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data_r3c0very.exe

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Hello friend. I know you're not real. I know you're only in my head. But I need someone to talk to. I can't talk to the people I'm seeing right now. They won't be of help to me.

I've just woken up. Angela is in front of me. She's talking to me, but nothing she is saying is making sense to me right now. I thought I was trying to save her. I thought she was taking some of the fall for what I did. I thought I was in love with her. Now I don't know anymore. I know I once had a girlfriend, Shayla. I once tried to save Shayla's life, but she was still murdered. And once I thought I was in love with my sister Darlene. I once thought Angela had shitty taste in men. Maybe I'm the one with shitty taste. Maybe I'm projecting my shitty taste onto people I care about.

I feel pain in my stomach. I thought Tyrell was tied up in a trunk and murdered. I thought he wasn't real. But Tyrell is real. He shot me in the stomach. Someone removed the bullet from my stomach and wrapped my stomach up. Tyrell's crying in the background. After he shot me, Tyrell said he did it because he couldn't let anyone get in the way of our plans, even if “anyone” was us. He shot me because I tried to stop Stage 2. I don't blame him. He followed instructions Mr. Robot gave him.

Mr. Robot isn't here. I thought he'd show up if I recovered from being shot, but so far, he's MIA.

Since I can't confront Mr. Robot and make him tell me what he knows about what's going on, I'll have to be a silent observer again. This time I'll have to travel through my memories, the ones I have of Tyrell. I'll also have to stay awake. Angela's doing a good job of helping me do that. Maybe I can understand why Angela is talking to me right now. Maybe I can understand why Tyrell shot me and why he's crying in the background.

I can't sleep right now because of my stomach pains. And Angela is still talking to me. But I can daydream, and I need you here with me. We're in this together, friend.

 

I'm back at the night I freed Fernando Vera from prison. I was lead to believe if I freed Vera from prison, Vera's men would return her to me alive. This memory isn't playing out the way it happened in real life. I'm trying to ask Vera about Shayla. Every time I try to ask about her, nothing comes out of my mouth.

Vera speaks. “Keys, yo. Told you you'd get him back, bro.”

No. That isn't right. Vera said I'd get her back. Shayla.

Vera hands me the keys. “You just didn't realize he was with you the whole time.”

No. It was “she.” She was with me the whole time. Who is “he?”

I open the trunk. Shayla's supposed to be in the trunk. When I open the trunk this time, it's Tyrell. But he's still alive. He's gagged and tied up, begging to be freed. Mr. Robot shuts the trunk. “I told you that was baggage, kiddo.”

 

That wasn't a pleasant memory. Let's look at this one.

I'm in the arcade with Tyrell. This was after he confessed he killed Sharon Knowles to me. I can't see Tyrell. He's watching Mr. Robot type a line of code into the computer. I'm watching Mr. Robot type code as well. I blink my eyes and now I'm at the computer. I see the code Mr. Robot typed. I highlight it and hit delete.

Mr. Robot is behind the computer again. He types the line of code he typed before into the computer. I push Mr. Robot out of the way and undo the line of code he typed. He pushes me out of the chair and types the code again. Mr. Robot and I do this a couple more times. When I get back at the computer, I scream at the monitor. Of course Tyrell doesn't see Mr. Robot. He's seeing me type code and erase it over and over again.

“What's wrong, Elliot?”

“He's trying to stop me,” I say. But it's not what I mean. Those are the words of Mr. Robot. He's trying to stop me from stopping him from finishing Stage 2.

“Who's trying to stop you?”

Mr. Robot clears my throat. “I am. I'm trying to stop myself.”

“Why would you stop now?”

“I don't know.” This is still Mr. Robot speaking. I know what I'm trying to do. I want to stop Mr. Robot from finishing Stage 2. He doesn't care if people die if a building explodes. I do.

I regain control of myself and leave the computer. I feel Tyrell grabbing my shoulder. He spins me around. “Where are you going?”

“I'm not doing this.”

“You're not running away from this. You started this. You're going to finish it.”

“I'm not doing this.”

Tyrell pushes me against one of the windows in the arcade. “You are doing this.”

Tyrell and I look at each other. I look into his eyes. There's something about this fight that's arousing me. This must be what Mr. Robot feels like when he's aroused. I never was aroused when I had fights with Shayla or when I thought Darlene and Angela were my girlfriends.

“Yeah, you're right.” Mr. Robot is speaking again. “I should finish what I started.”

But Tyrell and I don't move.

“You look like you want to fuck me,” I say to Tyrell.

Tyrell nods. “I do.”

“Then why don't you fuck me?”

Tyrell grabs my cock through my jeans and starts stroking it.

Mr. Robot shows up behind Tyrell while he's grabbing my cock. “What the fuck are you doing?”

“Fucking kiss me,” I say to Tyrell. I was trying to get Mr. Robot to shut up.

“We need to work on this code,” Mr. Robot says as Tyrell kisses me. “We don't have time for this.”

Tyrell kisses me. I feel he's going to bite my lip. Maybe my tongue. I don't mind. The idea of pain excites me.

“We have time for this,” I say to Mr. Robot, but I'm sure only Tyrell heard me.

“I know,” Tyrell says.

I groan as Tyrell's stroking my cock. I'm desperate for him to do something. I don't know if I can hang on much longer, but I'm trying.

