A/N: This is Before Yori meets Tron, so things hadn't gotten so bad yet. Programs were only being taken from their workplaces not their Sectors yet. (As stated by Crom in the 1982 film, which indicates that things had only been that bad for a short enough time. Tron and Ram had obviously been captured since before that time as Ram asks about the System.) The MCP's rule graduated, I believe. So by that time within the film, the MCP's soldiers were taking people from their workplaces, streets, and home sectors.
Memories Before Yori Met Tron - Yori
Beautiful colour and designs once cast a warm glow upon the upper level of the Digitization Centre that Yori worked in. The angles and structure all unique to the furniture and accessories, thought carefully put into each with love and care, an aesthetic eye giving them beauty. It was vibrant and full of life, lending inspiration, creativity and spirit to all who gazed upon it. Each design glowed and hummed with an energy all its own, 3D simulations carefully spread throughout the room with comfortable areas to sit and talk…
Now, the room stood barren, devoid of all colour. Grey walls with minimal, straight-edged, 2D designs enclosed the room laden with what could only be described as "furniture." A white "couch" along the front wall, a light-grey design to the left, and a table sat in the room's centre. It was so mono-tone and boring, looking at it sapped her energy and creativity right away.
A window lay to the right overlooking what could only be described as a "worker's area." There, people scrambled about or stood at their posts working diligently, but today was different. The red of the MCP's Guards dotted the room, staves held in their hands, backs straight as they stood tall. They were a menacing presence.
Within the room seven figures stood. Two guards boxed in three fearful Programs clad in white, their blue circuitry flaring brightly with worry. A couple, man and woman, stood holding each other in fear while another man stood to the side. This is the third retrieval this cycle. Sadness and worry laced her thoughts. The Centre is getting low on workers. What are they thinking? In a matter of cycles, there won't be anyone left…
Sark himself stood before the group, menace in his eyes and a smirk upon his lips. Yori stood away from him to his right, looking back and forth between him and the frightened Programs randomly as he spoke. "This is necessary. They'll be back." He nodded with a confidant tone and took a step toward the three. The man to the side took a step back in fear only to have himself thrust back in "line" by a guard's staff. "They only need to be sent to the games for training in combat and be tested for heresy." He raised his chin as the frightened Program stood in line quaking. Turning, he walked toward her and continued. "If they prove themselves worthy, they will be spared and join either our militant forces or be returned to you."
Worry gripped Yori. For too long Sark had come by to take her workers. She realized now, just how responsible she was for these people. Before the MCP had decided to have a liking for power it had been so peaceful. She never had worry of her workers. The Centre was full and alive with life and colour and beauty. It was thriving with people continuously going about their functions with light in their eyes and creativity in their "hearts", as the Users would say. Then, the Programs of the System felt free, free to create, free to go about their functions at the proper pace and with the proper amount of Programs to work beside them.
Now, the Programs lived in fear. So few remained of what was once a complex full of hard-working Programs, all of them sent to the games for "training" and "testing for heresy" with the promise of survival or being returned. Even now, shown through the window below, they scrambled about with minimal movements to enhance efficiency, hoping they would meet the requirements needed to keep their function and stay safe. It was a hard task when so few remained, and so different from the care-free and hard-working environment that once was.
This was how the Programs were most often taken. Not from their homes nor on their way to work, but judged within their own workplace. At first Yori had been naive. She believed that the MCP really was doing good… Then, she believed that they really would return one day. Now, she knew better. It hit her hard when she finally became aware of what was really going on. She reflected over how many lives she could have saved, should have saved, with her position. But she had not known what to do.
Guilt weighed heavy upon her processor. For too long she remained naive and believed that the Programs taken from her complex were going to return. Too long she had scrambled about with unknowing of what to do. She was not one of tactic nor fighting, none of them were and none of them had the heart for it. So at first when she had learned of what was truly going on, she stalled. Her decisions were clouded and unsure, then, she decided to remain in appearance only, loyal to the MCP, but inside, she HATED him and his lackey Sark with all her coding.
It was a diplomatic move, she had power in her position as head of the Digitization Centre, she could, and did, often sway Sark's demands for more Programs often because of this. But it wasn't enough. She should have realized what she needed to do sooner.
It tore at her, just how many Programs under her care had died in those games simply because none of them held a chance against any who held the proper finesse and training. These Programs may have been competitive, but they had no prowess with a disk as they held none and she knew, they had just as much inexperience as she.
Now it seemed glaringly obvious with her worry, and rage at Sark as he stood before her, looking for all the System sincere with his words. She knew better. None of those Programs ever came back. Cycle after cycle, she had waited, processor aching at the thought of each Program's fate that she had decided. Yet more and more were taken. Sometimes five, sometimes more. She had often asked after them, wondering when they would be returned to their lives, only to be given a non-committal answer. She wasn't going to stand for it any more. What she needed to do was stand and take a chance for those within her care.
