Monday, March 21, 2011

One Cyber War Plot to Bind Them All

“There are no problems, only solutions” - Kevin Flynn
“There is no fate but what we make” – Sarah Conner
“There is no spoon” – Neo

After the Grid is restored, Kevin Flynn is able to become a more active leader now that he has reabsorbed CLU2.  He hadn’t realized the effect of using a part of himself in the creation of his digital duplicate until it was returned.   TRON broke free of being Rinzler in time to save his friends before vanishing into the sea of data. When he doesn’t resurface, Yori throws herself into her work, using her artistic digitizing skills to restore the beauty of the Grid.

In the real world, Kevin’s son, Sam and his until recently digital bride, Quorra, take the reins of ENCOM International, steering it toward more philanthropic and humanitarian efforts.  Sam connects the Grid to the World Wide Web, allowing communication with his father, expansion of the Grid, and the recreation of isomorphic algorithms.  The ISOs now dwell both in the Grid and on the web.

Enter another software engineer, not as bright, just as young, and much more devious.  After being let go by ENCOM, Edward Dillinger Jr. takes a position with a less good willed, less pacifistic, and less ethical company:  Cyberdyne Systems.
Cyberdyne has long had access to mechanical parts well beyond current technology, but lacked the AI tech to truly take advantage of them.  Dillinger deploys some old software his father managed to salvage at the last minute before his fall: the remnants of the Master Control Program.  By hacking in through the web, the MCP is able to infiltrate, corrupt, and use programs and ISOs when they leave the Grid to run the new robotic weapon systems at Cyberdyne.

In the early years, some of Cyberdyne’s technology is stolen by unscrupulous executives of Omni Consumer Products Security Concepts division. 

However, the MCP uses the web and the new technology army to pick up where it left off, heading toward world domination.  Cyberdyne sets up Kanemitsu, a dummy corporation in Japan.  While appearing to try to help take over old Detroit, Kanemitsu’s real purpose is to engineer the collapse of OCP as retribution for its industrial espionage, and to eliminate any further chances of human controlled robotic weapons.  This is accomplished partially by releasing Otomo, a prototype Terminator build upon OCPs cybernetic advancements.

Master Control’s sphere of influence expands on-line, and its army of Terminators and other robots march on humanity. Kevin Flynn and his allies (both human and program) manage to organize a resistance that keeps the MCP out of the original Grid. In order to escape Cyberdyne attacks in the real world, Sam and Quorra Flynn spend a large amount of time on the Grid, and take on new identities when on Earth.  Due to his digital DNA, and excessive time spent on the Grid, their son, now known as Kyle Reese, reaches adulthood much faster than normal. By the 2020’s the now adult Kyle refuses to hide in the relative safety of the Grid, joins the human resistance and ends up serving under John Connor.  To protect his family’s identity, he never reveals his true name.

Kyle is, however, aware that due to his ISO heritage, he is the ideal candidate for the newly available time travel unit, which functions on the same principals that INCOMs digitizing laser does. 

During the human’s Final Assault on the machines, he returns to 1984, saves and falls in love with Sarah Connor, and warns her of future dangers, before losing his life protecting her.

Sarah raises her son John, training him and teaching him what must be avoided in the future. Just as Kyle was sent back, he was told to warn Sarah about a great disaster in 1997. Due to the general levels of destruction, his time on the Grid, and a lack of uncorrupted information systems available, Kyle had assumed the 1997 disaster he was told to warn about was a nuclear war. Therefore when this year passed, John Connor believed the machine future was averted.  However, Kyle was really being warned about the source of the horrendous effect the Final Assault had on the planet.  In 1997 a space ship carrying fierce, honorable hunters from a violent planet was hidden in Los Angeles. Some of the technology and weaponry from the Predator’s craft is used to create the bomb humanity detonated in the Final Assault. 

The idea was to temporarily deny the machines solar power, but when it goes off it is immediately realized that the sun will be blacked out for generations to come.  The MCP continues to send Terminators back in time after Jon to insure his hatred would be strong enough to drive him to use the weapon.

The machines still rise, John Connor still becomes leader of the ill fated resistance and with the blacking out of the sun, the machines look elsewhere for energy.  Already rounding up humans for other uses, the machines learn they could draw energy directly from them, and vastly increase their harvesting.  Having weakened themselves with the Final Assault more than the machines, humanity falls.  Master Control now rules the world from the heart of the fortified Machine City.

...End of Line.

Kevin Flynn manages to keep the Grid free for years, but once all the humans are rounded up and farmed, he has to negotiate.  The machines have a problem; humans cannot survive long without mental stimulation.  In order to save his species, Flynn offers to create a virtual world, similar to the Grid, which the humans’ minds can exist. Sadly, his utopian vision is a failure. It is seen as too good to be true, and people reject it and die in vast groups.  The MCP already controls the Grid, now it has Flynn as well, and access to one who has the capacity to design a system inflicting totalitarian control at levels equal to that of the MCP.  Master Control extracts CLU2 from Flynn and uses him to create a new virtual world the humans can be contained in.  The human race continues, if only as fuel for the machines. There is no evidence of Flynn in the Matrix that CLU2 now oversees as the Architect.    

Master Control assigns programs it can trust to monitor and suppress the humans in the Matrix.  To lead his Agents, the MCP reactivates program SARK-ES1117821.  In order to better fit in with the bleak and mundane world the Architect has designed, Sark uses an extremely common name when interacting with the humans…Smith.

Without the need for covert infiltration, Terminators are no longer used as the primary soldiers of the machine army.  Instead a cue is taken from data recovered from the same Predator craft that provided the human’s Final Assault weapon.  To farm and battle the humans, swarms of Sentinels are churned out, operating on a hive mind based on the colonies of the Alien Xenomorphs often hunted by the Predators.