In the background, Mr. Robot is throwing a tantrum. He's pacing around the arcade. He's punching his hand through video game monitors. He's jumping up and down on the skee ball machines. But I know he can't damage the arcade. He isn't real.

After what feels like forever, Tyrell releases my cock from my pants. I gasp when I see how hard I am. I didn't think I could get so hard that quickly, but I did.

Tyrell gets on his knees and takes part of my cock in his mouth while he strokes me with his right hand. I see and hear him sucking me off. I can't move. I'm stunned. I know Tyrell's had affairs with people who work with Evil Corp. I know Tyrell couldn't be faithful to his wife even if he tried. And yet I never expected to be one of his partners.

I feel a rush going through my body. Tyrell said something about “the night we became gods” when he shot me. I don't think he meant the moment where he was blowing me in the arcade. I'm certain he means when the Five/Nine hack went live. But while Tyrell was blowing me, I felt like a Zeus or an Odin. I felt someone bestowed on me the powers of a supreme god of some pantheon. I never felt like this when I was having sex with Shayla. Mr. Robot's never felt like this, either.

Judging from what Mr. Robot is saying in my ear, he doesn't care to feel like this. But I don't think Mr. Robot's one for pleasure. I don't see his face, but he's yelling in my ear now. “You don't have time for this. Take your cock out his mouth. Get back to work. You don't get a break until the hack is over. Get back in that chair.” I don't listen to him.

By this point I can't speak to Tyrell at all. I'm moaning. I'm speaking jibberish. I'm attempting to grab the window in vain. I'm sure Tyrell's delighted. Mr. Robot, not as much. I feel something coming out of me, and just like that, it's all over. My vision fades to white.

 

Apologies if you didn't want to see that, friend. What am I talking about? You didn't see anything because you're not real. But I'm going to still talk to you. There are more memories I want to explore before we go back into the present.

This has to be some time after Tyrell's given me a blow job. Tyrell was in the place where fsociety made videos prior to the start of the Five/Nine hack. I'm at the popcorn machine in the arcade, feeling around until I find a gun in the popcorn. I don't remember putting a gun in the popcorn machine. But I bet Mr. Robot remembers. I pull out the gun from the popcorn machine and walk to Tyrell.

I startle Tyrell. He was wearing the mask from The Careful Massacre of the Bourgeoisie, the one fsociety uses in their videos. He puts the mask beside the camera.

“I can't concentrate on the hack.”

Tyrell nods. “I know.”

“I need your help.”

I hand Tyrell the gun.

“What's this for?”

“You're going to hold me accountable for finishing the hack. No one can stop us from executing this hack. Not Five/Nine, not Stage 2. No one.”

“I shoot this gun if anyone gets in the way of this hack?”

I nod. “Yes.”

“Even you?”

“Even me.”

Even if that means in the future I end up getting shot in my stomach.

 

This is much later. I'm sitting at the computer again, finishing up code. Tyrell turns me around. “What's going on?”

“There's police nearby.”

I'm freaking out. “Police?”

Tyrell pulls out his cell phone. “I've got to get you out of here. You can't get arrested for this. I need you.”

“What are you doing?”

“I'm calling my SUV.”

“But I just started the hack.”

“We're not done yet.”

 

The next thing I remember is Tyrell pushing me into his SUV. And then I black out. I don't know why I blacked out. Maybe Tyrell knocked me out. Maybe Tyrell gave me some drug. Maybe someone else knocked me out. I don't know. But I was unconscious for a while.

Mr. Robot showed up. He went to my memory of Shayla, dead in the truck of Vega's car, and threw his version of Tyrell in it—gagged, bound, and thrashing in the trunk. With one touch, he was able to transform Vega's car into the car I remember seeing on some sitcom back in the 90s.

Mr. Robot went to my memory of giving Tyrell the gun. He aims the gun at his version of Tyrell and shoots him. Then he aims the gun at me.

It's easy to blame Mr. Robot for rewriting my memories. But I should own up to rewriting my own memories of Tyrell. I did hide the fact I was in prison from you, after all. Maybe I tried to forget everything I did involving the Five/Nine hack and Stage 2, to convince myself I could be a better person. Maybe I tried to forget I was involved with Tyrell, so I wouldn't go back to being Mr. Robot or to the Five/Nine hack and Stage 2. But you know I can't go back. Mr. Robot and I have done far too much to get to this point. We may as well continue to take Evil Corp down.

I don't think I'll be able to find any corruption-free memories of Angela now, aside from watching The Careful Massacre of the Bourgeoisie with Darlene and her when we were younger. But she's hiding things from me. She might be hiding things from all of us. I'm going back to the present. Once I think I've figured out what she's doing here, then I'll go back and see if there's something I missed about her.

 

Angela's done talking to me. It seems like she's disappeared. Maybe she's actually gone, or maybe she's out of my eyesight. I'm not sure. I still can't move because of my pain.

Tyrell walks up to me. He's still crying. “Elliot, are you okay?”

If there's anything I've learned while going back through my memories, I've learned Tyrell is devoted to me. He believes we share the same struggle, although he was an executive at Evil Corp and I was a once a white hat hacker. He wants to celebrate with me when Evil Corp finally comes crumbling down and everyone is free of Evil Corp's tyranny. When I speak to him, I can't afford to scare him off.

“Elliot? Elliot?”

“I'm okay. And when I feel better, we're going to work on this hack together, side by side, just like I promised you when we started this.”

Tyrell's beaming. I know I still have him by my side.