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.“Oh,” Flynn mulled.“Anything else?”“Absolutely,” replied the Bit energetically.“Yup!” It had missed Clu terribly since taking refuge in the Reco he’d destroyed with his tank.It was deliriously happy to be back with him, but didn’t understand why he had become so forgetful.“Only yes and no,” Flynn ruminated, brows knit.Then it dawned on him.“You’re a Bit!”“For sure!” the Bit confirmed, relieved.“Where’s your program?” Flynn asked, dividing his attention between the touchy Reco controls and the Bit.“Won’t it miss you?”“Negative,” said the Bit with a note of confusion, implying that he’d asked a question to which he should know the answer.It flittered near him expectantly.He eyed it with a certain caution.It sure wasn’t afraid of him, now that it had gotten a good look at him.The thought set something off.“I’m your program?”The Bit beamed happily, a verdant sphere.“You betcha!” it told him in a congratulatory voice, with some relief.Flynn sighed and went back to conning the Reco along.“Another mouth to feed.”In time, he became a little more practiced and a good deal more confident.He increased speed, and if the Reco’s progress was unsteady and given to sudden veerings, at least he avoided slamming it into a wall.This was the sort of thing Flynn loved, learning a new skill, testing his coordination.For a while, he forgot his problems and played the Reco as if it were a game.“Pretty good drivin’, huh?” he asked the Bit smugly.Just then the Reco gave an ungainly lurch, coming close to one of the walls of the channellike route.“No way,” judged the Bit harshly.“Who asked you?” Flynn snarled.He brought the Reco around the next turn in a wide, unsteady swing, its stabilizers complaining.“I’m getting the hang of it,” he added.“Watch this!”Lower lip between his teeth, he increased speed, making for the City.But he’d overaccelerated and was, after all, operating a machine that was usually run by a number of crewmen.The Reco tilted one way, then another, like a drunk.It slammed into a wall, bounced across and rebounded off the opposite one.“Noo-ooooo!” the Bit wailed, flashing an emphatic red, sounding as if it would’ve enjoyed hiding behind something again.’Hey, gimme a break!” Flynn protested.“They didn’t teach Reco steering in Driver’s Ed.” But he refused to slow to a more sedate pace, deciding that here and now were the place and time to master the vehicle.I’m getting this thing to the City if I have to dribble it there! he vowed silently.And so they went, the Reco caroming off the occasional wall and dividing its time between orderly progress and impromptu assaults on the sides of the channels.Flynn, driving with brio, cheered himself on enthusiastically.The Bit did not.Inside the Factory Complex, workers along an observation window manipulated fabrication controls, intent on the most complicated simulation project the Complex had yet attempted.Taking shape before them in a vast hangar was the craft that Gibbs had seen pictured on Dillinger’s desk, drawn from the concept of a Solar Sailer.As the workers sat at their boards and screens, defining what the ship would be and how she would operate, the Solar Sailer herself came into higher and higher resolution, generated by the System.Voices murmured spiritlessly, “Transfer forty-nine,” “Five-seven-eight-three,” “Sixty-seven?” “Eighty-two,” “Eighty-two,” “Eighty-two.”One row of workers was made up entirely of female programs, one of whom was checking a diagram listlessly, mechanically.Once, she’d been a premier designer-coordinator, recognized throughout the Complex for her exacting and uncompromising work.But now she was reduced to the status of labor automaton.She wore a worker’s aspect, her circuitry muted, complete with, tight helmet-cap and boots.From behind a nearby pillar, Tron watched her, appalled by her insensibility, afraid for her.The background of emotionless voices made the scene more bizarre and frightening.Yori, he thought, even you?She rose and walked to one of the Memory Guards posted around the room.“Production input?” the guard demanded.As if in a trance, she replied, “Three-zero-five-six.Ninety-nine.Limited four.Eight.”That appeared to satisfy the Memory Guard.As Yori walked away, he noted, “Twelve.” What that might mean, Tron had no idea, and Yori did not react to it.It hadn’t take him long to locate her; even in an enervated state, he had known, she would be virtually indispensable to the Factory Complex.Now, as he’d hoped when he’d selected his hiding place, she walked in his direction when she left the work area.As she passed by, Tron reached out to grab her arm and pull her into concealment with him.She yielded to it, oblivious, giving no sign of recognizing the one who meant everything to her, and to whom she meant the same.“Yori!” he implored.She simply gazed at him.“Nine,” she recited.“Sixty-two.Four.Seven.”He shook her.“Yori!” She was unresponsive.In sudden decision he held his hand near her face, more thankful than ever that he’d come across free-flowing power in the cave.Tron focused all his attention to Yori, and on the power he’d absorbed, carefully calculating the transfer he was about to make.Power beamed from his hand, not in a rush, but in a carefully controlled stream.It found the specific terminus, the circuitry-nexus at the base of her throat.They held their poses in that fashion for long moments as Tron poured new life into her.Yori’s circuitry flared brighter.Her expression changed, the dullness falling away.Astonishment took its place as she felt the transfusion coursing through her, as if she’d come back from de-resolution.Then she recognized him and broke into the smile he treasured.“Tron!”She threw her arms around his neck and they embraced, laughing, holding one another close.He lifted her from the floor.“Yori! Hey—”She hugged him again.She was nearly a head shorter than he, her figure at once slender and full.The high cheekbones and wide eyes were the image of Lora’s [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]