Flynn and Clu - 41. Goldfrapp - “Shiny and Warm”
Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.
(Edited to The Skrillex Remix of this.)
"This is it," Flynn said proudly, with an expansive wave of his arm. "Small-scale, obviously, but I wanted to run it by you before we go to full prototype, let alone beta. It's gonna change the way people get around, among other things."
But there was nothing different about the living room. Everything looked just as it had when he'd left. Particularly the floor.
Clu tilted his head. “Explain the victory condition.”
“Well, the closer you follow the layout, the higher you score." He tapped his foot; the tile flared, flashed from white to hot cyan. "That’s what these arrows are for, see? Indicators. Y’know, direction and placement of the feet. The color's just for contrast. The lights are--”
“Binary switches.” Clu wanted to understand, and to show that he understood. “On or off. Sequential. Contact with the tiles changes the pattern.”
“In a way,” Flynn said, nodding. "They’re for keeping time--gets faster every time you win.”
“Well,” Clu surveyed the floor as if he expected it to suddenly give way, “yeah--”
It was the tight-lipped, drawn out affirmative Flynn was fast learning meant illegal operation; I don’t get it.
“Here,” he said, “I’ll demonstrate.”
He began to--move--in a way that Clu had never seen him move, a strange tension-in-relaxation, all over. He mostly seemed to be standing there and sort of aimlessly driving his hips, feet landing haphazardly at...somewhat less coordinated intervals. Flynn snapped his fingers, here and there, and it didn’t match the rhythm of his feet or his hips in the slightest. His hands were on time, keeping a perfect rate of 1:4, accents exactly on the first and fourth of whatever measure he was keeping.
And the slick white floor bloomed underfoot, blue cyan red magenta yellow orange white, every kind of light.
It was riveting. Made Clu want to grab him and hold him still, because the combined effect was unexpected and unpredictable. It looked--wild, and a little out of control.
“How do you--” Clu rapidly allocated resources to opposing goals: how to get Flynn to stand still, how to keep him moving. How to restore proper rhythm. "There's no music."
"Yeah." Flynn didn't quite chuckle. "Not yet. Zuse's contacts are working on that."
"It should be very effective." Clu blinked. When had his hands clenched?
"Hey, don't make that face," said Flynn, destabilizing them both with a sudden affable shove from the elbow. "Let's run a demo. You and me. Come on."
“I’m not sure that--” but Flynn literally pulled him onto the floor. So much for debate.
Flynn was holding his arm, and hadn't let go.
The song was new; he must have grabbed it from memory, a bare-bones disco tune with a strong beat and simple rapid trills in major key. The singer purred nonsense in a slurring monotone. But it was 'art,' and therefore, according to Flynn, perfect in itself and for its own sake.
Flynn hadn't let go, but he was on the move, and the floor throbbed blue under him, slick and electric. The rich, blurred reflections licked up the leather of his trousers, made it look like they were lit from the inside, from the heat of skin and circuitry.
Clu knew he was staring, could feel the differential flickering through his systems. Did it show? He self-consciously checked his jacket, the telling bright stripe, wide across as a palm-print. Broad enough for the tug of a hand. But Flynn avoided it entirely, settled that opposite hand on his shoulder--the other nudged his waist into line, the touch impersonal, but intimate and unavoidable.
Perfect. "So." Clu tilted his head. "What do I do?"
"Follow my lead. Think of it as a replication exercise."
He swayed, again from the hip, driving blue and cyan and hard, hot magenta up between them. Their coats brushed past each other, almost connected at the relevant junctions in sudden static pull. Could he feel--but he was concentrating, teeth perched on his lip, fully into the problem at hand, eyes intent and brighter than the floor. With something to dance to, Flynn seemed to go liquid under the lights, relaxed and grinning.
Leaning like that, heads bent together, they worked through an awkward variation on a box-step. It was a rhombus, and saying so was worth the laugh.
There was harmony, order implicit in the way they moved. The more evolved patterns necessitated an increase in speed and proximity. Color rioted under their feet, mint, blue, black, orange--and, when their paths crossed, the surface flared through magenta into red before whiting out under the pressure.
Well. That looked just like--
They'd implement some kind of decency filter later. Maybe. If they got any complaints.
Clu stopped when the music did, exactly on beat, with an inward roll of the hip. "How do we know when--"
"To stop talking?" Flynn shook his head, smiled wide and sardonic. "Easy."
And he planted his lips square on Clu's, dragging him in for a kiss by the collar, fingers laced tight in his hair. His program tensed, then kissed back with a short, hard noise of surprise--the kind that threatened memos while he was away--prodding Flynn's mouth open with his tongue.
"I really--" he tugged Flynn closer, with a look he knew, one he'd seen in the mirror a few times, when he landed a big idea at the board table or a hot date-- "really," between swift, hard kisses, "like this game."
Flynn splayed his hands across Clu's back, wedging his knee right up where he wanted it and starting the long, slow tango to the couch.
...Yeah, those really were castanets. And a guitar. And the horns. It really would play whatever the hell he thought of.
"Man," he pressed up to that devil's grin with one of his own, "you are gonna dig level two."