet, or seam in his suit.

Gibson still wasn’t sure how he stumbled upon Anon in the first place. One minute he was overtaken by the Abraxas virus, struggling to allow Anon to escape, and the next he was waking up virus free in the Outlands, next to a downed recognizer. He found Anon slumped up a rock pile nearby, the lights on his suit, now white for some reason, barely glowing.

He was able to get Anon back to the Bostrum Colony, which was now practically barren. The Abraxas virus seemed to have raided the Colony and stripped it bare before moving on, presumably to do the same to another Outlands colony.

Thankfully, some of the energy reserves were untouched by the virus and he was able to use it to keep Anon alive, by basically half submerging him into the pool of energy. Basics, Gibson had come to learn, don’t need to physically drink energy, but could absorb it through their suits. As soon as the lights on Anon’s suit were glowing strongly, he took Anon out and waited for him to wake up. Gibson repeated the process several times: submerging Anon in the pool of energy once his suit lights dimmed, and taking him out again once the lights glowed strongly again.

It took several cycles, but Anon eventually woke up, or started moving again—Gibson couldn’t see if he even had eyes that opened. Anon, just like Gibson, seemed surprised to be alive and took a while to fully gain his strength back. Gibson was just glad that when Anon did regain his strength, he didn’t taken on him.

Gibson had gone on scouts to Tron City while Anon was still recovering, and had seen all out martial law in place and had heard rumors that Clu had killed all of the ISOs he could find. Gibson was all alone now, presumably the only ISO remaining, and he didn’t look forward to living on his own form now on.

Gibson figured Anon had chosen to remain with him because Gibson had told Anon what was going on in Tron City after his scouting missions. Gibson figured that Flynn had given him instructions to help ISOs at any cost and that Anon now felt obliged to protect him, the only remaining ISO—as far as he knew. Gibson still has hope that there are still some ISOs left alive and that they had fled into the Outlands.

So, that is where Gibson finds himself, him and Anon in the Outlands looking for signs of other ISOs still left alive. Gibson had suggested looking for other ISOs and Anon, through his ever so subtle body movements, had agreed—or Gibson assumed, not getting any verbal confirmation, but Anon was still with him, so he counted that as agreement, even if Anon was only with him to protect him.

But, Gibson can only talk to himself—or his distorted reflection—for so long before going insane, or close to it. He hasn’t seen another face in many, many cycles, and his curiosity as to what Anon looks like under that helmet it reaching its fever pitch.

Gibson had made subtle hints, trying to get Anon to take his helmet off, but either Anon is really oblivious, or doesn’t have any ears--which doesn’t make sense because he needs that sense in order to fight. Gibson doesn’t think Anon is dumb either, so he figures Anon just doesn’t have very good social skills. Flynn probably didn’t expect him to live long, and didn’t see the need to program any into him.

Gibson doesn’t think Anon can’t learn them, though. Basics are capable of upgrading themselves, Gibson saw that with Anon. He’d take bits from fallen sentries and grid bugs and use them to alter his disc, giving him new abilities. Gibson figures he can teach Anon some social skills, enough so they can have some sort of a conversation, one that isn’t one way all the time. He’d first have to get Anon to take that helmet of his off first.

“Hey, Anon,” Gibson says, pausing to rest on top of a rise in the outlands, overlooking the vast emptiness, “have you ever taken that helmet off?”

Gibson has given up on subtlety and is going for the straight forward approach, hoping that if he explains his reasons, Anon will comply.

Anon had already reached the top of the rise and is now surveying the area, but he doesn’t acknowledge Gibson’s question. Gibson reaches Anon and repeats his question,

“Hey, buddy, did you hear me? Do you every take that thing off?”

Anon turns toward Gibson and shakes his head no, every-so-slightly, Gibson’s reflection distorting along the way.

Anon looks back to the horizon and points to an outcropping of rocks and starts to move.

“Wait, Anon!” Gibson reacts, and grabs Anon’s arm. Anon, thankfully, doesn’t react out of instinct and put Gibson on his ass, but instead stops and looks at Gibson’s hand on his arm.

“Can we talk?” Gibson asks. Anon stops moving away and faces Gibson. Gibson releases Anon’s arm when he knows Anon isn’t going to try and avoid him.

“I was thinking, uh, I could see your face, or something…” keeping with the straightforward approach. He feels himself heat up and grow nervous, and starts fidgeting with his hoodie.

Anon doesn’t say anything, but tilts his head to the side in curiosity.

“Right, right, why… Uhm, well it’s been a while since I’ve seen another face. And I, uh, assume you have one, so, I was wondering if I, uh, could, uh, see you… your face?”

Gibson doesn’t look at Anon, not wanting to see a disappointed head movement, but instead, he hears a click a soft whoosh and he looks up.

Gibson takes in this rare glimpse, fully expecting this to be the only time. He doesn’t want to miss a single detail. Anon has short brown hair that has been flattened by his helmet. His eyebrows are on the thicker side and a slight arch to them. His eyes are almond shaped with auburn pupils. His nose is blended into the rest of his face and is rounded at the point. His lips are a pale pink and set in a thin line, with thin lips. He was a square jaw, with a smooth chin with a slight point to it.

Gibson’s eyes travel over Anon’s face as he takes in his features, and end up looking into Anon’s eyes. Anon stares back and their eyes lock. After a brief moment, in which Gibson is starting to feel tingly, Anon’s helmet whooshes back into place and seals with a click, breaking their eye contact.

Gibson’s view is replaced with his own distorted reflection in the black glossy surface of Anon’s all too familiar helmet.

“Thanks, Anon,” Gibson states, immediately.

Anon nods and places his hand on Gibson’s shoulder in a comforting gesture. The touch sends a shockwave through Gibson, causing his body to react accordingly. Gibson smiles and claps Anon on the shoulder, “Thanks, buddy.”

Anon takes his hand off of Gibson, Gibson reveling in the way Anon’s gloved hand slides down his arm.

Anon then turns towards the outcropping he pointed at earlier and nods his head towards it.

Gibson smiles again, and wordlessly follows Anon as they leap from rock to rock through the Outlands, continuing their search for other ISOs, Gibson feeling better than he has in cycles.