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Towards the Invisible

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She knows Alan is dying before Alan tells anyone. She can sense system degradation, and Alan’s been hovering upon total system failure for 4.3 months. Sam knows too, but he doesn’t fully process the thought, simply lets the argument hang in the parameters of his awareness, as if that will stave off the inevitable. That’s why Alan tells her first. She’s been in the User world for seven years, has almost completely integrated, but her source code is still computer. She processes information far more efficiently than Sam, won’t let her emotions lag her thinking for too long.

So she’s prepared when Alan goes into residential care, and Sam finally understands that the runtime of Alan’s life is near the end. She’s prepared for Sam’s short angry outbursts, his long cold silences, and his constant reassurances that he’s not bothered, not by anything, anything at all. Those statements are False. But she doesn’t correct him; she just waits for the inevitable.

When it happens, he shakes horribly in her embrace.

“I’ve lost them all now,” he croaks quietly into the folds of her jacket.

Her thought process had been similar, years ago in the Purge, years ago when she had lost Flynn. That statement though, is False.

“Alan has become part of the system, he is not gone,” she says.

Death is just like deresolution: reintegration with the system. User’s bodies are broken down into their basic components and become building blocks for new life in the User’s system.

“Doesn’t matter; he’ll be unrecognizable.”

“Sam,” she says, but can’t think of anything else to add, because what Sam says is True.

“He’s dead, Quorra. Dead.”

False.

“No, Alan Lives,” she gently touches the area over Sam’s heart, the central node in a User’s body, “just as Flynn Lives and Jordan Lives: in you.”

His shaking subsides a bit, perhaps out of surprise. She lays her cheek on his head and still, after all these years, attempts to make a connection. Predictably, she gets no reassuring ping back; Users connect in different ways. She breathes the smell of him in deeply, instead. Someday, Quorra and Sam will also live in legacy only. The thought does not bother her; why cringe from the inevitable? Nothing lasts for forever, suspended in a single, unchanging state; not a User, not a program, not even a perfect system.

“What are we going to tell Tron?” Sam asks, when their limbs have gone numb and the air is cold around them.

It’s a lonely thought: a program existing beyond their User.

“Tell him the Truth,” she says, “that Alan_1 has extended towards the invisible.”

Unlike programs, Users memorialize their dead. They put the decaying components into the ground, giving back to the system while also letting future Users know of who came before. Passing down a legacy. Sam doesn’t place flowers by the headstone, as is traditional. Instead, he places a packet of unpopped popcorn.

“For the next realm,” he grins tightly at her.

She slips her hand in his, feels his warmth and heartbeat, and leans forward to make a connection.
**
“All that is visible must grow beyond itself and extend into the realm of the invisible” – Dumont