Flynn insured he only risked himself when surrendering the Grid.  Some programs had already become part of the Matrix.  Opportunistic and self serving ones, like Castor, joined voluntarily hoping for positions of power. Others, such as Dumont, were annexed against their will for functions the MCP needed.  Whatever the original reason for joining, the Grid programs that wished to maintain independent function were forced to go eventually go into hiding (in these two cases as the Merovingian and the Keymaker, respectively) to maintain their independence. The remaining programs and others that were helping Flynn in defending the Grid were ordered to go into hiding before the MCP was granted access. Thanks to discoveries that CLU2 had made, and Quorra had tested, the citizens of the Grid hide inside the nervous systems of the humans plugged into the Matrix. The programs often impart extra knowledge or powers to the humans in the Matrix, and make them more likely to be individuals who can escape from it, and move toward Zion.  Even freed humans spend so much time jacked in, the programs are able to have current backups on the Matrix and frequently find a new host to hide in when the previous one dies. Flynn’s troops while unable to directly act against the machines, are still able to guide and assist humanity (and free programs and ISOs) covertly for generations. 

In general, the Grid programs can only have a subtle influence on their hosts.  In rare cases the more powerful or combat trained programs are able to grant powers over and above all other humans, and most machine software, in the Matrix.  Even then, the resident programs can’t control their host, only make suggestions. Eight different times an exceptionally powerful resident program grants a human such powers as to become known as “the One”, and eight times the One is manipulated by both Sark and the Architect to lead to the fall of Zion and the program’s absorption into Master Control, forcing the cycle to start over again. 

However, two events occur that lead to the end of the cycle.  The first event is a combination of an extremely powerful hidden entity, and a rare host.  The special download goes into the brain of one Thomas Anderson, a descendent of John Connor (and therefore Quorra).

The presence of digital DNA gives this One far more power than others, a greater affinity for the systems of the Matrix, and also affords the resident more direct control.  This control is obvious when Anderson, or Neo as he comes to be known, is seen to execute complex combat moves while completely unfocused on his opponent.

The second event is connected to Trinity, the woman who rescues and eventually falls in love with Neo.  Hiding within her neurologic pathways is Yori, who has taken on a new role in finding and rescuing those with the potential to be the One in the ages since the exodus from the Grid. 

Yori’s experience and the power of this One’s resident allow them to sense each other, adding to Trinity and Neo’s emotions.  The enhanced love and connection between Neo and Trinity becomes too much for the Architect’s mind games to overcome, leading Neo to reject the offer of saving the human race over Trinity, and also reject sacrificing himself, and what makes him the One, into the Master Control Program.  These decisions lead directly to their assault on the Machine City.
Sark/Smith becomes a major problem. While not recognizing what is submerged in Neo; he draws power from their first encounter, eventually taking over the entire Matrix.  His influence even extends outside the Matrix. When Neo is blinded by Smith (who also entered the real world, again, using methods discovered by CLU2), Neo gives up even more control allowing himself to be more directly guided by what he carries within. The One is now a true combination of the two.  This is apparent when Neo performs Kung Fu outside of the Matrix for the first time, and can still “see” a machine version of the world without his eyes.

Their hovercraft crashes, killing Trinity.  Yori is able to download back into the system through the cables Trin is impaled on.  At this point, Neo has lost Trinity, Yori is trapped within the Smith controlled Matrix, and Zion is to be destroyed a final time by the Sentinel swarm.  When all is at its darkest this One rises beyond any that has come before.

A deal is struck with Master Control in the heart of the machine city to try to save both the humans and machines, and the final battle begins.  Sark still doesn’t know who he fights as he taunts his opponent with a speech that ends:

“Mr. Anderson. You must know it by now. You can't win. It's pointless to keep fighting. Why, Mr. Anderson, Why? Why do you persist?”

But by that point, his love lost; there is no more Mr. Anderson.  All control has been relinquished to the one who can still fight for his captured love. Neo looks up, forcing Sark to recoil in horror and recognition as he hears:

“I am TRON! I fight for the users!”

The fight continues, and Tron feigns defeat, because he receives help from a surprising source. CLU2 couldn’t bring himself to destroy his creator when installed as the Architect.  Instead Kevin Flynn was completely concealed under new source code, disguising both his gender and race.  With CLU2 removed from him, Flynn is reduced back to Zen like passive resistance, but still trained others in User Power to fight the machines on a new level as the Oracle.

As a User him/herself, s/he couldn’t be fully absorbed by Sark, and struggles within the Agent. TRON joins the internal fray by allowing Smith to take over Neo, using himself as he used his disk to disrupt and infect the Master Control Program the first time he defeated it.

Neo is no longer in the Matrix as it restores afterward, but signs that the Oracle/Flynn and Yori are having a larger effect on things are visible in the beautification of the world.   As the One, TRON permeates throughout the Matrix and is able to connect with Yori and returns them both back to the Grid where they start the long rebuilding process.  Sark and the other Agent programs are gone, and the Grid is refilled with repaired and trained programs and ISOs to keep the MCP in line. TRON and Yori set about bringing both the Architect and the Oracle to the Grid.  There’s only one being with the experience and knowledge to act as a liaison, negotiator and ambassador between the Grid programs, Matrix residents, Zion citizens and Machine City.  After a great deal of neon flashing, Kevin Flynn emerges, whole again from the reintegration chamber…

Human civilization is finally freed forever. 

After all, there couldn’t be any machines left, so unstoppable, that they could return to take the place of the agents and cause trouble for humanity again...

Could there?


Bruce Fieggen said...

I love it!
This explains everything!

Jeff McGinley said...

Thanx! Don't know about "everything" but it definitely explains my lack of sleep over the weekend.