With her resolve settled, she rose her chin to Sark and stated in a firm voice. "I cannot let you take them! We need these Programs!" Inside she was fearful. What if it didn't work? She had never made an outburst like this before nor showed so much will. It was worth the risk if she could just save these three. The fear in their eyes… "If you take any more, we won't be able to function as a unit properly!" Her expression was stern though her brows spoke of worry.
Sark stopped in his advance with a surprised expression, which quickly turned to anger. He whirled around and walked toward the elderly Program standing to the side of the couple and thrust his whole arm to point at him. "Surely you don't need THIS one!" He shouted.
The poor Program held his hands to his chest, circuitry wavering from fear as he stared wide-eyed at Yori. Her decision had already been made before this moment, but now, that look tore at her processor. Tearing her eyes away from the frightened Program she returned her gaze to Sark and took her stand. Rising her chin, she walked right up to him and hid any trace of worry she might be feeling, staring directly into his eyes, she spoke clearly. "No." It was a statement that was not to be denied. "I cannot afford to lose him either. He's one of the last we have with his function."
Sark retrieved his hand with a jerk, taking the final two steps toward her with a glare before his features softened, but only barely. "Fine. I'll take your word for it as head of this complex." He leaned in closer, his voice almost a whisper. "But if I find out you're lying." He paused with a near snarl, a threat hanging in the air.
Turning on his heel he shouted as he left the room with a gesture for the guards to follow him. "It'll be back next cycle!"
The three Programs once filled with fear relaxed visibly once he was gone. The eldest had a surprised and grateful look upon his face. "I can't believe that worked!" He had a right to be surprised. Sark paid no special treatment to anyone. It was no secret however, that she continually thwarted the sick Program's advances. It seemed he had a soft spot for her, one she was both grateful for in this moment, and LOATHED like nobody's business.
The couple were smiling and hugging, their circuitry flaring brightly from the other's touch and their elation. Yori smiled and looked down with a blush to give them privacy. She was so happy she had been able to save these three.
"We cannot thank you enough for saving us!" The woman exclaimed while de-tangling herself from her man's arms to grasp Yori's hands in a thankful gesture. Her bondmate stood just behind her smiling as well. "I never thought we would get out of that." He said. "Thank you." His bondmate voiced gratefully.
Yori smiled warmly in return and squeezed the woman's hands before letting go and shaking her head. "No. No thanks are needed. It's what I should have done from the beginning." A frown now tugged at the corners of her lips as thoughts swirled around in her head. All of those Programs before them had suffered because of her, because it was her decision to let them go, her naiveté that had led them to being taken. Her, that Sark had to come to for permission to take those Programs away. She alone was the head of her complex. It was her who had decided their fate.
Head bowed, she must have looked near tears. The woman looked to her bondmate and back again before rising Yori's head with her hand with a sad and forgiving expression. "It's not your fault. I never thought anyone would stand up for us.-"
"Not until Tron came!" The older Program piped up and stood to the side of them, grinning ear to ear. Yori gave him a confused look. Tron? Who, is that? She wondered even as the three lit up and started to talk all at once with bright smiles.
"He's this new Program-"
"'-four squares encased in a circle-"
"-and he SAVED that Program!"
"-right from the moment he entered the System he did!"
"Woah!" Yori half laughed with her hands in the air to quell their rapid speech. "I can't listen to all of you at once." Her eyes were bright and full of hope. Has someone really risen to save us? This Program.. I wonder who he is. What he looks like? She blushed slightly. I'm sure he's ok looking. She thought with denial.
The couple looked to the excited elderly Program who took a step closer, proud to be the one chosen to relay the story of this great hero. Yori smiled kindly and listened. "I've seen him in action I have!" He leaned in with a huge grin and gestured as he spoke. "I was on my way here when he swooped down out of no-where and took out TWO guards with ONE disk! They were trying to arrest some poor Program for heresy in the streets. He had the most distinct symbol I've ever seen! It was four squares in a circle, bright and big for everyone to see! His User must be mighty proud of him." He leaned in closer and said in a near whisper. "If User Angels could exist in a System like this, than he'd be one of 'em." He finished with a wink and leaned back with a content and proud expression.
The couple nodded. "I've heard stories about him. They say he started saving Programs right from the moment he entered the System." The woman stated with eyes sparkling.
Yori was confounded and filled with hope. She couldn't believe it. Someone that wonderful and brave and strong and true had entered their System to save them! She couldn't have been more respectful of any individual. That someone had risen… Had stood out when no-one else had. A shy smile touched her lips as she thought of what his symbol must look like within her mind… It was beautiful. I'll probably never meet him. She thought with a bit of sadness. But that's alright. I have my job here now. Her eyes fell to the kind Programs before her. To protect them. With that, she opened her arms to motion everyone out of the room while she followed. The cycle's work was almost done, and she was thinking about all the cycles to come.